Sunday, November 29, 2009

Corn. With Pone. In a Pie.

Well here's the deal. I made the corn pone pie, under a bit of duress. My grandfather was ordering me to "get out the clacker" (long story) so I could sweep the dining room, shortly after which my aunt arrived, full turkey dinner in tow, and already a bit freaked out about ... well. It's Thanksgiving. With bossy elderly types. That's pretty much enough, I guess.

My parents arrived in time for my mom to diffuse some of the anxiety, and suffice to say that it's just lucky I remembered to put the cheese in the corn pone pie. I did not, however, remember to season it at all, which wasn't disastrous, but made for a slightly underwhelming CPP experience. And actually, I'm thinking the recipe needs refining, anyway. I mean, seriously. Fifteen crushed saltine crackers? Can we maybe substitute a cup of breadcrumbs??

So I'll work on that in 2010 and letcha know how it goes.

For now, THANK GOD Thanksgiving is over.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Fortress

So you know how we bought a house last year? And it had a fence. And Hubs looked at the fence and said to myself and the realtor, "I don't know about that fence." And myself and the realtor scoffed and said the fence was fine. And then we bought the house and moved in and there was a wind storm and part of the fence blew down, and ever since, Hubs has been reminding me of his misgivings about the fence (and the house, altogether -- "Never buy a corner house!" his mother used to tell him). So we decided to replace the entire fence.

In case you're wondering, that's a lot of fucking wood.

So I took some before and after photos of the fence, and I must say, the end result is quite nice.

Enjoy!

BEFORE

AFTER!
Before, we had a separate, fenced off enclosure, presumably for an RV. We had it removed.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Regarding Beth

Yesterday I wrote a REALLY depressing blog post about how much I hate the holidays and then I had second thoughts about posting it and, instead, posted that cheerful recipe for Corn Pone Pie (which seriously -- It's got corn and it's got pone, what more could you want?).

Suffice to say, I was sad because I remembered the last time I saw my grandma was the day after Thanksgiving last year. She had a stroke a few days later, and died after she was suffocated by her feeding tube, which had been inserted into her lungs (I know I've never addressed this here and I'm not ready to delve into how fucking angry it makes me, but the truth of the matter is the stroke didn't kill her -- the hospital did).

It makes the holidays a little sad, you know? And then I started getting all mopey about how the holidays suck now because everything revolves around accomodating elderly people who are in declining health, and it's fucking sad. When I was a kid my dad would say, "You should appreciate your grandparents. They're not going to be around forever, you know." Which, when you're like 7 years old, you're thinking, Of course they'll be around forever.

Because I had zero concept of age. A 35-year-old man could have claimed to be 493 years old and I would have believed him because a) I still did not understand the concept of how fun it is to fuck with little kids and b) I still did not understand the concept of age and c) I still did not understand the concept of death.

Shortly thereafter, my grandmother's boyfriend, Harold, died, and I was very sad that I wouldn't get to see him ever again, but then again, we got to go to Disneyland, which as everyone knows is the HAPPIEST FUCKING PLACE ON EARTH, especially when you are 8 years old, and pretty soon I was associating Harold's death with having lots of fun, and if Harold was in heaven anyway, how awful could that be?

And when my dog, Nicky, died when I was 11, I was horribly sad, but my sadness got diluted by my anger towards my dad (it's a long story) and then another dog appeared in our lives.

It wasn't until I moved out and was living with a friend and I got a phone call that my aunt's partner had died that the true impact of a person's death struck home with me. A person I loved had been taken from me and my family and this made me inconsolable. And since that time, I've been living in a changed world in which, as Dr. Evil says, people DIE. People die and they die and they die some more. They die and we are dragged through the horrifying process of planning their funerals and burying them and then they are simply gone and it's surreal and sometimes we forget they are dead but then we remember, I remember, she is dead. She was sitting next to me in a restaurant, smiling, making plans for the future, and then the next time I saw her she was in a dusty rose-colored casket and they put her in the ground and now ...

Now we are here without her, planning holidays without her, and it's like trying to get warm when there's a bag of ice under your shirt. We can smile and make Corn Pone Pie and cherish our remaining few family members -- and we will -- but I feel cold and tired and melancholy and bruised.

So believe it or not, this was the post that was NOT depressing, and I didn't mean for it to even get this deep or sad or real. But, this is reality. I'm trying to wrap up by saying something about being thankful on Thanksgiving -- and I am thankful for so many things, so many wonderful things in my life that I probably don't deserve. But I can be thankful and I can miss my grandma at the same time, and I'm just saying, I miss her.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

You down with CPP (Corn Pone Pie)?

