Posted in cat lady, daily, filler, la familia, lack of common sense, life

In Case You Missed Me.

The past few months have gone by in such a blur I don’t even know where to start. Let’s get the boring stuff out of the way first.

I definitely worked too much. Between extended hours at Job One and almost every Saturday night shift at Job Two, I hardly had any time to myself from June til September. The extended hour deal at Job One is over but I’m pretty much stuck with the Saturday night thing at Job Two for the foreseeable future, should I want to continue earning that lovely second paycheck. I’ve resigned myself to it, honestly. I do give myself one weekend a month off (sometimes two, depending), but those weekends are usually crammed full of so much awesome I barely have time to breathe. I don’t nearly see my parents as much as I should, and it’s a damn shame, considering all my mom’s health issues this year. They’ve done so much for me I wish I could reciprocate and help them out too. I visit when I’m able and run errands (mostly picking up prescriptions and the like), but it still seems like so little to me.

Daughter guilt is a sonofabitch, I tell you.

Anyway, the Saturday night shifts aren’t always bad. Some nights can be rougher than others, but I don’t exactly work at a Level One Trauma Center, so there is some down time. I leave Sunday mornings, go to Wegmans and get my weekly groceries, go home and nap, and it’s all good. Mondays I might be a little tired and draggy but that’s a price I’m willing to pay for per diem rate work.

Onto more fun news:

I won a trip! Well, okay, not a trip, but I did win a free flight. Round trip, domestic flight from Jet Blue, all thanks to Birchbox. I have until July 2015 to use it. I’m thinking about San Francisco and wine country, probably mid to late spring, depending on the blackout dates and cost. If California doesn’t work out I might just do a few days in New Orleans instead, but no worries, mom, I won’t be trolling for beads.

I became a drag queen fan girl. It all started with this year’s season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. I’d watched the show in the past, but always forgot when it aired so I missed the past couple of seasons. My friend Sara mentioned that this season would be featuring a queen who was called “The Don Rickles of Drag” and I should check her out. I can safely say it wasn’t even ten minutes into the first episode and I was in love with Miss Bianca Del Rio. So glamorous (obviously), so hilarious, and so super sweet in person.

Because, yes, I’ve met her. Twice!

My queen.

That photo was taken after her appearance at Lehigh Valley Pride Fest in August and is probably one of the best photos taken of me in my lifetime. It’s a shame the quality is so poor.

I also met another RuPaul season six alum, Miss Congeniality herself, Ben DeLaCreme.

Me and the fabulous Ben DeLaCreme!

An absolute treasure. Also, hello, there’s my bad side.

I have plans with Sara to see Bianca again later this month in New York, for the first show of her Rolodex of Hate stand up tour. We might have VIP meet and greet passes for that one, I’ll never tell.

I embraced the fact that I need physical activity in my life. Ever since my surgery in January, I knew it was coming. The day I’d have to suck it up and start exercising. I joined the gym all the way back in March but after one or two trips where I felt awkward and out of place I sort of avoided going. My weight was still coming off at a good rate so I talked myself out of not going back. After a few more months, however, it became increasingly obvious that something more was going to have to be done on my part. I started slowly, just walking at my local park a couple times a week. However, in August and September a few times a week turned into a few times a month and I actually saw a one or two pound gain the week of my birthday. Damn it, Cake. Damn it all to hell.

So with a renewed purpose I started walking more and more. Not just at the park, but around the neighborhood too. And when the temperatures started dropping in October I finally dragged my ass back to the gym that I’ve been paying ten bucks a month for. It’s not so bad anymore. I go two or three times a week, hit the treadmill, the bike, or the elliptical, work on my legs or arms, and I’m out in an hour. I can deal with that. Oh, and as of October I’ve lost 85 pounds.

I can definitely deal with that. I’ll talk more about my experiences and struggles post-surgery another time. This late summer/early fall recap has gone on long enough. But not before I tell you the biggest news of all!

I’ve become a mama again. Let me introduce you to the Winchester Brothers, aka Sam and Dean.

They have legs, I swear.

Yes, I decided my house had been too quiet for too long and jumped back into pet ownership. As much as I wanted a dog in my life, however, my schedule just would not allow it, so I went with a more low-maintenance option. I get all the snuggles, and I don’t have to worry about getting home at a certain time. Plus…

Snuggle time.

I mean…

COME ON, WITH THE CUTE.

