Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Gristle and hot knives

This blog is about gristle and hot knives. It's probably mindless drivel to you, but I really don't care. I started to blog because it was a way for me to write about things and in doing so, release them from my conscience so better things could enter and take root. This is one of those blogs.

Today is at least the third day since being posted on 12/22 that I have been enticed to click onto MSN's music hot gossip section by Kat Giantis after checking my Hotmail account. It's exactly the same article and it doesn't change but I am intrigued and I can't entirely explain why. On the surface, it's about peoples lives and who they choose to be with and who makes them happy and not making music for the masses. Maybe that's what is irritating about it more than anything. It could be considered gossip if it weren't true and nobody knew, but there is it... spread all over the Internet for everyone to see.

Maybe it's the English in me and of it all or the seemingly proper way people behave improperly to get what they want out of the ones they adore, I don't know. Or maybe it's the fact that it's easier to make a succession of bad decisions because we all know humans are creatures of habit than to struggle with a choice and be able to make one good one for someone other than yourself. I think you would have to be a devoted parent with children to understand the depths of that statement.

So back to the story. It was rumored on one of those greasy entertainment television gossip shows in the U.S. that Guy Ritchie said making love to Madonna was like being with a piece of gristle. The statement itself must have been shocking enough for the producers of the show, as well as myself, to form it into this viral sound byte that has also been sticking in my head for days. I'm not a great big Madonna fan, but I do admire the woman's work ethic, so I'm sorry if she is older than I am and works out regularly to stay fit and be able to perform her grueling tour schedules in order to make money for her family. Oh the horror of it. I know men who would kill to be with a woman who cared for her own body like that. And then, I looked up the so-called link Guy is supposed to be clamoring over and it's another skinny 'richie' (See this link that explains exactly who party girl and billionaire heiress Jemina Khan nee Goldsmith is and I just don't get it. You'd think if he wanted a woman with padding, we'd hear about him getting with Adele (note her summoning the essence of Cass Elliott of the 'Mommas and the Poppas' in this photo), but she probably has more class in her big toe than to do something silly like that. Thank God.

And that is our transitional statement. Thank God. Thank God as Americans we are able to make choices for ourselves however good or bad they may be hopefully to grow from our experiences and allow better opportunities come into our lives down the road. Case in point: Martha Stewart and her current affiliation with my favorite department store; Macy's. In my quasi effort to pump up the nations economy, I went shopping last night with the hope that I could use my $10 off certificate I received for previously shopping to a certain degree at Macy's. Hence, I love Macy's... they love me and sent me this coupon to use before the end of the year. I thought about using while all of the Christmas sales were going on, but one of the stips to using said coupon was that many, many of the cool things I'd like to get with it were sale items, so I was disqualified from using it, until last night.

After a hellish drive for three and a half hours going home from work, my tummy was growling and I was road weary. I stopped into Westfield's Mainplace Mall and headed directly for the food court at level 2 and something satisifying and familiar... McDonalds. I had the #15 menu item choice... chicken mcnuggests, small fries and a small hi-c orange drink. Then, feeling somewhat renewed and fortified with high levels of fat, sodium, and sugar flowing though my veins, I headed on over to Macy's.

Now, the last time I had loaded the dishwasher at home, I examined my set of knives previously purchased at WalMart about two years ago with the brand name of Farberware. When I was growing up, it was a well respect name brand in the kitchen, but time and Chinese exports seemed to have killed that notion. The knives were cracking where the blade met the handle and collecting water internally. They were also becoming pitted and tarnished with rust that could not be removed. It was time for something new. It was time for a change. It was time to utilize that $10 coupon and buy new knives at Macy's.

Macy's housewares is on the third floor. I found my way over to the kitchen electrics and then past that display to the knives hanging on the back far wall. The display was in disarray and incomplete due to the fact that the products that had been depleted since their after Christmas sales had not been replenished yet. I was not horrified, but rather determined to find something that would work better than the ones I wanted to get rid of.

I checked out the highest priced knives I could find... Shenkles and Wustoff. I'm pretty sure I spelled those wrong, but I'm not going to correct them. I'm looking at these boxes, collections of cutlery that were over priced $200 each. Good grief. Then I poked around the display some more to find some made for Cuisinart and Martha Stewart. The Cuisinart has this wooden block that was stained and sealed and I really didn't like the look of it at all. I held the the steak knife in my hand and then looked at the construction of it. It was steel all the way through, but when I tried to bend it against the top of the display, it felt weak. Then I moved over to the Martha display of knives. They felt more substantial in your hand and would not bend as easily as the other. I liked the chunky look of the block, the thickness of the blade through the handle and the three rivets through the handle, too. And most of all the value for the money. Regularly $149, on sale for $99 and my coupon was accepted for this purchase which made the price $89 for me for Martha Stewart's 25 piece knife+block set. What a buy! I was so excited when I got home, my son and I put it together and placed it upon it's new position next to the cutting board on the left side of the microwave oven. Lovely. I'm sure if I had to, it would cut through the gristle.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sunny Days Ahead

California weather equates to hot, wet, windy and cold. For example, when the rest of the country is experiencing fall, we are all hot and windy. When it's a winter wonderland up in the north and east, we are cold and wet. That's about the gist of it and it's been that way for as long as I can remember.

You have to understand that to a California naive such as myself, anytime the temperature falls below 70, we are cold. You will still be able to find diehards wearing shorts and flip flops, but even they are complaining about the cold and the wet and how it screws up their planned outdoor activities. I mean, the beach becomes a pretty useless place on a rainy day. And don't get me started about how everyone simultaneously forgets how to drive when it rains. That is a joke in and of itself, but I digress. I think winter is just about over here in California. The worst of it ran for about two weeks when it was rainy and cold. Today is December 30th, a Tuesday, and its 72 degrees in the valley where I work. It might rain a couple more times before January '09 is gone, but without the cold like before, I can handle it.

Also, I noticed that December 21 unceremoniously passed me by this year. It's a good day to me because it marks the winter equinox; the day of the year with the shortest amount of sunlight. Every day after that until June 21st, we are on the upswing in the amount of daytime sunlight we get right on through spring. That makes me happy. That gives me something to look forward to.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Well, that's a kick

As corporate entities become concerned about their image, I know many companies perform searches on the Internet to find out what the people are talking about in regards to their products, services or actions, so be careful when you write about companies because sometimes they call you on it. Case in point - the posting below entitled "Revenge of the Beans". An executive of the company for the beans mixture I had mentioned commented on my issues with the consistency of his prepared product and my guttural reaction. As he was a kind gentleman and businessman, he left comments... suggestions for my next cooking adventure with beans that I found to be helpful. Thank you, Mr. Hurst. I only wish more companies were so considerate. Ahem... Maytag!

The Revenge of the Beans

On Sunday, I decided to kill off the rest of the Christmas ham by de-boning it as much as possible and then stewing the bone and its remains in a slurry of Hurst's 15 HamBeen soup mix. Following the instructions on the back of the bag for the traditional preperation method, it turned out great, but little did I know that after eating two yummy bowls of it in succession, would I experience 'the revenge of the beans'. I had soaked the beans for at least twelve hours in advance of the cooking as the recipe suggested with the hopes that the gas syndrome you normally experience would be cut to a minimum, which, for the most part, it was. I still had to take some multi-symptom Rolaids to function as a human for the rest of the day. No big deal. I just lounged around until the gas attack passed and felt half-way better. But what I wasn't anticipating was that two bowls of ham and bean soup I ate would turn into intestinal cement. Did I not use enough liquid? Should I have added some stock to thin it out? I'm thinking simmering it for two hours like the recipe suggested was the specific instruction that made the soup reduce it's original liquid content of two quarts to about half or one quart. Don't get my wrong - it tasted good, but next time I make this, I need to make sure it retains a more broth like consistency.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Friday, December 26, 2008

I Love Ham!

I am part German so it goes without saying that I love ham so atleast once a year we get a ham to consume during a holiday. This year, we bought a seven pound HoneyBaked Ham from our local store for Christmas. But when you're a two person household, after about the third day of eating ham, you get totally sick of it. What to do? You get creative.

Christmas dinner consisted of ham, boiled potatoes and roasted carrots. The day after Christmas was for the Denver Omelet. We also have plans to make Ham and bean soup, Hawaiian Pizza, grilled ham and cheese. I think the rest we are going to sink into the freezer.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Crazy Dream

I woke up way too early this morning, so to save my eyes from burning out of my skull later in the day, I rested them and eventually fell into a light sleep where I had this crazy dream.

I'm driving in the car on an expressway and there are other cars like it jammed up on the freeway. The car is a one seater and it's shaped like a popcorn kernel with the small part to the back and four tires. They are not called cars anymore. Now they are named PCV short for personal conveyance vehicles. Everyone travels in this popcorn kernel shaped thing on the freeways and the freeways have been modified to not crash and not stop.

O.K., so as I was in my PCV driving to I don't know where, when I was approaching a bridge to go under it. The current huge sign noting the expressway name fell off exposing the old street name for the next exit and onto the backends of a few PCVs which now created a sort of ramp. Since the PCV's don't stop A few beside me were now launched into the air and land in strange places. My PCV is launched and lands ontop of a building or on this road that is not used anymore. Then the PCV stops running. I'm stuck ontop of whatever the PCV landed on and I can't seem to figure out to get down.

While on top of wherever I landed, a man was noticed living on the road/building. He some how came to the conclusion that he was left there for a reason and not by chance and succumbed to his own reality. Now since I landed where he was and I had this PCV, this man's reality has been shattered and he's in a panic.

