18 November 2011

List #35: Quirks I Have

1.  Gum must be eaten in sticks of two
If it's not a STICK of gum, it doesn't have to be two of them.  Like Hubba Bubba are bigger, so that's okay.  And if someone offers me a stick of gum, I'm not going to be rude and demand a second stick just so I can eat it.

2.  The Kleenex (yes, actual Kleenex) boxes in my house must match
I have crashed entire Kleenex displays looking for matching boxes.  I would even rather have the ugly green box than have mismatched boxes.  And I prefer the Kleenex Anti-Viral tissues.  Those lotioned tissue creep me out.

3.  I have to have at least five SEPTA tokens in my pocket when I leave the house
If I know I'm going more than one round trip, I pack more than five tokens.  If I take less than five tokens, I get nervous.  I have no idea what I think will happen that will necessitate these extra three tokens, but I must have five.

4. I can't stand to blow my nose in front of other people
If I'm in a restaurant, for instance, I'll excuse myself to the restroom just to do that.  One time, I was with a friend and had a cold, and I went to the restroom a few times and he finally asked if I was okay.  So I told him I was just blowing my nose.  After that, every time we'd go to lunch and I'd go to the restroom, he'd offer me a tissue.  Ha ha.

5.  French fries should not be eaten solo, but should be eaten with fries of equal length
It doesn't matter how many other fries there are, as long as there isn't only one.  If there are no other fries of equal length, just bend a long one in half.  Or take a long one and a short one, then bite the long one until it's the same length as the short one.  THEN treat them as equal-length fries.

17 November 2011

Recipe: Poor Man's Chili

1 15-oz can black beans, drained
1 15-oz can garbanzo beans, drained
1 15-oz can kidney beans, drained
1 15-oz can corn, drained
1 24-oz jar prepared pasta sauce
1 cup baby tomatoes (optional, they pop after slow cooking!)
1 t cumin
1 t corriander
1 t tumeric
1 cinnamon stick

Drain the beans and corn, and put the can contents into your crock. Top with tomatoes, if using, and the pasta sauce. Stir in spices, and add cinnamon stick. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or on high for about 4. If the tomatoes haven't popped on their own, gently poke them with a wooden spoon to pop before serving.

This is shamelessly stolen from this blog.

I didn't have a cinnamon stick, so I substituted 1/2 t of cinnamon.  Next time, I would use more.  Mom kept cautioning me, "I wouldn't use too much!" but I definitely erred on the wrong side.  This was definitely good, and it made enough for lunch for the week.

16 November 2011


Last night, I worked from 7:00 a.m. (my usual start) to 6:45 p.m. (NOT my usual end time).  I had a webcast that started at 4:30 p.m., and even though I live only about 20 minutes from work, since I usually leave at 3:00 p.m., it would have been one of those "by the time I go home, it'll be time to head back into work," so it was more productive to stay at the office.

My intent was to only stay on the webcast for a little while (for what I considered "the introductory part"), but for reasons I won't go into for work confidentiality reasons, the introductory part went on and on and on and became The Actual Call.

And then I worked my entire shift today.  I had expected to do some work with a co-worker, but that work ended up not being ready (no fault of the co-workers), so I didn't go in late (which I could have done).  And since we had a meeting scheduled until my shift end time, I didn't leave early... and then the meeting ended up being cancelled at the last minute.  Argh.


15 November 2011

Preparing for Surgery (really early)

I talked to my physiotherapist, and she said she isn't surprised that my doctor is talking about surgery since there's only so much that physiotherapy can do for a labral tear.  The tear will always be there, but the goal of the therapy is to strengthen the muscles around that area to compensate.

But I got to thinking about it, and pretty much everything I do will be affected, especially since I (a) live alone and (b) live on the second floor of a building with no elevator.  So even things like taking out the trash will be difficult.  I spoke to my neighbour downstairs, and she said that as things get closer, I should let her know, and we might be able to work some things out, like doing our grocery shopping together.

I might be able to work out something with a friend's daughter for things like laundry.  She's an undergrad dropout, but I don't know if my friend will be amenable to that since I know she wants her daughter focused on going back to school.  Not that helping me out would be a full-time career option, but it would be an excuse for her to procrastinate getting her ducks in a row for going back to school.

And I talked to HR, and I do qualify for short-term disability, as long as I'm out of work for six days or more.  I would get 2/3rds of my pay.  I can get 100% of my pay if I use sick days, but I don't want to do that since it would be so early in the year.

So, that's where things are thus far.  Wheee again.

14 November 2011

Book Review: The Sandberg Connection

Private investigator Sam Blackman and his partner (both business and personal) Nakayla Robertson were hired to follow history professor Janice Wainwright to see if her physical activities would belie her claim against a spinal surgeon for malpractice.  But this is only the beginning because Janice ends up dying under suspicious circumstances on that trip, and Sam becomes a suspect (as the one nearest her dead body).

