Thursday, June 30, 2011


We all have them. I wanted to open up a book store at one point. It would sell used and new books, and feature a coffee shop. Think Barnes and Noble, but used books. It would never fly. I know that.

The Spousal Equivalent dreams of owning a bar/night club. He's actually going to go to school with that goal in mind. I admire him for it.

I pass an empty car dealership (it's across the street where the dream house is). I dream of opening up a Performing Arts school in it. I can imagine how to turn the building into dance studios, a stage, classrooms and practice rooms.

I think I have to get a smaller dream. I'll stick to my dream of a Disney vacation, and a rental house with a small lawn.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Vacations vs. Staycations...

1st, let me say that I hate the word "stay-cation." It's not a word. It's not even a vacation. It's called time off. At home! (And at my house staycations involve way too much housework.... so it's a REALLY dirty word!)

In my mind vacations involve going somewhere.

Now, where would you go? If you could go anywhere?

I ask myself that all the time. We don't have the money to go anywhere. Any money we save seems to get whittled down by the never ending mini crises of life.

Where would I go? With if I had a pile of money and a valid passport I'd take the Spousal Equivalent to Ireland. I'd also bring by friend who did a study abroad to the same place. I have friends there, and good memories that I want to relive. Plus I forgot to take pictures of Galway. I need to go back and do that.

But my dream vacation has GOT to be Disney. Now hush all of you anti-corperation, Anti-mouse people. It's my dream! Don't crush it!

As I was saying, if I'm doing Disney, I'm going all the way. (Because in dreams, we don't care about price tags). I'd want to stay on site (you can get your bags check clear through to your room if you do), in one of the medium priced hotels. I'd get the meal plan, so I don't have to worry about food. It would be epic!

The problem? If we're not getting a car.. how can I go visit Harry?

But I think I'll take a few days off later on this summer, and just do nothing.

The curse of small dogs.

I decided last night that I need to vary the work out routine. I decided on Pilates or yoga every other day.

Both of these are on the floor. Unfortunately, this means I'm on the pup's eye level. I did fifteen minutes of Pilates, while dodging tongue, teeth and paws.

And while I'm here, I must sing the praises of Nexflix Streaming! I have ten or so workout DVDs on the Instant Queue! I love that I can vary the workout and not have to wait for a new DVD in the mail.

The best thing out there for busy people? 10 Minute Solutions! 5 10 minute workouts! YAY!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Money makes the world go around

I understand that money is the root of... well, everything. I understand that we can't live on just hopes and dreams (but if we could exist on just ice cream, what would rock!). But man, I wish people would stop asking for money!

Now let me be clear, I have no issue of covering a friend for drinks, because I know she'll get my drinks next time. That's not the kind of asking I'm talking about.

I get letter and phone calls from the colleges I went to, asking for money. Um, I'm unable to pay my student loans, how can I give you money? I get letters from organizations asking for donations. I've been asked to buy things for various fundraisers (which I'll do, if I WANT the item), or pledge toward the whatever-a-thons. There was even a series of sermons at church a year and change ago, that was all about how if you're a good person, you'll give more money.

*bangs head against desk*

In these times it is important to give to charity. There are more and more people that are homeless, unemployed and facing huge medical bills. I think it's also time to be sensitive to the people that are just getting by. Money is a very sore subject for people these days and sometimes the hard sell might just get the door slammed in your face.

So let's put it at this. If you are able to, please donate money. If you are able to, please donate your time. If you can't, stop feeling guilty (like I do). You're not in that boat alone. And please stop making the people who can't pay feel guilty. It gets you no where.

And now... I need to dig up $10 for gas.

In other depressing news...

So instead of looking for new houses... I decided to plan a fictional vacation.

Have you seen the price of air fare to Ireland????? I don't make that much in a month!!!

Maybe I'll look at Disney... It has GOT to be cheaper!

($1500 for one person's round trip tickets to Ireland. $2100 for a all inclusive trip for 2 to Disney.)

And I never saw I'd say that!

It's going around....

I'm alone in the office today. A tummy thing must be going around. That is good news, of a sort. it means that this will soon pass (pun not intended).

I decided to vary the work out routine today. I wasn't up for aerobics this morning, so I'm trying yoga (or maybe Pilates)

Isn't my life exciting?

One thing I learned this morning, is that it's really easy to manipulate the Weight Watchers system. I'm eating mostly fruit and veggies for lunch, so I can eat fries tonight with my burger. That's to say if I can have that tonight.
I need to stop looking at rentals online. I see homes I could move to, I can picture my stuff in these houses. But our lease isn't up until December, so I shouldn't be looking until the fall.

Well, I can dream.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Tummy Troubles

I, like many people, suffer from a variety of annoying ailments. I'm allergic to just about everything that grows, plus dust, mold, cats and rodents. I spend most of the spring and summer with a runny nose and watery eyes. This also triggers asthma, which is triggered by both the allergies and vigorous exercise.

The most annoying of my annoying ailments is the reoccurring tummy issues. I've never seen a doctor for it (I know... I know...), since it doesn't happen as often as the other issues. But of course it's the issue that flaring right now. It's been a week of a rumbly, noisy tummy. Hence, tonight was soup for dinner.

I think I need to take care of myself, and spend a few days eating lightly and kick the rumbly tummy in the butt!

