Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Poor Lazy Person Pasta

Ever have one of those days? You know, a day when you realize that all that exists in your freezer are your boyfriend's Lean Cuisines and a bottle of vodka? All you can find in the fridge is one bottle of Guinness and a half of a shriveled lemon, and the pantry consists of canned beans and microwave popcorn.

Today was one of those days.

Luckily, I was sort of prepared. I almost always have a few produce items on hand, so I was able to throw this dish together. And it was lovely.

Lazy Person Pasta

-Pasta that you discovered in the back of the pantry
-1 semi-shriveled onion that you left on the counter for several weeks, diced
-2 cloves garlic, also shriveled, diced
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-salt & pepper
-1/2 pint of grape tomatoes that have been sitting on the counter for three weeks
-10-15 leaves of basil that you stole from your sister-in-law's garden last night

Pine nuts would have been good here if I had some. Alas. Anyway:

~Cook pasta according to package directions.

~Heat the oil on medium heat and add the onion. Add freshly ground salt and pepper. Saute for several minutes and add the garlic. Saute together until the onions are translucent.

~Cut the grape tomatoes in half lengthwise and add to the pan. Stir them in and cover pan with foil. Lower the heat to low/simmer. Allow to steam for 7-8 minutes.

~Chiffonade the basil by layering the leaves on top of one another, rolling into a cigar shape, and thinly slicing to make a confetti of basil.

~Add the basil to each dish just before serving.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Diet Pop Can Suck It

On Sunday, I switched to diet drinks. Coke Zero and Diet Dr. Pepper. I like them both. They both taste more like their sugar-filled counterparts and they both contain caffeine - something that is entirely necessary lest I fall asleep at my desk.

Oh, it has happened.

Today, though - Tuesday - I am done with them. Two days was enough time to show me that diet tastes disgusting and that I'd rather drink water NOTHING.

And to top it all off, it made my GERD go batshit insane and now I'm in pain. Thanks so much, Diet Dr. Pepper. THANKS.

See? He hates it.

Speaking of monkeys... BABY MONKEY:

Friday, June 24, 2011

Who Even USES Checks Anymore, Anyway?

I went strawberry picking with my lovely sister-in-law and my adorable nieces today.


Anyway, we went strawberry picking and it was a highly fruitful endeavor.


Kari paid because she had cash and I had none, but I told her that I would write her a check for my half. Later, I got my checkbook, flipped it open, and realized that I didn't have any new checks.

Now, like most people in this digital age, I rarely use physical checks and do most of my banking and bill paying online. During the last year or so at my old apartment, I was sending electronic payments to my landlord instead of handing her a check with "RENT" written in the subject line. I couldn't tell you when or why I wrote my last check.

So I've searched all afternoon for my extra checks (of which I KNOW to exist), and I have NO idea where it is hiding. I looked in every conceivable box, bag, and drawer, and then I moved on to my car.

My car's trunk was full of stuff from the apartment that I just hadn't gotten to yet, and to be honest with you people, it probably would have remained untouched until another one of these inevitable situations arose.

Alas, no checkbook.

I then moved on to the few boxes that I have stored in the garage. There aren't too many - just things that I didn't want to place in storage in case I needed to get to them in a hurry. One would assume that the checks would be there.

They were not.

The next step is to search the storage unit.

I don't want to.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

I read lots of Stephen King in middle and high school - it was all part of my King/Grisham/Crichton phase, which died out after about a year when I discovered Jane Austen. You know, as you do.

Recently, a suggestion on the internets brought me to The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. I had no idea that this book even existed, and now I've read it twice. It's that good. I read it again specifically so that I could review it here. People! Read this book!

Trisha McFarland is nine years old, and she is lost in the thick woods of Maine. The child of a recent divorce, her mother had planned the day trip (one of many, recently) as a way to occupy Trisha and Pete, Trisha's older brother. While hiking with the two of them on a three-mile portion of the Appalachian Trail, Trisha falls back - mostly, she has to pee, but she was tired of their constant arguing.

