Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's official...

...I'm too busy to breathe.

Don't expect anything new from me til January.

If I don't get tenure this year, I'm not sure I'll be upset. 2 years off with BonnieBlue sounds like heaven right now.

This stress makes me want to start drinking again.

Is it wrong for me to think about scheduling a colonoscopy just to be able to enjoy the best drugs on the planet? Yeah, the prep is awful, but oh that valium drip.

I may have to hire someone to decorate my house for Christmas. But first they'd have to clean it.

Oh. My insomnia is back.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

It's My Way

Life is overwhelming right now. I guess in particular, work is overwhelming right now. When I am overwhelmed, I tend to practice some serious avoidance. It's my way.

I applied for a grant a few months ago with absolutely no expectation of getting it, and in fact, did not want to get it. Of course, I got it.

Now, the budget needs to be revised, and I was informed today by my budget office that the sponsoring agent needs it on Monday the 29th "at the latest." Who has this expectation during Thanksgiving week? Someone dropped the ball on this one, but I am the one who must scramble to finish, all the while I am out of state.

On another note, I am tired of/annoyed with Google Blogger and the one-picture-upload ideosyncrosy, so I have been avoiding my blog as well.

On still another note, BonnieBlue has pertussis. In a weird way, I'm finally glad to know that this 7-week cold has been for a reason, but annoyed that the doctor poo-poo'd the idea of pertussis when we took her in 2 weeks ago. "Just a cold." Helluva cold that lasts 7 weeks. Today she coughed so hard she threw up. Poor baby. I would gladly take on an illness if it meant my child would not suffer it.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, but especially my one-and-only reader.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanksgiving PC: give it a rest

I know people who delight in telling people the myths of Thanksgiving, e.g., those folks weren't Pilgrims, they didn't eat Turkey and cranberries at the first Thanksgiving, etc. etc. These people also lament the celebration of a holiday that (to them) marks the onset of the genocide at worst, displacement at best of an entire native population of people. These people are also pro-illegal immigration, but I haven't gotten the nerve to point out the hypocrisy. Maybe soon.

Anyway, here's my first argument: Not Pilgrims because they weren't called that until more than 150 years later? Ummm, that's splitting hairs, don't ya' think? The Native Americans didn't call themselves Native Americans either then (many still don't). Second argument about turkey and cranberries not at that celebration, but we eat it now. There weren't Easter baskets at the first Easter or a Santa Claus at the birth of Christ, but those are our traditions now. And if you want to get a bit more macabre, we Christians don't crucify a Jew for our Easter celebration either. Give it a rest about the Turkey and cranberries.

Here's the crux of my point though: There is no excuse for what the early and later European immigrants and their descendents, as well as our nation's leaders, did to the Native population. None. I'm not an apologist. But those early immigrants, who I will still call the Pilgrims, didn't come here to kill the natives. They came here to start a new life in a land in which they thought there might be opportunities to thrive as families and communities. Hey, does that sound a little like Mexican immigrants? If you think the Mexicans should be allowed to come on over without restrictions, what's your beef with the early European immigrants having done it?

But more important, the first Thanksgiving seems to me to be a celebration of life, of survival, and even cooperation between two disparate groups of people. Why in tarnation would we not want to continue that tradition of celebration?! For heaven's sake, it's THANKSGIVING! When I sit down with my family and eat Turkey and cranberry sauce, I am not condoning the genocide of the native population; I am following the example of a humble band of immigrants who survived an incredibly harsh winter and wanted to GIVE THANKS to their Father in heaven with a celebration feast. It's really just that simple.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Jury duty

The trial is over and I can talk about it now.

Our system is a great one. It works to protect the rights of the accused/arrested. Unfortunately, the system is an overloaded one.

The case I was on was an OVI. There were no toxicology reports, but the guy crashed his car into a tree on a residential road at night. He had 2 baggies of white powder, one cocaine, one crushed Adderall. In addition, there were 30-60 pills spilled all over the front floorboard and seat of his car. In addition, he admitted to taking methodone that morning, 3 beers at midday, and cocaine three days before. The two arresting officers testified that he was impaired. Finally, we saw a dash-cam video that showed him clearly failing the 2 field sobriety tests. To any reasonable person, he was impaired. Defense claimed back injury prevented ability to perform the tests. On the video, you can hear the guy say, when the officer's asked before administering the tests if he had an health issues, "I have sciatica, but it's not bothering me now." He also entered and exited the cruiser in such a manner as to convince everyone familiar with anhyone who has back pain that he was NOT affected by back pain at that time.

