Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tongue, meet Cheek.

"Since I'm going to hell anyway," I began as Maureen drove me home last night, "I really think I ought to be getting something out of it." One hears so much about selling one's soul to the devil, after all. And in my current position, I certainly feel like I'm sacrificing the majority of my time and almost all of my feelings of self-worth. Such as they are. Doesn't it follow, then, that maybe I should just do the soul-selling thing, and at least be solvent enough to leave this place?

Sadly, and inconveniently, I have no idea how one goes about selling one's soul. Google supplied this web page, but again, the actual process and contact information was excluded. [NB: I do not blame Google for this.] Another website instructs its readers on the ways of selling souls and serving the devil after doing so.

Hmm. I don't think so. I serve way too many craptastic, megalomaniacal bosses as it is. I really don't need the pile of nonsense of dealing with the war between heaven and hell. I mean, come on. Look what happened last time.

Sigh. There has got to be a better way.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Guilty Pleasure #4732

Darling invisible friend, please forgive my absence. I was "on vacation." I use the dreaded quote marks because this, like every other vacation this year, was NOT good. It was the time I'd set aside to see Montreal and the Canadiens, playing in the Bell Centre, with VNP.

We know how that ended.

So I didn't cancel the vacation, wasted the time off that I'd accrued, and lumped around the house for a week. Slept late. Did a lot of laundry. Made the dogs very happy with my presence. Not that they're picky; they'd be happy with anyone who has a pulse. As long as there are cookies involved, and the occasional belly-rub, they're good to go.

I will talk at length with you about other things that happened toward the end of the week, but for now, let's talk about a minor baking activity I had on vacation: sausage rolls.
So yummy. Flaky pastry, filled with rich and spicy sausage. Popular in the British Isles and Australia, and probably many other places I wish to visit too, the sausage roll is a delightful guilty pleasure. It may sound like a pig-in-a-blanket, but it's a little different.

The sausage is of the loose variety, rather than linked. The pastry is usually of the puff variety. I made some this week for a friend and cheated horribly, using the Crescent Roll dough and Jimmy Dean hot sausage. No one seemed to mind.

What? Oh. Well, she had a memorial service to attend and asked me to make them. What is it about funerals that makes us want to eat? Anyway, she came over and was determined to help. It was adorable, watching her carefully brush each roll with egg wash. The rolls turned out glossy and golden brown and gorgeous, and I give her credit for that.

Sausage rolls. My dear friend Cherry, who is from South Africa, nearly crawled through the phone when I told her I'd made some. I foresee making some for Cherry during my next visit, I can tell you that. They're naughty and buttery and zippy and divine.

Ooo! And they're versatile. You don't have to make them with pork sausage. You can make them with beef sausage or turkey or chicken or even, for your vegan friends, with soy sausage and nondairy pastry.

I know, I know. But it makes them happy. Don't judge. And remember, the more vegan friends you have, the more steak is left for you.

Sausage rolls. Sigh.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Theory Time

So I'm here at work, just as I have been for the past two days, despite the unusual volume of snow on the ground. Tonight, the night I don't work from open until close, the walk-in clinics will all close early. Isn't that nice? Yup. Closing early.

One. Whole. Hour. Early.

I might be a teensy bit envious of this fact, and the coworker who will close tonight, but frankly, I'm a wee bit miffed---too miffed, in fact, to have any feelings other than...what's the noun? Miffedness? Miffedocity?

You know what I mean.

I'm a bit miffed at my coworkers from last night, the night we DIDN'T close early. As the x-ray tech and I sat waiting to be released [we stay until we're told by the walk-in staff that all patients are cared for and we're done] those coworkers finished their work and trooped merrily out the door. That's right. On a night of snow, of both the freshly fallen and the partially melted then frozen varieties, they forgot to let us know they [and WE] were done and could scurry home.

I'm also miffed that the "non-essential" staff were released mid-afternoon to go home. Right. Because anything I do at this non-urgent clinic is "essential?" Ah. Well. That explains my paycheck.

And I'm a trifle miffed that today, the physicians in several--excuse me, MOST departments were able to go home, but the reception, medical assistant and nursing staff were required to stay. To---wait for it---answer the phones.

All of this adds up to one simple fact: In my world, I am disposable. If my dating life didn't hammer that home well enough, my work life brought in a nail gun. An hydraulic one, at that. How delightful to realize that my traveling home safely is of absolutely no import to any of my employers! Fer chrissakes, keep the doctors and administrators safe, but the lab rats? The receptionists? The MAs and nurses? Oh, hell, they can die. We can always get new ones.

