Monday, February 28, 2011

Bad Timing

Apparently, last night while I was watching the Oscars I should have been paying attention to the weather forecast. At 10 when I went up to bed I should have turned on Fox CT News at 10. Yeah, not gonna happen. (See previous post.) Even if it were something less entertaining than the academy awards. Although I must admit I wasn't that into them last night; I just feel compelled to watch. I digress.

Bad weather was nowhere in my radar last night even though yesterday morning as I sipped my coffee and enjoyed my new spring accents, including a beautiful bouquet on my newly dressed table, I heard the sound of a snow blower outside my window. By midday it was sunny and 40, but the few inches of snow had fallen overnight required attention in the morning. Winter is not relenting.

This morning it seems we are going to have freezing rain overspread the state before the temperatures rise above freezing--creating an icy morning commute. Unfortunately, I found this out AFTER I got out of the shower. Clueless that there might be a delay, I chose not to sleep with my cell phone by my pillow as I had many times earlier this winter, willing it to bring me a message in the morning as I drifted off to sleep. Nor did I feel compelled to turn the TV on for a quick minute before heading in to the shower at 5:20. So it wasn't until after I showered and moisturized and poured my cup of coffee that I turned on the TV and saw the news in pull back mode (push back mode?) with my district listed as having a 2 hour delay. Seriously? Was I seeing things? I went to the window and saw nothing falling from the sky. I picked up my phone and scrolled through my caller ID: the number was there. I listened to voice mail messages, and indeed I wasn't seeing things. We have a 2 hour delay.

And I have a wet head of hair that precludes my going back to bed.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Picture Ron Burgundy: smarmy news anchor, but forward to 2011. Make him a reporter for Fox CT and put him at the Smilow Cancer Center trying to get a news story.

I first heard him when Donna left the examining room to get sick and left the door ajar. As he yammered on about lighting his voice carried from down the hall. Then his voice got louder as one of the physicians lead him to the examining room directly across the hall.

“Oh, yeah, this is great! Wow. This room has all the bells and whistles. We like bells and whistles!”

He continued with some inane comments and goofy laughter, as if he were on a f**king class trip and this were a science museum, not a functioning clinic with patients in the rooms, anxiously waiting for scan results from their oncologists before heading off to have chemotherapy drugs infused through ports in their chests or their heads, chilled to the bone sitting in johnnies on examining tables wrapped in paper fighting nausea, or in the bathrooms throwing up because the nausea had won.

Donna came back in and we resumed waiting for Michelle, the nurse practitioner, while Mr. Smarmy went back down the hall to discuss with the doctor this new piece of medical research he heard about on the national news (a week and a half ago) about lymph node removal, which he was trying repackage as a local news piece.

But I could still hear him, as if he were on the other side of the curtain in the examining room that separated Donna and me from the door.

A little while later, after Michelle had examined Donna and gone to consult with an oncologist, and we were waiting again, his voice got louder again. A peek out the door revealed that he had set up his tri-pod right outside the door, in the hallway, and was focusing the shot, recording the doctor and himself—doing his “stand-up piece”— in the room across the hall with aforementioned “bells and whistles.”

He rehearsed his “stand-up piece” twice about the controversy of removing lymph nodes which have a biological purpose, while Donna and I fantasized about sabotaging his shot in various ways (if only we could fart on cue!), and then said to the doctor after she complimented him, “Yeah, I’m pretty good at bullshitting.”


I was done fantasizing about ruining his shot and was a nanosecond from going out and shoving his tri-pod up his ass while saying something like, Listen douche bag. This isn’t bullshit and these bells and whistles are pieces of medical equipment that the cancer patients behind these doors rely on to get well! The last thing they need is to listen to a cheese dog like you trying to get a story! Shut the f*ck up!! Oh-so-kind and mild-mannered Michelle coming back in the room and apologizing profusely stopped me from my melt down.

