Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The last one

Well, it looks like I will have Friday off from work. But not for a good reason. My Mom woke me up last night with a sad phone call: her last remaining brother has died. His funeral is on Friday. I wasn't fully awake to catch whether his funeral will be in the place where he lived, or where they all grew up. My brother will be driving us there, so I don't have to worry about the weather, too much.

His wife died recently, last year or the year before that (2005) and her funeral was held in his (her husband's) home town because it was closer to everyone. There have been so many deaths in my Mom's side of the family lately that I lose track of when, exactly. And a couple of years ago my older brother's two in-laws (his wife's parents) were killed in a car accident. They were the sweetest, kindest people. The church was packed at their joint funeral and people were crying, it was such a sad shock.

My Mom had ten siblings, six brothers and four sisters, and she is the only one left of them all. There are still three spouses left. At her younger brother's funeral a couple of years ago, they took photos of the two remaining "kids" in the family, my Mom and her next oldest brother. Good thing, as then his wife died (he was not able to attend her funeral, so we didn't see him) and now he has. Even though I don't get along that well with my two brothers, I can't imagine them gone. What a horrible hole that must feel like to Mom! Especially to be the last one left of a large family.

Monday, January 29, 2007

I wish I could sing

Well, it was a good weekend and now it's gone. Almost time to go to work and do my presentation--about what exactly, I don't know yet. The Training Manager was writing it over the weekend and I haven't seen it.

Friday night I went out for the third time in a row but this one was by far the most fun. The first two were with co-workers and the last, a birthday party with friends, so it's no surprise that it was the best. Houseguest's man turned 50 so we got him a bunch of gag gifts (and some nice ones, too). Houseguest got a large cake and brought it to the little country bar and everyone had some. It made for a pretty jolly atmosphere.

SLA and Houseguest are both heavily into karaoke and they both can sing so well. They each sang individually many times and sang some songs together, and as always, they made the non-singing two of us get up there too. I can't carry a tune, especially with karaoke when there's just the background music and no melody to help. I also don't seem to know any song well enough to be able to follow along fast enough! So my singing is a total disaster and I try to do it as seldom as possible.

SLA and Houseguest used to insist that anyone can sing--they don't say that anymore, ha ha! But they both had choir in high school, and I'm wondering if I could possibly learn to sing better? Of course almost anything would be an improvement. Even if I just learned a song or two I would feel better. Singing is a discipline that I've never really gotten into. Oh sure, I sing along in the car (by myself) and all, but am careless about really learning the lyrics and anything but the refrain. I could work at it even a little more and improve, just a tiny little bit, do you think?

Can you sing karaoke? And do you enjoy doing it? My friends said that with a couple more drinks I might have been better, but that's not true. I would have sung even worse (if such a thing was possible) but thought I was doing OK!

Friday, January 26, 2007

No temp-tation

Today is the last day to complete the project due by Monday. It will take a miracle, frankly, but I'm doing my best. The training manager asked me to help her with the training for it. She's going to write it up this weekend and we're going to present it at the staff meeting first thing on Monday morning. I don't mind doing that at all, but would like to know what I'm talking about before getting up and demonstrating it on the big screen in the conference room! I like to be prepared. But it's not going to be possible so it just will have to be whatever it is.

We have one box ready for each person but won't have them all done, unless, like I said, there's a miracle.

Anyway, we all went out last night again, including the bosses. Well, it's Friday and I'm going out again tonight--third time in a row! But this time it's with friends. Have a good day and a great weekend!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Brrrr, it's cold---inside

My little dog was restless last night and kept waking me up. She had been keeping me awake since 11:00, good thing I'd gone to bed really early. I discovered the reason for her unrest when she threw up all over my bed around 2:30 AM or so. She may be little, but she did an excellent job at it. I was tired, had barely slept and was looking forward to another busy, physical day at work with the boxes, so I grabbed an alarm clock, the two remaining (thin) blankets, and went to sleep on the couch in the living room.

My little dog soon joined me on top of the blankets. She was shivering. The upstairs of my house is really cold. I keep it set at 70 degrees but usually it's more like around 60 degrees in actual temperature, this time it was in the low 50's! So despite a wicked heating bill that arrived yesterday, I jacked up the thermostat even higher than 70 and tried to think warm thoughts.

My little dog will not get under the covers to get warm, but must sleep on top of me. After a while she stopped shivering, just when I was thinking maybe we should sleep down in the basement where it is warmer. Then I fell asleep for an hour before the alarm went off. I even had two interesting dreams in that time! Now I'm looking forward to a nice HOT shower--but not to getting out of it, back into the cold.

