Monday, December 16, 2013

Holiday Goodies

Well, it's gift giving time and I'm having the usual troubles trying to find my Dad a present. He'll get the usual assortment of lottery tickets, and some small items, but I wanted to give him something special. Mind you, we spoiled him rotten for his birthday- the NC trip, a cooler full of meat & seafood, and tickets to NASCAR, WWE, and B B King- so he's not expecting a lot anyway. Mom & I are jointly getting him a new recliner, so that's his big gift.

Anyway, he was bemoaning the fact that nobody sells good fruitckae anymore. I don't believe that there's such a thing as a good fruitcake, but my father apparently loves the stuff. He's gotten them from Harry & David, Swiss Colony, and several other places over the last few years and nothing meets his standard. Nobody knows/remembers where Gramma used to order the ones she sent him. He liked the old Hostess slices, but they haven't made a comeback this year like Twinkies and the snack cakes. So Mom suggested we- meaning I- should make him one.


Do you know how many varieties of fruitcake there are? I had no idea, probably because we didn't cover those when I got my useless baking & pastry degree. I did an online search for recipes and nearly fell off my chair. It makes sense, I suppose. EVERYTHING has variations. Anyway, I eliminated the ones with really weird/exotic ingredients or that required 10+ weeks of marinating in booze. Then I crossed off the ones that called for any liquor other than bourbon or rum. I finally narrowed it down to about 5 recipes- 2 light, 2 dark, and 1 unspecified. (the difference, in case you're wondering, appears to be mostly the type of sweetener used and the variety of fruits. Dark fruitcakes tend to have brown sugar/molasses and more dark fruits like chopped prunes & dates)

After we sent the old coot off to bed last Sunday, I was telling Mom about my search. Turns out Dad likes dark fruitcakes, so that elminated 2 more of my choices. We were debating the merits of the other 3 when Mom bolted up out of her chair and ran to the kitchen. She came back a minute later, grinning from ear to ear, carrying one of her old cookbooks. It's called Platter Parade

and was the Camp Lejeune Oficer's Wives version of a Junior League cookbook. It has a fruitcake recipe that Mom used to make when I was small and was very well liked by the relatives she sent it to. I remember watching one year when I was about 6 and being scandalized that it had RUM in it. (No idea why I thought that was a bad thing)

Anyway, we discovered that it had several fruitcake recipes in it and got discouraged all over again because Mom wasn't sure which one she'd used. And then I dropped the book and the dust cover Mom had made for it fell off...revealing a handwritten index on the inside of the original color with page numbers listed and the notation "YUM!!!"
Sure enough, one of them was the fruitcake! The downside is that it makes a LOT of fruitcakes. 3-4 to be exact.

Then inspiration struck again. Why not make the full batch? I'm going to send one to Aunt Myrtle & Uncle John. One of my coworkers was moaning about trying to find one for her aunt, so she's taking one of them. Dad gets one, and since it keeps well, maybe two.

Next post may be about my adventures in fruitcake baking...

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Snow Days

We don't actually get them at my job. We're considered "essential" personnel (until it comes to being given raises, promotions, etc) and have to come in if we're scheduled, no matter what. I've been told that if I can't get my car out of the drive/off the street, they WILL send an officer to get me. Hasn't happened yet, but that's the official rule.

Well, it snowed Friday. I was called and told I could come in early if I wanted to beat the snow. It was barely sleeting when I got to work at 1:45. By the time I left work at 10:30 there was about 6 inches of snow on my car. At least it had stopped falling by then. The city, as usual, dropped the ball on snow removal, so it took me almost an hour to drive home. (as opposed to the usual 10-20 minutes)My little incorporated city helpfully cleared our street...leaving a 2 ft high mound of snow & ice at the foot of my drive. I had to park on the street, kick enough of it down to be able to get in the drive, and then pull in. Then I listened to them plow the street every 10 minutes from roughly midnight until I went to bed at 2. Nothing else had fallen, and they'd pretty much gotten it all by the time I'd gotten home earlier, but they kept scraping the blacktop until I started wishing for a bazooka.

Saturday loomed, clear & cold. Got to work for my OT shift, no problems. Louisville Metro had finally done something about the major roads. Going home, no problems. Then it snowed again overnight. Not much, maybe an inch. You'd have thought the world was coming to an end. People decimated the stores of bread & milk. Personally, if I thought I was going to be housebound for an extended period, I'd be stocking up on toilet paper and coffee. Or booze, if I were trapped with my family.

Monday was clear again, then we got another half inch this morning. Schools were cancelled, business opened late, and I expect that any store that had managed to re-stock is probably half empty again. Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Battle of the Blood Pressure

So, a new clinic opened in Louisville a few months ago. They specialize in back & knee pain and non-invasive therapies for both. Free consultations were offered, so I decided to give it a go. After reviewing my history, they said I was a good candidate for their services. The bonus was that they'd contact the insurance company and find out how many treatments they'd pay for and what type. Then I got a free aqua massage which left me feeling better than I had in months.

Well, when I went in for my second consultation, they took my blood pressure as part of the pre-treatment procedures. Backing up for a minute, I was stressed to hell when I got there that day. My appointment was for 9 a.m, but traffic was horrible with numersous wrecks along the routes, and I didn't get there until 9:30, despite the fact that I'd left home at 8 just to be on the safe side. As I've mentioned before, I'm a high stress driver, so you can imagine my state of mind by the time I got there.

Anyway, the guy took my BP. And freaked. So he tried it again. Still freaked. Got a new cuff from another tech, tried that, and freaked some more. Then he went and got the staff doctor. She took my BP and her eyes were huge. At this point I began to suspect something might be wrong. (LOL) They asked me if I had any idea why my blood pressure might be excessively high. I explained about stress and the drive, and told them that if they'd give me 30 minutes to calm down, it would probably drop. "Not that much- you should be dropping dead from a stroke right now." (they phrased it a bit more diplomatically) I told them that it was also higher than normal due to the insurance company having priced my old medication out of reach & that I'd been off it for several months. Dr B had given me a new one to replace it, but I'd only been taking it a week. They were still insistent that something was WRONG, and called his office. My luck- it was his day off and the covering doctor didn't want to be bothered with me. They were told to send me to the an immediate care center.

So, back in my car I go. The clinic wanted to call an ambulance, but being the stubborn person that I am, I knew I was ok and there was an ICC a couple of miles down the road. Headed there over their protests. Got to the clinic and explained to the desk clerk what I was there for. The intake nurse took my BP and shrieked "OH MY GOD!" Ok, so maybe it's a little higher than I thought. They threw me into an exam room and told me to lie down and try to relax while they got the doctor. She came in, I went through the whole story with her, and she took my BP again, with a similar reaction.

Dr X gave me a dose of some medication and said they'd come check me again in 30 minutes. They also checked my sugar, expecting it to be out of control too. (it wasn't)Less than 15 minutes later, they took my BP again and it had barely changed. "Well," I was told. "You're going to have to go to the ER becasue we're not prepared for this. We'll call an ambulance for you." Um, no. They made it clear that they weren't going to let me drive and threatened to call the police if I tried to. That was the last thing I wanted/needed, although I was tempted to tell them to go ahead because it would probably be a friend of mine. I told them that my parents lived less than 5 minutes away, so I'd call them to come get me and would hand my keys over to the staff until they got there.

Called my parents. I had texted them about what was going on before I'd left the PT clinic, just to give them a heads up. It took 5 tries, calling both their phones alternately, before one of them FINALLY picked up. After talking Mom down from her freak-out, I told her to hurry up and get there before they panicked at the ICC and tried to stuff me into an ambulance that I really didn't want to have to pay for.

It took my parents 30 minutes to arrive. They live less than 5 minutes, literally, from the ICC. (one of the reasons I chose to go to that one) I was not amused. Mom babbled about taking a shower, etc. I wouldn't have cared if she was funkier than Miley Cyrus, as long as she got there quickly. The ICC asked me what hospital I wanted to go to as they were going to call and tell them I was coming. I told them where I wanted to go (Jewish East, where Dr B's office is and where they know our whole family pretty well after the last few years) and they said "Oh we don't send patients there. Why don't you go to THIS (a newly constructed Norton building) Hospital instead?"

