Monday, March 31, 2008

absence

Someday, I'll come back to blogging, Twittering, IMing, emailing, and other such electronic communications. Someday.

Meanwhile, here's proof that my mother done taught me right.

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?

Well, at least it's proof that I'm capable of restraining myself most of the time. Because there are times I just want to verbally streak in blue proportions.

Monday, March 24, 2008

changing of the guard

Previous words of wisdom were as follows:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
- not Edmund Burke
New food for thought above.

Friday, March 21, 2008

happy easter

This made me LOL for a long time. Happy Easter.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

props

It's been a while since I shouted out to Cute Overload. Yay, C.O.! Keep on keepin' on!



Rrroawah.

random thoughts

I have a headache. The kind that starts at the forehead and runs Mohawk-like across the head, down the neck, onto the spine, out onto the shoulder blades, and radiating across the back. It sounds like more than a headache, but it's really just a headache gone mad. Just for good measure, each temple throbs, my throat is sore, and my wisdom teeth feel like they're migrating, too. I haven't taken any aspirin or other pain reliever. I always feel like I should be in more significant pain before I get to that point. So I suffer in silence (blogging about it is silence?!).

It's really well past time to go to bed. All creatures great and small in my home have been out like lights for hours now. The air is heavy with sleep. It should have dragged me in long ago. Ted will be starting his day in 40 minutes. I'm still finishing up yesterday. I thought I left all this behind when I quit my second shift job. My plans for tomorrow (uh, today) are going to be all out of whack -- whenever I get around to waking up.

My hair smells like pomegranate and berries, my clothes smell like fresh laundry, and my hands smell like Island Mist. Whatever Island Mist is supposed to smell like. It's an aroma I can imagine having encountered when I was in Hawaii, so I guess its name isn't too far afield, though I would have preferred "Guava Coconut" or whatever actual scents were used. Perhaps the non-committal name means that there are no real, natural ingredients in it. That wouldn't be surprising. I've washed my hands twice, to get rid of the smell of dish sponge. I'm not sure why that scent was so offensive, I only had four dishes to wash tonight. Time for a new sponge, I guess. Doesn't seem like it was that long ago that I changed it.

My new toothpaste is unappealling to me. The grit factor is too high (though I'm certain there's some purpose to it), and the flavor is simply yicky. I remember hearing years ago that most people use toothpaste that is sweetened to the point of sickliness, and when they change to something reasonable, it seems terrible in comparison to the sweet. This isn't quite that sensation. But I'm stuck with it now because I bought a 4-pack of family-sized tubes of this stuff. I suppose I'll just get accustomed to it. That reminds me, I need to go online to see if I can order my favorite floss. I haven't been able to find it in any drug store for a while now. So far, I've been OK because I tend to overstock my storage closets (most of the time, thanks to Costco). But I am on my last roll. I wonder if Drugstore.com is still around.

Yesterday's forecast indicated that there was a slight chance of some snow showers overnight and into the morning. Nothing major, low chance, little to no accumulation. I had been enjoying the sun for the last couple days, though, despite it being quite cold. Winter is much more tolerable for me when it's sunny and precipitation-free. That's not asking too much, right? Last I heard, the state of New Hampshire was mere inches away from the all-time snowiest winter on record. Yay. (By the way, that exclamation was sarcasm... 'case you didn't notice.) I'm not of the mind to go see if we've actually reached that illustrious achievement.

When I went to Newport, Rhode Island a couple weeks ago, I kicked off my official Christmas shopping season. I hadn't intended to, but then it's never planned. My friend and I wandered around some of the shops on America's Cup Avenue, and several items just spoke to me. So I have 6 or 7 things in a plastic storage container, waiting for November to be wrapped. Consequently, I have also started up my 2008 Christmas spreadsheet. Weirdly, I have also acquired a gift for one niece that I will not give to her until she turns 21. She just turned 17. That's only four years to hold onto it. I once bought a 10th anniversary card for a friend before her wedding. And I managed to give it to her and her husband for their 10th anniversary. That card moved 6000 miles, but I didn't lose it!

Sadie just awakened and began rubbing against everything on my desk (she was sleeping on an afghan that sits here, right by the printer). She pushes things around when she rubs. The monitor, the cup of pens, the tower of stacking trays, the banker's lamp, the basket of hair product. I produced the kitty comb, and she practically jumped for joy. She loves getting combed. Once, long ago, she loved getting brushed. But since Woodle entered our lives with his special comb designed for long hair, every cat in the house has been converted. They are all comb aficionados now. Little else makes Sadie happier than a vigorous grooming (a warm sun beam and drips from the bathtub faucet are close).

