SPKRAUSE   67,591
60,000-79,999 SparkPoints
SPKRAUSE's Recent Blog Entries

2013.08.07: August Updates, Part 1 ...?

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

I've been reminded before by someone very dear to me that August is the worst month ... it's the month in which things go wrong ...

... and they have for us before, including the loss of a beloved pet a couple years ago. And if you recall, Hurricane Katrina was an August event.

And so it is that we strive, if not struggle, to make August better. In July we ('officially') moved and now find ourselves in Rochester, NY. A week later the apartment was mostly unpacked (well, the living room had ... issues ... and still contains a pile of things to be organized; the office is a bit cluttered, but promises us that it will clean up its act this weekend). In the second week I began looking for jobs, early the next week I had an interview, and beginning the first real/full week of August I started my new job ... at least the training for it.

It's not ideal. It's not permanent. It doesn't exploit or explore my skills.

But it is a job.

It will challenge me. I've met some coworkers and some I like, and others I think I'll like. The atmosphere is collegial enough, the environment business-casual enough, the work domain (IT ... technical support ... banking) interesting enough that I want this to succeed.

And the purpose of this job is not personal satisfaction or growth, but to be an income source while I finish my dissertation and to help Ms. S. with the bills, and to provide me with extra and varied job experience and skills that I can use to market myself down the road.

In other news, I've been 'maintaining' since hitting my goal last December, though any added muscle definition I gained last winter-spring due to consistent body-weight training has faded in recent months and I really ought to return to it. Perhaps now I can. And now that I have a business-casual job, I'll probably be going shopping if not for an entirely new wardrobe at least for additions and changes to my current one ... basically for clothes that fit me better.

When we moved we got rid of what we call(ed) my "fat clothes". When I was at my highest, my pants tended to be tight but wearable and so as I reduced some of them remained suitable enough, but my shirts were size-appropriate, which meant that as I got smaller they became figurative dresses ... a tad too muumuu-esque. But I always had clothes in the closet that I couldn't wear, mainly shirts I bought half a decade ago when they were just a *little* too small for me, when I said, oh, if I just lose ten to fifteen pounds, they'll fit across the chest. And now they do fit, though most of them are a little baggy for me now, too.

If I maintain a year or more I'll feel more comfortable about maintaining this shape and size an arbitrarily long time, meaning I'll feel comfortable investing is nicer clothes I expect to be able to keep a longer period of time.

That is, more or less, my current update.

It's 8:07am, and in the next twenty minutes I'll be heading out the door to make it in time for my 9-6 shift today. Lunch is packed, as is reading material for my lunch break. I'm feeling all 'grown up' again.


Dinner: Quick, Dirty, and Delicious

Friday, April 19, 2013

'Top Chef Canada' is back and we're watching it; it was also our dinner time, and I decided to try something new (to me): oysters.


It's possible that as a child I had oyster stew or chowder or similar, perhaps just oysters served at a function or gathering, and I found them disgusting. I have a vague memory of this but not a precise one. I know that I wanted to like oysters. We would go to the coast on vacation and I loved clams. I loved clam strips, I loved clam chowder, and I loved buckets of freshly steamed clams ... a little butter for dipping. Popping open shells.

And weren't oysters just like clams?


Obviously not. At least I also liked mussels. I was for a while fixated on oysters because a cookbook for kids that I had contained an oyster chowder recipe, and as we never had oysters I could never make it for my family. But I thought about it. Quite a bit. And now in 2013 I wonder whether that cookbook still resides boxed away in my father's garage.

In any case, I've always had to settle for oyster crackers.


[1] Smoked Oysters -- yummy ways to eat? ( chowhound.chow.com/topics/398737 )

[2] Smoked Oysters In A Can: Good Stuff or Nasty? ( www.thegearpage.net/board/archive/in

[3] Smoked Oysters: More Than Just a Topping for Crackers ( www.domenicacooks.com/2011/04/smoked

[4] Smoked Oysters (Serious Eats) ( www.seriouseats.com/talk/2011/02/smo

[5] 6 Surprising Facts about Oysters ( www.rodale.com/benefits-eating-oyste


The other day while shopping I picked up several tins of sardines, but also another can of kipper snacks and, on a lark, a can of smoked oysters. Due to that vague childhood experience and memory I've avoided oysters for decades, not that the opportunity to eat them has come up on anything resembling a requent basis. I told myself, perhaps if I go to the (right) coast, I'll get some fresh oysters.


It was time for 'Top Chef Canada'. I had no crackers. But I had:

- a can of smoked oysters
- a nicely sliced pickle
- some pretzels and a spicy Russian mustard
- some Tabasco
- a freshly poured glass of beer

Take the can from the cardboard box. Pull back the lid. Spear with a fork and consume. Sprinkle with Tabasco, spear with a fork, and consume. Dip in mustard and consume. And soon the can is empty, though the cats would love to check it out.

