Cheap eats

Work is settling, but end-of-month is always a bit harried. I’ll interrupt the insanity with a recipe I made last night which is adapted from one at The Simple Dollar which was adapted from something on NPR. I aimed between their recipes because, come on, you shouldn’t sub garlic powder for real garlic! I even tried their use of bread to thicken the stew but either the execution or the idea was poor. Too much oil (I even used less than they called for) + bread = soggy oily bread (and then oily soup), not a thick paste. Here’s my recommended revision:

Spiced Chickpea Spinach Stew

2 cans chickpeas (I drained/rinsed ’em)
6 cloves garlic, minced or whatever size you like
Olive oil
1 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 pound spinach, washed and cleaned
splash(es) of acidic something (lemon juice etc)
Salt and pepper, honey to taste
Cornstarch for thickening

Bring the chickpeas to a boil in a soup pot of water and/or broth (enough to cover what you’re cooking; I used up some old vegetable broth and added water to make up the rest). Add in the spinach and boil for a few minutes, then simmer at medium heat.

Meanwhile, saute the garlic in oil, adding in the spices and cooking until fragrant and thick but not burnt. {stop to enjoy the smell!} Add spice mixture to the pot of chickpeas/spinach. Continue medium/high heat and add enough lemon juice and honey to suit your taste, as well as salt and pepper. Thicken with cornstarch (bringing back to a boil for a bit helps). Serve with good, crusty bread or over rice or noodles.

This has strong flavor (not hot) and I swear it tasted like a beef-broth based soup. Check out the source links for info on browning the bread and mashing it with the garlic into a paste which then goes in the soup, which sounds great but I just couldn’t get it to work well. Easy meal! You can get lots of flavor from the spices and save yourself a high salt content as a result.

Chickpeas are so versatile. They’re one of my go-to foods.

Swamped

Holy moly I have a lot of work to do this week. How come everyone else went on vacation?

Nicole and I will have to do more study halls. It’s easier to focus on working from home when someone else suffers with ya.

Thanks for informing me that my mailbox is over its size limit

Several years ago we discovered a reasonable way to manage work and stay caught up was to be ‘in the window.’ Our email has to fit on one screen in our mail program. The last time I was in the window was about three and a half years ago. I’m also at 172% of my allotted email space in the system. Go me!

Someone egged our house this weekend. It was about 90 degrees so it pretty much baked right to the porch. Fun neighborhood! I can’t help but think it has something to do with the punk kid next door. Usually his Rott jumps the fence and tears up our trash but unless the dog grew thumbs, someone else has it out for us. I was mad the other day that they let the dog (I assume it was theirs–high probability given the number of times I’ve seen him standing in our yard) leave a steaming pile in our front yard and they sat on the porch and did nothing about it. So I mowed over it and they had to smell it. Eggs may be payback?

Just got a ‘good job’ email from my manager to my boss. At least someone notices I’m trying to get a few things done. And today was nacho bar!

www.nataliedee.com
www.nataliedee.com

I need a work blog

I'm leaving work to go home and check work email

I need a work-only blog or maybe Corporate Facebook where I can rant about the crap I put up with at my job. It’s a tough week and the stress spills over to personal life, yet I can’t really discuss details about work nor do I really want to talk about why my life sucks because it just sounds like whining even if it feels real. Let’s just say sometimes I want to brain* people.

*My mom used to say that but I don’t think I ever have: To smash the skull of; Slang: to hit or bang (someone) on the head.

The list

I struggle constantly with The List running through my head: all the crap I should do. I keep written lists sometimes and then got excited when Google came up with a notes-tracking application, except my stupid work computer has an old browser which I cannot upgrade and therefore I can’t use that application except at home (nor see much flash, nor load a lot of pages, nor get the computer going in less than six minutes–but that’s more a RAM problem I think).

So I signed up for Evernote, but so far haven’t really done much with it. I would rather have a quick link from my Gmail. Is there some other application that would be better? Actually I think once I (probably) get that iPhone I’ll solve my always-available-paperless-to-do-list problem quickly, perhaps then with Evernote.

Anyway my ambitious self thinks I should do all this crap. And in the late afternoon when I want to leave work but have more work to do, I keep thinking how much stuff I’ll do when I get home. By the time I get home I’m just tired and cranky and downright lazy. I need to figure out what legal drug could get me zippy and productive in the evening but still allow me to sleep! Or something. I will say melatonin before bed has been helpful to regulate my sleep more. I get sleepy faster and it’s a whole lot easier to get out of bed in the morning–maybe that’s the miracle that will ultimately get more things off my List!

