July in a Nutshell

It dawned on me the other day that I should do a monthly wrap up of my posts. That way I can take time to reflect on my experiences, you can keep up with my charades,  and I can build  rapport. So here is goes…

Cletus: Cletus is sitting in the front seat of an emotional roller coaster and feels that Mr. McScreamy is sitting in her head and violently yelling.

SillyGoose: I’ve turned the magical age of 31 and discovered that I am so under-radar at my office that they didn’t acknowledge my birthday.After hours of  flash-mob paranoia and planning my escape, I discovered it was all unnecessary. Red stapler anyone??

I did a health cleanse and pretty much popped pills, ate raw veggies and fruit, and drank tons of water for 5 days. I managed to meet some of my goals which was good, but overall I don’t think the cleanse was for me. I believe I met my goals because I’m a goal-oriented person not because of a silly diet. After the cleanse, I  started running and gathered 5k, 10k and marathon training programs  to map and track my athletic endeavors. In one week I  dropped 4 mins off of my “long-run” . So that’s pretty cool. I’m using exercise as a hobby to stay out of DireMole’s hairs, to get physically healthy, and as mental therapy sessions.

My parents drive me nuts. After my visit home it took me 2 weeks to recover. They appreciated my visit and I love them, but they’re crazy. On a more positive note,I’m pleased to announce that they upgraded their cell phones to smart phones. What’s so awesome about that??? They switched providers and have less minutes to burn talking to me!!

I guess my 31st year is off to a decent start.

DireMole: DireMole is not a thug. Unless you work with me… then he is. BIG TIME. But seriously, DireMole is in the mist of his dissertation and keeping busy with data. As one of my closest friends told me, “It’s a lonely time.”

20140730-082558-30358608.jpgPirateGoat: This month you have been introduced to my pirate-dog, Jalapeno Rubes. Offline, we watched Captain Phillips and PirateGoat claimed the movie did not portray Somalian pirates accurately. Go figure.

LevelUp: I shared with you one of my favorite go-to’s for getting rid of tasty or almost-tasty leftovers. PIE!! Always keep pie-crust on hand.

Flaming Walkers

Is it just me? I have noticed a decline in silly exercise walkers… they have become extinct. You know the people I’m talking about. They are the ones who are eagerly dressed in high-tech athletic-wear like they are about to race a triathlon but , they are found marching up and down the street flapping their arms for take off… And, they never looked that fit…

Truth is, I miss passing this spectacle during my daily commutes. It was mildly entertaining. Do they still exist? Or did someone finally inform them that they look ridiculous and they should perform these acts in privacy? Maybe this is just another casualty of the Cross Fit trend? Instead of flapping their arms while walking, maybe these people have converted to walking on their hands?

This is a very troubling decline inmqdefault American fitness trends and the evolution of quirky health desperation. At least Joanna is keeping it real, like a prancing horse.

Who Can Resist Pie?

Here’s another LevelUp for you… Keep frozen dough on hand! I love to cook but sometimes DireMole and I can’t eat all the left overs before they spoil. Or sometimes the meal was decent, but it could have been better… and what makes any meal taste better? Wrapping it in crispy, buttery, doughy and flaky crust!!

I keep whole wheat pie crusts on hand to make breakfast Quiche with leftover ingredients or leftover dinner.

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees20140723-141948-51588578.jpg
  2. Bake frozen crust for 15 mins until bubbly and almost golden
  3. Dump leftovers in a bowl
  4. Add 4-6 eggs (depending on the size of your pie pan)
  5. Add cheese (whatever you got on hand) to please!
  6. Mix that mess up
  7. Dump the egg and leftover mixture into pie crust and top with more cheese
  8. Bake at 375 degrees for approx 45mins, until the pie looks like an egg bubble

Typical Leftovers for Quiche:

  • Leftover fixings from fajita/taco – night
  • Leftover chili because it’s so good but you are sick of eating sludge
  • Leftover  veggies that don’t look like they can make it another day without being used…(onions, tomatoes, garlic, peas, herbs, cauliflower, asparagus, broccoli, spinach, squash, potatoes, etc…)
  • BACON! Not sure why you would have this leftover, but if you do…chuck it in! (Cooked)

Besides pie crusts, sometimes I have flaky pastry dough or phyllo (filo) dough leftover from another recipe. Instead of letting the dough freeze to death crystals, I make snacks or food-on-the-go for DireMole and myself. For example, the other night I made a healthy Indian curry. But I had 3-4 servings leftover and frankly, dinner tasted “just ok”. So I used flaky pastry dough leftovers to make handheld chicken curry pies (or baked empanadas). Maybe I can trick DireMole into thinking he isn’t eating leftovers disguised in pie-form??

