Monday, November 30, 2009

This is Hilarious -- Sort Of

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

I'm a Granny

I just got through "putting up" ten pints of my sweet, chipotle jalapeno peppers.
Earlier this weekend, I made my own detergent.

My gosh, I'm turning into an old farm lady.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Laundry Detergent -- The Scientific Results

Oh my goodness, we are making huge, Earf-shattering discoveries with regard to homemade laundry detergent, let me tell you.

Cheer, Tide, All, Biz, Purex, and OxyClean --

You guys are going DOWN

Having provided detailed, step-by-step photographic procedures for making your own homemade laundry detergent in my recent posts, I didn’t want to stop there.

In my detailed investigations with regard to making one’s own laundry detergent, I discovered that there are a myriad of websites that provide this same information.

They’re all a bunch of light-weights!

Why? What about how the detergent works?

I’ve already proved that it’s easy and extremely economical to make.

But how does it really work?

(Actually, there really is a part of me who is a cold, hard, analytical snurd who really just wants to 'see the numbers'. . sort of.)

So, I decided to do a real test. A real test under real conditions. I decided to test my homemade laundry detergent against a commercially-made detergent.

I had, on hand, some leftover 2X Ultra Tide to use as my comparative agent.

I cut a white towel in half and thought about smearing each side with yellow mustard -- that would be a good test.

However, I’ve pretty much adopted a completely vegetarian diet at home. Being that I wouldn’t have had any food item on which I’d have used yellow mustard, I didn’t have any.

However, now that I was a vegan, I did have a big jar of tikka-masala paste readily available. (Doesn’t everyone have tikka-masala paste on hand these days?)

Smearing the two sides of the towel with the tikka-masala paste really did a realistic stain job. I’m not a parent, but I’ve had my share of dealing with poopie diapers.

(Babies have that yellow-green bean poop-thing down pat, but man, they’ll also surprise you with some of that meaty brick-red sh*t too.)

I decided to test the detergents by washing two identical white (dingy) towels, each smeared with the offensive paste.
Here they are before going into the washers:

I washed towel No I (on the left) with the homemade detergent
and towel No II (on the right) with the 2X Ultra Tide.

Both were washed alone in separate washers with hot water for 36 minutes.

And here are the results.

Oh my goodness, Check it out!

Towel #1 with my homemade detergent on the left:
(This cost me 2 ¢ per load)

And Towel No. 2 with the 2X Ultra Tide on the right:
(Costing .23 cents per load)

The homemade stuff worked so much better, getting out all of the stain (at one-tenth the price) while the Tide left a good bit of the stain and costing ten times the price.

My homemade stuff smells a lot better, too.

You must know that I'm not the first to have conducted this test.

Oh my goodness, similar tests were conducted on linen cloths centuries ago.

The most notorious test like this was done 657 years ago, way back in 1352.

One servant washed the cloth in OxyClean and another used sodium carbonate and borax, just like I did.

And just look at the results:

Can you spot the one washed with homemade detergent?

(Sorry, I just couldn't resist that)

Anyway, I’m really curious as to how many of you, dear puppies, will continue to buy the detergent that costs ten times more and works much less.

If you want a liquid laundry detergent, it‘s online. It uses pretty much the same ingredients.

So, that’s my attempt at foiling the Evil Capitalist Pigs.

If you want to give a thoughtful Holiday gift, find out what type of soap your friend likes, then make this detergent using that type of soap. Double this recipe and give them a quart of the stuff in a decorative jar, wrapped in a thoughtful bow, or whatever the hell Martha Stewart suggests.

It’ll cost you pennies.

Happy Holidays

You’re home free.

Thank You!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Homemade Laundry Detergent - Update No. 3

Okay, I promised you a step-by-step procedure for making your own laundry detergent, complete with photos. (The lovely Miss Healthypants was kind enough to take the photos) I’ve now perfected the method and shall now impart my wisdom to you all. I know you’ve all been waiting ever-so patiently for this.

I know! I’ll admit that this is really exciting stuff!

Here you go.

Gather your ingredients. You will need the following.

1) 1 cup of “20 Mule Team” Borax Laundry Booster
2) 1 cup of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
3) 2 bars of soap (your choice)
You can easily find all this stuff in your regular supermarket.
It's really cheap, too.

