28 February 2011

Health Update

A little over five weeks after my "cold" started, I was diagnosed with bronchitis.  A couple of weeks after that, I called a friend of mine who is a doctor and asked for a second opinion.  He thought I might actually have an adenovirus.  He asked me to call him in a week or so if I wasn't feeling any better.

I didn't call him back because I started feeling better, even though I was still coughing a little.  But in the past few days, I've started coughing more and I'm still feeling crappy.  So I called him again today.  Today's theory is that I may have pertussis (more commonly known as whooping cough) or RSV (respiratory syncytial virus).

He started me on a course of antibiotics, which is an absolute last-resort for me (he knows I absolutely hate abx of any kind), just in case it IS pertussis.  He also wants me to use my home nebuliser three times a day.  And I have some Tessalon perles to take to help prevent the coughing.  We made an appointment for Thursday, and if I'm better by then, I can cancel.

27 February 2011

Reading Goal Update

My reading goal for 2011 is to read 26,000 pages.  I'm updating a day early because although I count pages read rather than books read, I update my spreadsheet when I finish a book, and I won't be finishing any books tomorrow (unless I do nothing but read tomorrow).

So far this year, I've read 5,145 pages or 16 books.  Six of these books have cozies, thanks to the blog I've been reading, The Cozy Chicks.  In addition to the cozy (yes, I know the British spelling is "cosy," but I feel weird spelling it "cosy" and then referring to "The Cozy Chicks") authors who blog regularly, there is also a guest contributor to the blog, Dru, who spotlights different cozies she's received and reviewed.  So besides The Cozy Chicks (and some of them have more than one series), there are the other series that I get an itch to explore because they sound interesting.

I mean, how do I NOT check out a series about a woman who leaves the corporate world and begins apprenticing as a plumber?  Or a "Southern Beauty Shop Mystery" series?  C'mon!  These are things that are begging to be read!

26 February 2011

Phone Calls with Mom

Some of you who know me from Rav are familiar with the "Phone Calls with Min's Mom" posts/threads.

Here's tonight's edition.

Mom: I'm proud of you.
Me: You are?
Mom: You didn't know that?
Me: I wasn't sure today.
Mom: I'm sometimes embarrassed of you, but I'm always proud of you.
Me: HEY!
Mom: Like the day the guy asked you your name, and he didn't hear you, so he asked you again, and then you shouted it at him and then you spelled it at him for emphasis.
Me: I did no such thing.
Mom: You did.  You were about four years old.
Me: Hmph.  I don't remember that.
Mom: Did I tell you Jerry Mathis died?
Me: Yeah...?  Oh my God!  It was Jerry I did that to?!?!
Mom: No, I was just wondering if I told you he died.  Because it was a Coke meeting that happened at.
Me: Jerry died at a Coke meeting?
Mom: No, the guy asked you your name at a Coke meeting.
Me: Oh. 
Mom: And you said, "I TOLD you it's Min! M-I-N! MIN!"
Me: See?  I was being nice.  I just wanted to make sure he heard me!
Mom: You were being a rude child, and it was embarrassing.

25 February 2011


Today, I reconnected with someone I had lost touch with.  She and I haven't talked in years.  We hadn't had a falling out or anything, we just simply lost touch.

She's someone I've known since I think my junior year in high school.  I met her because she was the girlfriend and then fiancé of one of the hockey players of the KC hockey team.  As I've mentioned before, our season tickets were (coincidentally) next to the team sat the wives/girlfriends, so we got to them well over the years.  When I was in undergrad, I worked for her a bit.  So had custody of her little brother, who had juvenile Huntington's Disease, and I helped care for him, which sometimes meant picking him up from school on his particularly bad days.

Anyway, after Johnny died (Huntington's is a terminal disease), she met Bill (side note: her fiancé Michael, the hockey player had been killed in a car accident during my first year of undergrad) and they moved to Florida.

We managed to keep in touch for awhile, and I even went to went her wedding in Boston about nine or ten years ago.

For some reason today, I decided to try to email her, and not long after, I got an email back!  Within the span of today, we've already exchanged several emails and have gotten caught up on the broad strokes.

Colour me content.

24 February 2011

Slow Cooker Curried Chicken and Brown Rice Casserole

From Diabetic Cooking magazine.  Jan/Feb issue.

1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 T vegetable oil
1 t whole cumin seeds
1 stick cinnamon
2 bay leaves
1 medium onion, finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 t ginger, finely chopped
1/2 t turmeric
1 c plain fat-free yoghurt
1-2 t salt, divided (optional)
1/2 t garam masala
1-1/2 c uncooked brown basmati rice
2 c water
cilantro (optional)

1. Cut chicken into 1" pieces.  Set aside.

2.  Heat oil in heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Add cumin seeds, cinnamon stick and bay leaves.  Cook and stir a few seconds until cumin seeds are golden brown.  Add sliced onions, garlic and ginger; cook 2 to 3 minutes until onions are are soft and transparent.  Add chicken pieces and cook and stir 3 to 4 minutes or until chicken turns white, stirring occasionally.  Add turmeric and stir to mix.  Transfer to slow cooker.

