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Dodged Another Bullet


Another prominent feature of this time of year is the annual Trimming Of The Budget For The New Year. Another job has been eliminated. Once again, it is not mine. Thus far, it seems I have managed to snag a seat for another year in the annual corporate game of musical chairs (jobs). How I looooove what this business has become. That being said, it's still much better here than at some other companies and it's lightyears better than Dysfunction Junction.


One of my co-workers went into full-on panic mode when the current cut was announced. It made me wonder how I can be so calm about this sort of stuff. Maybe because of my experiences at Dysfunction Junction....where I watched all manner of cutting and gutting going on over the years. Maybe I just got used to the annual bloodbath there. Here it's only been one...maybe two jobs that go bye-bye every year. Which, yeah, is not good...but it's not as brutal as what went on at Dysfunction Junction....like that time we merged with another company and a full 1/3 of the staff was given their walking papers on the same day in one fell swoop.


I dunno. Live through something like that and something like the Great Crash of 2003 and your ability to panic over near-misses wanes a bit.


So, Wednesday and today this city woke up to snowstorms that peaked during the morning commute. Both days, I still hauled my butt to the gym...Wednesday through 3 or 4" of snow and today through about 2" of snow. I just want it noted, that's all. I have been doing the early-morning workouts for 4 or 5 weeks now, and I must grudgingly admit that it's working out (no pun intended) much better than I would've thought. I'm getting there much more consistantly than when I was planning the gym after work. What I like best, I think, is the knowledge that, at the end of the workday, I can go home and just stay there and not do anything if I don't want to...because I'd already gone to the gym and exercised in the morning.


So, it's a simple and basic chili mac for dinner tonight...only I'll have it with rice instead of pasta...in any event, with my part of the world looking like a snow globe and temperatures that are struggling to get out of the 20's, it seems like it's the right time for chili mac.

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Screaming Kitty


So, it was time to take my gray & white boy cat to the vet for his annual shots. The vet stresses him out, so he gets a little kitty valium about an hour before the appointment.


Apparently he needed a larger dose than what they told me to give him, because he went into full-on Drama Queen mode as soon as the vet walked in the room.


Now, he wasn't always like this when it was time for his shots. In the last few years though, he's really decided he DOESN'T want to be there. I don't know what happened or why. The other cat has absolutely no problems with the vet and she has more reason to as this is the place we brought her to have her spayed when we first got her.


Anyway, I gave him his kitty valium and he was acting kinda mellower than usual. Put him in his carrier when it was time to leave, and he was ok with that. Got to the vet office and he was a little aprehensive, but still ok. Vet tech got a look at him, still fine. The vet walks in and just tries to pet him and he lets loose with a scream (the first of MANY) that they heard through the ENTIRE vet clinic. She hadn't even touched him and he was screaming.


It got worse from there...and included him losing control of his bladder at one point.


Managed to get the exam done...with much histronics about the stethoscope being held against his little rib cage...his lungs and heart and guts sounded good (well, except for the growling and hissing, I imagine). He was kind enough to give me a sample of kitty poo earlier that morning, so they were able to check for intestinal parasites (negative). We decided to do his shots at another appointment...with a bigger dose of kitty valium before hand, so I got those pills, too. We go back in 2 weeks.


I swear, I don't know what his kitty issues are. I mean, I could understand getting growly and screaming when he actually got the shots...but he just goes into full-on panic mode when the vet walks into the room. I doubt the vet is the problem, because the other cat likes her just fine and makes nice with her even after she's been given her shots. But my cat seems to have long-term memory and the ability to hold a grudge (much like his owner...).


On the other hand, he's no problem when we put the monthly dose of flea/tick/heartworm preventative on him...but the other cat acts like we're trying to kill her when we go to put that on her.


My cat's histronics at the vet was pretty much the most exciting thing that happened around here this weekend. Made some cookies. I had a package of cherry-flavored dried cranbierries and noticed a recipe on the back that looked pretty good. link removed I'm already wanting to tinker with it, though...and probably will the next time I get some time to bake. Just two changes -- use dried cherries instead of cherry-flavored dried cranberries....and use semi-sweet chocolate instead of milk chocolate. The cookies are good, but I was really wanting a stronger chocolate taste than the milk chocolate chips provided, so I think the semi-sweet chips should do it.

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The Other Thing That Happened This Weekend


So, I made one of my very infrequent trips to some radio-related message boards over the weekend. I don't go there much as it's generally a lot of nasty, mean, petty, sniping, back-biting/back-stabby kinds of comments from people who are working in the industry. We are (apparently) a bitter, angry, nice-to-your-face-but-seething-with-all-kinds-of-negativity bunch in this business. Either that or people who have never worked in the industry...or did so briefly 20 years ago...attempting to tell whoever will listen how things SHOULD be run...and chiming in with their own nasty, petty, mean, sniping, back-biting sorts of comments inbetween spewing ideas that have no grounding in reality.


Anyhow, I ran accross some posts about my old station. Seems they're on the second wave of replacements since I left. Out of curiosity, I googled the name I used to use on the air back then.


It's like I never existed. Nothing about me (under that name) on the net at all. As always, it's a mix of emotions I have in reaction to that. On the one hand, I always knew, logically, that happens. That it doesn't matter how big a part of a radio station you are...how good your ratings are...how much you do for the station...that once you're not employed there anymore, they will go on without you...and in a few years, no one will remember you were ever there at all.


