Thursday, November 24, 2011

Highlights of Thanksgiving 2011

Staying up past midnight the night before, baking Thanksgiving desserts--maple pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin roll with cream cheese frosting, cranberry apple pie.

Starting my day with an 8k through the streets of Buffalo.

The delicious smells in the house upon arriving home from said 8k.

Stewart's turkey, stuffing and gravy.

My dad telling me he used to be proud of me (this was his reaction when I told him that I started my day by running 5 miles).

Ashlee's mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, veggies, rolls and more.

After dinner nap.

Knowing that everyone loved my desserts.

Spending almost all day with the Husband.

Knowing that I can sleep in as much as I want tomorrow, and then take a nap.

After meeting Kevin's parents once, being told to look them up if we ever find ourselves in Tennessee.

Only driving the mile-ish to the Campbells. I love being home for holidays. And by home I mean wherever I live (though I am insanely excited for Christmas in Idaho/Utah).

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Interested in Tax Law? I know I'm not.

One of my favorite sculptures of all time is Rodin's "La Porte d'Enfer," or "The Gates of Hell."  No photo of this epic work can do it justice.  It depicts Dante's vision of the Inferno.
What always fascinated me about the sculpture is the placement of the Thinker above the door.  I suppose his presence could signify how any attempt to replace the divine Word with human understanding is doomed to hell-fire and torment.  

I would suggest an alternative interpretation.  Perhaps the Thinker is actually an accountant; hell seems like an apt place for most of that ilk (sorry Heiffer).  Moreover, perhaps his punishment is not to sit on a stool with poor lumbar support.  Instead his punishment is to spend eternity contemplating the U.S. Tax Code.  I can think of no worse torment.

Now back to my Federal Income Tax homework.  May God have mercy on my soul.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dr. Stewlove: or How I Learned to Turn off F-book and Start Blogging

I really won't have anymore time to blog now than I did before I shut down the f-book. Law school ensures that my paucity of free time is spent reading judicial decisions. It's gotten so bad that "The Hobbit" has become my toilet book. You may scoff at this for many reasons, but let us be frank here for a moment.

The toilet is the most comfortable seat in the house. It allows your nooks and crannies an opportunity to escape their confinement; I believe that there is an inverse relationship between the wearing of trousers and the power to contemplate the sublime (it is this relationship that makes wearing a kilt a necessity for deep thinkers). No one wants to disturb you on the toilet...or at least not me (this is both from the stink and the lack of kids). Lastly, the longer you spend on the loo the less likely people are to bother you about it (I'll leave it to your mind contemplate the full import of that sentence).

That said most people find it rather disturbing to talk about their toilet books. It has become so taboo that the N.S.A.T.R. (the National Society for the Advancement of Toilet Reading (It's a thing, seriously)) has released a study saying that 83% of all reading is now being done in bed and using a kindle. This movement from the toilet to the bedroom has caused an epidemic of both constipation and bed sores. It's time that we all turn this tide, grab a book, and settle down for a prolonged poo.

This just goes to show two things. First, if the most creative writing you do in over a year regards the application of U.S. naturalization law to a Nazi war-criminal, you lose your muse and end up writing about defecation. Secondly, Facebook is a giant societal dookie.

I knew you missed my blog posts.

~The First

Monday, October 03, 2011

The Summer of Fun, part 2

We refer to the summer of 1999 as "the summer of fun." We had just met, were taking only a few credits at BYU over the summer (Stewart actually had a full courseload, but I made him act like he only had one class-he still blames me for his sub-par performance in french phonetics) and we spent a lot of time playing, his apartment and my apartment and those associated with us. We did things like crawled through Nutty Putty caves, walked along University Ave, had bbq's and played ultimate frisbee and went bowling. At the time I was taking a bowling class, and a religion class on LDS family and marriage so I figured that going bowling with guys counted as studying for both :) Less than a year later the husband and I were married. We kept having fun, but nothing took the title away from that summer.

But the summer of 2011 comes close, in my opinion. Stewart took one class for the first half of the summer, but other than that he just had his 9-5 internship with little to no homework. So we played. A lot. And I loved it.

Before summer actually began we went hiking along the Niagara River. Talk about amazing.

We started the summer by spending Memorial Day weekend in Canton, with some good friends. It was pretty and quiet and I was somehow able to sleep without the sounds of Buffalo all around at night. And we made some terrible food choices over those 4 days.

