Friday, July 31, 2009

seriously women? seriously?

Look, I'm no hardcore feminist. I prefer that men mow the grass, carry heavy boxes and open my doors while out on dates*. But what the fuck is going on over on VH1? Why am I seeing a houseful of bikini-clad women vying for Brett Michaels affection? Why am I watching a woman drink herself into oblivion for the sole purpose of trying to convince the others that she is "not innocent"? Seriously? And for the love of the Goddess, why are all these damn women crying or fighting all the time???

Tonight is the first I have seen this show. I've heard about it and immediately knew I wanted no part. I am so f'ing tired of these shows where women are competing for a man and making themselves look stupid and worthless in the meantime. And yet, here I am, still watching this mess of a trainwreck. And wanting to scream at the top of my lungs.


Seriously. I'm tired of it. It's one of those things that make me want to climb dangerously to the top of a radio tower in L.A.** and not come down until all of these shows are removed from TV and women everywhere quit acting like dumb whores. My nightly 2am viewing of West Wing cannot come on soon enough***....

* On men opening doors for me. I've decided that opening doors is a gentlemanly gesture that I greatly appreciate. I don't expect, or even want, men to open my door at the office. At the office, I want to be considered equal. In fact, it's much like carrying a heavy box. At work, I can do it. I don't need anyone to do anything for me. Outside of the workplace, I consider it especially kind if a man asks if I need help carrying something or reaching the case of water on the top shelf of the grocery store. Poor guys. No wonder they have such a hard time figuring us out...

** A la Daryl Hannah's tree climbing incident (which was far more interesting than I remembered it being).

*** As it turns out, West Wing is not on tonight. My anger and frustration will have to be curbed by a viewing of Cold Case, which in turn will probably leave me feeling icky and depressed.

**** I just realized all of this would go away if I would just throw my damn TV out the window once and for all...

{Edit: Tonight's episode of Cold Case is actually a fictionalized version of the West Memphis 3, a case I've been following since 1998. In '99 I felt so strongly about the cause I actually donated money to their defense fund. Infuriatingly, the three boys (now men) are still incarcerated...

I guess my point here is that not all TV is bad. Especially if it brings awareness to issues we may not have previously known about. Still, women vying for men on national TV suck.}

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

get it

Today has absolutely made up for the week of inactivity I've had. I can either be emotional or physical it seems, I can't do both. And all week I've been planning, plotting, thinking and revising. In the mean time, I didn't get a damn thing done.

So today was my day of work. I dusted, mopped, shampooed carpets, washed dishes, cleaned toilets and gave Zoey a bath. In addition, I wrote out my Last Will and Testament. It feels so good to get things done. It feels good to be exhausted. It feels good to ache. And now my life is clean and organized again. I can (literally) die happy.

Monday, July 20, 2009

because history ALWAYS repeats itself.

Chris and I are about to embark on yet another adventure. It seems we can't stay away from them. Just when we think the dust is settled, just when we let out our first breath of fresh air, a storm blows through again. I think a therapist would say we ask for it. I think (if I'm completely honest with myself) I'd have to agree. While I didn't stand outside and do a raindance this time, I definitely didn't "batten down the hatches". And I most definitely knew the consequences to saying "yes".

Now the goal will be for Chris and I to remain a united front. Today we had a discussion about the difference between "support" and "agreeance". While discussing our current situation I said "I support you on this, but I don't agree. It will be your job to make the case for your argument." This comment disturbed him because I think he felt I might undermine him at some point. "When you are met with this discussion later," he lectured, "I hope you don't state it in that way. You can leave out the part where you don't agree." As anyone who knows me knows, I can't leave out my opinion. So that would be impossible for me to do (as I explained to him in detail). But it won't change the outcome. I DO support him on this particular matter. I understand why he feels the way he does. I understand that he is probably a better judge on this situation than I am. Which, of course, is why I support him. But it doesn't change the fact that I don't agree. It doesn't change the fact that I would do things differently. And sharing my opinion doesn't undermine the final decision. Because at the end of the day, I have agreed to follow his direction on this (which is not always the case), and I'm fully able to explain why I'm able to follow it despite our differences in opinion.

