Friday, February 29, 2008


I keep seeing commercials for stores having leap day sales today that talk about today being an "extra" day since it's leap year. Now, I'm not entirely sure I agree with that, since I figure I have a certain number of days on this Earth and it won't matter much what date you put on it, but then I got to thinking...

If today's an "extra" day, shouldn't it really be a holiday so we can do something fun with it? Something we don't normally take the time to do? Maybe go to the zoo, since the weather's nice. Or sit outside and read a book. Or stay home and scrapbook. Or play in the dirt (that's probably just me).

In honor of the Leap Year Extra Day Holiday, I think I'll leave early today.

Well, that and the fact that I've been at work early 3 days this week, worked through lunch twice, and get to come in early again on Monday. My target for escape is 3pm.

The Aliens Took My Forks.

You know how most people lose single socks in the dryer? We've started losing other things around the house. Not so much losing, as things just disappear. Random things. Like forks. We got a brand new set of casual silverware when we got married, but somehow a year and a half later we have twice as many spoons as forks. I don't know where the forks went.

Last night I noticed it was happening to our washclothes. Just a month or so ago I noticed that we had a huge pile of washclothes in the bathroom cabinet. Last night I could only find two. I went through the laundry and only found a handful. Plenty of towels, but hardly any washclothes. Where did they go?

I'm begining to suspect aliens. I think the aliens are stealing random things in my house in an attempt to learn more about our species. I'm not sure what they're learning from my forks and washclothes, but if they come after my pup we're going to fight.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Garden Monkeys

I know that most of you will find this hard to believe, but some people find it really odd that I love to shop at Big Lots. I know Stacey understands, she shares the addiction. But some people don't get it. I try to explain - Big Lots has the most random stuff that you will never find anywhere else, it's almost like being in a specialty store. This hit me last weekend while I was shopping for some random groceries and gardening tools. I was so overcome with this realization that I actually made a list of unique stuff that I wanted to buy but had the will power to resist:

1. Portable Deluxe Spa ($429???)
2. Garden Gnomes
3. Garden Monkeys
4. 6 ft lighted palm tree
5. Metal dog-shaped plant stand

Seriously, where else do find garden monkeys? I exhibited some serious will power, leaving with only my groceries and garden tools. But I'm still considering the portable spa.


Last week officially kicked off one of my craziest times of year (the other one being the month of June). Between now and May I will be swamped at work trying to go from 308 applicants wanting a spot in our fellowship program starting in 2009, to four actual new fellows. There are a lot of meetings, emails, planning, and interviews in the between. Ironically, next week will mark my one year anniversary in this job. Yes, it was trial by fire. But luckily I made lots and lots of notes as I went through the process last year so that hopefully things will go smoother this year. Hopefully. So far so good, but we'll see.

Meanwhile, my patience is being tested mightily this week. This is the final week of the monthly rotation for the residents on our service. A new crop comes in starting Saturday, with orientation early Monday morning. The ones leaving the service are required to take an exam at the end of their rotation. It was scheduled for early Tuesday. I was here early to give the exam, nobody showed up. Last week one of the residents had requested to reschedule his exam for today. No problem. I came in early this morning. He didn't show. I have one other who asked to reschedule for tomorrow...

My problem is how to respond to the lack of participation this week. My initial reaction tends to be high irritation followed by sarcasm and bitchiness. Not really appropriate. I'm still trying to decide on the best approach to use while maintaing respect for the fact that they are doctors, but also making sure they understand that my time is also valuable, especially this time of year, and wasting it while making me come in early three times in one week TICKS ME OFF. The good news is that I've learned my limitations and have purposefully not responded to the problem yet in order to cool down and not say something stupid. It's been a struggle, though.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Ok, my brain isn't working but Greg just provided me with this headline from our weekly employee newletter:

"Pediatric Urologist Gives Wiener Lecture"

Really, it's just too easy.


I have been intending to post something intellegent, but my brain won't cooperate. I don't think I've gotten a normal night's sleep since sometime early last week. I was really hoping I could get back on track last night after being thown off so much over the weekend, but the storm and a couple of canine interlopers outside put an end to that. Not that either of those things woke me up, but the crazy thing living under my bed sure did, getting wound up by both. Of course, then I had to be at work early to give an exam that nobody showed up for, which means I now get to come in early two more days to give make up exams!

Anyway, perhaps this afternoon I can revive. We'll see. But I'm not holding my breath.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Oscars

Greg just turned off the Wii and flipped through channels, landing the Oscars. They were giving out an award to The Bourne Ultimatum. You could have put that on the list of movies I never thought I'd hear mentioned in the same sentence as the Oscars.


It's, week 3 and I've continued working on my flower bed. Three weekends in a row is some serious progress for me! Here's what I accomplished:

Spread Dirt - check.

Some of the bulbs I had tried to kill off survived, which is good since my overall plan has changed. They will fill in until I can get all my azaleas.

