Saturday, December 31, 2011

Grr...Arg!

Do you realize that I have had at least 13 phone numbers in my life?  I found this out today when Shawn was filling out an application for his HSA at a credit union.  He had decided to set up a regular savings account at the same time and opted to make it a joint account.

Apparently they do a quick and dirty history check or credit check or something because they give you like 4 multiple choice questions that you have to answer correctly before they'll let you open the account.  One of those questions is "which of the following was your phone number?" and then give you 4 options.  I went with "none of the above" because none of the numbers looked familiar.  That was apparently the wrong answer.

Now Shawn has to wait until (likely) Tuesday when they will call me/email me to ask me God knows what to figure out that I am who I say I am.  All because I didn't remember a phone number that I had at some point in my life.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Voting

This year, I may do something I've never done before. I may actually vote in the republican primary in Texas. You see, Texas is different than other states - you can easily switch parties back and forth every 2 years. (mostly because they send you a new voter registration card which has political affiliation blank). Since I am a firm believer in "one shall not complain when one did not participate", I have decided that I can only complain about those up for election if I at least made a decision on who should be there.

As Obama will be running for re-election, and there really isn't any choice that can be made for third parties (no primary elections); ipso facto, the republican primary is the only point where 'decision' comes in prior to the big November election.

As I usually don't keep track of who wants to run while they're all switching around all the time - "is he running, is he not" type stuff, I have decided that I should research each of the (still running) candidates and create a comparison. I'll try to do 1 a week...which should keep me busy until primary day...which I think is in March.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

2011: Meme version

1. What did you do in 2011 that you had never done before?
I participated in an organized biking event (the Austin Livestrong Challenge). We rode 65 miles through the rolling hill country of Texas.

2. Do you keep New Year's resolutions and will you make more for next year?
I stopped making New Year's resolutions because you have to want to change, you can't just say "ah it's a new year, I need to change". well, I mean I guess you could, but it just seems odd. As Yoda said, "Do or do not, there is no try."

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes - my sister-in-law had her third child in late October. Shawn's cousin, Heather, gave birth to her first kid around the same time. AND Shawn's other cousin, Val, gave birth to her second kid in June, I think... Also, my friend's wife had a baby at the end of May.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Thankfully, no

5. What countries did you visit?
None. We be boring.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you didn't get in 2011?
a calm year, cat-wise. So perhaps no trips to the e-vet?

7. What dates from 2011 will be etched in your memory and why?
May 29, June 13 and December 15 - Mah boobs. The 29th being when I found the lump, the 13th being when I got the biopsy proving that it was benign, and the 15th because it was my 6-month follow-up (in which the lump has doubled in size, thus meaning I get to have surgery in early 2012. yay).

8. What is your biggest achievement of the year?
Not being bitten by a rattlesnake while in Washington State.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not realizing I was walking over a rattlesnake while in Washington.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Yes - I'm going to consider the lump as an illness.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My cat's life...well, both of them, really...

12. Whose behavior merited recognition?
My bosses, my husband.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Those involved with the Penn State Scandal.

14. Where did most of your money go?
The money that I actually spent? It was spent on the cats. sigh...

15. What did you get really excited about?
Going to an Indian wedding in Washington.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
I don't know...Phoenix's Listomania?

17. Compared to this time last year, are you a) happier or sadder, b) thinner or fatter, c) richer or poorer?
Same, fatter by 2 pounds, and probably richer.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
vacations, and exercising.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
it's probably tied between less internet surfing and less watching TV.

20. How will you spend Christmas?
Christmas Eve will be with my family (they're currently on their way here - Yay!!), and Christmas day will be with Shawn's family. Boxing Day will be with Shawn's extended family.

21. Did you fall in love in 2011?
I've been in love for a while now, so other than falling in love with TV shows, no.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
I do like Once Upon a Time, But Misfits will probably the one I remember as being in 2011.

23. What was the best book you read?
Altar of Eden by James Rollins, probably... Especially since I re-read a bunch of my other books.

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?
"Where soul meets body" by Death Cab for Cutie. Even though, of course, that song came out in 2005...

25. What did you want and get?
To travel to a new state (Washington)

26. What did you want and not get?
To go to Olympic National Park. Also, to go to Vancouver with the husband for his conference (which was over our anniversary), but alas, I was at my own conference in Maryland. That's right, we spent our anniversary in different countries and couldn't even call each other.

27. What was your favorite film of 2011?
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 I would surmise...we don't get out much...

28. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
I had a party for the first time in many, many years. I turned 30.

29. What one thing would have made your year immensely more satisfying?
Not having a lump...

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2011?
plain tee shirts and jeans.

31. What kept you sane?
my family and my friends.

32. What political issues stirred you the most?
Bachmann just scares the shit out of me...

33. Who did you miss?
my family and friends who don't live close by.

34. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011?
Feel your ta-tas.

35. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Not really a song, but I love the HEB commercial where the little kids are all dressed for the thanksgiving pageant and there's a line in there about the cousin's bringing the tamales, "a delicioso treat" as the third tamale kid trips and takes a header into the stage. It's awesome.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

CATZ!

1) When your previously heretofore cat with the feeding tube decides to hork up said feeding tube and chew off the end of it, try not to freak out. This is more stressful to the human than the cat. But when that cat opts to re-swallow the still attached feeding tube only to somehow sneeze it into her nasal passages thus causing her to breathe funny (i.e. horribly and stutteringly), it probably really is as stressful to the cat as it is to the humans who have been awake for approximately 3.2 seconds.

2) When you finally make the call that you will take the possibly not breathing and gasping for air cat to the emergency vet, be prepared to wait for a while because the cat will act normal and breathe normally as soon as you get to the vet. You will then question if you just happened to dream it all up.

3) The emergency vet will recommend taking some x-rays to check on the tube placement. These x-rays will indicate that the tube is behind the soft palette instead of in the esophagus as expected. The vet will try to get the tube in the correct orientation. You are welcome to wait in the front lobby watching reruns of Victoria Stilwell's "It's me or the dog" while talking to the receptionist with whom you are on a first name basis because your cat used to be at the e-vet all the time 2 months ago.

4) After the surgery, the cat in question will sneeze upon waking up, thus causing the tube to go into her nasal passages again.

5) The vet will just take the damn tube out.

6) Now you can go home and pray that your cat will eat and drink enough to not need any more feed tube nonsense.

7) Be relieved that the cat does indeed eat and drink.

8) A few days later, take the other cat to the vet because he's got the runs (to make sure it's not worms or other nasties).

9) Try not to be surprised when the vet calls later to state that they think the cat may have a touch of the diabetes (This is much more tolerable if you can pretend that the pronunciation is 'die-uh-bet-us' instead of 'die-us-beet-ees').

