jaune_chat: My cat Timothy, a cream-and-tan mackrel tabby (Onoz!)
I am so incredibly stressed out from this election of the one of the most horrifyingly possible people to the office of president, that even the mild additional stress of trying to call my doctor's office and preparing to host a party have me literally screaming at the walls, bursting into tears, and wanting to fling things. I don't know think I'm going to be able to sleep today, and I have to work tonight. I should probably put myself on the line (I'm the shift supervisor, but we're expected to work most of the time), but if there's any possibility of not, I don't think I'd be any good for anything.
jaune_chat: My cat Timothy, a cream-and-tan mackrel tabby (NoPowerInTheVerse)
Ah... I haven't been keeping up much with all that's been going on with me, so lemme catch people up, for all who are still reading me.

The husband and I have bought a new house!

The Saga, the Drama, the Furniture Arranging )
jaune_chat: My cat Timothy, a cream-and-tan mackrel tabby (Angela Petrelli)
There's a reason I have a LiveJournal, and it's because there is some stuff you just can't put on Facebook.

To my friends - I'm glad you're getting fit. It's important for your health to eat right and work out regularly. I'm pleased you're logging your miles, varying your workouts, and getting encouragement from your friends and family to keep on track. I know most of you are fairly decent people, so I know most of your posts aren't humble brags. Yes, of course there's a little of that, because if you aren't self-satisfied with your workouts, really what's the point? But you don't go overboard, and that's very decent of you.

However, I am not in shape. I'm lumpily obese. I weight as much as two of you guys put together.

And it's not because I don't know better. I took classes on health and fitness. I've worked with athletes. I know in excruciating detail what is necessary to do to get fit and healthy.

However, workouts don't make me feel empowered, they make me feel tired, sweaty, and embarrassed. Fat people do not air themselves in public. I do brisk walking most mornings, but there's a reason I stopped going to the YMCA. I just get really damn tired of me trying to walk on the treadmill while skinny people in yoga pants are jogging on the same, or guys with muscles for days are pumping themselves up on weight machines. I detest the bank of mirrors opposite the machines. They really don't help.

I also really dislike a lot of the healthier foods. I have strong textural aversions to several vegetables and fruits, as in I will have a gag reflex strong enough to puke if asked to eat a raw tomato, or certain other foods.

My husband seems to lose weight with no effort, and our schedules are so different it's sort of pointless to ask him to be my workout buddy.

And it's just... hard, when I see people constantly posting on their progress, and I'm not really progressing anywhere. It's not that I don't want to, but I am not just going to be able to leap in with both feet like these people are.

I know you're not supposed to compare yourself, and that everyone gets fit in their own way and at their own pace. But still. It sucks.

To you Health Nuts - Post a recipe that doesn't involve wheatgrass or low-fat ingredients, or maybe make a post about a movie you saw or a concert you went to. Please.

Just for a change of pace.
jaune_chat: My cat Timothy, a cream-and-tan mackrel tabby (Been Lovely But Have To Scream)
Or, where Jaune Chat needs to rant about her household, her husband, an unequal division of labor, and just Go To the Damn Doctor, Sweetie.

It should not be this hard )
jaune_chat: My cat Timothy, a cream-and-tan mackrel tabby (WTF name of Odin?)
Ooooo.... kay.

So... something just happened that was not good. I'd like to talk about it.

Talking about original fiction writer's club and hubby's strange reaction. )
jaune_chat: My cat Timothy, a cream-and-tan mackrel tabby (This Week In The Universe)
It's my birthday! I'm 32 years old! Huzzah!

Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday dear Jaune Chat,
Happy birthday to me!
jaune_chat: My cat Timothy, a cream-and-tan mackrel tabby (Cooking)
So, the other week, Mr. Chat made a lamb roast. And though the lamb was stupidly expensive for being so out-of-season, we rubbed it with herbs and lemon juice, pushed garlic into it, and roasted it, and it was quite good. But then we were left with two meaty lamb bones just chock full of flavor.

I decided this was the perfect excuse to learn to cook with a soup bone. You're supposed to put them in a pot (since mine were pre-roasted, no additional roasting was required) and cover them with cold water, bring to a boil, simmer for a while, pull out the bones and scrape and chop off the meat, and then put everything back and cook it some more. Then you can go ahead and add the rest of the soup ingredients.