At the same time, it's something of an ego check when it happens to you. In particular because I gave so much to that place for most of my adult life. So much that I neglected to set up boundaries and take care of myself and it left me depleted and broken on my bathroom floor 4 years ago. And even that wasn't enough to leave any sort of trace of my involvement there just a few years after the fact.


Is it any wonder I have the "I don't care" attitude toward work and the "Why give 100% when they're happy with 75%" attitude? They're not paying me enough to "give my all" again. They couldn't pay me enough to do that again. And, somehow, the fact that it's like I (under that old on-air name) never even existed really reinforces my feeling that it would be incredibly stupid to give that much to an employer or a job again.

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An Example Of How Weird This Business Is


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This didn't happen here...but I've had similar situations (minus the firearms, thank God) crop up over my 25 years in this business.


13. "Man demands coupons from radio station employee"

A radio station employee was threatened at gunpoint when an angry patron was unhappy with the promotional bumper stickers he received. The patron demanded McDonald's coupons instead; when the employee didn't have any, the man flashed what looked like a handgun. She searched her car and found a coupon for a free cheeseburger. The man took it, made a derogatory comment about the radio station and rode away on his bike.

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That's Not What Happened!


Be warned. This will make very little sense because I'll be leaving out identifying details, thus making it very hard to follow. Also, I imagine I will sound out-of-control/angry/paranoid/and like I'm losing it. It's a combination vent/rant and I do not have my paper journal with me at the moment...otherwise I'd just write it there in all it's name-calling, detail-telling glory. This is very intentionally written in this way so I can get past those initial emotions and process through what I just saw.


That's the sanitized, revisionist version of what happened after my crash, and you know it. You couldn't deal with what REALLY happened and so you cleaned it up in your mind (read: LIED TO YOURSELF) so you could live with it. I didn't have that option. I had to walk through the fall-out step by agonizing step and re-build my career, myself, my life...and I wrote every step of the way. I wrote it all down as it happened, so I know your version of events is WRONG. But that is probably the only way you can live with yourself. If I did half the crap you did, I couldn't bear to look at myself in the mirror every day.


Your time is coming, though. You will reap what you've sown, as do we all. Your co-horts have had a rough go of things as their own actions caught up to them these last few years. I can't say it makes me happy when I hear the twists and turns their lives and fortunes have taken. Happy isn't the right word at all. I don't derive any pleasure out of seeing people suffer misfortune...particularly when that trickles down to others who had little (if anything) to do with it...people like spouses and children. However, I do find some cold comfort in seeing that, ultimately, bad behavior is NOT rewarded and that what you do WILL come back to haunt you later.


Sometimes I think I shoulda taken (name)'s advice and filed that lawsuit. God knows I had grounds for it...and a paper trail...but I thought the time and aggravation would be more hell raining down on me than I wanted. I also know there would've been a demand for silence. "No talking about what happened." I've thought a few times, "What is the price for my silence?" I couldn't come up with a number that was high enough. So, even if I had decided to put myself through that kinda crap, the payoff at the end would've been completely negated by selling my silence .


I look forward to the day where I can make it through this time of year and NOT have any of these kinds of flashbacks. That I can sail through these last few weeks of the year 100% unconcerned by all of this...instead of just getting through most of it in a good place. It is my goal to get there sooner rather than later. I was doing so well this year until today.


But I will not give you the whole day. At this point, I'm not even sure I'm going to give you the whole hour. It's not worth it and you are not worth it. You (all of you involved) and that place are not worth my time, effort, tears, or anger. Justice is not mine to mete out, but you-all seem to be doing a fine job of getting yourself into some bad positions because of your own decisions and actions. I don't need to trouble myself with that. Karma (for lack of a better word) will deal with you in ways and forms that would be far more meaningful and appropriate than I could ever think up on my own.

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I Thought It Was Too Quiet....


...on the gallbladder front. Not so much as a twinge since the huge attack the Monday before Halloween. Until last night. It wasn't so bad, though. Woke up around 2am with some minor pain which increased some and resolved in about a half hour. I was up for about an hour and a half altogether, so I'm a bit drowsy today...and a bit tender through the upper stomach area. Nothing like last time, though.


Just a few more weeks and I'm back on the good insurance. Three weeks from yesterday, to be exact. I just have to get through the next (almost) three weeks.


Pretty much over yesterday's flashback. It's over and done and I got out of there and moved onto something better. In this case, there is nothing to be gained by looking backwards, so I return my focus to here and now.


Last night we ventured out to ConsumerLand. That's what we call the local upscale malls. Even this time of year, it's not too crowded on a weekday night. I can't remember the last time I actually bought anything at ConsumerLand. Well, other than my #50 disher and measuring set at the last cooking class I took. But in terms of clothing or other non-kitchen items, ConsumerLand is probably my last choice. I'm just too damn cheap to buy things there. All I can think is, "Crap, I can get this cheaper at WalMart/KMart/Meijer/Other Discount Store."


Anyway, we were browsing the book store and my husband found this book link removed. Flipped through it real quickly and there are some really great pictures of the band in its early days in there. Queen was the first band I really liked and they still hold a special place in my heart today. There is nothing...I mean nothing...that can soothe and comfort me like Queen tunes when I'm not in a good place. But I see that amazon has that book for a lot less than the book store at ConsumerLand wanted. Why am I not surprised.

