Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Everyone at work is doing Weight Watchers and we've had two birthdays celebrated already in the last month, which means we are tempting each other horribly with bad (and oh-so-good) desserts. I created this for Barb's birthday, which we are doing Friday. Just did a test run and it is SO. FRIGGIN. GOOD!

Erin's Fantabulous Raspberry Rapture

- Nilla Wafers, Reduced Fat (48 cookies)
- Cool Whip, Fat Free (8 oz.)
- WW Fat Free Lemon Cream Pie Yogurt (2 containers)
- Cream Cheese, Reduced Fat (8 oz.)
- Raspberries, Fresh (3-4 cups)
- 8 plastic cups or bowls (clear plastic is nice for visual appeal)

- Set aside 8 spoonfuls of Cool Whip and 8 raspberries.
- Break or food process the Nilla Wafers into coarse pieces. Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, mix the yogurt and cream cheese until there are no lumps. Mix in Cool Whip until blended.
- Using of the cream cheese mixture, fill the bottom of each cup/bowl. Add of the cookie crumbles followed by of the raspberries. Repeat the layers.
- Top with a spoonful of the remaining Cool Whip and a raspberry.

TOTAL POINTS: 38 (8 servings = 4 points each)


Posted @ 9:23 PM

Monday, May 29, 2006

My mom didn't let us play with the hose much when I was a kid.

She was a single parent and saved money in every possible way: coupons for free sandwiches at Subway that she cut off the Kellogg's Frosted Mini Wheats boxes (for which she also had coupons and would literally get 20 boxes for a few bucks) or "finding treasures in the trash," which was her weekly ritual of driving around the rich neighborhoods on trash day to find items to consign at The Commodities Market. Back in the day, Bradlees did double coupons and as my mom's best friend Jane worked there, she would go in during the designated employees only shopping hours and basically loot the place. Our bathroom closets were stocked with everything you could imagine -- and often times, all discounts and coupons applied -- the store ended up owing my mom money. A woman at St. Jude's church, though we did not attend services, befriended my mother and would lavish us with clothes, presents and food on applicable holidays. My mom did everything she could to provide for us.

But we were certainly not allowed to play with the hose. She paid the bills and it was wasteful.

Every so often, something would need to be watered (garden, pony, dogs, whatever) and one of us would volunteer to do it. I remember being excited and turning the nozzle to "mist" even if I had a huge bucket to fill because if I was lucky, if the sun was right, if I held the hose at just the right angle, I could make a rainbow. Me, little Erin, just a kid without a dad -- I could make a rainbow. This was something I always looked forward to as a kid: feeling like I could do magic.

As I stood in the dirt yesterday filling my watering can on "mist" (as I still do), I was instantly transported back to 1987. I made a rainbow. I stared at it for a moment and the magic of my non-traditional childhood flooded through my entire body, right down to my permanently dirty toes. I remembered my mom and how strong she is and the way she made it all work and the way she made us cherish the things that really matter.

I still don't play with the hose much, because that would ruin the magic. And I have just enough.

Posted @ 9:55 AM

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Putting Life into Perspective
(a lovely forwarded email from Larry)

When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were when they were growing up: what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning, uphill BOTH ways, through year-round blizzards, carrying their younger siblings on their backs, to their one-room schoolhouse where they maintained a straight-A average, despite their full-time after-school job at the local textile mill, where they worked for 35 cents an hour just to help keep their family from starving to death!

And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way in hell I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it!

But now that I'm approaching the ripe old age of thirty, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today. You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a damned Utopia! And I hate to say it but you kids today don't know how good you've got it! I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have The Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the damn library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog!!

There was no e-mail! We had to actually write somebody a letter...with a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox and it would take like a week to get there!

There were no MP3s or Napsters! You wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the damn record store and shoplift it yourself!

Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio and the DJ'd usually talk over the beginning and fuck it all up!

And talk about hardship? You couldn't just download porn! You had to steal it from your brother or bribe some homeless dude to buy you a copy of "Hustler" at the Seven Eleven! Those were your options!

