Sunday, August 31, 2014

Monday Quarterbacking on Sunday

For the first time ever, I have joined a fantasy football league. It's through my work, and I just thought it sounded like a fun thing to do.

I tried to do some research, but kind of failed at understanding that I was supposed to be looking at statistics and all sorts of information so that I could make good draft picks. Or at least I failed at understanding what kind of research I should be doing.

So I did my research and tried to figure out which players to draft. I decided to start with players from South Dakota - more specifically, from South Dakota State University, my alma mater.

Well, that netted me two current offensive NFL players. (One of whom may actually have been a last-minute cut, so I'll have to check into that in the next couple of days).

Then I needed a new tactic. At this point, I really should have started looking up stat's that were worth something, apparently. Instead, I started looking for players whose names were either a variation on Robert or on Christopher.

Remarkably, that got me most of the way through the draft, with a few diversions into last names, as well.

So I was feeling kind of happy about it, until the very nice program we are working off of posted the information stating that my team is currently projected to be in 8th place. Out of 8. With a difference of something like 1,600 points in the statistic gobbledygook.

Luckily, while being laughed at by my coworkers, I did have a couple of people say "You know that what's going to happen is that one or two weeks going to absolutely kill us all." I really hope so.

Otherwise... Well... I'm just going to chalk this season up to my learning curve and see how things go in the 2015-16 season.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Food - The Leftover Version

I don't really know how it happened, but within the past 6 days, Christopher and I have amassed a fridgeful of leftovers. Make that a fridge and freezer full of leftovers. Usually, at most, we have a couple of pieces of pizza. Or maybe some Orange Chicken and rice. But nothing like this.

Okay. I'll admit that part of it was planned. Last Sunday (yes, on the hottest day we've had in ages), Christopher made a huge batch of his amazing red sauce. You see, we had decided to make lasagna for dinner for some friends (and their kids) and figured that it was a good excuse. We also were playing the odds, because each of the days prior to that when 90 was predicted the weather had topped out in about the 70s. Of course, last Sunday it actually hit 90 outside. It also hit 80-something in the kitchen, but that's a different matter.

But, either way, we ended up with about 8 quart bags of red sauce in the freezer, as well as 3 quart bags of lasagna (basically single-serving size - the bags aren't actually full). In the fridge, we had a large container of lasagna (about 5 servings), as well as about a quart of sauce. And about half a loaf of garlic bread.

Monday night, a friend of ours came over for dinner and we ordered in Indian food from Gandhi Mahal. Incredible meal (as usual), with one container of rice and about 1/3 of a container of my meal and 1/3 of a container of Christopher's meal leftover. No, we can't combine them due to the differences in heat levels (Christopher gets his hot, I get mine medium). So that was 3 more containers in the fridge.

Tuesday night, we made some pasta (frozen tortellini), and used a bunch of the red sauce. But the package of pasta made about 4 servings (the package said 6), so the rest - you guessed it - went into the fridge.

Wednesday night, we had some friends over and cooked an odd combo meal of softshell tacos and Tater Tot Hot Dish. (I made the hot dish because I knew at least one other person would eat it with me. Christopher made the tacos because he knew that he and one other person would eat them.) And one of the people who came brought dessert. We did pretty well and sent a lot of the dessert and hot dish away with people at the end of the night, but we still ended up with a container of hot dish and part of a pint of ice cream leftover.

Yesterday afternoon, I went out to lunch with a co-worker and was only able to eat about half of my salad, so the rest came home with me. Last night, Christopher and I went out to dinner at Pittsburgh Blue and we came home with half of my entree, half of a massive plate of hash browns, and 3/4 of a round of bread. All into the fridge.

So... As we contemplate the over-abundance that we are fortunate enough to have and do a quick inventory of the food in the fridge (not including the freezer), as of last night, we had:
 - 1 container of lasagna (missing a large piece that I took for lunch on Monday)
 - 1 (getting smaller) container of red sauce
 - 1 container of tortellini in sauce
 - 3 assorted containers of Indian food
 - 1 small container of taco meat
 - 1 container of Tater Tot hot dish
 - 1 container of leftover hot dish meat which I'm going to use for sandwiches
 - 1/2 loaf of garlic bread
 - 1/2 of a Buffalo chicken salad
 - 1 chunk of steak
 - 1 large mound of hash browns

Honestly, when you open the fridge, it looks like a game of Tetris is going on. Especially when you realize that we have all of our "regular" stuff in there, like 2 gallons of milk, a bunch of cans of soda, yogurt, lunch food, all that kind of thing. Like I said, it's definitely an embarrassment of riches.

