just for fun

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

thirteen problems with the flyer left on our car window
(week #34)
in the fifteen or so minutes we were in target, our car got flyered!

1. first off, we weren't in the store long enough to get flyered

2. the flyer was for a psychic. andrew and i had the same initial thought: if you are a real psychic, shouldn't you know which cars to put the flyer on and which to avoid?

3. the flyer had no business name

4. the flyer had no address for the business

5. since i am not a psychic, i cannot take the flyers advice and "come on in today" since i don't know where to go. i can't even look it up in the phonebook

6. the flyer had poor grammar: don't chance you life's fate

7. the flyer didn't mention anything about lifting gyspy curses

8. the flyer didn't mention anything about helping me to be a better gambler

9. it claimed to be rated #1 in las vegas, but #1 what? rated by who? rated #1 bakery by the diabetics association?

10. the flyer was placed on the passenger side, which makes it really unlikely that the driver would see it. shouldn't a psychic know there was only one person in the car?

11. the flyer promised to tell us the past, present, and future. well, i think i can tell the present. that's not tricky at all.

12. there were no prices listed

13. the flyer did say it was for lauren and that's not a good psychic name. she's not even madam lauren.

i basically slept through my MRI. Apparently most people freak out a bit but somehow, i was cozy enough to snooze. i got to take off my brace and lay down, so i was the most comfy i've been in weeks. i had a pillow under my knees and headphones to block out the banging noises. i closed my eyes for a second and then all of a sudden it was over. i was truly surprised when andrew told me he had time to walk down to the 7-11 and buy a donut. but none of that really matters because i have to wait until friday before anyone reviews my test and tells me about the results.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

open enrollment

its that time of year again...the dreaded moment for filling out health insurance forms. i think i'm a reasonably intelligent person but every year, i'm half terrified of these forms. they are weird and complicated. and since we seem to change insurance carriers every year, i never have the chance to fill out the same for twice, to sort of get the hang of it. i fear that the people in my HR department are going to review my forms and think, "wow, that christen must be a real loser. why can't she fill out this simple form properly?" and i'm always afraid that i'm going to check one little box wrong and then not be able to have insurance until january 2019 or something.

and then later today i get to go have my very first MRI (paid for by the current health insurance).

Sunday, November 25, 2007

3 weeks down, 9 more to go

i have to completely ignore the fact that the first doctor said i would only be in the brace for six weeks (making me half done) rather than the current doctor who thinks twelve weeks (making me a quarter done).

for the most part, i am not in pain; that is the magic of the brace, it brings pain down a notch to just uncomfy. but i can't begin to tell you how uncomfortable i am. all the time. and based on how much i do hurt when i wake up in the morning, i assume i am uncomfortable all night long while i'm asleep. i would have to say that i'm uncomfortable about twenty three hours and thirty five minutes every day. and its somewhat disheartening because as long as i am wearing the brace (which will likely be another nine weeks) i am going to be uncomfortable.

but its like how when you haven't had something or done something in so long, when you finally do, it seems so much better than ever before. like dieters who finally splurge and eat that piece of chocolate cake. it tastes better than every other thing in the world because its been so long since they've eaten chocolate cake. so that moment when magically all the pillows are just right and when i finally get so cozy and relaxed, i am in heaven. i feel like i am more comfy than i have ever been in my entire life before. that moment is pure bliss.

"God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort." 2 Corinthians 1:3

Friday, November 23, 2007

lazy days vs shopping days

so we've spent the last two days being fairly lazy and i liked it.

other than eat, lay around, and watch tv, we really didn't do anything yesterday. i did spend quite a while online doing silly blogthing quizzes. for some strange reason (probably a stupor from the turkey), i found them quite fascinating. i did every name generator out there: what's your wrestler name, what's your biblical name, what's your pirate name, hooker name, vampire name, punk band name. and generally, just for kicks, i played my name, andrew's, and zoecat too. the very best, and strangely most accurate, was zoe's punk band name, the malcontent banana. she has a stuffed chew toy shaped like a banana which is half eaten from their epic battles up and down the apartment.