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...and Crampy and Bloaty, too. The other 4 dwarves (Bleedy, Sleepy, Whiney, and Headachy) will be arriving anytime now. Actually Headachy made an appearance this morning and is sort of lingering in spite of attempts to medicate it away.


I've noticed I have 2 types of migraines. One is the classic one-sided/sensitive to light, sounds & smells type. The other feels like a very large hand pressing down on the top of my head and can include light & sound sensitivity, too. I'm having the "downward pressure" type, but don't think it's severe enough to waste a Zomig on...not to mention dealing with the side effects of the Zomig.


So, I started reading this book link removed I got from the library a couple days ago. I'm just a few pages in, and already wondering how this journey is going to be different for me. A number of things she talks about in terms of changes in relationships apply to women who took the more traditional track of marrying before 30 and having children. How they change their focus when the "veil of reproductive hormones is lifted." (I really liked that phrase...'cause God knows I've had enough times that hormones made me stupid)


Anyway, for the woman who has spent much of her life catering to and sacrificing her own needs/wants for her children and husband, menopause can typically bring changes and demands for "me time" and a move outward into the world and new activities/pursuits (or the rekindling of interest in activities & pursuits that were given up when a husband and children entered the picture). And some relationships/marriages survive this transition, but many do not.


But that's not the path I took. Most of my adult life has been all about "me time." I've never given up anything for children (don't have any) and I've given up very little for previous partners. By the time I met my husband, I think I had pretty much figured out what it was necessary for me to NOT give up, and I haven't. She talks about how many women "find their voice" during this time of life, and I'm just thinking, "I never lost my damn voice. I've had it all along. When I got to an age where girls start to get told to shut up and be nice, I put my voice to paper and started writing."


It hasn't really been much of a priority to please anyone but myself, really. No matter if we're talking in terms of career choices or recreational activities or style of clothing or getting married or spiritual beliefs or pretty much anything. I mean, I didn't even bother getting married until after my 38th birthday. Didn't even think marriage was a good idea for me until I got past 36.


So I'll continue reading the book. And I'm sure I'll pick up some good ideas from it. At the same time, though, I'm going to know that some of it just isn't going to apply to me because I took a very different path. Some of the things she's written about "being able to do" during menopause are things I've been doing all along during the course of my life thus far. Even as I was living it, I kinda realized I was much more "me-centric" than women I knew who were about the same age as me.


So, if I've already done some of the things and made some of the transitions that most women go through during menopause...will it really be all that different than what I've already experienced? Will the changes really be all that big? From what little I've read so far, it seems to me to be things I've already been doing anyway. SSDD. (Where the last "D" would mean "decade" in this case).


Only time will tell. In the meantime, I doubt I'm going to miss Bloaty, Crampy, Bleedy, Whiney, Sleepy, Headacy & Irritable all that much.

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Just START Already!


The PMS is really bothering me this cycle. Most of this week, I have been bloaty, crampy, achy, and more than ready to rip people's heads off. If I could crawl out of my skin right now, I would. It's not comfortable in here in either a physical or mental sense. And the food cravings...all the stuff I've been avoiding to lessen my chance of triggering a gallbladder attack...all the stuff that I've been noticing that I don't really miss anyway...I want it ALL right now...and in quantity.


This, in a word, sucks.


Today, I had a bit of a realization driving to work. I left my ipod home, so I was sampling different radio stations during my commute. After passing up about a half dozen stations because the particular song that was on was reminding me of something I didn't want to think about, I had a thought as to why I've become so fascinated with the Urban/Hip Hop station for the past 1.5-2 years.


I have no memories tied to that music.


Most any song in a pop/rock/mainstream/Adult Contemporary/Top 40/alternative pop-rock sort of vein makes me think of something else or some other time. And most of the time, that's ok. But there are too many songs that are like little landmines for me and remind me of things, times, places, people and events that I'd rather not be reminded of.


No musical landmines at the Urban/Hip Hop station. Only memories associated with that are of painting the house after we bought it and before we moved in, which is when I first started listening to it a lot.


This dawned on me after hitting a string of landmine songs on 5 or 6 different stations in a row this morning...and then tuning in the Urban/Hip Hop station and leaving it there. It's just there. It doesn't make me think of ex-boyfriends or stuff that happened at the stations I used to work at, or anything like that. It's just there and talks about a kind of lifestyle I know precious little about (clubbin and thuggin and cheatin and so forth).


For me, it's the emotional equivilent of beige.

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Bloody Mess


Late Saturday...so late that it was almost Sunday, really...the bleeding finally started. I coulda cheered. The end of this miserableness was in sight...a mere 24 to 36 hours away. Although I was uncomfortable yesterday, it was a purely physical discomfort that a couple ibuprofen, a hot shower and a nap eliminated in a short amount of time. I no longer have the desire to crawl out of my skin. Woo-hoo!


So, I read more of the menopause book over the weekend. More stuff that I was thinkin' didn't really apply to me because it followed that track of women who got married in their 20's and had children. I was reading about some of the things that happen when these women hit their 40's and some things she had written about PMS and its relationship to perimenopausal symptoms and then it hit me.


I did have a rather significant "relationship" that started in my late teens and was explosively severed right before my 40th birthday...it just wasn't with a spouse or other SO. It was my old job. I went back an re-read some of the second chapter and I can see how I operated in that job in a similar way to women who marry young and have children operate in their family structure.