I thought I'd do that, and then use the stock to make this beef soup recipe I found (cheaper by far than getting more lamb). Except I decided to use the biggest pot that I own, because I was cooking for six, and it took so much water to cover the bones initially that when the stock was supposedly done, it didn't really taste of much except vaguely lamby, herby water. Figuring I could adjust seasoning as I went (I watch cooking shows, dang it!) I just increased my ingredient amount and made the beef soup (with beef stew meat, yukon gold potatoes, carrots, peas, garlic, and barley).

Alas, when all was supposed to be done, the broth tasted of nothing but a touch of salty, vaguely meaty water.

Crap.

Now I was in full rescue mode. In order to bring the flavor up to par and thicken the consistency, I added the following, one at a time, until I had achieved a richy, flavorful, meaty broth.

8 packets of Swanson's beef broth booster
4 chicken bullion cubes
Many shakings of onion salt
Many shakings of pepper
Heaping quarter cup of flour
A full tube of double-concentrated tomato paste
Using the broth from the pot, I turned two cups of the broth into thick gravy with a packet and stirred it back in
More onion salt and pepper
A handful of flour

The gravy packet and the flour I think were the real saviors for richness and thickness, and the tomato paste saved the flavor and added good color.

The result was the "best beef stew I'd ever tasted," from some friends who have had a lot of stew in their life. Huzzah!

The lesson learned here is, when life throws you watery soup, throw gravy back at it! :D

Sorry Anons

Nov. 9th, 2012 04:45 pm
jaune_chat: My cat Timothy, a cream-and-tan mackrel tabby (Rubs the Lotion)
Sorry anons, but the level of spam has just gotten to unprecedented levels. I've tried being patient, I've tried CAPCHA, and now it's gotten to the level of disabling anonymous comments. I swear to Pete, if I have to see one more spamvertizement for Ugg boots, Chanel bags, duty-free cigarretts, or cheap Nike jerseys, I'm gonna lose it.
jaune_chat: My cat Timothy, a cream-and-tan mackrel tabby (Pumpkinman)
So, I am a big fan of trick-or-treat. And as I'm too old to go myself, what we end up doing is setting up a big display in the front yard and making the kids work for their candy. "We" being my husband and another couple, and the front yard being my mother's front yard, as she gets five times the foot traffic or more than at our house.

We've been doing this for four years now, and we're starting to get a reputation. People are remembering us and starting to drop by just to see us, which tickles me immensely. We have a whole bunch of fake tombstones set out, two fog machines, a couple of hanging dummies with glowing eyes, creepy music, jack-'o-lanterns, and, this year, a couple of great new props. One was a jumping spider - it's about three feet across, has glowing eyes, and when you pressed the footpad, leapt out about three feet with a terrible noise. I scared a lot of kids (and a couple adults!) with that one; it was worth its weight in gold. The other was "monster in the bushes." It's a pair of glowing red eyes attached to this rattling box. You wired the box to branches of a plant, and whenever it was activated with movement or sound, it growled and rattled and the eyes flashed like there was something there ready to leap out and pounce. Marvelous!

This year, our friends were both faceless, robed black shadows, silent and menacing. (All of us were robed this year, because it's often quite cold and you can fit more clothes under the robes; this year it got down below freezing by the end of the night.) The wife (a small woman) would sneak up behind kids as they had their backs to her getting candy, and freak them out when they turned around. The husband is a big, tall guy (used to be a linebacker in school) who also does swordfighting as a hobby, and brought one of his blunt metal swords. Which looks great, and he can prove it's real metal, but isn't sharp enough to hurt anyone. He guarded the stairs up to the yard (we have the rest of the yard fenced off to prevent kids from sneaking up behind us) and would sometimes follow groups of people a short way down the street, which also freaked people out.

Mr. Chat was the Devil himself, with a scary demon's mask with lots of spikes and horns, red and black hooded robes, and a skull-topped jester's scepter (we couldn't find a good pitchfork and Mr. Chat has an evil sense of humor). I was an executioner. I have this really awesome axe that looks like it's made from bone, gray robes, and this hood and mask which looks like a grid of metal bars over my face. Because you can see through the bars, I added some more scares to it this year. I got this facial appliance (who's been watching Face Off? I have!) that made it look like my eyes were gouged out. My friend got it on me, then painted my face pale and added bloody tears. It was a little hard to see under the bars, but I didn't want to be too overtly freaky because we have a lot of little kids in the neighborhood. Also the edges wouldn't stay down, so the mask actually covered our inexperience with prosthetic application.

