Thursday, October 21, 2010


I made the most awesome chili in the history of chili. And it's super easy so you should make it, too! Here is my recipe!

  • Carroll Shelby's Chili Kit (It's in a little brown box in the grocery store and it makes chili super easy, so you should get it because it'll save you tons of time and money instead of measuring out your own spices)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 2 onions (1 for the chili, one for you to chop up to put on top of each bowl!)
  • 2 10oz. cans RO*TEL diced tomatoes and green chilies (it all comes together in 1 can, kids)
  • 1 4oz. can green chilies (mild)
  • 3 15oz. cans of beans (this is where you get to have fun: pick your faves! My fam varies on our beans of choice for chili, but my favorites are dark red kidney beans, white kidney beans [aka Cannellini], and either pinto or chili beans. I get 1 can of each)
  • a smidge of shredded cheddar cheese to put on top of each bowl of chili!
  • 1 glass of wine, to be enjoyed while cooking
  • 1 beer, to be enjoyed while eating your final product :)


  • In a skillet, brown the ground beef until just done. (If you're going to be doing this in a crock pot for an extended period of time (more than a couple hours) brown it until still pretty rare, it'll cook more when it's chili!)
  • While the hamburger is cooking, chop the bell pepper and onion. How small you chop it will depend on your preferences and how long you plan on cooking it. If it's going to cook in a crock pot all day, they cook down to smaller pieces, so cut bigger chunks so they have room to shrink.
  • Drain the grease from the ground beef into your handy dandy grease jar (mine lives in the freezer b/c grease is gross and I am less grossed out by it if it's frozen into a solid form)
  • Toss the ground beef, bell pepper, and onion into your big pot. Add the beans (don't drain them! add the liquid too!), tomatoes and green chilies (again, don't drain!), green chilies (don't even think about draining this can), and large spice bag.
  • If you're Daneish or cooking for Daneish, add the entire cayene packet. If you're a wimp, don't add this packet. 
  • If you're going to be letting this cook for a while, I recommend adding the masa packet because it gets thin when it cooks for hours. It's super easy, just mix with masa packet with 1/3 cup water and toss it in the pot!
  • Now just stir it all together (make sure you stir well, the spices have a tendency to clump) and let it cook on a low heat for as long as you can wait until you simply must devour it!!

Clearly, I make my chili in my crock pot (shout out to Dane's stepmom, Tracy for the crock pot house warming gift!! Thanks for making my life easier!!) and let it cook all day. I love it because I can throw it all together in the morning before work and when I get home at night, dinner is ready! This is how I would recommend making your chili, simply because it's so easy, but you can do it on the stove in a couple hours, too! Of course, you don't actually NEED a couple hours to make it on the stove, it just tastes better when it has time to soak up the yummy spices. And you'll definitely need to let it simmer for a while if you add the masa to thicken it, it'll taste grainy if the masa doesn't cook enough. And that's it! I add chopped onions and shredded cheese to mine when I eat it and it's SO GOOD!! I'm very happy with how my latest batch turned out today! It was plenty hot for Daneish's tastes and just generally yummy! However, I apparently need to teach Daneish the crock pot rule. If he'd been raised in my family (let's all be glad he wasn't though, because that'd be weird when we go to apply for a marriage license) he would know that if there is something cooking in a crock pot, every time you go into the kitchen, you stir it, scraping all the sides so it doesn't stick. I definitely had chili stuck to the sides of my crock pot tonight because SOMEBODY didn't stir the chili while he was home today. But he's had a long day today, so I'm willing to give him a break and teach him the crock pot rule. But if this happens again, he'd better watch his back!

Well, you already know tonight's menu, so I'll fill you in on last night's menu (salmon, wild rice, and green beans) and tomorrow's menu (either leftover chili or chipotle, it's up to Daneish)

Best part of the week so far: meeting a big wig of my region at work. However, he put quite a conundrum in my noggin. I had always planned on stopping working as soon as we can afford for me to so that I can be at home to raise our future children. But after hearing him speak today, I'm really inspired and kind of excited by the idea of being able to have a big career of my own. But this really adds a lot more things for me to think about, like if the guilt of being a working mom would be too much for me to handle, if we'll even be able to find a daycare that we trust enough to watch our genetically superior children (obviously our kids will be genetically superior, have you SEEN the two of us?), and if Dane and I could keep any semblance of a real relationship if we're both working our butts off at the same time to get to where we want to be in our respective careers. So this is definitely weighing on my mind right now and I'm trying to figure out how I really feel about it. I know Dane will support me either way, but he'd probably actually prefer that I keep working as long as possible because it'll put us in a better financial position as well as keep me occupied :) The good part is that we don't need to make any kind of a decision for many years! There won't be any little kiddies for at least 5 years and even though we won't be able to afford to live on Dane's residency income, so I'll still be working for a while after kiddies anyway! So that's where my mind is right now, but I probably won't come to any resolution until we have the time to sit down and really look at all our options. And I'm sure our decision will change every time a new opportunity at work comes along, so we'll just have to wait and see! It would be pretty cool to be a big wig at work though... :)

What I'm most looking forward to: getting our apartment cleaned up this weekend! I've been busy with training all week, so things have kind of piled up. I can't wait to get it all cleaned and organized again!

