Friday, July 9, 2010


Update: wordpress hates my iPhone so I am back where I began.

I am moving over to wordpress -- my craziness can be found here.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Witchling - My Conclusion

Please note the title says "My Conclusion" not the conclusion, my conclusion. My conclusion is I can't finish the book, it is too awful. It has been so long since I abandoned it that I can't remember why I abandoned it. I have vague memories. I didn't like the heroine, any of the heros, or the heroine's sisters. I was only mildly interested in the plot.  I just couldn't get on her team. It was well written with a number of beautiful details and great language.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Witchling - Disk 2

Turns out the FBH is not our hero. Our hero is probably a Svartan named Trillian.  This is a book on cd so I am guessing at the spelling.  Svartans are intense beings - perhaps a race of the fairies, that isn't really clear to me.  Apparently, after you've "had" a Svartan you can't go back.  Svartans are so intense that they can't be monogamous.  And neither are the fairies. Our herione spends much print time worrying about whether or not he'll dump her.  It is okay if he sleeps around he just can't leave her.  Trillian is dark skinned with long silver hair.  I don't know if all Svartans are dark or if just he is. I am uncomfortable with the way this dark skinned individual has been set up as an "other".  We'll see where that goes.

Oh yeah, the gentle giants name was Jacko, not Jack.

On with our plot, so the FBH Johnson had a message for the trio from this Trillian.  Word on the street was that some big bad demon had taken over the demon world and was looking to wipe out Otherworld and Earth to rule all three dimensions.  They shouldn't expect much help from HQ - either because they couldn't or wouldn't give it.

Camille gets Menolly to agree to go somewhere with her but won't tell her where.  Turns out to be a VA - that's right, Vamps Anonymous, meeting.  Here we learn she has been a vamp for 12 earth-side years.  12 years and they are still tiptoeing around her.  Seems a bit over the top to me, I get that they have longer lives, but after 12 years, I'd expect her to be a little more adjusted. Menolly has the name of Jacko's earthside GF who Delilah is going to track down.  Menolly is going to go exploring dark alleys for information while she also feeds off of the dregs of society.  Sometimes she decides who needs to die.  It is unclear what her criteria are for deciding who dies and who is just a snack. The guy she takes out tonight was about to slice up a prostitute so he had to die. I guess that seems fair enough.

While Menolly is off snacking and gathering information, Camille goes off to talk to Grandmother Coyote aka one of the hags of fortune about everything that is going down. Grandmother Coyote sometimes gives advice to those who seek it. Here we learn that the big bad demon Shadow Wing has sent three other demons Earth-side in hunt of the spirit seals or some such thing.  With these seals, all three worlds can either be brought together forcefully or brought in peace.  We need to find some guy named Tom Hale who lives near Mt. Rainer.

The intrepid trio reassembles to share their information. At which time, we meet Trillion who appears in their house without warning.  We find all three ready to fight the intruder (until he identifies himself). Menolly readies herself by flying up to the ceiling, Delilah draws a knife and a gun, and Camille gets some magic ready.  They discover it is this Trillion and relax. Menolly gets catty with Trillion and so Delilah has another fit. Which means she has to be calmed down before she turns into a cat again. And once again, she is getting worked up because Menolly is upset with someone else (this time Trillian). Moments ago, she was going to face an unknown intruder, now her sister is upset and she freaks.

We end the disk with everyone turning in for the night after they have shared information. Camille and Trillian head upstairs to her room. . . 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Witchling - A Progressive Review

A progressive review is the best phrase I could come up with to explain my intent for this review. I will be writing a mini synopsis and review at the end of each disk.  The book I'm working on first, The Witchling by Yasmine Galenorn.

We first meet our heroine and narrator, Camille, at her bookstore in Seattle.  We are front-loaded with a good deal of world building.  Camille is half-Faerie, half-human, and a witch whose powers often go awry.  She is the oldest of three sisters who are half-Faerie and half human.  Mellony, the vampire whose name grates on my ears and Delilah, the were-cat.  And by were-cat, I mean were-house-cat.  Apparently, Delilah is a hard-edged clever PI who is good with electronics from our world (the three are from the Other World). But whenever her sisters get into an argument, she freaks and turns into a house cat.  A lovely, but scared house cat.  So far, when she changes, she doesn't seem to retain any of her human intelligence or knowledge.  She also seems to spook easily.

