Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Monday, February 26, 2007
Friday, February 23, 2007
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Some days, I just need chocolate more than others. I won't go into the reasons why, other than to say if I could, I would get rid of the reason because I'm never going to have children. Today, the craving for chocolate has overtaken me. So, today's Thursday Thirteen is all about chocolate. The first 6 are varieties that are currently on my desk, thanks to the basket of candy I keep handy (I don't really eat that much - but I get a lot of visitors at my desk, because everyone knows I have a candy basket). The next seven are what I wish were on my desk.
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4. Amy (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Friday, February 16, 2007
What I didn't realize is how many problems this company has had with food safety in the past 4 1/2 to 5 years. This is all shamelessly pulled from Kate at Accidental Hedonist; you might want to check it out, as she's got far more interesting commentary than I do.
- July, 2002 - ConAgra Foods Inc. recalled 19 million pounds of ground beef and beef products nationwide after at least 16 people became ill with E. coli bacteria-related diseases from eating meat packaged at the company's Colorado plant.
- December, 2002 - ConAgra voluntarily recalls approximately 36,000 pounds of fully-cooked, frozen chicken products that may be contaminated with plastic.
- June, 2003- ConAgra Poultry is recalling 129,000 pounds of chicken due to fears that a number of products may contain glass.
- December, 2005- Almost 3,000,000 pounds of 2.6-ounce packages of Armour Lunch Makers Cracker Crunchers made with ham, bologna, turkey, and chicken are recalled when it is discovered they may be contaminated with listeria. Conagra owns these brands.
- February, 2007 - That's right, just this past Tuesday ConAgra recalled more than 400,000 pounds of pasta and meatball meals that may have been underprocessed.
- February, 2007 - Conagra recalls peanut butter that contains salmonella.
I wonder how many of their products I have in my house right now? If a politician made this many career mistakes, he'd never get off the front pages of the newspaper, and people would never stop talking about him. But a food company? oh well...there's more interesting stuff to worry about. Besides the PB, I only remember hearing about maybe one of the above things. Granted - in 2002 I was still in college and probably didn't buy a whole bunch of ground beef. Or worry about much more than my job and which person would be hosting Friday's party. But still...this is NOT a good track record.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Hubby, StepSon and I are headed to London 4 weeks from tomorrow. So you know we've been planning up a storm lately to decide what we're going to do. Here are the thirteen things I'm most looking foward to in Merry Ol' England:
1.) British Museum - so much to see, that I know I won't see it all.
2.) Westminister - is it weird that hubby and I seem to like to go visit dead people? The first thing we did in Paris was visit the Cemetery of Père Lachaise, where we spent too much time looking at graves, mausoleums and head stones. And we finished off the trip with a visit to the Pantheon to see the graves of Voltaire and Rousseau (among others).
3.) Portrait Gallery - because if we can't visit dead people's graves, at least we can look at their pictures.
4.) Food. This should have been number one, but I'm too lazy to rearrange the order. The absolute best part of visiting other places is the food. I've been told the Indian restaurants are unbelievable, and the Chinese a close second. Hubby is trying to convince me there's no such thing as a Mexican restaurant in London - but I've made him promise that if we find one, he has to eat in it. I'll be doing research on that shortly.
5.) The Tempest staring Patrick Stewart. Do I really need to say more about this? I squeeled as I hit "purchase" on the website for these tickets. Then squeeled again when I got the confirmation email. I will TRY not to squeel at the actual performance. No promises.
6.) Men with sexy British accents, any variety will suffice. So many different accents...each sexy in their own way. Yum. (sidenote: my hubby thinks he can do a sexy british accent. He can't. It just makes me giggle.)
7.) Harrods. Does this need any explanation? I think I'd better wait til the end of the trip for this one so that I don't spend all of my money on the first day.
8.) Canterbury - we're taking the train on a day trip to the town of Canterbury. More dead people to visit, since Thomas Becket was murdered here - part of a church problem a few hundred years ago that my husband and stepson will probably spend hours debating while I shop. :) And if I'm good, I'll get to climb around some more castle ruins.
9.) Riding on the Thames. not sure what the ride will consist of, or how long it will be. Hubby's been talking about some kind of trip where you ride the boat - which will be tons of fun - and then they drop you off and you walk around a bit before walking through a tunnel that goes UNDER THE RIVER. I'm still working on the courage for that part of the adventure, and he's promised that we'll get alternate transportation if the tunnel thing freaks me out too much.
10.) Going to Hastings (well, the town is actually called Battle ). This will be a second day trip, and it's a pilgrimage that my British Historian Husband has to make on every trip to the UK (or so I've been informed). This means that Stonehenge is out, but that's ok since they don't let you touch the rocks anymore.
11.) Shopping, Shopping, Shopping!
