Saturday, February 28, 2015

Sweet & Sour: Saying Goodbye and Worthy Causes

Sweet & Sour is a weekly feature where I talk about one "sweet" thing that happened - and one "sour" thing. Because life throws us lemons and cookies! But because bad news should always come first, we're doing this in reverse order!

The Sour

Our dog Jamie had to be put down Tuesday. It totally sucked and my family is feeling the pain of it still. But she did live a long and healthy life, and she's no longer in pain. Still, it sucks. Anyone who has had beloved pets understands. Even when you try to see the positive in it, there's no ignoring the pain.

The Sweet

I got into contact with the local pro-life group and I can finally start doing something worthy. I've always wanted to get involved in a pro-life group, but didn't really know how to get into contact with the local one until now. It was a lot of fun and I'm really looking forward to getting more involved.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Quote Wall #3

Quote Wall is for everyone to comment and share their favorite quotes of the week. Be it from a book, movie, other people - whatever you like! Share them in the comments and I'll put them up on the Quote Wall page!

"Every grain of experience is food for the greedy growing soul of the artist." - Anthony Burgess

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Day #6: Step Back and Breathe

Yesterday I almost had a panic attack because I realized how much I have going in the next few weeks and my brain wanted to think about it ALL AT ONCE!!!!

Whoever doesn't get comfort out of making lists has never really been stressed out. As soon as I got home from work, I got out my planner, my phone, and a bunch of highlighters and sticky notes. I sat down and outlined the next few weeks, made grocery shopping lists for all the meetings and movie nights I'm in charge of, and a budgeting plan for my trip to Seattle Swing (that's the highlight of March; real big event).

I felt immensely better afterward. Call me OCD or uptight or whatever, but knowing exactly what's going on and what I need to prepare for it makes me feel so, so, so much better. I don't have to think about it anymore because I know I have a list that I can consult when the time is necessary. Schedules and highlighters and sticky notes and bullet points are my friends. In fact, I'd be a little lost without my phone.

After I did all of that, I got down to my nightly routine of prepping anything I need to prep for the next day (like more bread dough for garlic knots), cleaned my hedgehog's cage, laid out my clothes, and settled down to watch Grantchester with my parents. And I actually went to bed at a very decent hour (something I plan on doing on a regular basis), so I woke up not tired at all today!

I love life when it's in order. Tomorrow I attend my first ever pro-life meeting with a local group, and I'm so excited. I've wanted to get involved in a "worthy cause" for a long time and I look forward to delving into it now!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Day #5: Forced Shut Down

My body decided that enough was enough, and it forced me to rest. Sunday morning, I woke up full of energy - which was good, because I had a long day ahead of me. I had work, Book Club, archery practice, and then a night out to the cinema with some friends. Halfway through the day, I got a funny tickle in my throat that didn't go away.

It turned into a full-fledged chest cold towards the end of the day. I woke up Monday completely ill; I had stern orders from my boss to not even try and work. So I spent Monday in bed, sleeping, watching chick-flicks, eating yogurt pretzels, and reading. The rest did wonders for me; I can't deny it.

Tuesday morning I was feeling a lot better, but still took it easy. Did more reading and writing. Then dolled myself up to go swing dancing, even though I probably should have stayed home. By that time, though, I was showing hardly any symptoms. No stuffy nose, surprisingly no cough, and just a bit of a sore throat. But I never miss swing, not for anything. I've got the dancing bug bad. ;-)

Of course, yesterday was also tinged with sorrow. We had to put our dog Jamie down. She had bone and lung cancer, and it was just no longer possible to keep her alive and comfortable. So there was that cloud, and I imagine that it's going to hang over the rest of the week. But I try to find the positive even in this. Jamie lived a long and good life, brought a lot of joy to my family, and she's now no longer suffering. It always sucks to lose someone - family member, pet - but it does happen eventually.

