Hopeful for an escape

Today marks snow day 2.

I was up by 7am, ready to start my day. After watching the news and fueling with a few hilary clintons, I went outside to tackle the driveway. An hour of hard work with various gardening tools got me from this:


to this:


which seems like excellent progress, except that after that edge, there’s still another 1/4 mile of un-cleared driveway. I decided to take the Monster-Matrix (its bad-weather alter-ego) out for a test.

Not even a foot into the un-cleared portion, Monster-Matrix wasn’t doing too well. The snow was almost as high as the clearance under the car, and once packed down, the tires had nothing to grip. I tried to reverse back into the garage, but was stuck. Wonderful, back to the snow shovel 6 inch gardening hoe.

Serious, these are the tools I have used today:

image image

Too bad they couldn’t get together and morph into this:

image But I digress.

Once the Monster Minor Matrix was back in his crib garage, safe and sound, I realized that today may not be the last of my snow days. With weather not getting much above freezing until this weekend, and a long snow-filled driveway, how on earth would I ever get out? 

My boss offered to have someone pick me up for work, if I could walk to the street. But that meant 2 things:

  1. They weren’t offering to bring me home, meaning I’d have to sleep in my office and leave the pups alone in the house bathroom-less (not happening!)
  2. They’d have to see me in my grocery-bag-snowshoes.

So, plan B was born.

I would have to clear the driveway. The roads at this point are fairly drivable, especially after the plow made his way through.

A quick phone call later to my wonderful neighbor, and ex-county mayor, and a real monster truck was here!


It sure seemed this big to me, but was probably more like this:


I am so grateful for this man, who drove up and down my driveway almost 20 times, packing down all the snow so that Matrix had an escape plan. He even chaperoned a test trip down the driveway with me. Now, the driveway is slick with all that compacted snow, and I was even slipping just trying to walk on it, but Matrix did surprisingly well, and is now sleeping in the garage, waiting for his big moment tomorrow morning to head to work after a few days’ rest.

So… lesson of the day: be nice to your neighbors and help each other out!


Besides shoveling/hoeing my way through snow today, I managed to do some fun indoor things, such as:

  • Finishing my book and starting the next.
  • Completing my first 2 mug rugs! This is my favorite accomplishment of the day – aren’t they adorable? Perfect for a nice mug of your preferred hot beverage (and a cookie piece of fruit)


  • Watching Ellen and Brothers & Sisters
  • Enjoying yesterday’s leftovers of this recipe

Have a great night and stay safe everyone! And don’t ever wish for snow – it’s evil!



Woke up to lots of ice this morning. Schools are all closed (3rd day this week!) and if it weren’t for the Christmas lunch at work today, I’d have a snow ice day too. The sweet potato ravioli was made last night in preparation, and is now sitting in the fridge, ready for their demise in a few hours. With temps gradually rising above freezing, I should hopefully be able to head out of here in a few hours and make it to work. Fingers crossed!

DSCN1108 Be careful for the ice daggers, little birdies!

In the meantime, I’m using this morning at home to be productive – cleaning, prep for tonight’s holiday dinner with friends, and making some “adopt me!” signs for Harley to put up in some local stores.

The dogs have already run around out on the ice, without injury, and are now resting in the warm living room.


Living life on the edge

Happy Good Friday from my hammock! Yes, I’m blogging from the hammock today – a blogging first. I also discovered today that The Boy is afraid of these delightful hanging cocoons. Apparently they’re quite dangerous. Well yes, you know me – I delight in danger. haha!

And so here it is, Easter weekend, with temperatures in the 80s. Hard to believe that this time last week I was bundled in a sweater and scarf, and now I’ve transitioned to shorts and a tank top. Everything is in bloom now, and the dogs and I have enjoyed our hours of outdoor reading. I might even get a tan (gasp!). And thank you Nasonex, my allergies still haven’t caused any issues. Awesome.

I found it amazing that today was not a postal holiday and that I had mail in my mailbox. Poor bankrupt postal service, still has to work on good friday. Luckily I had a package waiting for me, providing me with fun weekend reading :)

Other plans for Easter weekend? Oh they are abundant:

  • Closet Spring Cleaning – time to pack up the bulky sweaters and sort through the summer clothes. also includes a goodwill run to donate the unwanted (or wanted-but-now-too-small) clothing.
  • Final Four watching – not sure who I’m cheering for. I guess Duke?
  • Border Collie training – in preparation for next week’s adoption fair, Bess needs to work on her tricks. we need her to wow everyone :)
  • Cooking and baking – always fun to do when you have a free weekend! Although I just discovered a loaf of pumpkin chocolate chip bread in the freezer, so that might take care of my baking itch for now.
  • Dog walking and ipod listening – gotta get out there and enjoy this weather!

Oh, and of course Easter Sunday itself will bring the first annual canine easter egg hunt, and my special easter meal of vegetarian BBQ! How long have I waited for this!? Please Gardein, please be similar to pulled pork. That would make my day year.