First, prepare the bars of soap. You’ll need two of them.

I’m using Coast deodorant soap here because I really like the way it smells. See how happy I am?
(Oh my goodness, this blousy, un-tucked shirt makes me look fat.)

I have found that the best way is to grate the bars of soap is in the food processor, like you would with carrots or Parmesan cheese. It takes seconds to do. Tump the grated soap into a separate bowl and put the S-blade in the food processor.
Pour in 1 cup of Borax, 1 cup of Washing Soda,and the grated soap.
Blitz - blitz - blitz.
And there you have it. Perfect laundry detergent that smells really nice.
It really takes only seconds to make. For low-suds front loading machines, use 2 tablespoon per load. (This comes out to 4 cents per load.)
Use 4 tablespoons for regular washing machines.
For my next update, I plan to stain two white T-shirts with something really stainy, like mustard, and wash one T-shirt with super-expensive laundry detergent and the other with my homemade stuff, then compare the two.

You didn’t really think I’d be over my homemade laundry detergent phase with this post, did you??

Oh my goodness, you don’t know me very well at all.


Train Tracks

This afternoon, I was working in the suburb of Evanston which is on the north side of Chicago. On my train ride home, the Purple Line train has to negotiate through a tangle of train tracks where several lines meet.

Back when I was a little kid, I was obsessed with trains and, in particular, with these types of complex switch-tracks. Wherever two or three tracks would meet or cross one another, I’d analyze in detail how they were constructed and laid out, and watch for a train to cross through them. It was really fascinating to me.

So today, I was able to get a seat in the very front of the train and watch as MY train made its way through a maze of tracks. I also had my camera with me and made a little video of the train as it negotiated its way through the tangle of tracks.

As a little kid, seeing something like this would have been THE most exciting thing EVER.

Frankly, it still is.

After all, I practically injured an old man in my attempted to get a front seat.

Here is the video. I dedicate this to 'seven-year-old Buck' who would have spent hours watching this video over and over and over.
(My parents can readily attest to this.)

Monday, November 23, 2009

It Was Bound to Happen . . .

Paula Deen Injured by Errant Ham

ATLANTA - Celebrity chef, Paula Deen, suffered only minor facial swelling after being smacked in the nose by an 8-lb Smithfield ham while unloading a food bank truck in preparation for an annual Thanksgiving dinner.

She was not seriously injured.

Apparently, one worker unloading the donation of Smithfield hams thought Deen was ready to catch another – and it was tossed to her when she wasn’t looking.

“It hit me full long in the face and 'bout knocked me cuckoo, but I'm fine," said a laughing Deen.

The hams donated by Deen go to Hosea Feed the Hungry’s massive Thanksgiving Day dinner in which hundreds of Atlanta's homeless are treated to a free holiday meal.

No other food-related injuries were reported during the incident.


Morning Scene - Carbide & Carbon Building

The Carbide & Carbon Building was constructed in the 1920s and its dark green granite exterior and gold steel crown were purposely made to resemble a champaigne bottle.

The sun was reflecting "just right" on it this morning.
(The World Trade Center-y looking building behind it is where I work.)

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Laundry Detergent Update

I haven’t been this excited in a long time.


Because my latest endeavor to make my own low-suds laundry detergent has been met with astounding success. I am one excited puppy, I tell you. Now that I have successfully foiled the Evil Laundry Detergent Capitalists, I can now enter the holiday season with unabated and unalloyed pleasure.

If you may recall, I found out on the internet that one can make low-suds laundry detergent this way: Mix together ½ cup of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda

½ cup of Borax Laundry Booster,

and shave in one bar of soap. Mix together and use just one tablespoon of the mixture in each load of laundry.

The website where I found out about this said that the washing soda and the borax could easily be found in any supermarket. I didn’t think that my little overpriced downtown supermarket would have this stuff – it barely has things like “fruit” -- so I ordered it online.

It took forever for the washing soda and borax to arrive. Finally, the borax got here but the washing soda had been held up and by the weekend it had not arrived. (The Evil Laundry Detergent Capitalists probably found out what I was up to.)

I was exceedingly disappointed. I had been looking forward to making my own detergent this weekend.

Anyway, after church on Sunday, I stopped by the little supermarket and, just for grins, decided to look in the Evil Laundry Detergent Section on Aisle 3.

