Monday, September 27, 2010

Mmm. Rain.

There is nothing quite like having a wet dog jump into your bed with you two minutes before your alarm goes off. Luckily it was River, and not Grim. River's version of wet is hardly damp. Her hair is SO short that it holds no water. Grim on the other hand remains soaked for hours. Anyways, that was my wake up call this morning. When she jumped up on the bed I figured she must be cold and through the blanket half way over her. She did not think this was enough so she burrowed under my legs. Two minutes later I turned the light on to find her absoultely adorably wrapped up in the bottom of the blankets.

Its cold and rainy here. I love it. I was glad to look at yesterday and see its not supposed to get hot here again, at least not in the next 10 days. By then it will be October and I will be quite annoyed if the temperature spikes again. I am excited for October. DH has a great idea for Halloween costumes, but it could be hard to pull off. We will have to be very creative. I get to put up our Halloween decorations on Friday!

This past weekend was fun. Friday night I met my cousins and a friend at the dollar theater to watch Eclipse again. I can't help liking those movies, as bad as they might be. Saturday morning DH and I headed out to the mall and did some shopping. (I know if will be hard for his Mom to believe, but DH does actually initiate shopping trips now!). In the afternoon we headed out to the OSU football game versus Eastern Michigan. We parked down by our friend T's house, which is a 45-60 minute walk south of campus, we walked up, went to the blow out of a game with T and a few other friends, and then walked all the way back downtown to O'Shaughnessey's for dinner and drinks. We ended up staying out later than intended because the company was so good.
On Sunday I got to sleep in. I don't know when the last time was that I slept in that late or even wanted to, but I certainly wanted to yesterday, and DH was kind enough to get up and walk the dogs and all of that. When I finally did role out of bed I ran some errands, then spend the rest of the day watching football. It was a pleasant day, if somewhat unproductive.

Now I am back at a week of work. There is no overtime this week, so I feel like I have all this extra time. I will get off work at 4:30pm Monday - Thursday, and then at 11am on Friday! I am sure I won't know what to do with myself!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

It's on like Donkey Kong

Ok. I have no idea where that title comes from, who first said "Its on like Donkey Kong"? I might need to research the history of that. Anyways. DH and I are racing. As for about 11pm Monday night we are racing to the end of our books. My assigned book is Les Miserables (1463 pgs). His assigned book is Pride and Prejudice (390 pgs). A handicap is necessary in this sort of race, since I devour books, but this one might be a bit large. We will see. I am currently on page 336. He is currently on page 68. I am going to see a movie with friends tonight (Yes. It is Eclipse in the dollar run theater). That will give him a big opportunity to get ahead, if he takes it. Tomorrow we are both going to the OSU football game. Sunday I imagine will substantially be spent reading on both of our parts. I imagine that if he is really dedicated he could finish by Sunday night, where as that is not really a possability for me,

My part of the task would be made slightly easier if I was finding Les Miserables captivating, but I am not. It has this way of getting really interesting and sucking you in, and then totally changing locations and characters, or going into some long description of a historical event, so as to suck all momentum and life out of you. I am not quite sure how this is DH's favorite book. I knew in advance I was not a big Victor Hugo fan, having read The Hunchback of Notre Dame (horribly depressing by the way, I prefer the Disney version where everyone comes out happy at the end instead of dying tragically and heart broken). I am not against unhappy endings, but that book takes it to the extreme a bit.

But I digress. Actually I don't digress, because this post does not have som other point I was trying to get to. I just wanted to tell you all about the race. So now I am free to ramble as I will.
So onto a little political rant I guess. Politicians simplify things a bit much. It drives me nuts. I am so sick of hearing Anti-Free Trade commercials. I am not necessarily pro-free trade, but these commercials treat it as if its an obvious answer, that of course Free Trade is taking away jobs and therefore it is evil and we should not do it. Seriously, if ANYTHING in economics or politics was that simple, it would be SO obvious what needed to be done that we would not even need two parties, But in reality things are more complicated than that. That anti-free trade person is not mentioning that without free trade you would be facing much higher prices in stores everywhere. My point is that it is complex, and should be treated as complex. I think thats the problem with democracy overall. Competition and trying to win the popular vote encourages oversimplification. An average voter does not have time to understand or sort out the complexities (I am inclined to actually say does not have the intelligence, but that may be a bit too overtly pessimistic) Ah, democracy. The worst form of government possible, but better than all the alternatives.