I am happy to report that:

  1. I finished off my brownies that I baked last Thursday. Yes, that means the brownies lasted a full week. Maybe the pre-portioned method of baking in muffin tins was smart after all :)
  2. I got caught up on patients today. Between a patient who reportedly can only eat 5 foods (hamburger, pork, oats, grits, rice) without throwing up from allergic reactions, and a homeless man who claims our food isn’t good enough, it was a fun day, to say the least.
  3. A coworker complimented me on my sweater today. It’s not very often when my outfits/clothing/fashion is complimented. As someone recently so-nicely put it “you dress kind of dumpy”. Whatever. Cheap and comfortable is my motto, and when you live out in the country by yourself and work with psych patients, what is the point in dressing nice?!?
  4. The power bill arrived and is a full $40 less than last month. Thank you spring weather!
  5. I received the last Flight of the Conchords DVD in the mail today, courtesy of Netflix. I’ll be sad to have them all finished! :(
  6. The thermometer is reading 75 degrees right now. Repeat: thank you again spring weather!
  7. I finished mowing the back yard this afternoon. Question: why does my border collie choose the piles of freshly mown grass to roll around in?
  8. My allergies are still in remission. Thank you Nasonex :)
  9. Sheff’s Thundershirts arrived in the mail today! As a reminder, this is our latest attempt to relieve his anxiety, which I think is mostly driven by East Tennessee’s wind and storms (he never had this back in Texas).

We ordered both a large and extra-large, to see which fit him best. Luckily, the company has free returns and a money-back guarantee if this doesn’t work to relieve his symptoms.


They’re made out of really nice, soft, stretchy fabric. Really feels just like a nice t-shirt. Sheff seems to like them too :)


Unfortunately, he seems right in the middle. Too big for the large, and too small for the extra-large. I know that the shirt needs to fit somewhat snug to provide the calming effect of pressure, but I can’t tell which is best. We’ll keep working on this :)



Back to the grind…

It’s been great to not have to return to work the day after a vacation – today has been great for catching up on housework, groceries, gym, and getting ready for the week ahead!

Unfortunately, East Tennessee hasn’t welcomed us back with sunny weather. Here’s what’s coming our way:


With this line of storms, some serious winds have hung around all day, which has prompted Sheff to hide in all sorts of corner spaces and tremble with fear (including the bathtub, closet, under tables, and most recently in my bed of cabbages outside). I had to take him with me to Kroger and the gym today; I couldn’t get out the door without him running to the car. Poor boy :(

Dinner was a new recipe, inspired by Dorie Greenspan’s recipe in today’s Parade magazine:  Cornbread Chili Casserole (triple Cs! haha). I modified it with no ground beef (of course), instead using a mix of kidney beans, diced tomatoes, celery, carrots and bell pepper. I found a box of Jiffy Cornbread mix in the pantry (yes, I know it has lard in it…) and threw the dish together quickly.

A really great and easy meal! Now I have a couple more dinners waiting for me. Gotta love leftovers!



Back for a relaxing 2 weeks

The dogs and I are back, everything is unpacked, everyone is fed, and we’re eagerly awaiting the Olympics closing ceremony.

It’s been busy with back-to-back road trips these last few weekends! I’m looking forward to staying up for a while until my upcoming spring break trip with the family in Arizona. I just hope we’ll get to experience some warm weather! The newspaper here showed that Knoxville’s February was the 11th coldest in history, with an average temperature of less than 35 degrees!! Not cool!

Of course, being me, I already have clipped coupons from the paper, made my grocery list, planned this week’s dinner recipes, scheduled my errands/chores for the week, and planned this weekend’s outings. Am I Type A or what?? haha

Recipes planned for this weekend include:

Did I mention that the weather this weekend is forecasted to be in the 50s and 60s!!? So exciting! I have a hike planned at House Mountain with a local dog group through Meetup.com – should be a great time!

Since tomorrow is official March 1st, I am taking the new month to get back on track with my “healthy living challenge” (which I believe our workplace is starting up this week).

  • I got my pedometer up and running again, and will be wearing it daily, aiming for 10,000 steps.
  • I will be working to achieve the recommended 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week (split up however I choose to do so :) )
  • My water bottle will become my new best friend as I aim to really focus on getting 8-10 cups of H2O daily. I feel like I’ve been quite dehydrated as of late, which has definitely not helped my incredibly dry and itchy skin.

Happy March to all of you!



There’s a great bake sale going on online by a bunch of prominent food/health bloggers. All the proceeds go to the Red Cross. I’ve already found myself bidding on double chocolate brownies, espresso hazelnut truffle cookies, and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. I hope I win something!

Work today was good. It’s always nice when you hear this:

Hey Elizabeth, you have a consult for this guy with high cholesterol. But I’m not sure you want to talk to him today… he’s pretty sexually-obsessed and strips off all his clothes every time he sees a female. And with you being young and pretty…. yeah maybe not today.

I checked his lipids – 10 points high. Not worth being exposed to!

There’s talk of some big snow storm coming Friday afternoon/evening. Everyone at the hospital is talking about how to prepare – who should plan to spend Friday night there, etc. I filled up my car with gas today, and am about to load an emergency kit of blankets, water, change of clothes.. just in case. I figure as long as I can get out of work at a decent time Friday and make it home, I’ll just stay put. I had some fun plans for Saturday, but it’s no biggie if I can’t get there.

Now… if I lose power, that’s another story altogether. I should load up the fireplace with some wood, but I think I only have enough for a 6 hour fire, maybe. Oh winter weather….