The rest of this week is promising to be a little less crazy. I'm back to getting up at eight; it lets me get so much done. I was able to record all of my Youtube videos for the end of the month, and if I get to bed early enough, I shouldn't be as tired. I may even start running in the mornings. Or at least walking. Or both. I'm going to enjoy this week as much as I can, though, because this coming week is going to be crazy again. And March is just. . . .wow. Busy, busy, busy, busy!!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Garlic Knots

This recipe is courtesy of My Life of Travels & Adventures!

I was surprised at how quick and easy these were - and how downright fun! I mean, being able to tie bread dough into knots? That's fun and bloody awesome! These are perfect for any Italian dinner, just on their own, or even for pizza fondu.


1 1/2 cup warm water
1 tbsp. maple syrup (I used the expensive 100% stuff) or honey
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
For Garlic Butter:
2 tbsp butter (I ended up using 4 tbsp)
4 tbsp minced garlic cloves
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese


- Combine water, maple syrup, and yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the oil. Then stir in the flour and salt. Add additional flour one cup at a time until the dough comes together. I ended up only using 3 cups of flour. Mixing it with your hands is the easiest way to get it all mixed together.
- Lightly flour your surface and knead dough for 5 minutes.
- Spray a large bowl and lightly flour it. Place dough inside, cover, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Divide dough into 16 equal pieces.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a dough rope about 9-10 inches long and about 1/2-inch thick.
- Shape into a knot (fold one end of the dough over the other so it looks like an awareness ribbon. Twist dough at the place where the two sides overlap. Fold ends over and tuck under). Once you get it down, it's super easy.
- Place knots on a covered baking sheet.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes (I baked mine for 14).
- To make the garlic butter, melt butter in a small saucepan.
- Mix in all the ingredients, except the Parmesan cheese.
- Toss the knots in the garlic butter.
- Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top! NOTE: when I tried to add the Parmesan cheese to the mixture, as originally directed, it got melty and was very hard to toss the garlic knots thoroughly.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Sweet & Sour: No Energy & Driving

Sweet & Sour is a weekly feature where I talk about one "sweet" thing that happened - and one "sour" thing. Because life throws us lemons and cookies! But because bad news should always come first, we're doing this in reverse order!

The Sour

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were no-energy days. I'm not entirely sure why, though I suspect anticipation over my second driving test had something to do with it. But I worked through it. I didn't let myself dwell on all the things I had to do. I created lists for each day and worked through the tasks, one at a time. Cleaned out my closet and organized a few other things, and it made me feel better.

The Sweet

I passed my driving test! I now have my license! No more chauffeurs! Though admittedly if I had Tom Branson has my chauffeur. . . . ;-) I am so, so, so glad it's all over. I was nervous, even though it was my second time and therefore I should have known what to expect and not been even more nervous than my first time. But I was. And I guess if I'm not nervous, I can't pass tests. Go figure. But I did! And I can drive myself now!!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Quote Wall #2

Quote Wall is for everyone to comment and share their favorite quotes of the week. Be it from a book, movie, other people - whatever you like! Share them in the comments and I'll put them up on the Quote Wall page!

"The only real failure is the failure to try, and the measure of success is how we cope with disappointment." - Deborah Moggach, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Day #4: More Bleh Moments

Sadly, the nice weather has disappeared and we're back to the rain. But the sun will return this weekend, and rain isn't all bad. Rain makes things grow and cleanses away the dirt and leaves things fresh and new and revitalized. Rain is sort of like natural baptism.

I wasn't awake yesterday, and I didn't even try to fool anyone into thinking I had energy. Admitting to myself and the world that I was kind of a zombie actually kept me from developing a bad mood. I got through the day, which was a long one. Woke up at my customary 8 o'clock (still really not liking it), baked blueberry muffins while I plowed through some chapters in my 6+ currently reading pile, purchased even more books at work, and then had Lit Club.

