Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mama real tired and it has come to this:

I'm wearing a pair of black and fuschia Nike flip flops (HATE flip flops, but there it is) with a dress to work. On a Wednesday. 

I'm wearing a dress. It's a cute dress and would work with flipflops, but this is sort of pushing the limit. I cannot give a single intercourse about it, but somewhere in my flamboyant, play-dressup-daily soul, I have outraged myself.  I'm sure I can quiet that outrage with the thought of comfort during a 100+ degree day.  Or not.

Blogger told me I misspelled fuschia.  Well, you're WRONG, Blogger. Nyah.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


These are uber-darlng dog fetch toys.  They are not meant for chewing, but the ideer is the pup has the ball in their mouth and, well, you get the point.  I can see the moustache on Praline.

Monday, July 29, 2013

It's a jungle in there!

Loving everything I'm studying in Microbiology. It's endlessly fascinating, but I'm worn plumb out.  Glad I've only got two more weeks of this.  Made an 87 on my Lab mid-term (YAY!) and 3 points I missed where out of sheer inattentiveness on my part (BOO!), but overall, it is an encouraging upward trend.   Test today went rather well, I think. I expect I passed it.  Fingers crossed, anyway.

Just finished a huge chapter on Protozoans.  Here's a protozoan pseudopodding its slimy way across the field of view.  Amazing what entire wee little funky universes these things are in miniature.  Awe-inspiring.

On second viewing, I'm wondering about the little varmint in the upper right hand corner with the spinny propeller thingie. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013


Normally, a person feels a little rested and refreshed after a weekend.  I've been studying like a fiend all weekend.  We're pretty much doing at least 4 (thick) chapters a week in Microbiology, and tests are coming about once a week.  I have a test in the morning.  Fingers crossed I do better on this one than I did on the first a week ago.  Wednesday was the lab mid-term, and I feel quite confident about my knowledge on that one.  Still anxious, though.  I'm glad I've only got two more weekends like this.  Plumb tuckered out.

The real pity of this situation is that the course is so fascinating and energizing that it would have been great to really delve into this subject over the space of a regular semester rather than in a condensed summer course.

My lab table of 5 has four very strong personalities.  Much ball-hogging and all that. I stay low-key and pretty much keep my mouth shut.  One guy is a one-upper and talks obsessively about how superior his cell phone is.  (yawn)  Another seems a very nice man, but he's type A/OCD and has to adjust everything the person before him touched-- microscope perfectly in focus, but he has to mess with it.  Water running at the perfect rate from the tap, but he has to re-do it, because he wasn't the one to turn it on.  Third lady is a know-it-all and thinks she should be running it all. Mr. One-upper gives Mr. Type A copious amounts of crap for his cell phone. I'm tempted to tell him I use two strings and a can for long distance communications-- but again: keeping my mouth zipped.   Fourth lady is very quiet, pleasant and intelligent.  I'm careful not to let Mr. One-upper bully me into procedural errors, because he's screwed up everything he's touched, so far.  Hmm-- I wonder why nothing grew on our streak-plate, mr. I've gotta stick this hot needle into the sample culture without letting it cool

Gosh. I'm tired and venting.  Almost everyone in my class is going into an RN program here or there.  Keeping my mouth shut seems a wise course: you never know when you're going to have to work with someone later.  Still, I wish I'd picked a different table.

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: company pillow!

One of the best things about company coming through town is having a freshly primed, fresh pillow. It's aces for nap time!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Quote of the day:

AEpilot_jim: the bad thing about eating Greek is one hour later you--

Himself: want to invade Persia?

AEj: well, yeah. 

I am in despair. I never cry, but right now, I'm crying.

The Lincoln Memorial was vandalized overnight, splattered with green paint. 

It crystalized for me.  I kept thinking the shot across the bow was the 9/11 attacks, but I think it was actually The Patriot Act.  I think those people who wanted to really hurt us who fueled paranoia tipped a domino that caused the breakdown of the molecular structure and now we are trying to swim up an avalanche.  It's falling apart. The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.  Ugly.  Ugly.

Americans are under ridiculous degrees of scrutiny for merely being Americans.  Just everyday people, living their lives, going about their business, trying to keep the electricity on and having their bad coffee and waving to the neighbors.  Wow.  They're all up to something.  I was thinking how it has come to this and a song popped into my head.  Not sure if it fits the context, because I'm not really thinking clearly at the moment.  Again: I am in despair.  This is not America.

