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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

A blogger friend of mine posted what's called "Wordless Wednesday". In essence, you post a picture that is worth 1,000 words. You can make it wordy or truly wordless.

Here is her blog post about it

And here is the original poster, who started the bloghop.

Today, I'll keep it wordless. The majesty is enough.

Monday, January 21, 2013

What I'm __________ January Edition

Eating: I'm trying to go back on my diet now. My clothes are fitting tighter and it's making me angry so I have to start eating better again. The quinoa I made, although good, didn't quite work for me as a side dish. I mean, it's tasty, sure, but I can only eat so much (side note: it freezes amazingly well). Well, after seeing recipe after recipe of it being incorporated into salads, I thought I'd give that a try. After all, Giada's herbed quinoa recipe is very lemon-y, which would work perfectly in a Caesar. I keep the salad really light by buying Newman's Own Light Caesar Dressing, which has all the flavor and none of the creamy. I buy Spring Mix salad because it has more flavor than romaine (and it better for you!), and just add some parmesan cheese and the quinoa. The quinoa really helps flavor it; I just love it.

Drinking: I've moved on from black tea. Not permanently, mind you, but just to try some others out. I have some loose leaf green tea, and some loose leaf coconut Oolong tea. The green tea looks and kind of tastes like grass. Out of the two I much prefer the Oolong, which doesn't surprise me because black tea is fully oxidized to give it its flavor, and Oolong is partially oxidized (while green isn't at all.) But, out of the 3, I much prefer black because it comes in all kinds of yummy flavors.

Watching: Being Human! The season finally started and I was able to record it! (It's difficult because my parent's watch and record like, everything under the sun). I started watching the British version 3-4 years ago and just fell in love with it. It's about a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost trying to fit into human society. It's a drama but the comedy is there. 2 years ago, the Syfy channel decided to nab it and make their own. I was dubious - and actually a bit pissed because Season 1 was almost scene for scene like Series 2 of the British version, which I had just watched. The names have changed but of course they try to match each character's likeness. I still don't like Aidan, who plays the vampire (Mitchell on BBC), and was cast for the simple reason that he has a striking resemblance to Edward Cullen, I'm sure. However, I am in love with Josh (perfect name, right?!) the werewolf, who actually looks and sounds a little like my Joshie, and I prefer over George (BBC). Anyway, after Season 1, Syfy split off and went in a completely different direction than BBC and I am thoroughly enjoying it thus far.

Listening To: I'm finding my way back to Cash Cash. I discovered them a few (many) months back when the preview of Sonic Colors for the Wii came out. 

I found out who sang that awesome song and found a few others that I enjoyed too. I like them because they sound just slightly older than boy-band, but still have that hip quickness to their music; and a good trance sound. 

Reading: I'm actually going back and forth between C.C. Hunter's third book, Taken at Dusk, and re-reading (editing) Feral, my first story in my trilogy. I wish I could publish it... I enjoy reading it but I'm probably the only one. And it's hard to judge just how "good" the story line is without someone else's perspective. If anyone would like to read it I'd be more than happy to send it as a .doc file (you don't have to edit, just give your honest opinions. I'll even change the main guy's name! lol) which you can put on ereaders too. oh, it is NC-17 though. It's not bad like 50 Shades bad, or pornographic or anything, in fact I'm really light on descriptions. After all, it's a love story, not a harlequin novel lol. But it's a prerequisite to like, well, not werewolves exactly but fiction in that sense. It's set in an alternate reality. ANYWAY, moving on... lol

Writing: I've written 5 more pages of my Werewolf story! Woopie-do! lol I'm actually skipping ahead to the part that I want to write. I call that cheating but I just don't want to write the part that I'm at lol. I'm fairly close to being done, I think.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

AB: A Confession

I'm going to try and be as open and honest as possible here, and it's not as easy as one might think. After all, friends, family, and strangers read my blog and I don't want them to think I'm some crazy... person. As most of you know, I kind of obsess - okay, greatly obsess, over a certain food celebrity. And as most of you know, I have a crush on him. I've heard it been said that crushes can result from a lack of romantic love from your partner if you have one, or just lack of love in general. You reach out to something else; whether tangible or not, for that feeling that you actually crave from someone close. Whether that's true or not I don't know, but it makes perfect sense to me. I've had crushes ever since I can remember. From school teachers to celebrities, I've obsessed over unreachable men. And oddly enough, I rarely had crushes on guys that were reachable. Even if they weren't in my "league" at least I could talk to them and say "hey I like you" and get rejected. But, I've never even done that. It was much safer to swoon over a guy I knew I could never have a chance with; to imagine things and yes, to even write fiction about.

