Friday, August 28, 2009

To Learn is to Live

1. Making eggrolls is relatively easy. I cooked some ground chicken with a bag of cole slaw. I seasoned it with soy sauce, pepper, and garlic. I set that off to the side and then laid the eggroll wrappers on a cutting board. I loaded the wrappers with a spoonful of the chicken and cabbage mixture, and then rolled them according to the diagram on the packaging. Alan got the canola oil to about 350 to 375 then dropped in the eggrolls until they were a beautiful golden brown. Alan made an AMAZING dipping sauce with pineapple and soy sauce that pretty much rocked my socks. Life was good last night in the Jenkins household.

2. The United States produces more tobacco than it does wheat. I don't even know what to say about this other than grrrr....
Sure it's a pretty plant, but once it's dried and mixed with nasty carcinogens, it does ugly things to lungs and the atmosphere...not to mention clothing, skin, and hair. Just sayin'.

3. Each year, approximately 250,000 American husbands are physically attacked and beaten by their wives. I wonder if these attacks happen after the husband answers the question, "Does this outfit make me look fat?"

Monday, August 24, 2009

Learning a la mode

Since I have spent the past couple of days in a classroom filled with graduate students and PhDs, I have encountered just a few pieces of new information. A lot of it is quite, um, boring and nothing I would reiterate in this forum. I would like for my readers to return. I will narrow down my focus to a few interesting facts.

1. I found an interesting quote today by Ernest Hemingway. He said, "Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know." It made me think of Ecclesiastes 1:18: "He who increases knowledge increases sorrow." The more we know, the harder it is to for us to be happy with the state of things... Maybe that's why there are so many ignorant people in the world; they are afraid to learn because it might make them think and thinking might make them sad.

2. I love milk. Mostly with cereal, but I also love a glass with a freshly-baked chocolate chip pecan cookie (or three...). I had no idea that if you were to pop in Mozart's Greatest Hits or even "Mmm Bop" while milking a cow, it would give more milk. It's true.

3. When I was in high school, I wore a lot of black. Ok...I still wear a lot of black. What? It's slimming. I am also short. The combination of my clothes and height landed me the nickname "Penguin". I didn't mind because I like the tux-wearing, life-mate loving creatures. I love to watch them, too. One thing I didn't know until today is that penguins can jump as high as 6 feet in the air. Who knew? (Apparently the elephant is the only animal that can't jump.)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lessons learned

Today has been a LONG day. I was up at 7:30 for an Ink Slingers meeting. After the meeting, I ran home, packed, cleaned the bedroom, picked up a prescription, and drove four hours to Denton, TX. I have to meet for three days for one of my grad school classes. I am exhausted and have to be up at the butt crack of dawn tomorrow morning (this morning) for my first class.

Here's what I learned today:

1. Comfort Inn and Comfort Suites are not the same thing, but the information operator can't differentiate. Imagine my surprise when I called the operator, she connected me to my hotel, I got directions, parked, grabbed a couple of bags, waited for ten minutes in the lobby with three screaming kids running rampant (not my kids...), handed the receptionist my rewards card, and then she handed it back to me (shaking her head) and told me I did not have a reservation. She told me I was staying at the Comfort Suites. When I asked where it was she said, "You will have to call them and ask them as I am very busy." There was nobody else behind me in line. Thirty minutes later I found my hotel. Grr...

2. Even though a hotel claims it is "non-smoking", if some of the rooms have been smoked in within the last 20 years, then they still reek. My room smells like the bottom of an ashtray. But it's non-smoking, so I guess that makes it all better.

3. Hotel rooms are either bordering on Arctic temperatures or are reminiscent of the fiery pits of Dante's Inferno. There is no in-between, Spring-like temperature. It's winter in Russia in my room right now. I prefer that to a summer in Phoenix. Just sayin'.

Friday, August 21, 2009

What I Learned

Today was a roller coaster for me...

1. I learned that loving people is hard. Sometimes you have to step back and look at things from the outside because being on the inside puts you too close to things. Take a picture, for instance, if you hold it right next to your face, the picture has no dimension, all the lines are blurred together in a soup of randomness that has no meaning. As you start to pull the picture away from your face, lines start to form, creating distinct images that allow you to see the whole picture. Relationships need this "hold the picture away from your face" period sometimes...just to help you see your image in it more clearly.