At first the echoes of hot sauce discourage them. I remove the peeled back lid, place the tin on the kitchen floor, and when I come back later it has been licked clean.

Poll: Smoked oysters, love 'em or hate 'em?
[ ] Love them
[ ] Hate them
[ ] Indifferent
[ ] Have never had them


2013.04.15: Midmonth Update

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

1. This past week I've gotten up earlier in the morning (relatively speaking) and had productive writing hours. Yay, me! Is it as much forward diss-progress as I'd like? Not exactly, but it's something.

2. Ms. S. and I are working our way through the pantry/cupboards ... we've catalogued it before, laid items out before and done a week of "X", whatever "X" was. But we're more intently and intensely doing so now. Along the way I returned to Cream of Wheat and finished off the Bob's Red Mill 7-grain cereal I had ... yum. And the ground hempseed in the fridge ... so good with Greek Yogurt and a little sweetener. Likewise ground flaxseed; I had several ounces of not-yet-ground flaxseed, but I toss a tablespoon in one of the coffee grinders and *BAM* (no, I'm not Emeril) ... delicious addition to whatever cereal-like-thing I had available.

3. And along the same lines we're working through the fridge and freezer (rather than just always buying more and more and more stuff). Ah, there was a little rock cornish game hen up there! And now It's in my stomach. I thawed it a couple days ago, but then we decided to have pizza Sunday evening, so that delayed it. Then we were going to have some baked or fried tofu together tonight, but Ms. S. had different dinner plans, giving me time to make something just for myself, and the bird it was ... spatchcocked; a little lemon zest, oil, parlsley, sea salt and pepper rub under the skin; one potato, cubed; and an onion all in a cast iron skillet at 375F until mostly cooked, then put under the broiler, turning the bird once or twice until it's crispy and brown ... yum.

4. At the end of the night I had a bird carcase in my skillet -- not a euphemism -- and I thought the girls -- the two cats -- might like a few bits and pieces, so using the metal tongs I offered a piece first to one, then the other. Then another piece for each placed on the kitchen floor. I put the bird in a plasstic bag within another plastic bag, but I thought, perhaps the girls deserve more of a treat ... so I put the bag on the kitchen floor. E approaches, sniffs, and thinks of partaking; A rushes in and as quickly as I've seen her squat body move she grabs the whole bird in her mouth and is halfway across the apartment with it before I can blink. Then she drops it, I chuckle, and I go grab it with the tongs off the dining room floor, put it back in the bag, tie up the bag, and Febreeze the heck out of the larger garbage bag it's all in so as to suggest to the girls they should go elsewhere. This is not the garbage can you're looking for, I Obi-Wan in their direction.

5. I've done a bad, bad thing ... I've awakened an addiction to the original Super Mario Bros. for NES within Ms. S. I've created a monster! Went wanted to do something other than just watch TV or a movie with our free time tonight, so I set up some games, though I had some *issues* with the controllers; we could only do single-player. She tried Double Dragon 2 and was pretty good, but with SMB ... obsession.

I think Tuesday afternoon and evening might be dedicated to besting those levels ...

6. Yes, of course my taxes were done on time. Thank you for asking.

7. We're up to season 6 of 'The X-Files' and season 3 of 'Millennium' ... in the middle of a two-parter with the former now, and watched the marvelous "Triangle" Sunday evening. 'Mad Men' is back, too ... ah, so much entertainment!

8. In the wake of Roger Ebert's death we're working our way, in order, through 'Roger Ebert's Top Films of His Career' ( www.buzzfeed.com/ellievhall/roger-eb
); yesterday was "Five Easy Pieces" and tomorrow is "The Last Picture Show" ... we've each seen some of these before. "Last Picture Show" is a repeat for both of us ... but oh what a repeat!

9. Still tracking my food; still in the right ranges. Doing limited workouts. Maintaining my weight. Feeling motivated.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZRIE014 4/16/2013 12:25AM

  just remember that this is the first day of the rest of your life

Report Inappropriate Comment

2013.04.01: I think I need a break.

Monday, April 01, 2013

A bit of a SP break, that is.

Every day I collect the points, but the point of doing so is lost. It's become a game without goals ... it's just something I do ... minimum of 100 points a day, that's the task. It's a lot of links to click on, a lot of polls and trivia questions and quizzes to answer. And so on.

It was eating up a lot of my time.

More than half a year ago, though, it got me back to blogging, something I've been doing in one form or another, at once site or another, since 1998. And I'll keep doing so, just probably not here, not during the month of April.