for the record, i am not a black friday shopper. i would much much much prefer to either buy items online or pay way too much on another day than to shop today. in general, i believe i married a man who agrees with that philosophy. but then he found a comic book shop that had a black friday super sale. i could have fallen over. first off, today's shopping is supposed to be about buying things for other people and i don't want anything for christmas from the comic shop. and second, wow, a comic shop having a super sale on black friday, i just can't quite wrap my head around that. 8am - 12am. lots of 10cent comics. and not only had he decided to go but he was determined to be there before the store opened. "gotta beat the crowds" (its after the fact and i still have a hard time saying that with a straight face). but when he arrived at 7:45, there were three other people already waiting. by the time the store opened, there were 8 including him. and while yeah, walmart had thousands, this shop only holds about fifteen people, so really its about the same number/ratio. and i don't know if that makes me feel better or worse, knowing that there are three comic book geeks in greater las vegas who are crazier than my husband and four who are only slightly less crazy (or live just a little farther away and hit all the lights wrong). my husband bought one hundred and fourty six tencent comics. he bought so many that he had to buy a new comic box to put them in. and at lunch, he's telling me this and just sitting there clearly filled with entirely too much glee. and the icing on the cake? he found a dime in the parking lot! he smuggly informed me that one of those comics was free!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

You Are Thanksgiving

You are a bit of a homebody who enjoys being in the company of people you love.

It doesn't take a lot to make you happy. You're enjoying life as it is. You have many blessings in your life, and you are grateful for each one.

You believe that life is about what you *do* have. You feel like you have enough of the good stuff.

What makes you celebrate: Family, friends, and the changing of the seasons.

At holiday get togethers, you do best as: The host of the party. On a holiday, you're the one most likely to: Spend so much energy preparing that it's a full time job

happy thanksgiving!

this is actually the turkey we bought (but before we saw the ad for it)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

it is time for turkey

when i was back in ky in august, i stole a magazine from my mother (sorry mom!). it was a ladies' home journal from a november long since past and i wanted to try out the "turkey to remember." just a couple weeks later, i made a whole production out of sunday evening dinner. it was a guard weekend, and i generally like to have something fabulous planned for sunday dinner. it just seems like a nice gesture. andrew spends the weekend living in a tent out in the desert, eating army food and in general having a terrible 48 hours, he should have a homecoming feast.

but, this being my first turkey, it was a bit like stuart mclean's tale of dave cooks the turkey, though not quite as catastrophic. even though i didn't purchase the bird until that morning, i did manage to get it thawed without using either the hairdryer or the electric blanket. i was, however, horrified when i pulled it out of the plastic wrap. i had not purchased a whole turkey: it had no wings or legs. i thought i bought a whole turkey. when i picked it out at the store, it looked like a whole turkey (though clearly i didn't read the label carefully enough). it was just the breast but all still on the bone, i guess so you could stuff it. i was appalled. it was a terrible looking thing with no hands and feet. but onward i pressed.

it was also on this particular occation that i learned chestnuts are not the same thing as water chestnuts. the recipe called for chestnuts and well, that's not what i bought. unfortunately, all my learning happened after i added the wrong ingredient. but i just couldn't find any actual chestnuts at the grocery (though since i shop at walmart, that really shouldn't surprise you.) in later versions of the dish, i left both kinds out, still not finding any real chestnuts to buy, and andrew said he missed the water chestnuts. so i guess it wasn't too terrible a mistake.

the original recipe was a bit much. you needed to make your own turkey stock from scratch and it seemed like there were fifty billion steps. it also served 8 and there are only 2 of us. that's a lot of leftovers. since then i've remade the recipe into something much more manageable but i think just as memorable. my version makes about 4 servings, depending on how big a bird you buy. i've also added and subtracted items, just the normal tinkering that goes on in normal people kitchens.

roast turkey with apricot-rosemary glaze and sourdough stuffing

for turkey and glaze:

1 turkey breast, boneless and thawed
1/3 cup apricot preserves
1 t cider
1 fresh rosemary sprig

for the stuffing:

about a half loaf sourdough bread cubed
1/2 package (about 2/3 cup) mushrooms, chopped
1 T olive oil or 1 T butter or a whole lot of nonstick spray, your choice
1/4 pound sliced applewood-smoked bacon, crumbled (i generally use the already cooked maple flavored bacon instead)
2 large celery ribs, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
2 potatoes, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 jar water chestnuts (or just chestnuts if you can find them, but i can't vouch for them being yummy in the dish)
1 cup dried apricots sliced
1 T chopped fresh sage
1 T chopped fresh rosemary
1 T chopped fresh thyme
2 cups turkey or chicken stock

once turkey is thawed, butterfly the breast. jeanie'o sells a great turkey breast in the freezer section. it is in a little carry bag and is marketed to be from freezer to oven. it comes with some seasonings and i usually wipe about half of them off and also pull out the pop out thing. preheat the oven to 350. i usually make this in a 9x13 pan, lightly sprayed with nonstick spray. lay the butterflied turkey flat and bake in oven while you are making the stuffing, about 30 minutes.

