Thursday, July 30, 2009

Furniture refinishing and a back porch ready to party.

Now that we have a garage befitting a queen and king (albeit a relatively poor queen and king...with a small carriage. And no horses.), we can use it for performing projects that shouldn't really be done inside the house. Like refinishing old furniture. We have a couple of wood pieces that are on our back porch most of the time, and they were looking pretty beat up. It was time to refinish them this year, so I dragged them in the garage in early June and went to town!
This is a porch coffee table that I've had since I moved in. So it's been out in the elements for over 5 years now, and it was showing it's age in sad, relatively ugly ways. Here it is midway through the sanding process:
It was amazing how worn it had gotten over time. The left side is the unsanded side, of course.
Here it is after I finished sanding it all down:

By the way...sanding? Is a very messy, very cough-inducing process. Masks are a good idea. I didn't use one, and I was blowing wood chips out of my nostrils for the next week, no joke.
I decided that the wood was porous and dry enough that I needed to paint the stain on, and then leave it to dry instead of wiping it down. I liked the color better that way, and again, the wood really responded better to it. It looked different after staining, depending on the angle/light in the photo...
See?...
Anywho, it was a success! Our table looks infinitely better, and is far less-likely to give random party-goers/dogs/us splinters when passing by it now.
Prior to that project, I had tackled the litte bar we have on our deck, as well. It was a piece I bought from Target probably about 3 years ago, and it, too, was looking run down and pretty messy. I didn't think to take any pictures of it prior to sanding it, so here it is all sanded!
To be honest, it didn't look all that different before I sanded it. This, for example, is the inside of the bar...I pretty much left the shelves and stuff alone. No point in sanding them, really.
(Plus, that would have been mucho hard. I just cleaned them really well and called it a day!)

And here it is after I stained it...
Yay! So pretty again!
Leo attacked the four stools that go with the bar, and then we popped it back out on our patio in time for a little shin-dig that we threw in the early part of June.

I also wanted to put our couch out there that I plan on eventually re-upholstering with an outdoor fabric from Sunbrella. I just need to build up the cash to pay for it, so hopefully by next year, it will be out on the deck all the time. In the meantime, it's living in our garage when we aren't having people over. I can't wait to put a fun, colorful fabric on there! Our decor is so...brown.

We usually have a little wrought-iron love seat in that same spot, but we moved it out to the yard for additional seating away from the patio, and I bought a couple of fun red cushions for it for a splash of that color we so desperately need in our yard/patio area.

It's the perfect spot for it! A great place for people to rest or read or watch some bocce being played.

Next project will be the bedroom bedside tables. I can't wait!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Guest pit bulls. FUN.

I finally got around to uploading some photos from my camera from the past couple of months, and am ready for a couple of days of show and tell now, just to warn ya.

Back some time in June, I think it was, we found a puppy wandering around in our neighbor's yard. He was just circling the yard over and over and over, and looked a bit freaked out, so we went out to see what was up. Poor thing came running right over as soon as I said, "Hey puppy! Come over here, dude..." He needed no other invitation, he seemed so glad to have someone to hang out with. It was cute.

He was a bit dirty, and seemed thirsty, but more than anything, he seemed tired and scared. So Leo and I took him into our backyard while we worked out what we would do next. Unfortunately, the tag on his collar only had his rabies vaccination info (which was nice to see, of course...someone loved the dog enough to get it vaccinated, so we knew that much, at least), and the tag had a vet's number on it that I tried calling, but of course they were already closed. (It was probably about 7:30 p.m. already.) So I called the Mission MedVet to get their opinion on the matter...they told us that unless the dog was exhibiting dangerous behavior, calling Animal Control would be worthless. They further suggested that we keep the dog in our yard until the next morning, and then call the vet on the tag again to ask them to contact the puppy's owner for us.

We wound up calling Animal Control, and they said they'd actually be fine with coming to get the dog and taking care of it for the night, if we wanted. They would contact the vet in the morning, and find the owner. It was all done through the Overland Park police department, which was odd to me, but I was certainly happy they were willing to help. They said they'd send a car over after a while to get him. When they asked what kind of dog it was, we said we didn't know...but it looked like a terrier of some kind. (We were kind of afraid that if we told them it was a pit bull, they'd tell us to fuck right off.)