Instead of backtracking, she decides to follow what seems to be a parallel trail, assuming that it will loop around and she'll be able to rejoin her family.

It was the worst mistake of her life.

Trisha is soon too deep into the woods to realize she's lost until it is much too late. She has a small lunch in her backpack, along with water, a bottle of pop (I suppose it would be soda to her, since she's an East Coaster...), and a poncho. Most importantly, she has her Walkman, and she realizes that she can listen to the radio broadcasts of her beloved Boston Red Sox and their closing pitcher, Tom Gordon.

She makes poor decision after poor decision, but as she hears mention of her disappearance on the radio, she imagines the hundreds of people forming search parties. She guesses that she'll be rescued in mere hours.

She's wrong.

As the days and nights pass, Trisha looks deep inside for survival, and Tom appears to help guide her on her way. Together, she feels she can and will survive. But what happens if he disappears?

This book touches on so much more than survival and instinct. It's about family and family dynamics, friendship, and hope. But mostly, it's about the power of the will.

Of course, it wouldn't seem like a Stephen King novel without a little supernatural freakiness, and it has that, too. Whether Trisha's visions are real or hallucinations is for the reader to decide.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bridge to Terabithia

In a quest to read popular childhood books that I overlooked at the time, Bridge to Terabithia called to me. And thank goodness that it did - I can't believe that I went thirty years before reading such an incredible book.

One of the most beautiful and haunting coming of age tales I've read, Bridge to Terabithia follows the strong friendship of Jess Aarons, a self-described "weird kid" with a talent for drawing and the misfortune of being the only boy in his family, and Leslie Burke, an imaginative, kind-hearted child of "hippie" parents who moves to the area just before the school year begins.

As Leslie and Jess enter the fifth grade, it's clear that she is different. She beats all of the boys in a foot race on the first day of school and later naively reveals to the entire class that she doesn't have a television, sparking ridicule by most and a protective instinct in Jess.

Jess is completely annoyed by Leslie at first, her having ruined his plans to be the fastest sprinter in the school, but cannot deny that she has an incredible spirit. With her imagination and his steadfastness, they create a world of their own in the woods near their homes. Leslie bestows the name Terabithia and within it, they rule as kind and queen.

Together, they face problems both inside and outside of Terabithia. From marauding attackers to the school bully, they work as a team. A snap decision and seemingly selfish act leads to tragedy and Jess soon realizes how much he has grown since meeting Leslie.

It's a fast read, being that it's a juvenile book, but its lessons and themes resonate strongly. I can't even imagine how I would have dealt with this book if I had actually read it when I was ten years old. I'm guessing that I would have been absolutely gutted. And I'm guessing that I would have loved it just as much as I did twenty years later.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Oh Roku, How On Earth Did I Live Without Thee?

Mike was a groomsman in his cousin Neil's recent wedding, and as a groom's gift, he not only received a pair of gorgeous cuff links, but also a Roku. I may have had something to do with that last item, but I plead the fifth.


I have finally been able to really crack into my Netflix queue (who has over 200 movies on their lists, honestly?), and have also finally gotten the chance to watch some television shows that I have been putting off.

Archer: Are you kidding me with this show? It is AWESOME and while I am aware that it's on cable and therefore semi-immune to the extreme censorship the networks deal with, I am still amazed at the raunchiness. Of course, that's only part of what makes it so hilarious. Archer is a spy in a secret spy organization run by his mother. He's a womanizing asshole, and yet, you love him. Half of the voice actors are from Arrested Development, which is brilliant.

The League: Who knew that a show about a group of friends and their fantasy football league could be so funny? And dirrrrty.

Parks and Recreation: Now I finally know what people have been talking about. I'm only a few episodes in to the first season, and I've heard that it only gets better from here. Great!

Party Down: Wannabe actors working as cater waiters. It's painfully funny.

The Pillars of the Earth: I read the book, I've started the miniseries. It's goooood.

As for movies, I've watched Ballerina, a documentary on ballet at the Kirov, Let the Right One In (what an incredible adaptation, by the way), and a horrible movie that should have been better but totally wasn't. But then again, David Duchovny was in it, so I should have known.