Last night we went out after work, it was the temp's idea and it was a good one. I wouldn't have suggested such a thing because everyone else is married, and/or has little kids and more responsibilities. Plus, at the end of a work day I just want to get away from them all, not hang out with them! But it was quite fun and since one of the key players couldn't go last night, we're going again tonight! On Friday I'm going out with SLA, Houseguest and friends, so that will be three nights out in a row, if it all works out. Have a great day!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Do try this at home

The (good-- not "The Best...") banana bread recipe:

Cream together
1 1/2 cup shortening and
1 cup sugar, beat in
2 eggs, add
3 ripe bananas (the ones too brown to eat--I have 3 candidates waiting right now!)
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Then add dry ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
dash of salt

mix together and then add
3/4 cup nuts, either walnuts or pecans
I break them up rather than chop them

pour batter into greased (I use butter) loaf pan. If there is batter left over I pour it into little loaf pans to make mini-breads. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or until a knife put into the center comes out clean.

Or if you have Bisquick in the kitchen cupboard (I didn't, had to go buy some on the grocery shopping spree) here's a super-easy recipe:

Red Lobster Biscuits (taste sort of like the ones they serve there)
2 cups Bisquick and
2/3 cups milk

Beat well and add:
1/2-3/4 cup cheese shredded or cut into little pieces (I use 3 different kinds, whatever I have on hand. Sharp cheddar is the best, though)

Drop spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
when they're done pour over:

1/4 cup melted butter (must use real butter to taste right)mixed with
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (I just shake in a lot)

Quick and easy! These disappear really fast.

The Boss is back at work today. I had an issue with another co-worker and so will have to talk to her about it to avoid getting in trouble. It sounds like she is supporting me on this, though. I have two huge projects this week and didn't have time to do the co-worker's request. I started to do a few things, but it quickly turned into a much more extensive project and the other co-worker with the first project was not happy to see it. Yep, at my job I really need to be a people pleaser to survive. Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

"The Best Banana Bread Ever"?

Maybe with all this cooking I'll get less self-conscious about feeding people. Of course I'm self-conscious about nearly everything, so why would cooking for others be any different?

To help the process, I brought the thin mints to work--they disappeared right away and I even got asked for the recipe. I also brought the banana bread. The recipe name was, "The Best Banana Bread Ever" and I think the recipe author needs to eat some real banana bread, as her experience must have been lacking!

The recipe called for lots of eggs and soda but only two bananas. It also took two-and-a-half hours to bake in a slow oven and it wasn't that good. Edible, but certainly not like the delicious, heavy, moist banana bread I usually make. The people at work ate it, but nobody asked for the recipe, which was not a surprise. I did bring sweet cream butter to put on it, so that would have made it a bit better. Butter makes everything better--wasn't that an advertising slogan or something?

Well, anyway, it's onward to work to continue on a box project. I'm wearing more casual (but not jeans, we can only wear them on Fridays) because it's a grubby task and I have to dust off my clothes. Have a good Tuesday!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Lights out!

I forgot to mention one of the more significant things about the breaking of my favorite cup incident: The temp told me about her "Eye of God" casulty the very same day as I broke the coffee cup that morning. Weird coincidence.

Well, I didn't break anything else this past weekend but we did have another weird coincidence. From Friday night to Sunday night, basically the entire weekend, we had four lightbulbs burn out! First it was the one in the "animal room" in the basement where we store the food and supplies for our pets, then the family room light in the basement. Shortly after one of the bulbs burned out on my lamp in the upstairs living room, and as a grand finale, the lightbulb in the refrigerator burned out! I've never had a light bulb in the 'fridge burn out, and this is a new (bought it last year, not even a year old) refrigerator. Even more weird is that I actually had a lightbulb that could fit it, a 15w little bulb. It was the last spare bulb we had. A few days before, both of my son's lightbulbs in his bedroom burned out. The lights are going off all over in my house!

Other than that it was a pretty normal weekend. I made lasagne and thin mints and banana bread and (baked) ham and cheese sandwiches and that green bean dish with the Dunkee's Dried Onions on top. My Mom and I went shopping at a dollar store and a thrift store. I washed all my finds and am going to wear a dark green blouse-y thing to work today. Work. Yes, it's Monday so soon. Have a good one!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Instant Human. Just Add Coffee

I broke my very favorite coffee cup. I seldom (can’t say never now, can I?) break dishes. This was a brand new cup that I got from the Smithsonian Space Museum when I went to DC early in December. I’d bought it as a Christmas gift for a friend, but liked it so well that I kept it for myself and gave her other things.

