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