I have mad envy for people who can cook.  I mean, yeah, I can make stuff and not give myself food poisoning, but I'm not very creative at cooking, I'm not very adventurous and I'm not very good at it.  I have a few dishes I make on a regular basis, but that's about it.  But I'm getting the itch to try and teach myself some things.  And I've had an itch to bake.  The other night I did a google search in hopes of finding something that sounded tasty and involved chocolate.  After a little looking, I came across a recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bread at this website.  So, in the spirit of some of the people I adore (Diane, Laura, Sandy, too many others to list), I'm going to show you what I did.

These are the ingredients you'll need to make the bread:

2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed (or more, to taste)
1T baking powder
3/4t salt
1/2t cinnamon
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 large)
1 cup skim milk
3/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter w/ salt
1t vanilla extract
1/4 cup egg substitute (or 1 egg)
100g (3.5 oz) dark chocolate, chopped into small chunks

Oh, and one beer.

Mix all the dry ingredients (except the chocolate) together in a large bowl.

Take a swig.

Likewise, mix all the wet ingredients together in a large bowl.

Take a swig.

Pour the wet stuff into the dry stuff.

Take a swig.

Mix it all together.

Take a swig.

Add the chocolate.  (The recipe, I felt, didn't call for enough chocolate, so I upped it.  Instead of using a chocolate bar and breaking it into small pieces, I bought a bag of dark chocolate chips and I used half the bag.  I love chocolate!)

Take a swig.

Mix the chocolate in.

Take a swig.

Grease and flour up two 9X5 inch cake pans.  I bought a couple of aluminum ones.  The recipe makes two loaves and I only had one proper glass pan.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes at 350 degrees.  They'll be ready if you can stick a toothpick in and it comes out clean.  This will be your end result.

Open another bottle to celebrate.

I have to tell you, the bread came out really good.  It's not as peanut buttery as I was hoping for, but it's tasty nonetheless.  Next time I might try upping the amount of peanut butter, or instead add peanut butter chips with the chocolate chips.



I'm buzzing right now.  I don't normally drink, but it's the holiday weekend and I'm home alone.  Why the fuck not, right?  It's been a while since I've felt this tingle.  

Anyway, here's my attempt at rambling about whatever comes to mind.  I'm sure it's gonna be a mess, but I don't really care.  My blogging muscle has gone soft and I need to get it back into some sort of shape.

I've jump started my exercise regime again.  For the last couple of weeks surrounding the move from the old house to the new house, there just wasn't any time for anything it seemed.  I really had to force myself to find some time to get out and start walking again.  I'm in a great new neighborhood with low levels of traffic that's perfect for walking.  From my house out to the main road on the other side of the neighborhood is a two mile walk.  I've taken to walking the two miles out and then back, taking different streets around to clock between 4 and 5 miles per walk.  I'm no longer getting lost in the neighborhood, which is a good thing, but I'm still not 100% sure about which street leads to which.  Another week or so and I'll be golden.  I really have to thank my friend Ricky for unknowingly getting me back to walking.  I follow Ricky on Gowalla and every morning I see him check in at the gym and every afternoon I see him do it again.  Seeing how dedicated he's been to working out was the push I needed to get back out and walk.  I've been walking 5 or 6 days a week, anywhere from 4 to 6 miles at a shot.  And I'm feeling really good about it.  My legs especially feel good.  I've had a slight sciatic flair up here and there, but for the most part, it's been under control since the move.  Today I walked at the office complex near my old house after I dropped Ken off at the airport.  I clocked 5 1/2 miles.

And speaking of Ken, he's in Florida right now.  During the move, he was told how negative his attitude has gotten by several people.  I was going to hold off on telling him the same thing until the move was over, but when he asked me about it, I fessed up, too.  The whole process with the move was incredibly stressful and the way Ken dealt with it was to turn incredibly bitter about EVERYTHING.  When someone whom Ken had said nothing but nice and positive things to said he's been too bitter, he freaked.  His solution was to get away and take a solo vacation.  He's calling it his Attitude Readjustment Tour.  Tomorrow he's setting sail for the Bahamas for the week.  I hope he gets a chance to calm the fuck down and reset.  To say he's been a joy to live with lately is a big, fucking lie.  What I'm most afraid of is this is going to backfire.  When he said he wanted to do this, I was all for it, but I also thought this might be a bad idea.  He's going to be bored out of his fucking mind.  He's going on a cruise by himself, knowing no one.  He can be very shy, which will come as a surprise to everyone who knows him, but it's true.  I've got my fingers crossed that he has a great time, though.

Him being away leaves me home alone.  He started begging me to come along with him on his solo vacation.  It kind of defeats the purpose, doesn't it?  For me, just being home alone all week is a big vacation.  I have a big list of things I hope to do this week, but I'm already feeling like none of it is going to happen.  I wish I didn't have to work this week, but I do, so what I get done, I get done.  Today was either a big bust or a very productive day.  I dropped Ken off at the airport at 10am, got to the office complex I like to walk at by 10:15, walked just over an hour, then went shopping.  Target, Jo-Ann's, Marshall's, Ultimate Electronics, Sears, Hannaford, Michael's, DSW Shoe Warehouse, JC Penney.... I think that's it.  I scored some new shorts, new sandals, a couple of new picture frames, groceries... The only thing I set out for that I didn't get was a new tv for the bedroom.  I was all set to pick one up, but I decided to hold off because whatever set I would happen to pick up, Ken would have some sort of issue with.  So I'll just wait for him to get back and we'll go together to get one.

