Tuesday, November 30, 2010

From the time machine

Here at No Accent Yet, we do like to go on the occasional ramble through the archives, just to see what we were up to in the past.

For example, 5 years ago, we were clearly all about the umbrage taking. If you take the time to click and read, I think you'll see why. Only 1 comment, but that's because I lost all the old Blogger comments somewhere along the way. As it was, the blog was only a month or so old, so it might well be that there were never really many more than 1 or 2.

Four years ago, I was blathering about Firefox, and mentioned a Wordsmiths story. That post got 14 comments. Seriously? 14?

Apparently, 3 years ago the Wordsmiths were still going strong, and I posted a story that many folks seemed to like. This was during my 'in every story at least 1 person must die' phase (which I'm not I'm over yet), so gird yourself for it if you choose to read.

Two years ago I didn't post on the 30th, but I did write about cheese, and upcoming big events. The cheese post got 15 comments. Who knew there was such INTEREST??

And then last year I neglected to write a post on the 30th as well, but made up for it on Dec 01 by nattering on about meeting my new in-laws for the first time.

I think about what has changed in my life since I started this blog, and am amazed at what has transpired. Many changes in scenery, the end of one marriage and the beginning of a shiny new one, new jobs, new bosses, company takeovers, kids growing up, deaths in the family, and so much more. Five years doesn't seem like a long time, but when I think on everything that's happened during that time, I'm amazed.

Also amazing - some of you have been there with me for the entire time. The comments tell that tale well enough, even for those of you who have changed their identities during that time the stream of connection still flows.

So, thanks. Thanks for reading, sharing, being part of this dusty little corner of the internet, for sharing, for caring enough to comment or participate, for 'being there' out in the ether, letting me know that at some point you're hoping I do another dead person or browser-related post, because clearly you're just WAITING to comment heartily thereon.

Buncha weirdos, all y'all. I love you for it. :)

Tiff out.


(photo courtesy of Barefootpuppets.com. It's a tortoise. No really, it is! Honest!)

Monday, November 29, 2010

This is me, practicing.

Hey y’all! Have you had your fill of shopportunities yet? Has Kohl’s aggravated the living bejeebers out you with their continuous stream of advertising? Are you inundated with catalogs hawking everything from fleece blankets to beef? Is the ValPak, which is of course like money in the bank being delivered right to your door!), reaching such a thickness that it might not fit in your mailbox? Is all this consumerism about to drive you bonkers, as it is me?

Well, set right back and take a break from all this crass commericalism, and we’ll spend some time together talking about ‘not much.’ It’s a great topic, the not much, because it can encompass everything from the weather to kids to meal planning to what the next door neighbors are doing. Which, in my case, ain’t much, because we don’t have any next door neighbors, but the ones across the street are pretty interesting right around now. Yep – the ones kitty-corner left have been gone all weekend, but apparently didn’t take their dog with them because the poor beggar’s been in the backyard all day long, and I’ll bet all night too, which is terrible because it’s been freezing around here at night (literally). I sure hope they at least have a dog house for the pup. Why, I might just take a short walk this afternoon with a pair of binoculars to do a little bit of spying, then call the SPCA or something if that dog stays out another night. It’s inhumane to treat a poor animal like that.

The folks across the street, well, there aren’t really folks across the street, because the house renovation that started in February isn’t yet complete. The folks doing the reno have put things in, taken them out, put other things in, painted a couple of different times, and now seem to be just poking around doing not much at all. There’s been a little interest in the house though, in the form of a family driving past it then asking me if it had rented yet. Rented? Hmm, I’d been told the owners/renovators were going to SELL it. I wonder if they’ve changed their minds now that it’s been almost a year since they started work on it? Might be they can earn some money on it by renting and kepping the place in their name in case they ever want ot move to town. They’re not getting any younger, and it might be nice for them to live in a place where he can walk to the store for his smokes and the grocery isn’t but a couple of miles away. Conveniece is important when you get to a certain age, isn’t it?

The young couple two houses down just painted their place a nice shade of green. They’re quiet, with a couple of little kids, so we like them as neighbors. Not much goes on down there, which is a nice change from the few families who lived there before they bought the place. We’ve had some interesting groups live in that house, but none of them stayed long. I prefer non-transient neighbors, it gives a person something to expect and rely on, in a way.