I understand that I actually know very little about Alton Brown. Yes, he shares quite a lot about his life online; in articles or on twitter, so I do know a fair amount. But I don't know him personally. I wish I did, because honestly he sounds like a great, fun person to hang out with in general; but I digress. I love this man, yet I know him very little. I've met him four times in my life, and watch everything he's in, and I can reasonably say that this is more than a mere crush. It has been for a while, but I've never fully admitted it until now. I've had crushes. I obsess for a little while... sigh and swoon when I see them on TV or in real life, but I get over it within a few months. I move on, as is natural for silly crushes. With Alton it's been almost 4 years.

And the reason I'm writing this today is because I'm trying to rationalize it. Maybe when I was living with Justin, Alton Brown and Good Eats were my escape. Loving him, and writing stories was my way of getting what I needed in my relationship. Would I say that is a reason we're not together right now? Possibly. Justin has a hard time expressing himself, and while I know it deeply bugged him that I had this... obsession with another man, it never really went beyond that. And now that him and I are separated  I no longer have this need to fulfill. But yet, the crush remains; just as strong as day one.

Another reason I'm trying to rationalize it is because Alton Brown is no spring chicken. I am 28. He is 50. And while I do enjoy me some Jake Gyllenhaal from time to time, I've mostly had crushes on older men. Since this is a confession, I'll point out that my first real crush was with a 7th grade teacher. At the time he was 47. That's a huge gap, and although I will tell you that looks do matter, it makes me feel secure that a man's personality is the top contributor.
I didn't fall for Alton's looks right away. Yeah sure, he looked good on TV. And for the first month or two of watching his show, I just found it entertaining - especially since cooking was for the devil :P. I've always said that humor was my number one attraction factor, and Alton Brown was no exception. I found him extremely funny. Intelligence is also competing for first place, and the man was that too - no doubt about it. It was after that, I began to see him in a whole new light. A man's hair is one of the top things I look for physically, and I've always loved that spiky look. His eyes; also something I watch for. And as insane as this sounds, I feel proud that I fell in love with his personality before I ogled at his looks. The fact that he's now 50 does bug me, but probably not as much as it should. However, I also think that age shouldn't be a deciding factor in who you fall in love with. I should point out that Good Eats has been running since 1999, and of course I find his 38-year-old self much more attractive :P.

I know some people would say that "love" is too strong of a word for somebody you don't actually know. Those would probably be the same people that say you don't know a person online, either. As long as the person on the other end is being honest, you learn plenty. I know, because my late fiancee was met online, in a chatroom. The other argument is that he's an actor - what do you actually see? Well, unlike movie and TV celebrities like Jake Gyllenhaal, who I don't know in the slightest because he's a damn fine actor, Alton isn't. And I don't mean he isn't an actor, but he's a food personality and that's a bit different. He's told people in interviews before that what you see on Good Eats is him. The man on Iron Chef America is who he is. That's the way reality TV is - you see the real them, not some personality they play. At least that holds true for most legitimate programming.

Am I defending myself? Yeah, I guess I am. Because even though I know this isn't normal, I'm mostly okay with that. I can't control how I feel, as much as I may want to. And I don't WANT to be devoid of his presence in my life. I love his show Good Eats and I nearly cried when he said he was retiring from it. I've learned so much and enjoy the entertainment and knowledge is brings me. I love what interesting information Alton brings to ingredients presented on Iron Chef America. And twitter? My God, he's hilarious - and he's still teaching me! Why would I cut him out of my life just because I have a crush on him? No, it's not worth it to me.
So am I strange? Yeah. Am I messed up? Probably. I've got issues, I'll admit it. But at least I'm not falling for some lame singer like Justin Bieber. Following him to concerts and screaming his name and wanting his babies. At least I'm not tweeting him death threats for going out with Selena Gomez. Why is what I feel somehow worse than that? At least Alton Brown teaches me something!

