Thursday, December 30, 2010

Reality Checking

You know, sometimes I feel like I'm still a kid. OK, well, maybe not a "kid," but a teenager, to be sure.  It's mostly when I'm staying up too late, or watching my favorite 80's flicks (a certain Boom Box Serenade comes to mind), or jamming to some classic Michael Jackson. I just wrap myself in a little bit of denial and pretend I'm 30 or so years younger, and 50 pounds lighter, and sans any obnoxiously wiry gray hairs. No judgment, please. It's not like I'm hiding in my room, smoking a joint, and trying to disguise the odor with air freshener or something! Not like I ever did that anyway.

Boombox Serenade Say Anything


Other times, I feel like I'm exactly my age. F-O-R-T-Y + F-O-U-R. That's mostly when I'm paying bills, or cooking dinner while trying to wash some dishes and sort through the day's mail all at the same time, or jamming to some classic Michael Jackson (what can I say, his music spans the ages). It's not so bad being 44, right? I mean, there are worse things I could be. Like 84. And I like what my 44-year-old brain knows. There's some  occasionally-whacked wisdom up there. There's knowledge. And there's that whole "knowledge-is-power-thing." I wouldn't trade all that for all the big hair and leg warmers of my youth, or for all the vampires named Edward in the world.

[Um, well, maybe that's taking it a bit too far there.  One can't be too hasty where Edward is concerned.]

Robert Pattinson Twilight


But there also times when I feel O.L.D. And you know, not in the good way. Yesterday was a perfect example. I had gone to the bank to open a new checking account. Naturally, one of my former students was helping me, which automatically  makes me feel old.  Unfortunately, it didn't stop there.

I was debating which kind of checking account to open. Apparently, there are like seven different kinds, all with different requirements, and as "Annie" rattled the requirements off to me I was feeling a bit overwhelmed.  So "Annie" was trying to help me narrow it down, but she kept pushing for the Merit Plus Checking. She mentioned it several times, so I was thinking it must be good and thought I might go with it. But being as that I am a visual person, I wanted to see the requirements on paper, so "Annie" gave me a brochure to help me in making a visual comparison, again suggesting that Merit Plus would be a great choice for me.

And then there it was. The moment I felt older than I've ever felt in my forty-four-year-old life. Right there in black and white...the second requirement for the Merit Plus Checking:

Must be age 50 or better.

WTH? This girl thinks I'm 50? Or "better?"

I am so not kidding when I tell you that I had to choke back at least one tear right there in the chair of that glass-enclosed cubicle that apparently has the heinous power to make banking customers look older than they are.  I. Was. Mortified.  Do I really look 50 years old? Is this girl for real?

Me Tinalicious

That photo was taken about 6 months ago. And trust me. I can't have aged that much in six months. That's how I looked then. And that's how I look now. I know I don't look 20 or anything. But 50? Really?

And to make matters even worse, when I told her I wasn't yet 50, it didn't phase her at all. There were no outwardly signs of embarrassment for having aged me six years right in front of her. No apology for the arrow through my heart. Nothing. Unbelievable.

You know, I don't really have a major problem with getting older. I don't welcome it with open arms. I don't celebrate every new gray hair. I don't worship my ever-increasing wrinkle count or the skin that now sags in places that are more and more difficult to conceal. But, I don't obsess about the aging process either. I'm getting older. I can't stop that. Time marches on. And as Miss Truvy (a.ka. Dolly Parton) said in Steel Magnolias, "eventually you realize it's marchin' all over your face!"

Amen, Truvy. Amen.

But that being said, I certainly don't want to be 50...before I am actually 50. Lord o'mercy. Let's not freaking rush it.

So that was my dose of reality checking for yesterday. 50 for a day. What an F'd up interesting way to bring 2010 to a close, eh?  Should be interesting to see what 2011 brings. ;)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

House Calls

Can I have Stupid People for $1,000, Alex?