2. I was reading about the human body and some of the strange things about saliva and our bones. I probably read for over an hour, digesting total randomness, and I walked away with something completely fascinating and purely useless: The human tongue is as unique as a fingerprint in identifying a person. Seriously? Are police stations going to start tongue-printing people, too, on the off chance someone leaves a tongue imprint at the crime scene? Perhaps the criminal decided to lick a stamp or an envelope on his way out the door. Yes, that makes sense. Oh, by the way, (this one's a freebie) a stamp has 1 1/2 calories. Just in case you like to watch your waistline, that tidbit of info might come in handy.

3. My friend Flea and I went to lunch today at one of my favorite bakeries in the whole world. I know what you are thinking. We feasted on appetizers of donuts, moved on to a lunch of cream puffs and turnovers, and had a dessert of cupcakes. Nope. This bakery serves sandwiches. And their sandwiches ROCK! If you are ever in the Tulsa area, head on over to Merritt's Bakery. Go on. I double dog dare you. We had an amazing sandwich with roast beef, provolone cheese, and horseradish. All of this yuminess was on homemade focaccia bread. Flea and her hubby have an amazing garden and she was talking about planting some horseradish, only the stuff grows like a weed and likes to take over, so it needs to sit in time out all by itself. While eating the sandwich, my sinuses opened up like the heavens and I didn't cough for the next two hours. Oddly enough, I discovered that horseradish has been known to help with bronchitis, coughing, and sinus infections. Go figure. I didn't need the Tussionex after all.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Three things I learned today...

1. Excessive amounts of coughing leads to losing one's voice and sounding like a seductive femme fatale from a noir flick.

2. If one doesn't set the brakes on a pup (a mobile storage unit) that is full of product, then the pup will roll in the parking lot and hit a parked car. Yes, this happened today. Thank goodness we are not liable for the damage to the vehicle. Thank goodness nobody was in the vehicle.

3. In my lifetime, I will shed over 40 pounds of skin. Seriously...that's just gross. Why can't I shed it all now and then I would be at my goal weight? Just sayin'. That might be a big mess, though.

Being sick

Yes, I know...I haven't been here in a couple of weeks. I bet you are thinking that it's because I haven't learned anything. Well, you are only partially right. I learned a few things in the past couple of weeks. The problem is that I have been sick. Really sick. I woke up last Tuesday and felt like a school bus had run over me. Ok...maybe one of those smaller buses, but a bus nonetheless. Off to the doctor I went in my groggy state and waited three minutes (yes, THREE) in the "room" with other sick people until the nurse called me to the back. I think the color of my face (or lack thereof) and the charcoal briquets under my eyes made the receptionist feel sorry for me. The nurse ushered me to the scale. Ugh. I hate scales. Especially when I am sick. But hey, I lost two more pounds. Go me.

Then I sat in the next "room" where the nurse checked my temperature and blood pressure (both good) and then asked me about my "condition". I actually saw her write "school bus ran over her" on my chart. I couldn't imagine what that might look like to the doctor but I didn't say a word. Quite honestly it was hard for me to talk. She left, so I kicked back on the examination table, thinking the doctor would be at least ten minutes, and the second my head hit the pillow, he knocked on the door. He listened to my chest, checked my ears and nose, then told me I needed an x-ray. Ugh.

I walked to the radiation room and had to remove my bra and maneuver my body into contortionist shapes for the photos. Not my best hair day, either.

I napped for about ten minutes then the doctor told me I had bronchitis/borderline pneumonia.

"If you had waited one more day, young lady, you would have been in the hospital."

All I heard was "young lady"...I'm not that young. He wrote me a book of prescriptions, getting carpal tunnel in the process I am sure, and told me to take off the rest of the week. No problem. Work shmork. I needed a bed.

I got my prescriptions filled, went home, ate some soup, took my meds, and slept for about six days. I watched a lot of Food Network, too.

I came back to work this week and have been crawling through the days, inching my way to 5:00 one minute at a time. I still feel pretty lousy but not like I have been hit by a bus...more like a lawnmower at this point.

I vow to begin my "Things I Learned" again today. Unless I actually do get hit by a bus...

Friday, August 7, 2009

Three things I learned...

1. A theater teacher I knew was murdered by one of his students. Details surrounding the murder are still unclear since some claim they had an inappropriate relationship and others say the boy just wanted to steal from him. Either way, it is tragic and I can't believe it happened.