I just wrote an update to my siblings. We keep a family blog, so everyone is in the loop on what's going on. I rambled on it, too. I love this picture too much not to include it here. No, I don't know a single soul in it. And actually, I just found it moments ago. But we've taken pictures very much like that in our family, so I can relate to it. And look how happy these people are. This is a great picture.

Ugh. Bed.


(Yeah. Right. I wish my bed looked like that.)

P.S. No real effort put into editing. Please forgive typos, odd mistakes. Much appreciated.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

so true, part ii

Simon Tofield is back. This cartoon is as funny as the first.

Monday, March 10, 2008

the photoshop world we live in

The March 10th issue of Time Magazine has a brief article about the importance of youthful appearance in the job market. The web version of this article isn't quite the assault to my senses that the hard copy version is, because it's missing the graphic that goes along with it.

In it, a snappily dressed man stands on one side, and a smartly outfitted woman on the other. The center title says, "New Ways to Tap into The Fountain of Youth." Neither of these people look even remotely old (must be because they've tapped that fountain). The suggestions include the following:

For the man
* Tooth-lengthening
* Butt lift and implants
* Neck tuck
* Knee-tightening

For the woman
* Hair restoration
* Earlobe repair
* Stiletto surgery
* Extreme hand makeover

The ones that stand out for me are the stiletto surgery ("...heels remain part of the dress code at the office"), the hand makeover ("knobby, spotted hands say old lady"), and the knee-tightening ("skin and cellulite pool around the knees -- unsightly at the gym").

Ack!

This article is chock full of ideas for making yourself look younger. Not a single word refers to how any of these procedures will make you healthier, just more attractive. After all, it is entitled "How Not to Look Old on the Job." But here's the kicker. Despite its obvious and complete focus on appearances, the article is listed in the "Health" category.

ACK!

Then, I have the TV on to catch the weather forecast, when a bra commercial comes on. I'm actually just listening to the TV while going through morning routine, and at first, it sounds like a typical bra commercial. Soft, flowy music, and a sultry voice exhorting her beauty secrets. But then some words start to penetrate my subconsciousness. "...revolutionary concealing petals for complete modesty." This brings me back to the day when I worked at a women's clothing store, and we had a customer who wanted to know if we carried bras that would hide her n1pples*. I'm thinking that "concealing petals" have something to do with that (a quick TiVo rewind verifies it).

But then, another kicker: "Feel confident and look flawless in every moment." Um, excuse me? Having n1pples* is a flaw? Wow, are we as a gender in trouble. Wait. Men have n1pples* too. No, I know. I get it. Having n1pples* that dare show themselves is the flaw. Even though it's safe to assume that, for most women, they already have at least two layers of fabric over said rebellious areolae.

AAAACCCCKKKKKKK!

Can't... speak... any... more... choking... urrgghhh........

* Updated to change the correct spelling of the referenced body part because some people are finding their way to my blog by searching for things about which I am NOT talking.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

what are words for

I change the "think on it" words of wisdom on my sidebar as the mood strikes me. When I remove the old to display the new, I don't always tuck it away in a place for safekeeping and/or future reference. For some reason today, I had an idea of a simple way to do that. Any time I make the change, I'll post the old saying as an entry. Today is maiden voyage of this practice.

Previous words of wisdom:

"You must do the things you think you cannot do."- Eleanor Roosevelt

Mrs. Roosevelt was a font of wisdom, whose words will undoubtedly show up here again. Today, however, we move on to wise words for which I cannot find a definitive source. Most people cite Edmund Burke, however, this note may suggest otherwise:
"Attributed to Edmund Burke, but never found in his works. It may be a paraphrase of Burke’s view that 'When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle' (Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents, April 23, 1770)."
Same concept. Popular version is more pithy.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Thursday, March 06, 2008

tweet!

Dear Twitter,

You're really cool. I mean, really cool. Like, um, one of the coolest kids on the block. Like an ice block, get it?! Ha, hah... um, huh. Anyway. So you're not really new, but newer than other older stuff like Blogger, which is also cool, in an older sort of a way (and I know you're related to each other, or at least you're connected somehow, but I don't know if a few more degrees gets you to Kevin Bacon or anything).