One guy on the jury would not convict. I respect his right to vote as his conscience dictated but he indicated over and over that he would not convict the guy because the prosecution did not do their job. He insisted that they screwed up because there was no tox report. I pointed out every time he brought that up that we did not know that there was not a report, that perhaps there was and for some reason it was not admissable or it was surpressed. He couldn't buy it. 8 hours of deliberation. Hung jury.

Afterwards we found out the there were tox reports and that the guy scored 8 times higher than the 'high level' for cocaine. That evidence was surpressed because you can't submit tox reports for evidence without a lab tech to testify and the prosecution couldn't get the lab tech into court that day.

Despite all that, if I were ever charged with anything, I'd want people like those in that jury room deciding my fate. Despite the low stakes, everyone took it seriously, listened to each other, and except for the one guy, to consider each other's views.

By the way, the one guy who wouldn't convict? Corporate lawyer. Seemed to think he knew how to do the prosecutor's job better than the prosecutor.

Hope the coke guy, who by the way didn't have any priors, learned his lesson and doesn't ever again get behind the wheel of a car while jacked. We can only hope.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

After all this time, I still miss my mom

I meant to do this post on Oct. 28. Humor me and pretend.

Roses in October
Rhett and I bought our house in 2006 (Dec). I knew the owners had spent a lot of time with their flower beds even though it was winter and they were dormant. There was a large flower bed in the back, an iris bed on the side of the house (with giant mum and peony bushes flanking them), a row of various exotic flowers (e.g., hibiscus) along the fence line on one side of the backyard, irises, tulips, and daffodils around the perimeter of the concrete slab right out our back door, and two rose bushes in the front of the house. The woman loved irises; they were everywhere! Not so much my favorite flower, the iris.

The first summer, the flowers got out of control because I am NOT a gardener, but they were beautiful! Rhett and I had talked about plowing under the large flower bed in the back to put in a vegetable garden after the “season” was over. About this time, I was planning a football party for our faculty and doc students: a daytime, outdoor “tailgate” theme. A week before the party, Rhett plowed under the flowerbed! This is just one of the many examples of the miscommunication that occurs between us. I didn’t clarify that I wanted the beauty and ambiance of the flowers for my party. He didn’t tell me he was going to do it, giving me a chance to ask him to wait. Part of me believes he purposely didn’t tell me because he knew I’d ask him not to. This is bolstered by the fact that he has not stopped pestering me to plow under every single flower bed and area. Even the roses.

I’ve waivered on plowing under every flower and bed—and caved—except the roses. We’re keeping the roses. Below is a picture taken just this month.

The reason I am adamant about keeping the roses is because my mother loved roses. Her favorite flower was the yellow rose. Neither of mine are yellow. One is salmony-coral and the other is magenta. Nevertheless, every time I look at my blooming rosebushes, I think of my mom. I find it fascinating that today, October 28, there are buds and blooms, and they are particularly beautiful. Because 30 years ago today, my mother died of cancer.

It was exactly one week before my 16th birthday. 3 days before Halloween. She was 52 years old, a mother of 10, four of us still at home. The youngest was 14.

In 6 six years, I will be her age. That gives me great pause.

My mother was a neat woman (really, whose mom isn’t/wasn’t?). Things I remember—which, by the way, may be either wrong or just different from my older siblings as children in families as large as ours probably actually have different family experiences given the age difference—include the following:

• We got to pick what dinner we wanted on our birthdays. I remember one brother picked chop suey. I think it was a new thing then because now I think it is gross.

• She made awesome birthday cakes. The 2 I remember are doll cakes and train cakes.

• She was a bit of a prankster. When my oldest brother got married and went on his honeymoon, she short-sheeted their bed, balanced buckets of rice on doors tops, and saran-wrapped the toilet (I could be mis-remembering this entire bullet).

• She loved sweets. I eventually ended up with her tin recipe box (Thanks to sister-in-law #1). 7/8 of the recipes are for desserts.

• She loved her sisters. And liked them, too.

• She struggled with her weight, too. My youngest sister remembers going to a Weight Watcher’s meeting with her and stopping for ice cream on the way home.

• By her own admission (I have the letters she wrote to my dad when he was in the army stationed in Germany post-WWII), she didn’t really enjoy nursing school, which she attended after graduating high school. It sounded like she wasn’t a good student, but she was president of her high school class, and class presidents aren’t usually dummies.

• She finished nursing school about 25 years or so after she started. Her youngest was in Kindergarten, I think.

Okay, sibs, if you read this, I want to know if I got anything right, particularly thebirthday dinners. If that memory is accurate, what did you pick? And does anyone remember what I picked?

