Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Choose Your Own Adventure

This morning, my friend and interim manager, Jim, messaged me that I had failed to let him know it was Fat Tuesday.  He then said I had not supplied paczkis for the day.  They're Polish jelly doughnuts, essentially, and they are a big deal on Fat Tuesday up in Michigan, from whence cometh Jim.

So, at lunch, I made a side trip to Kroger, who had them last year.  No dice - I went to a suburban Kroger - gotta go urban for the ethnic stuff.  Publix was also no dice.  So I punted and got him two jelly doughnuts from Dunkin.  But as you know, presentation is everything:


I actually wouldn't wish the Die of Beaties on anyone.  Jim appreciated the gesture, if not also the doughnuts.

The thing is, in most of the south, Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday aren't that important.  We don't have a large Catholic population - at least not in the suburbs of Atlanta - my Catholic friends were, by and large, transplants from "up North".  In the South, Lutheran is about as exotic as it got.

I'm not counting New Orleans or Texas in this, by the way, because they're outliers.  The folks in Louisiana do Fat Tuesday up big.  I was in Houston one year on that Tuesday, and it was big there, too.  So, there's that. 

Anyway, happy Mardi Gras.

The other adventure today was the office Blood Drive.  Last attempt, I was deferred for high blood pressure.  Everything was under control today, so they tagged a bag for me and I hopped up on the table.  The woman set to draw my blood couldn't find a vein in my right arm, so we switched sides.  She then struggled with my left arm, and eventually drew on it with a marker.  Then she had her boss come over and check.  He found a better vein within seconds.  She said, "It must have moved..." Yeah, I should have requested that he stick me.  But I didn't.  She obviously didn't hit a vein, so he had to come over and move the needle around in my arm til he hit the vein.  I mean, come on, lady. 

Yes, it hurt.  I didn't cry or yell.  I just sat there and hoped my bag would fill fast.  It did. Little Miss Stick-And-Fail never came back over.  Some other technician removed the needle (it hurt coming out, too), and bandaged me up.  I didn't even stick around for juice and a snack.

Thankfully, I've been a blood donor for 25 years, and today was the exception, rather than the rule.  I would be concerned, though, if a first time donor had that experience.  I suspect it would also be their last donation.

Whatever.  I survived.

So, this diet that I'm on. Even though it's high fiber, it's bloating me out in a big way.  I think I need to add some healthy fat and some more water.  Get everything moving.  Not to be indelicate, but if you have any home remedies for that - post them in comments.  I've already tried prunes and coffee, so...yeah.

And on that pleasant note, time to finish out my afternoon.

Peace,

ae



Monday, February 27, 2017

Appealing

The healthy eating plan continues.  I have to say, tracking what you eat every day really helps you prioritize.  In my case, that means protein over carbs.

But frankly, diet talk is boring.  I'll leave it by saying it's working, and I'm not suffering, but I did text my best friend tonight to tell her I'd like to get naked and roll around in Easter candy.

Just saying.

So there was an accident on the interstate tonight that necessitated my taking back roads home.  It wasn't entirely a bad thing.  I got to see some different stuff, including a tiny sliver of moon in the night sky.

And since dinner was just grilling some pre-marinated chicken tenders (the Curry Tenders from Trader Joe's - they are excellent and I highly recommend them), and a few microwaved Indian sides (also from TJ's - try the Channa Masala), I still had dinner on the table by 6:45.  And by on the table, I do not mean that literally. We rarely sit at the table for dinner.  I fought this for awhile, but I'm not going to win - we're eat in front of the TV people, I guess.

Anyway, I had to run a quick errand after dinner, and now we chill.

Piper is destroying an off-brand Kong like toy.  I was probably dumb to buy it, but it was convenient, and I can't find her Kong, and... fine.  I'll go to PetSmart on my lunch tomorrow.  I also need to go to the bookstore. Yes, I could just order it on Amazon, and... hmm... maybe that would be better*.  It's hard to get more than one major errand done in the hour - and I'm going to attempt to give blood tomorrow at the office blood drive.  I am feeling O Positive about that (a little blood donor humor)

I am not busy at work.  My (interim) manager knows this and has advised to just do what I can and he'll throw whatever he can my way, but he needs to spread it over all the other trainers.  It's fine, but I'm aware that I may be one of the few people who isn't busy right now, so I'm trying to keep a low profile.

The big question right now is... who will my new manager be?  We were told that there were three internal candidates - I don't know who, though.  I do know the one external candidate was the former colleague of a few people at our office and they seem to like her.  So, I think we'll be OK no matter what.  And, as I've said on more than one occasion, "If you don't like your manager, just give it six months."  And I wish I were kidding - but we all know I'm not.

I had a dream last night that my sister was polling various family members about their favorite primate.  And she kept saying, I know yours is the chimpanzee, and every time I'd correct her and say, "NO!  It's the macaque!"  I woke up to the alarm while having this emphatic macaque dream.

It's actually not the macaque.  They're lovely, but I actually like this guy the best:



The Patas Monkey.  I saw one at the zoo in NOLA, and I watched him, and he watched me for a good ten minutes.  He looked at me as if to say, "I know everything you've done, and it's not nearly as bad as you think".

He had longer "whiskers" than this guy, but same basic idea.

I also fell in love with Nutrias on my NOLA trip.



I'm sure they're not cute to the people who live in New Orleans and deal with them as a native species, but damn, they were cute.  Like an otter and a beaver had a baby, and their baby married a large rat, and they had babies.

Anyway, I'm rambling.  I need to go make lunch for tomorrow.  Leftover curried chicken to be turned into salad.

ae
* I totally ordered the book on Amazon. It will be here Wednesday. Kaboom!




Sunday, February 26, 2017

Express Lane

I am a damn good grocery shopper. In the grand scheme of things, that's not a huge deal, but I know that if it came to it, I could get a job with Shipt and it would be easy squeezy.