12.) Just walking around the city. Hubby lived there for a while, and he knows so much history about everything that he'll could keep us entertained for days.
13.) Buckingham Palace. Something else that needs no explanation.
So what did I forget? Let me know in the comments!
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4. ms. george
6. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Tornados and Chocolate...With a Dash of My Neurosis for Extra Fun
Last night we had a nasty storm system move through Alabama. Nasty enough to make a Southern Fundamentalist think that god might have decided that Mississippi and Alabama had failed their mission to show the rest of the country the “true way” and were now being wiped off the map. Nasty enough to make the transplants from the North think “I traded 6 inches of snowy winter-funland for THIS?” And it’s not even spring yet. They have no idea what they’re in for.
Seeing as how I work so far from home, I keep an eye on things when the atmosphere gets in its party mode. I like a shake-down and groove-out as much as the next gal…as long as I’m home, not driving at
80 75 miles an hour. And this was shaping up to be the Rave Of The Month. (mom: see the definition for Rave here. Just kidding – I know you’re “in” on our little party words!) So I left work 30 minutes earlier than I had planned (god, I LOVE my new job), and pulled in my driveway just as they were issuing the tornado warning for my little slice of southern Shelby County. I briefly thought of calling the National Weather Service to thank them for holding off on passing out the tabs of Ecstasy until I was safely at home, but I figured they had more important things to do. Maybe I’ll make them some special brownies for their next party or something. So I availed myself of the open bar, and tuned in to Mr. Spann, the life of any Tornado Party. He makes suspenders look GOOD.
The weather map looked like it always does – all red, green, orange, and yellow. Kind of like (what I imagine) looking at a Christmas tree after dropping LSD would be. They were really getting into the party (or they had sprung for the good drugs) if they were pulling out all those little flashing circles all over the map and using the free-drink code word (tornado) so much. Which meant I needed to get my trusty box of important papers and put them in the laundry room – because when my roof is ripped off, that little box that doesn’t even latch shut is going to keep my marriage certificate safe. One of the circles was moving my direction. Nothing kills a party like one of those nasty circles. They’re worse than cops at an under-age drinking party (not that I’ve ever…oh hell. Who am I kidding?)
Did I mention my hubby wasn’t home? He was at the gym. Promised me he’d call before he left, in case the weather was bad and he had to ride out the party on campus. At this point in my evening, he’s between me and the storm. Here’s a rough transcript of our call:
Him: “Hi hon---” I hear his truck running in the background and my blood pressure skyrockets
Me: “What the hell are you doing!??!!”
Him: “I’m driving home, whatchya---“
Me: “ARE YOU INSANE? THERE’S A TORNADO HEADED YOUR WAY!!”
Him: “Where is it?”
ME: “BRIERFIELD! YOU PROMISED YOU’D CALL -”
Him: I’m calling now, aren’t I?”
Me: “-BEFORE YOU LEFT! GET OFF THE ROAD! IMBECILE!”
Him: Well, if it’s in Brierfield, then I’m about 4 miles in front of it and I’ll beat it home.”
At this point, I think I blacked out. He knows the party rules: Only in small enclosed areas with no exterior walls! We don’t party while driving in this family! Safety is important in a Rave.
So, I sat there, watching the map, willing all the colors and circles to keep their nasty habits and pills and party fun away from him on the road. Of course, the wind and rain were bad enough that it took him twice as long to get home. And he called me back once:
Him: “Did you remember to check the mail, or should I do it before I run in the house?”
Me: “The WHAT?”
Him: “The mail. It’s raining, and I don’t want to get wet if you’ve already checked it.”
Me: “I NEED MORE VODKA TO DEAL WITH THIS.”
Him: “Ok, but did you check the mail?”
Me: “YES! YES! THE MAIL IS SAFE! NOW GET HOME!”
And then five minutes later, the circles and colors were passing about 10 miles to the south of us, and he was pulling in the driveway. I met him at the door. He handed me a white paper bag with “I love you” cut out of it and red tissue paper inside. He had brought me party supplies to a party he missed because he broke the cardinal rule: No partying on the road.
In the end we were fine and life moved on. The Weather People took their mind-numbing flashing colors away, and now we’re stocking up on our supplies for the next party.
And the bag that my hubby brought me had chocolate in it. I refused to open it for about 20 minutes, because I still had a lot of yelling to do and chocolate should never be given in anger. It’s too beautiful of for that. But it made coming down from the party-high much easier, and almost negated the “crash” that inevitably happens.
And lest you think I’m crazy….here’s a picture of the storm that was zeroing in on him as hubby was driving home:
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
I'm reading an article about Marine boot camp and it talks briefly about the part of their training that involves live gun fire; it's stressful for the instructors because they're responsible for making sure that it scares the bejesus out of these guys, but they also have to keep everything safe. Safety, safety safety. Then I read this sentence:
"Students who make mistakes with live rounds often will endure an immediate and very direct correction by their supervising sergeants."