10) Do not get worried when the vet also says they will be sending blood to the lab to test for both the diabetes and FELV. Especially since you have been vaccinating your cat against said FELV disease since before birth. It does not help that the tech tells you that the FELV vaccine is not 100% and that her cat, in fact, did get FELV despite being fully vaccinated. Try not to freak out too much when you realize that your possibly FELV+ cat donated blood to your kidney problems cat a month ago.

11) Talk to the vet post blood results to find out that, indeed, your cat has the diabetes. It is expected that you will have to give said cat insulin shots. Do not be alarmed that the insulin recommended for cats costs $100 for a 100-unit vial.

12) Go to the vet to go over how to give your cat the insulin. Try to come up with a way to feed your kidney-issues cat a high carb, low protein diet throughout the day while giving your diabetes cat a high protein, low carb diet with only 2 feedings per day. Keep in mind that never the twain shall meet (i.e. they must eat their own food. bad things happen when they eat the other food).

13) Pay $50 for a bag of low-carb dry food (jeebus christ, cat!) Also, the food has quite a bit of "by-product". Not even the cheap cat food at the pet store has this much by-product in the first 5 ingredients.

14) Read online that you really can feed cats high-protein wet food on a non-prescription diet that is damn close to the prescription diet, and a mite-bit cheaper.

15) Go to PetSmart and spend the better part of an hour in the wet cat food isle reading ingredient lists trying to figure out which ones are low-carb and which ones are not (hint: generally the 'gravy' varieties are higher carb). Seriously think about finding out if you can cook meals for cheaper.

16) Go get a blood glucose meter to track your diabetes cat.

17) Go buy a second blood glucose meter and strips because you didn't realize that glucose meters don't come with test strips and it will take a week for the test strips to come in from Amazon. NOTE: The reason you will buy a secondary glucose meter and test strips is because it will be $40 cheaper than buying just the strips for your first meter.

18) Go home and spend an hour or so trying to get a drop of blood from your cat. Do not get frustrated that every time you manage to get a drop of blood on his ear, he will shake his head thus leaving you to start from square one.

19) Eventually give up on finding out his 'pre' blood sugar. Feed him some food and give him his insulin shot (which he doesn't even realize you're doing. JUST GET THE HELL AWAY FROM MY EARS, EVIL WOMAN!

20) Wait almost 2 hours and finally get a good blood drop and test.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Pickles

"Yeah, I guess I'll take a few mason jars. I can make my own pickles...I love pickled foods."

"well, be careful. Back in the early days they figure people died from stomach cancer way more than other cancers because pickling was the most common form of food preservation. Just so you know."

"No offense, Katina, but if I die from stomach cancer, I think that will come as a surprise to just about everyone."

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black Friday

So I'm not one to usually go shopping on Black Friday. I hate crowds, and I hate driving around a bunch of psycho drivers who are all trying to get the best parking spot available. Furthermore, I hate getting up at 3 in the morning to go stand in lines for a product that I may or may not be able to get, plus standing in an equally long line in order to get out.

Shawn, on the other hand, has no problems with any of the Black Friday craziness.

Thus we found ourselves leaving the house at 1030 on Thanksgiving to go stand in lines at two different stores. Both of which opened at midnight. Only one of which I expected to have a line (Best Buy). I figured for sure that Old Navy wouldn't have anyone standing at the door. I was wrong. By the time I showed up (at like 1040), there were already 35 people in line. (compared to the Best Buy line which had to be at a couple hundred, though...)

And that's about when the crazy started. There were some kids in line (and I say kids because they were in high school) at the front and they were really there to hold spots for about 10 of their friends. Which is no different than the girls right in front of me who took turns holding each others' spot in line because they were all dumb and wore shorts and t-shirts so they were switching of running to the car to get warm. But I digress. The point was that most people in the line felt that holding spots for people who had heretofore never shown up counted as "cutting in line." After copious amounts of yelling and two of the girls in front of me going and threatening bodily harm, the group of boys got out of line and instead stood across the cross walk.

Now then, at this point, we (the lady behind me and I) figured out that the reason for all the crazy was that Old Navy was giving away a Kodak Easyshare Sport camera to the first 40 customers who purchased $40 worth of clothing. It was also at this point that the lady and I were lamenting that we didn't want to be involved in any Black Friday stampede craziness, we just wanted some $15 jeans. I told her that the deals were valid online as well; but you would have to pay shipping and tax (though shipping was free at $50). So she left while I continued to wait (it wasn't like if I left I'd be able to go home anyway because I was still waiting for Shawn).

At 1145, the manager on duty came out and started handing out the wristbands signifying that you were one of the first 40. Imagine my surprise when I was actually customer 39 and got a wrist band. And shortly after that point, the group of kids at the front realized that they were going to have to purchase $40 worth of clothing to even get the camera and they decided it wasn't worth it so they gave their wrist bands to the people behind me.

It was about this time that Shawn joined me as he had found out that the item he wanted at Best Buy was already sold out (as Best Buy also hands out vouchers for their high ticket items). And so we commenced with our plan of 'get in, get out.' With the added benefit of "get a free camera! Yay!"

Now to do shot comparisons between my existing point and shoot and the new one.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Breaky

Down here in Texas, there are a bunch of people who have sports decals on their cars, usually these decals include their child's name and, based on the decal, you can figure out which sport and which school they're at. I've blogged about this before.

A while ago, Shawn saw one that had the cat's name under the little cat stick figure. The cat's name: Burger Foot. (thank god I know what my next cat's name is going to be, though Shawn has asked what happens when Actual Burger Foot meets New Burger Foot. I said he was right, maybe we need to name our cat Taco Paw.)

On Wednesday, driving to work, I pulled up behind a car that had a karate decal with Breaky^2 underneath it.

Shawn calmly asked if I thought there were any other sports that their son, Breaky Squared, partook in.

I could not stop laughing.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sadness on the state of the world

1. The whole Penn State thing. So disappointing. So sad.
2. The fact that protests in foreign countries are democratic but protests in the US are terrorism
3. British gangs are grooming girls for the sex trade. And these aren't disadvantaged kids - these are the kids that have involved parents and are at good schools and don't do drugs.
4. Congress will be voting soon on whether to censor the internet in the US. The bill, as written, has the possibility of actually causing the internet to not exist.
5. The Republican Debates. And because of these debates, I will likely be doing something I never thought I'd do - vote in a republican primary. Because I feel I should probably at least vote on which whackadoo will be running in the presidential election.
6. All the Monsanto genetically modified foods. And it's one thing if they actually were doing it for the whole "help the starving kids in Africa" thing...but they're not. They're doing it to make money. (posted because earlier this year Obama allowed Monsanto to start producing and selling their Genetically Modified Alfalfa. This essentially guarantees that at some point in the future you will no longer be able to purchase, with 100% certainty, milk or meat that is organic.)

