Friday, September 26, 2008

Crockpot Fajitas

I found a crockpot fajita recipe to try and it was muy bueno! Here it is with my modifications:

1 pound of beef flank steak
1 onion cut into strips
1 can of Rotel diced tomatoes and chilies
2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
2 cloves garlic minced
1 Tbs. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 orange bell pepper cut into strips
1 yellow bell pepper cut into strips
flour tortillas
cheese, sour cream, guacamole and salsa as garnish if desired

Combine onion, Rotel, chili powder, cilantro, steak (I put the steak in whole and shredded in the pot after cooking), and cumin in Crockpot. Cook on low for about 4 hours. Add bell peppers and garlic and cook an additional hour on low. Serve with tortillas and any accompaniments.

Paul gave this recipe two thumbs up, even though we didn't even have the garnish items, and we ran out of tortillas!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Working in Hendersonville, NC

It was a long 10 day shift installing wells, but you can't beat the location. The mountains around the Asheville/Hendersonville areas are beautiful and I often had to pinch myself to make sure I really had it so good! This is what a drill rig looks like:

A lot can happen in ten days and we had it all: lightening and thunder, misty rain all day, hot weather, and a bloom of mushrooms of all kinds.
One day we were out in a field that must have been a favorite hideout for yellow jackets. We saw the area where they must have had an underground nest so I made sure the drillers set up away from the nest. I was writing notes in my field book and minding my own business when I got stung on the back of my neck by an angry yellow jacket that got stuck in my hair. It's been a long time since I was last stung, and it hurt, so naturally I screamed. Before I could say, "That hurt like a son of a gun, and it was a yellow jacket, I reckon," the driller's helper was pressing a wad of chewing tobacco onto the welt on the back of my neck. He says it pulls out the poison, and he did say, "reckon" a lot. We are in the south, and the hospitality does come with charm.

Now, this is one of the coolest aspects of doing work up here besides the wildlife. We get to stay at the Waverly Inn, a bed and breakfast run by a couple who treat you like family. They gave me the best room in the house, a beautiful room with an adjoining sun room since I was staying a piece (pretty much all month minus a few days).

Downstairs on the front porch they serve snacks and drinks so people can chat and meet other guests, while enjoying the peaceful event of rocking in the rocking chairs and enjoying the birds. Every evening they greet me by name and ask how work was, bring me a ice cold glass of coke and pull up a rocking chair for me. Afterwards, I enjoy a hot bath get something to eat at a nearby restaurant within walking distance and then come back "home" to grab a slice of homemade cake that John and Diane have in the kitchen. I mosie upstairs with my cake and herbal tea and watch a bit of one of the movies I brought. It was like working really hard for 12 hours and having 4 hours of vacation afterwards. Not bad!

On Saturday night after work, I went to see a play, Unnecessary Farce, at the Flatrock Playhouse. I laughed for 2 hours and came back to the Waverly and slept like a rock. It was a fantastic comedy, and I needed it after a few stressful days at work that followed the bee sting.

My sun room adjoining my bedroom at the Waverly.
There was a nearby nursery that has loads of cool shrubs and so on my drive home I loaded up to start working on our backyard.

I have 4 days off starting today and then head up to Hendersonville again for another 10 days. Have a good weekend!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Chilling Out in the Backyard

We've had a pretty mild summer, averaging in the80s-90s I would guess, and so we've spent more time outside than I would have predicted. However, the humidity is still higher than we are used to from California. Notice in almost all pictures of Paul that I post he is without his shirt. There's a good reason for this: he doesn't like having a shirt stuck to his back in the humidity.

Anyway, we've been spending a lot of time outdoors for another reason. Fairy has been driving us crazy. She's been squawking and squeeking and screaming to be held and everytime we leave the room she amplifies. I took her to the vet a few weeks ago and the vet thinks it's part hormonal and part we've been catering to the squawks. So she has become like a whining child used to getting her way. Solution: to ignore it or get out of the house. So, here we are eating dinner outside, and see my camp chair in the background for lounging and studying.
This was another delicious crockpot recipe that we tried on the weekend- very good.

Then with all the outdoor time, we discovered a few turtles roaming around our backyard. Here is Ted, probably in search of Cynthia.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Visiting Family in Tucson

Tucson is the prettiest desert I've been to. It's gorgeous! Even if you aren't a desert person, you'd have to admit Tucson has a dramatic beauty. I went out to see Grandpa, Eleanor and my aunts Linda and Janis during the last part of the week before Labor Day. I got to spend some good quality time with family that I rarely get to see, and at the same time got to relax and recharge.

Here we are at Grandpa's house! Grandpa, Eleanor and I won 6 games of bingo combined, out of 10 games played, at the local community center. I thought for a minute we were going to get kicked out! Competition was fierce and the air was thick with envy.

I'm a little behind on my blog, just catching up from my hiatus of studying. I won't bore you with the dreary details, but the long and short of it is that I am out in the field again, and won't be back until 2 days before the test. I realized I just plain wasn't going to be ready. Rather than waste the money, I post-poned taking the test until March. They give us one grace post-ponement, so I have to take it in March ready or not. But I will be ready then! So back to blogging and doing the things that I like. I will keep studying, but at a more relaxed pace spread out over 6 months.