Monday, August 29, 2011


So everyone knows the East Coast got hit by Hurricane Irene this weekend, right?  If you live on the East Coast, you pretty much couldn't get away from the coverage.  I have read around the interwebs that people were "sick" of hearing about it, that the storm was overhyped and underwhelming, that everyone on the East Coast overprepared.  Some people even called us sissies.  Crybabies.  Drama Queens.

Whatever.  I'd take overprepared over underprepared any day of the week.

As I sat in our house on Saturday, listening to the rain beat down and the wind blow against the siding, I could not help but be reminded of our honeymoon and our adventures with Hurricane Tomas.  I remember being absolutely terrified during Hurricane Tomas.  And I think a lot of that was because we had no way of knowing what was happening, how long it was supposed to be was all a big mystery. 

In St Lucia, we woke up on Saturday morning to a phone call telling us our zip-lining excursion had been cancelled because a tropical storm had hit the island and they wanted to make sure the lines were still intact and safe for use.  Made sense, so we just rescheduled for later in the week.  We stepped onto our balcony to survey the scene.  It was wet.  And windy.  There were already palm leaves on the ground.  So we headed over to breakfast and tried to get a better handle on what was going on.  The staff seemed to be fine.  We ate and then thought we'd borrow the laptop and check our email.  And that's when we found out it was a hurricane that had taken up residence on the island, not a tropical storm that had already blown over.  But the staff was still acting like nothing was happening.  So we went back to our room to do some reading on the balcony.

Around lunchtime, we got hungry, so we made our way over to the Bayside, only to find that most of the resort was hanging out in the Mirage, playing games and watching movies.  And drinking.  So we sat down and joined them.  The storm continued to intensify outside, but still - no announcements, no warnings, nothing.  We heard through chatter among the guests that Hurricane Tomas had intensified to a Category 2 storm, and had slowed down to just about 10 miles per hour, which basically meant it was just sitting on top of the island.  An island which had not had a direct hit from a storm in 30 years.  An island that had in no way, shape, or form prepared for this storm.  An island full of people who had either heard the warnings and ignored them, or who had never heard the warnings in the first place. 

By the time the storm blew over, it was clear that the people of St. Lucia had not prepared.  Even some of the resorts, especially down at the Southern end of the island, where the devastation was nearly total, were completely unprepared to handle the aftermath of a hurricane.  Travelers were stranded, forced to find shelter elsewhere.  Left without electricity.  Left to basically fend for themselves until help arrived.  No communication. 

On the other hand, this past week we were inundated with warnings about Irene.  We spent days before boarding up our homes, putting away our outdoor furniture, stocking up on water and bread and flashlight batteries.  When the storm hit Saturday evening, Matt and I had every candle in the house out and ready to go.  Every flashlight in the house ready to go, with replacement batteries nearby.  Our cell phones and my laptop were fully charged.  We had a case of bottled water, 2 loaves of bread, plenty of PB&J, and a few cans of tuna and baked beans (gas stove still works in the event of a power outage!).  We felt prepared.

I'm not gonna lie and say it didn't get scary.  Saturday night we had 4 separate tornado warnings in about 90 minutes.  How did we know that?  Because we were lucky and didn't lose power and saw it on our tv.  [BTW, did you know that emergency broadcast messages will interrupt On-Demand movies?  I had not before Saturday, and was so thankful for that.]  So I started to cry and freak out, because tornadoes scare the ever-living shit out of me.  But then I got up, cleaned out our coat closet, got out some extra pillows and blankets, and we had our tornado shelter ready to go had we needed it.  Thankfully, we didn't.  But we were prepared, and just knowing that made me feel better.  Knowing that we knew how we would get food and water over the next few days if things got bad made me feel better.

Preparation is everything.  And yes, maybe we all panicked a bit more than we should have.  But hindsight is twenty-twenty, and I, for one, would much rather be able to look back and laugh at myself for overstocking water than look back and be sorry that I blew the whole thing off. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Party Planning

Every year, Matt and I host an Oktoberfest party.  It started the year we moved into our house as a house-warming party.  But since we held it during the traditional Oktoberfest dates, we called it an Oktoberfest party, and we've been doing it ever since.  Except for last year, since we were kind of busy getting married. 

