Saturday, September 19, 2009

Messing with My Saturday Viewing! A Mini Sternly Worded Letter

It's Saturday morning and I'm not happy.

Well, I AM happy - the sun is shining for the first time in over a week, my pup and I are harmoniously sharing a peaceful morning after a busy Friday evening, and I've been satisfying my writing itch this morning which always makes me a happy camper.

However, it is now 10am and I put away my writing, made my cup of tea, got my muffin and settled down with pup at feet to watch one of my favorite hours of television: PBS's Everyday Baking followed by America's Test Kitchen. However, this is not to be. Seems as though my Everyday Baking has been turned into some kind of food trip with some guy in Tuscany.

This does not please me!

This threatens to take away my happy!

Therefore, I am doing what any self-respecting crazy writer would do ... I am having a mini-rant via a sternly worded letter.

Dear Public Broadcasting System:

Just last month, you spent your AugustFest asking for support from viewers like me in order to bring me the shows I enjoy watching. I don't care for AugustFest simply because it changes the order of programming, but I understand it's importance - much like your fest in March each year - to gain those ever important dollars to bring quality programming for families and kids and people ... like me. So I gave my support ... it wasn't very much, but it was what I could afford, and I waited for the schedule to come back to normal and it did.

Now you've changed it again and there's no festival going on!!!

Every Saturday morning I spend one hour with my television. One. I spend it watching Everyday Baking (which took over for my other favorite - Everyday Cooking) and then America's Test Kitchens. I love these shows!! Much like Julia Child's show of past, they give me recipes ... but they also teach me ... they teach me techniques, they teach me the why and how of mixing, they teach me how ingredients blend together bringing all senses into the act of cooking, not just taste.

Most importantly, they are for people like me ... here in Northeastern Oklahoma ... cooking for me and my family and my friends. Just regular folks who like regular food.

Now you've taken away my Everyday Baking and replaced it with this "Food Trip with Todd English". Well, no offense to Todd English ... his visit to a medieval castle and market and food looks lovely, but ... um ... I AM NOT LIVING IN A MEDIEVAL CASTLE!! I don't have a professional fry vat. I'm not going to be making food such as he is waving on a plate on my television screen.

It's a lovely program ... but it is a TRAVEL program ... not a food preparation program. I might have watched and enjoyed it in conjunction wtih Rick's "Mexico: One Plate at at Time". That would be a good pairing. Both traveling and cooking mixed together and, while I might be able to attempt some of Rick's cooking easier, both are still not my style of baking and cooking.

I'm disappointed PBS. I'm not a happy viewer. You have let me down.

My hour of viewing is now 30 minutes. I don't want to watch Food Trip. It might be a good show, but not for me at this point. Not at 10am when I am wanting to learn how to make moist Raisin Bran Muffins for breakfast.

Thank you for letting me add my voice ... even if it is an unhappy one. Now, I'm going to watch Christopher & the gang at ATK ... unless you've changed that one too.


One Hour of Cooking Happy No More

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Washing Machine Pennies Have Been Spent

Tragedy struck just before Christmas 2007.

No ... not talking about my car accident. That WAS tragic but I'm referring to the death of a washing machine.

MY washing machine. The one that I had purchased 10 years earlier when I had moved into this little house. It had been faithful and then it was dead.


Atleast the dryer still works.

So, I began the task of loading up the laundry every week ... or more ... and heading out to the laundromat to wash the clothes. There's one that is less than a mile from my house and it is in a nicely lit area, clean and run by an older gentleman that doesn't say much but is always friendly.

I also began the task of saving up my pennies to purchase a new one.

Let's face it. Taking the laundry away from the house is not the greatest of fun.

After *mumblemumble* years of living in apartment complexes and carting the laundry basket across parking lots, down to basements, around to offices, my joy was extreme when upon moving to Tulsa all those years ago, I found an apartment that actually had the washer and dryer in the apartment. Not just the hook up. The actual machines.


I vowed then and there that I wouldn't be one to ever not have a "laundry room" again. Kept that vow for many years.

Until the darn washing machine decided that while the water could go in and the water could go out, if I wanted the clothes to be washed, I had to move that agitator in the middle by myself.

Yes. Because that was going to happen.