Monday, November 14, 2011

On having kids

The other day Shawn and I were having another one of "why we won't have kids" conversations when Shawn stated the following:

"I have worked very hard to make sure that you don't get pregnant."

Yes. That's right. Apparently me going to the doctor every year to get my pill script refilled (which, by the way, is the only form of birth control we use) voluntarily and without prompting from him PLUS remembering to take said pill every night (again, without prompting - or hell, him even noticing) can be directly and irrevocably attributed to him.

Well, you know what they say - behind every woman's success is a man looking to take credit. Wait, they don't say that? hunh. Coulda fooled me.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Mentoring

A conversation with my mentee last Friday:

Mentee: Today we had a speaker.
Me: Really? What did he or she speak about?
Veterinarians.
Veterinarians or Veterans?
Oh...right...Veterans.




To our veterans and those currently serving: Thank you.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Happy Halloween


Wait, what, that was last week? Well damn. Happy fall?

Friday, October 28, 2011

From the Archives


In other news, my niece, Stereo, was born today. YAY!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

65

So we didn't do the 90. We did the 65 instead. We rode up to the check point like right at 11, so our options were 1) skip the rest stop and do the 90 or 2) take the rest stop and do the 65. We opted for the latter. Besides, at 30 miles we were already feeling like 90 would be very tough to do.

I did meet a lady (though we never exchanged names, so perhaps it's not even 'meeting') who has become my hero - she was doing the 65 mile ride one legged - mostly because she only had one leg. BUT there was a huge hill that we had to go up - 1) she passed us, 2) we have gears on the tandem that people don't have on road bikes (we've got a super granny gear like mountain bikes whereas with road bikes you actually have to have some leg muscle) and 3) she Only. Has. One. Leg.

Would I do it again - most likely. Would I try to do 90 next time - probably. Would we end up doing 65 instead - likely (especially if we ride the tandem again - which, by the way, Shawn said was much more fun than riding his Formula 1 in the MS 150).

Quite honestly the ride was quite moving - I mean it was 7 am, it was cold and almost everyone was wearing these tags that said "In Honor Of" for people they knew who were currently battling cancer/currently in remission or "In Memory Of" for those that lost the battle with cancer. There were many, MANY people who had multiple names or multiple tags. I mean really - 2300 people got up at 6 in the morning on a Sunday (and there were plenty of people who traveled from out of state or out of the country) to go ride a bike to fight cancer.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bi-sickle! Bi-sickle!

Tonight, we have a wedding (for Shawn's boss).

Tomorrow we have the Livestrong Bike Challenge. 90 miles of riding fun! The most we've ever done has been 45 I think...but we never take enough food and so we energetically crash somewhere around mile 35 and never really recover. That shouldn't be the case on the actual ride since they have rest stops every 10 miles or so. But just to be safe, we can choose to do the 65 mile ride after we get started if we want.

PLUS! Matt and Ross will be coming over to the house in order to take care of Ivy-cat. Who, at this point, has suffered an acute kidney attack (kidney stone), liver failure (from not eating enough and going into starvation mode), and now, anemia (because the kidneys tell the bone marrow when to make red blood cells, and since they've been pulling blood with some frequency, it makes for a cat with a low red blood cell count). So yay...

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Groupon

As with most people, I have participated in the Groupon craze. The problem with this, as one of my coworkers has also found out, is that we tend to wait until the last possible second to use our groupons. And I only buy groupons which I figure we'd be prone to trying on our own anyhow (so for food instead of services).

Examples:
-I bought one to Russel's Bistro. We used it on the last day available. The place was packed because of it.
-I bought one to Hyde Park Bar and Grille. We used it the last week possible.
-I bought one to Trattoria Lisina (one of our favorite restaurants) to use on our Anniversary. But since we were both out of town on our anniversary, we never used it. Until the last day possible. And even then, Shawn had to change the reservation last minute because Ivy was at the vet and it was taking forever to get out of the office.

So it should come as no surprise that I am currently feverishly working on photos so I can use the Inkubook groupon I purchased. I figured it would be no big deal to use it because I could work a little every weekend to get a photobook that I would use the groupon for. Needless to say, this didn't happen. But not because I didn't try. The problem, you see, is that Inkubook uses Silverlight. Silverlight is a Microsoft product, so it doesn't work on Linux. But not to fear; the Linux programmer types have created Moonlight (which makes it so Silverlight works on Linux). But the problem is that since the Silverlight programming is still changing, the Linux programmers have decided to stop working on Moonlight until Silverlight is somewhat finalized. This means, of course, that I can't work on the photobooks on the laptop. So instead I must start my desktop in Windows. Which wouldn't be a problem if I could access my photos from my Linux partition while in Windows. But this was not the case until yesterday. So, once again, I'm waiting until the last possible minute (the groupon expires on the 9th) to use a groupon.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Work

Things I have heard in the office within the last week:
"The table of despair"
"In the Cavern [one of our conference rooms] of sadness"
"The elevators of hell"
"The building of misery"

Yep, end of the fiscal year is always fun.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Heard at Work

"Fuck you, you fucking hologram!" (to the security guard)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Association of Caffeinated Wheelmen: Training

Yesterday, Shawn I did 40.5 miles in just shy of 3 hours. That means we did about 14mph.

So, that was good.

What's not good, is the fact that we'll be riding over twice that amount in the actual ride.

The other fun part is that we could conceivably ride to my in laws' house. I want to do it just to see the look on their faces when we show up on the bike.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

On my way into work

"Cheer up; you're going to work!"

Monday, September 05, 2011

Association of Caffeinated Wheelmen. Take 2.

For those of you I don't talk to all the time, you'll be surprised/gladdened/appalled that Shawn and I are doing the Livestrong Bike Challenge on October 16. Shawn's work has a sponsoring deal worked out so we don't have to do fundraising, we just have to show up and ride.

Ride 90 miles.

At one time.

Through the hilliest part of the state.

And Shawn has decided that we will do this on his parents' tandem.

Last weekend we did an almost-18-mile out and back. Today we did a 25-mile out and back.

At this rate, I'll be able to do 67 miles on the day of the ride.

Better up the ante.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Small World

It's a small world.

While I was off taking pictures in Emmitsburg, Maryland, Shawn was off doing Linux nerd stuff in Vancouver, Canada.  He was out there with the person whom I consider his 'best friend at work', Robert.  While they were out there, the discussion of where they grew up came about.  Robert said, "oh a small town called Parker in Colorado."  Shawn said, "me too!"  (as there was only one high school in town until 1997, they also went to the same school) Shawn said something about how he was in the marching band and Robert stated, "me too!" But, alas, Robert had graduated a year or two before Shawn was in high school so there was never any overlap.