Fine. Then I had to argue with my mother over the directions. We got there, went to the ER and was told that they didn't know anything about me coming, but to sit down and they'd call me when they were ready to see me. Good thing I wasn't really having a stroke or I wouldn't be here to type this post.

I finally got called back and they proceeded to repeat the taking of the BP & freaking out. The nurse practioner assigned to me asked what I'd been given & when I took it last. I gave her all the paperwork from the ICC and repeated what my daily meds were and when I'd taken my last doses of them. She told me that the meds I was given at the ICC had lowered my BP a little, but probably needed more time to work. She also agreed with my assessment that I probably could use a shot of Atenolol (a med I used to take but stopped per Dr B because we thought that was the one causing my dizzy spells)and ordered it. She was impressed that I was so conversant in my meds and my reactions to them. (and knew I wasn't having a stroke because I was able to converse rationally with her about everything)

So, I got hooked up to an IV (at least they didn't put it in my hand this time) and was given saline for dehydration and the Atenolol. By this point, I've called the office and told them I wouldn't be in that day, and possibly the next. I'd been told that if my BP didn't drop appreciably in the next 2 hours, I was going to be admitted. You can imagine the helpful responses I got to that.

2 hours later I was told that my BP was still high, but at an acceptable level to let me go home. 90 minutes later, I finally got to go home. Now, this all started at 9:30 a.m. It was 4:30 by the time we left the hospital. I'd had nothing to eat all day (the parents & I were supposed to go to Red Lobster for lunch between the clinic & work)and was freezing because the ER was cold. The hospital had a Starbuck$ in it, so Mom went and got me a hot chocolate while we waited for my release papers.

I was told to follow up with my doctor the next day. Duh. We went to an early dinner at Red Lobster before going back to collect my car at the ICC. I went home, went to bed, and slept until 9 a.m. Dr B's office had already called to get me on the schedule, so I called them back and went straight over. He went ballistic when he found out his covering partner had REFUSED to see me and was irate that I'd had to spend so much on co-pays. (he remembers my budget issues) My BP was still higher than he was happy about, but he agreed with me that it was lower than it had been when I first started seeing him 5 years ago (and it had not gotten that high the day before) and would probably come back down as long as I stayed on my new meds. But to make up for some of the drama I'd been put through, he called my office for me and told them I wouldn't be in that day either, walked me down to the ER in their building, and had me hooked up to an Atenolol drip again. He told the attending nurse to bill his practice for the treatment, NOT ME.

So, that was Wed/Thursday. I probably should have stayed home Friday, but there was nobody to cover me at work, so I went in. I had to go back on Monday for Dr B to check me again. BP was still high. Another ER session billed to his practice (he told me that he found out which partner was in the wrong and was making them pay for my subsequent treatments. Apparently I wasn't the only one this cluck refused to see when they were supposed to be covering for him)and I was treated to another day off from work.

I've been back several times since then. For some reason, my BP is no longer responding to most of the meds. Poor Dr B is at his wit's end. I'm not at stroke level for the time being, but nothing is working as well as the meds that I can no longer afford. To add insult to injury, a lot of the side effects that we thought were coming from the meds he had me stop taking turned out to be effects of the expensive meds instead. I've had considerably less dizziness, psoriasis, joint pain, etc since I stopped taking the Benicar.

The good thing is that Dr B isn't charging me to come in and have my BP checked every week. I call his assistant directly, she checks the schedule, and they whisk me in/out between patients. Since it IS slowly coming down & hasn't been bad enough to need further in-office medication, I'm only there about 5 minutes. He says he'd rather not charge me $25 for each of these 5 minute trips if it means that I'll keep coming and let him try to keep me alive for a few more years. (I think my morbid sense of humor has rubbed off on him)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Holiday Eating

Well. We survived Thanksgving without too much trauma. Since I had to work, as usual on holidays, we decided to have the family dinner on the Sunday after. Daddy got to have an oyster roast on the actual day (since I wouldn't be there to gag at the sight/smell of oysters), so he was amenable to the idea.

Mom, who watches WAY too much Food Network, decided to try a version of one of Anne Burrell's recipes for the main course. We had a boned, flattened turkey breast, filled with stuffing, rolled up, and wrapped in bacon before roasting. The stuffing was a sausage/mushroom/cornbread mix. Both were insanely good!

I was supposed to bring a side and dessert. The problem was that I had a CFS flare-up over the weekend that left me both exhausted and weak as a kitten. I had intended to bring Pioneer Woman's Fresh Green Bean Casserole, but that didn't quite happen. I still made a green bean casserole, but it was more a mix of Ree's & the instructions on the can of Trader Joe's Fried Onion Pieces. (which kick ass, BTW) I used TJ's Cream of Portobello Soup, a couple of chopped strips of Whole Food$ Black Forest Bacon, and 8 oz of sliced cremini mushrooms, along with a sack of blanched, fresh haricorts verts. (skinny green beans) Oh, and a splash of half & half. It would have been good if I'd cooked the beans longer and cut them in half. It wasn't bad, but green beans shouldn't be that hard to eat.

Dessert was a loaf of Trader Joe's Pumpkin Bread mix, baked up. Topped with some homemade whipped cream, it was delicious!

(I am not being paid to endorse Trader Joe's. I just happened to try and like the products mentioned above. Ditto for Whole Food$)

So now we're looking ahead to Christmas dinner...which we may also have the Sunday after, depending on how our schedule shakes out at work. We've done Crown Roast of Pork for several years, and roasted hams. I'd rather not do turkey again. I was going to suggest something totally different this year and offer to prepare a baked salmon, but recently found out that my mom doesn't like fresh salmon. She likes lox, and salmon croquesstes made from the canned stuff, but not fresh. I might try to redeem myself after the green bean fiasco and make a better batch for Christmas. Or should I stick with the now-traditional brussels sprouts w/bacon & onion? I'm thinking corn pudding might be a nice change of pace as well.

Whatever it is, Christmas dinner will most likely be good, and we'll all probably eat too much of it. Which, to me, is the best part of a holiday meal!

Monday, December 2, 2013

9 Things for a Happy Life

Lovely author Gail Carriger posted a list titled 9 Things Every Happy Person Should Have that she'd found via yet another blog. It included her response to each item on the list and this was my hands down favorite:

2. A go-to Karaoke song.
No. But I'd be delighted to provide an interpretive background dance to your singing.

While most of the original list was interesting, I decided to create my own version. So without further ado, here are 9 things to make me happy:

1. Deep, restful sleep and lots of it.

2. Caffeine, and lots of it.

3. Books and lots of them. (detecting a pattern here?)

4. Favorite foods...and lots of them. (LOL)

5. Comfy clothes. I don't care if they're stylish, as long as I can relax in them.

6. Peace & quiet/time to myself. I don't need people around 24/7, nor do I need noise that much.

7. A functional car. I need to be able to go places without relying on others.

8. Pets. As aggravating as they can be, they also provide pure unconditonal love.

9. My own space. I don't think I'll ever be able to live with anyone ever again. I like the peace & privacy.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Still here...sort of

The last few months have been filled with drama & trauma, but things seem to be levelling out again. I hope to resume blogging regularly. A short list of what's been going on:

1. Dad's 80th birthday party trip.

2. Iowa family gathering

3. I was hospitalized twice due to blood pressure issues (not fun)

4. The usual work drama, only I didn't get blamed for everything for a change and someone else got into serious trouble. (HAH!)

5. I played Candy Crush so obsessively that I reached the final (as of now) level and am dying of impatience as I wait for them to create more.

I've also read a ton of books that need to be reviewed and done a little cross-stitching.

More soon, I hope!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Dear Officer Files

Dear Officer:

I see it's time to remind some of you morons of the following:

1. YES, you need a report number for anything you deposit with us. It is not our fault if you are not smart enough to tell Dispatch that you need a number for found or personal property, it doesn't get marked, and Reports harrasses you for the next six months.

2. DO NOT attempt to hand me a needle that is not in a safety tube. Should you manage to do it without sticking me, I will still break a foot off in your ass.

3. PLEASE tell us if ANYTHING you are handing us is sticky/has blood on it/anything you would not want your sister/wife/daughter touching with their bare hands. It is not funny to us and watching you laugh at our disgusted/panicked reactions when we've been exposed to god-knows-what is not going to help the situation.

4. DO NOT bring in something oversized/heavy and think you're going to waltz out without helping us move it to a storage location.

