Thursday, December 15, 2011


10 things I dislike (if you care or were wondering):

The sound of people typing on super-clicky keyboards
When stuff explodes in the microwave
The funk on laundry left in the washer too long
Canned asparagus
Shirts with too-small neck openings
My double chin
The sound a dog makes when it's licking itself

In truth, I could go on and on about the 'noises that bother me,' because it seems I have very little ability to sift unimportant sounds out and also I have a medically proven issue with sound dampening (if you hear a loud sound in one ear your body (not mine) protects against damage by tightening up BOTH tympanic membranes, keeping them from slamming your middle-ear bones around. It's helpful, that function, and yet I do not have that particular bit of wiring) that makes everything just a little more exciting when things go BOOM. Or click. Or wheeze, whistle, snap, rustle, yadda yadda.

The beets speak for themselves.


Biffster and I will be winging our way to the left coast next week. I'd normally be excited, but on this trip I'm a-havin' to be dragging my computer along with me and, well, actually do WORK while there. A little research shows that a reliable wifi signal is readily available, so I'll be spending some (a lot) of time at the local library trying to get caught up. Again.

It's a never-ending cycle. Runrunrunrun to try to catch up while folks throw more stuff on the pile. Getting out from under is a continual effort, Sysiphussian in scope and near-impossibility.

Job.Security. THERE'S the positive spin.


I hope all y'all are keeping well, and that you've carved out a nice big hole in the end of your year to stuff in some relaxation.

Tiff out.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Now I'm only a week behind

If all goes well, by the end of today I'll only be about a week behind in stuff for work. This is, shockingly, an improvement from last week when I was about a month behind. Delivering initial drafts of large projects has been an issue of late, as little, more urgent, things keep popping up and taking time away from the big-ticket projects that of course are important and urgent as well, just not AS important and urgent at that exact moment.

Once I get today's items off into the ether for people to take a gander at, I shall begin doing work that might actually be on TIME, and maybe even a little AHEAD of time, just in time to take back possession of the late work and do the second round of edits and updates.

Don't you wish you were me right now, all glamour and glitz and high-living? Why, it's almost criminal how deeply satisfying this is, the working. It's like creating fine art from human hair and grass clippings, or writing the best poem about spinach and grits that was ever written, or crafting a sonata in 6/4 time to be played by sackbutts and ocarinas, it's that good.

In other news, the Christmas tree is up!! We went out last night and fetched us a 6-foot Charlie Brown tree, with one smooshed side and a low price tag (less than 40 bucks around here is considered cheap). The smooshed side fits nicely into the old fireplace wall, which allows us to keep the furniture arranged in its usual place instead of moving stuff around so we can walk into the kitchen. So far the cats have not interacted with the tree at all, and do no have a history of being really pesky with the pines, so I'm hopeful this year will be more of the same. That being said, most of our ornaments aren't fancy-dan things of high value, so I'm not concerned if things get busted, mostly. Some of what we hang are things the Things and I have made over the years, and I do try to hang them in spots that seem less vulnerable, and there are a few sentimental items that I'd be sad to see broken, but overall they're just 'things' and can be replaced. We'll decorate it tomorrow night, I'll make some garland from the boughs we picked up at the tree lot for free, the Nativity will be installed, and then we'll be ready for Santa to come, for the baby Jesus to be moved into the manger, and for us to avoid the Krampus.

Whew - busy busy busy!

Hope y'all are keeping well and that your holiday season is gearing up nicely. Tiff out.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Shake up the tastebuds

Tonight's dinner was pretty good. So good, in fact, that I'm posting the recipe here so at some point, if I want it, and remember I've posted it here, I can find it again.

Apologies to those who wanted something of more substance. This one's all about me and my for-crap memory.


Tiny House orange sesame chicken (or pork, or tofu)(and not that breaded deep-fried crap that supposed to be 'Chinese food,' because, bleah), serves 4.

