Stuff at Work, Getting Healthier

I’ve been pretty busy at work the past couple days, but I never really fell behind even though I was out of the office the whole beginning of the week, so I guess I picked a good week to be sick. Today was our consultant Sarah’s last day with us, how sad! I really like her! I thought she’d be around for a couple more weeks, and since my boss is coming down next week, figured we could take her out to lunch or something. Oh well, maybe our paths will cross again, she was really great to work with, plus a super-nice person in general! But, when you lose one person, you gain another, or in our case, eleven more! We have all these new contractors in our group, I’ll be working more closely with some than others, but they’re all super-nice so far too. One of them I already knew because she used to work with Jess so I saw her a lot. And one is the brother of GG’s friend’s old roommate, and he used to work with Jen – small world!

By the way, I did mix myself up a small batch of GOOT the other day and put it on the soles of my feet. My nose did seem to improve almost immediately, but 1) it might’ve just been the pungent garlic, and 2) I also took some sinus medicine shortly beforehand. Also GG kept making Italian jokes for the rest of the day until I washed the crusty garlic paste off my feet at bedtime. I am feeling much better, though. I worked from home Tuesday and Wednesday, and then went to the office the past two days. I’ve also been catching up with housework I let slide, like changing the sheets, putting away clothes, taking out trash… I hate being sick. GG and I are both still coughing, but it’s getting better.

PS: To the person from Cherry Hill who’s been somehow searching my password-protected entries with Microsoft Live Search and the search term “password,” did that work for you? Just curious what the heck you’re trying to do.

I don’t think it’s the bird flu, though I *did* find some feathers in my bed last night…

I feel like garbage again today. We slept in seperate rooms last night, and GG seemed to have sweated through his fever and yuckiness overnight – this morning he was almost back to his old self, and he did go to work. I’m working from home today, and then again tomorrow, which is my regular WFH day anyway. So hopefully by Thursday I’ll feel like leaving the house again.

Weird that GG and I had all the same symptoms, except he had a fever and I didn’t. He was so sweaty last night, too. I went to say good night to him, and the backs of his hands were soaking wet.

Katrina slept with/on me all night. She is such a sweet girl. Right now she is sitting on the bed next to me, all curled up. A little while ago she was rolling around and chirping at me. I love my little kittygirl.

PS: Jocelyn, I did look up GOOT (actually, your mom’s site is one of the top results), but I don’t have any coconut oil at the moment and don’t think I’ll be picking any up anytime soon. So I’ll have to make up a batch for the next time we’re sick.

Busy Weekend and Now We’re Sick

We were planning to have some people over on Saturday night for pizza and movies, so Friday I was rushing around, getting things ready, and we were about to go to the store to pick up sodas and stuff when people started calling and texting: “We’re on our way,” and “Anything you’d like us to bring?” Whoops… I’d accidentally sent the appointment on Facebook for Friday, not Saturday! So… we had people over on Friday night! It actually worked out perfectly, GG went to get sodas while I straightened things up and cleaned a bit. Only two couples actually ended up coming (out of about 30 people invited – not bad!). We ordered pizzas and a caesar salad from the pizza place down the street. I was going to make a salad, but since I didn’t have time… So when I called to place the order, I asked, “How big is the caesar salad, could it feed a couple of people?” and the guy was like, “I’ll make you a big salad.” Which was totally cool – for about $2 more than the regular salad, we got one in one of those big silver catering trays! So everyone ate, we watched our movie, talked a lot, and now both sets of friends who came over are friends on Facebook!

I spent Saturday running errands and cleaning up around the house, and that afternoon GG wandered into the room and said he ached and had chills. Uh oh… We still went out for dinner and walked around the mall a bit. When we got home, I took his temperature and he had a fever, so he went to bed early while I waited for the laundry.