Mellony is also pretty annoying.  She is too emotionally scarred to tell our hero how she became a vampire, but is all bad-ass and tries to pick fights with him for what appears to be no reason. 

Our presumed hero, whose name I can't remember, is a full-blooded human or an FBH.  He has the hots for Camille which irritates all three for no discernible reason.  Apparently, Camille has never had sex with an FBH and isn't about to start now.  She gives us no reason for disliking him except that he is an FBH which means they are going to have sex. So far, he is the only character I like.

At this point, we have learned that someone with demonic ancestry has killed a gently giant whose name I think might have been Jack. He was garroted by the demon with a leather strap. We are told a couple of times that this killer must have been very strong to have killed a giant.  The Other World Intelligence Agency (whose name I have already forgotten) has assigned the intrepid sisters to the case. 

That brings us to the close of disk 1.  I will start disk 2 on my drive to work tomorrow and probably finish it on my way home!

The New Old Blog that I Love

Today I rediscovered Penelope Trunk. I had read her work before over at Yahoo!Finance - I liked it there too. I like it even more now. I love her honesty - she puts it all out there. I have been enjoying her work so much that I can't seem to write more than a sentence at a time without flipping back over to finish trying to follow another story line.  With the Asperger Syndrome, the Farmer, her miscarriage, it is all so fascinating. In one post, she talks about how she and the Farmer use a technique discovered by Temple Grandin to calm farm animals to help her calm down and focus. 

I am so inspired by her posts and her blog that I want to be a better blogger.  I'm not even sure what that means for me.  I think it means that  I want to be able to write about a wide variety of topics that I find interesting.  I would like to be able to take the stressful moments of life and turn them into lessons, to give them meaning and value.  I also love a good story and would love to become a better written storyteller. 

The good news is that even Penelope says she has a hard time blogging, the bad news is there is only one way to get better at it, which is to just buckle down and get it done.

I found Penelope again thanks to Inc. magazine's 19 Blogs You Should Bookmark Right Now.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Often times, our instincts are good and they are sending us messages we should listen to. Some of the messages are good, some of them are bad. Many of us don't listen to them often enough. A good friend of mine is trying to learn to listen to hers when it comes to dating.

In this afternoon's 85 Broads Jam Session with Danielle La Porte (WhiteHotTruth), Danielle said she generally knows everything she needs to know about a person and her future relationship with them in first 8 seconds she meets them.  "As in the beginning, so in the middle and so in the end."  Danielle recommends using your instinct and following Buddhist saying she quotes when you re embarking on a new relationship.  Business relationship and personal relationships have the rules and we fall into the same habits of not trusting our instincts. 

Back to the friend: A week or so ago, she asked me to dig around and see what I could find on this guy who seemed fishy on She hadn't yet met this guy in person and wasn't quite sure why he seemed off, but he did. Turns out she was right to listen to her instincts.  I think the lesson that most of can learn from her experience is not about what made the bells go off, but what she did when they went off.  When the bells went off, she asked herself why they went off and examined the bells and their cause.  Then she trusted herself.  Turns out, she did the right thing. Nothing bad came of the situation and he revealed his true nature quickly.

This morning, she forwarded me this message (her name is changed & her email address is redacted):

From: Robert Johnson
Subject: Hi Babe..
To: Friend
Date: Tuesday, May 4, 2010, 9:48 PM

Hi Nancy Babe...How are you doing ?I was online last night to chat with you but you were not online and i did tried to call you today as well but you didn't pick my calls,guess you were busy...Hope you doing fine and coping with your work...?Am missing you so much here and can't wait to see you angel ...Am so glad how far and how we got to meet and i know gradually with God's mercy things will work out as we planned...I realise we have been heart broken for along time or at a point in your life so does everyone at a point but the only thing that keeps us going is knowing we are here now and won't give up and finding that greener pasture and i hope and pray that i will look back to these days and smile because you have me and i have you babe ...I was able to book my flight for next week friday because am almost done here just trying to clear out somethings over here my love ...I miss you Nancy and am glad i met you and i feel the way i do with you ...Meeting you to see the smiles and tears is all i long for right now ...I know i can't change your past neither can i change mine but we've got alot more to hang on as long as we are still breathing...