Nope ... washing machine was placed to the top of the list of things that I really, really, REALLY want to own, moving to a spot even higher than an HD television and DVR. There are some basic priorities. However, my priorities must be a bit off, because here I am, one year and 9 months later and I still am taking the laundry to the laundry mat ever 10 days to two weeks. (I bought more lingerie - that gives me atleast 14 days before I get desperate - I'm not completely stupid.)

I will admit. I have actually had the possibility of purchasing a washer 3 times since it died. Yep. Three times I have literally had in my hot little hand the amount of money necessary to purchase a machine that could live inside my house and wash my clothes, never having to load them into their respective bags and into the car and out to the laundromat in the rain, the sleet, the snow, the ice, the humidity, the heat, the wind ... well ... you get the picture.

So, why am I still wandering out into the dark of night to take my clothing to the public place where a variety of humanity gather to do this thing called laundry?

Because the President will not make it a federal law that nudity should be instituted nationwide.

Um. No ... that's not true. Just a pipe dream when it's late, I'm tired, and I don't want to but I've washed and rinsed in the sink for three nights and now, in addition to being out of lingerie, I'm also out of outerwear. For some reason my manager refuses to accept my pitiful "should only be seen in the darkness of my own home" clothing as actual "Business Casual". I'm thinking narrow-minded, but then ... she's probably right.

No, the three times were judgement calls ... I had the money ... I could have been responsible ... but I wasn't ... yet, I can't say that they were irresponsible because the three items I received I could not have gotten at any other time and because of them, my life has been filled with much joy, contentment, and happiness.

First ... the washing machine money was used to make my original ticket purchase to my first, and likely only, Supernatural Convention. While the trip morphed into something completely different than originally planned, it would not have occured at all if not for that stash of cash that I had saved and I would not have had a roadtrip week filled with such fun, culminating in the pleasure of squeeing like a little fangirl and having the opportunity to hug and put faces to some special people who have become such special friends.

Nope. That judgement call brought much joy and wouldn't be traded for anything, washing machine included.

Second ... the washing machine money was used last Christmas in a time of financial tightness to allow me to do two things - enjoy being the giver at Christmas, something I truly love and usually am able to do the way I plan, as well as paying up all of my bills and starting the new year off without struggling to find a way to make ends meet. It's not very glamorous but it was a wonderful feeling to start the new year without worrying about the rent and utilities.

Nope. That judgement call brought too much contentment to ever be considered less important than the ease a washing machine would bring.

Third ... the washing machine money was gathered earlier this summer and I actually went and looked at a couple to see about the possibility. Then a dream became achievable and all thoughts of washing machines went completely out of my head and into my house came a small 4.5 pound ball of white fluff I named Chester. He's grown a bit more in the two months I've had him. He is now up to 5.5 lbs and is a bit bigger than the minute size he used to be. He has also discovered a love of going bye-bye, has an extremely aggressive foot fettish at times (he'll actually work to remove both shoes and socks so he can lick and nibble toes and ankles), will fly through the house playing Superman with any piece of paper or magazine he can possibly get hold of, and believes that toilet paper is an actual food group. He also licks my face and gives me kisses, nestles between my legs as we sleep, crawls onto my head and whimpers during a thunder/lightning storm, and has the sweetest way of rubbing his eyes and head awake with his paws when the alarm goes off in the morning. He delights my heart when he begs me to pick him up upon arriving home and he fills a wonderful spot that keeps my house from being empty.

Nope. That judgement call was the best one yet for it has brought me great happiness - even as I sit here writing and watch him dash through the living room with a trail of toilet paper streaming from the bathroom behind him.


So, my savings priority remains to gather enough pennies to purchase a washing machine. I'm not worried. I know that it will happen when the time is right. Sometimes you just have to look at the bigger picture of what is more important. For me it was the joy of a once in a lifetime trip, the contentment of ending a year with a fun Christmas and beginning a year without stress, and the happiness found in a small, furry companion who laughs at me, drives me crazy, and most of all depends on me to be responsible for his safety and welfare while at the same time giving me complete and utter devotion.

Meanwhile, I am still loading up my bags and heading out to the laundromat every once in a while ... meeting the most entertaining and interesting people imaginable.

But that's for another time. Right now someone is advising me he wants to play ... and I am remembering that even though it's washed, it still has to be dried, folded and put away. And since I'm home, I'd best get to that.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Laboring? Not Today!!