But I didn’t have it for long. I was in a hurry, like I am every work morning and was reaching out from another room to put the cup on the kitchen cabinet. I missed and the cup hit the floor with such force that it shattered everywhere, and I had bare feet. The cup was a beautiful art-y design and had written on the side:

Instant Human. Just Add Coffee.

The temp at work was telling me about how she had made this beautiful “Eye of God” weaving to give to a friend, but liked it so well that she kept it for herself. When it got ruined shortly afterwards, her mother told her it was because she selfishly kept it instead of giving it away. The temp asked me if I believed what her mother had said. So I told her about my short-lived favorite coffee cup! Has that ever happened to you; have you broken something that you got for a gift but kept for yourself? Just curious if this is a weird coincidence or something more common.

Well, today is Friday and no surprise, I'm glad. Have a good day and a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

From the Meme Pile

They had a piece on the evening news about the stomach flu that's been going around. Favorite Ex-boss had it and is still not up to snuff five days later. What is extremely weird is that the only food he craves and can eat is canned goods! Remember, that's how I got into my new, easier way of cooking. I did not say a word about my canned food cravings to him, either; he just volunteered it in conversation. This wicked flu has changed my entire way of eating. The news story said it wasn't really the flu but some highly contagious viral thing. Hope it doesn't come back. The last time I was that sick was when I had amoebic dysentery from traveling to Central America (by car). Well, it wasn't quite THAT bad, but close, far too close.

Here is a Meme that I found lying around in my meme pile. I have no idea where I got it, and hopefully haven't posted it before!

A Meme/Survey
1. Who would you want to be tied to for 24 hours?
Nobody, I like my privacy and freedom.

2. Who do you blame for your mood today?
I'm usually in a pretty good mood, but coffee helps!

3. Have you ever seen a dead body?
Yes, and also worked with them and real body pieces in anatomy class. Dead flesh feels really cold. It's slippery too; I almost dropped a heart on the floor. There's got to be a joke in that, somewhere!

4. What should we do w/ stupid people?
Nothing. People are interesting; let them do their thing as long as it doesn't hurt anyone.

5. How long do you think you will live?
I'm planning for a lot longer.

6. What was the first thing you did this morning?
Start the coffee.

7. The color of carpet in your bedroom?
White tweed.

9. Last person you went out to dinner with?
Son and Pseudo Son.

10. Are you spoiled?
No, too bad. Any offers?

11. Do you drink lots of water?
Yes, I carry around a water bottle where ever I go.

12. What toothpaste do you use?
Mint-y Crest.

13. How do you vent your anger?
Go for a vigorous walk, write stuff in my journal or blog, dance to rock music.

14. The last compliment you received?
That I’m a good gift-giver.

15. What are you doing this weekend?
Movies, out with Mom, out with friends.

16 When was the last time you threw up?
January 2 when I had that wicked flu.

17. Is your best friend a virgin?
No, ha ha!

18. What theme does your room have?
Eclectic, bright with many colors, especially red.

19. When was the last time you were at a party?
Went to four during Christmas.

20. Are you a mama's child or a daddy's child?
Neither, I was the invisible middle child.

21. Would you ever join the military?
I considered it when younger but am now glad I didn’t.

22. The last website you visited?
One of my favorite bloggers!

23. Who was the last person you took a picture with?
My family.

25. Last person you went to the movies with?
Son and Pseudo Son, before the dinner.

26. What did you do/will you do for your birthday this year?
Take the day off from work. It’s my yearly little gift to myself.

27. Number of layers on your bed?
Three layers and nine pillows. One is a body pillow.

28. Is anything alive in your room?
A Jade Plant, a Rosemary Plant and a Sage Plant. Also, my little dog who sleeps with me.

29. Today, would you rather go back a week or go forward a week?
I always look forward to the future, no going back.

30. What are you looking forward to right now?
Implementing my new grand scheme for this year!

So there it is. If anyone wants to do this meme, help yourself.

Tonight I made "Elvis Chicken Bake" it was really good. I also had a Tom & Jerry with rum and brandy in it and am about ready for bed even though it's early. I went to bed at 2:30 AM last night (get up at 5) and had a loooonnnngggg boring telephone conference today for two hours at work. I barely stayed awake. Good thing I didn't have to take meeting minutes for that one. Have a great Thursday!