I told Christopher, yesterday, that for the next few days all I'm cooking for dinners is leftovers. And tonight I followed through with that. He had tortellini and a little bit of garlic bread. I had Chicken Tikka Masala and rice with a side of some Buffalo chicken salad.

Overall, we cleared 3 containers out of the fridge in that one meal. I'm oddly proud of that. Of course, I'm also hoping that we're back to "normal" before we realize we've forgotten something in there for too long, which makes for some very solid incentive...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


I am, for the most part, a very decisive person. When presented with options which need to be whittled down in short order, I'm the kind of person who typically just makes a choice and is done with it. And - usually - I don't deal with any kind of "buyer's remorse."

But, at the same time, sometimes I'm horrible at acting on the decisions I've made. For instance, I'll decide that it's time to buy a new pair of shoes because the ones I've got are starting to wear out. But then it will take me another couple of months to actually buy the new shoes.

I'll decide, after debating the pros and cons, that I want to take a specific trip (not simply that I want to take a trip, because we all know that I always want to take a trip), but then I'll spend a while rolling it around in my head before getting around to booking it.

That last one is what I'm dealing with right now. I've made the decision to take a weekend trip to a conference in September. I've looked into hotels. I've contacted people I might meet up with. I've researched the schedule. But I haven't actually booked any of it, yet. I haven't even requested the day I need off from work.

I've been trying to figure that out for the past couple of days. I know that part of my delay is making sure I have the cashflow to do it. But there also seems to be some lingering "but what if something comes up?" going on. (Because the best hotel rates are non-refundable, of course.)

So I'm kind of sitting in the middle. Deciding that I'm going to travel, but not sure when - exactly - or where I'll be - exactly.

If this were a matter of great importance, I'd have taken care of it all months ago. As it is, however, it seems that my decisivity meter is on the fritz.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sleeping Like a Dog

I have no idea why someone decided that a good sleep is "like a log." I mean... logs aren't ever awake, right? So when do they sleep? And - even if they do sleep - how do we know they don't spend the entire time having fitful dreams?

On the other hand, when our dog goes from 60 to 0 and decides that she is too pooped to party and needs to nap, she is out like a light. No fussing involved, she just goes to sleep.

Sure, it may only be for a couple of minutes, but when she wakes up she's fully recharged and happy to be back at her top speed. Somewhere in that couple of minutes she seems to be getting all of the rest that it takes me 8 or 9 hours to accumulate.

So I have decided that I would like to sleep like a dog. Even though she sometimes dreams in the middle of the night, she still wakes up easily and happily. And then, moments later, can go right back to sleep.

Sounds pretty good to me.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Barrowman, Delayed

It's been a while since I've posted about a John Barrowman sighting. Part of that, I fully admit, is that now he's easier to find on social media or on TV, and so it's not the surprising happening that it used to be.

These days, I kind of see him popping up all the time and I just think "oh, look, there he is," but without as much of a thrill as before. Basically, I think I used to have a serious case of "absence makes the heart grow fonder." And, although I'm definitely not to the point of "familiarity breeds contempt," I'm just kind of used to him being around on the various electronic media. (And, yes, I admit that part of that comes from having met him at that book signing a couple years ago.)

Today, however, was different. I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, and he kept popping up. A lot more often than on a usual day. And mostly it seemed to be short videos, as opposed to just snapshots here and there. (And none of them included an ice bucket.)

So, finally, I checked out the one which was one of the most recent ones from the afternoon. (If I did it right, that video is here:)

If you didn't watch it, here's the main idea: He was apparently supposed to be in Chicago for a major event, today, but got delayed leaving Vancouver (where he's filming a TV show). More specifically, he missed his flight because he'd overslept.

But the important thing isn't that he overslept. The important thing is that he had been posting videos beginning this morning telling people that he was delayed - and why he was delayed, and apologizing for it all. He spends most of the videos explaining how people can re-schedule meet-n-greets with him, and thanking his fans for understanding. And, again, apologizing and taking all the blame on himself.

I've gotten so used to his usual public persona, which is charming, but with a touch of the loveable jackass, that I kind of kept waiting for that to come through. And it doesn't show up in any of the videos from early today. (Yes, he clowns around in one of the later videos, but that's after he has finally made it to his destination.)