It's a skill I got from my father.  He taught me meal planning, how to pick produce, meat, bread... and I retained it.

I need to get back into one of my best habits - making a list based on the layout of the store.  That keeps me from walking back and forth a few times based on something I forgot.  Currently, I'm not making paper lists - I'm using the Memo app on my phone.

Here are some of the highlights of today's trip to Kroger.

1. I got a damn good parking spot.  Apparently, I hit it in a sweet spot.

2. My first cart was shitty, had a bad wheel.  I dithered for a minute, then returned it and got a better one.  Go, me!

3.  Red grapes  -  88 cents a pound.  Done.

4.  I used my father's tip for buying broccoli - look for tight, compact buds in the crown of it.

5.  Kroger has started carrying the Smithfield ham steaks like the ones I get at Aldi - comparable price, too!

6. Found some stir fry meat on the cheap and since the snow peas looked great, we'll be having that this week.  This is where I wish I had paid more attention - Dad made THE BEST stir fry on the planet, and I never paid attention to how he did it.  He didn't do it often, because it was a pain in the ass, but...

7. Progresso Soup - super deal alert - 99 cents a can if you buy eight or more.  We eat a bunch of their soups, so I loaded up on those.

8.  I picked good eggs on the first try.  I have a funny story.  Last year, I was picking eggs, and I opened the carton and they were all good, so I put them in the cart.  This guy stops me and asks what should he be looking for when he opens the eggs.  I explained you just check to make sure none are broken.   I am nothing if not helpful.

9. I found a new crossword puzzle book.  We've been on a crossword kick recently, and so it was nice to find one.

9a.  The cat coloring book people have another one out:



It's a follow up to these two:






I need to bite the damn bullet and buy one or possibly all of them.



10.  Although I walked slowly through the Easter candy, I didn't put any in my cart.  I did see some stuff that hit me right in the nostalgia bone, but it's nice to see old friends.

11.  Although the La Croix water was totally picked over, they had store brand plain seltzer water in cans.  I bought that, and I'm glad to have it.  Some day, we might get a SodaStream...

12.  I didn't have to wait in a long line.  They had enough cashiers.  And!  I didn't have to go through the line of the super sassy one who always snaps her gum and tells me to have a "blessed" day.  And I didn't have to go through the line of the angry woman with the crazy hair who is constantly bossing around all the other cashiers. 

13.  I put my groceries on the conveyor belt in a very specific way.  Heavy stuff first, cold stuff together, dry stuff together... it's very logical.  The kid who bagged today did a decent job of putting it in more or less the right order.

14. I made it home, got it all put up, and still got to watch most of the Preds game.  They won again.

All in all, a good trip.

ae

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Reluctant Extrovert

Most people who have met me find this hard to believe, but when I take personality profile tests, I typically fall ride on the fault line between introvert and extrovert.  Most people assume I'm extremely extroverted, and typically, I am.

That said, I get drained by social events, and I do require a fair amount of "alone to recharge" time.   The other thing is I have a little social anxiety.  Basically, any time I agree to some event, I regret it and dread it until I get there and I have a great time.  And that's how it always happens.  You would think I could circumvent the anxiety with the time proven fact that I actually love going to parties once I get over the dread of it.

I was explaining this last night at dinner with a friend. She got it right away, because she, too, experiences anxiety. 

So, dinner last night at The Smiling Elephant.  It's a great little Thai place next door to my Vet's office.  And no, I don't want any "Panang Cat Curry" jokes.  It's just geographical.  Since I'm trying to eat sensibly, I stuck with a rice paper roll and a cup of Tom Kha soup, which is something that should, by all rights, taste weird.  It's a bunch of ingredients that you just can't imagine together, but they are perfection.

The first time I ate Thai, I ordered badly, and I said that it reminded me of eating a pork chop covered in Mounds bar filling.  It was off-putting.  The second time I ate Thai was with colleagues - the CEO and VP of Marketing at a smallish company.  I ordered a safer dish, and they asked how spicy I wanted it - I said I really liked spice, and so they loaded it up for me.  But Thai spice is a special kind of spice.  I ended up eating it as tears ran down my face, and they both laughed their asses off.

After that, I became a pro at Thai food.  Well, at least, not a laughingstock...

That said, I first went to The Smiling Elephant a few years ago, and the folks I was with ordered some weird, weird shit, and I was not impressed - and this restaurant has won all kinds of Best of Nashville awards.  This visit made me realize it's all knowing how to order.  And that I don't like fish sauce.

So, that was last night.  Today, we slept in.  Mostly because we woke up early and had a hard time getting the dog to come back to bed.  So, I left the house a little before 11 to run over to Trader Joe's.  It was packed, of course, but I wove my way through the morass of people who have no situational awareness.  I bought my groceries and made a quick Kroger stop for lunch stuff.  I got home and grilled us some lunch.  One of the many benefits of living in the South is that you can grill pretty much any day of the year.

Then, I washed the dog.  She hates it while it's happening, but as soon as she's out and allow to run free, she's the happiest dog on the planet.  Maybe her bath anxiety is similar to my social anxiety.

Anyway, our next task was to suit up and head down to Bridgestone Arena.  We were meeting some friends at the game.  Since the Preds were playing the Washington Capitals (the best team in the NHL), we had low expectations.  We were pleasantly surprised that the Preds WON!  So we walked to dinner after the game.  We ended up in an English Pub.  Three orders of fish and chips and one lamb burger.  I had the lamb burger, and it was delicious.  I also had Brussels sprouts.  I'm pretty sure they were sauteed in bacon grease, but I like them any way I can get them.  I like pretty much all veggies.  I don't care for mushrooms, but technically, they're a fungus.  It's a texture issue.