I'm crying because something has been lost here.

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming

Thursday, July 25, 2013

I collected my chariot today.

LouLou is back on the streets and raising hail.

Or, back on the streets, anyway.  Actually, she's in my gravel driveway straddling a piece of cardboard so I can see if she leaky-leaky overnight.  Think of it as a car diaper.

Anyway, the new engine has a considerable amount more power.  There's an odd noise, and at my lunch break I took it back by the garage and the owner drove it around and told me he thinks they and un-squeak that bit - thinks it's related to the brakes.  It's nice to have my wheels and my independence again.  If I live to be old enough to become unable to drive, that's going to be a hard bite to swallow for me.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

LouLou rides again

Car should be finished today. She is running. 

Turns out the radiator went bad and that's why she burned up. I'm not thrilled about paying for a new radiator, but I am relieved this didn't happen out of my sheer negligence. It just made me feel crappy to think I might've prevented it. 

I should be able to pick her up at lunchtime tomorry.  No word yet on whether the garage gives an award for the trashiest car interior. 

Intro by The Xx

I'm really digging The Xx, and I think as intros go, this is one of the best:

Saturday, July 20, 2013

I really can't tell you what I'm going through at this very moment,

but it's some grapes-of-wrath type shit. 

I hope my nose isn't broken. I haven't cried yet, though. 


Perhaps Himself said it best when he summed the day up thusly:

"That was just all-around...  crappy."

Yes. I feel like I've been shot at and missed and shit at and hit. 

But I am home and snuggling with puppies and the world is set right once more. Thank you for the concern, dear friends!

Happy late birthday to my lovely Papa

Yesterday was Dad's birthday, and both my siblings came to my folks' house. I got to meet my great-nephew for the first time, and he is all lovely baby-softness as one would expect. There was much talk and laughter, and I think Dad enjoyed his day.  I can tell it is gratifying for both my folks to see how wonderfully well all their children get on together. 

Great-nephew ate watermelon in the bathtub, then demanded that the tub be filled with water. Peals of laughter and squeals issued forth as he had his first full-sized tub bath. Cuteness meters pegged. 

Oh, and I ate corn off the cob effectively for the first time in my life. Used to, (pre-surgery) cob-nomming events resulted in a happy-trail of un- or barely-molested corn kernels down the length of the vegetable. Now I can get actual corn wedged in between my teeth like a normal person. Yay!

Earlier in the day, went to a lovely Japanese market in Plano with my lovely niece, where we found her some calligraphy supplies and a set of chopsticks with a case. She is a manga fan, and we picked up a few foods that she'd read about in those comics. Had a generally lovely time and my orthodontist told me I only have to wear my retainers around the click for 4 more months. The bit will be only at night for a year, and then 3 or 4 nights a week for the rest of my life ( or as long as I still care about my teeth being lined up for a proper bite).

Home to meh puppehs tomorrow. Lots of studying for test #1 in Micro Monday v

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The furnacles are glued to mommy.

Spectacular thunderstorm has unsettled the pups. Chuy is pinning my shoulder down, Mochi is maximizing body contact by draping across my rib cage, and Praline thinks all will be well if she can just sit on my head. Sweet babies.   These storms don't happen often enough for this to be annoying. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Coolest Dad. EVER.


The car issue is looking to have a much better outcome than I thought possible.  Dad found a bargain on a used engine with less than 5000 miles on it.  Clean as a baby's butt. Well, cleaner.  It's in incredible condition - has been sitting in a warehouse in Dallas for some time, and it's dusty, but it's slick as a whistle inside and has the original factory oil filter on.   Dad's driving it up today and the nice wrecker man from Friday night is bringing LouLou to a shop at Nearby Midling Burgh about 9AM. I may be able to pick her up on Monday.  Huzzah!  So, to recap: less than 72 hours after my car went kaput (and about a day after my dad drove out to my place and confirmed it was kaput), my dad had a new engine sitting in the back of his truck and ready for delivery to the folks who will replace it.  Riding in with the cavalry comes to mind, except my dad is (and always has been) the cavalry all on his own.