Work Triumph, Food Failure

It was a good day at work today, even though it could have turned out badly for me. I presented my policies and procedures at the staff meeting and saw only one person stifling a yawn. In that document, I'd put that I was the technology backup. It was sort of a bold, daring move, if you remember the conversation with the IT guy and his subsequent stalling on selecting his backup (because he was "uncomfortable" with me being his backup.) Well, he left at noon and I was left (with no training) to deal with a conference call. Luckily for me I found the equipment and could hook it up. It wasn't that difficult of a thing, yet was somewhat stressful. The entire staff was there with a consultant and clients were calling in. It went OK and nothing dramatic or bad occurred. It was the first time we used our own new conferencing system, normally I'd called a provider and set it up.

Then I came home to make grilled ham and cheese in the oven, which turned out really good, not too greasy--and potato chip cookies which didn't turn out well at all. Now they are hard as rocks and I don't want to break any more fillings or teeth! You'd think with butter, potato chips and vanilla (and other stuff, like flour, of course) they'd be really tasty and good. Nope, it was a work triumph and a food failure. But the reverse would have been worse! Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Expiration dates

I was just looking in the refrigerator for something to bring to work for lunch today. I always carry my lunch. Some co-workers always buys theirs. I find the topic of how people use their money very interesting! I'd imagine there are ways that I spend my money that would look spendthrift to others, too.

Anyway, the meatloaf has gone bad so I threw it out. Well, not really really bad but it's "tired" as my Mom would say. She wouldn't have thrown it out, though. We used to use up any and all food unless it actually had mold on it. And even then I swear she scraped or cut that part off and served it anyway! I've only now, in the past year, got her to throw out ten year old frozen goods and 30 year old spices!

I can see this cooking mania may literally turn bad on me! I liked that meatloaf, it was really good. Hopefully nothing else is turning in there. Have a good Monday--nope, it's Tuesday, thank goodness!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Happy Birthday, and a day off from work

Happy Birthday to Son Sandwich. It's his birthday today and I have gingersnaps done already this morning and Red Lobster Biscuits in the oven (two of his favorites.) He's not into cake, but if I feel really ambitious I might make a pie. I also need to wrap up the ski bibs, wool socks and $49 ski gloves I got him as birthday presents.

Every year on this day I review the day of his birth. When he was younger, I would take out his baby book and show him all the photos we took in the hospital (we didn't take any of the actual birth, ugh!)just nice heart-warming pictures of smiling, happy people. At 4:30 AM my water broke, that was very early back then, although I often get up that time now. It was really cold in the house. Our little oil stove had gone off in the night. My (now ex) husband got up and was tinkering around with it. I was hungry, so even though the baby book said not to eat any more solid food after the water breaks, I made a good sized breakfast of eggs and ham. I really regretted doing that later in the day, but it did warm the house and us up a little. Just like I'm baking and drying the laundry to warm up the house this morning!

Brief pause: the biscuits were done and I had to go and brush melted butter and garlic on them.

Husband was messing with the stove, trying to get it to work and getting our old clunker of a car started to go to the hospital. It all was surreal at that point (but became all too real later!) that this was the day we were going to have a new member of the family. I wasn't having contractions and didn't want to go to the hospital too early, so we went around 1:00 PM or so, after the oil service guy came and fixed our stove.

The birth event was very much how my Mom had me: two weeks overdue, induced birth, breech, foreceps, baby with slight (temporary) facial deformity from foreceps, except he was a large baby and I was only 6 pounds. It's been a long road from that day until today. It's hard for a parent to visualize, when holding their brand-new baby in their arms, the man or woman that little baby will grow up to be!

That day changed my life, of course, having a child does that. Even though we were poor and came through so much, it's been a great journey and he's grown up to be an admirable young man. Happy Happy Birthday to my Son Sandwich!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Flinging pots and pans

I've had a non-stop cooking mania for the past week. It's abnormal for me as I hate cooking. Ever since I had the flu, the healthy food I normally eat doesn't go down well, you know, veggies and stuff from scratch. I know they're good for us but the stomach says, "uh um, no way" and a person really cannot go against their stomach in eating food. I won't go into detail, but let's just say, it doesn't work out well.

I've been sort of a food snob for all of my adult life. I stuck up my nose at cooking that uses, say, canned mushroom soup, even though that's the cooking of my Mom and my childhood and my Mom makes delicious food. Canned beans? No way, they must be made from the dried product (which takes hours) to be "real" food. Canned tomato sauces and products? Nope, they have to be made from actual tomatoes and simmered on the stove. Well, just guess what type of food works well for me now?

The hilariously funny thing about it all is that I've discovered that I sort of LIKE cooking, when it doesn't take hours or days to make something! I cannot even remember everything I've made in the past week or so, it's been a cooking marathon at my house!