Stupid People...and the answer is:
Not a question you expect to get from a customer of your husband when your husband is a plumber.

And in the form of a question, "Does your husband make house calls?"

I mean. Seriously. WTF?! This is an actual question I got on the phone today from someone calling my husband, who happens to be a plumber. I actually had to pause to stifle the laughter and collect my thoughts before I could respond to this potential customer. What I really wanted to say was:

"Why no, no he doesn't...my husband actually diagnoses your plumbing problem using mental telepathy,  and then fixes it via tele-freaking-kinesis."

But all I could really say was:

"Um yes, I believe he does, and if you give me your name and number I'll have him call you as soon as he gets in."

That really has got to be the dumbest question I've been asked to date from one of my husband's customers.  Though it was as amusing as the time one of his customer's needed me to acknowledge that Yes, I Know my Husband's Phone Number.

At first I thought it was a trick question, a joke, perhaps. But they were dead serious. And after I hung up, I spent several minutes just trying to ponder the logic of asking that kind of question. Is this even possible? Are there plumbers who don't make house calls and still get paid? If there are, I think the Hubs would love to have a chat with them, because he could work more and yet never even leave the house! Hell, maybe I'll be become a plumber too.

Ahem.

Gotta hand it to these customers though, they do keep me entertained while I'm playing the role of plumber's secretary and honing my ever-necessary customer service skills.

Plumbing Can Be Fun meme

Have a good Wednesday, y'all.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Easy English Trifle

Now this is the ideal recipe to post this week, since I'll be making this dessert on Friday for my in-laws. I make this almost every Christmas time, but since it's so easy to make and feeds quite a few peeps, I make it any time I need a big dessert that's totally yummy! This is my Easy English Trifle.

Easy English Trifle Recipe

I'm quite sure the folks across the pond, where this dish originated centuries ago, would likely be mortified at my take on an English Trifle.  A true Trifle would have some sort of ladyfingers, raspberry jam, custard, spirits (yay!) and whipped cream. But I'm a simple gal, and simple gals like simple recipes, don'tcha know. So while my ingredients do pay homage to the traditional English Trifle, the whole dessert has a bit more of an American flair. But hey, at least I didn't pull a Rachel (from FRIENDS, that is).  You won't find any beef in my Trifle!


Gawd, I love that episode...and I sure do miss FRIENDS! But hey, back to the recipe.

Ingredients

2 Boxes of Twinkies
1 Large Box Vanilla Instant Pudding
1 Large Box Strawberry Jello (or Cherry or Raspberry)
1 Large Container of Cool Whip

Directions
Cut up all of your Twinkies width-wise into pieces about 1/2" thick. Layer them around the bottom 1/3 of a clear bowl--on the sides and all across the bottom so that you have a nice, thick layer of Twinkies.  Then follow the directions on the Jello box and after mixing, pour the Jello liquid over all the Twinkies. Be sure to cover them all so they turn a nice, bright red. Put this in the frig for at least one hour (maybe two!) until it there is no more liquid when you jiggle the bowl. Once the Jello is set, make the Pudding according to package directions and pour over the top of the Jello and Twinkies. Refrigerate that for another 30 minutes to an hour, until Pudding is set. Once the Pudding has set then spread over the entire carton of Whip Cream. You can garnish with fruit, or sprinkles, or whatever you like, or leave it plain.  Serve cold and be sure to get down through all the layers when dishing it up.

I used to make this in a punch bowl, since it was the only clear bowl I had at the time. Whatever bowl you use, a clear bowl is best, just because it looks prettiest that way. This dessert is all about showing off the layers.  And it really is super simple, and Tinaliciously delicious!

Chip, chip, cheerio, and Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

You Owe It to Your Marriage

This week's WTF Wednesday post is the result of stumbling on this video while surfing earlier this evening. And just so there's no confusion, as I'm sure some of you might wonder, when I say "surfing," I mean web-surfing...not on-a-surfboard-riding-waves-kind-of-surfing.  Apparently, this product is the key to a happy marriage. Watch the video below to see for yourself.