I shall now say adieu and leave you with some fine pictures.

His plane - A Cessna 414A
His Motorcycle
                                                                   Culinary School circa 1996
Good Eats!
And because.... yeeaahhh lol

Saturday, January 12, 2013


The first time I had it was at the Pacific Grill, which is probably one of the nicest and most ICA-like restaurants I'd ever been to. The item isn't on their menu right now because they change it seasonally and it's been a while since I was last there. It was the red stuff and it looked so alien on Justin's plate. I tried it, and well... it was disgusting. I had no idea what they'd done with it but the texture threw me off and it was just gross.
But an email I received at work convinced me to try quinoa again. Apparently it's known as the "super grain" even though it's not a grain - it's a seed. But it's one of the few non-animal foods found in nature that is a complete protein all by itself. What is a complete protein and why the hell is it so important? Call me an Alton Brown freak, but I think he explains it best. Watch it beginning at 10:00. Yes, this episode is about lentils, but the concept is the same.

Anyway, I'm getting WAY off track here. So, I decided to try quinoa again, but this time on my terms. I searched through the website and found a very simple recipe by Giada.

Hold on a minute. Are you telling me that you didn't get the recipe from Alton Brown?! Blasphemy! You say.
Actually, I would have had he made a episode on quinoa, but he hasn't, so there! :P

2 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups quinoa
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons lemon zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the quinoa: [Added by Amy: RINSE OFF THE QUINOA THOROUGHLY FIRST. It gets rid of a nasty coating that makes the quinoa taste bitter] In a medium saucepan, add the chicken stock, lemon juice and quinoa. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan and cook until all the liquid is absorbed, about 12 to 15 minutes.

For the dressing: In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, basil, parsley, thyme, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Pour the dressing over the quinoa and toss until all the ingredients are coated. Transfer the quinoa to a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.

I chose her recipe for two reasons: it had very few ingredients. I'm on a tight budget right now and I needed something inexpensive; and I had most of these ingredients anyway. And the other reason was that it was simple. Basically nothing else but quinoa, and that was the point. I wanted to try quinoa, not a bunch of crap in quinoa.

And I have to tell you, it's pretty damn delicious. It's got an odd, yet pleasing flavor, and the texture is kind of like rice and pasta mixed together. It also seems to soak up the flavor of the chicken stock a lot more readily than my rice ever did. I had cooked my rice in straight up stock right off of a chicken, and I couldn't even freaking tell. But with the quinoa, you definitely could. And I'd used store-bought stock. This is a quick and easy side dish (especially considering I used dried thyme and dried parsley), that also happens to be really good for you. Give it a try!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Old Story I Found About Josh

Fair Warning: this is going to be a long post. I found this short story I wrote... a while back, probably about late 2005. And the best way to post it is to just type it out. It's is a fictional story, but the facts are true, if that makes sense lol.

      Almost 5 years ago, I lost my husband. It was a slow and painful death. He was having the symptoms of a heart attack - although I didn't know it at the time. He suffered with what I thought was the stomach flu or food poisoning for 2 days before he went to the hospital. His heart was too weak by then, so although they did everything they could, it wasn't enough to save his life. I've been mourning the loss ever since.
      At first, I cried all the time. Every night. And days passed where I would sit around with a heavy heart. I moved to a different state, thinking I could start my life over - a fresh beginning. But it didn't help. Everything still reminded me of the special man I'd lost.
      March 8th was coming around again, and it wasn't something I was looking forward to. I still hadn't healed properly. And even though my friends told me to celebrate his life on March 8th; the day he passed away remained just that.
      I had one date in the last 5 years, but I never called him back. Not because the date had gone badly, but because I couldn't handle the guilt of ever beginning to love someone else besides my late husband. I could barely look at other men in ways that weren't professional. How could I ever fall in love again?
March 8th, 2010