After they came back state-side, Shawn remembered that his sister graduated a year or two before he went to high school.  And that's when it dawned on him.  He knew Robert.  Or at least, knew OF Robert.

You see, Robert was the only boy in the clarinet section when his sister was in marching band.  And Shawn only remembered this because of the fact that his sister also played clarinet.

So, there you go, small world.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Shutterbug: Heroes

The Eternal Flame at the National Fallen Firefighter's Memorial along with two flags placed by someone attending the National Fire Academy the week I was there.



9/11 Memorial on the Emergency Management Institute's campus


-Catch of the Day
-Unlikely Duos
-Murals
-Those were the days
-Milestones
-State Parks
-Birds
-At the Fair
-EEK!
-Fall Leaves
-Curious Cats
-Man's Best Friend
-Heroes
-Cemeteries
-At the Cook-off
-Fun with Photoshop
-Baby, It's Cold Outside
-Going Nuts

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Shutterbug: Cemeteries


Mortuary Chapel in St. Joseph's Cemetery at the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, Maryland.


-Catch of the Day
-Unlikely Duos
-Murals
-Those were the days
-Milestones
-State Parks
-Birds
-At the Fair
-EEK!
-Fall Leaves
-Curious Cats
-Man's Best Friend
-Heroes
-Cemeteries
-At the Cook-off
-Fun with Photoshop
-Baby, It's Cold Outside
-Going Nuts

Monday, August 01, 2011

Shutterbug: Man's Best Friend

Fly Bike, Fly!

-Catch of the Day
-Unlikely Duos
-Murals
-Those were the days
-Milestones
-State Parks
-Birds
-At the Fair
-EEK!
-Fall Leaves
-Curious Cats
-Man's Best Friend
-Heroes
-Cemeteries
-At the Cook-off
-Fun with Photoshop
-Baby, It's Cold Outside
-Going Nuts

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A bit behind the times

So...Boehner says that we need to reduce the national debt by spending a lot less and not making any more money. Isn't that a bit like deciding to fix your family budget by cutting out food and not asking for a pay raise at work?

Furthermore, if the Republican plan is to fix the debt problem just long enough to get a new president, aren't they just setting up THEIR president. I mean, isn't the goal to make sure that we have a Republican as president in 2012? In which case, why would you want to make sure that they're going to have to be the bad guy when they have to raise taxes? Wouldn't it make more sense to let the current president raise taxes so that it can be used against him during the gubernatorial election?

I'm just saying that congress is making less and less sense. But then politics is made up of two words - poly meaning 'many' and ticks meaning 'blood sucking parasites'...Or, even better, if con is the opposite of pro, what's the opposite of progress?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cleaning

I'm having a contingent of garden bloggers over to the house on Saturday. Most people spend their time leading up to the party prepping the yard (these people, after all, are gardeners). Not me. Other than watering, I'm not doing anything new to the yard, or doing anything special. Shawn will probably have an 11th hour clean up the yard frenzy (raking and mowing is my guess). But not me. Nope. Instead, I am prepping the house. Because you just know those wily garden bloggers will find a way to sneak into my extra bedroom closet and tsk about how it's not organized. Yep. That's totally going to happen.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Expedition: Watch TV

You can tell it's the summer hiatus for most of the TV shows we watch. This is mostly because we've started watching totally random shit on Hulu.com.

So far we've watched My Own Worst Enemy, Wilfred, Misfits, Love Bites and Expedition: Impossible. This, of course, is in addition to our normal summer viewing of So You Think You Can Dance, Master Chef, Burn Notice (via Hulu), Royal Pains (via Hulu) and White Collar (via Hulu). And I can't wait for Eureka and Warehouse 13 to start again (both via Hulu).

So, the summaries:
My Own Worst Enemy: A man signs up to give himself a split personality where one personality is a 'normal' guy while the other is a government trained operative (along the lines of Ethan in Mission: Impossible). But what happens when switching between the two personalities becomes uncontrollable? A decent concept, but I can also see why it was cancelled - Henry (the normal) was getting a bit whiny and Edward (the operative) was a cad. I mean I liked the show, but I ended up more interested in one of the other operatives, Tom/Raymond. (1st and only season available via Hulu)

Wilfred: A man sees his next door neighbor's dog as a man in a dog suit. It's not like Son of Sam (though the dog does egg on said man to do things - like take a dump in the jackass's boot), but it's more like the fact that we all have conversations with our animals and tend to anthropormorphise them. In this case, the dog just talks back. Oddly, if they went with a real dog and did CGI to get it to talk, it probably wouldn't work. The show is HIGH LARIOUS. The first episode is a little weak, but the second and third are capital. (via Hulu)

Misfits: A British dramedy that is similar to Heroes, but with a lot more cussing, comedy and sex. 5 delinquents are doing community service when they're caught in a freak electrical storm that gives them special powers. As they all find out what powers they have, they find that they weren't the only ones given special powers during the storm. Hijinks ensue. I like this show and find it quite entertaining - even if I can't understand what some of the characters are saying (attributed to their accents and British slang). So far there are only 4 episodes available, but I think the show is currently still on air so that means there are at least 2 more seasons of it. So it's lasted at least as long as Heroes. Available via Hulu.

Love Bites: When I first saw this title, I thought it was like Bites as in "this sucks", but no, it's Bites as in little bits. Each episode usually has 3 stories that are sometimes inter-related, sometimes not, sometimes using the same characters, sometimes not. Admittedly, the reason why I even watched the first episode was because of the title, but I actually like the show. I don't think Shawn really likes it very much (it's my new Glee, if you will). My favorite episode was the one with Kurtwood Smith as a father coming to terms with the fact that his son is gay (Episode 2: How To...). Of course, since the stories aren't necessarily told in any chronological order, nor do stories continue over multiple episodes, I could see how it would drive some people nuts...but at the same time, it also means that you don't have to watch all the episodes to know what is going on - oh sure there are recurring characters, but generally you don't have to know the whole back story on them for the little vignettes to make sense. Only downside is that it is unlikely to continue into a second season based on how much trouble it was to get the first 9 episodes aired. Currently airing on NBC Thursdays 10/9c. Also can be found on Hulu and NBC.com

Expedition Impossible: A Mark Burnet production that is like the Amazing Race on steroids. Where the Amazing Race would have the teams drive 7 miles through the Sahara, Expedition makes them walk it. Where the Amazing Race has teams wait 5 minutes before making a second guess at the clue, Expedition doesn't tell them they're wrong and lets them hike 30 minutes in the wrong direction before telling them they chose the wrong option. We only started watching this because the "Gypsies" team trained for the show by doing CrossFit. It's stronger than TAR in some aspects - makes the teams work harder to complete the leg, but it's also weak - the clue challenges are set up in a way that allows teams to piggy back on the earlier teams. Something to think about if you did the Tough Mudder... Currently Airing on ABC Thursdays at 9/8c. Also available on Hulu and ABC.com

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Punched in the boob

A little over a month ago, Shawn found a lump in my boob. That's right, Shawn found it. Even though I do a self exam every month (or roughly every month). The crazy thing was that said lump (ah...Lumpy) was about the size of a dime and felt very much like that gel stuff that they put in wrist supports for computer geeks. So in other words, it had probably been there for a while and I kept missing it. Some of the reason why I kept missing it was because it easily moved about (within a certain distance--it's not like I could push it from one side of my boob to the other...though that would be kinda cool). In any case, Shawn started freaking out since his mom had breast cancer about 10 years ago whereas I felt it and said, "eh, I don't think it's cancerous. My parents' vet at one point said that cancer doesn't move easily and this moves easily." Shawn said, "I think there's a big difference between you and an old dog."