Random Things

  1. I don't know how my dog does this... but she's managed to hurt herself... again. She does this every few months. All of a sudden she'll start to limp. The limping will last a day and a bit, and she'll be fine. She doesn't act like she in pain, just... limping. We think she gets the equivalent of a twisted ankle jumping off the sofa.
  2. The cat is crazy. There was something out in the bushes this morning, because she was jumping against the windows trying to get at it.
  3. Remember how I was a tropical storm? Now I'm a Typhoon!
  4. I worked out today. Which is a feat in and of itself! The humidity has been very high, which triggers my asthma, making exercise difficult.
  5. In my attempt to secure housing with a small lawn, I've been seriously looking to rent a trailer in a trailer park. Of course, at this moment no one is renting. *pout*
And now.. I must go... since I'm a Typhoon! I must go catch up with Godzilla to terrorize the Pacific!

Meari Smash!

A Recipe.... edited

I posted this recipe earlier this month. Have you made it yet? What's keeping you!?!?

After making it a few times, here's a few observations.
  • Make sure it's tenderloin, and not sirloin.
  • After you marinate it and pour it into the pan, sniff it. Smell wine? No? Add some to the pan before cooking. Trust me!
This is all!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Being Thinky

From what I've been hearing, Camp staff training starts today. I saw quite a few of the leadership team from years past moving on and doing other things this summer. That place was a wonderful place to work, and it taught me so much. (Who knew I cold teach people how to canoe? I haven't been in years. Anyone want to go canoeing?) Thanks everyone for 11 years of memories.

In other news, I realized yesterday that I'm being bad, diet-wise. I've been snacking on things I shouldn't have. *sigh* Taking the dog on a long walk today, and back to exercising tomorrow.

And now, we're off to church. Someone was silly enough to ask us to cover religious education today!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Proud to be a New Yorker.

I was born in Syracuse, New York. I grew up eating salt potatoes, Gianelli Sausage, and going to the Great New York State Fair. (Oh yeah, quarter chocolate milk and fried dough!) I sledded in the winter. I spent summers at my grandparent's farm (It's now a bed and breakfast.) I marched in a marching band in high school. I worked at a summer camp. I loved it there. But the economy tanked, and I moved here for work. Now my life is here!


Friday, June 24, 2011

Fitness: Derailed!

I try to get up at 5:30am every morning to work out. I missed my workout today and yesterday, unfortunately.

I don't know what it is, but I'm waking up just feeling ill! Now, before everyone goes out and buys me a pee test, it's not morning sickness! I think it's a small stomach bug, combined with being overheated.

Now the guilt is starting. I'm hoping it can translate to some aerobics and yoga this weekend! Maybe a nice walk in the park with the dog!

What I do know is that I need to do something! Unfortunately, all I want to do is curl up and nap. This is why I need a snuggie in this office!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I know, I'm really posty today!

Today is Thursday. The Spousal Equivalent is out at his role playing game tonight. I'm usually gone to choir, but since everyone is out of town, I'm on my own tonight.

So, with the SE's financial help, I'm taking a ME day! (Well, a me night..). I'm going to treat myself to a nice meal from Trader Joes. I might even get a sweet treat! Then it's some laundry, and So You Think You Can Dance.

The weekend is fast approaching, and the only grand plans we have involve cleaning (Seriously, Mt. Washmore is HUGE) and maybe taking the pup to the park. Anyone have any fun plans? Anyone want to catch a movie?

Or maybe I'll download a new book and spend the weekend reading.

And on a lighter note... I'm a Tropical Storm!!!

(Background: Meari's not my real name. I somehow adopted it almost a decade ago. Most people in these parts call me Meari)

I'm now a Tropical Storm! Look out Taiwan! I'm coming to get you! *stomps around the Pacific* Maybe Godzilla and I will go visit Tokyo!!

Stick around... maybe I'll become a Hurricane!!!

(Or maybe I need a hurricane)

We need a committee about forming committees!

I work in an academic environment. Needless to say, it's boring around here in the summer. Today's amusement is the recording of last night's opening ceremonies of GA. I played "spot the people I know." I mean.. it was interesting and all, but yes, there is that little work in the summer.

Watching something like that makes me want to join a committee at church, and make a difference. But then I wonder, who cares what I have to say? (Or is this just PMS speaking. PMS speaks very loudly at times) I already give my time and my voice to the church, every Thursday for Choir. I somehow fell in with the Young Adults (I don't consider myself young!) and am now on the LGBT outreach (or whatever we end up calling it) committee. Do I have time for more? Most likely, no. I'll have to be content that my voice will be heard in those groups. I'll have to be content that I'm also giving all the money I am able to give (which is a sore subject).

But now, I'm going to feed my noisy belly, and find some music. They'll be more work to do after lunch.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

People that are WAY smarter than we are.

The other day my minister wrote a very well worded letter to the editor. There were some interesting responses. I especially like that there really was only one negative response.

The problem with so called Reverend Millard's argument is that he espousing the word of man and not the word of God. It is one thing to be tolerant (which I am) but, it is a another thing to be ignorant. Romans 1:26-27, Leviticus 18:22 AND 20:13.

What I don't understand is, how is this guy so sure that the bible is the word of God? It's been translated and re-translated a million times. It was written by people, compiled by people, translated by people.

But then again, God himself could tell some people (like the guy quoted above) the truth, and they are so blind to the truth, they wouldn't realize it.

Interesting Lawn Ornaments.

