Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Come on, you're killing me...


My car broke down today. Overheated. Dammit! I already HAD three bad things happen!


Keeping fingers crossed that it's an inexpensive fix...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Homemade Granola

As promised! This is a recipe I found in Better Homes & Gardens and have modified it a bit.

4 cups old-fashioned (not quick-cooking!) oats
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds (I have been combining shelled pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, you can use whatever nuts you want)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup cooking oil
1/4 cup honey (I prefer dark corn syrup)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups raisins or dried cranberries (or whatever you want)

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a bowl, combine the oats, nuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
2. In a saucepan, heat the oil and honey. You don't need to boil it, just warm it up a bit. Then add in the vanilla. Pour this mixture over the oats mixture and stir to combine.
3. Spread granola in a large glass baking pan. Bake 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
4. Place pan on rack to cool. Once cool, stir in dried fruits. Seal granola in air-tight container (I use a big glass jar). Store for 1 week at room temperature, or in freezer for 3 months. Serve with milk or soy milk like cereal, or eat plain (but it doesn't clump that much so I prefer it as a cereal).

Makes 9 cups.


Monday, March 24, 2008


I love to cook, and now that I am unemployed (hopefully not for too long though), I have tons of time for it. Therefore, this week I will be cooking:

1. 'Meat'loaf & mashed potatoes - yumm, comfort food! I made this tonight. The weather is *just* chilly enough for it. I used ground turkey mixed with Smart Ground (vegetable protein crumbles). Added in some seasonings, some Italian bread crumbs, an egg, and topped with a thin layer of ketchup. It's great!

2. Cuban black beans - in an effort to save money on groceries, I am attempting to buy more bulk foods - rice, dry beans, bulk oats... For this recipe, the beans are soaked overnight and the next day are simmered with onions, bell peppers, and chopped jalapenos. I might add a little bit of Rotel. Serve over rice. Simple, healthy, tasty!

3. Jamaican Jerk Chicken - my mom brought me a bunch of packages of organic chicken leg quarters. She gets to the grocery store super early and gets first pick of all the reduced-for-quick-sale meats. She always picks me up some organic chicken leg quarters or thighs, and boy am I ever grateful! I mixed up some jerk marinade and the chicken is marinating in it. I will probably serve this with yellow rice with peas.

4. Homemade Granola - this super recipe will make me breakfast all week long! I'll post the recipe tomorrow, you'll love it!

And now, with bellies full and eyes droopy, we are headed to bed...zzzzzzzzzzzz....


Well, after many hours stressing about the floor saga and scouring the internet for flooring options, we decided to just go with what we wanted in the first place: wood! Bless Lowe's for approving us for a credit card, having a 10% coupon off flooring right now, and also having no payments, no interest for 12 months. Huzzah! Now we only have to choose a color:

Gunstock Oak
(the website does not have the one we were looking at, but this is close)


Red Cherry
. What do YOU think?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Floor: 1, Humans: 0