Since I didn't need to buy any more dirt this week, I spent my gardening money on some new tools.

New clippers and gloves - check.

And finally, I was surprised to find the little buds I'd been watching had hatched already. I wasn't expecting to see these guys for a few more days.

Greet the first blooms of spring - check.

The first one was beaten up a little in the rain Thursday night, but it was the first to fully bloom, followed by the one by the mailbox. There are 2 more buds ready to go at the mailbox. I love daffodils, probably because they are the first sign of spring! All of my daffys came from my grandmother's house. I talked to Mom this morning and she said Grandma's yard was pretty much solid yellow with daffys already.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

It's 12:30AM, Do You Know Where Your Friends Are?

Well, this one and spouse are about to be heading to Richton. Damn you, pager. Apparently Greg is now working the night shift! Anyway, we've been up at the hospital for about 45 minutes and the thing that's broken can't be fixed without a road trip, so off we go. I'm just glad it's a weekend so I can go with him. I hate when he has to make these trips in the middle of the night by himself! I'm thinking we may end up finding a place to sleep rather than coming back home tonight. (I had originally typed "find a place to crash," but under the circumstances I didn't want to jinx the drive!) Clearly, I've been down this road before, only it was a different road (I-55 to Marks, or Hwy 25 to Aberdeen...) so I packed a bag before we came up to the hospital. This should make for a crazy time-warped weekend!

Friday, February 22, 2008


When I got home from work this afternoon I immediately changed clothes and Greg and I went and got something to eat since neither of us had eaten any lunch. We came back home and bummed at the house for the rest of the evening. At one point, a couple of hours after I'd gotten home, I was sitting on the couch when I noticed Greg staring at me kind of funny with that expression he gets when he's trying real hard not to laugh out loud because he knows that whatever I did was probably a result of low brain function rather than any attempt to be humorous. Sure enough. He was staring at my feet.

I would have taken an oath that I put on two white socks when I got home. I remembered doing it because I couldn't find a matched pair and had to go looking for somewhat matched singles. I honestly didn't think I'd gotten them that unmatched. The best part was that the only thing Greg had to say was, "And you went out in public."


Apparently there's been an outbreak of Fridayitis. There has been a rash of people leaving work early today. I plan to catch the disease in a couple of hours. Greg's home today, after working until 4:30AM, and I worked late for conference last night, so I figure it's as good a day as any. Maybe I can get the dirt spread in my flower bed this afternoon.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


For those of you who are local, picture this:

Driving up Woodrow Wilson from Clinton, turning left onto State Street, then turning onto Lakeland,
At 6:00PM
In complete darkness
And pouring rain
with no traffic lights.

I don't ever want to do that again. And UMC looks really freaky in total darkness. As a side note, a memo to the two idiots in the SUVs on Lakeland this evening- When traffic lights are out it does not mean you have the right of way to plow through all intersections at top speed. 4. Way. Stop.

What was I doing heading back towards work at that hour on a night like this? I wasn't actually heading to the hospital, I was heading to Nick's restaurant for one of our regular conferences. I was really afraid we wouldn't have much of a turnout, considering that the power was out at all three of the big downtown hospitals where most of our attendees work. Turned out we had less than usual, but not as few as I expected. My pessimism towards the attendance didn't have anything to do with an anticipation of additional patient care due to the blackout, it had to do with the fact that most of the docs park in the garages and couldn't get their cars out.

On another side note, Greg got called in to work when the power went out, which means he is missing bowling for the 3rd week in a row. I got a message a little while ago that power was back up at UMC about 8PM but I expect he'll be there a while since the servers were still not up. It'll be a long night for him.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Public Service Announcement

Last week at our employee health fair I helped sign people up for Cardiac Risk Assessments. We were offering them to employees for a discounted price of $5 that day, rather then the usual $30. For our employee program, it's a two step process. First you go in for an EKG and to have blood drawn for the lipid panel, then you get an appointment to come in for the follow-up visit to get your test results and complete the risk assessment. The clinic gave us 24 appointment slots. We signed up 80 people.

Today Greg and I both went in to have blood tests and EKG's done. We're still on the overflow list for an appointment, but they'll call us when they have one. (One of the NP's doing the assessments is out with the flu, so it may be a few weeks!) I am very glad that we're offering the service, and that we had such a great response. I'll be honest, I didn't think a whole lot about heart health until we went through my Dad's near-miss with a heart attack. I've only had my cholesterol checked once, when we got our life insurance, and it was within normal range. Greg's was just a little high. I don't expect to find anything bad this time, either. But to me it's important to know, one way or the other, if it's changing. One big thing we can do to save money in the future is to stay healthy now.