Anyway, I'm already planning away for this year's party.  Now that we're married and grown-up, I'm ready to class it up a bit.  In the past, I've barely decorated, mostly just putting out food and booze and letting our guests take over the house.  This year, I want to make it look pretty.  I want it to scream FALL PARTY. 

So, linking up with Michelle at the Vintage Apple for...

google are some of my thoughts for this year's Oktoberfest!

I love the thought of these lining the steps into the house, or along our new retaining wall...

Every year, there are a few specific dishes that our guests can count on.  Brats cooked in beer, onion, and pepper.  Soft pretzels (I cheat and buy them from Philly Pretzel Factory).  Corn and olive dip.  Oktoberfest-style beers (which just happen to be my favorite style of all).  Two years ago, I found a recipe for a reuben dip.  I know technically reubens are considered Irish, but since they have saurkraut in them, I consider them part-German.  Like me! 

Reuben dip recipe
It was a huge hit, so I'm definitely adding it to the regular cast of characters.  I usually also make a few desserts, once of which is always Crack(er) Cookies, which are easy, cheap, and addictive.  And somewhere in there, I throw in a pumpkin-themed recipe.  Usually a dessert, like two years ago I made pumpkin brownies.  I wasn't too impressed with them, though, so I'm looking for a new recipe.  I just might put out this dip.

Pumpkin Fluff recipe
So that's it!  Our Oktoberfest party in a nutshell.  I can't wait to host it again this year!

*all images from my Pinterest

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I'm sure most of you heard by now that the East Coast had a bit of a shaky start to the afternoon.  5.9 magnitude earthquake in Virginia, felt all the way from North Carolina up through Maine!  Wow!!! 

We felt it here in Philly.  I was in a staff meeting and suddenly the whole row home was swaying back and forth.  Definitely a creepy feeling.  I heard from my sister, who lives in Baltimore, and she said they're fine.  Her husband was at home and their house is intact.  But their kitty, Brady, is freaking out.  Poor little man.

I hope everyone on the East Coast is safe and sound!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Man-Candy Monday

I re-watched Life As We Know It yesterday.  Despite my dislike of Katherine Hiegel, I enjoyed this movie.  Sure, it's predictable and corny and whatever.  But every now and then, you need corny and predictable in your life.  At least, I do.  My job is unpredictable and frustrating enough as it is, I don't need complicated movies to make me think more.  I sometimes forgot how freaking hot Josh Duhamel is.  But really, like, whoa.  

Josh Duhamel

Born Nov 14, 1972 in Minot, North Dakota
Dad is an ad salesman and mom is a teacher
Has 3 younger sisters
Married to Stacy Ferguson, aka Fergie (Black Eyed Peas) since Jan 10, 2009

Best known roles:
Messer, Life As We Know It
Major Lennox, Transformers series
Nick Beamon, When In Rome
Danny McCoy, Las Vegas (tv show)
Tad Hamilton, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton

I mean, don't you just want to crawl into that bed with him?! 

Link up and wipe the drool off your chin enjoy the scenery!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

10 Day You

1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky.  I can't even tell you the ways I love this book.  It just speaks to me.  They are making a movie, and Emma Watson (aka, Hermione Granger) is playing Sam.  I'm half excited and half scared to see how this turns out.

2. The Book Thief - Markus Zusak.  I just finished this recently and I could not believe how much I enjoyed it.  As I reached the end, I wanted it to keep going. 

3. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold.  Some people think it's really dark and weird that I like this book as much as I do.  But I love Ms. Sebold's interpretation of what heaven is. 

4. Harry Potter series - J.K. Rowling.  I wanted to pick one of the books, but I just couldn't.  Each book is so amazing because of it's interaction with the other books.  Each book builds and develops the other books. 

