"I want, I want, I want ... but that's crazy"

Thursday, February 26, 2009

That pain in the pit of my belly....

Hey, I learned something new. Did you know that you can develop lactose intolerance? I didn't. I mean, sure, I thought maybe some people who were lactose intolerant sort of developed it as they got older and things didn't start working so well. But really, I thought most people who had it were basically born that way - hence, soy formulas for babies. I understand the concept - cow juice not made for people. But most of us seem to have a pretty good relationship with our dairy, so I really didn't think it was all that widespread.
Whaddya know?
I started getting some ... um .... curious symptoms that seemed to appear after eating dairy, so I did some research. Apparently, about 80% (yes 8-0) of people develop lactose intolerance. Eighty percent. Does it seem to you like 20% of people are eating all that dairy and the rest are sitting back in envy? Or do those pills for lactose intolerance really sell that well? You'd think it would be a pretty big selling point that they'd want in big numbers on their commercials - "80 percent of all people develop lactose intolerance." For those who are eating dairy among those 80 percent and are not taking medications, are they just suffering through excruciating stomach aches and assaulting their loved ones' olfactory senses with their noxious releases?
Personally, I bought the pills. They're cheap, and they enable me to have a glass of milk with my cookies.
Still blows my mind though......80%?!?
And since apparently so many of us are affected by it, here's a good link for information from the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (it's a government thing......I don't know who named it....)

Stress relief: paintball

These are stressful times. You need a way to get out your frustrations - without actually killing anyone. Voila! Paintball!
But you need paintball gear, don't you? Where do you go? Ultimate Paintball, of course.
Everything you need for your paintballing stress relief session is here: dye paintballguns, masks, hoppers, barrels, harnesses, air systems, cleaners and oil, and even apparel.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Beef Fest Night Two: Lentil Stew

Before I got my beef delivery, I had planned on making a lentil stew. Well, since I still had a pound of ground in my refrigerator to use, I worked it into the recipe. This is what we came up with, and it turned out great. All the seasonings are just thrown in "to taste."

Lentil stew

1 pound crumbled ground beef
finely chopped onion (I sneak it in because my little one thinks she doesn't like onion)
basil (I used quite a bit)
garlic powder
italian seasoning (not a lot)
seasoned salt
chili powder (about a teaspoon was all)
cumin (just a few sprinkles)
coarsely ground black pepper

brown beef in slow cooker set on high for about an hour, breaking it up and stirring frequently

add shredded carrots
frozen corn
6-8 cups of water
2 cups lentils
beef bouillon

Reduce heat to low and let cook about four to six hours. (I soaked up the small amount of excess grease from the top with a paper towel after simmering for a little while.) I added a little cornstarch and water to thicken it up a bit at the end. It's good just as a stew or served over rice. Nice and hearty for a cold, wet day.

This was just fun :)

I went to Social Spark to find a post, and I spent a whole afternoon having fun with this one!

The site is called MagNext , and it's this cool little online gaming world that's simple enough for those nongamers of us out there to actually enjoy. The site seems to be aimed at preteen kids, in terms of skill level required, but younger kids (and their parents) can enjoy it as well.
I had fun with the rollercoaster game, because it was an easy way to get my feet wet and pick up a few points. There's a one-player hot rodding game too, called the Spheron Speed Challenge (see screen cap below for a view of the beginning of it), for those of you, like me, who are a little nervous about diving into the interactive portion right away. This is a fun one to try to beat your own best and master the art of the perfect start for big points.
When you are ready to go interactive, you can hit the arena and challenge other players to gladiator-like competitions. You collect Magz and special gear, and you can use your Magz in The Shop to deck out your little magnet dude (your Sphere) with all kinds of special looks.
You collect XP the easy way - by hanging around in the rooms. The more time you stay there, the more XP you get. There's a Showroom that displays the line of Magnext magnetic toys, and a Gallery is coming soon, for users to display their own creations made with Magnext.