(chances* of me having cancer, 50/50)

We came back home (oh yes, we were at a friend's wedding when this was all going down), I didn't immediately make a doctor's appointment since I had to go to the doctor anyway in a week and a half.

I went to the doctor. She said "I think it's an adenoma. But just to be sure I want you to go have an ultrasound."

(chances of cancer, 25%)

I set up an appointment for the ultrasound and then spent about 4 hours trying to figure out what I should tell my boss since I'm sure he doesn't want to know I'm going to go be felt up by a stick (the ultrasound wand), but at the same time I can't just say "My doctor says I need to have an ultrasound, so Imma do that on my lunch break" because then the rumors would fly fast and furious that I was pregnant (NOTE: I AM NOT PREGNANT). I finally opted for "my doctor felt something she didn't like, now I have to go see a specialist", and went on my lunch break the following work day.

The ultrasound doctor said "I agree with your doctor, I think it's an adenoma, but we recommend having a biopsy done just to be sure. And we can't do the biopsy today - you'll need to talk to your doctor and she'll refer you to a surgeon who will do it; but she may send you back here to have it done. One just never knows."

(chances of cancer, 12%. Level of annoyance at not being able to have a biopsy done right away, 50%)

Two days later my doctor called (thank god I didn't have to go into her office), and said that I should go see a surgeon and have a biopsy. She gave me a number.

I called and set up an appointment for that for the following Monday. Based on how horrible the DJ on the radio made it sound, I made Shawn take the afternoon off so he could drive me hither and yon in case I was in too much pain.

The surgeon said "I think it's an adenoma. Your choices are to either come back in 6 months and have us look at it again; or you can have the biopsy done now, though we'd still want to see you again in 6 months to see if anything has changed." I opted for the biopsy. 20 minutes later I was on my way home.

(chances of cancer, 5%)

Contrary to the radio DJ, I didn't have to ice my boob, nor did I even take any pain killers. In fact the only thing that seemed to hurt the incision was driving, and even then, it was only if I was turning the wheel while shifting, so as long as I didn't drive like a maniac, everything was good.

3 days later the doctor called and said everything looked fine, no cancer for me.

(chances of cancer, 0)

Oddly, I didn't get a bruise until the day the doctor called with the biopsy results. And even though my incision has healed and you can't even tell I had one (unless you know where to look), my boob is still all black and blue and tinged yellow (so we're going on what, 2 weeks now of it being bruised, sigh...at least I wouldn't make a good abused child - I bruise too easily).

Of course when something like this happens, you start thinking back to see if there was anything that could have tipped you off. And I remembered about 9 months ago, a spot on my boob just started itching, and itching and itching, but it wasn't a surface itch, it felt like it was under my skin. About 3 months after that I thought I had felt something (and it would have been in the right spot), but since we had just gone to the Boston Museum of Science which had a breast cancer section where you could feel what cancer felt like and what cancer didn't feel like, Shawn even said he thought it didn't feel like cancer, but I should keep track of it. After that, I obviously didn't find that same spot again, and so I didn't think anything of it. But now... Ah hindsight: always 20/20.

Also: Feel your boobies.

* = These are not real chances, these are just an indication of how my level of confidence increased as time went on.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Snuggles

I went for a jog the other day. And by 'other day' I mean 'over a week ago'. About half way through my jog, I passed three women walking in the opposite direction walking a small Lhasa Apso-esque dog on a retractable leash. As I neared them, the dog comes running toward me tail wagging and tongue lolling out. The dog was about 3 feet from me when the one holding the leash suddenly yells, "Snuggles! NO!" and pulls so hard on the leash the poor animal falls ass over tea kettle and probably made two full rotations. As I jog past, the lady says "I'm so sorry, she's not friendly." and after I pass, I hear her say to the dog, "Snuggles, bad dog! You went all running up to that nice lady pretending like you wanted pets...why would you do that?" And I'm left thinking "you have a dog that isn't friendly at all named Snuggles? That's just lunacy."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gimpy

Shawn's gimpy (achilles tendonitis and plantar fascitis from running, and he just hurt his ankle today biking).

I'm gimpy (somehow hurt the top of my foot running the other day)

Yep...30 is going to be wonderful for us...

Saturday, June 04, 2011

EWG

Today we went to Walmart to get an air filter for our furnace...you know, since it hasn't been changed in a year and a half. while there, we spent a good part of an hour just staring at the sunblock display. The reason why we stood there for 45 minutes was because Shawn insisted that he had read an article about how you should only get sunblock that has active ingredients of "Zinc Oxide" and "Titanium Dioxide."

So yes, we spent 45 minutes looking at the ingredient list for all the sunblocks available. And the only ones that ONLY had Titanium Dioxide and/or Zinc Oxide (other than the stuff the lifeguards put on their noses), are a few of the "free and clear" for babies/sensitive skin varieties.

After getting home and figuring out that he was reading something by EWG.org and not the World Health Organization, we spent the next hour searching for sunblocks that we've heard of (thankfully, they have a searchable database here). We had found the Aveeno Natural Protection Mineral Block (as well as a similarly named Baby formula which, as far as we could tell, is the exact same thing) at both Walmart and Target for $10 per 3 oz bottle (it gets a rating of 3); and had figured that the Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby (also $10 per 3 oz bottle) would have received a similar score. So you can imagine how surprised we were when the Neutrogena got a score of 7 (note: this is like golf, you want lower scores). Apparently the reason for the disparity is that the Neutrogena contains Vitamin A, a vitamin that, while it does reduce the signs of ageing, breaks down in the sun and actually may lead to a higher risk of skin cancer.

Since it is possible to look at all the sunscreens listed on the site by score, that's what I did and just scrolled down until I found a brand I had actually heard of (since I don't make a habit of shopping at the Whole Foods). The best well known brand I could find was the Coppertone Pure & Simple and Sensitive Skin varieties (with a score of 3)

Of course, if you wear makeup you've probably already heard of EWG'sSkin Deep Cosmetics Database.

