Posts Tagged ‘nablopomo’

A Very! Stressful! Thing! happened first thing this morning, and didn’t get resolved immediately. So, I was

[—-this close—-]

to a heart attack, for about two hours. And that, my friends? Is a very uncomfortable feeling.

Once the Very! Stressful! Thing! resolved itself with no foul and no harm aside from the aforementioned heart-attack-on-deck, things… really didn’t get much better. The morning progressed along the lines of stupid people continuing to be stupid, and phone numbers that didn’t work, and an associate that e-mailed me seventeen times (I just counted) in the course of 45 minutes (I just calculated) about five differing topics. Which was so convoluted that I resorted to TAKING NOTES just so I wouldn’t lose my place.

So 11:15 rolled around, and I’d skipped breakfast because of the Very! Stressful! Thing!, so I wandered down to the cafeteria to grab a salad and a cup of bean soup. While ladling the soup into the container, it kind of BLOOPED, and splashed my hand a bit. So, no biggie. I grabbed a napkin, wiped my hands, strolled up to the counter, paid, grabbed some utensils, walked through the cafeteria, up the stairs, down the isle, and back to my desk.

THEN looked down, and saw about fifteen eraser-sized blurts covering my frontside.

Clearly today isn’t done fucking with me yet. And it’s not even noon. (*)

At least my food is good.

On this auspicious note, I hereby declare myself the WINNER OF NABLOPOMO. I didn’t miss a single day of posting in the entire month of November. Not sure how far up on my list of life’s accomplishments that should land, but hey. I did it.

So, there’s that.

(*) Updated at 2:00: I went out to the truck to run some errands (after I finished my lunch at my desk), and the battery was dead. So, Bill has to come give me a jump after work. Then I had to walk to another building across the AcronymCo campus. I figured I’d hit one of the THREE bathrooms I knew was along the way (having just ingested 16 ounces of Tea, Earl Grey, Hot). The first bathroom I came to? Closed for construction. The second bathroom? Closed for construction. The third bathroom? Closed for CLEANING. So I had to walk all the way there, talk with a co-worker for about ten minutes, and walk all the way back, trying my best not to break out into a pee-pee dance.


When I get home? I’m going to smoke my stuff and drink ALL MY WINE.


Happy Thanksgiving to all of my U.S. readers, and happy Thursday to all of my non-U.S. readers!

I have some work to get done this morning while the house is quiet (I was too busy making pies yesterday to meet my quota), and I have a feeling I’m going to break into the pumpkin pie I made in a minute, here. I’m sure it’ll taste good, but it looks… wonky, and it’s not something I wish to grace my sister-in-law’s table. Which is FINE BY ME, because pumpkin pie for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning just sounds right.

And I’m all about doing the right thing.

Plus it’ll give me a chance to make some more of this. Which is also the right thing to do.

Home is weighing heavily on my mind today, so in light of this I will share with you another song that brings tears to my eyes. I hope you are where you wish to be, right this very second.

I’m making my first beef stew of the season. I’ve made a few tweaks since posting the original recipe on World Famous Nosh, so I thought I would let you know how I turned this:

Raw Ingredients

Raw Ingredients - sorry for the weird lighting.

Into this:

Beefy Stewey Goodness!

Beefy Stewey Goodness!

– 2 lbs stew meat, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
– 1 tbsp sugar
– 2 tbsp Worcestershire
– salt and pepper
– 1 bay leaf
– 4 cups low sodium beef broth or stock, divided
– 4 large potatoes or 6 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1 inch cubes (yukon golds seem to work the best for stew)
– 2 cups (or more or less to your taste) peeled baby carrots, cut into thirds
– 1 large sweet onion, peeled and cut into chunks (I leave the chunks large so Bill can pick ’em out)
– 2 stalks of celery, sliced thin

– 8-12 oz whole mushrooms, stemmed and sliced to your preference (I leave them thick so Bill can pick them out)
– 2 cloves, or 1 tbsp, minced garlic
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 1 tbsp Worcestershire

– 1/4 cup corn starch, mixed with 1/4 cup of water
– 2 cups frozen baby sweet peas (more or less to taste)

Put the stew meat in the crock pot, add sugar, Worcestershire, bay leaf, and salt (omit if you’re using regular broth instead of low sodium) and pepper to taste. Add one cup of the beef broth, stir to combine, and let that marinate while you’re chopping all the veggies. Peel and chop the potatoes, chop the carrots, cut up the onion, slice the celery. Add all the veggies to the crock pot, stir to combine, and cover with the remaining three cups of beef broth.

Cover and cook on LOW for 10 hours. Add additional broth if things look a little dry.

Raw ingredients in the crock pot.

Raw ingredients in the crock pot.

Fifteen minutes before the end of the cooking time, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the garlic and sautee for thirty seconds. Add the mushrooms and Worcestershire, toss to combine, and sautee until mushrooms are tender, about five minutes. Add mushrooms to the crock pot.



Combine the corn starch and water and stir until smooth. Add to the crock pot and stir to combine, this will thicken the stew. Add peas to taste (they can be thrown in in their frozen state), or keep them out of the pot and add them to individual bowls (this is what we do because Bill doesn’t like peas).