Lit Club is my little writer's group. There aren't many of us, but we have fun sharing our writing and artwork and talking about movies and books and manga and anime. Like with any group of friends, there's a lot of tangents, but it's fun.

Unfortunately, getting home heralded an hour-long battle with my hedgehog as I tried to trim his nails. He was in an especially bratty mood, and he is super ticklish. He was having none of it and I had another lesson in patience. Hedgehogs are wonderful pets, but you most definitely have to be a patient person. I got all of his feet done but one. It can keep until tonight, when I can have someone's help holding him down. It should not take two people to clip a hedgehog's nails, but my hedgie is a pill. Adorable and squishy and my buddy - but a pill nonetheless.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Day #3: Bleh Moments

Yesterday was a no-energy day. I've been trying to accustom myself to getting up at eight every morning, because then I can get so, so much more done before heading into work. And that means fewer things to do when I get home! But I'm not a morning person. Even though I don't dread them like I used to, I'm still not really awake before 9AM.

Naturally, I didn't get to bed the previous night as soon as I should have, as I was reading a very good book (again). So I was very tired in the morning, didn't really wake up all day, spent two hours in town doing bank and other errands, dashed back home to bake garlic knots and hang out with a friend for a while (she was in town from school), and then headed out to go swing dancing for the rest of the evening.

Dancing always wakes me up, so of course when I got home, I didn't want to go to sleep! So I stayed up for another half hour reading. . . .And we wonder why I look like a raccoon today. ;-)

No-energy days used to get me down for weeks, sometimes an entire month. I stopped being excited about anything, I got completely out of my schedule, I didn't want to do anything. But I was surprised to find that this time, I was able to acknowledge that no-energy days happen, and when they do, just don't think about everything you have to do - and definitely don't think about the rest of the week. Just concentrate on the moment.

I was able to feel less swamped and today I feel a lot more excited about the week again. It will be good to go rock climbing, though; the exercise always makes me feel better.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Day #2: Life's Little Adventures

I just want to talk about the wonderful weather we're having right now. It is nippy out, but when you stand directly in the sun, it's like stepping into a little piece of Paradise. Spring is officially here and I think we're also getting a hint of what summer is going to be like! I love fall and winter - I'm a "skirts with boots; scarves and leather jackets and cute hats and layered tops" type of girl. Jewel tones, warm oranges, bright Christmas red, burnished gold. But I am so, so ready to pull out the bright sundresses, straw sun hats, chunky jewelry, and spiffy shades.

Yesterday is a bit of a blur; I'm not sure why. I spent a lot of time reading snatches of While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax (a really good book, BTW) and researching apartment prices in the town I'm wanting to move to in a few years: Olympia. It was mostly out of curiosity, but I did find some apartment complexes that I'm going to keep my eye on once the fantasy turns into reality. I might have already fallen in love with one of them, too. . . .

The rest of the day was spent with prepping dough for today's bread, hedgehog playtime, and outlining my finances. This girl has to buckle down and actually start pinching pennies, and I love nothing more than making lists and charts and bullet points. It's weird, actually, how much I love doing that. And like any good BBC girl, I watched the latest episode of Grantchester while I was doing it. Gotta fit in the BBC when I can, right? And I'm all about felling two trees in one blow.

All of this has reminded me how important it is to have things to look forward to in life; even if it's little things. For instance, I'm going to cinema with some friends to see The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Sunday night. I've already seen it and going to cinema isn't necessarily a big deal. But I'm unaccountably excited about it. My week is filled with endless appointments, organizing things, and club meetings. I'm exhausted and probably the last thing I should have done was schedule a cinema trip on the day that I have two other engagements. But I love it so very much. I love being busy, doing things, and every little moment is like a mini adventure. Even the cinema! Even though I've gone to the cinema with these friends several times and have already seen the movie. I know it will be fun and I'm going to absorb every moment of it.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Indian Meatballs With Curry Coconut Sauce

This recipe is courtesy of Culinary Ginger!