I think the ability to support, yet disagree, is absolutely key in all relationships (romantic, familial, work and friendships). It's saying "I trust your input on this matter. I trust that I may not have the best information available. So I stand beside you whatever happens." That's not to say that I'll go behind his back with my opinion. I plan on openly expressing my varying views on the matter. But I also plan on confessing that I'm a "bleeding heart liberal" who often gets screwed for being "too nice".

Honestly, I think that's the reason Chris and I work so well together. We are opposite ends of the pole. I donate to causes and homeless people, he says "get a job". I take people in, he kicks people out. I rattle on for hours, he quietly observes. I make him a better person, he makes me a smarter person. The two of us together make for one powerful entity. But separately, we are just two extremes trying to survive in a world of gray. And it's with that knowledge that I am able to confidently say "I support your decision, but kindly disagree."

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Recipe of the Week

So in order to get our money straight, I've decided to start really planning out our dinner menus (especially since we are now feeding our very hungry roommate). I read online about cooking a whole chicken and preparing 3 dinners out of it, so I decided to try it this evening. I must say, cooking a whole chicken is gross. Really, really gross. But if it saves money, I guess it's worth it. And I thought I'd share the process for anyone out there in a recipe/dinner/money rut.

First, I cooked the whole chicken in a crock pot overnight. I sprayed the crock pot lightly with cooking spray (olive oil) and threw the washed chicken in there with some fresh herbs (rosemary, basil, and bay leaves). No need to add water, just start it and go. 10 hours later I had a well cooked chicken.

I removed the chicken and put the juices into a large stock pot. I removed all the meat from the bone, put it into a bowl and threw the bones, skin and all that other gross stuff into the stock pot. I added some additional seasoning, filled it up with water and brought it to a boil. From there I let it simmer for 2 hours. Then, turn off the heat and let it cool. Strain through a cheesecloth (I didn't have one available so I used a clean kitchen towel). Then you can pour it into ice cube trays, freeze, put into a freezer bag and any time you need chicken broth, you're good.

The meat from the chicken equals about 4 cups of dark and white meat. Tomorrow I plan on making a chicken pot pie. Tonight, however, was chicken enchiladas that turned out simply fantastic. They were fast, easy and the best enchilada's I've ever had. Here's the recipe:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast meat
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 6 (12 inch) flour tortillas
  • 1/4 cup milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking dish.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and saute the green onion until tender (about 3 to 4 minutes). Add the garlic powder, then stir in the green chiles, cream of mushroom soup and sour cream. Mix well. Reserve 3/4 of this sauce and set aside. To the remaining 1/4 of the sauce in the saucepan, add the chicken and 1/2 cup of shredded Cheddar cheese. Stir together.
  3. Fill each flour tortilla with the chicken mixture and roll up. Place seam side down in the prepared baking dish.
  4. In a small bowl combine the reserved 3/4 of the sauce with the milk. Spoon this mixture over the rolled tortillas and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded Cheddar cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.

Monday, July 13, 2009

just shut up already

I'm a gossip. There. I said it. And it's probably the worst thing about myself, and the first thing I would change if I could. It's hard, because I don't consider myself a gossip. Gossips are mean-spirited people in my mind, and I don't consider myself at all mean-spirited. Also, gossips have a tendency to spread false information. You will rarely hear me say "I hear so-and-so did this". I speak first hand. Which is probably worse. When I gossip, I am rarely judging. I mean, I do judge sometimes, but not usually. Most of the time I am analyzing that person's choices and actions. Out loud. With others. Which I know is not right. I should mind my own business and keep my mouth shut.

