Saturday, December 30, 2006

Happy holidays!?!?!!!?!

originally uploaded by rubybeth.
I posted Christmas photos on Flickr, apologies that it's been so long since an update. My excuse? I post most of my photos on Facebook where friends can see them and be tagged. Uh, so, trying to make some New Years plans, and we shall see what that leads to...

Little joys

Mostly, I am a cheeseburger, t-shirt, rented movie and coffee date kind of girl, but every once in a while, it's nice to put on something a little nicer and pay more than $5 for a meal, which is what S and I did last night. It was an actual date! I dressed and picked him up and we headed downtown to Ciatti's for some Italian food, pasta for the both of us, stuffed mushroom caps as an appetizer (gotta learn to make those things), wine (white zin for me of course) and a martini (S will now resume with the gin and tonics). S was such a gentleman and so sweet. Our candlelit table near the window, the tiramisu, S pulling my chair out for me—all of it, so very much appreciated.

Now I'm going to pick all the keys off my keyboard to clean it. I'm psyched!!

P.S. I think I discovered why I like white zinfandel as much as I do. Mostly, it gets described as a sweet wine with "strawberry notes" or whatever. Since I'm allergic to strawberries and can't have them, I must enjoy that aspect of the wine.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A snapshot

An excerpt from something depressing I wrote in the summer of 2003, after my relationship with someone ended:

I want somebody who can spend the night and whose hours will work with mine and who wants what I want, ultimately, and can make that happen in a reasonable amount of time. And by all of that, I mean I want an adult male who would conceivably marry me. It’s asking a hell of a lot, but I want somebody who is at least in a place in his life where he knows what he wants.

Friday, December 22, 2006

A little dose of Christmas

Yesterday, S and I volunteered with Toys for Tots, and holy cow, were there a lot of toys. It's essentially like a mini toy store with somewhat limited options, but it's not as though any kid is going to have to go without. It was good to forget about myself for a while, and I was really tired last night after six hours of being on my feet. Plus, they fed us dinner. I think it was good for S to do something instead of writing yet another cover letter or searching for more jobs.

While we were handing out toys, it actually snowed. Like, the kind of icky icy snow that nobody really loves, but it did make everything white, especially roofs and cars. The green lawns can still be seen through the powder, but it's better than a brown Christmas. Exhibits A (our block) and B (house and front yard):

I've spent the morning gathering my gifts and wrapping them. I feel like I went a little overboard, and I have no good reason for this. I really only purchased for immediate family and very close friends, because I don't want to make anyone feel guilty by getting them something when they don't have anything for me. It's all good. Anyone who feels like they should get me a gift should just invite me out to dinner sometime, especially in the cities (my Tuesday night class starts January 9, and no doubt I will want to hang out either before or after class when I'm down there).

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Blue skies?

So after a pretty weird, bad, stressful Wednesday, I'm hoping today gets better. It could hardly get worse. I called my doctor's office about the large medical bill for tests I didn't need in the first place, but they were unsympathetic. I'm sure they hear it all. I didn't become irrational, but now I know that it is their policy NOT to inform patients how much medical care costs before it is done. Well! Looks like I'll be skipping the formal medicine for a while...

Bible study last night was good. Even though I'll be poor-ish for a while paying off this bill, I don't have chronic pain or cancer and S is by my side and I have family and friends I love, and etc. Perspective. I think helping out at Toys for Tots today will also make me feel less crappy.

I've also given up on the literary reading for a while. I've gone back to Sue Grafton's series, and I think I'm just going to stick with it, at least until I get sick of Kinsey Millhone. Doubtful.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

One of the worst days ever!!!

So, since the last time I blogged, a few hours ago, everything has gone to crap. First, S came over, which was very nice, even though we aren't going to be able to volunteer with Toys for Tots today, as mentioned in my previous entry, it was good to see him. Moments later, I opened my mail. Bad idea. Apparently, when I had my annual physical a few months back, and I thought it would be nice to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases (you never know! you hear things about toilet seats!), that's gonna cost me $475! Nearly five hundred dollars for an STD test I didn't need. That's right, folks, I'm a member of the V Squad! They shouldn't even allow virgins to ask for STD tests.

P.S. I have evaded HIV yet another day.