Yeah you know me!

So, back in the good old days when my grandparents were of (relatively) sound body and mind, my grandma (the one who's still living) used to make this thing she called Corn Pone Pie. It was corny and cheesy and delicious. Nowadays, Grandma can barely walk, let alone remember how to make Corn Pone Pie.

Thankfully, before Parkinson's Disease ruined Grandma's brain, my sister asked her for the recipe for Corn Pone Pie. It's simple, fast and muy delicioso.

Grandma Garcia's Corn Pone Pie

2 eggs beaten
1/2 c. milk
1 16 oz. can whole kernel corn
1 16 oz. can cream style corn
approx. 15 saltine crackers crushed
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 small can Ortega diced green chiles
Salt and pepper
optional - a little garlic salt or onion salt

Beat eggs in 2 qt. casserole dish, add milk and beat together. Add all other ingredients and mix well. Put some grated cheese on top and bake at 350 until knife blade comes out clean when stuck in middle. Although my sister's recipe doesn't specify for how long, I'd say about half an hour will do the trick. And if I were you, I might throw a little extra cheese in the mix.

Enjoy!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

This post was written by a dumbass

Things I have done in the last few days that are either going to get me killed, fired, or publicly humiliated (I know, too late, right?):

Yesterday I was frantically driving to yoga (let's hurry up and relax dammit!) so that I wouldn't be late, and I could have sworn that a light was green, but it so was not. Much honking ensued. Luckily no accident resulted. For the rest of the day I kept second guessing myself. 'That's green, right? Let's not be hasty...'

Then here's something I've been doing for like three weeks now. First, a little background. I have a mixture of clients and vendors who have the same names. There are like five Craigs, 14 Jeffs, 3 bazillion Steves -- you get the idea. I've been REPEATEDLY contacting the wrong Craig, Jeff or Steve for the wrong information, causing much confusion on my part, and much irritation on theirs. This means more people than usual think I am mentally retarded and will probably be recommending I be terminated shortly.

And then, I've been getting sloppy with my writing. Just yesterday, the headline on my blog post was completely incomprehensible and fucked up and not a single one of my 3 readers said anything. I realize that what my head is doing is sounding words out to itself, and then my hands are typing words that kind of sound like the correct words, but so are not the right words, and are in fact very wrong and causing much confusion among my faithful followers (I love you. And you. And you, too).

So, I hereby apologize to all drivers, Craigs, Jeffs, Steves, and faithful readers who have been thinking to themselves: What the fuck is wrong with that woman and why is there a crazy gleam in her eye? I blame a combination of sleep deprivation and yoga fright (seriously, have you been to yoga? It's terrifying). But that's a post for another time.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

'Twas (almost) all for naught

Well. I spent the last three weeks exercising and cutting out as much salt as I, personally, could (but let's just face it -- salt is divine and cannot be completely eliminated) in an effort to lower my blood pressure, but the only number that lowered was the diastolic pressure (the second number). The systolic (first number) pressure is still much too high, even though the night before yesterday's doctor appointment, I took my own blood pressure and it said 124/80, which is only minorly pre-hypertensive. My doctor says my machine probably needs to be calibrated.

Calibrate this, bitch!

I just had to get that out of the way.

So I was totally depressed about it yesterday. All of these fruits, veggies, mustard and yoga seem to have gotten me nowhere, fast. My doctor has talked me into taking a low dose of a diuretic every other day and coming back to see her in a month. It just makes me want to swear. So: Motherfucker! I am so fucking tired of this shit. Part of the problem is I am not sure I even really believe that my blood pressure is an issue, but a naggling part of my brain is saying, "Hi. Remember last year, when your grandmother died of a stroke? Yeah. Just sayin'."

So I will be a good patient and take the awful pills for ONE MONTH, even though it makes me want to punch strangers in the face and call them cocksuckers and warn them not to tussle with me.

"Don't tussle with me, cocksucker!"