A sampling so I can feel accountable:

bond Arliss and Waldo somebody (Waldo was adopted!)
finish reorganizing and cleaning bunny room
clean pig cage
scrape brick David did it!
change Jetta headlight AGAIN
clean car
get grids, get and plant hostas from Dawn
paint front porch trim
repot mint plants
mulching
medicate Vegas (re-vet Vegas’ sneeze? and Harrison’s limp? pigs need vetting too)
more dog walking, cycling, and running
haircut
meal planning
more cooking/less eating out
pick up rain barrel at KIB
call cable company to yell about the latest price hike
iPhone purchase
TV shopping
path forward: Tivo vs DVR/other source
refill Casper’s meds
update Casper’s microchip
rehab front porch mess
canoeing
iTunes from old computer
finish video edit
desk cleanoff
laundry room reorg
de-fridge the basement
continue decluttering at home
ditch financial adviser/meet w/new one
mail passport renewal
respond to old email
send Father’s Day gift to Dad
organize recipes (still looking for advice on that) I just went with a binder with tabs for now. My elegant electronic version will have to wait
go through clothes for Goodwill
dust/vacuum hooray for paying a friend to clean!

I noticed a couple of these were still there from the list I made last year

There’s an equally long list at work, one which stresses me even more.

Earthlink update! Remember how my email stopped working in December and they were able to hang up on me but not fix the problem? This week I got an overdue bill and they threatened collections! LOL. No worries, all resolved now. And I’m happy to report they never actually got a dime from me. I hope I wasted their server space and CSR time. Navigating their phone tree was enough to make me furious all over again.

Tour de Cure: I made it

tdc09ds

tdc09cs

tdc09bs

tdc09as

adabikes

EDIT: A couple more pics showed up from work. Donations can still be made for the American Diabetes Association through this event until July 13!

I rode with my friend/coworker Brian on the 50k route, but with the hundred-plus Lilly riders we were never far from another coworker. My odometer read 39.5 miles when we got done! That’s the longest I’ve ever ridden. What’s odd is last Tuesday I ran a couple miles at lunch (more like jogged and rested intermittently) and felt terrible and sore for days, but I don’t feel ANYTHING after all that cycling. I slept a lot that evening but I was short on sleep that week anyway. I guess I’m cut out for that kind of exercise. Cycling is way more fun than running, that’s for sure. Maybe I only like sports with expensive apparatus (like rowing).

There were helpful stops along the way with snacks and water and Powerade and bike mechanics. Other than a drink and a few peanuts, I didn’t feel like I needed much. I guess I did have one of those nasty gel pack things when we started so that probably helped.

Anyway, the forecast had been terrible and then it turned out to be a perfect day! I’m really glad I did it and thanks to Dad and Mymsie for their donations. Lots of $$ raised for the American Diabetes Association!

I took some video but I’m still learning my editing software. Meanwhile (video below) another person caught us at ~3:30 (I’m on left with the blinking light, and the still has caught us in the view I keep getting). The video gives a sense of the massive start and riding around the track.

Next event: NITE ride? We can finally use some of the glowstick pile…

Shall I become an iPhone adoptee?

I have AT&T cell service. I actually like it, or rather, I have no problems with it and it’s pretty cheap since I don’t have many minutes or services, I get a discount from work, and I have tons of rollover minutes. I didn’t like Verizon much but that was several years ago so I don’t really have recent data. David likes Sprint. All I know is I HATE my cable provider (Brighthouse) and I’m about ready to unplug the TVs.

Also I just sold my house and made my last car payment so I have a little more cash around.

Ok, so there’s a new iPhone coming out and it’s really not that expensive since I can do an upgrade, plus the older models are pretty cheap now. I’ve been thinking my next phone would be an iPhone or Blackberry or equivalent, mostly because dang it I need to check the weather and maps and stuff when I’m out and about. I turned off the internet abilities on my current cell phone because the stupid button was too easy to press accidentally and I kept getting charged when I didn’t even get online. And of course it’s hard to surf on a more traditional cell phone (even David’s smartphone is a PITA since there’s no touchscreen and no trackball). What’s kind of dumb is that I bought my phone based on cnet.com reviews because it’s so good at mp3s and was overall highly rated on its features, but I haven’t played a single song on it nor do I do anything but make calls and take pictures!

I want to take pictures and send them to Facebook or my blog (right now I have to remove the battery and put the microSD card in an adapter and all that crap so anything will be better…but to be fair I never learned how I could Bluetooth it), check email and random stuff online, and I guess I should probably start texting. I can see how it would be convenient. I also know the next rate plan will be much more expensive, and I’m free to do whatever since I’m out of contract right now. But is there another product that is just as good? Should I wait until my phone really dies? I guess as long as I like it and I don’t feel like I got hosed I’ll be happy on an iPhone like anyone else.

My phone is a little over two years old and is starting to turn itself off randomly. I can deal with it, but with the iPhone release and some online deals, I’m thinking I might switch sooner. My friends with iPhones love them and the apps seem really cool, but alas I haven’t been keeping up with the hype so I don’t know what size phone to get (I don’t think I’ll be storing much data, but are there other considerations?), what the actual charges are going to be for a data plan (interestingly hard to get that info from AT&T’s site), how much apps are and what that means for using my satellite radio with it, what ‘unlocked’ really means and should I care, if I can use a cashback deal and how that works since I’m already a customer, can I buy it online in the first place, will I be able to dial one-handed in the car w/o looking at the phone (best part of having actual number buttons, right? but I think it does voice recognition now), can I use my Bluetooth headpiece with it, and what pitfalls to avoid in general. I know better than to wander into a store and just sign up without learning a few things online first.