This was the puppy...

He was SO. SWEET. though! Didn't seem interested in hurting a fly, for real. So we just kinda kept that info to ourselves, and then when the police showed up a couple of hours later, the cop seemed a bit wary of the dog, but I hope he realized quickly what a pussycat it was. See?
Hahaha! He was a happy dude! I asked him to sit and stay while I took pictures of him, and he was very good. Totally good with the sit and stay command. He was hungry, so we gave him some food, too, and he snarfed it down real quick. Poor thing! I hope he found his way back to his owners.
I wish that everyone had collars like we do for our puppies. We get them from Dog ID Collar.com, which is a local OP, KS company. We keep them simple...just our dog's name, and my cell phone number. That way, if our dogs ever get lost (again), and someone finds them for us, they know the puppy's name, and they have the number to call. Simple! If you have a dog, how do you ID them in case they run away? Do you have a tag on their collar? Or do you have a similar collar to the ones we have?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Collections and "things"

So I was catching up on Dooce last night, and came across this post about her mild obsession with the vintage globes. She was talking about how Jon seemed a little wary of her latest additions to the collection, and even asked her, "Is this going to become a thing?" I started laughing hard enough for Leo to want to know what was up, so I read it to him. And I said, "Bet my clock and mirror obsession doesn't seem all that bad now, hm?" See, clocks and mirrors take up less square footage than something like a round ball mounted on a center stand. So I win. (I think...)

Leo has his own things that he obsesses over, and I only mock him a lil' bit for them because they actually benefit me, for the most part. Lately, he's taken to an immersion in books on "tape." He goes to the library and checks out several at a time, then uploads them to iTunes , and puts them on his bottomless iPod (which I hope isn't illegal, and if it is, then know that I'm lying, and he actually listens to them on my ancient disc-man). I've never listened to a book on tape, technically. (Being forced to listen to the life stories of Lee Iacocca and Carl Karcher while on road trips with dad while trapped in the car for hours on end shouldn't count, dammit.) But I would imagine that if I was doing it while just hanging out, staring into space, it'd be weird.

So while Leo is at work, the books make sense. He can listen to them and tune out everything else as he sets up his line, cleans the freezer, or changes the oil in the fryers, or whatever. But when he's home, he's not just gonna watch the yard or stare at the wall while he listens. Nuh-uh...his favorite thing to do is - and I'm totally not joking about this - starch his shirts. So he sits on a chair next to the ironing board in the closet, and starches and irons and starches and irons for apparently hours on end. The trouble is, he only has so many shirts. (And he's not allowed to fucking starch my shit. My things are soft and flowy, dammit!) So what else does he do when he's listening to a particularly riveting book? He cleans. The house has been so clean over the last two weeks, my laziness on weekends has been able to increase exponentially. I went to use the toaster the other day, and there wasnt a single crumb in the catch-tray. The kitchen floor has been mopped. The front shrubs have been trimmed. The bathrooms have been scrubbed from top to bottom...twice. The only thing he apparently doesn't do is wash the sheets on the bed. ::sigh:: Not sure why!

Anyway, this is a weird obsession I can kind of get behind, is my point. The only issue I have is that I wish he would pick up an actual book and read it now and then...keep in practice, or what have you. But if my toilets are gonna be so sparkling all the damned time, I might be willing to let that go...

The globe collection thing is pretty cool looking, though. Not gonna lie.

Friday, July 24, 2009

::coughdouchebagcoughcough::

Leo works with a guy who is so off-kilterly homophobic, that he didn't want to watch the episode of Top Chef Masters that was on this week. Why didn't he want to watch it? Because Art Smith was one of the contestants.

I love Art Smith. I love his teddy bearness, I love his attitude, I love that he teared up at the end when he won...I just fucking love the guy, ok? He seems awesome.

Also, the guy is insanely successful. He seems like one of those bosses you'd love to have. He seems like someone you'd love to have cooking for ya, too. Instead of sounding like an errogant douchebag like some chefs make it sound when they drop names, when he boasts about the people he's been lucky enough to cook a meal for, it sounds like he's just proud of himself. And that makes me feel proud for him, too.