We scared the living daylights out of many small kids (and not-so-small kids), and had a lot of fun doing it. Now we just have to figure out how to top ourselves next year!
jaune_chat: My cat Timothy, a cream-and-tan mackrel tabby (Spiderweb)
There are some good things and some bad things about my job. (For those that don't know, I work in an aluminum rolling mill.) I wanted to give you guys the low-down on why I do what I do, and then share some rather sobering news about what happened last Monday night.

Bad Things:

No air conditioning - Which means in the summer it can get over a hundred degrees F on the floor, and hotter in other places (closer to the furnace lines, etc.). And we're literally right next to the river, so we can get some impressive humidity to boot.

12-hour shifts. In that heat, 'nuff said.

Lifting heavy objects - Doesn't happen a lot, because we obviously use the machines to handle the metal most of the time, but because I work in a part of the plant where the sheets of metal are actually light enough for a person to handle, we sometimes have to haul things around.

Wearing full PPE - Personal Protective Equipment. We're required to wear a hard hat, jeans, steel-toed boots with metatarsal protection, safety glasses with side shields, and earplugs at all times. We also wear cut-resistant gloves and arm sleeves whenever we handle metal, and face shields whenever handling certain chemicals (usually denatured alcohol which we use to clean the rolls). In the aforementioned heat, it can get a little oppressive.

Getting Dirty - I have a separate wardrobe of jeans and t-shirts I have for work, because it's guaranteed that those things will become permanently stained with grease, oil, dirt, tar, and/or ink (used the mark some metal for traceability purposes) at some point or another. I can't wear those things in public because they're so stained. If I go to a store after work I tend to garner some odd looks because often I am also stained with same.

But there are also some Good Things:

Wardrobe - Yes, this is in both sections. As long as I'm wearing jeans, and my t-shirt doesn't have something obscene on it, I can wear what I want. My clothes do not have to be up to Corporate Standards. I never have to iron. I never have to worry about getting a stain on my clothing and rendering it unfit to wear for work. If it gets a hole or a rip? No biggie, you can wear it anyway. I can wear something that looks like I rolled out of bed and no one cares. I never have to worry about having a good hair day, because it's all crammed up under a helmet anyway. I have a completely low-stress clothing routine.

Breaks - I remember working as a cashier for a drug store chain for a while in high school. And the breaks we were given there were... almost dehumanizing. In an eight-hour shift you have two fifteen minute breaks (that you were paid for) and one half-hour lunch break (that you didn't get paid for, you had to clock out/clock back in). In a six-hour shift, you only got one short break. At my place of work now? I get four half-hour breaks, sometimes longer depending on the size of the crew at the machine I'm working on, and I get paid for every second of my time. We manage this by having someone who comes by in rotation and does your job for a half hour, then moves on to the next person, etc. Though I can't leave the plant during my breaks, I'm able to honestly cool off and eat my food like a person and not like a starving badger because of a need to clock back in before your pay is docked for being late.

Political Correctness (and lack thereof) - I work in a damn factory. And barring some basic decency that people abide by, and some personal tolerances we respect, we can toss around four-letter words all day long if we feel like it. When it's hot as balls and the machine has broken down six times a shift, it's very freeing to be able to curse when you want to and know you're not going to have your co-workers gasping and clutching their pearls before reporting you to HR.

12-hour shifts - But wait, didn't you just say that was a bad thing too? Well, a 12-hour day doesn't leave much room to do anything else, true. But I work a schedule where I basically go two days working, two days off, which every other weekend working three days and every other weekend being off three days. I only work half the days in any given month. Though I never have the same days off two weeks in a row (it's a two-week repeating pattern), I have a crapload of free time, way more than I've had with any other job.

Money - I am paid well. I have good health insurance. And I can sign up for overtime when I want it with a reasonable expectation of getting some in order to make up for extraordinary household expenses. And that’s more than I’ve had with any other job.

But there's this other thing:

Someone died in my plant on Monday night. Cut for death description, it was not pretty. ) I didn't know the man, but this was the first death in the plant since I hired in, and the first in the plant in 12 years.

The company is investigating the crap out of what happened, needless to say. They've offered us counseling for those that want it, not just to us but to our immediate families too. I'm actually doing ok. While the accident was horrific (I wasn't in the plant the night it happened, but I have a good imagination), what happened to the man was not a situation I would ever find myself in. I have an excellent safety record and follow the regulations sometimes to the annoyance of my co-workers. From what information we've gotten so far, it sounds like all the safety regulations were followed during the maintenance repairs, so they're trying to figure out exactly what went wrong. For now, the rest of us are just trying to plug along steadily and safely.