Then, I decided to bake Christmas cookies for people at work. I started mixing up the batter for my now-famous Chocolate Espresso Balls. Then I realized we only had one egg, and I needed two. Rather, I needed two egg yolks. So S and I went to the grocery store and the liquor store to get eggs and wine for Christmas presents, and while S paid for the eggs and I went to get the wine, on the way from the grocery store to the liquor store, S was nearly run over by a car in the parking lot. Don't kill my boyfriend, please, I'm quite fond of him, really!

We got home, finished making the cookies, had a nice conversation about this book S is reading and about sexuality and Christianity and other interesting things. We got a tray of the cookies baked, and then I loaded up a plate with them and was in the middle of eating a sandwich for lunch as we went out to the car. Which wouldn't start. I added oil, thinking maybe it was low, but the battery is probably dead. So I called my coworker who was expecting to see me today, and maybe S and I can just stop in tomorrow with the cookies and then go to Toys for Tots.

To recap: STD test I didn't need which cost me an arm and a leg, no eggs, car wouldn't start. I don't know if the day can get worse. Check back for an update!!

Reason #342 why S is the best

One of the things I've really appreciated about S is his willingness to call me. This is extremely helpful for the J aspect of my ENFJ personality, and he, as an ENFP, know this. He calls frequently, mostly to plan our time together, like today. I took the day off work, and we had vague plans to help with Toys for Tots, since one of his aunts works for the local non-profit organization that heads up the toy drive.

He called at 10 to wake me up and give me the scoop. I hopped in the shower, put on makeup, started getting dressed, and my phone rang again.

"Change of plans," came S's voice.

"Oh, yeah?" I said, interested.

"They passed out toys today from nine to noon. Tomorrow it's one to eight."

"So we'll go tomorrow?"

"Yeah, sound good?"


According to my made-up dialogue, S and I say "yeah" a lot. This is probably true. Anyway, I'm going to finish getting ready and start making some cookies for my library coworkers. S should be here any minute to help...

Friday, December 15, 2006

A good recipe for the holidays and beyond

I made this mashed potato recipe for two pot luck suppers this week--Calvary Chapel's Fellowship Dinner on Wednesday and then the library's holiday staff meal yesterday. They vanished in 20 minutes yesterday, so I almost didn't even get a bite! We had some leftovers on Wednesday, though, and so I left them for S's mom and grandmother. Apparently, I scored some huge brownie points for them, according to S, as I've said many times that I "don't cook." It's not that I don't know how, it's that I choose not to. When I do, though, watch out...

A bunch of people at work asked for the recipe here, so I typed it up and thought I'd share it on the good old blog for anyone who wants to try. Good as a side dish or all on its own, and they don't need gravy. I think the original was printed in a magazine. The recipe could be halved fairly easily, but it holds up quite well as leftovers, so it's not really necessary.

Mashed Potatoes with Chives (a.k.a. "Magical Potatoes" or some other such fantastic name)

5 pounds potatoes
1 large onion (can be omitted, but adds more flavor)
1 cup half and half
1 cup butter (two sticks) softened or melted
1 8 oz. tub of whipped cream cheese (w/chives or without, your choice, should be near the regular cream cheese in the grocery store)
2 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. nutmeg
4 tbsp. chives (dried or fresh) (optional if already using cream cheese with chives for more chive flavor)
1 bag sliced almonds for top

Preheat oven to 350F. Peel potatoes and onion. Boil until cooked (if potatoes are cut up, about 20 minutes). Mash using electric mixer in large bowl (so much easier than a masher). Mix in butter, cream cheese, half and half, and all spices. Spread into a greased 9x13 pan or two small pans (potatoes will puff up slightly). Bake for 30 minutes. Garnish top of potatoes with enough almonds to cover, or to taste--we like more for more crunch). Bake another 15 minutes (almonds will brown). Let stand 5 minutes or so. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Walking the city's streets

This morning, my parents hollered to me before I left the house for work.

"Don't let Andrea walk from campus to work!!"

I was like, "Huh?"

Apparently, there is some whacko who picked up a girl somewhere downtown and drove her to the cities and back. I haven't read an actual news story on this, so I'm going on what I've heard from others, guessing maybe he took her at gunpoint or somesuch. I thought to myself, if it's no longer safe to walk the city's streets, I am so out of here.

"Don't let her walk!" my parents repeated. "She has a four o'clock final and she might just walk to work."