Lastly, I've watched two episodes of the new BBC version of Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock, updated for the 21st century. It's absolutely amazing. The acting is phenomenal, but the writing is probably the best part of the whole show. It's entertaining and yet hearkens back to Conan Doyle's original works. There's a bit of romanticism to any adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, in my opinion, and the fact that it's set in a time of cell phones and wifi doesn't change that at all.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Fucking Squirrels

You know, all I want is for my little birdie friends to get enough to eat. That's all I ask. But instead, this fucking squirrel is the bane of my existence.

What I don't understand is why he's going after nyjer seed anyway. It's the smallest seed ever and finches are some of the only birds with the patience to go after it. I like it for that very reason. As much as I would love to have a wide variety of birds at my feeders, knowing that the birds won't have to compete with squirrels is a bonus.

Except that this asshole squirrel is really pissing me off.

Like you're not fat enough already, SQUIRREL.

So I tried to compromise. I put out suet. Suet is good for attracting huge varieties of birds, but I wouldn't know anything about that because squirrels usually get to it first.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Traffic Circles. If You're Scared of Them, Then GO A DIFFERENT WAY OH MY GOD


Do you want to know who is good at traffic circles? ME. Do you want to know who is not good at traffic circles? EVERYONE ELSE.

Oh my GOD, people. They are NOT DIFFICULT. There are yield signs. If you are approaching the circle of horror, glance to your left. Is there a car there? Is there a car about to be there? If not, PROCEED. It's not a goddamn four-way stop and it's not something placed on this earth to specifically stress you out.


I can't tell you how many times in the last week alone that I have almost gotten into various accidents because of these fucking traffic circles. Actually, no. The traffic circles are not to blame. The traffic circles are lovely and work quite well. In theory. The idiotic drivers who seize up in terror at the mere mention of traffic circles are to blame.

My commute is really not that bad. In the morning, I take the expressway and my entire drive is less than twenty minutes. I spend almost as much time locating a parking spot. In the afternoon, the fastest, most direct route - IN THEORY - are the back roads.

And when I take that way home, there are FOUR traffic circles. That means that other drivers give me a minimum of FOUR mini heart attacks in a twenty minute time frame.

My favorite part is when I am about to approach a circle of death. There is a super helpful sign that reads "Traffic Circle Ahead." INEVITABLY, each and every driver hits the brakes as if anticipating all of their simultaneous heart attacks.

Now this?

Is one scary-ass traffic circle. The traffic circles that I encounter daily, however? Look like this:

But with more bunnies and deer and flowers and happiness.


Friday, June 10, 2011

The Benefits of Shopping at Target

Why would I eat goldfish crackers when I could be eating chickadee crackers?


Here is a haiku I wrote about the delectable chickadees:

Very cute chickadees
Cheese birds made to be eaten
Better than goldfish

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Golf Lessons, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Accept My Suckitude

Oh my God, you guys. I had my first golf lesson the other day, and let me just tell you, I WAS AWESOME.

Obviously, my outfit was adorable. Plus, I actually found shoes in my size. That fact alone is a winning situation.

pic of shoes

So I met with the golf pro, and I learned many things!

First, I learned my stance. As it turns out, there is no getting around how stupid you look when in a proper golf stance.

Second, I learned my grip.

Third, I learned how to swing. You can't imagine the elation you feel when you pop a tee out of the ground with your swing.

And then I was convinced that I was the next big thing. That's JUST how awesome I was.

A few days later, I headed up to the driving range to hit some balls. It... didn't go well. I hit a few balls quite well, but I definitely lost track of the amount of times that I ground the club into the dirt.

It was also a little awkward considering every other person there was right handed, and I was facing ALL OF THEM as I stood there with my left-handed clubs.

Anyway, I am still awesome. I just need more practice.

They mock me.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

The Chewbacca Defense

The high today is 93 degrees.

I am sitting in my office, huddled around a space heater.