So, another social day.  Tomorrow, it's all about laundry and the remainder of grocery shopping.  Man cannot live on Trader Joe's alone.  I mean, maybe some man could...if he were rich and didn't mind having to stir his peanut butter every time he used it. Personally, I like Peter Pan, Jif, Skippy...


I'm going to need some more chemicals, thanks.


Next week is another slow week at the office.  I'm frankly exhausted by having too little work.  I'm sure as soon as it picks up, I'll be bitching about that, too.

It's going to be a cold night, and I bet I'll sleep really well.  Because after all the people time, sleep... that's where I'm, to steal a quote from The Simpsons, a Viking.


Keep on trucking, y'all.

ae

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Spring Loaded

I never met my paternal grandfather, and more's the pity.  From what I'm told, we had a lot in common:  a love of language, a passion for musical theater, lefthandedness, our first initial, and most of all - he grew up on the same street that I now live on.

My grandfather grew up in Nashville, Acklen Avenue near Vanderbilt,  I live on Acklen near 12th.  It's a long street that's broken up by Belmont University.  Still - same street.

That said, I know what he looked like because I've seen photos. 

So, all of that is backstory to the following.

I went to see my mother last weekend, and we went into Pier 1 on a fool's errand.  My mother was looking for small stuffed bunnies to give the daughter of a friend about to have twins. They didn't have little bunnies.  They did have a cute bigger bunny, which she bought for the soon-to-arrive twins' older brother.  Mom couldn't remember the big brother's name. I supplied it for her and she said she didn't think that was it.  It was.  His name is Mason.

Anyway, we're looking around Pier 1, which is one of those stores that got too Pottery Barn for its own good.  Back in the day, they had killer clothes. One of the best dresses I ever owned came from Pier 1.  They had interesting cheap housewares.  World Market has sort of supplanted the space that Pier 1 used to occupy.  But, if you need really good throw pillows and money is no object, get thee to Pier 1, post haste.

That said, they had tons of cute stuff for Spring.  We were wandering, and I spotted this little salad plate, and I showed it to Mom.

"Look", I said, "It's A in bunny form!"

Quick sidebar.  The grandkids who were alive when he was called him Papa.  I have never called him anything but A.  Everyone called him A.  His given name was Adolph, but he was Jewish, so... for reasons that are pretty clear, he went by A. 

So this bunny had on a pair of glasses and a necktie and reminded me of my late grandfather.

We explore the table and find that the plates are a set of four.  The mother plate featured a bunny that had glasses like some my grandmother wore (she was Baba).  There was a little girl bunny in pearls (my Aunt Mary) and a little boy bunny in a bowtie (Dad).   Then we saw a platter with all four family members. We marveled at how much it looked like the family.  So when we got home, we got online and sent one to each of Aunt Mary's three kids.


They received them today, and they went over gangbusters.  This one now lives at my cousin Julie's house.  Even their expressions are right.  It's the damnedest thing...

My Aunt, my Grandmother, and even my Father loved Easter.  My Grandfather probably liked it too  - he loved Christmas, that I know.  He was a fairly secular Jew, if that's a thing. 

I think Dad would have loved this platter, and I think he would have ordered one and sent it to Mary. 

I really wish I had photos to prove how accurate this portrait really is... you'll have to trust me on this.

ae

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Exhibit A

So,  I'm kind of an asshole.  And I'm OK with it.

Here's how I know this.  My company has a Toastmaster's Group.  And I think that's great.  I don't especially want to participate because I feel pretty confident about public speaking.  I do it a lot.  So, I'm all for it, I'm just not an attendee.

That said, they put this poster up in the lobby:



So you know, what I want to do is this:

That's a crudely drawn penis.  You can't really see it that well, but it is.

So, that makes me an asshole.

Here's another thing about me that makes me an asshole.  Whenever I'm inconvenienced by a traffic jam due to an accident, I think, every time, "This had better be something major.  I better not be sitting in this shit for two morons who had a fender bender and didn't know how to move over to the shoulder of the road."

I'm not saying I want people injured.  That's really shitty.  I'm just saying I want to see some twisted metal, scattered glass.  I actually sat in traffic last Friday for an hour because a tractor trailer went off the road in epic fashion.  The cab was crushed and scattered all over the shoulder.  The trailer was upside down.  I suspect the driver was killed.  And I hate that, but it certainly makes sitting on I-24 a little more understandable.  Like I said, I don't want people hurt, I just need to see some actual damage to the cars.

Sometimes I spit my gum out the window.  I interrupt people. I eat smelly food at my desk.  I mean, it smells *good* because I'm a good cook.  I did recently eat a Subway tuna sandwich at my desk.  I swear a lot, and sometimes in front of kids and old people.  I take forever to mail back Netflix movies.  In my defense on that one, who still gets movies?  Why can't we just stream things? 

Sometimes I will pretend I don't hear people talking to me when I have my earbuds in.  Sometimes, I'm not even listening to anything.  I have hit the close button to avoid sharing an elevator with someone.

I rarely tip my servers at Sonic, even though they cheerfully deliver my morning 99 cent Coke Zero or Unsweet Tea.  I don't tell people I'm going to Atlanta so that I don't have to go visiting.

I once snapped at a cashier who was manhandling some of my produce.   When I was in 7th grade, I made a girl cry when I said heaven isn't real.   In High School I dated two best friends SIMULTANEOUSLY.  Oh, yeah - I was bad ass.

I have some good qualities, but that's not what today's post is about.

It's about the fact that sometimes, I'm an asshole.  And I'm OK with that.

ae


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Damn you, Facebook!

So, all kinds of news today.  The biggest news is that we have water!  I celebrated by loading and running the dishwasher.  It was heavenly.

I ended up working the day from home, which is always kind of a pain in the ass when you have a dog, especially one who is prone to barking when strangers have a backhoe in your front yard.  I'm ready to have a little less drama, get a few productive days under my belt.