My culinary adventures continue! This week, I tried my hand at an Indian dish - meatballs with curry coconut sauce. These are meant to be an appetizer, but I paired it with jasmine rice and naan bread, which made for a very satisfying dinner.

Ingredients: for curry sauce

- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon mild curry powder (I used hot curry powder to make it spicier)
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 15 ounce can coconut milk (coconut cream adds extra richness)
- pinch of salt

Instructions: for curry sauce

- Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the minced garlic and saute for 1 minute.
- Stir in the spices and cook for 1 minute.
- Mix in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
- And the coconut milk (or cream) and stir well, cooking for 3 minutes until thickened.
- Throw in a pinch of salt to add a tad bit of flavor.
- Transfer to a bowl and put on a hot plate, or continue to cook over very low heat, to keep warm.

Ingredients: for the meatballs

- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into large pieces
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 onion, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon mint leaves, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions: for the meatballs

- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Put all of the meatball ingredients in a food processor.
- Pulse until the mixture is smooth. Don't over process or the meat will turn gummy
- Line baking sheets with aluminum foil. Spray the foil with nonstick spray.
- Scoop some of the meat mixture out and roll into 1 1/2 inch balls. You can use a cookie scoop; I just used a regular spoon and shaped it with my hands. It's sticky, so this can be a messy process.
- Brush the tops with some olive oil.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes.
- Once they're done, insert a toothpick and dunk them in the curry sauce.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Day #1: How to Begin

The best way to start a blog is to just jump in feet first and see what happens. I have been blogging for about five years now and have always found that you can only do so much pre-planning for posts before they start to lose any originality and heart.

Since Curves In The Road is all about "being real" and writing with "true feeling," I'm going to do as little planning as possible when it comes to my daily posts and just write what comes to my head. How I'm feeling, what I'm thinking, and see where the road takes me.

Yesterday was St. Valentine's Day: the "most romantic day of the year." I have never been a steady observer of Valentine's Day. Some might suppose this is because I'm single, but I've always maintained that St. Valentine's Day isn't just for "couples." Why can't it celebrate not just romantic love, but the love we hold for our parents, our children, our friends, our siblings? Sure, we all secretly wish to share this special day with a significant other. But we can still get in on the action without that - it's just going to be a bit different. Meanwhile, we'll wait for the Valentine's Day that we can spend with a significant other; because that time is coming!

Every year, my mum has always bought me and my siblings these Sweethearts heart candies that have cheesy little "love quotes" on them. You've probably seen them - they are everywhere, and bizarrely popular, even though I personally think the candies taste like chalk and I only eat them because my mum gave them to me. I had sort of already celebrated Valentine's Day Tuesday, so the day itself was pretty quiet. I baked heart-shaped sugar cookies with VERY pink icing (it turned out a lot pinker than I had initially intended. . . .) for all of my swing dance friends, and my friend Catherine made these amazing chocolate truffles that are to die for.

So even though some people gave me a sad look when they heard I had no one to spend Valentine's Day with, I would say that I had a very good day. Valentine's Day shared with friends is just as meaningful. Besides, my family had a movie night and we watched Misery. Now isn't that just the perfect romantic movie? ;-)

This week, I've mostly been thoughtful. Friday was my practical driving test, which I didn't pass. I would have - the instructor said I did everything beautifully. But when I was pulling out of the world's most perfect parallel park, I didn't give my front end enough room and got a tad friendly with the bumper of the truck in front of me. There was no damage, no scratches, nothing - thank goodness - but it inevitably had to be marked as an accident on my score card and it failed the entire test.

