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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Moving Day

Hey guys! I've moved my blog over to

If you're visiting me directly, you'll probably be automatically redirected. But if you are reading me through your favorite reader, you'll need to change the feed to my current one.

Ok. Now onward to our next adventure!

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Good Thing

Last week we were watching a PBS special on wolves and coyotes that live in Yellowstone National Park. While they howled and did the things that wolves and coyotes do, Louie took notice. He was fascinated with the sound and walked right over to the TV and stared at them for a while. I don't know how good his vision is, but he stared a while, then sat back down and stared and then got back up and stared. It was really quit amusing. Then, he decided that the dogs must actually be behind the TV, and he kept investigating around the TV. In the eight years we've had him, I'd never seen him respond to something on TV. Maybe it's H's sweet HD TV we've got now.

We also found a jump drive that had some old pictures on it, including some cute shots of Louie. This one is great:

H's suggestion for a caption: I'm a hot dog. Get it? Get it?

Louie looks so young and puppy-ish in that picture. He's got a bit of gray beard now.

This one of Maggie is awesome too:

She is a crazy outside cat now and doesn't do cute stuff like climb into file drawers. Mainly she comes into the house when it is cold and then hacks up hair balls in weird places and runs back outside as soon as she possibly can.

So, why I am talking about my pets after a month of silence? Cause there isn't much else to talk about that isn't depressing. H is out of a job. My job is cutting hours. A big part of my job has become covering other people's mistakes or responsibilities because they aren't. The industry is depressing. I can't afford school right now. I seem to have lost all of my creative impulses. And on and on and on.

So, I am focusing on my cute pets and my cute husband. Other good things? I purchased the first three seasons of "Homicide: Life on the Street," one of my favorite TV series of all time. I've been watching a couple episodes a night. I have great friends, even though we can't afford to go out to dinner and drinks as much anymore. We got a Wii. Even though H doesn't have a job right now, she's become the housewife I've always wanted. She did a bunch of my laundry and gave Louie a bath this week. So, I am trying to remember the good things. Like this:

This is Louie checking out some birds on our last trip to the Keys. We can't tell if he really likes birds or really hates them.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hungry Hungry Hippo

I am going to ignore yet another long blog hiatus, and instead share some tasty recipes. We had an awesome Super Bowl Party last weekend and shared some delicious food. I thought I'd put some of the recipes all in one place, for prosperities sake.

EMB's Award-Winning Old-fashioned biscuits (makes about a dozen)

2 cups self-rising flour
1/3 cup butter-flavored shortening
2/3 cup milk

Mix together flour and shortening, using a fork or a pastry cutter. Add milk and mix with a fork until all ingredients are just moistened.

Roll out dough on a floured surface, and cut into rounds using a biscuit cutter or a glass. Place on a baking sheet with edges touching, and bake at 425 until lightly browned on top, about 8-10 minutes.

Suggestions: It is really, REALLY important to handle the dough as little as possible. If it's handled too much, the biscuits will be smooth and tough on top. I like to pat the dough out with my hands, rather than using a rolling pin, but as long as you don't roll it out too flat, a rolling pin works just as well.


EMB's Chicken Chilli

Chicken Chili (makes 4 servings)

1T canola oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
1 cup chicken broth
1.5T cornstarch
1 can (about 15 oz.) Great Northern beans, drained
1 can (14.5 oz.) fire-roasted tomatoes
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1.5T onion powder
0.5 tsp cayenne
0.5 tsp chili powder (I used about 1.5 tsp, but I like chili very spicy)
0.5 tsp garlic powder
0.25 tsp cumin
0.25 tsp oregano

In a large skillet, cook the chicken in oil over medium heat until no longer pink, about 5-10 minutes.

Stir in broth and cornstarch. When the cornstarch is dissolved, add beans, tomatoes, corn and seasonings. Bring to a boil; cover. Reduce hear and simmer 10-20 minutes, until soup reaches the desired consistency, stirring occasionally.

Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese and green onions.

