Another week gone by

So another week has gone by and I haven’t blogged anything more than the auto-tweet posts.

As you might remember we signed up for Hoosier Organics a few weeks ago and I must say it’s gone pretty well. We had our second delivery last week: Romaine, Bananas, Oranges, Brussels Sprouts, Strawberries, Potatoes, Grape Tomatoes, and a whole Pineapple. All very good quality and most importantly, shoved into our home and putting them right there on the counter for us to eat. I hate wasting fresh food. We are going to eat it. We actually up’d our deliveries to weekly, since we liked it so much. I’ve found myself making new recipes and experimenting in the kitchen again, it’s wonderful. A few quick things I’ve made up lately.

Pickles in the Fridge

Take a few cucumbers and cut them into quarters, place into a jar or other container that will allow them to be covered in liquid. The liquid: 1 quart of water with 1.5 oz. of salt dissolved in it. Add a teaspoon-ish of garlic, a teaspoon-ish of dill seed and dill weed, about 10-15 black peppercorns and a dash of red pepper flakes to the jar. Pour the brine liquid over the cukes and seal/cover. Let it sit for about 4-5 days and you’ll have amazing refrigerator pickles that are crunchy and fresh with perfect flavor.

Tomato Cheese Salad

Cut some grape or cherry tomatoes in half. Add cheese, mozzarella or colby jack works well, cut it up into chunks about the same size as the tomato pieces. Toss with creamy italian dressing. Chill and enjoy.

Better Tasting Brussels Sprouts (Not great, just better)

Clean Brussels Sprouts, cut in half. Toss with a bit of vegetable oil and Mrs. Dash to coat. Spread on a cookie sheet and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes until sprouts are just barely tender. NOT SOFT! Eat with a little butter on the side.

I’m going to try to post some more recipes as I figure them out and adapt them.

In other news, I won free popcorn by following the right person on Twitter this week. Saturday we went to Shipshewana and shopped all day with my grandparents. Today was the best though, I got up, we cleaned the house top to bottom for the first time in a few weeks and the I laid on the couch to watch the 400. I fell asleep half way through and got a good 30 minute nap. Hung out with Kyle for a bit and I’m heading to bed soon.

Ya know, if the weather would cool down a bit this would be the perfect time of year for me. Fresh fruit and veggies all around makes for great cooking opportunities, there’s baseball and tons of sunshine. Its just 10 degrees too hot out.

Not getting my dime!

I was at Fry’s Electronics the other day, had to pick up some stuff for work, toner, paper, a few network cards and just odds and ends. Total bill: $200, $150 for toner alone. Not a huge purchase, just stuff we needed.

I was walking around the store, it was 9AM and I’m sure the store had just opened, employees were still milling about with their morning tasks. People really weren’t talking to me, mostly they were just walking past, some gave a nod.

No problem, I found what I needed, the toner was easy enough and the rest was just walking around to pick it up. I of course took a few minutes to browse a few aisles that piqued my interest, all alone basically.

As I was walking out, browsing the bluetooth headsets, a man, we’ll call him Tim, stopped me and asked how I was, if I’d found everything and then asked to “write that up” for me. Not knowing better I said, “Sure.”

“Wait here,” he said “I’ll be right back.”

Shortly, he returned, paper in hand. I took the piece of paper, said thanks and went on my way. As I ventured closer to the register stands I thought, “Hey, that guy didn’t put everything I purchased on the sheet, only the toner, he must make a commission.”

When I arrived at the checkout, I placed my things on the counter and as I laid the sheet down, the cashier grabbed for it, I lunged out to stop her.

“Does he get a commission for this?” I asked.

“Umm, yes, he does.” The cashier said, nervously, as if I wasn’t supposed to know that people there worked on commission.

“You never saw this, he didn’t help me find it or anything else, and I don’t think he deserves any payment for simply writing up my purchases and causing me to wait.” I said as I crumpled the paper into my jacket pocket.

She snickered a bit, rang me up and I went on my way out of the store and to my car. Several other cashiers and customer service managers stopped in their tracks as I said this, none made any effort to dig any deeper though.

