Sunday, March 30, 2008

Veggie Soup + Presidential Baseball

We're watching the first Nationals baseball game in the new stadium tonight. President Bush threw out the first pitch and people booed as he walked up to the mound. Which made me sad for him. Sure, his presidency hasn't been all happiness and balloons, but still, people, he's the President of the United States. It's so un-classy to boo him, especially when he's just throwing out a pitch at a baseball game. What is there to boo about that? I don't really think he's making some specific policy statement by tossing a baseball, such that you would need to voice your discontent on national TV. But enough of my diatribes. (PS - Prez has a cannon for an arm -- threw it all the way to the plate and then some. That made me smile.)

The latest from the Steele Kitchen was a recipe I saw on the side of a box of barley that I'd bought on a health food kick a while back. It called for ground beef, but I changed it up by using stew beef instead. This was not a wise move.

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The soup itself, and the high veggie content was delicious, but the meat was not very good. I readily admit this, but I maintain that if I'd followed the recipe word-for-word, the entire dish would have been fantastic.

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I turned to Steven while we were finishing up the soup and said, "I should write this recipe down so we can have this again!" Steven looked up from his bowl and slowly shook his head. (Please, do not subject me to this soup again. Please.)

Don't worry everyone! I am not so easily deterred! :) Next time, we will have the soup with just veggies and no meat, maybe!

This weekend was really exhausting, and we didn't even DO anything. I was kind of in a funk all weekend -- I am chalking it up to the fact that I think maybe I am getting ill. Steven thinks its the last bits of law-school-craziness, finally leaving my body. That is also possible. I intend to drink more orange juice to ward off the funk. And perhaps go to the gym tomorrow morning. But don't hold me to it.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Sweep The Leg, Johnny

You have to be right around our age to really appreciate this:



Give it a minute or so to get started with the song. You will quickly see why Steven and I are singing this song non-stop lately. It's freaking hilarious. (Also, this song is on the soundtrack for Steven's new baseball game. Hence, I hear it about 20 times from 6 PM to midnight. :) I'm not complaining -- I'm singing along, yo.)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Block Buster

Only a single court appearance this week, people. It's amazing, I know. I feel like I've finally gotten my life back after taking the February Bar. And it only took me a month! (Somewhat, anyway. There are still deep dark parts of our closet that I'd really rather not discuss.)

Now that I'm back sitting at my desk the whole week instead of driving to every courthouse in the country, I am actually able to do some real work. (Most of which involves sending or receiving emails, printing said emails, two-hole punching said emails, and filing said two-hole-punched emails onto those annoying little metal tongs that fold down to hold one's many, many two-hole-punched-emails, but anyway.)

In some fun news, I may quite possibly have settled my first case. The funds haven't changed hands from them-to-us yet, so I don't want to spoil things by rejoicing, but things are looking good. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

We rented our first blue-ray (I refuse to spell the word "blue" without an "e." The English language has taken enough of a beating from society lately, and I will not be adding to it) DVDs this weekend. I told Steven that he has a very unique way of adjusting the volume levels on the TV. He doesn't just stand there with the remote and point it at the TV; instead, he really gets into it and does a full tiger-crouch. See Exhibit A:

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This is a man clearly dedicated to proper sound levels.

We rented two movies that we hadn't seen -- big blockbuster titles (no pun intended), in the hopes that we would be astounded and amazed by the blue-ray-ness of it all. And the picture was really great. The plotlines, however, left much to be desired.

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This is the way we return the movies to the store. (No late fees!) (In theory, anyway.)

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As you can see, its still not Spring here, although I have deemed it warm enough to forego wrapping myself from head to toe in woolen items. But it is unfortunately still coat-weather in these here parts.

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And in the magical way that life tends toward balance, I have hereby promised myself to start eating healthier. I'm starting with a good fiberful breakfast each morning. (I realize that "fiberful" likely is not a real word, and given my earlier complaints about the battering of the English language, I likely have no place to be writing words that aren't words. I have no comment.)

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This new breakfast-eating-goal requires me to wake up early enough to walk the dogs, shower, and actually eat the breakfast before rushing out the door. More often I find myself attempting to walk the dogs and eat the cereal simultaneously, which cannot possibly end well.

I'm calling it a work in progress. Yeah.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Cinnalicious

You cannot go through life, and have truly lived it, until you've sat in a random mall on a Monday night and sloshed through six thousand calories' worth of pure cinnamon frosted bliss.

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Not once did we question our sanity or our waistlines. Cinnabun was there, and we had to partake. There was no choice in the matter.

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About halfway through our respective Cinnabuns (what, you think we shared one? Ha. I think not...), Steven says, "Gimme that camera, I've got a great shot."

