Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I never knew this existed.
Why does this exist?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Home again, home again

Back in Maryland recouping from a long, long wedding weekend. BWI is a Southwest hub so i was able to book me and mom on the same flight out of Columbus, with her catching a connection to Florida several hours later. Since we were both in the airport we decided to have lunch. I asked her Since you are in Maryland, do you want a crabcake or is any place fine? She hemmed and hawwed and finally busted out with I reeeeealllly want a crabcake. Luckily there is a crab place in the airport (just like slot machines in Vegas, there has to be seafood in a Maryland airport) that fit the bill. Honestly, it is basically a law here that you have to eat crabcakes.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I'm in Ohio for my nephew's wedding. My sister is doing the reception. Here is just a taste of what my life is like right now. More to come. If i survive.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

my home is not to be confused with a restaurant

Some nights i don't get around to dinner until kinda late and end up having whatever catches my fancy, or more likely, whatever is around. One night last week, I decided that i really wanted some tuna fish, even though i didn't have any celery or bread. No problem; mix up some tuna salad, substitute pickles for celery and eat it on crackers. Ugly,but tasty. I also had some broccoli that needed attention quick so i chopped it up, added sunflower seeds, dried cranberries and ranch to make a salad. Yum But then i got to thinking that i needed some carbs in there, plus i really wanted something hot. There was leftover mango curry rice in the fridge so i nuked a bowl of it. Even tastier the second day. As each portion (i don't think i can justify calling them courses) of the meal was finished i carried it to the living room so that i could watch a movie while i ate. When i finally sat down to eat i looked in front of me and just started laughing. Is it the most ridiculous looking meal ever? It's like i am one of those people that can't let their food touch before they eat it. Or like i am having a progressive meal, but all in the same house. It occurs to me that i am like a homeful hobo. Really; i eat like Hobo Joe in my own home. If i have a particular craving i'll see if there is some way to satisfy it, but otherwise i scour the kitchen for whatever i can find, cobbling together meals that satisfy at least more than one food group. If i planned menus and then shopped from the menus i bet my dinners would be a bit more traditional and a bit less like i am surviving on a deserted island. ohhhh... i bet there are gold stars to be had for this whole "menu" thing.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Back in the aphoresis saddle

I was so happy over the weekend to be allowed to go back to the Red Cross. I had intended to do whole blood just to see how it went with my still-a-little-low-but-it-is-fine blood pressure, but ended up doing platelets anyhow.
Not only is it great to be healthy enough to donate again, but in October the Red Cross is donating to breast cancer research based on how many donors they have.

Monday, October 19, 2009

autumn bounty

or at least what passes for bounty around here: BEHOLD! Unbelievably my little seed experiment has turned into a real plant. The profusion of blooms helps to distinguish it from certain weed-like growths (ahem) and makes a lovely smell on my porch. Sure, it doesn't look quite like the package promised but i love it all the same. I am calling this experiment a success and figure that next year i'll be ready for a quarter acre of corn.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Check Plus for Wendy

When i came in from my show i found this
waiting on my desk.
I appreciate the sentiment, but especially love that there were funny presents: things that i'd want to buy for myself, but never would. I had Harry Potter Blood Pops, Pop Rocks and a tequila flavored pop with worm.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I don't take drugs,

though you would be suspicious if you saw my eyes the other day. Holy mackerel! Look at those pupils. I don't wear glasses so i don't go to an eye doctor. I think my last eye check was like 20 years ago. Dr. Cool said that she wanted me to go get a thorough eye exam since there is glaucoma on both sides of my family. I've never had the dilation drops before and it kinda freaked me out; i watched the words in my book become blurrier and blurrier until i couldn't read anymore. Is that what the world looks like to people who need glasses? It was unsettling to say the least. When i got home i caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror - YIKES! The drops affect lighter eyes the most, the tech commented - ya think? I had to turn off the lights in the apartment. Then the light coming from the tv was too much. Finally i gave up and just went to bed. Oh, and my eyes are fine: no glaucoma and no need for glasses. Though my optic nerve is small and slightly elevated - whatever that means.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Quick Quotes 2

Oh man! Speaking of drawn chickens... TM Amy, October 14, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Even better than free cable