Anyway, back to this douchebag that Leo works with. When I heard that he was all pissy about even just watching the show because Art Smith was on it, I was all, "You know, I wanted him to win anyway, but now I want him to win even more, just to piss [coworker] off." At the end of the show when Art took the prize by a virtual landslide of stars, Leo and I high fived.

And today at work, that douchebag coworker was railing about how he couldn't believe Art Smith had won. Hahahahaha! In your FACE, intollerant biggot asshole coworker! :P:P:P:P

Little side story here: He actually told Leo once that if he gave him 3 weeks, he could "cure" him of being so tolerant of homosexuality. That was when Leo told him it might be best if they only talked about sports from then on, because discussions about religion and politics made him want to punch him in the throat*. And made his wife want to learn how to perform the perfect roundhouse kick to the head, just so she could do it to the coworker if she ever saw him**. It's funny, actually, that Leo even brought him up last night, because all talk about the asshole coworker was banned from the Smith household a while back, as hearing the ridiculous spew that regularly came forth from this dude's mouth fired me up so much, I think it was causing heart damage.

Just curious: how do you handle intollerant behavior/discussion from people you come into contact with? Do you entertain it with an attempt to talk about your own opinion on the matter? Do you shut it down and make it clear that it's not ok kind of talk around you? Do you have dreams of kicking the intollerance out of the individual via swift kicks to their groinal region?


*Ok, he didn't really say this to his coworker.
**But I do really say this to Leo on a regular basis. That coworker had better watch his ass should we ever be introduced.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

PSA - Pilgrim Congress

I want to make sure everyone is regularly reading my friend Jillian's stories over on The Pilgrim Congress. Her TMI Thursday posts are lessons for all of us, srsly. So head on over there and read 'em when you get the chance.

I recommend that you start with the first TMI Thursday post she had - which I just learned is NOT the first one, and in fact I somehow missed the first one when she wrote it, which is actually here - and then work your way up to the most recent one. Just...trust me on that. There's a build-up (pun intended...again, just trust me) and references to previous posts, and if you missed them, the stories will still be interesting, but made more fun by knowing WTF she's talking about, ok? I know my shit...I used to read for a living when I was in college. So you should trust my professional reading judgement.

(And in case the Anonytard from the other day who commented in my post about solicitors wanders over there and notices that Jillian, too, mentions "jebus" a fair amount? Let me help you out by warning you that she's being sarcastic, too. I know it's hard to wrap your head around, but I just wanted to make sure you didn't think we were religious freaks of any kind...mixing a message about our love for "jebus" in with our discussions about hate for solicitors and people shitting during sexcapades, and all that sort of stuff.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Open Letter to the Vermin in Our Yard

Dear Vermin in Our Yard,

If you don't stop stealing/biting into our tomatoes that we are so lovingly growing in our backyard, I'm likely to find a way to poison said tomatoes, and then hang your little lifeless bodies from a tree to set an example for all other vermin contemplating the deliciousness that does not belong to you.

In the mean time, I hope you get terrible, painful, ugly runny poop problems from the underripe tomatoes you keep stealing. Assholes.

Sincerely,
The People Who Allow You to Live in Their Backyard

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A little kindness goes a long way...I hope.

Recently, I started thinking that when I wave assumed-solicitors away from my front door without even opening it, hoping they take the cue to run as fast as they can down the driveway from the frantically unhappy look on my face as I try to soothe my wildly barking puppies after their knocking has sent them into spasms of freak outedness, that I might be doing the wrong thing.

I hate solicitors. If I want to buy something/obtain a service, I will look it up online, or go to the store, or even look in the phone book for help. You do not need to come up to my door to let me know you exist and want to take my money from me in return for whatever service you provide/product you are selling. That simply isn't necessary. Society has evolved waaaa-haaaay past that point, is the thing. So stop it.

Last night, I saw two people approaching the front door as I said my hellos to Leo, and had just sat down to take off my shoes. Oh no, oh no, oh no... <-- that's what goes through my head right before they knock. Why? Because my dogs are assholes, and they fip the FUCK out when someone comes to our door. Unfortunately, I haven't managed to find that dog whisperer as of yet that we so desperately need.

So these people knock, and then the dogs flip out, and I try to calm them as Leo does his creepy-homeowner bit by standing in front of the door, looking out at the person through the closed blinds. Why he does this is beyond me. I usually open the blinds, and wave the people away saying I don't want whatever it is they're selling without even talking to them.

