Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Secret Life of SecondLife

Ok a while back, I heard about Second Life. If you haven't heard of it, it's basically a ramped up version of The Sims. Only it's much different. First, I was hearing about how people were playing Second Life and 'working' in SL, and making Linden Dollars (the currency of Second Life) and then converting those Lindens into real world money. I was intrigued, because who doesn't like to make money? Then, I heard about how SL was having a negative impact on people's real lives. I read about a man who spent nearly all of his time on SL. He had a 'virtual wife' on SL, something his real wife (now ex) was less than pleased with. What on Earth could be so addictive about what I thought was little more than a geeky computer game? I decided to go undercover to find out.

First, when you join Second Life (a basic membership is free, or you can pay for upgrades), you create a SL name and download the software. The software really slowed my computer down, because my graphics card isn't compatible, or something like that. But, I was determined to see what the fuss was about. Once you get the software installed and you log in, you create your virtual self. Since I'm all about truth in advertising, this is what the virtual me looks like-



Yep, looks just like me! OK, now to explore. In Second Life, there are all kinds of 'worlds' for you to explore. Some of them are named after actual cities, others are names that landowners have made up for the land they own in SL. You transport from one area to another, interacting with other people. After playing with SL for a couple of hours, I really didn't see what the fuss was. Yeah, it was kind of fun to create my virtual self, but I wasn't really seeing how this was a money making opportunity.

Then, I learned that the world's oldest profession is also a very high paying profession in Second Life. People are making real world money 'working' as Second Life escorts. There are numerous x-rated areas on SL, and there are a lot of people who take advantage of those areas by working as escorts, running S&M clubs, etc. I didn't look too closely at these areas because well, EWWW! Why would you want to have 'pretend' sex through a computer character? What do these escorts? Do they sit at their keyboards, typing 'oh yeah, baby, that's it', over and over? Yeah, that's sexy. I don't care how much money might be in it, I'm not going to sit around typing who knows what to someone who looks about as much as their SL character as I do mine.

I'm sure there are lots of other ways to make money in SL, but I think I'll take a pass on this one. But in the off chance that I do log back on, if you see me, say 'hi'!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Do These Cranky-pants Make My Butt Look Big?

Maybe it's the rainy weather, maybe I didn't get enough sleep last night. But whatever the reason, I woke up in a craptacular mood this morning. And sadly, when I wake up cranky, I tend to stay cranky.

I didn't eat breakfast, and lunch was a Coke and a bag of Cheez-its. The afternoon does not bode well. I should have gone to Scooter's this morning and got my caffeine fix, instead of the Coke I'm drinking. Now, I won't have had any water today, whine, whine, whine.

Anyway, since I can't think of anything positive to write, for now anyway, I'll leave you with a little creative visualization. Maybe if I meditate on this photo, it will put me in a better frame of mind-



Breathe in, exhale slowly. In with the good air, out with the bad air...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Chicken Satays - Yummy!

Yesterday we went over to the husband's grandfather's house. Gramps lives close to us, and best of all, he's got a pool that we can use whenever we like. Being as it was hotter than you know where yesterday, we decided to take him up on the invite.

The husband's father and grandfather had left, so we had the place to ourselves. We swam and splashed and floated and carried on in the blazing sun, which explains the lovely shade of coral that my skin is today.

Since the grill is right there on the patio, I decided to make up this recipe to cook. It doesn't really take a lot of prep time, and the cooking time is super fast. This is the original recipe I got from the Primal Grillwebsite, but I'll throw in some shortcuts for you to make it go even faster.

Thai Chicken Satays Served in Lettuce Leaves
Makes 16 sates; serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as an entrée
Advance Preparation: 20 minutes to 2 hours for marinating the chicken

For the chicken and marinade:

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts (I used 3 large breasts)
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk (in the Asian food section, NOT the Coco-Loco like you make pina-coladas with!)
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (if you don't want to buy fish sauce, substitute soy sauce)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons honey or sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric ( I couldn't find this at the store, I threw in some 5-spice powder)

For serving:

Thai Peanut Sauce (recipe below) (or, to save time, you can use bottled peanut sauce, available in the Asian food section)
1 head Boston lettuce, separated into leaves, rinsed, trimmed
Diced cucumber

Rinse the chicken breasts under cold running water, then drain and blot dry with paper towels. Cut the breasts lengthwise (with the grain) into 16 strips, each 4 inches long, 1/2 inch wide, and 1/4 inch thick. Set aside while you prepare the marinade.

