Thursday, November 29, 2012

Good taste

I've mentioned before that I developed my good taste in literature by way of chewing up my mom's special edition copy of J.R.R. Tolkien's wonderful book, The Hobbit. Yet I have never actually provided photographic evidence of this atrocity I committed in my youth.

But I finally decided, it is time. I will share the ghosts of my past, and spare no detail. Here is what I did to that poor book:
 
The book

So actually I chewed on the case for the book. If that what it's called. The protective sleeve type thing that this lovely book is placed in for protection, and to make it look more important. I didn't chew on the book itself. But still. Close enough. I'm sure I got my tongue on the book. Enough for a taste.

Close up of the damage

I want to reread The Hobbit before it comes out in theaters next month, so I asked mom to let me borrow her copy of it. And I figured that since I've got it in my hands right now that I may as well share photos of the damage.

I'll probably go all crazy fan girl over the music in the movie. I'm already wanting to squeal wildly over what I hear in the trailers. Especially when the dwarfs sing. OMG. Yes, it actually merits an OMG on this blog where I avoid using the dreaded "text speak."

In the meantime I'll read the book, and lap up every word that Tolkien wrote. And don't worry, I promise I'll keep my mouth off of it this time. :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Unemployed again

My recent rant about my weight actually wasn't written because I was ticked off about what the scales said. Even though I am. What induced me to get ranting about something, anything, was the fact that I had just lost my job about an hour or so before I wrote the post.

Yes, this was the day before Thanksgiving.

Of course I had to process things before I could actually write on here about that painful phone call. And I had to figure out what to say.

What the boss said is that there were certain aspects of the job that I wasn't mastering. I knew this. And I was actually showing some improvement in those areas (or I thought I was), but I guess not enough. And my skills elsewhere didn't make up for my weaknesses.

I'd also missed a week of work due to being sick. This wasn't exactly cited as a reason, but I have to wonder.

(I would have missed more work, too. Losing six pounds in a week takes a lot out of a person's strength, apparently, and I'm still recovering.)

On the upside, I guess, I learned in this job that I'm great on the register. I'm also good at chopping up meat and veggies.

Now to find another job...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The stupid BMI

My apologies for disappearing on everyone after I'd been so good about blogging regularly! Last Tuesday I became rather sick, and although I was able to muster the energy to complain on Facebook and to my boyfriend I had none to spare for blogging.

Luckily, I'm on the mend! Mostly.

I visited the doctor yesterday for the alarming new symptom of chest pains. (Nothing to worry about, luckily.) I'm so weak that I had to use one of the wheelchairs by the front door, and I'm wondering how long it'll take me to gain my strength back.

But that's not what I really wanted to write about.

What I want to share is that I weighed in at 108 pounds during the doctor visit.

Amazingly, the doctors didn't say a single word about my new illness induced weight loss. Despite my losing padding on my rear end and now my knees (I didn't know I had padding there to lose) so that it's painful, I'm still considered a normal and healthy BMI. Just barely, but still.

Maybe the fancy BMI system is off. Because it can't be normal to get a sore backside when sitting on a regular wooden chair.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Chicken melts

Spices

Ingredients

Chicken breast
Swiss cheese
Parmesan cheese
Olive oil
Mushrooms
Onion
Cayenne pepper powder
Garlic powder
Basil

Cheese

Instructions

Dice some onion, and sauté it in olive oil with the mushrooms. Season with the garlic, basil, and cayenne pepper.

Cut the chicken, and once the onions and mushrooms are mostly sautéed add the chicken.

Cooking in pan

Once cooked, gather the food together on the pan and place the Swiss cheese over it to melt.

Add cheese

Remove from pan while keeping the cheese neatly on top. If possible.

Top off with Parmesan cheese.

And serve!

My apologies for this last photo being bad. It looks more appetizing in person, really it does! :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Update on Beka

You may remember that Beka had a nasty ear infection that resulted in an emergency trip to a pet hospital.

Good news is, she's improving! Not as quickly as I had hoped, but there is definite improvement.

Beka has still got her head tilt, but she is more enthusiastic about taking her meds (or "treats" as she thinks they are) and actually climbed out of her cage today for her meds (um, "treats"). She's also much less disoriented now.

And just because I just have to share a cute pic, here's one I took of Beka and Sabine maybe a week ago.

Beka in box, Sabine outside box.

I put Beka in a box to keep her out of trouble (that is, from trying to climb things and then falling down due to her lack of coordination) while cleaning their cage. I put Sabine in the box also, though with no real expectation of her staying in. And of course, Sabine escaped to go exploring.

