Stand By Me

Me and ScottRedEnvelope recently contacted me about their “Thank Your Rock” program.  It’s dedicated to thanking someone in your life that has always stood beside you and been a great support system.  It’s about showing them how much you appreciate them being there for you. They asked if I would share my story and help spread the word about their program.

A strong support system is extremely important.  These are the people that build you up and help you achieve your goal.  They root for you, they give you cookies when shit hits the fan (or bourbon, the best kind give you bourbon), they are your go-to people when you need advice or a kick in the pants.

In order for us to achieve anything in life we do need to have that support system.  It doesn’t have to be a huge group of people, it just needs to be folks that you know are on your side 100%.

My rock is most definitely my husband, Scott.  While that might sound cliche, it’s the truth.  He’s been by my side for 16 years encouraging me and supporting me through a lot of things.  We’ve been through a great deal together, both happy and sad.  We always come out stronger in the end and it’s because of him that we are able to live the life we want verses the life we have to live.

I show him my gratitude and appreciation every single day in multiple ways.  One of the biggest things that I do for him is to make sure that he has great food to eat.

Yeah, maybe that sounds a little 50’s housewiveish, but there’s a difference between wanting to do something and being expected to do it. Scott has no expectations and he doesn’t assume anything.  He’s awesome that way.

I do this because I can.  Because I’m good at it and because I love cooking.  But I also know that he greatly appreciates having a homemade meal.  He takes care of so much around the house that this is one thing he doesn’t have to worry about.

So yes, he’s my rock.  My main support system, the person I turn to for advice, and the person who can make me laugh like no other.

Who is your rock and support system in your life?  This can be anyone in your life that helps to build you up and inspire you. If you share your story on social media or on your blog, use the hashtag #redgift and tag @RedEnvelope so that they can follow along as well!


Disclaimer: This is not an ad. RedEnvelope contacted me and asked me to share this story.

Taking the time

Friday nights are lovingly referred to as Sushi Friday here at the HQ.  I think we’ve talked about this before?  Just like Pizza Thursdays (which is today, whooo!) we very much look forward to it.  We don’t always have sushi though, sometimes we have leftovers.  Sometimes we are out with friends, and sometimes it just doesn’t happen.  Most times we try to make it work.

Sometimes we make sushi at home and sometimes we get some takeout to bring home.  Either way, we’re eating sushi in our jammies and watching something on TV.

One Friday I really wanted sushi.  Not just any sushi but our sushi.  Let me clarify that our sushi isn’t great or the most magical thing to exist.  Nor do I think it can compete with any kind of sushi that can be purchased at an official sushi joint. It’s just our basic at-home sushi.

What I really like about our sushi is the shrimp roll we, or I should say, Scott makes.  It’s so simple but mighty tasty and I cannot find anything else like it around.

I thaw some shrimp and remove the shell.  Then in a bowl I toss the shrimp with some soy sauce and hot chili garlic sauce.  You know the sauce, big red jar of it usually found in the Asian food aisles.  Then I roast the shrimp for just a few minutes.

This is what I crave.  It’s a spicy shrimp roll without all the mayo gunk on it.  It’s simple and it’s tasty.  I wanted this so so bad!

The trouble was that it was late and I didn’t have any of the ingredients prepped.  I like to do this ahead of time with as many ingredients as I can so it saves time when we are actually making the rolls.  Making sushi at home is great but it does take some time and can create a mess in the kitchen.  I didn’t really want to do all that at 7pm in the evening.

But I really wanted that shrimp roll!  And I also didn’t want to spend money on sushi when I knew, while it might be tasty, wouldn’t be exactly what I wanted.

I decided that, yes, we should take the time to make our own sushi.  Perhaps it will take a bit longer and perhaps the kitchen would be messier than I want for a Friday night, but in the end both of us would be more satisfied with the outcome.

Scott and I have our tasks, I make the veggie rolls and he makes the shrimp rolls.  He’s also the only one skilled enough to make the roll with the rice on the outside.

OHC’s Veggie Rolls have:

  • Carrot
  • Cucumber
  • Avocado

OHC’s Spicy Shrimp Rolls have:

  • Shrimp
  • Carrot
  • Avocado

With out plates loaded up, we sat down in the TV room, in our jammies and had a great dinner.  In the end, I was very happy that we took the time to make this ourselves.  We enjoyed dinner a lot more because not only was this exactly what we wanted, but there’s the satisfaction in knowing that you made it yourself.

The extra time is totally worth it!

Do you make a lot of food at home?  Do you have any weeknight traditions?