5. If you are a repeat offender for any of the things above or other issues named in previous "Dear Officer" letters, don't ask us why we're never happy when you come in. We'll tell you.


The Angry Amazon

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


So, I'd been threatening to try smoothies as part of my weight-loss plan for the last year or so. The drawback was that I needed a blender- the one Schmucknuts gave me had given up the ghost a long time ago, and the spare one a friend had promised me never materialized. I could have bought one at any point, but it's more fun to spend money on junk fun stuff, right?

One of the things I did on my staycation this year was decide to get my crap together once and for all. I want to travel again, and I especially want to go to Europe...specifically England. Traveling gets difficult when you have back & knee problems, adding fat to the mix is a recipe for disaster. So I'm making a real effort to start shedding weight.

I gave in and bought the damn blender. I bought a cheap one, designed for a smoothie or 2 at a time. Knowing my attention span, I was afraid that I'd buy an expensive one, make 1 or 2 drinks and then it would become a paperweight. I've been using it for about a month now, drinking smoothies almost daily, and you know what? It's helping!

I'm down 8 lbs. since my last weigh in. It's getting more fruit & veg into my diet, although I haven't been able to bring myself to try a green smoothie yet. The cats run when they hear the blender, which is always fun to watch. I need to try to get some more exercise worked into my schedule, but baby steps are better than none.

So, today I'm going to leave you with a recipe for one of the first ones I tried. It's from the book Skinny Smoothies by Shell Harris & Elizabeth Johnson:

Apple Raspberry Smoothie

1 banana
2 small-medium apples peeled & coarsely chopped
1/2 c red grapes
1/2 c raspberries
1/2 c water
4 ice cubes

Put the water in the blender first. Add other ingredients, ending with the ice cubes. Blend until smooth & drink!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Storms & Trees

Well, we thought the wind & ice storms we had here a few years ago pretty much brought down everything on the trees in my neighborhood that were likely to come down. We were wrong.

It started with my next door neighbor, Chuck. The tree in his yard, next to my driveway is half dead. Most of it came down during the windstorm and took out my old car. (before he lived there) Small bits & pieces fall off it periodically, but nothing massive until we had a bad storm a while back. I was leaving for work when the wind started kicking up. Had *just* cleared my driveway when a huge limb came crashing down. It missed me by inches, and had I left the house a minute later my car would have been smashed. Chuck came tearing out of his house, fearing the worst- boy did he look relieved to see me & my car unharmed. He told me that he'd call his son to come help him clear the limb from my drive as soon as the storm passed, and that I was free to park in his drive if they weren't able to get to it by the time I got home that night.

The drive in to work was exciting, and not in a good way. The wind was whipping up to almost hurricane strength (shade of those storms a few years back) and tree limbs were coming down everywhere...along with quite a few power lines. I don't understand idiots who think it's ok to drive over a downed line that is VISIBLY sparking.

We had another bad storm just before my birthday that brought down an enormous limb in my backyard. Didn't do any damage, thankfully. And then the last week has brought more storms which has taken down some good sized limbs in my front yard. Again, we've been lucky and had no damage, but it's really beginning to bother me that these trees are so fragile. I suspect they need to be cut down entirely and new ones planted, but doubt my landlord is going to be willing to pay for that. Maybe if I tell him that they pose a risk to the new roof & siding that *FINALLY* got finished after last year's weather debacles...

Thursday, September 5, 2013

What I Do When I'm Not Attempting To Blog

1. Spend way more time at my job than I would like to. Yes, I get paid OT for it, but that gets old after a while and taxes eat more of it than it's worth. We've been short 2 clerks in my office for a year now and it's beginning to wear us all out.

2. Eat junk that I shouldn't. Discovered Bacon Jerky - yes, you read that correctly- at World Market last week and have had to remind myself that it's too expensive and too bad for me to buy/eat regularly.

3. Spend money like a drunken sailor on shore leave. Working on cutting that down too. Hit the DMC sale at Joann Fabrics last week and now have enough floss to stitch a battleship. Also hit sales at B&N, Target, World get the idea.

4. Play video games on my phone. I should NEVER have upgraded to a smartphone. My 3 current addicitons are Bejewled Blitz, Candy Crush, and Angry Birds Star Wars.

5. Spend time with my parents. I took my dad to an Ohio Valley Wrestling TV taping while I was on vacation and it was hysterically awful. The highlight of the evening was the wrestler in the full length pink bunny suit...don't ask. At least one of the announcers is a Monty Python fan, because he lost it when I screamed "Activate Vorpal Bunny Powers!" Mom & I spent a day at the pool and got totally sunburnt.

6. Sing songs to my cats. Yes, I'm special.

7. Attempt to do things around the house. Something else from my vacation- I hung the London print that I got for my birthday. Then I decided that my bathroom needed work, so I put in a new shower caddy tower, a new curtain rod, and a new etagere. The rest of the house is still a wreck, but my bathroom looks nice!

8. READ! I have a ton of books that I would like to post reviews for...someday. Will work on that too!

9. Listen to music- my current new favorite is Five Finger Death Punch. One officer friend borrowed my car the other day and came back shaking his head. He'd looked at the cd's in the car. In addition to the 5FDP, I had the latest Buddy Guy, a Kelly CLarkson, Rick Springfield, Halestorm, and Barry Manilow. "You are a strange know that, right?" Well, DUH.

10. Watch dvd's if I'm not reading or stitching. I just got the first season of Elementary in the mail today, so i'm looking forward to settling down with it. I may not get to watch it until next week since I'm working all weekend, but I'm looking forward to it all the same.

More later...

Monday, August 12, 2013

Close Encounters of the Moldy Kind

So, at the beginning of July, they tried to kill me at work. 

It was a Thursday night that I was working alone and had been extremely busy. Then the 1st division Flex squad showed up with a search warrant. Warrants are fiddly, time-consuming, and usually a colossal pain in the ass because they collect everything they can get their hands on ESPECIALLY if it's a drug case...we've had furniture brought in because it "was probably bought with drug money."

This wasn't too bad as search warrants go...until I got to the money. I knew something wasn't right as soon as I touched it. A wave of sour, stale moldiness wafted up to assault my nose and the money was damp & sticky. "Was this in a basement or something?" The detective turning it in looked down and mumbled something about a safe.

Well, the bills were sticking together something awful and I kept having to recount them. The smell got worse with every recount and by the time I was done, I was a sneezing, wheezing, watery-eyed hot mess. AND my hands itched. (I tried wearing gloves but it's really hard to count money with them on, so I gave up)

It took 3 shots of my rescue inhaler, a double dose of antihistamines, and several applications of eye-drops to be able to breathe & see after I got everything packaged & put away. By the time I got home, it felt like there was a lead weight on my chest and my throat was on fire. Was I smart enough to go to the ER? No. However, I WAS smart enough to fill out the exposure forms and email my bosses about the issue before I left the office.

After a VERY bad night, I went into work the next day. Like an idiot. I told our "coordinator" that I was sick and needed to go home and/or see a doctor. Both the Sgt & Lt had taken vacation days and the useless wonder was left in charge. She called around to ask if anyone would come in and at least cover part of the shift. No, dummy, in a case like this, you are allowed to FORCE OT, which is what she would have had to do if I'd just been smart enough to call in sick in the first place. The problem was that she asked them all first (and was not surprisingly turned down), so when she called back to try to force someone in, nobody would answer their phones. (despite knowing that I was sick- my coworkers ARE asshats, in case you were wondering) So she said I'd just have to stay, but if it got too bad to call her and she'd try to come back and cover me herself. Gee, thanks.

Every officer that came in that night was horrified to see me. By 6 o'clock, I was back to wheezing/sneezing, my eyes were watery again, and I looked like someone had punched me in the nose and blackened both of them. Oh, and my relief for the night wandered in 15 minutes late to boot. (bitch)

Did I go to the ER then? Noooooo. (Yes, I am an idiot) I went home, crawled straight into bed and spent the night fighting a fever & chills. I spent most of the weekend in bed, sick as a dog. Monday, I called in sick and dared them to argue. Tuesday morning, I finally went to the doctor. She was horrified and gave me an antibiotic that I have forgotten the name of but was like germ napalm. Not only did it knock out the sinus/throat infection my allergic reaction turned into, it cleared up acne!