Baked Food Pockets from Leftovers

  1. Defrost frozen pastry or phyllo dough according to package
  2. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
  3. Take leftovers and mix in a bowl. You may need to cut leftover meat and veggies into smaller bites.
  4. Sprinkle flour on a dry surface
  5. Roll out dough
  6. Use a small bowl or cookie cutter to make pie crusts
  7. Place dough cut outs on baking sheet – make sure you have an even amount!
  8. Spoon leftover filling on top of half of the dough cut-outs
  9. Place a dough cut-out on top of filling
  10. Crimp edges and make lil’ food pockets of yummyness!
  11. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 mins. for each side of the food pockets (= 20 mins. total)

Typical Leftovers for Food Pockets:

  • Leftover fixings from fajita/taco – night
  • Leftover Thanksgiving! Turkey… cranberry sauce…gravy…stuffing and potato casseroles (sweet or regular) You name it- chuck it in!
  • Leftover chili for your own empanada creation
  • Leftover curry to make your own samosas
  • Cheese
  • Make sure you add only cooked ingredients
  • You may need a little sauce so they don’t dry out!

If those ideas don’t tempt you… just make a leftover-inspired pizza. You can pick up pre-made pizza dough at a bakery, Whole Foods, or your local grocer. I usually go for the whole wheat option. Just add sauce, cheese, leftovers, and about-to-parish produce. I usually cut a few herbs from the garden to jazz it up!

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Rummage around the kitchen for random leftovers and cut them up!
  3. Sprinkle flour on a dry surface
  4. Roll-out dough
  5. Place dough on pizza stone or cookie sheet
  6. Use a spoon to press dough and form pizza crust
  7. Bake for 5 mins.
  8. Remove dough from oven
  9. Splash dough with sauce
  10. Add cheese
  11. Add toppings while being creative to make designs with your food. (It’s like when you were a kid and your parents didn’t want you to play with your food. Now, YOU CAN!)
  12. Place back into oven for 15-20 mins. Or until it looks amazing and you are drooling at the sight of it.

 

LevelUp: +1 Point for Culinary Masterpieces, +1 Point for Re-purposing Leftovers, +1 Point for learning to Keep Dough Stocked in Freezer

This bird is NOT HAVING ANY OF IT.

Cletus feels like Mr.McScreamy today… and most days when she’s at work. Actually, I want to buy Mr.McScreamy so he can drown out my coworker’s loud, obnoxious talking about inappropriate things.

The Bloggess

We can’t get any more pets because we’re not responsible enough, so instead on weekends we go to shelters or pet stores to snuggle with the animals that no one else wants to snuggle with, like weird-looking dogs or cats who are missing limbs.  Even the weirdest animals eventually find a home but I’m not so sure about this one:

That is a parrot screaming at the top of his lungs.  There was a sign on his cage that said “See pet counselor for assistance” and I thought it was good that this bird had a counselor because it seemed like he was in real need of therapy.

I waved a clerk over and I was like, “Hey.  I think your bird is dying” and he said, “No.  He just does that for attention,” as if it was the 80,000th time he’d had to explain that.  And it probably was because a few minutes later another couple was like…

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DireMole is Not a Drug Dealer

I have led my coworkers to believe that my boyfriend, DireMole, earns a respectable living as a drug dealer. He may or may not have tats and look like a thug.  I let their imagination run wild when strange colleagues ask about my personal life. Flickr-Thug-Life-Alberto_Montoya

So, how did this come about? Well, one noisy individual inquired where I live… as if it affected him in someway. Once I told him, he said that I live in the hood. The majority of my colleagues live in suburbia and think anything in the city is the hood. You know the type… The- “oh my gosh, I just saw a homeless black person pushing around a shopping cart! Turn around, I’m not comfortable in this area… Lock the doors and roll up the windows…don’t make eye contact OR they will ask us for change!– type”. I’m rolling my eyes as he starts bantering me with his opinion on my “ghetto” community.

