- Call a cab, call a friend, call a relative ... hell, call a frenemy; whatever you do, do not drink and drive.
- Be safe.
- Have fun!
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Let’s see, my big chores for la isla today have been to change from Christmas-themed to New Years-themed. Guess what was the most difficult? Coming up with party tunes for New Years Eve … there are soooo many from which to choose! It’s a WIP (that’s a work-in-progress, people) … Tubthumping is in because I love it; Pink and the Peas are just plain move it fun, and Lynyrd’s one of my all-time faves (along with Garth’s live version, which I have yet to find, and which will be replacing this version as soon as I do).
Who does that leave? Oh yeah! UB40 and Jimmy Buffet. Well duh, can’t have a party without them. The two new-to-me songs are by Rehab and Spirit of the West … jury’s still out, though. Rehab’s got a good rhythm, but I think a tad misogynistic for my tastes … and Spirit of the West makes me want to go out. To a pub. Right now.
I’ve also started working on my New Years resolutions, although I’ve come up with just the one, but it’s a doozy, so I’m okay with that … but that’s for another day. The only other thing I’ve done today is I made My Stolen Most Awesome Pasta Salad this afternoon, and no matter how many times I’ve washed my hands they still smell like red onion. Blecht! This is the recipe I stole from Brig … I’m posting it here, because you should give it a try (mmmm, yum, good stuff!):
- 2 boxes Barilla Multi-Colored Rotini Pasta
- 1 large bottle Wishbone Robusto Italian Dressing
- 1 bag croutons, plain or Italian-style
- (Add-In) Fresh broccoli florets (1 large head, cut into very small sections)
- (Add-In) Black medium olives, whole (1 can)
- (Add-In) 2 Cups cherry tomatoes, whole
- (Add-In) 1 large green pepper, chopped
- (Add-In) 4 large mushroom heads (sliced)
- (Add-In) ½ large red onion, chopped
- (Add-In) 6 sticks celery, sliced
- (Add-In) half a 1” pepperoni log (about 4-5 inches, sliced and quartered)
- (Add-In) 2 bags cubed Kraft cheese (Colby Jack and Cheddar)
- (Add-In) 2 Tablespoons McCormick’s “Salad Supremo” for zest
- Cook pasta al dente style … after cooking, drain water immediately and rinse with cold water until all pasta is cool (may take a few minutes).
- After cooling pasta, splash ¼ cup Robusto Italian dressing over it before incorporating the Add-Ins.
- Toss in the Add-Ins.
- Toss with remainder of the Italian dressing.
- Right before serving mix in McCormick’s Salad Supremo spices for zest.
- Top with croutons or serve separately.
For those of you who wonder: after eating this for supper, yes, I fully expect to have a raging case of heartburn tonight. Mmmmm, so worth it!
Thursday, December 25, 2008
It’s pretty mellow here; I’ve developed a runny-nosed, scratchy-throated cold, most likely due to lack of sleep … so other than talking on the phone to loved ones on the East Coast we’re just hanging out, me and my four-legged crew. I’m playing on the computer and messing around with my little ice green iPod Nano, which I’ve had for months but never used because every time I plugged it into my Dell’s USB port I got an error message, and no matter how many times I tried to work around that, draining the iPod charge to almost unreadable levels, it was always with the same result (you’ll recall I am not computer savvy).
But in my research I found that some folk who had this problem simply replaced the cable, so yesterday at Wal-Mart I remembered to pick one up, and voila! It worked!!
Yippy kai kai, yippy kai, yippy yay! Merry Christmas, Lisa!
So I’ve been playing with it ever since, because during all those months that I wasn’t using it I still managed to download 210 songs and videos (which I transferred to CD, which I used in lieu of the iPod).
I passed out gifts this morning to my crew: rawhide dumbbells and cookies for the girls, and catnip socks with three different flavored treats for the cats (yes, food is a big hit in this house). The girls took their dumbbells outside this morning and I haven’t seen them since, although I notice the pile is down from eight dumbbells to three full ones and two halves, spread across the deck, so they’re enjoying them. The cats have decimated their treats to such an extent you’d never know they were there in the first place, and are currently riding catnip highs sprawled all over each other and the bed.