Then there’s the couple down the end of the block. They’re older, friendly in a ‘we’ll say hi but not invite you over for dinner’ way, which I like, and have a few kids who occasionally visit in their big loud trucks. The gentleman of the couple used to work at the Mill before it closed back in ’78, which I think is really interesting; he’s like a relic of history. When you meet someone like that, don’t you just want to pepper them with questions about what it was like, back in the day? I know I do.His commute was a short one, as the Mill is, quite literally, in their front yard. I think they’re happy to have us as neighbors, because they say nice things about our garden and do stop for a bit of a chat sometimes as they’re headed out for their nightly walk.

After them there are no more neighbors down the street, because our street ends. Oh, the Mill is back there, but we don’t think of them as neighbors. We DO see them walking up our street from time to time, even though our street and their parking lot don’t join up it’s not hard to climb the small embankment from their place to our street and from there go to downtown or the convenience store up on the corner or the high school.

Now, the folks on the other side of the cross-street, well, it looks like them getting a shed didn’t stop them from keeping most of their stuff in the yard, but I do have to say it’s at least more organized than it was before, and thank goodness they seem to be getting along better these days. Plus which, that big ol’ garden was nice to look at this summer, so as far as they go things are looking up.

Beyond them we don’t really know too many more people except the woman who has lived in this neighborhood all her life and can probably tell you who used to live in your house back all they way until these house were built. Lots of folks who used to live here were related to one another, so there’s a lot of ‘cousin’ talk when she gets going. After a generation or so I get confused, especially since the narrative includes where those folks are now, who they married, what church they used to go to, who has since died, and on and on. When it comes to talking about not much, the woman is the Queen of it all. It’s clearly a Southern thing, as some other older Southern ladies I know can and do go on and on about mot much in particular and everything in general, until the words flow together in a river of verbiage, and I start not paying attention.

I am not from those venerable examples of How to Talk About Not Much, and so it has been an acquired skill, one that I am proud to say I’m improving on with diligent practice. After 5+ years in the south, I’m starting to understand how it goes. You take a topic and insert as much detail as you can, including minutiae about semi-relevant but seemingly unrelated topics, then just keep on talking. To do this you must first of course develop an almost encyclopedic knowledge about your chosen subject, which naturally means that you have to remember facts and dates and names, then be able to recall all of them with a high degree of accuracy. THEN, you must engage your chosen conversation partner with occasional queries like ‘don’t you think?’ or ‘ain’t that a shame?’ or similar, to ensure they’re paying attention. Once all you’re getting in reply is a grunt, you know it’s time to close with ‘well, I sure have enjoyed talking with you, but I got to go,’ which is the catch-and-release phrase that pays when you’ve just devoted a good hour talking about not much. It’s never too late to appear like you have someplace better to be once you’ve talked someone into a thousand-yard stare.

Now, shall we talk about the weather, or are you ready to just go someplace quiet and pray I leave you alone?

Well, I sure have enjoyed talking with you, but I got to go. Tiff out.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Turkey. It's what's for dinner. And lunch. And dinner. But NOT BREAKFAST

Clearly, turkey and stuffing is a miracle food. I had some yesterday at about 2, and have not been hungry since. Even though I ate breakfast (Hi, Dunkin' Donuts egg and cheese wrap! (and coconut donut)) and some lunch (and a fine good day to YOU, 6 inch tuna salad Subway!) today, there was no hunger involved at either affair, and so it is that I must surmise that the turkey and stuffing have expanded to fill the corners of my appetite so expeditiously that there's no room for even a small twang of peckishness to seep in through even the tiniest of mental (or gustatorial) openings.

Add to that the remarkable powers of T&S to induce sleep (as witnessed by the many inert bodies lying around after dinner yesterday) and I'm thinking we ought to investigate its ability to fight cancer or contact aliens or something.

Don't even get me started on pumpkin pie. That is some awesome sheet, right there, and fodder for at least one blog post on its own.


So, a trip that took 6+ hours on Wednesday took us 4 hour and 15 minutes to do in reverse today. Hooray, holiday traffic!

Every dang year I make a mental not to NOT travel on the day before Thanksgiving, and each year I agree to travel to other environs for the feast I forget that rule and shoot myself directly in the foot with both barrels of a very big gun loaded to the gills with 'told ya so.' Sheesh. I'm 48 - when do you think I'll LEARN?

Please, feel free to NOT answer that question. 'Rhetorical' is a word for a reason.


