Riding the Bike with One Pedal.

Category: Hot Damn

An Open Letter to Andrew and Dan:

In the recent issue of “Kitchen Notes” in Cook’s Illustrated, you told us all how AWESOME it is to cook bacon this innovative way: put bacon in pan, cover bacon with water, turn on the heat and let it go! According these dudes, the water keeps the bacon meat from shrinking, and then as the water dissipates, you just let it sizzle and crisp up and ZOMG you have bacon like you used to have in your Easy Bake Kitchen Suite, only your real-life bacon is made of meat and not rubber! OMG! This is so not how it fucking works! Let me save you from this experiment! Right after I go choke these foodie dudes to death with a set of circular knitting needles.

Because what happens is that the meat bubbles along in the water, and it looks nasty-ass and foamy, but you think, ok, you’re essentially par-boiling meat, it’s going to do that, it’s MAGIC, remember, and then? The water cooks off and you don’t just float into nice-and-crispy with a Zoey Deschanel ‘I’m-so-twee’ skipping move, no, my friends, you now see the fat start to render and cook off the bacon. Which is what bacon does in a frying pan. But what did we have in the pan already? Yes? Are we following? WE HAD WATER. Have you ever accidentally gotten something with too much moisture into hot oil before, have you? Do you know what happens?

BURNING HOT FAT EXPLOSIONS is what happens, that’s what. Good thing I didn’t do any tours of duty or it would have been ALLLLLLL torn up in there, what with the spattering cracks of pain and PTSD and the flashbacks and the napalm and the screams.

And, because your meat has absorbed water at varying levels, you will now balance hot burning fat explosions with the fact that parts of your bacon are charring while other parts are looking like parboiled rubbery white fat. So you try to hold the over-cooked parts out of the pan with your tongs, while the blubber tries to catch up, and you dodge esplodyness of epic proportions.

NOT FUN. Bacon, we used to be good friends. I know it’s not your fault. It’s the endless pursuit of foodiness and trying new things, but I’m never going to do it again and Andrew and Dan better never pop out into a back alley to get a quick smoke, because I’m going to be waiting. And maybe not with knitting needles. With a pan of hot bacon fat. We’ll all have matching arm scars!

Good News!

I’ve kept this under wraps, but I’m happy to announce that I’m starting a new job today! It’s pretty awesome – I’m going to be telecommuting for an agency that’s a couple hours away.  The owner is cool, and we had been introduced when I lost my job the first go-’round. He’d wanted to hire me then, but that required moving because it was a management position. I did a freelance project for them, which was awesome to work on, interesting, loads of research, and since then, he’s been gung-ho about hiring me. We found a way to make it work, and I’ve felt like the cat who ate the canary ever since. It’s nice to be appreciated for what you can do – it’s nice to be paid, too – good to have benefits, good to be wanted, and good to work for someone who understands the work involved and has an ethical approach to their business.  (I recently got confirmation a previous employer IS gouging their clients in how they are calculating net/gross – pretty skeevy, and just confirms my own perceptions of the owners and how they view their clients.)

My only worry about telecommuting is that I’ll be insane to be around when I do get out of the house. (HI! HELLO! LET US TALK! WHAT IS GOING ON? I AM CHATTY.)

Did you know you can’t buy the green sauce in a 12 oz bottle, like the one  you might use at Chipotle? This made me irritated. I do not like things that I love available only to the food service industry.  So, like much of my life, I found what we call a “work-around”:

Say hello to my not-so-little friend!

Mmmm. That’s a whole gallon of green Tabasco.  Screw you, tiny-5-ounce-bottle-available-at-Price-Chopper.

Also, for those who like to do cost analysis? It would require purchasing 25 5-oz bottles to come close in volume…. let me illustrate, starting with a gallon=128 ozs,  god why do we not use the metric system?

$3.99 (small bottle cost on website) divided by 5 = Cost per ounce = $0.798

128 times $0.798 = $102.14

My cost to ship a gallon was just under $50.

You can get yours straight from the source, too.  It’s all I can do not to drink it by the shot.

Hello, I Must Be Going!

Well, I am heading out tomorrow to St. Louis, to attend The Loopy Ewe’s Spring Fling. Knitters (and spinners!) will be flying in from all over to attend, including three amazing teachers – Wendy, Cookie & Anne – and then the dyemaster herself, Claudia, of Wollmeise.   I’m also excited to finally meet Sheri herself!