Yesterday, I posted a blog post to my Facebook. I believe six or eight of my friends shared it. I mean how can you not? Who doesn't love a 5 foot metal chicken?

That got me thinking. I've been doing crazy stuff like that since high school. I had the kind of friends that would all go to the hardware store and buy a dozen pink flamingos, and a staple gun, then spend hours stapling Velveeta slices to trees (mind you, I hung out with the nerds. There weren't drugs or alcohol involved!). On a band trip once, we all bought cheap stuffed animals that had suction cups on their legs, and stuck them in the bus windows.

After shopping with my mom this weekend, and seeing the crazy stuff people put on their lawns, I now want my own lawn. I want to put out some crazy stuff, just to watch the people stop and stare.

Because I'm that kind of person.

Update on the Big Bug!

So, apparently here in the steamy South, these HUGE roach-like black bugs. They live outside, in wooded areas (like where my apartment is). They come out in the summer and start to look for cool places (like our air-conditioned apartment).

We're getting sprayed on Friday. Which will seriously piss off the pets!

My life was saved... by my cat!

Picture this: It's night. We're ready for bed. The lights are out. The man's in bed, along with the dog. I go to pee, and am joined by the cat. I hear some scratching. It's coming from the basket we keep in the bathroom (my magazine rack!). The cat's eats perk up and she creeps in.

I should have let her handle it. But no, I move the roll of toilet paper.

A bug. A HUGE, black, crawling bug. (No, I don't know what type..). I scream, and high step it for the bedroom, where I throw myself on the bed. Now, the Spousal Equivalent is on his feet! Apparently I've never screamed like that before. He goes and quickly dispatched the bug. (I think I heard it crunch!)

Needless to say I'll be calling the Apartment office today.

In other news, I'm dreading the weigh in today. With mom visiting the diet kind of went out of the window. *cringe* We'll see.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Creature Comforts, and Money

My mother is very money conscious. And I totally get it.

But please mom, stop raining on my parade!!

We have small, achievable goals. One of them is upgrading the TV and getting a Blu Ray player. We're both media junkies, so it makes sense. There's a piggy bank just for that purpose. She seems to think that it's a waste! *sigh* Parade rained on.

So we keep adding pennies to the TV fund. Maybe in a few Christmases we can join the 21st century!

At least I now have a Fluffy Unicorn. No one can take that away from me!!

(PS- no one tell her that I want a Nook... or an iPad)

The end of a Vacation

I dropped my mom off at the airport at 7:45 this morning. She left behind a very upset puppy (she shared bananas with her!) and a teary daughter.

Let me give you a littler background on my mom. My family is small. just my father, brother, mom and I. Dad wasn't ever around much, with business trips and all (we'd find out later that the "business" included a girlfriend). Mom, my brother and I ended up growing very close. I always get extremely weepy when she leave (or I go home after visiting her). In a perfect world, I'd be living in Syracuse, near my family. But there's no work up there. And besides, my life's here now.

We had a great time. We ate at places the Spousal Equivalent and I haven't eaten at before. Monday we were going to visit the neat shops in the new shopping areas, but it rained. Thinking that we'd have tea, we went to the First Ladies Tea Parlor, but it happened to be closed.

This morning I dropped her off. I miss her already. But the new job, and the Spousal Equivalent's job comes with a built in Christmas Vacation. So this year we plan to take the puppy and venture to the snowy north. I haven't been home for Christmas in five for six years. It'll be nice to go back.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Being a Tourist at Home

Unfortunately, our camera is MIA.. so this is post will be sans pictures.

My mother is in town, so I get to play tour guide. Unfortunately, the heat has zapped much of our get up and go.

This trip the tourism was low key. But the highlight was the tour of the Norfolk Naval Station. I've known plenty of people that worked there, but I was unable to see the place. And now I did! I even saw the ship that the Spousal Equivalent served on! We realized too late that the Hampton Roads Naval Museum was free. And after going on that base, I'm less scared of visiting the Army Transportation Museum! (Which is also free)

And now we're off to eat breakfast, and visit the new retail areas (because window shopping is free).

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cleaning: The final chapter (for now)

My mom lands at 3. I'm nearly ready!

Kitchen: Clean
Bathroom: Clean (I still need to shower)
Living Room: as clean as it's going to get.
Guest room: Clean

I found more laundry, but I figure if we do a load a day we'll get it done in now time.

Unfortunately, I need to vacuum. The dog is convinced that the vacuum is an evil monster that is going to kill all of us, so you can imagine the racket she'll cause.

At this point, I have 2 options: deal with the barking dog (but vacuum at a more decent hour), or vacuum with my mom here, and have the Spousal Equivalent take the dog out for a walk while this happens.

As sad as it is, I actually think he second option will happen. The neighbors hate the dog already, I don't want to make it worse!

We have some plans that involve tourist activities. I'll post reviews after we visit!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Clean and Tidy

Well first, it's Thursday. I have officially normal blood pressure, and am one pound lighter.

I looked back at what I ate for the last two weeks and realized something. If I plan ahead, I lose. If not, I scramble and end up having ice cream for dinner.

There was a point when I was a list maker. I had plans and schedules. I was doing FlyLady. It hasn't been that way in a while. And that needs to change. Seriously.

I'm cleaning out the guest room tomorrow (along with cleaning the kitchen, my car and the bathroom). I'm hoping that I can get a nice big bag of clothes to take to GoodWill, and a nice big bag of trash out of my closet. Then I hope I can stick to the FlyLady schedule I made.