     To escape from the pain and the realization of my tragedy, I went to a local coffee house to have a mocha. Suddenly, this man walked to my table.
     "I don't know what came over me, but I just had to introduce myself. I'm Peter Boyle."
      Barely noticing him, I answered:
     "Kathryn Clark. Nice to meet you."
     "You don't sound very enthusiastic."
     "Sorry to disappoint, but I've had a rough day."
      I looked up at him, and suddenly his eyes kind of glazed over. It was the weirdest thing I had ever seen. And then he spoke.
     "Maybe some Whose Line will cheer you up. Isn't Brad your favorite on that show?"
      I stared at him confusingly and with a bit of surprise.
     "Yes... but how did you know that?"
      And then, with the metaphorical snap of the fingers, his eyes returned to normal.
     "I'm sorry... I don't know why I said that. Can I join you?"
     "Oh I don't know. You seem kind of odd -"
     "I promise I won't bite."
      I thought about it for a moment, thinking back to what a wreck I was after that date. I was just racked with guilt over the whole thing.
      But that was three years ago, I told myself.
      Looking down at my coffee, I nodded, and he sat across from me.
      "So," I started, still looking downwards, "What are your hobbies?"
      "Fis - F - martial arts."
       I looked up at him with an eyebrow raised. What was wrong with this guy? Was he schizophrenic or something? He wasn't making a very good first impression. In fact, he was beginning to scare me.
       "Look, I don't know what your problem is, but I don't want anything to do with it, ok?"
        I got up and started to walk away; but he stood with a start and said:
       "Wait, Kat. Please give me a chance."
       "How do you know my nickname? How do you know anything about me? Were you following me?"
       "No! No, of course not. It's just a lucky guess. Please, don't leave."
       "I don't like a man that begs," I answered coldly, turning back towards the door.
       "Don't you?"
        A memory flashed before my eyes of my late husband when we first met. We had had a semi-serious argument, and for some dumb reason I told him that this wouldn't work between us. He completely broke down and begged me to reconsider. It opened up my heart and made me realize that he really did want me in his life no matter what. It wasn't that I preferred a man that begs, but one that could beg when they really needed to, to show me how much they wanted something important. In essence, I liked a man that would let down their guard and be vulnerable. And this man was doing just that.
       But how did he know?
       When I turned back and looked at him, I saw, for the first time, a good looking man. Instead of seeing him as a professional businessman, or someone trying to steal my memories away, I saw blue eyes. Full lips. Dark hair. Triangular jawline. He was, well, handsome.
        The guilt began to fight its way to the surface, but I tried to suppress it. I loved my late husband dearly, but I just couldn't be alone anymore. This might not be the right man for me, but it was a good start in the right direction. I had to go with it.
        Finally, I sat back down, and he joined me once again.
        We had talked all day. He was a strange man - that was for sure. He kept changing his answers as if someone was arguing with him in his head. Maybe he was trying to impress me or make me laugh; I just wasn't sure. But he was funny.
2 months later
        We began hanging out more, and realized that we had a lot in common, like Josh and I used to. And although he kept changing his answers, he apparently like Asian things and martial arts.
        One day, I had asked him to show me his skills but he said he didn't have any and wondered why he would say he liked martial arts when he didn't.
       "Why do you keep lying to me? Are you some kind of pathological liar or something?" I finally asked.
       "I honestly don't know why I say these things, Kat. It's like someone is forcing me to... I know it sounds crazy, but... -"
        Just then, his eyes glazed over once more.
       "A few years ago I knew a man, named John, who was a pathological liar. But it was in the stories he told. He elaborated them so much they became out right lies. He just wanted attention. I'm not like that. I like martial arts, but I've never tried it. I'm sorry if that sounds like I'm lying all the time, but I'm not - I swear."
        His eyes returned to normal and he looked confused. And frankly, so I was. That story sounded an awful lot like one Josh told when he was working for IPC. John Waldron, Sergeant. A pathological liar. This couldn't be a coincidence, could it?
        But I never asked him. I decided that I could let it go.