Seriously? This guy thought he was going to get paid for “writing me up” and nothing more, he took the one thing I had the probably paid him anything, nothing else in my basket. It’s called “clerking” in the biz, selling things on commission that you had no involvement in selling. I wouldn’t allow my co-workers to do it when I was in sales and I won’t knowingly allow someone to do it to me.

I understand that working on commission or tips can be a bit hard sometimes, slow weeks or months can nearly bankrupt a person, but picking up the low hanging fruit as your method is not going to work on me. Perhaps if you’d have greeted me 45 minutes earlier when I arrived or even 30 minutes later when I arrived in your department and covered every aisle, some several times, I wouldn’t have made a big deal of it. But swooping in to catch me before I went out the door so you could make a few bucks? Nope, not going to happen.

I’ll be more carefully now at Fry’s, they already irk me by checking my bag every time I walk out, but never really check anything. I’ll gladly let someone help me and be rewarded for it, but no reward for someone who doesn’t at least try to work for it.

Vacation Day 1

I took off the rest of the year from work (except for 15 minutes via the web on Friday/Saturday at the end of the month). 11 days of no work basically. I have some plans, painting, relaxing, cleaning, etc. I’m going to try to blog about each day at it goes.

I planned to wake up early today, head to the bank and then head out to finish my Christmas shopping before it got too crazy out. Didn’t happen. I woke up at 1045, I finally got out of the house at 1130, the bank closes at 12 and it’s 35 minutes away. I made it to the bank. Then I headed off to the mall. Everyone else got up before 1045 or didn’t have to go to the bank because they were already there.

I think I literally walked a quarter mile to get in the place. I headed to my first stop, sold out. Second stop, long lines but they had what I needed. Third stop, longer lines but they have staggard lines (half close to the door, half a little farther back) I ran to one of the closer to the door ones, around about 6 other people, and got out quickly. Did I break a rule or some kind of social more by doing that? I don’t care particularly, it’s Christmas time and it’s every man for themself.

I’m back home now and totally just relaxing, while doing some laundry, I need to clean the house but I’m just not in the mood today. Maybe late tonight or tomorrow, or next week.

Relaxation.

After outting update: Erin and I went out with Kyle tonight. We ran into my grandparents and they even bought us dinner.  Nice. We headed out to Best Buy and the mall. It’s always an adventure, though we didn’t go to Penney’s for towels (inside joke). All in all it was a pretty good time. It’s raining out now but the night was great with great friends and always interesting conversation.

Christmas Vacation is on Tivo now, my favorite holiday movie after A Christmas Story. What can I say, I’m a little demented. I’ve enver seen White Christmas or It’s a Wonderful Life, so I go with what I know. Heading to bed soon so I can do nothing tomorrow but football and chillin’.

A long weekend comes to an end

As I’m sure most of you have heard the Midwest was hit by a pretty good winter storm this weekend. I went into Friday fully expecting the worst, no power, high winds and tons of snow. Thankfully not all of that came true. The power stayed on, the winds didn’t last that long really, and we had about 8 inches of snow, most of which fell overnight on Saturday night but had a good coating of ice underneath.

I spent part of Friday eagerly awaiting the storm. I was like a kid on Christmas Eve. The anticipation of it all, the mystery of what was yet to come. Even the meteorologists weren’t sure what was coming. I wondered how bad it would be, as I said, not that bad. But the wonderment that I felt while waiting for all to start was unbearable. I stayed up too late on Friday waiting on it, a drivel of snow and not much else. On Saturday morning the dusting fianlly gave way to a few inches and not much else. I stayed up late Saturday watching the ice fall, waiting for the change to the heavy snow that was expected. It didn’t come, I went to bed. I woke up this morning to a fresh blanket of snow, underneath the ice lurked. I figured yet another day of staying inside and doing nothing awaited me.

It’s been a long weekend though. Friday consisted of shopping, dinner, and way too many people out and around for my own sanity. Saturday I was lazy most of the day, I had no plans with Erin because we expected the snow to start much earlier than it did. I cleaned the house a bit and watched Waitress and Sicko. Neither were great, but at least now I’ve seen them. I didn’t really leave the house at all on Saturday.