I had been crossing my fingers that LouLou would make it all the way through school for me, and then I could save up dosh for a new car in 2016 once I can legally poke people with sharp things for money.  If this new engine works out well, I may be able to drive LouLou much longer than I'd dared to hope. This actually eases a bit of anxiety I've had in recent times.  Maybe that's why I try to cram so much into every day, lately. I feel like I've got to work so hard to keep my mud in a ball. And I really felt I'd let myself down (and let my folks down) by possibly being to blame for its demise.  This bothers me immensely.

While I'd prefer not to go through this at all, it looks to have a very good ending. Thanks to my brilliant Pop for making it all work out.  He is such a great person.  Really, both my parents are.  I suppose(and I hope) that most people have folks who would do anything in the world to bail out their kids in a moment of need, but I really think my parents are incredibly rare in that way.  I can say without question that if there is any merit to me as a person, I owe it directly to them.  I mused to a sibling recently that I wouldn't trade our folks for any wealth or possession on earth. I really think we lucked out and got our inheritance up front by having such amazing folks. 

Thanks for helping me out, Dad, and Mom, too.  Y'all are the best and I love you very much. 

amazing Amaretto Cherry recipe

By popular demand, Here is the marvelous recipe I used for canning my cherries.  BTW, I miscalculated the amaretto and put double in the jar than was called-for, and I regret it nary a whit. 

Oh, now that I'm looking at these, I realize I kind of hybridized a group of recipes.

They are:

I took 7 cups of cherries, I made double the recommended simple syrup recipe and I did a cold back. I did a fair wodge of lemon hide in the jar, and I'm going to be putting more of that it, because it's good for nibbling, believe it or not.  I didn't use the vanilla beans at all, but I can imagine they would be an enhancement. 
I cold-packed the cherries into hot, sterile jars. Poured one or two ladles of hot syrup into the jar, then dumped in a couple ounces of amaretto, then filled the jar with syrup to the 1/2" mark. Ran a chop-stick around inside the jars to release air bubbles, cleaned the rims, of course, then sealed the jars and processed in a boiling water bath for about 10 or 15 minutes-- I forget.

Also, I used Rainier cherries.  I haven't tasted the amaretto Bings yet, but I'll give a full report.  Planning to do a new batch on Wednesday night.

I'm actually thinking of doing an amaretto cherry smash version, whith squished-up cherries floating in amaretto syrup. Will be good dumped on ice cream.

Also, when I did the second batch with rum, which I hot-packed, I made double the called-for volume of simple syrup so I'd have extra.  Now I have 3 extra jars of cherry rum syrup for drinks or flavoring in glazes or whatever.  See how clever I am? :)

Anyway, if any of you try these recipes, I'll expect a full report. In fact. If you do, send me a photo of your canned cherries and I'll add them to this post.  I'm just thinking wistfully of how wonderful it will be to crack into some of these babies at Christmas time, yeah?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Nothing's permanent. Everything's on loan here.

I'm a little heartsick about it, but my car is toast. LouLou the Babyshoe has served me well for eight years and 165,000 or so miles. Still, I'd hoped to eke out the rest of school in that sassy little chariot. 

I don't know how or why, but the engine overheated. I glanced down at the temp gauge and the needle, horrifically, was firmly on the big red H.  I pulled over immediately and there was a bit of a squeak like a belt slipping for a second, but it was running and came to a gentle stop. I figured it was a fluke. I raised the bonnet and a wee bit of steam came out, but barely noticeable. 


I hit something in the road recently but didn't see what it was, figure maybe it was a rock.  Don't know if I damaged a water line or the water pump went out, or if I just let it run completely out of water. The only given is that it overheated and dropped a valve and it took a bite out of this spark plug. 

It didn't seem all that dramatic when I pulled over. I've been diligent about oil changes. I thought this was a blip, maybe something harmless that unhooked or something. Turns out that little puff if steam was my noble mare giving her dying breath. 

I know it's just a car, and there's a lot of them about, and they are making more, but that one was mine and there were none like it.  I feel silly for it, but I feel sad about it. 

I also feel a great deal of anguish about the possibility that this happened as a result of my own negligence, and at the time of my adult life I'm least in the position to replace that important commodity. 