Beef Fest Night One: Mexican casserole

Last night was night one of the Beef Fest. I won't do a day by day, because seriously, it will probably take months to get through it all. But last night we had a Mexican casserole that I threw together, and the kids raved on it. The only thing I couldn't fit into my freezers was one package of hamburger patties, so that's what I used up first.

Mexican casserole
Layer in large casserole dish - refried beans, frozen corn (as much as you like), seasoned cooked white rice, seasoned and browned ground beef (I seasoned my beef and rice with some taco seasoning purchased in a large bulk container - great to have around the kitchen!), crushed nacho flavor Doritos (we used about a third of a regular size bag leftover from Book's visit), and shredded cheese (good is Mexican blend, Fiesta blend, or a Monterey-Cheddar blend.) Bake in a 400-degree F oven until cheese is melted. (I think it took about 15 or 20 minutes, but I wasn't watching too closely.)

You can add a sour cream layer to this - my kids don't like it - or serve with sour cream on the side. We top this with taco sauce to serve on a bed of lettuce.

Put some kick under your hood

If you're looking to put some more kick under your car hood, visit The Supercharger and Turbo Professionals at superchargerpros.com and find out how to improve horsepower, torque and make your car run like a thoroughbred.. Superchargerpros.com offers a wide selection of replacement superchargers, turbochargers and nose covers. They boast an inventory of thousands of new and remanufactured parts at the best prices, available to ship immediately and covered under full warranty.
Most new parts offered are original factory equipment. In the cases when these are unavailable, superchargerpros.com uses quality manufacturers to build parts to their highest standards.
Remanufactured parts have all been thoroughly disassembled and inspected and fully rebuilt, with all parts not meeting the highest specifications thrown out and replaced. Before any parts are shipped, they are tested on air, hydraulic and engine replicator machines, to ensure that any leaks, weaknesses or other problems are found and fixed before the part gets to you.
Whatever you're driving, they've got the parts to cover your power-boosting needs - whether you're looking for a Nissan Supercharger, a Buick supercharger, a Mercedes supercharger, a Pontiac supercharger - you name it.
And finding what you need couldn't be easier than at superchargerpros.com. Right from the home page, just enter the year and make of your car. Choose your model. Choose your parts. It's that simple.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Great game today!

Got my footie fix today! I got to watch the Inter Milano-Manchester United game at my parents house on their big screen HD TV. Hell of a game it was too...
Inter were really off the first half, and Manchester United clearly dominated. Man Utd missed some key opportunities in the first half, but Cesar was there to meet all the valid challenges brilliantly.
Everything turned around in the second half and Inter came out on the attack, finally giving Van der Saar something to do other than sit back and twiddle his thumbs. Man Utd seemed a little spent during the second half, but they showed some bursts of brilliance, just none able to make it through to the goal.
Ronaldo was on fire the first half but missed some key chances in both the first and the second halves - not that Cesar ever let up for a second on those that were on the mark. Rooney didn't come in until about 10 minutes remaining in the game, but Park, who he replaced, was hard on the attack the whole game.
Final score: 0-0 with another match-up between these two coming in 15 days at Old Trafford. The pressure's on.....

Monday, February 23, 2009

Tasty Italian sandwiches for dinner...before the wave of beef begins

My mother stopped by earlier and dropped off 175 pounds of frozen beef in my kitchen. Much scrambling of the freezer space later, I can say that I know what we'll be eating for a while. I might want to do some repackaging for some long term storage though. It looks good now, but I don't want to be left with 125 pounds of disgusting, freezer burned crap.

Since all the beef was frozen, I went another way for dinner tonight, and I made grilled Italian sandwiches. They were so good. I split a focaccia and cut it into four "buns" I brushed the split side with some olive oil mixed with garlic and Italian herbs and spices. Then I toasted it under the broiler (middle rack) just enough to lightly toast the bread. Topped it with shredded mozzarella and parmesan with just a little cheddar and monterey jack. Popped it back in just enough to melt the cheese, then topped it with super thin slices layered of hot capocollo, hot salame, pepper calabrese sausage and prosciutto and gave it another quick pop under the broiler just to crisp up the edges of the meats. I had mine with a little Dijon mustard. Oh, it was so good, but the sandwiches were huge. This could easily have fed six. The sandwiches can all be cut into appetizer portions for a tasty, hot treat.