We spent a weekend in June in the Rochester/Victor area. It's beautiful there. And so close to the Palmyra temple.

On July 3 we crashed a party across the street. Best way to meet your neighbors. For Independence Day we hosted a bbq for some of the husband's law school peeps and then watched the fireworks by the lake. So nice. Except for when Stewart dropped a box of flooring tiles on his toe. Part of it is still black. This is the view over the lake before the fireworks.

Then, later in July, Stewart and I ran a 15k in Utica. My time wasn't great but it was a great race. Utica really turns out for it, probably because they don't have anything else going for them. The zoo had some animals along the side of the street at one point. And they had people handing out Popsicles.

We had a few trips back east to the Albany area, and spent one Sunday at a family reunion in Massachusetts, celebrating the 90th birthday of Stewart's grandmother.

Here's Stewart at our friends' house in the mountains somewhere around Albany, where we stayed for one of our weekends out there.

We also went to several Buffalo Bisons baseball games. I don't know if they won any of them.

And in August we had our friends the Cotons visit for a short weekend. We went to Niagara Falls and rode the Maid of the Mist

and visited Fort Niagara, which is located right near the point where the Niagara River meets Lake Ontario. We could see Toronto in the distance. They did a reenactment of a battle and then we wandered through the buildings and got a feeling for what life was like in the fort.

We also saw both plays that were put on as part of Shakespeare in the Park and went for walks and runs and strolled down Elmwood Avenue. I was sad to see the summer end and for Stewart to start school again and be busy, but I'm also enjoying the quiet-ness of autumn.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Musings on the Boilermaker

The husband and I ran the boilermaker 15k this morning. We woke up at 4am to get the race in time to pick up our numbers and all that. Here are some of the highlights:
  • Hearing the National Anthem twice today, once played by the Navy band after the race. I also thoroughly enjoyed hearing it before the race, when 13000 runners spontaneously started singing along.
  • The little white girls whose t-shirts read "Kenyan in Training."
  • The dude who had "Boilermaker virgin" written on his back. I guess the husband and were too. Glad we lost that together.
  • The Mile 5 Popsicle stand. There were some at the end as well.
  • Getting beaten by both my nearly 65 year old FIL and the husband with gimpy toe and a gimpy knee.
  • Accomplishing something I set out to do at the beginning of the year.
  • The shower I enjoyed upon arriving home.
On August 3rd the husband and I begin our 12 week training program for the half marathon we're running in October.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Nine Months Ago...

We moved to Buffalo. We gave up the comfort of two incomes and lots of people we love to move to Buffalo so the Husband could start law school. We hadn't sold the house and I didn't have a job lined up, but it was the right thing to do and the right time to do it. A ton of people came to help us load our truck on Saturday, we could never thank everyone enough. Then we spent Saturday night and Sunday saying our goodbyes, and we left our first home Monday morning. I didn't enjoy the 4.5 hour drive with two crying cats, but I had it easy compared to Stewart who drove the big Uhaul truck along the NYS thruway. (From now on we get movers).

Stewart started law school and I began the job search. We also worked with our real estate agent to sell our home in Colonie. We knew things would work out but there were still some stressful times. We got an offer on the house the week I started working. Miracle of miracles.

Now we are all settled in and only make the trip back to Albany once every 4-6 weeks. At first it was more like every 3 weeks. There is much that we miss, but there is also a lot that we love about our new lives.

We miss the people terribly. We were surrounded by so many people that we love. We were so often busy with dinners and other fun things that we were never lonely, nor did we want for socializing. We miss our home and the pride that comes with home-0wnership. And the room since our apartment is about half the space. I miss the familiarity of living in a place for so long. I miss a lot of the things we loved doing "back east."

But I never expected to be THIS happy in Buffalo, at least not this soon. I love how quiet and simple our lives here are. Because the Husband is always (and I mean ALWAYS) studying, I have a lot of time to myself. I read a lot. I'm running more. I'm focusing on improving myself in ways that I didn't feel like I had time before. I love that our apartment is small enough that I can clean the whole thing in about 5 hours. I love the friends we are making here.

I'm enjoying the reduced stress from renting again. Our apartment is great-a two bedroom townhouse, almost all hardwood floors (the stairs are carpeted), an attached garage in the basement, our own washer & dryer in the garage/basement, a mile from the park.