It all started when I was looking through church recipe books that my sister-in-law and Mom gave me, many years ago, in the hope I could find something else to cook that I could eat. In those books were wonderful casseroles and deserts that could be made in an hour! Of course I had to make a list and go and buy the ingredients, because like I said, I didn't keep those types of things in my house. Some of the things I've made:

Lorena Bobbit casserole: fry cut up weiners with onions, put in greased casserole dish with cooked noodles, add (canned) tomato soup, some Velveeta (I wouldn't have been caught dead with that just a couple weeks ago!) cook for 50 minutes. It was good! Tasted like Spagettios or something the neighbor kids used to eat when my son was in grade school.

Cheeseburger casserole: hamburger fried up with onions, cooked noodles, add cheese soup and mushroom soup on top. Bake. Tastes like school food. I liked school food as a kid because at home we ate the same thing day after day for all my grade school years: venison (or other game) hamburgers, boiled potatoes, no gravy, canned vegetables. On weekends my Mom would make good stuff, though.

Meatloaf: I've made meatloaf often before, of course, but added oatmeal because it's healthier than crackers or bread. None of that nonsense this time. We had real meatloaf like my Mom makes with dried bread in it and catsup on top!

Chicken: I've baked chicken, with only seasonings on it but this time I breaded it with cornmeal and yum yum, it's VERY good! The meat is juicier and more tender, too. I didn't go so far as to fry it...

Lime 'n Pretzel Pie: This tastes like an alcoholic drink, and so is delicious! Crushing up the pretzels was interesting, though. A rolling pin doesn't work well or a potato masher either, so I used a combo of those two things. It's weird that they are so difficult to crush on purpose when they crunch up just fine if you drop them on the floor and accidently step on them!

Almond Bark with Nuts and pretzels: Had to use up those Halloween pretzels somehow, and this was too easy to make--and to eat!

Ginger Snaps: Easy to make while a casserole was cooking in the oven. Same with Banana Bread, Red Lobster Biscuits and Lemon Poppyseed Muffins.

Oh, and I also made a Sweet Potato Casserole last night. We're not sure that we like it though. It has pineapple juice, chopped ham and PECANS in it!

There's probably other things I've made, like the Pork Chop Casserole with minute rice and mushroom soup poured over it, but that's enough for now. Can you tell that it's become a real mania with me? Cooking with canned foods is so quick and easy that I think I like cooking now, at least temporarily. Have a good rest of your weekend!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Gimme back my temp!

Ever since I was gone from work that long stretch between Christmas and New Years, my temp has become "slow" at doing what I ask of her. All this week I've been asking her to organize the supply cabinet and sort out the things in the storage room. She's barely started on the supply cabinet and now it needs to be done by the staff meeting, early Tuesday morning--Boss's orders. And we all have Monday off from work for my son's birthday. (No, I just have said that to him. Actually it's for MLK Day. My son has his birthday the same day as Martin Luther King, Jr.) So TODAY is the last day for it to get organized and labeled. And I have timesheets and travel requests (from everyone) due in for approval today, plus another large project for the training manager.

This is the third temp that's found greener pastures and not wanted to come back to work for me once they got a taste of doing work for other people in our office! In fact I ended up firing the second temp for laziness, sneakiness and dishonesty. This one is a honest, hard working, has a pleasant personality, and is a quick learner. So she's an unusually good temp. She was under the direction of favorite co-worker while I was gone. FCW has interesting stuff to do, fun things, and so "my" temp has strangely enough (not!) been finding things from FCW to do instead of getting back to my stuff.

I don't really blame her. My work is not fun, often tedious and boring. But she was hired to help ME with my work and with the organization of the office. She was only on loan to FCW. In fact, the fun stuff she was doing would have come to me to do, if I wasn't so knee-deep in all of the accounting and travel stuff (and now training stuff) I have to do. The Boss sees the messy supply cabinets and then comes down on me because I'm not "managing the temp properly" which is true, I guess. I get so tired of all the constant battles at work! Any work that is given the temp is supposed to come through me--she was hired solely to help me with my work.

Well, wish me luck in my battle to regain my temp and get the supply cabinet organized! At least it's Friday and a long weekend coming up. Have a good Friday and a great weekend!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

When boys grow up

Well, after our talk, my son went up to the the school yesterday. I hope things are fixed for him now, we haven't talked about it again. I'd wanted to yell at him in frustration, but that would have only made him feel bad, and he already was feeling bad about it. So instead I gave my pep talk about having a warrior spirit. He's very cautious about everything, so unlike me. It's not a bad thing to be cautious except when it stops you from doing what you need or want to do! So I guess he will be going back to school on the 17th. Yay for him!