What are your favorite books?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Front Porch Renovation

So Matt and I tackled one of our big projects this year.  When we moved into the house, the front of the house had some enormous bushes out front that completely hid the house. 

We had found an incredible deal on a 10-piece patio furniture set so we put the small table and two chairs out front.  But if you sat out there, you couldn't see anything.  Some people might like the privacy.  We didn't.  We like to people-watch.  If we want privacy, we sit out back.  For years we talked about tearing out the bushes out front.  Then they started dying, and we decided it was time to act.  Matt cut down all the bushes himself.  It was hard work, and in the end, we had 30 bags of lawn waste lined up on our front curb.  CRAZY! 

We called a couple of landscaping companies and got some quotes.  The first company that came out...well, it's been over a month, and we still don't have a quote.  Real good business practices, guys!  The second company we really liked.  They gave us a quote within 2 days, and it was a great quote.  So we booked with them.  We got the quote on Tuesday.  They started/completed the project the following Monday and Tuesday.  And we love the work.

We are totally thrilled with the results.  But now that it's done, we realize we want more.  With the new wall up, it is now painfully obvious how much the existing brick/slate wall leans.  And the stairs look like crap now.  So we want to bring them back and have them knock down and rebuild the stairs to match the retaining wall.  We will probably also ask them how much it would be to put pavers on the porch, although that might be overdoing it.  We're thinking next Spring, maybe?

We've been in our house for 4 years and we're just finally getting around to this.  How long did it take you to do your big house projects?

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Some news stories that caught my eye...

Facebook Murder-For-Hire  Are people really this dumb?  Did this girl actually think that she could get away with posting an offer to pay someone to kill her "baby daddy" on her facebook wall and no one would notice?  The sad part is, even though by the time he actually was killed, she was behind bars already.  Which means either someone else took on the "I'll pay you a stack to kill him" bit, or some idiot didn't realize she was already behind bars and needed the money. 

Flash Mobs  Marc Lamont Hill, you are a moron.  There are so many ways in which you are dead wrong that I can't even believe the Inquirer published this nonsense.  All that aside though, my main argument is this: What about my right to walk down the streets of this city and not get nervous when I walk past a pack of teenagers?  Doesn't that count for anything? 

The Eagles  I hate living in this area during football season.  Eagles fans drive me crazy.  They are the most fair-weather fans I've ever seen.  One good game?  Everyone loves them.  One bad game?  Everyone hates them.  And now, with expectations of a "perfect" season after all these free agents they just picked up, a lost game is going to be horrific.  It almost makes me want to move.  I don't understand it.  If you're going to be a fan, be a fan.  I lived in Pittsburgh for 15 months.  Now those are fans.  Win or lose, they love their Steelers.  Philly fans are just obnoxious.

9/11 Responders  This makes me want to cry.  These first responders saved countless lives in the days following 9/11/01.  Now you're going to sit there in your big offices and pretend like they don't exist?  How dare you! 

Brain-eating Amoebas  GROOOOSSS!!!!!

Michelle Bachman  Really?  You, single-handedly, will control the crude oil market and cause those prices to drop?  You, single-handely, are an idiot.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

More Randomness

Yippee!  It's Oh, How Pinteresting Wednesday!


I'm going to subject you to more of my randomness.  I surely hope you don't mind, dear readers.

Remember I mentioned I've been fantasizing about redoing our kitchen?  This is the kitchen I've put together in my head.

except in turquoise.  i have a new-found obsession with turquoise.

I need a friend to have a baby soon so I can get a cake like this.

I am in love with this nursery.  And this rug.  Not that they really go together.  But, they kind of do...

Is it wrong that I want to hang this in my office?

Last but not least, can you name all the movies quoted in this poster?

Link up with Michelle at The Vintage Apple!  Have fun with it!

*all images from my Pinterest

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Little Randomness

I haven't blogged much lately because, well, there isn't really much on my mind.  Work has been relatively quiet (since getting all those psych placements out last week).  We had a pretty low-key weekend.  I just haven't had much to say, I guess.  But there are a few thoughts flying around in this little brain of mine, so I'm just going to subject you to my complete and utter randomness.  Enjoy/sorry.