Much to my surprise, Beka did manage to escape her box. At first I was irritated by this. Then I realized that it was probably a good sign for her health, and although still annoyed, my displeasure turned to pleasure. But it did mean that I had to keep switching between cleaning and stopping escape attempts.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Money saved

Apologies in advance if I manage to gross anyone out with this post.

I use cloth sanitary pads, and have since 2007. Why? Two reasons, really. One is that it's better for the environment since they don't go in landfills after one use. The other reason is money.

The cloth ones do cost much more money up front. When I did my research last winter they generally cost about $10 per pad. But that's up front. They actually save money over all.

Thinking about this I got curious about the exact savings, and I decided to do a bit of math.

I asked mom how much disposable pads cost, and it's been so long for her  that she couldn't answer immediately. (She's officially an old crone, and has been for a few years.) Mom guesses she spent about $13 or $14 a month on pads for one person, so I decided to do my math for $13.50 a month.

Spending $13.50 a month on disposal pads adds up to $810 over five years.

Whereas the reusable...I probably spent $200 on a set that were supposed to last for five years. (That was the cost for what I consider to be a decent set when I did my research again last December.) And although I've had to throw a couple out, most are still going strong. Those things are quite durable, and should last a while longer.

So that's about $600 saved since I invested in the cloth pads. So far. The savings are increasing the longer they last.

Just think of all the lattes and chocolate I can buy instead for PMS with that money!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veterans Day

For some reason it's always been awkward for me to say thank you on Veterans Day. I don't know why, it just always has been. But since dating a vet it's become more important for me to figure out how to deal with that awkwardness and say thanks.

So, all vets, thank you.

Maybe I could write a longer post, but I'll keep this one short and sweet.

Detail Of American Flag by Petr Kratochvil

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Bisexuality

I found this, and had to share.

She speaks so eloquently. And has so much energy! And is sort of hot...



I hadn't heard about Lincoln. That's interesting.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Gaming dreams?

I play Dungeons and Dragons. Tall One plays Minecraft.

I did experiment with Minecraft, and on a free trial I played it for about an hour and a half. I even got Tall One to tell me how to make things, so it wasn't 100% me puzzling out how to stay alive and not get eaten by a zombie or whatever.

Obviously, I have spent considerably more time playing D&D.

Yet guess which one I've dreamed about? Yeah, Minecraft. Go figure.

I can't remember the first dream, but in the second one I was remodeling my family's previous house Minecraft style. And whatever I alteration I made to the house was in the form of blocks. I was adding on an outdoor play area for the cats, which is something I had happy daydreams about when we lived there.

And now, because I have no idea where my Minecraft screen shots disappeared to, here is one from D&D.

D&D graveyard with jack-a-lanterns

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Defenders of Marriage

I recently found this comedian, and I've got to say that I love this song.



Nature versus legislature? Gotta love that line...

Not only is he funny, but he's an excellent singer. : )

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Homeschooling misconceptions, part 2

Yesterday I addressed a couple of misconceptions about homeschoolers. Today I'd like to address the last one I mentioned, the one that I decided needs a post all of its own.

"They never have to deal with people who don't like them."

Really. Really? Really???

I think the real criticism here is that homeschoolers never have to deal with people who give them grief, because we're too sheltered. But you know what? That assumption is just plain wrong.

I knew a girl who desperately wanted to be accepted by the "in" crowd (yes, our homeschooling organization somehow had a popular crowd that was "in"...much to my disgust) and she cried after no one showed up to a party she hosted. Well, ok, two people showed up. Me, because I liked her, and a guy who later said that he only came because he felt sorry for her. We also found out that the "in" crowd people purposely boycotted the party because she was hostess.

Yes, we can be sheltered. Ask my boyfriend, he'll tell you that I was sheltered. (And also that he's un-sheltering me.) But there's no protecting homeschool teens from people who don't like them, and if you get a big enough homeschooling community you'll run into politics, "in" crowds, and cliques. I assure you, these can be quite painful.

For another example, what happened to me. I had a friend, we'll call her "Jessica," and we weren't liked by the popular kids. Fine, she decided, she could start her own group. It would be a group that anyone could join up with. The plan was for it to become bigger than the "in" crowd, and I think to become the popular crowd.

Jessica was my best friend. Pretty much. My other best friend was someone I met at her birthday party, but Jessica was really the one in charge. She's the one we looked to when making plans.

Problem was...I didn't like many of Jessica's friends in her new group. I didn't want to spend a lot of time with them. I also didn't like some of what they did, such as playing spin-the-bottle (I was the only one to sit that game out) and cross dressing for the heck of it in a place with a high crime rate. (For the record I have no problem with cross dressing. But doing it just for the heck of it in a place with more than average crime? That seems to be asking for trouble. I chose to not participate in that adventure.) I did some things with the group such as ice skating, and I attended the first slumber party for both genders, but eventually decided that I didn't want to be part of it.