Planning ahead in food is what's helped me lose weight. Making sure I have healthy snacks, and enough in my lunch (to make sure I don't go and buy candy) will help me in the long run.

Let's hope I can keep this up!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I hate Wednesdays

I really do. I especially hate this Wednesday!

Today I go see my doctor, so she can take my blood pressure and pronounce that I am so overweight that she needs to up my dosage. *sigh* I knew it was going to happen. (Now mind you, I'm letting my imagination get the better of me) Let's hope the verdict isn't too bad.

Then I have my meeting. I don't feel confident. We've had money issues, and ate a lot of what we had, or ate cheaply. Which doesn't always mean we ate well. I did step up the exercise. I hope it helps.

The fundamental part of the Weight Watchers program is that it isn't a diet, it's a shift in your lifestyle. I get that. But I got every week and hear these women talk about loving a salad. I don't love salad! I know that I'm over weight, and need to lose weight, but the minute the diet starts feeling too "diet-y" I'm off looking for cheesecake. I know what I need to be eating, and what I should be eating. I lack the funds to stock up on it.

The rest of this week will be occupied with cleaning. Friday is the day my mother visits and I need to be ready!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Show Review: Switched at Birth

Switched at Birth is the new ABC Family show. Like most of their programming, it's focused around teens, and requires a healthy dose of suspension of disbelief.

The concept is simple, babies were switched at birth, and discovered this fact when they were in high school. The rich, red-headed Kennish family has an artistic brunette daughter while the Latina Vasquez family (Single mom, grandma) has a red-headed deaf daughter.

The situation is improbable, but entertaining. And it actually is a neat little social commentary on how society feels about money. From moment one the wealthy family tires to pay for Daphne (the deaf daughter) to attend a wealthy private school. They disapprove of her friend who drives a motorcycle (even going so far to say that deaf people shouldn't drive), but seem to refuse to learn sign language. Regina Vasquez (the single Latina mother) tries valiantly to keep the Kennish's from all but stealing her daughter, which the more wealthy seems to want to do.

In all of this are Daphne and Bay. Daphne, despite being deaf, is outgoing and rolls with the punches. Bay feels (rightly so) that her parents are trying to get another daughter.

I still want to slap the Kennishs. And I'm disturbed that they aren't trying to learn sign language, but the show is enjoyable.

Like a train wreck.


I recorded a program about the Stonewall Uprising last night. And being like any good documentary, it provided background. I was nearly late to work as I watched 50's and 60's anti-homosexual propaganda that I know was aimed at school children. These films portrayed gay men as mentally ill pedophiles.

What bothered me was an interview that was conducted in 1967 with the president of the Mattachine Society (I can’t remember which city). He told the interviewer (from CBS News, I think) that homosexuals didn’t want the right to marry. I suppose that when the very act of homosexuality illegal (as well as cross dressing), and for just being gay you could be beaten and thrown in jail…. Then being able to marry was a bit of a reach.

I only got to watch an hour, but it was a powerful hour. I can see how far things have come, but I can also see how far they have to go.

On the drive here, I began to think (as I am prone to do when driving). I really can’t find one convincing argument against gay marriage. Oh, the people who are anti-equality have many arguments, but none of them hold water.
  • It’s against biblical teaching. Well… since the argument is about LAW and not religion.… the argument is invalid.*
  • Churches everywhere will have to perform marriages they don’t agree with. Well, I don’t think so. I think any church, anywhere has the right to pass on performing a wedding. However the Justice of the Peace is an option!
  • It will ruin the institution of marriage. I have NO idea how it would. I mean, serial monogamists (Elizabeth Taylor, Larry King, Hugh Heffner) and people who are married for a few hours (Brittney Spears) and Mormon Polygamists haven’t already ruined the institution?

We as a country oppressed African Americans (first as slaves, then as free citizens), women, Catholics, the Irish, Jews, Muslims (post 9/11 if you even looked Arab it was bad. Sikhs got it really bad) and gays. It’s only really gotten better for Catholics and the Irish and Jews.

I will still be here, to be a calm voice of reason in the face of the violent hate speech. For as long as it takes.

*Ok.. separation of church and state isn't in the 1st amendment... but it does say "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." In my religion we believe in the "The inherent worth and dignity of every person;" and the "Justice, equity and compassion in human relations..." So according to the 1st amendment, (which was interpreted in 1994) concluded that "government should not prefer one religion to another, or religion to irreligion." So to bring religion in the argument would pit one religion against another in a matter of law, and according to Justice David Souter, is against the 1st Amendment.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Tony Awards

Last night was my Superbowl! The Tony Awards!

I learned that Neil Patrick Harris is an amazing host, that drag queen singing (lip syncing really) It's Raining Men is really funny, and that I HAVE to see The Book of Mormon.

I think that there are many people today that don't get the theater. They expect movies and can't suspend their disbelief in the way theater needs. Theater is an expierece. The sets aren't as detailed as a movie. Time runs in ways that are counter-intuitive. The 4th wall is broken, or a soliloquy is spoken that the other characters don't over-hear.

I had issues with the movie version of the Producers. It took me a few views to figure it out. The movie was just the stage version with a bigger set. You suspend disbelief differently for a stage show than you do a movie. Which is why it felt wrong.