Sunday I got up early and went out food shopping, while GG stayed home and watched movies. Eventually he went back to bed, so I know he was sick because otherwise he probably would’ve been playing on the computer. To stay away from him, I sat downstairs with my laptop all afternoon. Eventually I realized… I was achy and cold. And I’d been coughing all day. Oh no! So actually it seems like I have the same thing he does, except I don’t have a fever at all – if anything, I’m actually colder than normal! So I just rested on Sunday, and then I did get up and make us dinner – a customized version of this soup (the recipes might be the one thing I’ll miss about Domino magazine). I left out the beans, and added really thinly sliced mushrooms. It was really good and just what we both felt like eating. I fell asleep on the sofa but GG woke me up to watch the Oscars, at which point he fell asleep. So I watched up until Heath Ledger’s family gave their speech, and then we went to bed.

I really shouldn’t be at work today, I feel awful. And I’m coughing and sniffling, it’s awful. But I figured if I got up and moved around, maybe I’d feel better. Um, no. Maybe a cup of tea will help. So, sorry if this post sucked or made no sense.

[Edit – 9:57 AM] GG’s boss sent him home after he’d been at work for an hour because he looked like he’d been shot with a rhino tranquilizer. I might follow suit. [/Edit]

Linky Thursday – 2/19

Cash 4 Gold would like to melt down and recast their reputation: Not only will they offer one third the value of your gold, they’re also trying to keep negative reviews of their service from showing up in Google searches (by any means necessary..?). What a shame, they had such a funny Superbowl commercial.

Drug Interactions Checker: Type in the names of everything you’re taking, and this site will let you know if there’s any interactions between the drugs or with foods. Surprisingly, the two drugs my doctor specifically prescribed together for me can negatively interact with each other! (Found via Colleen)

So You Think You Can Potty Dance (Extended Version): This is a commercial for Pull-Ups and it totally amuses me. (Actually, the commercial is about a quarter of the length of this video, but still very funny.) I sort of disagree with teaching kids to grab their crotches and wiggle around, rather than saying, “I have to use the potty,” but it makes for a good ad campaign I guess.

17 Kids and Counting: “Duggars in El Salvador” and “Duggars on a Mission”

Last night I watched the newest episodes of the Duggars, as they went on a mission to El Salvador. Wow. Jim Bob came across as even more of a jerk than usual, if that’s possible. My major complaints: putting an -o at the end of a word doesn’t make it Spanish (e.g. asking for “big-o bags,” or warning everyone to “back-o away-o.”); he shellacs his hair down with an entire can of hairspray even when visiting third-world countries; bragging to the family that lived in a dirt hut and couldn’t read that “my wife and I are having our eighteenth child.” They juxtaposed footage of a family that had two sleeping mats for eleven people with footage of Jim Bob saying how well he slept the night before – since there was an extra mattress, he was able to double up. Also, he commented at the end that maybe some of his family members would one day adopt children from El Salvador, but we know this will never happen because the people in their fundie movement believe that adopted children carry the sins of their parents with them, that’s why they don’t adopt, they just have tons of their own kids! (One of the best lines of the night, from the guy who organized the mission trip: “Hola… is the only Spanish word we know, and I don’t think Jim Bob even knows that one.”)

On the other hand, I’m glad the kids were exposed to lives so different from their own, and hopefully this affects them for a long time to come. Though it was really unfair to make the girls wear those long, heavy skirts even while trekking through the jungle. And in the land of snakes and scorpions, were flip-flops really the best choice for footwear? Nice that Josh and Anna were able to come along, rather than staying home and trying to fill their quiver. But did she have to hang all over him the entire time?

Also, who else caught the sign the camera focused on for a second in the airport when they were leaving? “Stand back, they’re multiplying!” Someone’s got a sense of humor!

I found this article, Raising God’s Army, that talks about the Quiverfull movement. Some of this stuff is pretty extreme! I mean, making a 200-year plan for your descendants to follow? It’s things like this that remind me how plausable The Handmaid’s Tale really is.

Valentine’s Weekend

I guess we had a pretty non-romantic Valentine’s weekend, but considering that it’s pretty much a made up holiday invented by greeting card companies, who cares? It was a nice weekend anyway.