Why my parents think this is my responsibility, I have no idea. I work until 4:30. I told them they can make sure she doesn't walk... but I didn't mention the fact that sometimes she carries a very large steak knife in her purse.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


It's Cata, our Colombian exchange student, all the way from Iowa for a little visit! It's so good to see my little hermanita and know she's doing well in school and working hard. I'm going to take it easy tonight after working today and maybe watch a movie (by myself! how exciting! actually, kind of...).

Friday, December 08, 2006

How I spent my day off...

Today after spending the morning and lunchtime at S's, hanging out and making egg rolls with his mom, I came home and blocked the sweater I've been knitting since March. Yes, March. As you can tell, my fascination with knitting has dwindled somewhat, considering that I used to crank out scarves, hats, and other objects with a passion almost unknown. Then, something happened. I think it's called "summertime" and also "graduate school" and then something known as "time spent with a boyfriend who was gone for six months." So, this is the sweater, drying, waiting for it to be pieced together, a collar to be knitted, crocheting to do around the edges, and a clasp to be sewn on. I am pretty excited about that last part:

I love this clasp! I kind of wish it were silver, and I will probably check another craft store before finalizing it, but I love how it hooks and will close the sweater in a casual way, vs. a row of buttons or a zipper. Edit: I just found a silver version of the same JHB clasp online and ordered it up. So pleased about this!!

S will be gone until Sunday evening-ish (not exactly sure when) on the Calvary Chapel mens' retreat at a cabin north of Onamia, near Mille Lacs Lake. I will miss him, because hey, look at that cute guy! But two days (really only one—Saturday) without seeing S is not really the end of the world. He didn't bring his cell phone with him, which made me kind of sad and also really proud. He will be okay, and I'm sure the guys will have a great, blessed weekend. Pray for them, please, if that's your bag!

I'm actually feeling much better and very happy because a little birdie told me that someone very special is coming for a visit this weekend, someone I haven't seen since August, someone I have missed very much. We don't know when to expect this person, but I'm hoping it's sometime when I'm home, since I work tomorrow...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

So it didn't kill me, but I'm not exactly stronger...

I'm still not feeling 100% after being so very sick the last four days with what I believe was the flu (based on the horrendous severity), but I was so bored of sitting at home and watching television, that I'm back at work today. I'm only spending one hour at the circulation desk today, which isn't bad at all, though I am getting tired of being on my feet. I am slightly concerned about infecting others, but I'm not really having severe respiratory symptoms, no sneezing, very little coughing, mainly just sore muscles and throat today. My stomach is a little tentative, so I'm debating what to do about lunch...

The next two days I'm off work, and I hope I feel well enough to make a stop or two to finish my Christmas shopping, send out my cards, and maybe even wrap up my Christmas knitting. I think I may even need to knit myself a hat to wear this winter, since I have this habit of going outside with wet hair (I know, shocking! S's grandmother would die if she knew how often I do this!).

So, thankfully, I'm not dead and am feeling much better. Thanks for all the comments and concern!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Even my toes hurt...

But I am feeling a little better today than yesterday, with what S and I think is the flu. Good old influenza. I've been so achy and nauseated and my throat hurts so very much, and S came down with it before I did, so he's been consoling me, saying, in response to my moaning and whining, "I know, honey, I know. It will get better." He came over yesterday in the evening and brought movies and tea and rubbed my sore legs and generally made the miserable slightly less so.

I don't even know how I made it to class and back on Saturday without dying or causing some sort of accident, I was so out of it in the car and class was kind of a blur to me, though it was shorter than usual and we just had to turn in our take-home exams and give mini oral reports on what we wrote our papers about. I just hope I didn't infect anyone.

My glands are swollen more than I've ever experienced before in my life, and I keep trying to sip fluid (tea, sparkling grape juice, warm orange juice) but it hurts so dang much to swallow.

Now for a good time of laying on the couch watching a movie until S comes over and I can rouse enough energy to maybe even leave the house! Oh, the excitement!

Saturday, December 02, 2006


I feel so crummy right now—stomach hurts, muscle aches, headache, sore throat—that I wish I could call in sick to class. Unfortunately, there's an exam to be turned in, and a paper to be reported on, and so I'm here, sipping mint tea to try to calm my stomach, wishing I could eat something and keep it down. I'm hoping I can just turn in my stuff and then leave, or that the drive down will somehow soothe me.