It took nearly two weeks for me to get back to what passes for normal in my life. In the meantime, my bosses quizzed the detective who finally, albeit reluctantly, admitted that the money hadn't been in a safe, but was hidden inside the gaps of cinder-blocks in the drug dealer's foundation."But none of us had a problem after WE handled it!" Yeah, well none of YOU has a compromised immune system AND major mold allergies. Asses were ripped, apologies were issued, and the tellers at the bank were NOT happy to get that moldy money.

Lessons learned:

1. When a detective gives you a sketchy answer, make THEM handle the evidence.


3. I will no longer answer my phone if it's the office. If they need someone to cover a 'sick' coworker, tough shit. I sucked up, they can too.

I'm on vacation for the next two weeks. Blog posts will continue to be sporadic.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Return of Mt. Laundry

My current favorite comic,, strikes again. I want to know where they've hidden the camera in my house...

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Lazy Girl Steak Birds

My mom is a good cook. One of my favorite dishes of hers is one we call Steak Birds. She pounds pieces of steak until they're flat, fills them with stuffing & rolls them up. Then they get browned on all sides and simmered in a gravy until tender. She often makes the stuffing from scratch, so it can be a time consuming dish.

I am a decent cook, but lazy. I was craving Mom's dish the other night, so I sort of faked a version. I used minute steaks, dredged in seasoned flour & browned in olive oil. Removed those from the pan and threw in some butter & onions and stirred that around until they were tender. Added a little more seasoned flour and a splash of milk, before stirring in a can of cream of mushroom soup, 1/2 a soup can of water, and a package of mushroom gravy mix. Put the steaks back in, covered the pan and reduced the heat to simmer while I went off to take a shower. (it had been one of THOSE days at work)

When I came back I cooked a box of cornbread stuffing mix, using a bit less water & butter than the package called for. I tend to like a dry stuffing anyway as it absorbs the gravy better.

Mounded a pile of stuffing on the plate, topped it with gravy and a minute steak. If I was a good girl, I'd have made green beans or a salad to go with this.

Anyway, it was good. And I made enough to get a couple of meals out of it, so I don't have to cook for a day or two!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Where has my brain gone?

As you may have noticed, I haven't posted much again lately. There have been some things going on worth posting to me, I just haven't had the time/energy to do anything about them. I'll try to work on that over the next few weeks.

Mostly as a reminder for myself, but also as a sort of teaser for anyone interested, upcoming posts will feature:

1. Going to a Neil Gaiman signing. (He's lovely)

2. Going to a house concert featuring Evie Laden & Keith Terry

3. My job has tried to kill me again, aka the moldy money story

4. British DVD's and how I'm too broke to buy them but do it anyway

5. My jackass brother is coming to visit...yay

6. Why I hate storms & wish my neighbor would just cut that damned tree down already

7. Contests, past & present

8. Games and how I get utterly addicted to them

9. Swedish murder mysteries (Camilla Lackberg)


Monday, July 1, 2013

Life's Little Indulgences

Despite my battles with insomnia, my bed is one of my favorite places to be. One of my favorite pleasures is to make a bed with fresh sheets, and then crawl into it after a long shower. There is nothing like the feeling of utter bliss you get when you slide a freshly scrubbed self in between crisp clean sheets. (other bed-related forms of bliss will not be discussed in case my mother finds this blog again)

I'm something of a bed-linen junkie. I love colorful sheets. I like plain sheets. I have sheets that have been worn to pieces. I discovered jersey knit sheets and thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Then, on a trip to T J Maxx last year, I scored a set of 300 count cotton sheets on the discount rack. Bliss! Not a color I care for that much (deep dark red- looks wonderful with my purple & green bedroom, NOT), but they were $22 marked down from $79. Score!

Well, I've managed to top that. I didn't do it intentionally. I'm trying to get better about my spending. But I had some extra cash burning a hole in my pocket thanks to OT at work and a winning scratch ticket, and when I saw these, I couldn't resist. 450 count Egyptian cotton sheets in dusty lavender for under $40. They were made for me- and there was only one package, in the size my bed is, in the store. Who needs groceries anyway?

I have a quirk that doesn't allow me to wear new clothes or use new linens of any sort without washing them first. you just never know where things have been. Those sheets went straight into the wash when I got home and were ready to go on my bed by the end of the night. The result? Pure, unadulterated bliss. It's like sleeping on a cloud. I may never sleep on anything else ever again.

There is a downside to these wonderful, wonderful sheets. The purrbeasts are obsessed with trying to get to them. I don't want them on my lovely new bedding. Nightshade managed to get the comforter pulled back off the foot of the bed so she could loll on my sheets at her leisure. Malkin managed to unearth the pillows and lie on them. I've threatened to shave the next cat whose fur appears on my bed.

Actually, there's another downside. These glorious sheets make my ratty old comforters look even worse. I really need a new duvet...but I've got a birthday coming up, so maybe that will be taken care of then...

**updated** I caved in when I saw this set on Amazon. Perfect colors and good price, so I'm happy now.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A further dose of randomness...or... Still Life With Slugs

Having trouble of thinking of something worth writing about. Having trouble with a lot of things these days. My body is waiting for my brain to get the message that it just doesn't want to work anymore. The road trip was 2 weeks ago and I'm still worn out. Damn CFS.

Had discussions with 2 different friends and then on Pioneer Woman's blog about music of the 70's-80's. While I still listen to a lot of different things, including quite a bit of current stuff  (Halestorm rocks, BTW), I still like the music from those years. And because I spent a LOT of time listening to the radio & watching MTV, I can identify a shitload of songs by title and/or artist within the first few seconds. Even worse- I often know the words and often have to stop myself from caterwauling singing along in public. My former bookstore coworker, Scott, and I had quite the discussion about how kids today (now I feel old) don't know the thrill of browsing through record stores after waiting impatiently for an artist's new album to come out.

Switching gears for a minute- I seriously dislike insects, arachnids, and slithery reptiles. One of the things I hate about summer, besides the heat, is the amount of bugs that find their way into my house. I've been inundated with ants; the fleas that I made such effort to get rid of are popping up here & there (and being assasinated with extreme predjudice); and grossest of all are the kaza-flatching slugs. Every night I come home, walk into my bathroom, and there are slugs on my shower wall and in my bathtub. UGH. On the other hand, my tub hasn't been this clean in years, because I bleach the hell out of it daily now that those things are in it. Last night was the worst- I was pleased to only see one small slug clinging to the wall....until I looked down at the tub drain and saw a gordian knot of the digusting things around the trap.  ICK ICK ICK.

So I sounded the critter call (AIEEEEEEEEEEE! for those of you who were wondering), which was the cue for my cats to flee to my bed. After a few more shrieks, I remembered that I live alone and nobody was going to come get the icky things for me. Also, my neighbors might call the cops if I don't knock off the screaming and I don't think the code red responders would appreciate me asking them to get slugs out of my drain once they arrived. I debated the following options:

1. lay a trail of salt across the doorway, close the bathroom door and hope the disgusting things were gone in the morning (I was strongly leaning toward this one)

2. hermetically seal my arm/hand in cling film & tissue, pluck the nasty things out of the drain, and flush them down the toilet (nixed that one- hate the feel of squirming bags of snot in my hand)

3. pour an entire box of salt down the drain followed by boiling water, baking soda, & vinegar.

DING DING DING DING...WE HAVE A WINNER! Normally I wouldn't pour salt on them (time honored slug killing method that it is) because the resulting gooey mess grosses me out more than the live slugs, but this would go down the drain! I wouldn't have to touch anything! Yay! So I ran to the kitchen, put the kettle on, grabbed the salt and headed back to the bathroom. There may have been some evil chortling involved- don't judge me. Poured the salt into the drain and did the heebie-jeebie dance of grossed-outedness, and went back to wait 5 or so minutes for the kettle.

Took the boiling water into the bath, poured that down the now-mercifully-slug-free drain. Went back for the vinegar & baking soda, poured them in and let the foam settle, and then ran the hot tap for a few minutes. Yeah, it's overkill, but those things REALLY squick me out.

Huh. Guess I had more to say than I thought. Feel free to laugh at me now, if you haven't already done so. :-)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Did that just happen?!?

So I'm at work and my boys BB & DH wandered in with their evidence. (Initials being used to protect the guilty/save my hide)  While I was entering their first case, D asked if we had any of the small baggies we use for narcotics. I passed some out to him and started on the second case.