Recently a friend of mine ended up in a c.r.a.z.y situation. Bad choices were made which were met with some crazy-ass consequences. The situation was just too damn insane NOT to share with others. And I shared it with everyone I knew. Because I just couldn't NOT share. Since the story was crazy, it was also funny. And I like funny. The cruel part is that it isn't funny to my friend. It's been disturbing, life changing and traumatic. And now I feel the people I told will judge my friend based on my big mouth. Which wouldn't be right because this person isn't the sum of these particular crazy actions. They are much better, kinder and smarter than I made them out to be in this crazy-ass story which I used as coffee-talk entertainment. And that's the problem with gossip. While it serves to entertain others, it can truly hurt people.

I've discussed this before. My inability to keep my mouth shut. It's not just with others, I'm the same way with my own life. I have no secrets. There is no part of my life that others don't know about. This is a double-edged sword, of course. On the one hand it keeps me out of trouble. On the other, there are some things others just shouldn't know. There are certain parts of yourself that I suppose should remain private, I just don't know what that would be (obviously). Not too long ago I was tempted to cheat on Chris. For no other reason than I wanted to create a second life for myself. Not because I was at all unhappy (seriously honey!), but because I wanted to actually try to do something and keep it completely to myself. And because I never do things halfway, I wanted to go to the extreme. And then I realized, there's no way I could keep my mouth shut about it. I'd come home and immediately tell him (and everyone else) all about it. And not only would I prove that I can't keep a damn secret, but I'd destroy my family in the process.

I guess I'm just saying that there is some good to come from my big mouth. It isn't all negative. And, I should reiterate what I said the last time I wrote on this subject: I can keep quiet if specifically asked to do so. Seriously, I can. But it has to be requested of me. And then what happens is I later block it out of my mind. If the subject comes up, I remember that I was specifically asked to say nothing, and so I say nothing. Which I often wonder if that's a giveaway with others, because I have absolutely nothing to say on the matter. Which must seem suspicious seeing as I always have something to say. Bringing us full circle to the problem in the beginning...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

follow up

Chris never found the roach. I feel like I've heard it several times since, crawling up the walls, shaking doors and scurrying under the bed. I know it's here. Plotting.

Last night I couldn't sleep. I told Chris I was worried it was planning to crawl into my ear while I was sleeping. He said roaches don't crawl into people's ears and I relayed the story of my 3rd grade friend who missed a day of school because he spent the night in the ER while they dug a roach out of his ear (no doubt a contributing factor to my ever growing roach issues). We argued for several minutes before he fell wistfully asleep and I stayed awake listening for the sound of scurrying. To date, the roach is still M.I.A. I did however find an answer to our argument on one of my favorite sites. I used to spend hours on Straight Dope when I first discovered the internet, so I was happy to be reunited again with one of my most pressing questions (although, I never really had any doubt).

Why do we have wax in our ears? Do roaches ever crawl in there?

September 19, 1997

Dear Cecil:

When I was about 12, my health teacher told our class that roaches sometimes crawl into sleeping people's ear canals and get stuck. This causes pain and hearing problems. Within a week of being told this, I suffered pain and hearing problems in one ear. I freaked out, went to the doctor, and fully expected him to pull a roach out of my ear. Instead, he took out a lot of earwax. This marked the beginning of my ongoing battle against earwax. I've been wondering ever since: What is earwax for? Why do I produce way too much of it? And was my health teacher right about roaches?

Afraid so, Bob. But let's not jump into that right away. Earwax--called cerumen by doctors because they don't want people to realize they're talking about earwax--is a normal secretion of special glands in the outer ear. The wax coats the outer part of the ear canal, trapping germs and debris and preventing them from reaching the eardrum. If you didn't have any your ears would, at a minimum, itch like hell. In other words, earwax is good! You should be organizing Earwax Appreciation Week!Cecil replies:

Still, all things in moderation. In most people earwax is produced in modest amounts and migrates out of the ear naturally. But a few people such as yourself are, let's face it, freaks. You may be tempted to remove excess earwax with a Q-tip or the like. Don't; you'll pack it in tighter. Better you should try an over-the-counter preparation such as Debrox or ordinary mineral oil. You put in a dropperful and pack your ear with cotton; the earwax softens and comes out.

