Archive for August, 2008

27
Aug
08

the lonely and forgotten.

I’m scared of a lot of things. Some fears are pretty typical: rapists, murders, cancer, car accidents and family/friends dying (I know, I know, I’ve watched too many episodes of Law and Order SVU).  But I also have less “normal” fears – one of them is getting old. I’m not talking about turning 40, 50 or even 60. I’m not talking about getting old in the conventional sense. This has nothing to do with age, vanity, or mid-life crises. I’m talking about getting REALLY old. The kind of old where people stop noticing you. Stop paying attention to you. Where you are widowed, lonely, helpless. Incompetent. Obsolete. Alone.

I think about it constantly. Every time I see an old man or woman alone riding the bus, or buying groceries, I am reminded that this could someday be my fate and that it is the reality of so many people. It tugs at my heart and leaves me feeling worried. I ponder their bleak options. 1) Stay alone in their home which they can’t manage anymore. 2) Move in with one of their children where they constantly feel like a burden and disruption. 3) Move into a retirement home/assisted living facility where they are placated like a child and herded like a cow. None of these options sounds good.

I’m scared of being old and taken advantage of. Of feeling lost and confused. Of being lonely. And of losing my ability to care for myself. How do the elderly cope with this? I think it’s more than I could handle.

Sometimes I think about volunteering at a retirement or nursing home – but I always talk myself out of it. I’m afraid I’ll confirm my worst fear – that life plateaus and eventually starts going downhill.

25
Aug
08

pet peeve

Simple grammatical errors frustrate me. Everyone should know the difference between to, too, two; their, they’re, there; your, you’re; but, butt, etc. I understand that mistakes happen, but seriously?

In case you can’t see through the raindrops on my windshield, the frame reads: When hell freezes over I’ll snowboard there to!

24
Aug
08

Guac-off.

It’s a guac-off! This weekend was the first annual guac-off. I think the name is pretty self explanatory, but if you haven’t already deduced it, a guac-off is a guacamole contest. The best tasting guac wins – and I won! See a few pics below. There were six contenders and six judges. Andre came in 2nd and 3rd place went to Gary Buckner! What was first prize you ask? What else but a $20 gift card for Taco del Mar – SCORE!

24
Aug
08

in a pickle.

Last weekend, Derek and I learned how to pickle. Our friend’s mother is an expert canner, and she was nice enough to show us the ropes. It was fun! Now we have 12 giant jars of pickles waiting to be eaten. Apparently they have to sit for 30 days before we can break into them – 23 days and counting!

19
Aug
08

Guest Blogger: Hallmark’s gift that keeps on giving

Okay – this might seem REALLY stupid to people, but just listen for a moment and try to imagine it working successfully.

Let’s be honest here – nobody likes shopping for greeting cards.  You hunt around for the perfect card for a miserable ten minutes, picking up several and reading each of them.  None of them are making you laugh and all of them seem overpriced. The reality of it is yes, they are overpriced and yes, the majority have terrible humor.

We could just stop buying them, but many people feel that it’s absolutely necessary.  So what we CAN do is start NOT writing on the card itself. Simply write on a post-it and stick it on the inside of the card. This allows the recipient to save the card and re-use it when he/she feels it fits a particular person.

Eventually you have a stack of several cards saved up that you’ve received – from Christmas’, birthdays, anniversaries, and all the “hallmark holidays.”  Now all you have to do is flip through your stack and start re-using them (with a post-it inside). It may be wise to keep the previous senders post-it inside until you are ready to re-use it, this way you don’t send it to the same person that sent it to you.

You may feel strange doing it at first, but eventually I’m going to get everyone to do it and you will no longer feel weird about it.  Who wouldn’t be thrilled about receiving a card without writing on it!? Save yourself five bucks and a trip to the store sorting through the mess…

Anyway, just another random thought.

18
Aug
08

Guest Blogger: recycling your waste

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my impact on the local environment. I say local environment because it’s the region that is affected most by my actions – the things I choose to eat, the containers or packaging that those items are sold in, where the product was grown (or made) and what it took to raise/create that product.

It’s impossible to walk about this planet without leaving the slightest eco-footprint. I don’t think people should be expected to do so – there is a balance where humans can co-exist with surrounding life. What bothers me is when people have the opportunity to leave a lesser impact, by doing simple things like recycling but choose to throw the plastic in the garbage to be hauled off to a landfill in down in Oregon – or anywhere else for that matter. It’s completely irresponsible. It was just last week that I was down on Seattle’s waterfront and saw a guy finish his bottle of water and toss it in the trash along the sidewalk. Looking about 100 feet beyond him I could see a blue recycling bin. I was more than irritated. Not only by the man that carelessly tossed his bottle, but the bottled water companies that encourage this behavior, and by the city of Seattle that loves to claim they care so much about the local environment and are all about reducing impact and increasing sustainability.

How difficult would it be to put a recycling container next to EVERY trash receptacle? Or why is it that there are no recycling containers in the parks around here? Why doesn’t Starbucks have recycling containers for the plastic cups? How are they able to sell just shy of 3 billion drinks per year at over priced rates, but not pay the premium for cups that can be fully recycled? – especially when the sleeves read statements like “help save the earth” and boast that they’re made with 60% recycled material.

I better stop here because I could go on and on about Starbucks.

14
Aug
08

guest blogger

I will be traveling for work next week, so starting Sunday “just another day in paradise” will host its very first guest blogger. Please feel free to leave comments and provide feedback as usual! Enjoy!

11
Aug
08

UW: irresponsible.