PS: As far as "its on like donkey kong", I cannot find the origins. It is just a general phrase going back to the original video game, propagated no doubt by the awesome rhyme. It pops up in random pieces of music and movies at least back to 1992 and perhaps before that.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Weekend Installment #3 - Lack of Cable

The third and final installment is supposed to be about the effects cancelling cable has had to this date. It certainly is an adjustment. I think it was felt most acutely by Aaron when the first commercial came on during the college football game on Sunday and he had no other game to flip to. I don't mind this so much. College football is OK, but NFL football is where my heart really lies - which means that I felt the loss of cable greatly on Monday Night when we did not have Monday Night football, which plays on ESPN now.

I watch football in so many ways. We have it on in our house almost all weekend. Some games I really watch. Some I watch while I do something else, like read or clean, or back in the good old days - do calculus homework. In high school I loved collapsing on my parents living room floor on Sunday with 6+ hrs of football ahead and a good math assignment. I know, I am a total nerd. For a long time, football and studying went together so well for me that I would be rejuvinated in my studies by the start of the football season. So, some games, I watch, some games I sort of watch, and some games I nap infront of. There is no nap like a football nap. They are wonderful. I can nap just as well infront of network football as I could infront of cable football, thats for sure!

So, besides missing out on some football, the loss of cable also has us watching more movies - we may get netflix soon. I watched Sleeping Beauty over the last two nights and it was quite enjoyable. It also has us watching a bit more network television. We watched House on Monday night. It was horrible. Seriously. What happened to that show? It was SO BORING. They did not have a case. They were not witty and funny. There was not emergencies and drama. It was all House being too sweet to Cuttie and emotional angst. Blah. I won't be following it this season. Last night I watched the premier of biggest loser (while reading Les Miserables, which is an entirely other blog post all together). The show makes me think of work SO MUCH now. (BECAUSE the majority of people applying for disability are obese). According to the show 2/3 of all American's are obese. I am not sure I see that in society, but whatever the number is it is very blatantly too high and getting higher. Its sad that two of the potential contestants collapsed during the pre-testing for the show. It is also sad that the way they set the show up, some of the people who need it the most didn't "make the cut" so to speak. I probably will marginally follow this, as I usually do, until it started to get old. I have been trying to lose a little weight and so far its going great, though I am confident that most of what I have "lost" so far has been water weight. We are making a pretty chart, when it gets far enough to be interesting, I will post it.

Other Random Thoughts : I am reading Les Miserables. I am going to Trivia tonight. I am going to the OSU game this weekend. Today is the first of fall and it was supposed to be hot. I don't know if it actually was hot because I have been inside. It looks cloudy out which is awesome. I hope it storms. I hope it pours rain and thunders and lightenings. Life is already good, and that would make it even better.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Weekend Installment #2 - Austen vs Eliot

I have been waiting until after book club this week to post about Middlemarch by George Eliot, because I did not want to "give away" too much of my thoughts on it prior to the meeting. But, now that I am reading Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, I cannot help but comment on both.

When I started reading Middlemarch, I almost immediately labelled it George Eliot "a smarter Jane Austen", which apparently is a common response. However, now that I am reading Jane Austen again I am not quite sure the description fits, or the comparison fits. At first glance, the comparison is only natural. They both are female authors (George Eliot is a pseudonym) writing about a similar time period. Books by both authors are greatly concerned with marriages, livings, dowries, fortunes, and love. George Eliot offers a detailed and rich portrayal that so clearly mimics the complexities of human behavior that it is quite disarming. In contrast, many if not most of Jane Austen's characters are caricatures rather than characters, parodying the archetypes and flaws that made a women's life in her time so insufferable. I am not a scholar, but I would hazard to guess that most of Jane Austen's books were actually making fun of the people who read them, frequently I would imagine without the readers knowledge.