Am sorry i was unable to email you my flight Itinery yesterday ..I had in mind to send it to you but i was just too tired last night my love and while i was online i slept off while waiting for you to come online babe ...Am going to send it to you Angel and i do hope i won't have to regret coming to see you or waiting for you at the Airport There's something i really need you to do for me now ..Its really important because i need to finalize everything have got to do before my flight on friday,Am done buying the collections i needed and it all went great because the collections are really worth what i was hoping for and am sure its a great deal once i get all all shipped back home from here but am having alittle issue with cash here...The whole collection are at the clearing office right now and i was told i needed to pay for the clearance for the collections because of the volume and its importance ..It's something i wasn't aware of or rather say planned for and right now am out of cash in hand to do the neccessary things needed which is paying for the clearing fee and getting the documents which i was told i would need and without these things one of the clearing officer told me they won't be releasing those collections for shippment because is a new reform or something and that's not nice not after all that have invested in it and the stress i went through..So have decided to sell some of the collections here to get the some collections i need so i could do what i needed..Since the money for the collections would be through transfer because that's the only way ..The money will be trasnfered to you and you can send me some of the cash that i needed back so i can do the things i needed and i hope i cant trust you with the Nancy and keep the remaining till friday when am back and i want to believe you will be honest with all of these,i know you won't give all of these away for something as silly as this or would you?.I do want to believe you not going to hurt or do anything and this is because am trusting you with this so i need to do this before next week friday so i can get done with every other things i need angel ...The payment for the transfer will be made through credit card transfer to you and once you have the confirmation i need you to let me know as soon as possible baby because i have to start up with the payment of the clearance fee immediately angel ..This is really important to me Nancy and this is also not just about me alone ..I believe this is also about us...

Let me know so i can get done with this and you have to know i have to do all of this before friday angel...Missing you and hope we can chat tonight my love ...Love ya ...


Monday, April 12, 2010

Lasagna for sharing

Albion is not only the home of the Old Rugged Cross and Albion College.  It is also home to some nice old Victorian houses,
 some sad urban decay,
and some great food.

Last Friday, we decided to go for a nice quiet dinner with just the two of us. We've been to Cascarelli's in Homer a couple of times, but never to Cascarelli's in Albion. Cascarelli's in Albion is over 100 years old. We really enjoy Cascarelli's in Homer and were hoping it would be as good or better in Albion.

The menu was pretty standard fare and pretty reasonably priced.  In Homer, they have this Annie's bread that is a buttery mess and tasty.  So we tried the bread sticks.  Unlike the Homer version, they were fried.  They were lightly sweetened and garlicly.  They have us a butter sauce and some Ranch.  I often measure a restaurant by their Ranch.  Cascarelli's of Albion knows their ranch.  It was a sign of good things to come. While we were enjoying our salad and bread and waiting for our food, we also enjoyed some live music.

The music was a man playing his acoustic guitar and singing. We were treated to some Bob Dillan, Gordan Lightfoot -- naturally, there was some Edmund Fitzgerald -- Johnny Cash, and some other good classic songs.

We shared the lasagna plate in part because we always fill up on bread and in part because I was feeling cheap. There was definitely enough for both us. I know it doesn't look like much but there two good sized portions in there.  There were also 5 or so meatballs.  The meatballs were great! The lasagna was okay.  I prefer less ricotta and more mozzarella. But there was plenty of sauce so that more than made up for the cheese issues.

We didn't leave room for dessert. Hopefully next time we will remember to leave room for dessert.  I think we will try to head over to Albion for dinner again sometime soon.  The service was great, the food was good, and the atmosphere was terrific.  Worth the drive!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Did someone clean the shower?

This morning, I asked the family if someone had cleaned the shower. I had been doing an experiment with my new Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner and was worried someone had ruined it! I set up my Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner when it came from on Tuesday. (I love free stuff!)

No one had cleaned the shower! My shower is so clean! I'm not just saying that because it was free.  I've been sent other free stuff that I didn't like and didn't blog about. So, (1) go get your self one of these and you can thank me later and (2) go to to become a bzzagent and get your own free stuff.  In addition to the automatic shower cleaner, I also have $3 coupons to pass on to friends.  I have already given out 2.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting & Chocolate Glaze

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting & Chocolate Glaze
(Printable Version)

I have been eying this recipe on Smitten Kitchen for a while now. I have been needing a reason to make this cake (I know, you never really need a reason.) Easter was a co-worker's birthday and her favorite sweet treats are chocolate and peanut butter. What better reason to make such a delicious cake!