I asked Jessica if I could hang out with her, just her (and our other friend), sometimes. The answer seemed to be no.

In retrospect, I think things started to go downhill when I didn't play spin-the-bottle.

I can't tell you how painful it was for my best friend who had been rejected by the "in" crowed to eventually reject me, mainly for me not liking her crowd. There may have been a few other things going on, but that was the big one.

The really ironic thing? Jessica's crowd eventually rejected her, or found a way to run her off. I'm not entirely clear how it happened, but she eventually left the group because she no longer fit into it. And I think that hurt her as much as losing her hurt me.

...in the day after writing the above I have reconsidered whether I should go forward with publishing it. It is rather personal, and this is online for everyone to read. But it's not anything I have trouble telling anyone about, and it's nothing that anyone involved didn't already know. And my sharing it does have a purpose: to show that homeschoolers can be exposed to just as much drama as public schoolers, and that the criticism I received is irrelevant.

I didn't enter adulthood with no idea of how to deal with drama. I also had to deal with people who outright disliked me. (There was one adult telling lies around me and another teen behind our backs. Now that was fun.) I'm sure every homeschooler has had to deal with problems like these. So erase the argument  "They never have to deal with people who don't like them" from your reasons of why homeschoolers are at a disadvantage.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Homeschooling misconceptions

"I think that homeschoolers are at a disadvantage socially. They don't learn social skills." "They have their parents hanging over them constantly." "They never have to deal with people who don't like them."

Someone said these things to me even after I explained my experiences in homeschooling. All I can think of to say is that she didn't listen to me, or that she thought my experiences as a homeschooler (from late 3rd through 12th grades) counted as nothing.

I'll address these comments one at a time.

"I think that homeschoolers are at a disadvantage socially. They don't learn social skills."

Well we can have a problem with socialization. As one homeschooling parent once said, "I'm so busy taking my kids places we don't have time for schoolwork!"

Ok, that was an exaggeration. There's always time for schoolwork.

The point is that where there is a thriving homeschool community, there's no lack of socialization. As a homeschooler I was involved in choirs, Girl Scouts, I took dance lessons, I studied some fencing, I went to dances...I even went to prom. I did plenty of other things, too. And I had friends. My brother participated in different activities mostly, but he was also had a social life.

Sure lack of socializing can be a problem in places where there isn't a good homeschool community. (I've heard a few bad things about southern Oregon from former homeschoolers.) But that isn't an issue in Portland, and homeschoolers in general shouldn't be branded as socially inept.

"They have their parents hanging over them constantly."

Um, no.

Yes my mom was my Girl Scout leader for many years. And yes she sung in my choir for a year or two. But my parents were not always hanging over me.

My mom actually made a point to back off. (Since my dad became disabled and stayed home mostly, it wasn't an issue with him.) She would drop my brother and me off at dance lessons or whatever and stay away until it was time to pick us up. Then we would talk, do homework...whatever. But she gave us time away from her.

Thinking back...I realize this wasn't the case with all homeschooling families. Some (many?) parents did hover, and not all the teens complained about it. Most homeschoolers are, in my experience, closer to their parents than public school teens. But I also know my mom wasn't the only to give my brother and me some space. And we all had a chance to "practice social skills" out of our parents sight, which is what I think the criticism was really getting at.

"They never have to deal with people who don't like them."

Ok, really...this one deserves a post all of its own. Stay tuned.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Glasses

Optical Glasses by George Hodan
I desperately need new glasses. I had known this before, but I could no longer ignore the fact when I found myself completely abandoning my glasses last evening.

It's not that they don't do any good. When I tested my glasses today at work, putting them on and taking them off, I found that they clarified something I was reading from a few feet away. But I think the lower part of my bifocals are completely the wrong prescription by now, and that makes my glasses...weird. Uncomfortable. I'd rather go without, when possible.

The frustrating thing is that I did have an eye doctor appointment scheduled for about a month ago, but the doctor office canceled it about a week in advance. I was supposed to call them back...but I guess I was too irritated to do so.

Most of today has been spent without my glasses, and I don't know how much I'll use them between now and my newly scheduled appointment. I'm actually not even wearing them as I type this.

And now, totally random, but two funny things about my eyes...