So, I'm saying all of that just to say that if you don't know what your cholesterol level is, or you have never had an EKG done, or if you have a history of heart disease/stroke/heart attacks in the family, call your local cardiology office and see if they offer a low cost cardiac risk assessment. Best case scenario, you find out you're perfectly healthy and can high five yourself and celebrate with something deep fried. At least you'll know, and have a baseline to compare if you develop problems or go back in 5 years for another assessment. Worst case scenario, you find out you're not as heart-healthy as you need to be. It's easier to start making changes before you end up on a table having a heart cath and possibly looking at having a stent. Seriously, it's worth a couple of hours of inconvenience to stay ahead of the game. Preventative maintenance. I'm just saying.


So two days ago Google was hating on me, blocking me from posting because I appeared to be a suspicious poster. No sooner than that fixed itself, our internal network decided to get revenge. It's now blocking all posting of comments or blog posts claiming I'm accessing a suspicious site. Well, I guess some of ya'll do qualify as suspicious (cough cough)...

They've done this before, only they blocked access to reading blogs at all. This time it's just posting. Except for MR's blog. I can still post there. Ironic. I guess Pluck is good for something (insert dripping sarcasm here). Granted, much of the time I don't actually log into MR's blog to read the comments because it's gotten too difficult (i.e. slow) to navigate. Heh.

Anyway, last time the block lasted less than two days. Today was day two, so we'll see if it's still being ornery tomorrow. If you don't hear from me all day, you'll know it is.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I got so many helpful responses to my gardening post weekend before last that I was motivated. I went that day and spent $15 on dirt and fertilizer for my front bed. I spread it all and was about one bag of dirt short. No problem. Last weekend, after getting my new stuff money for the week, I bought another bag of dirt. Granted, after I bought it I realized that I'd bought the wrong type of dirt, but that's ok. It's still dirt.

And it's still sitting, unopened, at the end of the flower bed.

Here's my confession. My secret concern is that I'll spend all this money fixing up my flower bed and after a few weeks it'll be neglected, and after a few months it'll just be sad. I've been guilty many many times. I usually get the urge to plant when the weather gets nice, but half the time I buy plants and never even get around to putting them in the ground.

It was a bit easier when Jen lived with me because she would drag me out to pull weeds and water stuff on a fairly regular basis. Without somebody reminding me, I just forget. I'll see it when I drive up in the evening, but by the time I get inside and change clothes, I've moved on to dinner, then it's just gone. I won't think about it again until the next morning when I leave for work. And on the weekends, I'll want to do it but will get busy and won't think about it until it starts raining or something.


So my plan is actually to spread the prep out over several weeks. If I keep up enough to get it done, I can buy and plant flowers and hopefully by then it'll be enough of a routine that I'll remember to water and weed before our yard guy has to take the weed eater to the entire bed, as he has done the past two summers. Now that's just embarrassing. I have to get the last of the dirt spread soon.

Busy Day?

How busy was my day?

It was 9:15PM when I realized that I'd gone all day with my underwear on backwards. I would like to think that I would have noticed that earlier, but no.

Cookie Monster

I totally forgot. I do this ever year. I always order Girl Scout cookies, and i always forget about it before they come in.

They're here! Super! Nom nom nom.

Except I kinda forgot about them, which means I spent my cookie money on dirt for the flower bed. But my wonderful spouse decided they were groceries anyway, so now I have cookie money. I just have to find the woman that I bought them from. I've been stalking her this morning, but so far no luck catching her in her office. Bet she's off delivering cookies. Coooookies. Chocolatey, peanut buttery goodness in a box. If I could find her, it would also be known as breakfast.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Google Hates Me

I tried to post a comment on another blog earlier this morning and was denied by Google because apparently I'm a known spammer. Or something like that. It was more like, "your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application." Yeah, um, no.

Whatever the problem was, it wouldn't let me read any comments or make any comments on any Blogger blogs, or log into my own blog, all morning. It appears to have righted itself without a temper tantrum on my part, which is a good thing.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


I dunno if this will work, but a friend of mine sent me an e-valentine from Hallmark that was so darn hysterical that I thought's I'd share it. Here's the link. You have have the sound on, but it's family friendly. I'm sure it's only available for limited time and yada yada. And yes, I went back and sent it to myself and linked to that one so that my friend's email wouldn't show up at the top.

Heh. Puppy paws.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Tonight was the Taste of UMC. I had my camera in my hand, but somehow didn't get to the car with it. Which figures. There were quite a few things I desperately needed pictures of. Mainly, the booth two doors down, which was the Llama Cafe. I borrowed a coworker's camera and took a couple of pictures, but I don't know if I'll ever actually get them from her.

Ran into Supermom there, but only had a second to talk. The slave driver (Boss #2) was cracking the whip to get the angel food cake chopped up for the chocolate fountain treats. Also ran into a man I know from church, but again the whip cracked and I had to refill the fruit. I finally gave up and called it a night. I had been there since about 4pm and at 8 it was past time to go.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Valentine's Bunny Egg Hunt

I have never been able to figure out what colored plastic eggs have to do with Easter, but a few years ago I decided that if we can randomly hide and hunt eggs at Easter, why can't we do it for other days as well? Thus the Egg Hunt tradition began. First on a random day one Fall when Casper hid a huge pile of leftover plastic Easter eggs from Jen. The eggs resurfaced a couple of years later when I instigated a Christmas Egg hunt as part of our Christmas Fun activities at the bank.