3.  Whip yoghurt with a fork.  Pour over chicken.  Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt, if desired, and garam masala.

4.  Add rice to slow cooker in an even layer.  Add remaining salt, if desired, and water.  Set slow cooker on HIGH 4 hours.  Removed and discard bay leaves and cinnamon stick.  Serve warm and garnish with cilantro, if desired.

Makes 8 servings (1 cup per serving).

Notes: As per usual, I used olive oil.  I have no cinnamon sticks, so I just threw in some ground cinnamon.  And I nixed the bay leaves completely.  Next time, I would probably use two onions.

Also, when it says "four hours," it means FOUR hours.  Do not get distracted on the phone and go over or it will be dry (but other than being dry, it was VERY good).  This will lead to you experimenting by putting some yoghurt in the bowl and trying to moisten the bowl of leftovers in the microwave that way.  And getting heated curried chicken with crumbly yoghurt.  And then griping about it on the phone with your mom... while she laughs hysterically.  And then she'll tell you to put a tablespoon of water in the bowl and cover the bowl with a dampened paper towel and put it back in the micro for another minute.  And voilà!  And then she'll make you say, "Gee, Mom, you were right for once!"  And then she'll say, "Boy, that's nice to hear once every thirty years.  I guess Brook doesn't know EVERYTHING after all, does she?"

That concludes my notes on this recipe.  Good luck.

23 February 2011

The Facts of Life

No, not THOSE facts of life...

Remember the theme song "take the good, take the bad..."?  That was my day today.

It started with the good.  I had lunch with my friend Jess, who I don't see nearly enough.  We met at Minar Palace, and we had good Indian food, which I don't eat nearly enough.  Yummy naan and kofta curry.

Then I trotted off to Trader Joe's.  I immediately ran into my TJ's buddy, who gave me a tasty treat.  Yum!  Can't beat a guy who gives you candy upon arrival.  I picked up exactly three things from produce.  The next thing I wanted was something I couldn't reach.  Okay, I'm 4'6".  I'm used to things I can't reach.  The worker bees at TJ's are used to reaching things for me.  I looked around and none of them were around.  No big; I'll just get the next thing I need.  Uh, it was on the top shelf, too.  Oookay.  On the next thing.  Um.  Another top shelf item.  Le sigh.

On to frozen foods.  SIGH.  Another item I can't reach.  And another.

Okay.  On to dairy.  Great.  The fat-free milk hasn't been fronted (for those of who haven't had the joy of working retail, this means the items at the front of the shelf have been taken by a customer and a worker hasn't yet moved new product to the front of the shelf), which means I can't reach IT, either.

I swing back to produce.  Still no one there.  I call my mom and promptly burst into tears.  "I'm at Trader Joe's and I CAN'T REACH ANYTHING!!!!" 

Now, I've obviously been short all my life.  I generally go shopping with someone because of this issue, and I've learnt to not be shy about asking for help* when necessary (although you'd be surprised how many people will be rude about reaching something for me sometimes, or will just downright  refuse to).  But it's usually just one item in the store.  Or one item here or there.  But for some reason, this was an unreasonable, overwhelming amount of items today, and I become frustrated and I reached a melting point.

Mom talked me down from the ledge, and I was on my way to the Captain's Desk to ask for assistance when my buddy saw me and asked what was wrong (those of you who know me know that my face speaks VOLUMES).  I explained the situation and he followed me around the store and personal shopped for me.  We had a great time, and he even cheered me up a bit.

*Well, there was that time I was with Mom at JoAnn and I was trying to put something back on a rack, and she took it from me and put it back herself.  I said, "I could have done it myself!"  Her reply was, "Yes, I know that.  But I didn't feel like waiting the ten minutes it was going to take."  Then she turned around before she saw the facial expression and possible accompanying gesture.

22 February 2011

Mini Chocolate-Chip Cookies

When this recipe came to my inbox this morning, compliments of Weight Watchers, I knew what I was having for dessert tonight.

2 T butter, softened
2 t canola oil
1/2 c dark brown sugar, packed
1 t vanilla extract
1/8 t table salt
1 large egg white
3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/4 t baking soda
3 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips, about 1/2 c

Preheat oven to 375º

In a medium bowl, cream together butter, oil, and sugar.  Add vanilla, salt, and egg white; mix thoroughly to combine.