Smitten Kitchen's directions were great.  You should definitely freeze the layers before frosting.  Not only will they frost better, but they will be easier to handle for the stacking. It was definitely worth the time spent baking and frosting! Enjoy!

Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze

Adapted, only barely, from Sky High: Irresistable Triple-Layer Cakes - with thanks for Smitten Kitchen!

Makes an 8-inch triple-layer cake; serves 12 to 16 (SK and I agree, it will serve quite a bit more. At work, we got 9 pieces out of half.)

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as canola, soybean or vegetable blend
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanut brittle (I skipped this)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cakepans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans. (AG Note: I measured it out, I put about 2 1/4 cups of batter in cake pan - I only have 2 round pans so I had to be careful to make sure that all three were the same amount of batter.)

3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely. (Deb @ Smitten Kitchen note: These cakes are very, very soft. I found them a lot easier to work with after firming them up in the freezer for 30 minutes. They’ll defrost quickly once assembled. You’ll be glad you did this, trust me.)

4. To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup cup of the Peanut Butter Frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. (Deb note 1: Making a crumb coat of frosting–a thin layer that binds the dark crumbs to the cake so they don’t show up in the final outer frosting layer–is a great idea for this cake, or any with a dark cake and lighter-colored frosting. Once you “mask” your cake, let it chill for 15 to 30 minutes until firm, then use the remainder of the frosting to create a smooth final coating. Deb note 2: Once the cake is fully frosting, it helps to chill it again and let it firm up. The cooler and more set the peanut butter frosting is, the better drip effect you’ll get from the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze.)

5. To decorate with the Chocolate–Peanut Butter Glaze, put the cake plate on a large baking sheet to catch any drips. Simply pour the glaze over the top of the cake, and using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely. Remove about 1 hour before serving. Decorate the top with chopped peanut brittle.

Peanut Butter Frosting
Makes about 5 cups
10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably a commercial brand (because oil doesn’t separate out)

1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.
2. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
8 ounces seimsweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup half-and-half

1. In the top of d double boiler or in a bowl set over simmering water, combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Cook, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, beating until smooth. Use while still warm.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Love, Brotherhood, and Slow Motion

I suppose a more accurate title to this post would have been Sherlock Holmes and Man Vintets Sauvignon Blanc. I strongly recommend both the latest Sherlock Holmes starring the delectable Robert Downing, Jr. and the 2008 Man Vintets Sauvignon Blanc.

First the movie. I love a mystery, love it! In this movie, we know the villain the entire time. But that isn't the point of the movie, here we get to know Sherlock in a new way. He isn't some genius who smugly lives among us. He is a troubled man who cannot help but be flooded by every sight, sound, smell, and sensation in his proximity.  He doesn't enjoy it, he doesn't seek it out.  In fact, he would prefer to dull it. 

The other thing I loved about the movie were the unexpectedly deep emotional moments, like the moment when we believed Watson to be dead, or the moment when Watson's beloved confronts Holmes. I loved Holmes' love as well.  She was great.  It was another example of his imperfection. In some ways, it reminded me of Iron Man, not just because they shared a a leading man (and isn't he something), but also because the lead character is flawed.  In some ways, deeply flawed and yet, his flaws are a part of his charm, his power, and his strength.  In many ways, we are like Stark and Sherlock, our flaws are also are our strengths.  Sherlock's strengths are his need for a challenge and his inability to turn off his powers of observation and his need to share his observations.

I also loved the soundtrack and will be checking it out very soon.

Now for the part of my post you have been waiting for, Man Vintets Sauvignon Blanc 2008.  Excellent wine, it was part of a Christmas gift so I can't speak to price but I can't imagine it was much. Not much of an after-taste, nice and smooth.

I loved the way they left it open for a sequel. I am really looking forward to seeing the sequel.

By the way, if you haven't discovered Roger Ebert on Twitter, you really should follow him at @ebertchicago.  Brilliant and funny.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Baby Bzzzz

I've mentioned before that I am a bzzagent. I get great stuff free from and all I have to do is tell you about it - so far, I've liked everything I've been sent. Right now, I am participating in a promotion for the movie Babies. I am under no delusions that I will win the traffic contest. (although, maybe with all the foodies from my listing on the Foodies Blogroll can help . . .).