Combine the coconut milk, fish sauce, lime juice, honey, garlic, and turmeric in a medium-size nonreactive bowl and whisk to blend. Add the chicken to the marinade and toss thoroughly to coat. Cover and let marinate, in the refrigerator, 20 minutes to 2 hours (the longer the better).

Preheat the grill to high.

Weave the chicken strips lengthwise onto the skewers. When ready to cook, oil the grill grate. Arrange the sates on the hot grate and grill, turning with tongs, until lightly browned and cooked through, 1 to 3 minutes per side (2 to 6 minutes in all).

Transfer the sates to serving plates and serve, accompanied by tiny bowls of the peanut sauce. To eat, place a sate on a lettuce leaf and top the chicken with a spoonful of the sauce and top with some cucumber, if desired; wrap the lettuce around the sate and pull out the skewer.

Thai Peanut Sauce

Makes about 1 cup

2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 to 2 Thai, serrano, or jalapeno chiles, seeded and minced (for a spicier
sauce, leave the seeds in)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 scallions, both white and green parts, trimmed and minced
1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
1/3 cup coconut milk, plus more if needed to thin the sauce
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce or soy sauce, or more to taste
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or more to taste
2 teaspoons sugar, or more to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Combine the ginger, chile, garlic, scallions, peanut butter, 1/3 cup coconut milk, 2 tablespoons fish sauce, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 2 teaspoons sugar, and the cilantro (if using) in a small, heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring well to mix, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until richly flavored, about 10 minutes. The sauce should be thick, but pourable; thin with coconut milk, if needed.

Remove from the heat and taste for seasoning, adding fish sauce, lime juice, or sugar as necessary; the sauce should be highly seasoned. Serve warm or at room temperature. The sauce will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Ok, here are my tips-

Cut the chicken breasts while they're still slightly frozen. They're easier to cut, and you can get thinner slices. I got 20 satays from 3 large chicken breasts, and they were all uniform thickness.

These babies cook fast! Watch them closely and especially watch them if you're using bamboo skewers. Make a foil shield for the front portion of the grill grate and lay the satays with the skewer resting on the foil. That way they won't burn. Or catch on fire!

Oil your grill well before putting your chicken down to prevent sticking.

Leftover satays (if their are any) are yummy chopped and served on top of a fresh salad.

I Think I Saw The New X-Files Movie

OK, so this past Friday, we had Kai(Seth from Superbad)'s best friend(McLovin) over to spend the night. McLovin' will be going to a different school next year, so we thought they should get together and hang. Much hilarity ensued.

Seth and McLovin spent most of Friday afternoon playing WiiFit and Guitar Hero. We made the plan to go to the drive in that night to see Space Chimps and X-Files. We stopped and got something to eat, and headed out.

My husband, being the anal-retentive, obsessive-compulsive planner that he his, had everything we could possibly ever need packed in the car. I don't know why two adults and two 8-year olds need: 2 chairs, 2 coolers, 2 sleeping bags, a 20lb bag of ice and enough soda and kool-aid mix to throw all of us into a diabetic coma. But we had it all.

After selecting the perfect spot, it was time to unpack the wagon. We got Seth & McLovin to help us (sort of) lay the sleeping bags down so they could sit on them. This took some time to clarify, because they both wanted to lie IN their sleeping bags, despite the 90-degree temperatures. Then we unloaded the coolers, set up the chairs and we were ready to rock. Nope, not yet! The husband took the boys to the snack bar for some treats. They came back with what every 8-year old boy needs; giant Pixie Stix and 'Alien Glow Pops'. I was drafted to be the bartender and I whipped up some kool-aid for the kiddies and I FINALLY got to sit down.