I remember a time where I'd argue (and definitely did so) with anyone who'd try to tell me it was "just a job." At that time, it wasn't just a job to me...it was so much more. The station I worked at...and eventually got to program for a brief time...was my "baby." I sacrificed for it and cared way too much about it. As I read this book, I'm coming to the conclusion that some kind of meltdown as I hit midlife was inevitable. It just didn't take place (or hasn't taken place?) in the "normal" area of life most women tend to have it.


But I never claimed to be normal or to do things like most people. While there may be similarities in the overall progression of this transition, I trust that my journey will have (and has had) my own unique touches and flourishes that make it mine alone.


Made brioche yesterday. It was time-consuming but turned out well. Not really what I was after, though. I realized after I took a bite that I had been wanting link removed. They're similar but not the same. So, it's time to surf the net and find a decent-sounding recipe for Ensaimada.


Just not anytime soon, because I'm not sure I want to devote an entire day to bread dough again right away. That is one upside about the foccacia...it's not as labor-intensive or time consuming. It also doesn't have a stick and a half of butter and 3 eggs in it like the brioche.....

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Can You Say, "Ho, Ho, Ho?"


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I thought you could.


Feeling almost normal today...finally. On the one hand, it's probably a good thing that my cycle has been very regulated for most of this year and within the range of what's considered normal. On the other hand, I kinda liked not having a period every freakin' 4 weeks. Ah, whatever. In another 10 or so years, this will not be an issue anymore. Can't get here soon enough as far as I'm concerned.


Got a Christmas card from someone I used to work with about a decade ago. It was in yesterday's mail. A pleasant surprise and way better than bills.


In two weeks, I will have decent health insurance coverage again. Not that I'm counting down the days or anything. This year has been such an eye-opener in a lot of less-than-pleasant ways. On the upside, I am once again surprised at my own resourcefulness and my ability to deal with the various crises that arise in the course of living. Crap may knock me down now and again, but it doesn't keep me down long. In link removed-speak, "Resiliency...I has it."


I was talking to one of my regular listeners today and he said, "Y'know, you have such a great attitude." It made me laugh because, years ago, it was my attitude that got me fired from the last non-radio-related job I had. After a particularly hectic morning at this hellish fast food place, I voiced aloud the opinion that I couldn't wait until I got my first payin' radio gig. That got me canned for having a bad attitude. Apparently, having aspirations greater than shoving bags of food and cups of coffee out a window every morning was some sort of character flaw.


I got a paying gig at my school's radio station a week or so later. No biggie. Been continuously employed (in radio) ever since. Stuff like that works out for me. It always has. Even before I believed it did.

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What Sounded Good Today




Was reading more in the menopause book about the life-restructuring that is so common with women in their 40's as they go into menopause. It really resonated with me. The doc who wrote it is very into the mind-body connection in regard to our health, believing that the thoughts and attitudes we have play a large part in determining our physical health...up to and including diseases and conditions we end up developing.


As I was reading what I read this morning, more things make sense. Like that little detour I took to revisit the eating disorder and body image issues. It's really not a surprise that cropped up again for me in midlife. There were things that needed to be dealt with or dealt with at a deeper level. That I've returned to my pre-marriage weight (i.e. the weight I comfortably and easily maintained most of my adult & recovered life) with really little to no effort and no intentional focus on weight says to me that I've been dealing with what needed attention. It's an on-going process to be sure, but it's starting to feel like I'm much further along than I was a year or two ago. Enough of this particular journey is behind me that I can look at where I am now, look at where I was and make some sense of it. You can't do that when you're at the beginning or somewhere in the middle.


Shifting the focus from weight and size to health and what makes me physically feel better and what makes me feel physically worse and choosing accordingly. That's been part of it.


One of the things I've done that I suspect is going to make this transition easier is this. This scrawling of mine. With the exception of a few years in college when I got really depressed, I have always done this. Because of that, I've never lost my voice. I may not have always listened to it, but it never went silent, like many other women's voices. Those few years I didn't consciously write in a journal (I have a lot of pieces of scrap paper with random things written on them with no date and no organization from that time period)....I sometimes wonder if I got depressed and stopped writing....or if stopping writing caused the depression to get overwhelming. The random pieces of paper I have from that time (now put together in something resembling chronological order in a binder), look and read like frantically scrawled notes...something to relieve some sort of internal pressure. And that is what they probably were.


All I know is that, at a time when the outside world starts telling girls they should be pretty, sweet little things and their focus should be on boys and being appealing to them, my 12 year old tomboy self was smart enough to find a way to keep true to herself and speak in such a way that I'd still be able to hear her some 30 years later.


Yay for her. Yay for me. We'll be tackling this journey together.

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Things I Have Witnessed In My World This Week


>Someone who is the biggest gossip I know and who generally doesn't have a kind word to say about anybody trying to be all sweetness and niceness in the aftermath of a colleague's death. Can you say "crocodile tears?" I thought you could.


>A woman at the gym who cracked open a 2 liter bottle of Mountain Dew and proceeded to drink the entire 2 liter bottle during her work-out. It's not that she recycled the bottle and it was filled with water. Nope, it was a brand new from the manufacturer and filled with regular Mountain Dew.


