24 February 2009

Three Years!

It's my blogiversary today! Kind of crept up on me, truth be told, but it's neat to think that I've been doing this for three years now and have been able to meet so many wonderful people because of it. Like knitnzu, who sent a package yesterday for the kitties.


It was really sent with Cougar in mind, but Tolo had to be the first to shove his head in, much to his younger brother's chagrin.


Of course, Cougar being the larger of the two managed to shove his way in pretty quickly.


To say he was pleased with his present would be an understatement. In fact, it's already been disemboweled loved to pieces.


He wasn't the only one who was pleased, since there were two mousies in the box.


Their excitement was so infectious, that Tuck ran over and started playing with one of his toys, too.


Crockpot Curry

I decided to make a curry for dinner yesterday and though that it might work well to do it in the crockpot, especially since curries do particularly well when they're given plenty of time for the flavors to meld. We'd gotten a head of cauliflower especially to make a curry, and David thought it might be a good idea to use a big golden beet I got in it, since he's not that fond of beets but likes curries. He also suggested using seitan in it as a protein. It turned out quite tasty, especially served over basmati rice.


It was also super easy. I chopped up the cauliflower, a large onion, and the peeled beet, put in about three tablespoons of curry paste, a couple tablespoons of cashew butter, a can of coconut milk, and a big (20 oz.?) can of diced tomatoes, then set the crockpot on high and let it simmer for about 8 hours. I think I stirred it twice. It doesn't look like much liquid at first, but it cooks down very nicely without any additional water added. Try it!

Thanks to a tip from VUBOQ, I've also been saving up vegetable scraps for the past few weeks and last night put them in a pot with water and cooked them down into yummy broth.


These simmered for about 4 or 5 hours before I strained out the scraps, then added salt and simmered it for another few hours to make a nice, rich bouillion. I'm not sure what it'll get used in, but I'm sure it'll be tasty.

21 February 2009

Don't You Just Love...

...a snow-bordered, wintry stream?


Except it's not a stream.

A water main broke this morning behind the L.L. Bean warehouse next door to the clinic. My tech discovered a raging river when she walked a dog outside at about 5:30. We called the non-emergency dispatch, fire crews were sent to survey the damage, and now the water utility has a crew working on the problem. This is our clinic parking lot, though:


I hope only sure-footed people wearing crampons (If ever there were a word screaming for redefinition....) come in today.

20 February 2009

What I Need, Apparently

I think I've done this one before (though it's not coming up on a search), but Sean just did it, and it made me think maybe I should do it again to see if my needs have changed. You type in your name on Google, followed by the word "needs" and see what comes up. It appears that:

1. Mel needs a vacation. (Leaving for India in 12 days!)
2. Mel needs to lighten up.
3. Mel needs a home.
4. Mel needs to trade his Lexus in on a magic carpet. (Actually, I was passed on my way to work today by a Lexus SUV with dealer plates and noticed the sticker in the window. The gas mileage is only 14mpg city/18mpg hwy! Sweet FSM, how can anyone justify that?!)
5. Mel needs a laptop computer. (I only have three at the moment.)
6. Mel needs a big, wet, sloppy kiss.
7. Mel needs to focus on [him]self and heal.
8. Mel needs liability insurance.
9. Mel needs massage treatment for ice dance test. (How's about I get the massage and skip the ice dance test, whatever that is?)
10. Mel needs less passion for the spirit. (I didn't know that was possible.)

Catch Up

I did say I had a few pics, right? Let's start with one from VD. I actually had the day off, and we had a very nice, low-key day. No roses or cards with pink and red hearts, but we did pay a visit to our local chocolatier and each picked out an assortment of their handmade yumminess, according to our individual tastes.


The box on the left is David's and tended much more towards the conventional, or at least as much in that direction as Cacao ever goes. His big stepping-out-of-the-comfort-zone pick is the white one in the upper right corner, which had a gorgonzola-white chocolate ganache filling. He also got one of their extremely popular fleur de sel caramels, as did I. My selections, on the other hand, trended much more towards the spicy. I started out with the one wrapped in green foil, which is filled with an habanero-lime ganache, and finished off with the "Mayan", which is filled with a citrus-chili pepper ganache and has had a square of 24k gold leaf on top. Yum!