        A month later, I finally got the courage to invite him to my house. It was a small abode, but comfortable. And despite his... problems, I was beginning to fall in love with him. He was a lot like Josh in many ways, which surprised me.
        I decided to turn on my computer and show him some of my artwork. He watched the computer boot up and a "bzzzzzt" sounded as the start up noise once it loaded Windows. I had completely forgotten about it  and began to blush when Peter answered:
        I went into total shock. How did a stranger know Josh and my inside joke?!
        "What?" He asked when I stared up at him.
        "How did you...? But that was -" I couldn't even finish.
        That was when I began to put the pieces together, and wondered what was going on here.
         The essence  the spirit, the soul of Joshua Clark left the shell of the body behind and felt saddened by how much his wife was hurting. She couldn't see him or touch him, and he wanted to touch her badly. But he had to leave, and have God decide his fate.
          God saw that they were soul mates, and being compassionate, he allowed Joshua Clark to become a wondering spirit, and to find or create a way to be with his love without his body being reincarnated. At first, he wasn't sure what to do, but he knew he had to find her first. She had moved away - the memories too painful for her. And he understood. It had taken him 4 Earth years to find his wife, having searched in every house in every city. And in those 4 years, he had come up with a plan.
          He began searching for a compatible man for Kat.
          Another year went by and everything had been planned out. He planted a seed of affection into Peter Boyle's heart to grow when he saw Kathryn, and Josh Clark, the spirit, settled into Peter's brain.
          He was difficult to control. He could only spurt clues about who he was to Kathryn, which was why she that thought Peter had been insane at first. When he began to gain more control and they were getting closer, he did all he could to not touch her and kiss her and tell her everything. That was God's one rule. She had to find out for herself. As he practiced, more and more of Peter was becoming Josh. His whole personality and his likes/dislikes were becoming parallel to Josh. He was re-writing Peter slowly, until he would have full control completely. But it was taking time, and Josh was doing all he could not to scare his precious sweetheart away. And now she was so close to putting it all together.

        "Okay Peter... tell me... what's your favorite sandwich?"
       "Oh that's easy. Wheat bread with ham, cheese, ranch, BBQ sauce, bacon bits, Dorito pierces, and teriyaki sauce." 
         I almost fainted. Was I dreaming? What was going on here?
        "I... I must be hearing things. Did you just say the Sodium Deluxe?"
         Peter genuinely laughed. 
        "If that's what you want to call it."
        "Okay, this may sound crazy but... how well do you really know me?"
         He smiled, "I know you quite well, sweetie. I know that you get frustrated at the little things, but keep your cool in large situations. I know you think you're not beautiful - which isn't true - and I know you're an angel."
        "An... angel? But only Josh called me an angel..."
        Peter's eyes sparkled and I suddenly knew. I wasn't sure how, or why, but this man was my husband. I could suddenly feel his energy wrap around me and tell me that he was here, waiting for me.
        "Oh Josh!"
         I hugged him so hard that I never wanted to let go. But I had to let him explain.
        "Are you...? Is Peter...?"
        "I can't go into details but I'll tell you the basics."
         So we sat down and I held his hand and held back the tears of joy. My heart was overflowing with love for my sweet husband. When he was done explaining, I asked:
        "So where is the real Peter?"
        "Well, um... he's kind of asleep, I guess. He was being recessed into his inner mind as I took over. When I leave, he'll return to normal."
        My heart suddenly stopped.
       "When you... leave? But I love you! You can't leave me again!"
        Tears streamed down my face and we hugged.
        "I have to," He whispered to me, "I can't just run his life. It's not fair to steal someone else's life to help your own."
        "Then why... why do it at all?" I had to ask.
        "Because I love you sweetie, and I had to see you again to tell you that I love you more than anything and I forgive you for not knowing my illness. I mean, it was never your fault. Please stop punishing yourself because of my stubbornness. And I want you to be happy, all right? I know you need companionship. Don't feel guilty or ashamed for liking another man. We had a special connection, but that's over now..."
        "No!!" I screamed, crying, "Please don't leave me! God I love you so much! I feel so cold and empty without you. I need you. Please..."
        "You need someone, yes. But I'm not the only one for you, Kat. Give Peter a chance. I picked him out for you. And he loves you. Please don't force yourself to be alone again like you did with the last man three years ago."
        "But we're so perfect for each other..."
       "I know, sweetie. We were. Thank you for making my last years happy and memorable. And thank you so so much for being by my side when I was in the hospital. You have no idea how much that means to me. I know you love me more than the world and so do I. And I'll miss you terribly. But I'll be waiting for you in heaven, all right? So enjoy your life... please?"
       I stopped crying for a moment and nodded.
      "I'll try. It does make it a little easier to know that you'll be waiting for me."
      "Promise to give Peter a chance?"
       I nodded again and smiled slightly.
      "Good. One last thing before I go..."
       He leaned in closer and we kissed passionately. It wasn't Josh's lips, but it was Josh. I felt him as we shared this one last intimate moment together. Then, I felt his presence disappear.
       "Wow Kat. Heh. I wasn't expecting that," The real Peter said.
        I chuckled slightly and wiped away my tears.
       "Have you been crying?" He asked concernedly.
       "Uh, happy tears, that's all," I lied.
       "I'm here if you need to talk."
        I smiled slightly.
       "I know."
        My journey had just begun.