Man, I was really looking forward to seeing the new X-Files Movie! I wish I could tell you more about it, but we had some interruptions. It was mostly along the lines of-
'It's really hot!'
'I want to sit in the car'
'Can I play the DS?'
'Would you two shut the car door?! The light keeps coming on!'
'I dropped my alien sucker in the gravel!!'
'OK, it's time for you two to be QUIET!!'
And so on. So I don't really know for sure what all went on in the new X-Files movie. I think Scully and Mulder did it. And he had a beard at first. Scully's hair is long now.

Once the movie was over, I volunteered to take the boys to the bathroom and told the husband that when we got back, I would help him load up the car. Whoopsie, we had to wait so long, by the time we got back, he had loaded up the car all by himself. Oh well. On to the next screen (no, none of the movies were on the same screen). We get parked for Space Chimps. There's lots of standing water and mud in the lot for this screen and I'm not unloading that crap in the car again, so we all agree to sit in the car. Thanks to the opressive heat and humidity, my sinuses are giving me all kinds of hell, so I take two Tylenol Sinus, and check out for about 90 minutes. I have no idea whatsoever what Space Chimps is about, other than it's about chimps in space. Sorry.

When I wake up, we're on the move again! The husband is determined to get his $20 admission worth of movie enjoyment. We head over to the next lot where they're showing 'Stepbrother' with Will Farrell, whom I can only tolerate in small doses. He takes the boys to the concession stand and bathroom again, and I watch the last couple of minutes of the Angelina Jolie flick 'Wanted'. What I saw was really violent and gory and combined with my Tylenol Sinus, made me though I was hallucinating.

The boys all came back and I told the husband that I 'Stepbrother' was rated R, and I didn't think we needed to keep Seth & McLovin' there, it was time to go home. The husband, however, told the boys, 'OK, lie down and go to sleep now!'. Gee, why didn't I think of that? Of course, they didn't go to sleep and I figured after about 20 minutes of 'Stepbrother' they had heard enough curse words and vulgar jokes for the evening. Besdies, it was 1 am and it was still hotter than Hades outside.

We finally pulled into our driveway about 1:45 am, and I hustled the boys off to bed. I was exhausted and slept til 11 the next morning. So, if anyone has seen the new X-Files movie, could you please let me know what it's about? Thank you!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Awesomely Bad Food- Pt. 4 (or so)

Tonight's ABF entry comes to us from the fine folks at Better Homes and Gardens. This particular photo is in the BH&G Barbecue Book, published in 1956.

It looks like our friends in the BH&G prop department were going for some sort of theme here. There's lots of wicker, bamboo handled utensils and a bunch of other unrelated crap like chickens and apples, so don't ask me what the theme is. Let's take a look at the photo, then I'll try to identify the food (click on the photo to see it in it's full-sized glory)



Wow. Ok, all of these dishes come from a section on cooking in a foil packet. Yes, they did that back in the 1950's, too. Let's start at the top, up by the polka-dot chickens and go clockwise-
Chicken In The Garden (chicken, veggies and brown rice)
Dixie Dinner (ham with pineapple and sweet potato, with a pickled crabapple for garnish)
Baked Shoestring Potatoes (chock full of heart-healthy heavy cream and lots of cheese)
P'ok-chop Treat (pork chops cooked in acorn squash halves)
Chuck-Wagon Special(he-man fare, according to the book. Sirloin tips, browned potatoes and veggies)
Those red shiny things along the bottom are cinnamon apples. And look, there in the center? The first appetizer I ever made- carrot curls! I thought I was hot shit at age 8 when I was making those! The polka-dot chickens look like they're going to attack the carrot curls, don't they?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Dear Loony Landlady

Dear Loony Landlady,

Thanks to you and your new friend(with benefits) Brent, for fixing the facia board over the patio. I appreciate the fact that he worked hard on it, and that he came over and cleaned up his mess.