We make friends and talk about what happened to him and it turns out he's got a case of amnesia and can't remember how he got there but knows that he can't leave for too long or people some and take away his stuff and he has to go and find it again and build his castle? Home, whatever he calls the place he lives.

All I know is I need to get my PCV working so I can get off of wherever I'm at and get back onto the expressway so I can get to where I'm going. My problem with that is I don't have a clear way down like another ramp or a road and I'm afraid of heights.

...and that's about when my alarm goes off and I open my eyes. I don't dream all that much, I mean I'm pretty content with life and I'm a go with the flow person so not much gets me down, so to have this dream and have it be so detailed and vivid was a surprise. But maybe it's just the stress of a lot of the things building up in my brain about work and all the crap I have seen and read about the news everyday creeping in there somehow. About cars being too big and the need to develop better forms of transportations, among other things.

Cool Links

  • http://lebowskifest.com
    - a bowling for fun event with movie aficionados


  • https://medsafetyalert.iguard.org/
    - Look up drugs, their effects good and bad and their interactions online
  • Tuesday, December 23, 2008

    Old Bags

    Sunday is a good time to wake up early and take a drive, which is what I did in order to be able to deliver my Christmas gifts to my mom who lives in El Cajon. Little did I know that my intended short visit would turn into a day long shopping spree with two crazy grandmas topped off with lunch at Red Lobster.

    When my mom suggested breakfast at Pam's after I got to her house, I was less than thrilled since I was not at all hungry. I said I'd eat toast and tea, something simple and not too big. Before we got to go, the phone rang and it was my mom's BFF Rose calling to see what is going on with the shopping trip they had planned. Then all of the sudden, I was invited to join in and go to lunch with them. WTH, I thought... I've got nothing really else that needs to be done today. I volunteered to drive so that I would not have to be subjected to either of their decrepit vehicles let alone their 70-something driving skills ( I disguised it as a front door drop off benefit so they could walk less) and off my mom and I went to pick up Rose in Lakeside.

    They wanted to go to .99 Cent Store, Trader Joes, and Walmart all on the weekend before Christmas. At .99 Cent store, Rose wanted to check out the frozen foods section to see if she could find seafood. Sure enough, shark steak, ahi tuna, talapia and shrimp all were represented. They were selling Chiquitas (mini bananas), orange toned cauliflower, as well as regular in the produce section. I found Stove Top Corn Bread stuffing, a bunch of honey, and an over abundance of Ragu in the pouch of all different flavors. I had that stuff at the regular price when I got it from Ralph's with a coupon - it's good. Rose got a little lost as we were waiting in the check-out line at .99 Cent Store because she went to find some toffee or chocolate for I don't don't know what she wanted to make. She finally caught up when she needed to pay the clerk.

    Then we had to drive near the Grossmont Center in order to go to Trader Joe's. At Trader Joe's, Rose was on a quest for jalapeno bread that seemingly did not exist in December at this store. She found alternate bread she said she could use and apply her own jalapeno and cheese on foccacia. Fine, that will work. My mom is cruising the produce section buying more bananas? No mom, you bought bananas at the last store. Then she spots Persian cucumbers. I've never had them, but I like the English kind because they are supposed to be burpless, but she says the Persian kind good because they do not leave an after taste in her mouth for days (sounds like a food allergy to me). And we turn the corner and she gets marinara sauce in the can (she says it's the best) and Rose is looking for orange sauce on the other side of the aisle. By this time, I'm half way through the store and I'm thirsty and Rose is drooling over the langistina, but dreading the price. Everyone fondles the frozen shrimp in bags, but I convince at least mom not to get anything frozon because it will be sitting in a hot car dethawing while we eat lunch and we move on to the other freezer bins down the aisle. Then Rose spots Mandarin Orange chicken, and oh boy!, she's gotta have it. I turn the corner and see a refrigerator with a few remaining water bottles left for sale for .26 cents? Some crazy price. I thought I picked one that was not so frozen, but I was wrong. When we were in line and after I was through taking a cell phone call from my boyfriend outside of the store because I could hardly hear his voice with all of the commotion around me, I went back to the check out stand where my mom and Rose were and the clerk retrieved the water bottle for me. I went to open the bottle inside the store because by time I was parched and then I was douched in the forehead with ice cold water because of the pressure that has built up from the water being frozen. I went back outside to wipe the water off my leather jacket, hair, face, and glasses and stood out in the sun hoping the water would dry off some by the time the shopping fools met me on the side walk. I walked them to the car, packed up what they bought and off we went to the next stop - WalMart.

    Now, in the car, I was pre-warned that this store located in the Grossmont Center is huge like you would not believe. It's two stories tall, had three front door entrances and it doesn't even have a grocery store in it. That is huge. Rose had some pants to return, so I dropped the ladies off at the first entrance I saw with the hopes that by the time I found a parking spot, they would be pretty much though waiting in the returns line at the customer service desk. Well, I had to tour the parking lot for about 10 minutes before some nice gentleman pointed out to me that the first regular spot next to the handicapped blue parking slots was open! Woohoo! Couldn't really get much closer than that unless I parked in the firelane on the sidewalk at the side of the store. So I parked the car, and went in side. I headed for the customer service desk thinking that they would be waiting in line, but no Rose and no mom. Now I'm thinking they are shopping - it's the thing to do, or maybe Rose went to check out the pants again. So I'm scanning the store for two short slow moving ladies with a cart and one with curly red hair and I can't seem to find them anywhere. O.K., I look around the entire first floor three times and I finally give up and head for the car. As I went out of the entrance they were dropped off at, there they are waiting for me. O.K., so the crazy shopping ladies are not so crazy after all and Rose said she didn't want to stand in that huge line for a long time, so she'd do it later in the week. Cool. Then we went to lunch at Red Lobster.

    I have to tell you that I hate Red Lobster. It reminds me of McDonalds only for seafood. Not only that, but just about every freaking thing on the menu has been corrupted with butter, cheese, cream, or milk and lucky me, I am super lactose intolerant. (That should be placed upon a t-shirt for me.) And I mean super.

    The Different Levels of Being Lactose Intolerant:

    1) Gas, cramps, and bloating
    2) I feel sick, but it goes away after a while
    3) I feel sick, and I puke.
    4) I feel like I've ingested poison and I'm going to die, I have gas, cramps, and bloating, I'm breaking out in a sweat, and I puke. It takes me a day to recover before I can eat anything again.

    Level four equals super lactose intolerant for me.

    So I scan the menu with the hope that I will be all right after eating this meal and I think I find something that won't bother me too dang much on their lunch quick section - wood grilled shrimp on a skewer, rice pilaf, and steamed broccoli. Thank God. This selection rivals my fav meal when I can find it - grilled steak and steamed veggies, so I think I'll be O.K., and I was.

    And my lunch mates decided to start off the meal with a cocktail! All Right! Rose invited me to have one with them, but I declined since I was driving. And besides, I was too freaked out about my menu selection to drink anyway... I had to get through the meal!

    Rose made polite conversation and asked me what I did for a living. I told her I work as a contractor to Fannie Mae, and of course, her interest peaked and I felt all eyes within earshot of what I said now searing through my flesh. She asked me what Fannie Mae was doing about all the foreclosures. I told her Fannie Mae has about six different programs to help borrowers stay in there homes... and I explained one to her where Fannie Mae loans the money outstanding to a borrower in order to catch up with their payments, but when they go and sell the home, they have to pay the money back. And I said that was the biggest problem. People want to modify there loan or refinance their loan, but when they have no income coming in and no job prospects, there is nothing to work with and they loose their homes. I also said, I have no sympathy for those who lied to get a loan, those brokers who lied to make a loan and line their pockets with the commissions, and those who bought a home they couldn't afford and closed with an adjustable rate loan to get the lowest payment. Ignorance is no excuse for your financial hardship, but some people try to make it so.

    Anyway, after I gave her my spiel about what I thought about the real estate mess with all are living through, then the mood seemed to quiet down because the old ladies where sufficiently liquored up, fed and now tired and wanted to go home. I took Rose home first. She gave me a tour of her place (I was there before but I guess she doesn't remember) and she gave me red bell peppers to take home. Then my mom and I left for home at about 3PM after hanging up my mom's new clock that Rose got for her for Christmas. My mom gave me two kinds of loose tea and a two cup tea set.

    Friday, December 19, 2008

    FOHI 1984

    Did you sign up for the FOHI's graduating class of 1984 25th anniversary reunion info? See: http://www.fohi1984.com

    We share stories


    As humans, we share stories not only so we have something to talk about, but sometimes to impart knowledge on others so they can learn from our mistakes.

    I love my boyfriend, but sometimes he can be a bit of a knucklehead and steadfast in his ways. This behavior comes from his personal experience which I cannot fault him for because we like what we like and we like what we are familiar with and what works - we are practical people that way, but also from age. So when he felt he wasn't getting the quality medical treatment he deserved and needed, he went home to Seattle to see his doctor, a man who had treated him before for ulcers.

    When he left for WA, I believe it was his intention only to stay for a few days in order to rest, run tests at his doctors and receive a new course of treatment. But it seemed that the longer he stayed, the worse the weather got and that got me worried. By the time he was granted permission to go home, the worse winter storm in ten years had settled onto the west coast and he was stuck in it. First, his flight was cancelled. Then once he got onto a plane, he was diverted to Portland, OR because of bad weather. I guess there are worse place to be stuck in during a snow storm, like Buffalo. Eww.