So, I joined this program offered by my company free of charge called Real Appeal - it's essentially a web-based Weight Watcheresque program.  I do a meeting once a week, then I have a 1 on 1 with my coach.  That's later this week.  She seems perfectly nice, but maybe a little overworked.  I'll reserve judgment.

I'm in it for the free shit.


What I do like is that there is an online tracker where I can log my food and it automatically fills in the calories - it's very easy, so I find that I'm actually doing it, whereas on Weight Watchers, I don't think I ever tracked for more than a day at any given time.  You can build a recipes, too.

I've been eating better since I got the evil eye from my doctor late last month, and I hate to admit, but I do feel better.  Now I need to get some exercise.  Which, you know, I hate.   I've been off sugar for a few weeks - I still do the occasional diet soda, and I know I need to kick those to the curb, too.

But there are all these dumb cake making videos on Facebook, and they make me want sweets in a big way.   I'll get through it - I just need to stop looking at the strawberry cakes, crock pot cinnamon rolls (gross, actually), and homemade dulce de leche.   Oh, and every casserole that shows up because all my friends love the Casseroles page on FB.



If there were a filter that could turn pics of food to pictures of roadkill, that would be helpful.

As it is, I still need to find a way to use 467 calories tonight.  I'm thinking banana, peanut butter...milk?

Hmmm.  I'll get the hang of it.

ae

Monday, February 20, 2017

Snob

I'll be the first to admit it - I'm a fruit snob.

I worked in a market for seven years, so I know what good fruit is supposed to look like.  Working there ruined apples for me, or, better to say, refined my taste in apples.  Growing up, we had three options.  Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith - Granny Smiths are too tart for me, so I usually just stuck with Red Delicious.

When I started at the market, I learned there were a lot of other apples out there.  And I quickly picked a favorite - the Gala.   They're great because the flavor is really good, but more importantly, the texture is nice - they don't get sandy and mealy like their counterparts.  So, for the longest, that was my apple of choice.  And then, I found out about Ambrosia apples.  So huge, and sweet, with a nice tang to them-  great texture.  And on the heels of Ambrosias, Honeycrisps.  They are the essence of what you want from an apple.  The problem is, they are much, much more expensive than the old standbys.   But, I don't buy a ton of fruit, so I'm going to buy what I want.  Right?  Right.

So, I also love watermelon.  In the summer, I like to get one of the nice, round, dark green ones from the Farmers Market.  They're almost black and round like a cannon ball.  I could eat myself sick.  Which is a good thing, because Matt doesn't eat watermelon.  He prefers canteloupe.  I like honeydew.  We manage to make it work.

Pears?  Love them, any way I can get them.

Berries, cherries?  Sure.

Grapes - I like the purple, not the green.  I don't know why.

Kiwi, as long as someone else preps if for me. 

And that brings me to oranges.  The gateway orange is a Navel - hard to go wrong.  I discovered Cara Cara oranges about two years ago - their almost coral pink color is so pretty and they taste great.  My mother has been telling me about these new oranges I have to try, and I was kind of ignoring her.

Then I had one for the first time this weekend.  Holy Citrus!



This is a Sumo - a seedless variety of Mandarin orange.  It was first bred in Japan in 1972, and they brought it to California in 2011.

The skin on it comes right off - no mess.  And the taste is sweet and clean and citrusy.  This one was about the size of a softball.

And again, they are not cheap, but hey - I am totally worth it.

The season is almost over, and I was late to the craze.  So, I'll have to ride the Sumo wave as long as I can, then hope for strawberry and cherry seasons to hold me til we get to watermelon.

This is what happens when you give up candy.

ae

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

I am hanging out this afternoon at the local laundromat. Technically I'm hanging out at the slightly less local laundromat. The one right near my house is closed on Sundays.

I have chosen a laundromat near Vanderbilt University, about two miles from our house. For Sunday afternoon, it is remarkably uncrowded. Which is a good thing, because there's no parking.

I'm about a block from Matt's first apartment, and five blocks from his second apartment. This is a great part of town, called Hillsboro Village.. It's close to everything, and it's really fun. We couldn't afford it back when we were looking at houses. I'm pretty sure we couldn't now either.

When you get into your forties, you kind of figure you have aged out of the whole laundromat thing. But, since we're waiting for our plumbing to get fixed, and we need clean clothes... Here I am. Rock Me Like a Hurricane.

We get our new water line on Tuesday. So after that we're good to go. But we needed clothes for the next few days. In the interest of expediting the process, I loaded everything into a big commercial washer.  I like seeing it through the window.



Nashville is kind of charming. Even the laundromat has a wall of fame.


Because, if you have to wash your stuff in public, isn't it comforting to know that you used potentially the same machine as Lulu from Hee Haw. 


You cannot make this shit up.

One of the nice things about this one is the Ms. Pacman machine in the corner. At the moment there's a meet cute couple playing. I'm thinking Grad Students. She said the next time she sees him, she wants to get his opinion on water bottles. This means they aren't having sex yet, but give it a month. Doing laundry together is the gateway to a long, torrid, sexual semester or two.


Truth be told, I could knock out a lifetime of laundry here fast. I've done it before.  Just came in for about four hours and powered through some backlog.  Right after that, Dad had his heart attack. Or his stroke? Either way, I was super lucky to have a ton of clean clothes.

I'm not drying my clothes here. I'm going to take them home and save a few bucks.

Because as nice as the laundromat is, there's no place like home.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Addendum - Drummer with Drumset

She has a guitar AND a banjo?!?  Sold Separately.

Thanks, Christopher, for mentioning out that you wanted to see Logan's drum set.  This is for you!

Apparently, by the way, I am not the only one who has reservations about Logan.