Yeah, about that...when he was going to remove the debris, I had no idea that it would be up to me to drag it down to the curb for trash pick up. But, I didn't mind (too much), and the husband and I piled it all out there Wednesday night. Imagine my surprise when I found out that they didn't pick it up on Thursday morning. And yes, my bill is paid, so don't get snarky. I contacted the disposal company, and per the driver and then the customer service rep, they can't pick that stuff up on a regular trash run, as it's considered construction materials.

So, we have a few choices here. One, you can contact the trash company and arrange a special pick up for around $35. Or, you store the debris in your garage until heavy pick up day, which MIGHT be sometime next spring. Or, your friend (with benefits) Brent, can haul it off somewhere. Any of these is fine with me. What's not fine with me is it staying in my trash bins in my garage.

Look, I know you're busy. You work all day, and then you dress provocatively and drive that hot-rod model T of yours around on Friday nights. I don't know if that tube top and those short shorts were quite the look you were going for, but you certainly were working it. I understand perfectly; you've got a new man in your life and you want to look good for him. And I'm sure having to take care of the hassles that owning rental property can sometimes bring is getting in the way of you to having fun (sexy times). I think that it's great that a woman of your age (65) is active. I was quite surprised to see you and Brent out roller-blading last week. I didn't even know you could still get those spandex bike shorts! You go, girl! But before you go, could you please come and get this trash already?

Sincerely,
Your Tenant

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Back To School? Seriously?!

Tonight we made the trip to the Walmarts to get light bulbs and toilet paper, and a bunch of other crap, when we decided to wander over to the 'back to school' aisle and check it out.

I can't believe that school starts in a month. It seems like Kai just got out of school. Anyway, we picked up some of the stuff on the list of school supplies. Ok, about school supplies...why do I buy all of this crap, but he doesn't use it? For example, on last year's list, we had to buy 12 (12!!!) glue sticks, AND a bottle of glue? This year, we have to buy not only crayons, but colored pencils, wide colored markers and thin colored markers. Here's something I found out about the school my son attends- stuff like markers and glue sticks and such get put into a community tub in the classroom so that all the kids get to use them. Now, I'm all about sharing, and if they had a supply drive to help out the kids who's families can't afford to get all of their supplies, I would donate for sure. But be upfront with me about it and don't just list a truckload of supplies on the supply list. And why am I buying dry erase markers? I had to buy them last year and they went to the teacher. My son never used them. Is the district so poor that we're having to buy the teacher's supplies, too?

Don't get me wrong, I know that our school districts have funding issues, and teachers are horribly underpaid and under-appreciated. My son attends a public school in one of the top three districts in our state, and we have to pay school fees of $80 for the year. This does not cover field trips, room parties, extra kleenex or anything like that. I called the district office last year and asked what exactly this fee was for. 'Oh, you know, paper and stuff', was the answer I got. Lord knows, my son brought home enough paper last year to re-assemble into a tree, but I get ticked that we have to pay for what should be free. I get mad that I work and pay taxes and vote for sales tax increases that are supposed to be earmarked for school funding, and I still have to pay for my son to go?

OK, I'm done venting. I get like this every July/August, when I realize that fee night is looming in the near future. Don't mind the crazy lady, people!

Caramelized Onions= Love

A couple of years back, I bought a jar of caramelized onions from one of those home tasting food parties- you know the ones. I was addicted! I put caramelized onions on everything that stood still, practically. And then one day, my jar was empty. So, I decided I better learn how to make them myself. I tried a couple of different recipes, but this one is the easiest and it's my absolute favorite.

6-8 large sweet onions (Vidalias are my favorite)
1 stick of butter (eat your heart out, Paula Deen. Your big, cholesterol engorged heart)
1 10oz. can of vegetable stock, or even better, 1 1/2 cups of beef stock (I saved the liquid from the last time I made pot roast, skimmed off the extra fat and then froze it)
Throw some balsamic vinegar into the mix if you're feeling froggy. What does that mean, "feeling froggy"? I better go to wikipedia next.

Cut both ends off of the onions and peel. Place whole onions, butter and stock in your crock pot and set it on low. Set it and forget it! (sorry Ron Popiel) You really can't overdo these guys, but in 12-24 hours (depending on your crock pot) they will be totally soft and a deep, golden brown. Like George Hamilton.

