Friday, February 26, 2010

A Lesson in Canadian Culinary Creations

What with all the Olympic coverage in the news, in the past 24 hours I have seen two references to poutine.  It got me wondering...what the heck is poutine?  I went to wikipedia to find out.

Now is a good time to admit that if I come upon a word I do not know while reading a book, I keep reading.  I can often figure it out in context, and can't be bothered to stop reading the book.  This explains my sub-par SAT verbal score in high school.  If I encounter it twice, I find out what it means.  Hence my poutine research.

Poutine, which originated in Quebec, is a essentially a diner-type snack consisting of French fries, fresh cheese curd, and brown gravy.  Now, I enjoy cottage cheese more than your average Joe, but I am grossed out by the idea of this snack.  French fries?  Good.  Cottage cheese?  Good.  Brown gravy?  Eh, maybe on pot roast.  But combining them all?!  Who thought that would be a good idea?  It looks kind of gross to me.  I suppose it's just a variation of our own cheese fries with shredded cheddar, bacon bits, sour cream, etc.  and yet I have no desire to taste this creation.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I Pulled the Trigger!

I finally did it; I changed the name of my blog!  I am (temporarily at least) Finejulery.  It better matches my URL and is a little bit clever.  But I'm not sure I like it yet....  Rest assured, though the name has changed, you're still in the right place.  I'm looking for a new background but they're all pretty atrocious.  One change at a time...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Auditory Amusements

"I love twittering.  Just think if they'd had it in the old days.  Amelia Earhart: Where the hell am I?"
-Joan Rivers

I know she's a cuckoo bird, but you've got to love Joan Rivers and her sound bytes

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Thwarted by a Cockroach

While the whole country has been in a deep freeze, Florida is sort of playing along. I give it a B- for effort, as the heat runs at times, and I sleep in flannel pants. Also, it's the 7th coldest winter on record, which means the lows are in the 30s at night. This should, theoretically, KILL all creepy crawlies outside. I have not seen lizards in awhile, nor have I seen many bugs. There was a mosquito in the car last Saturday, but that had to be a coincidence. Due to the current weather conditions, I have backed off the cockroach offensive a little bit. It's been a couple months since one got inside, the pest control man comes to spray, etc.

So imagine my surprise (horror!) when, at 6:30 this morning, up above the kitchen archway into the dining room I saw.... a cucaracha. A big juicy one. We have ten foot ceilings, and this guy was at least 8 feet off the ground. In other words, out of my reach. If I had been super brave (negative) I would have grabbed the step stool and climbed up and smashed it with a shoe. But a few months ago Michael tried to kill a high on the wall cockroach and it flew at my face, so I was understandably gun-shy.

Since I was not super brave, I decided to be super resourceful. I grabbed the broom and tried to whack the bug off the wall. Theoretically it would either die smashed on the wall or fall to the floor and I would step on it with a shoe. This was not a good idea for two reasons:
1) I missed the bug
2) The broom hit the doorway into the dining room and a big chunk of drywall fell out of the wall
At that point I went upstairs to tell Michael of my insect issue, and to tell him to be ready to tag-team the pest when he got downstairs. Well, of course, when I got back to the kitchen, the bug was gone. I have no clue where he went, but I am on high alert. I open the dishwasher slowly, am not walking around without shoes, have a heavy shoe at the ready to squash it, etc.

Meanwhile, this afternoon I spackled my wall and have applied the dining room paint color (red clay) to the bottom part of the doorway. Once that dries I will apply the kitchen paint color (sand) to the top part. All this work for a damn bug.

Friday, February 12, 2010

What rhymes with Olympics?

I can't think of anything. I think it's like "orange" and there is nothing that comes close. Anyway, while most of the country is getting eleventy billion* inches of snow to help them get in the winter games spirit, Florida is getting enough rain to strangle a frog** Good news is, this gave me opportune time to read --cover to cover-- the Sports Illustrated Olympics issue! (And also, evidently, post an anticipatory entry before Pannie! Who knew?!) The Olympic preview arrived last week, but I'm slow. In fact, the SI Swimsuit edition came yesterday, and I haven't opened it to see the gorgeous thin women and their swimsuits and body paint. Gee I wonder why. Probably because in recent days I have been eating frosting out of the container with a spoon. Seriously, I do that. I will 'read' the swimsuit edition, I always do. If only to motivate myself to throw the damn frosting in the trash.