We didn't have fancy crap like call waiting! If you were on the phone and somebody else called they got a busy signal, that's it! And we didn't have fancy caller ID boxes either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your mom, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, a collections agent, you just didn't know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances, Mister!

We didn't have any fancy Sony Playstation video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600! With games like Space Invaders and Asteroids and the graphics sucked ass! Your guy was a little square! You actually had to use your imagination! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen forever! And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE!

When you went to the movie theater there no such thing as stadium seating! All the seats were the same height! If a tall guy or some old broad with a hat sat in front of you and you couldn't see, you were just screwed!

Sure, we had cable television, but back then that was only like 15 channels and there was no onscreen menu and no remote control! You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off your ass and walk over to the TV to change the channel and there was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday morning. Do you hear what I'm saying!?! We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons, you spoiled little bastards!

And we didn't have microwaves, if we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove or go build a frigging fire -- imagine that! If we wanted popcorn, we had to use that stupid JiffyPop thing and shake it over the stove forever like an idiot. That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too easy. You're spoiled.

You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in 1980.

Posted @ 5:00 PM

Saturday, May 27, 2006

I had a moment of pure olfactory bliss tonight while riding home from dinner on the back of Jay's Harley. The air was a buffet of the scents of early summer: charcoal briquets, wood smoke, flowering trees, freshly mowed grass... For a second I knew exactly why my dog loves to ride with her nose stuck out the car window: there are so many stories on the breeze.

Posted @ 9:03 PM

Friday, May 26, 2006

I'm sure everyone (heh - as if I have enough readers to be considered "everyone") is getting sick of the plant pictures, but I just have to share, 'cause this is the first time I've ever had my own dirt to dig in! It's almost becoming a compulsion. I went to Lowes after work today and got some more perennials (Shasta daisies, a pink flowery plant and a peachy-colored flowery plant the names of which I can't remember and some yellow coreopsis) as well as some annuals to put under our flowering pear tree at work. I also got a little plum-colored tree that I did not secure in my cart and accidentally dumped right as I arrived at my car after checkout: crack! The two main branches split, though not completely. They are both still connected to the trunk. Does anyone happen to know if nature will find a way to carry on or is it doomed? I feel sort of sad for it. It was all excited to be liberated from mass merchandising and then I dumped it on its head. Poor lil tree...

Anyway, the rest of my perennials came in from Nature Hills and let me just tell you: DO NOT ORDER FROM THEM!! My plants took almost two months to arrive; they gave UPS the wrong address which delayed the delivery further; my pink coreopsis has no roots and the pot contained only dirt, some stringy slime and a live earthworm; they refused to replace it unless the stringy slime doesn't come back to life within two weeks and my bleeding hearts were overwatered to the point of being totally rotted. Yay. They suck ass. I sent them an email to that effect, only more eloquently.

The planter at the bottom is loaded with morning glories that haven't sprouted yet. The originals I planted way too early indoors this spring fell victim to the rains two weeks ago and were beaten to a pulp when I accidentally left them outside. Whoops. (Did someone say murderer?)

Anyhoo, in other news, my boss and his wife had their baby girl on Wednesday, so the schedule was totally fucked for the rest of the week -- not that it was a bad thing! I am psyched for them!! Jenn and I just had to reschedule a ton of appointments to next week and I sort of pity Dianne when she comes back from her honeymoon -- it's going to be insane with the overflow. Oh well. At least we'll have five people to deal with it instead of the four of the last two weeks.

Jenn, Mike, Jay and I are going to go see the new X Men movie tomorrow. Other than that, I don't have much planned for the long weekend. Might try to touch up some scratches on my car and clean the interior. It's about as fuzzy as Indie's dog bed and that's just shameful. Ummmm... I guess that's it. Hope everyone has a lovely weekend!

Posted @ 10:08 PM

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Well, I decided to go get dirty again today. Went to Home Depot and got some more annuals, a shrub (don't remember what it is), a couple more clematis and more petinuas. This brings back memories of a very flamboyantly gay client of ours at the first animal hospital for which I worked . He and I were discussing gardening one day when he informed me (hand waving and all) that "petunias are the Burger King of the plant world: fast, easy, junk!" Lol. Maybe that's why I like them!