In a small bowl, mix together flour and baking soda; stir into batter.  Add chocolate chips.  Stir to distribute evenly throughout (this is what the recipe says, although I think this is obvious.  I mean, what's the alternative?  "Throw in chips in one big clump.  Do not stir, ensuring that chips are are left in one cookie for some lucky bastard.")

Drop 48 half-teaspoons of dough onto one of two large non-stick baking sheets, leaving a small amount of space between each cookie.  Bake cookies until golden around the edges, about 4 to 6 minutes; cool on a wire rack.

Recipe mods: I used olive oil, because no one gave me the memo that canola oil is the BMOC now.  I used the whole egg because I experienced reading fail, but it didn't seem to make a difference.  I also didn't use baking soda.  Despite all odds, my cookies still rose.  Mom says God just knew I needed cookies tonight.*  I also dropped in teaspoons, because there was no way in Hell I was doing 48 half-teaspoon-fulls.  When I got to the second cycle, there was just a bit left over, and I lamented to Mom that it ALWAYS ended up this way - with just a little left over.  So the second batch of cookies are a bit bigger than the first batch because I wasn't doing a third batch of three cookies!

*Mom also told me a story of one day when her kids (she used to teach high school home ec) put their cookies under the broiler for the entire cooking time.  Of course, they should they burned.  To a crisp.  Should have set of the smoke detectors!  But they didn't.  In fact, they were perfect.  And they were the best cookies they had ever eaten.  Sometimes, the cooking gods just intervene.

21 February 2011

Book Review: Motherhood is Murder

This is the second book in the Maternal Instincts series, which means that Kate's baby, Laurie is now two months old, which is also approximately how long Kate has been an amateur P.I.

She stumbles on her case when she gets invited to check out a mommy group when the group goes on a rare child-free outing - a dinner cruise.  However, the event ends in disaster when one of the mommies ends up dead.  One of the other mommies hires Kate to find out what happened, mistakenly believing that Kate is a full-fledged, licensed P.I.

I really enjoyed the first book in the series, so I had been looking forward to this book.  What a disappointment.

There were four couples in the mommy group, and one of the suspected motives becomes adultery, with every mommy pointing out every possible combo, which made it confusing to remember who the actual original couples were.  Eventually, I just gave up trying.

It's also getting increasingly annoying that Kate CONSTANTLY calls her daughter ridiculous nicknames like "Lemon Drop" and "Peanuty Pie."  It's as if she doesn't know her daughter's name.  Meanwhile, the husband isn't all that helpful - he doesn't know how to warm up the pumped breast milk, he doesn't know how to bathe the baby - I think this is supposed to be comedic, but it isn't.

The third book comes out next week, and I'll read it as the tie-breaker in the hopes that this book was a sophomore slump.

20 February 2011

Still Settling In

I've been in this flat for just over two years, but I'm still settling in.  There are still about three boxes I have yet to fully unpack, I have yet to nail my full-length mirror on a wall (although I know where it goes), and I just this month organised my kitchen in a way that is satisfactory to me.

Another project I want to get done before I start working again (no, still nothing to report there; don't get excited) is to go through the boxes under my bed, which are mostly "things that have nowhere else to live, and some of these things should be thrown away but I didn't have time to do it at the time so it was easier to shove it in a box."

I have made a lot of progress while I've been not working.  I organised my basement storage space.  I sorted out winter clothes and not-so-much winter clothes.

Thanks to Izzy, significant progress was made on organising my books.  Thanks to Naomi and Ria, progress was made on organising the stash.

Let's see where things look at Year Three!

19 February 2011

Mrs. Tennison and The "Just About" Debate, Part II

So, once again, I get slaughtered in the "Just About" debate.  Sigh.

It's okay.  Y'all are entitled to your wrong opinions.  :P

Today has been a mixed day.  NASCAR is back in full swing, but today's race meant Danica time, and I wasn't that thrilled with most of the Top Five finishers, with the lone exception being the guy who is now the Nationwide points leader.

Mom started working a doll fair today.  It's a three-day fair where everyone who has a table is selling something to do with dolls.  As most of you know, she makes American Girl doll clothes and accessories (the accessories are mostly doll bed sheets since AG sells doll bed, but no sheets.  Poor dolls!).  She called me from the fair, which was odd, so I ran to the phone.  (If you've ever been with me when Mom calls, you know she has a rather special ringtone.)  She asked if I remembered when I was in school.  Now, think about this for a second.  Is this anything that most people in their mid-30s who haven't suffered brain damage have forgotten?