And there it was – Borax and Washing Soda.

I couldn’t believe it. I had been checking my mail everyday all week long, tracking the shipping online, and all this time my little market four blocks away had what I needed.

Much loud cursing was heard from Aisle 3.

I called a friend of mine right then just to vent my frustration over this development. Like a good friend, she listened to me rant.

Not wanting to wait another single day for the washing soda, I bought it and headed home to make my laundry detergent.

I made several batches.

After a couple of times, I had perfected the technique (it came out perfectly) and -- are you ready for this? -- I will post this procedure tomorrow, complete with step-by-step photographs!
Oh my goodness, aren’t you excited? Will you be able to wait that long?

Just for fun, I did two loads of laundry and now my underpants smell like Old Spice Sport Scent. (I'm wearing them right now as you read this.)
In my earlier post, I did the arithmetic and figured that by using this formula, each load of laundry costs only 23 cents per load.
But I did the math incorrectly - - it comes to 2.3 cents per load; not 23.
Two cents per load!

It’s been a long time since I’ve had this much fun.

I either lead a very mundane life or I get exceedingly excited about strange things.

I’ll go with the latter.


Friday, November 20, 2009


Look at all the gleeful, happy skaters down at Millennium park.

I was going to take a late lunch hour and get some skating in. Then my Outlook Calendar chimed, reminding me that I had to attend a webinar.

Sigh . . .

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My Generation

While in Effingham, I gave a presentation to a group of business owners about employing people with disabilities. It was complete with cutting-edge technology, graphics, and high-tech media devices -- that is, I showed a Pepsi commercial.) At one point, there was a chart indicating that the baby-boomers were those people born between 1947 and 1964.

I’m a baby-boomer?

I always thought baby-boomers resulted from World War II soldiers coming home and having lots of sex. My parents were little kids during that time and barely remember The War. (Hell, they were practically children when they had me in 1959).

I always thought baby-boomers were the Hippies in the late Sixties. They wore flowers in their hair, sang on hillsides about giving the world a Coke, protested the war in Vietnam and dropped enough acid to kill a yak.

Meanwhile, I was watching Lost in Space in my PJs while dropping Coco-Puffs.

The baby-boomers had super-cool music to listen to: The Beatles, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, The Doors. . .

When I was a teenager, we had Captain and Tennille, John Denver, and The Partridge Family. How can that possibly qualify me as a baby-boomer?

They had far-out clothes and hair down to their knees.

We had feathered, Breck-smelling hair and wore leisure suits.

They came of age during the race-riots, assassinations, civil rights marches during the tumultuous Johnston administration.

We came of age during the Ford and Carter years. Remember those?

I didn’t think so.

Me, a baby-boomer?


Thursday, November 19, 2009


I returned from a rather exhausting work-related trip to Effingham last night. You gotta watch out for Effingham – that town will just eat you up and spit you out if you’re not careful.

The day before, we were accommodated in a brand new hotel and it was really impressive. The bathroom was almost a religious experience:
Anyway, I’ve been looking forward to the outdoor ice rink opening at Millennium Park as I am wont to do every year. I knew that it would be opening for the season on November 18, but alas, I would be away in Effingham and would miss the grand opening.

So today, I brought my skates with me to work, hoping to get some skating in during an extended lunch hour. I’ve had my nose up to the window all morning waiting to see skaters down there. But alas, it’s raining today and the rink is closed.

So sad . . .
But, tonight I have choir rehearsal to look forward to (which I really do) and – even more exciting – the ingredients to make my laundry detergent should be arriving any day now! Isn’t that just the most exciting ever??

It takes so little to make me happy. . .

Monday, November 16, 2009

Off to Effingham

I’m off to Effingham, Illinois for a couple of days. More work-related travel ensues.

Normally, I’m not required to travel this much for work. It’s just that we’ve got this project going on and most of my staff is involved in it some way or another, so I have to be there.

Back to Effingham. . . .

Yes that is a funny name for a town now that “effing” has come to mean something completely different in modern vernacular.

Case in point.

When I first moved to Chicago from Toronto back in 2001, I got a temp job while I was looking for a Real Job. I ended up working in an accounting department at a non-profit agency and my supervisor was this likeable-enough young woman with whom I shared an office.