Dish it up in huge bowls, and serve with potato rolls or crusty bread. We really like these.

Bill got home yesterday, late afternoon. After I signed off of work, I got myself together and we went to Best Buy, where Bill purchased Call of Duty: Black Ops. We went to Charleston’s for dinner (have you HAD their croissants?), then stopped at the grocery store for some necessities and beverages.

The rest of the evening was spent watching TV and Tweeting in a manner whose level of sanity and amusement was directly proportional to the level of beer in my bottle.

The out of doors is calling my name – high of 75, sunny, perfect motorcycle riding weather. We take a sharp turn into colder weather tomorrow and most of next week. I’m totally making beef stew.

Happy Saturday!

Remember I mentioned a couple of weeks back that I’d be at the other AcronymCo campus for my Six Sigma training? It so happens that my ex-husband’s sister works at that campus. The weekend before the training (the 7th), while digging around in the devastation that we like to call our “storage room” (formerly Robert’s bedroom) I came across an old Bible of my ex-husband’s, that had been signed and gifted to him from his grandmother. Now, if someone had discovered something like that of mine, I’d sure hope they’d be kind enough to give it back to me. So, with that thought in mind, I e-mailed my former sister-in-law (on the 9th), told her I’d be on her campus that week, and asked if she’d like me to return the Bible.

She responded back on the 10th, and said that they had a ton of such Bibles in their possession (I guess it was a “thing” for their grandmother to give them one quite frequently), so they didn’t need it back. She did say, though, that her parents, in the course of packing up their belongings to move to a property of their own (they’d been living in a travel trailer on my FSIL’s property for quite some time, I believe), came across some of my “childhood mementos” that they wanted to return to me.

I immediately responded in the affirmative, intensely curious about what those mementos might include. After all, I thought that my ex had destroyed everything of mine that he had in his possession (for some entertaining reading on THAT saga, head here and here – remember that I was “Laura” and Bill was “Calvin” at that time). She said she’d drop the stuff off at my desk the next time she was at my campus.

Back on November 14th I posted about the dolls that Grandma used to have on her bed, and talked about how I used to hang out in her bed and play with those dolls.

Then on the 16th, just two days later, I came back to my desk after a training class and found a large envelope on my chair. Inside were the mementos FSIL returned to me – a photography project from high school, some high school essays, the materials from my driver’s ed course (with an hysterical “I’M SO BORED” note that I’d penned to a friend of mine who was in the same course), and a small stack of pictures. Included in the pictures were shots from a trip to California that I’d taken with my Grandmother back when I was around ten or twelve, a few shots of me with some childhood friends and with my cousin Laurel, and this picture:

That’s me on the left and my best friend Kim on the right, in Grandma’s bed one morning after a sleepover, with all of the dolls. There’s two more dolls in the picture than I have in my possession now – they’re either still hanging around at Grandma’s somewhere, or she gave two of them to my sister or my cousin.

Anyway, the timing of my contact with FSIL, my penning of that entry about the dolls, and the receipt of a picture that exactly described what I talked about in the entry, just floored me. I just sat there at my desk looking at that picture, saying “NO WAY!” over and over.

I’ve stated before that I wholeheartedly believe my ex-husband’s family are good people. I know they didn’t participate in or condone the destruction of my belongings, and they were very kind to return this stuff to me. With as much as these kinds of memories have come to mean to me, I’m even more grateful that my ex’s craziness stopped at him.

Prayers for Granny

Posted: November 18, 2010 in Family
Tags: , ,

Send out good thoughts to Granny Claudine today, if you will. She’s been having chest pains lately (“You know, they didn’t start until Grandpa died… I just thought it was my broken heart. Honey, you don’t ever want to ignore chest pains.”). Tests revealed she has three blocked arteries and is going in for angioplasty this afternoon.

Poor lovely lady.

Bill is up in Tuba City tonight, which means my evening will be occupied with a teleconference (boo), a workout (double boo), a frozen dinner (meh), and Grey’s Anatomy (woot!). I work from home tomorrow, to make up for having to come in for meetings last Monday. And then I segue into my vacation next week.

I am going to work out EVERY DAY. YES I AM. And stock up on Trader Joe’s salads to eat for the week. Because, you see, on Thursday I’m having PIE. AND NOTHING’S GOING TO STOP ME.

I’m working on a new project for UpTake, which involves creating “playlists” for vacation destinations. It’s a really neat, really FUN concept. Check out my first one, “One Day in Portland, Maine“.

I’ll be on vacation next week… well, from AcronymCo, anyway. I’ll be working on these playlists throughout next week, as the editors would like as many as possible completed by early December. But they’re so fun to do that it doesn’t seem like work. Wish ALL of my gainful employment worked out that way.

Thanksgiving plans worked themselves out. Bill and I will be headed to his sister Karen’s, and I will only be obligated to provide supplementary food items. We haven’t hashed out the menu details yet, but I’m going to suggest that I bring Connoisseurs Vegetable Casserole, THE Pie(tm), and this recipe for Pumpkin Cream Pie provided by the lovely and talented Pioneer Woman.