Me: Uh, yes.
Mom: Do you remember being in [the gifted programme I was in.]
Me: Yes, Mother.
Mom: Do you remember Mrs. Tennison?
Me: Uh-huh.
Mom: Well, she's here.
Me: Mrs. Tennison is there?  Oh, wow! I remember her!  She was mean!
Mom: She was???
Me: Yeah.  Well, not mean, just, you know... not the warm fuzzy type.
Mom: Do you want to talk to her?
Me: Let me make sure I have the right person.  Is she kind of short and overweight?  And black hair?  And glasses?  And a big nose?  with a mole?
Mom: I don't see a mole.  But maybe it got cancerous and she had it removed.

Anyway, I got to talk to Mrs. Tennison for about ten minutes, and it was really lovely.  I didn't ask her about her mole, though.  That seemed rude.  She told me when I came back to town, I should look her up in the phone book and come visit her.  I just might.  I really enjoyed her class, and [the gifted programme] was always a respite from the rest of the school.

We were bussed to [the gifted programme] every Wednesday (each school in the district went on different days).  It was a special programme where we didn't do regular classes.  We got to do Logic (instead of Maths) and play with these things called computers (this WAS the mid-80s, remember) and had Creative Writing (instead of English) and every one else was either a nerd or a geek, too.  Going back to my regular school on Thursday was SUCH a letdown.

I really may look up Mrs. Tennison come December.

18 February 2011

Stuart Woods Contest Update

Some of you entered my Stuart Woods contest.  The winner is...  Kirsten!  She guessed page 35, and the first sex scene was actually page 66.

I told Kirsten at the time that I was going to bid one dollar (er, page one) because I thought she had a gross overbid, but she thought that if Stone met a new person, it might take awhile.  Apparently, she was right!  But it wasn't because Stone took awhile or for lack of trying.  He kept trying... and trying... and trying.  I'm not sure why the woman didn't just run from the smell of desperation!

But she stayed.  And then got killed.  And then Stone moved on to the next woman.

Although, had the contest been on the page of the first airplane/piloting scene, Kirsten would have been out of it and Ria would have won.  Maybe next time!

17 February 2011

Finish or Frog

One of the things I got accomplished last weekend (with the help of Naomi and Ria) was going through some of my WIPs (works in progress) and some of my more languishing hibernating projects.  Each one was assigned to be either finished or frogged.  If I decided to frog it, it got frogged on the spot.

I was feeling particularly pleased when I got through my entire box of WIPs.

When we had made as much progress as we could for the time we had allotted (Naomi and I were simultaneously matching yarn in my stash with projects in my Ravelry queue and projects I had previously printed and saved for various reasons), and we had to start reorganising my stash, I found a whole other bag of WIPs.

But now I know I'm down to only bag of WIPs.

WIPs... be warned.  I'm coming for you.

16 February 2011

The "Just About" Debate

Thanks to Google Reader's "recommendation" feature, I stumbled upon this blog sometime last year.  It's a great blog that I've added to Reader, and I often find myself linking other people to certain posts and making them read this or that.

But I've become obsessed with a post from last week.  Holly (the blog owner) had an argument with her husband about the meaning of "just about."  As in she could "just about get out of the car" when he had parked really close to the next car in a parking lot.  He thought this meant she could NOT get out of the car.  She thought it was very clear that she COULD exit the car.  (Go here to read the actual, original post.)  She posted a poll on her blog and let the readers have at it.  Nearly a week later, her most recent post was about a few different things, but one of them was STILL going on about "just about," mostly because her readers are still yammering about it in her comments, even when her post ISN'T abot "just about."

I asked Mom last night for her opinion regarding "just about" and we got in a rather heated discussion, which somehow devolved into "Well, how would you know?  You like a guy who shakes his butt in comercials!"  (Don't ask.)

So, what do you think?  Does "just about" mean you CAN do or that you can NOT do it?

15 February 2011

Weird Quirks

When I was home (in Missouri) for the winter holidays, I discovered that I apparently have a weird quirk.  This comes up in today's blog post because I found myself doing it tonight.  I never knew it was weird until I told Mom about it and she informed me of my absurdity.

When I have leftovers of some kind, I (obviously) put them in some kind of container.  But then as the leftovers get smaller in quantity, I move them into a smaller container.  This pleases me.  It makes more room in my fridge (and, no, it's not as if I have such a small fridge that I NEED the room), and I get to see the progress I'm making in my leftover buffet.  But I'll also do this with things such as salsa or chip dip (both of which I did tonight).

Mom says this is ridiculous because I'm dirtying extra dishes.  But I tried to explain to her that I'm actually FREEING UP the bigger containers.  She didn't buy it.

So... what do you think?  Am I nuts? or is she?

And what kinds of odd quirks do you have?

14 February 2011

It hurts

My head, that is.

I've got a headache to beat the band.  And they put one of those things in down the street so that every time a car drives over it, I hear a big ol' "BUH-BANG!  BUH-BANG!"  It's awesome.