Ok, I don’t mean to repost on a topic – but I just read an article about it and I’m completely irritated again. Why is UW still trying to get the state to fund $150 million for their stadium? It’s insane. The 520 bridge is ready to disintegrate, the viaduct is going to collapse any day, and Washington ranks 42nd in the US in per-pupil funding for K-12 education. Clearly, we have plenty of worthwhile causes that need our tax attention.  This is not how college stadiums are funded – and we shouldn’t start now. The stadium should be paid for responsibly: by student fees, alumni donations and ticket sales (just as WSU has done with their recent renovation of Martin Stadium). I am outraged with UW – this would be an inappropriate and frivolous use of tax dollars.

10
Aug
08

right brained vs. left brained

Recently, my boss showed me this “spinning girl” visual. It’s crazy! Is she spinning clockwise? Or couter-clockwise? Can you get her to switch directions? Supposedly, if she spins clockwise – you are more right-brained. If she spins counter-clockwise, you are more left brained.

Initially, I saw her spinning counterclockwise. Now I can see her spin both directions. You?

06
Aug
08

two recipes

I had a few requests for the two recipes mentioned in my previous post. Here you go – enjoy!

Stir-fried Noodles With Shrimp, Chiles & Lime

3 oz. dried wide (pad thai) rice noodles
2 TBSP fish sauce
2 TBSP granulated sugar
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 TSP soy sauce
1 TSP hoisin sauce
1 TSP chile-garlic sauce (such as Lee Kum Kee brand)
1 TBSP vegetable oil
1 TSP minced garlic
6 oz medium shrimp (51 to 60 per pound), peeled & deveined (to yield 1 cup)
1 4 oz. can fire-roasted whole green chiles (such as Ortega branch), drained and sliced into long, very thin slices (to yield ½ cup)
1 ½ cups bean sprouts
2 TBSP crushed unsalted roasted peanuts
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
10 mint leaves, torn into small pieces
1 lime, cut into wedges for serving

Submerge the rice noodles in a bowl of very warm (110º) water and soak until pliable but still rather firm, about 30 minutes. Drain in a colander.

In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, sugar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce and chile-garlic sauce.

Once the noodles are drained, heat the oil in a large (12-inch) skillet or stir-fry pan over high heat until very hot. Add the garlic, stir, and immediately add the shrimp. Stir-fry until the shrimp turn pink and firm, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the fish sauce mixture. Stir to mix for about 20 seconds, the add the chile slivers and the noodles. Stir-fry until the noodles are tender and the liquid is absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes. If the noodles are too firm, add 1 TBSP of water and cook another minute. Add the bean sprouts and stir-fry until they’re slightly limp, 1 to 2 minutes.

Transfer to a serving platter or individual plates, and garnish with the peanuts, cilantro, and mint. Serve immediately with lime wedges on the side.  Serves 2.

**Kindra’s notes: Recipe only makes two servings. Doubled recipe. Great flavor, but way too spicy.

Jasmine Rice-Stuffed Peppers

4 large bell peppers
Cooking spray
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
1/2 cup uncooked jasmine rice
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 cups tomato sauce, divided
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2/3 pound ground sirloin, extra lean
1/3 pound ground turkey breast

Preheat oven to 400°.

Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes, leaving the stems intact. Place on a foil-lined jelly-roll pan, cut sides up.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion, garlic, and jalapeño to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until onion is lightly browned. Add rice, and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat; cool completely.

Combine rice mixture, 1 cup tomato sauce, 1/4 cup cheese, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl, stirring until blended. Spoon about 1/2 cup meat mixture into each pepper half. Spoon remaining 1 cup tomato sauce evenly over peppers. Cover and bake at 400° for 45 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese; bake 3 minutes or until cheese melts. Serves 4.

**Kindra’s notes:I used red and green peppers-I liked the red best. I used pork sausage instead of ground turkey and sirloin. Added corn. Next time add more rice.

05
Aug
08

A random snapshot of my week

  • I’ve tried two new recipes this week: shrimp pad thai stir-fry and stuffed bell peppers. Both were good – but both could use some refinement. The stir fry was so spicy it burned my tongue off and made my lips swell. Derek and I each drank a ½ gallon of milk trying to soothe our mouths.
  • Speaking of milk – does anyone else out there have to buy “his” and “her” milk? I prefer non-fat, and Derek prefers whole milk (ew) so we buy separate.
  • This evening we met up with Stacy and Andre for a picnic and bocce ball – I love bocce ball!
  • We were supposed to go camping with my mom and stepdad this weekend – but we cancelled. The weather on the Olympic Peninsula isn’t supposed to be great. To be honest, I’m feeling really guilty about cancelling on them (I guess it’s the pleaser in me), but I’m relieved to have a weekend at home. We’ve been so busy this summer.
  • I’m very excited about the Olympics – who doesn’t love the Olypmics!?! My favorite events to watch: women’s gymnastics, volleyball, swimming and diving. The opening ceremony is on Friday – hooray!
  • Seahawks tickets went on sale yesterday – I bought tickets for three games and dropped almost $600. I’m having buyer’s remorse big time. I’ll probably try to sell a game or two.
03
Aug
08

Tick-tock, tick-tock

That is the sound of my biological clock ticking. I want to have kids…now. I feel like such a loser admitting it, but I do. In fact I’m so neurotic, I even have names picked out. And no, I’m not telling you because you might steal them!

Don’t get me wrong – I like having my freedom. Being able to sleep in. No responsibility except to myself. No financial burden. I like it all. But I’d give it up in a heartbeat. So why don’t I just have a baby? Because my annoying practical personality always gets in the way with a myriad of excuses. Derek isn’t done with school yet. We can’t afford it. We don’t own a house. Our apartment isn’t big enough. We aren’t married. Bla bla bla.

So, I wait. Impatiently. I just hope my eggs aren’t rotting away – although I have a good feeling they are.




a blog for anyone, but mostly for me.