Eventually he asks me why I live there…AND, the skin color of my boyfriend…. Once those two questions fell out of his mouth, he was doomed. He insulted me on my living choices and expected me to share more personal information with him… Ha! Please, pass this little number around the water cooler douche-bag. Time for me to play!! I proceed with a long diatribe about how my boyfriend asked me to move in with him since he owned the streets in his part of town. I previously lived in a more- ghetto area than DireMole and there was a series of gang-related shootings outside  my apartment. Knowing that DireMole was risking his life to visit me (since he was invading another territory) we decided it would be safer for our well-being for me to move to his crib. Which I did…because he owns the streets and we could live happily ever after with JalapenoRubes and her Somalian pirate army as our security guards. (I left out the part about our dog and the Somalian pirates because that would have made it less-believable and truthfully I didn’t think about it at the time.)

I told my story with a straight face and made it believable. Shrugged it off and acted like it was just a typical thing. Now, the douche bag leaves me alone, but occasionally asks me if I know anything about the recent crime reported  in my area.

This example is similar to visiting Starbucks, they ask your name, and you can make up a name just for shits-and-giggles. Ha! I like to tell strangers my name is Violet when they ask. DireMole tells people his name is Fitz. It amuses us temporarily and it really doesn’t matter to them.

I’m Full of Shit

Most people make resolutions at New Years, but I’m not sure that’s ideal. Think about it…a new year for you is the anniversary of your birth, your birthday. So why don’t more people create resolutions on their birthday?

I have been 31 for 1 week and I have decided to do a body cleanse to start the year off fresh. In addition to cleaning my body, I’m cleaning my mind. So, this week I started expelling shit… literally and emotionally.

I have always been physically active but to counter balance I trash my body with copious amounts of alcohol. As far as my mind goes, I never take the time to reflect on my behavior because I’m wound too tight with anxiety and the compulsion to always be doing something…

This damn cleanse was poorly executed. Leading up to the pill-popping event and liquid diet (that’s all you do for 5 days- take handfuls of vitamins and drink water or organic juice with sawdust), I gorged myself on tasty beers and 3 different types of cake. Apparently after depriving yourself of solid food, coffee and booze you begin to focus on your inner well-being and reboot your systems. I knew this 5-day detox was going to be a challenge. So I sat down with Cletus and discussed a few goals that I hope to accomplish this week.  That way I can determine if  this hippy-dippy diet was worth my efforts.

Goals:

  1. Don’t cheat… no booze or coffee! Or cheese.
  2. Finish a good book
  3. Appreciate the small things
  4. Remove ungrounded and unrealistic expectations
  5. Understand the needs and feelings of others. Change the way I nurture.
  6. Lose a few lbs.
  7. Learn to control my actions since I try to control everything else. Why can’t I control myself? (Pre)
  8. Recall on previous behaviors that shame me. Why did I do that and not consider this? (Post)
  9. Take personal time and reflect. I need to be PATIENT.
  10. Feel more secure with who I am.

It’s day 2 of this horrific diet. I can honestly say I have been working on my goals and constantly peeing.

Entertaining Presentations

Due to lack of mental stimulation at work, I get bored. I love being busy and multitasking…because I am good at it and it keeps me out of trouble. In this case, you can tell that I am obviously bored and underutilized. I work in a creative capacity and surf the web regularly for various types of media to include in training materials. And, ever so often, I have to present on a topic what I think I should be doing for the company. Whatever the case may be, I’m amused by my Google searches for images.

Here’s an example… I typed “drive” into my Google search. I’m looking for an image that would be perfect to slap on a slide to illustrate my colleague’s motivation to complete a training course. What does Google give me? A bunch of images from the movie “Drive” and most of them have nothing to do with a person driving a car, as you might expect. I also get images of Google Drive, Ryan Gosling, cars and poster’s for the movie “Drive”.