Everybody loves... BABIES. Coming to theatres this Mother's Day Weekend (May 7th), this visually stunning new movie simultaneously follows four babies around the world - from first breath to first steps. From Mongolia to Namibia to San Francisco to Tokyo, BABIES joyfully captures on film the earliest stages of the journey of humanity that are at once unique and universal to us all. Check out the trailer!

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Goal 100. I will participate in the Daring Baker eight months for every twelve months of the 101 goals, not missing two consecutive months. {2/12}~{0/12}~{0/12}

That word describes both the state of my kitchen and this month's Daring Baker results.

The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.

Things seemed to go wrong from the beginning.  I bought the wrong kind of oranges and had to do another run, I forgot to add the marmalade in the second to last step.  I waited too long to mix the gelatin in with the whipped cream.  I decided to go family style with my springform pan because I didn't have enough little cookie cutters.  Sigh.  And I don't really care for citrus desserts.  I was hoping I would like it as it was quite a bit of work.  But I don't really.  On the upside, I know how to make marmalade and how to segment an orange.  I didn't even know I didn't know how to segment an orange before.  I was going to deviate and go with a chocolate and strawberries yumminess. But I went with the original. In the end, I am still glad I did it!  It was fun making such a mess of my kitchen!  

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread - Yums!

I had some time on my hands and some bananas on the counter. This meant it was time to test another recipe from the Joy of Cooking. This time it was Banana Bread Cockaigne, page 628. I usually make banana bread from my Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook.

According to wikipedia, "Cockaigne or Cockayne (pronounced /kɒˈkeɪn/) is a medieval mythical land of plenty, an imaginary place of extreme luxury and ease where physical comforts and pleasures are always immediately at hand and where the harshness of medieval peasant life does not exist." What a delicious concept!

As always with baking, it is best to start with all ingredients at room temperature.  I don't usually plan enough ahead to achieve this.  Someday, I will.

I really need to work on taking pictures of food.  I am not that good at it. This does not look as delicious as it was!
It wasn't as banana'y as I would have liked.  Maybe next time, I'll add a fourth banana.  I also left out the lemon zest and added a teaspoon of vanilla.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable shortening or butter (I used butter)
1 to 2 large eggs (I used 2)
3/4 teaspoon lemon zest (no lemons on hand so I skipped this part)
1 to 1 1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (2 to 3)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional and I don't add nuts)
1/4 finely chopped dried apricots (also optional and not found in my banana bread, maybe someday)
8 ounces of chopped semi sweet chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease bread pan.
2. Whisk together all dry ingredients in a small-ish mixing bowl.
3. In a large bowl, beat together the sugar, butter, and vanilla until creamy.  Then beat in 2 large beaten eggs.
4. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, beating until smooth with each addition.  Fold in the nuts, apricots or chocolate, if desired. 
5.  Pour into greased bread pan and bake for about 60 minutes or until a knife comes out mostly clean.  The melted chocolate will give you trouble with the clean knife, but you should be able to tell if the banana bread is done with the knife.
6. Cool slightly before unmolding (otherwise it doesn't come out of the pan quite right). 

The book says to cool completely before serving, but that is nonsense.  I love warm, fresh banana bread, especially with a little bit of butter!  Yums!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sloppy Joes!

The last Blog Improvement Project assignment was to work on creative post titles. Clearly, I am not implementing that particular advice yet.

Last night, I cooked for the first time in a long time. I was not feeling that creative and really wanted some comfort food. What I wanted was Manwich, I love Manwich. But we are trying to have more home cooked food. So I quickly googled martha stewart sloppy joes. Loaded the recipe on my iphone (I don't have the Martha app yet, I was just browsing in Safari).  It turned out pretty good with minor changes to the recipe.

6:33 pm We started with 1onion, 1/2 green pepper, 1 celery stalk and 2 cloves of garlic, all finely chopped. Okay, it wasn't really that finely chopped.

6:50 pm Add of this to heated pan with a tablespoon of olive oil.


 I added some McCormick's Hamburger Seasoning to the onion mix.

6:55 pm Put the frozen broccoli in the microwave.

7:02 pm Add meat to pan, brown until no longer pink. Sadly, for the next few steps, my phone was in use so I don't have pictures of the adding and browning of 1 pound of beef.