Travel savings

Right now, we're all pinching pennies a little harder. I was lucky enough to get in a quick weekend getaway before my financial house came crashing down. If you're lucky enough to be able to travel a bit in the near future, you'll still probably want to save as much as you can on the deal.
If you're going to be using a rental car, you will want to stop by ebates for their enterprise coupon for enterprise rental cars. Right now there are coupons available for 50% off most weekend rentals and for a free upgrade at your next airport rental.
While you're there, look around at some of the other savings available. Every little bit helps.

Survival mode

Ok, so here's the scoop: My brain has been seriously occupied all weekend with a major financial hit that arrived in my mail on Friday. It seems I won't be receiving a tax refund this year. It was diverted to cover a student loan that had gone into default. Of course, the loan went into default because my regular paycheck does not cover my regular bills. What gets me through each year is the tax refund check, which adds the buffer to cover the shortfall in my check. Basically, what it does is cover my rent for several months while my check covers the rest of expenses. What that buffer runs out, it gets really tight. My mother usually has to pick up the difference, and I thank and appreciate her profusely for it - believe me. Things are always tightest in January, right before the check comes, and then finally, I can breathe again for a few months.
So this year, I can't breathe. My rent will be going up very soon (new municipal water installation). My paycheck will be even smaller than usual for at least two months because we were required to take mandatory unpaid time off. I've put off doing things that needed to be done because we couldn't afford it - like going to the dentist or getting Gin's eye checked for the next step in restoring her vision. Our cable's been off for a couple of months now - that won't be coming back. I can't replace my desktop computer, which is officially frozen on the Blue Screen of Death now.
I'm going to have to get creative on bringing in some more money, but I still don't think it's going to be enough. Honestly, the inevitable result of this as far as I can see is that the kids and I are going to have to move in with my parents. Starting over...yet again.
So anyway, that's what's been on my mind....

Will do this later....really

I've been drifting among stewing, panicking and simple denial this weekend. I wanted to post, but I'm just too exhausted now...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Flashback Friday - Obsession

It's Flashback Friday time! This week is Obsession by Animotion.....hehehe

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Seth on Phelps: Really!?!

My thoughts exactly! Hehehe!

Quick note on the porkulus

Jack Cafferty's commentary on the 'stimulus package' that just passed. The fact that members of Congress didn't even read this sausage factory before pushing it through is revolting enough....get into the details, and it induces vomiting. Shall I discuss later?

Monday, February 16, 2009


I hate Valentine's Day, you know? I really do. I hate having that reminder of the fact that I'm alone, even though most of the time, the fact that I'm alone isn't all that terribly distressing. Granted, it's been bugging me more lately. It's just that, when I'm alone, ALL I am is work and 'mom.' It seems like there isn't any 'me' in there.

Got that new Taylor Swift tune, 'Love Story,' stuck in my head. It's no surprise. It's on every time I turn on the radio.

It was Big Jim's birthday in the office today. Mel decorated his cubicle with balloons and streamers for him last night. That makes it official. I'm the only person in the department who didn't even get acknowledged for her birthday. And the only person who even bothered to tell me Happy Birthday got laid off, so she doesn't work with me anymore. I am destined to be entirely alone, aren't I? No friends. No partner. Life just keeps isolating me further.

Happy Valentine's Day weekend

It's been a fairly quiet weekend, for which I am infinitely grateful. I've caught up on a lot of sleep, since I didn't have to work most of the time.
Munch and Book made me Valentines, so I'm sharing them here. Munch's is a little hard to see because I scanned it with the candy taped on it. And Book signed his full name - including both middle names! - so I smudged that part out.