This is Joey’s 16th Christmas, and sadly, it is most likely his last. He’s been stricken with the same thyroid condition that took his littermate Ben five years ago: he’s absolutely ravenous and always thirsty, but has dropped half his body weight in three months. He has no pain, so it’s just a waiting game. This took Ben in less than six months, so I know what to expect. I’m on watch.
But this afternoon Joey sits in my lap, idling along, occasionally slipping into that full-throated diesel roar he gets going when particularly happy … right now due to my absent-minded scratching of his chin (his absolute fave). It’s a little difficult to work the computer one-handed, but he digs his claws into my leg whenever I stop scratching that chin of his! Guess who is boss?
Even though it’s a relatively uneventful Christmas day I don’t mind, because the Christmas celebration is all about family, and it’s when I get back home next month that I’ll really make merry … I can hardly wait!
BTW: on the 23rd, when I had that 52 minute five-mile drive? Seventeen accidents on that stretch of road! Whew!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Welker Fined 10k
FOXBOROUGH -- Patriots receiver Wes Welker has been fined $10,000 for making a "snow angel" in the team's 47-7 victory over the Cardinals on Sunday, colleague Christopher L. Gasper reports.
Gasper caught up with Welker today in the Patriots' locker room, and asked him about being fined. Welker said he wasn't sure if he would appeal, but he acknowledged his snow-angel-making days are over.
"It was a spur of the moment deal, and you can be sure that it won't happen again," Welker told Gasper.
Per NFL rules, players are not allowed to go to the ground for a touchdown celebration (unless it is a prayer). The official reason Welker was fined, the NFL confirmed today, was for "unsportsmanlike conduct for participation in an illegal demonstration by going to the ground."
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
This morning I let the girls out, and as they caromed off one another in their surge to the steps, each trying to get down into the yard first … no reason, mind you, just Great Labrador Fun … I noticed it had started to sprinkle. No biggie … the girls are very good at notifying me (and every other non-hearing-impaired organic creature within a two-mile radius) when they want to come in from the rain. So I set about getting ready for work.
An hour later I let the girls in, confirmed the rain had stopped by observing my now non-spotted deck, and headed down to the garage. Can I just say right here how very, very much I happen to appreciate the wonderful architect who invented the attached garage? MWUH! XOXO!!
So I hopped in the Durango and was off. I’ve had the four-wheel drive engaged for the past few days because it handles better in the wind and rain, so it wasn’t until I turned from my street onto the next that I noticed every square inch of roadway was covered in black ice. I’ve never actually seen it like that before. Usually there may be sections of icy areas on the drive, but this time there wasn’t a single, solitary section of the first five and a half miles of my 37 mile commute that wasn’t slicker than snot.
The two mile trip up Main Street to the 1st highway wasn’t that bad. Our little bedroom community has a 25 mph speed limit unless posted otherwise, and it’s enforced strictly enough that every last one of us knows at least three out-of-towners who’ve gotten speeding tickets. It is a rare gathering indeed that doesn’t have someone complaining about the speeding ticket he or she just got on the way over. But I stray again (I do that, don’t you know).
So driving slowly up Main Street was no different than any other day. It was the entrance to the 1st highway that hinted at the fun we were about to have. That was the first accident I came across. For some reason the two vehicles involved decided to pull over to opposite sides of the on-ramp, making maneuvering through them even more hazardous for the rest of us, but you have to cut people some slack when they’ve just been in a fender-bender … they tend to not think very clearly for a moment.
I got up on the highway and proceeded to creep along for the next mile at a steady 5 mph until I passed the little import, inching along with her hazards blinking, who had been slowing both lanes to a crawl. Quick aside: is it really necessary to use hazards when everybody and their brother on the road is in the very same situation? What? Is the drive for that one person that much more hazardous than it is for everyone else on the road? Didn’t think so.
Now I am the first person to admit that I am a driving hypocrite. I will roar blue thunder at all and sundry who do not get out of my way on non-weather-impaired days. If there’s a posted speed limit I exceed it. If there’s a curve I take it hell-for-leather. If there’s a fool blocking my way I have been known to weave through traffic to get around him or her (I do not, however, tailgate, flash high beams, honk, or otherwise harass other drivers … I just want to move, not kill anyone).