I would have rather seen a filming of the movie. Like they did for Rent.

I hope that someday I can have the time for theater again. It's a love of mine that will never go away.

And I hope I have the money to see a Broadway show again... even the touring shows.

I statements.

I've had a few events pop up in my life lately. All of them rather touchy subjects. All of them brought out the need for *I* statements.

What is an I statement? It's a statement that expresses your feelings, but doesn't place blame. There are a few subjects are too touchy to make broad, generalizing *you* statements (religion, politics, child bearing/rearing, money) without pissing off some of the people that you are speaking with.

The idea came home last month, when chatting at a support group got rather accusatory. I waited until things quieted down, and suggested using *I* statements when expressing feelings. "I get rather up set with this group of people because....." "I get frustrated when...."

I wish I had started putting this into practice years ago.

At one point, I wanted children. The failing marriage kinda killed that. But the nail in the coffin were the mothers that thought that they knew the "one true way" of parenting. Like if you don't do it that way you're wrong! I'll never forget the one day a friend posted something to Facebook, and I commented, saying that a friend did..well... whatever she did.. and that it worked for her. I was then informed that what she did was awful! And that it damages kids in the long run.


Now if the answer was posted as "I have done research about that, and it leads me to conclude that the practice is not right for my family, but I'm glad it worked for your friend," it wouldn't have been so off-putting.

It's just that one piece of advice. I hear tale of my pregnant- and mother-friends getting bombarded with conflicting advice. Like the advice is some holy grail and to not take it is equal to child abuse.

Well, I've done the research. There is no one true way. For ANYTHING. There's only the way that works best for you, or jives with your personal set of beliefs.

So now, some *I* statements.

  • I understand that your (religion, political view, moral position on a controversial topic) may be what you truly believe, but it isn't want I believe. Now we are welcome to have a civilized discussion about it, but you will not change my mind. Please do not get upset when I argue my position, this will be a discussion, not a sales pitch.
  • I understood that you've done the research on (insert child rearing/childbirth method, and that it works for your family. While your information is appreciated, it may not work for every family. And yes, I have done the research, and have made my decision that I do not what children. If I change my mind later, there is always foster children.
  • I understand that coupons will save your money, but I have tried that, and it never has worked for me. If you know of any other money saving strategies, I'd love to hear them.
  • I'm very sorry, but when you quote scripture, and only quote scripture as an answer to me in our discussion, this is where the discussion ends. I do not believe that you are truly listening to me when you only quote the bible as an answer.

And the most important

I do not believe that you need to agree with everything that I say and believe for us to get along.

Try it. Switch to *I* statements when having discussions (or arguments). See how it works for you.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

It Gets Better

It's a wonderful message. It's a wonderful campaign.

But I think it belong to a wider audience. Victims of bullying (any bullying). People gripped by depression. The unemployed. The recently divorced. Victims of domestic abuse. Victims of any abuse.

I know that from time to time everyone needs to hear that they are loved, and that it will get better. And at times we need to hear it again and again until we get out of whatever hole we're in.

It took me over a year, but now I really believe that it will get better. Actually, it is better, and continues to get better little by little.

I love weekends!

Yesterday I had grand plans. I was going to come back from the Pride Festival, make dinner and knock out some laundry.

Well, that didn't work. I ended up napping.

So the laundry was pushed off until today. Three loads so far, and I'm hoping for another one, if not two before bed. Plus I went to church, made dinner and made a dozen mini raspberry cheesecakes (don't be jealous. It's no-bake cheesecake).

I made my to-do list of things to accomplish before my mom gets here on Friday. It is so large that it frightens me. It's a doable, but LONG list.

But tonight, I'm going to put my laundry away, snack on some cheesecake and watch the Tony's!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Recipe! and Pride!

Sautéed Tomato Basil Pork
Recipe adapted from here.

  • 2 pounds pork tenderloins, cut into 1" cubes
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped(I used dried, and some Italian seasoning)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, pressed or chopped very fine(Ours came from a jar)
  • 1 cup Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc (I used Middle Sisters Moscato)
  • 3 tablespoons Las Doscientas Picual Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I just used what was at home)
  • 1 1/2 cups Cucina Antica Tomato Basil Sauce (I used A good quality sauce I bought at the grocery store)
  • 1 baguette

Place cubes of pork in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle oregano and garlic over top and toss gently to coat pork. Add wine and mix thoroughly. Cover tightly with a lid or plastic wrap. Marinate for at least 10 minutes, or overnight if possible. To cook the meat, add 2 tbsp olive oil to a large frying pan and heat on medium heat. Remove meat from marinade, discarding remaining marinade. Add pork to pan and sauté for approximately 7-10 minutes, until juices run clear. Stir in pasta sauce and simmer for another 7-10 minutes. Drizzle pork with additional tbsp of olive oil. Serve with pan juices and baguette for mopping.

So, this was the best. dish. ever. Seriously! We chopped up the meat and marinated it before we left for the Pride festival (a great time was had by all). Seriously, try this!

So, as I said, we were at Pride this weekend. It's a small festival, but nice. We talked to people and collected stickers. I even got a free HIV test (if you haven't been tested in the last few years, GO. I'm serious. Go. It's free most places), and a pile of rather interesting condoms.

It was rather disturbing to see the police out. I know they weren't there in case the gays got all rowdy. They were there because we live in Pat Robertson's back yard (seriously, he's less than an hour away). We left after lunch, because it was like 100 degrees!