Book's - front and back

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Flashback Friday - Love Bites

Slightly belated....after midnight.
Flashback Friday - Def Leppard's Love Bites.....in honor of the occasion.....

Friday, February 13, 2009

Long week

Wow, I'm behind again. So, ok - here goes.

I had Wednesday unpaid off work (unpaid, but not really off work - more on that later...), so I chaperoned Gin for her class field trip to the local historical society. I'd fallen asleep after I got the girls off to school, so when I woke up, I had fifteen minutes to get to the school. I got ready and ran off without having anything to eat or drink. Big mistake. My blood sugar started plunging, and I spent the trip fighting it. Fortunately, a nice lady at the historical society got me a soda, and I was able to get through it without passing out and traumatizing the kids.

When I came home I had to get on the message boards for work. All the users have been getting out of control with their sniping and petty bickering lately, and it's been a nightmare for me. I finally got the point that I PM'd most of the troublemakers and asked them to lay off a bit, explaining that while it's fun for them, it's my job at stake here. Fortunately, most of them were ok about it, and things have settled down a bit on there. I think it's a better atmosphere now. They just don't get that this is not some public forum run by some Joe from his home. This is a forum operated by a newspaper group, and its moderation is (supposed to be a small) part of my job - my paid employment and my children's means of support.

Thursday (yesterday) was fairly painless at work. In the evening, I had a parent/teacher conference for Munch. Same as it always is. She's such a smart girl, but we just can't get her to focus. I think we're just going to have to get her through high school then put a paint brush in her hand and tell her to go to it. At least she's happy. She's always happy.

Today was pretty uneventful. I went to work, filled out my time card, had to 'fudge' down my hours from the actual 60 or so to 32 (to include my mandatory unpaid 8 off). I picked up the girls at my mother's (she's on four-day weeks for this month), then I dropped them at their dad's for the night. I was so exhausted from my week that when I got home, I went straight down for a nap. Slept for five hours. How wonderful. I'm actually off tomorrow (except the forum, of course).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Brilliant video - please watch!

This is my dear friend Z on the hurdy gurdy at a recent gig. Isn't he brilliant at it?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Glass of wine and a good book

I had a crap day at work today. Thanks to the same person. Again. It's getting so infuriating. He's almost reason enough for me to quit my job, as he makes it so much more difficult than it needs to be.....and it's difficult enough as it is. If he would just keep his big, fat face out of my business and focus on his own, I could handle things, no problem. But he keeps stepping in where he's not needed or wanted and screwing everything up for me. Grrr!

I was so ticked off that I came home and broke into my homemade wine. Lo and behold, after aging for a couple of months, it's actually not half bad. It's quite strong though, which suited me just fine. But now that I know it's actually drinkable, I'll be drinking more of it. :)

I got a mystery solved tonight that's been driving me crazy for years. There's a book I read in college, and I could not for the life of me remember the title. I could remember little bits and pieces of the story, but I had no idea what it was, so I had no way to find it again. I'd even tried posting on message boards all over the web to see if anyone could help, to no avail. Well, the person who introduced me to the book is finally on my Facebook friends, so I sent him a message tonight asking if he could remember it. Much to my surprise, he responded to me right away, and after just one miss, he remembered! It's called "Bicycling Through Space and Time," if you're curious. I'm so glad I know now. All I could remember was something about a bike path, and doors to other worlds or alternate realities, and maybe something about a young Hitler, but I wasn't sure if that was really in it or not (it is). Now I'm going to have to immediately go buy the book and read it again. After all, I've been trying to figure this out for about a dozen years now. I'm so bad with book titles. I'm constantly reading books, and I completely ignore the title. Half the time I couldn't tell you the name of the book I'm reading right now. I just finished Dean Koontz's "Forever Odd" yesterday, and I honestly hadn't even bothered to commit the title to memory until I made a point of looking at it about two chapters from the end. So if anyone asks me, "Read any good books lately?" I typically respond, "Yeah, lots ... but I couldn't for the life of me tell you what they're called."