HuffPo published an article about it - click here to read.  The highlight was a Twitter user who said,

"American Girl unveiled a boy doll named Logan Everett and there's no doubt that he joined a youth group to hit on girls." - @ReillyStoner

Enjoy!



Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Make It Last All Night

I am slightly obsessed with the American Girl doll line.

Back in the dark ages, we bought my mother "Molly" - a girl growing up in the 1940s who bore more than a passing resemblance to Mom, who was also a girl growing up in the 1940s.

The company started with a line of Historical Dolls - each with a set of books that told their story - and they all had different outfits you could buy, and beds and birthday cakes and so on.  It was insane and insanely expensive.

They branched out over the years.  They started making dolls that looked like their owners.  You could pick hair, eye color and skin tone - get a little mini-me.  Now, I have threatened to do this on more than one occasion.  But here's the problem - to get my hair right, I'd have to be black.  Which I'm not.  They have a "Girl of the Year" who gets a yearlong story arc.  She typically has a hobby, experiences some kind of mild conflict and has to draw on her talents to get through it.

Anyway, what started as a catalog only enterprise went into brick and mortar, big time.  American Girl stores feature salons where dolls can get a new coiffure, hospitals for repair.  Dolls can get their ears pierced.  They can get glasses, wheelchairs and hearing aids.  There are clothes for both doll and owner for dressing alike.  There are books, and accessories.   There's a cafe where you and your doll can get a bite to eat.  The restrooms in this store have a special bracket for holding your doll while you do your business.

And I have never been inside one that wasn't packed.

My premise of their business model is that parents will pay a steep price to keep their little girls little just a little longer.

Yesterday, an announcement came out that rocked the American Girl world.  They have a new doll.  It's a boy!!!!

Hello, Ladies!


He is Logan Everett.  He lives in Nashville, TN.  Well, my last name is also Everett and I live in Nashville, TN.  That's crazy, right?

Well, Logan is the bandmate of one Tenney Grant, an aspiring signer-songwriter.  Because, of course.

In my mind you're blowing me... some kisses....


Naturally, I'm stoked.  That AG has a boy doll, that he's an Everett, and that they have two Nashville dolls.   But can we be real a minute?  He's the drummer - why is he in front of the mic?  She's the lead singer.  I bet he's douchey.  I bet he tries to control her creative process and goes around her to get his own recording deal and advance his career at her expense.  And that he sends her mixed messages about his feelings for her, and uses her confusion as a weapon to torment her with.

Or, maybe they're just two kids who like music.  But admit it, he looks like a major d-bag in his little leather jacket.  But Tenney is just looking at him like he's the bees knees.

I may be projecting.

I'm still stoked, though.

I'll leave you with something that makes me howl with laughter every single time I see it.  Conan O'Brien decided to pay a visit to American Girl in California. Enjoy, Dolls!  It's not short, but it's worth it.  I laugh out loud every time.


ae

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Meatloafus Interruptus

So, sadly, it's a meatloaf-free Valentine's Day, folks.

Here's what happened.  This morning, I was getting a shower and I noticed the pressure was a little low.  I figured my husband was using water elsewhere in the house - our place was built in 1930, so water flow isn't exactly stellar.

Well, he wasn't.  So I mentioned it to him before he got in the shower and told him I'd call Metro to see if they were doing work in the area.  In the back of my mind, I also thought, "Did I pay the water bill?"  I did.

When I walked out the front door, I saw a stream of water coming down the sidewalk.  Here's the bad news, it was pouring out of a crack in the retaining wall in front of our house.  So, I went in and told Matt about it, called Metro and headed to work.  Now, I knew in my heart that it probably was an us problem and not the city's problem.  Matt did some research and, yes - anything past the water meter is on us to deal with.

So, he turned off the water at the street, and I did my 8:30 training class.  When I got done, I packed up and headed home to call a plumber. 

The guy came, looked at it, and told me what I had already determined, which is that we're going to have to replace the entire line from the street to the house.  He said he'd need to call in a project manager to complete the estimate, and just to hang tight.  Meanwhile, he took pictures, video, walked around the yard to check things out.  Piper protested from her kennel in the yard.  It was awesome.

Anyway, the upshot is, this is not an easy fix, it's not a cheap fix, and it's not a quick fix.   But they will do it right, and that's the good part.  I think.  They start next Tuesday and assured me it's a one day job.

So, long story boring, I will not be cooking tonight.  While I waited for the plumber, I did a flurry of housework, and I'm pleased with that.  But putting my hands in meatloaf without a way to effectively clean them before or after?  Not doing it.  We can still cook this week, I'll just do things we can grill and microwave - things that don't require washing tons of dishes.

What we're going to have to do til it's fixed is briefly turn the water on at the street, do what needs done in the house, and then turn it off.  It's a hoot, I tell ya!

That said, for dinner, we'll be having Five Guys.  I think.  Matt can pick when he gets home, but that's where we're leaning.

I'm bummed.  To an extent about the meatloaf, but honestly, really about the water line.

So, as it turns out, we're giving ourselves/each other the gift of water for years to come.

Priceless.  Sort of.

ae


Monday, February 13, 2017

Party!


So, today has some personal historical significance - on this day in history, 1999 my parents found my first dog, Lola, on the side of the road.  When she was still alive, I would celebrate this day with her.  Once, I made a cake.

Now, it's just the day before Valentine's Day.  A holiday which, as a kid, was kind of a big deal.  In Elementary School, it always meant a party, and we would exchange cards.   A small box of candy from Mom and Dad.

In Middle School, there was the remote chance that some boy might send you a carnation - one of the clubs was always selling carnations for people to send one another.  The pretty, popular girls would often get one from some pining anonymous Casanova.  Friends would send them to friends, but those always got your hopes up for a fraction of a second til you read the tag and you realized it was just Stephanie or Katie or whatever.  A small box of candy from Mom and Dad.