If that doesn't work you need to see a doctor. We found this description of a doctor's Cerumen Management Kit: a suction pump with a one-eighth horsepower motor and 1,500-cubic-centimeter collection bottle; an otoscope, a lighted ear-examining device; stainless steel ear forceps with "alligator type three-inch serrated jaws," so the earwax knows who's boss; a stethoscope--who knows why, maybe they just figure if you're a doctor you need a stethoscope; an "emesis basin," I guess to catch the drippings; and a headlight with rechargeable nicad battery pack. I mean, you gotta be ready for anything.

Some doctors say, forget all the apparatus, just squirt in some warm water. But we'll leave those decisions to the pros.

Now, about roaches crawling into ears. You may think this is some kind of deranged myth. Uh-uh. Happens all the time. In fact, a controversy has raged since 1980 over the best way to get the little bastards out. The conventional remedy: drown the critter with mineral oil. "One cannot use the commercially available roach sprays," one MD sagely notes, "because of technical difficulty and for possible medicolegal reasons"--i.e., the patient might sue. But mineral oil isn't ideal either, because the insect takes a while to go through its death throes in the patient's ear.

One proposed alternative is 2-percent lidocaine anesthetic. The value of this was seemingly demonstrated when a patient showed up at a hospital with cockroaches in both ears. (Unanswered question: what was this guy doing?) Recognizing a golden opportunity for a controlled clinical trial, the attending physicians put mineral oil in one ear. "The cockroach succumbed after a valiant but futile struggle, but its removal required much dexterity on the part of the house officer," they wrote. In the other ear the doctors put lidocaine. "The roach exited the canal at a convulsive rate of speed" and was promptly stomped by an intern.

But lidocaine has drawbacks too. Another doctor who tried it reported that (1) the roach died in situ and was hell to get out, and (2) the roach had punctured the eardrum, so the lidocaine penetrated the inner ear and the patient had the whirlies for the next five hours. Also, subsequent tests have shown that lidocaine works much more slowly than your top-quality mineral oil.

Promising alternative: suction. Of course, one must take care not to inadvertently seal the ear canal with the suction tip, thereby risking "tympanic membrane barotrauma" and, for all I know, possibly sucking out the patient's brains.

What else? How about fly larvae in the ear? Happens. Also earwigs, with those scary pincers. You know the story. Earwig gets into a guy's ear, chews through his brain, causes horrible agony. Finally it stops. The doctors say, good news: the earwig came out the other side! Bad news: it was female and laid eggs. You've also heard that this is BS, that earwigs don't really crawl into ears. Not so; two known cases. The part about eating out your brains may still be a myth, but who knows?

Friday, July 10, 2009

oh. my. god.

It was bound to happen. In fact, I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner...

I was cleaning out Izzy's closet. It's by far the most organized closet in this household, but there were a couple of diaper bags I needed to go through. I thought I'd gone through them all, but then I saw a large black one on the top shelf of her closet. I pulled it down, opened it up, stuck my hand in...

And that's when the largest cockroach I've ever seen in my entire life crawled up my arm and into my hair. I screamed, jumped around in circles, shaking my head like a crazy lady and the cockroach was nowhere to be found. Sometime in the midst of this craziness (no doubt I looked like I was possessed while doing a crazy voodoo dance), I started stripping off my clothes, absolutely sure that... thing ... was crawling around inside my clothes. It was at this time that Izzy came running back to her room (because all of this happened in a matter of seconds) asking "what's wrong Mama, what's wrong?" Half naked, I picked her up and ran out of her room, slamming the door behind us. I grabbed two towels and shoved them in the cracks of the door, hoping to trap that evil thing inside her room. Izzy kept repeating "it's okay Mama, it's okayyyy," while I continued to shake my hair and freak out some more. In fact, I'm still shaking...