WTF?!
And just so there's no confusion, I'm not saying "WTF?!" because of the product itself, which is real, BTW, and available at BuyBetterMarriageBlanket.com. I'm saying "WTF?!" because, I mean, why the hell did it take them so long to invent this? They can put men on the moon (if we are to believe the stories), make cars that start remotely, and even make toilets that flush themselves! But it takes them this long to create a blanket that sucks up the odors of nocturnal gaseous eruptions generated by sleeping husbands?! [Yes, I realize that women fart too, but I guarantee you that in my bedroom, my husband holds the record for not only most farts per night, but also stinkiest farts per night...and he wears that distinct honor quite proudly.] I mean, sheesh, they don't call it "Silent But Deadly" for nothing!

Silent Bud Deadly Better Marriage Blanket

The website proclaims that "you owe it to your marriage" to buy their blanket, which, BTW, "contains the same type of fabric used by the military to protect against chemical weapons." I should hope so. But the funny thing is that they are completely sold out "due to overwhelming demand." Maybe Santa was feeling sorry for all of us housewives and snatched up a bunch of these to give to husbands around the world on Christmas Eve! One can only hope.

The website also says that the blanket makes a great wedding or anniversary gift. You really gotta love the marketing spin of this product...playing up the love and marriage thing. Because really, nothing says love like activated carbon with odor-absorbing microscopic pores for overly-flatulent hubbies.

Ladies, I see new blankets in your future.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Baked Rigatoni

Nothing says carbs, fat, and calories comfort food to me quite like pasta. I'm a total pasta freak aficionado, to be sure. I could really probably eat pasta five days a week and never tire of it...though the Hubs would probably be begging for some meat and potatoes after day two. Go figure.

So as I was watching the so-called 30 Minute Meals with Rachael Ray on the Food Network the other day, I was totally jazzed to see a pasta recipe that looked delicious. I knew I had to try it. I also knew that it would take far more than 30 minutes to make it, because even though Rachel magically completes all these meals in a half an hour, I don't know anyone else who can. But when I see a good looking pasta dish, I won't let an extra 30 minutes or so stand in my way of making it.

The dish Rachael made is called Chicken Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Pasta Fake-Bake. And yes, I'm serious about that name. I think Rachael must have lost a bet or something and had to call it that. ;) It looked great just as she made it, but being the crafty-cooking gal that I am, I had to make a few changes to really call it my own. Feel free to click on the link above to get her original recipe. But if you want mine, called Baked Rigatoni (short and sweet, no?), then keep reading.

Baked Rigatoni Recipe

Ingredients

1 LB Rigatoni
Kosher Salt
2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 LB Ground Italian Sausage
1 Green Pepper, Chopped
1 Large Onion, Diced
3-5 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
Ground Black Pepper
3/4 Cup Chicken Stock
1 (28oz) Can Crushed Tomatoes
2 TSP Dried Basil (1 TSP for Sauce and 1 for Pasta/Cheese Mixture)
1-2 TSP Italian Seasoning (to taste)
1 Cup Ricotta Cheese
2 Cups Freshly Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to boil on stove for the pasta. When it boils, add the Kosher Salt and drop the pasta and cook to al dente.

Preheat oven to 350.

In a deep skillet over medium heat, add the Olive Oil and heat, then add the Italian Sausage to brown. Add the peppers, onions, and garlic and cook a few minutes more, until peppers and onions are tender. Season with Salt & Pepper. Add the Chicken Stock and then stir in the Crushed Tomatoes. Season with Basil and Italian Seasoning, and more salt, if desired. Heat just until bubbly then reduce heat to low.