And yes, I know that I'm on Weight Watchers. No, I don't know how many points it was. I don't care! It was GOOD!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Social Anxiety plus Employee Appreciation

Today was the annual Employee Appreciation day at the college. We were treated to a picnic. outside. in 100 degree heat. We were also treated to the rest of the day off.

Now, let me set the scene. Dozens of round tables that seat ten people. Hundreds of people all talking together. And me. I didn't know a soul there. I set by myself, until a bunch of strangers invaded my table, and began all talking, loudly to each other.

In the end I picked up my free stuff and left before I ate. It was hot, I was alone, I was intensely uncomfortable.

Now I'm home, eating cheese fries (yes, comfort food), and hiding from the heat. Next is laundry.

Happy Friday to me.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Under the Tuscan Sun

I think just about everyone has a favorite movie. A movie they can watch over and over and never be bored with it. I have three. 10 Things I Hate About You, An American President and Under the Tuscan Sun. I only own 10 Things on DVD. I was thrilled when I was that WEtv was playing Under the Tuscan Sun last night. I recorded it, and watched about an hour this morning.

I really admire the bravery of the main character in the movie. I've been there (except I was the one doing the leaving). And how brave to buy a new home, in a new place! I wish I was that brave!

I spend the fall of my junior year of college in Galway, Ireland (There's a story in there, I'll write it up eventually). Ever since then I've imagined buying that little Irish cottage, and moving there.

Probability of me doing that? Nil. I'd have to give up the pup. And I don't know the Spousal Equivalent's stance on moving to Ireland.

But it's a nice dream!

Migraines. I haz them..

I woke up yesterday with the Spousal Equivalent's alarm. I blinked, wondering who was sitting on my head. No, there wasn't anything on my head. Just a blinding migraine.

The journey from the bedroom to the couch was painful, so I called into work (I didn't want to contemplate the journey in a car). I spent most of the morning napping. I had the puppy on my lap, and eventually the cat came to sniff my face. She scared the crap out of me doing that, but it was cute.

I'm writing the migraine off to hormones. It has to be. Not only does the pill pack say so, the not so lovely cluster of acne on my face also says so. Stupid acne.

The migraine, along with amazingly bad traffic (thanks to an accident on 64 that shunted to MY STREET), I missed my Weight Watchers meeting. I'm kinda bummed about it. It's the first that I've missed... ever.

Tomorrow is Employee Appreciation, which means free food, prizes and a good chance of getting out of work early. Later on, there's some shopping to be done. We're working the Pride Festival Saturday, which means I need sunscreen. Million SPF sunscreen... both cream and spray on... I burn in a dark room!

So that's it... migraine.. acne... sunscreen.

Isn't my life interesting?

Where we Live...

The Spousal Equivalent and I moved into our current apartment in December of 2009. The apartment wasn't fancy, but they didn't do a credit check, so I was ok with that. (After my old house was foreclosed, I'll never pass a credit check!)

It's really not a bad place. It's got enough room for most of our stuff. Now that it's under new ownership, things are getting fixed. And it'll look really nice after the cleaning storm that will commence on Sunday (mom's coming to visit next weekend).

But I'm really not entirely satisfied living there anymore. The neighbors have kids that sit on the stairs outside my door and scream. This causes the dog to bark. Which causes more screaming. I've come home to more than my fair share of underpants conventions outside the building (You know.. where the young men hang around with their pants around their knees..).

Now when I say that I'm not satisfied living there... I haven't started packing. I'm just looking around. We can't afford to move, but I can afford to dream.

I ran across this ad this morning on Craig's list. It has waht I want! It has a YARD! A place to put a small grill! To build a storage shed! A place for the dog to pee! *happy sigh* (I know.. it's a trailer.. but I stopped being picky a while back, foreclosure does that to you!)

So I texted the man! The monthly price is above our means... but it has a jacuzzi! He hasn't said anything, but I know that it's not possible.

Off to dream some more!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Nighttime at my House

We all know that pets keep to their own schedule. So let me paint a picture of my house at night.

We baby-gate the door, so if the dog is going to do damage (aka, pee everywhere), she does it in our room. Needless to say, there wee wee pads. The cat has free roam of the house.

Everything is usually quiet until 3:30 or 4am. That's when the cat comes in. It's breakfast time, damnit (according to her). Now she will use a variety of methods to wake us up. And by us, I mean the Spousal Equivalent. She'll bite him, or walk on his face, or simply stare at him (I think trying to communicate telepathically).

She loves to so this on Saturday mornings.

Now, if it's not the cat, the puppy LOVES to bound up during the wee hours and lick the Spousal Equivalent's face. That happened yesterday.

Strangely enough, I get left alone.

Though now I tempt my luck!

Sewing Projects

Anyone how knows me knows that I'm a purse-a-holic. I know. I have a problem.

A while back, I went on the hunt for a bag that fit some pretty specific qualities. When I didn't find it, I decided to make it! I've made quite a few bags since then. It's never a cheap operation, but you always get the best reactions when you tell people that you made it yourself.

I've been using an old bag of mine recently. It's black corduroy. Not a summer bag. But I love the size. It's just the tiniest bit bigger than a standard sized folder. Of course, on the day that I'm going to lend my sewing machine away, I get the idea for a new bag!