The good news is I don't have AIDS or hepatitis A or B. My cholesterol is fine, although I could use more "good" cholesterol, which you can fix with fish oil and avocados, that kind of thing. Which: guacamole? No problem. Also, my B vitamins and iron are fine, and everything else looks great, except for my Vitamin D, which is rather low. So, I will now take a calcium supplement with Vitamin D and I've been instructed to get 10 minutes of sunshine a day. Which: I work 8 hours a day in an office and it's wintertime, so, NO PROBLEM, obviously. I googled "Vitamin D tanning beds" to see if you can get Vitamin D from going to a tanning salon (which, I KNOW: tanning is tantamount to exposing oneself to nuclear waste, but come on! My Vitamin D would be up AND I'd have a fantastic tan!) and you can! So, Australian Tan, here I come.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hold your tongue between your thumb and your index finger and repeat after me

Things in my purse (an idea from my friend, Jacq, who today listed off the things on her desk, not the least of which was flarp):

Corkscrew
Parking ticket
Camera
Wallet
Keys
2 luna bars
Hairbrush
2 tampons
Note pad
Ipod
Eyeglass case w/ eyeglasses
Sunglasses
Empty Excedrin bottle
Prescription bottle of Allegra
Nasonex nasal spray
Two written prescriptions for a diuretic and a potassium supplement
Approximately 10 lip balms and/or lipsticks, & a compact
2 pairs earrings
Sample packet of Citracal
Dramamine
Hair ties
Approximately $5 in loose change
Pocket knife
2 cell phones
Business cards
Access cards

So, it seems I am adequately prepared to be stranded in the wildnerness with a congested 85-year-old. Happy Tuesday.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Please tell me how you do it

As I enter the third week of my exercise regimen, I am wondering how in the world some people do it. How do they work, exercise, eat right, and somehow manage the rest of their life in a fashion that makes it look as though they've got it under control? Because there's one thing no one would ever mistake me for at the moment, and that would be someone who has things under control.

I am just not sure how everything that "needs" to be done gets fit into one day. I put "needs" in quotes because necessity is relative, no? The bathroom "needs" to be cleaned, but hell if I've cleaned it.

Here are the things that "need" to happen in order for me to be healthy and maintain some semblance of control:

-I need to get up at 6 and go to bed at 10.
-I need to work from 8 to 5.
-I need to exercise after work.
-I need to cook dinner when I get home.
-I need to clean up. This could involve a number of things, since, as we know, cleaning of the house is a horrible never-ending cycle that will eventually probably drive me into the loony bin.
-And then I need to relax. I deserve this, dammit!

So here's what's not been getting done:

-I have not been getting up nor going to bed on time.
-I have been working too late.
-I haven't made ALL of my dinners.
-I have not been cleaning up.

By the time the weekend arrives, I feel a bit shell-shocked by the week's activities. I sort of stand in the middle of my house, surveying the filth helplessly. I arrange things into piles. I brew coffee and then drink it and continue to survey the filth. I might do the dishes and then give up on housework for the day, wrap myself in my Snuggie and turn on my Kindle.

I think I need to go back to my old standby of accomplishing one thing per day. One thing outside of the things that I absolutely must do. I think tonight's one thing shall be to fold and/or hangup the giant basket of clean laundry in our bedroom. Wish me luck.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wherein I tie myself in a knot and walk around like that for a week

An example of a pose some of the people in last night's class were actually able to do. If I lose, like, 40 pounds, I could probably do it.



Last night I tried a yoga class that was led by a mustachioed man who bragged that his classes "do tend to be a little more advanced." If you think that stopped me, aka Old Iron Legs, from attempting to bend over to touch my toes, you'd be sorely mistaken.


Today I feel approximately how I'd expect to feel after being bound in a burlap sack and beaten for an hour with a baseball bat. My body is basically making a statement today, and that statement is, "Next time you want to attempt to balance your entire weight on your triceps, try taking a look in the mirror first, girlfriend. It might be time for a reality check."


Nonetheless. I did it. An hour and a half of yoga, and I survived, albeit jello-legged and drenched in sweat. I attempted a number of poses that I don't expect to ever be able to actually do, but some which I look forward to some day being able to perform correctly and without falling flat on my face.



Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Everyone Relax: You're in Capable Hands.

This was my dummy. His name was Number Two.

Today I spent six hours in a First Aid Certification training, and let me tell you: I am ready to save lives. I DARE you to lose consciousness or stop breathing in my immediate vicinity. Because I will be all over that shit. Also, feel free to choke on your dinner if we're out together: I've got the Heimlich down, pat, and I'm not afraid to use it.

First Aid training is one of those intimate situations where you have to get comfortable with your co-trainees in a big hurry, because you've got your hands all over them, practicing opening their airways and flipping them this way and that in order to situate them in a position that will allow them to breathe easy and not choke on their own vomit.