Anyhoo, per the wisdom of Erin M., I moved the Dusty Miller out of the porch planter and put in some other red stuff the name of which I can't remember. Also put in the two clematis and some more Burger King flowers. Pics below.

I can't escape the notion that there are ticks all over me, a paranoid from which I suffer due to the number of them that I encounter at work. I am seriously considering getting naked and having Jay perform a tick check. Hell, he'll probably do it gladly!

Posted @ 1:34 PM

Saturday, May 20, 2006

This week was really hard. Dianne's been on her honeymoon, so we're one person short and all working overtime. Up until Wednesday night, I was feelin' like maybe we were gonna get off easy, but when all was said and done, this week totally wiped everyone out. I crashed hard at 9 last night and didn't even stir until 8:30 this morning. What happened to those days when I could stay up all night long drinking and being obnoxious with friends and still go to work in the morning? Am I getting old? Or am I just no longer invincible?

Jay had to work today, so I was left to my own devices. I took Indie to WalMart and got a bunch of plants (clematis, spicata, petunia, vinca vine, pachysandra, and dusty miller) as well as some more Morning Glory seeds, 'cause the almost 12" of rain last weekend beat my last batch to a pulp. (Yes, I'm afraid it's true: I wasn't thinking and left them outside. ) I also got my rhododendron in the ground finally, now that it's almost done blooming. The thing I am the most proud of today though, is that I found a bunch of huge rocks on the other side of the house (the side we don't frequent) and dragged them around to build my border. Which leads me to the fact that the perennials I ordered -- which are for the border -- still aren't here and I ordered them April 8th! The nursery claims it's due to a cold/wet growing season; I don't get how that makes a difference with greenhouse-grown plants, but I don't have the energy to argue about it. They were scheduled to be delivered yesterday via UPS but evidently the address they used is wrong (though it's right on my receipt, so they fucked up I guess.) *sigh* They better not be all rotted and slimy by the time they get here. Anyhoo, my back is hurtin' and I somehow pulled a bunch of my butt muscles, but it looks good so far.

My attempt at beautifying the front with the lamp post. Some of the stuff's not up yet, but starting to poke through.

I added the Vinca and Dusty Miller today.

Lovely border created from the rocks I hauled over from the other side of the house.

My newly organized potting/gardening area.

I have a sort of wistful sadness about what I am about to share with you. Let my start by informing you, if you didn't already know, that lilacs are a huge part of New Hampshire culture; lilacs are to New Hampshire what lobsta (yep, that was intentional) is to Maine. (Check out this article if you're interested.) The lilac is the NH state flower. There are lilac festivals throughout New Hampshire every May. I live in Rochester aka. "The Lilac City" and buy my groceries at Hannaford at the Lilac Mall. There are innumerable NH businesses with "lilac" in the name. Lilacs are a symbol of New Hampshire tradition and roots. They're kind of our claim to fame. I can't think of a single spring when I haven't been able to smell lilacs when passing them with my car window down...until this year. It's quite a strange and unexpected phenomenon and I find myself feeling like a dog who's just gotten a bath and doesn't recognize himself due to the absence of his own scent -- I feel sort of lost and confused. You see, the record rain rendered the lilacs more or less scentless. They look perfect and dew-covered, just as they should, but when you get close to breathe in that pristinely fresh, indescribable lilac aroma, there isn't one. It's bizarre. The storm last week washed away the essence of the lilacs, and it almost feels like the essence of New Hampshire too. Everyone's disheartened and flooded and displaced as it is, but it's just plain sad not to have the lilacs. *sigh*

Posted @ 6:03 PM

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

And in other news, Bird Flu has finally been confirmed in the Unites States, after ripping through a mobile home park in Florida.

Posted @ 7:34 PM

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Rain Washes Out Roadways
Heavy Rain Soaks Most Of The State
(Taken from

Newmarket, N.H. -- A storm stalled across New Hampshire Sunday, bringing steady rainfall that led to flooding across the state.