I keep them in the fridge and use them on burgers (with provolone cheese, oh my), or on a salad, or in hash browns, or use them with more beef stock to make french onion soup.

Even if you don't think you're a huge onion fan, give this a try. The long cooking process really gives them a deep, sweet flavor.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Books, books, books

For as long as I can remember, books have been a big part of my life. I still have most of my Little Golden Books from when I was a kid. They are familiar old friends to me, and I still look at them from time to time.

One of the best things about taking public transportation to work is it affords me plenty of reading time. I usually check out books from the library or read books that I've borrowed from family. Last month, my cousin Brenda let me go through my Aunt Judy's books and told me to take as many as I wanted. I didn't want to appear greedy, so I only took six or seven. I've been reading them as fast as I can, and for sure, one of them I will read again- "On The Road", by Jack Kerouac. I always wondered what all the fuss was about with On The Road. I can tell you, for me it was a book that surpassed all expectations. It was one of those books that I was sad to finish, because I wanted to stay immersed in the lives of Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarity.

I'm now on to "We Are Still Married" by Garrison Keillor. It's an older book from him, but I love the way he writes. I listen to him every Saturday on A Prairie Home Companion and reading his stories is a lot like listening to him on the radio; soothing, comforting, funny.

I'm thinking about reading all of the 'classic' novels I've never gotten around to reading- Jane Eyre, For Whom The Bell Tolls, etc. What are some of your favorite books, magazines, milk cartons? What are you reading?

Randomly Random

Well the weekend was another jumbled mess of nothing-ness. Not much was accomplished, other than laundry and the usual cleaning. Oh, well I did get to my pile of crap to be shredded, and Kai assisted me in the shredding. Fun, fun.

The weekend got off to a rip-roaring start when I got home Friday night to find our front storm door shattered. It looked like I had a million diamonds on my front entry! A piece of gravel about the size of the end of my pinky finger flew out from under the mower as Tim was finishing up mowing the front lawn. Hopefully, Looney Landlady can turn in a claim on her homeowner's insurance, otherwise, looks like we'll be getting a new door! Yay! Not.

Saturday was rainy and dull. Tim took off to get his laptop repaired and Kai went with so I had an afternoon all to myself. I climbed into bed and watched 'Gandhi' on TCM and finished reading 'Singing in the Comeback Chior' by Bebe Campbell. I made enchiladas for dinner, along with a few of Pioneer Woman's 'Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Thingies'. Boy are those things addictive.

Yesterday was laundry and cleaning day, and I still haven't gotten around to tackling Kai's room. As he was ascending the mountain of crap in his doorway, I told him, 'you know, we could probably just toss most of this stuff'. He looked down at it and said, 'yeah, we could do that'. So, I had him get one of those huge yellow trash bags and get to work. I think he's put two things in it so far.

Kai won't admit it, but he's got a huge crush on Hannah Montana (the hussy). He keeps bugging me to go to Wal-Mart to get 3-D glasses for some HM movie that's going to be on TV later this month. 'Guys can watch that movie too, you know', he keeps telling me. Uh-huh. So there's something to look forward to. Do you think there's a lot of 'closet' Hannah Montana fans that just happen to be boys?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mmm....Crabcakes!

Last night was the bi-weekly trip through purgatory, also known as the grocery store. I do not like going to the store at all. But, I dutifully made my list and off we went. Kai kept saying he wanted crab legs for dinner. Crab legs? On a week night? Who does he think we are, the Trumps?

Anyway, big pushover that he is, Tim suggested that we drop the groceries off at the house, and 'swing by Costco to pick up some crab legs'. I really didn't want to, and I'll tell you the truth, I think it was really Tim that wanted crab legs, not Kai. I think there was some trickery going on. We roamed around Costco and I resisted the urge to buy mini-cinnamon rolls and two-bite brownies (man, I LOVE those things!). We headed back to the seafood department and they did not have the bags of frozen crab legs. Kai was checking out the fresh crab- "Mom, what's a 'dangerous' crab?" Dangerous crab, what was that? I looked at the package- "No, that 'dungeness' crab, not dangerous crab". So, we left without getting crabs. Ha,ha.

