Author Archives: Probably Rachel

Not cooking by the book and a recipe for grilled peaches

I alter recipes right and left. I’m not a careful measurer of certain ingredients. And if I make it a few times, I don’t even bother with digging the recipe out of my box.

In short…. I drive my husband crazy.

When Brad was going to grill steaks at home for Valentine’s Day, he looked up the exact seasoning and temperature to grill at. He did the same thing for pork chops, chicken burgers, brats, corn, etc. I get it. I understand the desire to find the steps for a guaranteed positive outcome. It’s not always the way I work though.

I wanted to grill peaches since a) they’re in season and b) I’ve heard they’re good  but never had them. I looked at several recipes to get ideas of how to season them and get specifics on heat/time. In my opinion, grilled peaches are a side and not a dessert so most of the recipes that included sugar, ice cream and honey got nixed. Here’s how we ended up doing the peaches (Brad is the griller… I just help):

Ingredients

The Reel Story

Otherwise known as my conflict over mowing the lawn.

A Real Reel

When we bought our house we opted for a reel lawn mower over the traditional gas-powered mower or a quieter electric mower. The reel mower isn’t your grandfather’s lawn mower (in my case, grandmother’s), it’s made by Fiskers and is the definition of environmentally friendly and neighborly (completely silent! I could mow at 6am and no one would care except for me.).

It takes a fair amount of effort to use though… it’s actually a really good workout… legs, arms and core if you do it right.

I got home early one evening last week and decided to mow the lawn (not my normal chore) and set to work. I enjoyed mowing the lawn. But here’s the problem… Read the rest of this entry

Friday Five: Pondering

Things I’ve been thinking about lately… maybe you have some input to share?

  1.  Should I make a Facebook page for my blog? I feel like a lot of blogs have Facebook pages and I wonder if it would be worth it for mine. If you have a Facebook page for your blog, does it help? Did you notice a difference after adding the page? If you just read, would you want to be a Facebook fan of Probably Rachel?
  2. Is it possible to fracture something by sneezing too hard? Like a rib or your sternum? I definitely inherited my dad’s strong sneezes. He used to forgo the tissues and sneeze into a paper towel since he sneezed so hard. I don’t have horrible allergies so I don’t sneeze a lot, but when I do, it’s intense. I’ve bashed my need on the bottom of my desk because sneezing is apparently a whole-body thing.
  3. Where are the strange plants coming from? I recently noticed a light pink petunia in the old play area in our back yard (that has a bright future as a patio some day). There was also what looked like some long grass growing up between the house and back sidewalk, when I pulled it, I discovered it was a chive plant. I’m seriously confused… these things weren’t there last year when we moved in.

    This is a petunia, right?

  4. Why do the best project ideas pop into my head when I’m elbows-deep in another project? I’ve been working on a kind of complicated refashion for awhile. I’ve made and remade it a few times and not been happy with the progress. In the meantime, I’ve had some fantastic ideas for other things, so now I have this quandary… do I put the existing project aside and pick up another or do I trudge trough the existing project and just get it done?
  5. Of course… What happened to customer service?

What’s on your mind lately?

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Whatever happened to customer service?

If you haven’t noticed by now, I appreciate good customer service and get upset with poor service. I haven’t really ranted about customer service for awhile so…

48-Hours to Schedule an Oil Change

When I needed to schedule an oil change, I went to the dealership website and they direct all service appointments to this online scheduling form… as in you can’t call the service department directly or find how to make an appointment if you don’t want to do the form. So I filled in the form and waited more than 24 hours. I heard nothing… so I called the dealership and asked to be transferred to service. I had to leave a voice mail. I missed the call back (let me not they called me back right at closing time) and asked me to call them the next day when they were open again. I said that I wanted an appointment for any time on Friday. ANY TIME! I can even drop my car off in the morning and leave it with them all day to squeeze in. Why couldn’t they just schedule it or tell me that Friday wasn’t available?  The next morning, before they were “open” I actually got an email, saying to call and schedule an appointment for the next week and Friday wasn’t good. Two days after I made the original request.  I was able to get an appointment for tomorrow so they called my husband to confirm. What is that? I’ve mentioned before that the dealer hasn’t been the best about customer service anyway. I love my car, but when my lease is up, I’ll be taking my business elsewhere.