    Finally, yesterday he called me to say he made it home after traveling in bad weather on the west coast for the past four days. What an ordeal. I'm a trooper when it comes to things going bad and taking it in stride, but I don't know how congenial I would have been in this situation. If it wasn't for the torrential snowfall, my co-worker and I agreed that my boyfriend could of driven back to California faster than the airlines were transporting him. I'm just happy to have him back in one piece.

    Automaker Bailout

    I'm weary of this automaker bailout. I'm weary of it because it should not be considered an automaker bailout, but really it's an effort to keep all of those employed in the industry working.

    I hope that there were provisions written into the P&P on how the automakers are allowed to use the money because I don't want to see the American public's money to sustain the industry being used on the foreign arms of these same companies that exist all over the world.

    Yes, I'm stingy like that.

    We need a little Christmas

    Work is so cold today (there was a freeze warning in Simi Valley last night and some co-workers actually had to hose off their vehicles before driving to work this morning) and so slow with nothing much to do that I have cranked up the XM internet radio in my office today and I'm playing christmas tunes until we get into the Christmas spirit and can't stand them anymore, which ever comes first.

    We ordered pizza for lunch for the staff today because it's Friday and why not..

    Wednesday, December 17, 2008

    No Justice in Atlanta Courts for Muslim Women

    Read: Ga. judge jails Muslim woman over head scarf

    If you're a Muslim woman in Atlanta, wearing your hijab prevents your access to the justice system, but it seems swearing at a bailiff will get you arrested and immediately seen before a judge. What is going on here??

    O.K., people... It's a scarf and for Muslin women it's considered a religious article of clothing. Just wand the lady's head with the metal detector, search her purse like any other person entering the court building and move on already.

    Mormons should be glad they are supposed to wear their temple garments under their clothing because they are still able to get justice.

    Tuesday, December 16, 2008

    What is up people?

    People bother me when they don't seem to be able to get with the program. I Yelp, therefore, I review. That's how it works, folks. You eat, you yelp. You drink, you yelp. You shop, you yelp. Yelpity yelp yelp yelping along the way reading other peoples reviews and seeing what is cool and useful in the world and what is a big steaming pile of dog doo to stay away from.

    So I don't understand why today of all days, I have received two requests from people to be friends on yelp and they don't even review. Why me? and why bother. To be alive takes an active participant. I know I'm not the most active person in the world, but I do yelp. Do you?

    Thursday, December 11, 2008

    Menorah Stolen at Orange Circle

    How awful for those people who enjoy celebrating their faith and the holidays in a public setting - the menorah that is normally on display at Orange Circle in the city of Orange has been stolen. Anyone with information regarding the theft of the 6 foot by 5 foot structure is asked to call 714-744-7448.

    I'm not religious, but at least I have the capacity to respect other peoples choices. I can't believe the ignorance of some people.

    Read: Stolen Menorah

    Eating

    An Associated Press writer said today that in tough times, more students feed on free lunches. I think she missed the point when she also quoted the Food Research and Action Center in Washington that said more families are signing up for free school lunches for their children as they look for ways to trim their food budgets.

    As a child who sometimes participated in the school lunch program and as a mother who did the same for her son, I know that it's not about how much is costs really, but rather the ability to feed your child. If you're not working and your child goes to school, you know that at least they will eat one meal at school and then you can provide dinner that night. It just happens to be free because you have no earned income at the time. Many times kids don't make the time or have the time to eat breakfast in the morning. Even something as simple as cold cereal, toast or oatmeal. Sometimes if the child qualifies for free lunch they can also participate in a free breakfast program, if the school provides one.

    In the 1970's when I was in elementary school, they used to cook and serve good, wholesome food in the cafeteria, but somehow, somewhere in the 1990's this practice was lost to fast food and soda. They would serve meat, vegetables and fruit every day and hardly anything was deep fried in oil. In the school district where I live now, I know that all food is prepared at one site and then trucked to be heated up at all the others as a cost cutting measure. You don't have to hire a school cook for each site if they are only cooking at one. You don't have to fire up all the equipment daily if all you're doing is turning on the warming trays in the cafeteria line. Less clean up, too.

    See: In tough times, more students feed on free lunches

    Wednesday, December 10, 2008

    Phony Bolonge

    I mean, the nerve of some people. If you have any dealings with Wilmington Trust Company, I'd watch your back. They are involved in a back handed money making scheme attempting to get shareholders to pay off bondholders. Nasty.

    Read: 8th Circuit Rejects Hedge Fund's Debt Collection Practice

    Tuesday, December 9, 2008

    John Lennon

    On Sunday, I listened to Breakfast with The Beatles radio show on 95.5 KLOS. I haven't listened in a while. I don't know why I haven't been listening more regularly, but this Sunday was the tribute show to John Lennon as he was shot dead on December 9, 1980.

    For people born after the baby boom era, the shooting of John Lennon is one of those watershed moments in your life where you remember where you were and what you were doing when it happened. My parents era had the same experience in the shootings of Martin Luther King, Jr. and President John F. Kennedy and when man landed on the moon. I was in 10th grade, sixteen years old and at home watching the news when I alerted to the senseless tragedy.

    What struck me about the radio show I was listening to over the weekend was I'm now 42 and John was killed at age 40 by a crazy man who thought his action would make an impression on actress Jodie Foster. I'm sure this is something she'd like to forget, but can't. "Imagine" what John Lennon could of accomplished in those the twenty-eight since his death... we will never know and can only speculate.

    Monday, December 8, 2008

    Good Morning Winter

    I woke up at the ass crack of dawn this morning to prepare myself for work and the long drive ahead. Little did I know that a sinus headache on the left side of my nose would annoy me all the way to work as I drove a hour and a half to Simi Valley. As I parked my car, not only was my left eyelid quivering, but also parts of my right eye were in on the dance, too. I feel like a freak with all of the nerves doing a tango on my face.

    Sunday, December 7, 2008

    Traffic

    Why oh why did it take me over four hours to get home on Friday night from work? I really would like to know the reason why all of the wackos who owned cars were on the freeway screwing it up for the rest of us.

    Friday happened to be day two of me taking my taking my co-manager to work and home (he called it 'car pooling' but seriously I don't see how I will ever allow myself to be put into the situation where he will ever return the favor) and we closed the office at the regularly scheduled time of 4:30 PM.

    First there was a school bus loaded with kids that was stopped in traffic on the 5 south in Burbank. By the time we rolled past that, the bus was off on the shoulder and the kids were well on their way on another bus, and that was over an hour.

    Then there was a hit and run over by Los Feliz before the east LA interchange. That again took over an hour to roll past. O.K., so I was on the freeway for two hours plus by the time we drove through the east LA interchange and I'm thinking I need a break from all this tension I'm feeling sitting in traffic. You know, it's one thing if the traffic keeps rolling, but entirely another for me to just be sitting motionless in a sea of cars on the road. That drive me bonkers.

    So my co-managers suggests a dinner break somewhere other than the East La hell hole I previously wrote about off of Indiana Ave. (Graffiti shrine pay toilet). Lately, I have been getting off of the freeway for a tad to not have to sit in traffic using the Washington exit off of the 710 south. I drive on Washington until it passes the 5 again, or , if the the traffic is still not moving, pass under the 5 and turn right on Telegraph Road until Lakewood Ave (Highway 19), turn right and get back onto the 5 South freeway where by that time the heavy traffic has sufficiently broken up and is moving at a decent clip of 40 MPH or more.

    So on Washington, there is this cool looking 50's style neon signage on the left next to a burger stand that I thought would be neat to explore, but he wanted to pay for dinner since he hasn't volunteered any gas money up to this point, and I'm fine with that. So thinking that that burger joint may be only cash and carry, we opt for the Jack in the Box down the street. I used to work at three different Jack in the Box restaurants right out of high school, (it was actually my first paying job), so I'm familiar with the menu and comfortable eating there. I ordered the new teriyaki chicken bowl meal that comes with the egg roll and a drink and he gets the sirloin burger which is HUGE. I'm thinking it's got to be close to 2,000 calories with the fries and a drink. It did look good though. So we ate and did a bathroom run before we got onto the road again for God knows how long.

    Well, it ended up taking another two hours on the road to get Robert home to Huntington Beach and then land in Tustin. As tempting as it was to take a road trip to anywhere since the gas prices are like $1.69 a gallon, I was so irritated by the long ass drive to get home, I didn't go anywhere in the car for the entire weekend.

    Thursday, December 4, 2008

    Ronald McDonald House Ribbon Cutting for Family Room Remodels at Mission Hospital


    Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Family Room Remodels of the Ronald McDonland House at Mission Hospital on November 17, 2008.

    My boyfriend is on the right. The far right. The right end. The one almost grinning. That's my guy.

    Tuesday, November 25, 2008

    Facebook vs. Myspace

    Back in 1984, I took the ASVAB before graduating high school. FOHI just barely had established a computer lab when I was in my senior or maybe even my junior year. It was located in a portable trailer which soon took over many of the parking lots on campus. I was more interested in Art and Ag (Ag to satisfy my science requirement, but more on that later.) than typing. I had taken typing in junior high for like two weeks and it bored me to tears so I transferred out of that class just as soon as I could into something else. Anyway, what I was getting at was computers were so new in 1984 let alone new to me because up until that time I had never even touched one, I was surprised when the Army recruiter contacted me to tell me he was interested in training me for computers. I basically laughed in his face and went on my merry way. I never pursued a military career.