And why this soliloquy? I have embarked on a Jane Austen fest. There are some authors who I just get into for periods of time in all of their varieties and exploits. The obvious examples are Stephanie Meyer/Twilight and JK Rowling/Harry Potter. I will start reading one, or see a movie from one, and all of the sudden will want to read, reread, watch, and re watch everything they have. Well, my current audio book as mentioned is Mansfield Park. That lead me to re-watch Pride and Prejudice Friday night (the Kiera Knightley version), which lead me to pick up Emma (BBC version), and Sense and Sensibility (Emma Thompson version), from the library, which I also watched over the weekend.

I am thinking that perhaps I will see if there is a BBC of Middlemarch next.

That is my musings on Jane Austen and George Eliot for the day. I think it might segway nicely into my next intended post about cancelling cable...

Weekend Installment #1: Eggplant Adventure

This weekend was very relaxing and I feel like I have a lot of things to say about it, despite its generally laid-back nature. So, here is installment one: eggplant adventure.

On Saturday morning I went to the farmer's market on my own. I do not know the last time I went alone was, there is always someone willing to meet me there, but unfortunately my normal partner's in crime were celebrating a Jewish holiday and my back-ups were all otherwise occupied. I did quite well for myself though. I recently borrowed a cookbook from the library called Simply in Season. As the title suggests, the book focuses on recipes for produce as it comes into season in the spring, summer, and fall. The recipes sound delicious, although the other notes in the book are both a bit too hippie and a bit to religious for my tastes. Of course, when I say hippie I am using the 90s version of the word (pot smiking, tree hugging, granola eating "one with the earth" types), not the 60s version (pot smoking, other drug taking, rock-festival attending types). Almost every page either included a bible quote, a story about how gardening ties you to the earth and is good for you, or both (or in the rare case, a mini-lecture on the evils of agro-business, of fast food, etc). Anyways, the recipes still are enticing, and they did inspire me to try some new types of produce. I am interested in trying Leeks and Kale, Eggplant, and a number of other things (these being the fall varieties). So, I embraced my book-inspired produce kick at the Farmers market and picked up much more than I normally do, including the first of my experiments: Eggplant.

I have had eggplant before, for sure. But, I have to admit I have never cooked it, and never had it in such a way that I was considering whether I liked it or not. I know that sounds odd, but it has been one of those things that when it came up I ate it and did not give it much thought. Sunday I cooked it up. I used a slightly altered recipe from Simply in Season called "Spicy Eggplant" that called for sliced Eggplant to be coated in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, fresh cilantro, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon, and then broiled. The main alterations I made was replacing the lemon juice with lime juice, and using a curry blend that included coriander in lew of straight coriander. Incedently. I also took the opportunity to try a bit of raw eggplant, as my cookbook said "not normally eaten raw". I don't know why its not normally eaten raw, it was quite tasty, much like summer squash or zuchini raw, only crisper (which in my opinion is a good thing). I totally can see throwing it in a salad or putting it out to dip. Anyways, I also prepared a raw-corn salad of my own design w/raw corn cut off the cobs, plenty of cilantro, sweet peppers, hot banana pepper, and tomatillos (all raw), tossed in lime juice.

The final result? A delicious meal. The eggplant smelled wonderufl cooking with all of those spices on it, and once out was tasty and paired perfectly with the raw-corn salad. It was a hippie meal if I ever saw one, but quite yummy. I did miss having a bit of meat involved, but I think that in all reality we as a society should probably eat a bit less meat and the occasional meat free, wheat free meal could do us a lot of good. I will certainly make this again and continue to experiment w/Eggplant and other new ingredients.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Insert creative post title here...

