Tuesday, September 29, 2009
We splurged on an energy efficient A/C (18 SEER) and furnace (90% AFUE) to the tune of $8,000 when we bought our house. The old one was well on its way out, so the sellers gave us a credit (not that much, but like I said, we splurged). Well, it was TOTALLY WORTH IT! I think it's pretty common knowledge that your HVAC uses up the most energy in your house. Well, perhaps not ours. Our power bill this past month was........drumroll please.......$52! It was also way cheap last month, but I don't recall the number. For comparison, our power bill at the 1,000 SF condo we rented was around $90 for hot months and the former owner's power bill for this month last year was $216! We also got a new fridge, washer and dryer (all energy efficient), which are contributing to our amazing reduction in power consumption. Of course, we also turn the A/C up during the day or when we're gone, turn out lights when we leave rooms, etc. but $52!!!!! I'm going to go do a happy dance now. Bye!
Sunday, September 27, 2009
We still have A LOT of decorating to do, but we're getting there slowly but surely. I think it's a HUGE improvement over the former look, and I know once we get more things on the walls and more furniture, it will look even better!
Edited to add: before pictures here, here, and here.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
It was a typical gameday weekend in Gainesville, FL... too many people crammed into the bars, 95% humidity levels, good friends, good tailgates, a Gator victory, and a dance party. I brought my camera and took pictures, but I have no good pictures of the hubby and me... once again. I'm determined that we get at least one good picture during our second year of married life. We have 354 days left to accomplish that, so I feel good about the chances.
We ended up with tickets to the game at $100 a pop, but we got them very early on in the day and it was worth the money to not worry about it and enjoy the tailgates. The seats were 11 rows up in the south endzone, so it was a view I had not previously experienced. It was awesome when they were down on our end of the field, and I was able to get a few good pictures of my future husband, Tim Tebow. Don't worry, Matt knows that when Timmy shows up on our door to whisk me away, I'm gone... he's on "my list". ;) In fact, Mr. and Mrs. Tebow were at the same tailgate we were, and it was pretty hilarious to see all the people that wanted to take pictures with them. They were very nice people and obliged. I wonder if it gets old to them or they are just relishing in the awesomeness that is their son.
Anyway, maybe I'll post some pictures when I get home, but probably not. I have a big event tonight for ULI Atlanta, an organization I'm very involved with, so I'm excited for that. It's the Annual Development of Excellence Awards, and it is our signature event. I'm also on the Executive Committee, so I'm looking forward to sitting at the VIP table (or as my co-chair, Ellen, called it, the FOE Table... Friends of Ellen). Then, tomorrow is Friday. Hallelujah. I'm ready for the husband to come home. Can you believe it's already been EIGHT months that he's been in Tifton!? Craziness.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
You should click in to that to make it bigger. I normally drive on that street. To the left is Peachtree Creek. The road straight ahead where you can see the traffic light is Northside Drive and there is a small bridge (see next picture) that goes over the creek. That is the bridge I spoke of yesterday. Normally, the creek is a good 8-10 feet under the bridge.
Here's what I saw today.
This is all mud washed up from the creek... look at that fence. This was on a street that ran perpendicular to the creek and there was another street that runs parallel with the creek all that water had to rise over to get to this house.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Where the girls are the fairest,
the boys are the squarest
of any old state down our way.
We are all strong for old Florida,
down where the old Gators play.
In all kinds of weather
we'll all stick together..........
I can't wait to sing this at the end of the 3rd quarter with a 40 point lead over the Vols. Hopefully we'll get some tickets to the game, but if not, I'll still sing it in the middle of Salty Dog or Balls or whichever classy college bar we choose to watch the game from. Gainesville, here we come!
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Anyway, so the surprise anniversary plans were tickets to see Chicago (the musical) at the Fox Theater! So fun. I love the music, but I have to admit, I'd only seen the movie! It was very different to see it in production... the set was very minimal, but I enjoyed the choreography and singing, and the show had some funny moments that weren't in the movie. It also featured Jerry Springer as Billy Flynn. He was good, but he wasn't as good as Richard Gere in the movie. The actor who played Amos Hart was awesome, and Matt and I both agreed that our favorite song of the show was Mr. Cellophane. Overall, we both enjoyed it, but I was worried Matt would be let down since the only other show he's seen was In the Heights during its initial run on Broadway. I told him that this was going to be very different, so I don't think he was let down.
One of my best friends, Dai, and her fiance, Andrew, were in town this weekend. They stayed with Jenn and Matt, but they all came up on Saturday. The girls did some wedding dress shopping in the morning (and found the one) and then we all met up at Park Tavern for lunch with Matt and Jenny. After lunch, we returned to our house to watch the Gator game (a bit delayed thanks to DVR) and hung out until dinner. We went to JCT Kitchen, which was delicious, as always. And, to our surprise (and argument), the out of town guests picked up the check. Very unnecessary but appreciated, nonetheless. Then, we all parted ways, and I think Matt and I were in bed by 11:00 that night. Only a year in, and we are old married people.