7:13 pm Add 15 oz of tomato sauce, 1/4 cup of ketchup, and 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce.

7:15 pm Set the table.
Next time I make this instead of ketchup I might use tomato paste.  My goal is to make it more Manwich like.  Manwich seems to have less vegs and more tomato taste and feel.   

~ 1 tablespoon olive oil
~ 1 medium onion, finely chopped
~ 1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
~ 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
~ 2 cloves garlic, minced
~ Coarse salt and ground pepper
~ 1 pound ground beef
~ 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
~ 1/4 cup ketchup
~ 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
~ 4 hamburger buns, split and toasted

1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes.

2. Add ground beef to skillet. Cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until it is no longer pink, 6 to 8 minutes.

3. Stir tomato sauce, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce into beef mixture in skillet. Simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes.

4. Season the mixture with more salt and pepper, as desired. Spoon onto buns, and serve immediately.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


"This place where you are right now, God circled on a map for you."
~Hafez 14th Century Persian Poet

I found this quote while reading Lucy March's blog. It is really resonating with me today as I am constantly looking for and applying for new jobs, trying to work out a more permanent future for my career. Although this position is not permanent, right now, it is where I need to be.  I just wish I could see the map God was looking at.

Monday, March 1, 2010

International Badge Day!

Today is International Badge Day! So I am wearing my badge on my blog and my suit jacket.

I am aware of image of greek orgs and sororities in popular culture and media.  That image is nothing like the reality I experienced as a member of Alpha Sigma Tau.  I attended a predominately male university.  I think the male to female ratio was 3:1, but it could have been 4:1.  I started out thinking I was going to be a chemistry teacher.  Turned out, I don't actually care for chemistry or science or math.  I appreciate them, I just don't want to study these things.   It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do with my career (okay, I'm still not quite sure). I know what I want to do with my life, I'm not sure how my career fits into that.  So I waffled around a while in college, didn't study like I should have, was not a great student.  However, I kept my grade point respectable so that I could stay in the sorority.  I stayed in college so I could stay in the sorority.  I learned a lot about myself and other people while living in a house with 4 phone lines, 3 1/2 bathrooms, 2 televisions, and 20 women.  I learned quite a bit about politics without ever talking about politics or government.  I learned about leadership by living without any, attempting to be a leader and by watching leaders in action.  I learned the most from leaders who weren't trying to be leaders, just trying to do the right thing.  My membership in Alpha Sigma Tau helped me become the woman I am today.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Online television & The Vampire Diaries

I am a supernatural/sci-fi addict.{And I'm okay with that.} I also don't currently have cable or satellite.  We haven't had it since April of 2008.  It has been a while.  But thanks to I have been able to watch a good number of shows I love Pysch, Monk, Stargate, Bones. . . I have also been able to discover old shows I had never heard of like Day Break.

Hulu is nice because you only have one commercial at each break.  The commercial stays at full screen. And there is some variety within the commercials.  You can watch multiple episodes of the same show and not be hit with the same commercial over and over again.  This weekend I discovered CW's The Vampire Diaries.  There are one four episodes up and they are all on CW's site.  I have seen more trailers for The Crazies than I ever wanted to see.  I think there are two of them and they alternate with the episode.  There are two commercials at each break.  I was also hit with a heavy dose of tmobile's my touch (I think that is what it is called, all those commercials and I'm not sure I remember). 

If you are looking to kill some time or to find an episode you missed, is probably the place to go first.  I found The Vampire Diaries through 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Books I enjoyed last week

funny pictures
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
My leisurely life of reading and snacking is over. Yes, that's right, I get to go back to work on Monday (finally!)! I am part-time until Wednesday when I hope the doctor will say I can go back full time.  Keep your fingers crossed! Last week, I did quite a bit of reading. Here are the grades with extended reviews likely to come soon on a few of them.

The reviews will have to be from memory and with some help from plot summaries online.  I want new books and can only have 50 out at a time.  I still have a few books to finish and Kate & Mom always get books too.

Before I can go to the library, I have to finish this week's menu and grocery list.  Last week, we strayed from the menu.  We are getting back on course and trying some new recipes!

Blog Improvement Project Task One - A blogging to do list

I love to do lists, I really do. I love the google task feature in my gmail. I can take the tasks and rearrange them, check them off, clear off the completed tasks.  Love task lists.