Also, now that we're back home there's all that laundry to deal with. I'm tempted to just take all the clean stuff that's lying around in piles and put it back in rotation to be washed again, and call it progress. Seriously. There's only so many loads you can have out to fold before the job simply gets too big and one must call the purp defeated and start over.

I'm thinking 4 loads is about my limit. And yes, we're there.


So, this is all to say I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are well on the road to recovery after exposing yourself to the wondrous entity that is the T&S. There are some that would say it can be as long as a week to fully get back to normal after testing your gastrointestinal tract so severely, but I'm hoping that by tomorrow all will be well and I'll once again feel like doing.....anything.

Until then - Tiff out.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Live blogging the band rehearsal

So, it's 7:09 p.m., and there's a band in the living room warming up for practice. It's kind of awesome, akshully. They're tearing apart a new song, and putting it back together. The old 'woodshedding' is happening and it's fun.

I hope the Things, who are in their room hiding out, are learning something through their bedroom door. I hope they're learning how to be BIG ROCK STARS so that, one day, Mama can rest on her laurels, safe in the knowledge that those residual checks will keep her comfy and warm for the remainder of her days here on earth. Also, that her boys are HUGE in Japan, where anything can, and very often does, happen.

Just ask Grant.


We're going to Gramma's house for Thanksgiving. It will be awesome, as the trip kicks off with an' all grill, all the time' dinner at my younger brother's house, then the Big Day at Mom's (including a parade on teevee, I hope) with lots of folks, then a nice long Friday morning before heading back home.

I LOVE quick-hit family trips. Each moment seems so much more important - like you need to make more of them than a regular minute, or day. Memories in an instant - awesome.


New Band Name - "Butter Twisting Virgins."

And no, you can't borrow it.t


Oh - I figured out the sing they're practicing: it's "Fly" by Sugar Ray.

And now I go, to memorize all the words, for what is a groupie without encyclopedic knowledge of her chosen band's songs?

Nothing, that's what.

Oh crap - they're moved on to Maroon 5. I'll never keep up. Oh well, the ol' '1 ,2 3, watermelon" should come in handy next time I get to a show.


And, the laundry room remodel is finished.

That's all. Tiff out - y'all have a wonderful T-day and keep safe until we talk again.

Monday, November 22, 2010

sometimes there's a whiff of mischief

It was a foggy morning in WFNC today, with conditions ranging from 'picturesque' to 'pea soup,' depending on how far downhill you went. Naturally this meant that people felt it incumbent upon them to a) stay home drinking soup through a straw, b) stalk menacingly across the marshy spots in their neighborhoods, or c) drive like morons.

If you answered C, you win a prize. Morons, how they did abound.

I dislike morons in the morning, and thus set out to thwart moronitude whenever possible by doing what morons hate most: driving responsibly. It makes them crazy! One fine example of moronicity was the dude behind me in the interminable and dreaded middle school car pool line who spent a lot of energy trying to crawl right up Tink's bumper or being otherwise vehicularly menacing. We were in the parking lot, friends, a place built for PARKING, not 'racing up as fast as you can only to have to wait to drop off your kid.' To this fellow then, I wrote this letter, in the hope that maybe through a twist of serendipity he stumbles across it in a web-ramble and is struck by how him being a moron affects all of us, and not in a nice way.

Dear Sir: In case you were unaware (for I do like to give people the benefit of the doubt) there is only so fast one can go in the carpool line when waiting for the cars ahead of us to disgorge their precious cargo. Whether I go 10 MPH or 50 matters not, for there will still be a line we must wait in. RACING LIKE A MORON, IN THE PARKING LOT, makes no sense at all and therefore I shan't engage in such idiotic behavior, nor should you.

Also, just because your kid managed to LEAP out of your car at lightning speed once you attained the drop-off area does not mean that the instant they are deployed you should try to swerve around the car ahead of you (that car carrying me and MY precious cargo) to oe'ertake the precious 'one spot ahead in line' position, because hi, you're in a school parking lot, there are kids walking into school right in your swerving range, the car ahead of you will be ready to pull forward in, like, 2 seconds, and damn, just take a chill pill and relax for the next time blip. There is NOTHING you need to get to 2 seconds faster than what you'd achieve by just staying in line and acting like an adult.