~ A few months back, one of our vendors brought me an orchid.  You can kind of see it in this picture.

She brought it because I was having a rough week.  And because she's a sweetheart.  About a month ago, all the flowers fell off and it's been sitting looking dead on my desk since then.  Just last week, though, we found these:

New little sproutlings!  Yippee!!

~ We saw Horrible Bosses on Saturday.  It was hilarious, you guys.  Seriously.  I laughed out loud.  A lot.  Even Matt laughed out loud.  And he never laughs out loud at movies.  You should see it.

~ I don't know if you've heard or not, but Philly has been having this little problem with flash mobs recently.  Only, they're not the fun everybody-break-into-dance-at-the-same-time kind of flash mobs.  If it was that, I woudn't call it a problem.  These are teenagers are converging on an area in the city and basically inciting violent riots.  People are getting injured and robbed.  It's scary.  Mayor Nutter has instituted a curfew.  This weekend, he hosted a bowling party in Center City.  After he left, a kid got shot while walking home.  As far as I'm concerned, the kids who are participating in these need to go to jail, and their parents should be fined.  Cuz I'm telling you, if my kid were involved and I had to go pick him up from jail (not that that wouldn't be reason enough for me to ground him forever) but then I got a $250+ fine on top of that?  Kid would never see the light of day again, except to come to and from school.  One of my favorite quotes regarding the flash mobs, from Mayor Nutter: "I don't care what your economic status is in life, you do not have a right to beat somebody's ass on the street.  None."  Tell 'em, Nutter.

~ I am fantasizing a lot lately about redoing our kitchen.  It is in no way, shape, or form something we can do right now.  We just spent a good chunk of money on redoing our front porch (did I show you that yet?  I didn't, did I?).  We are saving for our anniversary trip to Orlando in October.    We are saving to do more to our front entrance (I'll explain when I show what we've already done).  We are saving for baby-time.  We are saving for the babymoon that I say we're taking to Atlanta to see my gorgeous friend Abriel, her husband Dave, their awesome baby Cal, and her incredible new store.  But I really want to redo our kitchen.  I want to repaint the walls a bright turquoise.  I want to replace the cabinets.  I want to redecorate with fun, funky stuff.  I want to make it about 10 square feet bigger (ok, that part definitely can't happen).

~ Money scares me.  And this whole up-and-down nonsense with the economy terrifies me.  We have been kind of lucky recently because even though Matt's company cut their hours down company-wide in January to 32 hours per week, he has had enough work to do to work 40 hour a week, and even got some overtime the past 2 weeks.  Instead of going out and having fun with that "extra" money, though, we are shoving it right into savings.

~ Speaking of savings, we just switched banks.  Matt had his checking and our disposable savings with TD Bank and my checking and our no-touch savings was with ING.  TD Bank's interest rates sucked, and Matt was ready to get out of there.  ING just got bought out by Capital One, and I hate Capital One, so I wanted to move my money.  We chose to go with Ally.  Not every bank is right for every person, but Ally works for us.  Their interest rates, even for their checking accounts, are among the best in the business.  Not to mention, they refund all your ATM fees at the end of the month.  Bonus!

 ~ I think I finally decided what to give Matt for our anniversary.  Yes, I'm aware that our anniversary is 2+ months away.  I'm a planner.  What of it?  Maybe if you're nice to me, I'll share my idea with you. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

10 Day You

Oh boy, this is gonna be tough.

1. Chicken puttanesca.  Chicken sauteed with olives, capers, and cherry tomatoes.  I love me some salty food, and this dish is just packed with it.  Most recipes call for green olives, but I make mine with kalamata.  It is delicious.  I'd never had it until I randomly came across a recipe for it.  And now I'm hooked.  Usually, I guess, it's served with pasta, but I usually serve mine with brown rice.  Yumm...