    After a family friend got me into banking because I had cashiering experience, I was exposed to computers for the first time in 1988. Bank computers are pretty much dumb terminals, a point of collecting data and telling you only what you need to know to get the job done they wanted to you do. Yawn.

    Later, after I decided I need to be exposed to more chances for opportunities for employment and I moved to Orange County, I got a job with Bankers Trust. The year was 1992. The computers they used were a step up as compared to the dumb terminals I was used to. They were on a network and had applications I had to log into. We also had some access to the Internet at that time.

    After a few years, I was able to get my credit going again and I purchased my first computer. So I've had some sort of presence on the Internet since 1995, amazingly so. Cruising the web had entertained me at some level for about a month but it was very passive at that time. I got kind of tired of reading the text and there was not much interaction involved... until I found IRC, then all hell broke loose. I was hooked on the immediate feedback of people sitting and typing to me just like I was sitting and typing to them. I spent hours upon hours chatting to people all over the globe. At one time, I had a map of the world and marked it to signify the locations of the people I chatted with. I had made friends who helped me upgrade my computers so that I could run Linux and have more than one client running at any one time.

    Fast forward to 2005. IRC had run its course in my life, but I was still using the Internet frequently, but now mostly for informational purposes. I joined Myspace. I joined and found people that liked the things I liked and I thought that was cool. I was able to gain an ounce of social life back that I missed all the time I was focused so seriously on working and on being a single parent while raising my son as best I could. I made a few friends, and went to a lot of musical performances, shows, concerts, what have you... I still maintain a profile on Myspace, but really only for gaming purposes.

    Now, I'm maintaining a Facebook page as a personal page. I used to have one a few years ago, but I didn't like the payout and it was confusing to me, yeah me, so I closed it almost as fast as I opened it, but now it's different. It seems to me to be better at filtering content: what you want versus what you don't want. I play games there, too, but it doesn't cloud my whole Facebook experience like on Myspace which I like. It just seems like a less intense, more mellow place to hang out on line, which is more my style.

    Friday, November 21, 2008

    History Repeats Itself

    12-28-1932 - Ironwood Daily Globe, Ironwood, Michigan

    The year 1932 to some is the year of the Lindbergh kidnapping. To some, the year of the Shanghai-Manchuria Adventure. To some it was the third year of the Great Depression. But in the United States, at least, it might well be named the Year of the Forgotten Man.

    It was his year. It was he who swung the country from conservative Republicanism to mildly progressive Democracy by a plurality of nearly seven million votes. It was he who swung the American Legion from anti-bonus to pro-bonus, the American Federation of Labor from passive to aggressive. It was he who marched on Washington for the bonus, he who ran the farm strike. It was he, and nearly 12,000,000 of him who were unemployed, who set the country pondering and planning for the future.

    Without precedent was the overturn by which, casting well over 33 million Democratic votes, the Forgotten Man climbed into the political driver’s seat. The election of Franklin D. Roosevelt and an overwhelming Democratic House and Senate was the common man’s effort to cope with conditions he had never seen before.

    Thursday, November 20, 2008

    Appliance Reliance

    I think my Maytag refrigerator is less than two years old and just this month, I had to place a call to get it fixed. The 'brain' went out... the electronics panel that controls the temperature in the refrigerator section. The freezer? Fine, no problem! I went and bought two thermometers at BB&B to verify their internal temperatures. The freezer was hovering at a frosty zero - where it should be. But the refrigerator while it was busted? A steady 60 degrees. Mind you, refrigerated food is supposed to stay at 40 degrees or below. Oh, yeah. It's true - 40 degrees or below. That's why people tell you not to eat the food at has been sitting in the sun at a picnic. You can get a hellish case of food poisoning if you do.

    But anyway, I called my local Maytag repair man on Saturday morning. Little did I know that I had to be f*cking clairvoyant in order to get same day service from ANY appliance repairman in my area. They were already booked up since Friday for Saturday appointments. And they don't work on Sundays, so I was relegated to the next business days available appointment which was on Monday.

    And I had to throw everything away in my refrigerator. I was mad because I don't like to waste food like that. After the repairman came on Monday and diagnosed the issue, he needed a deposit to come back with the part and fix the beast. I was fine with that. What I was not fine with was that he couldn't locate and install the part until Wednesday. Now I'm pissed because I haven't had my refrigerator available to me in a working condition for over a week.

    And all the week the refrigerator was on the fritz, my son and I both ate out. And my expenses shot up because I could not cook at home. I resorted to eating at my boyfriends for two nights - that was nice. I even planned and cooked one meal - breaded fried talapia with mango salsa and steamed brussel sprouts.

    But anyway, I digress. I don't know how many hundreds of years I had that stupid harvest yellow GE refrigerater eating up my money in electric bills before I finally bit the bullet and bought a new appliance. And now this happens. At least the part is warantied for a year. Damn thing better not die again, I swear.

    Are people really that stupid?

    Frequently, I find myself logging into Yahoo! Answers to pass the time at work. Let's face it, I'm a manager so I sit here looking important until there is a problem and then I spring into action once one is presented to me. I mean, today has been the most busy I've been all month. I had two issues to deal with, one fax to make and one conference call with my boss who is at a remote location. Whoopie!

    So last week while trolling through the Yahoo! Answers careers section (I like to generally stick to answering questions about credit, careers, and housing - go figure... haha) there is this question from I think it was a guy who asked:

    "Now that I have graduated from a four year university, what career should I get into?"

    ...something to that effect. At first, I felt this rage well up inside me as though I wanted to smack this person upside his head. Hey, ummm... aren't you supposed to have a career in mind BEFORE you go to college? And don't they have you declare a major while you're there as well? Most normal people have a career goal in mind or at minimum some sort of personal interests they want to pursue. Do you have a clue? Can you get one?

    I'm sorry, but I sit in an office full of baby boomers that would kill to have a college degree in anything right now, me included. If given the opportunity to go back to school, I'd do it in a minute so that I don't have to look at another note, mortgage or title document again other than my own.

    Then I felt sad that this yahoo ever went to school and wasted time filling a seat in the first place. Are people really that stupid?

    Wednesday, November 19, 2008

    NBC maybe going green, but...

    NBC maybe going green, but I live in Los Angeles where all of the major television stations here still use helicopters to report breaking traffic news and fires. How green is this practice?

    This popped into my mind as I was driving to work this morning going north on the 5 freeway and traffic was flowing heavy but nicely through the 5/101 split. Looking up, there is this helicopter flying overhead directly over the lanes of traffic spewing exhaust and there was no place for me to go to get away from it. Gesus, it's bad enough I'm forced to drive in a fossil fuel burning vehicle but now I've got to be subjected to the smog a helicopter produces, too?

    I think helicopters need to go green as well as disel trucks. I'm sick to death of that foul smell. Then eventually, cars the rest of us drive.

    Monday, November 17, 2008

    Ribbon Cutting

    Monday, I was invited to go with my boyfriend to the reception and ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly renovated Ronald McDonald Family Rooms at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo. He was the superintendent over all of the subcontractors that worked upon this volunteer effort.

    I learned a new acronym - OSHPD pronounced 'oshpod'. Basically, it's the State of California's governing entity over planning and development of hospitals.

    Monday, November 10, 2008

    Thank you, Germany

    To top off an already bad employment situation here in the U.S., Deutsche Post will close DHL effectively eliminating 9500 jobs. Merry f*cking Christmas.

    Read: Deutsche Post to cut 9,500 jobs in US

    The whole idea about existing in a free market society is to have competition and options. Since this one will be gone, you'll be stuck with FedEx or USPS. Pay thorough the nose or pay with your time. Not much if a choice now is it?

    This, already on top of the grim news California is facing...

    Read: California's Unemployment Rate Over 7.7% - a 14-year High

    All I know is I'm happy I'm working and I don't know where I'd be now if I didn't take this contract position back in March. I know people that have been out of work for over a year now.

    Friday, November 7, 2008

    My Pleasure

    My son and I were invited to Thanksgiving dinner at the boyfriends house. The deal is the boyfriend will be in charge of the turkey and I will be in charge of everything else. Cool.

    Then I shared my stories of past Thanksgivings feasts. Like last year with the anorexic organic 7 pound bird I got from Trader Joe's that was more suitable for making soup than it was any sort of a roasted meat meal I was dreaming about. Don't waste your money on a 7 pound bird - ever. That was a bad one.

    A good one was the brined turkey breast roll with stuffing inside.

    Or the one my son remembers the most - when I made garlic mashed potatoes and I somehow did not cook the potatoes enough. It was extremely starchy, and he got sick on it for hours.

    So anyway, the boyfriend likes to cook restaurant style cuisine, so I'm thinking roasted root vegetable medley.

    Brick, brick, where's the brick?

    I'm sick to death of looking at the flower bed full of weeds located in my back patio area of my condominium. It sits under my neighbor's awning, so it's questionable what will grow there and what will mock me and die a slow agonizing death.

    I decided three things:

    1) I need a fuller landing near the gate on the back patio. The concrete step is an inadequate size.

    2) I need brick to fix #1 and possibly create some sort of cover over the said flower bed after I install a week control blanket over it.

    3) I'm thinking them maybe installing a fountain and a few potted plants to make it look nicer.

    And so I'm on a quest to find free bricks on Craigslist this weekend. Why pay for something like that when people give them away? I happened to mention this project to a guy at work and he told me he had bricks he wasn't using, so he brought those in today and they are now sitting in the back of my car waiting to come home with me. I'm just excited that at least my landing will be better than it has been for years.