I have something REALLY REALLY cool to share but it will have to wait until I can scan some pictures. In the meantime, I will amuse you by telling you that Bill got drunk the other night and ordered one of these. When queried, he retorted, “No, it does NOT light up.”

Oh, the humanity.

On Kindness.

Posted: November 16, 2010 in Headspace
Tags: , ,

I went to the grocery store after work yesterday. I got my non-zero amount of stuff and looked for the checkout with the shortest line. Lo, there was a checkout with NO line, managed by one of my favorite checkout ladies. She’s an older lady that’s been there for years – always sweet, rosy-cheeked, smiling. As I pushed my cart toward her, I heard her laughing with the lady at the next lane, saying she’d been due a break for the last half-hour but the person who was supposed to spell her disappeared.

I paused and said, “I’ll find another lane if you need to go on break!” She assured me that she’d be happy to take me, so I started off-loading my stuff onto the conveyor. I told her it was very kind of her to take me, and she said, “You know, dear, it’s the most important thing in the world to be kind to one another.” I agreed wholeheartedly, and said, “Sometimes the small acts of kindness go so much further than we realize, when someone REALLY needs it.”

She was quiet, and I looked up. To my surprise, she had tears in her eyes. “Oh, what’s wrong?” I cried. She half-laughed and said, “Well, back when I was your age, I was really, really sick. I was alone with three small children, and I remember how my mother taught me how important it was to be kind. Even on the days that I didn’t REALLY want to be kind, or show kindness, I tried to, but it was hard. Some days, I was just so sick, and so tired, and so ALONE… well, I admit, some days I just wasn’t as kind as I should have been. I’m reminded today, just when you said that, of a person who was kind to me when I was rude to them. It was at a different job, and… well, I was kind of awful to him. Like I said, I was sick, and I was TIRED of being sick. Instead of being awful back to me, like I deserved, he was kind. At a time when I really, really needed it. He didn’t know about my life, I was as much as stranger to him as he was to me. He probably doesn’t remember it at all, wherever he is now, but I still do.”

I reached across the conveyor and gave her a firm hug, and told her that she was one of the kindest ladies I’ve ever met, and that her mother raised her well. She sniffed and laughed, and said, “I guess I just really need that break!”

Here’s the moral of the story, and your life lesson for today. When someone is rude or unkind to you, don’t assume that it’s their norm. Respond with kindness. Even if YOU don’t see the difference yourself, you’ll probably MAKE a difference to them.

Heather and I share a “Bad Anniversary” – that of the death of her mother, and the death of my grandmother. They both passed away at about the same time, in the same year, and it was one of the shared life experiences that helped us bond as friends. So, each year we commiserate with one another, usually with phone calls and “Thinking of you!” e-mails.

This year, though, she went above and beyond the call of friendship. She gave me a head’s up to expect a package in the mail, but didn’t tell me what it was. So, it was waiting for me in my mailbox when I checked it before work one morning. I sat in the idling car, and opened up the package. I saw… a domino on a chain. Puzzled, I didn’t inspect the package, but went for the card that Heather had enclosed. She mentioned that the picture of my grandmother had always been one of her favorites (this one). I had a, “Huh?” moment, then pulled the necklace out of its little package. It spun around, and I saw the picture of Grandma.

I’ve never smiled and cried all together in an instant, before. It was a unique experience. Now, every time I wear the necklace (which is most days), it completely warms my heart that I have such a beloved, thoughtful friend in Heather. She made that necklace, and I LOVE hand-made gifts. I just think they have so much more meaning than anything bought in a store. Which sucks for MY friends, because I have no crafty talent to speak of. I DO love you guys, though.

Anyway, now I can carry my Grandma’s picture around with me wherever I go, which Heather knew I would LOVE. I thanked her before, but I’ll thank her again. Heather, you are so wonderful! Thank you so much. I am truly, entirely blessed to have you in my life.

I finished up my Six Sigma green belt training today. That means my team is about halfway through the project completion and should get our certification in a few months’ time, after we’ve deployed and reached a sustainable point. After that, I need to decide if I want to pursue my black belt. I might. I haven’t decided. It IS quite a marketable skill to have, and if I want to leave AcronymCo at some point and pursue a job on the east coast, having this as a bullet on my resume wouldn’t hurt. So, we shall see.

If I did I’d get to hang out with the Stats geeks again. I love me some Stats geeks. The ones of my acquaintance are so very, very enthusiastic about their chosen bliss that it’s hard not to enjoy learning from them.


We watched the Country Music Awards last night. Lady Antebellum represented very nicely among the categories. I never really liked country music, much, but it seems to be growing on me.

Look out, it’s a tearjerker. Country music seems to have more of those kinds of videos than other genres. Like this one, which KILLED ME when I watched it the first time, and kills me again every time I see it. So, don’t watch if you don’t want to cry. I’m not kidding. I just watched it, just now, for probably the tenth time, and it got me bawling all over again. Sometimes a good cry is good, though.


Okay. Ha. On THAT cheerful note, I’m going to get a workout in before my 5:00 teleconference. Catch ya on the flip!