>Someone I helped with a Warcrack quest gave me 35 motes of water. I was killing these eels farming motes and offered to group with this lower-level player so he could knock out his quest and get credit for my kills. When he got his quest kills, he gave me all the motes of water he had gotten as drops. Given the usual drop rate there, he saved me a good hour and a half or two hours of killing those stupid eels.


>Someone behaving like a jerk to all the people they encounter, and when called on it plays the "Oh, I had a bad childhood/I was abused" card. I'm not buying it. Maybe your parents beat you to within an inch of your life when you were a kid, but that was decades ago and it doesn't give you the right to be an ass now. Take some responsibility for yourself, deal with your issues, start treating people as you'd like to be treated, and stop being an ass. I'm not going to excuse your poor behavior because of things that may or may not have happened to you decades ago. Time to grow up.


>I got an email from someone who still works at Dysfunction Junction. Even when I think that place can't get anymore messed up, they take crazy to a whole new level. Was it ever a good place to work? Or was I just too young and inexperienced to know any better?




>Last night I had a dream about someone I haven't actually seen in about 20 years. In the dream, I found myself wondering, "What the heck did I ever see in you, anyway?"


>My cat has only been using me as a heat source. He started sitting on my lap when I played Warcrack. Until we brought one of his kitty beds in the computer room and it ended up in the path of the space heater. Now he sits there on his kitty bed in front of the space heater. If the space heater isn't on, he'll start head-butting it and meowing.

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So This Is Christmas...


"Let's go to Wal-Mart," he said at 4 o'clock on the afternoon of December 24.


"Why? It's going to be totally stupid there....not to mention the traffic," I replied.


"Yeah, I know. But I want to see just how stupid it is."


So off we went. Once we got there we got a hot pretzel and a drink to share while we sat and watched the madhouse. We saw the store's posted holiday hours indicating a closing time of 6pm on Christmas Eve.


"Good luck with that. They're still gonna be ringing up people at 8," he said.


After walking around the store and having the pretzel (all the while observing the variety of shoppers and stupidity), we left sometime after 5 and went home. We are easily amused. Very easily.


For Christmas dinner (Yes, it's veal. Yes, I know it's some poor, mistreated baby cow and all the rest. I also know I have never cooked veal and this is a classic dish I want to try making. I belong to the other PETA -- People Eating Tasty Animals. If it so happens you're ready to fire off some "save the baby cows and go Vegan you cruel witch" email, spare yourself the time and effort. I'm too far gone to be saved.): link removed. I think some sort of plain pasta as a side works...along with a salad and some broccoli or green beans. It's not the sort of thing we'd have real often...what with veal cutlets going for about $16 a pound at the butcher. Even the two 5 oz. cutlets I got for us are too pricey for this to be anything but a special occaision meal.


Canned food for the kitties today. Normally they get dry food. Every once in a while, I give them the canned stuff because they both appear to looooooove it so much. The only kind of canned cat food that doesn't completely gross me out smell-wise is Fancy Feast. When they get it, I split a 3oz. can between the two of them, so it's really more of a kitty treat than anything. Today, because it's Christmas...each of them gets a whole can. Big Day for the kitties...and they don't even know it yet.

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Hello, World!


So, the computers at work have been royally messed up all week. They took us offline and shut down email before noon on Monday and we are just getting these things back now. When the network was down and our connection to the outside world was off, people were walking around here aimlessly, looking very lost. There was lots of work area and file cleaning going on because people couldn't figure out what else to do without a computer hooked into a network, email and Internet. I played more Freecell in the last several days than I have in years. At work. I swear, if they ever figured out how much work we don't really do, they'd pay us even less.


I had to resort to writing in a paper journal. The horror.


So, that's been the Big Event this week.


The veal (Christmas Dinner) was quite tasty, although I only managed to eat about half of my cutlet. It was very rich and after about half, I'd had enough. Real butter will do that.


Had a couple dreams about people I haven't seen in well over 20 years this week. It's weird to have these dreams, then slowly wake up and realize they haven't been part of your life for a couple of decades (or more). Then again, between work and my choice of stations on XM, I'm surrounded by music from 20 or so years ago on a daily basis. Is it any wonder my brain barfs up other images from that time while I'm sleeping? I think not. All the same, I don't know that having those individuals in my conscious thoughts now is really something I wanna be doing a lot.


Note To Self: The next time people tell you "Oh, you'd be good at that!" Take it with a large grain of salt, and please remember chances are excellent that you know yourself way, way better than they know you. Just because you might "be good at something" doesn't mean you'll enjoy it. So, now, I'm dealing with a situation where, if I had listened to myself in the first place (My gut was saying, "I don't really want to do this"), I wouldn't be having to deal with anything now. But I am. Oh, well. It'll be over in another day or so, I imagine. At least that's what I'm hoping for.


It has occurred to me that I really should print out this thread and print out the contents of my old Xanga blog at some point so that I have a hard copy to put with my paper journals. I will have some time off over New Years Eve/New Years Day, so maybe that's a likely time to deal with that. I'd have to buy some paper and ink for the printer, though. Maybe when I'm off Saturday.....

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Time To Cook


That's what happens when you somehow manage to get nearly 4 days off in a row. It was an odd set of circumstances that don't happen often in this business, but my prescence was not required for the long holiday weekend. I had to stop in briefly on Saturday and Monday to check the automation, but it was for less than an hour and I decided when I came in.