    It's a good thing for McDonald's

    Friday in Simi Valley at lunch time and I'm hungry, so I head on over to the local McDonalds and they were serving samples of their new cherry pie. They were also on sale 2 for $1.00. Yeah and yeah- I bought two.

    Nice, but...

    So I went to dinner over my boyfriends house last night - first time in three weeks mind you because his work schedule got so damn crazy with the bad weather and anything else that could go wrong. It's just one of those projects... So... After I gave him an earful of the stupid stuff I've have to endure to keep a job in the field I've worked in for the past 15 years... this is what he told me.

    I was having to lay off people and you know it's not something anyone likes to do. So I'm handing these guys their final pay checks and one of those wooden boxes over there on the table. I walk over to the dining room table which is steps from the stool I'm sitting at the bar, and I open it.

    It's a box stamped with the company name and inside is a nice carving set with knife and fork. And these are the things he's having to handing out to people he's laying off? I said, "What kind of sick fucks do you work for over there? They are making you had out knives to guys who just lost there job? You might want to tell these guys you're laying off to kindly open the box AFTER they get home."

    Thursday, November 6, 2008

    Dinner

    Boyfriend cooked:
    BBQ steak
    BBQ herbed red potatoes
    ...and something on the side I don't know what it's called but it was sauted bacon with mushrooms and brocoli. Rabe? Scramble? Whatchamcallit? Edible, but still working on the technique for that particular dish, too.

    Tuesday, November 4, 2008

    Laundry Hell, Part 2

    Laundry Hell, Part 2, the return of the dirty laundry.

    After, what, like two weeks, I decided I'd better wash again since I was running out of underwear and work clothes. I was trying to wait it out for the maintenance guy to fix the dryers. I mean, I saw him out there working on something, but they didn't work so now I don't know what is going on with the machines other than I'm really pissed off at the HOA board for not taking care of this sooner.

    So it turns out it's not so bad washing clothes right after work on a Monday night. It's a steady pace of people in and out of the Super Wash, but nothing like the crowd I experienced Sunday night. I was able to walk in and load up my three loads into the $1.25 machines with no issues.

    Next, I walked down to the Jalisco Restaurant and ordered two chicken tacos to go and a Pepsi. The tacos were fresh and good, but I can't say the same for the pickled veggies. I don't like anything spicy and these were. Eww. I noticed that there were cartoons on the tv at the front of the room, so sat at the bench near the front where I could try and tune out all of the noise.

    Ultimately, I was in and out by 9PM for under $10 this time.

    Which is more likely?

    I love Yahoo!s News section. After reading an article that peaked my interest, I always scroll down to the bottom of the page and see what else is going on in their "Most" and "Elsewhere on the Web" sections.

    So today, I followed that same routine and saw something weird. After reading about how some moron thinks rainy climates in the west produce more autistic children (you think maybe it's the mold that grows in those rainy climates, sir?), I looked again and there was an article which said women's hands are more germy than men's. O.K., that makes sense, too. Women do the majority of the food preparation and cooking as well as the cleaning with harsh chemicals, so they are helping to contaminate themselves and their loved ones. I also think it's got something to do with the vitality of the egg and the sperm. Women are most fertile between the ages of 18-24. But that window closes fast when they put school and career first over having a family. Add a nutritional deficient to the mix with everyone drinking alcohol and dieting and you've got a problem waiting to happen. In My opinion.

    Read:
  • Autism linked to rain
  • Women's Dirty Hands
  • Infertility
  • Sunday, November 2, 2008

    Face The Nation: Nov 2, 2008


    I was watching Face the Nation on my local CBS station just because I wanted to see what the politicos had to say this morning two days before the most historic presidential election ever.

    One man, Senator John Ensign, a Republican from Nevada, who sided clearly with McCane, made me take notice when he said, as I too think, that it was the CRA in the 1970's that started the need for alternative financial vehicles, i.e. interest only notes, because financial institutions were forced into lending to consumers that has less than stellar credit and could not afford the monthly mortgage payment plus taxes and insurance on a thirty year note.

    Earlier in my blog, I began to write how the United States got into this big of a financial mess in the first place, but it became too preachy and a diatribe really, so I decided not to publish it to allow more scholarly peoples put the pieces of the puzzle together for themselves or to atleast see if they came to a similiar conclustion as I did. I was happy to hear what I heard this morning from this senator, but saddened that he was an avid supporter of McCane.

    On a side note, I cannot support McCane, a man who is older than my mom and so senile he doesn't even know how many houses he owns. Maybe he needs some Ritalin... or a retirement home. He reminds me of the lifetime politicians of yesteryear when almost at the end of their term in office, they would run for yet another position to continue their legacy, err, government funded their way of life they aren't yet comfortable giving up without a fight.

    Thursday, October 30, 2008

    Good News!

    Oh, it's not mine, but while I'm at work I thought I'd read the news because that's the thing to do - keep up on current events, right?

    There was this article:

    Girl returns $1,000 found in Richard Simmons tape

    And it reminded me that people still do the right thing and that's good news.

    It also reminded me that at one point I wanted to start two new news channels. Since there is the saying that it takes 20 good deeds to cancel out the one bad deed that someone does, you don't always get to hear about all the good that people do in the world and I think that is a sad thing. I thought that it would be a good idea to start two news channels = one for the good news and one for the bad news. So if I want to get bummed out and listen to all of the theft and violence against humanity, I'd tune into the bad news. If I wanted to feel uplifted by the good in the world, I'd happily tune into the good news.

    Wednesday, October 29, 2008

    Laundry Hell

    About a month ago, I went out to the laundry room on my side of the condo complex and washed clothes only to find that three of the four dryers did not work. This pissed me off. I went to my home, got blue painter's tape and a Sharpie and taped up the machines and marked them all as "out of order". Later hat day, I not only wrote a letter to the HOA bard about the broken dryers, but also asking to fix the crater in the driveway as well as the driveway gates which were malfunctioning yet again in the wind.

    That Sunday, I went to the local Laundromat for the first time in over ten years. It's located in the triangle next to a ton of eatting places about an eighth of a mile away from my home. It's so close, if I go out into my front yard I can almost see it.

    It's nice and clean and secure. It's $2.25 a load to wash in the front loading machines and a quarter for 10 minutes to dry. What was difficult to tollerate was all of the spanish language telvision blaring at me while I was waiting for my clothes to finish. I got a headache after listening to the weather girl in spanish. I had to take an Advil to stop my head from pounding before I went to bed.

    So when I was out in the parking structure trying to fix my headlights, I noticed some yahoo broke down the front of each of the dryers. I can tell you now, the heating element burned out so I'm pretty sure that happens to be located at the back of the unit and no where near the insrument plannel. And then when I went back to my condo, it wasn't fixed. Hrmmm. I don't know whether to write another letter telling the HOA they are losing money not having the machines available and they still need to fix them or just say screw it like they have with any of the non-regular maintenance.

    I plan on not watching lousy game five of the world series tonight with spicy hot dogs for dinner in order to wash clothes at the landromat and avoid the crowds on the weekend.

    Tuesday, October 28, 2008

    Ridiculous

    Out of my utter frustration with the contractors position I currently have, I look for jobs online while I'm at work because there is literally no other thing to do.

    I maintain a directory of websites where I can find job postings. It's dismal. All these people out of work and all these job posts and I can't seem to find a match with anything in California. This frustrates me.

    I tried searching in a new category today called "office manager". I found a cool job, but they want a BA and will only pay 29k. What single person in their right mind with a mortgage and car payments can live on 29k in Southern California after they've took the time to get a BA? It's ridiculous.

    I feel like I've painted myself into a corner that I can't get out of and I don't know what to do.

    Ewww, That Smell Part 2

    O.K., this morning I was running the fresh air through the car and I smelled this hard boiled eggs smell on the N5/N10 split at the east LA interchange before Seventh Street. Not a horrible smell, but why hard boiled eggs? Weird.

    Sunday, October 26, 2008

    And on the seventh day


    On Sunday, it was as if the clouds in heaven parted, the sun shone down onto Tustin with it's brightest beam, a choir of angels began to sing in chorus and these things occured in my little world:

    1. China West Express replaces American Pizza at the triangle

    2. Arby's is almost ready to open

    3. Regular gas at $2.99 a gallon at Thrifty Oil

    4. My boyfriend got some qualified help at work

    Friday, October 24, 2008

    It's Funny


    Last night, out of the blue, I was asked to come to dinner at my boyfriends house. He said he was fixing hot dogs and french fries and that the hot dogs were spicy which I probably wouldn't like, but I was welcome to watch the world series there with him anyway. He knows I like baseball. I could have easily did without these games tho. Tampa and Phili? Not teams in the western states like me, so I don't care so much who's playing or wins this year. He likes sports though, so it's something we can do together.

    Usually we try to plan ahead for those things because of his work schedule and my commute, but this dinner idea was O.K. All I had planned to do last night was return the headlight bulbs I couldn't install by myself the night before after I discovered that my passenger side low beam was dead while driving home on the 101 freeway. I had taken "the back way" AKA 118 W, 23 S, 101E, 5S to get around my need to travel upon the 118 E because there was two traffic accidents that the CHP stopped traffic for to clear off of the freeway at about 4PM. I got home 3+ hours later, tired, road weary and mad that I had to deal with the light. I rousted my son to go with me to Kragen to buy the bulb once I looked up the model number in my owner's manual. I then got home, gathered my tools, and tried for over an hour and a half to install the sucker. After that ordeal decided I did not have the strength in my hands nor the proper tools to get the job done. The next day (thursday morning), I drove to work in the dark using my high beams almost all the way there.