Until today's headache came along though, I had a good day.  I met Anju for lunch in the city.  We tried a new-to-us restaurant in the city, Wok.  I had some spicy beef and scallops, and we split an order of crab rangoon.

I then went to the library to return two books and pick up three books.  I also visited with the librarian and the security guard there.  I like it that I visit the branch often enough that they all know me.  Even the after-school programme guy knows me.

On the way home, I called my friend Kristi and we talked for a bit.  We each owed the other an apology for things that are private, and I was happy we were able to have that moment with each other.  It's nice that we've been friends long enough that we can have those moments that are sincere and meaningful, even if they take place within mere moments because she needs to rush off to do class prep.

I've got some pots on the proverbial stove, and I'm hoping something comes of... well, something.

Stay tuned.

13 February 2011

Why I owe the TSA an apology

For Christmas, my mom gave me black sweatpants and a black sweatshirt.  This was a bit of an inside joke, because I had all but begged for these.  Every year for the past several years, I had asked for black sweatpants/sweatshirts, and she (or my grandma) has bought me pretty much every colour but.  This year, I put my foot down.  The list made it very clear exactly which colour I wanted.  (Use your imagination.)

As per usual, before I left Missouri, Mom and I spent some time in her sewing room together altering all of the clothes that I've acquired during my stay.  Sleeves get shortened, pants legs get hemmed, shoulders get moved up, etc.  The sewing room gets turned into a regular ol' sweat shop for a day.  Mom and I have a nice routine established with trying on, measuring, cutting, serging, sewing, etc.

Anyway, when I got home, I found the sweatpants (the MOST comfortable sweatpants I've ever owned - thanks, Mom!), but the sweatshirt was nowhere to be found.  When Mom called me to report that I'd left my Denny Hamlin shirt there (she only figured it out because she went to put hers on, but the sleeves were MUCH too short - ha!), I asked her to look for the sweatshirt.  When we talked a few days later, she said she'd looked everywhere and couldn't find it.  By then, I'd looked through all of the sleepwear I'd unpacked and hadn't found it, either.

I was really sad.  I was already mad at TSA for breaking one of my suitcases, so Mom and I blamed TSA for stealing my über-comfortable, most-awesome black sweatshirt while they were making sure I had no contraband in my suitcase.  But we figure the joke was on them.  Because when they got the sweatshirt home, they'd realise it wouldn't fit anyway since we'd already shortened the sleeves on it.  Ha ha on you, TSA stealing person!

But Thursday, I found my sweatshirt.  Mom said I owed the TSA apology.  I said she did, too, since she was also on the "TSA stole your sweatshirt" bandwagon.  But she said she only said it because I started it.

So, here you go: Sorry TSA person.

12 February 2011

A Satisfying Day

I got more accomplished today than expected, because of help from Ria and Naomi.

I got great news from a close friend.

I got to hear my mom and Ria argue about who hung up on who.

I laughed myself into an asthma attack.

It was all amazingly satisfying.

11 February 2011

Getting ready for the weekend

This weekend, I'll be hosting my friend Ria. Tomorrow, I'm having a few friends over for a board game party, and since she lives a couple of hours away, it made more sense for her to stay for the weekend.

This meant that I had to get the house in order. No small feat for someone who has been mostly either in bed or on the couch for the past three weeks.

But I did my best, and I hope she has a comfortable stay. I also hope my guests tomorrow are understanding of the condition of my home.

I did my best, and I think it's mostly okay.

10 February 2011

A health update of a different kind

Those of you who follow me on Twitter may have noticed that back in October, I got some news of the health sort that I wasn't happy with and I haven't really shared.  I needed some time to process it, and I also needed some time to be ready to deal with some of reactions I'm sure I'll get.

Some of the more astute and loyal readers will probably have noticed that the most recipe I posted came from a diabetes magazine, which is a bit of a clue.  So I thought I might as well come clean.  While I could have just come across that recipe at some point, you'll be seeing more recipes from that particular publication, as I now subscribe to it.

A bit of background for those of you who may be new(er) readers: For the past few years, I have bounced in and out of pre-diabetes range.  I have lost weight (sometimes on my own and sometimes with the help of Weight Watchers), but when it came back, it could always be blamed on my thyroid condition flaring up.  This would mean I would gain all the weight I had lost plus a few more pounds.  While the extra pounds don't on their own put me in pre-diabetes range, it doesn't help since the first thing they'll tell you is to try to lose weight.

So, when I saw my endocrinologist in October, I took her the labs I had.  I actually had two sets of labs because the first set I had made NO sense whatsoever.  The first set had my cholesterol going up over 50 points in the past year despite me losing nearly 15 pounds (they also had everything else going the wrong way).  So I had a second one done.  This lab was also bad, but not nearly as bad as the first one.