While he proves his innocence, the autopsy proves Janice's malpractice claim and her estate is broken into.  What's stolen?  The Sandberg verses that she was researching -- which were also the subject of her last words.

This was an engaging, compelling mystery.  Read my full review here.

13 November 2011

Phone Call with My Mom

I did not have a good sports weekend.

I'm still bitter about Mizzou being moved to the SEC.  One of my NASCAR drivers is in the hunt for the championship, but he's only in the lead by three points.  Another of my drivers is in hot water with his sponsor, NASCAR, and most of the fans, and by their reaction, you'd think he'd ran over all of their grandmothers and boiled their puppies (he didn't, by the way -- just to clarify).  And yet another of my drivers (in a different series) ACCIDENTALLY wrecked a championship contender and pretty much ruined that guy's chances at winning the championship (oops).

As soon as that happened, the phone rang.  (Hi Mom.)

Mom: He's a loser who can't drive!
Me: You don't even know!

(We were still on the phone about five minutes later when they started interviewing two of the guys involved in the wreck.)

Me: Hey!  Why aren't they interviewing Jason?  He's standing right there!
Me: They're being biased against him!  They aren't getting his side of the story!  No fair!
Mom: Ha ha - they don't like him, either!
Me: Shhh, now they're talking to him.

(Jason admitted he made a grave error and felt awful.)

Me: SEE???  He's man enough to admit a mistake, take ownership, and be remorseful.  What more do you want?
Me: You frighten me.
Mom: You asked.
Me: Don't talk to me right now.  I'm mad at you.
Mom: Why?  Because you like losers?
Me: Shhh.  Don't talk to me!
Mom: I can't talk?
Me: That's right.  I'm mad at you.  You have to be quiet.
Mom: Then can I hang up?
Me: No.
Mom (laughing): Oh, I have to sit here and be miserable?
Me: Yes, that's right.  That's your punishment.
Mom: Hmph.  Well, can I --

Felix comes over and meows into the phone.

Me: See?  Even Felix knows!  He's telling you how wrong you are!
Mom: No, he's talking to me because he feels bad for me.
Me: Traitor.

12 November 2011

Hip Update

I saw my hip doctor Thursday, and it looks like I'm going to be having surgery on my hip after the first of the year.  He wants to do another MRA/arthrogram procedure (that's the one they did a few months ago where they put the big-ass needle in the joint).  This will do a couple of things (well, a few if you count "put me in pain."): It will allow him to get a better idea of what's going on now (I had the earlier procedure done at a different hospital, but he wants to do this one personally, and they will again put an anaesthetic in the joint for pain relief.

As he said it, "if I'm going to operate on you, I want to make sure I'm doing the right one."  He KNOWS I have a hip labral tear.  He KNOWS I have a FAI (femoral-acetabular impingement).  But he also THINKS that there's some other issue going on causing the limited range of motion and pain.

The surgery would cause me to be on crutches for several weeks, and I'd be looking at another round of physiotherapy.  Whee!

11 November 2011

List #34: Words I Dislike

You know how some people have words they REALLY hate?  Some people hate some words so much that they start twitching when they hear certain words.  I don't hate any words THAT much, but some words are definitely on my "ugh - WHY is that a word" list.

1. nostril
It's just a weird combination of sounds.

2. horny
I only dislike it in the "I'm feeling horny" meaning.  I hate it then.

3. pubes
I'm not a huge fan of "pubic," either (I think the "pyoo" sound is off-putting, maybe?), but "pubes" is way more offensive of the two.

4. tweet
This only disturbs me in the "You can Tweet to your favourite celebrity now" sense of the word.  It doesn't bother me in the "birds are tweeting" meaning.

5.  baby daddy
Really?  Is it THAT difficult to say "baby's daddy" or "father/dad of my/her baby"

There are probably more, but that's all I can think of right now.  I might do a Part II later.

10 November 2011

Winter Recipe Ideas, Part II

I'm still looking for recipe ideas for winter weather, particularly things that can be made on Sunday and then kept all week for work lunches.  I know some of you (you know who you are!) are excellent cooks and have some excellent resources at your disposal.  Please share!


Your still-on-a-budget friend appreciates it!

09 November 2011

Days with Friends

After work tonight, Rachel is coming over, and we're going to catch up on some tv.  Since she hasn't been here in awhile, we have a LOT to catch up on.  So many choices!

We're going to eat Pronto Paella and Jello Pie.

Tomorrow, I'm meeting my friend Joanna for supper.  I'm super excited to hear about her recent trip to England, and I want to catch her up on some things that have been going on in my life.  I saw her briefly at Rhinebeck, but I only had enough time to tell her about The Maple Cotton Candy story, and then we both needed to get going.