I know that the world of celebrity has very much changed in this electronic world. And that people's careers live or die by what goes on in a split second. So I'm sure that some of what was going on was probably "spin." But this is the first time in a while that I have seen all of the mea culpa-ing being done by the star, and not by the star's team. We don't see posts by his team apologizing for his delay. We only see him frustrated with himself - not the airlines or anyone else. And I kind of have to hand it to him for that.

And, because of that, I thought it was worth noting.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

State Fair Time

The Minnesota State Fair started today. It runs for twelve days, ending on Labor Day.

For the past couple of weeks, people I work with have been talking about their State Fair plans. When they are going to go. What they're going to eat. How many times they'll be going back.

As of this morning, pretty much every local news show has started broadcasting from the Fair. Not just live remotes from reporters, but their whole news shows.

Social media is full of pictures of people eating and drinking and going to concerts.

And I'm happy for them. I really am. But I also really don't care.

I'm just not a State Fair person. I don't love the crowds. Most of the food doesn't appeal to me. And have I mentioned that I don't love crowds?

The first year after I moved to Minnesota I lived kind of close to the fairgrounds. Not so close that my commute was totally messed up, but close enough that I could go out and watch the post-grandstand-show fireworks. That was kind of fun - and there were no crowds.

That's my kind of fair.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Things I Never Imagined I'd Say #478

Some of you have already heard about this, and I apologize for the duplication. But this is just one of those things that happened at work that I really can't imagine ever happening again in my life. So I have to share it here.

After some discussion with my officemate, in the middle of the day, yesterday, I actually turned to her and said "It's okay. The author will never know you deleted her invisible squirrels."

And then I laughed really loudly, because I realized what I had just said.

You see, usually, at my job, the weird stuff comes to us from the people we work with. It's rare that the bizarro comments actually come from us in the office.

So, yesterday, when turning on Track Changes in a Microsoft Word document resulted in a whole bunch of images of very cute pen-and-watercolor squirrels showing up in the margin... and when we found that deleting them - even with Track Changes on - did not result in the deletions being tracked... and when I said that... well... it caught me off guard.

And I've been laughing about it ever since.

Here's hoping that you never have to deal with any invisible marginal squirrels of your own.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Do You Ever Forget...?

Do you ever forget what day it is?

I've been doing that a lot, lately. Sometimes it's at work, where I'll think it's a Thursday, but it's only a Wednesday. That kind of forgetting is painful, but seldom causes any actual problems at my job. (That's one of the benefits of working a job where you kind of do the same thing for about 95% of your time.)

It's really frustrating on weekends, though. When part of your brain is thinking that it's only Saturday and it's actually Sunday.

Or, when you blog on a Thursday night with the plan to blog again on Saturday, and then it's suddenly Sunday and you're kind of a day late.

I have a good excuse, though. After having a friend in town last weekend, this weekend we played host to a college friend of mine and her two kids last night. So at the point in the evening when I would normally be blogging, I was hanging out, watching Shaun the Sheep, and talking.

Yes, I feel really good about how I spent my weekend, though I do feel a little bit guilty about not blogging - or being more coherent when I do.

I promise to do better in the near future. Though I'm not sure on which day, since I seem to not know what day any day is at this point...

Thursday, August 14, 2014


I am about to say something I never thought I'd say: I'm pizza-ed out.

We had "pizza fest" when our friend was in town last weekend.

Thursday night - pizza from Black Sheep, the home of coal-fire pizza in the Cities.

Saturday night - lots of pizza (from three places so that we could sample and kind of taste-test them). The Baked Potato pizza from Pizza Luce was great, but "not very pizza-y;" the pepperoni from Davanni's was nicely traditional; the "Minnesota style" (cut in squares, thin crust) pizza from Lake Harriet was the winner, though, for both cheese and sauce...

By the time we were done on Saturday, the boxes were empty - but that's because we had about 2.5 pizza's worth of leftovers in the fridge (between Thursday and Saturday's leftovers).

Which of course led to the following menus:

Sunday dinner - leftover pizza.

Monday dinner - leftover pizza.

Tuesday lunch - My work ordered in pizza, which just happened to be from Black Sheep.

Tuesday dinner - I took Pizza Luce pizza to Christopher as he was working as a Election Chair Judge for the MN Primary Election.

Wednesday lunch - leftover pizza from last Saturday.

Wednesday dinner - leftover pizza from Tuesday.

Today for lunch I had hummus and crackers. And for dinner tonight we had porkchops and salad. It was amazing.

Of course, now I really want to binge on Chinese food...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Travel Tuesday - Home Tourist-ing

I think I mentioned on Sunday (though I'm not going to go back and look) that I had a really good weekend.