2. The phrase "thank-you-ma'am" means a bump or a depression in the road. All these times I have been calling women potholes and thought I was being polite. Yikes.

3. Elephants cry and laugh. I had no idea. Honestly. Where have I been?

Reading and other hazards of boredom

I am a reader. Bookstores are for me what places like Home Depot and Lowe's are for the Dabber. I walk through the doors, the cool air kisses my face and fills my nose with the freshness of paper and ink. New books, old books...I love them all. And I buy them. Lots and lots of them. I am studying to be a librarian and have a veritable library in my house, so I rarely go to a library. Sad, I know.

If someone I trust recommends a book, I buy it. I might not read it right away (hence my "own it, haven't read it" line), but I will file it somewhere on a shelf to read it at some point. I tend to read several books at a time, too. I have books stashed in various rooms in the house, and depending on my mood or location, I will read the book that happens to be convenient. Right now I am reading four books. Yes, four.

I am reading John Sandford's "Mortal Prey". I LOVE Sandford's novels. They get me in the mood to work on my novel and the story is always wonderful.
I am also reading C.S. Lewis' "Out of the Silent Planet." Several of my friends recommended this one for me. I don't usually like fantasies or even science fiction, but so far I love this one. Perhaps it is because of Lewis' gift with words.
Another book I started a friend loaned to me and it is called, "Some Wildflower in My Heart" by Jamie Langston Turner. I love it. I tend to enjoy 1st person narratives with quirky characters. So far, this one is a winner.

I just started "Seeing Voices" by Oliver Sacks. It is a book about the language of the deaf. The first few pages had me mesmerized...but then I left the room and picked up "Mortal Prey". If only I could finish something...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Three things I learned today

1. Flea and I were playing the adjective/noun/verb game and one of her phrases included velvet and cut together. I mentioned something about cutting velvet and she informed me that velvet is torn not cut. Unless the velvet is plaid or has a stripe, then it needs to be cut but a lot of material is wasted that way. Since I am not much of a seamstress...ok, I can barely sew on a button...this was new and interesting to me.

2. A Kraken is mythological water creature, or sea monster. I have not seen Clash of the Titans in a long time...but I had to include this photo of a Lego Kraken a father and son team put together. It is, well, it's just total greatness.

Click on the photo to see the Squid blog where this was originally posted. The blog is no longer active...

3. A dobro is a resonator guitar invented by John Dopyera and his brother. They took the "Do" from them last name and fused it to the "bro" in "brothers". Apparently the word also means "good" in Slovakian, so their catch-phrase became, "Dobro means good in any language." Gibson now owns the Dobro name. The guitairs are pieces of art. Here take a look:

You can read a lot more about it on Wikipedia. Fascinating instrument.

Blogging and whatnot

I met my good friend Flea (who has an amazing blog you should check out here) for dinner at a Chinese food buffet. Neither one of us cares for buffets as a general rule of cleanliness and freshness; however, this place was good. They even had crab legs and peel and eat shrimp. Yumminess. I ate too much...which is pretty much the rule for buffet eating. After dinner and conversation, we worked on a fun little adjective/noun/verb game that is sheer goodness for writers and nerds [think Mad Libs but BETTER...ok, better for major nerds like me]. The "game" produces phrases like this:

smug hero crisp
impulsive touch avenge

Once we concoct these random phrases, we determine ways to make them work in our writing. For instance, I could incorporate the first phrase this way: The smug hero crisped his chances of receiving a medal.

The second phrase might work like this: The impulsive touch avenges the patient thought.

I could have hours of fun with this. The Dabber [nickname for my hubby] and I "play" this in restaurants while we are waiting for our food and have resorted to writing on napkins. Dabber figured since I like to write it might behoove me to purchase a purse-size spiral. I did. I won't lie, it was a good purchase.

I have decided to try something new with my blog. I have had this blog for a while now and haven't done much with it (as you can see). Writing is important to me, so blogging will be a good way for me to write about anything. And everything. I just need to purge my words. One thing I am going to do is include a daily posting of the three things I learned that day. I might include other things as well (weekly things), but the blog will be a work in progress. The only thing I can promise is that my blog will be a real and honest representation of my life.

Stick along for the ride. You just might learn something. I know I will.