    I was going to ask Robert to help install the bulb for me or at least provide a tool that I did not have and his strong hands to get the trim piece off that runs over each headlight assembly. But I figured I was tired and he more so, so I didn't mind paying to get it fixed. First, I tried Jiffy Lube because I know they provide that service, but because of the dangnabit trim piece again, they said "no". They did confirmed with me that there was a Chevy dealer in town though. So I went to the Chevy dealer in Simi Valley (William Morris Chevrolet, at First Street and the 118) at lunch break. They were great and changed out my headlight bulb in like 20 minutes flat. So, happy my headlight is now fixed, I drove home with confidence that I wouldn't get a fix-it ticket. It took 2 hours and 15 minutes to get to Robert's house.

    He made me a Cape Codder with so much liquor in it I couldn't drink it. I'm a tiny person, so it doesn't take me that much alcohol before I start to feel it. He dumps the drink and makes me another. This time - it's right and I tell him so. Robert, this one is good. I can taste the sting of the liquor but it still tastes like cranberries. Yum.

    And so I try to calm my nerves by sitting down on the couch and then move to curl up in the chair and sipping my drink while playing with his little white fluff of a dog named Igloo and watching the game which is now in the 6th inning, but all I want to really do is eat. It's after 7PM and I'm hungry. So I interject myself into the dining area then the kitchen to see if there is anything I can do to speed this production up. I talked to him about accouterments to the hot dog on the phone earlier. Do you have relish? No. Do you have dill pickles? Yes. O.K., so dice up some dill pickles for me and that will be perfect - that's what I do at home. Do you have onions? Yes. Cut those up, too. Do you have mustard? Yes.

    But when I go to get the condiments out of the refrigerator, there is no mustard. All I find is ketchup which is not allowed on my hot dogs, a ton of hot sauce which again is not allowed on my hot dogs, honey mustard, which only belongs in salad dressing and goes with chicken strips and an institutional sized jar of mayonnaise. I'm in hell. I had to go to the store to get mustard.

    So I hopped into the go mobile and on the way decide where to acquire the mustard. Can I get it at Rod's Liquor Store? No, it's not a market. Do I know of any market within walking distance from his house? No. I could have gone to Fresh & Easy, but will they have the mustard I like? I don't know. I've only shopped there once and and really is only good for quick, fresh stuff. So the next store down the road, the one I actually am familiar with is Ralph's. Good old Ralph's. I grab a hand basket and go. I end up getting toothbrushes on sale 2 for 1 because the one I has put at Robert's needed to be tossed, two things of Eclipse gum for my purse, a jar of French's mustard, and a jar of Gulden's Golden spicy brown mustard. I also looked for kosher hot dogs to save myself from having to eat the spicy ones, but my luck, the only thing sold out in the deli section is the Hebrew National hot dogs I want.

    I drove back to Robert's house, put away the mustard and helped him prepare the plates. After finishing the meal, I said to Robert...

    It's funny, you know. If you go to my house right now and look in the refrigerator, you'll find probably 5 different kinds of mustard and no mayonnaise and here at your house you have the institutional sized jar of mayonnaise and no mustard. I'm glad I found this out.

    After baseball ended with the Tampa Rays winning game two, we watched two shows on the speed channel and fell asleep.

    I'll have to make sure I've got mayonnaise on hand when he cooks at my house.

    The Early Girls

    I noticed just this morning that there is this gaggle of women who make their way to their cars or to the bus stop in the morning between 5:30 and 5:45 AM. I have named these women "The Early Girls". Tricked out in their high heels, business, suits and whatever they wear at the workplace, in the dark they are walking around in my neighborhood before sunrise like a swarm of ants going this way and that. We all kind of keep an eye on eachother as we get to where we need to be and then shut and lock our car doors.

    Wednesday, October 22, 2008

    No, Sarah, no!

    Please don't vote for McCane - here's why...

    Sarah Palin thinks the vice president is in charge of the United States Senate.

    Read: Palin Claims Vice President 'In Charge of the U.S. Senate'

    Dear Govenor Palin... even Wikipedia got this one right and didn't attend the University of Idaho. What did they teach you in potatohead land? Did you pass minimum requirements to graduate from high school? Do you even remember U.S. History class or was that the period where you and your future husband passed notes back and forth to kill time?

    Who was the first Vice President? The right answer from you may win back an ounce of my respect, but I'm still not going to vote for you.

    And while I'm on the subject or no-no's, supposedly you made over $250,000 last year per your Public Financial Disclosure Report, so why is it that you need to have the RNC buy you and your family upwards of $150,000 of wardrobe and make-up using political donations?

    Read: Sarah Palin went on some kind of RNC-financed shopping spree, Politico says

    And then you're going to donate those clothes to charity? The "Everyday Working Class" people I know don't take public funds, buy clothes, wear them once, and give them away.

    Read: Palin aide says candidate's clothing to be donated

    That is a typical example of the wasteful spending I do not want to be associated with.

    Not to mention that you billed the citizens of the great State of Alaska for your children's travel arrangements to political functions where they served no purpose but to be moral support for you and show that you're some kind of super mom but in reality you're too cheap to hire a nanny or to tell your husband he has to watch the kids?

    Read: Palin Children Traveled On Alaska's Dime

    I am so glad I don't declare to be a Republican. I bet Matt Gonzalez knows the role the Vice President plays in United States government.

    Happy

    I am so happy that my boyfriend is not sick anymore. I really missed him while he was ill. He was adamant about me not getting infected with what he had, so I stayed away. I had dinner with him for the past two nights. Pasta at his house and then sushi at our favorite place down the street. We were told the main sushi chef quit last Saturday because he moved to New York to be with his wife for breast cancer treatment. That's sad, but you do what you've got to do.

    Thursday, October 16, 2008

    If...

    For the lack of creativity I endure each day at work, I find myself seeking out creative people when I'm not there.

    I was thinking about this on the way to work this morning. I know literally a ton of musicians. If I were to choose anyone of them to make a group, this is who it would be:

    Sean Burgess - Drummer
    Why? He's a music teacher. He not only can play well, but he's got the musical vocabulary to express what he's played and play it again and again. Very important when you're banging on drums all day.

    Kenny Howes - Rhythm Guitar, backing vocals
    Why? He's a players player. He's all Rickenbacker. He got chops, experience and can stand up to the competition.

    Walter Ensign - Lead Guitar
    Why? Not only can he cook a mean pot of Thai-anything for dinner, he can play his ass off as lead.

    Pancho Francisco - Keyboards
    Why? Low key, focused team player, university graduate with a degree in music. And another teacher as well as a professional musician.

    Scott Halper - Bass
    Why? This man can really, really, play the bass. I mean like Etwhistle-play the bass. He's amazing.

    Who would be the vocalist? A tie again between Bleu or Steve Roberts.
    Why? Both possess distinctive, smooth, expressive voices and have fun on stage when they sing.

    Monday, October 13, 2008

    More fire...

    Now the fire is visable from my office as it creeps over the Santa Susana pass. The smoke is now blowing over the city of Simi Valley and is beginning to permeate the a/c system.

    I was left with a quarter of a tank of gas after I arrived to work this morning, so at lunch I went and gassed up knowing that my trek home tonight is going to be probably longer than it has ever been before.

    Southern California Fires in Los Angeles County

    See: Fire in Porter Ranch

    At 10:30 AM today, the hills above Porter Ranch at Oat Mountain, the tallest mountain in the Santa Susana mountain range, began to catch fire as the smoke and embers from the Marek fire rapidly move over the San Fernando Valley towards the ocean blown by the gusty, dry Santa Ana winds. This fire is now known as the Sesnon Fire.

    Right now, the 118 freeway, the one I travel on to get to work and home is open but closed at the 210, which is north of where I travel. I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to get home using my normal route tonight. I might have to take the 405 south to get back to Orange County.

    Friday, October 10, 2008

    My desk

    October 10th @ work

    While I'm bashing LA...

    It seems The Los Angeles Times has a funny bone, too. Imagine that.

    I'm not the only one bashing Los Angeles. It's own residents do it in photos.

    See: Your Scene - Los Angeles Times

    Blah Blah Ditty Bitty Blah

    I'm sick of listening to all the noise about the economy. I'm going to take my complaint department and point it towards home.

    When I drive to work each day, my car automatically thinks that initially I want fresh air. I turn on the ignition and *bloop*, I'm on the fresh air setting. This setting would be perfectly fine if I lived up in the mountains where the air is fresh and clean and smells like pine trees, sycamores and other assorted flora. But dear automobile, I travel through Los Angeles. And do I need to remind you that big old cities have a unique smell all their own. I remember reading somewhere that New York smells like urine. Everywhere you go, it's pee, pee and more pee. I think the person that invested money in placing pay toilets around that town would become a millionaire multiple times over, but I digress...

    Well, Los Angeles smells like trash. Trash is constantly being hauled away from homes where it's initially picked up, driven to sorting facilities near freeways and all these trash trucks travel on the same roads I drive on 5 days a week to work. Large lumbering trash trucks not only move slowly upon the freeway clogging up traffic, but also leave a smell in their wake with the added 'benefit' of spreading bits of refuse along the way. You'd think LA residents were trash mongers with all of the things you see along the side of the road, but I think a good portion of it is from trash trucks.