This was the right thing for us to do and it was the right time and we are in the right place. We may leave Buffalo in two more years when Stewart finishes law school, or we may stay for long time after, but no matter what I'm glad we're here now.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

And we have nearly reached the End

Of vegetarian (almost) month, that is. I have to admit, I crave meat these days, but not chicken. Mostly a good hamburger, but more on that later.

So since the Sister Missionaries came over for our gourmet grilled cheese & tomato soup, here's what the Forbes have been eating.

That Friday we tried a Falafel Bar that we've passed a few times. It's just down the road from my favorite wing place and if we weren't off meat I don't know if I would ever pass up Duff's for falafel. (btw, it's kind of scandalous that I prefer Duff's to Anchor Bar since wings originated at Anchor Bar. But I have to go with my gut.) I'm so glad we tried the Falafel Bar because it was delicious. Stewart got the falafel wrap and I got the spanakopita. This is how I judge Mediterranean restaurants. Very good. I grabbed a take out menu on my way out. Coincidentally this place is kind of on Husband's way home from school.

Spinach mushroom quiche. I prefer Stewart's quiche with ham in it, but this tasted ok. Then it made me sick. Bummer. Husband, who was unaffected, took one for the team and finished it over the next few days.

Cream of Mushroom Fake Bake. This was way too mushroomy after the quiche. And super cheesey which we don't do too often any more. We threw away some leftovers, even.

Singapore Noodles. This was this week's stir fry. Quite good. The house smelled like curry for days afterward. My area of the office did too since I made the mistake of taking some for lunch.

Mushroom & olive pizza and french fries. I am most happy that I found suitable NY style pizza in Buffalo. We've tried a few places but no where does it just right. This still is no Paesans but it will get another try. Maybe their pepperoni pizza is better. And pizza joints here do buffalo wing pizza.

Home made spanakopita. I like it so much Husband suggested I try making it. Apparently he thought I needed something to do with an hour and a half on Sunday besides nap. But it was worth it and it's been serving as lunch since. The recipe called for too much butter so next time I'll cut back on that. And now that I'm comfortable working with phyllo dough I think I'll try making baklava sometime. And mmm, spinach.

Black bean soup. This is a favorite of ours and I'm surprised we made it this far into a vegetarian month without it. So good. It will be dinner again tonight.

Tomorrow is Smoked Mozzerella sandwiches with roasted red peppers, olive tapanade and pesto. I think I'll make some potato chips to go along with it.

And to finish out the vegetarian month, Stewart will make a tortillas with potatoes out of our Spanish cookbook. You know, because he's Mexican. Friday we plan on being in Batavia, on our way home from the temple so we'll stop at the Mexican place there and order something chicken enchiladas or something equally meaty.

Saturday we are going to Grovers where they serve even the salads with a hamburger patty. The burgers are just under a pound and the fries and onion rings come in the same basket. I can hardly wait. Let the meat-gasm begin!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Week Including Our One Cheating Day

Since the last post here's what we've been eating. I'm a bit behind so I might not get the days right, but I can remember what we've had.

Jenny's Tamale Pie-really good. We had a variation at least a year ago, though it was not Jenny's. Jenny's is better. And anything with a corn bread topping is good. It made good lunch leftovers too.

Dinner out. I met up with some ladies from church and we ate at Panera. I had to try something new because my usual apparently has meat substances in it. So I tried the mozzerella sandwich. Soo good. I may have a new favorite. I picked up a veggie burrito at the nearby Chipotle for Husband on my way home.

Fideo out of my vegetarian cookbook. I think I prefer this made with vegetable stock over my usual beef stock. It's not as good as what you get at Cafe Rio but for out here it works in a pinch. And I can add extra feta so it's not a total loss.

Burritos. We were supposed to have dinner with friends on Friday but they cancelled on account of being sick so we had to eat at home, just the two of us. Fortunately it wasn't too uncomfortable.

Sunday was our St. Patty's Day meal, that we had planned in as our one day to eat meat this month. I made my corned beef pot pie, Stewart made bread, and we at with two of Stewart's classmates and their partners. Ashlee made a French Onion Soup and the sauce and cookies we had with ice cream. An amazing meal. We had to leave the leftovers with Kevin. I think he had almost an entire pot pie to himself this week.