Naturally I spent the next hour looking up the soaps, shampoos, conditioners and lotions we use. Shawn is trying to get more into the Organic Thing (but not with food...which I think is odd), and so he's purchased some lotions, lip balms, and soaps that are supposed to be better than the traditional stuff. So it's kinda surprising to find out that his lotion (Nature's Gate Fragrance Free) got a 4 while mine (Curel Continuous Comfort Fragrance Free) got a 3. His Nutribiotic Skin Cleanser gets a 6, my Noxzema Triple Clean Cleanser gets a 5.

Happy hunting, kids!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Washington State Vacation


Front fender bike decal, outside of Pike's Market in Seattle, Washington

Friday, May 13, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

War

I have a new coworker. His name is Henry. Henry is a skinny as all get out Mormon. Yesterday, I kid you not, one of our other coworkers asked, "So, Henry, you did your mercenary work in Taiwan, right? That's how you learned Mandarin?"

And I couldn't stop laughing at the thought of one of the nicest people I know in the world being Rambo. It'd be like if Ghandi joined the mafia.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Miracles

Shawn: Whatcha reading?
Me: An article about how to take better
photographs
. This guy says that everyone
should read their user manual.

I agree. And you never read the
one that came with your camera.

It's a Canon Rebel XTI, I figure it's close
enough to the film Rebel that I didn't need
to re-read the manual.

I'm just saying that I read the
manual for your camera and you didn't.


A few days later when I pulled the manual out to read it:

Shawn! Quick! we need to call the Pope!
What? Why?
Because you've performed a miracle and
we should let him know so you might be
canonized one day.

hunh?
You managed to read the user's manual
for my camera without opening the packaging
that the manual came in. That's a miracle!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Squat Stand

A few months ago, Shawn decided that he wanted to REALLY get into Cross Fit. That meant we needed to buy rubber bumper weights. So after a trip down to Houston to pick up said weights, we had an Olympic barbell (45 pounds) with 230 pounds of bumper weights plus an additional 30 pounds of weights we had purchased at Academy.

The problem with this whole set-up? we didn't have any where to store the stuff, AND possibly more problematic was that in order to do squats, we'd have to load up the bar, do a hang clean, do a push press, lower it to the shoulders, do the squat, stand back up, do a push press, back to the clean position before putting the weight back on the ground. So basically it was a ton of extra work to do one measly squat, and you could only squat as much as you could clean because there was no way to put the bar on something, load it with weight, and then do a squat.

So we needed a squat stand or rack or power cage or something. Shawn found some that he liked online. They could be flattened for storage, and they had added features like pull up bars, dip bars, and what have you. After balking at the cost of these stands (starting at about $700), Shawn started lamenting that if only he knew a welder who could weld the stand for him. When I told him he did, he scoffed and was like "yeah, sure, in COLORADO." So I reminded him that Garden Blogger Bob (to differentiate him from 'your father, Bob') was a welder by trade, and he would probably be happy to weld together some stand thingy that Shawn would design.

That's how it came be that a few weekends ago we spent the day at Bob's place where Bob actually let Shawn weld (with supervision and with an eye toward making sure that the welds would actually hold) the squat stand together.

Here are the men-folk after the stand has been welded and was placed in the truck ready to be taken home. I spent the day with Bob's wife, who broke her arm a few weeks earlier.

Of course, when using raw materials, you will have to paint things. So we went to the store and got some rattle-can black spray paint.

Shawn rattle-can painting the squat stand so it won't get black dust on us every time we move the thing.

Total cost of this adventure? about $100 which was the cost for the materials as Bob didn't charge Shawn anything for teaching him how to weld.

Of course, Bob also has some cool Jax looking things which are apparently .22 pistol walking targets which look pretty cool, if I do say so myself...and, while I wouldn't use them for target practice, I probably would like them for decoration purposes. Oh the possibilities!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Shutterbug: Milestones (part 2)


Ground Breaking Ceremony for the Waller Creek Tunnel. The tunnel will divert water from 12th street to Town Lake and significantly reduce the floodplain of Waller Creek in the Downtown area. More information can be found here: http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/wallercreek/


-Catch of the Day
-Unlikely Duos
-Murals
-Those were the days
-Milestones
-State Parks
-Birds
-At the Fair
-EEK!
-Fall Leaves
-Curious Cats
-Man's Best Friend
-Heroes

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Queens, New York

"Katina..."

"Yes, Ma-Belle"

"Do you want me to put this make up on you?" (while holding up an eye-shadow palette that has all the colors mixed and is obviously one of the ones that her mother gave her because the make up is old)

"Not particularly"

"But if I can put the blue eye shadow on you, you'll look like a queen!"

::laughing snort:: "Yes, I'd definitely look like a queen. Thanks, but no thanks."

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Shutterbug: Milestones (part 1)

I took my camera to the groundbreaking of the Waller Creek Tunnel on Friday. I took photos. I downloaded all of the photos to my computer. I deleted the photos off of my memory card. I came home. I went to post a picture on my blog. I remembered that I deleted all of the photos off of the memory card, but they're on my work computer. Now I have to email myself from my work computer at some point in time in order to put the one photo I want on this blog for the world to see. Damn.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Critter

A few weeks ago, our friend's wife delivered a healthy baby boy. Jesse (the husband/father/best man at our wedding), dutifully, sent out an email to everyone letting them know about the fact that "critter" was finally here. What follows is the conversation that Shawn and I had...

Shawn: Looks like Jesse and Kristie had the baby yesterday.

Katina: Cool, what's his name?

Riley Race

ooo, they went with the superhero name.

:::I sign into facebook to see photos:::

Dork. The baby's name is Owen.

Ah, that explains it.

Explains what?

The email was signed "Jesse, Kristie, and Owen", and I thought it was odd that Jesse was including the dog on the email signature instead of the baby.

The dog's name is Hendrix, remember?

Well, NOW...Okay, so Jesse and Kristie had the baby yesterday, his name is Owen Riley Race.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Shutterbug: Murals



-Catch of the Day
-Unlikely Duos
-Murals
-Those were the days
-Milestones
-State Parks
-Birds
-At the Fair
-EEK!
-Fall Leaves
-Curious Cats
-Man's Best Friend
-Heroes

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Flying

So, as most of my loyal readers (all 2 of you!) knew, I was in Colorado last week for my cousin's wedding. We, of course, flew there because we only drive when we have to take kidney-failure cats with us.

I dislike flying. Not as bad as the Spiteful Chef, but I don't relish it either. The funny part is that I actually somewhat understand airfoils and fluid dynamics thereby keeping the tin can with wings aloft (damn you engineering!). This does not, however, really assuage any of my plummeting fears. Though, as a plus, I'm not scared of flying; I'm scared of falling.

