Sunday, March 26, 2017

#1844 time flies when you're watching basketball

I was not good at posting every day this month. How have I not posted anything the last three days? I would recap, but there's nothing really exciting to tell you about.

I've been watching the NCAA men's basketball tournament. Thursday and Friday the Sweet Sixteen teams played. Thursday was pretty exciting with three of the four games being decided by a total of six points. On Friday the most exciting game was the last one of the night: Wisconsin and Florida went to overtime and a last second three pointer won it for Florida. Yesterday and today were the Elite Eight games. The two games yesterday weren't very exciting although I was surprised that #3 Oregon beat #1 Kansas. Today the most exciting game was Kentucky and North Carolina. That game went down to the wire with UNC winning by two. Next Saturday is the Final Four and the National Championship is a week from tomorrow. Good times.

Mostly this weekend I've been reading an cleaning up a little. I finished a couple of books. Have you checked out my 2017 Reading page? I keep track of all the books I read and offer a mini review. Lately I have been reading two books at a time: an actual book and an ebook. There are so many books I want to read!

A week ago Friday I talked about making corned beef/roast beef tacos. I'm sorry to say they did not turn out well. The flavor was good because the meat mixture is yummy, but the tortilla delivery was not good. The baked tacos looked more like sandwiches because the tortillas cracked and split while cooking. I did fry a couple and they came out okay, but I decided it was way more work than I wanted to do on a Tuesday night.

I hope you all had a good weekend!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

#1843 pure magic

Tonight the Utah Jazz are celebrating and honoring the 1996 - 1997 Jazz team that went to the NBA Finals for the first time. Karl Malone isn't here for the celebration; he had already committed to something and was double booked. It's not exactly the same without Malone being here, but a lot of the players from that great team are in town as are the coaches. I wish I was at the game tonight. I would love to see all those guys together again.

MT and I moved to Salt Lake in 1996 and I went to as many Jazz games as I could afford to go to. I remember going to the playoffs in 1996 and some of the early rounds in 1997. Of course I never got to go to any Finals games because tickets were impossible to get, but we watched every game on TV.

One of the best memories for any Jazz fan is the shot that John Stockton made in Houston to send the Jazz to the NBA Finals for the first time. I remember that MT were living in our basement apartment over in Murray. We were sitting on the edge of our seats and when the shot went in, both MT and I jumped up and started yelling and cheering. We could hear other people in the apartment complex cheering, too. It was so great.

The vibe around the city in June of 1997 and June of 1998 (both years the Jazz ever made it to the Finals) was electric and hopeful. Of course, the Jazz lost in the Finals both of those seasons as the competition was the Chicago Bulls and one Michael Jordan. I could write a whole post of that final shot from Jordan in 1998; maybe another time.

Tonight it's all about the '96 - '97 team and that shot by John Stockton. Enjoy!


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

#1842 three things: out to dinner, vacation plans and sold!

Here are three things that are fun!

1. Dinner with J.D. Last night I didn't write because we were socializing with my brother-in-law. J.D. is MT's stepbrother. He lives in Boise and was in SLC to meet with his surgeon prior to back surgery. Since it's a long ten hour drive from Boise, J.D. came in yesterday since his appointment was this morning. It was good to see him and to chat. It's funny because I met J.D. at ISU a year or so before I met MT or Kevin. Another funny thing is that J.D. married a lady who lived right across the hall from me in the dorm my freshman and sophomore years. Small world! J.D. ran for the Idaho House of Representatives as a Democrat in one of the reddest states in the union. He didn't win (his opponent was the Republican incumbent), but he made a good showing. It was interesting to hear him talk about campaigning. I enjoyed the evening very much.

2. Vacation plans. It is Travel Tuesday, so why not talk about vacation? For the past few years, MT and his brother Kevin have been talking about renting a giant house along the Outer Banks in North Carolina. I have been lukewarm on the idea until I asked Lizzie if she would like to come and she said yes. I got significantly more interested in the plan after that! Last night MT, Kevin, Janet and I had a conference call to talk it over and pick out a place. We chose an enormous "cottage" outside of Corolla, NC that has eight bedrooms, eight and a half bathrooms, a pool, a game room, a beautiful kitchen and sits right on the beach. We have contacted the owner and the place is available the week we want to go in September. I think we are going to move ahead with the plan. More later as details become available.

3. Sold! MT's latest house flip project is completed. He put the house up for sale on Friday afternoon and last night we got two offers on it. We accepted the full price offer. HOORAY!! The house turned out beautifully. I will post some before and after photos here in the coming days. Needless to say, we are thrilled and excited with the pending sale. MT is living his dream.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

#1841 happy birthday T!

My son is celebrating his 19th birthday today! I saw him a little bit this morning and this evening when he came home to have some birthday cake. He's been hanging out with his friends, which is the right thing to do when you're 19.

I was just thinking that I didn't even take a picture of him this morning. I always take a photo of him on his birthday.

Sigh...

Where has the time gone? How could he be 19 already?

Here's hoping his 19th year is better than his 18th year has been.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

#1840 Saturday with Sandy: coffee, Copper Creek and cheesecake

My Saturday starts with Weight Watchers. I'm currently going to the 10AM meeting; there is also an 8AM meeting that I may go back to eventually. I like the 10AM group so it works for me right now, plus I get to sleep in a little.