Every so often, she’d get a phone call from someone else in the company trying to account for some donation or something, and after listening a bit, she would suddenly exclaim, “It’s an effin' mess!”

This went on for about three times that day. “It’s an effin' mess!” seemed to be her answer for everything. I thought it was kind of strange, and frankly, not very professional.

Finally, she came to me and said, “Okay, I need to train you on our accounting system called FMS.”

Right then it dawned on me. All this time she was saying,
“It’s in FMS,”
rather than
“It’s an effin' mess.”


By the way, that woman was none other than Miss Healthypants. That’s how we met. She was actually my supervisor for those three months when I worked in her accounting department over eight years ago. (I subsequently got a Real Job with the same company and our friendship ensued now that she wasn’t my supervisor.)

For the next three years, she would come up to my department, laugh, and say, “Dude, I am still finding mistakes you made while you were a temp!”

It was an effing mess.


Friday, November 13, 2009

I Hope This Works

I’m excited because I’m about to embark on a new endeavor that could rock your world.

I’m going to make laundry detergent.

The laundry room where I live recently installed these new, modern front-loading machines that require a special low-suds laundry detergent. I went to the store to get this special detergent and was appalled at the exorbitant cost -- appalled, I tell you!

I didn’t want to pay that much for laundry detergent. Was this special detergent really necessary?

Upon researching it, I found out that, no, it’s not.

The Expensive Laundry Detergent People are in cahoots with the Front-Loading Laundry Machine People – it’s all just an evil, manipulative capitalist racket. Can you believe something like that would happen in this country?

Just use less of your regular detergent so that it doesn’t make too many suds.

Well, in doing my research, I found a way to make your own low-suds detergent for just pennies -- pennies, I tell you!

You will need:

½ cup of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda. (Order here)
½ cup of Borax Laundry Booster (Order here)
One bar of soap
(they suggest Ivory Soap but I'm going to use my Old Spice Fresh Scent because it smells really nice.)

Shave the bar of soap, (a microplane grater would probably work well for this) mix together with the other ingredients and store in a plastic container.

And you only need 1 tablespoon per load.
1 Tbs.

That’s it!

I just did the math. If you order the boxes of washing soda and borax, along with the Ivory Soap it will yield 112 loads of laundry at .02 cents per load. Two cents per load!

Basically, my laundry only consists of towels, underpants, socks and sheets. So it's not like I need Super Mega Tide XQ with Aloe-Verbena Stain Fighters and Pomegranate Gentle-Glide Softeners. Have we become that spoiled? For crying out loud, our great grandmothers made their own laundry soap from leftover pig fat and lye. From what I hear, it was pretty powerful stuff.

I really hope this works well. Laundry detergent is so awfully heavy to carry back from the grocery store. Also, I'm basically cheap and would love to stick it to the Nasty Capitalist Laundry Detergent People.

I’ll keep you posted.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

No Lifeguard on Duty

I’m in yet another hotel this week. Two different hotels and it’s only Wednesday.

I’m getting really good at operating the remote controls on the hotel TVs. I dread the day I get home and automatically press the power-menu-asterisk sequence on my Tivo.

I cancelled my gym membership the other day. Three reasons:

First, I’m never home anymore.
(2) my apartment building just opened a really nice gym and
c. All the hotels I’ve been staying in have ‘fitness centers’.

Yeah, like I’m going to remember to bring my work-out clothes on a business trip. I’ve been running around the state of Illinois with my underpants in a laptop case.

And what’s with all these indoor pools in hotels? I never see anyone in them but squirmy, squealy little kids. Watch out kids – the sign says ‘No Lifeguard on Duty.’
So don’t even think about drowning.

I never see any adult-type persons swimming in there. Probably because we wouldn’t know what to do with a wet swim suit. Like I’m going to bring a swimsuit and then drive three hundred miles with a wet swimsuit stuffed in my laptop case.

I have learned that one of God’s greatest creations was probably these two words:

Room Service

Oh my goodness, I cherish and adore Room Service.

After a long day of business meetings and ‘networking’ and putting out fires by remote-access, there’s nothing better than having a meal brought to my door on a nice tray.

After ten hours of feigning interest, the last think I want to do is to talk to anyone -- even a server at Applebee's.

(My per diem doesn't quite cover a room service meal, but I don't care. It's an expense I gladly cover on my own.)