A great friend of ours was in town from New York City over the weekend. She'd never been to the Twin Cities, so it was up to Christopher and me to show her around. We had just over three days to show her everything that makes us happy about the Cities. And I think we did really well.

Why do I think that? Well... For one thing, I found myself getting really excited about showing her places that I like to go to. We took her to eat at Black Sheep Pizza in Minneapolis, and we took her shopping at The Golden Fig in St. Paul. We took pictures with the Peanuts statues in St. Paul and the Mary Tyler Moore statue in Minneapolis.

And I truly found myself excited to show her each of those things.

I pointed out my old apartment. We showed her Christopher's office (from the way cool observation deck of the Foshay tower - which neither of us had ever been to in the past). We went to brunch and I pointed out my oral surgeon's office across the hallway from the Egg & I. (Okay. Maybe the last of those isn't quite as interesting as the first two.)

But it wasn't just the "out and about" things that made it great.

Just being home and hanging out felt different. For 3 full days, I really didn't think about work - at all. I didn't worry about what I should or shouldn't have been doing. I truly let myself just enjoy my time.

It was amazing. I think that, for the first time ever, I truly understand the reason why people talk about how much they enjoy "staycations." Although, I guess that it might be hard to have people come from out of town each time I want a little down time. But maybe I'll start working on that.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

When Weekends Go Well

Wow. What a weekend. I've walked more in the past few days than I have in ages. I've been a ton of places I'd never gone before in my own city. I've eaten a whole lot of pizza. I've talked a lot and listened a lot. It has been amazing.

Unfortunately, between playing tourist and taking care of the pup and all, I'm running a tad short on sleep.

I promise to get back to normal-length blog posts soon.

Thanks for understanding.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Minneapolis Tourism

I've spent much of the past 2 days playing various amounts of tourist in and around Minneapolis.

It's funny how many things you don't do when you live in a city until someone new comes to town and wants to be shown around.

Yesterday evening, Christopher and I went to the top of the first skyscraper west of the Mississippi. This, of course, was after I had taken our out-of-town guest to the Mall of America because... well... you have to, right?

Today we took pictures of and from the Guthrie. We walked all over downtown - on the street and in the skyways. We also went out into the hinterlands to tour the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

And, of course, we wrapped up the day by coming home and serving our guest her very first meal of Tater Tot hotdish.

Who knows what the next two days might hold?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Almost Ready

I'm having an "almost ready" week.

The kind of week when you're "almost ready" to get out the door to work on time.

Almost ready to leave so you can get to dinner.

Almost ready for the guest coming tomorrow.

Almost ready for bed, after just one more thing gets taken care of.

Almost ready to fall asleep while typing if I'm not careful.

Almost ready to stop this blog post before it gets too redundant.

That kind of week.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Getting Back to Normal

Sorry I missed out on posting, yesterday. We had a little trauma around here.

Our pup wasn't feeling well the other day, and when her breathing got really labored we ended up taking her to the University of Minnesota's Small Animal Hospital. She spent about 36 hours in ICU - much of which was in an oxygen tent.

But we were able to bring her home after work tonight - along with another 3 pills that we'll need to keep her on for her heart and lungs.

Christopher worked from home today so he could be available for any follow-up calls. I'll be staying home tomorrow to monitor her recovery, and he'll be home again on Wednesday to be sure that we're back to up to speed and able to be back to our new normal on Thursday.

Christopher and I are mainly just happy to have her home tonight so we can get a good night's sleep. Hopefully she will, too.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Friday Follow-up - Wherein I Survive

For the record, in case you were wondering, I survived Thursday and today at work.

Yes, it has been very strange adjusting to the new dynamics around the office. I've realized that we are running very short of people who have been in the company long enough to understand many of the references to former systems that I know - or the former clients that used to be household names.

I also don't have anyone with whom I can privately snark about pretty much anything. And I no longer have anyone to walk out to the parking lot with at the end of the day.

That final one - which I realize is kind of the strangest - is also the one that has been the biggest adjustment.

I realized on Thursday that the five minutes of walking from the office to the parking garage and talking about the day was really a nice thing to do. Processing it all before leaving work to come home was good.

So... I guess I'm going to have to start reworking my routines. Being more social in the office. All that stuff. Oddly enough - considering that I've been at the company for almost 5 years - it feels kind of like I'm starting out at a new school and have to figure out which clique I fit into and who will let me sit with them at lunch.

The only problem is that this time there's no lunchroom.