Stay classy, Fox News, stay classy.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Photo Journal: Snow Day #10 (Yes, I said 10)

leftover baked potato, sliced onions, leftover bacon
 (and Jill's good idea)

ta- da! my first ever home fries
seasoned with cayenne, paprika, Montreal steak seasoning,
salt and pepper

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I Love it, I Love it NOT...Dining Offers for Two

You see it in your email in-box, the subject line: Have on an entree on us! Free coupon inside. Cheap eats, you think, maybe I'll go out for dinner tonight after all. Then you open it and find it's a BOGO offer--with an additional stipulation! Buy one entree and get one free, with the purchase of an appetizer. Other varieties include $10 off...your second entree. That offer makes me particularly sad, since it's my reward for dining frequently at my favorite steak place (and taking the time to enter codes on line from my receipts). Why not $5 dollars off one entree? Even some offers, which aren't freebies but gift certificates purchased at a discount, limit a single diner: $25 off with minimum purchase of $35. Minimum two people. Dinner only. Why can't I sit alone and spend $35 on a multiple course dinner for one, and use the offer when the check comes?

I've mostly gotten over the fact that we live in a world meant for couples, in part because I'm part of one, but I still dine alone. Frequently. And when I do, I often see other solo diners. I'm thinking it would be nice for restaurants to value our business as well and show their appreciation by offering rewards and discounts to us for choosing to dine in their establishments alone.

Until then I will continue to [heart] NOT offers for dinners for two.

Friday, February 18, 2011

No Rest for the Messy

Amy and I had a good laugh at our own expense a couple of weeks back when we were going on our fourth consecutive snow day. We both agreed that we were squandering our free time, and while all the time off should have lent itself to well-organized, neat as a pin houses, we were living instead in squalor. Now two weeks later, having worked two consecutive weeks of five consecutive days (not an easy task I might add), my house is no more organized than it was two weeks ago. I'll have to remember to ask Amy how hers looks.

The other day I couldn’t find a cookbook. No, not a single printed recipe in a pile of papers, but an entire cookbook. This morning I couldn’t find my car tax records, which I need in order to file my state income tax. Nor could I find the blue topaz ring I wanted to wear.

I have beautified a little recently—fresh alstromeria on my dining room table, daffodils on my coffee table—but I want to put one of my new tablecloths on my dining room table and, more importantly, find things when I need them. It shouldn’t take more time to find my accessories for the day than it does to shower or style my hair.

The time has come to get rid of the clutter of winter and get ready for the possibility of spring.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Slow and Steady Decline...Continues

(Part 5...) or The Aspirin Incident

About a month or so ago while I was visiting my parents on a Saturday morning, as I often do, my mother interrupted our regularly scheduled, innocuous conversation about coupons and supermarket sales and recipes when she asked me in her oh-so-lovable Polish accent, “Joanne, you take aspirin?”

I looked at her a little askance as I tried to process what she said and figure out what she meant by what she said. After all, weren’t we just talking about making oatmeal stove top, and not my sore left hip (for which I definitely prefer ibuprofen)? But she followed up, leaving no room for misunderstanding.

(Read with her accent, it is verbatim my mother.)

“Here,” she said as she picked up a bottle of Bayer 81 mg aspirin, “Dr. Oz say if you take at night you sleep good too. I take mine morning but… here, you take.”

“Ma,” I began to protest, but she would not have it.

“Take, take,” she said, meaning the bottle of low dose aspirin she was passing across the kitchen island. “I buy for you. You should take,” she continued, also meaning then: take one every day, at night, per Dr. Oz to prevent your middle aged heart from having a heart attack.

How we got from "button your coat" and "why you no wear hat?" to "take aspirin for your heart" is a forty-something year old journey, more book than blog post. But when your mother tells you to start taking more care of your heart, well, you do more than count your lucky stars that your mom is still around to shepherd you through middle age. You listen.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sunny Food

We’ve had some unseasonably warm weather over the past week or so. We’ve also had and some bitter cold and biting winds, so while the snow pack has melted a little, there is still plenty of snow in these parts—three-foot piles along most roads. The most noticeable difference is not the amount, however; it’s the appearance. I can’t get over how ugly it mostly looks now, all brown from the sanding and plowing and what not. An otherwise beautiful—albeit excessive—snow cover is now just dingy and cold.

