Cold Day In July

But first, old business:
Someone named Matt at emailed me with a BOMB ASS design for my back, so he got to pick one prize and he went with the necklace, for his wife, because he's awesome like that, and do you want to see what he came up with? Too bad. Sneak peeks are all you get today.


And then I spent more time on Randomizer tonight than Janis Joplin spent on heroin, and I came up with two for jewelry entries and one for tattoo gift certificate entires. I deleted all the multiple entries, because tsk tsk, and in the end it spit these names back at me, which you can click to make bigger if you must.

Beyond 14thTattoo Factory

And then I did it again, because someone was winning a $50 gc to Tattoo Factory, and this is what it gave me.


So, Janet, Matt and Island Mummy, email Lu at Below 14th and let her know what you'd like and Schmutzie, you've got $50 to play with at Tattoo Factory, and Lu and Amy from My Ladybug Picnic, you each have $25 to blow. Email Paul at Tattoo Factory to set up your appointments; he'll be expecting you. For everyone else, we all still get 20% off tattoos and piercings, and a shitload of other fun stuff. I'll be there for what looks like, um, forever, so I'll probably see you. And I may need vicodin. Also, my mommy.

And now, new business:

I really like to fish, and I always have. There's something about the mixture of me, sunshine, a fine line, total silence and all the time in the world that makes me truly, perfectly happy. I could do nothing but fish all day long, and I could catch absolutely nothing, and I'd live happily ever after. I don't need the best equipment, or the biggest boat, I just need a stick and some string and a little jar of powerbait and I'm good to go. Because nothing works better than powerbait, nothing.

I've always wanted to try fly fishing, but there's something about it that strikes me as overly-romantic, and though I've had one solid offer in my life to go learn how to do it with someone, that someone failed in every way to come through on that offer and I really don't want to do it myself, so I've given up on that idea. I've also wanted to try ice-fishing, maybe just once, but good lord it's so complicated and time-consuming and, well, cold. I hate being left out in the cold, especially by my own doing. So I don't.

I did, once, wander out onto a frozen lake with an auger in my hand just to see what a little tap on the ice would do. I knelt on a sheet of ice that I wasn't entirely sure would hold my own weight and I looked down through the ice to the waters below. I kept seeing this fish darting past me, under and back around and under again, almost like it was daring me to catch it. I watched that fish for a long time before I realized I was just in way over my head and that I needed some help if I was going to do it right.

And on my way home, someone stopped and offered to help me. Without me asking or anything, just like it was fate that we met. And I haven't taken that person up on the offer just yet, but I've been thinking about it. A lot.

The longer I wait, the more clearly I can see exactly how I'm going to crack that ice open and get my rod in there and catch that son-of-a-bitch. I think I know how to catch him, I just need to try. I want to try. I'm ready to try. And so, I'm going to try. 

It's something new, something out of the comfort zone I've created for myself with my little hobby I've developed over the entire course of my life. The way I like to fish, it's easy. It's brainless. It's as comforting as my evening tea and as safe as my favorite blanket, the one my grandmother left to me when she died, the one that I can hide away from the world in when I have to. I've come to rely on my trips to the lake, all by myself, away from the things of man, and I'm starting to let the ease of what I know I can do so effortlessly rob me of the chance to do something a little bigger, a little harder and a little more satisfying in the end. And it's not like I'm getting any younger or anything. My knees don't bend like they used to and my fingers get all stiff in the cold and if I don't do this now, I don't know if I ever will.

And so, I'm going to do it now. I'm going to run away for the month of July, because really...if I'm going to hack away at a bunch of old, frozen water, July sounds like the most agreeable time to attempt it. I'm going to run away and I'm going to take a whack at that ice. I'm not taking my eye off that fucking fish under that sheet of ice for an entire month, and with a little help and a lot of encouragement, I'm either going to come back with dinner or frostbite.

But at least I'll know. At least I will have tried.

Until August, my friends; until August.

So I'm Sayin' You Have A Chance

My husband hates tattoos.

Correction: My husband loathes tattoos.

So naturally, one day I left what was at the time our 1of1 with his godmother and scampered off to the tattoo parlor up the street from me, and walked out an hour later with a couple o' fish in the middle of my back. Because I'm a thoughtful and considerate wife.