Now, once again, the little plastic vessels of goodness have returned. While Greg was out of town the Valentine's Bunny hid a pile of plastic chocolate-filled Valentine's eggs. He found one when he got home last night, and is convinced there are more. Bwahahaha!

Of course, since it's the Valentine's Bunny, there's a chance that they don't all contain chocolate. You just never know with that Valentine's Bunny.

Not Dead Yet

I'm not dead yet, but considering it as a viable option.

Work has gone crazy this week.

I was out half a day Tuesday for a class.

I was out more than half a day yesterday working on Taste of UMC stuff. That was third half day in two weeks I've spent on Taste of UMC, and have more stuff to do today. How did I get suckered into this?

I'll be out half a day today working at our Employee Health Fair. How did I get suckered into that?

I have two big deadlines tomorrow, one of which is a large grant application that is becoming more complicated and urgent every day. The other is our fellowship application deadline for new fellows. So far we have over 300 applicants, which we have to narrow down to 12 to invite for interviews. We're supposed to issue those invitations the first week in March. And thanks to some of the other fires that have ignited this week, we don't know how many new fellows we're going to be able to accept yet. Looks like it'll be fewer than years past.

To top it all off, I'm starting to fee like crap. I can't be sick, there isn't time. Not until we get the interviews set up. I'm seriously thinking about telling Boss #2 that there is no way I can spend all night Saturday at Taste of UMC. I'm supposed to be there from 5-10pm, but if I don't get some rest this weekend I will likely be full-on sick next week. Then again, if I don't go, I'll likely be killed by Boss #2, so getting sick won't be an issue.

Now excuse me, I have an hour to take care of a week's worth of work before hiking over to the health fair.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A New Breed

My husband is the best man on the planet.

He's in Washington DC, sitting in his hotel room watching the dog show and IM'ing the play by play as I look up each dog's picture on the website.

Granted, according to his play by play, there was a heebee jeebee breed in the hound group.

A Rare Longing for TV

In case you haven't heard, we don't have cable (or satalite) TV at our house. We have an antena and some fuzzy local channels. For the most part, I'm okay with this. I'm just not much of a TV watcher. When I'm home alone I normally turn on the radio. If I do have the TV on, it's usually for noise while I do some thing else, so it doesn't really matter what's showing.

Tonight is one of those rare exceptions. Tonight, I want my cable back. If I could turn it on for two nights and turn it back off, I would. I wouldn't even need all the channels, just USA and CNBC. And I'd only need CNBC tonight, everything's on USA tomorrow.

(Warning: Dork Confession Ahead!)

Westminster. Known at our house as Puppy Home Shopping. I can't help it. I love watching dog shows, and Westminster is the Super Bowl of dog shows. Yeah, I watch the one that comes on Thanksgiving Day every year, but they edit it so much that you only end up seeing half the dogs. I want to see them all.

Except maybe the poodles. I'm not a big fan of the poodles, especially the Standards. They're like the Paris Hilton of dogs. I like the working dogs, and the sporting dogs, and the hounds. My favorite Westminster was the year Josh, the huge Newfoundland, won and started woofing at everybody. That dog was bigger than his handler. You just don't see the big dogs win very often. Of course that was also the first Westminster that Casper ever watched. Heh. He didn't like it. I'm pretty sure he'd never seen another pup on TV before. He was only about six months old, and convinced we were shopping for a new pup.

Anyway, for the first time since we ditched the cable back in July I'm wishing we had it back so I could cheer for the pups tonight and tomorrow. Maybe they'll show part of it online. I'll have to see if I can find it anywhere.


The idea that skinny people are fit and in shape is a myth.

Just a note from the skinny girl who climbed 8 flights of stairs a few minutes ago and thought she was dying by the 2nd flight. I made it to five before I had to actually stop and rest.

Perhaps I should add another item to my earlier list of things to do while Greg is gone:

6. Start exercising regularly so that I can Run from the Sun in April
(Reality: Does throwing the squeak down the hall and watching the pup run after it count?)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

5 Things - Reality Check

5 Things To Do While Greg Is Gone
(And the Reality of What I Will Do)

Greg will be out of town the first half of this week, and I've been thinking of all the nifty things I can do during my 3 nights solo. However, knowing myself as well as I do, I realize that the reality won't be nearly as cool.

1. Cook elaborate meals of things Greg won't eat.
(Reality: I'll eat cereal, pasta-in-a-box, and peanut butter from a spoon)

2. Watch some of my favorite old movies that I haven't seen in ages
(Reality: I'll watch whatever bad TV happens to be on ABC, since I probably won't be able to find the remote.)