Hey, maybe this is a way for the clinic to address financial concerns! Maybe that's why they're doing this! If long-term employees die in horrible accidents, the new hires will cost a whole lot less, thus saving the clinic loads of money. And maybe most of the "non-essential" staff have signed up to be organ donors, paperwork held by the clinic and available at just the right moment, which should surely warrant a finders' fee!

Money problems solved.

It's a theory.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Weather Report

This just in, from The Weather Channel's ace reporter, Chicken Little:

"The sky is actually falling."

Thought you'd like to know.

Monday, January 16, 2012


This past Saturday, Roommate had the sad task of attending her stepgrandfather's funeral; she kindly released me from accompanying her. I will admit to vast and encompassing relief, dear one, as I did not want to attend. It wasn't just my desire not to spend time with Roommate's Unfortunate Sister, who had decided not to attend, either. As she informed Roommate's mother, she had "done" her grieving and did not wish to grieve any longer.

It was, after all, all about Unfortunate Sister. Gramma would just have to suck it up and deal.

But I was still happy to have most of the day to myself, hideously selfish creature that I am. One might be forgiven for comparing me to Roommate's Unfortunate Sister. Other than the fact that I'm not actually related to Stepgrandpa. Or Gramma. Nor did I caterwaul and fling myself about to demostrate my enormous sense of loss at Stepgrandpa's passing.

But that's neither here nor there, is it?

So my Saturday was spent at home. Please allow me to reassure you, dearest, the the beagles of the household were able to rest sufficiently.

I know. It's a weight off the mind, isn't it? Don't they look exhausted? The terrier-ist, HRHTM, was unable to get quite as much sleep because she was watching the weather very closely. At first, I thought she was just staring at the Andy Warhol-esque picture of herself that Auntie Carole made for her, but I realized quickly that she was watching...

Yes, it is that time of year again for the Greater Seattle Area. Time to race to the stores and buy out bread, milk, eggs and toilet paper. Time to freak out and cancel all appointments. Time to cause major traffic delays and freeway congestion.

To be fair, the traffic stuff happens whenever there's a Mariners games, too. Or a Seahawks game. Or anything UW-sports related. Or sunshine, that big, scary ball of fire in sky. Or rain, because, you know we don't usually get that here.

Yeah. Seattle traffic. No wonder there's so much heroin use in the place.

But the snow was pretty!

And it fell pretty fast. This was only an hour or so later.

When one considers how little snow we actually see every year, it's pretty impressive. For us. Not for people with real weather. Those people are too busy laughing hysterically right now as Seattle people prepare for "Snowmaggedon."


But that was my Saturday. Snow falling outside, dogs snoozing inside. Four televised hockey games on in a single day and cookies baking in the oven.

Screw the beer commercials. It doesn't get much better than this.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Welcome to Obviousville

Let me preface this post by saying, I am an idiot.

I started the cooking for Soup Day [today] last night at 9:30. Instead of making both soups at once, I made them one at a time, merely prepping for the second soup as the first was cooking.

This is the stuff I brought:
Yeah. I carried all of this, minus one CrockPot, plus purse and travel cup of tea, extra vats of soup and all requisite Tupperware, from the car. Because I'm an idiot.

This was what I ended up with for the first soup:

It's based on a medieval recipe that uses fresh peas, saffron, almonds and ginger. My rendition has frozen peas, faux saffron, cabbage and ginger. And some other stuff. But it's vegan. And I only brought one vat of it.

This is the second soup:

Clam Chowder. Fairly basic. Extra fat, because hey, I am, after all, still me.

This is the culprit that started it all:

Faux Saffron Cake. No decent person would attach "Cornish" to this thing at all. Okay, okay, it doesn't taste terrible, but the flavor of the cake is dependent on the saffron and as we know, my saffron is a cruel, cruel lie. [Pause for sobbing.] Real saffron cake not only has flavor, it has glorious, golden color. And since we knew my cake-like substance wasn't going to be real,

I didn't use the traditional currants in my cake. I used dried apricots and cherries. Because I could. And what were they going to do about it? Hmmm? That's right; nothing. Sigh. My sad, pale, unsaffron cake. I may have to eat it all to save myself the shame.

Bless Madeira Cake and its sweet reliability.
Doesn't it look like it's smiling at us?

Okay, yeah, I'm tired. I definitely need more than 2.5 hours of sleep. Yes, you read that correctly.

Because I'm an idiot.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Prepare to be shocked.

All right, dearest. Sit down and hold on. I am about to tell you a shocking, yes, SHOCKING tale. You may need to have smelling salts prepared and 9-1-1 predialed on your cell phone. If you have a cell phone. You might not have a cell phone. I don't judge you. Unlike others, who judge me for not being on Facebook. We are above such things, you and I.