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I rummaged through the images and amused myself for at least 5 mins or so. Some are meant to be funny, and others could be funny if used in the right context… I mean, no one likes to sit in meetings and listen to someone drill on-and-on about some generic topic. Wouldn’t a presentation be more engaging if it included images that were completely irrelevant? I would love to sit through a presentation with images that imply that the PPT author has poor judgement, misses their filter, doesn’t give a shit,  or has a twisted sense of humor. All the above, anyone?!?!

Now it’s your turn! I put together my favorite irrelevant “drive” images into a PPT mock-up slide for you to view. Use the Poll feature at the bottom of the page and select your Top 3 favorite irrelevant images. The winning image will be included in my PPT with the management team at my next opportunity. Take a look and share your thoughts! (For a better view, click on the image)

Capture

Capture 2

Emotional Cleansing

My mother had both her knees replaced in early June. I was expected for a “call of duty” to go home to help her get acclimated and to manage the house since my father is incapable. So as a good daughter, I requested time off from work, booked an overpriced flight, and flew home over the 4th of July to play “nanny” for my parents and elderly grandmother.

Quick overview of my dysfunctional family… My mother has an undiagnosed emotional imbalance and behaves more like a child than an adult. My father has a logical mind, but due to my mother’s poor behavior he tends to act demoralized or over-dramatic to gain attention. Both my parents are only-children, dated since high school, and have pretty sheltered experiences in the 50+ years they have been alive. They both seem miserable, they argue all the time with each other, and if something isn’t done to their liking… they react with an emotional outburst. My grandmother is almost 90 and is house-bound due to her progressive Alzheimer’s disease. She lives next door to my parents and it has always been that way…which seemed nice when I was a kid, but now I think its strange.  My mother resents my grandmother and  seems to be looking forward to the day that she doesn’t have to be burdened with my grandmother’s ongoing care and disillusioned behavior.

Therefore, going home to visit the 3 of them is emotionally taxing. On a daily basis during my visit, I called Cletus for a sanity check and called DireMole just to tell him I love him because I was scared of my emotional wellbeing. I love my parents and they have good merits… but after caring for them over a long-weekend, I needed a tranquilizer.

I  treat my parents like spoiled-brat children. I try to stay patient and maintain the peace when they have their outbursts. Since my mother is temporarily handicapped, my father has been the head-housekeeper. He has never had to regularly cook, do the dishes, or laundry. Therefore, I flew home do manage the house and clean up whatever hasn’t been getting done. And what did I realize? My parents live in a self-generated screwed-up reality and that this is only the beginning of the ongoing care they will require as they age. FML… For example, my father who is a miser, refuses to run the dishwasher more than once a week. That gets a little outrageous when you consider they eat 3 meals a day at home. So what has my dad been doing with the dirty dishes in-between the weekly dishwasher run? He’s been hand-washing them, which seems almost acceptable, except it’s not. I walked in on him “hand-washing” AND apparently “hand-washing” has taken on many forms in my parent’s house. One of which includes rinsing the dishes with water, squirting them half-a-dozen times with Windex or another cleaner, and then rinsing them (AGAIN) with water. Schizzam! Clean! I was shocked and at a loss of words to witness this behavior. I walked over to my father and asked him what he was doing. He knew he was caught and gave me a weird smile. I grabbed the dish out of his hand and proceeded to run whatever I could find through the dishwasher. I realized that most of the glasses and dishes in the cabinets had a weird gleam to them…the remainder of my time home I ran the dishwasher daily.

20140708-103354-38034674.jpg

One of my old Barbie’s was found hanging in a closet and it seemed symbolic.

Did other upsetting events occur over the weekend? Yes! Of course! How about the 4th of July when my mother made my grandmother cry and told her she couldn’t come over to eat dinner with us? This is after I went out and bought the groceries and spent the rest of the day cooking a nice meal for the 4th celebration… Or how about the time I forgot to switch the nozzle head in the shower and my mother apparently “scorched” herself with hot water? I’m not sure how these two are related, but apparently they are when you live in a psych ward for 4 days. Or how about my parent’s daily arguments that included my mother slamming doors to add more dramatic effect to the irrational circumstances? I felt like I had been there for a week after one night. The last morning I was there, my parents took me to the local diner for breakfast before they dropped me off at the airport. Instead of reminiscing on all the exciting experiences from the weekend knitting-handbasket-going-to-hell-someecards(most of the highlights I mentioned above excluding an ill-fated early birthday celebration) they proceeded to discuss all their health problems. I was left with the impression that both of them are going to hell in a hand basket in a relatively fast manner.  Nothing says “Happy Birthday” like your parents telling you about your genetic health problems that are looming in the near future.