And it only goes to say that a few years later, when we were officially done having kids because two was plenty for anyone, I'd leave a little early on my way to go see my kids in their Christmas play, at church, and stop at the other tattoo shop up the street and get a big ass arm band with my whole family tree on it. Because it's not like God's going to forgive me at this point anyway.

And just for the record, when you do shit like that, God smites thee and he smites thee hard. By fucking up your whole family tree tattoo with a shiny little new branch two weeks later. Which, ironically enough, turned out to be pretty fucking awesome, so suck on that, God.

But I still can't find anyone who'll add her or her godfather to it. Bygones.

And then, having been glared at and mumbled about under my husband's breath for a few years, I wised up and took the kids out to "run errands" one day and that is when they got the distinct pleasure of passing out when they saw the needle the lady pulled out to stick a hoop through my nose. But at least it wasn't a tattoo.

Turns out, he hates nose-rings even more than tattoos. Who'da thunk it?

A few weeks ago he gave me an extended sigh and a demonstrative eye roll when he asked, "You're getting another fucking tattoo in Chicago, aren't you?" And I told him I wasn't. And I'm not getting a tattoo at BlogHer; I'm getting three. So if you were ever thinking of asking me out, I'd wager that by the first week of August he'll have kicked me to the curb, and your window may just open.

Or he'll still love me just the way I am, and we'll live happily, and doodily, ever after.

Either way, since a whole mess of us have been talking about getting tattoos in Chicago, I made a few phone calls and I sent a few emails and I managed to pull together a little sumpin' sumpin' for those of us who like to tempt fate and there's a little something for the rest of you who would nevereverever or who aren't going to make it to BlogHer in July.

And due to the contract that comes with my ads, you've got to follow this link to my dumb review blog for the juicy details, which involve cheap booze and a whole mess of free stuff....

Creamed - A Public Service Announement

Hi, this is Chris again.  It's "Chris Talkin." (I'm the only American I know who watches Corner Gas).

Anyways, I just received this beauty of an email from Mr. Lady, who's without computer for a little while:

"It's my harddrive. Which is quite dead. Now would be an excellent time to cream me on my blog. If you're into that sort of thing."

Innuendos aside -- oh that's going to be tough -- I thought I would go ahead give my geeky public service message about backing things up on your computer.

It is not if your computer crashes, it's when your computer crashes.  And you should be prepared for that event so it's not catastrophic but merely an annoyance while you catch up on DVR'd shows (Lost?  Antitrust?  Oh how I like Rachel Leigh Cook as a computer geek.)

Here goes...

FIRST:  Sign up for an online backup service.  It's way cheaper than your txt message plan.   They work one of two ways:  either you check off the folders you want to backup, or it creates a drive (like C:\ or F:\) where you can save your files.  And the rest is magic.  Your files will be safely and securely transferred to online storage where you can easily retrieve them from another computer or get them back after yours is rebuilt.  It's so easy your mom can do it.

I know people who use the following services and have been happy with them:

Make sure whichever service you choose automatically encrypts (protects) your files in case somebody evil gains access to them (all three services listed above do).

Speaking of evil, if you hate Rush Limbaugh then don't choose because they advertise on his show.  (Personally I kinda like El Rushbo, a fact which totally gets me laid at Tea Parties, weddings, and anywhere in Lubbock, TX)

Seriously though, this online backup stuff is super cheap and only takes a few mouse clicks (or clit tickles if you have a Dell or IBM laptop) to set up and it's so easy my 16 month old niece can do it.  Maybe not, but she can totally unlock my iPhone and scroll through pictures in the photo album.

[Mr. Lady should pay close attention to this item because I don't think she had a backup.  Scorch!]

SECOND:  All those cd's and pieces of paper that come with your computer?  Keep them.  Stuff them under the couch, in a drawer, or with your spouse's oil change records for as long as you have the computer.  If you're getting a used computer then make sure you get those disks from the previous owner.  If you no longer have the computer then you are safe to throw them away.  It's a mindless step, but it can save a bunch of time or money when you have to reinstall Windows or OS X.

THIRD:  Mac OS X and Windows Vista have pretty nice "time machine" or "restore" systems.  These basically take a snapshot of critical files which can be reapplied/reverted if the system files are corrupted.   I highly recommend you take a snapshot periodically because it there's a change it might save some trouble.

