Sunday, November 23, 2008

So Much to Learn, So Little Time

I once saw a bumper sticker that read, "So many pedestrians, so little time." I admit, my Dad's quirky sense of humor damaged me for life, and I thought it was one of the funniest things I had seen on a bumper sticker. Well, while I won't be knocking off pedestrians any time soon (or ever, as a matter of fact), I am always trying to quench some insatiable thirst for knowledge. My latest quest (in addition to computer programming) is Product Management. In a nutshell, this is the solution to years of computer programmers building software for themselves, and making the rest of us suffer for it.

I have made it about half-way through a book titled, The Inmates are Running the Asylum. While the book may not be digestible by the average Jane, the second chapter on Cognitive Friction redeems and vindicates all of those humans who seem to think that they are just not technical enough to handle technology. If you are ready to feel like you are not an idiot after all, search for the section titled "Apologists and Survivors" on Google Books.

Another newfangled addition for me is Safari Books, where I can read ten books a month for about twenty bucks. My version of "reading" is often as follows:

  • Find a digital copy of a book (ie, Safari Books)
  • Use Natural Reader to read the book to me
  • Copy interesting quotes or phrases in OneNote for later reference

And this after trying to simplify technology for others. Hey, it works for me! It is like washing the car, getting the laundry done, and cleaning the house, all in one fell swoop! You should try it!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Pizza, Two Western Bacon Cheeseburgers, Two Sodas and a Cookie

I called my Dad today and told him I would pick up my brother from work. I raced home to swap my heels and nylons for jeans and slip-on tennies, and with Kawi in tow, raced off to pick B up. Our first stop was Pier 49 Pizza. We each ordered pizza, a soda, and a salad. B "sacrificed" his salad which Kawi gratefully enjoyed. I don't often drink soda, so he drank two sodas, ate the pizza and a dessert pizza. He was still hungry, and I had a two-for-one coupon to Carl's Jr., so while I drove home, he consumed two Western Bacon Cheeseburgers and a cookie to top it off. This is a skinny 130 lb kid. If only we all had that kind of metabolism!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Super Student, Super Friend

Tonight C said, much to my surprise, "I actually enjoyed reading that article." We are nearing the end of his first semester of a second graduate degree in Public Administration. As much as he appreciates this educational opportunity, I believe this was the first time I heard him use the word "enjoy" in conjunction with this pursuit. It was certainly a moment for celebration to embalm as a moment of joy amidst apparent and enduring agony.

Along with work, school, and maintaining a home and property, C finds time to be a positive role model to the hundred + youth in our church and neighborhood. How many adults do you know of who receive camouflage birthday invitations to kid's birthday parties, and who show up on the doorstep to show off a new bike? Not so many, I assume.

C and fellow leaders held a bold Q&A with the young adults, allowing them to ask any question to the bishopric. C had the pleasure of answering such light fare as, "Does God love Satan as much as Jesus?" I had the pleasure of hearing the answer and felt C handled it rather well, albeit with some assistance from our local scripture maniac and neighbor (a generous compliment, I assure you). On top of everything else, C is an amazing friend and partner who stayed up late last night to listen to the chatter of a not-so-tired wife. Thanks for everything you do!

Wishy Washer

I know it is every woman's dream to tear apart a dishwasher piece by piece, but I am truly living the dream. It only took fifteen minutes or so to tear it apart, and then a couple of hours to de-scale each piece from the built up lime caked so thick in the filter that it is a miracle our dishes were getting anywhere near clean.

C was kind enough to pick up some dinner, otherwise it is possible he would have gone without. The counters and stove were draped in dishwasher parts, and the sink was full of white scales. I believe I came close to finding a stalagmite in the bottom of the dishwasher, and may have destroyed some rare and unusual formations growing beneath the filter.

Well, to make up for the non-meal last night I buckled down and provided a bounty of food tonight, including my homemade sweet red curry sauce. Is it wrong to say that I am my own favorite cook? If only I had a little more time, I would hire me as my own personal chef. Oh, and yes, my dishes do look much better now . . .

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Paid to Blog?

Yes, it's true. I am paid to blog. I know there are those in the world who aspire to such job responsibilities, so how, you may ask, do you get paid to blog? Excellent question, and one that I am afraid I am not qualified to answer. Let it suffice to say that my line of work is interesting enough to merit blogging, so last week I was told that I would be an author on my company's blog.

On to more exciting topics, I spent the last two days recovering from strep, and the moment my 48 hour contagious timer went up, I hit the road for Yoga class. Nothing like planking it with a sore lower back. I was almost up to par, but a little trembley. No, that is not a word, but did I mention I am a non-conformist? Still, you knew what it meant.