High School was similar to Middle School, except that boys who had a serious girlfriend would bring her flowers to school.  I seem to remember my sister's boyfriend had a dozen roses DELIVERED to the school their senior year.  And those of us who were single would maybe celebrate with our friends, or wear black to protest, or some dumb thing.  Candy from Mom and Dad, which you didn't protest.


This box has not changed in 40 years.


In college, if your guy sent flowers, they'd sit on the front table in the sorority house, so everyone would walk by, see your name on the card and know you were special. Unless your roommate, in a passive-aggressive move, took them up to the room for you "to be nice".  Then spent 15 minutes on the phone that night making her boyfriend feel bad for not sending flowers.  For instance.  You might go to the drugstore the next day and buy discount candy and eat it in your car.

In your 20s, you'd spend it with your dog, unless you were dating someone, then you made some special plans.  Maybe, depending on how serious it was, he'd send flowers.  But typically, you'd cook a nice meal, maybe watch a DVD together.  If you were established as a couple, there might be lingerie or jewelry, but nothing major.  You would definitely buy a box of candy on the cheap the next day.

In your 30s, you were married, and you'd exchange cards, maybe buy a joint purchase like a new frying pan or new socks for both of you.  You'd cook a nice dinner - not as nice as the one in your 20s, even though in your 30s, money wasn't so tight.  You might make baked goods for one or both of your offices.  Discount candy the day after?  Of course.

In your 40s, you start to agree that you won't do anything for Valentine's Day, except make a meatloaf in the shape of a heart for dinner.  You don't care that he doesn't send flowers, because you had yours in your 20s. You also know how stupidly expensive they are, and all they do is die.  You don't want jewelry because you never wear necklaces, you have your engagement and wedding rings, and you buy your earrings in bulk at WalMart.  Lingerie?  Pass.  Cheap candy on the 15th? You'd love to, but your doctor wouldn't appreciate it.

Romance isn't dead - it's just hidden in the minutes and hours and days that make up the year.


Go enjoy your loved ones however you see fit.  I'll let you know how the meatloaf turns out!

ae










Thursday, February 9, 2017

Let's Talk

So, as I believe I have mentioned, I have stepped away from sugar for a bit.  We needed a break.

But the thing that makes it tough is Valentine's Day.  Many is the year I slid into Walgreen's February 15th to snag a red, heart-shaped box of chocolates on the super-cheap. 

And of course, Valentine's Day is the gateway to Easter.  And Easter candy unhinges me.  Russell Stover Maple Cream Eggs?  Siiiiighh!

Anyway, Valentine's Day. 

The other day, I passed by the little chalky, pastel conversation hearts and I decided to make a list of new hearts for the modern era:




HPV Free

Don't Brexit My Heart

Yuge Love

Tiny Hands, Big Heart

Pussy Grabber

She Persisted

Wanna 420? (available in Maine, Colorado, California, Washington, etc.)

Netflix n Chill

UR Bae!

Red State/Blue Balls

Let's Nae Nae

Swipe Left

#GlutenFree

I'm Not Proposing

Cosby Love

Golden Shower?

Ref-U-G of Luv

Selfie Lover

I Can't Even



 You can see, I'm really up on my lingo and pop culture.

ae



Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Workouts I Would Love

I need to start getting some more exercise.  I don't particularly enjoy working out.  I do like Zumba classes, Water Aerobics doesn't totally suck.  Here are some classes I would take, if they existed.


Sharks and Minnows - A water fitness class based on our youth.  Chase and be chased for an hour in our heated pool.  Think of it as "keep away" that's better for your joints.




Catch the Puppy - This class takes place in a simulated three block radius.   At the start of class, you are given a picture of a puppy and a baggie with a few treats in it.  Your puppy is somewhere in the three blocks, and it's up to you to find him.  He's a runner, he's wily, and he won't come when called.  You'll be crawling under decks, running through yards and climbing hills.  Once you've caught him, you'll have a cool down period to pet your pup.  Who's a good workout?  Huh, huh?

Airport - This is a cardio/weight fusion class that uses the same technology as Spin Theaters.  You'll be running through projected terminals, lifting a 35 pound bag overhead, dodging other travelers and shifting your heavy luggage from side to side.  All the fun of travel without having to clear TSA!




Relaxed Crocodile - This two hour Yoga class teaches you the most comfortable poses, and leads you through a guided meditation to promote relaxation.  Sleeping is encouraged.



Garden - An actual functioning garden.  Come squat, weed, lunge, edge, bend, deadhead and work up a sweat.  The only Burpees you'll see here are seed packets.The harvested food goes to the mission to feed the homeless. Green thumb not required!



Hamiltone - Sing and Dance your way through this three hour amateur reenactment of Lin Manuel Miranda's Tony winning musical, Hamilton. There will be a 15 minute intermission.  What time is it?  Showtime!

Fitting Room -  Each student selects a 3' x 3' square that has been marked off in the studio.  In each square is a large pile of clothes.  For the hour, you will be trying on everything in that pile.  Stretch, pull, shimmy and squeeze your way to better health! Any clothes you like will be available for sale after class.



Parachute - This is a 15 minute warm-up class that takes the best part of elementary school PE and upgrades it for the new millennium.  You'll get to use the parachute.  There will be Nerf balls.  And once it's done, you don't have to take the Presidential Fitness test and come in last in everything.  Again.



Cannonball! - You and your classmates will take turns at the diving board.  No real dives here - the sillier, the better.  When not at the board, you'll be treading water and watching/critiquing others' efforts.

Mega Stretch - Low, low, low impact. Stretch your muscles.  Self-paced with an instructor to assist one-on-one for deeper stretches.