Suggestions: I cooked the chicken in a Dutch oven and just added all the ingredients to that to avoid transferring between dishes. I think to make the chili in a skillet, you'd need a pretty darn big skillet, so I'd cook the chicken then transfer to a medium or large saucepan to complete the recipe. I also neglected to drain the tomatoes, and it kept the chili very liquid-y, which I didn't much care for, so if you want a thicker consistency, make sure to drain the beans AND the tomatoes. I don't think it's especially spicy, but I really like spicy food and am not terribly sensitive to it. However, if you're not wild about a lot of spice, just tone down the seasonings a little bit and taste as you go.

Notes: She added some black beans as well.


David Garrard's Buffalo Chicken Dip

1 8-ounce package cream cheese
2 cups cooked chicken (a store-bought rotisserie chicken works best), shredded
1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce, recommended brand Texas Pete
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup blue cheese dressing (eyeball it)
1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (eyeball it)

Preheat oven to 300°F.
Cover the bottom of an 8x8" dish or pie plate with cream cheese.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the shredded chicken, wing sauce and butter, and pour over the cream cheese-filled dish or pie plate.
Top with just enough blue cheese dressing and mozzarella cheese to cover (adding too much cheese will cause a thick skin to form that will make eating the dip difficult once the cheese cools).
Heat the dip in the oven for 20 minutes. Serve with Scoops (Tortillas or Fritos) alongside for dipping.

(This dip went fast. Like 10 minutes. Delicious. I love David Garrard.)


Chicken Sate with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce (From America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook)

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
3 tbs. ketchup
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. tabasco sauce
4 scallions, sliced thin

1. Freeze the trimmed chicken for about 30 minutes, then slice it super thin.
2. Combine all the remaining ingrediants and pour over the chicken strips. Marinate for at least 30 minutes, but not more than an hour.
3. Put the chicken strips on skewers. I recommend you soak the skewers in water for about 40 minutes beforehand. If you can't, make sure to cover up the exposed skewer wood with foil so it doesn't catch on fire.
4. Adjust an oven rack about 6 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler on high. Put the skewers on the broiler pan and put in the oven.
5. The recipe says that you should broil 8 minutes, until fully cooked, flipping halfway through. I did 6 minutes on one side and 4 or so on the other side. Just keep an eye on them, because broiling can go awry very quickly.

Spicy Peanut Sauce

1/2 cup peanut butter, creamy or chunky
1/4 cup hot water
3 tbs. fresh lime juice
2 tbs. ketchup
1 tbs. soy sauce
1 tbs. dark brown sugar
1 tbs. minced fresh cilantro
2 scallions, sliced thin
1 1/2 tsp. Tabasco
1 garlic clove, minced

Whisk the peanut butter and hot water together until smooth. Add in the remaining ingredients. Serve. Do not leave out the lime juice!

Note: As with all things I make - I think I probably doubled the garlic and halved the cilantro.


I am starving now. Must go find food.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Photo Goodness

So, a few of my favorite friends have received cameras for Christmas, and I wanted to share a few of my favorite photo links:

Photojojo. Subscribe to this newsletter. They have great ideas, an active forum and lots of good stuff.

Digital Photography School. Very active forum, weekly contests. Some very bad and/or cheesy photography on there, but a good place to learn.

The Image is Found
. Wedding photographers in San Diego. Doesn't sound that exciting, right? Well, they are awesome. They have a great info page, with lists of all the equipment they use. Their blog includes lots of non-wedding photos. They also teach photo workshops, and I swear to God, if I had a bunch of money sitting around, I would totally go to one.

365 Photo Project. There is some info on Photojojo and on flickr - take and post a picture every day. I am seriously considering doing this in 2009.

Picasa. Some people love flickr, but I like Picasa, because I worship at the church of Google. There is also zooomr, which allows users to have more control over their photos. I've had some user issues though. So proceed with caution.

Jpg Magazine. Good stuff. You can submit info for their monthly publication. Its pretty awesome.

Film is Not Dead. This guy is awesome. He still uses film. And he does workshops - which I would love to attend. Another inspiring site.