What I have learned from the Olympic issue of the magazine is as follows:
  • Skier Lindsey Vonn is kick-ass [and I hope her leg is ok]
  • [Speedskater, in case you live under a rock] Apolo Anton Ohno is kick-ass***
  • Speedskater Shani Davis seems to have some issues
  • I am much too afraid to attempt any of Shaun White's snowboarding tricks
  • Winter athletes have the coolest hats, ever! I shall have to get some when we move to NY
  • There is a skier from GHANA! Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong is a former safari guide, which I think is awesome.
  • Bob Costas is hosting the Olympic opening ceremonies (AGAIN) and he is a fool who will probably say three more foolish things than Matt Lauer this evening***

*TM Pannie
**TM my dad
***To be fair, I knew these things before reading SI today

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Palmolive: Not just for dishes

Here's a fun way to start a blog entry: I HATE LOW FLOW TOILETS! (and happen to have 4 in my house) If you use more than 2 squares of toilet paper, which I do, they malfunction. I understand that low flow is supposed to be more efficient and use less water. But if you have to flush three times to get 5 squares of TP to disappear, you have officially not saved a drop of water.

Sadly, the typical three flush remedy did not work on this particular situation. I have no idea why not; it always has in the past. So I tried a plunger, which kind of worked because water went down sloooowly but then it didn't fill up correctly. I am a google person, so I googled my problem, and guess what came up? "Boiling water and dish soap" SAY WHAT?!

I figured since the toilet was already not functional, what did I have to lose? I laughed at myself, grabbed the dish soap and put the tea kettle on. I had never squirted dish soap into any vessel but a sink prior to this morning, and I'm guessing neither have any readers. Nor had I ever used the tea kettle in the bathroom. What can I say, it was a day of firsts. Maybe I'll learn to drive stick shift this afternoon! Wire a house! Speak Japanese! Sorry. Anyway, I poured in the soap and the boiling water and let me tell you.... this crazy remedy worked. It also made a ton of soap bubbles in the commode, which would probably entertain the Sesame Street crowd. But I am telling you, it works, and you'll laugh all the while. Laughing is always helpful in frustrating situations, don't you think?

Stay tuned for tomorrow's exciting entry, how to remove soap scum from your shower door! (kidding)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

If you like pina coladas, and gettin' caught in the rain.... would have loved the past 36 hours of my life. Not because of the pina colada bit. No, that would be too easy. I have gotten caught in the rain TWICE since yesterday morning.

Incident #1, Monday 10:30 am
I tend to do grocery runs on Monday, and yesterday was no different. After I ran and did my OCD strength training, I thought it best to shower before subjecting myself to the cashiers at Publix. I showered, dried and styled my hair. [Now would be a good time to note that I was wearing a gray tank under a white shirt, yoga pants, and flip flops] Grabbed the car keys, noticed the dark clouds above the house, grabbed umbrella just in case (also thought umbrella in car would delay rain). Thought "I hope the rain holds off until I'm back" and CUE DOWNPOUR! No joke. Walking in rain is not a big deal, so I went into the store with my trusty umbrella and did my shopping. I dawdled just slightly, hoping the rain would end. Yeah, not so much. Walked outside, downpour continued. Have you ever tried to load groceries into a car holding an umbrella? It doesn't work. I was saturated. My white shirt stuck to me like glue, my feet were soaked, and so was the bottom inch of my pants. And my thighs too, since the rain was coming down SIDEWAYS!

Oh but the fun did not end in the parking lot. You see, we do not have an attached garage in our lovely home. I park in the driveway, which is behind the pool. To enter the house, I must exit the car (duh), open the pool fence, walk along the deck, and unlock the back door. This is not usually a big deal. Add an umbrella, it's kind of amusing. Add groceries, and you can't do it. Two hands cannot hold an umbrella, groceries, and open a gate and unlock a door. The umbrella was the only non-essential. (My mother would argue this point, saying I could leave the food in the car and come back later. But I had frozen stuff and this is Florida and it was kind of warm. ) I grabbed my groceries and made a run for it. My goodness. When I got inside, I was soaked to the bone. My clothes were dripping. I had to change into a dry outfit before I could even unpack the groceries. And my newly dried and styled hair? Looked like TRASH! It was hilarious.