Bottom line: Dr. El-Hajj said that she's worried about me.  Despite me working really hard to lose a lot of weight (my BMI had gone down 3.2 points in a year, which isn't too shabby), my blood sugar numbers had all gone UP, which is (obviously) not the expected result.  Also, I'm Korean (being Asian is a risk factor for diabetes, but Koreans are particularly at risk within that set), I carry most of my fat in my belly (which is a huge risk factor), and I don't know my medical history.

So she decided to put me on an on oral diabetes medication.  I take three pills every day with a low-fat supper (the consequences of having it with a non-low-fat supper are not-so-good), and I have a modified diet now.  No Coke (I never drink any anyway - no loss there.  Well, I drink diet decaf Coke, which my med team agrees doesn't count; it's basically carbonated flavoured water.), no juice (I only drink juice when I'm sick - so no real loss there, either), and fewer pizzas and pastas.  I probably only have pizza about three or four times a year, so that's not a huge hit.  Pasta isn't too bad.  when I do have pasta, I usually cook pasta with a ton of veggies in it.  I rarely just cook a box of mac and cheese and have that as a meal (unless I'm really desperate for comfort food or just exhausted).  The big thing is "no sweets."  So I've been doing a lot of sugar free snacks.  I actually read a lot of the information on the American Diabetes Association's webpage, and they don't ban sugar entirely.  They use a sugar exchange system.

Those of you who know me know I'm not huge on sweets anyway, so this hasn't been a huge hit to my diet, but I have been much mindful of how many sweets I eat and the sugar exchanges - breads, fruits, etc.

I've been selective about who I've shared this with thus far (partly because it's just a LONG story) but also because I really haven't wanted to hear "but at least you don't actually HAVE diabetes!"  And while that's true, and while I'm grateful that I don't have to deal with diabetes or checking my blood sugar daily (or more often) or insulin shots or having to timing my meals just so (my mother's husband has diabetes, so I'm very familiar with the routine), this HAS still had an impact on my life.  And it may for either the rest of my life or until I actually develop diabetes.  I have my next blood draw... well, it was supposed to be late-January or early-February, but I've been down with this bronchitis, so when I'm back on my feet, I'll drag my butt to the lab and we'll see if this newest experiment has been worth it.

09 February 2011

Friday Night Lights - An Era Ends

Don't worry, NBC-viewers; this is a spoiler-free zone.

As EW astutely put it in their most recent issue, FNL has cranked out five outstanding seasons (four, if you don't count Season Two).  I'm paraphrasing, although they DID include the quip about Season Two (no, really - the second season was awful).

This was a show that wasn't just about football.  It was about family and relationships.  It was about what's right and what's wrong with people and with the world at large.  Although it was set largely in a high school, there was nothing 90210 about it.  While these kids struggled with crushes and how to ask the girl/guy out, they also (at times) had the weight of the world on their shoulders.  It had the right combination of comedy and drama.  It had beautiful scenery, but it wasn't about the Austin landscape (which doubled as the Dillon, Texas, setting).

And the way it was shot, it felt so real.  Kyle Chandler's and Connie Britton's Emmy nominations were long deserved and the Emmy wins for casting and writing are much deserved.

This was quality television, and I shall miss it dearly.  (Although since I have every episode either on DVD or on my TiVo, I shall drop in the residents of Dillon often.)

Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose.

08 February 2011

February Fingerless Mitts

The mitts I'm doing for the February fingerless mitts KAL aren't going very well.  The theme that was chosen (we voted) was "colourwork," and then we could each choose our own colourwork pattern.  I chose to do the Endpaper Mitts.  In a swap several years ago, my friend Rebecca gave me this pattern along with appropriate yarn for completing the project because I had mentioned in my swap questionnaire that I was interested in learning how to do colourwork.

Since then, I've done exactly colourwork project, but I wasn't thrilled with how it turned out.  The floats were just a tad too tight.  They weren't so tight as to render the project unwearable, but they were tight enough that I was dissatisfied, and I was scared to try another project lest I have the same result or a worse one.  What if I spent all that time (and yarn!) on a project only to have an unwearable project?

So, now, here am I, years later, finally casting on that colourwork project.  I dutifully started on the first day of February.  Now, a week later, how far have I gotten?

Thirteen rows of 1x1 ribbing.  And each row has only 56 stitches.  This bronchitis is kicking my ass but good.

07 February 2011

Bean Salad with Chipotle Chile Dressing

from "Diabetes Cooking" Magazine January/February 2011 Issue

1 15-oz can no-salt-added kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 c. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 small green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
1/4 c. finely chopped scallion
1 jalepeño pepper, cored, seeded, and minced
1/2 c. shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese
1T vegetable broth
1 T tomato paste
t t white wine vinegar
2 t canola oil
1/4 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1/4 t ground cumin
1/8 t chipotle chile powder

1.  Combine beans, tomatoes, bell pepper, scallion, jalapeño, and cheese in large bowl.  Toss gently, but well.

2.  Combine broth, tomato paste, vinegar, oil, salt, pepper, cumin, and chile powder in a cup.  Stir well.  Pour over salad.  Toss well and set aside five minutes for flavours to blend.