This past weekend I was an emergency, stand-in dogsitter.
Former team member (fTM) Kate was going away and at the last moment her dogsitter had to cancel. I had no big plans so i agreed to do it. I love dogs so i figured it would be a piece of cake. After finding the house (i've been there before, but its been a while so someone sent me directions with the wrong street name; luckily i locate places for a living) Friday after work I went in to meet my charge.
This is Guiness.
He's a ridiculously cute beagle.
Having never met me before there was a lot of barking and just a touch of teeth-baring. He is far too good natured to snap, but he was definitely suspicious.
I had him sniff my hand, palm-down while i used his name several times.
I walked to the kitchen to read the Care Instructions with him barking and eye-balling me the whole time. Once i ascertained that he goes out the front door, I tried to let him out.
His bladder won over his caution.
I sealed the deal by having his dinner ready when he came in. After that we were bosom buddies.
Guiness' person did lie a little about one part his routine. She said that he normally tuckers out around 7pm.
 Harumph! At 10:00 he was still going strong with his favorite game Can I Eat the Dogsitter's Hand?
Like most members of the terrier/beagle/hunt dog family, he only has 2 speeds :
(check out that tail blur before he leapt over the couch)
  and stop.
In that way he reminded me a lot of me.
We got along fabulously.
He even kept me company during the night. It was a bit strange that he likes to sleep at the foot of the bed, under the covers.
How in the world does he breathe?
 Besides faking me out to get extra treats, Guiness enjoys chasing the cat, spending quality time with his bed and playing fetch both inside
and outside
I love that he plays tug-of-war with a referee doll
i think it might be an editorial comment by his dad
He was also fascinated by the camera, often trying to lick the lens.
I have always had pets and really miss having another living creature in my home.
 My schedule does not really allow the time to properly care for anything more sentient than a hermit crab. It was fun to have a dog, a cat, a salamander and 4 fish tanks, even if it was only for the weekend.
Did i mention that i reeeeeallllllly want a dog?

Friday, October 9, 2009

sawmill gravy and country trinkets

Driving to the Eastern shore for today's classroom programs i squealed with delight to see a new Cracker Barrel. YES!!!! There are no Cracker Barrels in Baltimore proper, but there are a few along I-95 and I-70. I was so happy to finally see one on the other side of the Bay Bridge. After my squealing died down, TM Megan agreed that it is good news to have another Cracker Barrel within our work range. It was then that TM Amy revealed that she has never been to a Cracker Barrel. whaaat, what-what? Excuse me? Never been to a ... Are you kidding me with this? Needless to say, that situation needed to be rectified post haste so that is where we went for lunch. Amy was appropriately delighted and even made friends with some possum plush.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Quick Quotes

I work with a cast of characters. Really, they are all freaks. In a good way, of course. With the office populated with so much personality it is not unusual to hear statements that make no sense out of context. Well actually many of the comments make on sense IN context. A good example would be the classic lunchtime quote from TM (team member) Amy, We need a table; i have mushrooms. Many days we'll come in from the road and find some bit of wit and/or/nor wisdom written on the white board. There has been an on-going discussion for several years of us trying to create a compendium of the insanity. For some reason, that makes me think of this blog. Therefore, I will be, upon occasion, capturing bits of dialog here, under the label Quick Quotes. Don't try to understand what's going on, just enjoy the scenery. [hmmmmm... that might be the motto of the Nikiverse, actually] October Team Day 2009 TM Megan - I can't think right now; i've had too much cinnamon.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