But then, Amanda and Anton's son, who is the same age, got shipped to Iraq this past Tuesday. They had a going away party for him on Monday night. He's been sent to that area twice before but never actually inside Irag. I've known this fine young man since he was two years old and he and my son sort of grew up together. He was home late in the summer to receive firefighter's training, which he was all excited about, but it was only so they could send him to Iraq. He's not been in an actual war zone before. He'd better come back OK in mind and body or I'm going to be really pissed off. I couldn't watch the entire (but short) presidential address last night. I kept thinking of A & A's son and all of the soldiers over there fighting a war that can't be won, and felt sick. How did this all happen?

Well, the Boss will be back at work today and the day is full of meetings. So it's going to be busy. Have a good one!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Stupid Insurance is a 0

Insurance, what a big ripoff. Yet we have to have it. Just in case. Today I finished an on-going battle with my insurance company. They have lumped both of our cars and the house all together and then divided that sum into quarters as a payment amount. The two cars being put together is inconvenient for me. I ended up paying for both and am waiting for son to kick in his (much higher than mine) share of the tab. I might have a long wait. Tonight he was stressing about school and how he doesn't have enough money for it. Why? Because his student loans are messed up. I've been telling him for weeks now while they are between semesters to go and get it fixed instead of just worrying about it. He thinks that he may not be able to register for the next semester, but doesn't know for sure.

He and I are of opposite temperaments about stuff like that. I will go after a problem and shake it until it comes loose. If that doesn't work, I keep going back to rattle its cage until some sort of resolution takes place. Like the insurance problem today. My insurance company insisted that I pay the homeowners insurance along with my auto insurance even though it's escrowed through my mortgage payment. They claimed they know nothing about it, have never received any payments from the mortgage company, blah and blah. I've called them, supplied all sorts of information and went to the insurance office after work on Friday. No resolution. They just told me to "pay up" ALL three of the insurance amounts (actually, all put together as one lump sum.)
I ended up having to call my mortgage company while I was at work, not what I'd prefer to do but they left me no choice. I worked while on the phone about 45 minutes, navigating through a horrible automated system. I finally got an actual representative who called my insurance company while I was still on the line. Wow, that was worth the wait to hear them squirm and have to fix the problem! Yay, victory at last! My son needs to go at his problems like that instead of feeling bad and just worrying about them.

So, it was Stupid Insurance = 0 and me = 1. But the dental battle didn't go as well. My health insurance doesn't cover emergency dental so I have to pay for both office visits. Dental = 1, me = 0. Can't win them all, I guess. But I certainly tried my best.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Beer is the cure

Saturday is normally my "social day" and yesterday certainly turned out that way! It all started when I stayed up late on Friday night, desperately trying to finish "See Jane Write: A Girl's Guide to Writing Chick Lit." Earlier I'd barely started on it, realized what a helpful book it might be, and had tried to renew it from the library. But alas, someone else with aspirations to writing Chick Lit had requested the book, so no renewals allowed. I stayed up until almost 3:00 AM, but got less than halfway through. Taking notes on it was making it a slower read than a normal book.

Inspired to finish it, I got up early, was happily snuggled into the cornor of the couch reading, wrapped up in blankets and waiting for the coffee to get done when the phone rang. It was only 8-something in the morning. Only two people would call me that early on a Saturday, either my Mom or SLA, and I had plans with both of them later in the day. I leaped out of the blankets and grabbed the phone. It may have been my expectations or simply that I was still tired and lacked coffee, but it took a couple of seconds for me to realize who was on the other end. At you may have guessed, it was neither Mom nor SLA.

It was Amanda, of my pair of friends Anton and Amanda. I love them dearly but would have not picked up the phone (because it was so early, and I was occupied) if I had realized. This is precisely WHY it would be a bad idea for people in my real life to read my blog! I already had plans with Mom during the day and with SLA and the gang for "girl's night out" plus a couple of errands thrown in. Amanda wanted to exchange gifts, and here's a confession--I wasn't ready yet. In my defense I'll going to throw some numbers at you for Christmas 2006:

Number of gifts I selected, bought, wrapped and gave = 74
Number of people I had to give gifts to = 27

Those numbers are fewer than last year, but still, I'm a little worn out by now trying to get the cool gift for each person! So, as much as I love A & A, I WAS NOT READY for the gift exchange and should have backed out for another time. But I was caught off guard and actually agreed to meet them up at the mall in 45 minutes. I frantically tried to get enough stuff together to give them.

