See ya later, Texas (hopefully).

I’m sitting in the airport as I write this. We left the hotel at 4:30 AM expecting to catch a 6 AM flight, only to arrive at the airport to see our plane was delayed by FIVE hours. Thanks for the heads up United/American/US Airways. Five hours would have gotten me four more hours of sleep, a workout and breakfast. I would have been a lot more pleasant to those customer service agents I waited four, five, and two minutes*, respectively, to talk with — after, of course, the really fun game of yelling into the phone:

“What would you like to do?”

“Check reservations.”

“Ok, would you like to change existing or cancel?”

(Thought: Neither, I want neither of those options. I just want to know if I can get out of Texas.)

“No.”

“I don’t understand. Would you like to change existing or cancel?”

“Customer service.”

“It sounds like you want to talk to customer service, but what about these options?”

(Thought: Screw you, I want a real person.)

“CUSTOMER SERVICE.”

… and the phone goes silent. Repeat x2.

I’ve spent the last four hours reading, thinking about whether I want a parfait with 45 grams (!) of sugar or a suspicious looking egg patty on an oversized bagel**, updating my Pinterest boards, writing this and people watching. People watching can be fascinating, especially at airports.

One thing I will never, ever understand is why women wear heels in airports. I love a nice pair of heels, but you wouldn’t find me in even the most comfortable Clark wedges (Yes, I have Clarks. Don’t judge, they’ve really upped their game for the younger crowd). It’s just not practical when you have to walk a mile between terminals. I wonder who they are trying to impress — the pilot, TSA, fellow fliers? What happens when they have 5 minutes to catch their next flight and the terminal is in another state? I’m pretty sure running in heels is only safe for Hollywood (and even then, I wonder if they use stunt doubles — I would fall on my face). I just want to shout, “For the love of God, woman, wear some flip flops and change when you get there!”

So west Texas is flat. Like, really flat. And dry. And most unexpectedly, dilapidated. The landscape is littered with forgotten homes in states of unimaginable disrepair and businesses that look like they haven’t been touched since they were built in the 60’s. But the people are nice and they say things like “britches” and drink sweet tea. I’m happy they finally got some rain to give their crops some life. Something needs to look lively down here.

My greens report: I managed to eat something green every day we were here — and none of it was fried. Although I won’t lie to you, a lot of it came in the form of guacamole. Our options were basically Mexican, steak and potatoes or something fried — they don’t really do “light” meals in Texas***. I can’t wait to get home and eat an apple… a baked sweet potato… or brussel sprouts… or greek yogurt… hunger is setting in…

And our flight just got delayed another 70 minutes. American Airlines, we aren’t friends right now.

* I shouldn’t complain about the wait time. I’ve waited much, much longer for an airline customer service rep.

** Instead, I opted for Sabra hummus and pretzels. It was literally, the most unprocessed, edible looking thing in the airport (the banana-bread ripe bananas made me gag). But I’m getting hungry again and we haven’t boarded for our flight yet.

*** I did have something called Mexi-Cauli at The Crafthouse Pub in Lubbock (that place is amazing if you ever make your way down here). They used very small pieces of cauliflower (shredded or finely chopped) as the base, then added black beans, corn, pico, cheese, roasted chicken and avocado. I’m totally going to make this at home. Maybe I’ll even trick Jay into eating it. 🙂

Our First Year

Being homeowners has been a big step up from being condo owners. It’s like going from a dog to a baby. It’s the next step in big kid life, but it’s soooo not the same thing (not that I ever want a dog — and I don’t have a baby — but you get my point). Anyway, some funny things have happened in the last ten months. Maybe I’ll put these on next year’s Christmas card.

We put up a mailbox.

Yeah, I know, woo-hoo, big deal. BUT you don’t understand; this was a 5-day ordeal. For some unknown reason, when you buy a newly constructed house, it doesn’t come with a mailbox. WTF. I tried to avoid the no-mailbox thing for a few days, but the mail woman was getting annoyed. The following weekend we spent at least five hours in various hardware stores. It went something like this:

“I like this one, but it’s too much money.”

“I like this base, but not the box. What about the one we saw at Lowe’s?”

“I like this one.”

“Eh…”

“This one!”

“We don’t have those tools.”

“What about this?”

“Nah, I don’t really like that color. I like the one at Home Depot better. Should we just go back to Home Depot?”

“Let’s try Menards.”

“What’s wrong with black?”

“I”d like tan… or bronze … I think it would look nicer with our exterior.”

(eye roll)

“Let’s try Menards in Cedar Falls.”

“This one should be easier to put in.”

“Oh fine, let’s just get the black one. I’m hungry.”