But last week, I had a revelation. What if I was turning away people who needed help? The Christian buried deep inside my salty, hardened heart started to think that I was approaching these people in the wrong way all this time. And from now on, I needed to make sure that they weren't looking for assistance of some sort in their approach to my door.

So I open the blinds and I yell over the puppy clamour, "Are you selling something?" The chick had a handful of flyers. The guy that had been with her was standing off to the side in a way where I couldn't really see him all that well, so I don't know what he was doing. And she laughed and replied, "No!" So I opened the door a crack, and I continued to speak up over the barking as I asked, "Is someone dead, or does anyone need help in some way?" And she said, "No, I'm trying to make money to pay for college, so I'm offering free cleaning-" which was all I needed to hear.

First of all, that makes no fucking sense. Second of all, I JUST asked you if you were selling something, and you said NO. So fuck off, dumbass. It's not exactly clear that attending college would help with whatever level of idiocy you're dealing with, kay?

Of course, being that my inner-Christian was displaying itself, I didn't say that kind of thing to her face. I just told her we weren't interested, and good luck with college, and closed the door. Which I thought was very Jesus-like of me.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I chalk it up to "global warming"

I was craving something sweet yesterday. But I didn't want to leave the house to get anything. Suddenly, I remembered that I had all the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies...or at least I thought I might. I'm not a baker, and in fact tend to incinerate more than bake when I try, so it's not like I have chocolate chip cookie recipes just stored away for use whenever I feel the urge to make 'em. I had to pull out my Joy of Cooking to see.

Butter - check
Brown and white sugar - check and check
Vanilla - check
Baking soda - check (bought it last week after hearing the suggestion that a small amount in the boiling water for hard boiled eggs can help keep the shell from sticking, and it seems to help from what I've noticed)
Chocolate chips - check (two kinds!)
Flour - wah, wah, waaaah. NOPE! Fuck.

So I had just about everything I needed, except for the goddammed flour. I was so clooose! In fact, I was close enough that I decided it was my fucking destiny to make those cookies, come hell or high water. So I got dressed, and went to the store. Bought myself some lunch stuff while I was at it. (I had been planning on picking up one of the smoked turkey cobb salads at the Blue Moose, but I made one myself, and it was completely as delicious, if not more so, than the one at the restaurant. I am fucking awesome, dammit.)

After some issues with trying to figure out how to mix everything without a hand mixer (ours seems to have disappeared, so I used the mixer attachment on my stick blender instead, which got the job done with relatively little issue), I baked off my cookies, and I'm happy to report that they did not incinerate in the process! And they taste pretty damned good, to boot!

I'm thinking this is a sign. A sign that the baking gods have decided to forgive me for the cookie debacle of 1985, when I accidentally saw that the recipe called for 2 tablespoons of salt instead of 2 teaspoons. (Believe me, it makes a really big difference. Really, really big.) A sign that I can bake sweets that don't neccessarily have to come from a tube or get mixed out of a box. A sign that I might be allowed to make the world a happier place (if by the world we mean my mouth) thanks to my ability to measure, mix, and heat ingredients properly.

Leftovers are at my desk. Holla!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Holy jeezy on a stick...

...it is fucking GORGEOUS out. I had to run out to buy some new underthingies at lunchtime, and found myself plopped dead-center of a perfect day! Shit.

Which is nice, because I bought tickets for Leo and I to head out to the Community America ballpark tonight for the T-Bones game. It should be absolutely wonderful weather for a game, peoplewatching, drinking beer, etc...

And then tomorrow night, we're heading out with Lyn, because she's in town for work. I love it when Lyn is in town! I totally owe her drinks, too, because she gave me Morrissey's and Regina Spektor's latest albums just for fun since I last saw her, andplusalso she was an awesome tour guide when we visited her in San Diego in February, so yeah. Drinks are on us, sista!

Should be a good weekend, I hope I hope I hope. What're you doing?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Emmy Noms are out!

YES! Flight of the Conchords was nominated for best comedy, and Jemaine Clement was nominated for best lead in a comedy! The academy isn't being stupid this year! Yaaaa-haaaaay!!!