Nor, as you are by now so keenly aware, shall I cut in front of a bus trying to turn left out of their dropoff area, because there is a sign that says I must let them out, and I as a mostly law-abiding citizen feels it necessary to engage in a LITTLE common courtesy on behalf of the bus drivers who, if interviewed, would likely be effusive in their thanks to those people who DO let them out such is their miserable lot in life that small mercies are appreciated well out of proportion to the effort it takes to perform them. Do you, sir, WANT to antagonize and aggravate the school bus driver? Yes, your precious snowflake gets dropped off by YOU every morning, as do mine, so what the bus drivers think about you may not be your concern, but I have noticed that they have very large vehicles and I'd be loath to go head-to-head with one in a battle for 'who gets to go first.' They would win, every time, no matter how tough you think your Jeep is.

Lastly, sir, as a final show of 'how to drive reasonably when you can't see 100 feet down the road because of the dang fog,' once we get onto the main road you must have noticed that I drove the speed limit, and no faster, which of course served to aggravate the living hot snot out of you, hot shot, but that's your problem and not mine. I'm not going to kowtow to your bumper-riding antics, nor your frantic swervitude, and in fact I might SLOW DOWN more just to give you the holy hopping maddies and hope that maybe your heart will flutter in adrenaline-induced arrhythmia causing you to reevaluate how your aggression is harming you and as a result you have an Epiphany and turn your wicked ways around. A girl can dream.

Love and blinkers on!



In other news: the new dryer is in place and functioning well. Would that I could say as much about the paint I placed on the walls of the laundry room/pantry yesterday afternoon. It appears that painting over paneling, even paneling that been thoroughly washed and dried, is a tricky affair, causing some paints to slump and drip and ooze in the drying process, rendering the walls a lumpy ugly mess of tacky that even calling it a 'faux finish' won't improve.

Seriously - it's like being on an acid trip, without the acid. The freaking walls look like they're melting.

The good news is that the washer and dryer and the new shelving unit above them cover a fair amount of the terrible paint job, but covering 'most' still leaves 'some,' and it's that some that's tackying up the joint in fairly spectacular fashion. Fortunately, Biff 'has a plan,' which should mean that by the end of today the rework should be done and we can move the mountain of crap that's on and under the kitchen table back to where it belongs, before the neighbors call that "Hoarders" show and stage an intervention.

Who knew so much stuff could come out of such a small space? It's like there's some weird bending of space in that room, so that what doesn't seem like much while it's in there expands 3-fold once you take it out. The whole pantry/laundry is MAYBE 4 x 8, yet the entire kitchen is engulfed in what came out of there. Perplexing, and amazing. I can't wait to see how much room is left over once it all gets put back (minus the junk we deemed 'junk' yesterday and just threw out). Why, we might have room for a chicken hatchery, or small garage! A workshop for elves or a place to spin wool! A spot for a pet giraffe (who will, of course, shrink down remarkably in size once it crosses the threshold), or a nook for a printing press!

Goodness, the possibilities are nearly endless. I'm sure I haven't thought of even a tenth of the great stuff we could cram into that little room, given its remarkable powers of space warpery. Feel free to leave your thoughts about 'what to stick in that empty corner' in the comments, and then have a lovely day.

Tiff out.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Gee, I wish I knew this 5 years ago

On my iGoogle page, I have a few little gadgets that present me with news, weather, 'how-tos' and the like. Normally, I don't read the 'how tos,' because I am remarkably well-versed in so many things already that adding to the stockpile of awesome might throw the earth's orbit around the sun out of balance, and then we'd all go wheeling off into the great unknown expanses of the galaxy, destroying our chances of even MAKING it to 2012 to see if the end times really will come upon us, and I can't have that. So, I keep the 'how to-ing' to a minimum.

You're welcome.

However, today one of the tips caught my eye, and thus I share it with you: how to be a more awesome blogger.

Just 12 measly steps to creating a blog of such wonderment that Dooce will weep at her unthroning from the queendom seat of the blogosphere, that Matt Drudge will begrudge you a place at his table of power, that Crazy Aunt Purl just might have you do a guest post or 6, such will be your amazing skill set where the bloggery is concerned!