3. Treat myself to a home spa with foot soaks, facials, and manicures
(Reality: I'll probably shower, probably won't shave)

4. Learn some yoga moves
(Reality: I'll stretch before taking an early nap after cereal, then go to bed early.)

5. Read one of the books stacked up that I've been wanting to start
(Reality: I'll move one of the books to the living room or nightstand, get distracted by whatever's on ABC, and never actually open the book.)

Saturday, February 9, 2008


I was in the kitchen chopping away on veggies for the soup I had boiling, when I got a text message from my BFF saying that favorite movie was on. Hmm. That covers a lot of ground, depending on what mood I'm in. I sent her a message back asking which one and she said to turn on channel 16. So I did.

And there it was.

My own best friend. Someone I trusted. I had been betrayed. My television contaminated. You know who you are, and you know what you did. More importantly, you know how traumatized I am by oompa loompas! Just cruel.

Why Can't Money Grow on Azalea Bushes?

I walked out to my car this morning to run a quick errand and a sudden realization hit me out of nowhere.

It's February.

Ok, don't make fun. It's been a rough couple of weeks for me and I can't be expected to keep up with everything. Yes, I've written "2" on all kinds of forms schedules and I have 4 calendars. But not a single one of those calendars include "Trim rose bushes and prep flower beds." It shouldn't be a surprise that it took me this long to remember.

So now I have a real confession to make. I'm a little nervous about going outside and started my plant prep today. Gardening costs money, which I don't have much of put aside right now. I should have planned better, but as I just pointed out, I had no idea it was February already!

If I'm ever going to seriously overspend on anything, it's probably going to be groceries and gardening. All Fall I'd been contemplating combining the two and planting a small herb and vegetable bed this year. I have a space in the back yard, it just needs some cleaning out and some cultivating. I found a nifty website with some good ideas about theme planting in containers, such as planting a salsa garden pot.

In addition to edibles, I covered up my front yard flower bed several months ago in an attempt to kill off everything in it so I can replant in twice-blooming azaleas. I've been wanting these for a couple of years. I'd had a variety of bulbs and annuals in there since I moved in about 5 years ago, but to be honest, in the past few years I haven't found the time to properly care for them. For the last two years I haven't even planted the annuals, just let the bulbs take over. Most of the bulbs I acquired from Mom and Grandma's yards. Grandma has beautiful iris, daffodils and daylillies carpeting her flower beds.

Last year I intentionally neglected my beds because we were almost done paying off the last of the general debt and I wouldn't even spend money on a new water hose. This year we're in a similar boat, just months away from paying off the house. I know how big my plant beds are, and how much fertilizer, soil, and mulch cost. I know how many plants it takes to fill up the looooong front bed. I know how many empty pots I have. I know how expensive azalea plants can be. I know I've never been successful growing plants from seeds. I have $25 budgeted each week to spend on anything I want, but a large percentage of that goes to... well, extra snacks, hot chocolate, and such. And $25 wouldn't buy enough plants to fill up the front bed anyway.

Now the dilemma. What should I prioritize with the money I do have for gardening? Less prep, more plants, or vice versa? I can probably get some herb plants from mom, she has an awesome herb garden, and I wouldn't need a lot of vegetable plants (Greg doesn't eat many so I'm planting for one!) so maybe I should concentrate on doing the back bed right and put off the azaleas another season. Except I've already abused the bulbs so they will not be participating this year, leaving the front bed pretty much empty. On the other hand, will I actually use the vegetables I grow, since I know Greg won't eat them? If I'm not going to use them, I might as well just focus on the front bed for now.

One year I will have a budget category just for gardening. I'll do it right, full prep, quality planting, everything perfect. It won't be this year. It may not be next year. But it'll happen. These are the things we're working towards; saving the money to do the things we want without having to worry quite so much about the cost. In the meantime, perhaps I need to just trim the roses and give growing plants from seeds another try.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Lost:: My Mind. If Found, Please Call...

Three different times today I've remembered something I had intended to post today, but was always off somewhere away from a computer when I thought about it. Every time I got back to a computer I would remember that there was something I wanted to post, but not had a clue what it was. While out looking at washing machines on date night at Best Buy tonight I remembered again and I was all, "OH YEAH! That's what it was. I so have to remember that when I get home!"

Nope. No idea. I'm fairly certain it was something funny, though.

Not that the fact that we spent our early Valentine's Day date night at Best Buy looking at washing machines that we have no intention of buying isn't funny enough in itself.

Good vs Evil

As the local political season gears up I've noticed a few candidate signs in our neighborhood for the Alderman's race.

So far there are two candidates.

Their last names are Peace and Outlaw.