It's been *mumblemumble* years ago, but I once had a kiddo in my preschool class ask me how did the stork know to bring all the babies on one day. I was perplexed and I guess I looked it, because this sincere little face looked at me and further asked if all the babies are born on the same day, then why did all the kids in his class have different birthdays.

Can a person look even more perplexed than previously? Cause I have to tell you, I did.

The inquisitive young soul then advised me that his mommy's labor day was coming soon. He knew this because his daddy had said that his mommy would labor and then he would have a baby brother or sister.

The light dawned.

It was Friday and I had been talking to my little class about the fact that we would not be having preschool on Monday because it was Labor Day. My little guy's mother was pregnant and due at any time. His father had told him she would "go into labor".

So, the equation began to make sense. Mommy's who are pregnant have a special holiday named for when they go pick up the new baby brother/sister from the stork and bring them home.

Don't you love the convoluted and yet, intriguing, mind of a 4 year old preschooler?

It is Labor Day today and, while there are possibly many, many, MANY women out there who are delivering a child (we won't go into the stork factor *grins*) today, this holiday was not specifically designed with them in mind.

It is also not a holiday specifically designed to signal the end of summer, the beginning of school and/or professional football season, the last weekend to wear white until Easter, the eating of grilled meats, picnics, boating on the lake, last minute vacations, simply sleeping late because you don't have to work, or the only weekend the stores will ever, ever, EVER have prices THIS low. (please insert sarcastic smirk here ... thank you)

Not that all those things haven't been attached to this weekend, in some form or another, but that is not the actual reason for the holiday.

Like every other holiday, it has been commercialized and/or twisted from one ideal to another. Easter is not actually about bunnies and eggs ... Thanksgiving is not actually about turkey and football ... Christmas is not actually about santas and presents ... well, okay ... it is about presents - but only in the truest sense of the Word - due to Christ's birth being the biggest gift ever - however that's the point of a blog for another time, today's rambling words are referencing Labor Day.

So ... moving forward ... I knew that Labor Day had begun as a celebration of the work force, however, to be honest, I wasn't completely sure when/how it came into being. So I did a bit of looking around. Here's what I found:

Per the U.S. Department of Labor ... "Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country."


Per ... "The observance of Labor Day began over 100 years ago. Conceived by America's labor unions as a testament to their cause, the legislation sanctioning the holiday was shepherded through Congress amid labor unrest and signed by President Grover Cleveland as a reluctant election-year compromise."

Okie dokie.

Per Wikipedia ... (no quote here, I'm gonna do a bit of summerizing) ... the holiday originated in Canada out of labor disputes in the 1870s and was brought to America after labor leader Peter J. McGuire witnessed one of these labor festivals in Toronto. The first labor day was celebrated on September 5, 1882 in New York City. Once all 50 states had made labor day a state holiday, each year street parades were organized to celebrate the labor forces and were followed by festivals for the workers and their families.

All righty then.

Evidently the family picnics and the gatherings of peoples ... on land or water ... are originally parts of this holiday. Of course, there should also be parades, political speeches and tributes for the working force of this country. That part must have gotten lost amongst the sales for washers and dryers, the packing away of white shoes and clothing, and the clogging of the highways returning from that last vacation before settling in for a season of NFL football.

Granted, the plight of the workers is not as deathly as the 1880's, nor do striking workforces riot, burn, & pillage causing state and federal forces to respond in force. Yet, we do have a recession right now, unemployment is rampant, and poverty/homelessness is epidemic.

Perhaps we SHOULD take atleast a few minutes to actually think about what this day means as we make up the potato salad and fire up the grill after we slept in until noon ... on this day we take as the proverbial end of summer ... don't get me started on the fact that autumn does not begin until September 22nd which means we still have 15 days before the ACTUAL end of summer ... I'll wait for another blog to ramble on that. Right now I have to go back to watching dvds in my jammies, eating a donut, and enjoying a lazy afternoon with girlies and pup before going back to work tomorrow.


Happy Labor Day!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hi! Remember Me? Well ... I'm Back.

Hmm. Checking the date of my last entry, I'm going to say that the phrase "I haven't been writing much lately" is a bit of an understatement. I've had thoughts and ideas ... I've made notes and started entries ... yet not really finished anything recently. I've actually been fussing at myself that I need to get back to it, however, as you can tell by the date of my last entry, that hadn't happened.