I read that, and thought:Well, isn't that a nice way of saying "if anyone gets shot, you will immediatly be cussed out as the most incompetent person EVER in language that would make your mother cry, embarressing you so horribly that you will wish YOU were the one with a bullet wound."
"immediate and very direct correction".
I'll be chuckling all day over that one.
Friday, February 09, 2007
There's a report floating around out there from Consumer Reports; they did a taste test of Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Burger King and McDonald's coffees.
The funny part? The McDonalds restaurants in the northwest recently started serving Seattle's Best as their coffee.
Seattle's Best is owned by Starbucks.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
1.) The hours: I can come and go pretty much as I please, as long as I work 80 hours every pay period. There are a few rules, but this is so much better than the strict 7:30-4:30 regimen I’ve had. I had forgotten how much I loved being able to make my own hours. Does that make me less of an adult? Yes? Good.
2.) I don’t have to waste an hour on a lunch break, unless I want to. It’s never taken me an hour to eat ANY meal, which means that after 20 minutes I’m ready to go back to work. Which leads to me falling asleep while I wait for time to pass…which leads to a not-pleasant wakeup after only 30 minutes of napping. Naps are to be enjoyed and reveled in, not stolen on a lunch break.
3.) My new boss. Have I mentioned him around here yet? He doesn’t lose my emails (not that I send him many), he doesn’t need me to use small words, and he doesn’t expect me to do his job. And dear god, I don't have to explain myself everytime I crack a joke! Finally, someone who understands how marvelously humorous and witty I am! >G<
4.) Getting home before my husband. Call me old-fashioned, but I like being home when he walks in the door. For the past year and a half, he’s almost always beat me home, and was usually waiting at the door. Now it’s my turn to give the welcome-home hug.
5.) I’m home on Monday nights, so I get to cook dinner for my stepson. Sure, he actively dislikes the green things I put on his plate. And he’s not nearly as excited as I am about this – he’s been getting pizza, burgers, or something equally nutritious once a week because I wasn’t around to do the hard task of opening a can of corn.
6.) Reading material. Yes, I know that I’m not really supposed to read all of the journals that come across my desk word for word. But when an article has the word “castrating” in the title – and it’s not talking about male anatomy – sometimes you just have to read a bit to see what they’re referring to.
7.) I’m no longer part of the coffee-club drama in the front. This deserves another post entirely to itself, so I’ll only say that my absence in the coffee club is a hole in the caffeine-circle that created a vacuum. The life is being sucked out of everyone because of something that should bring nothing but joy.
8.) I get to see the sunrise every morning. So far. Yeah, you’re not supposed to be nature-watching while traveling at 75 miles an hour. But there is something about being up and awake enough to see the blacks and grays and blues turn to reds and yellows and oranges in front of your eyes. And every day it’s different.
9.) I don’t have to leave my desk to refill my coffee cup – I have an urn that I bought and fill up with a half pot of coffee, and it sits within reach of my hands at all times. It’s the first thing out of my bag when I get to my desk in the morning. And it’s already got my favorite cream in it, so all I have to do is pour until it's gone.
10.) My chocolate stash on my desk is lasting a lot longer these days. Sure, the library staff knows that I have a basket full…but the students aren’t eating it anymore.
11.) I get to play with spreadsheets. They aren’t complicated one with formulas and stuff that will make me cuss and rip hair out as I try to figure out if the “$” symbols are all in the right places (which I love to do, btw)…but that could change, if I have my way about it. Our new personnel system means we have to keep a lot more stats. And I love doing percentages.
12.) I get to learn a new software program – Microsoft Access. I’m now scheduled to begin that process in the middle of March (when I should have started the classes yesterday). It’s not a new or anything…but I love learning new stuff like that. And then I’ll drive my boss batty with it, because I know all I’ll want to do is play with all the cool features. And he’ll keep telling me “But that’s not really necessary…” And I’ll be like, “yeah, but I can DO it!” sometimes, ability outweighs necessity.
13.) I just like the new job, ok? I knew I’d like it, and I haven’t really said why in this post. But I like it even more than I thought I would. Maybe I’m just meant to do the boring and mundane on a daily basis. Because really, there’s nothing exciting about underlining the first letter of every article’s title, or putting a period after the author statement. But I’m loving every letter and period.
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I don't know if this counts as professional reading - it is about a library - but it will certainly give you yet another perspective on how things are going in Baghdad. Saad Eskander has the task of keeping the Iraq National Library & Archives open, and his diary on the British Library's website is scary, inspiring, and ... well, go read for yourself and then throw in a few more adjectives. I have to finish reading so I can get some work done.