I took Friday off work, just because I still have a bunch of vacation days from last year I have to use by the end of March, and also I had some stuff to do. So I spent the morning picking things up around the house, mostly clothes – like the two weeks’ worth of laundry sitting around the laundry room, and all the clothes I throw on the table in my room instead of hanging back up. Once rush hour was over, I headed out to Target. I love Target, but going on Saturdays (even early) is just not working for me anymore. It’s too crowded, and I get overwhelmed. So this was nice, I could take my time… actually, maybe it was a bad thing, because I bought a lot of stuff. Also I went to Old Navy, they had some cute things on sale. But why is their current color palette bright candy colors? That’s not my style. I loved the colors they had last summer, lots of jewel tones and stuff. I guess that’s not the style anymore?

I think I took a nap Friday afternoon, and woke up in time to get dressed to go out to dinner with GG. This was our Valentine’s dinner, instead of going out on Saturday. It was a lot less stressful, and also Friday the 13th seemed a more appropriate day for us to celebrate :o) We went to the same place we did last year, the William Penn Inn. It was just as nice as last year, but remind me not to order the Amish free-range chicken with honey and apricot glaze again. It was delicious, but they give you, like, a whole leg, and I never know what to do in those situations. I prefer a chicken breast or something that I know how to handle..!

After dinner, we came home and watched that 20/20 special on the children in Appalachia. So sad! Even GG was shocked that people live like this in our own country, and wanted to do something to help (or wondered why people aren’t doing anything to help). But after reading some other reactions online, it seems like maybe 20/20 only highlighted the worst of the worst on that show, and everyone isn’t really like that.

On Saturday I cleaned pretty much the entire house, then went out and did our food shopping, then spent most of the afternoon on the computer while GG and a friend of his from college played guitar in the basement. After he left, we ordered Chinese food for dinner, how romantic! I tried to make some rice pudding in the rice cooker, but it suddenly stopped working! (And after I’d written a nice review of it, too!) There’s only two settings, but suddenly neither of them worked, the thing just wouldn’t turn on at all, and it didn’t have anything to do with the outlet it was plugged into or anything else. So I gave up on that, contacted the company, and found the box it was shipped in in case I had to send it back (it’s still within the time frame to return it to HSN, I’m certainly not going to pay to have it repaired). Thanks to my strategy of sitting in a chair (rather than on a bed), I was able to stay awake for most of SNL. I hear Alec Baldwin is now just one show behind Steve Martin in terms of hosting…

I plugged the rice maker in again on Sunday morning just to confirm what was happening, and … it magically turned on! So I made my rice pudding. It was good, except I think I used a little too much lemon juice, and the recipe calls for too much sugar in my opinion. Also, we ate it hot, right then, and GG apparently only likes his rice pudding cold. So we will try again! GG and I went to do some errands, and had lunch out. When we got home around 2:30 I said I was in the mood for a little nap, set an alarm for 4:00 just in case, and… woke up at 5:00! I blame the cat. It’s impossible to stay awake when you have a big warm Ivan on you.

Mossimo Black Wristlet

I usually don’t like clutches because I feel like I can barely fit everything into them, certainly not my big chunky wallet, but I picked up this Mossimo wristlet at Target today and already love it! The photo doesn’t do it justice. It’s a fun turquoise/blue color, and best of all, there is tons of room! I don’t know how they did it, but somehow there are three large sections revealed when you unzip the top. I can fit my wallet, keys, and everything! (And the pocket on the front is perfect for my cell phone!)

Wolfgang Puck 10-Cup Rice Cooker

A few weeks ago I ordered this Wolfgang Puck rice cooker from HSN. Lately it seemed like everyone was using rice cookers all the time and raving about them, and on special at about $34 I couldn’t turn this one down. Also, it came with a recipe guide for making things other than rice!

First of all, I will say that while the rice cooker is well-made, it feels a little cheap for the “retail value” of over $100. If I had paid that much for it I would feel ripped off. Maybe if it did other stuff, had timers, settings, etc. But all it does is “cook” and “warm.” The steamer basket is just plastic, and the rice pot was scratched up (on the outside) after a couple of uses.

I have been using the rice cooker to do rice (in the pot) and steamed vegetables (in the top steamer basket) at least once a week. Both aspects work great. The rice comes out perfectly done, fluffy, with a little bit of crusty bits on the bottom (which I don’t know if that’s supposed to happen, but I like it, so I don’t mind). The veggies in the basket also steam nicely, but after only a couple uses, it was already permanently stained from the carrots I’d cooked.