Best blessing in disguise this week: my car battery dying yesterday! Not only did 2 ridiculously good looking firemen jump my car, but I got some down time by myself (very rare!!) while Sears was replacing it to wander around Target and finish our registry. The scanny gun thing was super fun and I got our registry all rounded out! We still need to add bedding and towels, etc. but we'll have to do that together! And everything else is done, so feel free to buy us stuff!! Everyone knows I'm really only marrying Dane so I can get new knives and pots and pans!

Ok that's all for tonight, it's time to paint my nails in preparation for my first day at my real job tomorrow! Feel free to make requests for any blog post topics you'd like to hear my opinion on! As you all know, I have many opinions! Happy upcoming weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

There! I fixed football. DONE.

Ok so I usually don't give much of a crap about sports, but my intake has greatly increased since moving in with Daneish. I now watch quite a bit of SportsCenter and many a professional game. Lately this has meant football and baseball. And from watching football this weekend, I have come to realize that something must be done. If you've heard anything about football recently, you know about the helmet to helmet hits that have occurred as of late. Now I'm not going to bother to do any further research about this topic because I'm done with school and it's my blog so I don't have to. But I think we can all agree that these intentional hits are increasing in both number and severity as of late. We'll get to my simple solution later, first let's look at the ridiculous arguments coming from both the players and the commentators on ESPN.
The most irritating to me is the "better to be hit too high than too low" comment. This suggests that your knees are so fragile that a single hit there can be completely crippling, so it's better to be hit higher. Um... I'm not sure if you've heard of Mike Utley*. Utley is the former Detroit Lions player who was forced to retire in his 3rd year in the NFL (1991) after he suffered an extreme hit that resulted in paralysis from the chest down. That's right, paralyzed. As in can't walk. As in is lucky to have use of his arms. [Please also take the time to do some internet searches on Eric LeGrand**. He's a Rutgers junior who suffered a spinal cord injury on Saturday that looks like it's going to end in paralysis from the neck down. He currently has no movement below his neck, but it's too early to have a more final diagnosis. This injury didn't result from a helmet to helmet hit, but it came from tackle he was making when he lead with his head. Clearly this was an accidental injury, there was a big crowd of players around so his hit was difficult to make. But it'a prime example of how a single hit to the head can have major repercussions for a long time to come.] But you're right ESPN commentators, getting hit in the knees is much better. Because knee replacements are pretty popular now, but vertebrae replacements are going to be AWESOME! Yes, a single hit in the knees can be career-ending and you will probably only suffer a concussion from a hit in the head. But there's also such a thing as too many concussions and there's also a hell of a chance that a single hit in the head will not only be career-ending, but also walk-ending, and quite possibly life-ending. So your knee argument is garbage and you should be embarrassed for sharing it on tv.
Another popular idea on ESPN today was that the National Football League facilitated the popularity of helmet to helmet hits because all of their promotional video and highlights feature the hardest of hits. I agree, they do sensationalize the hard hits. But there is a big difference between big tackles and getting another guys helmet thrown into your own. I think that all football players go into that job knowing that they're most definitely going to get hurt and may get hurt so badly that they are forced to stop playing football before they want to. Everyone knows that there are no old men in football (except Brett Favre, but we're all dying for him to retire for real. Move along Brett, your Wranglers await you. Real. Comfortable. Jeans.) because you simply can't play such a physical sport for a long time. Your body can't do it. But no football players enters the league with the idea that they have to be prepared for an illegal hit because the league facilitated it. Hard hits are to be expected, illegal hits are not. So the NFL can have all the highlights of big tackles they want, as long as they're all legal hits that encourage good sportsmanship.
The least convincing argument I heard today was that linemen can't stop their momentum or can't help making a head to head hit because they're moving so fast with so much momentum. Wait... these are professional athletes, right? It's their entire job to make tackles, right? And they practice this job from childhood with the same rules they are expected to follow in the NFL, right? So they've had years of practice doing this one job and we're supposed to believe that they aren't good enough at it to have a target area? Baseball pitchers have a strike zone, why don't football tackles have to adhere to a similar standard? Oh that's right, they should have to. So take your can't help it excuse elsewhere because it's not helping these injured players walk again.
AND here's my idea for punishment for offending players: yes they should be fined. But fines aren't enough for these guys who make millions. They need to be suspended. And these need to be suspensions that make an example of the offenders. Here's my creative idea of how these suspensions should work: minimum of 1 game suspension. Period. And if the guy they hit is injured? The offending player is suspended for the equal amount of games that his victim is out while recovering. And if the injury is career-ending? The regular football season is 16 games, so the offending player should be suspended for 8 games. The other guy will never play again, you can sit out half a season to have some time to think about what an asshole you are.
There! I fixed football. DONE.