More info on Emmy noms is here. I also like that Jim Parsons from The Big Bang Theory (on CBS) is nominated for a best lead in a comedy. (I think Jemaine should beat him, but I still like it.) Leo and I watch that show via Netflix, and find a fair amount of it very funny.

Not as funny as 30 Rock, though. 30 Rock should probably win again this year. Except I like Flight of the Conchords so very much, its a tough call, really.

Does anyone other than me and Emaw watch this shit? Can you weigh in on what you think, please? Thanks!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bluesy.

I'm slow in posting lately because my brain is too full of a bunch of personal crap, and I really don't have much to talk about outside of it, and I can't really discuss the personal crap without sounding like a horrid bitch, which is so not my intention, so I just keep it buried inside, like all the "healthy" people do. I DO have inane, little, minutely interesting to no one other than me (and not even me, most of the time, to be honest) tid bits of everyday life that I really don't think are worth posting. Such as:

- I went to Old Navy today in a search for a replacement skirt for one that I ordered online a week and a half ago. I looove the skirt, but it's just too fucking huge, and I need the next size down. They didn't have it at the store I went to, but they did have a ton of cute, new clothes I wanted to buy. It was hard to not walk out of there with armfulls of stuff. But I have to say that since my last two purchases to replace all the old, falling apart clothing in my closet, I haven't had one morning where I didn't know what to wear. Until I have another morning like that, I'm not buying anything new, dammit.

- It's been suggested by a friend that I try fiber supplements for the IBS-type symptoms I've been having. I'm ready to try anything at this point. I'm so goddammed uncomfy all the time, it's ridiculous.

- Our landscaper's wife is on bedrest, and due to have their second child, I think, at the end of July. This is, for some unknown reason, keeping him from being able to do his job to the fullest capacity. Nothing against him or his wife - they're awesome people, and I'm really glad he's our yard guy. But we really, really need a solution to a drainage problem in our backyard, and he was supposed to give us a quote for it 2 weeks ago. It's not like HE is on bedrest, for cryin' out loud! But when Leo called him to follow up the week after we were supposed to get our quote, that was the excuse he gave him for not having checked it out yet. See this is why babies are evil. You people need to stop having babies, because it really fucks with other peoples' lives, ok?*

- My stomach hurts. Think M&M's would help?

Yeah, see, I'm searching my brain for anything else that might even be remotely ok to post about, and I'm coming up empty. Let's just hope this is a slow week, and move on, shall we?


*I don't really mean it. The reason people need to stop having babies is because they're annoying and whiny and have a tendency to shit their pants, which can really smell gross. I don't know how you people stand that kind of behavior, honestly...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Yep, I definitely needed that.

I think I have IBS, or something. Definitely have something, but I'm not sure what to make of it. Regardless, the symptoms of whatever I have? Delightful. Perfectly fucking wonderful. Especially during working hours. It's like a fucking party in my lower intestine. Which is fun, of course. Woo.

We went to Whole Foods yesterday to grab some fresh (previously frozen, of course) fish for a lomi lomi recipe that was in our recent Food Network magazine. I thought a particular slab of salmon looked really nice, so we asked the fish monger to cut us a pound of it, please. And Leo added that we'd like the skin removed. "Do you want me to weigh it before I remove the skin, or after?" he asked us. I walked away...that was too dumb of a question for me to be around on a hot Sunday in a crowded organic store. I heard Leo tell him that we'd prefer for it to be weighed without the skin, please. (You know, since we weren't buying the skin and everything. Really, fish monger? Really???)

Then Leo joined me, and we wandered through to the chip section to find some yummy, better-for-us-than-fried chips to go with the pico Leo planned on making when we got home, and then we were off to the checkout.

Leo had been carrying the fish around with him, and so when it went through the scanner, and I noticed it cost more than the $14 is was supposed to (it was $13.99 per pound), I was all, "Wait a minute...how much fish did that guy give us?" And the check out guy held it up so I could see that we had received 1.24 pounds of fucking fish instead of the 1 pound we asked for.