After that it was lunch at the local bakery, followed by a visit to the produce market next door, where we got salad fixin's, baby taters for roasting, and artichokes, which I steamed up and served with a cheese sauce for dinner, which we ate while watching a movie. As I said, low-key, and about as perfect as the day should be.

Work Pics

For the most part, work is what it is lately. The other night, though, we had this handsome fellow come in:


You can't tell from the photo, but this kitty weighed in at over 22 pounds! And he wasn't even fat! He's a Maine Coon, and a real one. Most people around these parts will call any long-haired cat a coon cat, but the purebred ones are generally really big like this.

This guy had a couple of issues. He came to see me because he had a urethral obstruction and couldn't pee. Common enough problem in male cats, but he'd been previously diagnosed with problems and I know his regular clinic would have counseled the owner properly on avoiding recurrence, meaning there were likely some compliance issues. Complicating matters a bit was this little problem:


This lip lesion is what's known as an eosinophilic granuloma, or rodent ulcer, because of its tendency to deform the upper lip at the philtrum (the cleft at center front) and expose the incisors. It's peculiar to cats and appears to be a type of allergy manifestation. The suspicion with this guy is that his diet was likely to blame, which meant that he probably should go on standard prescription-type diets for the urinary problem. Of course, these lesions tend to be steroid-responsive, and there are hypoallergenic diet options available that would also be appropriate for the urinary issue, so I suspected there was a bit more to the story than I was getting, but his owner opted to transfer him to his regular veterinarian the following morning, meaning I never got more history on him. I'm hoping the management of his health issues improves, though, because he was a really nice cat.


There has been some going on. I have yet to cast on my sister's second glove, as I got wrapped up in a special project just for me. Two Rhinebecks ago I bought myself 2 oz. of qiviut, but I couldn't decide what to make with it and it's been sitting in my stash. And then last month Carole (whose blog appears to be down as I'm typing this, but y'all know who she is, right?) posted pics of her Dale wearing her rendition of the Three Seas Cowl. Instant inspiration!

So it took me a few false starts to sort out the right combination of needle size and pattern repeats for this particular yarn, which is a little thicker than the yarn the pattern calls for, but I found it and have been knitting away on it - a little here and a little there.


I weighed the remaining yarn last night and calculated that I should get it to about 11", which is one inch less than the pattern recommends but will be, I expect, just fine to keep my neck nice and toasty. Exquisitely and expensively so, even.

19 February 2009

New CD

In case you missed it, Ted's nephew, Chris Donnelly, recently released his first solo album. Given Ted's incredible ear for music, I figured it'd run in the family. Besides, it's also been nominated for a Juno Award (kind of like the Grammys, except in Canadia). I still went over to the website and listened to some mp3 clips before I ordered it, though.

I ordered mine from the folks at Archambault, which is usually where I go to find québecois albums I want, since they're often a bit hard to find other places. It arrived the other day, but I popped it in the CD player for the first time today when I got home from work. And now I'm going to let it serenade me to sleep. Absolutely lovely.

18 February 2009

The Pied Piper

Apologies in advance for a somewhat disjointed post. I actually have pictures, including some knitting, but they're still in my camera rather than uploaded, and I'm feeling too lazy tonight to upload them. I worked the last two nights in a row, then slept hard, but not quite enough, when I got home this morning. Then Annie posted brownie pics, which really bummed me out, because we were out of cocoa. Or so I thought.

When I was making dinner tonight (garbanzo chili = nom!), I actually found my cocoa tucked away at the back of the cupboard. Hooray! So I quickly whipped up a batch from scratch using the Joy of Cooking recipe, which turned out slightly undercooked (due to having to guesstimate adjustments for our edge-only brownie pan) but incredibly gooey and delicious.