*Ok, I did google that to figure out his actual name. So I guess I did some research...
My google? "Detroit Lions paralysis"
**I would not recommend ESPN's video of the hit. It's tough to watch and won't improve your mood. Stick to the print articles, no videos.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood OR Boyz n the Hood

Here's a little more about our neighborhood and living situation here in Omaha. It's mildly ridiculous. First off: we live in the hood. There's pretty much an invisible line half way down our street separating the nice houses up the street from the sketchy houses down the street. And there's a scattering of a few sketchy houses on the nice house side and a few nice houses on the sketchy house side. Our building is one of the nice houses on the sketchy house side. Our neighbor on the right is a dumpy house and our neighbor on the left is a dumpy apartment complex with a parking lot filled with dumpy pimpmobiles. It's a lovely experience. The parking lot is behind our building and comfortably holds 4 cars. So we squeeze 10 in. This caused Dane a ton of stress but we've all kind of come up with our assigned spots, so it's all worked out now. Except when the douche bags who park on the right start shifting to the left and squishing us left side parkers towards the wall. Screw those right side parkers. Also, Daneish and I have to double park each other so we can actually park in the lot and off the street. Whatevs.
Now let's get to the good stuff, aka who lives in our building! We live in a small building, only 6 units total (3 stories, 2 apartments on each floor). We like it because almost everyone is a grad student like Daneish, so they're quiet and keep similar hours. Perfect. Except that many of our neighbors are assholes! Let's do the rundown of the building: We live in the basement with Heidi and Eddie. Across from us is Doug. I have yet to meet Doug b/c he's the newest neighbor. He gets lots of packages delivered but is rarely home (hence why I haven't met him despite our front doors being 4 feet apart). He also had Cox Business come by and do some work, so in my own melodrama that I created for him, he has a wife and family elsewhere with a fake job that they know about, but his real job is housed in his apartment here and when he comes here, they think he's on business trips. Clearly, Doug is an illegal arms dealer or in the mob. But Doug is quiet and voluntarily parks on the street, thus leaving an open spot in the lot for the other tenants, so he's ok in my book. Above us are 2 med students, Erik and Tim. They're super great. They keep the same hours as Dane, Tim plays on his intramural ultimate frisbee team, and they gave us cookies a couple weeks ago. They are the winners for my favorite neighbors. They're also fairly quiet, very nice, and Tim tolerated me drunkenly talking his ear off at a med school party before the semester started. Anyone who can put up with that automatically wins my respect. Now the next 2 groups of tenants run together in my head, I can't tell them apart. It's the apartment across from Erik/Tim's and the one above that one. They both have fairly unattractive female tenants and they all drive 4 door sedans, so they're all the same in my head. They are also the worst offenders at shifting over in the parking lot so we get squished. I generally dislike them, based only on their parking issues and unattractiveness. Which brings us to the last apartment in the building, the one two floors above us. It is inhabited by a couple, the wife in is law school and the husband is a loser. Dane refers to him as a "Gomer" (as in Gomer Pyle) and is incredibly distracted by the large gap in his front teeth. I hate them for many reasons. These reasons are: 1. They ALWAYS leave their clothes in the communal washing machines/dryers for DAYS. It is super irritating and really drives me up a wall. 2. They park next to us and take up more space than they should. 3. They're weird runners. I'm all for people who work out and I know running is a popular sport that involves all kinds of mental highs, etc. that I know nothing about. But these people are weird, even for runners. 4. They are GROSS. I saw a Subway bag (full of big food wrappers, meaning to me that there was still leftover food in it) sitting in their car for over a month. DISGUSTING. 5. He's a LIAR. During our first week here, we suddenly started having water leak down from the ceiling in our bathroom. We also heard water running somewhere else in the building. I ran up to the second floor to see if they were running water, etc. There was no answer but I heard the running water sound stop. Dane went up to the third floor to see if they knew anything about the apartment between us (we didn't know at the time, but the 2nd floor apt was empty at the time). When Dane explained to Gomer why we were asking, he was like "oh, water's leaking? In the bathroom? I don't know anything about it." Hey Gomer, Dane hadn't mentioned the bathroom, just water leaking. We found out later from the maintenance people that Gomer had overflowed his bathtub and it wasn't the first time he'd done it. Now I understand overflowing a bathtub, I've done it before. BUT ONLY ONCE. Apparently this is a regular thing for Gomer. Ugh. And idiot AND a liar. So that's our awesome pack of neighbors. No BFFs, but generally tolerable.
Our apartment came with a lot of issues. When we moved in, we noticed a damp spot on the carpet in our bedroom and assumed they had just cleaned the carpet there because there were some stains there too. We found out the next morning when the spot was bigger and wetter that it was actually the A/C unit leaking water. It was a several week process to actually get the leaking stopped and then followed many visits to repair the closet the A/C thing is in as well as remove the subsequent mold. There were also another couple dozen other things that needed fixing/replacing when we moved in. While I've lived in other apartments before so am used to places that need work upon arrival, this place and it's long list of needs really upset me. For a few days, I'd always seem to find something new that needed fixing at night time and it was just enough to set me off to crying and bitching about the hell-hole we lived in. So I think Dane was pretty worried about me being able to hack it here for a while, but I've recovered pretty nicely! It took a few nasty e-mails to the management company and some google-ing about renters rights, but it's livable now! Now that it's functional, I like our apartment. The walls are made of paper so we hear our neighbors, but they're generally quiet so it's not bad. And now we can laugh about living in a real-life version of the movie Duplex.
Dane and I have a good routine going so our little apartment works for us! Dane is in charge on garbage, so he takes it out when it gets full. I do... everything else. This is laundry, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, errand running, big errand stuff like car repairs, and small handyman work around here. I have a pretty good schedule going to keep everything running, my favorite of which being laundry weekends. I try to always do it on a weekend morning, before the other neighbors get up. Doing our laundry has drawn to my attention the extreme collection of boxers and undershirts that Dane has acquired. This kid has 2 (count them, TWO) pairs of jeans TOTAL and like 40 pairs of boxers. I don't know if he was stocking up in case he was in charge of his own laundry or what, but it's ridiculous. There is no space for me to put his clean ones away and it drives me nuts. BUT our apartment is furnished and usually in pretty good shape, so we're happy here!