I'd bought an interesting "household saint" set with painted plastic figurines for the saint of TV, etc. with a book for them. I knew they'd like that, but it wasn't enough. So one of my brand new unused Bath and Body lotions got sacrified, and a couple of other (brand new, of course) things. Then I had to find the tape, scissors, wrapping paper, bows and tags that I had quickly ditched into who-knows-where when I had to suddenly clean up the messy disaster in the living room. Guess I can use having the flu as another excuse, but I'd not yet gone back to put those things away in their proper places.

Oh it was a bad 15 minutes or so of cursing myself for my stupidity and frantically running around. Then I realized I still needed to shower, gather up my library books (as I'd have to drop them off when I was done with the gift exchange) and get stuff ready for Mom, as she'd be the next stop after the library. The active part of my day was starting far sooner than I'd planned! With more cursing and running around, I finally got out the door with my hair still wet.

Well, the breakfast get-together was great. It was at an all-you-can-eat buffet which had really tasty red jello cubes and ice water (ha ha!) they loved my gifts, and we had a fun time. Then it was to the library to sadly return the only half-read book for someone else to take out, then on to my Mom's for the rest of the day.

Girl's night out started at 7 PM and yes, I still had to wrap some gifts for that too, but at least I'd found all the supplies needed earlier. We wore Santa hats, and the other people in the bar kept asking us if we'd gotten them something too. We had a long center table piled high with gifts, we ate, drank, opened, and had a blast! I actually ate an entire meal and drank beer without getting sick again. I think beer is the cure! I feel good as new today. Hope you have a great rest of your weekend!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Stuck in the middle

Hey, this sort of worked!

You Are Likely a Second Born

At your darkest moments, you feel inadequate.
At work and school. you do best when you're evaluating.
When you love someone, you offer them constructive criticism.

In friendship, you tend to give a lot of feedback - positive and negative.
Your ideal careers are: accounting, banking, art, carpentry, decorating, teaching, and writing novels.
You will leave your mark on the world with art and creative projects.

Friday, January 05, 2007

A pond with no ripples

Yesterday was another nice day of ramen noodles and half a can of cola. Geez you'd think I'd be losing weight, I feel so light that I could almost float away. But not. I'm still just as in need of weight reduction as before. The strangest part is how my head feels after so little caffeine for several days. There's this weird smooth, flat feeling, sort of like a pond with no ripples! OK, that was kinda funny but it's hard to describe how your head feels physically inside! Maybe I sort of like this new, calm feeling....

I think it was Katie who said we have ten days to come up with resolutions! I've decided not to do resolutions but life change senarios.

Location: There would be a choice of three: in the country, in a studio apartment in town, or here.

Salon: I've long had this dream of having a salon. Not the hair-do kind but the type where many different kinds of people come and have intelligent conversations. That would work well in this house, especially now that I have some furniture in the living room.

Living off the land: Yes, even though the hippies were a bit older than me, I was a wanna-be and still have my generation's dream of living off the land. I was closer to actually doing that while living in the country. As I mentioned before, I'm sort of regretting selling that land and little house. The carrying water detail was tough but I actually enjoyed living there. The house was just too small for two. I should have not allowed my son to come back home and things would have worked out fine. But rents are high here, as high as in Minneapolis and St. Paul but the wages are far lower and jobs hard to find. Oh well.

Studio Artist: living in a small apartment with barely any belongings. Very minimalist. Walking or busing everywhere instead of driving a car. Working part-time so I'd have more "life" left over after the work day.

Minor variations that could be used in any of the senarios would be to go back to vegetarianism or even to eating mostly raw foods. That doesn't sound good to me right now. For some odd reason the thought of eating vegetables is repulsive and normally I like them. Doing more meditation, yoga and Tai Chi. More writing, crafts and art.

Well, I think doing regular resolutions would work a lot better. They're a less dreamy more definite. Bikercandy
had some great ideas for doing resolutions that I'm borrowing without permission, sorry! To read the original, go to her December 29th post.

" qualify for a goal it must be SMART which means: specific, measurable, attainable, reachable and time sensitive."

Now I guess I have to re-write my resolutions....have a great day!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The best new diet

This is the best new diet ever, just don't eat. I don't think I've actually lost a pound but certainly feel skinny! I had a meal of plain ramen noodles for dinner, and oh, half a can of cola during the day in a desperate attempt to get caffeine. I'm going to be non-addicted to coffee by the time I'm feeling totally better too. Sadly, I have found that my stomach doesn't want or like coffee or food yet. It must be a separate entity, as the rest of me certainly does like those things!
I should have had those two actions for my New Year's Resolutions. Can I add them on, would that be cheating?