When Chris gets home from his interview, it's my plan to lock him in Izzy's room until he finds that thing. I won't be able to sleep knowing it's in the house. Because to my crazy way of thinking, it's plotting to crawl in my ear while I sleep. And there isn't enough Xanax in the world to shake that fear.

Speaking long term, I should definitely work to address this fear. Erin was recently telling me about a friend of hers that went through cockroach therapy, and she is apparently healed now. Since I have no plans on leaving Central Texas, this is going to be a way of life. And I can't keep getting naked and freaking out everytime a roach crosses my path. It goes against my strong-woman nature. And really, Izzy shouldn't have to witness such things. Because right now, as I type this out, she is running around, shaking her head and yelling "Get away from that thing! Get away!" and laughing. And I'm just not okay with that.

Friday, July 3, 2009

In fact, you are a vegetable

So just tonight have I gotten on the Michael Jackson bandwagon. I'm not really sure what was going on in my life at the time that he died, but I was not watching (or reading) the news. Just catching bits and pieces here and there. So tonight I was getting caught up on exactly what happened (apparently they still don't know exactly) and reading about different conspiracy theories (because that's where I always end up).

I remember a day or so after he died I was singing "Wanna Be Starting Something" to Chris. I got to the end and was singing "you're a vegetable. You're a vegetable. La da da di do, you're a vegetable." Chris started laughing and made some comment about how funny that was. I laughed saying "I'm not sure what the words actually are, but that's how we sang it as kids."

Tonight I looked up the lyrics out of curiosity, and it turns out "you're a vegetable" was correct (and surprisingly fitting, odd as it sounds out of context). I should have known better than to question my memory in regards to Thriller lyrics. As if my girlfriends and I didn't sit there for weeks pouring over the lyrics. As if we didn't make up dances to every single song. As if we weren't obsessed and wearing our cubic zirconia gloved necklaces from Avon and matching red parachute pants. As if.

I lost touch with MJ in the late 90's. I thought I was no longer a fan until after his death. Watching a montage or two reminded me of his older songs, and it turns out, I still love me some old MJ. Of course, 'Wanna Be Starting Something' tops my list. 'Rock With You' comes a very close second, and 'P.Y.T.' rounds off at third. But only because that was my favorite as a kid. I was a big Alvin and the Chipmunks fan back then (stop judging) and they can clearly be heard during that song (no need to dispute this, my adolescent mind is made up).

So if you are one of the millions who went out and bought some MJ cd's posthumously, please feel free to make me a mix CD for my upcoming birthday. Just leave off Thriller, as the Vincent Price "rap" at the end still gives me the chills.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

the childless vacuum

I always joke that I'll get rid of Izzy at the first suggestion. Want to practice having a child? Take her! Want to pick up chicks? Take her! Need entertainment for your next party? Take her! Usually someone chimes in and says "awww, you know you would miss her". And I always say "please, give me the chance!"

Mom took Izzy for the weekend because she was dead-set on her seeing fireworks this 4th of July. We are lazy, it's hot as hell and Austin traffic with a toddler is not our idea of a good time, so she felt we could not be trusted with her granddaughter's Independence Day festivities. Once Mom found out that Barbers Hill (a neighboring upscale community) was having a fair on July 4th, complete with pony rides, moonwalks and enough junk food to make up for 2 years of a healthy diet, she was packing their bags. When she mentioned it to Izzy, Iz walked to the car and tried to move her carseat from our car to hers. Suffice to say, she was on board. In fact, it's all Izzy's been saying for 24 hours ("Izzy go bye-bye with Grandma" over and over and over).

I was so excited I could hardly stand it. I could clean house and keep it that way. I could sleep all day and stay up all night. I could sleep naked*. The possibilities of a child-less weekend were unlimited!!