Incident #2, Tuesday 8:20 am
The horrific downpour of yesterday had ceased overnight, but more showers were forecast. Since the skies didn't look too bad at 7:30 I headed out for my run. I did a short loop so as to not tempt fate. I stopped in the club house for my usual water and brief chat. Noticed the skies getting dark, then darker, then purpley gray. "Marla, I should probably go... it's going to rain on me" Marla, forever the optimist, said the weather report said we had 15 minutes. Excellent! I walked out the door, and was less than 2 minutes down the sidewalk when CUE DOWNPOUR! Again. Dammit. Did I have an umbrella? No! Was I holding my not waterproof iPod? YES! I started to sprint, but then realized I was still a mile from home and it would make no difference. So I laughed out loud and continued to get soaked. Wouldn't you know, less than 5 minutes later, it slowed to a weak drizzle. (Note to self: wait it out in clubhouse next time) By the time I got home, the rain had stopped. But once again, I was saturated. All clothing was wet, my shoes had water in them that gushed out every time I took a step, and my ponytail was dripping. For the 2nd time in less than 24 hours, I had to go upstairs and change my clothes before I could do any other activities. (in this case, my OCD strength training)

What is UP with this nonsense? I keep hearing about el Nino creating excessive moisture all across the country right now. You know what? El Nino can suck it as far as I'm concerned.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sees Yous in Choich

A life-long Catholic who attended church weekly up till the age of 18 (college = no regular church for me!) I started going to church in Florida about a year ago, as part of our Catholic marriage preparation requirement. The Catholics are all about marriage, but they do throw in some obstacles. Not that going to church is an obstacle- I'm talking about the Pre-cana, the FOCCUS, etc. etc. But anyway, I discovered there was in fact a Catholic congregation in the adjacent town of Celebration, which was perfect for fulfilling this requirement. One problem: there was no actual church in town. Where the heck did they meet?! Answer: The high school cafeteria. No joke. It was interesting, but actually worked pretty well. I tried to find pictures online but there were none posted on the website. Anyway, the parish has been raising money for quite some time so they could build a new church. Coincidentally, the new church was completed in mid December, which allowed Christmas to be celebrated in a church, not a high school.

In my opinion, the coolest thing about a new church is that there is also a Rite of Dedication performed. Isn't that great? The Catholic church has sacraments and Rites of Dedication and all sorts of fun things. And how often do you have a brand new church built? Not very. So I attended the dedication a couple weeks ago and it was absolutely beautiful. The Bishop of Orlando was there (and said Mass, in fact), and many priests in the Diocese of Orlando were also present. There were lots of fancy robes and of course, the Bishop's miter (aka awesome hat). The Mass started out like any other, with the Introductory Rites and the Liturgy of the Word, but after the Homily the fun began. First of all, there was a string quartet, which is always a good sign. And then we actually dedicated the church. This involved the Litany of the Saints in which you ask almost every Saint that ever existed to "Pray for us" and let me tell you, there are LOTS of saints and therefore much praying going on. I admit that I did not know all the names recited were saints, but I did recognize a few omissions, namely Margaret. (TRIVIA: Why do I know Margaret was a saint? Because my sister chose it for her confirmation name) But for me, the coolest part was the Anointing, Incensation, and Lighting of the Altar and Church. The Bishop rubbed Holy oil on the altar, but other priests anointed other surfaces, like candles and statues and other items in church. All the while, beautiful music was being created. The incensation was similar, in which all surfaces of the church had incense swept over them. Unfortunately, those sitting in the pews were also incensed, which caused a lot of coughing and carrying on among the congregation. I'm certain my mother would have had to leave.

I must confess, when we started Mass at 5 PM on Saturday, I wondered why the heck it was so dark. No candles or lights or anything, which is atypical for sure. Not until we got to "Lighting of the Altar and Church" did it register in my poor little brain. Despite sitting quite close to the front, being near sighted hampered my vision for much of the dedication portion, and kept me questioning the extreme darkness. Luckily, once we got to the "Let there be Light" part, I was home free. It was actually quite dramatic and lovely. All the candles were lit in an otherwise dark church, and then the altar lights came on and people brought out beautiful floral arrangements. It was almost like we were saying "OK, it's not just a building anymore. It's a house of worship" which was a neat moment.

Here is the view from the outside, on a typically sunny Florida day