in a large skillet, using your choice or butter or oil etc, over medium heat saute celery, onions, potatoes, and carrots until potatoes are starting to get bitable, about 15 minutes. add mushrooms and continue cooking 2-3 minutes more until they are golden too. cook bacon in a large skillet or crumble up your already cooked bacon. in a large mixing bowl combine bread, sauted veggies, chestnuts, apricots, sage, rosemary, thyme, and 1 cup stock.

remove partially cooked turkey from oven, and very carefully stuff it with some of the stuffing. really this just means ball up some stuffing in your hands, lay it on half of the turkey, and fold the rest of the turkey back over on top. bake for about an hour and then smear glaze on top. for the glaze, melt preserves, cider, and rosemary together in a small sauce pan. bake turkey for about 30 minutes more, until juices run clear or your themometer reaches the right temp, you know the drill. if you need to cover with foil to keep the turkey from burning, do so. during the last 30 minutes cook time, finish up that stuffing. add the other cup stock and bake. i like to ball it up and cook in a muffin tin. this makes just the cutes stuffing muffins and more bits are crispy.

this can be a meal in itself since it already contains so many things but you can't go wrong with a big pile of mash potatos and gravy or a side item of roasted autumn veggies (i love butternut squash, brussel sprouts, and turnips all chopped up. sprinkle in salt and pepper, maybe some thyme or rosemary. knife in bits of butter, and toss in the oven while the stuffing is baking up). enjoy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

last chance movies

13 movies on our last chance list
(week #33)

i am suddenly more of a homebody than normal. somewhat doctor imposed. somewhat self imposed. honestly, you would think that if you broke your back, they would give you more guidelines. the only thing anyone has specifically said is #1 wear the back brace at ALL TIMES and #2 do no lift anything over 5 lbs (though the discharging nurse at the hospital misread and said 51 bs at first and in her defense, the L did look like a 1) . so does that mean everything else is ok? i mean, obviously i need more guidelines; after all i did do something stupid that resulted in injury. since i'm kind of traped inside these four walls, andrew and i have tried to be as creative as possible in making our own fun. we've read. we've played board games. we cleaned out the sweater bin. we investingated what was currently living in the hall closet and underneath the bed. and now we are down to picking through the dvd shelves.

we picked through the dvd shelves and pulled out a bunch of movies to try and sell at the used dvd store. several pulls were easily agreed upon by us both. however, some were put into the maybe pile. maybe we hadn't given the film a fair shake. maybe we wouldn't mind seeing it just once more, but didn't necessarily want to own it forever. maybe one of us had never seen the movie, and so couldn't say for sure that we didn't want it anymore. so while none of these are on my least favorite list, i hope that none of them listed below are on your favorite list. they are all just maybe sorts of movies.

1. the rook.
2. ghost world.
3. the outsiders.
4. lost in translation.
5. panic room.
6. broken flowers.
7. american beauty.
8. gothika.
9. lady killers.
10. the good girl.
11. fahrenheit 911.
12. dark water
13. a bridge to far

view other thursday thirteeners

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. " Ecclesiastes 4:10

i've felt very alone in this city all year. its been just me and andrew vs. everyone else. and then i fell. and i was alone when i fell. but it wasn't too long after that i realized just how not alone i really am. i'm simply overwhelmed by the number of people who have rushed to my aid. i've received so many cards and phone calls in the past two weeks, not to mention cakes, cookies, flowers, books, meals, and tons of other care package items. falling off the patio and breaking my back was not a near death experience for my body. but in many ways the past few months have been a near death experience for my soul. i suddenly feel alive like never before. i suddenly see how many blessings there really are in my life. i suddenly see so many people who are a part of my support system. i feel like i have a new chance to be a better me.

so that is the spiritual update. the physical update is pretty positive too. i've had a couple doctors appointments this past week and everyone continues to expect a full recovery sans surgery. for the most part my pain is under control. car rides are tough though. i felt good enough to take a walk over the weekend and i am trying to start back to work, haven't made it a full day yet, just baby steps. my clothing options are becoming interesting. there are only so many things that can go under, over, around the brace. and there is a small contigency of my coworkers who are plotting to tackle me and bedazzle me. everyone thinks the brace would be better if it had rinestones glued to it!