I'm not sure yet where we'll be doing, but I'm sure it'll be yummy.

08 November 2011

Justice for MJ

The Twitter hashtag that the MJ fans have been using (and that we've all been using on the fan boards for the past two years now) is "justice4mj," so it was difficult for me to remember to type it as "Justice for MJ."  It's just become such a habit to type "justice4mj."

Anyway - I got an alert via Twitter on Monday that the verdict was going to be read at 4:00 p.m. EST.  It was a rare "I stayed late at work" day (thought not that late), so it was nearly 4:00 p.m. when I got this, and we were still about four blocks from my house.  As soon as I got off the trolley, I sprinted home and found CNN on my tv.  I didn't bother to hang up my bag or coat, throwing them on the couch beside me (although I have coat hooks for my bags and coat immediately by my front door).

I had planned on recording the trial and skimming it every night, but when they showed Michael's dead body on the first day, and I sat on my couch sobbing for ... I don't even know how long... I decided this was probably not a good idea.  So I just read recaps every day.

I was so anxious waiting for the verdict.  I've done enough time with two different DA's offices that I was sure that I knew what a less-than-ten-hour deliberation period (given the length of trial) AND a no-questions-from-the-jury verdict meant.  But I wasn't going to count anything as a sure bet until the words.  Because I've also seen some crazy-ass juries come back and say some crazy-ass things during the time when the attorneys could question them about their thoughts, why they voted the way they did, etc.

As soon as the clerk read the verdict, I start crying.  I was sad that I wasn't on the street outside of the courthouse with the other fans, who are people who would have understood the conflicting emotions - reliving the loss, feeling elated that Murrary is now a convicted felon, but still left wondering if justice will really ever be served.  (Also, is it sad that when we heard a female yell when the clerk read the verdict, I was POSITIVE it was LaToya... and I later learnt that I was right?)

The most Murray can serve is four years, but even if he's sentenced to that, he most likely won't serve anything close to that because of the prison overcrowding situation.  (Think Lindsey Lohan being sentenced to 30 days and serving 4 hours.)  Although he's convicted of a felony, it's one of the "lesser" ones, so he could serve it out on house arrest or get it changed to probation.  His medical license will be revoked, but only in California.  While the DA's office has stated they hope the states in which he's licensed to practice medicine will look into this situation, one of those states is Arizona, and a year after they revoke, he would eligible to reapply to practice.

And, at the end of the day... obviously none of this brings Michael back.  The world is left arguing about whether he was a drug addict, whether his concert would have been phenomenal or a mess, and wondering whether "This Is It" really would have been it (I was hoping not.  I was hoping it was the beginning of a spectacular comeback, although now that he was raising a family...).

Michael, I'm going to quote one of your sister's songs here: I miss you much.

07 November 2011

Book Review: Little Gale Gumbo

In this novel, Camille and her two daughters (Dahlia and Josie) move from New Orleans to escape Charles, an abusive husband/father.  They originally have their eyes set on Canada, but they end up making a home in Little Gale, an island off of Maine, instead.

There, they rent a room from Ben and his son Matthew.  Camille and Ben are attracted to each other, and the girls soon form a triangle of sorts with Matthew, who becomes their friend and protector, since the islanders are quick to welcome outsiders.

Camille opens a restaurant using her Creole recipes, which quickly becomes a success.  But this success and the make-shift family that has formed with the blending of the two families is threatened when Ben is the victim of an mysterious accident.

This was a great story, including recipes that I can't wait to try.  Read my full review here.

06 November 2011

Holiday Knitting

I am soooo far behind.

I have a wedding gift that was supposed to be done about three weeks ago.  But I got into a funk Rhinebeck weekend, and I stopped knitting for two weeks.  Had I not lost those two weeks, I'd probably be okay.  So I just need to kick things into hyperdrive and stay focused.

One of the gifts I had planned (a scarf) might be shoved to next year, and I might have to think of something else for John.  The other two gifts (a hat and a cowl) are shorter projects, so that would take a lot of pressure off.  A man's scarf is no joke, people!

But I may be able to crank a lot out during Thanksgiving weekend since I'm one of those people who has absolutely no obligations whatsoever (other than, you know, gluttony and couch potato-ing).  And since I don't do the Black Friday thing, I can make use of that time, too.

05 November 2011

List #34: My Least Favourite Candy

(In honour of Halloween)

1.  Tootsie Rolls
I don't like how they feel in my teeth, but I like the flavour.  This works out well since my mom inhales them.