When the rigatoni is al dente drain the pasta and return it to the warm pot. Add the Ricotta Cheese, Salt & Pepper, 1 TSP of Basil, and half of the Parmesan Cheese. Stir to combine the ingredients.

In a 9x13 baking dish, pour in half the sauce mixture. Top with all of the rigatoni/cheese mixture, then cover with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle on the remaining Parmesan Cheese. Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes, until the cheesy pasta has set and all is heated through.

I think this ended up taking me about an hour to make from start to finish. But now that I've made it once, it should go at least a little faster next time...maybe I can get it down to 45 minutes.  It may never be a 30 Minute Meal like Rachael's, but hey, as long as it tastes good, I don't really care. And at least my recipe has a name that takes less than 30 minutes to say! That's something.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

MJ KFC Memes

Since Michael Jackson loved KFC, I thought it was high time I dedicated one of my MJ Mondays to memes featuring KFC giggles. After all, nothing screams the holidays like Michael Jackson and a bucket of fried chicken! I didn't make any of these this week...but they each made me smile when I found them, so I had to share.

Michael Jackson KFC Backstage Meme

Steal Michael Jackson KFC Meme

Michael Jackson Give Back My KFC Meme

Michael Jackson KFC Closed Meme

Strangely, I'm somehow in the mood for chicken all of a sudden.

Have a great Monday!

The Day Our Cat Ate Christmas

I have a lot of holiday memories...some sweet and sentimental...some silly...and some just so outrageous, they almost seem too strange to be true, even though they totally did happen. Like, for real. What I'm about to share with you is just such a memory...of  the year our cat ate Christmas. OK, well, she didn't exactly eat Christmas, per se.  But she did eat a bunch of Christmas tinsel off the tree. That counts, right?

Siamese Cat Christmas Tree

So anyhoots, this is the amazing true story of our cat's penchant for  eating the silver sparkling spaghetti-like strands we call tinsel off the tree. Patra had eaten tinsel before, as I recall, and without incident. In one hole and out the other, more or less. But 20 years ago on Christmas day, I think she must have eaten way too much. And it didn't take my parents' long to realize that something was terribly wrong with her. So naturally, they had to call a Vet. On Christmas Day. And you know, that's a lot like the feeling you get if you have to call a plumber on Christmas Day. [Lucky me though, I married a plumber!]

They finally got a hold of one and he confirmed that Patra had an intestinal blockage. She had eaten so much tinsel and her body just couldn't digest it. So the only option presented by the Vet was surgery. To the less-than-cheery-holiday-tune of $450. Even today that's a LOT of Scrooge McBucks, but we're talking 20 years ago. And my folks just didn't have that kind of money, which they told the Vet.

His reply was so completely devoid of the true spirit of Christmas and good will toward men, that in true, Scrooge-like fashion he just said, matter-of-factly, "No money, no cat."

And to understand my mom's reply to the Vet, you must also understand that she, uh, didn't exactly love Patra. You can read all about their semi-peaceful co-existence in my Time To Get a Cat post. My dad fawned all over that cat like he'd given birth to it himself or something. But Mom? Yeah, not so much. So her reply to the Vet came as no surprise. "So keep the cat" was all she could say.

I guess at that point the Vet realized Mom was dead serious. So in the tiny ounce of Christmas Spirit he could muster, he agreed to let them make payments. But when the payments didn't come fast enough for them (naturally), they turned my folks over to a collection agency.  So then of course my mom called the Vet's office and told them she'd been making regular payments, and would continue to do so until her account was paid in full, but ONLY if they called off the collection agency. Which, they promptly did. And mom continued to make her payments until they were paid off, and they never returned to that Vet again.

Patra survived the intestinally-tangled-tinsel ordeal, which thrilled my dad to no end. But considering that Patra had just cost them $450--which, I'm sure, was more than Mom had even spent on Christmas presents for the entire family, she wasn't exactly throwing a New Year's party in Patra's honor.