I had only one bad experience cooking rice, and I don’t know if it was the cooker’s fault or user error. I had no problems cooking only a little bit of rice (enough for GG and I to each have a serving for dinner and then another serving to take to work the next day), but the one time I filled it to capacity, 10 cups, it started to boil over. Starchy water reached the level of the steamer basket, and got into the seal around the edges of the pot, and it’s been a pain to clean up.

As for making other foods, I was suprised to find recipes for all sorts of things in the guide that came with it, including cornbread, sloppy joes, chicken and dumplings, mashed potatoes, and of course, mac and cheese. I did try the mac and cheese recipe, and while delicious, it was very greasy, which I think is related to both the cooking method and the types of cheese used. I’d be curious to experiment with it a bit more, though.

Overall, this is a fine rice cooker, but I certainly wouldn’t pay its full “retail” value. For the price I paid, I’m very happy with it.

UPDATE: Days after writing this review, the ricer cooker shut down on its own, midway through cooking some rice. I tried plugging it into different outlets and did everything I could think of, but I couldn’t get it unit to work. The following morning, I tried one more time, just so I could confirm what was happening when I called Wolfgang Puck to get a replacement. But the machine worked! Thinking all was well, I planned to cook my dinner in it the following evening. This time, when I turned it on, the light came on, went out, and came on again. After jostling the appliance around, the light came on and stayed on, and I was able to cook the meal. So while it does appear to be working, I would prefer that it didn’t need to be shaken around to work.

Egg Opinions

Since I probably totally offended Mainline Mom yesterday by bringing it up in her blog comments, I thought I’d write my own post here. Without starting a debate about pro-life vs pro-choice or when life begins or any of that, what are people’s opinions on IVF and what should be done with leftover fertilized eggs? I’m just really curious about this because if someone is against using them for stem cell research or other things, what do you want to do with them?

For your reference, IVF (in vitro fertilization) is a process where eggs are fertilized outside of the womb, then implanted in the mother. Usually they fertilize more eggs than are actually needed, on the assumption that not all of them will work. So when the woman does get pregnant, there are often some leftovers. The options for dealing with them are pretty much: 1) store them indefinitely (very expensive), 2) use them for something (like stem cell research), 3) destroy them (seems wasteful to me), or 4) implant them all at once (see: the California octuplets).

So what do you think? If they’re going to be thrown away anyway, don’t you think it would be okay to use them for potentially life-saving research? Or should they be the responsiblity of the parents to either store or use up? Or are fertility treatments in general selfish and wrong, considering there’s so many adoptable children in the world?

Mouse in the House

Last night GG and I went out for dinner at the new Benihana by the Plymouth Meeting Mall. It was pretty good, but I think I still prefer Hibachi – the food is as good or better, it’s less expensive, and the chefs do better tricks. But Benihana was really good! The only bad thing about dinner was that at our 8-person table, there was GG and I at one end, then an empty chair, then this group of five annoying people who were out to celebrate the one girl’s birthday. They were all making special requests, one of the guys was obnoxiously joking around with the waiter the whole time, then there was this pregnant woman who just complained about everything and had them make up some special combination meal just for her… Ugh. But dinner was good otherwise.

Afterward, since we were right there, we decided to walk over to the mall for a little bit. We entered through Boscov’s, which faces Benihana. After walking around a while, we got some ice cream from Dairy Queen, and then headed back out through Boscov’s, taking a quick swing through their furniture department just to look around. Boscov’s is sort of a sad department store, we were comparing it to Sears in the ’80s. As we were walking past a couple with a salesman trying out a sofa, a black mouse ran out from under a piece of furniture on my left, ran across the aisle where we were walking, and ended up under the sofa the people were trying out! I could not believe it! At first I thought it was some sort of dust ball blowing around, until it kept running. GG barely saw it and mostly noticed a black blur. And the people trying out the sofa weren’t sure what to do, as the salesman kicked the couch trying to scare the mouse out from under it. Blech! That Boscov’s also has a big chocolate/candy counter, which is very close to where we saw the mouse, so if someone offers you some chocolate from Boscov’s Plymouth Meeting, I would politely turn them down.