2.  Necco wafers
Worst idea ever.  They feel awful on my teeth, the flavour is awful, and I don't even like the feel of them in my fingers.  I even just shuddered typing "Necco wafers" (again).  UGH.  (Again, my mom inhales these.)

3.  Whoppers
Who the hell invented these????  Why do people make things that feel so gross on my teeth??????  Stop doing this!

4.  Milk Duds
Are they supposed to be chewed? dissolved?  It's like a candy with an identity disorder.  I can't take it.

5.  Candy corn
These are just disgrossting.  (Srsly, my mom will stab you for these.  Hmm, there's a pattern emerging here.)

6.  Orange peanuts
They don't taste good, they feel weird, and... okay, really - no redeeming value whatsoever.

The Death of a Relationship

I had been feeling kind of bad that Orin and I hadn't had any contact since I found out he had lung and brain cancer.  So I told my mom, "What if he's sitting there thinking, 'Here I am going through all of this and all my daughter does is send me a damned card?'"

So she said, "Well, if you really feel that way, go ahead and call him.  And if he starts acting like a jerk, tell him that this is why things are the way they are between you and hang up."

Today, I did just that.  When we started talking, I asked if he had received the card.  "Yes, and I didn't call you.  That was my choice."  Oh.  While he continued to talk and tell me about his treatment, I mulled over in my head "Is there any way I can take that other than 'I didn't want to talk to you'?" and I keep coming up with "Nope - that's pretty much what he meant."

I won't go through every detail, but by the end, he was accusing my mom of being a liar, he was yelling that he is NOT a racist and he stood behind the emails he sent me (that led to me changing my email address), and then he hung on up me.

So I called him back and I said, "I just want you to understand that THIS is why our relationship is not a good one.  I want to wish you well with everything you're going through.  I love you, but this is the last time I'll be talking to you.  Good-bye."

And that is that.

03 November 2011

Recipe: Southwest Chicken Casserole

2 large onions, chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, chopped
2 T butter
6 c cubed chopped chicken
2 10-3/4 c cream of chicken soup
16 oz sour cream
10 oz frozen chopped spinach
8 oz shredded Monterey Jack cheese
12-1/2 oz nacho tortilla chips, crushed 
4 green onions, sliced

1.  In a Dutch oven, saute onions and jalapenos in butter until tender. Stir in the turkey, soup, sour cream and spinach. In a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish, layer half of the turkey mixture, cheese and tortilla chips. Repeat layers.

2.  Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with green onions.

Yield: 12 servings

Notes:  The original recipe calls for turkey, but I had a chicken on hand, so I used that.  I also subbed in cream of portabello mushroom soup, because that's what I had.  I used fat-free sour cream because I rarely use regular sour cream.  I used a 16-oz package of spinach because that's what Trader Joe's sells, and I wasn't about to figure out what to do with six extra ounces of thawed out frozen spinach, nor did I want to waste it.  TJ's also had a Jack cheese blend - regular Jack, pepper Jack, and a habañero Jack, so I used that (normally, I would have added another jalapeño, but since I was using spicy cheese, I didn't).  I also didn't use nearly as much chips as the recipe calls for.  I have no idea what I used, but I had less than half of a 16-oz bag of chips left, and I wasn't going to buy a new bag just for this.  So I just crushed the chips directly onto the casserole until the layer was done.  When both layers were complete, I still had WAY over half of what I started with left.  I didn't use the green onions on top, but only because I didn't have any on hand; I meant to sub in another onion but forgot to. 

This was extremely good, and I will definitely be making this again.  I may play around with shoving different veggies in there instead of or in addition to the spinach.  Ideas welcomed!

02 November 2011

Halloween Candy Overload

Yesterday, several people at work brought their leftover Halloween candy to work.  And we have a large department.

One woman buys full-sized candy bars for her trick-or-treaters.  The one thing I'm enjoying is sampling things that I've always thought sounded good but I haven't wanted to buy an entire candy bar of to try it.  For instance, I've discovered that Snickers Peanut Butter is quite good (these were the small "squared" bite-size pieces, not the full-sized, so I let myself have a couple).

My mom wants to know if we're all going to go on a group shopping trip for larger clothes.  At this rate, we're going to have to.

01 November 2011

Blog Contest by Fabulous Designer

As most of my Ravelry/knitting friends know, I moderate a pattern testing group on Rav.  Over the past (nearly) two years that I've held this role (although I've been a member of the group a bit longer), one of the designers I've grown particularly fond of is Corinne.

The great news is that she is currently holding a contest on her blog to celebrate her two year anniversary of designing.  Visit her blog sometime this week and enter to win two of her great patterns (excluding ebooks).  All you need to do is let her know which of her patterns you like most.  If you are new to her designs, just take a peek at her design page on Rav or look at around on her blog -- you'll find them!

Good luck, and happy knitting!