Anniversary Time

Hi gang!  Just giving you a heads up that posting might be a bit slower this week because Scott and I are on vacation!  :woohoo:  We’re still here at home but will be doing stuff and therefore I might not have the time or energy to post.  I have to play it by ear!

This week is our anniversary!  Awwww   We only take time off during the year typically for two holidays, Christmas and our anniversary.  Yes our anniversary is considered a holiday because it’s on the fourth (today) AND the fifth!

Let me explain.  Scott and I consider July 4th the time when we “officially” started dating.  When we decided to get married (we eloped, remember?) we were going to get married on the 4th but surprisingly even for a simple elopement the cost of getting married on a holiday was very expensive.  Getting married on the 5th was much less expensive!  I realize that might make us sound like cheapies but when it’s just the two of you, spending a crazy amount of money on a less than 10 minute ceremony seems a bit silly.  We obviously opted for the 5th and now we have a two day anniversary!  Booyah!

Scott and I make a huge deal out of our anniversary in the sense that we make sure that we take the time off and that we have no super major plans other than doing whatever whenever.  Bliss!

Since we have a pretty crazy regular life schedule, a week of nothing is pretty amazing.  We have some vague plans of visiting some local things, maybe some hiking, and getting the house in shape.  There’s also plans of consuming large quantities of wine on the deck and enjoying lovely feasts made at home with at least one meal out for celebratory purposes.  Nothing set in stone because the purpose of vacation is relaxing!

At this point Scott and I have been married for 5 years and we have been together for a total of about 12 years. :cupidarrow:

Now I’m off to step away from the computer and get busy with vacation!  First up is actually some prep for tonight’s anniversary dinner!  Then I’m going to do yard work which isn’t relaxing I know but I really want to spend some time outside.  After that I’m not doing bupkis other than sitting on the deck with a wine glass and my man.

Happy weekend my pretties!

Sushi Friday Night

Ever since my new found love for sushi, Scott and I have been enjoying it more and more.  In fact it’s sort of now become a staple in our house and we have deemed Friday nights, Sushi Friday Night.  I can’t even tell you how much I look forward to it!  It’s almost as exciting as Pizza Thursdays and that’s saying a lot.

We are lucky that Columbus actually has a large number of sushi establishments and so far we have tried four.  Our favorite right now being Akai Hana for several reasons.

  • The rolls are large.
  • You are not charged extra for brown rice.
  • They are not over priced.
  • You get eight pieces per roll.
  • According to Scott, they have the best tuna.

While the price of sushi isn’t overly expensive, eating a meal out every week can get pricey.  Plus I’m not someone who likes to dine out a lot because I would rather spend that time cooking.  Scott and I decided to try our hand at making our own sushi.  I was excited because not only would I be learning something new but this gave me a reason to finally visit the Asian Supermarket.

Just so I wouldn’t feel too out of place, I took Scott with me for backup and extra street cred.

Um, the Asian Supermarket is like the greatest place ever.  I have no idea why it took me so long to get there!  They have tons of stuff and I got a gigantic jar of chili garlic sauce for like two bucks.  Killer!

We wander the aisles for a long time and collected everything we needed:

  • Sushi rice (brown and white)
  • Nori
  • Rolling mats
  • Rice vinegar

We’ve made sushi several times now and each time we get better and better.  The island in the kitchen makes a great prep station where I can lay out all the ingredients and then we can slice the rolls on the cutting board.

We have not done raw fish yet.  Our fillings consist of veggies and some shrimp that I quickly roast in the oven.

I thought it would be tricky learning how to roll sushi and to my surprise it’s not that bad.  Now I’m not skilled enough or have enough experience under my belt to use a half sheet of nori per roll.  I have to use a full sheet and I’m okay with that.  Maybe at some point I’ll have better skillz!

The thing I love most about making sushi at home is that it is something Scott and I can do together.  Normally when we’re in the kitchen, I’m cooking and Scott is hanging out being Scott.  I do all of the cooking here at the HQ but sushi night means we can both get our roll on.

I like sharing time and space with Scott making dinner.  We’re not in each other’s way as we each have our own little spots at the sushi station.  We can chat and we each have our specific things to make.  I make the veggie rolls while Scott makes the shrimp rolls.

With practice we are getting much better at making rolls and understanding how to layer in the ingredients.  Scott has even channeled his Asian-Fu enough to master the inside-out roll!

We end up making a good bit of sushi as each of us can put it away like we’ve got a wooden leg.

We’ve explored different combos and some have worked while others sounded better on paper.  I’m not a huge soy sauce fan for dipping so I’m looking for alternative dipping sauces.  Hopefully I’ll find a good one that I can make at home soon!