One of my childhood favorites...

...is now one of BonnieBlue's.

When I was a kid, we used to anticipate this movie with bated breath and watched with glee. I found it for $8 or so at Kroger one day a few months ago. I picked it out of the rack and put it back about 5 times before I finally decided it was really for me that I was buying it: I wanted to see it again!

BonnieBlue's favorite part is when Henry transforms into the fish. It's probably the cheesiest part of the movie, and that's saying something.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Oh dear

It appears an intervention is in order (should have done something on Oct. 29).

Or, I could just go with Mama Pea's (apparently my only blogger friend) appraisal that this doesn't seem like a lot of diet coke.

I wish there was a $1.00 'sin' tax on each bottle of it. That would get me to stop drinking it. I could try putting a $1.50 in a jar every day I go without, and then monthly spend the $ on whatever I want. Or save it up to buy something big. Like the West Wing DVD collection I want. That would be 200 days without diet coke. Hmmm...

New topic.

I made 2 delicious soups last week. We've been getting acorn squash in our CSA (community-supported agriculture) boxes, and I didn't know what to do with them. I've heard that butternut squash soup is good, so I googled 'acorn squash soup' and found Emeril Lagasse's recipe here. By the way, it's copyrighted by Martha Stewart Omnimedia, Inc. What does that mean, anyway? I'm a plagiarism-cop when it comes to my students' work, but how does this 'due credit' thing work on the Internet? I'm not passing this off as my own recipe. I'm giving the website and the copyright. Does the copyright prevent me from copying and pasting the recipe (which I wouldn't do anyway)? I hope I'm not doing anything wrong by sharing how I made his soup. I know not to use the picture. Unfortunately, I didn't take any of my soup, but you can be sure I'll make it again and tweak the recipe some more and post a picture.

If you want the recipe, go to the site and then come back here for the 'what they don't tell you' stuff. You'll notice I change amounts and omit items.

I washed each acorn squash (3) and cut in half. Cutting them was hard! I scooped out (with a spoon) the seeds and as much of the strings as I could

I sprayed a cake pan with Pam and placed the sqush cut side down. I added about a 1/2 cup water to the pan.

I roasted them in at preheated oven at 390 degrees for about 35 min. I let them cool about 30 min. The skin will kind of peel away from the flesh so when you go to scoop out the flesh, be careful not to take the skin with it. Scoop and set aside.

Pour some olive oil in a large saute/frying pan (I rarely measure olive oil...I would guess about an 1/8 of a cup or 2-3 tablespoons) and sautee a small to medium onion, chopped. The recipe calls for carrots, but I didn't have any. It also calls for a Granny Smith. I used a Melrose. I peeled, cored, and chopped it and added it to the onion after about 5 min. Sautee for about 8 min. NOTE: Did you know that olive oil has a lower break-down (or smoking point) temperature than other oils, like canola? Really high quality (the expensive stuff) olive oil usually has a higher break-down temperature, just so you know. I don't buy the expensive stuff. The issue here is that at high temperatures, the oil breaks down and that results in a nasty taste. So, saute with olive oil carefully. Generally, I don't go above medium on my electric stove top, just to be safe.

Add ginger and allspice, 1/4 tspn each. Stir til just mixed. Add the squash. Mix. Add a small box + 1 can 98%  fat free chicken broth. Stir. Simmer 15 min. (You could totally make this vegan with vegetable broth!)

I don't have a handheld immersion blender, so I blended in a blender in batches. I chose the highest setting and blended (liquefied?) for about a minute. After blending, I poured in a sauce pan/small stock pot and brought to a boil then immediately turned on low. Leave on low for at least 10 min, but I left it on for 30 or so. Serve with a crusty whole grain baguette fresh from the oven. Yummers.

Creamiest soup you will ever eat. And healthy! No sugar, just a bit of fat and it's the healthy kind (olive oil).

Rhett bought a rotisserie chicken to go with our soup and bread. After dinner, I cleaned off the carcass and boiled it to make my own chicken stock. Yeah, I know. Sometimes, I just don't like a good chicken carcass to go to waste. Next post, I'll share the soup I made with that!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Jury duty

'Nuff said.

Except for this: I am getting so much done! I wish I could bring my sewing machine in and work on the Christmas mystery quilt at ErikHomemade.

This is what I have done so far. I'm 2 weeks behind, but they're pretty easy, short steps so it won't take much to catch up.

I'd post my diet coke graph, but Blogger is still only letting me upload one image at a time. Maybe later.