Tomorrow, I will be back in Chicago, will get to go to choir rehearsal with eccentric musicians and then sleep on my own sofa.

I just hope I remember how to work the Tivo.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


For those of you who don't know, Portia is a chocolate Lab owned by my dear friends, Jack and Steve.

Portia is the most wonderful dog ever. A more friendly, loving dog than Portia, I cannot imagine. I've had the pleasure of doggy sitting her quite a bit over the years.

I've even taught her to play the piano.

But Portia has been getting on in years. Over twelve of them in fact. This past year, she'd been experiencing some really nasty problems with her front leg and she's had increasing trouble getting around.

One of her favorite activities has been to visit Doggie Beach on Lake Michigan here in Chicago. However, because of her increasingly bad condition, she's been unable to go at all.

Things looked pretty grim for this delightful creature. Her quality of life was going downhill.

But Steve happens to be a very talented veterinarian and was able to obtain stem cell treatment for dear Portia a few months ago.

And you know what? It's working!

Our Portia was even able to return to her beloved Doggie Beach the other day.

Click here for the video of her and Jack. And get out your hankies.

I've used all mine.

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Monday, November 09, 2009

The Break-Out Session

I’m at a two-day conference and it’s one I have to go to every year. There are lots of training sessions one can attend, some of them useful, some of them, not so much.

One thing I have realized is that I truly despise “break-out sessions.” That’s when the instructor gleefully announces, “Okay, let’s break up into groups of five and come up with some ideas on how to build a better weasel trap.”

I hate those “break-out sessions.”

First of all, we’ve paid good money to hear the expertise of the expert regarding weasel traps. Since we’ve pain the money, we’re obviously the ones that don’t know beans about weasel traps. Why do these instructors think we can learn from each other? Why are they so enthusiastic about us breaking up into groups?

I hate that.

I’ve been the seminar instructor before. (I attended a seminar on giving seminars.)
I know full well that “breaking up into groups” is just a code for “I didn’t prepare enough material to teach you and I need to fill up thirty minutes.”

I hate that.

So, now that I’m middle age and have lots of experience under my belt, I’ve realized that I don’t have to take it anymore. So I don’t.

When the instructor says to break up into groups, I simply leave and go get some coffee. Thirty minutes later when all the break-out nonsense is done, I quietly slip back in.

It’s not like I’ve missed anything.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

A Public Service Announcement

This morning as I was walking to church, I was approached by a disheveled-looking man who asked me for money. He had the most typical story.

His wallet had just been stolen and he needed seven dollars so he could take the Metra train to his home in the suburbs. (The “Metra” is a local commuter train system that serves the suburbs.)

I moaned.

I’ve heard this story, or a variation of it, at least a dozen times. I guess these panhandlers think it’s a good way to make some quick money. Instead of requesting some change “for a cup of coffee,” they have developed this sad tale of being stranded in the city. If I can, then, provide them with the train fare, they will soon be within the loving bosom of their family.

It’s a quick way of making seven bucks a pop as opposed to 25 cents at a time.

Like I said, I’ve heard this story many times. Three times, they have just gotten off the bus from Mississippi and need train fare to get home to the suburbs. For some strange reason, it’s always Mississippi. I guess the good folks from down there don’t have lots of money for travel.

I was approached by the same guy twice within a six month period. He had a twist: He wore a security guard’s uniform to give himself an air of legitimacy. The second time he approached me saying that his wallet had been stolen, I remarked that perhaps he should re-think his choice of occupation as a security guard.

The thing is, when these guys launch into their story of a wallet being stolen and needing seven dollars for the Metra train, they’re never anywhere near the Metra train station. Or the bus station that had just deposited them from Mississippi for that matter.

Like I said, I groaned when he started in on this tired story.

I have all the compassion in the world for those who are less fortunate. I make a nice living, so I make sizeable donations to United Way and PBS. These panhandlers should be thanking me for making vegetarian cooking programs available to them.

I started to tell him that he should really think of something more original that needing seven bucks for the Metra train. Instead, I just mumbled a “sorry” and went on to get my latte at Starbucks.

Can't these guys come up with a different story?

Like I said, I have all the compassion in the world. But a lack of creativity is something that I cannot support, much less, tolerate.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

The Sears Tower

Today was a beautiful autumn Saturday. Not wanting to waste it, I decided to walk across downtown to the Sears Tower in order to visit the new glass skyboxes on the 103rd floor. I figured that with Summer being long gone, there wouldn’t be many tourists crowding the place.