But do you want to know the best part about flying? Skymall. That's right. Skymall. I love paging through the magazine and looking at all the crazy lawn/garden statues that I find absolutely ridiculous. Since I wanted to include some pictures of the statues that are my particular favorites, I actually went to their website this evening. I don't think you can understand how surprised I was that my personal favorite, the Zombie of Montclaire Moors (pictured below), is by far the most popular statue with 36 reviews, most of them rating it at 5 stars.
If you still want to scare the bejeebus out of your friends, postman, and neighborhood cats, you can opt, instead, to get this realistic 4' alligator which is on backorder until the middle of April:
Not recommended for those in Florida as it may instead train your grandchildren and dogs to ignore the actual REAL alligators in your neighborhood.

If, for whatever reason, scaring the crap out of your friends is not your goal, then you can always go the unicorn route.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of good things in the Skymall magazine, and plenty of very helpful things (plus it's beginning to aim more at the business travellers, so there's a bunch more office related stuff), but those things don't really do much to take my mind off of the fact that we're bouncing and jostling, and great scott! we MUST hit 88mph before liftoff! So yes, thank you Skymall for making my flight a little more pleasant every time we take off.

All pictures are from the Skymall website.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Council

The other night the City of Austin Council approved a measure to lengthen the time frame for when people have to feed the parking meters downtown. Specifically the meters are going from 8-5 M-F to 8-midnight M-Sa.

Considering how many people would drive downtown to party on Friday and then take a cab home (doing the responsible thing), it would not surprise me in the least if we see a sudden jump in number of DUIs because people will be driving home on Friday night so that they don't get a parking ticket on Saturday morning.

Of course, if they had changed the rule to be 8-midnight M-F and 6pm-midnight on Saturday, I would be rooting them on and in agreement.

Though, I guess council said that they'd be willing to talk about a parking pass of some sort so you would be able to park downtown at a meter without having to worry about getting a parking ticket if you took a taxi home instead of driving. So that's good, at least.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

State of the State

So yesterday (Valentine's), the flags were at half staff.

"Don't look now, honey, but I think Texas has shifted to a Catholic State and is commemorating the martyrdom of St. Valentine by putting all flags at half staff. I think it's probably best if we just quietly go with it."

Saturday, February 12, 2011

6 Years

6 years ago when I moved down here, I found out that the garage had a little kitty door. I decided that this seemed like a brilliant idea to catch myself a pet cat and so I turned the little lock knobby thing to the point where an animal could come in, but couldn't get out.

Of course, after Ivy found us, I left it that way because she and Quazi would frequently go out into the garage and sit at their little kitty window and look outside trying to figure out a way to get out. (What happens if I push on it? hmm, Nothing. Okay...What happens if I push on it now? hunh. Odd. Nothing happened)

Since it's been 6 years and we've never had a problem with animals coming into the garage, I completely forgot about it. Until the other night when we had a feral cat in the garage. Well, we can't blame the cats - they tried to warn us (they both REALLY wanted out in the garage even though it was fuh-reezing outside). It also should have tipped us off as we came home and the garage smelled like cat piss, but I figured that the smell was because I had been cleaning out the litter boxes and throwing the waste in the garbage and we hadn't thrown away any other trash. So instead we sat in the house until the poor animal knocked over a rolled up rug Shawn had next to the garbage can. When we saw the cat, Shawn just opened the garage door and the cat left (though I feel like we should have put food and water out for it first because who knows how long it was stuck in the garage).

But man, can those feral cats jump. It was jumping about 6' straight up in the air trying to get away from us (and it was already in the opposite corner of the garage).

Friday, February 11, 2011

Pawprints

Taken after the cats went outside on Friday, Feb 4. (The most snow in Austin, TX since 2004)

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Shutterbug: Catch of the Day


Upcoming photos will be as follows (and not necessarily in order):
-Catch of the Day
-Unlikely Duos
-Murals
-Those were the days
-Milestones
-State Parks
-Birds
-At the Fair
-EEK!
-Fall Leaves
-Curious Cats
-Man's Best Friend
-Heroes

Sunday, February 06, 2011

More Cross Fit

Since yesterday's Cross Fit workout consisted of needing nothing other than a pull up apparatus (bar or rings), Shawn decided that it was a perfect opportunity to use the rings.

The workout: Burpee Pull-up.

How: Place hands on ground, hop your legs out so you're in pushup position, drop to ground, push up and hop a little to pull your legs up under your body, stand up, jump. As you jump, grab onto the pull up bar/rings, do a pull up, drop to ground on feet. Repeat.

Reps: 100. that's right. ONE. HUNDRED.

The goal: Do this as fast as you can. Record your time.

Shawn's time: 28 minutes give or take.
My time: 24 and a half minutes.

Of course, to be fair, I was doing hops instead of jumps since I can't do a full pull up and so the rings were set up to be a little above my head instead of a foot above my out-stretched hands like Shawn did.

Still. I win.

Now Shawn's out in the garage filling a basketball with 20 pounds of sand so he can do Wall Balls (that's what I'm calling them anyway). Wall Balls are where you take a 20 pound ball, do a squat with it, stand up and then throw the ball up 10', catch the ball, repeat. The reason why you do this by a wall is because it's probably pretty dangerous to just be outside throwing a 20 pound ball up in the air and trying to catch it, so you face a wall and aim for 10' up on the wall - then the ball only has a small area where it will come down and you don't have to move around as much to try to catch the damn thing.

But today's goal: 150 wall balls. in as fast as you can.

Is there anyone out there wondering why the unofficial mascot of Cross Fit is called "Pukey"?

Monday, January 31, 2011

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Shutterbug

I have decided that I need to start taking more photos again. But, since my normal theme is "garden" so I can post the photos on my other blog; and since it's currently winter, it sometimes means that I don't get any action shots or anything of that nature.

Since I feel that I need some indication of WHAT exactly to take a photo of, I'm going to be using the photo contest in my Texas Co-Op Power magazine (yes, our power company sends us a magazine every month) as a guide.

So, upcoming photos will be as follows:
-Catch of the Day
-Unlikely Duos
-Murals
-Those were the days
-Milestones
-State Parks
-Birds
-At the Fair
-EEK!
-Fall Leaves
-Curious Cats
-Man's Best Friend
-Heroes

If you have any suggestions, just let me know!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Eclectic

So...Remember how I told you Shawn had been spending a bunch of time at a Cross Fit Training website? Yeah. Cross Fit is kinda like a cult. A cult of working out. And lifting a bunch of weight. And doing it a lot of times in a row (or in a circuit). And based on how frequently dogs are featured on their websites and/or videos, apparently they also all own pit bulls (awww...doggies!)