Yield: 4 servings.

Note: This dish is wonderful served as a salad or even as a filling for a quesadilla, taco, or burrito.

Modifications: I made this without the scallion, simply because I didn't have any on hand.  I used co-jack cheese, because I apparently didn't pay attention at the grocery store.  I used chicken broth, because I wasn't making a special trip to the market when I was sick for one tablespoon when I had chicken broth on hand.  I also used olive oil instead of canola oil.

Rachel and I had this as a stand-alone salad, and we were both really pleased with the results.

06 February 2011

Relaxing with Rachel

Today was a great day - low-key, but great.  My friend Rachel came over and we had our customary cooking and trash tv day.  Usually, we cook together and then watch tv (or watch some tv, take a break to cook, and then watch more tv), but I did most of the cooking last night since I knew she couldn't stay too long today since she had mentioned she had an exam this coming Friday.

It ended up being a good thing I had done the cooking since she ended up being nearly an hour and a half late.  Blame Ian, her boyfriend (it's a whole hangover story; don't ask).

We had a Bean Salad with Chipotle Chile Dressing (recipe to come tomorrow) and a Jello Pie.

Then I gave her a choice of catching up on Top Chef All-Stars (she hasn't seen of the episodes yet; so don't spoil them if you see her!), watching an stand-up special I had recorded a couple of months ago that I had found particularly funny, or watching a few episodes of Millionaire Matchmaker featuring these two amazingly batshit crazy women.  I explained the ways in which the women were batshit crazy, and she went for the crazy.  She wants to see TC:AS, but since we didn't have a lot of time (and we always like to save some time for just turning off the tv and catching up with each other), she didn't want to get sucked into the beginning of the season, only to have to turn into off only a few episodes in.

So we did three episodes of Millionaire Matchmaker (for anyone who watches, it was the episode with Robin Kassner, the woman who loves Hello Kitty, plumbers, and assholes), and the two episodes with Stacy Kessler - the original one, and then the one where Patti makes Stacy take the lie detector test).  Then we watched the stand-up special.  After that, we just hung out for awhile and talked about our lives since we had last seen each other (at my birthday party).

In slightly related news, Rachel has a bit of a cough.  It's funny to watch two MPHs, one of whom is a med student, work in a kitchen together when they are both ill.  I don't think I've ever seen so much meticulous washing or "this is yours, not mine"-ing or coughing into sleeves (not hands) and such.  I swear, we could have starred in a video or something.

05 February 2011

Game Shows

I love game shows.  LOVE them.

Mostly, I love shouting at the people on them.  Thus, my neighbours probably hate them.

For instance, the morons the other day on "Million Dollar Money Drop" who didn't know that Billy Crystal has hosted more Oscar shows (eight) than Steve Martin (three, including the one he co-hosted with Alec Baldwin)?  Ha!  Or the woman on "Jeopardy!" the other day who called the "valley of the shadow of the death" the "valley of the shadow of darkness"? Unacceptable!

"Million Dollar Money Drop" is a pretty new show.  You start out with one million dollars, and the object of the game is to keep the money.  At the beginning of the show, each question has four answers.  You have to place your bundles of money on the correct answer.  If you aren't sure of the answer, you can spread your money among different answers, as long as you keep one answer blank.  The wrong answer choices will drop out, and the money you put on those answers goes away forever.  Whatever money you have left at the end of seven questions is yours to keep.

Earlier this week, one of the questions was, "Which of these is heaviest: a baseball, a basketball, a football, or a hockey puck?"  And the women kept yelling to her husband that the puck HAD to be heaviest.  Her reasoning?  Because when they drop the puck, it just FALLS RIGHT DOWN to the ice.  It JUST. FALLS!  RIGHT AWAY!  Also, when it hits things, it SMASHES THEM!  Therefore, it must be heaviest.  They also eliminated basketball right away.  Because it's "full of air."  That was the second question.  They lost all of their money.  ALL.  OF.  IT.

It was brilliant.  I loved it.

Have I mentioned how much I love game shows?

04 February 2011

Win a Kindle from Ellery Adams

Faithful readers of my blog may remember me blogging about The Cozy Chicks a couple of weeks ago and how they have some really great contests.

Well, one of The Cozy Chicks is at it again.  In an effort to boost early sales for her new book, A Deadly Cliché, author Ellery Adams is giving away a Kindle.  All you need to do to enter is send her an email telling her one of three things and she'll enter you in the drawing.