As much as 3 to 6 inches of rain had fallen by Saturday night, and rain was expected to continue through Sunday afternoon and evening in parts of the state.

Flood warnings and watches were posted for the entire state except Coos County. From 4 to 8 inches of rain is possible in the Merrimack Valley, Seacoast and parts of central New Hampshire. Other areas could see 2 to 4 inches by Sunday night.

Totals taper off to the north, with the White Mountains getting up to 1 to 2 inches

Some towns have reported road closures as surging water caused sinkholes or made the roadways unstable. Drivers are cautioned not to attempt to cross flooded roadways.

Another storm system will move in on Monday and Tuesday, and although it won't bring as much rain, it could still cause problems, not allowing the current rainfall to run off.

Many people I've spoken to (or read posts by) over the last few days are going crazy from this rain -- feeling sad, mopey, anxious, lethargic, stir crazy... I myself, though I will admit I feel like I could nap 24/7, am quite grounded by the rain. My heart and mind are seldom at peace the way they are when we get this kind of weather. Though I do I wish I knew where the calmness comes from, but I am not the type of person to question a good thing. My only complaint is that I am totally unmotivated. I am in a state of perfectly blissful relaxation -- AKA laziness. I doubt much will get done today.

On the subject of rain, I stupidly (stupidly 'cause part of me thinks I jinxed myself) said to Jay yesterday: Well, I guess if we have a leak in the roof, we'll find out today, huh? And what did we find when we got home? Water dripping off the overhead light fixture in the bathroom. It had a water stain around it when we did the house inspection, but even on that day, which was quite wet, the ceiling was dry and the sellers claimed it had been fixed. (You can save the comments about me being stupid for trusting the sellers!) So, I don't know how bad it is or what it will cost to fix, but for now I have a cookie sheet in the sink on an angle, so the rain will go right down the drain instead of falling into the precariously balanced bowl I originally put there. Ugh.

Anyhoo, the wedding yesterday was actually really nice. I have to admit I was a bit nervous about having Bible readings and prayer force fed to me all day (Dianne and Steve and their families are very religious), but it wasn't like that at all. In all honesty, it was a very uplifting day. I don't know if it was just me being empathetic and sucking up the emotion of everyone around me, or if it was the loss I have witnessed (albeit, more or less second hand) in the lives or people I know over the last year or two, but for one reason or another, when I saw the flower girls and ring bearer hit the aisle, I lost it: many tears of joy and ache all at the same time. I didn't cry through the rest of the ceremony -- it was just the kids that did it to me. *sigh* To those of you who have suffered such terrible losses and continue on, I think of you all the time and wish you continued strength and peace.

Posted @ 11:11 AM

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

It has been pouring here all day. It's so good to be able to hear it on the roof. There was a storage area above the entire third floor of the condo, so aside from hearing the cars hiss by, it'd have to be a deluge to be able to hear evidence of rain. This is verra verra nice (as I suspect Laura would say! )

I am almost afraid to solicit help on this one, 'cause the truth might hurt, but here goes nothing: My boss, for some reason unbeknownst to me, does not have antivirus software on any of our work computers besides the server. He says he has it configured so that unless we open some infected document (email or download something), the system is safe. Anyway, for the last two or three weeks, my computer (or the one mostly I use) has been acting funny. The weirdness started around the same time the doc's computer person installed wireless internet so he can use a laptop in the exam rooms. The story goes that he downloaded some weird update that screwed up the settings on all the computers and we couldn't view anything in more than 16 colors (among other things) and weren't able to adjust it all back. He came and did who-knows-what and everything seemed fine...supposedly.