Fast forward two hours: I have a headache, Jay is sweating in the driveway, and the post of our new mailbox sits at a 30º angle. We pulled out the post and tried again in the morning. Despite our best efforts, the post still ended up crooked. We finally admitted defeat and called in reinforcements; Jay’s Dad came up on Thursday, we had a mailbox Thursday night. FYI to anyone who needs to buy a mailbox, don’t try to go the “easy” route; it’s not easy. Suck it up and use the quick-crete. You’ll thank me for it when you have half your weekend back.

 We tried to shower without curtains.

Bad idea. Turns out the tiled showers are not walk-in. AKA water does spill outside of the shower. And it’s cold, oh, so cold.

We planted a tree.

Then we dug it up. Linden trees attract Asian Beetles like I attract sunburns, except there is no sunscreen in this world that can stop those awful things. Too bad we didn’t know that before we brought the tree all the way home and dug a huge whole in our newly laid sod.

We painted.

And then we re-painted. It just wasn’t the right color of green. Thank goodness it was bathroom…and my mom helped…both times.

We tried to landscape.

We bought two very pretty hibiscus bushes and a burning bush. Now the bush looks like it got BURNT. Sad face.

 

We lost our salt and pepper shakers.

They were only $10, but seriously, we have found everything from the move except those S&P shakers. I held out for a solid 6 months before ordering new ones. Then Jay gave me these cute birdies for my birthday.

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We didn’t get a snowblower until February. 

Most precipitation in years. I have nothing else to say about that.

We thought our bathroom fans were broken.

They were SO loud. When the builder came over to look at them, he just wiggled the plastic vent around and “fixed” it. And then we felt stupid.

We planted our first garden.

We spent $2 per onion plant. You get one onion per plant. How much do you pay for an onion at the grocery store? Just think about that for a minute.  #gardennewbies

On a different note, high-five to me. I’ve eaten something green every day. Have you?

 


Something Green

[Prologue]

I’m a goal-oriented person but I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. Why? Because in 2010 I made a simple resolution: floss once day. And I did…until May. Finals came around and flossing was apparently at the bottom of the priority list, which doesn’t even make sense — it’s good for you, it takes all of twenty seconds, and it takes zero mental capacity. Seriously, I’m a dentist’s daughter. What’s wrong with me?

– – –

I have a new goal. Actually I have three.

1) I’m going to eat something green every day, even if some days that means green frosting.

Here’s the deal: vegetables are hard for me. Sure, I get my 2-3 servings of dairy, I drink plenty of water, I pop blueberries like candy and I fuel my body with nuts and lean protein BUT I can go days without eating a green vegetable. This is a problem. Sunday I decided to do something about it. I made a meal plan, went to the store and bought some green stuff. I came back with avocado, spinach, zucchini, broccoli, peppers and brussel sprouts. Let’s do this…

Sunday I made Creamy Southwest Quesadillas, but I swapped the cream cheese for Neufchâtel (and only used 4 oz), pepper jack for sharp cheddar, sautéed spinach to replace corn and added chicken. They were freakin’ delicious. And I should give myself double points for this because I added avocado on top. YUM. You can find the actual recipe here: http://chocolateandcarrots.com/2014/01/creamy-southwest-quesadillas

Monday night I made Spaghetti Bake, but I added mushrooms, green pepper and sautéed spinach in place of some of the noodles. Speaking of noodles, I used Ezekiel elbow macaroni; they look questionable and leave your water kind of grainy (and your stove a mess — I let my water boil over twice…oops), but you can’t tell the difference from regular whole wheat pasta. I should have cut back on the ricotta though, this one turned out a little cheesy: http://chocolateandcarrots.com/2014/02/easy-baked-spaghetti

Tuesday night I had a massive kale Caesar salad with salmon from Table 128. It was a whole lotta kale. (PS If you live in Des Moines you should check this place out. It’s GOOD.)

Wednesday I had leftover quesadillas. Yes, they were still delicious.

And on those frosting days, maybe it’s buttercream with green food coloring, or maybe it’s chocolate avocado frosting. 😉

  • 1 perfectly ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup good unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Ghirardelli)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate mini chips (optional)

2) I’m going to make a significant effort to “be (more) present”… which means not thinking about the million other things I should be doing and enjoying what I’m doing right now.

Yeah, yeah, this is hippie-granola-yogi Kayla talking, but for real, this is something we should all try to be better at. Do you ever think about how good it feels to take a deep breath? Try it. You’ll like it.

3) Floss

Yep, I’m going to try again. I’m a grown-ass woman. I can do this.

And my #tbt for the day. I can’t help it, we are 30 days from our first-year anniversary! xo

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