While that was going on, BB was asking about what our schedules were like in this office. I explained how that worked, and he joked that he might have to put in an application for one of the vacant spots to help pay his child support. This boy is cute as a button, but still hasn't learned where babies come from, cuz he has a lot of them. So D & I started teasing him about that, and then he spotted the baggies I'd given D.

"Hey!" he squawked. "I need some of those too!" I told him I'd get him some when I was done with their case.

"But I want some now...c'mon, you know you want to give me some babies. I'll give you anything you want if you give me some babies!"


Then he realized what he'd just said.

And when we saw the the look on his face, D & I exploded into hysterical laughter.

I suspect it may be a few days before he wanders in again...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Vader's Little Princess- Jeffrey Brown

Darth Vader is back and this time he's coping with the challenges of his little girl as she goes from adoring 5 year old to rebellious teen. Unless you are some kind of ridiculous Star Wars purist, you can't leaf through this book without smiling!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Star Trek Cross Stitch- Explore Strange New Worlds of Crafting by John Lohman

Some danged enabler on the 123Stitch message board mentioned this book and I had to get a copy. I bought a physical copy, not the Kindle edition which is what I seem to have gotten a picture of. At any rate, it's full of Trek patterns that will keep me busy for some time to come. Now if only someone would come up with a new book of Doctor Who patterns...

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Great Daddy-Daughter Road Trip (longish, and this is the abbreivated version!)

This is why there were no posts last week:

So, since my trip to BEA didn't work out, I offered to drive my dad down to NC to see family. We're going in September for his birthday, but he's really been wanting to go sooner, so I sucked it up and made the offer. The original plan was that I'd drive him down, hand him off to my sister in Charlotte, and she'd take him to see the other relatives in NC & VA. We'd meet somewhere along the way & I'd take him back home. I was supposed to be relaxing & visiting high school/college friends while this was going on. Mom couldn't go with us as she started training for her new job with the Census Bureau.

Needless to say, this didn't quite happen. Audrey got a new job at the last minute and wasn't going to be free to travel. I wound up driving approximately 1800 miles in 5 days. We started with the drive down to Charlotte on Thursday. Got a later start than intended (I don't think I've done a trip in the last 5 years that started on time) thanks to being held over at work the night before and Nightshade once again channeling her inner escape artist as I was trying to pack up the car to go.

The drive down was fairly uneventful, until we got to Charlotte. Dad called Audrey to let her know we were in town and she said we should come to her house first & then my BIL would show us to the hotel where we'd be staying. It wasn't the one I had directions for (of course) and it took a few minutes and one wrong turn to get where we needed to be. Then we couldn't see any of the street numbers to find her house, so we had to call and have her come out on the porch to guide us in. (Charlotte apparently doesn't believe in street lights)

Friday: The hotel my BIL booked us into was a Holiday Inn, but it was lovely. I wish I could have spent the entire trip in that bed, but I had to get up and meet Audrey, Roy, and their oldest daughter, Shanta, for lunch before we headed to Wilmington...which took forever because I went the way my (otherwise perfect) BIL suggested and got stuck in horrendous traffic. I had forgotten the cd's I was going to bring (we have wildly differing tastes in music, but can usually compromise on blues & some jazz) so we had whatever was in the car or could be tuned in on the radio...which lead to this conversation:

Dad: What is this we're listening to?
Me: Barry Manilow
Dad: What else you got?
Me: Rob Zombie?
Dad: ...

Got to Wilmington, checked in at the hotel, called the next sister (Sandra) and met her for dinner at one of Dad's favorite seafood places. We chatted for a bit over dinner, wound up helping Sandra fix a flat tire, and called it a night. Considered killing Dad in the C-store where we stopped for his lottery tickets & snacks when he stood in the middle of the store yelling for me to come talk to Mom on his phone instead of just coming over to where I was.

Saturday: Stopped at a local bakery for junk, Books-A-Million for some magazines (and I bought a Doctor Who beach towel), and then lunch at J Michael's Philly-Deli. Dad worked there for over 25 years, and it's always been one of my favorite places to eat, so we HAD to go there. The staff fawned all over Dad, Sandra & I ate til we were about to burst, and then we headed over to Jacksonville to spend a few hours with Uncle John. (yes, I spent most of the trip driving and eating) Uncle J had mentioned that Aunt Myrtle wasn't feeling well, so we stopped and got flowers for her. He's recovered amazingly well from his strokes last fall, and while he's still a bit fragile, he looked & sounded wonderful. As we were leaving (heading for Virginia), he decided to go get Aunt Myrt some fried chicken, which is how we found out that the old coot is still driving. *facepalm* I said, sternly, "Are you supposed to be driving?" to which he replied, head hanging, "Well, they didn't say I couldn't..." Sigh. He'll be 86 on the 4th of July and even if they take his license, he'll keep driving. Stubborn old goat. Just like his little brother...speaking of whom... of the things Dad wanted to do while we were in NC was stock up on country meats & (we thought) seafood. Every city we stopped in, I asked him if he wanted to go ahead and get his meat, and every time he'd say no, we'd get it later becasue he didn't want it to go bad before we got home. Mind you, I'd lugged along 2 coolers and every hotel room we'd booked was supposed to have a fridge, but he set his mind and that was that. And the fish he wanted wasn't in season (don't ask) so that was out too, until we go back for his birthday.

The drive up to Virginia was long & dull. I kept second guessing myself on the directions (mentally, because if I'd voiced any of it out loud, Dad would never let me hear the end of it) but we finally got there. I sent my father into hysterics when I pointed at a field we were driving past and asked brightly "Is that tobacco?" Once he stopped laughing, he told me I was too much of a city kid and had clearly been in KY for too long if I didn't know the difference between corn (which is what it was) & tobacco.

We got to VA around midnight, called the last of the sisters (Angie & Brenda), and said we'd see them on Sunday.

Sunday: I was dead tired. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & constant travel do not mix well. Since my schedule was all out of whack, my body was not happy and let me know. Everything hurt, I was totally broken out, and so exhausted that I could barely hold my head up. It was agreed that the sisters would take Dad out for the afternoon (which meant that I got out of visiting Aunt Janey Mae & Aunt Margaret- bonus!) and I would join them later for dinner. Dinner was the only meal I actually ate that day, not counting a handful of cookies from Saturday's bakery jaunt. My BIL, JR, took us to one of their favorite seafood places- Captian George's. $32 a head, but it's an enourmous seafood buffet. This is the kind of place that hates to see our extended family coming on the rare occasions we're all together because my dad & siblings can and will eat their weight in seafood. Me, they make money on because my shellfish allergy prevents me from eating most of the dishes. Luckily there were 5 fish-only dishes and something they called prime rib (more like sliced pot roast, but it wasn't bad) and an assortment of veggies for me. The looks on the face of the servers and people around us as they watched the other 4 hoovering up crab legs like there was no tomorrow was priceless. At one point, I suggested JR just pull his chair up to the steam table where the crab legs were and the poor girl clearing the empty shells from our table cracked up.

Monday: We get to make the long drive back to Louisville. The good news is that it's all I-64. The bad news is that it's all I-64. What a tedious drive! Of course, before we left VA, we had to find a grocery store for Dad to get his country meat. Did the first store have what he wanted? Hell no. I had to ask a clerk if they knew anywhere to get old fashiond country sausage and side meat. The young guy I asked looked blankly at me for a minute, said "Let me get the old guy I work with" and came back with a guy MY age in tow. (Old, my foot) Guy 2 didn't know either, but whipped out his cell phone and called HIS father, who directed us to another store about 20 minutes away. THAT store had some of what dad wanted, but not brands he knew or the variety he was looking for. I bit my lip until it bled to keep from screaming "I told you to get it in NC!" He finally picked up a couple of likely looking packages and we were on the road.

Since I didn't want to listen to the same cd's again, I plugged in my MP3 player and hit random. Dad didn't seem to mind too much at first- he was busy scratching his lottery tickets and talking to my uncle on his cell. Then I noticed the kind of sideways "what the hell?!?" look he was giving me and realized I was singing along, at the top of my lungs, to the Ramones "The KKK Took My Baby Away." Ooops. "Boy," he said wearily, "Didn't you bring ANY normal music along?"