So, there you have it. I think I kept the bitching the a minimum, right? Maybe next time.

Posted in daily, la familia, lack of common sense, NaBloPoMo2012

Checking In, and Also That NaBloPoMo Thing.

Yes, I have survived the wrath of Frankenstorm Sandy. I was without power for about 36 hours and without TV/Internet for another 36, but I made it. The house is still standing, the basement stayed dry, and I learned that I am NOT cut out for the pioneer lifestyle. Thankfully my parents still had power and I was able to stay at their place for a night so I didn’t freeze my nose off here.

I never realized how cold a house gets when the power’s off.

Every November I make a feeble attempt at NaBloPoMo, and this year shall be no different. We’ll see if I make it through, or if, like the last two years, I get uninterested/too busy/too tired/too lazy to post every day. I would have started yesterday, but the whole no internet thing kind of interfered with that and I had spent the day cleaning out and restocking refrigerator and freezer, so I had no time to sit at Starbucks in front of my netbook with my pumpkin spice latte staring off into space and pondering the meaning of life.

Or whatever it is those hipster types do. Something to do with cats and cheeseburgers, or so I’ve heard.

Text “RED CROSS” to 90999 to give $10 for Hurricane Sandy relief. You can give more here. Every little bit helps. 

Posted in daily, food porn, lack of common sense, recipe

Marathon Manicotti

Tonight something possessed me to make a pan of stuffed manicotti. Don’t ask me why, let’s just roll with it.

I didn’t write down everything I was doing as I did it, so please bear with me on the directions/proportions. Also it’s after ten at night, I ate dinner less than an hour ago, and I am tired.

Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Manicotti

Ingredients:
1 package Manicotti noodles
1 lb Hot or Sweet Italian Sausage
1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 lb ricotta cheese
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 28 oz can tomato puree
1 large onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
6 cloves garlic, diced fine
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
5-6 leaves basil, chopped
dried oregano
dried thyme
fresh ground nutmeg
salt
pepper
olive oil

Start the sauce first: Saute the onion, celery, and carrot over medium high heat in olive oil until softened. Season with salt and pepper. Add four of the diced cloves of garlic and saute a few minutes more. Add crushed tomatoes and tomato puree, stir, and bring to a simmer. Add oregano and thyme, and more salt and pepper to taste. Turn down heat and let sauce simmer, continuing to taste and adjust spices to your liking.

IMG_0077 by you.

You can totally skip this step and use jarred sauce, by the way. It would save you at least a half hour.

IMG_0078 by you.

Maybe I should have done that.

ANYWAY.

Heat another pan over medium-high heat. Remove sausage from casing (if necessary) and add to the pan. Crumble sausage and cook through. Drain thawed spinach in a sieve or clean kitchen towel thoroughly and add to the sausage. Add in the remaining diced garlic and some grated nutmeg if desired. Saute for two more minutes, and remove from pan. Allow to cool slightly, then stir in ricotta cheese and set aside.

IMG_0079 by you.

IMG_0080 by you.

Set a pan of water to boil for the manicotti. Add a good pinch of salt to the water and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, and drizzle with a little oil to keep noodles from sticking to each other. Allow to cool slightly before handling.

Spray a 13 x 9 x 2 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray, and layer in half the sauce. Spoon the sausage and spinach mixture into a large zip top baggie and snip off one corner. Squeeze some of the mixture into the opening of the manicotti noodle at each end, taking care to not over fill.

Note: I did not take a picture of this step because I only have two hands, so, you know, visualize, people.

IMG_0081 by you.

IMG_0082 by you.

Lay noodle in sauce & repeat until all filling is used. Top with shredded mozzarella, remaining sauce, and grated parmesan. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes. Smack yourself in the head for attempting to make this on a weeknight and serve.

IMG_0083 by you.
Mess on a plate = ‘maniGOT’! (As my Italian peeps call it)

Notes:

My sauce was a little chunky, so if you’re so inclined, you could run an immersion blender through it or something to smooth it out — especially if you’re serving kids, so they don’t see the veggies.

Please don’t mind the dishes drying in the background on the last photo. I kind of liked the wonky angle and was too lazy to crop them out.

Posted in daily, la familia, lack of common sense, life

A Few Requests

If you’re in the middle of the aisle in the grocery store on your cell phone because apparently you cannot select the correct brand of tomato sauce without the sage advice of the person at the other end, do not act surprised when I sigh loudly, say ‘Excuse me’ and try to go around you.