As such, I had some time to cook. I made an herb focaccia. I like making breads because working with yeast is kinda fascinating to me. Throw a packet of it in with the right things, walk away, and when you come back the dough has grown. It's sorta sci-fi/horror movie creepy...all those little living beings producing gas in the bread dough.....


Anyway, I made that. Then I made a pot of chicken stock. Saw this recipe for Chicken Pot Pie: link removed on TV and decided to make it...with some tinkering. First off, I boiled the chicken (and made stock) instead of roasting it. The chicken was a frozen brick-o-chicken when I decided to make it...and the recipe also calls for chicken stock...so making the stock got the chicken cooked and created the stock for the sauce. I also cut the recipe by half, since there's only 2 of us. Used frozen deep-dish pie crusts instead of making the pastry dough from scratch. Much as I like bread-making, there've been some pastry dough.....incidents....but let's not talk about that.


Other changes to the Ina Garten recipe....used cubed potatoes instead of pearl onions. Hubby's not a fan of chunky onion...and I think the pearl onions PLUS the chopped onion in the sauce would've been some serious onion overkill. Used milk instead of cream. Didn't have any cream and wasn't going to go to the store just for 2 tablespoons of cream. The full recipe only called for a 1/4 cup of cream, and I was making half. It was fine with just the regular 2% milk. Used 2 deep dish pie shells for a top and bottom crust, since my hubby's of the opinon that chicken pot pie needs a top and bottom crust. I tend to agree.


It was very, very good. Still have a good amount of leftovers. Reading over the recipe reviews, I see it's a very flexible recipe that lends itself to tinkering. It's one of those things where it's more about learning the basic procedure and method and then using what you have available. I was able to use up the remainder of a bag of onions, a bag of carrots and a package of frozen peas. It was a good recipe in that I had the basics of it on hand already (albeit some of them were frozen solid....) Didn't seem to hurt it any.


Next time, I can cut back on the amount a little more (I have a container with chicken filling that didn't fit in the pie shell. Not much...but it would be better if it would ALL fit in the pie shell.) And maybe add some mushrooms to the filling. I think that would be good. Potatoes, carrots, peas & mushrooms.


New Year's Eve we went to dinner at our favorite Chinese restaurant. Ordered some Sizzling Rice Soup. I have been toying with the idea of trying to make something similar. Well, I now have a couple quarts of leftover chicken stock. The chicken pot pie only called for 2.5 cups...and I challenge anyone to come up with only 2.5 cups of stock when you start off with 4 chicken thighs and a boneless breast.


So there we were at the Chinese restaurant and I'm scribbling down on a scrap piece of paper what vegetables I could identify in the Sizzling Rice Soup. I have looked up recipes for it online before, and it really doesn't look all that complex. The only part I'm not real certain on is the glutinous rice. The soup itself is a pretty straightforward chicken broth with slices of white meat chicken and vegetables.


Stock freezes, so it's not like I have to have this figured out in the next day or two.

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It Passes The Leftover Test!


My husband, who rarely eats leftovers, has killed the remaining chicken pot pie...snarfing down leftovers for dinner last night and taking what was left for his lunch today. This is a rarity. Mark your calendar because this is a near-historic event of epic proportions.


I found some reasonable-sounding directions for making the crispy rice for the sizzling rice soup, so it's just a matter of getting the vegetables for the soup. Maybe I will make that Saturday. Skimmed the fat off the top of the chilled stock last night and put it into another container. It looks good...all golden-ish and stuff. Could use a strain through a finer wire mesh strainer, though....


So I get up this morning, and stumble into the computer room. Turn on the light and what's the first thing I see? My gray and white cat on the floor, in the kitty meatloaf position, a few inches in front of the space heater (which had been shut off all night), STARING at it very intently. (see pic of cat here for kitty meatloaf position if you're not familiar with the term: link removed) He blinked a few times when the light came on, then looked up at me, meowed, and looked very pointedly at the heater. I've been replaced as the preferred heat source, apparently. I'm just the human who makes the preferred heat source work now.


Ended up shoveling snow off the driveway and sidewalks last night. It seems "snow removal" falls under same category as "yard work" which means it's held in the same disdain by certain individuals. Which means if I want it done, it's a DIY project. It's a point of annoyance, as are several other household chores. There are some things, however, that don't change...so the goal becomes find a way to live with it. Everybody's got different priorities, I guess...I have no intention of changing mine.


Found out there is a Saturday morning yoga class at the gym that I would find tolerable. It's not my super-slow, relaxing, head-spacey Hatha yoga...but it's not that work-up-a-sweat-like-an-aerobics-class Power yoga, either. It's as close to what I ideally want from a yoga class as I'm going to get at a gym. The plusses: it's at a convenient time for me and it's one of the classes that are available with my normal monthly club dues. So that'll give me 3 yoga classes a week and 3 cardio/weight workouts a week. Much like the early-morning workouts, let's try that and see how it goes.


Speaking of the early-morning workouts...I've been doing that for 2 months now and it's going real well. I get there more consistently and I start off the day feeling like I've accomplished something before I even get to work. It also completely avoids that situation where my husband tells me he wants to go to the gym with me and then bails at the last minute half the time. What with his late-night Warcrack raiding and work schedule, getting him out of bed at 6am just isn't going to happen. Again, it comes down to different priorities. Particularly in this area, I am not changing mine. If I want to look after my health properly, I cannot change mine. At the same time, I cannot force him to change his, either. So, it is what it is.