Then, this weekend, I went to the movies with my favorite Twinkles. After a couple weeks of anticpation, we went to see Julie & Julia. It's a wonderful, quirky movie that I thoroughly enjoyed. One of my favorite shows on PBS was always Julia Child's cooking show reruns and, although I love America's Test Kitchens, it's not the same. So I was delighted to see how remarkably well Meryl Streep portrayed the infamous chef. The quirk of her mouth, the riotous laughter, the stiff way she seemed to turn and acknowledge the world around her, not to mention her passion for good food and her forthright manner ... Ms. Streep had them down perfectly! Amy Adams portrayed Julie. I'm not familiar with her, nor have I read her book, although I have now added it to my Barnes & Noble wish list because I definitely want to. However, not being familiar with her character does not mean that I wasn't impressed and didn't enjoy her portrayal of a young married woman, unhappy with her lack of writing success ... her husband says she IS a writer ... she retorts that you aren't a writer if you aren't published. The end result is she begins to write a blog ... a blog about something she is passionate about ... cooking ... specifically GOOD, rich cooking such as Julia Childs wrote about in her cookbook. Julie sets herself a goal ... she will blog and cook her way through Julia's cookbook over the course of a year. By the end of the year, she had not only created everything in the cookbook, but she had also found herself.

I loved that.

Now, I'm not lost, nor am I depressed or feeling like a failure. But this movie struck a chord in me when Julie was not to be swayed from her blogging goals ... her writing.

I have let myself be swayed and I have missed it.

So, after giving it some though, I decided that I would once again take up blogging. I'm not guaranteeing an entry every single day, but I AM going to write atleast twice a week for atleast a year. The saying goes that you must do something consistently for a year before it becomes a habit. This is a habit I wish to cultivate, since writing is something I truly enjoy.

Therefore, I opted to begin today. It's September 1st. I felt it was a good day to start.

I also decided that I want to do this here, in my little blogger ramble room. It's where I originated and it's still the place I feel most comfortable. I miss writing for and so I have moved my Supernatural writing (another area that has suffered that I am going to renew) to my livejournal address. If anyone is interested in it, let me know and I'll forward the address. I have a Facebook address and I enjoy it as well, but that is for quick jots and thoughts, and I want some place I can ... well ... ramble my thoughts. Some can be shorter than others, but most are definitely longer than Facebook gives room for, unless you write "a note" and I haven't gotten the hang of that or the comfort factor in it yet. And let's face it, I only Plurk because it's the place my Supernatural friends have migrated to and I would miss them too much if I didn't wander around in there occasionally but that is soooo not the place for long rambles. Twitter, well, it just scares me. I might check a page I know about, but me? tweet? *shakes head* yeah, I don't think so.

That brings me to here. This place. I created it long ago and maybe some have forgotten it's here, maybe not. But I'm gonna open it back up today ... air it out ... and re-establish it. I hope that someone will enjoy it, but if not ... that's okay too. My philosophy when I started was simply to be writing for myself. That is the pleasure of putting down thoughts. If someone were to read and enjoy as well ... well, that is just the hot fudge on top of the sundae.

So, this is me, getting re-started. Same person as before - just a bit older, which I don't mind. I love getting older. I refuse to get "old". Trust me. There IS a difference! I still have three girlies I'm passionate about, three nieces I love dearly, parents and brother and friends who love, support, annoy, and make life bearable, a car that brings me joy, and a job that drives me nuts and fulfills me at the same time. I still am a HUGE fan of the show Supernatural and Thursdays are still my favorite day of the week.

Now add to the mix the arrival of a small white ball of fluff named Chester and I am complete.

I'm back now. I guess, like Julie in the movie, this makes me sound a bit narcissistic. I don't mean to be, however, according to my book on writing, you should write about what you know. Well, I know me and I know my point of view on the world around me. So, that's where I'm going to get started. Who knows what may come of this or where it will lead? (Hopefully back to the book that I seriously did start a couple years ago that has been laying around collecting electronic dust in the folder on my computer, but I'm not jumping into the deep end just yet.)

I simply know that I've set myself a goal and I want to see it through. If you'd like to journey with me, then it's hot fudge sundaes on me (or whatever your favorite treat of choice)!

Thanks for stopping by. Please come again.