A calendar has been taped to the office wall. Weekdays but not weekends ... there are goals listed to be checked off once completed. Concrete, measurable, staring back at me.

Now ... if anyone has any decent job leads in the Boise, Portland, or Seattle area, we're all ears.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPKRAUSE 4/12/2013 12:46PM

    @ -CORAL- ... thanks for the heads-up. The Portland area is one we'd definitely consider (some friends/relatives in the area). Not sure our resumes would fit; we're both MAs in the humanities (with a decade+ of university teaching experience for me, and journal editing) ... in other words, we have 'marketability problems'. My other skills are in math & computers, but I'm getting too old for those fields.

I want to finish my academic works and get back on the academic market, using the next year as a working-doing-anything sort of thing to make/save some money.

@ DRAGONCHILDE ... I'll probably be back a bit, off and on. Still tracking my food. Still maintaining. But I found myself spending too much time 'collecting points' rather than being productive offline. *sigh*

@ MIDROAD ... thanks. Yeah, I miss the brain-spewage in a way. It was my daily metaphorical and mental detox in a sense.

Report Inappropriate Comment
-CORAL- 4/5/2013 10:10AM

    I am not sure what your career choice or resume is like but I work for Legacy Health (think Emanuel and Good Samaritan Hospital, Salmon Creek Hospital in vancouver, etc.) has just signed a contract with Kaiser and needs an additional 135 people at Salmon Creek Hospital in various job positions. They aren't open to the general public yet because first they are offering them to internal candidates from the Portland hospitals who probably live in vancouver and would rather work there. That means that in a month or so, there will be an extra 135 job openings for Legacy all over the portland and vancouver area... just a heads up in case that is something that interests you :)

Report Inappropriate Comment
DRAGONCHILDE 4/4/2013 5:09PM

    NO fair. I just found you, and now you're going away?

Report Inappropriate Comment
MIDROAD 4/2/2013 11:08AM

    We will miss your rants and raves, but understand you gotta do what's best for you!


Report Inappropriate Comment
SPKRAUSE 4/1/2013 1:23PM

    I'll log in every day for logging my food. Got to remain responsible that way.

Report Inappropriate Comment
DARJR50 4/1/2013 1:01PM

  Take a break if needed but hurry back.

Report Inappropriate Comment

2013.03.31: Thank you, Google

Sunday, March 31, 2013

For celebrating Cesar Chavez' birthday via your Google doodle.


See also: www.salon.com/2013/03/31/google_cele

In related news, Ms. S. brought me home a stuffed Yoda with bunny ears ... I approve. Greatly.

And I snacked on actual Pop-TartsŪ for breakfast. An interesting treat ... and toasted! See, that toaster is good for something. Such as maiking toast.


It's Sunday. We have pizza and bad movies ahead of us. I'm not sure about the 'flavor' (style, toppings-arrangement, deliciousness-quotient) of the pizza, but I'm looking forward to it. Likewise I can't say exactly what we'll watch, as we've not decided, but I've made sure that several approximately 90-minute movies are available.

Sounds like four movies to me, does it not?

Perhaps some John Carpenter, or something with Michael Madsen in it. Or a Sci-Fi Original Movie (or whatever they're called) starring Don S. Davis ... there is much to like in this selection process.

Earlier in the day I had our writing group and while not everything went according to plan -- it never does! -- I got in the desired references to "Orphan Black", which looks to be quite entertaining ... assuming it doesn't get bogged down in its own mythology.


All of the Easter-ish stuff and treats and candy will soon be behind us, which means I need to get back to 'good' food (not just tasty stuff, like pizza ... mmm ... pizza), and I of course have my starter in the fridge. I'm thinking, another loaf of sourdough. But I'm feeling lazy ... so perhaps I should go the no-knead route:

- Easy No Knead Sourdough Bread www.themadfermentationist.com/2008/1

- No-knead Sourdough Bread nourishedkitchen.com/no-knead-sourdo

In the oven I have the last of Ms. S.'s grapes being turned into raisins:

- How to Make Your Own Healthy Tasty Raisins www.3fatchicks.com/how-to-make-your-

- How To Make Raisins At Home www.slashfood.com/2006/07/31/how-to-

- Yes, You Can Dry Fruit in the Oven! How To Dry Fruit Without a Dehydrator www.thekitchn.com/how-to-dry-fruit-i

I need to look through the cupboards and see which legumes should be made into a big batch this week, possibly Ms. S.'s adzuki beans:

- Adzuki Beans www.adzuki.com/
- Learn how to cook beans from scratch (includes photos) www.vegancoach.com/how-to-cook-beans

- Simple Seasoned Aduki Beans www.healthygreenkitchen.com/seasoned

And now? Tea, beer ... pizza and chocolate?


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 Last Page