I mean, srsly? Is it that tough? I think it was a resounding argument for why that particular fish guy might want to Just Say No a bit more often, because those two glaring mistakes made on just one, simple order kind of scream "dying brain cells!!!" to me, dammit. (Leo thought that maybe he was responding to Leo's sarcasm in his response about the skin thing by fucking us over, but I told him he actually didn't sound sarcastic at all when he responded, and if that's what he was going for, then we need to work on it a bit more at home maybe. I think the guy was just an idiot. Pure and simple dumbassery at work.) Should Leo have checked the package before walking away from the fish counter? Yes...yes he should have. But I still lay the burden of blame on the guy who's JOB it is to give customers what they ask for. Without asking stupid questions as he does it. Jeezy effing chreezy...

Friday, July 10, 2009

I'm not crying...it's just been raining on my face.*

My boss has been beyond busy for the past 4 or 5 months, planning for the announcement our company made yesterday, and how it would effect our team and the other teams we work with. Meetings have been plentiful. Presentations have been bountiful. And I think he's glad it's finally all out and done with. (And I'm glad for him.)

After the final call with our direct team yesterday, he came out to my desk and asked me if I could help him out with something. I said I'd be happy to, as usual. And he said, "Ok, I'm going to need you to give me a shock, or something, every time you hear me use the word 'basically.'"

I immediately smiled, and started to chuckle. And he went on to say that he had suddenly noticed himself using that word all the time in all of his meetings over the last couple of days. I told him that it's been happening for about a year, and while it was kind of annoying at first, I'm so used to it now, I hardly notice it myself! I went on to tell him that I actually wondered, back when he started doing it, if I should say something, but I didn't want to make him self-conscious, or feel bad, so I just let it go. He was all, "I can't believe how many times I say it!" I told him that now that he's noticed himself doing it, he's likely to stop over time.

Everyone has their thing. I say "whatever" and call everything "evil". My ex brother-in-law used the phrase "and, oh, by the way" a LOT, and was an over-user of athletic analogies in meetings. Leo has this thing he does when he's telling a story about work, home, whatever (oops...sorry!) where he will stop mid-sentence to say, "Never mind." And then he'll continue on. It's funny.

Anyway, my boss wants me to ask the admin with the credit card if I can order a shock collar for him, so we can get him to stop saying "basically" all the effing time. I don't know what it will be like to sit through my next meeting with him on Tuesday next week. Hahahahaha!

What's YOUR over-used word? If you used to have a problem with one, but you've managed to break free of it, what was it, and how did you stop?


*Leo and I are watching season one of Flight of the Concords. His hair cutting dude gave him a CD last night that has a bunch of their music recorded on it, and I got to listen to it on my way to work this morning. I fucking love Bret and Jemaine. MAN they are funny! If you don't already watch this show, get it from Netflix or Blockbuster or wherever, and enjoy. I guarantee you'll fucking love it. And if you don't, then I don't wanna know you any more...go away.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

A Fine Summery Day

Today is the kind of day out that makes me wish I was 9 years old without a care in the world, hanging out at the country club swimming pool playing straws and swimming so much it makes my lungs hurt. It is warm out, with the kind of mugginess that makes you feel like you're drinking the air more than breathing it. But something about it made me feel good when I was out in it just a bit ago. Instead of hating on the heat and humidity, I wished I could stay out in it and sit under an umbrella by a pool drinking a tea and reading a book.

Instead, I'm at work. Which is fine, I guess.

::sigh:: Being a grown up sucks some days.

(For those of you who know where I work, and have heard the news on the lines, the latest development doesn't affect my team, so I'm good. In case anyone was worried. Which they shouldn't be, anyway, IMO. I think the company is heading to good places as of late, personally.)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Updates on random past posts/issues

I started thinking about this yesterday, and realized that I hadn't followed up on a couple of issues that I'd initially posted about back when they were (semi-)interesting to some. So I thought today might be a good catch-up day.

First of all, for those who had been following the Twin's blog, she had to shut it down. I'm not sure if she wants to disclose the reasons for that, so I'll leave it up to her to comment accordingly, if she wants. Since she was the one that updated most often on how my dad is doing, and now those updates are gone, I thought I'd go ahead and let anyone who's interested know that he is still hanging in there. (My dad has pulmonary fibrosis, and had a lung transplant in February 2008.) It sounds like his ability to retain nutrients from any food he's able to eat isn't going well, and his muscle-mass has declined significantly due to that as well as his continually declining ability to move about. He's still getting around the house, but he doesn't really leave unless he has a doctor appointment. He's on oxygen mostly all the time. I'm planning a visit for the end of this month, and am really, really looking forward to seeing him, my step mom, and my brother and sisters and nieces and nephews. I don't really want to say more because, well...I don't know that there's much more to say. But also in the interest of his privacy. I'm not sure what pisses off family that happens to read this blog, if anything, so I'm trying to be careful about it. :)