    There is a single point along the freeway that's between Franklin Heights and Los Feliz that distinctly smells like dog shit. I had the displeasure to find this out one day when it wasn't neither so hot that I had to engage my a/c unit on my car immediately nor so cold that I needed to have the heater on. Oh my God, what is that stench??? You're thinking to yourself if not yelling out loud in the car out of sheer disgust and maybe even checking the bottom of your shoes to make sure you didn't step in something. As I grew up, my parent ran a kennel, so I know the smell of dog dookie. I'm not happy about it, but I do.

    Cats poo has never stank like a steaming pile of dog shit. I don't care if you are a card carrying member of a dog owners association and even if your AKC with papers blue blood K-9 has got trophy's and ribbons... dog shit is dog shit and dog shit smells. I wish Los Angeles had a smell patrol to get rid of that hellish stench that wafts into my car every time I pass by that area. PHEW!

    Read: 3357+ Yelp! Reviews say Los Angeles smells

    Thursday, October 9, 2008

    A change in the tide?

    Read: Administration ponders ownership stakes in banks

    I read the news today, oh boy. It said the government was thinking about taking stakes in banking institutions instead of buying bad loans out of securitizations with that $700 billion rescue package approved by the house and senate last week. I'm getting sick feeling in my stomach just writing that sentence. It's enough to get the bad debt out of the system, but you do not throw good money after bad money.

    It's like going to Las Vegas and sitting at the Craps table and you still are losing but now you own a leg of the table you're sitting by. It doesn't make much sense to me at all.

    If you give banks money to lend do you think they are going to lend it immediately? Or are they going to sit on it for awhile to gain some free interest courtesy of the US government and "figure out" what to do next.

    Now I'm just shaking my head in sorrow for this country. Someone please give President Bush a kick in the nads or the flu, something for him to stop this insanity. Give him another bag of pretzels, please! It's not going to get better overnight. It's not going to get any better in a week. And it's not going to get better by the time you leave office, fool. It's going to be about two years in to the next president's tenure before people really stop hurting and, yes, it's sad, but you've just gotta sit and wait it out, Bush. You cannot fix your screw-ups now. Just sit tight and say goodbye in February.

    Me? I'm creating a plan for myself to get out of my interest only loan and change industries if it's the last thing I do.

    Tuesday, October 7, 2008

    Socialized banking?

    Associated Press again hit a nerve with me today when it announced the following:

    "The Fed said it is creating a new entity to buy three-month unsecured and asset-backed commercial paper directly from eligible companies. It hopes to have the program up and running soon, Fed officials said.

    Fed officials said they'll buy as much of the [short term] debt as necessary to get the market functioning again. They refused to say how much that might be, but they noted that around $1.3 trillion worth of commercial paper would qualify."

    See: Fed to buy massive amounts of short-term debt

    This makes me mad. The federal government can float businesses buy buying their short-term debt, but they cannot seem to figure out a way to keep the American work force healthy by providing universal health care?

    The federal government can complain in hind sight about the mortgage company's that went under because they did not maintain enough capital to cover their outstanding debt, but yet they will cater to the other businesses like manufacturing? Grrr.

    Oh, the agony of defeat

    The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim lost to the Boston Red Sox last night. I'm sad, but not crushed. There were some real stupid calls and little league antics on the field during the playoffs this year.

    Joke: How many Angels does it take to catch a pop fly to center field? More than three because neither of them called it and the ball dropped to the ground. During a playoff game. Ouch.

    I can honestly say kudos to the fellas of the Angels that were able to take advantage of the weak third baseman of the Red Soxs team that were hitting grounders between shortstop and third. I loved that. The third base man ate more dirt trying to get to the ball than the guys who were attempting to steal bases.

    I love to watch Guerrero hit. It's like poetry in motion. And I loved watching Weaver close out the game. They need more pitchers like him on that team.

    Better luck next year.

    Friday, October 3, 2008

    Hell on Earth? Almost.

    It took me three and a half hours to get home from work on a Friday night. And it wasn't even a three day holiday weekend either. That is obscene. It was as if every stupid slow driving mofo was on the freeway infront of me.

    It also didn't help that I started drinking a Welch's Strawberry soda at the time I left work so that by the time I went through the east LA interchange, I had to take a piss. And when you gotta pee, you gotta pee, so I had to then get off of the freeway to do so.

    The Indiana Avenue exit off of the 5 freeway traveling south doesn't dump you into the nicest part of town, let me tell you. Before I even got to turn right, there was a cop car sitting on the corner. At the corner of Indiana and Olympic, I found paramedics and firemen were eatting at a mexican restaurant. I thought if I have to take a piss anywhere in East Los Angeles, atleast I'd be safe there. I pulled into the parking lot at the back of the restaurant and there was barely no one parked there, but when I went inside looking for the restrooms, most people were either at the counter or eatting already. LA's finest were seated waiting for their food. One got up and tip his forehead toward me. Thanks, guy, but I needed to take a piss---bad. Now where are those restrooms??

    I went back to my car and found a steel security door with an 'add a quarter' access lock and recognized that this must be the toilet. I put my coin into the slot and turned the handle and this idiot woman yelled at me - she did not even lock the door behind her after she went into the can, Jesus lady, I'm sorry, I'm sorry - hurry up, I gotta pee.

    About 2 minutes later she emerges with the roll of brown generic one-ply toilet paper in her right hand waving it around in the air and said, "I gotta return this to the front counter because I don't want to be held responsible for loosing it by giving it to you." I don't care, get out of my way. I had paper in my purse which I took into that graffitied shrine of a toilet, I didn't care.

    Two minutes later for me and I was back on my way home.

    Thumbs up!

    Thumbs up to "My Name is Earl" for using two ELO songs and one Heart song in the two episodes that aired last night.

    Evil Woman
    I'm Alive
    Barracuda

    The highly infectious big toe scenario was hilarious.

    Oh the horror!

    On the America's Got Talent finale show which was on Wednesday, I witnessed a throughly mutilated version of Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now". Sung by the people who were previously voted off of the show.

    Oh the horror.

    The Three Legs

    The Three Legs...

    ...of underwriting
    1)Credit
    2)Character
    3)Collateral

    ...of fraud
    1)Incentive or pressure
    2)Rationalization or attitude
    3)Opportunity

    ...financial oversight
    1)Audit Committee
    2)Management
    3)External audit firm

    ...retirement income
    1)Savings
    2)Pensions
    3)Social Security

    ...of my daily commute to Simi Valley
    1)Traveling north on the 5, my home to the 605
    2)605 to 134
    3)134 onto the 118 to Simi Valley

    What does this mean?

    I knew by about 9:00 AM that Friday was going to be one of those stinky poo kinda days. I had a snide comment said to me in Spanish by one of my charges and it pissed me off. I emailed the client and my boss to let them know I was upset about it. Then I emailed my boyfriend.

    He has to deal with management issues just like I do, but is able to handle them differently because he actually *is* the boss of the worksite, while I am an oversite manager employed by a third party contractor. He said I'm sorry you're having a bad day. Later, he emailed me a photo of a vet with his head stuck up the ass end of an elephant. I looked at the photo and related to it. Me working with someone elses crap that no one else wants to or knows how to deal with.

    He called me later in the day to remind me he had to go to some function for work (that he did not invite me to, but I did get invited to go to the one in San Diego in February, so that is cool.) but made it a point to tell me specifically where he'd be. What does that mean? Doe he want me to dress up and meet him there, in essence crash his party? Or is he just telling me this because he wants me to be able to pick him up later if he needs a way to escape? I don't know. I do know, however, that he's already tired from the long ass hours he's put in this week. He said he would call me when he got home from the party, but I wasn't counting on it because when we are tired, we sleep and we ain't thinking about calling or talking to anyone. Sleep, baby sleep.

    Thursday, October 2, 2008

    Smelly... dog

    I think the groomer that Robert uses for his dog sucks ass. She makes his Maltese look like a small fluffy bathroom rug instead of a well groomed animal. After a week or more, the fur around his eyes turns brownish because it's too long and all going into his eyes. I hate that. It's a wonder why he's freaking out all the time. He probably can't see shit. New groomer, please...

    Happy Snoopy Dance



    I got an email from my friend in England today about how it's time to order the box set from The Move. WOOHOO!

    Picture me doing the happy snoopy dance in my office cubicle!

    A Gruesome Reminder

    I read in the Orange County Register today a blog that was posted yesterday which listed many of the subprime mortgage companies that no longer exist or are barely hanging on by a thread.

    See: Subprime's Dearly Departed

    ...and these are just the most recent casualities.

    It's a gruesome reminder to me of over 30 companies where opportunities for employment in Orange County no longer exist and that's why I drive to Simi Valley every single day now.

    Blogging

    Blogging is a beautiful thing. It helps me get things off my mind quicker than trying to find someone that can carry on an intelligent conversation without having to impede on their valuable working hours.

    Blogging also can be a burden when you are commuting for a minimum of three hours a day and you get a brilliant idea for a blog and can't remember it when you get to your destination. Now, I think I have solved that issue by putting a notepad and pen back into my car so that I can jot these ideas down and blog with them later.

    Monday, September 29, 2008

    Yup, I did it

    I went to Lake Perris SRA for the second weekend in a row with Robert and I rode the waverunner all by my self. Twice.