No purchase required, and she promises to delete your email after the contest ends.  You won't be put on an email list or anything like that.

For more details, go see her actual blog entry about the contest here.

03 February 2011

New Stuart Woods Book

Those of you who follow me on goodreads (and actually read my reviews) know that I have a love/hate relationship with Stuart Woods.  He writes legal thrillers.  I was introduced to him by a woman I babysat for my last summer in Kansas City.  Once upon a time, he used to be interesting and good.  Thus, my reading all of his books.

However, at some point, he jumped the shark.

He has a wealth of knowledge on flying airplanes, and he feels he MUST share this with all of us.  At some point, his main protagonist (most of his books revolve around Stone Barrington, an attorney who ends up serving as more of a private investigator than an actual attorney) acquired a pilot's license.  Or, as Diana Gabaldon (of the "Outlander" series) once put it, "I did the research, and now you'll suffer for it!"  As Stone prepares for take-off, he'll write for PAGES about pre-flight inspection, what's going on in the cockpit, etc.  It's exhausting.  Mister, can we get back to the plot, please?

I also mentioned in a recent review that I believe he's in a constant race with himself to see how quickly he can put a sex scene in a book.  Recently, he had two sex scenes on page 11.  Of course, this doesn't mean he can write sex scenes WELL.  A sex scene in one of his books consisted of "then they had inventive sex."  Way to be descriptive there, Mr. Writer!  Another one had the woman "climbing him like a tree."  So, you know, maybe it's better that he NOT attempt to describe the sex.

Which brings me to today's contest.  Guess which page the first sex scene appears on, and you win!  Standard TPIR rules apply.  You must be closest without going over.  Unfortunately, I have nothing to offer the winner except pride and glory.

Enter your guess by way of comment by midnight EST Thursday, 10 February 2011.

02 February 2011

2011 so far...

So far, 2011 hasn't been kind to my friends.

One friend has lost a relative that was dear to her.  The same friend now has a relative in ICU.

Another friend has a close friend with inoperable cancer.

A third friend has lost her job.

A family member has failing health.

2011 seriously needs to step it up.

01 February 2011

My Most Excellent Pharmacist

Many of you have heard me talk about my excellent health care physicians.  And some of you have heard me talk about how awesome my former pharmacist Jeffrey was.  Jeffrey had hired Joshua several years ago, and now that Jeffrey has left, Joshua is now the pharm manager and he has followed in Jeffrey's most excellent footsteps as far as customer service skills.  It probably won't come as any great surprise that Joshua and I have gotten to know each other pretty well over the years, given the number of health issues that I have.

After yesterday's doctor visit, I headed straight to CVS to pick up my prescriptions.  My doctor's office send prescriptions electronically to cooperating pharmacies, so I knew that (in theory, at least) there was a chance that the scripts could be ready by the time I walked there.  I got there, picked out a few supplies I needed and headed to the pharmacy.  The pharm tech looked for my things (yes, ALL of the pharm staff know me by name), but didn't find anything.  I told her that it was just called in (I still use the "old school" term), so it was fine if it wasn't ready yet.  She checked and couldn't find it.  She checked with Joshua, and he didn't have it.  But I heard him say, "When I'm off the phone, I'll check the voice mail."

I sat with my BlackBerry (I didn't feel like pulling out my book) and Joshua came over and said, "Min?  What exactly is it that I'm supposed to have for you?"  I told him the two scripts, and I said, "But it's not phone; it should be fax."  He said, "Gotcha."  Not more than ten seconds later, he came back with a piece of paper, and whispered, "Just give me a few minutes to get this done for you."

Then I remembered that the NP had said that the cough syrup was "really nasty tasting."  So I got up.  "Hey, Joshua?"  "Yeah?"  "I was told that the syrup tastes awful."  "Really?  Uh... okaaaaay."  "Oh, really?  It's not that bad?"  "Nope.  Not really."  "Oh, okay.  'Cause I was just going to ask you to do some magic to it to make it NOT taste as bad."  "How about you eat some candy after you take it?"  "Works for me!  Thanks!"

About ten minutes after that, I had my meds in hand and was being rung up.  I had another question for him about one of my other meds that I'm supposed to take "with dinner," but since all this started, I haven't really been eating, so he gave me some advice on that, too.

Overall, he's pretty awesome.  No matter how busy he is, he takes the time to answer questions, ask how you're doing, make sure you understand your med changes, etc.  He listened to my concerns about his tie selection (seriously - that tie was NOT appropriate for post-Labour Day wear), and he gave me advice for what to watch when I was couch-bound for three weeks in row ("The Office" - U.S. version).  Also, when the receipt pops out the random survey for you to take, he'll give you free candy.  But it's not a bribe.  It's just an advance.  You know, for your time for filling out the survey.  :)