It was nice, was being the operative word. I didn’t even bother getting dressed, just lounged around and did nothing in particular. Today was different. I’m getting a bit lonely and cabin feverish. I went out today, I spent a good hour or so cleaning the 8 inches of snow off my car and then chipping through the half inch of ice that was under it. I drove around town a bit, checked out the roads for work tomorrow and then went to Marsh to pick up some much needed supplies, Swiss Rolls in particular. I love those things.

I’ve been doing some thinking lately. I feel like I live 6 inches inside the walls of my apartment. It’s just not quite home yet. I feel like I live in it, not “in” it really. There’s something about it that’s not quite right. I’m going to take my vacation time that is coming up over Christmas to paint. I’m planning a color scheme of a bright green, a cadet blue (lighter though) and a soft gray with whiteish-gray as my main color on the walls. Basically each room gets a color on one wall, with the whiteish-gray on the other 3. The hallway is going to be the tough one, probably something neutral. I’ve also decided that I’m going to fix my bar. I have a small half-wall dividing my kitchen from my living room. The bar is small, 7 inches wide. Just wide enough for your keys and wallet but not much else really. I’m going to expand it a bit, make it a bit wider, add a small area for eating at the end. Still working on color but I’m pretty sure it’ll be something a bit more colorful than the plain bright white that it is now.

It’s been a long weekend and honestly I’m ready for the week to start. I’m ready for it now. I’m heading to bed soon and when tomorrow is here, the week will start anew, back to the hustle and bustle of regular life. I have 11 days off coming soon. I wonder if I’ll survive?

A new week has begun

Here’s a brain dump of the weekend:

Wednesday – As I said we went to see Rent with Ben and Franki. Good movie, good times. Definitely worth the price of a ticket to see this one in theatres.
Thursday Turkey Day – The whole family showed up, and then some. An uninvited guest made things interesting and I must add that your embrace was a little too friendly to just be “friends.” The usual stress of family gatherings was of course apparent. Nothing big really, just stress as usual. After that though I headed to Jake’s to listen to some music and just enjoy some relaxation. After the music started winding down, we had the bright idea of going to Okie Penokie out on the east side of the county. Supposedly there have been bodies found and who knows what else. Supposedly scary too. We all drove out there in two cars. This place is located about a mile off the main road, in the woods, the path (not a road) is winding and kinda bumpy. Once we got there we saw some headlights arriving jsut in front of us. Of course we had no idea who could be there but Orion got out to investigate, it was Corey, Jake’s brother, tryign to get there ahead of us to scare us. It didn’t work, the place wasn’t that scary really, but it had possibilities. Someday when it’s warm again, it will be a cool place to go.
Black Friday – Thankfully I don’t work retail now so I didn’t have to get up to work. And since this year I really didn’t see anything worth braving the crowds for, I slept in. When I finally got up though, I headed to Erin’s and we did go do some shopping. What shopping we did! I got totally done with my X-mas shopping except for Erin, who was there with me so I couldn’t shop for her anyways. I did spend a ton of money, way too much. Bought myself a RAZR phone and headset for it and then bought my family and hers some nice gifts. We had a great dinner at Carraba’s, our waitress was actually at the riots at Walmart in Westfield where two men got into a fist fight over a laptop. Craziness. I also must recommend that if you go to Carraba’s you try the Chicken Bryan with the cavatappi amatriciana (pasta with a tomato cheese sauce). As our waitress said in her mom-from-the-south-i’ll-take-all-your-cares-away voice, “It’s just Wonderful.”
Also I found my favorite pen all over again. The Tornado from Retro51. This is the best pen you will ever write with! I promise.
Saturday – I stayed home on Saturday to work on a paper, the only paper I have to write all semster actually. I’ve been putting it off too long and now it’s due soon, so I stayed home to write it. I wrote like 12 pages in about 3 hours, that’s pretty amazing if you ask me. After that I had to get out of the house for a bit, I went to Kokomo, bought some boardgames at Target for Toys-For-Tots, checked out the mall a bit and then was heading home. john called me back from earlier in the day and I hung out with him at the coffee shop downtown. Blind Boy was playing, no one knows who he is, but he used to play at the Blues Jams we used to go to downtown. They were basically just a bunch of musicians getting together to play, you told them your instrument and they just sent a “band” up to jam for a bit. People mostly played old standards like “Sweet Home Chicago” and the like, but Blind Boy had a knack for the blues. He coudl jam with anyone and make them sound great. I miss those days. After the coffee shop we headed to John’s house and played some X-Box for a bit and then I headed home. A long day really.
Sunday – I got up early and headed to Erin’s house to go over to her grandma’s for Thanksgiving dinner. The food was good, I was stuffed again. After all that though, I headed home and then over to Jake’s. Sunday was the day of the big poker game. $10 buyin. Jake won, I didn’t come close, I’m done talking about it. We played football in his yard after that though, that was probably the most fun I’ve had in a while actually. It was just fun, win or lose, we did win though, it was just the guys playing around and enjoying a warm evening in November.
Monday Today – I got up early to wait on the cable guy to come and fix my Internet connection, again. He found that one of our neigherbors had been tryign to steal our cable and in the process he screwed our stuff up. We don’t know which neighbor yet, but I have a good idea of who it was. Stupid people.
Do you hate squeaky shoes on tile after the rain? I do. It rained most of the day today, so at IUK everyone in tennis shoes was squeaking all over the place, it drove me nuts. I was doing it to which drove me even more nuts. There should be a law.
Tonight is MNF though, the Colts and the Steelers. Should be a great game, the Colts are 10-0 and the Steelers are a tough team. Who cares about the Pats this is the game of the year. I’m kinda worried about this actually, I doubt that 16-0 is possible, so I know that they need to lose soon, cause I don’t want that first loss coming during the playoffs. Let’s be happy with 15-1 and a ring, ya know?
School is almost over too, man this semster has really flown honestly. Profs are always talking about reviewing for the final now. One prof is being “nice” to use and giving us our final a week early so we have one less to worry about. That doesn’t help me, because now instead of having 1 week to stress about passing a test, I have 2 weeks to stress. Doesn’t anyone else see that?
This is probably the longest post ever, so I’m heading to Damon’s to watch the game. Leave a comment with ya, I know you’re out there, this is the biggest month ever for visitors by far. More on that later though.