Each of us spent a number of sweaty minutes compressing the chests on plastic dummies for 30 beats at a time, then puffing twice into their mouths to ventilate, and let me tell you: it's a lot effing harder than it looks, if you've never done it before. For one thing, chests are tough. For another, you're supposed to compress WAY faster than they do it on TV. It would be difficult to perform CPR for more than a few minutes, although I believe could do it, if need be.

We learned today that there are good samaritan laws to protect us, should we ever find ourselves in emergency situations, although we must not deviate from our training, and we must always ask the person needing assistance if they would like our help before we just jump in. Which is why we were made to repeat, over and over, "Hello, my name is Bobby (or whatever). I am trained in First Aid. May I help you?" We were made to ask this of our nonresponsive CPR dummies. It's assumed that if the person cannot respond, they want your help, but you STILL have to ask. Isn't that insane?

So anyway. Faint or choke, have a heart attack or a seizure, and I promise I'll do my best to make sure you don't die. No guarantees, though. ;-)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

An Ode To My Muffin Top


O proud paunch above my belt
Your burgeoning balloon of blubber
Jiggles jauntily as I saunter confidently
Into the juniors department

Nary a passerby can stop his eye
From admiring your dimpled love handles
As your buxom chub perches
Firmly over the waist of my jeans

Your cylinder of chunk around my middle
Is a flag staked in newly discovered land
Loudly announcing
"These pants are too tight,

"And so is this shirt."
But you're not one to shirk your girth
And instead prefer to wriggle free
of your restraints, and

When at all possible
Display your deep, dark belly button.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Never one to disappoint

One of the first things Hubs did when I saw him on Friday night was to fart on one of the cats and then laugh hysterically at his own ingenious humor. So, mission accomplished!

(see yesterday's post to clear up any confusion.)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

And so it begins. Again.

I'm on my second day of a less-sodium, more exercise lifestyle. I wasn't sure I'd make it through Day 1, so didn't want to blog about it until today.

So far, cutting out salt kind of blows. As we know, I can eat unlimited amounts of fruit, vegetables, and mustard in my crusade to lower my blood pressure. So that's about what I'm eating. Yesterday I used lemon juice in lieu of salt whilst making dinner, and it sufficed, although it was a bit tart.

And last night after work, I went to the gym for the first time in months. I eeked out half an hour of cardio in what has to have been one of the most disgraceful displays of a person attempting to exercise that I, personally, have ever seen. During the last seven minutes, I just had to close my eyes and think about cupcakes. It was pathetic.

This morning was the Annual Drawing of the Blood, and because my doctor likes to check for everything under the sun, the tech had to draw 8 vials and my hand started to fall asleep before he was through. For the record, I go to a great place with a guy who manages to draw blood without you even realizing there's a needle in your arm, in case you're needing your blood drawn in San Jose. Lemme know.

Then I had to pee in a cup, which is totally my fave. I'd juiced up ahead of time to be sure there was plenty of "sample" up in my business. And there was. I peed in the cup, I peed on the outside of the cup, I peed on my hand. What can you do? It's a tricky business, filling a tiny cup with urine when you're a chick. Plus, I wore nylons today. Which -- poor planning? You bet.

But? I won the pee contest. Which is to say, you know how when you are supplying urine at a medical office, and there are already a few moist "samples" sitting in a basket behind the toilet? Yeah, you know. I like to compare my own urine sample to the samples already sitting there, and today? I won. My sample went nearly to the top of the cup and was a nice, healthy color. There were two other samples there, both of which were pretty pathetic, in my opinion. One of them had literally like a fingernail's worth of sample at the bottom of the cup.

I'll find out the results in a couple of weeks when I visit the doctor next, and in the meantime, I'll be avoiding salt and attempting to conquer the stair machine.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Halloweenie

Halloween this year was very tame. We carved pumpkins and gave handfuls of candy to the few trick-or-treaters who came by. The weekend overall was mellow. We did buy a sectional couch on Sunday in what was essentially a hit-and-run couch purchase at Macy's. Hubs hates shopping with a passion, so my technique when I take him shopping with me is what can best be described as smash-and-grab. Shopping around be damned. So we went to only one store -- Macy's -- sat on every sectional they had, chose the most comfortable one, and left. It may take a few months to be delivered to us since a portion of it had to be special ordered. Anyway the couch was hella comfortable so I feel pretty good about the buy.

Below -- a couple of photos from the weekend. Murray & Simon mixin' it up and our jack-o-lanterns. I carved the skeleton head and my 5-year-old monkey carved the other one.