I started thinking back on where I was 10 years ago. Mostly because of this black cotton turtleneck top I'm wearing today. I've had it a long time. I was trying to remember just how long and one way was by thinking of the different places I'd seen it in the laundry. Far as I can remember, it dates back to the one-bedroom apartment in the woods...then I was thinking that I lived there 10 years ago...but then I remembered I lived there over the winter of 1996-97 and it's 2008 now, so that's how I got to thinking about where I was living in early 1998....and what my life looked like at that point.


That was the big one bedroom apartment with a huge kitchen and bathroom and a separate dining room. The square footage of that apartment rivaled that of some small houses. It was a place I walked into and thought, "I could live here for a long time." I ended up living there 2 years. Initially, though, I had planned on being there a lot longer than that.


I rented that place sight unseen. It wasn't empty when I came around looking for a place to live, so they showed me the complex manager's 2-bedroom apartment to give me an idea of what the units looked like. It was another of those situations where everything was falling into place and I was following the "coincidences," so I agreed to take the one-bedroom sight unseen. I didn't see the inside of it until I showed up with my first load of crap to move in. That's when I got the feeling I could live there a long while.


I was right accross the hall from the laundry room. I got my first computer when I was in that apartment. I had my first "therapy wall" in that apartment. It was all purple hearts. I wrote different affirmations on paper I had cut into different size heart-shapes and used different shades of purple crayons to color them before taping them to the wall. Later versions of the therapy wall included printed out song-lyrics (in different colors and fonts) taped to the wall. I'd tape up lyrics or affirmations or other words that meant something to me at the time. One of the ways my husband initially scored some major points with me was by reading EVERY scrap of paper taped to the wall when I first met him (no small task)...and realizing they told a story of sorts.


I kinda miss having a "therapy wall," but at the same time I don't really know what I'd put up there now. Every place we've lived, he's intentionally kept stuff off one wall so I'd have space to do a therapy wall if I wanted/needed to. At one point, I was thinkin' if I ever owned a house, I'd just buy different colored Sharpies and write directly on the wall instead of taping bits of paper to it.


But there's something to ponder: If I was to do a therapy wall now, what would I want to put on it?

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Hey, If It's Not Too Much Trouble....


...you think I could maybe get on the hip & thigh machine? I mean, if it wouldn't interrupt the conversation you gals have been sitting there having while I did the entire rest of my routine......


There are these 2 women who happen to go to the gym about the same time and days I do. In my head, I have taken to calling them Grizelda and Esmeralda. I don't know why. They walk around the track, chatting. Then, they start using various weight machines. Every time I see them, they are on 2 adjoining machines (usually 2 of the same thing) chatting. Lemme paint a picture, here: yak, yak, yak, one rep, two rep, yak, yak, yak, one rep, two rep, yak, yak, yak, yak, yak, yak, yak....and repeat for upwards of 10 minutes or more per machine(s) they use. Am I wrong in thinking the weight machines are not an appropriate place to sit and socialize?


GAWD. A little awareness, people. That's all I'm askin' for here. A little awareness that you aren't the only ones in the gym who are aimin' to use the equipment. Some of us have to be out of the gym by a specific time so we can get to work on time, for Pete's sake. If you want to sit and talk, go out for coffee instead. Jeez.


I try to work around them as much as I can. Most days it resolves itself since it seems there's really only 2 machines we intersect on. If I see them at the gym, and they're not using those 2 machines, I grab 'em first and get 'em out of the way before they tie them up for 10 or 15 or more minutes. It wouldn't bother me if they were actually USING the machines the entire time they were on them, but they don't. I have seen people who spend that much time on various pieces of equipment, but they're actually USING the equipment as part of their routine, so it's no problem. Grizelda and Esmeralda spend much more time chatting than actually working out and it just irritates the crap outta me.


Not sure what to think of this. The spousal unit just got asked to be some sort of Grand Poobah In Charge Of Something Or The Other of the Warcrack guild we're in. Also known as That Group Of People You're Spending 3 Or 4 Nights A Week With Already. If last night was any indication of things to come, I'm already not a fan. Mostly because it's setting up to put me in a bad position. Make me the bad guy when you don't go running at their beck and call or something like that. No thanks. Not going there. I'm sure this will get talked about at some point over the weekend. (Joy. I am soooooooooooo looking forward to that.) However, I have no positive expectations for a resolution. When one party doesn't see something as a problem, it's difficult to find a solution, y'know?


Ah, screw it. Again, it's all about the priorities. I can't choose his. I can only choose mine. Mine include living in a place that's reasonably clean (more often than not) without a lot of excess snow on the driveway and making sure I go out and move around and do something physical on a regular basis. That's what I want for myself. As with most things in my life, it is my responsibility to make that happen for myself. Relying on someone else to share that vision is the beginning of asking for it not to happen.


Peter McWilliams, one of my favorite authors, believed that our life purpose could be boiled down to a simple, short "I am" statement. He believed that everything in our lives had an underlying and uniting theme that was our reason for being here at this time, in this body, in this life, with these people. It was a deceptively simple exercise to come up with my "I am" statement. It took a lot of going back over old journal entries and pondering things that happened, but after ruminating over all these things for a while...like, months...it came to me.