I was looking hard at this bag. But the price was a little high. I'm starting this weekend to design a bag that has pockets like the before mentioned B&N one, is the size of my current one, is a more summery brown/tan and (this is the hard part) has a little structure to it. (Not cardboard-y stiffness... just a little... structure)

I start this weekend! To the remnants bins! Pictures will come later!Link

Monday, June 6, 2011

Recipe: Pierogi

People have asked me how I make my pierogi. Well, I cheat. Let me show you how!

Meari's Pierogi Supper

  • An onion- chopped
  • smoked turkey sausage, sliced (I'm doing weight watchers, and it's less points than kielbasa)
  • green beans (I used frozen... way too many, but mine are frozen)
  • And a box of frozen pierogis

  1. Get a big pot of water boiling, the pierogis only need to boil for three minutes, so I heat up the water while I start everything else.
  2. In a HUGE skillet (I use a 2 burner griddle) melt a tiny pat of butter (remember... Weight Watchers) augment the non-stickiness with cooking spray
  3. Dump on the onion, green beans (if frozen, put them on near the end if fresh) and sausage. Stir it around occasionally, so things don't burn. When the onions and sausage are a little brown, and the green beans are cooked, remove from hear and divide up (We get about 4 portions)
  4. About this time, the water should have boiled, and you should have dropped the frozen pierogis in. You're basically using the boiling water to defrost them.
  5. Melt another tiny pat of butter (or more if you're not watching the figure) on the griddle, and place the drained pasta on it. Be careful of it sticking. You're going to pan fry your pierogi in butter (or a combination of a little butter and a little oil). It won't take very long for each side to get a little brown and crispy.
  6. Serve to your adoring friends.
There are 3 Pierogi per serving (for 5 PointsPlus). The butter and oil add a bit to the total.

Now, if you made your own pierogi from scratch... this all would be even better!

And now, in things not so serious...

I bring you my baby. She's by 3 year old Wiener Dog. She's cute, and fluffy and my precious...

She's also fiercely protective and isn't a fan of children. But that's ok.

Tick season is upon us, and I've pulled more ticks off of her than I want to think about. We got on Saturday night that had been there a while. It comes off it pieces. The area is swollen (not red). And I'm worried.

I pay monthly for a plan at the vet. Can I go there? No. Because it's tick involved... it's a $20 surcharge. And I have $6 in the account.

*sigh* I hope my baby will be ok. But in the good news department, the Spousal Equivalent needs more exercise. He wants to take the pup on walks/jogs after work. I love that idea!

My issues with Religion

They aren't many.... but they are big ones.

1.) Ignorance of Religious History- I don't expect everyone to be a scholar of Religious History, but there are some facts everyone should know.

I've heard WAY too many Southern Baptists (I live in Virginia) claim that Catholics aren't Christians. I've stopped trying to correct them, it confuses them and annoys me. I think that every Christian should know that up until 1054 there was *1* denomination. That's it! Between 1054 (The Great Schism where Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy split) and 1517 (Luther's 95 Theses) there were *2* Denominations. After that it gets a little more complex. But the common thing is that ALL of these churches believe in Jesus being the son of God and all.

I tried to teach Medieval History to rural Baptist Virginians. It was difficult. Medieval society is built around the Catholic Church... which I had to explain... over and over.. was christian.

I won't even go into the fights I had when I did the state mandated World Religions unit.

2.) Cherry Picking the bible for verses. First, go read this. I'll wait.
We've all heard the "God is against Gays" argument. We've even seen the verses that people say support that. No one ever talks about the context of those verses. Talk about Leviticus and Jewish Law and some people look at you funny, because they never learned that the Old Testament is from the times BEFORE CHRIST! Since most arguments that are supported by Biblical verses can be disproven by other Biblical verses (My brother loves doing this), let's look at the bible.

The bible is a few things. 1.) It's an anthology. People actually sat together and decided what to include and what to exclude. 2.) It's a translation of a translation of a translation. A religious game a telephone. It is known that the the King James Version of the bible was translated in such a way that it would better fit the Church of England. Yes, instead of structuring religion around a bible, structure the bible around the religion.

3.) Blind Faith.
Religion isn't something you should blindly follow. It's something to be studied. Why do they believe this? When did that practice start? What is the context and history around these practices? Without answering those questions you can't fully participate in any religion. God never wanted you to turn off your brain and do what the guy in the pulpit says. According to many religions (and Joan of Arcadia) you were given Free Will! Use it! Study not only the bible, but the history and traditions that surround it. Yes, I believe that every Christian should know the basics of Judaism. Why? Jesus was JEWISH! How do I know? I read it in the BIBLE!

I have no problem with organized religion. I do have a problem with people that simply refuse to think for themselves. Think, learn and study. Use that Free Will that God gave you.

You'll be glad you did.

Young Adult Fiction.

I started out with a teaching career, and because of it, found myself reading a lot of Young Adult Fiction. The teaching career went away, but not the love of that genre. Because of this, I follow a few YA authors's blogs. Sunday afternoon, I read blog after blog defending the genre.

Why would Laurie Halse Anderson, the author of Speak, or Diane Duane, the author of the Young Wizards series, or countless other authors and teens tweet about this?

Because the Wall Street Journal published an article claiming that "Contemporary fiction for teens is rife with explicit abuse, violence and depravity."

Well yes, some of it is. The new rash of YA Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic fiction is harsh. But that goes with the category. The Vampire and Werewolf books are too. Again, comes with the category.