We had a lot of leftovers throughout the week and have frozen what was left for another day. You can only eat the same leftovers for so long, you know.

Sweet & Sour Tofo. I can safely say that we both like tofu now, when it's prepared correctly, which I can now do. There were a lot of veggies in it, too. Again, good leftovers.

Last night we fed the Sister Missionaries grilled cheese, tomato soup (not the premade, canned stuff, though) and pesto pasta salad. Not the most impressive meal we've ever served them, but we finished with crepes so they went home happy.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Vegetarian Week 1

One week in and we're going strong. Even after running 5 miles in the rain yesterday, we did not succumb to the meatball.

Our menu this week was:

March 1: Tofu Peanut & Noodle Stir Fry from our Wok cookbook. It turned out really good though peanut butter on red pepper strips and broccoli is a little weird.

March 2: Ziti with Sharp Cheddar from our vegetarian cookbook. This is not a new recipe to us, it's one we love. I think this is where we first discovered the joy of the leak.

March 3 & 4: Leftovers from the previous two days. We are just two people and cooking usually leaves us with a lot of food. I like it this way. It was nice to not have to cook those days. Coincidentally I also did not do any dishes. As a result I did a lot of dishes today.

March 5: We went to dinner with some friends to a local Italian place, Vino's, which is famous for it's meatballs. Alas, neither of us got said meatball, though our dining companions each did. We will return in another month (I'm thinking that while it's no Sabs we will eat here when my parents visit, you know, once Buffalo thaws) and then there will be meatballs for all.

March 6: Hungarian Stuffed Peppers from our Starting with Ingredients cookbook. This might be my favorite cookbook EVER. But don't pay the full list price of $45 or so. Stewart found it online for something like $7. We did the vegetarian variation and filled the peppers with wild rice and mushrooms instead of veal and sausage. It was good, but Husband doesn't like the texture of baked peppers. btw, he picked the recipe.

This week we have planned: Fire Roasted Corn Chowder that we didn't get to last week on account of a fridge full of leftovers, Jenny's Tamale pie, a dinner at Panera, and if necessary the Fideo, which is not alike or as good as Cafe Rio's.

Monday, February 28, 2011

An Experiment

As husband mentioned on the facebook, we are going *almost* vegetarian for the month of March. I say almost because we will be having cow pie for St. Patty's Day. We are trying to be healthier and this will force us to find more healthy recipes. Or eat more cheese, either one. Each week we will post the recipe for the coming week, and review that of the previous week.

Before I tell you what we'll be eating this week, let me explain what we did to ourselves before going meat free for *almost* a full month. Friday at work, lunch was catered by Kentucky Greg's BBQ. BBQ chicken, pulled pork and all sorts of sides. So good. Saturday for dinner we had crockpotted French Dip (a roast cooked in french onion soup, beef broth, and beer, served on a toasted bun). Yesterday we had the sister missionaries over for chicken ham thing (chicken tenders wrapped in ham casseroled in sour cream and cream of mushroom soup, served over rice.

Tomorrow we are having tofu peanut & noodle stir fry. I've been experimenting with tofu since we've known this is coming and it's not bad. Wednesday is ziti with sharp cheddar (there's also leaks and other veggies cooked in the sauce). Thursday is fireroasted corn chowder. Friday will be leftovers or maybe burritos. Hopefully there will be some homemade bread to go with that. Our pantry already has some new things in it, something that I like.

Any recipe ideas that you have are welcome and we can tinker with meated recipes. We'll let you know how it goes. And our reward for all this is a Grover's burger. And this time I'll eat the entire thing in one sitting.

Monday, February 14, 2011

V-Day Through the Ages

This is our twelfth Valentine's Day as a couple. Pretty great, eh? Well, let me tell you about our first and then our most recent V-Day celebrations.

2000-we were engaged, getting married in just over two months. I spent the afternoon at my pre-marriage gyno visit at the BYU health center. This was the only day that worked for me and I wanted to be sure to get on birth control so we didn't end up having a honey moon baby (little did I know at the time what a waste of money birth control was:)

But Husband did take me out to dinner, a double date with one of his engaged roommates, Jeff and his Jeff's fiance Diane. I wish I could say we went to a fancy, expensive restaurant, but, no, we went to the Red Lantern Chinese buffet.