We haven't decided which side we're on yet.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


Supermom requested an upgrade to the Smoked Gouda Alfredo, so here it is:

Smoked Gouda Alfredo

1 pint of cream

4 to 8 oz. parmesan cheese, grated

1 tsp garlic puree

8 oz. grated Smoked Gouda cheese, rind removed

Flour or cornstarch to thicken

Cold milk

Dried Red pepper flakes (or Cajun seasoning), to taste

Olive oil

Salt, to taste

1 tbsp butter

Pasta of choice (Fettuccini, Penne, etc…), boiled to desired consistency

Mushrooms, grilled chicken, or grilled sausage (optional additions to the Alfredo sauce)- amount depends on preference

In a skillet, sauté mushrooms or meat in a little olive oil (if adding to the Alfredo sauce- if not, skip to next step). Add pepper flakes or Cajun seasoning if desired.

In a small sauce pan, heat cream slowly over low heat, careful not to scorch it. Add garlic, salt, and a little of both cheeses. Begin to stir (you will stir constantly to prevent it from sticking and burning on the bottom). Gradually add more cheese as it continues to thicken. This will take a while, so be patient. Add 1 tbsp of flour or cornstarch to a glass of cold milk then pour into sauce to help thicken. If it thickens too quickly, add some milk or cream.

If you are adding mushrooms and/or meat, you will want to bring it back up to heat right before the sauce is done. When sauce is thickened, pour into the skillet with meat and/or mushrooms and let it all simmer together.

In a large serving bowl, pour sauce over pasta and sprinkle a little more of both kinds of cheeses. Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning and serve.

Note- the amount of cheese depends entirely on how thick and cheesy you want your sauce to be.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

You Don't See THAT Every Day

I meant to post Monday that while driving to work we saw a raccoon cross the road. It was garbage day but the truck had already run on our street, so I figured he was trying to find a buffet that was still open. Can't say I've ever seen a raccoon cross the road in broad daylight before. It was quite funny.

But the reason I'm mentioning that now is because something even more bizarre just happened. Earlier today I had to go back to the dentist to get a filling. Now, I absolutely adore my dentist. He's awesome and by far the most attentive medical professional I've ever seen. He's the only one who actually made progress on my chronic muscle pain two years ago - which had nothing to do with my teeth. He remembers random things I mention to him in passing, like places I've volunteered and my mom having cancer, and usually asks me about them when I go in for cleanings. Most importantly, he's the most skilled dentist I've ever been to. This filling was only the second one I've ever had, and it was completely painless.

I mention all of that just to say that Dr. Peter just called me, at 8:00 at night, to check on me and make sure I wasn't having any pain or problems with my new filling. Now THAT is even more rare than seeing a raccoon cross the road in broad daylight. Customer service. I wish I could beat that into some of my cardiology trainees' heads. Boswell Family Dentistry, Lakeland Drive, in the Baptist Clinic building. If you need a dentist, go there.

An Edible Offer

I've decided to offer up a trade. You see, last week I bought a big bag of chicken leg quarters but I've only used 2 of them. The rest I froze in 3 packs of 2 (a good serving size, since there's only two of us). The problem is that other than boiling them for dumplings or chicken soup, I can't decide what else to do with them. I've tried a lot of chicken recipes found online that have been very bland. I had originally given some thought to finding a way to put some on the grill, but short of BBQ, I've never had a lot of luck with grilling chicken. I want something new. So, here's the offer.

Since I know a lot of you cook, I'm willing to trade a fantabulous recipe for stuffed pasta shells* for some good chicken leg quarter dishes. There are a few guidelines. Keep in mind that my dear sweet husband is something of a picky eater, so anything with rice, potatoes, or many veggies will likely be snubbed. I can always make adjustments as long as it's not a main ingredient (i.e. chicken and rice is out). I'll also come clean and admit that the stuffed pasta shells recipe was stolen from Lauren, but it's so darn yummy I can't help but share. I think it was Sandi who had previously asked for easy prep meals, so I'll add that these freeze up really well. If you make enough for two meals you can freeze half before baking, then when you're ready to eat just pop them in the oven for a little longer to give them time to defrost. Since I trust you to help me out, I'm going to go ahead and post the recipe:

Stuffed Shells

12 to 16 jumbo pasta shells (I usually use manicotti since I can't find jumbo shells)
16 oz. cottage chest or ricotta, drained
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated
4 oz. parmesan cheese, grated
pasta sauce
1 egg
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1/16 tsp nutmeg
1/16 tsp cayenne pepper
4 tbsp seasoned bread crumbs
1 small box frozen spinach, thawed and thoroughly drained (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 350°.

Boil pasta, drain and lay out on paper towels to cool. Mix all ingredients except
of the mozzarella and the pasta sauce. Using a large spoon, stuff shells with mixture. Coat the bottom of a baking dish with pasta sauce. Place shells on top. Cover with additional pasta sauce (amount of sauce depends on the desired moistness) and remaining mozzarella. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional five minutes until cheese is browned.