Then we hit construction. The screaming you may have heard around 4 p.m. was probably me. 1 lane of traffic, speed limit 55, and the idiot 2 cars up is doing 40. I looked in the rearview and there was a 3 mile long line of traffic built up behind us. I suspect we were ALL screaming. This jackhole kept it up for about 30 minutes, until the road suddenly went back to 2 lanes and we all streamed past him, honking and giving the one finger salute. Dad said he appeared to be on a cell phone when we passed him.

Stopped at Tamarack near Beckley WV for dinner. It's an artisan shop with all kinds of neat handcrafted (code for expensive) items and a decent restaurant. Mom & I love to stop there. Dad does not. We stopped anyway because I was driving. Sadly we got there in just enough time to eat dinner and leave because they were closing in 15 minutes.

Into the home stretch, and we're just outside Lexington KY when my mom calls. She tells Dad that she has treats for both of us when we get home- chinese for me & KFC for him. He says he can't eat his since he has to go do fasting labs in the morning for his doctor appt Tuesday afternoon. No food after midnight and we won't get home until about 1230. Which means he needs to eat now so his sugar doesn't go wonky overnight and we have to stop at a Waffle House. *bangs head against steering wheel*

I FINALLY got home around 130 Tuesday morning. The cats were quite pleased to see me and even happier that I didn't have the energy to chase them out of my room, so they got to sleep with me. I slept 12 hours, then had to get up, wrestle the cats into their carrier (Nightshade objected most strongly and now I have an unwanted boob piercing. You're welcome for that image in your brain) and throw more clothes into the suitcase to go to Mom's. Why? Because the geniuses who were supposed to put new siding on my house after the storms LAST year finally scheduled it- for Wednesday. One night in my own bed and then 3 days at the parental abode...but that's another story...

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I Can't Complain- Elinor Lipman

I like essay collections. This was my first experience with Elinor Lipman and now I'm going to try her novels. This collection contains essays on every subject from birth to death and in between.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Food Issues- or- The Picky Eater

Despite appearances, I am a somewhat picky eater and have been for my entire life. My mother was honestly was afraid that I'd grow up to be one of those people who only eats a handful of foods. She recalls, all too vividly, the first trip we took to Iowa. 3 year old me refused most of the goodies offered to me for breakfast, insisting I wanted grits (bless my little Southern soul) and forcing the family to call 20 grocery stores within a 75 mile radius until they found the *1* store that had some and necessitating a 90 minute roundtrip drive to get them.

I was the kid who wouldn't touch bologna. (still won't- UGH) Salami, I would eat until it came out of my ears, but something about bologna was/is just gross to me. I also wouldn't eat jello, drink kool-aid, or eat eggs. All those things still hold true. I also will only eat chicken drumsticks & breasts.

More oddities- I don't like yellow cheeses. I won't eat the processed cheez-fud (spelled intentionally) that passes for cheese on most fast food burgers. It has a weird mouthfeel, tastes awful, and is too salty to boot. I'll occasionally eat the ones with 'swiss' cheese, but not often.

I don't like a lot of crap on my burgers. The standard version for me is mustard, ketchup, pickle, and onion. Steak sauce (A1 or HP) is acceptable in the place of ketchup. Bacon & mushrooms are also acceptable toppings, but that's pretty much it.

Hot dogs & macaroni cheese? Yuck. We had some lean years when I was younger and ate a lot of both. Now they gag me. Reading The Jungle didn't help with the hot dog thing. Before you ask, yes, I know salami is made in a similar fashion to hot dogs, but as long as I don't look at the ingredient list or think too hard about it, I'm ok.

I like flavorful foods, but I don't like to mix flavored items. My mother can dip ranch doritos in salsa and it tastes fine to her. Yuck. Plain chips & salsa, yes! Ranch chips on their own, yum! Just don't ask me to mix them.

What are your food likes/dislikes?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Ghost & Lady Alice- Marion Chesney

This was a fun little romp with a few screwball elements. Alice is a scullery maid on a ducal estate, mistreated, and desperately wanting a better life. She ventures upstairs one night after everyone has gone to bed and sees a portrait of her employer's ancestor- a man who was a known rake & libertine, but who treated his servants fairly and with kindness. The nearly broken Alice wishes out loud that he could come bck and take her away from her miserable existance.

Gervase, the 8th Duke, is quite startled to find himself summoned back into existance after his death nearly a century before. He is amused by the little scullery maid who has unwittingly brought him back and decides to help her. It takes a while to put his plan into motion, but he eventually spirits Alice the scullery maid away and manages to bring her into society as Alice the French Countess.

The plan is to find Alice a titled husband and give her the secure life she'd dreamed of. Of course things NEVER go according to plan...after a disastrous series of engagements, Alice and her Ghostly Duke realize they've fallen in love. Now how do they get their happily ever after?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Closet Confessions

So, I've been trying to get the clutter in the house under control again. I weeded a lot of stuff out of my wardrobe last year, but there's still way more clothing than I need scattered around my house.

Like most people, I hate doing laundry. If I manage to wash & dry a load, it rarely gets folded/hung and put away. As a result, I often find myself getting dressed in the utility room. Much to the amusement of the neighbor behind me, if I've forgotten to lower the blind out there.

It also creates a spending issue. I have more socks & underwear than anybody needs. Why? Because I get frustrated trying to root through the piles of clean laundry to find either item so I find myself buying more on a trip to Walmart. And when the hell did the price of underwear double?!? I bought some last year for $6.97. Looked at the same package over the weekend and it was $11.97. But I digress...

Now that the season seems to be trying to change, I need to sort the cold weather clothes out and store them. First I need to find them all...which means excavating Laundry Mountain. My first stab at this revealed a mound of pajama bottoms (another vice), 5000 unmatched socks, the bra I've been looking for for at least 6 weeks, most of my tie-dyed t-shirt collection, and the blanket I thought I'd given to my dad. Then I unearthed a treasure trove of underwear, the old cat bed, 2 tennis balls, and a pair of jeans I haven't worn in ages.

Sadly, all of that was just the top layer. The pile was almost as tall as me, so there's quite a way to go. I realized that it wouldn't do any good to sort it out if I didn't have anywhere to put it all, so I stopped there and went to look at my closet & dresser. Oy. I have a drawer full of paired socks. And a huge bag of socks to be mated, not counting the ones I just rediscovered. Many of them have holes- I'm tough on socks for some reason- but I hang onto them anyway. Why? Because I'm nuts. So, off to ruthlessly weed out the holey socks, and for that matter the underwear with no elastic and more holes than there should be. We won't even go into the bra drawer.

Lost interest in that project after 1 CD. (That's how I make myself get things done. I put a CD on and tell myself I have to do whatever the job is until it ends) So I started poking through the closet. Anybody want a pair of denim overalls that create a stunning camel-toe effect? How about a Duran Duran t-shirt I bought on Ebay that turned out to be a cheap rag that the seller ironed a bad transfer on so you can't tell who's who? Why do I still own 7 black lace tops? And what am I going to do with a blue satin ballgown skirt I got for $2 at Goodwill? (It does fit, though)

Will someone call the crew at Hoarders for me, please? I think I need more help...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Miranda Hart- Is It Just Me?

Miranda is a British comedy star whose work I have never seen. I need to remedy this, becasue the book was outright funny. We have several things in common- like me, she's over 6ft tall, still single after 35, and constantly feeling awkward. Unlike me, she gets paid big money to be herself. The book is a look at her views on various aspects of everyday life, complete with personal anecdotes and a running debate with her 18 year old self. Quite funny and worth reading if you can snag a copy.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Financial Disaster and the Rest of My Life

I have a love/hate relationship with money. I love having it and spending it, but I hate keeping track of what I've blown. Consequently, I have manged to send myself into overdraft not once, but twice in the last 6 weeks. The only thing worse than the overdrafts? Having to beg my parents for money to cover them. They were every nice about it, but at this point, I am old enough to know better than to go spending money like a drunken sailor on shore leave.

Actually, the second overdraft wasn't entirely due to overspending. It was caused by my dyslexia- I recorded the payment for my monthly meds incorrectly (reversed a couple of digits) and therefore thought I had more money than I did. Oops.

