Friday, July 31, 2009

Review: The Carvery (Harry's Hofbrau)

The Rugrat and I were running errands on Tuesday and saw that there was a big "Now Open!" sign on The Carvery, a new restaurant across from the Target shopping center. Mr Wonderful and I have been anxiously awaiting the grand opening, so on Wednesday evening, the three of us headed over there for dinner.

I'm not a big fan of buffet restaurants, but this one is a little different. It's more cafeteria-style: you get your tray and then slide on down past the different stations, and the helpful friendly folks behind the counter dish up whatever you want. This is a meat & potatoes kind of place, very guy-friendly. They have turkey, roast beef, tri tip, chicken, pork -- all different kinds of meat. I opted for a standard Thanksgiving dinner: turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing & gravy. I even got a little cranberry sauce on the side! Then you get a choice of a few different salads, and a white or wheat roll to go along with it. Mr Wonderful got the tri-tip, and Rugrat had the child's frankfurter plate (an oversize hotdog, sliced up, without the bun). All of us enjoyed the food - the meats were tender and juicy, the mashed potatoes were tasty, and the salads were fresh. My only complaint would be that the turkey gravy needed more pepper, but I was easily able to add it at the table.

Prices are reasonable for what you get: it's around $10-11 for a dinner meal (including meat, side dish, mashed potatoes and roll). Lunches, kid's meals and senior meals are slightly less expensive. They also have a wide variety of daily specials if you're not interested in a bunch of sliced meat. Check out the link to the restaurant website for details on what's available each day.

One strange thing to note: when you place your order, the only drinks available at the cash register are sodas, but they DO have a bar area in another section of the restaurant (facing Lone Tree), so if you want a beer or two to wash down your food, you can definitely get that.

Finally, if you go there, be sure to bring a little cash so that you can leave a tip on the table. There isn't a full-service wait staff, but the place is crawling with helpful people who carry your tray to an empty table, refill your drinks, and bring out the kid's dessert (if you've ordered a child's meal). You pay prior to actually sitting down & eating, and there's no place on the credit card slip to add a tip, so leaving cash on the table seems to be the only option.

We were all quite happy with our meal here (even the picky Rugrat!), and we'll definitely be back.

Monday, July 27, 2009

And the livin' is easy...

Summertime...ah, such a blissful word. It conjures up thoughts of freedom (road trip!) and simple joys, like running after the ice cream truck or scampering through the sprinklers. Backyard BBQs with friends, beach excursions, camping under the stars, trips to the amusement park and the waterslides...yep, we've pretty much got all that covered.

The kids have been enjoying our season passes to the nearby water park, and have also made good use of the new paver patio by "camping out" on it (with an air mattress and sleeping bags, naturally) occasionally. We have an end-of-summer BBQ planned in about 3 weeks, and are hoping to have a good turnout.

But this summer has also been punctuated by doctor's visits: I'm still having dizzy spells, and the doctors are still not sure what the cause is, although it seems to be a rare form of migraines. I should have more information later this week, after my visit to the Neurologist to talk about last week's MRI (!!!). I'm not very concerned though; I don't have any other indicators of a brain tumor, and I do have a history of strange migraines (ocular migraines, without accompanying pain), so that is the likeliest explanation. God knows, I'm as Type-A as they come, so stress is a big part of my life.

In order to combat the stress, I've been doing quite a lot of knitting. An online friend recently lost her baby less than an hour after she was born (no warning at all, very tragic) and a group of us Ravelers are making her an afghan. I knitted up a couple of squares and mailed them off to the person who's coordinating the whole thing last week. Now I'm hard at work on Mr Wonderful's Bad-Ass Cabled Hoodie. I just realized that we've got only 10 weeks until we go on our very belated honeymoon, and if I want to get it done in time I really need to hustle, because it's a huge project. I'm nearly done with the body of it, and will begin the saddle shoulders & arms shortly, so I think I'm in pretty good shape.

The kids have also made some requests: both of them would like a hoodie sweater this fall, and I'm planning on knitting them up in cotton, so they'll be machine washable. Rugrat, of course, would like his in solid black with some white (ok, ivory) skulls along the hem and sleeves. Tomboy has requested a green hoodie, with stripes of brown and aqua. I'm hoping to finish them both up before Christmas; shouldn't be a big problem but I'm worried about those skulls. I'm not very good at colorwork.

Oh, and one more thing: we ordered a new couch! We're getting a small sectional from Crate & Barrel; it should be here in about 8-10 weeks. Our current couch is nearly 10 years old, has all the structure of a partially melted marshmallow, and has definitely seen better days. I bought it when Rugrat was a baby, so it's seen more than its fair share of bodily fluids over the years. Mr Wonderful can't sit on it for more than 5 minutes; it just makes his back ache too much. So, it was definitely time.