So basically: is there a catch-up site where I can read a FAQ and learn what I need to know about all that is iPhone? Otherwise I’m calling Carlton. 🙂

Tour de Cure is next Saturday!

I’ve signed up to participate in the Tour de Cure next Saturday, June 13. What’s that? Well, hundreds of cyclists ride their bikes around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and on the streets of Indy to raise funds for diabetes care in Indiana. It’s a cool event (or looks to be anyway!) and this is my first time participating. I signed up for the 50k ride and, well, I’ve never gone that far before!

Fortunately this is a ride, not a race, and I think I can make it. But donations are needed! My team (Lilly) is trying to raise $100,000 and we’re a long way from that with less than a week to go. My own minimum sponsorship hasn’t been met yet either! I’m shy about asking for donations but appreciative of any help anyone is willing to give. The online donation process is very easy (link below), or you can send me a check if you prefer and I can make sure it gets applied (just let me know it’s coming so I record it in time). Lilly folks are eligible for gift matching by the company if you make a $25 minimum donation. Just let me know if you need info!

My Tour de Cure page (snoop, donate here, learn more!)

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My ride… hopefully I’ll finally get a decent picture on it at this event!

Please help support the Tour de Cure!

Goodbye, Joey

My sweet Jojo is gone.

I stopped home from work at lunch on Friday, which is very unusual, but I needed to medicate the sniffly bun Vegas and get my bike for an after-work ride on a beautiful day. But Joey was hunched in the corner behind the litterbox, and that’s not good. He tried to eat when I gave him something tantalizing but gave up immediately. He also had some yellowish drool under his chin. So, off to the vet for a dropoff, where we learned through exam and xrays that he had a lot of pus in his right ear and the whole bulla on that side was opaque–meaning massive ear infection. We still didn’t have a reason for the excessive saliva but sent the infection out for culture and planned to start antibiotics as soon as possible and adjust them if culture results indicated another medicine.

Fortunately with fluids and super pain meds he perked up and was eating well and still pooping, two key indicators of bunny emergency, but the day was already long and I wanted him to see the vet again in the morning, so he spent the night at the clinic. Dr. Z said he kept eating overnight and while pretty quiet in the cage, when she let him hop around her office he explored and did well. But then he developed a head tilt (not odd with ear infection, but he tilted the wrong way), had a fever, and stuck his left rear leg out at an odd angle.

I took him home on Saturday morning and he never did eat or stand up again. I gave him his meds from the compounding pharmacy and figured he should start to do better in 24 hours if the abx were right. But he just got weaker and could only drag himself around a bit. Mostly he sat very still.

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I took this picture intending to ask for advice online as to the odd angles he displayed, and why he tilted the wrong way, but it turned out to be my last picture of him. He splayed more as the day went on, perhaps just to prop himself.

After I got back from more errands to get meds for dizziness and a potential tilt-causing nervous system parasite, I put his bonded pal Arliss in his pen for a few hours and he watched her. I believe having a bunny friend is important for quality of life, and at times of illness can be a boost to healing. Joey didn’t heal, but he did try to drag himself over to her right before he passed. I was with him, about to try to serve some liquified food, and just trying to help him get his legs under him was enough to send him away.

Arliss stomped her feet when I put her back in her cage.

joeyarliss1108

They’d only been bonded about six months, although I had adopted him a long time ago to be her friend after her first pal died and she mourned such that she refused to eat. In the meantime Joey was bonded with sweet Annabelle, also no longer with us. I am happy that Arliss and Joey and Annabelle, who had all lost previous companions, were able to live with another bunny again, and now I’m working to find Arliss yet another friend. She’s still a bit of a black widow though!

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Joey was very sweet, and just a month shy of his seventh birthday. We know pretty much his entire history, rather unusual in rescue. I checked the organization database and found out he was bunny #2 (we’re on #442 now!) and here is his original plea for adoption:

Joey and his 4 siblings were an unintended litter surrendered to a shelter. Their time ran out the minute their paws hit the door!

Joey is the littlest guy in the group, somewhat reserved and very friendly. Joey is a pretty nosey guy, he always wants to see what everybunny (and his foster mom) are up to.

Joey is an incredibly, incredibly sweet little guy that actively seeks out cuddle sessions. Joey is a rare bunny, he likes to be cradled like a baby by his foster mom while getting head rubs.

Can you provide Joey a forever home where he is wanted and will be cherished?
There are even baby pictures at the link.

I’m glad he lived a happy life even if it was a bit short and we’re sad around the bunny room right now. I’m hoping necropsy will teach me a little more that will help another bunny in the future. Meanwhile, I’m already fostering Waldo, another middle-aged bunny who lost a mate, and perhaps he and Arliss can be friends. He stomped his feet right back at her so it seems promising.

ETA: Necropsy didn’t really find anything else. Best guess is e.c. or (I think more likely) septic from the ear infection.