Sushi Friday Night is a great ritual!  It makes for a nice light meal and it’s fun to be able to hang in the kitchen with my loves.  Sure sometimes we order out for one reason or another but most times we stick with making our own.

I’m totally looking forward to tonight’s feast!

Have you ever made sushi at home?  Do you like sushi and if so, what is your favorite kind to get?

Dorktastic Together

Warning: This post contains high levels of geek talk and gaming dialogue.  Levels of geekation might be affected and raised after reading. Common side effects are trigger finger syndrome and the occasional need to talk in military terms. Example, “Can you pass me the sugar that’s at your 3 o’clock? Over.”  Read post at your own risk.  Resistance is futile.

Wednesday Scott and I had a meeting to attend and then afterwards we hit up Target really quick for a few things.  Why I can only find Tide Free HE at Target is beyond me, but it is what it is.

When we go to Target we split up because I want to scan the workout aisle and also the sales racks.  Oh and shoes.  Scott doesn’t want to look at that stuff and quite honestly I don’t want him up my butt as I’m checking out the 50% off deals.  Once I was done looking at stuff, I headed into the men’s section to check on deals there and see if there was anything for Scott.

I don’t know about your man but mine, if left to his own devices, will never ever find anything that he likes.  Yet when I rewalk the section with him pointing stuff out, I get the “Oh I didn’t see that.”  “Yeah that’s alright.”  “Okay, that’s cool.”  Basically it comes down to the fact that he doesn’t really look.  This has led to me to just send him off to the tech section and then I’ll go through myself picking stuff out for him.  When I’m ready to hook back up with him, I’ll send a text asking where he is. Lord what did we do before cell phones?  Did we just wander the store aimlessly searching for our loved ones?

That is a long winded explanation of what I’m about to show you which is a text conversation we had with each other in the store Wednesday evening.

Setting: Me looking at men’s T-shirts at Target, trying to decide which one to pick up for Scott.

Me: Hey, Xmen, justice league, ironman&wolverine?

Scott: Is that a question? JL is DC comics, the others are Marvel.

Me: What do you like DC or Marvel?

Me: Dork.

Scott: I’d choose xmen probably.

Me: Figured.

Me: Where you at?

Scott: Behind you.

It was at this point a sales person asked if he could help me find anything and I explained that no, I already found what I needed.

Make sure you take note of Scott’s response because let’s be real, that is a total dorktastic answer.  I’m asking a simple question and all the sudden we need to be clear that there is a distinction and that we can’t just throw superheros together now.  There are rules!

Yes my husband was a comic person.  We have boxes of his comics that go with us every time we move. Those boxes are heavy and awkwardly shaped.  Scott is a dork (a hawt one though!) and really he doesn’t ever try to hide that.  He is who he is and he is very comfortable with himself.  I love that!

Because of him, I have fallen into the dork category.  He brought me over to the dark side.  Granted I’m not as knowledgeable as he nor will I ever be.  But after 13 years together, here are some of the things I know:

  • About comics and that yes there are two different producers of comics.
  • There is a difference between a comic and a graphic novel.
  • I know what Unix is and I know that it is not an abbreviation for unitard.
  • I know what XHTML, CSS, Ruby, TCL are, but I still can’t write in them.
  • I know what the terminal is on my computer, how to access it, and what to do with it. Sometimes I still need a little guidance.
  • I know Spock is half human and half Vulcan.
  • I know the guy in the red shirt always dies.

But best of all?  Scott is responsible for introducing me to the world of video gaming.  At first he was pleased with himself and now I can’t help but wonder if he’s feels he’s created a monster.  We currently have the new platforms, an Xbox 360 and a PS3.  We had a Wii but sold it because it was not our bag.

The whole reason we even have a PS3 is because at the time, Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction was about to be released and only for the PS3.  Ratchet and Clank is a game series and one of my very favorite.  I HAD to have the new game which clearly meant we had to get the PS3.

Yes kids, I game.  I game as much as I can when I have the time.  Scott and I game together.  We play all sorts, from co-ops to single players.  When we play single player games, we just pass the controller back and forth.  It works out really well because we are each better at some things than the other.  Scott can drive and fly really well while I hate that shit.  I can find hidden treasures and secret entrances like nobody’s business.  Plus I’m a better sniper and our most recent completion of Army of Two: The 40th Day, backs up that statement.  I believe I ended the game with close to 500 sniper kills.


Gaming love has spilled over into other areas of life as well.  Christmas 2008 brought my gaming love to a whole new level.  I received two presents, one which made me squee with delight and one which made me cry because it was beautiful and thoughtful.

Squee: I got a Marcus Fenix Action figure who is a foot tall and talks. He sits on my desk and he is fantastic.