We never saw tinsel on the tree again after that year either. Yeah, mom just said it was too expensive.

Mistletoe, Meet Edward

OK, so I just had this hankering [and I can't tell you how often I endeavor to use the word "hankering" in a blog post] to create an RPatz/Edward-themed meme to post here on the blog for the holidays. It would have been so much easier to post graphics that I've seen on the web, but for an uptight perfectionist like myself, that would just never do.  So I created one myself for all you Twihards out there.

And since last year, RPatz was voted as the number one star we'd most like to kiss under the mistletoe, that served as my inspiration for the image below. Hope you like it. Feel free to snag it, if you want--but right-click and save it to your computer to do so. Please don't hotlink to it, or sadly, I'll have to delete this lovely face from the post all together. And that would be a real shame, no?

Edward Mistletoe Meme

Team Edward. Probably goes without saying at this point.

If by some chance RPatz appears under your mistletoe this year, do send him over here when you're through with him. ;)


Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Truth About Santa

I was just thinking back to that day in my past...that dark, dreadful day when my childhood was robbed from me and I was thrown headfirst into the abyss of holiday reality.  You know what day I'm talking about, right? Yep, it was the day I learned The Truth About Santa.

Santa Holidaze

I believe I was in third grade. And up until that dark, dreadful day I was living blissfully unaware in my Santa Claus fantasy land, where all the sugar plums were free to roam. I regularly put out the obligatory plate of cookies and milk for the jolly old elf, and was only too happy to do it. After all, he was bringing me all sorts of Christmas goodies, and he had to get tired lugging gifts all over the world in his sleigh in one night, right? I would also occasionally leave out my autograph book for him, along with a thank you note, in which I asked him to sign the book, which he always did. And I always felt so special and lucky to have gotten his actual signature.

I was quite content in my Kris Kringle-filled world. Never mind that many of my friends no longer believed in Santa. Never mind that I often got teased for still believing.  I still believed, and that's all that mattered to me. Until that dark, dreadful day.

I remember crying when my mom gave me the cold, hard reality check about my beloved St. Nick. I was in shock. Utterly stunned. And completely pissed off! If my 8-year-old brain could have rendered a coherent thought, (and if I thought I could have gotten away with it) I'm sure I would have turned to my mom and said without hesitation,

"Are you shitting me right now, Mom? WTH?!"

But I don't really remember saying a whole lot as I processed my newly acquired wisdom.

The cookies? The Milk? The Autograph Book?
Faked. Faked. And Faked.

Honestly, I felt so betrayed. So misled. So lied to! But as it was threatening to crush my heart of hearts, and whatever was left of my tattered and torn Christmas spirit, my mom gave me a pep talk, as only mothers can. I don't remember it word-for-word, but it went a little something like this...

Santa Claus was a real person, somewhere, long, long ago. And he cared so much about other people, especially children, that he would bring them gifts and candy and such to fill their stockings, which they'd hang by the fire, on Christmas Eve. But at some point, Santa got very old and he passed away, threatening to end his generous Christmas traditions. But parents all over the world decided that the true spirit of Christmas wasn't Santa Claus himself, rather it was his spirit of giving. So, to keep that spirit of giving alive for children every year at Christmas, parents would continue Santa's Christmas traditions in his place. Thus, the spirit of Christmas would never really die. Mom also said that if I always believed in the spirit of Christmas, then Santa would always be part of Christmas...that he'd never die, unless we stopped believing.

As I said, that may not be word-for-word, but that was the  basic story I remember. And it's the story I told my daughter when it was time for her to learn The Truth About Santa as well. My 7-year-old grandson still believes for now, and I hope he will for awhile longer. But I'm sure I'll share that same story with him when it's his time to learn the truth.

That pep talk really did help me recover--at least a bit--from the trauma inflicted upon me on that dark, dreadful day in my childhood. I was still pissed. But at least I knew that Santa had been real. At some point. But after I had calmed down and had time to think more clearly, an alarming thought penetrated my young brain...and I just had to ask my mom...