Well I have to admit that the floor in our house is KICKING OUR ASSES!!! I'm SO tired I can barely type... but the defeat was resounding and I have to broadcast it, so... Well, we really wanted to do stained concrete floors in our new house. Well, 1975 house... the carpet was hideous, old, stained, and disgusting, and there were 3 layers of tile in the kitchen/dining and bathrooms. We yanked it all out, and ever since we have been scraping, sanding, scraping, sanding, to no avail. The carpet glue and the mastic from the tile is NOT coming up! We even rented a drum sander today, hoping it would sand right off. Ack! We were wrong! The machine barely made a dent! Sigh!! $80 wasted... dreams of stained concrete floors, dashed... the only floor that is free of goo is the gameroom, so we are going to stain that one... but the others, there's no way the stain would penetrate. So, friends, what do we do? We don't have enough money to put in wood floors right now (which was our ultimate goal anyway, the stained concrete was just going to be for the meantime). We don't want to put down tile or vinyl. Definitely no carpet. So, maybe paint the floor? That's all I can think of... and might be able to do a cool technique to make it look mottled like a stained concrete floor would have. Guess I'll be searching the web for a while. If any of you out there are ever tempted to do what we tried, let me just warn you - DON'T! Imagine the project in your mind... then imagine it 10 times worse. Just DON'T do it!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Rainbow Bridge

~~~~~Posted in loving memory of Smokey~~~~~

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

--author unknown

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sad day

We got Smokey's ashes back today... I'm too sad to write about it much but there was a very nice poem they gave me that I'll share with you maybe tomorrow.

Today was also my last day at my job. I left quietly, not making a big deal out of leaving, and only saying goodbye to the people I cared about saying goodbye to. I still feel extremely betrayed/hurt, but stayed professional to the end. Tomorrow is Good Friday and we had it off as an 'optional' holiday, and I'm definitely taking the option! My mom is going to come visit and we will go to Whole Foods, the Antique Mall, and maybe Michael's. I will also take her to see our house. It's pretty messy right now, actually it doesn't look quite this messy anymore, but I still gotta show it off!

I'm going to throw myself a little pity party tonight, complete with pizza, hot wings, and soda. But starting tomorrow it's time to move onward!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pasta alfredo with spinach and onions

Since I can't think of much to say (not that I don't have anything to talk about, I just can't make my fingers put into words what my brain is thinking) I decided to post a recipe for you. Yum, lucky you! Here is my creation (and I sure hope you cook like me, otherwise this 'recipe' will drive you crazy!)

Half an organic onion, cut into thin (but not paper-thin) strips
Some (or a lot of) garlic cloves
Some organic spinach (I like baby spinach leaves)
Some organic pasta (I used penne but would have preferred fettucine)
Organic Alfredo sauce in a jar, or Alfredo mix (I used Simply Organic brand from Whole Foods)

Start boiling water for the pasta. When it boils, add pasta. Meanwhile, saute the onion until almost carmelized; add in chopped or minced garlic and the spinach. Cook til spinach is wilty. In a 3rd pot (unless you are more efficient or less messy than I, and then you can figure out a way to reuse one of the other pots) start heating up/making the sauce. Drain the pasta, put it back in the big pot, then add in the spinach and onion mixture, stir together. Pour the sauce over this and stir some more. Sprinkle on some freshly-grated Parmesan. Serve with some crusty bread and some wine. Salad if you want. You can always say the spinach in the pasta was your 'greens'. Eat. Yumm!

P.S. I think you could also use mushrooms in there, or maybe a few chopped green onions. Let me know how ya like it!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Smokey's bed

We have decided that we will put Smokey's ashes under this group of trees in the backyard:


I want to build a nice garden bed around the base of the trees, with bird- and butterfly-attracting plants, some birdfeeders hanging from the tree and maybe a birdbath nearby, so that animals & creatures of the yard will come to visit Smokey. That way he will have some company when we aren't there. I'll put a little bench or some chairs out there so we can sit with him, too. This grouping of trees is also directly outside our bedroom window, so he will always be close by. I think he will be very happy here... we miss the little guy like crazy, but we try to remember that he is always in our hearts.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

In Triplicate....

Do you believe bad things come in 3's? I guess when something bad happens it is easy to look in other areas of your life to find other things that aren't going so well. But right now, I can think of 3 seriously bad things that have happened to me just in the past two months:
1. I was diagnosed with spondyloarthritis.
2. I was let go from my job (soon after we closed on a new house - we haven't even made the first mortgage payment yet).
3. I had to say goodbye to my Smokey.
Of all these, the last is the one that is the real kicker, the one that really hurts, and the one I can't do anything about. After being diagnosed with the spondyloarthritis in early February, I was so determined to get healthy so I could regain my energy and my joie de vivre. And last week, even after my boss let me go, I was very positive about new job opportunities. I was even a little excited about my plan to find a couple part-time jobs to work. But today, everything seems dark and dreary. How do I keep my head high?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

They live in our hearts forever...

My Smokey passed away this afternoon...
He slept and cuddled with us all last night. This morning, fearing that the end was close, we took him to the vet so they could watch him today. Around 4:15pm they called and said he'd taken a turn for the worse.... He was gone by the time we got there to say goodbye. Now he is no longer in pain but I miss him terribly. I can't believe that I will never again be able to hold him, cuddle him, kiss on him, pet him... I hope he knew how much I loved him, and how much Devon loved him too. He will live in our hearts forever.

Monday, March 10, 2008


My poor little kitty isn't doing so well... he is curled up on my lap as I write this, but I'm not sure how much longer he will be with us.


Last fall we noticed that he was losing a bit of weight, actually we didn't notice it at all but I took him to the vet for an allergy shot and she said that he'd lost weight in the last month or two. Since he is an older kitty, she wanted to do some bloodwork before giving him the allergy shot. Bloodwork came back fine, we gave him the shot, but over the next few months I started to notice him losing weight. Back to the vet, and she felt that his intestines were 'ropey' when she did her physical exam. So in January he went to a specialist and had an ultrasound. Results: visibly enlarged lymph nodes, but nothing else noticeable. The specialist said it could be intestinal cancer, or inflammatory bowel disease. The only way to tell for sure if it was cancer is with a $2,000 procedure, which we can't afford, and the specialist didn't want to do that anyway, given his age and the fact that he has a heart murmur (the anesthesia might cause complications). So we put him on steroids and a special diet to see if he might get better. Instead, he has continued to lose weight, even while the steroids make him ravenously hungry (he is eating all the time). This past Friday, I noticed that he isn't able to jump up on things - the side of the tub (his perch while I take baths), or the bed. Today he seems to sway or lose balance when he walks, or he looks like he is walking with his back legs crouched really low to the ground. Took him to the vet this afternoon and he is only 4.05 pounds. He's never been a big cat but now he is practically skeletal. The vet is going to conference with the specialist tomorrow morning, but we fear the worst... I love this cat, he is the most awesome, cuddly, talkative, sweet cat ever. He's been with me for 10 years, through everything. He might not even make it until we move into our new house, and I know he would have liked having a yard to play in again. I'm so sad. Even though I've realized for a while that he is getting older and that one day he would no longer be here, now that the time seems near, I'm still not ready. Please everyone keep your fingers crossed for my kitty, that the vet will have a last-minute insight for something we can do to get him healthy and keep him around with us.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Alas, it was not to be...

Management at my job changed their minds yesterday, and decided that I should find another job. Now I feel so hurt. But, there is not much to do except try to move on and let it go. So I am now searching for a new job! In a brilliant stroke of great timing, someone did reply yesterday to a post I had on craigslist right after all this went down. I had posted my resume on craigslist before I decided I really did want to stay at this job. I never got any replies when I first posted it, so I thought that maybe no one ever read that section. But yesterday right after I was given notice, I checked my email and there was a reply from someone who is looking for an accounts payable/administrative person. Now it may not work out at all, but I am taking it as a good omen. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Yay! Small victory!