I am a solitary seeker. The underlying theme of most of the events in my life can be summed up by the words, "On My Own." That's what it's come down to more often than not. Even when I'm in a relationship, the bottom line is that we are ultimately responsible for ourselves, our lives, and what those lives look like. Within that broad framework, the various elements of my life make sense. When I have tried to take them out of that framework of "I am a solitary seeker" and "On My Own," things don't make nearly as much sense.


So, looked at in a certain way, these things that gripe my cookies are merely advanced lessons in the program I'm to cover in this lifetime.


Would that I was able to remember that the next time the sink has a variety of unwashed cookware (that I didn't dirty) in it.

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Oh, GAWD, There's MORE Of Them


Grizelda & Esmeralda (see post #296 in this thread) have sisters-in-lack-of-gym-etiquette! G & E beat me to the inner/outer thigh machines this morning, so I went to do the rest of my routine...only to find 2 other women of the same ilk on the oblique machine! WAAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHHHHHHHH....What the....???? Where did Priscilla and Drucilla come from?


Oh, it gets worse. After settling for some alternate machines and doing my yoga routine to stretch and cooldown, I happened to glance at the area where the weight machines are on my way out. What to my wondering eyes should appear....but Grizelda & Esmeralda (still on the inner/outer thigh machines...some 20 mintues later) talking to and laughing it up with Priscilla & Drucilla!!! The 4 of them apparently know each other, God help me!


Is it just me or is the weight machine area of the gym not the most appropriate place to have social time? Why don't the 4 of you just go out to breakfast instead if you're primarily interested in "sittting" and "talking"? I haul my butt out of bed early in the morning, hoping to avoid this sort of BS at the gym, but noooooooooooooooo......


Must come up with a new strategy to deal with these four deadweights who are more interested in flexing their social muscles than their physical muscles. Unfortunately, I am not in a position where cancelling their gym memberships is an option. Because that'd be a win-win situation. They'd be free to go do what they really want to do (sit and talk) in a more appropriate venue, and I could get on the !#*^%$@ weight machines.

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It's Gonna Be A Good Day


How do I know this? Simple. I beat Grizelda & Esemeralda to the inner/outer thigh machines this morning. It's the small things that make us ridiculously happy.


So, last night, I made the Sizzling Rice Soup for dinner. It was a mostly successful experiment and tasted very similar to what we get at the restaurant. The rice even made the right sound when it hit the soup. I did, however, have a slight mishap while cutting the vegetables for the soup:


Round one of s2s vs. the carrot:


carrot - 1

s2s & knife - 0


It's not a deep cut...it's a wide, long, shallow cut. It bled a lot. As long as I keep it covered and don't mess with it, it doesn't hurt. It also doesn't gross me out if I keep it covered. So, I've been keeping it well bandaged except for when I've had to clean the wound. That means I'm typing without using my left index finger....and it's a little challenging. Made it kinda difficult to play Warcrack, too...but somehow managed to knock out a few quests.


Despite a valiant effot in the first go-round, the carrot was ultimately defeated, got sliced up worse than my finger, and ended up in the soup...where I was able to truly savor its defeat.

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Everything's Alright With The Family (take 8 )...........


....and the hits just keep on comin'!


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...but, wait, there's more! (Ok, so they don't have a lot of details on this one yet, but it wouldn't surprise me if the victims were related...and killed by someone related to them.)


link removed

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Oh, Yeah, That Finger's Numb Anyway...


After dinner, I went to change the bandage and clean the cut wound on my finger, and as I was washing it, I was thinking, "That really should sting more than that...." Then I figured out the cut is along the side of the top section of my left index finger.


I had surgery on a herniated disk in my neck nearly 10 years ago (gosh, it really has been almost 10 years ago...yeesh). The disk had herniated on the left side of my cervical spine. The doc went in and cut off the herniated bit so it wouldn't press on the nerves anymore. Well, things pretty much went back to normal after that surgery. The only lingering effect is that the top segments of my left index & left middle finger are partially numb. I got used to it a long time ago, so I don't even notice it anymore. So that's why it didn't connect that the cut (which is in the numb area) doesn't hurt as much as it looks like it should. Some portion of the nerves in the cut area don't connect up to the rest of my nervous system like they should.


Not that I'm complaining. Because, frankly, this thing looks like it should hurt. A lot. And keeping it clean should also hurt. A lot. It was looking better this morning when I changed the bandage, so I'm fairly confident in saying I am on the mend and have avoided infection.


Watching the progression of healing of this cut just makes marvel at the healing power that is within us. As soon as the injury occurred, processes in my body started to heal that injury. I didn't have to think about it or do anything -- it was all done automatically. And while I did things to assist those processes -- like cleaning the wound, applying pressure to help stop the bleeding initially, and keeping the wound bandaged -- much of what's going to get this thing healed is out of my conscious control. It's just something (a lot of somethings) that is innately there.


Amazing to think about, really. All the things our bodies do to function that we're not consciously aware of....until they go wrong somehow.

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Everything's Alright With The Family (take 8.2)......


Everything's Alright With The Family (take 8 )...........


...but, wait, there's more! (Ok, so they don't have a lot of details on this one yet, but it wouldn't surprise me if the victims were related...and killed by someone related to them.)


link removed


More details have emerged...what'd I tell ya? Victims related, suspected killer is thought to be their mother. link removed

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