My giant pet peeve when driving is the jackass (can’t think of a nicer term, although there are many that are far more offensive) who tools along in the left-hand lane … you know, the Passing Lane, also known as the High Speed Lane … enjoying what appears to be a friggin’ Sunday drive during rush hour. Sigh. Here’s a Rule of Thumb: if you’re being passed on the right, then you’re in the wrong (lane, that is). But still, I wander away from my point, again.
The point being that although I am a horse’s ass of epic proportions during a “regular” drive, I am nothing of the sort while driving in rain, sleet, snow, or ice. At those times I am serenity personified. Right at the get-go I acknowledge that yes, I am going to be late to wherever it is I am driving, and nothing I can do will change that fact. Once that’s out of the way, I settle in and enjoy the challenge. It then becomes more of a live action role-play from some video game than an actual chore.
So this morning, I get past the timid little import, and rev it up until I am fair screaming along at a whopping 12 mph. That lasted a half mile, until I came to the small hill that leads up over the train tracks, otherwise known as Automobile Armageddon. A tractor trailer and a dump truck were sitting in the right breakdown lane, yet another little import was mightily, but ineffectually, trying to buzz up the hill from the left-hand lane, the right-hand lane was little occupied (apparently being between a semi and a madly swerving subcompact is no one’s idea of fun), and there was no left-hand breakdown lane as there is an exit there. So that took a bit of attention to get through.
The next hurdle was a much longer hill that also curves around a very wide corner. This was un-navigable. There were jackknifed tractor-trailers, stalled vehicles, and stranded commuters all over the place, pointed in every direction imaginable … both lanes of travel, plus the left and the right breakdown lanes, plus the grass median between our West-bound side of the highway and the East-bound side. It was ridiculous! I've never seen such a thing! I lost count at 23 vehicles. This is the sort of situation you see on the evening news, happening in some far-off Northwest territory, not here.
By this time I was leading a caravan of six other vehicles, who all followed me across the median to the outer road, which we took to a set of traffic lights further on that dumped us back onto the highway at the top of the hill, just beyond the hazards. Still black ice, but only for the next half mile, when we got onto the Interstate, which was smooth sailing, honking along at an exhilarating 45 mph.
In all it took me 52 minutes to drive 5.5 miles from my home, then another hour to drive the rest of the way to work. I think the next time I wish for New England weather, I’ll contain myself to balmy summer days. That'll learn me.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Great news! The Patriots won!! YES! But, when my boy Wes Welker made an innocent little snow angel in the end zone, he was penalized (see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptcsOWSZsLA)! What?!? But the Dolphins (ptooie!) won, too ... the Chiefs were thisclose to pulling it off, but no! They had to tank ... again ... meaning my Patriots still may not make it into wild card position. Don't think I've forgiven the Chiefs for Brady, either ... they can't do anything right!
In case you missed it, I’m aggravated today. My mailbox fell apart weeks ago, and I have the replacement, but haven’t been able to put it up because somebody (who shall remain nameless) borrowed my drill last summer. Yes, that’s right … last ... summer … and has yet to return it, although I was promised that I would have it back this weekend ... again ... (this being the third or fourth weekend of my discontent). And it's not like I can stop at somebody's house on my way home from work, because somebody is never there!
This is the same drill I need to put up my used-to-be-new lined curtains, which I've had since July (bought in plenty of time to put them up for the Winter, but that little plan has been blown all to pieces), and which would be a great added line of defense against the freezing cold drafts that come in around my windows.
Yes, I’m venting … yes, I’m peeved. This is the same somebody who has my paper shredder. And backed my Durango into my not-quite-all-the-way-open garage door whilst pulling out two years ago and has yet to fix either the Durango or the garage door. And killed my dog. Okay, that last one isn’t fair. But still; the purpose of venting is to vent, not to be nice, and I guess I'm just not as over that as I pretend to be. Especially when I am aggravated!
Saturday, December 20, 2008
EFFECTIVE: January 1, 2009
NEW CORPORATE POLICIES: 2009 Changes
- You are advised to come to work dressed according to your salary.
- If we see you wearing Prada shoes and carrying a Gucci bag we will assume you are doing well financially and therefore do not need a raise.