I’ve really been wanting to visit this new exhibit called “The Ledge” which consists of a glass box that hangs out from the observation deck that you can stand in. I also wanted to take some videos and photos of the experience.

I charged up my camera, got up early wanting to beat the crowds, walked all the way across downtown, (after stopping at Starbucks for a cafe Americano -- I'm not an animal, after all) only to discover there was a huge, long line of folks waiting to get through security.

This was an incredibly long line and it was moving about as fast as a glacier.
There were Cro-Magnons at the front of it.

That was just to get through security. Then you had to purchase your tickets. Then you had to take the elevator to the top. I could only imagine how impossible it would be to try and get into one of the few skyboxes.

I went home.

Stupid tourists. They ruined my plans.

I think that there should be an express line to the top of the Sears Tower for the residents of Chicago. Let the tourists be tourists -- but they shouldn’t impinge on our ability to visit our city when we want to.

On second thought, I’ll go visit the Sears Tower on a cold, Chicago wintery day when it’s ten below zero -- like a REAL Chicagoan.

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Friday, November 06, 2009

Coconut & Lime Verbena Shampoo

While in Peoria for the umpteenth time the other day, I actually used the little bitty bottle of hotel shampoo. Normally, I bring my own shampoo in a little 3 oz. bottle because, that way, I know what I’m getting and my hair doesn’t end up smelling like Essence of Kiwi & Weasel Extract.

Also, during all my many business trips, I collect all the little bitty bottles of shampoo, conditioner, soap, facial creams until I have a giant box of them and then I donate them to a women’s shelter.

Well, that is my intention anyway. Right now, I just have a giant box of the stuff and it's getting gianter with every trip.

Anyway, my own little bottle of shampoo was empty and so I used the hotel’s shampoo which turned out to be Coconut & Lime Verbena Volumizing Shampoo.

Oh my goodness, my hair loved it.

Normally, I have really oily hair -- like an otter – but this shampoo made it so very soft and fluffy. All this time, I’ve been using plain ol’ Suave Clarifying Shampoo that costs something like $1.49 for a two-liter bottle at Walgreen’s. I wanted this Fancy Hotel Shampoo now.

But I only had the little bitty 1 oz bottle of the stuff. Whatever shall I do?

I googled it.

I think that whatever the problem, googling it solves everything.

Can’t think of words to a song?

Google it.

Does Olestra really cause anal seepage?

Google it.

Want a photo of Alanis Morrisette during the Toronto years when she looked like an orangutan?

Google it.

Just googling “coconut lime verbena shampoo” got me to the website that sells it. (Bath and Body Works.)

I have six bottles on the way.

My gosh, we are so spoiled these days.

Oh, and here is Alanis Morrisette during the Toronto years.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Jasmine Green Tea

A couple of months ago, I was with my friends eating at our most favoritest restaurant in the WWW (whole wide world), Lao Sze Chuan in Chinatown.

I sort of have an obsessive fear of being late for anything -- which really means I arrive inordinately early for everything. As usual, I had 30 minutes to kill so I decided to nose around in the various food shops in Chinatown while waiting for my friends. Yes, I can multi-task. (Dried squid air-bladders – hey, neat!)

I found this box of jasmine green tea that sounded really tasty. It had an even tastier price at $4.95 for 100 teabags. (“teabags” - - that’s funny.)

I brought it to work with me because I like to drink iced tea all afternoon. My desk drawer is festooned with no less that six different herbal varieties, along with three variations on an antihistimine theme, four kinds of lip balm, various denominations of stamps and two ceramic puppies. This would just add one more to the bunch.

Oh my goodness, this was the best tea EVER. To me, green tea doesn’t have much flavor and I’m not about to jump on the anti-oxidant bandwagon just because it’s good for you. (Mark my words. Ten years from now we’ll be advised to drink as much vodka as possible in order to cut down on the excessive amounts of anti-oxidants we’ve built up in our bodies.)

Anyway, this tea was incredible and it’s all I’ve been drinking for the past few weeks. Normally, I go through about four teabags (that’s funny) a day, so I soon realized I was close to running out. I tried to remember which food shop it was in Chinatown where I got this. I couldn’t remember to save me – they all look alike to me.