As it turns out, dictionaries are really only a collection of words that exist and are used frequently enough to merit notation for common understanding and clarity. So, if you want a word to show up in the dictionary, just use it often, and it will catch fire. You'd be surprised how many listeners will pick it up. Just watch out for the brainiac who gets the itch to look it up in the dictionary. Slip him a twenty and tell him to check the dictionary next decade, and you're on your way to giving birth to a brand new baby word.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Caulk Me

I finally buckled down and re-caulked our bathtub yesterday. It really didn't take much time, but it is the hassle of keeping it off of your skin, and clothes, and everywhere else it shouldn't be. For those who have ever experienced getting caulk on their skin, it somehow effects the nervous system and you wind up extremely irritable, not to mention the joy of cleaning off of your hands. Thank goodness for latex gloves.

I had a wild streak of cleaning following caulking the tub and base-boards. I decided to refinish the master bathroom just because I was tired of having three bathrooms in the house and only 2 1/2 functioning as they were designed. As I raced to the store for some last minute supplies, C rolled over and said, "It's 11:00! I have to wake up at 6:00!" When I came home just shy of midnight, he was attempting to sleep, so I abandoned my plans to overhaul the bathroom, and saved the remainder of the project for another day. It will ultimately be a mini remodel to hold us over for the real remodel some time in the future, but it will just be nice to get a functioning sink and shower in the master bath we haven't used since moving in. As you may know, three bathrooms just aren't enough for two persons. {Smirk}

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Winter Storms

It is late, and outside the wind is blowing in a storm. So much for a weekend trip tomorrow!

Update on Kawi

If it is possible for a cockatiel to have separation anxiety, I am sure ours does. When we arrive home, he calls out (C's name, rather loudly). On especially clingy days, he will only sit on our hands or fingers rather than our shoulders, and will insist on sitting on an arm or hand even when eating. The other night I took him in the car with me to the store. He realized that if he climbed off of my shoulder, I would leave him in the car, so he bit and squabbled to keep me from taking him off of my shoulder.

Aside from his very clingy nature, he is a great little pet, especially first thing in the morning, when he sings Mozart, chirps like a cricket, says "Come here!" and shows off his wings to get our attention. Occasionally he snuggles down and wants to be petted, but otherwise he just wants to play, dodging C's hands to run onto his keyboard and pull off yet another key.

What Ever Happened to Heyday Bars?

Heyday Bars. For a kid who didn't like too much sugar, there was certainly something delectable about these store-bought cookies. I didn't even notice when they disappeared from the shelf, but I remember how much I enjoyed them. For those of you who remember, but need a little help satisfying the urge to "Heyday," I have included the time-intensive, no-bake recipe below. Really, there has to be a better way to get wafers than having to scrape the frosting out of those little sugar wafer cookies!

Nabisco Heyday Bars Recipe

14 oz. bag of Carmels
9 oz. package of vanilla sugar wafers
3or4 cups of chopped peanuts
8 oz. Hersheys Chocolate Bar, Milk or DarkRecipe (or chocolate chips)

Separate the Sugar Wafers with a knife, and remove the filling so that all you have left are the wafers. Stack the empty wafers in stacks of three. On a sheet of wax paper,take one (1) wafer from each stack, and lay them out on the wax paper. Put the carmels in a microwave safe bowl and add the water to them. Microwave caramels on high for intermittently for 5 minutes, stirring every minute. When melted, drizzle the carmel on each wafer (one from each stack), then put a second wafer from the stack on each when you finish. Drizzle carmel on the second wafer, and top with the third wafer. The end result will be about 20 and 25 cookies each with three wafers and carmel.

Put the chopped peanuts in a bowl. Using a pair of tongs, dip each cookie in the melted carmel, drain off the excess carmel, then roll in the peanuts, completely covering the cookie, and set on wax paper. Finish all the remaining cookies the same way. Let them sit for ten minutes to set. Break up the chocolate bar (or chocolate chips) in a microwave safe bowl, and microwave on high 30 seconds at a time, stirring, and then heating for 20-30 seconds again until completely melted. Using a spoon, drizzle the chocolate in stripes over the cookies. Let the cookies cool until chocolate and caramel has set.

Makes 20-25 cookies.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

My Superhero

Saturdays are no longer really about play. When you are young, you think so, but then you get older and that fantasy disappears. Sometimes the closest thing to fun is managing to get to the gym. C was driving home from the gym tonight and came across a flipped jeep, that had rolled in an attempt to avoid another misbehaving vehicle. This was not his first experience at helping at the site of an accident, in fact, it seems to be an ongoing one - just another event in the day of a superhero.

Two little kids were in the back seat of the car, so he and another man worked to get the car seats out after checking the little ones to make sure they were safe. Minus a few scratches on the older of the two, they were safe and unharmed. He and the other man held the little ones out of sight of bleeding mom (still in the jeep) and talked to them to keep them calm. The little girls did remain calm until out of control grandma arrived on the scene, creating an emotional explosion in the oldest child's mind. Some adults just don't get it, I guess.

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