Cry: One of our very favorite games is BioShock.  If you’ve played it, you know that music plays a huge roll in the game.  We fell in love with the music but sadly the company never released a CD.  Bummer.  For Christmas that year Scott gave me this:

Sorry for the flash, it was the best I could get. Taking pics of CDs is surprisingly more difficult than I expected!

Yes, it’s a BioShock CD that he made for me.  He found all the songs (plus some others we just like) and bought them then burned them to a CD.  He found the art and font from the game and used it to make the CD.  Here are some other views of the bestest present ever.

Other than a few twitter mentions, I haven’t really explained on here that this week is Birthday Week for yours truly.  For shiz!

For those that are new, we celebrate birthdays all week long at the HQ.  Sometimes we do prezzies each day and other times we focus more on events and food with a small prezzie on the actual birthday.  This year is a prezzie-everyday-year.  For Scott’s birthday week, the theme for his prezzies was Zombies and he got Zombie related items everyday.  I did this a few years ago as well and it was very well received, which is why I brought it back this year.  Please bear in mind that these are not large purchases.  Each prezzie is more like stocking stuffer type deal.  Small fun stuff! It is fun to open a present everyday! If you haven’t tried this before I highly recommend it.

Okay and circle back to me.

There is currently a theme going on with my prezzies and that theme seems to be gaming related!  Except for the first prezzie, which Scott did say was off theme.

Prezzie #1 was the Blu-Ray of Black Dynamite.  Totally hilarious movie which we adore.  Score!

Prezzie #2 is a novel explaining in detail the story of the Gears of War world.  It explains how it came to be and gives more detail into the characters lives.

Prezzie #3 is a Gears of War graphic novel explaining the story between the first and second game.

Prezzie #4 is the Little Sister’s stuffed Big Daddy doll from BioShock 2.  Yes it’s creepy and yes it’s totally fantastic.

Prezzie #5 is a poster from BioShock.  If you take a look at the back of the CD up there, you’ll notice an image with a rabbit mask.  That is what I now have a huge poster of.  Squeee!!!

Clearly you can see how my dork side has blossomed and emerged.  All because of Scott.  Now we can be dorky together.  And hopefully bust out a new game this week!

Andrea Out. Over.

Breakfast Out

For Scott’s birthday week last week, he took Friday off and we headed out to breakfast.  Going out to breakfast is one of our very favorite things to do.  I like dinner but if I had to only do one, I think it would be breakfast.

I love walking into a restaurant and smelling the coffee, eggs, English Muffins, and pastries.  I love that it’s a little bit quieter and subdued.  I like seeing people read their papers or fiddle with files over a steaming cup of coffee and a plate full of goodness.

When Scott and I first moved to Ohio, we came across a place called First Watch.  We knew it was a restaurant but we weren’t sure what type so we looked it up online.  It said that it was a breakfast and brunch place only and closed at 2pm.  Interesting!  Because before our only encounter with breakfast places were places that happened to serve breakfast all day long.  Think Bob Evans or, shout out to my ‘Burgh peeps, Eat’n Park.

Scott and I had never been to a place that only served breakfast type items and was only open till early afternoon.  This intrigued us!

It was a while before we got a chance to try out First Watch and now it holds a special place in our hearts.

Did you know that Scott and I eloped?

It’s true, big weddings and all the wedding hoopla is not our style.  Low key with just us, an officiant, and some nature is more our thing.  It was early morning in July when we tied the knot.  As we were leaving the park where we got hitched, we realized that it was still early enough that we could go and get breakfast.

We went to First Watch and had our first meal together as a married couple.  I have no idea what Scott ordered but I sure as heck remember my meal!  It was a croissant with scrambled eggs, spinach, and cheese on top.  It was as good as it sounds.

We have been in love with First Watch ever since and it’s one of the few chain restaurants that I will gladly walk into.

So when Scott had that random Friday off, we knew where to go for breakfast.

Normally I get some eggs, turkey sausage, and an English Muffin for my breakfast.  This time I was craving pancakes like you can’t even imagine.  I love that at First Watch you can order 1,2, or 3 pancakes.  I also love that they have a huge variety of different ones to pick from.

One of the reasons I shy away from pancakes out is because of the ingredients.  White flour, milk and eggs probably, and white sugar.

Ewy, McEwy!

But this time, I didn’t give a flip.  Why?  Because how often do I eat breakfast out and get pancakes?  Not often.  Plus I was really really really wanting some pancakes and having something else would not have satisfied me.  Is it worth it to be disappointed in a meal you’re paying for, just so you can say you didn’t eat something because of XYZ?  I’m going with no.