LAST:  If you have a computer for your kids, it will get toasted on a regular basis.  Save yourself some trouble and learn about Live CD's.  They are basically full computer systems on a CD -- no installation required.  Simply pop in the cd and turn her on.  The kids won't be able to break anything, and if something stops working then a simple reboot gets you back to a clean slate.  I like Knoppix because it's totally free and works well.  Edubuntu is for younger children and also looks interesting.

This concludes my public service message.  Happy porn surfing!

You Can't Have Everything...

Where would you put it?

I started a little recipe contest a few weeks ago, and a contest for free flower delivery a few days ago, and today is the day to announce the winners.

First, the recipe contest.  Wowzas, there were a lot of entries. Note to self: Don't start a diet right after you start a recipe contest.  Or do, if you are into torture.  I used that randomizer thing to pick 3 entries and came up with these, and then I made them.  Truth be told, I made lots of others, too, but we JUDGED these:

The meatloaf?  I honestly like the flavor of mine better, but here's the thing:  Mine takes hours. This one took about 5 minutes to prep, 30 to bake, and when I asked my kids over dinner whether they like that one or mine better, they said, "Dude, mom, totally this one."  That kicks ass.

The Burrito Pie?  Couldn't have been a better fit.  Did I ever tell you I can't make casserole?  I have no clue how to make one, no recipes for one, and nothing would fulfill my white picket fence suburban dream like the ability to bust out a nice casserole.  Also, a drug habit.  Bygones.  So I made it, and I ate it even though it has tortillas in it and therefore totally a diet cheat.  And I loved every single bite.

The danish?  Why the hell do you think I'm on a diet now, anyway?  I let 1of3 make it for our Thanksgiving dinner, we just subbed apple pie filling for the cherry since cherry anything is my short ticket to an early grave.  And then we made it again a few days later.  And again the next week.  And I dream about it, I really do.

But, I can only pick one winner, because, well, until I get a fucking job, I really can't run around buying a bunch of strangers presents.  As hard as it was to pick, I had to go with the Burrito Pie*.  I mean, look at it.

It was super easy, crazy freaking delicious, cheap ass all hell to make, and the kicker?  Every. Single. Person. in this house devoured it.  No one didn't like it, no one at all, not even the kid who looks like she's about to kill me.  And that almost never happens around here.

So, Cuz I'm the Mommy, send me your address so I can send you a gift (and maybe a hint as to what sort of kitchen thing you'd like to have), and Lisa and The Real Life Fairy Tale Princess, I have to at least mail you a mixtape or something, so send me yours, too, if you don't mind.

As to the flowers from Flora2000?  Well, you people ALL need lots and lots of flowers.  Except for Tanis; she needs to make her husband give husband lessons.  Here's how it worked: I picked one winner and I randomized one winner.  I wanted to pick Surfer Jay, because his comment made me about pee in my pants.
The most selfless thing I’ve ever done for my mother in law was to get her daughter knocked-up. I mean really knocked-right-up. Selfless indeed. After all, what mother-in-law wouldn’t want to become a grandmother?

Yes, dude, I know what you mean.  Someone did that to me, once, too.  *gigglegiggle*  I wanted to pick Kori, because god knows she could use them right now, but I had to go with Sophie at Inzaburbs.  Because, yeah, her husband is not even as smart as mine.
It’s simple. It’s me who deserves the flowers. Why?  Because (although he is, of course, perfect in every other way) my husband has never bought me flowers. Ever. He did bring me flowers once. He fished them out of the trash can at work because they “still had some life left in them”.

That's totally worse than finding half a worm in your apple.  That's just, uuuuugh.  Buy yourself something nice, honey.  Something not covered in coffee grinds and rotting broccoli.  The radomizer thing picked Hockeyman, who is a JERK who sent me a recipe for Key Lime Pie in the comments of the I'm On A Diet post.  He hates me, and he'd getting flowers.  He'd better send them to his wife.

Thanks to everyone who entered, and really, if you need a recipe for anything, take a look at that link sheet and dig through the comments.  There's some mind-numblingly good stuff in there.

In case you didn't win anything, I offer you this:

That is my daughter's room.  We spent hours the day before sorting through every Barbie shoe, every barrette, and putting 8 bazillion tiny little things in their proper drawers and cubbies.  The next morning, I woke up to that.  This.

See, I lost, too.  Badly.  Apparently, if you have everything, you can just throw it in my kid's room.

*Recipe after the jump.

This is one of those throw-together casseroles that tastes much better than a regular weekday supper should.

