Friday, June 29, 2012

Cohen Gets His Face Stuck In A Chip Bag.

The silly antics of our dog. Enjoy: 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Two Things I Got Today:

1. In a car wreck.
2. A new pair of glasses.

I prefer the glasses.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Grilled Pizza

So last night Nathan & I discovered our favorite new use of the grill: pizza. We had a triple date with Marie & Jared and Sarah & Lauren. I made a bunch of dough beforehand, and we grilled the pizzas together outside, tossing toppings on as we saw fit: fresh basil & rosemary, mozzarella, Parmesan, oil-soaked zucchini & squash, and spinach. Lauren & Nathan handled the grill, and they grilled each pizza to perfection. Magical. And for dessert? Grilled peaches with a baked crumble topping & vanilla ice cream. Again, magical.

Nathan & I loved the grilled pizzas so much that we decided to go for round 2 tonight. After a fun park date--Nathan & Cohen at the dog park while I met my friend Heather for yoga in the park--we headed home for more pizza!

I used a simpler recipe for dough than in the past, opting this time for a dough that has a shorter rising time (only an hour). When grilling pizzas, the dough doesn't need to be too special or flavorful because the grill will make it perfectly crisp and delicious. It's impressive how fast pizza cooks on the grill. You actually have to be pretty quick to keep up! After grilling one side of the dough, it gets a flip, and then the toppings have to be added super quickly so the cheese will melt before the other side of the dough cooks. It's a pretty exciting process.

And the end result? It's seriously the most delicious thing ever. YUM.

All that to say, I highly recommend buying a grill solely for the purpose of grilling pizzas. I was honestly a bit nervous that we wouldn't get enough use out of our grill, being that we're both vegetarian. But it has turned into one of my favorite things about the summer. It's a great way to cook without heating up the whole kitchen & using a ton of electricity, plus it gives us an excuse to be outside and a fun activity to share together. I like food that is as enjoyable in the process as it is in the finished product, and grilling is a great way to achieve this.

Oh summer, how I love thee.

The Summery-est Summer Weekend

This weekend was magical in so many ways. I wish I had awesome photos to show you, but unfortunately my camera battery charger is still MIA. So, just use your imagination. :-)

Summer made itself known to me this weekend in the form of grilling out, spending all day in the sun, 100-degree weather, and a very nice sunburn. I wish every weekend could be like this past weekend was.

Here's a quick recap:

Friday night we had a marvelous cook-out for my dear friend Amy Dunning's visit to Nashville from her new home in Denver. The night was one of grilling burgers, drinking beer, playing cornhole, sharing stories, and lots of laughter. Cohen met a girl-pup that he refused to stop humping the entire evening; I was embarrassed. Amy made blackberry cobbler. We hung out in the backyard while the pups played and the burgers grilled. Oh, it was so wonderful.

Then Saturday morning I had a girls' brunch with Amy, SD, Steph, and Camille. We ate the most incredible food: yogurt & peach parfaits, basil garlic french toast with avocado butter, swiss chard and basil quiche, avocado & tomato salad, and mimosas. YUM. It was delicious and wonderful in so many ways. After stuffing our faces, we sat on the front porch talking and enjoying the sunshine. Perfect.

Saturday afternoon Cohen had another puppy play date. Our friend Marie & her boyfriend brought Bella, and our friend Heather brought over Nova. Cohen was surrounded by lady pups, and he continued to hump. Again, I was embarrassed. As the pups played, the humans sat in the sun talking for almost two hours, and it was extremely refreshing. We just lounged around enjoying our Summer Saturday.

After the pups left with their humans, Nathan & I went to the movie theater to see Brave. OH MY GOD. Best movie. See post below to read why it's so awesome.

Of course, after we got home we decided to utilize our new grill again. We made veggie burgers and sat in the backyard while Cohen frolicked around. We sat there enjoying each other's company as the sun went down, then went inside for Nathan to play piano while I sat knitting.

And then Sunday, to finish out the amazing weekend, we went to Church at St Ann's and an adult forum on the resolutions being presented at this year's General Convention. We came home, played with Cohen, and then I met some friends at the pool and soaked in the sun for a couple hours. Afterward, Nathan & I rented a tiller and finally worked on planting the rest of our garden. Also, I bought some bloody mary mix and made the most delicious dirty bloody mary. YUM. It was yet another perfect day.