Go on, read it, and understand that up until now, your blog has been doing it all wrong. I know NAY has been. Why, just on the topic of 'research' alone I've failed you, dear readers. What is this research of which you speak? Find SOURCES to back up any opinion I might have, AND make sure they're credible? Gives me the willies, that does. Or, don't mix up topics, stay with one genre, respond to comments, solicit guest posts? Oh dear oh dear, I've fallen rather flat on those accounts as well. At least gone are the days when I'd present a dreary fiction story one day then a rant the next, a giggling little blort about some news story the next, and then, dear Lord, a RECIPE post to round out the week; so improvement is possible I suppose.

We don't do much 'branding' around these parts either, not do I make the rounds of blogs as much as I used to. Clearly, NAY is headed down a long slow decline into senescence, and it makes me sad that I COULD HAVE BEEN SO GOOD if only I'd known about these 12 steps to certain success a little over 5 years ago when I started this infernal thing.

So, I ask myself, and you, dear readers: is it too late to change? Should I focus NAY with laser precision on one genre of post, and if so, what ought it to be? Do you want me to respond to your comments, or is the very act of commenting on your own enough of a high? Does it thrill you to see me comment on YOUR blogs, and am I even doing THAT right?

Twelve steps to bloggy greatness. Like many other 12-step programs, some phases will be easier to achieve than others. I'm interested in starting small - won't you tell me how?

And then have a wonderful day.

Tiff out.

(Picture courtesy of My First Dictionary, a horribly amusing place. Go see!)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Breakfast of Champions

As the previous few posts should tell you, I’ve been ill with a bit of a bug. FOR OVER A WEEK! I, for one, am wholly tired of it, and wish to return to good health this instant. However, it would seem that the bug that’s bitten me came from a particularly hardy stock of germies, and refuses to leave in toto. Thus, it was the I found myself experiencing yet another coughing spell this morning on the way to work, hunched over the steering wheel, trying to squint through the effort-induced tears that squirted out helplessly as I gagged and sputtered through paroxysm after paroxysm. I was driving so erratically at one point that folks prolly thought I was texting and driving! Horrors!

And then, after one last gasping heroic cough from deep in the diaphragm, out it came – a gigantic glob of lung butter that shot up and out so forcefully it would have hit the windshield if I, in my wisdom, hadn’t SUCKED IT BACK IN.

Say it with me: ew.

So there I was. Driving down 98 highway with a mouthful of mucus (slightly salty!) and noplace to ‘put’ it. Can’t spit it out the window – there’s too much and I’m going too fast - I'd risk backsplash! Don’t have a napkin or tissue to spit it into, and I’m not even sure they’d hold as much as what I thought I had in there. So, with all other options seemingly right out, I did the only remaining thing. That's right, I swallowed it, like a warm oyster.

I felt bad about that in more ways than one, because that was one snotball I would have liked to examine further. At the very least I’d have like to have been impressed with what my lungs created, because face it, it’s not every day you get to see something a body part has made besides boogers and poop.

You KNOW I'm right about this one.


We got word at work yesterday that come the beginning of next year (or sooner!), our cubicle homes are moving. Yessir, in an effort to ‘consolidate’ or ‘maximize space’ or ‘piss off the minions,’ the powers that be have informed us that as of January, we, the writers and programmers and statisticians of our little company, will be sitting in THE NOISIEST PART OF THE BUILDING. Because, naturally, when you have a group of people whose job it is to think and write and draft detailed analysis plans and program outputs, you want to put them in the part of the building that has the maximal number of distractions. To wit:

  • Near the main employee entrance? Check.
  • Near a stairwell? Check
  • Near TWO stairwells? Check
  • Near the “good” coffee maker and fridge and sink and first aid station and copier station? Checkcheckcheckcheckand check.
  • Near the primary central corridor, which is 3 stories high and clad in nonacoustic materials, which amplify everything to the point where normal humans develop hearing like a dog? Big check.

Clearly, someone in the head office has no idea how we do our jobs. Clearly, someone in the head office has an OFFICE, with WALLS, and a DOOR, and can shut that door when they need to do some major thinking, like how to utterly frustrate the people who make the company run.

Meanwhile, in a real face-slapping move, the marketing folks who have started to invade our formerly quiet corner of the building, are likely staying put. Right – because those are the people who never met a speakerphone they didn’t like, hold teleconferences in their cubes with multiple people in attendance (some even just standing right there!), believe the phone is like a second heart and wouldn't be without using it as near to 24/7 as possible, and who are engaged in a furious game of ‘spout the buzzword’ with anyone who dares have a conversation with them. THEY are clearly the ones who need the quietest corner of the building in which to work! Clearly!