Meter Inspection Date

Then the gas company needs to inspect our meter, which surprise, surprise it’s not accessible from the outside and someone needs to let them into our home to look at the meter. The postcard they sent said, “make every effort to do the work at a date a time that is convenient for you.”

The postcard’s message.

That turned out to be a load of crap. We tried to schedule a real, actual appointment at a convenient time just to find out that you aren’t able to schedule a date and time, just give them a time frame (ie morning, afternoon, evening) and they’ll call you “30 minutes” before arriving at your house. My husband was able to get us “an evening” which is defined by 4:30-8:30 on some evening at some time in the future… We didn’t know when. Last night when we got home, there was a tag on the door that they had come for an inspection. Neither of us got a call, they just showed up sometime during the work day. Brad called them and explained that they never called, had they called him he could have been home and the inspection would be done… wonder of wonders! They gave us a date… an actual date for the inspection! Like he’d asked for in the first place. Let’s see if we actually get a call now…

Have you noticed a recent increase in advertising that highlight excellent service as a benefit? The reason why is because everyone pretty much sucks at customer service, so companies that have truly good service have their different and better right there.

Rant Over.

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Baring Arms Dress

I got this short sleeve, blue ruffle dress new for a whopping $8 to wear for Easter. I wore it on Easter, neglected to get a picture and wasn’t thrilled. The sleeves were just okay and didn’t quite feel like they fit quite right. There wasn’t anything wrong with the dress, just a little eh in the sleeves and possibly overwhelming in the ruffles.

Excuse my headlessness, I was having a bad hair day

I probably can’t call this a refashion and should just say I altered this dress. I decided to make it sleeveless and wear it to the wedding of two college friends last Saturday. My first step was to remove the sleeves at the seam and see how the arm holes would work. Read the rest of this entry

I wanted to be an artist

I feel like there are some common questions that everyone gets asked at some point in their lives. This is definitely one of them:

What do you want to be when you grow up?

In various stages of childhood, the answer changed. The first answer I remember giving though is artist. I feel like most children at some point in time decide this. I enjoyed drawing, painting and coloring (I was probably about 4 at this time too) and my masterpieces ended up on the refrigerator. I look back and laugh now, especially since I work with some really talented graphic designers, who prove that it takes more than liking the feel of a brush in your hand to make something beautiful.

My desire to be an artist gave way to wanting to be a cashier or a secretary (also at a very young age). Knowing these professions as an adult I can pinpoint why I wanted to be a cashier or secretary… I almost exclusively saw nice, pretty women doing these jobs and decided that I needed to be a nice, pretty woman when I grew up. Children don’t have contact with the wide array of career options early in life. They know what and who they see. I was talking with a friend who is a teacher and she was discussing how to apply the subject she teaches to her students lives and future careers. She made the comment that her students only really know of a few careers: doctor, teacher, lawyer, nurse… the ones that get Halloween costumes.

I got to know a few more professions the older I got and my answer to “what do you want to be when you grow up?” changed to writer, then photo journalist, then editor, then journalist, eventually to news anchor and eventually I settled into public relations when I was in high school.

Each of those options had some roots in things that I enjoyed doing… like writing, speaking and taking pictures. Strengths that ultimately help me do what I do [and love] today.

It’s interesting that I never wanted to be an engineer like my dad, or be a teacher, lawyer or doctor. For a fleeting moment I considered politics…

What did you want to be when you grew up?

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I dropped a glass

After things were finally dry enough outside, Brad mowed the grass. While he showered, I cleaned up the clippings then launched a last minute assault on the morning glories and other assorted weeds that were taking over the shrub out back. It was warm and muggy outside so when I came in I was craving a nice glass of iced tea. 