Funny thing #1: Even though I do need glasses, I can see fairly ok if I tense up my eyes. Don't ask me to explain what that means, because I can't. Some people get what I mean, others don't. I can't explain it to those who don't. And don't tell me that I don't need glasses since I can do this, because tensing my eyes can lead to headaches. So it's hardly ideal.

Funny thing #2: Aren't eyes supposed to get better as one gets into adulthood, before getting worse as they age? Um, my eyes seem to be getting worse now that I'm in my 20's. I need bifocals now, tensing my eyes doesn't seem to work quite like it used to, and I need new glasses more often. Often enough that my insurance won't cover it properly, since insurance companies say I only need new glasses every two years. Which is true for most people. But not for me. Because my eyes are weird.

Ok, so my eyes changing quickly might not be indicative of them getting worse...but it's a nuisance. And it's only since they've started changing quickly that I've needed bifocals.

...and I guess this is a slightly rambling post. Sorry about that. Maybe it would be better if I broke it into two posts, but I sort of don't feel like doing that.

Anyways, I did finally make a new eye doctor appointment, and it's on my mom's birthday. Over a month from now.

I. Cannot. Wait. I will be counting down the days.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Owie

One problem you never hear about with weight loss? Losing padding on your butt so that it hurts if you sit for too long in certain chairs. Or anyways, I'd never heard about that detail.

It's also a problem to sit on the floor. I have to get a pillow if I'm sitting there for too long.

Due to health problems I lost 10% of my weight over several months earlier this year. And I seem to be losing a few more pounds now. Anyways, my boyfriend noticed it also, so I know it's not just my imagination. I'm still an acceptable BMI, but I'm in the lower portion of what's acceptable.

Yeah, I know this is really random, but my butt is hurting from sitting at my computer so I decided it may be a good blog topic.

Owie. I need a pillow for my butt here...I may also need a decent appetite.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Poor Beka

Less than two weeks ago I took Sabine to the vet for an injury to her toe. I was concerned, but not seriously afraid for her health.

But now I'm rather worried about Beka.

She started tilting her head Saturday night. I had to wait until Monday to call the vet, and took her in on Tuesday. I was told it was an ear infection, and the vet sent me home with meds for her.

Then last evening Beka's balance went really screwy, and she became disoriented. Thank gods mom thought about the Dove Lewis emergency hospital for pets, because I had never really given the place any thought.

(Also, thank gods mom paid for the visit.)

The emergency care vet who I saw was very up front about not being an expert on rats, but said that she didn't think Beka was in any immediate danger. She sent info from the visit to my regular vet, who I have another appointment with in about four hours.

And as though this weren't enough to upset me...I've got some people in the NW rat group I'm part of telling me that my vet isn't worth anything. After some consideration I have chosen to trust some local vets I've spoken with who tell me that he's good (since not only are they local, they're also vets), but I've got at least one person in the group ticked off at me for who I've been taking my rats to.

...I keep removing then adding back in the paragraph about the rat group people being displeased with me, but it's part of the whole situation so I guess I may as well share it. Also, in case any of them somehow find this blog, I do want to just provide some explanation for why I am returning to my regular vet rather than finding a new one.

Any good vibes for Beka would be appreciated. She's lost weight and acts like she's drunk.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pumpkin seeds!

Well, pumpkin and small squash seeds.

When I carved the pumpkins with my boyfriend I saved the seeds, and I also saved the seeds of the various small squash I carved. I knew I had to try cooking them. The seasonings were different, but the prep was the same.

Drying seeds

I looked up info online, and what I found said to first was the seeds and let them dry overnight. Next, I tossed them with just enough olive oil to coat them, and a couple of seasonings. Of course, I had to try different seasonings for the different seeds.

Tossing seeds
I had already preheated the oven to 250°, and the instructions said to cook for an hour but to stir up the seeds about every 15 minutes.

Small squash seeds

I used garlic powder and some sea salt for the smaller squash seeds.

Garlic powder and salt
 I think I cooked them for about 45 or 50 minutes. They didn't need the full hour recommended in the instructions I found, I guess because of their size.

Delicious!!!

These are GOOD. I still have more of the small squash, and will probably make another batch of these. It's a lot of work for a handful or two of seeds, but it seems to be worth it.

Pumpkin seeds

Come on, don't tell me you're surprised. If you've been reading my recipes before now, you know that cayenne pepper is usually my secret ingredient.

Cayenne pepper

I used a couple small pinches of pepper, and cooked for a little over an hour. They didn't look as done as the smaller seeds, but I wasn't sure if it would be a good idea to leave them in longer.

Delicious
They're good, though not as amazing as the ones I made with the garlic. I'm not sure if this is because of the pepper or because they're different seeds. More experimentation may be needed. But, they are good.

:)