But, not shockingly, I digress.

Lately, I have spent time perusing the Internet [not shocking] looking at recipes [really not shocking] for Cornish Saffron Cake [maybe a little surprising] that I wish to make. I decided to try out one of the recipes for Soup Day tomorrow. The directions instruct one to soak the saffron in hot milk overnight. I assume the milk begins as hot and cools in the soaking process, but that's not stated. Neither is it relevant, but since when does that matter?

Since I want to make this tonight, probably after 2200---oh, you do, too, know what that means. It's 10:00 PM. Focus, please. Since I want to make this tonight, I went home at lunch and pulled out the saffron I bought in the market in Luxor, Egypt.

I told you I went to Egypt. No, I did, I'm sure I did. Okay, maybe I didn't. Stop yelling. I'll tell you that saga another day. Back to the saffron.

Now, despite the fact that I all but hermetically sealed the saffron in a glass jar and wrapped the jar in foil to protect the saffron from light, I was a little concerned that age of my saffron might have diminished the flavor, so I was moderately generous with my half-teaspoon measurement. I added it to the hot milk, then left it alone to begin its steeping process as I hustled around the kitchen, prepping for tonight's dinner. Evidently, Roommate doesn't enjoy eating dinner at 2100. [9:00 PM. Don't be difficult.] I thought I'd get a couple of things done beforehand and increase the odds of eating earlier.

So the steak is marinating, the garlic and potatoes are getting to know one another, the salad merely has to be tossed into a bowl, hand-wash dishes are washed, dishwasher is working on the rest of them and I turned and glanced at my steeping saffron.

It's supposed to look like this:

It doesn't. Instead of the strong, vibrant yellow, my steeped milk is...reddish. This may be hard to hear [or read] but now, I believe I was sold fake saffron. Probably chili threads.

This means that an American tourist in Egypt was completely fooled by a spice vendor.

I'll leave you alone to process that. I know. Take your time.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Grappling For Perspective

Sometimes perspective eludes me. Maybe it has something to do with my newly-discovered craptastic vision, but sometimes, I do not have a clear view of my own good fortune and well-being.

The first pair of glasses arrived from Costco.

You know, the ones with the bifocal lenses.

Sadly, I was in a hurry when I picked them up and the people at the Costco optical department were very busy and overworked, so...

I didn't try to read with them while standing there. Big mistake.

I can't freaking read with these glasses.

Not that I read a lot. Oh, noooooooooooo. Only with everything I do. Really, how inconvenient could that be? Pffft!

What a complainer I am.

So. $400, wasted. Glasses that don't work and mock me with their uselessness. A screaming headache from the eyestrain of trying to "get used to them." Okay, not the end of the world.

But they also look like ass on me.

WTF was I thinking, ordering these? Can I blame my craptastic vision????

Insult. Injury. Gah.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Some Wishes Are Easier

Actual email conversation:

To: Roommate
From: Me
Subject: ARG!!!

I should have checked the kitchen scales while we were at Target!!!

To: Me
From: Roommate
Subject: Re: ARG!!!

Target will still be there Wednesday.

To: Roommate
From: Me
Subject: Re: Re: ARG!!!

You don’t know. It might not.

I long for a kitchen scale. I'm not sure how much of the longing is apparent to Roommate, as I am the subtlest of creatures, but it is a deep and profound longing.

You see, dearest invisible friend, it would just make the baking thing so much easier. And better. No, really. See, ingredients like flour can get all squished together. If that happens, a cup of flour can vary enormously in mass. One cup measurement could be nine ounces of flour and another could be six. And if you think of the flour as being made up of flour molecules, and baking as being an exercise in chemical reaction, having way too many flour molecules in the mix could result in...



I know. I hate it when I use that kind of language, too. The chemical jargon right there just threw you off, didn't it? Or maybe you just lapsed into a coma. Sorry. Take a minute. I'm here for you.

Better? Oh, good. Let's get back to me.

Oh, what? Like my inherent self-absorption is a shocker? Pfffft!



Fine. Be all judge-y. Just get me my kitchen scale first and I'll leave you alone to your judgement.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

He's DEAD, Jim.

Darling one, brace yourself. Get tissues. Have a hugger on deck. This may be tough to take.

Refrigerator is dead.

I know, I know. It was a million years old and hideously inefficient. And in the last few days, it was obviously pursuing its secret goal to be an oven. But I'm always sad when the time comes to let something go.