I love the summer. I want every weekend to be like this weekend was, and I know Cohen definitely does.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Nathan & I rarely go out to the movies, mainly because it's so stinkin' expensive. We have to be pretty excited about a movie to spend $20 to go to the theater. Well, we've been really excited about seeing the new Disney/Pixar movie Brave. Yes, it is a children's movie. Yes, it is a princess movie. But it defies the stereotypes of its genre in many great ways.

Animation: For starters, the animation is breathtaking. Rather than being overly cutesy or unrealistic, the animation depicts the Scottish countryside in dark hues and in an incredibly realistic manner. And the animals in the film (aside from one particularly personified bear) look stunningly real. Now, let's talk about Merida's hair. AMAZING. I have never been so utterly bewildered by animation. Her hair. How do they do it? It's awesome.

Plotline: The story is an excellent children's tale of courage, wisdom, humility, learning from mistakes, and, duh, bravery. The main character, Merida, makes a prideful and thoughtless mistake that she must figure out how to remedy. The story isn't based on pursuing love or being rescued; it is based on cooperation, selflessness, love, strength, and a little bit of magic. I think these are probably some of the best lessons we could teach our kids. And while there is some violence in the film between goofy Scottish clan leaders, the violence depicted is mocked as being silly, frivolous, and unhelpful. Violence is not glorified as a way to solve problems or eliminate the bad guy; it is depicted as something that idiotic drunk men do when they're trying to assert themselves, & will inevitably end up looking like imbeciles.

Love/Romance: And what of love? In this story, Merida refuses to follow the tradition of betrothal. She demonstrates that she neither wants nor needs a husband. But in no way does this translate to her hatin' on love. The love between families and between neighbors is a central theme of the story, as is the importance of women being able to seek out true love on their own terms.

The Ending: (Spoiler Alert) Oh, and perhaps the best part- the story doesn't end with her & a prince "living happily ever after". It ends with her being awesome, completely on her own.

Seriously, all people young & old should go see Brave, if for no other reason than to make a statement that this is the kind of movie we want to see companies producing and showing to our children. Not the typical crap.

 I don't know why this poster says August, cause it's definitely already out.

Good Riddance.

The theiving, lying, SOB-of-a-County-Clerk, John Arriola, has finally resigned.

News Story Here.

Farewell. You shan't be missed.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hello Life.

(Caution: something resembling complaining exists within this paragraph... consider yourselves warned!) I have been very stressed by work lately, guys. Like, so stressed that my boss noticed me pulling clumps of hair out & demanded that we have a talk about my stress levels. I love my job, so so so so much, and I feel grateful every single day to have the experiences that I do. But I am also constantly worn out, emotionally drained, and a bit pessimistic at the state of the world. Telling a post-suicidal woman who has lived her life being forced to have sex for a place to stay at night that you're proud of her, to hear her say that no one has ever told her that.... well, that's just kind of the most awesome and most devastating experience, all at once. So lately, I've been trying really hard to figure out how to be happy & healthy while also being a solid foundation for my clients who have very few other people to rely on. Phew.

So, I'm still trying to figure life out (have you noticed that this seems to be a pattern....)
In order to balance things out, I'm trying really hard to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. For example:
  • Having the most cuddly, affectionate, and clever dog ever.
  • Basil season.... pesto & bruschetta every day, every meal. YES.
  • East Nashville Farmer's Market every Wednesday. 
  • Kenny's Norwood Gruyere cheese.
  • St Ann's Episcopal Church (we met with the Rector last night, and it was wonderful).
  • Friends visiting from out of town (in-laws and Nate & Lindsey last weekend, Amy this weekend!)
  • A pool date with some adorable 8-year-olds.
  • A new hair cut! 
  • Oh, and have I mentioned this dog:
oh Cohen, you are the greatest.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Every Single Night- Fiona Apple

Fiona Apple might be my biggest girl crush. Her music is incredible. And this song off her new album is certainly no exception. The video is crazy bizarre, but that's what I love about her.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Cohen & I Agree: Shots Are The Worst.

Well, this week has been a busy first week of being dog parents! We've been giving Cohen at minimum 4 one-mile walks per day, as well as lots of time playing in the yard. He seems to be worn out the other times... for example, right now he is passed out on the couch being adorable. He's been totally spoiled already with bones & chew toys... partly because we'd rather him eat those than our leather sandals. He's getting the hang of "sit" and "heel", and he's going to start puppy training classes soon! He's caught on quickly to the whole concept of peeing and pooping outside, and when he does have accidents inside, he makes them very easy to clean up. He's basically perfect.