- If you dress poorly, you need to learn to manage your money better so that you may buy nicer clothes, and therefore you do not need a raise.
- If you dress just right you are right where you need to be and therefore you do not need a raise.
We will no longer accept a doctor's statement as proof of sickness. If you are able to go to the doctor, you are able to come to work.
Each employee will receive 104 personal days a year.
They are called Saturdays and Sundays.
This is no excuse to miss work. There is nothing you can do for dead friends, relatives, or co-workers. Every effort should be made to have non-employees attend the funeral services in your place. On those rare occasions when employee involvement is necessary, the services should be scheduled in the late afternoon. We will be glad to allow you to work through your lunch hour and subsequently leave one hour early.
Entirely too much time is being spent in the bathroom. There is now a strict three-minute time limit in the stalls. At the end of three minutes an alarm will sound, the toilet paper roll will retract into the wall, the stall door will open, a photo of the occupant will be taken, and said occupant will be ejected. After an employees second offense, his or her photo will be posted on the company bulletin board under the 'Chronic Offenders' category. Anyone caught smiling in the photo will be sanctioned under the company's mental health policy.
- Skinny employees are alloted a 30 minute lunch, as they need to eat more so they can more easily appear healthy.
- Normal size people are alloted a 15 minute lunch to get a balanced meal to maintain their average figures.
- Chubby people are alloted a 5 minute break at the standing-room-only health bar, because that's all the time needed to drink a Slim-Fast or V8.
Thank you for your loyalty to our company. We are here to provide a positive employment experience. Therefore, all questions, comments, concerns, complaints, frustrations, irritations, aggravations, insinuations, allegations, accusations, contemplations, consternation, and input should be directed elsewhere.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Plus, I had, while not technically a 2nd interview for the NJ job, an interview nonetheless with the gentleman who’d be my peer, and who I’d work with very closely. It lasted almost an hour, and our styles appear to complement one another, so I am industriously thinking good thoughts.
I’m also listening to CHRISTMAS MUSIC!!! Seriously, is there anything better? I love it!! What other time of year can I hear ten versions of the same song that are all different and all equally as fun/fantastic? Huh? That's right, at no other time!!!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
So Mom knitted me the most awesome scarf ever, bar none (it’s the berry/blue one on the right in the picture here). I wear it all Winter long. Mmmmm, I love this snuggly bit of warmth … it covers all the way up my ears, and keeps the cold chill of the Midwest freeze … er, breeze … out (my friends are so jealous). It’s like getting a hug from Mom all Winter long.
Last Winter I knitted one for Mom, just to see if I could, in a rust undercoat with black furring. I quickly discovered that I am nowhere near as skilled at knitting. Mom can multitask … she watches television, she carries on intelligent conversations! She knows how to finish the darn thing! Not so, me (I had to mail it incomplete to Mom so she could close off the final row, and the one time I tried watching television I dropped stitches … then, somehow, rows later, I miraculously picked them up again – still don’t know how that happened).
And I can’t for the life of me knit loosely, so Mom’s beautiful new scarf weighs 8 pounds, or thereabouts; she’ll have back strain if she ever actually uses it. I think its pretty good for a first attempt ... even if it does look like a two-tone wall tapestry made by a nine-year with a case of the palsy ... and am fair chuffed with my mad knitting skills.
Anyway, this Winter is no different, and my scarf from Mom got all kinds of attention as the bad weather set in. In fact, a colleague at the plant, once she found out mine was hand-made (by my Mom to boot, giving me an inside line), asked if Mom took orders. I told her no, but offered to try one (the blue/black one on the left side of the picture … a work-in-progress).
What have I discovered? I still can’t knit loosely (no worries, it’ll be nice and warm and keep all artic breezes out), and the best site on the web to see how to start a row is here: http://www.knittinghelp.com/videos/cast-on (the long-tail cast-on is what I used). Oh! And that I cannot believe how long it took me to remember how to tie a slip-knot! Sheesh!
Friday, December 12, 2008
Then the HR guy called and said it went well. Go figure.
I’ve been driving Dad crazy throughout, poring over the job description with him, coming up with discussion topics and areas of opportunity, then sending him notes from the interview and coming up with additional subject matter for a follow-up discussion with my will-be boss (hey, there is nothing wrong with the power of positive thinking, people).