What have you been up to this summer? Anything fun?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Christmas gift!  Shhh!OK, not really. But it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas knitting projects, as I have completed two scarves and a hat already, and started on scarf #3 last night. So far, I have:

1 Woodland shawl (except really, it's a scarf - see photo)
1 Woodland hat (my adaptation; there's no real pattern for this, I just wanted to use up the leftover wool on a matching hat)
1 River Rocks scarf (modified to make it less bead-heavy)
The beginnings of 1 Braided Cable Scarf

The Braided Cable Scarf was a little difficult to get started with, because I totally could not understand what the designer was trying to do with the cables and it's written kind of ambiguously. Once I figured out that "purl the middle stitch from the cable needle" really meant "purl that first stitch on the cable needle since you already knitted 2 of the 5 stitches in this cable group" it made a lot more sense. At first I was stupidly trying to purl the middle stitch on the cable needle, which would have meant: slip 3 to CN, k2, slip first stitch on CN to left needle, slip second stitch on CN to left needle, p1, k1 on left needle, k last stitch on CN. Which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, and twists the poor yarn up like crazy.

Anyhoo, it's looking very nice now, although the yarn (KnitPicks Andean Treasure in "midnight" colorway) is superdark navy blue, so it's a little difficult to see the pattern emerging. I've completed two pattern repeats (16 rows) so far. I'm not sure if I like this yarn or not - it's alpaca, so it's hairy as all get-out, but it is also super, super soft.

Once I'm done with this scarf I need to get back to Mr Wonderful's Bad-Ass Cabled Hoodie. That poor thing has been languishing for months - since shortly after Christmas, actually. I need to finish it up so that he can have it in time for our belated honeymoon in October. :) We're going to North Lake Tahoe & staying at a lovely timeshare, courtesy of my mom & stepdad. It should be fairly chilly - at least at night - so I want to be sure he's got his cozy cabled sweater.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Gainfully employed

Three weeks ago I started my new job, working for a fairly large retail company, doing what I do best: building a content management system and a dynamic website. The website already exists, but is in pretty sad shape, code-wise. Like so many other web projects, it was built a little bit at a time, with things being tacked on as needed and no real framework in place to keep things orderly and easily maintained. This is really a great opportunity for me to build a content management system from scratch (sort of - I'm repurposing some older code I've written in the past) with newer technology: components, flash update grids, ajax...all kinds of cool stuff, actually. And I also get the chance to streamline a lot of their code and make it faster, more functional, and much easier to maintain. All in all, it's a good gig, and of course I'm happy to be employed again full time and not have to worry so much about how we'll pay the bills each month. We were managing fine with the consulting business, but I wasn't putting anything away for taxes, just hoping that what I'd already paid out (I got gouged on the taxes for my severance checks) and my not-inconsiderable writeoffs (hello, new computer!) would cover the IRS bill at the end of the year.

This is the first time I've worked for a company this large, though, and there's a bit of culture shock for me. I had a phone conference a couple of weeks ago on a new project that I'm building and not a damn thing got decided. It's now been over two weeks since that meeting and I have yet to get some actual specs on the project. I have just been shooting blindly in the dark, hoping that what I'm building will work, because of course I'm supposed to be working on the project in the meantime. I mean, what? How do I build something that I don't have specs for? Apparently the plan is for me to just put on my "mind-reading" cap and hope for the best.

Anyway, I figured it was probably time for an update, considering I've been drawing a regular paycheck for almost a month now. ;-)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tuna Stuff

The "Tuna Stuff" is my latest obsession. I go through phases where I'll eat lots and lots of something for a few months, and then I'll get sick of it and not eat it for a long time. Tuna Stuff is what I've been making for the past few months now, and it hasn't lost its appeal yet, so it must be good, huh?

The greatest thing about the Tuna Stuff is that you can throw all kinds of things in it. It's very forgiving. Any sort of canned beans & veggies will work, I think. Just don't go overboard with the onion like somebody did...*ahem* - I'm looking at you, Mr Wonderful. ;-)

Tuna Stuff
1 can tuna packed in olive oil (you can use water-packed but it's not quite as good, in my opinion)
1 can small white beans, rinsed & drained
1 stalk celery, diced
1 handful grape or cherry tomatoes, diced
1/4 - 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 small shallot, minced
1/4 c chopped parsley
2-4 Tbsp red wine vinegar
0-2 Tbsp EVOO
salt & pepper

I usually throw all the veggies in a bowl first, along with the salt & pepper (be generous; salt makes it tastes good!) and a couple of tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Then I rinse & drain the beans and throw those and the tuna into the mix. Finally I add the parsley and stir it up. If you drained your tuna well, or if you used water-packed tuna, add a little bit of olive oil. Stir it up & then give it a taste. If it's a little bland, throw in some more red wine vinegar and maybe a touch more salt.

That's all there is to it! Healthy, fast, and especially tasty when you scoop it up with tortilla chips. Yumm....

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


It's been a month since our wedding, and not much has changed in our day-to-day lives, except that I'm starting to use my new last name. I finally got the marriage certificate from the county last week and was able to go to Social Security & DMV and get my name changed, and although I don't have the new documents yet, I was able to change my bank accounts and am getting started on the long process of changing the name on all the bills.

I ordered a photo album from snapfish, and am eagerly awaiting that arrival, but the video arrived today! I've uploaded some highlights from the ceremony to youtube:

Sand Ceremony


Ring Exchange