The End

Author's Note: The only thing that's a total fib was that he was my fiancee, not my husband.
The "bvvvvvvt" "Vvvvvt" thing is a joke Josh and I shared because we both loved playing the original Sim City 3000, and that's the sound the electrical lines made every time you placed them down on the lot. And yes, at one point my computer actually did boot up with that noise.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Year

My new year is starting off with a bang, that's for sure. As most of you know, I've split from my husband. I am still young enough, and lucky enough, to be able to move in with my parents (again) while I pay off some debt and sort out my life. While my husband is crashing with a friend (and literally crashing, since he lost his job) I'm once again out in the boonies. Except this time, I have a job across a toll bridge and gas prices have probably permanently gone up at least a buck a gallon.

The sad thing is, is how it all happened like it did. I was dealing with a lot of crap and after 3 years of promises, I couldn't take it anymore. But, I couldn't just up and leave, because we were on a lease that neither one of us could afford to pay on our own. So, I stayed. And I contemplated whether or not this man would ever change. Whether or not it was worth staying in the comfort of what I knew and what we could afford, verses starting all over. I'm not making a ton, as you can see from the fact that I'm living with my family, and being able to afford things has always been high on my priority list. For the longest time I chose comfort and stability over leaving. But as things degraded further, and the end of the 1-year lease grew nearer, I had made my decision. A few things had happened in a short span of time that pushed me to my decision. The lying, the hiding and everything else. I had lived for those moments of "oh my god, he did something that made me happy", which seemed so few and far between.

When I finally reached the breaking point and decided that he could move into the new apartment on his own (this was back when I'd thought "well, maybe I can still make it work". We'd had to move out of this place anyway because we were barely scraping by), he lost his job. It hadn't been a surprise. We both knew it was bound to happen. So even that plan fell apart. Now, my husband of almost 6 years, known for 8 years, had no job. What was I going to do? He was spiraling down and I just couldn't be dragged with him. I had to go through with my decision and stick to my guns. As much as it hurt, and god dammit it hurt like hell, I just couldn't do it anymore. I tried to help him as much as I could. You could call me controlling, sure. I paid the bills, I dealt with the budget, and I yelled at him whenever he crossed the line. This marriage was by no means perfect, and I'll be the first to admit that I partially was the reason it fell apart. Some of my worst features are my need to be right and stewing in anger for much longer than necessary. But I could also say that his faults were no better, and it led to some disastrous fights that slowly escalated over time as our marriage degraded.

My wish for the new year is all about him. I want him to get better. I'm hoping that he can find a job that he truly enjoys, and I'm hoping that he realizes that drinking only hurts him. Turning to alcohol in times of sadness or boredom is one of the main reasons our marriage fell apart. I'm hoping that he can turn his life around. He'll just have to do it without me.