I told Dad tonight that when I get the job (more positive thinking) I’m going to have to pay him commission for all the work he’s done. In the vernacular, “true that”.
So, keep thinking those good thoughts that I get to (and through) the next step, which will be callback interviews, and I'll keep you posted.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
And she’s practically fearless (when she’s in her fenced-in backyard … put her on a leash and take her for a walk and it’s an entirely different story, though, the big, giant pansy). The only time Bear (she has many nicknames) has trouble in the backyard is when we get freezing snow. She and her littermate, Kaia (our yellow Lab), access the backyard from the kitchen, which is on the second floor; so they have to descend the steps from the deck to the yard.
Their very first Winter, the morning after a freeze, they both charged out the door, across the deck, and halfway down the frozen stairs before gravity took over and deposited them ass-over-teakettle in a squealing, tangled, heap of shock at the bottom of the icy steps. Kaia promptly forgot about it and enjoyed her first romp in the snow. Boogie has never forgotten, and first freeze every year since has been extremely traumatic for her.
This year was no different, as I discovered this morning. After having left them outside over an hour playing in the yard (they’re a little nuts and love the cold), I went to let the girls in before leaving for work (actually to bring the Durango to the dealership, but that’s an entirely different “check engine light" story). Kaia came right inside, arrowing straight to the cookie jar for her morning treat, but no sign of Bear.
Now, you have to understand: these two are joined at the hip … on those very rare occasions one comes inside while the other remains outside, its only to stand less than two feet away from one another, barking through the (usually) closed door in some doggy version of a “you come here … no you come here ” argument (which Boogie generally wins through sheer persistence).
Anyway, back to this morning; no Boogie, and Kaia is totally unconcerned. I call Bear, and get a pathetic little yip in return, so I go into the back bedroom to look out the window down into the backyard. Sure enough, my little chicken is cowering at the bottom of the stairs, tail tucked in, terrified.
So, how did I get her inside? First I stood at the top of the stairs and encouraged her. No dice. Then I went down into the backyard and tried walking her up the steps. No way, no deal. Eventually I did walk her up, but not in a straightforward manner, oh no! I started with three steps; she sniveled her way up them to me, and ducked and ran back down to the yard. We do this twice, then I pull a change-up on her and go up five steps. Bear comes up four and runs for the hills. And every time she beats a hasty retreat to the yard during this fun fest she has to take a courage-building circuit of her figure-eight before she comes back for more torture.
Eventually we worked our way up and down the steps, me laughing the entire time (she's just too funny), until on the last attempt Boogie realized she was closer to the deck than the yard so charged up the last couple steps instead of down the eight hundred and sixty two she’d already traversed (okay, that may very well be a tad subjective on my part, but it sure felt like that many).
Oh joy! Oh rapture! The celebration that ensued when Bear reached her summit!! Rocky Balboa has nothing on my girl. Cookies for everyone! Sigh. We’ll do it all over again next year (or next week, depending on the weather).
Monday, December 1, 2008
Since most folk out here in MO haven’t heard of it, I’m going to go out on a limb and say it may, along with ZaRex, Autocrat Coffee Syrup, and Furtado’s Chourico, be mostly a New England thing.
It is very difficult to make … if cooked too long it’s hard as a brick and very brittle, so it basically shatters when cut into. Nam is the only one in the family who can make a perfect batch (and even she's had her fair share of “bad” batches, although there’s really no such thing as a bad batch of penuche), but Mike’s (pictured here) is a very close second. Notice the color? Mmmm. This one is from Christmas ’07. The recipe here isn’t Nam's (you're not allowed to have that), but it should do for beginners (a candy thermometer is helpful, but not necessarily required):
Stir until sugar is dissolved.
Heat to between 234 and 240 degrees F (112 to 116 degrees C), or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms a soft ball that does not dissipate and does not bead when removed from the water and placed on a flat surface.
Remove from heat and let cool without stirring until bottom of pan is lukewarm.
Pour in vanilla and beat until creamy.
Stir in nuts.
Pour into 8x8 pan.
Let cool completely before cutting into squares.