*If stuffed shells doesn't float your boat, I can substitute Lauren's smoked gouda alfredo recipe. Have I mentioned that Lauren is a really good cook?

Who Needs a NOAA Radio?

I didn't get much sleep last night, in small part due to the weather and in much larger part due to my organic weather radio, that big ball of psychosis we call the pup. When he was a much younger pup we had to be careful when the weather got nasty because he liked to jump up in his (metal) swing and bark at it. I never said he was a brilliant pup. Later it became less of an issue, as we couldn't force him out the back door when the weather was bad. we could barely pull him out from under my bed. Come to think of it, that was probably after Katrina/Rita. These days he just freaks out. Whining, yelping, running up and down the hallway, under the bed, on the bed (which is forbidden), scratching on the door, wants out, won't go out, if I put him out he tries to take the door down to get back in.

To make it worse, Greg's sick. He pretty much slept from 6:30pm until... well, he was up long enough call in sick right before I left this morning, but I haven't heard from him since. Naturally, Casper chose this night to decide to harass Greg on his side of the bed for a change. He NEVER does that, he always comes to my side. So at times when I would normally ignore him in the hopes that he would go away, I ended up getting up and fighting the temptation to strangle him so he wouldn't wake Greg. At 4:30am I decided the bad weather was done and threw him outside. Weather radio off.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Bursting With Pride

A while back I mentioned my efforts to corrupt my godson, Edwin, and how I taught him about hats. Well, his little brother is a little quicker to catch on. I didn't even get a chance to teach him about hats, he figured it out on his own. I couldn't be more proud. I just want to jump in the car, drive to South Carolina, and hug him. Then hide him in my suitcase and bring him home with me.

And for the record, Lauren said that he made a point to empty all the crumpled up paper from the garbage can before plopping it onto his head and putting on a show for them. When he was done, he put all the paper back in the garbage can. She also made fun of me because I got so excited in my last email that I got the two boys confused. Seriously, they're clones anyway, but when it comes to stuff like this I just can't help getting all jumbled up in joy. Kids need hats.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Increasing My Repertoire

As those who have actually spent a good bit of time around me know (and cringe to think about), I only have two jokes in my humor repertoire. I've heard a ton of good jokes, but I can't ever remember them right. The two jokes I know are corny and as old as dirt:

What do you call cheese that doesn't belong to you?

Nacho cheese

Did you hear about the two satellites that got married?

The wedding was boring, but the reception was great!

Yeah, ok, that's it. And I'm pretty sure if Jen heard me say "NACHO CHEESE!" one more time I'd have been black and blue. However, today Boss #2 came in and offered up an addition to my comedy catalog:

So a piece of string walks into a bar, sits down and orders a drink. When the waiter brings it he noticed the string was starting to unravel. He asked the string, "Are you ok?" and the string replied, "I'm a frayed knot..."

Get it? I'm afraid not? OH sigh. It's never good when I have to explain it afterwards. Now I know there was another one about a boy mushroom and a girl mushroom, but for the life of me I can't seem to remember it today. OOOOH! I remember!

Why did the girl mushroom date the boy mushroom?

Because he was a fungi! (I'm not explaining that one, just say it out loud.)

Heh. Now I have four! I'll never remember the last two. I think my brain only has room for two, and it's stuck on the nacho cheese.

Highlight Reel

HOW did I miss this??? (Go to the Video Zone to catch the footage.) Granted, we don't have cable so we wouldn't have been able to watch it if we'd been at home, but we were at the in-law's house for the game last night. We could have watched it there, and I can't help but think that it would have been considerably more entertaining that the Fox pre-game show! I'm wondering if there's a playoff system and what I need to do to get Casper involved...

We did have a great time last night. Some of Greg's cousins' were there and the food was fantastic (apple dumplings, yum). Two of the ten or so people in attendance chose to cheer for the losing side, and the rest of us had much fun at their expense. As with most people in this area, none of the teams that I have any interest in made it this year, so I chose the lesser of evils. Honestly, I'm just sick of hearing about Tom Brady and wanted to see somebody smack him around and get a little mud on his pretty boy face. Mission accomplished. Greg was a little concerned about the fact that the four men hosting the pre-game spent a good ten minutes sitting around discussing how pretty Brady is. Personally, I don't see it.

I will give the Giants major style points for the win. I enjoyed watching the game more than I normally would, mostly because I was in awe of the Giants' defense and offensive line. Seriously, the offensive line gave Eli enough time to have a cappucchino while deciding where to throw. I'm not sure Eli was truly MVP, though. I know that's borderline blasphemy around here, but the reality is that nobody should have been able to beat the Patriots with 17 points. The defense made a huge opportunity for the win, Eli and the offense capitalized on it. When it's all said and done, it really was a spectacular effort by a team, not just a couple of key players, that made the difference. There's a lesson to be learned in that, folks. Those are the games I enjoy watching. And Brady looking so sad was icing.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Bonus Points

I haven't really been online all weekend, so this is late, but worth mentioning.