What about me, you ask? Ok, well, back in April, I had gotten to the point where I was dealing with headaches pretty much every day of the week. They hit an all-time high on April 16th and 17th, which turned into a whole weekend of hell inside my head. A week and a half later, I felt I was on the way to being diagnosed. It took another few weeks, and an MRI that found this guy living in my brain...
...but they finally figured out what was wrong. I have cluster headaches, which made total sense after I read up on what they were. I had a follow-up with my neurologist a week and a half ago, and we seem to be on the right track with the meds I'm on. I realized this morning that I've only had one headache in the past two weeks. Two weeks prior to that, I'd had a severe attack, and so the doctor gave me some pain meds to try should another one occur, and I am going back for another follow-up at the end of August, but it seems like the meds I'm on are doing the job. Thank GOD.

Another thing I need to follow up on is the blue ball. Written about initially here, here, and not anyplace after that, it appears. Which is why a follow up is necessary. The blue ball currently resides under our deck. Because Jake is an asshole, and he took it under there to a spot neither Leo nor I can reach, and he hasn't brought it back out again. The pink kong bone was moved one day while no one was home, but it hasn't happened since then. So things are quiet on that front, unfortunately. (And I miss the blue ball. I don't think Leo does, though.)

I don't think I've left anything else hanging, but let me know if I had talked about something that you want me to follow up on, and I'll do it!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Delicious & Cheap Suggestions

I'm a fan of the local food blog Fat City, published over on the Pitch's website. What can I say...a blog that posts multiple posts per day about food, wine, and beer happenings both near and far? I'm in, baby!

Anyway at the end of the week before last, Owen posted a little blurb about an event that was going on on Sunday, June 28th wherein a few local chefs were competing in an event for Harvesters by creating meals from canned items. I, being a fan of many canned items myself, thought one of the recipes published looked like a fun one to try. It's a summer stew of artichoke hearts, cannellini beans, and Italian turkey sausage with a tomato broth and parmesan from Chef Colby Garrelts of Bluestem.

Dude...canned artichoke hearts, beans, and turkey sausage? Yes, please! Throw in the tomato broth, and I'm in dinner heaven, I'm telling you.

We actually had some leftover turkey sausage in the freezer from the last time we cooked with it, so I was already ahead of the game there. The recipe calls for a full pound of it, but we only had two links leftover, and it wound up being plenty, IMO. It would have been wonderful to have more, but in my fat ass's case, less is better in the long run, so we went with that.

So we bought a can of stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, cannellini beans, and I threw in two cans of artichoke hearts because I love them so much, and for a total of about, oh, $10 (just guessing at what the two links of turkey sausage would come to, if I'd had to buy them for the recipe), we had a tasty, simple, very filling meal, thanks to the recipe being shared! (Given, we have a shit ton of basil in our herb garden this year, so that was free. And we already had the garlic and olive oil and parmesan, so I'm not adding that into the cost of the food either. But for the portion used in the recipe, it'd literally be a matter of a few additional pennies...)

I can say that I wish I'd used chicken broth or white wine instead of water where it was called for in the stew. And my tomato "broth" came out more saucy than brothy, so I'm not sure what happened there, although it was still really delicious. Leo liked the meal, too, but he felt it would be even better if served with pasta of some sort, so we might try that next time, too.

Four thumbs up, though, from this couple, Chef Garrelts. You'd think such a simple recipe would be easy for people to come up with on their own, but speaking for myself, I needed the help. I'm grateful! (And thanks for linking to it, Owen!) The recipe made 4 servings in total, and I actually cooked it up the day before eating it, so it would be easier to just heat up and eat when we were ready for it on Sunday night...and I swear it only got better after sitting in the fridge. I had another portion for breakfast this morning. YUM!

Monday, July 06, 2009

BofA can SUCK IT.

Bah. I hate money!

I'm carrying a little bit of debt right now. It was unavoidable, really...the construction last year pretty well ate my savings WHOLE, and purchases still needed to be made, and it got more out of hand than I would have wanted, but hey...learning experiences, all of 'em, right? (Gah.)