I do so let things go. Don't be mean. In fact, Roommate and I already set for a new refrigerator! We didn't even take time to mourn, but given our delight in refrigeration, this is not terribly shocking, is it?

Anyway, after a quick stop at Weight Watchers last night, Roommate and I popped over to Home Depot to price new refrigerators. Roommate's mother had very graciously agreed to let us purchase the new fridge on her Home Depot credit card, allowing us to repay her before the next billing cycle. Normally, we'd let our landlords handle this, but we were unable to reach them.

Upside: Home Depot is having a huge sale!

Downside: Deliveries are booked out for the next eleven days!!!

Now, despite the fact that we have Home Depot available and the means to acquire a refrigerator, Roommate has been under a dark cloud since this happened. Really dark. Seriously dark. Looking-for-the-twister-to-touch-down-and-did-you-say-your-name-was Dorothy dark. She's been enormously put out by this situation and even though she and her mother went to buy and arrange for delivery for the refrigerator this morning, she hasn't been able to unclench and see it as an inconvenience that will be solved very shortly.

This wasn't helped by the fact that her mother insisted on returning home immediately after the sales transaction was completed, completely unwilling to have the new fridge loaded into the back of her truck and transported to our house. Roommate spent a fair amount of time trying to reach our friend with a truck to arrange for a pick-up.

So. New fridge purchased. Not yet delivered or transported by us. Dark, flying-monkey-filled cloud hovering over Roommate's head. But really, problem was essentially solved. The solution was simply...pending. I wasn't thrilled at the thought of getting a 172-pound appliance up the three stairs to our house and into the spot in the kitchen, but...[extremely Gallic shrug] What's to be done? The problem-solving was nearly complete.

Until the landlords called us back from an appliance store, having just purchased a new refrigerator for us.

Timing. It's a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Could I get a little spin on this?

So I have a Flex Spending Account. It's one of the benefits of working the job I do.


Yeah. One of few. Anyway. It's something that allows money to be taken from my paycheck--WHOO HOO!!! What could be better than that?--before taxes and held in account for healthcare costs not covered by my insurance. All I have to do is send an itemized bill to the flex-account people [or whatever they're actually called] and magically, money appears.

Yes, it's my money. It's not like anyone's just giving it to me. I earned it. But here's the kicker: if I don't spend/submit bills for all of it...

...it's gone.


This year was a relatively healthy year. No molars splitting in two for no damn good reason. No out-of-pocket therapy costs, though, whom am I kidding, I probably could have used some. No random, moose-related injury-repair surgeries. So at year's end, I had about $450 left in this account.

What to do?

I had a plan.

The plan was this. I would wait until nearly year's end, go get an updated prescription for my eyes, and replace the glasses I've had for better than three years. This way, if anything, moose-related or not, came up, I'd have my cushion.

It's not just a hat rack, my friend. I'm not just a pretty face.

But that was my plan. it was a good plan. It was a solid plan. And then, in the way of all plans, the Omnipotent Comedian had a giggle. December was an unsurprising bundle of activity and despite my rather remarkable cleverness, my plan fell straight out of my brain. Until the 28th.

Do you know how hard it is to get a medical appointment on the last business day of the calendar year?

I managed to worm my way into an appointment at the vision center at the mall [shudder] on Friday and ordered my glasses from Costco on Saturday.

That's right, Costco. On a Saturday.

Yeah...you're thinking less and less of my intelligence, aren't you? But it really wasn't too bad. The optical department is the least insane spot in the asylum.

Anyway. I went to Costco, ordered two pairs of glasses and managed to blow the remainder of the Flex Spending Account because....

[Wait for it.]

The bifocals I now need cost a whole lot more!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yup. So let's revisit the whole dating site profile, shall we? As much as I adore the brilliance of this suggestion:

"Are you the kind of guy frustrated with women not witty enough to keep up with you, with ladies too demure to offer an honest opinion? Do you like food enough to know the difference between Pho Tai and Faux Thai, and want someone with whom you can watch Iron Chef and shout at the screen when the judges make a bad call? Are you secure enough that you can be around a woman more passionate about hockey than you? Then hey, buddy, have I got someone you should meet..."
By Anonymous on The Search For Next on 1/3/12

There is more information we need to include.

How do we work in the sheer fabulousness of being a bifocal-wearing, Volvo-driving, romance-reading spinster into the profile?

Obviously, I need a spin doctor.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's What?

Okay, dear one. I know we're going to talk about the New Year and resolutions and weight goals and exercise goals and writing plans and blah blah blah. But before we do any of that, you simply must see this commercial:

Crystal Light Bwahahahahaha!

Oh, lord. I'm still wheezing.