2011-We both forgot to put our rings on after our morning work-outs. So I guess we each spent the day trying to see if we could get picked up. No dice. So we went to dinner. We figured that all the fancy, expensive restaurants would be packed, and we didn't plan ahead and make reservations. So we consulted the yelp and decided on Grover's Club. So, so good. The burgers were just under a pound, add in a basket of fries and onion rings. It looked a lot like this:

It was awesome. Here's to many many more Valentine's Days together.

I love you, Husband!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Favorite Law School Moments

Regarding a case of a woman suing for having her nude photos published in Hustler instead of Playboy where she intended them to be published:

Female Classmate: "Now I'm not a connoisseur of Porno..."

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Thank you Major Dad

Several months ago I sent out a scientific survey to many of you. This missive was to determine once and for all the most iconic (thank Major Galan) song of the 1990s. As most of you know this decade was the apogee of music, everything since has been derivative tripe. Sadly what none of you knew was that this was not in fact a survey but a test, and you all failed. I'm very disappointed in you.

The correct answer is that there are four iconic songs of the 1990s. One from each of the major genres of music.

For the greatest genre of music in the 1990's--alternative--we have Beck's "Loser". Yes, "Smell's Like Teen Spirit" won the popular vote in my survey/test but this, like America, is not a true democracy. Beck won the electoral college vote (now you know the anger and disappoint I felt in 2000. Eight years of "President" Bush, damn you retired liberal-Jewish Buchanan supporters).

For those of us who couldn't quite say goodbye to our 1980s style mullets fear not, for the iconic Metal/Rock song of the 1990s was none other then the ever terrifying Metallica with the creepiest bedtime prayer in their anthem Enter Sandman. Please note this video finished second in our "holy cow that's the scarriest video I've ever seen" to Black Hole Sun. The melty faces were so scary.

Now for the first time here on this blog, and not for the last says Wife. We'll include a previously ignored branch of music and give it it's full credit. Country music didn't completely, totally suck in the 1990s. It just mostly sucked. And coming in with the least sucky country song of the decade (and thus the genre's most iconic song) we have Garth Brooks, "Friends in Low Places." I'd link the video but I just can't bring myself to do it.

Lastly, representing Hip-hop we have Sir Mix-a-Lot's ode to the gleuteously enhanced, "Baby Got Back". "36-26-36, yeah if she's 5'3" indeed sir. I salute you.

So that's it. Those are the most iconic songs of the decade. There is no argument. So don't bother trying to nay say me. Thus sayeth the First.

Now coolest video of the decade...well that's easy. IT'S SABOTAGE!!!!

For the record this is better if you watch the videos on the blog and don't just poke around on Facebook. Blogging is so 2000s.

Sunday, January 09, 2011


[ri-zolv]-verb-to come to a definite or earnest decision about; determine (to do something)
It is the time of year when many of us make resolutions to improve ourselves or to change things we don't like. I'm not a huge fan of making New Year's resolutions because they always seem to be forgotten by my birthday and I don't like waiting for a calendar change to decide to fix something about myself. I figure I should make the improvements when I notice a problem.

But I do have some goals for 2011, things I'd like to have accomplished by the time 2012 rolls around. So here they are, in no particular order:

1. Run my first marathon. In preparation I plan on running a 15k with Husband in July. I've joined a gym so I can keep myself in some sort of running shape during these snowy months in Buffalo so I don't have to start from scratch when I can run outside again.

2. I'd like to learn to make schnitzel. We both enjoyed it the last time we had it (though this was at Disney World and I swear they could serve dirt as a meal and I would love it if it was at Disney) and I like to cook.

3. I want to have a cleaner house more often. I don't really like cleaning the entire house in a day, and want to spend some of each day tidying up so it doesn't get to the point where I have to spend an entire day cleaning.

4. I want to continue reading and learning. This one is easy for me because I enjoy both of these activities so much. I should probably work on doing this less so #3 can actually get done.

5. Eating better. Husband and I are already much better at this since we simplified our lives and moved to Buffalo. We eat out less so our portion sizes are under much better control and the food we cook is often much better for us that what we'd get at a restaurant anyway.

6. I want to get some photos up on this blog of our finished house before we sold it and of our apartment here in Buffalo, for comparison reasons. I should also quit procrastinating and update my other blog.

There are other things but this is enough sharing for now. Good luck to all of you as you try to become better as well. Here's to an excellent 2011! For now here's a photo from our trip out west last summer.