The final result of the CHALLENGE! was a thorough tromping by Erin, 610 to 375.
Therefore, i owed her a home-cooked dinner.
Now Erin is not necessarily the most adventurous eater; i wanted to make something that i thought she'd like, but i didn't want to do anything boring, either.
Erin really likes ham and cheese so that was my starting platform. I decided to do a rolltini variation of Chicken Cordon Bleu, substituting medium cheddar for swiss and a garlic/herb coating (it's Shake-N-Bake and i helped) for the cream sauce.
I had some nice chicken breasts, but they needed thinned for rolling.
That's when i realized i don't own a meat mallet.
There was a moment of panic until i remembered that i have a mini sledge hammer. [it was thrown the rear window of my car during the 1996 Olympics; no, i wasn't in Atlanta; i was in my friend's living room all night watching the ladies win the gymnastics team gold; when i went outside to go home at midnight the window was gone and the backseat was filled with glass and this sledge; i don't know why i kept it; it's been living in the bottom of my toolbox for 13 years; glad i didn't get rid of it, now]
It's not pretty but it got the job done.
I also made individual escalloped potato stacks, green beans almondine and the infamous PW apple dumplings.
Everything was packed into the car
and i was off to the middle of nowhere... i mean, Erin and Steve's house.
The best part of cooking at their house was using a full-sized oven.
 Look - more than one dish at a time!
I was overall pleased with the results.
The only thing i would really do differently would be the butter on the potato stacks. I adapted a recipe from Tasty Kitchen that was spot-on about cooking time, but called for (i realize in retrospect) waaaaaay to much butter.
How much butter is too much?
Well, when the cat leaps onto the table to lap at the pool of melted butter left on the serving plate you know that there was a wee-much butter.
Of course, the cat in question also ate a toasted almond.
Yes, an almond.
Hey, can i have some, too?
Nothing like rewarding someone for winning an exercise challenge with a meal involving cheese and/or butter in every course.
Congratulations, Erin.
Thanks for the friendly competition.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Walking through the grocery store, reading this week's circular, trying to do price-per-unit math in my head when i notice there are new autumn balloons floating over by the floral department Holy Mylar Rodentia, Batman! Yes, those are giant, metallic, floating SQUIRRELS WITH ACORNS! It's like someone went into my head and made a balloon of what they found there. The only way it could possibly be any better if it was gripping a punkin in its wee mass printed paws. It took a lot of self-control not to take one home with me, really.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

you scream, i scream, we all scream

Last weekend my friend Rachel came down to Pirate Weekend at the Maryland Renaissance Festival.
 Of course, i was working so i couldn't go.
She was planning on heading back to Jersey at the same time i was getting off from work so she inquired about meeting for ice cream. I knew just the place: Dino Bites is a dinosaur themed ice cream parlor in Glen Burnie. It is yummy, fun and located right between work and the Fair. As is my luck, it is also apparently closed, which i discovered when i tried to get the address to text it to Rachel.
So i'm sitting at my desk bemoaning the extinction of Dino Bites when team member Amy chirps You should go to the secret ice cream place.
Excuse me?
By her house, there is an old-fashioned ice cream parlor that sits back off of the road that you kinda have to know is there. She drew me a map, explained how to find it and full of confidence i set off.
I met Rachel and her girlfriend Jen at a local 7-11 and they followed me to Arbutus. (non-Marylanders: that is a neighborhood that is 2 over from mine, about 15 minutes away).
It was dark and pouring rain; we almost ended up in a culvert. It was like trying to find lost treasure of the Incas or the Yeti or something. Amy was not kidding that you REALLY need to know that it is there or you will miss it. But finally we discovered the secret ice cream place.
How cute is the Ice Cream Cottage?
And look at the inside
It was so bright and cheerful after the dark, wet journey to find it.
I mean this place even has a charming door bell
with a BOW, for heaven's sake.
Did i mention that all of the tables have checker boards painted onto them? With hand-made, custom checker boxes?
It was like a place from another century; i almost expected to see a soda jerk behind the fountain.
As an added bonus, it is a Hershey's ice cream parlor so they had Denali Moose Tracks.
But of course the best part was catching up with Rachel and getting to meet Jen. (who doesn't like ponies, but seems cool anyway)
I'd try to explain how to find the Ice Cream Cottage, but really you need a guide who's been there.
The experience is worth it, but consider hiring a Sherpa, really.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I was sitting at the Chick-fil-A drive thru waiting to order breakfast. And sitting. And sitting. What in the world was taking so long for the car ahead to order? It's Chick-fil-A, people; you are going to order chicken. Anyhoo, i was sitting by the first menu board for about 5 minutes; my mind started to wander and out of the corner of my eye i saw something watching me. Is that a giant frog in the landscaping? Yes, yes it is. I have to admit that though frogs are not what immediately leap to mind (teehee) when i think chicken, it was nice to see the store taking pride in its appearance. Normally the staff at this drive thru is so efficient that you don't linger by the first menu board for very long; i wonder how many people have noticed our metallic amphibian friend.