This is all elevated in the ass-chappery because, well, I hate moving. It’s been nearly 3 years I’ve been sitting in this corner, and I like it. It’s a backwater, an eddy, a nice protected spot, and I can look out the window and there’s a wall facing the door to my cube and I’ll likely not have any of that again so it’s one more rung down the corporate ladder of real estate.

The trajectory of my work environment has gone something like this:

Lab bench
Office with real walls and a door (step up!)
Office with glass walls and a door and a view (step up!)
Office with real walls and a door and a view if the person across the hall from me had her door open (lateral move)
Cubicle in quiet corner (step down)
Cubicle in noisy spot (huge step down)

Therefore, if the current arc is any indicator, the remainder of my work environments will likely be the following:

Open plan table in giant echoey room
Potion of countertop in ladies room
Cardboard box in basement
Where’s my damned red stapler?

I’m looking forward to that last one. The others? You can keep ‘em.


Hope y'all are faring well. Keep it up!

Tiff out.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bumpy gritch

Hola, mi amigos!

Greetings from the land of"'Oh my Goodness It's Getting Worse"! Here in OMGITW current conditions are sneezy with a 90% chance of snot. Occasional outbursts of coughing are expected, so watch out for flying gobs of spittle! In traffic, you can expect nearly total blockage of the nasal passages. Also, road crews are testing the new municipal snot system, which promised twice the delivery rate of yesterday. Our reporter on the scene tells us that the difference is impressive!

In other words, I'm groaning again about being sick. You know how bad it is? It' so bad that I JUST NOW blew my nose and before I could wad up the tissue a bead of snot dropped into my coffee mug. THAT IS BEYOND GROSS!!! There is so much snot coming out with each blow that it can run in streams from the tissue! And this? Is after I took medicine to help alleviate my symptoms.

Also, as the sore throat meanders away, it had invited the 'puke coughs' to come in an keep me company. You know the puke coughs, right? Those are the ones that are so violent and sudden that you think you'll just go ahead and vomit while you're coughing, because your diaphragm clearly wants you to die.

Way to go, diaphragm. You do know that without me you're pretty much nothing, right? That without ME, you have to reason, no purpose! Do away with me and you're just committing suicide, and we all know that suicide is wrong and sad and we have so MUCH more fun to have together, so please, stop the violence!


I'm no good at being sick. Being sick sucks. However, I understand that I am in good company, as reports of ailing friends are popping up all over, so I suppose we can all whinge and moan in chorus, accompanied by our whistling lungs, while trying to not puke and blowing our noses raw at the same time.

If you're in the group of the afflicted, please feel free to be grumpy about it in the comments. If not, you'd best be admiring the style and substance of the comments from those who ARE sick, for if we cannot be well, at the very least we ought to be accoladed (new word!) for suffering in style.

Maybe tomorrow I'll stop being so egocentric and take time to comment on something other than my struggles, for even a monumental as they are, a topic change every now and again is a good thing.

Tiff out.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Take the sandpaper out mah throat, NOW

Oh my. It's got me! Someone, help! HAAAALP!! A big bad bug is in my system, making the scratchy thraot and the watery eyes and the drippily nose, and the groany tummy of DEWM, and I am most upset at this turn of events. Bugs = bad, you see, esp when they are nuzzling 'round the foundations of my general good health, eroding it and lowering my overall value to society.

In other words, I despise being sick. Being sick is for people who are not invincible, who are weak and prone to disease, which is not me at all. Why, usually my immune system is a thing of stalwart beauty, a warrior princess! The macrophages, T-cells, B-cells, and (my favorite) the Natrual Killer cells all work in gorgeous harmony to STOMP OUT any chance invaders.

But...not today. I've been overrun with microscopic marauders. Little brats. Little germy nasty brutes. How DARE they vanquish the forces of my phalanxes of antigen presenters? It's nearly unthinkable, and highly disturbing. Why, right now they're in my personal body, breeding, usurping the SOPs of daily life with unholy chantings to "produce more mucus!" and "get out there and scratch that throat! Go on, make the host weep with frustration and pain!" My least favorite battle cry this time, however, is the guttral urging of the microbe generalissimos to "turn off all ability to even want to be nice to people!" a setting that is a natural to me as cow pies in a pasture.