Sometimes you just have to get what you really want.

I had banana granola pancakes and I got some yogurt on the side to dip the pancakes into.  The banana slices and granola were cooked into the pancakes, not just tossed on top.  These were the most amazing things I ever had.  Light and fluffy with the perfect sweetness and vanilla flavor.  I could not stop telling Scott how much in love with these pancakes I was.

I ordered two but only ate one with a few bites of the second.  One would have been plenty, as they were pretty big and substantial for me.

I was happy and content.  The pancake and getting to spend time with my hunnies at one of our favorite places made for the best day.

I’ve got your back

I have always been slightly obsessed with images of men’s and women’s items when they are next to each other.  Not ones that you see in a magazine or catalog when a company is showing you both the men’s and women’s versions.  I’m talking about items you come across in everyday life that belong to the man and woman of the house.  Things that just happen to be next to each other for whatever reason.  The more haphazard it looks the better.  I love the contrast of the smaller daintier version of the woman’s next to the slightly bigger and more demanding presence of the man’s version.

Seeing something like that says a great deal to me.  It tells a story if you look at it close enough.

The one thing that it always makes me think of is love.

I envision that there’s a strong man behind that item.  One that fiercely loves his companion and will gladly defend her at any given chance.  Someone that knows her personality like the back of his own hand and loves that personality.  Someone who’s favorite thing to do is to spend time with her over everything else.  Someone who has no problem saying I love you in front of others.

I would imagine that the woman behind her item knows all these things and is really happy in life.  She takes care of her man the best way that she can.  She tries to make everyday special just so he knows that he’s special and loved.  And maybe he does leave socks laying around but that’s okay because what they have is more than just socks left by the couch.

I like how the larger version seems like it’s sort of protecting the smaller version.  Not that I’m saying the woman needs protection, like she can’t take care of herself.  I mean it more like, he’s got her back.

Support all the way.


Whenever I saw an image like that, I thought, “This is what I want the most out of life.”  Some women dream of their weddings and all that hoopla since they’ve been kids.  I really couldn’t give a flip about that stuff.  I just wanted love.  Real love.  True love.  Weddings, parties, and things didn’t and don’t matter to me because that’s not what’s important.  Love is important.

To be perfectly honest with you, I always thought that was wishful thinking on my part because I didn’t really think I would ever find that kind of love.  I would tell you that I have a difficult personality to get along with because this is how I perceive it. Perhaps others don’t find it difficult but I’ve experienced plenty to tell me my hunch is founded.

I’m not a girlie-girl by any means.  Like at all.  I swear a lot, I’m a tomboy, and I’m pretty straight forward.  I have no problem calling you out on your bullshit when you’re dishing it out.  I’m also very honest so if you ask me a question, be prepared for a real answer because I’m not going to sugarcoat things just for your benefit.  I have an extremely transparent face when something is annoying me or pissing me off, it’s going to show.  I’ll also tell you about it immediately.  I don’t play games.

Past dating life showed me that at first guys thought I was “cool” but eventually something happened and I wasn’t cool anymore.  I can’t tell you what happened because none of them would tell me even though I asked.  I honestly really wanted to know.  See my no playing games statement.  So I ditched them and moved on. Or sometimes they ditched me and moved on.  And by ditched, I mean started acting as if I stopped existing.  Fun!

Even though I was young at the time, I pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I would probably live a life of short dating stints but not find anything meaningful.  Even though I strongly believe in the theory that there is someone for everyone, I didn’t think I would be able to find my someone.

Then Scott entered my life at a point when I was so over dudes it wasn’t even funny.  We were friends and had a really nice relationship.  He wanted to date and I told him to get stuffed.  I had been down this road before.  Starting off as friends and then the guy says, “You’re awesome and I want to take this to a different level.  I’m in love with you.” only to have said dude get bored or whatever after a month or so.  So much for love.

So when Scott told me that he wanted to start dating I said no.  The thing about Scott that most people don’t know and probably will never witness, is that he doesn’t give up.  And this dude would not go away.  I mean like really would not go away.

Eventually he wore me down with Sunday night phone calls and Alice In Chains CDs that he made for me (this was the 90s, so making a CD wasn’t as easy as it is now. It took hours.), and we started dating.

And here we are, 13 years, a marriage, and a kid (Rocky) later.  We’ve lived in three states together and countless neighborhoods.  We don’t fight (honestly, we don’t) and we get along ridiculously well.

Now when I look at pictures like the one above, I realize that it’s my own.  Those are our boots and the picture was taken in our house.

Love. I gots it.

Happy Birthday Babies!   I love you!

P.S. I’ve got your back. 100%