Friday ended with a monster headache that had been building all week. I came home a bit early and immediately curled up in a ball on the couch with my eyes squeezed shut and stayed that way for the next 3 hours. Meanwhile, Greg had taken Friday off from work and had spent the entire day home alone. Anybody wanna guess what I came home to Friday, after my long, painful, rather difficult day?

If you guessed a clean kitchen, clean laundry and (by the time I came out of my coma that evening) dinner ready, you would be correct. I am officially awarding my husband bonus points. He rocks.

Friday, February 1, 2008


Ok, I've done enough whining today, I can at least share some positive aspect of life.

I love free stuff. This is not a surprise to anybody that knows anything about me. I request free samples online all the time. I really love stuff like shampoo and lotions. I'll pack them when I'm traveling for a couple of days so I don't have to pack a big bottle, and a lot of times I leave them in the guest bathroom in case we have visitors that forget to bring something. I also like to get free samples of new food items, like breakfast bars and cereal. The little serving is just perfect for snack-size. I probably get a free something in the mail once a week or so.

On the other hand, there are online instant-win sweepstakes. Oh man. With free samples you know you're getting something for your effort, but it's usually a really small quantity. With the sweepstakes, you may not win anything, but if you do, you could score some serious loot. If there's not a lot of serious effort involved, I'll go back and enter a good sweepstakes each day that it's open, if it's allowed. I almost never win anything, but there's always the hope. Then out of nowhere...

Look what comes in the mail yesterday! Complete with basket and all wrapped up in cellophane! I remember winning this one back during the holidays but had forgotten about it, thinking it wouldn't be much stuff. Oh no. Those are full sized boxes of plastic wrap, garbage bags (the good ones), the new steamer bags, reusable plastic lunch bowls, a clear cookbook holder AND a really cool Food Network cookbook. Finally, my hard work of re-entering my junk email address day after day pays off!


While all the cool kids are out having a fun blogger lunch at Sal & Mookies today, I'm sitting at my desk eating a rather wilty, pre-made (probably 2 days ago), barely-a-chef-salad in a box and the last 6 Ritz crackers from the pack I found in my desk while printing 500 copies of a full color double sided cardstock handout on my slow as syrup inkjet printer. Don't ask why we didn't send it to printing. That would be ENTIRELY too efficient! I'm trying to get as much as possible done before 1:00, when I have to hike over to my old office to have pictures made for Go Red for Women day. We also had pictures made earlier for Taste of UMC. Seriously, why do they have to schedule all of this on the first of the month??? I haven't even started on my Continuing Education paperwork that needs to go in the mail today!

And I just got an email from the PD that missed orientation this morning. The email read:


That was it. He'd just looked at his calendar for the first time in 2 days.

At What Point...

At what point do you give up when you're the only person who cares if things get done?

For those who don't know, I have 5 supervisors. The first two are office related, the last three are education program related. We have two different, but related, fellowship programs and each has a Director, one of them has an Assistant Director.

I'm supposed to have a 6th boss on the way, along with a 3rd fellowship program, but that hasn't actually happened yet since potential Boss #6 hasn't hasn't worked on the program application since I finished my part back in November.

We have a short orientation for the residents that rotate on our service on the first of each month at 7:30am. It's time we use to go over the things required by our accrediting organization, like the curriculum, expectations and monthly lecture and conference schedule. This morning, for the THIRD month in a row, our general PD (also known as Boss #3) didn't show up for orientation.

This would be the same Boss #3 who I called earlier in the week with a major problem that I discovered pertaining to funding. His response was, "You know, I really don't care." He covered himself after that and told me he didn't know anything and to call Boss #4 (the other PD) who didn't know and emailed my former Boss #3, who doesn't work here anymore and who I miss terribly at this point. When I mentioned the problem to Boss #5 (Assistant PD to #4) he pretty much laughed and said that was our problem, his program was fully funded.

There are things we are required to do to maintain our accreditation. Things like an annual fellow retreat, monthly and semi-annual evaluations, graduate surveys, documentation of three dozen different things, and about 17 pages of other similar items. These are things I can't really do on my own, they require attention from Bosses 3-5. So far, we're behind or completely negligent in many of these areas. I can't even get them to discuss a retreat, the June semi-annuals got done in November (January's have been started yet, of course), I've been waiting since December for updated surveys, and documentation I've sent over to be filled out each week keeps magically disappearing from the conference room.

Did I mention we are supposed go through our 5 year accreditation review THIS FALL?

If you haven't noticed, I've had a rough week. I'm getting tired of fighting battles that nobody else cares to win. Now excuse me, I have to go work on selecting candidates to interview for our program for 2009. We only have 306 applicants so far, and I'm sure Boss #3 is just dying to go through them.