Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The calm before the storm

I'm got to the office just as the sun was cresting the tallest buildings on the LA skyline, which isn't really saying much, this being LA and there being earthquake restrictions on tall buildings and shit.  But, the sun was just coming up, y'all.  It's probably been a good two months since I've been awake for this event, let alone out of pajamas...and certainly not arriving at work.  In recent months, there have been some changes around the office and I no longer have a front door key.  But today, I'm opening the office instead of the usual gal and I have things to do before a meeting at 9:30.  Since I'll be sitting at the front desk at 8:00, early arrival it is. 

I'm sitting in my office and I realize that the time now is exactly twelve hours from the time I left last night. Aside from the presence of the cleaning crew, the office is exactly the same.  It's cold, even colder than usual, and so quiet.  I can hear the cars on the boulevard.  Someone just threw trash in the dumpster across the street. I heard the lid slam.  There's a quiet hum coming from the fluorescent lights that reminds me of "Joe vs. The Volcano."  A fax just came in.  It's probably an advertisement.  We get a lot of those.  I've already eaten my Cream of Wheat, which I usually don't eat until 9:30.  I'll be ready for lunch by 10 at this rate.

LA is hazy today.  I didn't notice that on the drive in. The clouds have a Simpsons opening look about them.  I can't see the Hollywood sign from my window yet. I'm sure it'll burn off by noonish.  I won't notice, though.  By then, I'll be knee deep in the hoopla, as the song says.  The quiet has been nice, though.  

Monday, January 30, 2012

Next time, I'll actually get some salsa and guacamole

My friend, Christina, eats gluten-free.  She's discovered her intolerance to gluten last June, so we're still kind of in the "finding things Christina can eat" stage, although she's pretty adapted to it now.  Last week, I bought a big package of corn tortillas at the 99cents store, only to remember that I'm not a fan of soft corn tortillas unless there's chicken or beef, onions, and cilantro tucked inside.  What's a girl to do?  Christina suggested I make my own corn chips and told me how she does it.  Here's how in case you're interested. 

  1. Preheat oven to about 400-425.  
  2. Cut corn tortillas into triangles (like a pizza) or in strips, if that suits your fancy.
  3. Arrange on cookie sheet and lightly salt or season to taste.
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes, checking every couple of minutes.

Okay, so that was Christina's basic instructions.  Here are the things I did a little differently.
  1. My oven knob doesn't have numbers anymore, so mine was actually at about 375, which worked just fine. It took a few minutes longer.
  2. I did some of both, but prefer the triangles. It was easier to just take a stack of three or four and cut them quickly.
  3. I lightly sprayed the sheet with butter-flavored Pam, arranged the triangles, then lightly sprayed again.  I used garlic salt and a McCormick herb blend intended for grilled chicken.
  4. Lower temperature meant about 15 minutes of bake time.
The results: 

Oh. My. God. These were sooooo good.  I ate a bunch, then put the rest in a Ziploc bag with the intention of getting salsa at the store.  I never made it to the store, never got salsa, and yet, somehow the entire bag got devoured.  They are that good.  I may never buy mass-produced chips again. I can't wait to experiment with other flavors.  

Monday, January 23, 2012

Ready to face the day--or not

Yesterday morning, I lay in bed and literally watched time go by. I was snuggled under the blankets staring at my bedside clock watching the second hand tick off time, counting by fives in my head.  I watched for five minutes, perfectly still, before I realized how ridiculous it was to still be in bed at that hour (11:30) and to be actually watching time fly.  So I got up and made breakfast. 

As I was scrambling the eggs, I thought about when I was a child.  I used to wake up early as my dad was getting up for work, climb into his recently-vacated spot in bed, and snuggle up to my mom.  Mom, despite having five children, was not a morning person.  She did not want a squirmy, snuggly child in bed with her at 5 or 6am. She wanted to sleep for those last blessed minutes before she had to get up and tend to said children.  I, on the other hand, was happy to be snuggling with Mommy and wanted to chatter and play.  My parents bed had a headboard with secret compartments and sliding doors which held books and things.  Their clock radio had the flip numbers and a light on an arm that was fun to extend and retract.  With so many delights, how was I expected to lay still and go back to sleep.  Plus, there was Daddy coming and going from the bathroom, getting ready for work.  So much to do and see and talk about.  Mom would mumble, "Be still."  And I would be still...for about 30 seconds.  After many minutes of my squirming and chatting, and her repeated admonitions to "be still" and "just lie there and go back to sleep," Mom would have enough of it and send me packing, back to my bed, downstairs to watch TV, or just anywhere that wasn't in her bed.  And I would bound off to bug someone else (usually my sister).  