One of the places I stopped while I was out was Wal-Mart.  I'm not proud of the fact that I did this, but I was in a pinch and I thought it would be a quick and easy stop for two items I forgot at the supermarket.  I needed lemons and Tater Tots.  (Yup, Ken's away and I'm eating like an 11 year old!!)  The whole experience was pretty horrific.  Now first of all, I thought prices at Wal-Mart were supposed to be cheaper than anywhere else.  Not that I spot checked a lot of things, but the things I did I found to be pricier than Target or my regular grocery store.  The thing that really made me smile was how long I stood in line for to buy my two items.  I spent more time in line (the express line, thank you) than I did shopping the store.  And they had quite a few registers open.  But I spent fifteen minutes in line before they opened another express lane.  The only thing that really made me chuckle was the fifteen year old girl being arrested for shoplifting.  They sent two cop cars for this.  For real.

Saturday morning Ken and I went to a local flea market.  The annual firehouse flea market was happening about five minutes from the house.  I like to go to flea markets every once in a great while.  I rarely buy anything, but I like looking at the different junk people have for sale.  And I like to look at the people selling the stuff.  It's a fun and cheap activity to eat up an hour or two.  I actually bought something at this flea market.  Something I didn't notice at first, but Ken did.  There was a vendor there who had a small assortment of Mego toys from the 70s.  I used to have a whole bunch of them when I was a kid and I regret ever destroying them (as I did with most toys I had.  Stupid, stupid kid!)  I have an ebay search set up to email me every day with new Mego toys that are posted.  I've never actually taken the plunge to buy any because they end up going for big bucks.  The one toy I used to have that I've been looking to replace every since is the Mego Batgirl figure.  They end up going for hundreds of dollars on ebay all the time.  I can't justify spending that kind of money.  But this guy had one and he was asking $45 for it.  Ken tried to talk him down to $40, but he wouldn't budge.  And I didn't care.  She's in amazing shape.  Her hair is still as tightly curled as it was the day she was manufactured.  Her gloves, belt and boots are in top condition.  Her costume has a tiny stain on it and is missing the bat symbol, but otherwise, she's beautiful. Someone was selling a costume on ebay with the bat symbol, so I bought it to replace her current costume.  I'm so psyched!

I have to admit that even though I don't miss my old house one little bit, I've done a couple of drive bys to see what the new owners are doing with it.  First of all, I don't know why, but the old neighborhood looks especially dumpy.  I knew it was when I lived there and I really had issues with the outside appearance of the house, but it looks even moreso now.  I don't know if it's something that just went completely ignored while I was living there or what, but looking at it now makes me even more thankful for this new house.  But the new owners are kind of weird.  Each time I've driven by, every single blind in the house has been pulled.  Even on the front porch.  The only blind not pulled is the bathroom blind, but there was a film put on the window so that no one could see in.  It doesn't look like they've touched the yard or the gardens since they've been in.  I wonder why.  

My beer is empty and I need another.  And I want to try to bake.  I found a recipe online that sounded great and I'm going to go and try to make it.  Wish me luck!


Kick Start

I'm trying to kick start myself into getting back to putting down my thoughts.  I still can't believe that we've got as much going on with the house as we do.  But I'm trying.

This was the first weekend we've been in the house where we had NO PLANS.  None.  No friends or family scheduled to come over, no road trips, nothing.  And it felt amazing.  I put a huge dent into getting my office unpacked.  It's really been the lowest priority as far as unpacking goes.  I've got half the basement devoted to my office so the room is out of sight and therefore can wait.  This weekend I got most of the boxes opened and a lot of stuff put away, or at least near where it's going to go.  I've still got a lot to do to get it to the condition I want it, but this is a start.  I'll post pictures once it's done.

The rest of the house is an ongoing mess.  Because of the time table we had to work with, we weren't able to get the place painted before we moved in.  The entire house needs a once over (and in some cases, a twice or thrice over) with a paint brush.  Some of the colors the former owners painted the rooms is really just unforgivable.  Once we got in the house, we lined up a bunch of painters to give us estimates.  We chose one who was supposed to start this past Monday.  Monday they called with some cock and bull story about why they were late.  Which turned into another cock and bull story about why they weren't here yet.  Which turned into yet another one.  Needless to say that if they're going to lie (and that poorly) to us, we didn't want them.  So they got fired before they even started.  As it stands right now, we've got no painters, yet the whole house is kind of ripped apart to be painted.  Most of the estimates we got were just a little too much out of our budget.  We're now in the process of getting new estimates for the entire first floor of the house and the two story foyer.  Once we can get this place painted, it'll be a completely different place.  Until then, a little more chaos.

I can't say enough how much I love my new house.  I adore it.  Every time I've moved in the past, no matter how much I liked the new place, I'd be a little sad for some part of the old house.  For some reason, I have none of that for the old house.  Nothing.  I think over the last year or so, I'd grown to hate that house so much that I'm happy it's in my past.  With all the work we put into it to get it ready to sell, I think I've taken all the bad feelings and associated them directly with that house.  I'm sure in a few months I'll start to have happy thoughts about the place again, but for now, nothing.  

Every morning I wake up and can't believe I live where I do.  I love the house.  I love the neighborhood.  I love the area.  I feel like I've hit the lottery for a life altering jackpot.  I never want this feeling to go away.


Huh? Wha...?

It's been over a month since I've posted anything here.  I'm really surprised that it's been this long.  I honestly thought I'd have a week or so off and then be back to posting the mundane details of my life.  This move has taken the life out of me.  I knew it would be exhausting and time consuming, but I had no idea it was going to be this exhausting and time consuming.

Like every night of my life lately, I'm short on time and tall on chores, so this is going to have to do as a blog entry for now.  I expect to be back to bore you to tears shortly.  Consider yourselves warned.