Photoshop Express. Its a fun, kind of online, user-friendly version of photoshop that allows you to do some creative stuff. Don't go too far though. There is a fine line between cool and fucking ugly.

If anyone wants to do the 365 Project, let me know!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


On Dec. 7, 1999, Dick broke my heart. We'd been very good friends for a while and had found ourselves, on many occasions, well... making out. On the couch, in the bed, on the floor. Whatever. Anyway, I finally told him we needed to figure out what we were doing, and he declared that he wasn't ready to be a "boyfriend" and he just wanted to be friends.

So. I went home to my apartment and cried. And then I called my mom and cried. And then my mom chose that moment to tell me that she was engaged. And I cried some more. And then I pulled myself together and said I would give him a month, and if he hadn't changed his mind by then, I was moving on.

It took a week. On Dec. 14, 1999, Dick told me that he had thought about it and he wanted to be my boyfriend. We celebrated by making out on the couch in his living room, in the house where we still live today.

In the past nine years... We've both gotten fatter. I've had many a medical mishap. We quit smoking. He started smoking again. We've realized we are both slobs. We got a cat, then a dog, and then somehow adopted two other cats. We've moved my sister approx. 18.5 million times. He made my try frog legs, eel and falafel, all without incident. (For some reason I was most afraid of the falafel.) We've fought. A lot. I threw a bowl of sherbet at him, he punched a hole in the wall. (Separate incidents.) We've rearranged our living room furniture a billion times, and at one point, threw all the furniture away and started over again. (You can do that when everything you own was purchased at a garage sale or a thrift store.) Until last year, we'd only spent 3 nights apart during our entire relationship.

In nine years, there have been some terrible moments. Moments of doubt, personal and shared. Complete and utter anger. We've had the mundane and the extreme. Throughout it all, I've never lost faith in our ability to make things work. I still get butterflies in my stomach when I think of our first kiss. And I still get giddy when he says my name (oh my god! he knows my name!).

So, Dick, thanks for driving me crazy, in a million wonderful and challenging ways. I hope we make it 90 more years.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Wednesday was our company-provided "Holiday Meal," which at the time was delicious, although we decided the pumpkin pie was definitely better last year. Wednesday's meals were to be my last solid food before my colonoscopy this a.m. So, when I started getting sick on Wednesday night, I was really unhappy. I was determined to eat my "last supper," which I interrupted multiple times to run to the bathroom. I continued to be sick through the rest of the night and the a.m. When I arrived at work Thursday a.m., I found out that everyone was sick. Literally. The "holiday meal" had sickened hundreds of people. Many called in, or left early. I was planning on going home early anyway, because the preparations for my procedure had to begin at 1 p.m. Of course, by that time I was so dehydrated and sick anyway, the prep was kind of disastrous. Late in the night I puked so hard that I burst little blood vessels all around my eyes. So very pretty.

Side note:
It's moments like those when I am glad I have Dick. He's seen me in millions of horrible, humiliating medical moments and never shuddered or looked away. He's always held my hand and comforted me. He totally bought into the whole "in sickness and in health" thing.

Despite feeling like crap, and having my body assaulted by bad food and medical science, all I thought about all day Thursday was food. All the food I loved but couldn't eat. A short list:
toast with peanut butter
oatmeal with lots of brown sugar and a wee bit of milk
biscuits and sausage gravy
an angelo's coney dog with mustard and onions, with one of their awesome chocolate shakes
root beer float
coca cola
doughnuts, hot and fresh from KK
publix birthday cake
spaghetti with homemade meat sauce
mashed potatoes and gravy
white rice, cooked in chicken broth with salt and pepper (when I was young, I would cook that for myself if I felt sick. Very soothing.)
ramen noodles (chicken flavor)
cold pizza sitting in the fridge, mocking me
bbq pork
fried chicken
full fat chocolate pudding
boil cookies (that's what my family called them. Some people call them no bake cookies.)