But the excitement doesn’t stop – there are going to be sooo many people there to meet, greet, hang out with, knit with, laugh with, all of it. I’ve made so many ‘internet friends’ between Ravelry and Plurk, I know it’s going to be a bit of an overload to match everyone’s little avatar and personality up with their real-life selves. Plus you have the thin sheen of anxiety that goes along with travel and big groups – did I pack everything? How’m I going to carry all this stuff? What if everyone hates me and I spend the weekend in my car, weeping? You know. The basics.  There is also the chance I’ll be breaking bad news to my husband, because George Clooney is shooting a movie in St. Louis, and a group is already planning a sushi dinner on Friday night…at the location where Mr. Clooney has been spotted every Friday.  I’m just saying. George probably has had his fill of tall, willowy model-types, and he might just be looking for a rotund, short, brassy sort of  knitter to round out his experiences in life.

(Probably not.)

(But when my co-workers asked if I’d knit him socks, the answer was an unequivocal, bellowed, “HELLZ YEAH!”)

Meanwhile, work crazes on, and it’s whack-a-mole times.  Partly because of the vacation time I’m taking (all whopping 2.5 days of it, whoa nelly!) and partly because the demands are there – this business has a crazy broken roller-coaster-ness to it, where things are slow and plodding and then suddenly you’re hurtling along at 100 mph and hoping your cart doesn’t go off the rails when you crest the top.

I’ll also be going to Trader Joe’s while I’m in STL – I can only hope that they ask for our zip codes when we checkout, as I know the Kansas City contingency plans to hit their store close to our hotel pretty hard before we drive home on Sunday. Listen up, TJ! Kansas City wants/needs a store (more than one would be awesome!) and we want it NOOOOW! (I’m bringing a cooler. And shopping for co-workers –  Three Buck Chuck, of course.  Perfect for the aforementioned roller coaster!)

James will be selling more tomato and pepper plants this weekend – a couple varieties have sold out already, but he’s got loads of great plants left. Cherokee Purple seems to be the hot tomato this year (yes, Virginia, there is a cutting-edge even in the gardening world!) and he has oodles of those.  It will keep him busy & off the streets while I’m gone, I know that much. EMAIL  him at jworley1@ HOTMAIL [dot] com if you have questions or want to place an order! Yes, you have to type out his  email, but it’s faster than leaving a comment – my computer access will be very limited.

So I’m off – I’ll be Plurking from my Blackberry, certainly, and then I’ll report back next week with pictures & stories! See you then!


I won a gift certificate from The Pioneer Woman! I have no idea what I’ll buy, and when I told my husband Van Dyke’s Restorers was a Cabela’s company, he immediately wanted to know if the gift certificate could be used there. (No.) (I don’t even want to know if it can.) (I’m not good at sharing, does nobody remember this?)

This would be lovely, though it would require me to kick in some cash to cover the difference. Never mind there’s nowhere to put it. I’d be perfectly happy with it in the living room. Watch my DVR, knit, splash a little, no biggie! Hi, company! Can you all just look out at the garden while I get out of the tub? Thannnnks.

Actually, I just realized why the site was familiar to me – a couple years ago, I was looking for some bun feet to raise our dining room table – I’d bought it from a friend, and it sat a little too low. (The table itself is really cool, it’s a reclaimed barn door, but the construction doesn’t allow you to lengthen the legs at the top.) The bun feet were pricey, and I went with something much cheaper from Lowe’s that worked for height, only to discover they didn’t work as well for stability. So! I expect I’ll be bunnin’ it up! And, the more you read and say “bun foot” the more it sounds really, really weird. Especially when you like Vietnamese food, and, um, bun (noodles).

Look for the next post to be a big ol’ smattering of Orts. There’s been lots happening, but work has been really crazy with, you know, work, and there’s more work and fewer people, so we …work a lot more. But there are still jokes and drama and funny things going on.  I’m especially chirpy because one of my dearest friends is coming to visit next weekend, and the weekend after that is my trip to the Loopy Ewe Spring Fling and whenever I think about that road trip and yarn and meeting all the knitting friends I’ve made online, I just get so excited.  Like I was today! I swear, you just get in your path and sometimes it feels like a rut, but then you come around a corner, and it’s like everyone threw you a surprise party and you remember all the reasons life gives you to be happy again!

mwah! I am cheerfully annoying. I kiss you and go. Wipe the lipstick off your cheek. I understand.