So, these blankets I have been making have proved to be very popular. I already have had two people, one in my unit who was a recipient of the gift, and one who is a friend of my supervisor, ask if I sell them. If there were any profit to be made, I would be happy to sell them, but there isn't. The material's alone for each blanket, without any labor, range from $20-30 depending on how careful you are in fabric selection. Some of the blankets I have given away are actually even more than that in materials because I could not resist a particular polarfleece or cotton print that was a bit more pricey. I don't expect people to pay more that that for a blanket like this (I would place their value at around $25?, which means my labor adds no value). I guess if people wanted solid colors, and I bought everything on sale, I might get materials down to $15, or if the cotton was clearance. The point is, there is not really profit to be made. I feel bad because I like making them and I wish I could provide them for more people, but it just doesn't make sense. I told my unit member that if she really wanted one for someone I would be happy to do the labor for free if she provided materials, but thats not an offer I am willing to make to the whole building. No etsy shop for me I guess. At least not for blankets.
There is sort of an etsy craze going on, everyone seems to have an etsy site. Etsy, for those of you who don't know, is this awesome website that allows people to sell their hand made goods or supplies for such goods. It is sort of a neverending online craft fair. You can find so many interesting things on there. I have considered the possability of opening one up for the beading I have been doing, but I am so lazy, so inefficient at handling little things like mailing and bills etc, that I am certain it would be a disaster.

In other news, my friend R has started working at BDD. She is in the same position I was a year ago, in her first week of training. She is, like I was back then, experiencing the joys of being in a training class with somewhat unorganized trainers and classmates who can't follow what is going on. No, training is not that bad, but its certainly annoying at times. Its nice eating lunches with her.

In other other news, our cable actually is gone now. On the downstairs (main) TV this had the expected effect. We now have ABC,CBS,NBC,FOX,PBS, and a handful of random channels. (RTV anyone?). The consequence upstairs was much different. The TV does not have a built in digital antenna, so we are still plugged into the cable line. The result is that we are getting the random channels that our cable company failed to block. We have about five channels, and I think they can safely be called "the channels no one would bother paying for specificlaly anyways" - Big Ten Network (great to get football games, but otherwise useless), Hallmark, versus, and nickolodean toon. I already miss Mike & Mike in the morning. Luckily that can be remedied with a radio.

Enough random thoughts for now.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I need to post more often so the unpleasant posts move more quickly down the page and can be replaced by fun things.
This past weekend was a blur of blanket making. Actually, that blur didn't start until Saturday around 10:30AM. On Friday night DH and I went out with our friend T. We walked from his apt over to the Short North to try out Lemongrass Bistro. The appetizer we had was amazing (seared tuna tar tar). The entrees were pretty good, but not worth the price. I would love to go back there for sushi sometime, but doubt I would go back for a hot meal. After dinner we walked down and got a drink at Rossi, and then walked back south to get some delicious Jeni's ice cream, then back to T's house where we shared a bottle of wine. It was a very fun night and it was great catching up with T after not having seen him for probably 2 months! Saturday morning I got up surprisingly early and felt surprisingly good considering I had drank something near a half bottle of wine. I met R & M at the farmers market. It is in full swing. I think I need to plan meals in advance this coming week if I want to take full advantage of it. After the farmers market, the sewing began. I finished my fifth blanked around 5pm, the sixth I finished around 11pm that night, and the 7th I did entirely on Sunday.
Now I am back to work and officially off probation. That means that I spend the last day and a half in training for the various new claim types we will take on now that we have established we are trustworthy. My one-year anniversary also comes with a nice pay raise and the ability to work overtime, which I am instantly embracing. I am not sure exactly how much I will work, but I will work it. I am saving up my overtime money for new front floors. DH and I are sort of on a savings kick (which we desperately needed). We also have decided to cancel cable and our land line phone. We are looking at switching our Internet to a new company that will be cheaper and more portable (something we could "take along" with the laptop for DH's work).
Overall it has been a very busy but very good few days.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Labor FREE Weekend

We spent a pleasant weekend with friends B&R who were visiting from Illinois. They got in late Friday night, which gave us a chance to clean the house thoroughly before their arrival. I tried the magic eraser (actually the off brand copy) and am absolutely amazed at the results, it got stuff out of my tub that I did not know needed to come off (that I thought was permanent stain due to prior owner's mat).