The point of all of this is that tonight, I made crab cakes for dinner. I love crab cakes. They're easy and a nice treat, and it's a relatively inexpensive way to get your crab fix. I was going to take a picture of them to show you how lovely they were, but we ate them all! But if you'd like to make your own, here's the recipe-

Crab Cakes

1 egg
2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
1 teaspoon of dry mustard
1 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 teaspoon of Lawry's season salt*
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper*
* if you want substitute 1 teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning for the season salt and cayenne pepper
4 4.5oz. cans of lump crab meat drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh parsley
8 or 9 saltine crackers, finely crushed
vegetable oil for frying, about 1/2 cup

Beat the egg and add the mayo and dry mustard. Stir in the seasoning, and then the crab meat and the cracker crumbs. Don't stir it too hard, just enough to get it mixed well. Stir in the parsley. Divide mixture into 8 equal portions and shape into patties. Put the patties on a wax-paper lined cookie sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat oil in a large, deep skillet, and gently add crab cakes, 4 at a time. Fry over medium-high heat for 8 minutes, or until golden brown on all sides, turning frequently. Drain on paper towels and serve while still hot.

Yum!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Public Transportation Etiquette 101 (and a Loony Landlady update)

Ok, I've been riding the bus to work for many years now. It's mostly been out of necessity, but the fact that it's saving me money and is a little bit better for our wacked out environment are nice bonuses.

That being said, there are some rules for how to behave while riding the bus (or subway or other form of public transport). Here we go-

1. Don't discuss things of an extreme personal nature. Strangers sitting around you don't want to hear about your failing marriage, your overdrawn checking account, or the odd, puss-filled growth on your back. We can't obsess over our own problems if you're sitting there blabbing about yours. Bus convo should be brief and should stick to the weather and local sports. Examples: 'Hot enough for ya?' and 'How 'bout them Royals/Chiefs/whomever ?'

2. Know where in the hell you are going before you get on the bus. The driver does not have the psychic ability to know where you're trying to get to when you get on board. Consult a schedule and know how to get where you're going. You wouldn't just get in your car and drive around aimlessly until you found your destination, would you?

3. Have your bus pass or your fare ready when you get on, too. Other people are waiting to board, and don't want to stand there waiting for you to count out $1.75 in coins, or try to break a twenty. Hello, that's why they sell gum at the convience store. Go buy a pack so you'll have some change.

4. Please learn to sleep while sitting up. The bus is not your own personal sleeping car on the Orient Express. If you're lying down, you're taking up too many spaces, so sit up and shut up, already.

Ok, I think that covers the majority of issues.

On to Loony Landlady. Last night, Tim and I went out to clean up the patio. The pile of nail spiked wood is still there, as is all the other crap her boy-toy left. We also discovered that while he had taken down some wrought iron plant hangers I had out there, he didn't leave the screws, and he took down and left our bug zapper lying on it's side on the ground, and now it no longer works. After we fumed for a little bit, we went inside to eat dinner. Priorities, people. It's all about priorities. Anyway, after I was done licking my fingers (Rosedale BBQ, yay!), I called up Loony Landlady. I dialed her cell # and I could hear someone pick up and I could hear them breathing, but nobody answered. Ok.....so I tried dialing her home #. Again, I heard her (or someone) pick up the phone and I could hear her talking in the background, but when I said 'hello', all I got was dead air. Did I interrupt sexy times or something?

So, I suppose tonight I will just walk next door and ask if Stud-muffin is done working on the house, and if so, when will he be picking up his toys? I have to confess, I'm really irked about this. For what we pay in rent, I should be able to have reasonable expectations that the house will be properly maintained. But it doesn't look like that's happening right now.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Loony Landlady

We've been renting the house we live in for going on 5 years now. Yes, I know that renting is throwing your money away, but when we first moved here, owning was not an option.