He hasn't actually started doing all of the workouts or anything. But he has been inspired by the Cross Fit Culture. He has bought Olympic Gymnastic Rings. Let me say that again. Olympic. Gymnastic. Rings. (where the hell are we putting these you may ask - why in the garage. We'll have to reinforce the roof framing in order to do this, but that's small peanuts because we REALLY need the rings...). He also would like a set of Olympic Bumper weights (those are the weights where the guys lift the barbell above their heads and then they drop the weight (usually on the range of 1000 pounds) to the ground...thus bumper weights). He hasn't been as into getting the pull-up bar, climbing rope or kettlebells.

If we're not careful we'll probably end up with a rowing skull and olympic sized pool in our back yard.

In other exercise news, we are also the owners of a giant red balance ball. AND I can officially jog a mile. Sure it's like an 11 minute mile. But it's a MILE!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cast Ironman

Shawn made dinner tonight. Entirely in the cast iron skillet.

Here I present to you breakfast potatoes with bacon and fried eggs:

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Oh no

Heaven help me, Shawn's been spending a bunch of time at this website: Crossfit.com

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New equipment

Sorry for the food-centric posts recently, it's almost like I'm going through food blog withdrawls. But that's not really the case, it's just that there's not a whole lot else going on.

Last weekend, Shawn decided that he needed this:


This is a Lodge pre-seasoned 10" skillet (picture is from the Lodge website which you can find here: Lodge Cast Iron Cookware). I originally was going to post a picture of our actual skillet, but then I realized that I would have to clean the stove top first, and if I'm going to do that, I might as well clean the counters, and once that's done, it's not that great of a leap to clean the kitchen table. And I'm too lazy to do all of that, thus the canned picture.

We've used it twice so far. The first night, Shawn made breakfast potatoes. Which all stuck to the bottom of the pan in spite of the fact that the skillet is 'pre seasoned' and all the added oil that Shawn added to try to prevent the sticking. The second time we used it (last night), Shawn made goulash which did much better. Eventually, supposedly, this will be just as good if not better than our non-stick pans. I think Shawn opted to move to the cast iron because the 'everyday' pan my aunt got me as a college graduation present is starting to lose it's hard anodized aluminum coating...which likely means no more non-stick for us.

In other gadgetry, Shawn purchased a new computer mouse for me since my current mouse is iffy at best, but it hasn't arrived yet. And let me tell you, it's WEIRD using only the keyboard to do everything. Shawn also purchased a microplane for me as well - he decided that rather than having me spend $4 for orange zest that it made more sense to spend $15 for a piece of equipment I'll use maybe 4 times in my life. But whatever.

Also, I need to find a seller for delicious wild game. Specifically venison. Delicious, delicious venison...drool.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

The Tradition: Cinnamon Rolls

Growing up, my mom made cinnamon rolls every Christmas morning. We'd eat cinnamon rolls with an orange on appropriately festive paper plates and then we'd go look at all the goodies that Santa left us in our stockings. (Ah yes, I remember the year that Dad got a bag of coal. That was a fun year.) Mom originally started out making cinnamon rolls by scratch using a recipe from my great-aunt (dad's side). By the time we were older (in middle school), she found Rhode's Cinnamon Rolls in the freezer section of the grocery store and after we all agreed that they were just as good as the home made ones, she never went back.

For the past 5 years, I've dutifully made cinnamon rolls for Christmas day (and yes, I've made home made ones, pillsbury ones, and rhodes ones at various times - and mostly depending on when I went to the grocery store, if I had any yeast, and how quickly I wanted to make the rolls).

This year, for December Food Month (which is what I've affectionately named the tradition at work where someone brings in some food item to share for one day during December - the goal is to have at least one person signed up for every work day during December. Thus obviously turning us all into gluttons; who, on the first work day of the new year, walk down to the break room in a zombie-like fashion hoping and praying that someone was nice and brought in left over Christmas candy), one of the co-workers brought in home made cinnamon rolls. HOME MADE CINNAMON ROLLS, PEOPLE!! She used Ree Drummond's recipe which can be obtained through her website: The Pioneer Woman. The cinnamon rolls were Delicious and I single-handedly ate half a pan (so like 5 or something). I do not feel bad about this because she brought in 6 pans, and I waited until after lunch to have the 3rd, and until the day after to eat the other two. I was just being helpful and trying to make sure that we did not end up with an ant problem. It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that cinnamon rolls are quite possibly my second favorite food in the world.

When I figured out that the recipe was easily available, I decided that I would make them instead of any of my other methods. Below is a pictorial process of the making of the cinnamon rolls.

Step 1: obtain all of the ingredients below. Including the foil throw away pans--the full recipe makes 6 of the square pans, 7 or so of the rounds.

Step 4: mix half the flour with the milk, yeast and sugar.

Step 5: Let rise.

Step 6: While dough is rising, make yourself useful and butter down those cinnamon roll pans.
Step 9: Turn out dough on well floured surface and form into a rough rectangular shape.

Step 10: Roll out into large rectangle. I rolled it too thin though, so you definitely want to go a little thicker than I did...maybe about 1/4" to 1/2" thick.

Step 13: Sprinkle well with cinnamon. Very well.

Step 15: Cut in 3/4" to 1" rounds and place in buttered pans.

Step 16: Find an appropriately festive towel, cover the rolls and let rise. I only did a half batch and managed to get 4 full pans out of the deal (as I said, I rolled the rolls too thin, and then I also cut them a bit on the skinny side)

Step 18: While the rolls are baking, break out your coffee maker and make the glaze. This is the third time it has been pulled out of the cupboard. Hot diggidy! The other times it has been pulled out are for French Onion Soup Night and during March when the Inlaws came to visit. We do not drink coffee, and Shawn told me I was a dum-dum for making frosting with coffee in it--I couldn't taste the coffee at all in Andrea's rolls, but apparently using a Dark French Roast with the setting on the coffee pot set to "Strong" is not the best option for those of us who do not like coffee flavored things.
Step 20: Glaze your finished cinnamon rolls making sure to get as much into the nooks and crannies as possible. Step 21 is to enjoy them, but step 22 is to listen to your husband complain about how the rolls taste like coffee.

YAY! Jacket!


To tide you over while I write the cinnamon rolls entry.

Monday, January 03, 2011

I swear

I swear I'm going to get around to posting an ACTUAL post about the cinnamon rolls. With pictures even! But life's been busy. You'd have figured that I could easily have written said post during the entire week I took off of work to do nothing but sit around on my ass at home. But you'd be wrong. I had very important things to do--like watch all of my DVDs that my sister sent me. And it's not like they're easy peasy DVDs, they're all TV shows DVDs. That means like 12-24 hours of viewing pleasure from EACH GIFT. So, there you have it. You can blame Dani for the fact that I haven't blogged about anything for the last week.