And while I'm not completely certain that anywhere in the Galleria Mall is a "great shot," I have to give it to him. This was pretty clever.

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Because its just so true. I do love the cake, I really do. Especially when its baked with cinnamon and smothered in icing. Also, Cinnabun is definitely best when eaten with a flimsy plastic fork.

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Next up: Discussions on how my clothes aren't really fitting like they used to, and my theories as to why.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Clean Easter

Although I feel like I just did this, I cleaned house again today. It is absolutely stunning how two people and two small dogs can totally filth-ify 600 square feet.

Here at Casa de Steele, Easter is for celebrating how cleanliness is next to Godliness. Also, Easter is for giving dogs a bath.

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We spent a little time out on the deck afterwards to dry off, although someone was blatantly disobeying my polite requests to STOP sticking his head between the rails.

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He is totally incorrigible.

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I have a full square of my summer blanket finished. It turned out really cute.

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One down, a whole bunch to go.

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Pringles says Happy Easter to everyone, and could he please also have that chocolate bunny if you're not going to eat it all? He says his Very-Mean-Mother won't give him anything but kibble and baths, and that's not very Easter-ish of her.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

By Popular Demand

Here is my niece. Well, here is her hand, anyway. I think her fingers might be longer than mine already.

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We're making plans to go see her soon.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I'm going to need more suits...

This week, I have made or will make the following court appearances:

Monday -- 8:30 AM court (3 cases)
Tuesday -- 11:00 AM appeals hearing (I didn't actually speak, so I'm not sure this one counts)
Wednesday -- 8:30 AM court (1 case, 1 witness) (Same court as Monday.)
Thursday -- 2:00 PM court (4 cases, 1 witness)
Friday -- 9:30 AM court AND 2:00 PM court (A Double Header!) (Witnesses in both courts)

If this pace keeps up, I am going to need to go shopping for another suit. Three suits will not suffice to get me through a week like this. I cheated on Wednesday and wore non-suit-matching pants with the suit jacket from Monday, but I also rocked some new peep-toe shoes (Target, baby!) and those helped to pull off the look. Also, the County courthouse is not exactly Bryant Park, if you know what I mean.

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Its the first day of spring today, and I have no happy pictures of flowers to show you. And that is because it is still painfully cold outside. Sure, the sun is shining, but there are hurricane force winds tossing you about, and they carry the deep frozen coldness of all that is not Summer. Nearly drove my car off the road in one of the big gusts.

In order to retain a semblance of my sanity in spite of this whole Not-Spring-Yet-And-Court-Every-Day thing, I have begun to cook dinner again. My cooking schedule is sporadic, but its better than soggy french fries in a cardboard sleeve five nights a week.

Here, I will provide you with a succinct lesson on how-to-cook-dinner-at-Cafe-Steele. First, obtain something to distract your husband from his hunger pangs, since you just got home and its already 7 PM.

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Next, take your pizza dough out of the fridge and attempt to take an accurate photo that doesn't make it look like some sort of horrible, disfigured anatomy textbook picture. (I swear it looks just like normal pizza dough in real life. Somebody get me some decent lighting around here.)

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Next, throw some red sauce, cheese, and pepperonis on the dough, as fast as you can. (You're starving too, remember?)

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Ten minutes and five hundred degrees later, you have a pizza. All is well with the world, despite your fourteen billion court appearances this week.

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Meanwhile, your dear pup is sorely disappointed that there were not more crumbs dropped on the floor during this whole culinary venture.

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Broken vacuum cleaner? Buy a dog. My floors have zero crumbs.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Enough with the Coldness Already

It is March, but it is not Spring. It is rainy and cold. Hence, chili was needed.

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Delicious. Enough for leftovers, even. (And yes, we will eat it allllllll up.)

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The summery log cabin is still.... log cabin-ing. I like it, but really there's not much to show you other than ever-continuing squares of darkening blues.

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Also, my niece was born Monday morning at 3 AM. Her name is Riley Grace, and she was 9 pounds and 1 ounce, 21 inches long. (Steven won the bet, for those of you keeping track. Although, I will admit, neither of us anticipated a baby just shy of ten pounds and nearly two feet tall. Mandy is clearly a champ for accomplishing such a feat.)

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I'm not sure how the new parents feel about having pictures of their little one up on the blog, and I forgot to ask while I was talking to Jon. As soon as I get the ok, pictures will be forthcoming. (Somebody ask Jon/Mandy for me, K? And then send me more pictures. I am a baby picture junkie.)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

For Better or Worse

You will never, ever, in a million years, guess what I got Steven to do with me this weekend. (Or maybe you will...)

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He enjoyed the pedicure, but he was convinced that our pedicurists were chatting about him the whole time in Vietnamese.