Even with what happened, I'm still going to stay around. Our company is very safety conscious indeed. Having recently been on a trip to visit some of the companies that buy our metal so we could see what they do with them, I was quietly appalled at the lack of safety regulations in these other businesses. Compared with them, my company is a paragon of safety. We have two full weeks of safety training when we hire in, and have regular safety refreshers every month. It's just that when something goes wrong, because we're dealing with equipment that meant to move, stretch, or cut thousands of pounds of metal, the human body basically has no chance.

A sobering thought. And one I consider every time I work.
jaune_chat: My cat Timothy, a cream-and-tan mackrel tabby (Spiderweb)
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I want something meaningful done with it. I'm an organ donator, so, if possible, I want them to use all my parts. Heart, eyes, liver, kidneys, skin, whatever someone else can use, I want it done. Pay it forward! If I live to be pretty old and my bits aren't going to last much longer than I, then I'm going to donate my body to science. I want it given to a local medical university to be used as a cadaver so medical students can learn to be doctors. My maternal grandparents did this, and there was a lovely ceremony in about a year after each of their deaths, where they bury the cremated remains of all the donors were interred. It was very moving. Both my parents have signed up for that upon their deaths.

And if neither of those are possible, I want my bones stripped and my skeleton on display/as a teaching aid!
jaune_chat: My cat Timothy, a cream-and-tan mackrel tabby (Foamy flipping off)
Aren't weekends supposed to be relaxing? This has not been. At all.

It's not like anything hugely bad happened, just many smaller moderately bad or upsetting things that have combined to create a very bad feeling in my stomach.

Work Meetings of Awkwardness, Dungeons and Dragons Sessions From Hell, and Home Carpentry Projects of Doom )
jaune_chat: My cat Timothy, a cream-and-tan mackrel tabby (Jesus SAVES (DnD))
A few random things in the last few days...

Apparently I am the Terminator, and I didn't know it. At work the other day, I was running a crane, controlling it so a co-worker could guide a heavy roll of paper into place on a platform high above the machine we were working on. The pendant control has a bright red light on it to show it's active. And from my co-worker's angle, the light shone off my safety glasses so it looked like one eye was shooting red laser beams.

I am Ah-nuld. FEAR ME!

In other news, I was over helping my dad the other day. Something had managed to get into the upper story of the house and die up there, and since he has arthritis, it was up to me to climb into the attic and see if I could locate the critter. The attic is, of course, not finished, so I was crawling around on a few boards to use as a bridge between the joists (so I wouldn't fall down through the ceiling). Foolishly I forgot to get kneepads before going up there. So I got some bruised knees and couldn't locate the dead beastie. I think it's in the walls, the little bugger. Grr.

In gaming news, I had a lot of fun with an item in my bi-weekly Dungeons and Dragons session. You give out magic items as treasure for the players. Some are items that help them in combat with monsters, some are items that help them outside of combat, like things that help them with travel, or aid magical powers (for those that have them). And some are items that are just fun. I gave the group a Ring of Baccanalia. Its effect? "It creates wine, women, and song." When the female knight put it on and wanted to party, it created a rowdy army camp with lots of good beer, rousing regimental songs, and other female knights to have some friendly competition with. When the fire-happy wizard put it on, there was lots of congac, a bonfire, and fireworks. When the kilt-wearing Highland warrior put it on, there was ale, bagpipes, and women with huge tracts of land.

Does it have an in-game effect for anything? No. Is it funny as hell? Oh yeah.
jaune_chat: My cat Timothy, a cream-and-tan mackrel tabby (WTF name of Odin?)
I have been a busy little bee today. And recently. And will be in the future!

Recently I participated in the [livejournal.com profile] help_japan auction. I was selling friendship bracelets, and letters/recipes for a year. Both got bought, and now I'm making/writing those up. I also won a couple of things, notably letters from a lovely person up north, some very cute cloud pins, a postcard from Germany (which came yesterday, it's very pretty), a hand-painted daruma, and a fic which I hope to be reading in a month or so. A good haul for a good cause!

Today was a day off, and heavens, I got a whole lot done. Usually my days off involve sleeping until 9 or so, watching TV, messing around on the Internet, and then maybe doing some writing. But instead, I did it all. Details of everything, including current writing projects, are below the cut! )
jaune_chat: My cat Timothy, a cream-and-tan mackrel tabby (Been Lovely But Have To Scream)
Another short list of random songs that have been playing through my head in the last couple of days.