I saw you on some other people's blogs and stuff last year, and thought "wow, cool." I don't know why I didn't Twitterize myself then because I can always stand to be made a little cooler. But I have now. Actually, last month! I started Tweeting. How cool it is to send 'tweets?' So anyway, sometimes I tweet. Well, kinda' sporadically. OK, I'm not wicked consistent with it. But it's always fun when I do!!! And I completely plan to tweet more. I'm going to become a tweeter, er, twitterer of epic proportion!

So, this it a tribute to you, Twitter. You rock my world and make it ultra-cool (like hip cool, not cigarettes or anything gross to do with tobacco). Cool like Inc. Magazine. I couldn't say it all in just 140 characters because you're too cool to condense. You know, like condensation, which is what happens when something that's warm gets, you know, cooler.

I hope that my rockin' and wicked articulate-slash-eloquent dedication to your coolness holds me in good stead with the Head Twitterers in Charge, and that they/he/she/it don't think I'm trying to, like, suck up or anything. I really just wanted to tell my vast audience of the awesomeness of Twitter coolness.

onslaught

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

more more more

Back again with the newest dinner sensation. This was based on a recipe found on the back of the packaging for the unseasoned IQF tilapia fillets I bought at Costco.

There were substitutions this time, as well, which shouldn't really shock anyone at this point, even if I am only three installments in to my recipe series. They are borne of several circumstances. [A] I do not have the ingredient(s) in my kitchen when I begin preparing. [B] One or both of us have a particular disinclination toward the ingredient(s). [C] Modification for the purpose of reducing sodium.

Here we go!

Captain's Mediterranean Tilapia
(makes two servings)

o 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
o 1 Tablespoon dried onion flakes
o 2 tilapia fillets
o 2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
o Freshly ground sea salt
o Freshly ground black pepper
o 4 teaspoons dried basil
o 1 large tomato, cut into six even slices
o 12 Kalamata olives, chopped

Step 1: Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Drizzle olive oil evenly over bottom of Pyrex dish. Sprinkle dried onion, then set tilapia fillets down.

Step 2: For each tilapia fillet, add a pinch of sea salt and a sprinkling of black pepper. Then spread one tablespoon of garlic and half of the Kalamata olives on each, and top each with three tomato slices. Finally, sprinkle two teaspoons of dried basil over top of each.

Step 3: Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until fish is opaque and flaky.

Note 1: You may notice that I use sea salt in particular when salt is called for. There is a reason for that. It has less sodium than regular table salt, and includes additional minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium. It also has slightly different (and in my opinion, better) flavor and texture. I have coarse sea salt in the same type of grinder as the black pepper -- hence my inclusion of "freshly ground sea salt." Some people balk at the substitution of table salt with sea salt because the introduction of iodine into refined salt addresses the problem of potential iodine deficiency, which can lead to thyroid problems. That said, a normal diet that includes seafood, vegetables, and eggs more than compensates for the loss of iodized salt.

Note 2: The Kalamata olives that I used come in a jar with a marinade of olive oil, red wine vinegar, and sea salt (there it is again!). I also drizzled one teaspoon of the marinade over each fillet before anything else. Yes, more sodium, but fantastic flavor.

Note 3: The original recipe called for Vidalia onions to be saute├ęd in EVOO and used as a bed for the tilapia. Sounds yummy, but without going into specifics, let's just say that whole onions don't work for us. The dried flakes are enough to give it a little zip of onion flavor.

Note 4: I served this with fresh steamed whole baby spinach (yes, the same side veg for a whole week, because I buy a giant bag of it at -- where else? -- Costco). Instead of having a starch with dinner, we had some raw carrots as an appetizer. In fact, I realized that, with the exception of the olives and tomatoes, every single ingredient of our dinner originated at Costco. Viva la Kirkland Signature!

This dish is a keeper for us. Thanks to High Liner Foods, whose recipe I used as a jumping off point.

Post Script: The picture above is not what my version of this dish looked like at all (although it is "tomato tilapia"). It is a random photo I found on the Internet. Maybe someday I'll be so motivated as to photograph my own cooking. Don't count on it anytime soon. Sound familiar?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

fruit for dinner

I found another recipe with which to experiment, and it came out pretty well. I'm being modest: Ted told me approximately seven times in the last 24 hours how much he liked it. ::glowing with pride:: Hence, the newest installment in my series of recipes. OK, so I've only had one so far, but every series must start with a first installment!