    I have come to the conclusion that I do not like to ride in a back of the waverunner with him. These are the reasons:
    1) I'm a control freak and I have no control on the back
    2) I can't see where I'm going because I'm hunched over holding onto the grips
    3) I have to hunch over and hold onto the grips and that action messes with my back
    4) I can't talk/bitch on the back for fear of me biting off my tongue because my chin continually hits the back of Robert's life preserver

    So now that I found my brass balls again, Robert definitely wants to take me to Lake Mead. He suggested going on Friday, but I rather wait until I get my own waverunner.

    Wednesday, September 24, 2008

    Dinner at Memphis 9/24/2008


    Shellfish Jambalaya
    w/dirty rice with chicken and andouille sausage, gulf prawns, prince edward island mussels, manila clams, smoky shrimp broth



    Sauteed Rainbow Trout
    w/shitake mushroom & spinach risotto, crawfish etouffe, fried okra



    Memphis at the Santora
    201 N Broadway
    Santa Ana, CA 92701
    (714) 564-1064

    Did you hear?

    I often sleep with the television on, but this I know I'm sure I heard... Anytime I her the words Fannie Mae my ears perk up now because it may effect my job.

    Did you hear this morning at the 4AM hour where it was announced on World News Now that an advisor to Senator McCane was being paid $15,000 a month by Fannie Mae? When the Treasury Department took over the company and found out this was happening, they stopped the payments. Tell me why... Do you know? This had to happen because it would of looked like the current president in office was providing financing funds, in effect sponsoring, McCane's presidential campaign. Eww. I wonder how many times that is going to be a news article today. Probably just that once.

    Monday, September 22, 2008

    Saturday & Sunday

    Saturday, September 20th was one of the last days of summer. People rush around to go do something, anything in the sun while it's around. That was our plan... Robert and I are going to Lake Perris SRA Sunday to hang out and ride his waverunner. I an terrified of any sort of big water, but I'm going to face my fear and go for it. He said he would keep me safe.

    In the mean time, we had dinner Saturday night at Sakura. You would never think that this place located in a strip mall next to Ralph's would not be any good, but if you thought that, you'd be wrong. This is actually the second time we went there and I got to tell ya, it just keeps getting better and better.

    I ordered a sashimi plate and Robert got the baked mussels. We both got these fried chili spiked green peppers. I did fine on the baby one with no chili, but when I got to the second one and bit into the chili, I thought my mouth was on fire. We also both had orders green bean w/ peanut. It's O.K., but I think they are just trying too hard with that one. We also shared a special crunchy roll. Yummy. As for dessert, the chopped orange with plum wine. That thing is crazy good. To wash it all down, we drank ice water and I think 3 bottles of dry cold saki which were shared with the proprietors.

    After dinner, we went over to Ralph's in our saki induced haze and bought snacks for the trip on Sunday. A bowl of chopped mixed fruit, a can of nuts, Triskets, Milanos cookies, a package of shrimp, and cocktail sauce. Robert had already taken care of the drinks and the ice.

    So before going to Roberts on Saturday night, I thought I had packed what I need to bring to go to the lake. I had shorts, a top and a light jacket for the morning because it's usually kinda cold in the desert and some rubbery flip flops. I was informed I needed a bathing suit because I was going to get wet. Oh hell. I wasn't planning on getting wet because all I wanted to do was learn how to cruise in the waverunner and not get dumped into the lake. So the stupid alarm goes off at 4:30AM by accident and we sleep in until 5:30AM and then I get dressed to run over to my condo with his blessing to give the dog a car ride in order to grab a tshirt, my polo shirt dress and my bathing suit. In my mind, I'm thinking a wet or not, a tshirt over my red string bikini would be ok for waverunner riding and prevent needless sunburning atleast on my shoulders and some of my arms.

    I changed into the bikini and wore the polo dress over it during the commute. We backed everything up, got gas and hit the road at about 7:30AM. I was tagged shotgun navigator. That 60 E to the 215 S interchange is still under construction and confusing as hell because the signage is not quite right. Robert said he missed it before and I can see why. What a pisser that exchange is!

    While passing through Riverside, Robert said we had to go eat breakfast at McDonalds. He said it was tradition. I was game. We exited at McKinley and found our way over to the restaurant on the north side of the freeway. I ordered an egg mcmuffin w/ no cheese, a hash brown and a hi-c orange drink from the fountain. Robert got the two sausage mcmuffin with egg deal and coffee. We sat where we could keep an eye on the waverunner and the reserve gas bottles.

    We made out way out to Perris Lake by 8:30AM and had everything set-up and the waverunner launched in about 20 minutes.

    The shirt turned out to be a good idea because it provided me some level of cottony comfort under the life preserver. It also acted as a cover-up for my bikini while I sat under the Ez-Up and hung out in the shade snacking, reading the newspaper, listening to the Angels baseball game on the radio, sunning my pasty white calves and taking pictures of Robert, among other things, as he came in and out of the water.


    I went out onto the lake with Robert a total of three times. The first time, I screamed "No!" about one hundred times until he reduced his speed to about 25 mph. I couldn't get over the fact that the speed feels so much faster on the water. It's got to have something to do with the wave motion and all the reflections. Amazing.

    The second time, he went putt-putt slow for me around the island in the middle of the lake. That was nice. I can handle cruising under 20 mph. We saw how folks were set-up on the island, how some were fishing, and some local flora and and fauna which is stuff like I like to do anyway. I'm an observer, so that was cool.

    The third time, which he said didn't count?!? wth... we went straight to the dam area which is not visible from the Lot 5 location where we set-up camp for the day. That was kinda weird and kinda cool because I never seen anything like that before. He went faster than putt-putt this time, so I was having a difficult time with the jarring and my breathing was still in panic mode, but I wasn't yelling "No!" so much this time. Then he told he ate it twice over by the dam later in the day, broke a toe, jammed up another and ended up with some weirdly placed bruises on his body from getting dumped off of the waverunner. Gesus. He told me Evil Kenevil was his hero before we got out to the lake. So now I know I'm dealing with a man with no fear. Good in some situations, but not with high rate of speed in uncontrolled environments. Maybe he'd like one of those race car driver packages they offer at the speedway in Fontana for Christmas... hrmmm. I'll have to poke around and see if he's ever done that before. But I digress...

    So we were out there maybe a total of about 6 hours. It was nice to be out in nature with him because it's something I would not do alone. I told him it was a big deal for me to do something like going on the waverunner and step out of my box... out of my comfort zone. He said he proud of me and now wants to take me up to Lake Mead with my own Yahama Waverunner Cruiser. That was a lot to take in all at once considering I'm not confident even riding alone on his vehicle yet. Sounds cool because I like the desert, but yikes! My own waverunner?? I'll have to go to Lake Perris a few more times before going to Lake Mead.


    He told me no one took pictures when he went before so I think he liked the fact that I took pictures when we went. I think they are important especially for only children. I've taken tons of pictures of my son so much so that he now considers me paparazzi and hold up his hand or turns his head all the time. So now I have another subject to photograph - good. I received an email from newegg.com today with a price shocker on an Olympus splash resistant digital camera, which lead me to look deeper for a water resistant one that I could take onto the waverunner without totally freaking out if it got wet. That would be cool to take pictures from that vantage point. He could do his version of speed racer on the water and I could go putt-putt and be happy.

    Friday, September 19, 2008

    Job security perhaps...

    There was an excellent article published by AP today...

    See: Gov't rushing to finish huge financial rescue plan

    I thought this because it said:

    **"The Bush administration sketched out a multi-faceted effort on Friday to confront the worst U.S. financial crisis in decades, outlining a program... the biggest proposed government intervention in financial markets since the Great Depression."***

    ***"...Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will step up their purchases of mortgage-backed securities to help provide support to the crippled housing market."***

    So maybe this job will last through 2009?? I just don't know.

    That's what you get for thinking

    Yesterday, I left work early at 4PM thinking I could get ahead of the traffic to get home a bit early. I thought wrong. Not only was I stuck in rush hour traffic, but I got back to OC at the same fricken time as if I left work at my normal time. WTF?

    Robert was running late, so I picked up some El Pollo Loco for dinner and went to his house. That additional act, and I'm not complaining about doing it mind you because I was hungry, too, and because we both had to eat, tacked on an additional :30 minutes to my commute.

    So my total time on the road to get home yesterday was 3 hours. Ug. I hate this commuting business.

    Thursday, September 18, 2008

    Sorrow

    I heard on the news this morning before I left for work that the police officer that was killed in the Chatsworth train crash, Spree DeSha, a resident of Simi Valley, was going to have her funeral in Los Angeles.

    See: Photos of Chatsworth train crash

    As I was driving to work this morning, I witnessed a large procession of law enforcement vehicles traveling on the 118 east in the HOV lanes and I'm almost certain it was pertaining to what I watched on the news.

    See: Hundreds attend funeral of LAPD officer killed in Metrolink crash

    I feel bad for the city of Simi Valley because it was the train stop immediately before the one in Chatsworth. Many, many residents of the town were affected by the tragedy.

    Wednesday, September 17, 2008

    One of the best

    Robert made me one of the best dinners ever last night. I found it both entertaining yet sweet that he was fussing over the fact that I cannot consume milk or milk products and he never realized that there was so much milk in prepared foods.... i.e. after I declined eatting couscous, he tried to make Rice-o-Roni, but seeing it called for milk he put it back in the cupboard. Now I get to train him on living and cooking without it.

    He make bbq pork chops marinated in soy sauce and sesame oil, swiss chard, and white rice. I never missed the apple sauce. It was one of the best dinners I've ever had.