Anyways, we had a good time. R and I went to the farmers market. We all played Rock Band, ate good food, and played Frisbee/Football/Soccer in the nearby field (with and without dogs). On Sunday we treked up to Cedar Point where I enjoyed Millenium Force and other roller coasters. DH's cellphone fell victim to the Mantis. We came back to Columbus and topped the day off with a delicious and friendly dinner at Buca de Beppo, excellent. They left Monday around noon, then ended up having to come back 5 hrs later (after they had made it half way home) for a forgotten and crucial briefcase.

I have some really cheesy thoughts about theme parks and life at the moment, maybe I will post them in the next post, maybe I will get distracted and move on. Other possible upcoming posts: Review of Middlemarch, commentary on my fall reading challenge, and update about work.

Friday, September 3, 2010

And so it begins... YAY!

Football season is officially back!! While we had been somewhat enjoying the preseason NFL games, it is exciting to have college football in full swing w/the NFL soon to follow. DH and I scored some great tickets for the game last night. We are lucky enough to have lots of friends with tickets and are able to buy a few here and there at the low student prices.

The game, for those of you who either live outside Ohio, or are in Ohio and live under a rock, was OSU versus Marshall. Our tickets were on the south end zone, five rows up from the field. This is by far the closest we have ever been to the action and it offered a different perspective than I have had the opportunity to see before. When the play was not TOO far down the field, and we were behind the quarterback, I could actually see the play developing, which is something I have never been good at. I could see why the RB did or did not try to cut through a certain hole, and when a receiver magically became open in the chaos of the play.

We also were right by the band and the cheerleaders, which was cool. Those cheerleaders really work hard, I just can't imagine throwing a girl up in the air, catching her by one foot and then finding the strength to balance her and hold her up for a few minutes. Its seriously impressive.

Another part of the entertainment for the night was a very large meeting of the marching band Alumni. There were so many of them!! It was really cool. They sat in the section where the rival band usually sits (and then some, since there were so many of them). They also performed before the game and at half time. At half time they did a big show, it was really cool. The grand finale was Script Ohio... x4!! Thats right, they had enough band members there (+some) to do four Script Ohios, two on the main field and one in each endzone. Very impressive. They had a lot of the drum majors from various years, so there were batons flying everywhere. I think some of those men LIVE for this reunion. When else do they get to use their finally honed baton skills? There were also alumni cheerleaders. We were waiting for one of the 50 yr old guys to try and do a lift and throw their back out, but luckily that did not happen.

The game, by the way, was a complete blow out. We left a few minutes into the fourth quarter (as did half the crowd it seemed, based on our walk back to the car). It was a really fun night. I love night games, and I love football!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Roadhouse in Hilliard

Last night I went to the monthly Nestie Dinner. It was in Hilliard this month. We actually have a pretty good system going where the dinner rotates days of the week and around the city. For example, last month dinner was on the first Tuesday and was south of Columbus. This month is was the first Wednesday and it was West of Columbus. Next month will be the first Thursday and will be Northwest of Columbus, etc. It's a good system. Dinner was in Hilliard, right near where I normally have trivia. Luckily or unluckily Trivia was cancelled due to a political science conference. Anyways, the restaurant was called Roadhouse Grill and Wings. I managed to arrive a half hour late - not because I was busy or could not get away from work, but because I never looked at the time on the evite. I assumed 7pm. I think that for a long time we were doing 7pm as the start time and then a couple of months ago it switched to 6:30pm. The company was good, SD had her son there, who is about a year old and absolutely adorable. I ordered Mango Habenero wings w/blue cheese. The wings themselves were delicious - crunchy and perfect. I see why they have won some best wings awards. However, the sauce was sugary and I believe it was butter based, it hardly would stick to the wings at all and did not have any zing to it. The blue cheese was.... well let me go back and say the "blue cheese" was no good. I am not sure what the waitress brought me but I will eat my shorts if it actually contained any blue cheese at all. I would go so far as to say it was disgusting. The sides I tried (onion rings, mozeralla sticks), were excellent. The dessert (and our reason for going there- funnel cake), was a bit overcooked. I guess it is a restaurant of extremes.

In summary:
Wings 9/10
Sauce 3/10
Blue Cheese (0/10)
Sides 7/10
Funnel Cake 4/10

I may go back for the wings, and try a different sauce and avoid the blue cheese. Maybe they are not all so buttery?