So on Tuesday we took him to the vet for his wellness exam, rabies shot, and a booster shot. He was perfectly behaved. Everyone there loved him, duh. He was cute and energetic, and he let the vet play and cuddle with him. We were so pleased at his healthy report from the vet!

And then the next day (yesterday) things changed. He was less energetic, whimpered when we tried to pet him, and cried crazily when picked up. We were worried. Like, really really worried. I called the vet in a panic, thinking that we had already done something to kill our precious pooch or make him hate us. Hillsboro Animal Hospital seriously is the greatest vet ever. Our experiences there have been nothing short of wonderful, and they proved themselves to be incredibly caring yesterday. I called the vet to ask what to do, assuming they'd probably just tell me that I had to come in and couldn't get help over the phone. But instead, they transferred me back to a vet and he talked me through everything. He explained that since Cohen is still a puppy, he is likely having extreme soreness at the injection site. Apparently this doesn't happen to all dogs & puppies, but it's common enough that he said he was "completely confident" that that was what was ailing poor Cohen. I breathed a deep sigh of relief. Oh good, he's not dying. From then on, the whole vet clinic continued to be amazing. He offered to look at Cohen if I was concerned enough to bring him in that day. He said he would mix up some puppy aspirin for Cohen & would have it ready for me to pick up ASAP. I agreed to take time during my lunch break to come and get the medicine. Then, a couple hours later, our vet tech left me a message saying she had it ready & would be there to show me how to administer it. When I picked it up, she was so friendly & helpful, and the vet didn't even charge us for it! Though it was a struggle to give it to Cohen, he started feeling better within a couple of hours. Life was right again.

I empathized with the pooch. I hate getting shots, and I usually feel sore & kinda crummy after getting my allergy shots..... little did I know what was to happen next.

Yesterday I went to go get my allergy shots, as I've done for the past 3 or 4 years. I waited the appropriate 30-minute period, was checked again by the shot nurse, and then headed home. On my drive, I started feeling itchy, weak, and nauseous. I got home and immediately took benedryl & zyrtec and then lay down on the bed. It kept getting worse. My face turned bright red & hot, as did most of my skin, I developed hives up my legs & abdomen. I was hot but shivering. My stomach was in knots. It felt like someone was pushing on my chest. That's when we decided we had better not play around, and Nathan drove (maniacally, might I add) to Vanderbilt ER (per request of the shot nurse when I called & told her my symptoms). They "fast-tracked" me and got me back to see a doctor (this was still not very "fast", but they were totally swamped). They gave me steroids and pepcid, and had me wait several hours to observe in case of a "rebound" flare-up. It was no fun. She thought it serious enough to prescribe me an epi-pen and write me a note to be out of work until Monday (girl don't know what kinda job I got). Nathan was a champ. He was ready for action, and was very gentle and caring all the same. It made me feel infinitely better just having him by my side.

So, yes Cohen, shots really are the worst.

Moral of the story? Never get a shot, ever. Just kidding. Please, get your vaccinations & medical injections as necessary, people. Just don't shoot gobs of all the things you're body hates directly into your blood stream... cause that sucks.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Cohen playing.

Isn't he the cutest? 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Historic Moment.

Cat & dog coexisting peacefully:

(Fiero's in the top left corner on the piano, and Cohen is obviously on the floor)

They may not be able to play together, but they can at least sleep in the same room.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Meet Cohen!

We have huge news... We have a new addition to the family! No, not a baby... We've still got several years to go before that happens. To satisfy our parental urges, we adopted the most precious pup in the world.

Meet Cohen, our wonderful new 9-month old terrier mix pup.

We loved him from the start. When we took him on a walk at the humane association, to check him out, he burst out the door ready to play. He insisted on running circles around me playing tug-o-war with his leash. And after his initial outburst of energy, he proved himself to be very well-behaved for an adolescent. We played catch for a while, at which he is already a pro, then took him on a walk and were impressed when he didn't lunge for or bark at the dogs we passed along the walk.

After 15 minutes playing, we realized we were, in fact, in love with this little pup. He was required to do a meet-and-greet with all members of the family before going home, but since we knew that bringing Cord & Fi-Fi to the shelter would be traumatic for everyone, they just tested Cohen out with another cat from NHA. He did surprisingly well! He wanted to play, but he backed off quickly when he realized that the cat really did not. The NHA trainer told us that he was well-behaved with cats, and she didn't see a reason why we shouldn't bring him home.

The rest is history! We filled out the forms, paid a teensy fee ($45??? that's all??) and took him home with us! He got plenty of time playing, a doggy play date with Bella and Huck, a refreshing bath, more time playing, a yummy bone to chew on, even more playing, a walk in the neighborhood, and now a much-needed nap.