If you’re waiting for the elevator and I’m exiting the same elevator, please know that correct elevator etiquette dictates that you wait for me to exit the elevator before you barrel your way on to it.

If you’re coming to my house to visit, anticipate being molested by an overeager Springer Spaniel. Unless you’re under the age of 12. In that case, don’t mess with the dog.

If we’re playing Wii tennis, don’t act scandalized when, in the middle of the game, I should happen to call the smug little computerized tennis player a f*cking c*nt. She had it coming.

If we go out drinking and you should happen to order a beverage which I consider to be a ‘bitch drink’, which includes but is not limited to: White Zinfandel, vodka cranberry, any mixed drink with Diet Coke, a frozen margarita, or a Fuzzy Navel, please prepare yourself to be ridiculed accordingly.

If you’re going to call my cell phone to yell at me for whatever reason, please have the courtesy to wait until after work so you don’t put my entire day in the shitter, MOM.

Posted in adventures in stupidity, daily, lack of common sense, shit that amuses me

If It’s A Girl? Jennifer, Of Course.

My brother from another mother closest work friend Wilson just told me this week that his wife is expecting their second child. I reacted in the typical girl fashion; that is to say I squealed, clapped my hands, jumped up and down, and tackle/hugged him until he said, “Okay, okay, shh.”

I tend to get excited at good news. Ask my BFF J, who gave me the same news as Wilson did earlier this week and I almost dropped the phone. (Yep, I’m going to be ‘Aunt Jenn’ again, I’m so thrilled for J & E. I’m also not drinking the water, because. Dude. So many babies!)

Anyway. With impending baby news comes impending ‘What are we going to name the baby’ speculation, and Wilson wasted no time combing websites looking for names for his (possibly) baby boy. I rallied for Lucius. As in Malfoy. Wilson’s wife J shot it down hard. Sad Panda.

They’re looking for a name that goes with their chosen middle name (a family name), Justice, which just made this the most awesome game ever. I’ve taken to inter-office emailing him when inspiration strikes. Here are just a few of my favorites.

To:Wilson
From: JC
Subj: I’ve Got It.

Knight.

Knight Ryder Wilson.

You’re welcome.

To:JC
From:Wilson
Subj:Re:I’ve Got It.

No.

Damn.

To:Wilson
From:JC
Subj:YES.

Stark.

Stark Justice Wilson.

Dude. You are FUCKING WELCOME.

To:JC
From:Wilson
Subj:Re:YES

No.


Sonofa…

To:Wilson
From:JC
Subj:Seriously.

Steel.

Steel Justice Wilson.

AM BABY-NAMING GENIUS. NEED TO WRITE BOOK ON NAMING BABIES.

Didn’t get a reply to this one, actually.

Big mistake, Wilson. Huge.

Now I start to get desperate.

To:Wilson
From:JC
(No subject)

Tracker.

Trapper?

TRIPPER. AS IN JACK.

You know, Three’s Company?

COME ON.

*Crickets*

The hell? THIS IS BABY-NAMING GOLD. YOU ARE MISSING OUT, MR. WILSON.

The Hail Mary:

To:Wilson
From:JC
(no Subject)

Plaxico?

T. Rex?

SPIDERMAN

Nothing.

I’m entirely underappreciated.

Wilson told me later that so far he and J are liking the name Logan.

“Like Wolverine, snikt snikt?” I said, hopefully, making Wolverine hands (like jazz hands! Only with pantomiming Adamantium claws!)

“As in Wolverine, snikt snikt.”

“I suppose that’s fine.”

SQUEE!

Posted in adventures in stupidity, daily, lack of common sense

I Fail at Driving.

I went out last night (no, really) to celebrate a co-worker’s husband’s 30th birthday at…wait for it…a BAR. I KNOW, RIGHT? Me actually being social, it’s a miracle. Or so some of the locals I follow on Twitter tell me. (Seriously kids, would a weekend ‘Tweet-up’ kill you guys? I get tired during the week.)

Anyway, the bar where the party was being held is located in downtown Easton, which if you’ve never been there is a mish mash of one-way streets and traffic circles and on-street parking. I’ve been down there quite a few times so I at first I wasn’t concerned so much with finding a place to park, but navigating the traffic circle and surrounding area at night proved to be a fucking nightmare a tad challenging.