The LouLou is dead. Long live the whatever-is-next means of conveyance. But I'll miss LouLou. She was a good old gal. :(

Bonus pup post: kissy kissy

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: Mochi of a morning

Sweet furgirl. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013


Two words: "toe" and "curling"

These Amaretto Rainier cherries are sublime. Going to make more this week while Rainiers are still available. Absolute best canned cherries I've ever tasted. Accidentally over-doing the amaretto didn't hurt, either. Ice cream pictured is Homemade in the Shade from Bluebell. Yum. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

If you wish to have further service with a company...

...starting a phone conversation with their rep by saying "I'm getting ready to sue your company" is likely to have the opposite effect. 

...with regard to arming Syrian rebels:

Where are those folks who were so morally outraged by the whole Iran-Contra thing?

everyone in my micro is pre-nursing major

One of my current classmates sat right next to me in A&P II, but it's a little funny that I didn't know she was pre-nursing.  She's young and obviously quite bright.  Her lab table was full when I entered the room and I sat at the next table before I realized I recognized her.  Before the teacher came in, her table and mine were engaging in open discussion of what they'd heard about requirements for different programs.  One of the girls said that the GPA requirement for the dental hygiene class was a 2.5.  A stunned silence seemed to sweep the group. 

Then I quipped " we've all got a good back-up, right?"  Much laughter.

File under academic snobbery

Actually, one of my most clearly brilliant classmates in A&P I and II wanted to be a dental hygienist.  I ain't knocking it.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

In which I bite my tongue...

Twice at work recently, a colleague has made a production of coming to my desk to show me some tedious additional thing that's really "neat" that I "can do" in our computer system that adds unnecessary layers of buggery to what is already a challenge(nigh impossible) to complete in a 40 hour work week.  I'm rather proud of myself for resisting the urge to say "I don't really care" in both instances.  Instead, I smiled sweetly and turned back to my mountainous stack of tasks.


Monday, July 08, 2013

Nerd alert: went to Microbiology class early.

Two days early. 

Yes, there I was with a bow in my hair and my nice shiny shoes that match my satchel, my polyester stripey top with matching pants from Sears, and it was 11 minutes until class and I wondered why it was so easy to park and why the classroom wasn't open yet yada yada yada and why I was the only one waiting to get in. This is at strident odds with the me of 1-12 grades. 

So, yeah: nerd. It's what I've become. 

Oh--wait!!! I'm a faux nerd: a true nerd would have come in on the right date, right?

At least I'm not late. 

Adapt, react and overcook.

Had to snap a piccy of this in a parking lot yesterday. It was 100 degrees here, and this Jeep driver came up with a clever solution to hot signal knobs: pot handle insulator thingies. Very good idea, innit?

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: new collar for the fur toob

Mochi got a new collar today, which is long overdue. She is such a little scrapper, though, that she makes a fresh collar look filthy in mere days. Hopefully this glitter vinyl model will be more Mochi-sturdy. 

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Wild Puppies™ Epic Theme Song

I cleverly crafted such a magnificent theme song for the puppies that it's almost Swiftian in its rapier-like subtlety.  Accompanied on uke, this tune is engineered to whip unsuspecting puppies into a mad, foam-flecked frenzy.  Once so hotly stoked, said puppies will be my minions, agents of chaos, travel agents and disseminators of dander in three flavors.  Here are the lyrics:


Wild Puppies!
Wild Puppies!
Wild Puppies Gone Wild!

Wild Puppies!
Wild Puppies!
Wild Puppies Gone Wild!

(rinse, lather, repeat once more with moar feeling)

Sitting here today, on the sofa, strumming madly and singing each verse with greater intensity than the previous, all three of them crawled up beside me, curled up, and proceeded not to frenzy.  I may need to re-think this. 

Wild Puppies™ courtesy of PhlegmTone records

wise-arse crack of the day:

"Why do they call it canning when it's actually jarring?"


Wednesday, July 03, 2013

A fit of resolute industry tinged with a wash of sadness.

On my porch is a piece of teddy bear cactus skeleton that I bought at a wonderful shop called Brand New Dead Things in Yarnell, Arizona, where 19 young firefighters perished this week. 

These firefighters were from Prescott, where my jewelry used to be sold in a lovely gallery. 

It may seem incredibly peripheral and oblique, but it feels like a connection, and their deaths sadden me tremendously. I'll work on, as I never feel I've done enough, but my day is darkened by the knowledge of their deaths.