I’m craving fun, bright colors (I bought two new tablecloths the other day and some fun napkins), and things that remind me of sunshine and sunny places--like Mexican food, which in my experience is best eaten in San Diego, with a margarita and in Jill’s company, but currently out of the realm of possibility. Once again I am finding that February is Mexican food month en mi casa. Last year I created my tortilla soup recipe during the dread of winter; this year I’m into tostadas. (I'm always into fish tacos.) To go with, I bought a bottle of pre-mixed Margaritas, which remains unopened for now, but only until the urge to hop on a plane becomes unbearable.

I’m still hoping still to get to California in April. If we go without any more snow days, I should be able to work it out. Between now and then, I’ll do what it takes. With spicy food on fun plates and bright table cloths and a few margaritas.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Self-Induced, Annual Stress

Given that this is my fourteenth year of teaching, mid-term exams are not new to me. Every year for the past fourteen I have written and given to each of my classes a two-hour, multi-part and multi-page exam that requires time and effort to correct.

Like my yearly promise to start Christmas shopping early, I again promised myself that I wouldn't wait until the last minute to correct them. I even had multiple snow days to correct some of them (from the four of eight exams we were able to give before being interrupted by the last storms and subsequent roof clean up efforts)--before or after shoveling out my car. But again I broke my promise to myself, and waited until the last minute.

Unlike Christmas shopping, where it's okay to surrender and decide that what you have purchased is what you will wrap and give, because you cannot handle another parking lot or check out line, there is no such luxury when it comes to correcting midterms. There is a column in my electronic gradebook with MIDTERM at the top that needs numbers by 7:30 a.m. tomorrow, which is why I spent the better part of today, a sunny Sunday, finally getting the rest of my midterms exams corrected.

But I'm not done. Between now and then, now and and when I can finally go to bed, another stack of lab reports awaits my purple pen.

One day I'll learn.

Won't I?

Thursday, February 10, 2011


This is Joanne. Sorry I can't come to the phone right now, but I've died and gone to heaven, I think.

After going to every office supply store within a 30 mile radius, looking for reasonably priced purple gel pens with which to correct midterm exams and lab reports and coming up empty-handed, I found Pilot Pens on line.

They have the old Rolling Ball Precise V5 in purple (I ordered 3) that I mourned last year! They have other fun ones too! (I ordered five of those: 3 of them purple, 1 pink, 1 turquoise). If only my students knew the lengths I went to so as not to psychologically scar them with red marks all over their tests.

Anyway, please leave a message. I'll get back to you when I stop celebrating the successful end to my school supply treasure hunt. Thanks.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Guest Star

 Today I'm a guest recipe writer (guest star sounds better though, doesn't it?) on Chris and Amy's blog, A Couple in the Kitchen, where I shared my recipe for chicken tortilla soup. If you haven't already, click over and check it out!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

[Heart] Eggland's Best Eggs

I should care that they are healthier. They have Omega 3 fatty acids, and lutein, and 25 percent less saturated fat than regular eggs--and all of that is good news, right? But, honestly? What matters more to me is that they are just better than regular eggs.  They behave better, they look better, and they taste better.

They're like designer eggs.

Think of it this way: once you have really good chocolate, even Dove, it's hard to go back to Hershey's kisses. You will, of course, because they're cheaper and go on sale more often than Dove does (or than you can get to Europe--where the really good stuff is made). Same goes here. I buy the regular grocery store eggs when they're on sale for a dollar (how could I not?) but when these go on sale, or I have a coupon, or I decide to splurge, I remember how much these rock. And how other eggs pale in comparison.

I [heart] them.

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