I pull up the street to the flashing red light to enter the cirlce, where flashing red lights mean…go, apparently. I wait for oncoming traffic to pass, then pull out into the circle, and of course am promptly met with a solid red light, which means stop. There’s no one around me, so I edge to the right lane as a quick glance around the circle has determined there’s no available parking directly on the circle (of COURSE it’s not that easy). I pull down one of the side streets and the second block down has empty spots, so I edge over, only to see that the whole block is a bus stop, and the people standing there were indeed waiting for the bus. I got nervous that folks standing there would think I was slowing down and pulling over to offer someone a ride or purchase illicit substances, so I quickly pull back into traffic and continue down the street. Nothing on the next block, or the one after that. And now we’re four or five blocks away from the circle and the bar and screw that noise because I bought new shoes for the occasion and while they’re not totally uncomfortable I don’t relish walking extended distances in them. I hang a U-ey in a gas station parking lot and head back towards the circle.

Solid red light. I take the time to scan the immediate area for any openings (nothing) and orient myself as to the location of myself and my intended destination, and steel myself for another trip around the circle andheywhatthefuckOMGI’msorryJESUSCHRISTI’MDRIVINGHERE! That went well. Back down another side street, to no avail. I turn right, then right again to head back and HOLY SHIT I’M GOING THE WRONG WAY DOWN A ONE-WAY STREET! ABORT ABORT ABORT! I quickly pull into an alleyway that leads into some creepy-looking private underground parking but probably costs 10 grand a year to park there, just barely am able to turn around in the alley, turn out onto the street the correct way, and head back to the circle yet again. Still cannot avoid pulling out in front of someone. Still no available parking. I try another side street, and nothing. No almost incidents, but no parking either. Lather, rinse, repeat, and I’m back down another side street, which looks an awful lot like one I’ve already been down but HOLY CRAP THERE’S A SPOT! And it’s only a block from the circle! TURN AROUND, QUICK! Which I do. ON A ONE-WAY STREET. THE WRONG WAY.

I pull into the parking spot, which is the easiest part of the drive for me because back when I was learning to drive parallel parking was the one thing my father made me do over and over again even though anyone who took their driver’s test at the DMV in Mt. Pocono, PA knows they made you do a three-point turn instead, so when I took the test and they made me do a three-point turn I failed because I hadn’t practiced even though I was taking the test in my grandma’s tiny red Ford Festiva. Thanks, Dad. *eyeroll* Anyway, I throw the car in park and get out, approximately fifteen minutes after I started looking for a spot, and a good ten minutes after I passed up the spot that was four blocks away. The spot that, had I taken, would have ensured an earlier arrival at the party, much less swearing and anxiety, and much less opportunity for traffic violations. If you think I’ve ‘learned my lesson’ or something you’d be wrong. I’ll probably do the same damn thing next time.

Posted in daily, lack of common sense, who needs a psychiatrist?

You can almost smell the crazy.

I was headed to the movies tonight with my friend Cheryl and missed my exit, which happens from time to time, especially when you’re me and you’re driving on Rte. 22 near the 33 interchange and the traffic just seems to lump together in the right hand lane and NO ONE FUCKING MOVES and they’re doing it just to spite me so I say Screw it and drive to the next exit. It took about the same amount of time to get to the theater that it would had I taken my original exit, but I still freaked out about it because I was worried about being late.

And then I realized I have this thing about being late to the movies. I hate it. I hate having to rush through buying a ticket and my popcorn and Sour Patch Kids. I hate walking into a theater when it’s dark and you can’t see. I hate missing a trailer. I hate having to pick a seat when the theater’s more than half full. I can feel people’s eyes on me, judging me for being late, or for making them squish their legs in so I can get by. Because I totally do that. If I’m seated in a darkened theater watching previews and munching on my popcorn and you have the audacity to walk in and disturb my preview-watching serenity? I will glare and judge and mock you silently. That is how I roll.

Anyway, I got to the theater, found a good parking spot (hallelujah!), Cheryl had Fandango’ed our tickets so we had no wait, there was hardly any line at the concessions, and our theater was the first one in the door. We did miss one trailer, but the sound wasn’t working during that one so it TOTALLY DOES NOT COUNT.

By the way, Julie and Julia? Two thumbs up. Meryl’s my girl.