So, where did all that energy go?  Why can't I have that kind of enthusiasm to start the day when I really need it?  I am definitely not a morning person anymore.  Mom had the right idea--stay in bed as long as possible.  Still, boundless energy would be great now and then.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

February can't come soon enough

I have a calendar in my bedroom. It was free from a promotional items company.  Here is the January artwork.

You get the idea. Name tags that tell your employees they did a good job.  Can you tell which one drives me absolutely crazy?  So crazy, in fact, that I almost took a Sharpie to it for my own satisfaction?  

The word "office" is so small that from across the room all I see is "I'm an rock star," and the bad grammar makes me want to scream.  Every day.  I find myself looking at it and saying, "No, you're an idiot."  Yes, I realize it's a calendar and can't talk back.  Yes, I get the concept.  I just think that particular one really should have been thought through a little more.  

[yes, I'm a little obsessive.]

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

And I didn't get a ticket

Monday and Tuesday are street cleaning days in my neighborhood.  Monday is my side of the street, that is, the side on which my house sits.  Tuesday is the business side of the street--the police side.  Now, I usually get Tuesday-side parking without a problem. This week, however, I was out on Sunday [kicking some trivia ass at Busby's West], and when I got home, no Tuesday-side parking was available.  I parked on the Monday-side and pondered what to do on MLK, Jr Day to get out of the area for three hours.  

Monday dawned and still I had no plan of action.  8:00am became 9:00, then 9:30 and street cleaning starts at 10!  Being a holiday, you'd think there'd be amnesty, but I've been burned before.  Plus the parking enforcers hate me. Finally, I remembered that I had milk bottles to return and a Wal-mart gift card to spend.  From the comfort of my bed, with the help of my iPhone, I mapped out a route that would take me to both places in a nice loop.  

So that's what I did. I spent an hour or so in Wal-mart spending my gift card, although they didn't have marshmallow fluff. I know! What's more white trash than marshmallow fluff?  *shrugs*  Off to Broguiere's Dairy.

I turned in four empty bottles and got a gallon of milk and $1.25 in return.  Not too shabby.  And it was a nice drive with not a lot of traffic on a beautiful day.  

When I returned home, it was five minutes until 1pm. I took a chance with the parking folks.  Plus, this guy was sitting on my lawn eating his lunch, which made me hungry.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sunday...it's free until Monday

What? Two videos in a row?  I know, but this is a really cute short that is up for Oscar consideration.
Warning: cartoon road kill.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Disneyfication of menstruation

We all know that Disney isn't one to dwell on the unpleasantness of life.  Sure, a parent dies here and there, but you don't see the messy side of it.  I mean, Mufasa looked pretty good for a corpse that had just been trampled by hundreds of wildebeests.  So, it's no surprise that they glossed over some fun facts in this old film about "The Story of Menstruation." 

Don't get me started on the narrator's pronunciation.  She probably says "Febuary" too.  Some of my favorite parts are:
"If the egg is impregnated, which happens when..." Yes? "...a woman is going to have a child."  Awww, way to just skip over HOW the egg is impregnated.  Keep those girls ignorant.

"...to most girls, the menstrual period should bring no severe discomfort."  BULLSHIT!! 

"Some girls have a little less pep..." (or never want to get out of bed) "...the feeling of pressure in the lower part of the body, perhaps an occasional twinge or a touch of nerves."  Really???  Pressure in the lower part of the body?  an occasional twinge??  Well, Bite me, Disney and Kotex, because I'm feeling a whole lot more than pressure and twinges today.  

If you can't tell, I'm feeling a little, how does The Bloggess put it? Stabby?  I'd best hide away until the Pamprin kicks in.  

Monday, January 09, 2012

Gotta feeling 2012 is gonna be a good year*

My mother always said that whatever you do on January 1st sets the tone for the rest of the year.  For years, my January 1st activities have included watching the Rose Parade, eating junk, and generally being a lazy lump.  Oh, I'd set my sights high.  "This year, I'm going to spend January 1st at the beach."  "This year, I'm going to go hiking (you know, to set the tone for more physical fitness)."  "This year, I'm going to write until the sun goes down."  Needless to say, my well-intentioned plans always ended up by the wayside, while my ass became better acquainted with my sofa.  

But not this year!  I was invited to not one, but two social gatherings for New Year's Day and, more importantly, I attended both! I talked with old friends I hadn't seen in forever.  I met new ones.  I hugged a  pit bull and a greyhound (or two) and realized that Santa's Little Helper is not drawn to scale because these dogs are large. And just to be on the safe side, I wore red underwear and ate a good-sized helping of black eyed peas. I had fun. Lots of fun.  Thus, the tone has been set.  And while I have no reason to be over optimistic, I feel good about this year.  It's been good so far.

*paraphrased from "You Didn't Hear It (1921)" from Tommy by The Who.