Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Faux Camping and the Fourth

I thought I’d do a little recap of how I spent celebrating our nation’s birthday last year. Sadly, everyone but Team Tuna is heading out of town leaving me and my statistics professor to continue our little online affair. Midterm is Thursday, wish me luck.

Let’s start off with, I don’t do camping. Who in their right mind would, all that nature gives me the heepy jeepies. I do all my hunting and gathering at Safeway, not the wilderness. My earliest memories of camping are not pretty. Picture a ton of kids, two adults and four wet dogs in a tent that needed to be put up in the pouring rain by an impatient daddy, Buzz. Nuff said.

But Bebe was coming back from Elko, Nevada for the 4th of July and how could I refuse to spend quality time with my BFF since she moved to BFE? When we went “camping” with our nature survivalist friends when the kids were preschoolers it showed what polar opposites we are. Team Tuna stayed in a travel trailer while the B’s stayed in a pop up trailer. The most fascinating difference is while we were practically hosing down the woods with liquid, their little family of four survived on a coffee cup of water. I am not cut out to conserve.

Bebe and Bubba have a little place in Show Low and the Big Tuna was giddy to take his new (at least to us) and shiny RV for its inaugural run. Riding shotgun in the big rig was a weird visual experience. So much windshield, it was like riding in a 1978 AMC Pacer, another stellar purchase my parents made in my youth. The interior was sort of an uncanny twilight zone experience. The upholstery was identical and I mean identical to a sofa we’d retired about 10 years ago. All the built ins and fixtures were ¾ quarter scale. I felt like Alice in Wonderland who ate the cake and grew big. So a quick and easy recipe for the Mad Hatter and crew.

Easy One Dish Tortellini
28 ounces chicken broth
9 ounces cheese tortellini
4 ounces onion and chive cream cheese
1 can undiluted tomato soup

Bring broth to boil, add tortellini and simmer for 5 minutes. Ladle out a little broth into a bowl, add cream cheese and whisk until blended, return to pot. Add the can of tomato soup and heat thoroughly.

Living in the west, wild fire capitol of the world, makes me a little nervous about lighting fireworks. We compromised by flicking lighters inside the RV. But in the end, RV, $30,000, filling it with gas, $300, not peeing in the woods…….priceless.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

And Now a Public Service Message

Statistics are creeping along in the usual ugly manner. I’m almost to the halfway mark for this stupid, stupid mandatory class. We all know the only thing this class will help me with is calculating horse betting at the track. I have however, discovered a secret weapon, the lovely online video professor, young and blonde, with a soothing and encouraging manner. Much like a 1-900 operator. “Math is fun! We can do it together!” If I survive the class, I will be sending her flowers or sex toys, whichever will score me the highest grade. I’ll keep you posted. Her assistance has allowed me a few extra hours to peruse your blogs and craft a new shiny post this week.

One of the random things I have to do at Giant Engineering Company is to go for little meet and greets with the public to explain how civic improvements will improve their little slice of heaven. I was roped into attending on Wednesday night to give local residents an overview of a new sidewalk along a major roadway due to my mad people skills, got those little clients fooled now don’t I. I mean, of course, I can be professional at every turn with my control top pantyhose. The meeting followed the typical format where a few souls with a little too much time on their hands wander by for free cookies.

But one elderly gentlemen was bound and determined to convince us for almost an hour that providing safe pedestrian access along a busy street was a waste of his hard earned tax dollars and by golly he’d never even seen even so much as a streetwalker out there. We should have instituted a safe word like “Poughkeepsie” to make me stop arguing about improving life for the greater community. He did halt at calling me honey, but that was likely the murderous look in my eye that held him at bay. Instead I offered him a chair and a comment card which he filled up on both sides and asked for a second.

Killing time, I resorted to telling my cohorts stories about growing up in my house with my daddy Buzz. You remember Buzz, the man who painted one side of the house every summer and was happy on the year had the short side. We had one of those giant tan station wagons where the last row rode backwards. Those 3 kids always had a completely different vacation then the rest of us. I got smart and barfed first time out and always got to ride up front next to a window. I always knew I was destined as management material.

Once Buzz thought it would be great to get in touch with wild animals and took us to a faux safari park to see lions, tigers and giraffes from the easy convenience of your car. We were no dummies, we knew it meant he only had to pay for the admission for the car not individual hooligans. But………small problem with Old Tan, no air conditioning and it was August. And you couldn’t roll down the window for fear of getting eaten by said nature. For the love of God, we shrieked at the cars in front of us, stop taking f*cking polaroid pictures of the emus and drive. When we got through the exit gate, Buzz compensated by stopping at a gas station, hosing us off with a garden hose and buying us grape soda to defeat heat stroke. The old coot was completely entertained by my mad description of growing up with a mass of kids, took two cookies and toddled away.

The Big Tuna made dinner last weekend during a major math meltdown. Thank you baby!

Prague Goulash
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
¼ butter
1 pound beef stew meat
1 pound pork chops cubed
1 teaspoons salt
1 small can tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon paprika
1 red and 1 yellow pepper, sliced
½ white wine
½ cup sour cream

Sauté onion and garlic in butter in a large saucepan. Add beef and cook over medium heat until meat loses its pinkness. Add salt, tomato paste, bay leaf, peppers, paprika, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add pork and cook for one hour. Add wine, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. You can add a bit of water throughout to keep from sticking. Stir in sour cream and heat throughout. Serve over egg noodles.