This truly grates my cheese, so in a moment I shall have at them with the Dayquil-generic-equivalent, for I am through trying to attack from the flanks with tsunamis of water and hours of idleness. It's time to swallow hard and accept that I am no match for what's happening with the hikacking my my very own person, and take some dang medicine already.

I might be losing the battle, but I shall NOT lose the war!

Friday, November 05, 2010

just how far can laziness take a person in life?

Things I am totally liking right now:

chocolate-covered peanuts
hot tea
lounge pants
the vet appt to finally fix Lola the Cat
Netflix on Demand
pizza night!
my family
and, for some reason, the gigantic pile of turkeys in the meat section of the grocery store.

Maybe that last one is because I adore Thanksgiving. The whole idea of it is wonderful. Day off during the week, bonus 1. Day AFTER that off as well, bonus 2. Parades and football on teevee, with nothing else to do with the day but cook and EAT? Bonus 3. And this year, getting to spend the day with extended family, bonus 4. Oh, and Mom asked us to make 'slap yo mama' potatoes, so that's a huge bonus 5, because that is a food that needs an excuse. Hoo, my, yes.

Thanksgiving also finds me in a very New York state of mind. This is, undoubtedly, because for years when I was a kid we'd all go to my Aunt's house on Long Island for the big feed. EVERYONE in that house but my brothers and I had big ol' New York accents, my cousins especially, so that gets put in the subliminal 'part of the holidays' interior decorating I can't help but do this time of year. It's not Thanksgiving without a parade, football, and a longing to go to New York.

Weirdness, I know.

Thinking about those days long gone some more, I recall that there was always a bowl of nuts that had to be hand-cracked, and a crudite tray with celery and olives put out before dinner. I'd spend a long time cracking those nuts, trying to get a walnut to crack perfectly along the seam, then digging out what I'd hope was an unshattered 'meat' from the papery inner husk. I was not so much into the veggies, for there are no distinct memories of me eagerly tucking into a handful of celery. Clearly, patterns of preference are set quite early in life.

Sometimes it would be nice enough out that we could rake up a pile of leaves in their big backyard, then spend some time demolishing it by focused frolicking within it. Or we'd create skits to present to the adults later in the weekend if the weather wasn't great or if it was dark out (which naturally happened, as late November sees the sun set at disturbingly early times!). Oh, the adventures of 'The Smiling Smurdleys' were, I'm sure, things of great art, and I'm sure the parents enjoyed them after a glass or two of red wine. There are pictures, somewhere, of kids and adults alike, and everyone looks happy, so let's go with the mutual enjoyment of the activity slant, shall we?

We had some good times at their house, and good memories have come of it. Why, I'll bet in 35 years' time I'll be the crazy old lady in the nursing home who thinks she's 11 and consistently tries to get the ambulatory among the population to go out and jump in a big ol' pile of leaves come turkey day, such will be my impaired memory yet undiminished enthusiasm over Thanksgiving. We'll shuffle outside on the pretext of 'getting some air,' I'll share a nip from the bottle of bourbon a helpful grandchild will no doubt have smuggled in to me, and we'll carefully leap into a leaf pile I paid one of the orderlies to confabulate. OK, some of us might just walk slowly into it (hips!), and some might just breathe in the delicious scent of a bunch of perfectly dry leaves, but I'll bet all involved will remember what it's like to be young and indestructible as a rubber chicken, and life will, for a minute, be very good indeed.

That's my plan for right now, anyhow.

Is it pretty common to love Thanksgiving as much as I do, or do you prefer other, less gluttonous holidays? Feel free to share, and then have a lovely weekend.

Tiff out.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Oh for Pete's sake, another recipe post?

Dang straight it's another recipe post. When I stumble across something nommy, I do like to share the love, as it were. Today's love comes in the form of Lemon Curry Chicken, which will be presented for your information right after a few tidbits.

Tidbit 1) I like the word tidbit. It's adorable, don't you think? Tidbit. Tidbit tidbit tidbit. Saying it is fun! TIDBIT! Also a fun word - tad. It's the twin to tidbit, but just a little bigger. They're fraternal words, I suppose. Their big brother is 'touch,' as in 'a touch of the flu.' So, touch > tad > tidbit. Now you know.

Tidbit 2) Almond-scented soap is awesome. I fully expect someone to want to lick me today, is how good I smell right now. Indigo Wild soap FTW!