Rollin' by Limp Bizkit

Hit Me With Your Best Shot by Pat Benetar

Castle On A Cloud sung by Cosette from Les Miserables

Peter And The Wolf - which I haven't heard probably since elementary school. Elementary school, brain. That's the late 80s.

Oh, brain, what tangled webs you weave!
jaune_chat: My cat Timothy, a cream-and-tan mackrel tabby (Gone To Gutter BBL)
So, most of y'all know I work at a factory. The following is an excerpt of a completely legitimate, work-related conversation I had with a male co-worker the other day.

"Ram your pole down on this tail so I can slide the head through."

Oh yeah. I went there. :D

-----

In other news, I still have a very strange selection of songs that run through my head at unpredictable intervals. Over the past few days, these have made an appearance in my mental soundtrack:

Jesus Christ Superstar (the title song from the musical of the same name, which I haven't listened to in probably eight or ten years)

The Slinky Song ("It's Slinky, it's Slinky...")

Let's Go Fly A Kite from Mary Poppins

One Tin Soldier

Oh brain, you are so strange...
jaune_chat: My cat Timothy, a cream-and-tan mackrel tabby (Going Mad Feels Like)
The following songs have been running through my head for the past two days:

Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Owner of a Lonely Heart by Yes (a song I haven't listened to in several years)

Stars (by Javert from the musical Les Miserables, and while this is a musical I know very well, I haven't listened to the whole thing in probably a decade)

A little ditty I made up in elementary school about a paramecium. Lyrics as follows:
I have a paramecium,
It lives on my back lawn,
I hit it with a coconut,
And yell when it is wrong.
Oh paramecium, Oh paramecium,
Oh paramecium, you're my best friend!


What connection any of these songs have to each other, or to anything I was doing, is completely up to you, gentle reader. I don't have a clue.
jaune_chat: My cat Timothy, a cream-and-tan mackrel tabby (Default)
(Cross-posted to [livejournal.com profile] note_to_cat)

Dear Timothy,

What a mighty hunter you are! I adopted you six years ago, when you were already a year old, and you haven't forgotten a thing about killing small animals (or large ones) in all that time. When the pest treatment man finished his quarterly treatment of the house today, he hadn't shut the door to the garage very tightly. So, later in the day, when it popped open, of course you went to go investigate. I was in bed (day sleeper that I am), and I heard a most peculiar racket. Your collar tags and bell jangling up a storm, but without getting much closer to the bedroom, combined with a frantic, high-pitched squeaking. The squeaking stopped as you came into the bedroom, and I looked up from my rest to see an impressively large dead mouse on the floor near the foot of the bed. And you hadn't left a drop of blood anywhere, nor had the mouse even marked you. I was able to dispose of the critter without any fuss.

So thank you, my sweet pretty baby boy, for dipatching the heat-mooching mouse with such remarkable aplomb! A quarterly bug-spraying is a managable expense. A full-scale mouse extermination is quite another!

Love,
Your Mummy
jaune_chat: My cat Timothy, a cream-and-tan mackrel tabby (Beeeeeeees!)
Today, 30 years ago, I arrived on this lovely blue gem of a planet! Huzzah!

Thanks much for birthday wishes from lots of lovely people (and v-gifts and fic)!

I spent my day having a good breakfast at one of my favorite restaurants, shopping for bargains at the mall, getting a perm, and then spending the night playing board games with my husband and friends. And then we had cookie cake! Yum.
jaune_chat: My cat Timothy, a cream-and-tan mackrel tabby (Hammertime)
So for the past week or so I've been mainlining Christmas music in my car. That includes all four of the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas CDs (classic, old, and electronic versions of various carols), the King's Singers Christmas CD (a wonderfully talentd a capella group), and the Oak Ridge Boys Christmas album. The last one is odd for anyone who knows me, because the Oak Ridge Boys is a country group, and I generally can't stand the genre. But the Oak Ridge Boys' album has been part of our family's Christmas celebration from my earlierst childhood memory, and it isn't Christmas without at least one playing of "Jesus Was Born Today," "Christmas Carol," or "Happy Christmas Eve."

How about the rest of y'all? What's your holiday favorites?

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jaune_chat: My cat Timothy, a cream-and-tan mackrel tabby (Default)
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