It's not terrible. I mean, it's mildly uncomfortable, but I'm still able to (a) make payments significantly higher than the minimum due on a monthly basis, (b) make payments on time, and (c) still afford all the rest of the household bills. Life isn't fabulous, but it's not all together awful, by any means.

So today I look at my interest rate on my credit card, because a few months back they warned me that it might be a'changin', and sho nuff! It did. It went up 5% (!!!), and I thought that the least I could do was call and see if they might take into account the fact that I've been with them for-fucking-ever, and I've been a really good customer all that time, too! So please? Won't you give me some leeway, oh mighty powers that be at Bank of America's (Platinum, no less) credit department.

Um, NO!

Dammit. Assholes told me to get the payments above the $1,000 range on a monthly basis, and ditch some of the other revolving credit I'm carrying*, and then in 6 months, I can call back again and maybe they'll reconsider. And, oh yeah, they lowered my credit line a few THOUSAND dollars as well.

This is the first time I've been basically slapped in the face for being a decent customer in my entire life, and I can tell you with all kinds of certainty, it hurts a lil' bit.

I did get the woman to admit that if I call back after a couple of months, they would review it and reconsider. "No guarantees" she said. I said, "But it's a possibility, right?" She didn't say no, so I'm gonna call again after I pay down the other credit I owe in September.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, money is evil. Bah!

*I carry a "revolving" credit debt on my Home Depot account right now, because I had two different purchases made that apply to their no interest/no payment promotions that will be coming due in September and January, respectively. I tried explaining that I take advantage of those kinds of deals so I can put money into my savings account instead of paying them off when I can, so I can earn interest on the money prior to paying it, but the credit department lady didn't give a flying shit. I've actually considered just paying off the Home Depot card immediately a couple of times over the last couple of weeks, because, well, I kinda hate it hanging over my head. And now I have even MORE reason to hate it. So maybe I should, eh? My logic used to work before I owed so much to BofA. But I guess they really hate it when you carry more than $10,000 in debt with them. Oops! My mistake...won't happen again. (Assholes...)

AW Monday

Hope everyone had a good weekend. We saw fireworks and friends and drank heartily all the livelong day, so ours was good.

I'm in a sharing mood today, so I'm posting videos. This first one is one I felt compelled to take when I was stuck behind a driver who was managing to ride their brakes as they drove...it was crazy. Crazier than me taking a video to document the nuttiness? You decide.



The second one is of me singing along in the car with Edie Brickell's "I Do". It was a rainy day, on my way home from work. And I couldn't help but add a little commentary on someone's driving skills at about minute marker 1:09. If you choose to listen, just notice the smooth transition between the singing and said commentary. ::points at self:: Talent, my friends. ::winks::

Thursday, July 02, 2009

No sideways comments...whatever the hell those are.

::sigh::

My family sees me a being a troublemaker. A "common thread" among instances of turmoil (that all happened over 3 years ago, mind you) that I apparently should take all responsibility for on my own shoulders.

Because I never take responsibility for shit when I make mistakes or do anything wrong. Nooooo. That is sooo not me. ::rolls eyes::

Life sucks right now. Hope everyone else's is doing better than mine fucking is.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A fungus among us.

Our Ryan Lawn & Tree rep was at the house yesterday, laying out the 2nd summer fertilizer and grub control treatment for this season, and he explained that we apparently have a fungus in our yard, both in front and in back, and its what is causing our grass to turn brown in certain spots. We thought it was that the crabgrass from the new seed was dying thanks to the fertilizer and control treatments we get, but we were wrong.

I'm highly disappointed about this. Why the fuck do we pay hundreds of dollars each year to have our lawn treated for crap if we're still susceptible to something like this fungus? Not to worry, though...they can treat the fungus separately for an additional $150. AUGH!

I'm pissed. But I can rest assured that we aren't the only ones experiencing this fungus crap this season...apparently, it's an epidemic in the area.

Fuck. that. shit. I want it taken care of as a part of my normal treatments. This is not acceptable at all.

(I'm feeling emotionally drained lately. Its making it hard to do anything other than go to work, go home, sleep, and start over again. Sorry for the slowness in posting while I go through this.)