I don't remember exactly when I noticed my own computer's weirdness, but it was right around the same time. Here's the story:

My problem is not solved. Why don't I tell the boss, you ask? Because although everyone at work breaks the "no internet" rule, I don't want to be the one who gets caught. I seriously don't think I caused this problem. However, if I tell him I think we're still having a side effect from the computer dude, he will bring him in to check it and probably find the last three years of my non-work-related internet use. The boss is completely stressed out and irritable right now as it is, because we're pedal to the metal and the Mrs. is expecting a baby in the next two weeks and to be honest, I think he'd blow a gasket at this point. I haven't been anywhere awful, but being anywhere at all will be an issue. *sigh* Am I doomed? Does anyone have any experience with this? I'd really like to fix it myself if I can.

Happy friggin Tuesday.

Posted @ 9:20 PM

Sunday, May 07, 2006

SALAMANDER - is about transformation and disguise. This animal helps to connect us to the mysteries of the earth and to feel grounded in the present moment. Some salamanders are terrestrial, others and aquatic; while in magical traditions, Salamander also relates to the element of fire. In Heraldry, it is the symbol of protection.

More... The salamander signified a man of faith, and was also considered a sign of good luck. It usually appears as an ordinary garden amphibian or lizard which had the ability to walk within flames due to the magical milky substance its skin exuded to make itself impervious to fire. Some legends claim that the salamander was an elemental creature of fire itself.

SALAMANDER (in dreams) - the ability to merge or blend the spiritual life with and through daily life.

This is what I got Jay for his birthday. Ain't it purty? It'll be black and gray when it heals. He's a bleeder!

Of course, the trip to the shop has me jonesing for a fifth... I just can't find a good representation of what I want. The artist who did Jay's did it custom (except the shape/outline, which came from me), so I bet if I came up with my outline, he'd be able to fill in the blanks the way I want. *shrugs* This guy was soooooo cool and he gave us quite a deal (which allowed me to give him a $20 tip and he totally deserved it!)

Anyhoo, hope everyone had a good weekend.

P.S. Jay ordered my hammock and stand for me on Amazon for my birthday. Can't wait for it to come!!

Posted @ 1:20 PM

Thursday, May 04, 2006

This week has been a huge emotional drain on me. I don't feel like hashing it all out 'cause I'm tired of talking it over, trying to find peace and make sense of it all. Suffice it to say that I have cried and yelled and forgiven and then done it all again. I have some big things to evaluate with regard to my family.

At work, it's been insanely busy, which is normal for this time of year, but my heart and mind are just not in it. My brain has crawled through this week in its hands and knees. It seems like way more people than usual are being total assholes lately and no, I am not just being oversensitive. We've all been kind of taken aback by it. We had a jerk come in yesterday for a second opinion on his dog (other vet says it's dying of lymphoma, a form of cancer) and Dr. D examined and consulted and provided his opinion and the gentleman's options. Then because I was up front by myself and on the phone with my back turned, I didn't see when the asshole walked out without paying his bill. Jenn called him later to see what the story was and he started swearing at her and saying that the doctor didn't do anything (um, a thirty-minute exam and consultation is not nothing!) and that we're all a bunch of money-grubbing bastards and we're going to give him a heart attack and he's going to report us to the Attorney General, blah blah. Isn't that ironic? He stole our services and he's going to report us. Ugh. That's money we'll never see.

To top it off, I am turning 28 on Saturday. My second-to-last year in my twenties. I have no plans, no party and no presents. (And that, my friends, I am just being a brat about.)

Love you all. T.G.I.(almost)F.

Posted @ 7:25 PM

Monday, May 01, 2006

1. I have a horrendous headache which has been plaguing me all day. A nap and Darvocet didn't cure it, so I am quite sure it's my friggin sinuses. No medication I have ever used fixes this kind of headache.

2. I am not going tomorrow. There is more drama, but I don't have the energy or desire to get into it right now.

3. Barb's birthday is June 1st, so I've been cooking up gift ideas. She has a Jeep and looooves to go muddin' and when I couldn't find any Jeep stuff I liked online, I decided to design my own. I must admit that I am quite pleased with myself and the end result (the Jeep in the "MUD" text is actually Barb's!), so I figured I'd set up a store. Why not, right? It's free. So if you have any 4-wheeling friends, feel free to direct them to:

4. Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite.

Posted @ 9:49 PM

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