I thought I was going to be super duper upset. What a stupid mistake! Sure, it happens to everyone eventually, but it's a mistake I would never have made outside of a test setting. Surprisingly, though, I wasn't all that mad at myself. Frustrated, yes. I have to take the test all over again and I just want this over and done. But once I got my initial anger out of the way, I was able to look at the positive: though it was marked down as an accident, it really wasn't. Nothing got damaged and no one got hurt. As I observed already, everyone does do it eventually, and at least I've now done it and it'll absolutely never ever happen again. Aside from that ridiculous blunder, I did everything else perfectly. My instructor was super nice and not bitchy or rude or mean; she saw the moment I knew the mistake I made - and that it wasn't inherent reckless driving - and did her best to assure me that it happens; I'd do better next time. And you know what? There's always bumps in the road - literally and figuratively. The only thing I can do is move on and try, try again. My next attempt is this coming Friday, and I will ace it this time.

I talked the whole thing out with supportive friends and my parents (who thought it was hilarious), and then I picked myself up (with a little help from Maroon 5 and Train), and turned my energy to other things - like tackling my closet, which had turned into Mordor over the course of the last month. The mistake was stupid, but it was easy to make, and it's done and over with, and I have a second chance Friday.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Quote Wall #1

Quote Wall is for everyone to comment and share their favorite quotes of the week. Be it from a book, movie, other people - whatever you like! Share them in the comments and I'll put them up on the Quote Wall page!

"When you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough." - William Saroyan

Friday, February 13, 2015

Sweet & Sour: Pets and Dancing

Sweet & Sour is a weekly feature where I talk about one "sweet" thing that happened - and one "sour" thing. Because life throws us lemons and cookies! But because bad news should always come first, we're doing this in reverse order!

The Sour

Our Irish Water Spaniel, Jamie, has been diagnosed with bone and lung cancer. She's only got a month at most to live, so we're preparing for the loss of another beloved pet and keeping her as comfortable as possible until the end. Jamie has been with my family for a long time and she's one of the best-tempered dogs to ever exist. We're animal people - we love our pets as much as if they were just extra members of the house - and it's always really, really hard to lose one. Especially to something like cancer. The news has the entire household pretty down and upset, and I think the cloud will only get worse.

The Sweet

I got new swing/Lindy Hop shoes! And yes, I picture will follow very, very soon (I promise! I just have to grab the camera!). I tested them out Tuesday night and they are absolutely. A 100% reproduction of 1950's black-and-white saddle shoes, they've got suede soles for dancing - and they're made of real leather and smell gorgeous.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Lime Cilantro Chicken

This recipe is courtesy of InspiredDreamer!

Last Sunday, I decided to start back into cooking and baking on a regular basis. My mum is more than happy with this decision, of course, as it gives her an excuse to teach me all her tricks - and it also gives her a night off from cooking. ;-)

This quickie recipe was discovered on Pinterest. Follow the link above to visit the person's website who was so kind to share this recipe! Combined with jasmine rice and this was the perfect quick dinner recipe. It's also great for lunches or a healthy snack!


- boneless chicken, 3 breasts
- 3 or 4 limes
- 4 to 6 garlic cloves
- olive oil
- cumin
- cayenne or chili powder (chili powder tastes better with the cumin)
- 1/4 snipped cilantro
- avocado (optional)


  1. Mince the garlic, snip the cilantro and zest a lime. Juice the lime carcass along with 2 more limes. Cut the lime into wedges. If you're adding the avocado, slice it, too. These will serve as garnish.
  2. Cube the chicken.
  3. Pour just enough olive oil into a large skillet to cover the bottom. Heat it over medium-high heat until it's very hot, almost smoking. Add the chicken and let it cook undisturbed.
  4. Once the chicken is browned nicely on the bottom, sprinkle it generously with cumin and chili powder (essentially, add as much or as little as you want; to taste). Let it cook another minute or 2, until the white line has moved about halfway through the pieces.
  5. Turn the chicken and let it cook another couple of minutes, long enough to brown. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the garlic and lime zest. Stir it a little and let cook for another 2 minutes, but don't let the garlic burn.
  6. Once the chicken is cooked through, add the lime juice and stir everything up.
  7. Garnish with the cilantro and serve up with some jasmine rice or anything with your choice!