So, as a result of my idiocy & dyslexia, my spending has been extremely curtailed. This is actually a sort of good thing- I own a ton of junk already, so don't really need more. I need to use the stuff in my freezer & pantry instead of letting it go to waste.  So I've been forcing myself to cook and/or eating sandwiches instead of grabbing fast food. At least it's helping me lose weight- down 3 lbs. this week! (I made sure I bought the cats their food & litter before I used what was left of the loan from my parents on food for me)

Why don't I cook more often? Well, part of the problem is that I still tend to cook like I'm feeding a pack of hungry wrestlers or gamers. Since it's just me these days, I get sick of eating leftovers after a day or two. And once stuff makes it into my freezer, it rarely makes it back out. Also, depending on how my back & knees are feeling, standing at the stove is iffy. Maybe I need to get a bar stool?

Anyway, I'm working on the issue. Last year I cancelled all my credit cards and am slowly paying them off. I've been trying to cut down on my utilities and auto expenses. Not much I can do about my rent unless I move in with the parents and that isn't happening. I've got to start cutting back on eating out. And I have to remind myself that I don't need to buy every book/CD/DVD/cross stitch item I want, just because I want it. Also need to start using coupons again- I stopped because I got so annoyed with Bitchzilla at Kroger acting like they were coming out of her pocket, but screw her! If they didn't want people to use them, they wouldn't distribute them.

So, there's this week's confession. Tune in next Monday for more random babble.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop- Reginald Bakeley

I read an article online somewhere (and am too lazy to look it up now to tell you exactly where) about an "Odd Title of the Year" contest. This was the winner. (Other titles included such gems as God's Doodle- The life and Times of the Penis and How To Sharpen Pencils)

Here's the Amazon Blurb:

Help is on the way! In the tradition of Lemony Snicket and Roald Dahl, Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop shows how to banish those pesky dark Fairy creatures who are ready to thwart every last pleasure, be it gardening, country hikes, or even getting a good night's sleep.

In this charming guide, "fairy hunter" Reginald Bakeley offers practical instructions to clear your home and garden of these unsettling inhabitants, and banish them from your chicken coop and kitchen cupboard forever!

In Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop readers will discover:

Why a bustle in one's hedgerow may be cause for alarm

Why a garden fumigator may come in handy on evenings at the pub

Why a toy merchant, a butcher, and a Freemason are among your best allies in the fight against the fey

Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop is the only complete manual on how to identify, track, defend, and destroy those bothersome brownies, goblins, dwarves, scheming flower-fairies, and other nasty members of the fairy realm.

My take: It was amusing. I would have liked it better had there been some Lady Cottington-type pressed fairy illustrations to accompany the text, but it was fun nonetheless.  I wound up buying on my Kindle because none of the bookstores in my area had it. (I DID get some very weird looks when I asked for it at B&N and Books-a-Million) Amazon was back-ordered on print copies at the time and I decided to go the instant gratification route. I don't know that I would recommend paying full price for it, but it's worth reading if you like twisted fairy tales and that sort of thing.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Thank Goodness That's Over!

Well, Derby Madness is over for another year. The bad weather actually helped lessen the madness this year, but there was still plenty of stupidity out there.

I was taken over to the track at about 10:30 Saturday morning. The first drunk was carried (literally)into the corrections area at 10:45.  He threw up, barely missing my evidence box, and was so wasted that they kept having to hold him up. It was decided that he was actually too drunk for the jail to take him, so he was cited and sent to the hospital.

The second drunk was hauled in at 10:57. He was in slightly better shape than the first one, but kept screaming that he needed to go to the bathroom. They took him to one, and then threw him in the cell. I looked over after a minute and he was naked, waving his shorts in the air. The corrections Lt was not amused and sent 3 guys into the cell to get his clothes back on him.

It got quiet again, so the corrections nurse and I played Fashion Victim Bingo while watching the crowd. I will never understand why idiot women wear dresses that are too short & too tight with heels that are too high and think that their clothing choices are impervious to rain. Also amusing were the large number of men in white pants that turned see-through in the rain. Next year, I bet they wear underwear!

It was quiet for an unusually long time. Then the belligerant drunks started rolling in. These are the guys who never know why they've been locked up and want to argue about it. Mr. My Daddy Is Rich was the ringleader and had the entire cell carrying on. He informed us repeatedly that "My dad makes more in a week than you poor assholes make in a year!" I couldn't take it, and after 30 minutes of that I informed him that his father may be rich, but he's the asshole in the cell and I was willing to bet dear old Dad was gonig to be less than thrilled to pay the $ to get him out. This sent his cellmates into hysterics and they spent the rest of the time before they were loaded into the booking van for their trip downtown picking on him.

Then the violent drunks started rolling in. We had two that they literally had to hog-tie. The worse offender of the two was an enraged, drunk, redneck woman. (who turned out to be my neighbor's sister- small world) She managed to throw the table we were using as a counter, despite being handcuffed, and kicked everyone within reach. (luckily not me) Corrections quickly closed the garage door so the public wouldn't view this (our area was right by the main gate) and six of them took her down to the floor. It was special.  They had to carry her screaming, face down, hog tied, and still trying to kick everyone, to the booking van.

So, that was my Derby day. Oh, and one of the horses I bet on won! It was a last minute decision to bet on Orb (the horse I wanted to bet was scratched), but it worked out. I only won $25 (small bet), but I won. Now if the horse that was in the lead until close to the end had kept his lead, I would have won $250. Damn it. Happens every time.

My cousins were so amused by my Facebook posts from the track that they want to come to Derby next year. I told them to bring it on!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

This is NOT an official US holiday, people!

Semi-random thought: Cinco De Mayo is a MEXICAN holiday, so WHY does the US celebrate it?!? Like St Patrick’s Day, we’ve co-opted another country’s celebration as an excuse for people to get stupidly drunk.

Getting off the Soapbox of Sanity now...

Saturday, May 4, 2013

It's Derby Day!

The last day of the season known as "Louisville Loses Its Collective Shit." This is set to post automatically since I'll be out at the track as a mobile clerk. I'll be the one in the corner by the corrections cells, fending off drunks and trying not to laugh as the self-entitled citizens who think they can use our spot as a short-cut get firmly rebuffed and sent to walk the long way around the building. I'll nip out for a bit to place some bets (on horses that probably won't win) and gawk at the fasion victims.

As for my Derby Fashions? I'll dress a little better than I normally would for work, but am not going overboard with a frou-frou hat or any of that nonsense. My one concession is the new necklace I ordered last week:

Couldn't resist it. Y'all know how much I love my Chinese food.

Stories from the track will be posted next week. Heh. Can't wait to see what idiocy goes on this year...

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Serengeti Spy- Anup Shah

Anyone want to guess why I read this? LOL. The lion pictures are my favorite by far, but the shots of other wildlife are equally stunning. One of my non-lion favorites was a herd of elephants gathered around a dried out pond, watching in amusement as a baby elephant gleefully rolled in the dust. Wll worth looking at, and if you want to pick up a copy, Amazon has this $40 book on sale for $16. (as of the time this is written)

Happy May Day!

thanks to Google Images for the picture

Monday, April 29, 2013

Odds and Ends

Late post. At least there IS one this Monday...

Anyway, I seem to have hit a patch of writer's block, so here are some random reflections from my weekend:

1. Had lunch with my parents at Carabba's on Saturday. My father ordered a weird seafood canneloni dish that he didn't like instead of the shrimp fettucine we all knew he would, just to prove a point. No idea what that point was, but there you go. Mom had chicken fettucine and I had the steak marsala with garlic mashed potatoes and it was awesome. However, the best thing we ate was the caramelized onion and bacon flatbread! That's going on the list of favorites.

2. Went to Trader Joe's and, as usual, the parking lot and store were both a zoo. I grabbed the few things I needed for the mexican meal Mom & I planned for Sunday and tried to get out of dodge before I lost my mind. Got to the registers and they all had long lines. Several family groups were there, including one idiot woman who clearly believes in the free-range children version of parenting. Her children were doing some whirling dervish spinning/dancing, throwing things at each other, and being genrall obnoxious while she smiled beatifically at them. The cashier said something to her in a low tone and she said "They're free spirits!" Fine, ask them to be free spirits over there (pointed at the door) becasue they're in everyone's way over here. She huffily called them back to her side. About the time I made it through my line and tried to get to the door, the older child had once again left mom's side and was spinning in the middle of the exit aisle. I stopped and the brat crashed into me. Before I could do/say anything, Mom snarls at me. "You need to watch out for my child!" I favored her with my best evil, someone's-about-to-die smile and the cashier hissed, "No, your child needs to watch out for her!" The child was yanked back to her side in a hurry.