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Yesterday morning, Steven checked the Best Buy ads, as he is prone to do, and noticed that they'd posted a new advertisement for TVs. "Buy a big-screen, HD TV," it said, "and get $100 off a Playstation 3."

Now, we just bought an HD TV, and although it was a great price, we didn't get any freebies with it. Which was disappointing. So Steven showed me the ad and said, "Do you think we could get this deal now?"

I doubted it. But we formulated a plan to try anyway. This plan involved me going into Best Buy, scoping out the place for a relatively happy-looking sales clerk, smiling sweetly, and basically begging for the deal to be applied to our recent purchase. For good measure, I cleaned up a bit (read: changed out of my PJs), because Customer Service is more likely to give you the deal when it doesn't look like you just crawled out of bed. (The reason for this? High school kids working at Best Buy are annoyed to see you in your PJ's, because they wish that they could sleep late, instead of having to show up at work.)

So, I strutted into Best Buy with my best Girl-Who-Should-Get-A-Discount face on. I walked up to the Customer Service counter, said hello, and handed them the print ad I'd picked up on the way into the store. I took a big, deep breath, and said (quickly): "Um, hi, we bought a TV and they said we could bring in the receipt and get the deal later, so here's the receipt and can we get this deal, please please?"

Without even batting an eyelash, the ponytail-wearing Customer Service guy said, "Sure. I'll just discount your TV purchase by $100. Here...." and he took the receipt from me, scanned it, and handed back a new receipt with a credit of $105.

"It includes tax," he said, looking utterly bored for someone who just practically gave me a Benjamin. I'm not sure we even made eye contact through the entire transaction. (So much for putting on that get-the-deal lipstick...)

I called Steven (who had been waiting in the car in case the begging for the deal went badly...), and he was incredulous. "You did it, already?!"

I beamed. Obviously, I am quite the negotiator. No one need know that it was easy, right? I could have shopped around for 20 minutes or so, to bolster my story of giving the clerk a real haranguing before he finally surrendered and handed over the discount.

Or I could just chalk it up to a pleasant surprise from Best Buy.

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And, as always, the setup is everyone's favorite part.

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"Hello, I was on sale."
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As usual, I helped setup by offering my moral support from the stands.

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And after at least 4 solid hours of MLB 08 The Show, we're spending the rest of our evening anticipating the birth of the first grandbaby on my family's side. Mom's been calling with regular updates, and I made everyone promise to send me pictures. Steven and I have each placed individual bets on the baby's birth time and weight.

Heather: Birth time, 11:32 PM, EST -- Weight, 7.5 lbs.
Steven: Birth time, 1:00 AM, EST -- Weight, 8.6 lbs.

Winner buys dinner.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Spring Cleaning

So maybe we didn't eat all the brownies from yesterday yet. (One can only handle so many dense chunks of fudgy deliciousness in one sitting. Or else you'll be sitting for a really really long time because you'll be fused to your couch like the lady in What's Eating Gilbert Grape. But I digress.)

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Today was Spring Cleaning day in the Steele household. Thus, we re-discovered our countertops, we did laundry and scrubbed floors and generally freshened the apartment. It was in desperate need of a freshening. We also attempted to clean out the brownie pan.

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Steven says its clean enough to make cookies now, please. With chocolate chips. And walnuts. (Maybe tomorrow. Stay tuned.)

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I am making sad and slow progress on the Log Cabin Blanket. I had a partial square finished today, but then decided that the inside square (the white one) was too big, and it would have made the entire square waaaaaaay too big. It was 30 stitches across and 60 rows high. Not sure what I was thinking on that one.

So I ripped the whole thing back and tried again, this time with twenty stitches.

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We'll see if this makes a more manageable square.

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The way the stitches line up so methodically on the needle -- it makes me happy. And the way garter stitch churns out row after mindless row. Just what I needed.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sugar Fix

A long day in court + the end of a long week = a desperate need to use my KitchenAid mixer.

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A pack of Baker's Chocolate had been languishing in my cabinet for far too long -- crying out to be made into Smitten Kitchen's outrageous brownie recipe.

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So I mixed and sloshed and stirred and scraped, and this is the end result.

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Actually, we devoured the end result, so all you get for eye candy is the empty bowl. They were marvelous.

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Court went well. Nothing terrible happened, so that's good. I tend to worry, as anyone who knows me can testify. I worry the most on Thursday evenings, when we have big court cases on Fridays, and yesterday was one of those Fridays.