So, I hopped on the interwebs and found it here for $3.52 for a box of 100 teabags (hee-hee!).

I ordered six boxes which was just a little over twenty bucks for a huge supply.

I love it when I can come across good deals like that. Now I can happily be tea-bagging at work for a long time to come.

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009


I know this isn't much of an entry, but I made a promise to the blog gods that I would write every day during National Blog Posting Month.

I drove to Peoria last night after work for a work-related meeting this morning. Then I had a work-related lunch at the Crab Shack in Peoria. The crawfish buckets were ten dollars off today because the crawfish were about to go bad. Then I drove back to Chicago.

Now, I'm very very tired and want to sleep.


It will eat you up and spit you out if you're not careful.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

NaBloPoMo - Rubber Highway Markers

Continuing on with NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month ) in which we’re supposed to write about things that interest us, I will now write about something that I used to be obsessed about that I’m sure no one else in the whole world has ever even thought about.

Back in the early 70s, the Texas Highway Department changed all the two-lane highway stripes from white to orange. I thought this was incredibly interesting as I was a 12 year old kid in a boring little town. Any changes of this sort helped to quell the boredom I was experiencing.

In order to paint the highway with the new stripes, the highway workers first applied these little rubber things to the center of the highway to mark where the painting truck was supposed to go. These little rubber things were a strip of black rubber, about two inches wide and eight inches long. They were then curled up sort of like a tortellini and nailed down to the asphalt in the center of the highway and spaced about ten yards apart.

Soon, all the highways in Texas had these little rubber tortellini things laid down the center of all the highways.

I became obsessed with them. I have no idea why. I was a strange kid.

On trips, I would just gaze out the window and try to get a closer look at them as they whizzed by at 70 mph.

I would plead with my mom or dad to stop and let me examine them close up. Of course, letting a 12 year old boy crouch in the middle of a highway really wasn’t conducive to safety and they never would stop.

Finally, one day I was with my brother and cousins as we were walking down the main thoroughfare, probably going to the dime store on the town square or something. I spotted some newly-laid rubber things in the middle of the highway and just couldn’t help myself. . . .

I darted out to the center of the highway and began tugging on one. I wanted it so badly! I finally had a chance to have my own rubber highway marker but it was firmly nailed down to the asphalt and wouldn’t let go.

An 18-wheeler appeared down the road and there I was, tugging away on this stupid highway marker. It began blowing its horn, but I was hell-bent on getting my little treasure. My brother and cousins were yelling at me, but I still wouldn’t give up on the task at hand.

Finally, it popped out and I scurried to safety with by beloved rubber highway marker!

I kept it for quite a while, closely examining its contours, measuring its dimensions. I’m sure I probably smelled it a couple of times.

Soon, all the highways were marked with orange stripes instead of white ones. The rubber highway markers had served their purpose and gradually disintegrated away. I don’t recall them ever being used again after that.

I’d like to think that if you go to my little bitty hometown in Texas, you’ll notice a couple of highway stripes that are just a little bit out of line – no doubt due to a rubber highway marker having been stolen by a weird little 12 year old boy.


Monday, November 02, 2009


What is NaBloPoMo?

Why, it’s National Blog Posting Month. November has been designated the month in which you are supposed to write a blog entry every day on topics that interest you.

Sounds good to me.

Today’s topic: Brussels sprouts.

Yes, they interest me. I’m that easy.

I really love Brussels sprouts. A lot. These cruciferous little boogers are good for you too. For those of you who don’t like them, try this:

Steam them whole for about five minutes. Meanwhile, sauté some bacon, crumble in some chestnuts to the baconey juices (okay, it’s bacon grease) tumble in the steamed Brussels sprouts, add a splosh of marsala and a teaspoon of sugar. Thank you, Nigella Lawson.

Last night, I made some autumnal roasted veggies that are so good they will just make you fall on the floor and holler:

Peel and cube a butternut squash (I know I’ve lost some of you right there), cut Brussels sprouts in half, dice an onion into chunks, tumble them in a bowl with some powdered chicken bullion, a sprinkling of sugar and a few glurps of olive oil. Tump it all on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast them at 400 until charred. About 30-40 minutes.

You can’t stop eating it, especially if you put some butter on it.

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