Monday, November 05, 2007

even the best plans can have life changing disasters

try not to freak out, but i broke my back.

so there i was saturday afternoon, locked out on the second story patio. there is a railing. i climbed over. there is a drain pipe. i climbed down. i sat on the pipe. i crawled down to hang on it. the plan was to then get to the top of the railing on the patio below. while hanging from the pipe, it was quickly determined that i could not get to the railing. it was a smidge to far and a bit in, not straight down. since i was completely committed downward, there was no other option than to jump. and it wasn't that far but was on rocks with bare feet and there were bushes, so i needed to swing and twist. probably it was the swing/twist on impact but i completely shattered a lower something or other. i have an L2 compaction fracture.

obviously since i'm blogging, i'm not doing to badly. i did no nerve damage but there is a small broken piece that could be problematic. i have many more dr visits in my future and an exciting torso brace to wear for at least six weeks. i'll likely never do yoga again, might not jog either. there are lots of other interesting stories about the crawl to knock on the neighbors, the ER trip, my roommate in the hospital, etc but they will have to wait. for right now, i'm trying to be in the best possible spirits; i didn't break a nail and the brace kind of looks like i got a boob job.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


i buy calendars really only for the pictures. and i've been known to keep a couple of pictures from earlier years calendars simply because i really enjoyed looking at them. we currently have three calendars. we have a penguin one in the extra bathroom. this is fairly mandatory since the bathroom is decorated in penguins. we have a tori amos calendar in the office. we give to rainn so they send us a calendar. and then in the bedroom we have a russian calendar. for the past several years, we've had some weird, foreign, unreadable calendar and this year it was a russian one.

the story behind the foreign calendar goes back to kentucky. my old boss there, until recently, had never taken a serious vacation. when i say serious, i mean really no work. no emails. no phone calls. no work. he always managed to spend a part of everyday doing some work. then one year, his wife booked a cruise in the mediterranean. and on the ship, he was finally just all hers. the cell phone was out of range and the email didn't connect. it was probably just as much as excuse for him and it was for us, since we were also guilty of contacting him during vacation. and every year since then, they have gone on a cruise to some exotic destination. i'm sure with all the international phones they make now and wireless networks and stuff, that he probably could work during vacation, but once you've tasted freedom, you don't give it up.

my old boss and his wife are also in the dying breed of thoughtful and generous human beings. they always buy small gifts for everyone at christmas and birthdays. they always host wedding and baby showers. they always brought back presents from trips for the entire office. and usually those presents included some funky calendar. the first year, every week on the chart had ten days across instead of seven. the second year, there was a small picture in the top left so that every month, day 1 was positioned in the tuesday block. each month all the days were in a different position from what we think of as the week. this year, the week starts with monday so that saturday and sunday are together at the end. and of course, every year, the calendar is in another language. so they have all been completely useless for determining what day it was but the pictures have been simply superb.

i also am very strict about not looking at future months pictures until it is that month. yes, i glance at the back of the calendar when choosing, you've got to have a broad idea of the whole year's pictures or you might get stuck with a dud calendar. but other than that, no cheating and looking ahead. this is a very painful rule for andrew, though i'm sure he looks ahead when i'm not looking. except that maybe he doesn't because he's always super thrilled to get to turn the page on the first of the month. and here we are at the point of this story. today, november third, i discovered that all three calendars were still on october. i'm stunned. andrew practically sets the alarm for midnight so he can turn the page and see the next picture so why are they all still on last month?? since its a guard weekend, i can't ask him until tomorrow. it also means that i alone have viewed the new pictures! i realize this isn't exactly an epic achievement, but its the little things in life that get you through.

Friday, November 02, 2007

its friday. its pay day. its nearly the weekend so its time to laugh

Thursday, November 01, 2007

happy birthday

my first tattoo is ten years old today! my how time flies...

i saw

i saw several trick or treaters, but none came to our door. i saw an abbott, but no costello. i saw an uncle sam. and i saw what i would have guessed was a punky bruster, except i'm sure that the girl has never heard of her, so the outfit must have been someone currently popular on some horrible disney show.

and in unrelated news, i saw a four hundred pound man on a moped. it was just so terrible. he was spilling over every side of the poor moped; i didn't know how it could be scooting along. briefly i vowed to only ever eat rice cakes, but that didn't last long.