Yet, this task - making a blogging to do list, was a challenge. Kim & Jackie sent us over to Chris Brogan's 50 Ways to Take your Blog to the Next Level. The first item on his list is to make your goal and your target audience crystal clear.  Hmmm, I am not really a good foodie, I love food, I enjoy cooking, *but* and you knew there would be a but, it isn't all I do and I'm not a good cook.  I am learning, but frankly I don't do it enough.  I also love books, LOVE books, possibly a little more than food.  Only a little though. I also enjoy politics.  Quite a bit actually, perhaps not as much as food and books, but quite a bit.  I love my daughter (more than food and books). And, finally, I am trying to finish my 101 Goals in 1,001 days project (not trying as hard as I should). So I guess this blog is about me.  I have no idea who my target audience is.  I'd like to think it is smart funny people. :) Because I find this particular suggestion to be such a challenge, I am going to skip it.  Instead, I am going to write about what I want to write about and not worry about creating a niche or fitting into a niche.

So here is my list:
  • Design (eg. template, colour scheme, sidebar content)
    • I will create a unique design for my blog (or get someone to create said unique design).
    • I will create a unique design for the Eaton County Humane Society's blog that is professional and friendly.
  • Quality of posts (eg. post length, variety, images)
    • Here my goal is both quality and quantity.
      • I will post at least daily to my personal blog.
      • I will vary my post topics and avoid simply reposting someone else's recipes, etc, expect when I think it improves my content or needs repeating.
      • I will post three times a week to the Humane Society's blog
        • Once a week a featured animal,
        • Once a week a pet/animal health/happiness post/cross link, etc,
        • Once a week a fundraising issue (sometimes subbed with a featured animal).
      • I will include a photo or image with every ECHS post and in most of my posts.
  • Social Media Integration (eg. Twitter, Facebook, Digg)
    • I will twitter each update to both blogs. (maybe). {that sounds more task like than I will better utilize twitter. . . ).
    • I will develop facebook as a promotion and information site for ECHS and the ECHS blog.
  • Search Engine Optimization (eg. meta tags, keywords, page descriptions)
    • I would like to learn about this. . . 
  • Ease of subscribing (eg. RSS button, email subscription option)
    • And this.
  • Branding (eg. gravatar, favitar)
    • Need help here too. 
So there is my to do list.  Some of it not very to do like more goal like, that's okay, that's where I am right now.

    **update: first obvious task, fix list items so they aren't white and can be read. ug.**

    Wednesday, February 3, 2010

    Turns out pot roast is harder than it looks and I'm not so good with biscuits (but we knew that)

    Tonight's culinary adventure was an effort to knock off number 19. Learn to make a good pot roast.

    So we started with the basics, onions, potatoes, a pan, and a bag with seasonings.

    Yes, that's right a bag with seasonings.  The first problem we hit is that the directions with the bag said it would be done in an hour and a half.  It wasn't even warm enough to be rare after an hour and a half.  So we did it for another 30 minutes and it was, eh, okay.  It was a tad on the tough side though.  Mom's theory was that she cut it wrong and it should have been cut on the grain which she couldn't locate.  Next time, I will try the crockpot method, recipe suggestions welcome!

    I also made some biscuits, from a mix this time.  Still not that great, I am pretty sure I over-rolled them and probably over-floured the dough when I was kneading and rolling it.  In the end, the biscuits were okay.  We ate them first as we waited for the roast to get done.  Next time, I guess I will not roll them out so thin and I don't know what I will do about the over-stickiness factor (other than switch to freezer biscuits - aka surrender).

    In other news today, I realized that if it weren't for CNN's emails and The Daily Show on hulu, I would have no idea what is going on in the world.  Being off work has apparently also meant being off of the news.  That doesn't seem good but I'm not compelled to do anything about it.

    Saturday, January 30, 2010

    Nothing to see here folks. . .

    Today was yet another day of rest.  So much so that while I am somewhat tired, I am not 11:33 p.m. tired, like I should be.

    Most of my day was spent ready Kresley Cole.  A Hunger Like No Other, If You Dare, and Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night.  I finished Hunger and Wicked. I am half way through If You Dare.  I am disliking her alpha hero's and their asshole ways.  I'll probably read at least one more of the werewolf books and one more in the If series before I decide if I dislike her books in general.  So far in all three the hero of the book is a dick and seems to generally get away with it.  Sure, he eventually suffers angst, but in the end, he gets what he wants.  In the first two, the hero does reform, but I haven't decided if that is enough for me. 