Our big plans for tonight: dinner at home while we register at Target for the wedding. We plan to hook Dane's computer up to the tv so we can register on the bigger screen. That's a pretty hot Sunday night date!

My biggest happy moment of the week: randomly discovering while out shopping that something I was planning on getting for my bridesmaids was on SALE!! Then a SUPER helpful salesgirl (shout out to Becky!) called a couple different locations for me to secure the SEVEN items that I needed. Super exciting!! Hooray sale and helpful people!

Thing I'm most looking forward to in the upcoming week: More training at work (I love learning how to do the job I was actually hired for!) and another babysitting job on Saturday. The family I babysit for here is cute and the kids are pretty well-behaved, so I enjoy it. AND I like getting the extra cash (it goes right into the wedding savings jar)!!

There's this week's update, kids! If I get some free time this week, I'll post some more!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

True Life: I live in Omaha, NE

DISCLAIMER: This post is not funny. It's just my life. If you're here looking for the usual Emily hilarity, wait for another post, this one is not for you. If you're here looking for updates on our lives, read on!

People have been wanting to know what life is like for Dane and me, so here it is! Here's a smidge of a day in the life of us:
6/6:30am (depending on how much I have to do before work): Eddie wakes me up for his morning walk. This involves him coming into our bedroom, shaking so his collar makes jingly noises, then sitting on the floor by my side of the bed and whining. This is the "wake up, I have to pee" signal. I get up, take Eddie for his morning walk, feed him, say hi to Heidi, and take a shower.
7am: Dane's alarm goes off and I get out of the shower so he can get ready for school. He makes himself a quick breakfast and then eats it... IN THE SHOWER. I've always known that Dane likes to shower and would spend a lot of time there if he could, but his level of multi-tasking is a little extreme. However, it works for him, so who am I to complain? While he gets ready for school, I prep that night's dinner, make us lunches, or do some quick cleaning, etc. around the apartment.
7:45am: Dane leaves to get to school by 8 and I snag the bathroom again to finish getting ready for work. I get dressed, do my hair and makeup, and make sure the bedroom doors are closed to Eddie doesn't have a urine heyday in them.
8:30am: I leave for work and enjoy my 20 minute commute down to Bellevue, NE. It's all highway and I'm leaving Omaha, so am never stuck in heavy traffic. This is also where I have seen several road-killed raccoons lately. It's the little things people, the little things... Once I get to work, I make deposits and withdrawals, cash checks, sell cashiers checks, and make my daily to do list. This list includes what I'm going to make for dinner, what errands I need to run on the way home, and what light cleaning, etc. I'm going to do that night. I love these lists, but rarely actually look at them after I leave work.
12pm: Dane's lunch hour! He usually comes home to eat and also lets Eddie out for his afternoon walk, but sometimes he has extra classes during lunch. On these days, I race home from work, toss Eddie out the front door, grab some food and eat it in the car on my way back to work. This only happens a couple days a week, MAX so it's not much of an inconvenience for me. AND it makes sure that I'm not stuck with the super late lunch hour at work :)
3pm: The time Dane is usually done with school on Tuesday and Thursdays. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are later because he has anatomy lab, so it's usually 5ish. He comes straight home and starts studying.
6pm: I get off work and head home to make dinner!
6:30pm: I make dinner, tidy up, load the dishwasher, and settle into my nightly sweatpants. (Dane is still studying while all of this ensues).