Curtains Up! - This class is a follow up to our popular, but expensive and hard to get into Hamiltone.  Here, you can enjoy dancing and singing to a variety of  scenes from TV, Theatre, Movies and even YouTube!  Yes, we'll be doing scenes from Grease, and yes, this time you can be Rizzo.  Sigh.  I'll be Jan.  Again.




Double Dutch -  Hell on your knees, but fun. Jump Rope with friends.  Learn new chants.  Probably injure yourself.

He's Gaining on You! - Cardio burst class held on treadmills.  You are put into several scenarios where you are chased by: bears, hornets, panhandlers, chainsaw wielding psychos.  Hurry!  Don't get caught!




Aw, F It! - 45 joyless minutes on the elliptical.  It's not fun, but then, that's why they call it a work out, not a play out.


ae



Monday, February 6, 2017

Mundane

Good morning, people-types.  I had an Anatomy/Physiology teacher in High School that used to address his students as "people-types" - the guy was a complete dick.   He told my sister she shouldn't consider nursing as a career choice.  My mother, the nurse, came in to meet with him and ripped him a new one.  So by the time I started his class, he was more than familiar with my last name.  

One day, toward the end of our year together, he said something to me and I replied to him with, "Sure thing, teacher-type."  For some reason I didn't get in trouble.  But proof that I have spent my life being mouthy.

Anyway, off of that to say, GOOD MORNING!

Last night I watched the Atlanta Falcons shit the bed in a spectacular fashion in the Super Bowl.

I also made some killer chili dogs for us to enjoy.  It wasn't all bad.  Just the part where the Falcons blew a 20 point lead.  The commercials were kind of lackluster this year, too.  I mean I do appreciate the messages of inclusion and diversity.  But give me dachshunds dressed as hot dogs and the funny Monster.com ads of yesterbowl...

That said, the Kristen Schaal 50 Shades of T-Mobile ads worked for me, mostly because I love Kristen Schaal.



Anyway, the Super Bowl is over, which means that Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras, and St. Patrick's Day are up next.

Not that I celebrate any of those to any great degree.  Back in the day, I would use the day after Valentine's Day to score a box of chocolate at a deep, deep discount.   Matt and I don't really do much.  I might do something fun for dinner- like one year I did a heart-shaped meatloaf, but...meh.

I packed my lunch and some great snacks this morning and left the whole thing on the counter in the kitchen.  Oh, Monday - you saucy little bitch!

So, I took my first MASSIVE dose of Vitamin D yesterday.  That's not a euphemism.  My doctor wants to get my level up, so once a week for 12 weeks, I'll be taking a 50,000 IU Vitamin D capsule.  I will assume it was that, and not my chili dogs that caused my early morning stomach ache.

I have a quiet week at work - I need to work on some documentation for onboarding new customers - but I don't have anything on the schedule.  I transition from current manager to new interim manager today.  Which means pretty much nothing.

I'm going to go back to vitamins for a minute.  When I was a kid, Dad would pick us from school from time to time if we had to stay late, or we had an appointment, or whatever.  But he drove, at the time, a pickup truck.  And I remember, more than once, climbing up in the cab, and dad would slide a Mounds bar to me across the bench seat, saying, "You're looking a little deficient in Vitamin M".



With memories like this hard-coded in my DNA - to say nothing of my fathers' influence thereof, are we surprised at all that I struggle now?

I'm aware this is also the second time in roughly a week where I've featured a candy bar.  That's how I roll, apparently.  That said, I'm still off the sugar.  Now, I haven't started dieting in the stricter sense, but baby steps, my peeps.

And for now, that's all I've got.

Oh, actually - one last thing - got the postcard from my mammogram - free and clear!  So, I've got that going for me.

(     *     )Y(       *    )

TMI, forever and always!

ae




Friday, February 3, 2017

Brokeneck Maintain

So, it's Friday here in Music City, USA.  Although, if we're being technical, I'm writing from Franklin, TN today.

Regardless, it's Friday.

Last night, I woke up every few hours for no reason.  And each time, I lay there wondering what time it was and if my alarm was about to go off.  I woke up at midnight, 3:25AM and finally at 6:29AM. My alarm goes off at 6:33AM.

So, this weekend, my agenda involves some sleep.  And cleaning, trips to Goodwill.  Just the same old, same old.

You will be pleased to learn that my Delicate Lady Chili tied for 3rd in the cook-off.  The other 3rd place winner gave up claim to the medal/prize, as long as she got bragging rights in the email announcement (she won last year and already has a medal).  She's also on the committee that hosts it, so I'm guessing she could source another medal as needed.

Tied - Third Place - (Kroger Gift Card Not Shown)



Anyway.  

I have spent much of my week.  So, so much of my week trying to get some pharmaceuticals approved.  It looks like today was the day.  And just in time!  My new pill organizer arrives from Amazon today.  Yeah, you read that right.  I also ordered Matt some beard balm and a pebble tray for his new bonsai tree to get the total up enough for free shipping. 

Folks, it just doesn't get any crazier than this.  Does it?  DOES IT?

Nope.

TGIF, y'all.

ae




Thursday, February 2, 2017

What's In a Name?

Today is my company's annual chili cook-off.  I can't remember how many years I've done it - one or two, at least.  One memorable year that I didn't do it was the year I made a huge pot of amazing chili, left it to simmer in the crock pot, and then around 1AM was struck down with the most violent gastrointestinal bug.  In the morning, I called in to work and begged my husband to put the chili down the disposal as I wasn't certain it wasn't "infected", and the smell was making me sick.

I'm often traveling on cook-off day, but today, I'm here.  So I brought in some Chicken Chili - it's more green than white, but it's not a typical red chili.  It's not an actual recipe, either.  I just started throwing things into the instant pot, and now we have a gallon of chili simmering in the breakroom.  It's a little soupy at the moment, but it's cooking up, and at 11AM, I'll throw in a container of sour cream and a ton of cheese.  It'll be fine.