The cats are not too pleased with the new arrangement, but they're starting to settle down. They've been exposed to dogs before, so this isn't the first time... But that doesn't mean they like it! They keep sneaking up to Cohen and then getting angry when he reciprocates their forward movement. Silly cats. They'll all figure each other out sooner or later. The good thing is that Cohen is not at all aggressive toward them; he backs off as soon as they hiss or growl at him.

And I mean, how could they not fall in love with such a cute pooch?:

And now, his profile on the NHA website looks like this (his shelter name was Shelby):

Friday, June 8, 2012


So, my birthday was last Friday. It was a weird birthday because we were out of town & I didn't really get to celebrate. But that was okay, because I got to spend the whole week with my husband & lots of quality time with my in-laws, who I love dearly. But, still, I kinda thought that everyone forgot my birthday.

And then, Monday after work, I came home to balloons, cupcakes, and lots of my dearest friends shouting "happy birthday!" at me as I walked in the door. I was so happy to be surrounded by my dearest friends, and felt so incredibly blessed by how wonderful they all are.

So, to all of my incredibly thoughtful, kind, caring, and adorable friends: Thank you for making me feel so special. I love you all so much.

And a special thanks to my dear Stephanie for throwing everything together and making the best Sangria ever. :-) What an incredible friend.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Farmer's Market, Gardening, Food, & Friends.

Yesterday was basically my ideal day.

To start my awesome evening off, I went to the East Nashville Farmer's Market for the first time! I was so overwhelmed and happy by the collection of local famers, bakers, crafters, and shoppers. It was awesome. It's probably now my favorite Farmer's Market in Nashville. I've been disappointed with the downtown Farmer's Market because they sell more imported, non-organic produce than locally-grown produce. I really want to eat in season, and it's hard to do that when I see tomatoes in February and mangos from Mexico. But the East Nashville market features only locally-grown crops in season. It's awesome. So I bought the most beautiful basil & garlic, some amazing Kenny's gruyere cheese (YUM!), and a dozen eggs from grass-fed chickens (about which, I recently read in an article on Mother Nature Network: "According to Penn State University research and other studies, eggs from hens raised on grass pastures contain twice as much vitamin E, two and a half times more omega-3 fatty acids, a third less cholesterol, a fourth less saturated fat, and two-thirds more vitamin A than standard supermarket eggs that come from tightly confined caged hens"... plus they seriously taste better!). YUM YUM YUM. It was really fun. There were cute kids running around, and dogs soaking up the sun. It was perfect.

Then I came home to my awesome husband & we got to work on our garden. We dug up the garden & turned the soil with a broadfork we borrowed from Nathan's workplace, The Nashville Food Project. While Nathan finished turning the soil, I knelt down in the dirt and pulled the weeds & bermuda grass out. I got really dirty... it was awesome. Then, when I went in to start on dinner, Nathan planted an herb bed of mint, basil, and cilantro next to our beautiful rosemary bush; he also planted a bed of tomatoes and bell peppers. We still have watermelon, and beans to plant. Oh, and we got our beautiful yellow rose bush planted in the front yard! Nathan drew out plans for the rest of the garden space, and we made a list of supplies to buy at Lowe's. It is so exciting to be able to look out the window and see a little garden. It's life-giving in so many ways.

After gardening, we ate the most delicious dinner, and with the most wonderful friend! Marie came over to update us on her life and share in a yummy meal of roasted red-pepper risotto topped with fresh tomato slices & fresh pesto, some roasted fresh summer squash, and fresh-baked bread toasted with local gruyere cheese. It was a meal of dreams.

I love days that end the way yesterday ended. I love food (anyone who's seen the size of my tush would know that), and I love enjoying in the process of food, from seedling to finished meal, all in the midst of a community of growers, eaters, & admirers.

I wish I had some pictures to share of the Farmer's Market, our garden, or our yummy meal, but unfortunately I can't find where the heck I packed away my camera battery charger. Ugh.

Oh, and in other news, today is Sarah's birthday!!! Thank goodness for wonderfuly women like Sarah. She's smart, passionate, talented, funny, cute as a button, clever, reliable, and just plain awesome. Thanks for being my friend, Sarah. And tonight we're spending the evening celebrating her birth & life by going to the 90s themed Way Late Play Date at the Adventure Science Center! YES! :-)

Me & Nathan with Sarah & her girlfriend Lauren. Love them.