    Earlier, I heard this funny dragging noise and was ready to yell at the toy poodle (boxer was in his usual place sleeping on the couch).  I turned around and it was the big cat with Kate's pajama top in his mouth.  I thought it was caught on his tooth or something so I got up to help him and it turned out he didn't want help.  He was stealing her pajama top.  So I took and put it back in her room and didn't think anything of it.  An hour or so later, there is another dragging sound.  This time, he has her pajama pants. 
    I couldn't find my camera so I had to use my iPhone.  The lighting conditions were less than ideal and he was moving.  But I think you get the picture.  To be honest, I couldn't figure out what he was up to, but he was behaving very strangely with the pajamas.  The dogs noticed me watching him so Zeus (the boxer) got off the couch to investigate.  Kofi's response was to mark Zeus and rub his head all over Zeus's head.  I don't know if Zeus knows what Kofi is doing when he does that because he has always just let him do it.  Eventually Kofi (big brown cat) left the pajamas and ran to the basement.  He now walks by the pajamas as if they aren't there.  Such a strange creature.

    Today was a boring food day.  I had leftovers and mac & cheese.  We are still sticking to the schedule!

    Wednesday, January 27, 2010

    A good end to a disappointing day . . .

    I called the doctor's office today to find out when I'd get to go back to work. I thought my request to go back part-time next week was perfectly reasonable.  Turns out, it was perfectly insane.  I don't get to go back for another 2 weeks.

    So to help me not do anything except sit on the couch and sometimes at the computer table, Berl made dinner again and did the dishes again.  According to the schedule, tonight was leftover spaghetti night.  Berl turned the leftovers into baked spaghetti using up cheese, sauce, and angel hair pasta from the fridge.  Then he raided the freezer and found some broccoli that we should have eaten sometime ago.  There are still leftovers for Friday.  It was quite delish! 

    This week we have been working on number 7 from the list.  We have eaten at the table together for dinner 3 times this week. (7. Eat dinner together at the table 3 times a week at least 15 times.)

    I have also started a good run on number 43.  (43. For two weeks, eat no take out or fast food.) I can't remember the last time I had take out or fast food.  I am sure I haven't had any since I got out of the hospital.  But I will have to double check this because that puts me 10 days already!  If I can make it through Sunday, I'll be set! I'll have knocked off a goal! Woo hoo!

    Number 72 is to document the accomplishment of each goal with a photograph.  Hmmm, I guess I could take a picture of the dinner table for each goal.  Tomorrow night, I'll take a picture for number 7 and Sunday night's dinner will be number 43. 

    A Picture A Day for 365 Days - Goal 44

    This goal started out as take a picture a day for 1,001 days. Well, that would now be impossible so I am revising it to take a picture a day for 365 days. The pictures will all be posted here in this post. I will always have the most recent on the top. I am an absolute amateur so keep those expectations low!
    Day 13 - February 3, 2010
    Some of the other pictures from today's album are from the last few days.

    Day 12 - February 2, 2010

    Day 11 - February 1, 2010

    Day 10 - January 31, 2010

    Day 9 - January 30, 2010
    I wish my camera had been in reach.  I am sure there is something wrong with this cat.

    Day 8 - January 29, 2010
    A nice Friday night.

    Day 7 - January 28, 2010
    Don't look at the messy couch!

    Day 6 - January 27, 2010
    In addition to being offended by the tulip last week, the cats now have it in for these flowers that were in a vase.  Now the flowers are hanging in Kate's room above her door.  The rest of today's album is here.

    Day 5 - January 26, 2010
    January's Daring Baker's Challenge!

    Day 4 - January 25, 2010
    The small cat, Chrissie.  She could do without people, but she does enjoy a good snuggle now and then.  The rest of the album from that day.

    Day 3 - January 24, 2010

    Day 2 - January 23, 2010

    Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding!

    Day 1 - January 22, 2010
    This is a picture of Kathryn.  I was trying to snap shots of her while she was learning how to make chocolate waffles with my mom.  Here is the rest of the album from that day.  The tulips were my second favorite picture.