After eating my own fair share of chocolate cookies, I’d held off so I wouldn’t have the hill billy black tooth look, we started to pack it up for the night. But who should return to get the last word in, only my own personal elderly stalker. He’d discovered that people could use walkways just one road to the south, would I come for a drive with him so he could show me? Listen gramps, Buzz always warned me not to ride in cars with strange men. Sadly, I thought I said this only in my head, but apparently not. I wonder if this will show up on my next performance evaluation. I blame it on trying to determine if a set of numbers will follow the standard deviation or binomial probability rule, stupid statistics.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sangria and the Stand Up Comedienne

Statistics are still sucking, big time. Spent an amusing time with my main homies this weekend between reckless study sessions so once again, a repost based on my girls.

My girlfriends call me the funniest person they ever met. The question becomes is that a compliment or a criticism, you be the judge. Maybe it’s the because I was scarred as the middle child of seven with only an eight year difference from the youngest to oldest . Perhaps resulting in snappy one liners that make them scream with laughter so as not to be ignored. My parents, in addition to raising a tribe of comics, breed standard poodles, not those yappy future coyote bait pups, but the great big ones. The trouble with poodles is that if they do something funny and you laugh they will do it continually to the point it is no longer amusing, I am Fifi, hear me roar.

Periodically, the Big Tuna gets tired of my endless babbling and encourages me to have a Girls Weekend in order to wear out my sharp tongue. I went this past weekend to a cabin with the usual suspects, naturally Bebe, Lady Godiva who cuts all of our hair and the Sitter, who not only watched our children growing up, but now keeps us under control so we don’t run with scissors. The more we drink the more outrageous things spew out of my mouth. I keep thinking , this will be the thing that makes them gasp in horror, but it never happens. The only quiet they got from me was on the forced nature walk/death march and that was primarily to keep from tripping over a rock by not paying attention.

It all starts with an innocent glass of wine, but Sangria, oh so much smoother going down.

1 Bottle White Wine
½ Cup Peach Schnapps
2 Tablespoons Orange Liquor
2 Tablespoons Sugar
2 Cinnamon Sticks
1 Lemon Sliced
1 Orange Sliced
1 Peach Sliced
20 Ounces Club Soda
1 Tray Ice Cubes

You can substitute other fruit for the peach, I’ve used strawberries or even blueberries. Perfect drink on the deck overlooking the wilderness. A few glasses and we all got a bit giddy. I’d heard from Sheldon that if you take shots from above it makes you look thinner, standing on top of the deck railing taking downward shots is filled with its own peril. I also did a fine imitation of Helga, the yoga instructor, “you there, tall girl, have you never taken a yoga class before? Widen your flamingo legs and get closer to the floor”.

Just remember, “What happens at girl’s camp stays at girl’s camp”. That is of course until I post it on my blog.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Statistics for the Not Rocket Scientist

The summer statistics course is kicking my a**. I can’t figure out if I need to divide the square root of the average mean by "n" or "n-1". Or even what the heck "n" is. My math tutor, Sheldon has moved into her girlfriends for the summer. Likely to avoid that pesky curfew we impose. I decided to give some play to earlier posts that only got one or two pathetic comments in their day. I sadly will have no time over the next four weeks to crazily comment on your blogs Team Tuna but know I’m thinking of you. Now to figure out how to use this graphing calculator to do more then balance my checkbook.

What's the Skinny
Now that I’m officially the parent of an adult I’ve begun to notice a very ugly body issue that can only be contained by high waisted jeans. In my head I still feel like the slim waif of decades past, so when I drift by a full length mirror I think, there must be a body pod around with my real self. With Sheldon off a college it was time to take matters into my own hands.

I’d never used the gym membership provided by my office, I didn’t want to sweat with the people I worked with but it was after all free. Who would I possibly see at 6 AM? Just Hitler’s girlfriend, Eva Braun, the resident personal trainer? Ve vell vork out this morning no? Um sure…..the first work left my arms dangling at my sides. I couldn’t raise my limbs to blow dry my bangs and had to resort to using the hand dryer leaving me with more of a Lassie look. Where’s that darn Timmy when you need him.

The following is a true accounting of our company quarter group hug. Just as I sat down with my free sub sandwich and a Dr. Pepper, Eva strolled past 80 people, walked right up to me and asked, “What are you drinking, if you swallow that I’m going to make you regret it.” Uh oh. Apparently Gyms R Us was showing the exercise benefits to the troops.

The problem with diet cookbooks is by the time you’ve added a few innocent things to make it stop tasting like cardboard it’s no longer low cal.

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil (so okay the original recipe called for cooking spray, off to a bad start already)
1 medium onion chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
2 stalks celery chopped
1 green pepper chopped (you could substitute yellow or red)
2/3 cup uncooked rice
2 cups chicken broth
3/4 pound Italian sausage cooked (are you seeing a substitute trend)
1 ½ cups cooked chicken
16 ounce stewed tomatoes
1 ½ cups frozen shrimp (that is of course if there is any left after the BP oil spill)
1 tablespoon jalapeño Tabasco sauce (it’s a bit more mild)

Cook onion, garlic, celery and pepper in olive oil until tender. Stir in remaining ingredients except for the shrimp. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Add frozen shrimp and cook additional 5 minutes or until rice is done. The joy of this meal is it cooks in a single oversized skillet. If you cook it without the sausage, in theory, it’s less than 300 calories.

I thought this past week she’d tortured me so much I was having a heart attack. I even went so far as to drive myself to the doctor when the chest pains didn’t back down after the diet lunch. After telling me I was putting on weight nicely for a woman my age, with a little giggle told me I’d just pulled a muscle in my chest. I’ve decided if my double A bra could be revised to a double D, my stomach would look flatter since they would stick out further. I’m thinking it would just be easier to get a boob job.