We just signed a two year renewal on our lease, and the landlady upped the rent by $100 per month. I'm not really complaining; to live here for this long without a rent increase was pretty sweet, and hey, she's gotta live, too.

I'm having issues though, with her approach to making any improvements to our home. She lives right next door to us, so she can see right away if something needs fixed, and in a couple of emergency situations that we've had, she's come through. On routine maintenance, though, it's harder to get anything done, and when it is done, her handyman (who's also her 'friend with benefits', but that's another story), leaves all of his crap all over the place for us to clean up.

Two weeks ago, he fixed some rotted out facia board on part of the roof that hung over the back patio. He started at 6 pm on a Sunday night, and pounded and sawed all the way to 10:30. He finished it up the next day, but in the meantime, left a box of scrap wood on the patio, a pile of rotted boards, some with nails sticking out, and a roll of roofing paper that the chipmunks are having fun playing house in. I have no problem cleaning up my own mess, but why should I be responsible for all of this? I'm going to call her this evening and find out when he's going to pick it up, and if she balks, I'm going to calmly (as I can anyway) tell her that I'm not picking up after him.

What would you do?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th!

I'm very glad that this was a short week at work. It was all I could do to drag myself through 4 days, I don't think I had it in me this week to tackle all 5.

So far, today has been relaxing. I've lounged about, watching a couple of movies on Lifetime and am getting ready to take on a mountain of laundry.

No cookouts or anything today; we're just going to hang out at home, and then tonight head out to Corporate Woods to watch the fireworks. We had originally planned to drive out to Lake Lotawana, but with gas prices what they are, decided to stay closer to home.

I'm getting ready to work on a new bag, pictures will be posted soon!

Oh, I forgot! I've set up a message board here at Casa DeChaos! Look for the link on the right, and join in. I'd love to hear from you!

Keep it safe, people!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

'She'-nanigans

In the past week and a half since my friend Beth passed, I've been thinking a lot about her. Probably more than I have in quite a while. It's a combination of sadness that someone I cared about left this world way too soon, and a bit of guilt on my part. I truly, honestly thought that she would get better, and I'm still wishing I had made it up to the hospital to see her, or called her more often. I wish I had made more of an effort to tell her how much she meant to me. I know that as advanced as her illness was, there wasn't anything that I or anyone else could have done to save her. But the helplessness of the situation is overwhelming at times.

A good majority of the thinking I've been doing about Beth has been about all the things we did together in our younger days. Our silliness and impulsiveness knew no bounds and we were game for anything. Here are some of my most favorite memories-

Calling in a pizza order for 20 pizzas to be delivered to a graduation party that Beth wasn't invited to. After we called the pizza order in, we then called the police on the 'rowdy' party down the street (it was about 10 blocks from us in all actuality).

Rolling up $2 in pennies and taking the rolls to the gas station so we could by gas to go cruising around (this was in '86 or so, when $2 actually bought you a decent amount of gas).

Anyone that knew Beth knew that she was insanely jealous when it came to her boyfriends. If she even thought that another girl was looking at Mr. Right Now, Beth was ready to rumble. Once when we were out driving around, she saw a guy she liked parked in front of a friend's house, with a girl sitting on the hood of his car, acting, according to Beth, 'all hot or something'. This demanded immediate action. We headed over to 7-11 and got a Big Gulp. We filled it half full of soda, and then added ketchup, mustard, pickle relish and the contents of the ashtray in Beth's car. We zoomed back to the scene of the crime, where we drove by slowly, and Beth leaned out of the car and dumped our concoction all over Miss Hot. To say she was surprised is an understatement. I have to say, Beth had pretty good aim to be able to dump that cup and drive. It's not right, I know that, but it is what it is. I don't think her or I ever laughed so hard.

There are tons more crazy things we did. We never thought twice about calling in sick to our jobs so that we could go out to Lake Perry for the day or some other adventure. We chased boys with wild abandon, and could never figure out what we were doing with some of the losers we hooked up with.

We had our issues, our friendship wasn't perfect. But wow, we had fun! I'm glad I have these warped, twisted memories of our friendship, and I'll cherish them forever.