Yesterday at work was hectic. Really hectic and I still felt like crap. But at least it made the day go by really fast and those piles are still waiting for me when I get there today.

Well, that's about it. Guess my brain isn't working well either. It must be the lack of coffee. Have a good one!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Maybe I'm the employee of my dreams

Today will be my first day back to work since the morning of December 22nd. If you've been following this, you might be saying, but shouldn't that have been yesterday? Um-hum, Tuesday was to be my first day back and now it's Wednesday. I didn't go to work yesterday. I called in sick. Can you believe it? Well, I hope THEY do, as I was miserably ill all day. The first day off that I didn't enjoy at all. In fact the time went by so slowly that I pretty much got to "enjoy" every minute of it!

Geez, I was mad and upset about it. Hope I didn't come off looking like a mega-slacker who just couldn't get up on time to get to work after being off so long! You know, the employee I dreamt about a few nights ago.

It all started when I took my Mom out to lunch on New Year's Day. I had a "shipwreck skillet" a breakfast with sausage, eggs, cheese, mushrooms, etc. in it. It was delicious (although I'm having trouble writing this, it makes me feel ill again!) but I was feeling uncomfortably full after eating only half of it. Good thing I didn't eat the rest. After that, we went shopping in a dollar store and each bought some things, nothing too exciting. I bought toilet bowl cleaner and plant fertilizer. But my stomach was feeling weird the whole time. I brought Mom back home, walked my little dog and did normal things including eating a light dinner and later went to bed.

At 2:00 AM I woke up definitely feeling sick and by 3 or 4 was dashing to the bathroom every few minutes. This continued until my alarm went off at 5, still at 6 and 7. For some weird reason I kept thinking I could just "throw it off" and still get to work. Even though I normally arrive at work by 7:10 or 20, by 8:00 I figured I'd better call in as I was still being violently ill. After 8:00 is when the boss and most other co-workers show up at work. I called favorite worker to ask her to still be in charge of the temp for Tuesday--and had to hang up abruptly and "use the bucket" which luckily I'd brought into my bedroom. I tried to call the Boss but had to hang up the first time for the same reason. When I finally got her phone message, I doubt the message I left made much sense, I had to babble it off in such a hurry.

Well, sorry to be so gross but I was really really sick. And I'd had a flu shot too, grrrr. I wonder if the food caused it or if the flu was just coming on anyway. Hard to say, but I'm up today and getting ready for work. It feels like a normal day except I feel so empty, having not eaten anything all day yesterday. I couldn't even drink water until the afternoon even though I was really thirsty. Finally, by dinnertime I had a can of cola. I normally don't drink soda but wanted the caffeine and couldn't drink coffee. Wish I looked as skinny as I feel right now, ha ha! Well, hope you have a good day and the flu bug doesn't bite you.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

It's a beautiful, sunny day today. Unlike the stormy, wind rain and sleet of last night. One of our major freeways was closed as impassable due to ice and snow. Great timing for New Year's Eve, eh? But it's a bright new year and I'm so looking forward to a year WITH NO MOVING! After last year, with..was it six or seven moves? Now I've lost count.

Our big convention is this spring too, so I'll need to fly out east to check out the convention center, etc. at least once before. My part is a small one for the event but I'm the first person whom which the attendees see and interact. It's long 12-15 hour days for over a week but it's easily the most fun thing I get to do for work!

As Michelle mentioned in her comment, I can't remember being so relaxed and happy for...well, maybe years and years or even ever! Got my living room finally in place. I had painted the book shelf earlier but now finally moved it into the room, filled it with books and rearranged some of the furniture. Now it finally looks like somebody actually lives in and uses that room!

I did other things but mostly had lots and lots of unaccustomed time all to myself to think and write and dream. At first I was wondering if perhaps I suddenly had too much time to think about things, because for the first time, I regretted selling my little house in the country. But those thoughts were, with all the free time, able to swing back around again. Now I'm simply planning on saving up money to buy land in the country some day in the future, not my original wild plan of selling the house and moving back to the country! I love this house and have battened down some of the windows so the upstairs isn't quite as chilly. I slept in the loft a few times, under the skylight and it was lovely! This house isn't fancy but has all the things I'd dreamed of in a home and thought I never could afford or find them all in one house.

I'm eager to make the blog rounds and hear what you all have been up to lately. But I have to get my Mom in a half hour, so that will have to wait. I'm also looking forward to going to work again tomorrow, believe it or not. I've sort of missed it, or like Lisa, at least have wondered what the latest gossip and outrageous behavior has been that I've missed!

Happy New Year, here's wishing you a bright and wonderful 2007!