Once I got back home I felt physically and emotionally drained. The only thing I could do was lay in bed, feel sorry for myself and cry. Honestly, that was a shitty weekend. I know my parents appreciated my efforts (ie: making about 2 weeks of food, cleaning, gardening, setting up streaming on their TV, and keeping them company) but at what expense? I couldn’t get out of bed this morning to make it to work on time. The longer I sat in traffic, the more I wanted to turnaround and go home to have an emotional-cleansing day. But this time… without the Windex.

My Dog is a Pirate

Have you ever attended a leadership workshop led by a group of Somalian pirates? Honestly, I didn’t even know pirates had a workforce and leadership development initiative.  So there you go… you learn something new everyday. Ok, here’s another one… maybe, you have a pet or know of a pet who has converted to Judaism? This is also a “thing”. Recently, I watched a movie about a cat who was considering Judaism and my friend proudly owns a book on How to Raise a Jewish Dog even though she’s a Catholic. She’s just being considerate and supportive to her dog’s needs.

20140702-081844-29924474.jpgAbout a year ago, DireMole and I discovered that Jalapeno Rubes (“jalapeño” is pronounced with a heavy J- pretend you are an ignorant hick at a Mexican restaurant) is a Somalian pirate. We really don’t know how this happened but she apparently leads a pirate crew that extends across multiple states. Her crew consists of other crazies and 4-legged misfits that have a natural disposition to wreak havoc. Though she offers protection to her closest human-friends, her pirate parties are destructive to her human-friend’s property.

After she secured her captain-ship title,  she hosted an all-expenses-paid leadership 20140702-081843-29923104.jpgdevelopment workshop at Cletus’ house. “Tootles-da-Clown” led team-building exercises that included kidnapping a Somalian fisherman and posting ransom. Also, the leadership team had to pledge their loyalties to Jalapeno Rubes by eating jalapeño peppers (pronounce “jalapeño peppers” like you have some culture and education) and successfully completing re-decorating missions to Cletus’ home. For example, Suge Knight pronounced her loyalty to Jalapeno Rubes and the pirate crew by eating not 1, but 2 jalapeño peppers. She was later promoted to Chief Interrogator, proof is in the pictures.

After the weekend retreat, Cletus’ house was re-decorated with new artwork hanging on the walls, 20140702-081840-29920540.jpgcreepy clowns hiding in cabinets, holiday reindeer lighting u20140702-081838-29918528.jpgp the rooms, glitter sparkling down from the ceiling fans, and other bizarre trinkets strategically placed around the home. Jala had no plans to put Cletus’ house back to the way she found it. In fact, Jala was proud of her leadership team’s accomplishments and wanted to show the hard work that the team put into the home makeover.  She was very hopeful that Cletus would appreciate their efforts.

Except there were lots of problems in Jala’s plan…Cletus hates creepy clowns and her husband hates turning on the ceiling fan to get doused in glitter. Also, it turns out that they weren’t excited to find 8 dead goldfish in their bathtub. Jalapeno Rubes didn’t realize she was supposed to treat the water. Rubes had good intentions… she supplied Cletus with a year supply of fish food.

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Jalapeno Rubes checking on her goldfish installment.

The Welcoming Committee hanging in the garage with a note of demands.

The Welcoming Committee hanging in the garage with a note of demands.

Moral of the story, Jalapeno Rubes is not responsible  as a pet-goldfish owner but she makes a fabulous pirate captain. On another note, DireMole and SillyGoose are not to be trusted when you expect them to house- and pet- sit. A year later, Cletus and her husband have kept most of the decorations in their original place and have invited DireMole and SillyGoose to dog-sit again. What does that say about them?

Now you know the beginning of the “PirateGoat”. I haven’t come across any self-help books on “piratery” or how to successfully raise a pirate pet,  but I support my  fur-baby’s decision to “come out” as a pirate. It suits her well.