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Courage Campaign: Don't Divorce Us

I'm so glad I found this video from the Courage Campaign at Rookie's Ramblings, and I'm proud to share it with you here. Help stop Ken Starr's cruel quest to break up these families. Support the Courage Campaign.

"Fidelity": Don't Divorce... from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.

I've previously posted my feelings on this subject here.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Flashback Friday - Dead Man's Party

After a week's hiatus because of my trip to Vegas, Flashback Friday is back!!! This week's flashback is Oingo Boingo's "Dead Man's Party" brilliantly synched to Tim Burton's Corpse Bride and Nightmare Before Christmas. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Two meetings and much wasted time

After my insomnia reared its ugly head again Tuesday night, I opted for a sleeping pill to knock me out last night. I knew I had a busy day ahead today, so I couldn't possibly go on any longer. I've been exhausted, which finally manifested itself into a full-blown, excruciating, dear-god-let-someone-kill-me-now-and-end-this-pain kind of migraine yesterday. I got some sleep last night, but the headache hung on into today as well.
I started off my work in the morning at home, but then I had to drive the one of our newspaper offices for a meeting at noon. The editor wanted to keep it to about 20 minutes - it went on for an hour and a half. I've discovered that it's damn near impossible trying to explain anything to other people about how I will do my job when they have no idea what I do in my job. Finally, I just nodded and smiled, knowing that I would resolve the problem presented to me just fine, and they could see the end result without ever knowing what kind of work went into it. Such is the life of a webmaster in a non-tech industry, I think.
After that meeting, I had to head north to one of our other newspapers for another meeting later in the afternoon. That one went a little more easily, because it's my home base, I think. They didn't ask me how I would do what needed to be done. They just said, "Ok, what do you need from us?" I told them, and they trusted that I would get the job done right, as I always do. It's so much easier that way. Why do people waste my time asking for explanations when they're not going to understand anyway? I ALWAYS come through and get the job done right. They don't need to know how.
Anyway, it made for a long day, and I'm back in the office tomorrow. I think I won't bother to wait to lie awake tonight. I'll take the pill and just sleep.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My weekend in Vegas