Bustle, bustle!

Yep, it’s bizzy ’round here. Big client meeting yesterday. Off to NYC tomorrow, back home on Thursday, then keep dog-paddling because there’s a big meeting/presentation next week to boot. woo-hoo! In the midst of all that, got to keep getting the ‘regular’ work done, and then handle the curve balls on top of it all. Because boy howdy, there was a curve ball, and I seriously wanted to remove heads from bodies with a croquet mallet. Yes, I was channeling my inner Red Queen, and all I can say is, good thing I read the emails at  home so I had time to explode and then calm the hell down by the time I could actually address it. GAH! Life is hard enough, when things are going well, it’s in everyone’s interests to make! things! work!

OMG Tripper is going to start marketing his weapons-grade gas to the government. That’ll help pay the dog food bills ’round here. He is seriously, seriously toxic with his farts. I keep a bottle of Febreze ‘Air Effects’ right by my chair, and it’s almost comical – he gets royally offended when I counter-attack with one puff of “Linens-n-Sky”. Sometimes he even gets up and moves. It’s the only weapon I have, and I have to use it!

Speaking of crazy dog stories – last Saturday night I met up with some of the LSG folks on Ravelry, which was great fun – and when James got home from his banquet duties (MWA banquet in Oregon, MO), I headed for bed & left him to take care of the dogs for the night. Good thing. Polly apparently dashed in the door, and he only caught a glimpse out of the corner of his eye, and knew she had something in her mouth. Uh, yeah. “Something” turned out to be an enormous full-grown rabbit that was in dire straits. At least I have a husband who can calmly handle these things, humanely. I’d just shriek and run into doors.  Just a regular Mutual of Omaha around here, I tell ya…..

Speaking of wild kingdoms, the seed-planting is well underway, as the gardener of the house starts getting excited for planting and gardens and spring. Since he’d gotten me a Christmas present when we’d agreed not to exchange gifts, I decided Valentine’s Day would be my turn to surprise-treat. I took the rest of the money I’d left in my PayPal account from my Loopy Ewe DPN holders, and with just a smidge extra, I bought him a set of Texas Tomato Cages. After all, tomatoes are the “Love Apple”….and he grows them so extraordinarily well, with all kinds of fantastic varieties, knowing how much I love love love fresh tomatoes. Apparently these things are THE support system for growing tomatoes, so we’re just going to start investing in them and add to the pile as we go.

Let’s see… working furiously on some more knits, including a couple of fun projects for classes I’ll be teaching, and really, just trying to not let too much slip through the cracks.  It feels kind of crazy that tomorrow is already Ash Wednesday, that next week is -yikes- March! and pretty soon we’ll see Spring really settling in, bursting through the ground and in the trees, welcoming us to a new season and another chapter. Despite being agitated about dunderheads, and feeling like I’m burning the candle at both ends, I’m really excited about what’s on the horizon this year – both with work and my life outside of work. (For instance? The Wo and I are going to take a vacation! YES! Where? Dunno! But it’s going to happen, and that’s all there is to it. The pool will be there for later in the summer, yes, but staycation be damned!)  And yes, eventually I’ll be able to throw all the nice facts up about the zombie, proving once and for all, the dead truly can live comfortably in California.

OK, It’s Official. The Big New Business Pitch Results Are In!

I knew last week, but couldn’t say anything.  My ad agency is the official agency of record for…..

wait for it….

drum roll…..

cue fireworks…..

Consumer Reports magazine.

We will get the full scope of our assignment next week (I anticipate more harried Plurking via mobile phone as we travel!).

I’ve worked on some fabulous accounts in my life, and I’ve worked on gigantic chemical companies that made my father cringe. (I’ve never forgotten a conversation on the phone – “I’ve spent my life as an environmentalist and my daughter works for XX?!” Another city, another job, but still. I hated his disapproval.)

Dad would approve. Highly. My Auntie Karen approves and agreed, Rick would have been proud. I talked about him in the new business pitch, and credited him for my own fervid love of the magazine. It makes me sad he didn’t live to see it, but my joy is still unchecked.  Oh, and I got to tour a chunk of the building when we were there – I was almost shaking with excitement.  To see where they test cameras, and televisions, and scooters, and laundry detergent. Maybe to some folks this seems mundane and geeky, but to me? Nir-frickin-vana.

Yeah. If I had a 40, I’d pour a little on the curb for ya, Dad.

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