Near Death on the Escaltor

I hung out with Ben on Friday night since Erin and Franki were at the Lia Sephia party. We went to the Keystone Mall to look for some new clothes, the new iPod, and some Aveda makeup (for Franki). While we were walking around and talking about nothing in particular, Ben bought some clothes and then we headed to Apple store to see the new iPod. Unfortunately, as soon as we entered the store, which was oddly empty for 8PM on a Friday night, we were inundated by 4 Apple employees who were incredibly overeager to help us. The didnt’ let us get 10 feet into the store before they attacked, no new iPods until the 25th, but they were all too happy to sell one to us. I’m sorry I would not spend $300 on something that I’ve never seen or held.
The real story of our night was the escalator. When we were on the way, down I was apparently wasn’t paying attention and apparently my shoelace was untied and it got caught in the tread of the escalator. I immediately felt the tightening of my shoe as the laces were pulled under the seemingly fast moving stairs. I jerked away, nothing happened. My short, pathetic existence flashed before me in an instant, it was pretty short really. Finally as we reached the bottom, I thought I was sure to lose my left foot and be known as “Stumpy” for the rest of my life. At the last possible instant the aglet (AKA the plastic thingy on the end of your shoelace) broke and I was free. I’m glad that the ordeal is over now and everyone involved (me) is OK.
It’s good to be alive, isn’t it?

We had a great day

The Valley BelowErin and I headed to Edinburgh today. Well at least that’s how it all started. We headed out early in the morning, got to the mall and started walking around. It was big enough I guess, but I just wasn’t that impressed honestly, we covered the whole thing in like an hour and a half. Since it was still early we headed down south a little more and went to Nashville in Brown County. Man, what a beautiful place. I seriously think it was one of the best days we’ve had in a long time. We walked all over that town, I bought a cowboy hat, a coin set, a gift for my g-pa and some other stuff. I really don’t know how to explain how cool it was down there, the winding roads, the trees are just starting to turn. If you’ve never been to Nashville be sure to check it out soon.
Motorin' Down the RoadWe had salt water taffy, fudge and saw all kinds of junk that we hadn’t seen before. I dunno, I just really enjoyed the whole day.
The pics on the right should allow you to click on them to see a larger version. Erin took them on our way home.
An Old Road