I should be sleeping right now. I returned home from the airport after 2 a.m. this morning, having flown from Las Vegas to Los Angeles to Charlotte, N.C., to Columbus, Ohio, then driven two hours from the airport. My noisy neighbors woke me this morning at 8 a.m. No big surprise there.
I arrived in Las Vegas on Friday morning following about 29 hours without sleep - and only about 4 and a half hours' sleep prior to that. I was quite exhausted by the time I got there, but F was considerate enough to leave me to shower and change clothes and try to revive myself again.
We spent some time wandering up and down the Strip for a while with his colleague A, had some lunch at one of the famous buffets, then his friend decided we should wander down to the Outlets for some shopping. I'm not sure who decided to make him the navigator, but we ended up wandering a bit before we got there. I have no idea how far we walked. It felt like about 300 miles. Surprisingly, neither my knees nor my hips decided to give out on me. I'd done a lot less walking when I was in Vancouver and was almost incapacitated for two days by the knee and hip issues. Anyway, by about 8 p.m. local time I was completely spent, so we got a taxi back to the hotel, and I went straight down for a nap while F and A went downstairs to enjoy some of the entertainment. Two and a half hours later, I was up and ready to go again, but by that time F was ready to sleep himself.
Saturday morning we were up bright and early - my body clock was still on Ohio time - and the three of us had a light breakfast at the espresso stand before heading out again. I quite enjoyed my cappuccino and thought the croissant was one of the best I've ever had, but apparently the espressos were not done as they should be. I wouldn't know. I don't do espresso.
We took a ride on the Manhattan Express roller coaster at the New York-New York, where we stayed, then we went back out to walk the Strip some more. I found it slightly obnoxious that the guys handing out cards to have prostitutes sent directly to your room seemed to have no compunction whatsoever about trying to give them to F, even though he was walking with me. He did have the good sense not to take any of them. We had lunch at a Chinese buffet, where the food was actually decent but the entire staff appeared to be walking dead. More time wandering the Strip. The fountain show at the Bellagio is pretty impressive, which I tried to capture in a video clip, but my camera kept insisting that the memory was full. It should not have been, as I'd deleted everything on the card and taken very few pictures since arriving. I'd hoped to get some good photos, but F wouldn't let me take his picture, and no one took any pictures of me, so all I have are some shots from the plane that I took for the girls and a few scenery photos. Pretty generic. Based on photographic evidence, you'd never know I was there at all. I guess what happened in Vegas is indeed staying there.
After returning to the hotel, we stopped into one of the bars on site for a drink then met up with another business associate who'd just arrived. We all had some dinner at the Mexican restaurant at the hotel. I felt a little bad that I wasn't all that hungry, having indulged myself at the Chinese buffet earlier in the day - and usually I only eat about once a day anyway. Since it was an early morning, thanks to me, it turned out to be another early night, and F had to get up early to work the next day.
When F left Sunday morning to see to his business obligations, I headed downstairs for breakfast - another lovely cappuccino, cheese danish and some fruit. After that, I didn't really have much to do, so I decided to take a seat at the slots and kill a little time. I'd forgotten that you can sit at a slot machine and get free drinks served to you all day long, so that was what I ended up doing. I played for a few hours, while enjoying my drinks, then I wandered around the hotel and found a nice little deli where I had lunch. The pastrami was quite tasty and the rye bread was some of the best I'd ever had. I noted that they offered authentic New York egg creams as well, but I didn't have one, as I was still drinking my whisky sours. I figured I'd come back for one later, but I never did manage to get around to it. I love egg creams, and I haven't had one since I went to New York in 2001, but apparently, F found the whole idea of them to be completely ridiculous when I mentioned them later. I think I probably shouldn't have mentioned them at all.
After lunch, I went back to the slots and played and drank some more. I took a break for a bit and went back to the room, then I got bored and went back down to do it again. I figure with what I drank, I broke about even with what I lost in the machines, and it was kind of fun anyway.
F gave me a call around 4 p.m. and let me know he'd be back in about an hour, so I killed some more time at the slots and headed back up to the room to wait for him to get back. (I had the room key, so I kind of needed to be there when he arrived.) He got back about 6, and I filled him in on my day, then we went downstairs to meet his business associates for a drink and have dinner at the Italian place in the hotel. I had just a salad and some bread. General consensus seemed to be that the food was pretty good, although not quite on par with real Italian. F said that Americans are "ruining the brand." Yes - we do that. Our Chinese isn't "real" Chinese. Our Italian isn't "real" Italian. And I suspect that our other "ethnic cuisines" are off as well. After dinner, it was back up to the room to sleep again. Seeing as it was Super Bowl weekend in Vegas, I think we were probably the only people in town who were sleeping by 11 p.m. every night.
On Monday morning, F had to go back off for more work, so I got up and got everything ready for my trip back home. He came back to see me off to the airport, and that was the end of my weekend in Vegas.
My return trip had some interesting notes. I flew from Las Vegas to Los Angeles for the first leg of the trip, and there was a medical emergency on the plane, so we all got to wait for the paramedics to come on board and carry off the man. By the time they were finished, I was off the plane and went directly to my next one, just one gate over. That leg took four and a half hours, during which time I got an inspiration to do some writing, which prompted the young man in the seat next to me to strike up a conversation. He asked if he could buy me a drink when we got to Charlotte, and I was so stunned and flattered (he was about 15 years younger than me) that I took him up on it. It's been a while since a 21-year-old made a pass at me. :)
On my last leg of the trip - from Charlotte to Columbus - I got another little ego boost, when the gate agent took my boarding pass. He looked up at me as he handed me the receipt, got a big smile on his face and said, "Oh! Pretty lady!" That gave me a smile.
I arrived in Columbus near midnight then drove another two hours home.
I'm still off work today. If the neighbors ever get quiet, I'll have a nap.