Burrito Pie

2 pounds ground beef or turkey (I use half of each so I don’t have to hear The Hubster bitch about it!)
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 2 oz. can black olives, sliced
1 4 oz. can diced green chili peppers
1 10 oz. can Rotel tomatoes with green chiles
1 16 oz. jar taco sauce
2 16 oz. cans refried beans
12 8-inch flour tortillas (I prefer The Hubster’s homemade ones, but White Wings brand has a pretty close replica)
9 ounces shredded Colby/Jack cheese (Um, this is totally an estimate. More is obviously better!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the ground beef for 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic, and saute for 5 more minutes. Drain any excess fat. Mix in the olives, green chile peppers, tomatoes with green chile peppers, taco sauce, and refried beans. Stir mixture thoroughly, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Spread a thin layer of the meat mixture in the bottom of a 4 quart casserole dish. Cover with a layer of tortillas followed by more meat mixture, then a layer of cheese. Repeat tortilla, meat, cheese pattern until all the tortillas are used, topping off with a layer of meat mixture and cheese. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheese is slightly brown and bubbly. Yield: 16 servings

You Don't Bring Me Flowers

67 years ago today, a baby girl was born in Zanesville, Ohio, who would change my whole life.  See, that girl would grow up to be a college student who met a football player, and they totally did it.  Three times, in fact.  And thanks to her, I have someone to talk shit about on my blog.

My husband is really great.  I'm just going to say that now and get it out of the way so he doesn't kill me when he reads this.

That motherfucker never buys me flowers.  EVER.  I mean, come on.  Three of your spawn carved their initials in the walls of my uterus, homie.  Would it kill you to throw a rose my way once in a while?

He's going to say, "Shut up, ho, I totally give you flowers."  And I'm going to follow that with a, "Whatever, hosehead."  It's not that he doesn't ever, really, I guess.  It's just that his delivery is all wrong.

Example:  Pick a Valentine's Day, any Valentine's Day.  The routine is he gets up, has some coffee, opens the fridge, says, "Oh crap, we're low on milk!  I'll be right back!", hops in the car and comes home an hour later from Safeway with the very last flower arrangement they had crammed in the back of the cooler right next to the milk, which consists of one near-frozen rose, about 8 tons of baby's breath, and some asparagus because someone bought all the bamboo stalks.  But at least he tried.

But there was this one year, and oh lord, he actually outdid himself.  He came home from work the night before my birthday with ohmygod this bouquet of flowers.  I can't even tell you the flowers.  The thing was bigger than my torso (no small feat).  There were lilies and roses and shit I ain't nevah seen before.  It was actually arranged. The vase was this ginormous round glass bowl, so you could see all the stalks.  It was To. Die. For.  I don't think I have ever loved a gift more from him.  Like, I called his MOTHER to tell her about it, that's how happy I was.  Like, I'm pretty sure I had sex with him because of it, too.  THAT GOOD.

For a few days, I was totally thrilled.  I suppose I harped on it a little too much, made too big a deal out of it, was too happy that he'd totally wasted what was obviously a buttload of money on me, because he started trying to disclaimer it, like he was hurt that I was so overly happy about one bouquet of flowers or something.  He'd start in with, "Well, I just grabbed it fr..." SHUT UP, DUDE.  Do NOT ruin this for me.  A bit later he'd say, "It's just some stupid thing I.." UH UH.  No you don't, fool.  He kept it up until one moment, when I didn't catch him in time, and what does that moron blurt out?

"It was JUST a left-over bouquet from a function at work, that's all!"

Oh, no he didn't.  He did not tell me that he grabbed something off a table at work and gave it to me as my gift, did he?  Yes, yes he did.  That was information I could have gone my WHOLE LIFE not knowing.  Talk about a buzz kill, yo.  I'm pretty sure I un-had sex with him that night.

Point is, though he totally provides for my every need, buys me awesome Christmas gifts, gave me a shiny new laptop just because, and does not throw anything at me when he has to spend his one day a week off washing the laundry I was too busy blogging to get to, he sucks at flowers.  And flowers are the key to any woman's heart, I don't care who tells you what.  Diamonds are for cutting glass, that's it.

There's more, but it's at my review blog, and I'm all about giving you the option to pass on that, so follow if you like, don't if you don't, but I actually have a little something to give away, in case you're interested.  And no nudity this time, sorry.  Or you're welcome, depending.