After the meeting (no weight change this week and I'm okay with that) I came back home, picked up T and we went to Starbucks. He had his frappuccino, I had my chai latte. We enjoyed our beverages separately: T went upstairs to do homework while I sat downstairs and read a novel. Later, T asked me to help him with his accounting homework. It was harder than it should have been for someone who has "accountant" in her title at work. I'm not really what I consider an accountant, though. I do accounting-type functions, but it's been awhile (since college) that I had to figure out T-accounts. We got through it though. The thing about the homework is that it is online and you enter the information and click the Check Your Work button. If you have the right answer, a green check mark appears in the box and if not, the incorrect answer is highlighted in red so you can fix it. I don't know how much T learned, but hopefully he learned how to think through the problem and complete the journal entries.

When homework was done, my son and I had a nice talk about the future - his future to be exact. The conversation came about because during the accounting homework, T mentioned that college wasn't for him. I asked him what was for him, if it wasn't college. I told him that if he thought he was going to quit school, even for a semester or a year, he needs to have a plan. He said he would think about what I said. I hope he does.

After all that, I needed to get outside so I went to the fitness center and walked around the outside track. It's a little over a mile. The temperature was around 80 degrees with a slight breeze, so it was absolutely perfect. I was excited because I walked the mile in just over 19 minutes. My time has been coming down every time I walk, so I feel like I'm getting stronger and better.

This evening MT and I went out for dinner to one of our favorite local places, Copper Creek Pub. It's a small sports bar that has a seriously delicious burger. I had the bacon bleu cheese burger (not WW friendly, certainly, but sooooo good!) Every meal I've had at Copper Creek Pub has been extremely good and the service is very good also. We don't go there very much, so it's always a treat.

MT didn't want to sit around at home and watch TV. We talked about going to a movie, but decided instead to go walk around the mall. We had an ulterior motive. MT has always wanted to go to The Cheesecake Factory. I convinced him that he would be happier if he used the gift card he got for Christmas on cheesecake instead of a meal. The place is always so busy at dinnertime and tonight was no exception. It took us at least 20 minutes just to get our cheesecake to go. We got three pieces to share: Oreo dream, key lime and salted caramel. I had a couple of bites of each and I declare the salted caramel to be the best.

I better get back on the WW plan tomorrow for sure!

Now I'm just hanging out at home, flipping the channels between the NCAA tournament and the World Baseball Classic. The U.S. is playing the Dominican Republic in the WBC. Basketball and baseball on the same night? Yes please and thank you!

Friday, March 17, 2017

#1839 foodie Friday: corned beef

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!

In the office where I work, there is an engineer from Butte, MT who, for the past few years, has cooked corned beef and cabbage for lunch for the staff on St. Patrick's Day. I mention that he is from Butte because the city has a history with Irish miners who settled there and March 17 is a big day of celebration. It is very nice of him to cook the corned beef, which is incredibly delicious. I look forward to it every year.

I attempted to cook corned beef at home one year. It was fine, but not as delicious as what Griff makes. Since MT is not clamoring for corned beef and cabbage in the middle of March here at home, I don't worry about making it anymore and I just satisfy myself with having it once a year at work.

My mom makes tacos that are a mix of canned corned beef and canned roast beef. She mixes the meats together, then rolls up the mixture in corn tortillas which she then fries in hot oil. (They are more like taquitos  at that point.) The meats tend to seep out a bit from the shell and spatter her with droplets of hot oil, which isn't very pleasant. No serious injury has been caused but if you think about it, pouring hot oil on your enemies was a way of protecting the castle back in the olden days. Nobody likes to be hit with hot oil.

I have never tried to make the amazingly delicious corned beef/roast beef tacos before because frankly, I'm scared of hot oil spatters. But I really miss the taste of the tacos so I've been thinking about how I might be able to bake them. Today when I was eating corned beef straight up with horseradish, I thought more about the taquitos and I think I'm going to make some this weekend! I will fry some and bake some and see what I think. Results to be reported next week.

Last week I said I was going to try to get out of my food rut and make something new and interesting. I didn't make anything new and interesting, though. Of the five workdays this week, I cooked three times, we had leftovers once and tonight was fend-for-yourself. I had a beer and some toast. MT had soup. We live a simple life, friends.

Have a great weekend! Talk to you tomorrow :)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

#1838 throwback Thursday: March Madness in SLC


It's been four years since the NCAA men's basketball tournament was held in Salt Lake City, in March 2013. Going to the the first two rounds here was so much fun! I bought myself tickets to all three sessions through work, so I sat up in the suite. I wasn't sure if I would like it, I remember, because I don't follow college basketball through the regular season and I wasn't sure if I would "get into" the games. It turned out that wasn't any kind of problem. The bands come with their teams, and fans from the town and parents of players and it makes for an amazing atmosphere. When a higher-seeded team gets upset or when you see a very talented player making his mark on the court, it is exciting.

The tourney is back in SLC for rounds one and two. I thought about trying to get tickets, but I am a little low on funds, so I'm listened to the radio broadcast of some different games during the day and I've been watching some of the games on TV tonight. This first weekend of the tournament is my favorite because there are so many games and therefore so many chances for upsets to happen. There have already been a few today. I haven't checked my bracket yet. I know a couple of teams I picked have lost. It's all fun!