3. I attempted to leave the Trader Joe's lot and get to Whole Foods. 35 minutes later, I'd made it 20 feet. So what do I do next? I didn't stop at WF, I did something even more idiotic- went to Walmart on a Saturday afternoon. The geniuses at the Walmart by my house had filled that main aisles with displays that barely left room for one person with a cart to get by in either direction. they also decided that 5 p.m. Saturday was a perfect time to drag pallets out of the storerooms and leave them in random aisles so people couldn't duck down them instead of trailing along behind groups blocking the main aisles. Naturally, I got stuck behind Shamu's sister who was waddling along in 5 inch heels (yeah, those help with the mobility problems that go with obesity), leaning on her cart while munching on a bucket of (unpaid for) fried chicken from the deli and hollering for "Junior" to go get her some Doritos and Cheez Whiz (not making this up) while yacking on her cell phone. There were 10 people backed up behind me when I finally snapped and started screaming. One man whispered "Follow that lady!" to his wife. "We might actually get out of here sometime today."

4. Sunday stupidity was self-inflicted. I decided it was time to color my hair again. Have actually been meaning to do it for weeks, but decided yesterday was the day. Warm Reddish Brown is the color I was supposed to get. Warm Reddish Brown, my big fat ass. My hair is the color of burnt plum sauce. Or, as my mother said, "'s kind of purpley in the right light."

5. Dinner was excellent! We made Sausage & Potato and Spicy Fish Tacos. Topped with Creamy Cabbage & Corn Slaw or Citrusy Radish Slaw. I got to zing my mother with one of her classic lines regarding the fish tacos. "How Do You KNOW You Don't Like Them If You've Never Tried Them?!?" She tried one and allowed as they weren't bad, but she preferred the sausage.

So that was my weekend.

Oh, and today's moment of stupidity? Came from the officer who looked at me and said "Is your hair supposed to be that color?" I asked him about his limp. "What limp?" This one...and I kicked the crap out of his shin. (Relax, it was a friend and I was reasonably sure I wan't going to be charged with assault)

Friday, April 26, 2013

It's Hug An Australian Day!

Yes, it's real... and I'm very lucky in that one of our resident department hunks just happens to be the man formerly known as Outback Jack on an early Bachelor-style show. (I also have him on speed dial) So here's a look at my sweet friend Vadim, aka the Aussie I got to hug today:

 from the TV show  his official department photo

And, just because I couldn't resist, here's a look at another Aussie I have been lucky enough to hug on several occasions:

 80's Rick  more recent Rick

And last, but by no means least, one I would love to get my hands on:

 mmmm, Hugh

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cirque du Soleil- Worlds Away

I love Cirque du Soleil. I've seen several of the live shows and own several more DVD performances. I picked this one up at the library and was a bit disheartened to see that James "Egomaniac" Cameron was involved in it. Luckily, the performances made up for a lot. It seemed kind of disjointed at first, and then I caught on to what I was seeing. They filmed sections of the various shows that are currently running in Vegas and turned it into a movie. I enjoyed the bits from "O", which I have seen. There were some scenes from Ka & Mystere, which I want to see. Then they went into Viva Elvis & The Beatles tribute show and I almost turned the damned thing off because I loathe the Beatles. (this came about after being forced to listen to them ad nauseam at the bookstore  for 5 years) But I stuck it out and was rewarded with an aerial ballet at the end that made the whole thing worth it. For the record, the aerial ballets are my favorite part of any Cirque show.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Adventures in Daddy Sitting

OMG. Took the old man out to lunch yesterday. Told my father I’d be there at 1230 to pick him up for lunch. I walked in the door at 1230 on the dot and he looks at me. “Family Feud just started.” I don’t care- I told you what time I was picking you up. let’s go. “But I like Steve Harvey.” So do I, but I’ve got to go to work today, so let’s move it.

Finally got him in the car. Get to Golden Corral and it’s Old Fart Jubilee. It was almost 1 by the time we got there and that’s when the senior discount starts, so every old person in town was standing in the doorway, waiting. We almost got run down in the parking lot by 3 different old ladies with oxygen tanks. I finally pushed my way through the crowd, dragging Dad behind me, and then the cashier wanted to argue with us. “I’m trying to save you money- the discount starts in 5 minutes.” Yeah, well I appreciate that, but I have to go to work sometime today and the $2 off isn’t worth waiting behind a bunch of crusties.

The food was decent for a change, at least. Dad got a giggle out of the fact that Sister Bertha-better-than-you and Sister Mary-minds-everyone’s-business-but-her-own were at the table next to us and starting talking loudly about old fools with young tramps. I finally turned around and said to them “You know, I agree. It’s funny though that people think I’m one of those types every time I take my dad here out to lunch. I mean, I always thought I looked enough like him that it was pretty clear he’s my actual daddy, not a sugar daddy.” They shut up in a hurry, the old man at the next table over started howling with laughter. “You tell them, honey!”

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

It's National Haiku Day!

Nightshade and Malkin
Furry, purry little pests
I love them so much.

The books that I own
Are all over my small house...
Reader's paradise!

I'm VERY hungry.
Mongolian Bacon? YUM!
Will you bring me some?

Crap! Time to go work.
Officers and Criminals...
Where are my happy pills?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Once More With Feeling

Here we go again. We have a new crop of rookie officers that have just been turned loose on the street. They actually aren't the problem- it's some of the officers who have been on long enough to know better that inspired this round of the Dear Officer files.

Dear Officer:

1. What part of DO NOT SHOVE LOOSE NEEDLES UNDER THE WINDOW do you not understand?!? THERE IS A FREAKING SIGN IN THE WINDOW IN BOLD CAPS THAT SAYS TO ASK FOR A SAFETY TUBE IF YOU DON'T HAVE ONE. And if I get stuck by a needle that you were too stupid to contain, BOTH of us will be going to the hospital.

2. Our office develops a wind tunnel effect when the temperature shifts drastically. This has not changed in the last 7 years. If you notice that the wind blows every time someone opens the damned door, or we tell you to hold onto your papers/evidence, HOLD ONTO YOUR SHIT. Especially if it's an unwrapped needle as mentioned above.

3. We know it's hot in our office. It's not necessary or clever to point it out to us. 

4. We know the office reeks of marijuana thanks to our lame ventilation system. It's not necessary or clever to point THAT out to us either.

5. We know that everyone has different tastes, different work habits, and we relate to different people in different ways. Some officers prefer one clerk to another. THIS is fine. Telling the clerk who is waiting on your dumb ass that you think her coworker is the best clerk and you wish she was there instead is NOT fine and WILL get your shit handed back to you with a request that you come back when THAT clerk is working. 

6. Yes, you need to fill out a currency seizure form AND a forfeiture form if the money you are turning in is drug related. NO, WE WILL NOT FILL IT OUT FOR YOU.

7. Do not get an attitude with us if we tell you to stop flapping your yap and pay attention. We need information to do our job. If you don't bring in a citation, or don't bring in a legible citation, we need you to be able to answer some questions. This can't happen if you're talking on your cell phone or shooting the shit with whoever is waiting in line after you. 

8. Don't get an attitude with us if you don't follow rule 7 and something isn't entered the way you wanted it. If you'd paid attention, it might have been.

9. While most of the people we come into contact with are less than upstanding citizens, we still have to try to deal with them nicely. If we get the guy YOU pissed off and gave the runaround and he tells us that you claim WE screwed up, we are more than happy to look up the identity of your commanding officer and suggest he call them to correct the issue. If something that should have been personal property got put in as evidence because you were too busy fucking around to follow rule 7, that is YOUR problem, not ours. And we will happily tell the citizen that. You had the chance to tell us that at the beginning of our transaction with you, and in the case of the gun I had to deal with last week, you also should have noticed that when you were handed the envelope to seal and sign. Sometimes we make mistakes and most of us will admit.apologize, but if you try to throw us under the bus, we will drag you along with us.

10. If there is only one clerk working and you come in while they're entering a search warrant for another officer, be prepared to wait. Do not keep asking how much longer this is going to take. You can always leave and come back. If you choose to wait, do not sit out there and complain to other people that we're slow.

There's a great deal more, but that's enough bile for one post.