So, to keep me from worrying and stressing this past Thursday, Steven took us out shopping at Best Buy (he wants a Playstation 3), and then to DSW Shoe Warehouse. After perusing the uber-fabulous and uber-overpriced shoes (even for a warehouse!), we had dinner at a fabulous hole-in-the-wall Italian place. It was a really authentic little place -- a much needed break from the Olive Gardens of the world. And it was so nice to just sit and relax for a few minutes and stop obsessively thinking about all the possible scenarios that could erupt in court the next day.

And, like always, the worrying was for naught, and the cases were quick and painless. To celebrate, I intend to read something flighty and completely un-intellectual:

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Chick lit, from the queen of chick-lit herself, author of the Shopaholic series. (Winner of several literary awards for depth and content, as I'm sure you can imagine.) I hope my brain just oozes out my ears by the end of it. :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The US Postal Service Loves Me

Oh, getting a box like this in the mail is very, very fun. (Steven: rolling eyes and looking around at lots of yarn in our house already...)

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I think this will make a perfect log cabin blanket. Although it's skinnier yarn than I anticipated.

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And I'm not a huge fan of the medium-blue color... its a little too purple for my taste.

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But it still fits with the whole ocean-y, blue, light, summery theme, so it stays.

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No energy for a longer post. I have two (TWO!) trials on Friday, and I'm keeping my brave face on at work, but really? I'm scared out of my mind. The What-Ifs are overwhelming. (What if the judge doesn't let me speak? What if the judge totally disregards the law and just makes up his own stuff? What if my witnesses don't show up?) (Note: A fear of witnesses not showing up is a valid fear; these people are notorious for being late to court. I have threatened to tell witnesses that court starts at 7 AM, just to get them there by 9.)

Send one up for me, if you think of it. I'll be over here, practicing my big-strong-trial face in the mirror. (The judge is less likely to award us our judgment if I look like a desperate jungle tribesman running from a band of rabid tigers. You know how those judges are.)

Monday, March 10, 2008

I Am Not Lindsay Lohan (or that Heather Steele)

I gave the paparazzo the camera tonight.

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He complained that it was "blurry" and "not focusing right." (Could also have been that I was running away from the snapping lens as fast as I could.)

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This was, quite possibly, more embarrassing than it looks. I don't know how Lindsay Lohan does it day-in and day-out. (Answer: she has 1,472 servants carrying things and opening doors for her. Also, probably the L.A. Baja Fresh crowd wouldn't be quite as, well, confused by a random person taking pictures of another random person on a random Monday night.)

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Speaking of embarrassing things, something both hilarious and awful happened at work today. My phone intercom rang and someone said, "Heather, its a client to talk to you." (Which is scary enough in itself....), and I picked up the phone, cleared my throat, and gave it my very best I'm-a-big-grown-up-professional voice and said, "This is Heather."

"Heather, hello, its Very-Important-Client, here. Couple questions for you."

"Sure, what can I help you with?" (says the professional Heather voice).

"Well, first of all, will we get our money when we settle this case?"

"Actually, yes, we're drafting your settlement documents now...." (professional Heather voice continues to say very professional legal words like "timeline" and "revise" and "bankruptcy implications").

"Ok great," says Very Important Client. "Well, one other question for you. I was just googling a little here, as I tend to do from time to time, and, well...."

The client stops and clears his throat. "Are you aware of, um, www.heathersteele.com?"

Oh dear God.

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For those of you who have not yet had the joy of googling yourself to find out what other people exist in the world with your same name, I recommend you do so. Post haste. You need to know what's out there.

And I know. Believe me, I know. And its mortifying. Click if you dare.

(This is a good time for a disclaimer to my parents: Mom and Dad, don't panic. It's just a girl in a bathing suit. (A really small bathing suit, but at least she's clothed.) And its not me!)

Seriously. I knew it would happen eventually. Everyone at work had already found it, had a big laugh at my very-red-faced expense, and then promptly forgotten about it. Which was a good thing for me.

But now, my namesake has once again been, um, exposed. Metaphorically speaking, of course. I quickly informed Mr. Very Important Client that, no, that was absolutely not me. Which is why I always include my middle initial, I told the client. Because I'm fully aware of the Other Ms. Steele. Adding my initial provides more benign Google results.

Luckily, the client just laughed it off, and agreed that it was a good idea to keep including my middle initial. He hung up, and I crawled under my desk and hid.

I'm thinking of writing her a letter. Asking her, maybe, could she please go by some other name? I could think of a few really snazzy ones -- Candy? Bubbles? Jessica Rabbit? Really, anything other than mine would be great, thanks.

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(Hello world. This is me. I wear big wool coats and stand in line at Baja Fresh. I am not selling signed 8 by 10s of myself. That's someone else.)

Steven would like to take this opportunity to let you know that his namesake is a magician.

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Watch closely, and he will make that soda... disappear.