A finger stick found me at 82mg/dL so I grabbed a couple of pretzels and poured the two of us some nice, cold iced tea and settled in the living room. When I picked up the glass for my second sip, it slipped out of my hand, bounced off the corner of the coffee table (shattering) and sent tea, ice and glass everywhere.

The sound of the glass falling and breaking frightened Holmes and Watson out of their standard afternoon naps and they ran away from the sound… then in their frenzy ran back across the glass (that had somehow managed to send shards flying nearly across the room) to hide behind the couch. Brad sprang into action, grabbing his slippers and the trash can, then tried to capture the cats and take them upstairs. In the chase process that I watch while helplessly trapped on the couch, the cats both ran through the ice/glass/tea mess a total of three times before being successfully wrangled into an upstairs bedroom.

Hurts worse than it looks

After ascertaining that my leg was bleeding due to a cut from falling glass and not a piece lodged in it, we cleaned up the mess. Brad asked me while searching for shards in the carpet, “Was it low blood sugar?” For all of the annoying, frustrating and inconvenient things in my life that I can blame diabetes on, this was not one of them. This was a sweaty glass in an unstable hand.

I cleaned up and bandaged my leg then checked the cats’ paws. Both of them were fine but still scared. Watson still hadn’t come downstairs over an hour later even though Holmes has resumed his nap right where he left off.

In other news, I revamped my About Rachel page… it was probably time.

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Dress to Date Night Top

I bought this dress on a super clearance from Target, in all honesty I needed to spend just a few dollars more for free shipping or something and I liked the print.

I wore this once as a dress over the winter with tights, boots and a sweater. I felt a little awkward, it came to a “midi” length on me which isn’t my best length option and felt just a bit too busy. I decided to change it up that day.

Old image via Target

I really liked the soft jersey material and the cowl neck, so I literally just chopped it off a few inches below the belt loops. I’ve now worn it several times to work with dress pants or with jeans. Last Friday, I wore it with jeans and my favorite green flats. After work Brad and I headed out for a date night. Read the rest of this entry

Friday Five: Summer

Sorry about the only two posts this week situation… No excuses and no promises, just some thoughts on summer.

1. I’m incredibly happy that it’s grilling season. Last night we grilled all of our dinner. Pork chops, corn on the cob and peaches. It was wonderful!

Grill all the things!

2. We’ve been in wedding season for awhile and find ourselves wandering through Bed, Bath and Beyond with blue registries and trying to keep the gift receipts separate. It’s not just weddings though, there are bridal showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties, other wedding-related festivities on top of the normal summer festivities. I told someone the other day that I miss summers as a kid when I actually had time to be bored!

3. Our “summer” stuff like vacation and Cedar Point are already over with, which is in some ways sad and in other ways good because we don’t have a single free weekend until fall!

4. The fact that it’s summer means that I have excellent excuses to wear skirts and dresses… which I love. If you’d asked me that a few years ago, I’d roll my eyes and say that I’m a pants person. What changed?

5. Sun. Sunshine. Sunglasses. Sunny days. The bright, warm days and a little vitamin D for this D-deficient girl are just wonderful. (I do seriously have a vitamin D deficiency and the test results to prove it.)

My niece might like summer more than I do!

Tell me about your summer!

  • What’s your favorite thing to grill? 
  • Any big summer trips planned?
  • What’s the best thing about warmer days?

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A Garden Tea Bridal Shower

I’ve been chatting about my friend’s bridal shower and the day finally came on Sunday. Here it is as wordless as possible….

The menu: a selection of vegetables (the veggie dip bowls were red peppers!), fruit salad, tea sandwiches (cucumber with chive cream cheese, classic chicken salad, ham and cheese and good old peanut butter and jelly), pasta salad and garden cupcakes. All complimented by sweet and unsweetened tea, lemonade, strawberry lemonade sangria and wine.

Each place setting had a BRIDE Bingo card, trivia questions about the couple and a unique, handmade tea cup candle (should I post instructions on how to make these?). The centerpieces were tiny teapots with flowers.

Read the rest of this entry