Their issues are with the books that have basis in real problems that real teens share: suicide, rape, sexuality, eating disorders, bullying, abuse. Laurie Halse Anderson wrote: "Teens are drawn to YA books when they don’t have loving, trustworthy adults in their lives who will listen to them. Kids who have been raped, harassed, neglected, abused, ignored, misunderstood – the list seems endless sometimes – open these books in search of answers."

So what is the problem? According to Meghan Cox Gurdon: "Yet it is also possible—indeed, likely—that books focusing on pathologies help normalize them and, in the case of self-harm, may even spread their plausibility and likelihood to young people who might otherwise never have imagined such extreme measures. Self-destructive adolescent behaviors are observably infectious and have periods of vogue." Teens do copycat, but thinking that cutting or eating disorders are glamorous because of a book is silly. Most of these novels don't glamorize it. They show how destructive and dangerous these behaviors are.

In the end, I think the answer is simple. TALK TO YOUR CHILDREN!!!!!!!!!! If they are reading books that you find too graphic, ask them why. Ask your kids how they felt about the material. Ask them if they know of anyone in that situation. just talk.

I'm going to end with Anderson's words on the subject.

I know what makes people like Meghan Cox Gurdon afraid of YA literature. I mentioned it during the BEA panel on censorship. As a preacher’s kid, and as someone who loves a lot of conservatives, and lives in a rural, conservative community, I understand the adults who are terrified of YA books. I feel compassion for them.

Because it’s not the books they’re afraid of.

They are afraid of their inability to talk to their kids about the scary, awful, real-world stuff that is out there. And they know, deep-down, that even if their own children are blessed with violence- and trauma-free childhoods and adolescences, their kids will daily come in contact with other kids who aren’t that lucky. So they know they should be talking about this stuff, but they don’t know where to start. And when their kid starts reading books about subjects that make Mom and Dad uncomfortable, the reaction is to get rid of the book, instead of summoning the courage and faith to have conversations that make them uneasy.

That is sad. Kids and teens need their parents to be brave and honest to prepare them for the real world.

In my experience, the parents who scream the loudest about YA books tend to have younger kids. They become aware of the genre when their oldest child enters middle school, just as they are realizing the enormity of the challenges of parenting teens. As their family survives the bumps along the road of middle and high school, they become more confident in their own parenting skills and they accept (sometimes embrace!) the opportunities presented by these books.

Great young adult literature connects us. It bridges the darkness. It saves lives. Thousands of people are testifying about the life-saving abilities of YA books on Twitter. I urge you to read their thoughts, and to share your own stories here, at the Wall Street Journal, or on your own blog or social media space.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Magdalene Sisters

I'd once written that I loved the accessories of Catholicism. Some of its practices leave me ill.

When I studied abroad in Galway, Ireland I lived with some lovely Italian ladies. You know, Catholics from the land of the Pope. According to my roommates, the Irish are some super breed of uber-catholics. Well maybe not quite, but you get my point.

Religion went too far with the Magdalene Asylums (or Magdalene Laundries). Unwed mother, girls who had been raped, girls that were too pretty and other "fallen" women were locked into Catholic (and sometimes Protestant) convents and were forced to do backbreaking labor until they had repented for their sins.

The first Laundries opened in the mid 19th century, when society's view of sex placed all of the blame and shame on women. The church ruled society, and influenced the attitudes toward sex. The church set up these Asylums, taking in unwed mothers, prostitutes, and eventually raped women (that were blamed for the assault) and others. Women here were prisoners, working from sun up to sun down. They were beaten, ridiculed by the nuns and society. The women were inmates at the Laundries until a family member could vouch for them. Since having children out of wedlock was a significant scandal, most families turned their backs on these women.

The last Laundry closed in 1996.

Rent The Magdalene Sisters or Sex in a Cold Climate . Trust me. Just do it.

One post of many today...

... I'm alone in the office and get prolific when left alone.

The High School Religious Education classes at church are using various movies, and television shows as a springboard to discussing bigger theological issues.

They are starting with Joan of Arcadia. Um, YAY! I ADORE that show. Recently the Spousal Equivalent and I got the series from Netflix. One day when watching that, I ran across this. The 10 commandments of the writers of Joan of Arcadia:

1. God cannot directly intervene.
2. Good and evil exist.
3. God can never identify one religion as being right.
4. The job of every human being is to fulfill his or her true nature.
5. Everyone is allowed to say "no" to God, including Joan.
6. God is not bound by time. This is a human concept.
7. God is not a person and does not possess a human personality.
8. God talks to everyone all the time in different ways.
9. God's plan is what is good for us, not what is good for him.
10. God's purpose for talking to Joan, and everyone, is to get her (us) to recognize the interconnectedness of all things - i.e., you cannot hurt a person without hurting yourself; all of your actions have consequences; God can be found in the smallest actions; God expects us to learn and grow from all our experiences. However, the exact nature of God is a mystery, and the mystery can never be solved.
I was rather struck by this. Within those simple ten rules are many of the beliefs that I hold about religion and the existence of a higher power.

Now, if it wasn't for the language, I think that class should watch Dogma. In all of its zany Kevin Smith hijinks... it has a message that I think is powerful for religion in today's world. You shouldn't hold beliefs. Those are too rigid and can't change as time and society does. You should hold religious ideas.

And don't bless your golf clubs to get a better golf game.Link