And then they left. Izzy was sitting in her carseat ready to go before we even got the car loaded. She waved and blew me kisses as they were pulling out of the driveway. I lowered the garage door, walked inside and sat down. It was eerily quiet. As if a vacuum had sucked the life out of the house. Chris had mentioned the last couple of times Izzy and I have gone out of town how quiet the house gets. Every time he said it I felt a little bit of resentment stirring. As it turns out, he's right. The house gets very, very quiet. And honestly, it's unsettling.

No doubt I'll get over it in the next couple of hours. No question I'll enjoy my quiet, clean house tonight while running around naked. But the truth is, I'm really going to miss her. A quiet house just isn't the same once you have children. Sure, you enjoy it. But there is a lack of life that you just don't experience before you have kids (although, those with pets would probably understand as well). And it's a reminder that I wouldn't go back to the way it was before her. Despite what I say or my deprecating remarks, my life is so much better with her than without. And I will definitely think twice before trying to give her away to the first bidder...

* While this most definitely falls into the "too much information" category, I really grew to love sleeping naked BC (before child). Once we had Iz, I realized how much I hated getting "wrapped up" in clothes while sleeping. Yet for the first year sleeping naked was just unreasonable. You're up at all hours and getting dressed and undressed was just a pain in the ass. Once she started sleeping through the night, I then worried about the time factor in case of emergencies. Would I have time to get dressed, THEN get my child in case of a fire or zombie attack? My answer was no. And I didn't want to face those situations in the buff. Now that she's older, it's just creepy. While Chris and I have been known to 'hippy-it-out' in certain parenting situations, being naked around our child just isn't one of them. I wish I were "cooler" about this, but I still remember seeing my dad and stepmom naked in bed and how uncomfortable it made me feel as a kid. So naked time has become one of the many treasures of a childless evening...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

to put a positive spin on things

Since this seems to be the time for us to *lose* things (ie: money, minds, tires), I have suddenly decided that this will also transfer to weight. The timing couldn't be more perfect. We are broke, so we are going on-the-cheap with food, we are homebound so there will be plenty of time to workout, and we are cutting costs so we can sweat-out what remaining calories will be left in our 78 degree home.

Perhaps this financial meltdown is all a part of a bigger meltdown. That being my fat. All to make me beautifully in shape by my 34th birthday/Portland trip. Then (and only then) will it all be worth it. In fact, if I remember correctly, the last time I inadvertently lost 30lbs. (right before I became pregnant, of course) was due to being broke and existing on a bean and rice diet for several months. I'll tell you what, I was the hottest poor girl in the neighborhood.

So there we have it. I'm not cashing out anything. Being broke is my key to a smaller ass. And sometimes we just have to make sacrifices for what we want.

financial meltdown

So my big plans for getting ahead financially has somehow morphed into just staying afloat. Honestly, I'm not sure how it happened. I probably need to audit myself or something, but it's just too damn depressing and at this point I prefer to stay in a state of denial. Maybe it was the wedding, trip out of town and car issues. Throw that on top of our quarterly car insurance payment, rising electric bills and recent surge in eating out and we are back in the poor house. Hell, even my stock is going down.

The upside is that we've been here before. We are, in fact, pros at being broke. And at least this time the bills are getting paid and there is food in the fridge. The downside is we have an upcoming trip to Portland in September, and by my calculations, that is the month we will start running back in the black. I'm tempted to cancel our trip just so we can have one month of financial peace of mind, but damnit, that's our trip. We have free plane tickets for fucks sake! So our trip down the coast may turn into a walking tour of the city. But whatever, at least it's a new city.

I truly hate this feeling. This feeling that I want to start cashing out savings, stocks, 401k's - just to have some money in the bank. I know it isn't actually as bad as it feels, but then why does it feel so bad? Seriously, at this point "happy endings" doesn't sound like such a bad career choice...