It doesn't. make. sense.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Maybe I Should Have a Shopping Buddy...

All I wanted was a few comfortable summer dresses. The ones I've been wearing for years have become a little too "young," if you know what I mean, and it was just time.

Target is Mecca, as many will attest, and I happened upon a rack of dresses completely by accident. They were comfy and flowy and didn't make me look like I was twelve. I got home and modeled them for myself and set one out to wear to work the next day.

It was a little windy that day, and it kept catching the dress and puffing it up. In the stomach area. There was a LOT of extra material.

Y'all, I accidentally bought maternity dresses. And trust me, I am NOT pregnant.

I wondered why an extra small fit so well...

Friday, June 03, 2011

Sammy the Sauropod Has An Adventure

Where am I?

Where is Mr. Happy Dinosaur and also, where is Wisenheim?

What is this strange place?

I'm hungry.

Oh, what's that? A snack?

Snack! Snack, come back!

Maybe I'll go over there.



Come back snack! Come back!



Snacky snack?



Thursday, June 02, 2011

June 2nd

Four years ago today, I met the love of my life.

I was in Michigan for my niece's 2nd birthday party, and Kelly invited me to her condo to hang out a bit. We were planning on driving into Detroit to watch the Piston's playoff game at a bar, but instead went to one of her friend's houses - a guy named Mike who had a condo in the same development. He was a gracious host and even helped me at euchre - the first time I had played in over a year.

By the end of the night, I knew that something was there. There were sparks.

On the walk back to Kelly's, Mike called her and asked if we didn't want to stay a little longer. Not wanting to look too desperate, we made plans for breakfast the next morning.

After breakfast, we went to Ann Arbor to visit my old museum, and on the way home, Kelly devised a plan to get the two of us alone. It was pretty lame, actually - something about watching episodes of Family Guy.

Thing is, we really only watched one episode. We talked and talked and gradually learned about one another. What really drew me to him were the similarities in our upbringings and our shared values.

And his eyes. Oh my gosh, his eyes.

Before long, I had to leave - my flight was at 7:00 that evening. It was amazingly bittersweet. I honestly knew that I had met the love of my life, and I now had to fly 500 miles away from him. I drove to my parents' house, packed my things in their car, and my dad dropped me off at Detroit Metro Airport.

As I approached the U.S. Airways area, I knew that something was wrong. There were far too many people, and many looked angry. I soon discovered - my flight had been canceled!

I had never had a canceled flight before. Then again, I had never flown U.S. Airways before. Connection? In any other circumstance I would have been irate. But I was absolutely giddy.

I texted Mike, I called my Dad, and before I knew it, I was on my way back to Mike's.

We stayed up way past midnight talking and sharing stories, and neither of us were able to sleep very well. I had to be up at 4 to get to the airport for my re-booked flight at 6:00. When I left, he walked me to the car and we had our first kiss as the rain was drizzling down.

I moved back to Michigan five months later. And I am happier than I ever thought possible.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011

No Excuses, Just Laziness

You guys, I am about.. oh, a month behind on posts. It's not that I don't have the content - I do - I am just made of pure laziness and I don't want to take the time to make them perfect.

I'm actually writing this on June 25, but posting it as June 1. Because I am sneaky and lazy like that.

I have lots of posts awaiting a single picture, or a final edit, and they are just lolling around in internet limbo hoping that I will stop with the procrastinator attitude and just exercise my right to use my brain and hopefully entertain others.


So I am most likely going to post about twenty posts in one fell swoop and it's going to be EXTREMELY OVERWHELMING for everyone involved (mostly me), and I'm suddenly filled with the egotistical notion that people will just take time from their busy days to read twenty different posts of my rambling prose without even a bathroom break, and that is just too much to ask.

I don't want to stress out anyone, after all.

Basically, what I am saying is that I might attempt this stunt this very weekend, but then again, I might also attempt cleaning out the closet or unpacking some boxes from my move back in April. Or maybe I'll go through the boxes in the garage. There is almost definitely going to involve wine.

Yeah, there definitely will be wine.