This was the first time I tried this particular dish. I had to make a couple of ingredient substitutions, so I am providing this as an interim recommendation on the basis that the next attempt will be different (i.e. I will follow the recipe to the letter). A follow-up note will be included at that time.

Inspiration for this dinner was a bit unusual. During a trip to Yummies, I discovered dried mangoes and thought I'd give them a try. I gained tremendous appreciation for the ambrosia that is a mango during my trip to Australia, where it was not only readily available as fruit and fruit juice (both incredibly delicious), but was also incorporated into many cooked dishes. So, although the recent purchase of dried mangoes was originally for the purpose of snacking, I decided to try it out in a meal.

I'd thawed some meat and had a hankering to use my lovely powdered ginger root, and so I searched All Recipes for "chicken mango ginger." Voila!

Orange Mango Chicken
(makes two servings)

o 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
o 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
o 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
o Freshly ground sea salt to taste
o Freshly ground black pepper to taste
o ½ cup lemon juice
o ½ cup orange juice
o ½ cup dried mango slices
o 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
o 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Step 1: Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Place chicken breast halves in the skillet, and cook 8-10 minutes on each side, until no longer pink in center and juices run clear.

Step 2: Season both sides with oregano, salt, and pepper. Remove from skillet, and set aside in warm oven.

Step 3: Heat lemon juice in the skillet over medium heat, and scrape up browned bits. Mix in orange juice, mango slices, ginger, and cinnamon.

Step 4: Over high heat, cook and continuously stir 4-5 minutes, until thickened.

Step 5: Spoon over the cooked chicken breast halves to serve.

Note 1: The original recipe calls for fresh mango. Although the dried mango tasted quite lovely, I feel certain that the fresh mango will make this dish even better. The original also called for Thyme, which has mysteriously disappeared from my spice rack. Yahoo! Answers suggested the Oregano substitution. I use oregano a lot when I cook because I love the flavor and aroma. It was equally pleasing in this dish, though I am certain that's partly due to my familiarity with (and usual enjoyment of) it. I'm eager to try this dish with the thyme next go 'round. And lastly, the original called for the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon. I used packaged lemon juice instead.

Note 2: The original recipe yields four servings. I halved it so there would only be two. I also had my way with it after that calculation (like using 2/3 of the olive oil instead of half, and doubling the oregano and ginger).

Note 3: The original recipe calls simply for "olive oil." I used EVOO because it is the only kind I have on hand. I understand that there is a difference in olive oils (flavor, smoke point, etc.), but I find EVOO to be quite suitable for my plebeian palate.

Note 4: I served this with fresh steamed whole baby spinach and mashed potatoes made with sodium-free chicken broth, dried oregano, and freshly ground black pepper. We had blueberries for dessert, though Ted ate most of them because they were far too tart for my liking (I can't wait for Spring).

Note 5:
This dish is remarkably low-sodium, though that's not surprising when you look at the ingredients. Another sodium guideline suggests dinner should contain approximately 800 milligrams of sodium (as part of a meal plan that totals no more than 2400 mg. per day). This meal came way under that standard. By my extremely non-exact estimate, I figure the whole meal to be less than 300 mg. of sodium. And taste was not sacrificed in the least!

Another successful meal. Tonight was cook's night off, so we went to Ruby Tuesday for their great "garden bar." My salad consisted of five types of leafy greens (love that!) plus some red cabbage, red and green bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, carrot shreds, cucumber slices, peas, craisins, and bleu cheese crumbles. Yum. Tomorrow, I'm back on duty and eyeing a new take on tiliapia.

Post Script: The picture above is not what my version of this dish looked like at all (although it is "mango chicken"). It is a random photo I found on the Internet. Maybe someday I'll be so motivated as to photograph my own cooking. Don't count on it anytime soon.

punctuation and flattery

Ever wondered what punctuation mark you would be in another quantum reality? Now, you can find out with this highly scientific test. Here are my results:

You Are a Colon


You are very orderly and fact driven.

You aren't concerned much with theories or dreams... only what's true or untrue.

You are brilliant and incredibly learned. Anything you know is well researched.

You like to make lists and sort through things step by step. You aren't subject to whim or emotions.

Your friends see you as a constant source of knowledge and advice.

(But they are a little sick of you being right all of the time!)

You excel in: Leadership positions

You get along best with: The Semi-Colon


Now, if only I knew who the semi-colons are.

Monday, March 03, 2008

wonderful

Proof that people are good-hearted.