That said, I've been working on what to *call* this chili.  Several of the other entrants have names like "Caveman Chili (w Ground Falcon Meat)", or "Meaty Man Chili"  or "Freddie's Smoked Patriot Chili".  So I've spent some time thinking about what I would name my chili.  On the sign up sheet, I gave it the name "Whatever Meat Is Cheap" chili.

Here were several thoughts:

Superb Owl Chili (Are we sure that's chicken?)

Super Bowel Chili (Fiber is like Brillo for your insides.)

White Supreme Chili (Too political?)

Can't Resist Chili (Too subtly political?)


Delicate Lady Chili (Since there are a number of "man"-themed entries, why not?)

Tom Brady's Tears Chili (Fuck the Patriots!)

Chili con Fuck It (Too profane for the office.)

Valued Contributor Chili (This is the standard "score" we get on evaluations every year - it's kind of a running joke that whether you are the best employee or the worst, this is what you'll get on your eval every single time.  It is a 3 out of 5 - but so many people got upset with getting a 3, that they had to redo the scale.  It's still a 3.)

Better than Eric's Chili (Just to screw with Eric, who I actually like.)

Don't Worry, My Kitchen's Clean Chili (For the cootie-phobic)

What's Your Acceptable Threshold for Dog Hair? Chili (Just in case...)

The Big Game Chili (Because Super Bowl is trademarked, and that's ridiculous)

Free Lunch Chili (What do you care what's in it?  Eat up, ingrate!)

I think I'm going with Delicate Lady Chili for today.  I'll let you know if I win anything.  I know for sure I'm up against a chocolate mole chili and a lamb chili and possibly venison. 

Bon Appetit, bitches!

ae

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Ad astera, per aspera...

I started out my month with a bang, of sorts.  Time for my annual mammogram.  It's just unpleasant.  I mean, it hurts, a stranger is getting to second base with me, there's a potential for bad news...

Last year they were kind enough to offer me a cold Diet Coke when it was over.  This time, nothing.  Which is fine - it was my lunch hour, so I went to Steak n Shake, which was not as good as I remember it - probably because I went to the drive through and ended up getting mustard all over my shirt.  Which was black, so, minimal damage - but I had to de-mustard quickly before my 1:30 meeting. 

The meeting, for what it's worth, was a last minute addition to my calendar today.  Had I known in advance, I'd have chosen a better outfit.  Actually, I've hated everything I've worn this week - I have wardrobe fatigue. But I'd have probably stepped it up a little. 

So, I threw on a scarf to camouflage my mustard residue and put on a little makeup.  I really ought to wear makeup more.

Nice Scarf, Mustard Girl!


Anyway, this customer is a long time fan of our software.  He has taken us with him to every company he goes to work for.  We are on #4.  He's a character - loves to party, loves for us to take him out and show him some fun.  He came to town for another meeting, and called his reps and said, "Hey, since I just signed a new contract, let's get lunch and we can do the kickoff at your office."  So that's how it went down.

I'm sure he didn't know I had a sore chest that had been assaulted by condiments.

The other theme of the day was that I've been doing battle with my health insurance company.  My doc suggested I would benefit from some medication for some sinus issues that flare up when I travel, but are pretty much with me all the time*.  It would be a nice to have, not in and of itself a life-or-death dealbreaker.  But it's new, it has no generic, and surprise - it's expensive.  Whatever.  I called the insurance company, gave them the name of the medication and CSR #1 says, well, it's not a preferred medication,  but it is a maintenance drug. It wouldn't be covered with a co-pay, but here's what it would cost per month.  And I said, OK - that's not bad.  So, I call my doctor's office, and ask for them to write the scrip.

Walgreen's calls, tells me they're having problems with this new prescription - that the Insurance Company won't cover it because the doctor didn't request prior approval.  So I call the Insurance Company, they say, "Oh, yes, she just needs to call us and tell us that it's what she wants to prescribe with no substitution".  

So I call and leave another message with the doc, and I explain the situation.

Nurse calls me back and said, They're not going to cover it. They basically don't want to pay for it when there are other cheaper (harsh, side-effect heavy) meds that could do a similar thing.  BUT - she continues, the drug company itself DOES want me to take this drug (fucking of course they do), and they offer a "Savings Club" promotion where they pay a chunk of it so it's reasonable for you to pay out of pocket.  Well, this is why I have a Health Savings Account, right?  So I say, great, I'll try that.

I go, fill out the info to get what is essentially a coupon, and head to the pharmacy tonight.

Well, I get there, the pharmacist loads in the coupon, and I take deep cleansing breaths, and promise myself I'm not going to lose my shit, no matter what happens.  What happens is, my insurance has put a block on the scrip - they won't let me fill it because the doctor hasn't requested prior approval.  But, but... she did, and you said "not covered".  If I want to pay for it, and I have a legit scrip, then to need to stand aside and let me take my fucking pills.

He explains to me he's faxed it to my doc to take care of, but naturally, I need to call them and make sure I get what I need.  I said to my pharmacist, "So what I've learned from this is that my insurance provider will tell me whatever they think I want to hear to get me off the phone."  And he just says, "Exactly."

Tomorrow, I try again.  Will I die if I never get this drug?  No.  Will it make my life better if I get it?  Yes. 

But I'm going to wear my Insurance Company down.  If I have to do a Shirley MacLane  style Terms of Endearment freakout, I'll do it.



I don't want to piss off my doctor.  I don't mind fucking with Express Scripts.  Fuck those motherfuckers.

And I will be writing them a carefully worded letter that tells them what I think about being LIED TO repeatedly.

As we used to say back at the Ophthalmic Surgery Center - "Don't bullshit me, Tony."

And the horse you rode in on,

Allison


*Who are we kidding - it's for my Crab-Herpes Gonorrsyphillis.