That's the short list, people. The laxative stuff was awful. Being sick the night before sucked. Puking all over the bathroom was painful. But the worst was imagining all the foods I loved, and couldn't eat. Which I totally did to myself. On the plus side, I really, really, really enjoyed my first post-procedure meal - biscuits and gravy and sausage and pancakes from Cracker Barrel. I took my time with the meal and savored each bite, thinking about the textures and the flavors. I took little mental breaks to evaluate by body and stomach and how things were going. I left some food behind, which is something I always work on, but don't always accomplish. And I felt satisfied by not stuffed afterwords. And exhausted, a result of the anesthesia.

So, I may have tortured myself with visions of delicious food, but I feel like I've come out on the other side with a better idea of my relationship to food - and how I should eat based on what I want/need versus what is going serve an emotional need. I hope I can build on this and I am not just experiencing some sort of post-colonoscopy afterglow. If that is even possible.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Literary Confection

It is time, my friends, for me to address the Twilight phenomenon.

I am against all things Twilight-related.

There. I said it. I will not read the books or watch the movie(s).

That being said, I love vampires. And not in the creepy, gothic high school chick way. (The "I love vampires because I want Lestat to find me and make me a vampire and make me whole because I am sad and twisty" way.) In fact, as the girls in my high school succumbed to the pleasures of all of Anne Rice's vampire novels, I resisted. But, a couple years later, my dad read some of them, and recommended them. So I started. And I never read them in order, and I don't think I read all of them, but I really enjoyed both The Vampire Chronicles books and the New Tales of the Vampires. They are pure literary confection. Delicious and consumable. (Well, with the exception of Memnoch the Devil, which warped my mind in a way that put me off my Anne Rice kick for YEARS.) And I refuse to read any of the stuff she wrote after she was born again. Her books were wonderful because they were so sacrilege. (Her earliest stuff was erotica!) I don't need Jesus all up in there.

Anyway, I love vampires. One reason I love them? Cause they are ALL ABOUT SEX. Even if they aren't having sex, the entire literary theme is about sex and power. And I believe that it is done best when you mix the two. Which leads me to my Number One Reason Why I Hate The Twilight Books: no sex.

There is only so much heavy petting and dry humping a girl can take. You can't have a vampire novel where that is all that happens. Because vampires, are in essence, about giving into those urges. And we all know why there is no sex in the books, which leads me to my Number Two Reason Why I Hate the Twilight Books: Stephanie Meyers.

Ok, so you all know that I grew up Mormon, and I left the church when I was 13. As a result of my "Mormon experience" I will probably never be involved in organized religion again. But that is a whole other post. Anyway, I have a natural suspicion of Mormons anyway. So, when I heard this Mormon housewife was writing sex-less vampire novels, I actually found it personally offensive. Really? The Mormons have to mess with my sexy vampires too? They can't just leave my dysfunctional childhood alone? (I have issues, I know.) But, my distaste of the Mormons has been fueled by their recent support of California's Proposition 8. I grew up in the church, and I know the strength of their "convictions." And the Mormons really don't like homosexuals. I, on the other hand, love homosexuals. (And I find that a good homosexual relationship really spices up a vampire novel, just so you know.) So, Stephanie Meyer may not agree with her church on this issue, but she has openly labeled herself as a Mormon in almost every freaking interview she's given, so I am going to assume that she is comfortable with her beliefs. That's fine. However, having grown up in the church, I know that every good Mormon gives 10% of their income to the church. I tithed 10% of my allowance. I know Stephanie Meyers is tithing 10% of her income. That's definitely her choice. However, by buying her books and seeing her movie(s) I am giving her income. And 10% of that income is going to the Mormon church. And the Mormon church is using that income to support legislation that I believe infringes on the civil rights of good tax-paying, law-abiding citizens of America, who also happen to be gay. So, I've made the choice to boycott her work.

Her books may be fantastic and I may actually enjoy the lack of sex (not) but I can't finance the activities of the Mormon church. I am still working of all the bad karma from telling my babysitter that she was going to hell because she wasn't a Mormon. If you're out there, Trailer Park Babysitter, I am sorry!

P.S. If you are looking for an alternate series of literary confection, check out Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. They will make you dream about hot Scottish rogues. Mmmm.