2. Pizza.  A good slice of plain or pepperoni pizza is always delicious, but I like being adventurous, too.  Chicken basil pesto?  Definitely.  Chicken bacon ranch?  Absolutely.  Hawaiian?  Bring it.  As long as the crust is thin and somewhat flexible (especially with the plain pies - must fold it in half!), and the sauce (if it's a regular pie) is not too sweet and just a little bit spicy...I'm in.

3. Ravioli alle noci.  Ie, ravioli with walnuts.  O. M. G.  I had this at a tiny little restaurant in Florence, Italy, while there with my sister.  We were hungry one night and started wandering around our neighborhood near the hostel.  We stumbled upon this little restaurant and I ordered this, thinking it sounded interesting.  It was the best meal I've ever had.  No, really.  I wish that we had written down the name of the restaurant, but we didn't.  It's something like Di Pepe.  I have tried to replicate the recipe from memory, but have always failed.  It's close, but no cigar.

4. Creme brulee.  Dudes, this dessert is amazing.  The texture.  The crunch.  The sweetness.  The creaminess.  I die.

5. Steak.  A good, medium rare, perfectly seasoned steak can make me melt.  Our engagement dinner will forever be one of the best meals I've ever had.  Not just because I was basking in the glow of the beautiful diamond Matt had slipped on my finger not 3 hours earlier.  I mean, I realize that I probably could have eaten a grilled cheese sandwich and been happy.  But this dinner.  Oh my God.  We ate at Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse in Philadelphia.  I got a filet, medium rare.  It was the most perfect steak I've ever eaten in my life.  One of our friends got us a gift certificate for a wedding gift, and I honestly can't believe we haven't been back yet  

*all images from google

Edited to Add: I thought I'd try to search again for that restaurant in Florence, and wouldn't you know?  I found it!  It is called da Pepe!  Holy crap, I'm so happy I found it!  If you are ever in Florence, you must - MUST! - go to this restuarant!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Social Work is Pinteresting

In many ways, it feels like "Oh my God, it's only Wednesday?!  Could this week be any slower?"  But then I opened up my blogger dashboard and there was Michelle at the Vintage Apple with this week's Oh, How Pinteresting Wednesday.  What?!  It's Pinterest day already!? 


I've had a long week so far, and I feel like it's just going to continue that way.  Saturday night is the full moon.  It is a well-known fact among hospital workers (and probably mos mental health workers) that full moons bring out the crazy in people.  Already this week, I have had 3 psych placements.  And we're still 4 days from the actual full moon!  Psych placements are a problem not because you have to deal with patients who are psychotic and/or depressed and/or suicidal.  The patients I can handle.  It's the bureaucratic bullshit that it takes to get them placed.  Getting a note from a psychiatrist that includes a full mental status exam and the 5-Axis diagnosis.  Calling the insurance company, speaking to a live person, and obtaining an authorization, within 24-hours of when that psychiatry note was completed.  Finding an available bed at the appropriate level of care.  Arranging transportation.  AND, if the patient is being involuntarily committed, getting all of this done within a reasonable timeframe so that we don't have to take the case to court and get the committment extended.  [In Pennsylvania, an initial involuntary committment, called a 302, is for 72 hours.  After that, you either have the patient agree to treatment (a 201) or you have to take it to court to get it extended, which is then a 303 and lasts for 5 days.] 

It's time-consuming and annoying.  Yesterday, I spent probably 7 hours of my day doing all of that for 2 patients.  One did not get approval from the insurance company until 5pm, at which point it was too late to look for a bed.  The other ended up not having any insurance after all, and we had to have him cleared for discharge to home.  It is an incredibly frustrating feeling to spend 7 hours doing something, and have it all go to shit. 

Anyway, in light of that, and in light of my post last week about how proud I am to be a social worker, this week's pins are all about my career.

First some funny ones.  Because, really, if you can't laugh at this stuff sometimes, it'll drag you down...

Now, here is what social work is about...

And finally, this isn't about social work per se, but Jane Addams basically invented social work, so here's a nod to her...

Link up and join the pinning good times!

*all images from my Pinterest