Tidbit 3) There is a good possibility that we've seen the last of the 90 degree days around these parts. I KNOW!!!! That is a squee moment, right there. Yes, It's freaking NOVEMBER, and so we really ought to have been well and truly done with them long ago, but as recently as a week ago the temps were in the mid 80's and it felt like we were living in Tampa such was the heat and moistness. Weirdness. Now though it's gray and cool, which is more like New Jersey. Not that it's a BAD thing, mind you, just that to wake up 800 miles north of where you went to sleep is ... odd.

OK, I have run out of tidbits. On to the recipe.

This is adapted from a recipe by Treva Davis (who I do not know but who was identified as the originator, so here's a tip o' the hat to Treva), originally from her "Spice of Life" cookbook which is no longer in print but which I like to imagine is full of oddly-tinted 60's-styled photos of 'exotic' foods that call for ingredients like the mysterious 'ginger,' and 'red pepper' flakes, for Treva is (was? I simply don't know) a lil' daredevil when it comes to challenging people's palates, old-school style.

(<--Hello, we bring dessert, '70's style!)

Anyhow. Do not be daunted by the long list of spices called for in this dish. Treva only uses curry powder, coriander, ginger, and turmeric, but here at the Tiny House we are an adventurous lot and thus threw in other things we knew would taste good. And, OK, she wants you to use apple juice and white wine as the liquids; we do not have apple juice or white wine at home, so I just went wild with the substitutions (vinegar for the acidity, mirin for the sweetness). Also, if you're out of sour cream and yogurt, fear not, for Treva only puts on the honey at the end and doesn't bother with such things as 'sauces' or, I think, 'mouth feel.'

Actually, now that I think of it, the recipe below is similar to Treva's pretty much in name only. Who knows? It might be better her way!

A) Mix together in a medium skillet the following:
  • juice of a lemon
  • 1 TBSP mirin (sweetened rice wine)
  • 2 TBSP cider vinegar
  • 2 TBSP water
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • dash cinnamon
  • 1/2 c minced onion
  • 1/2 c diced red pepper
  • 2 cloves minced garlic

B) Add 3 boneless skinless chicken boobies, sliced sideways in 1/2" slices (or thereabouts. No need for a ruler). Tofu might also work if you're meat-averse. Mix well, cover, and marinate for 30 minutes.

C) Turn on heat and simmer for 25 minutes or so.

D) Mix 1/2 c sour cream, 1/2 c plain yogurt, 2 tsp honey, add to chicken mix, let bubble until warmed through. Serve over rice. Basmati is always a good choice.

There you go. Another in a series of 'recipes that make your house smell like someone loves it,' and it easily serves 4.

And that's all I got for now. Have a wonderful Wednesday, y'all!

Tiff out.

Monday, November 01, 2010

I wrote a thing, then erased it because it really wasn't all that interesting.

Ah, well then. It's Monday. AGAIN. I am neck-deep in the new time tracking system here at work, which means that after about 5 minutes of trying to figure it out I abandoned it and came here instead, to the cozy bosom of the internet to write about something utterly unrelated to work.

It's my way of prioritizing. YOU, sweet intelligent internet buddies, come first, always. I miss you when we don't talk, I long for your company, I reach out to you in words and occasionally verse and once even in song.

Today, it's verse, because I just decided it would be.



There's nothing quite like
The slice of drywall knife
through yielding pumpkin flesh

They ooze ochre gore
Glops of innards heaved up
through a fist-sized hole

Impertinent stabs form the start of eyes
The blade saws ragged holes
Chunks fall in the shape of screams

Toothpicks jammed into wobbly bits
Hold the Jack o'lanterns down
Candles burn their guts for hours

Pumpkin-scented smoke wafts through eyeholes
Earholes, noseholes, mouths
Hot air blows like defeat through its orifi

The tortured orange gourds stare unblinking
Beaming welcome to the candy-starved,
dripping juice from rent flesh.

One night a year the pumpkins scream
howling silent shafts of heat and light
all for candy and pretend.


Heh. That started out WAY different in my head. It was going to be such a happy little peom too! But, there you go. No telling what's goign to come out once the stopper is removed from the ol' cranial vault.

Now, to cleanse your palate, here a picture of a Viking in my kitchen. Enjoy.

(Cute, ain't he? All I had to do was tell him what was in my wallet and he offered to cook dinner! Not gonna say no to THAT!!)