Sunday was our actual anniversary. We exchanged cards in the morning and then went to the Falcons game. Just after 5:00 on Friday, I had some brokers call and offer me their tickets. We'd never been to a game and didn't have plans, so I thought what the heck. I don't want to say I didn't think we'd enjoy it, but we're not exactly Falcons fans, so I figured we'd go once and have our fill. Well, we had a really good time and definitely got into cheering for the Dirty Birds. It helped that we had great seats, it was a good game, I really like Matt Ryan (the QB), and one of Matt's fantasy football players is a Falcons receiver. We left at the beginning of the 4th quarter, did our Sunday grocery shopping, and prepared a nice grilled chicken salad and bruschetta with our home grown tomatoes for dinner. Then we watched True Blood. We LOVE that show, and I'm sad the season is over. Sunday nights will be back to me watching Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters on my own while Matt watches whatever he watches.
So, all in all, it was a great weekend. I do have to say that I'm becoming a picture slacker in my old age... a few years ago, there's no way our first anniversary would have gotten by without a picture... and I have none save a few from the Falcons game and we aren't in them! Since I never really posted any of our wedding pictures, I leave you with some below.
I love the happiness and excitement in my face in this one.
My bub "giving me away." We're so grown up now.
The church we were married in is amazing.
Check out our view!
The photographer left before the reception was over, but some of the best pictures are definitely the randoms from the end of the night when everyone was having a really good time. The dance floor was packed. A year later, I look back with great memories of that day. There's nothing like having the people you love most together for a big celebration. As Matt said, it was the best wedding we've ever been to.
P.S. Happy birthday Momma Kath!!!! xoxo
Friday, September 11, 2009
We also have one of my bestest friends coming in town, doing some bridal gown shopping, and the Falcons game Sunday! Exciting weekend... I'll come back and reveal the surprise.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Back to the topic of "healthcare reform" and President Obama's address last night. I agree with the basics of his plan - insurance companies cannot deny you due to a preexisting condition, you cannot be dropped if you get sick, and people without employer-based coverage can join together to negotiate with insurance companies. I am stating this all from memory, so I'm certain there were other things he proposed that I agree with. But, I still don't agree or don't understand HOW this is going to happen. And, I don't agree with other areas, for example, requiring everyone to have health insurance. Although, I think it's a wise choice, how can you require someone to have health insurance? That could be a constitutional violation of each citizen's right to choose. President Obama compared it to state's requiring auto insurance, but I don't see it as the same at all. I drive an automobile, which is a dangerous machine that I could seriously injure or kill myself or others with or could be killed or injured by someone else. Now, car insurance certainly doesn't prevent that, but should you be involved in an accident, you have some level of coverage by way of the insurance. I do think everyone should have health insurance, but constitutionally, I'm not so sure you can require it.
Also, Obama stated that the "estimated cost of this plan will not increase the deficit." Well, pardon me for siding with the nonpartisan CBO on this one, since the administration's "estimates" about the stimulus and unemployment were very wrong. I don't see how requiring better coverage and increasing the number of people covered will be cheaper. Maybe in the long run as people start doing more preventative care, but the CBO doesn't see it this way. And, I just really don't believe that they will cut billions in waste from Medicare and Medicaid to help pay for this plan. The day the government cuts wasteful spending out of our budgets, I'll shave my head.
Also, as ridiculous as it was for the Republican congressman to lash out at the president during a congressional address (really, are we in 3rd grade!?), he DID misstate the truth. The previous bill did create government bureaucracies that would have a say in your health care and did cover illegal immigrants. Perhaps this current proposal does not, but the House Bill did. I wouldn't advise it, but you can read it here if you're bored.
Do I have the answers? Heck no. But, I sure expect our government to work together to come up with a plan that will not bankrupt us and keeps government involvement as little as possible. But, there are still a lot of questions left unanswered after last night. How is this plan going to save money? What would be cut if the costs are what CBO predicts? Will this be like paygo that so many Democrats ran on in 2006 and then abandoned when they wanted to spend money? What about frivolous medical malpractice suits and tort reform?
I could go on and on about this... health spending is 1/6th of our economy. HUGE. Beyond huge. Trillions of dollars... money I can't even fathom, and I manage a several hundred million dollar real estate portfolio and stare at big numbers all day. I hope they get it right...