This is a step-by-step recipe, so read through if you want the full ingredient list before starting.

Start 1 cup Basmati rice to cook according to package instructions.

While rice is cooking, cut up 1 chicken breast (or 8 ounces pork, or tofu), in thin 1" long pieces.

In a medium bowl, mix 3 Tbsp sherry, 2 Tbsp low-salt soy sauce, and 1/2" ginger root, chopped fine. Add chopped chicken (or pork, or tofu), stir and let sit.

Cut 1 onion in 1/4-round thin slices, 2 carrots in 1/4" dice, and 2 cloves garlic in tiny dice. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup Tahini (if you don't have Tahini (and WHYEVERNOT? It's great stuff!) then combine 1/4 cup peanut butter with enough warm water to make a pourable liquid), 1/4 cup orange juice, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 2 Tbsp warm water, and 1 Tbsp corn starch. Mix well with whisk until smooth.

In a large pan or wok, heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil over very hot fire until shimmering. Add onions and carrots, stir, add 1 tsp cilantro if you have it, then cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Return to bowl.

Heat pan over very hot fire again, add 1 Tbsp oil, heat until shimmering, then add chicken (or pork, or tofu) and marinade. Be careful, this might spatter. Stir constantly until liquid is reduced by half.

Add onion/carrot/garlic mix and 1/2 cup frozen peas, cook for 2 minutes until heated through.

Add marinade, cook for 2 more minutes until almost absorbed, then add tahini sauce. Cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened.

Plate out rice, then top with some chicken goo, and eat. Goes well with a dash of Sriracha!

About 530 calories a serving. Very low sodium, high in niacin, high in Vitamin A. Just about 1/3rd your daily recommended fat intake, as you might expect.


I found that this dish starts with a great orange note, mellows in a second to the sesame, and finishes really smooth. I think kids would like it, even with all the veg, because it's not hot or sour, especially if you don't add the Sriracha.

So, yeah. That was dinner. And it was good.

What'd YOU have?

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

it's been that kind of a time

Tonight I drove home, in the dark, through a vicious rainstorm.

It was 64 degrees here this morning at 8 a.m., and it is now 48 degrees at almost 10 p.m. Can you chant me Cold Front, Cold Front? Yeah, baby, I thought you could. Meteorological serendipity, thy name is 5 p, TODAY!!

As it became all too soon all too clear, the cold front and I were commuting partners. It swept the streets of debris and dust, poured gouts of rain to clean the streets of distracting flotsam, wiped leaves from the surface in tumults of blinding scree, apparently trying to be helpful. RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME, THE WHOLE TIME.

Well, no. Not so helpful.

The windshield wipers on RED ALERT did nearly nothing to unobfuscate the wretched scrim of droplets pushed against the glass almost immediately after every pass of the blade. The road markings were visible only because they're made of tape and therefore stick up enough to divert water from its naturally falling path enough to provide some miniature dam-like, and therefore topographical, effect. Approaching cars blared headlights over the flopping greasy efforts of the wipers, blazing smears of unwelcome lights across the entire view like a blast of sun under a visor in late afternoon. Seen, known, but unexpected and tremendously irksome (and dangerous).

Dear God how I hate driving in the rainy dark.

Even more so when there is a passenger in the car.

Which, there was.

On the plus side, he is a GOOD passenger, and only made note of his discomfort ONCE when I may or may not have almost not stopped in time at the new crazy-assed intersection at that bridge over that main highway not far from here, so it's cool. We'd come so far in the deluge up to that point that missing the stop by 1.5 car lengths could be forgiven, so hey it's OK.

Crazy stupid cold front. Racing through here like you have a RIGHT to change this weather, impact my ride, endanger my life, and douse this bit of world with sloppy wet.

If it weren't for the dangerous nutso life-threatening commute, I might love you a little. You're just THAT wicked.

Now blow me a breeze to take me to morning, and we're all set.