"What about the Tooth Fairy?"

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

WTF Wednesday

OK, so I've decided to take a walk on the wild side and change up my usual (semi) Wordless Wednesday routine by adding a new category: WTF Wednesday. Just trying to keep things exciting, if only for my own personal amusement. ;) And after all...

WTF Wednesday

Sometimes my posts for WTF Wednesday will be photos, and sometimes they will be textual posts, and sometimes a combination of the two. But the posts will always have one thing in common: they'll always make me (and hopefully you), think, WTF?!

For our first WTFW, I've got photos to share...and since it's holiday time, lets call these WTF Xmas Gifts. Would YOU (or your kids) want any of these for Christmas?

Pee & Poo Plush Toys?

Yes, really, nothing typifies the season of perpetual hope and the true spirit of giving than a set of plush Pee and Poo Toys. What kid, or perhaps freakazoid crackhead, wouldn't love these?  I wonder if they have a plush Vomit friend to go with?

Baby...in Plastic
Baby Toy in Plastic
 
Now we're talking. This is the perfect gift for the little girl on your Christmas list: a screaming plastic "Lovely Baby" in what appears to be a hermetically sealed plastic tomb. Can someone please explain to me the definition of "Lovely" though? Because I think I define that differently than the doll-makers do.

Choir Boy Candles

Choir Boy Candles Gift

I'll leave it up to you to decide the appropriate recipients of these Choir Boy Candles.
All I can say is, WTF?!

Have a great Wednesday.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Michael's Magic in Memes

Tis the season for some magic, as they say, so why not a little Michael Jackson Magic for your Monday. The following memes represent just one of Michael's magical gifts...better known as...his sex appeal. To a lot of his fans, he oozes that special brand of magic as only Michael can. So these memes I've made are just funny little moments with that in mind.

Michael Jackson PYT Meme

Michael Jackson Naked Twister Meme

Michael Jackson Fedora Magic Meme


Have a magical Michaelicious Monday!

Tucker the Turtle

Here it is, a not quite lovely way too cold feels-like-winter-but-it's-Autumn kind of day, and at the moment, I have the entire house to myself. I could be doing something seriously productive, or meaningful, or even profound (no seriously, I do have my moments). But instead, what am I doing? Yep. Blogging. But is there anything wrong with that? I'm an adult, no? Free to ramble in virtual space if I feel it, right?

So to fill up some prime Tinalicious blog space, I'm going to tell you...in the least babble-filled way possible (Gawd...the pressure), about Tucker.  And who is Tucker, you ask? Let's meet him, shall we?

Tucker the Turtle Plush

And why am I sharing with you this adorable and yet presumably insignificant plush toy that is decked out in his finest winter attire (yes, it's just a hat, but it's a damn cute hat!)?

Well, it's because the Hubs bought it for me when we went Christmas shopping recently. And why oh why did he do that? Because I asked for it [she says with a wry smile].  Natch. Which then, of course, begs the question: why would I--an educated, intellectual, creative, and seemingly mature woman--ask for a stuffed animal in the midst of holiday shopping?

Well, there's really only one answer I can give you. Because. Because I felt like it. Because he was cute. Because I knew that turtle's name the moment I eyes laid on him [and no, the voices in my head didn't tell it to me]. Because he looked up at me with those big brown plastic eyes and asked me to take him home, in the way that only inanimate winter-dressed plush objects possibly can. And very probably because I'm just a giant goofball, who is just weird enough to walk into a kids' toy and candy store at Christmas time and come out with something not for either of my grandchildren, but just for me.

And the Hubs, being the awesomely accepting and raised-eyebrow-sporting-but-giving guy that he is, bought Tucker the Turtle for me. No. Questions. Asked.

That's love, my friends, all wrapped up in little yellow plush turtle with his dapper winter cap.