Edited to add: Forgot to touch on another hot topic. Illegal immigrants who do not pay into our system yet clog up our hospitals and don't pay their bills! Fix our immigration issues and that will take a big bite out of health care costs.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Yellow Curry Sauce
3-4 Thai chilies (or other red chili pepper... Thai chilies are small, so if you use something else, check the heat and adjust appropriately)
1 2-inch piece of ginger (or galangal if you can find it and want to splurge)
3 large cloves of garlic
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp dried turmeric
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 can coconut milk
juice from 1 lime
1 tbsp ketchup
1/2 chicken, cut up in small pieces
2 potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 stalk lemongrass, outer stalk removed, chopped
green or red pepper, seeded/cored and cut into bite-size pieces
1 small container cherry tomatoes
1/2 onion cut into 1 inch pieces
Thai basil for garnish
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Place all of the curry ingredients into a food processor and pulse until mixed well. Add the chicken to a casserole dish and cover with curry. Cover and cook for approximately 40 minutes. Add the veggies and cook for another 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are done. Garnish with Thai basil and serve over jasmine rice.
Next time, I'll tweak the sauce a bit and definitely add salt prior to cooking. I might also add a bit more of each spice, being careful to taste along the way. The joy of this is once it's done, you can taste the sauce and add whatever you feel it's missing... if it's too spicy, add more brown sugar or coconut milk... too sweet, add more cumin and coriander. I could also use more veggies - more tomatoes and maybe add carrots, too.
Let me know if you try it out and what you think. It was an easy meal with minimal prep work.
Friday, September 4, 2009
After we'd had our fix of the bridge, we drove through Sausalito but opted for In-N-Out Burger instead of getting out and walking around there. :) Matt had never been to an In-N-Out so we really had to do it. We then headed up to Muir Woods, which is a gorgeous redwood forest practically in San Francisco. It's crazy how you can cross the GGB and then go up a mountain and feel like you're in the middle of no where.
After we finished up there, we drove down the PCH to Stinton Beach. It was something like 65 degrees and there were people in bathing suits and even in the water! Crazies. We drove back to Alamo for our last night there.
We headed to San Fran on Wednesday around lunch time and stayed there the rest of our trip. We went to Golden Gate Park and had every intention of going to the California Academy of Sciences, but the line was honestly about a mile long. So, we walked around the park and decided to go grab lunch. We ate at Red's Java, which is a hole in the wall at Pier 30 that Matt saw on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. Matt got the fish and chips, and holy heck, that was the best fried fish I've ever had. I had their burger which is done on French bread and it was good. Some time after that we checked into our hotel, returned our rental car and did a little shopping at Old Navy in Union Square. Gotta love heading to SF to shop at ON! Neither one of us had a jacket or sweater, so we both bought zip-up hoodies and a few other things. That night we had sushi at Godzila Sushi in Western Addition/Lower Pacific Heights. It was just a little neighborhood sushi joint that was recommended by a friend, and it was good and very good to the wallet. We had some cocktails at a bar down the street after that, made friends with the bartender, and returned to our hotel for a good night's sleep.
On Thursday, we tried to get an Alcatraz trip booked, but there were no openings, so we booked a GGB cruise instead. We took a lot of pictures this day near our hotel on Nob Hill, walking down the crazy steep streets, in Chinatown, and in the bay. We had awesome dim sum at a place in Chinatown that I don't remember the name of and then we walked a very long way to Pier 39 with a pitstop along the way at Coit Tower.
That night Matt's aunt, Mariah, and new hubby, Brad, came to the city to take us to dinner. We had a great meal at Jackson Fillmore, an Italian restaurant in Pacific Heights. It was very good.
Friday we hit up Haight Ashbury. We decided to take the bus and then walk... well, it was a long dang walk from where we got off the bus, and I think I burned 500 calories with all of the hills. Haight was okay... I don't ever need to see it again. It was like Little Five Points in Atlanta, but bigger. After walking around for a while, we went to Alembic and got some cocktails. Matt had a delicious Bloody Mary and I had the Sazerac. I won't get it again, but it was one of their specialty drinks. This place made everything from scratch, pretty much. It was fun to watch the bartender. We then took a bus back to Pacific Heights and grabbed a few drinks at a bar there before heading back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. We had an amazing dinner at Kokkari Estiatorio, a Greek restaurant in the business district. Oh my, it was sooooooooo good, and one of our most expensive dinners to date. We did splurge and got wine that was more than we'd usually spend, but it was worth it... so good and complemented our food perfectly. After dinner, we found a nice bar down the street from our hotel and made friends with the bartender, like we do everywhere. Then it was to bed before our long flight back on Saturday. We didn't bring the camera out with us Friday, so no pics. :( It was a great trip, and we both had trouble adjusting back to real life. I think we need to win the lottery, so we can do that all the time. I love traveling with my man.