For our viewing pleasure this evening, we watched a couple episodes from Season Two of Wonder Woman. The first episode of the evening was Knockout, which had guest stars Ted Shackelford, who would later become famous as Gary Ewing on Knots Landing, and beauty-queen-turned-actress-turned-sportscaster Jayne Kennedy, with a forward-thinking, but very poorly fleshed out story about terrorist sleeper cells.

The next episode, The Pied Piper, guest starred the Gorton's Fisherman, Eve Plumb(!), and Martin Mull, doing what is likely the worst fake flute playing ever in a role that probably comes back to haunt him in his nightmares. And because I'm all about the sharing, I went looking online and found the entire episode on dailymotion.com. So without further ado, I give you The Pied Piper:

I bet Diana Prince totally danced around in her underwear to that album.

11 February 2009

Another Random Internet Find

I was doing a Google search for something very, very different - manual hair clippers for use in India, if you must know - and inexplicably got a link to this video on boob jobs breast augmentation from a plastic surgeon's office in Bangalore.

I'm not even going to get into the whole women-getting-themselves-carved-up-as-objects-for-male-consumption thing. Twisty does a much better job at that than I. What struck me was that the background music they chose was Abba - specifically, the song "I Have a Dream". Okay, you say dream, I say nightmare, but fair enough.

Except that the song ran out before the end of the video and it apparently flipped over automatically to the next track, which was "Fernando". Which, of course, made me wonder if they were thinking up new lyrics to it.

Can you see my boobs, Fernando?
I remember long ago you said they were mosquito bites.
Full of silicone, Fernando,
I can play them just like drums while you are strumming your guitar.
You can hear them from around the block, even sitting in your car.

Come on, everyone join in!

10 February 2009

The International Minute Maid Conspiracy

Take that, Florida Orange Growers' Union!

fail owned pwned pictures
see more pwn and owned pictures

Thanks to FAIL Blog for this one. It was too good not to share.

07 February 2009

A Quickie

Life has been busy, as usual, but that's left me with not much to put together a coherent blog post. The big upcoming event is that my mom and I will be off to India in less than 4 weeks now, so the toher day I went to get my polio vaccine boostered and my flu shot. Now I'm taking the oral typhoid vaccine, which entails taking a capsule full of weakened Salmonella tyhpi bacteria every other day for a week. No problems with the first one this morning. At least not so far.

This evening I went to my first ashtanga yoga class in several years. I used to practice regularly when I lived in North Carolina, and it did wonders for my flexibility, which in turn helped with the fibromyalgia. I moved away from there 7 years ago, though, and my schedule has been so hectic that it's been hard to find the time. After a couple of yoga classes when I was in Salt Lake City, though, I realized that I really missed the practice and needed to make the time.

To that end, I sat down last night and tried to sort out a better sleep schedule. Tim had talked a while back about trying to go to a polyphasic sleep schedule, but looking at my work schedule and yoga schedules and where I'm able to fit in family time with David, plus the fact that I know I do much better if I'm getting close to 8 hours of sleep, it made more sense for me to look at a biphasic sleep pattern. Turns out, I found this well-reasoned article explaining that this sort of schedule is really the biological norm for humans.

In fact, when I studied in Spain, twenty-one years ago now (Doesn't that make me feel old!), I did just that. Stay up until late, sleep until 7AM, come home from class for lunch and siesta, then go back to class for a few hours, and it worked great. So well, in fact, that I didn't even need an alarm clock. I might have woken up late once or twice, at most, in the entire four months I was there. So I'm going to give it a go again and see if I can't make it work this time around, trying to make myself get in some sleep time during the quiet(ish) hours at work.

Of course, what usually happens is that once I drift off to sleep, it's like an invitation for cases to start showing up. Last night was no exception. Still, I managed a bit of shut eye, was able to drive home this morning instead of sleeping at the clinic, then crawled into my own bed to get several more hours, so that I was all rested up and ready for yoga. Now it just remains to be seen if theory can match reality consistently.

And with that, it's time for bed.

01 February 2009

In Case You Weren't Aware

Today is...

...and I am most definitely celebrating it.