7ish pm: We eat dinner. Lately we've been eating on the couch while we watch whatever is on ESPN at the time, but I'm going to try to make our dining room table more inviting so we can actually sit down together and have a real conversation. One of us takes Eddie out after dinner for his evening walk and Dane goes back to studying.
Primetime: I watch whatever gems Bravo has to offer that evening with Eddie on my left, Heidi on my right, and my computer on my lap. The "kids" (aka Eddie and Heidi) are getting along very well now. They've learned to co-exist by simply staying on their own sides of the couch and generally leaving each other alone. (Dane continues to study while I veg out and turn my brain off entirely).
11pm: Dane calls it a night on studying and goes to bed. I wrap up my uber important facebook stalking/online shopping and do the same. However, my time-management skills aren't fully developed and I sometimes make this a 12-1am bedtime or have to get up at 5:30 to get everything on my list completed.

We live in a super cute two bedroom apartment about 3 blocks from Creighton. It needed about a million repairs when we first moved in and it took many a week to get it all back to where it needed to be, but I love it now. However, apparently no one in Nebraska has belongings because there is NO storage space here! Our kitchen has literally HALF of a lower cabinet for storage. So our cutting boards have a home! As for the rest of the food/kitchen supplies, I had to use my ghetto college storage cube thing as a pantry. And all of the closets are packed to the brim, but we got all of our stuff in!
Clearly, Dane studies all the time, but we're both doing well. I usually see him at dinner (except for the nights that he eats in his office while he studies) and on the weekends he is sometimes able to make room for football study breaks. I know people have been worried about us fighting and not getting along now that we share the same abode, but we see each other so little, we don't have anything to fight about! And I honestly am really happy to get to be here to take care of Dane and make sure that his life runs as smoothly as possible while he's so busy. It's taken a while to get used to him looking like a zombie all the time, but with all of the work he's doing, it's to be expected.
We've changed as a couple, but it's been a good change. It's less about us each as individuals and more about working together towards a common goal. We really enjoy the time we do get to spend together and even if we do something as simple as watching a football game, it's nice to be able to take that smidgen of time to do it together.
I found a church here that I really like, so I'm becoming a member this Sunday! It reminds me a lot of our church in AZ and I found myself looking forward to Sunday mornings, so decided it's probably worth joining. I'm hoping to do a dual-membership so that I don't have to re-join our AZ church when we move back. But I'm very happy to have found a good church home here in Omaha. And eventually, when Dane gets a more regular schedule with school, I'll drag him along with me as well. For now, I kind of enjoy my hour of sitting in church by myself :)
I'm working on my cooking skills and trying out new recipes when I have the energy. Tonight's menu was salmon with wild rice and green beans. Pretty darn yummy for my first shot at fish! I'm going to tweak a few things next time around, but I was pretty proud of it! (My meter for success is how much Dane consumes. Tonight he asked for seconds!)
As of last week I've decided to turn over a new leaf and really embrace Omaha and my life here (don't get me wrong, I'm not genuinely unhappy, I've just been whining and bitching and it's kind of made me grumpy). So I'm planning on adding a work out into my morning to start my day off on the right foot and stay on top of my housework and our finances so I have the time and $ to go out with friends whenever possible. I need to make more of an effort to build my own life here because Dane doesn't have the time or energy to do it with me. I'm going to reach out to the Omaha alumni chapter of Gamma Phi and also try to get more involved in the church here. So here's to my new life plan and hopefully some more menu successes!