First, some background: I have recently been diagnosed with spondyloarthritis. For several years I have had sometimes-agonizing pain in my left hip, and have had several incorrect diagnoses and ineffective treatments. It's pretty much been a nightmare, and I'm lucky I didn't lose my last job because of the time I had to take off. I am now on medication that seems to be helping but I don't want to rely on it for the rest of my life. In order to get myself back into good health, my doctor has suggested that I pursue physical therapy, stretches, light workouts (such as walking in the pool), and just good old rest and stress relief. Many of you may know just how difficult it is to fit all that into your work schedule, especially when you have already taken a ton of time off for various doctor appointments, etc. In order to get my body into a healthy state, and also so that I wouldn't be taking a ton more time off from work, I felt that having some flexibility in my work schedule would be helpful. I concocted a plan and talked to my boss about it, making sure to point out how this can be a win-win situation for both him and I. My basic proposal was:
1. I will work Monday-Friday from 8:00 am - 2:3o pm, which is 32.5 hours a week.
2. I will be able to work all day if the operations manager is scheduled to be out, so that I can cover her.
3. I will be paid at the same hourly rate, but only for the number of hours I work (thus saving my boss money). I will retain my health insurance and other benefits (sick days and vacation time).
4. I will be available by phone after 2:30 pm for urgent matters.
5. I will be responsible for the same duties I have always done, and will complete the same amount of work in 6.5 hours per day (this is totally doable right now, besides I've been bored out of my mind since we have been a little slower than usual for the past couple of months).
6. This is only going to be a temporary situation, until I regain my health.
7. We will re-evaluate after a couple of weeks to make sure it is working for him and the company as well as for me.

Armed with this list, I proposed it to him and gave him ample time (over a week) to think about it. He agreed today to let me try it! I'm so happy and appreciative that he is willing to try it out. My goal is to prove to him (and myself!) that this will not be detrimental in any way. In fact, by allowing me this flexibility, I am even more determined to be a valuable, productive employee. I will be very careful not to squander this precious opportunity!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Since I'm the Queen of doing things other than what I *should* be doing....

I decided to start this blog. It is entitled "Blahby Blahby Boring," which is an inside joke between me and my sister. It is also bound to be a self-fulfilling title since I have no idea if what I have to say is in the least bit entertaining, interesting, or otherwise worthwhile. I also have an aversion to putting my thoughts down on paper (much less posted for the world to see on the internet) but I have way too much going on in my life right now, and instead of letting everything run circles in my head, I'll let it run here!

What, you may ask, do I have going on right now? Well, lessee....

1. My boyfriend Devon and I just bought a house that needs some (not just minor) work before we move in on the 28th of March. Come back soon for updates (and hopefully pics) on the progress of that ginormous task! I'd like to find a remodeling or decorating contest to enter, so if anyone knows of one or hears of one, please lemme know!

2. I am in the process of trying to talk my boss into letting me work 32 hours a week instead of 40. I like where I work, I really do, but right now I AM SO BORED. Plus, having been recently diagnosed with a type of arthritis that affects my hip, I need time for the myriad doctor appointments, treatments, physical therapy, and work outs that will help me get better so that I don't have to be on medication forever (I'm only 30). I see win-win: He gets to pay me less and still gets the same amount of work out of me, while I get the time I need to focus on my health. Hopefully he will see it the same way and agree to it. That would make me SO HAPPY!!

3. I am planning on taking art courses at Austin Community College this fall (maybe summer, if I can work things out that soon). In order to do that, I need to pay off an old debt to a school (Master of Business Administration courses - bleh!) so I can get that transcript, as well as get my car paid off so that I only have to work part-time while I go to school.

4. One ultimate goal is to get my business, Cormorant Studios, up and running. In the beginnings, this will probably just be a small Etsy shop (do you etsy? I love etsy!) featuring some of the things I make. Cormorant Studios is still in the development stages, so I'm not going to spend a lot of time hashing out my million-and-one ideas for it (at least not on this post).

5. I accepted a part-time job today, scoring essays online. It starts at the end of April and will last for about 6 weeks. At the end of it, I should have enough money to pay off my car, or to mostly pay it off. It might make for some long weeks, but I'll be doing it from home so it shouldn't be too bad.

Those are the big, bulleted goals in my life right now. Of course there are a zillion others in the back of my mind, and if you know me at all, you know I have a ton of ideas about things I want to do/make/be. But those will have to come into play later while I focus more on these. Anyway, please feel free to leave me some comments! But don't fear, I endeavor to write even if no one else is listening!