Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

Archive for July, 2009

Wow, tanning beds are bad for you. Who knew?

Posted by Lissa on July 31, 2009


Tanning beds have been ranked alongside cigarettes, arsenic and asbestos as posing the greatest threat of cancer to humans by an international cancer research group.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has moved ultra-violet emitting tanning beds to its highest cancer risk category and labeled them as “carcinogenic to humans” after ruling they are more dangerous than previously suggested.

Are there people who are actually surprised by this?  It’s been pretty well determined that baking in the actual, natural sun does not-good things for your skin.  Popping into a fluorescent booth that will do in ten minutes what would take the sun at least a few hours could not possibly be good for your skin.  This makes perfect and logical sense.

Therefore, I expect to see high taxes being slapped on tanning beds and tanning sessions.  I expect to see salons offering tanning beds to be segregated businesses, far away from schools or ice cream parlors or any place where vulnerable young teenage girls hang out.  I expect users of tanning beds to be treated with the same disgust as cigarette smokers and arsenic-eaters. 


In the run-up to the wedding I hit the tanning booth every weekend.  I wanted to be tan for the Big Day (I turn kind of yellowish instead of pale — it’s the Chinese thing) and I wanted to be not-scorched on the honeymoon.  Knowing now that tanning is “carcinogenic to humans,” not just PROBABLY carcinogenic . . . I wouldn’t change a damn thing. 

Wearing heels gives you knee problems later in life, I’ve heard.  Good luck prying my stillies off my cold, dead feet.  (Now there’s a macabre image !)

Add this to the long, long, ever-growing list of things that will be banned/heavily-penalized under government-run healthcare . . .

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Posted by Lissa on July 31, 2009

I have a nasty habit of grinding my teeth in my sleep, especially if I’m perturbed or worried or anything like that.  Yes, I have a mouthguard.  No, I don’t use it.  Why?  Because it tends to give me dreams that I’ve been kidnapped, bound and gagged.   I’d rather take the tooth wear and resulting headaches.

I’ll try to have an actual, interesting post sometime later today.  In the meantime, OW.

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Does this count as a karmic apology?

Posted by Lissa on July 30, 2009

If so, I suppose I accept, but I still hate you buggers and I always will.

I’m amused to find that my post on hell-bugs has become one of the top results for a Google image search of the term “house centipede.”

Seriously, take a look at my top posts from the last quarter:

2009-05-01 to Today

Title Views
The hell with Robin Hood, bring me the H 685 More stats
Three-picture Thursday: 3/26/09 579 More stats
And they wonder why we dislike the UN 534 More stats
10 good things about a Barack Obama pres 208 More stats
A treatise on female toilet etiquette 179 More stats
How wierd! 137 More stats
President Obama bows to the Saudi King – 120 More stats

So of all the things for which this blog could be randomly pinged, it’s not the brilliant (snort) political commentary.  It’s not the breathless exposé on women’s restrooms.  It’s not the delicious recipes or even the shameless cat pr0n.

Nope, it’s the gut-twisting shivering squeamish post on The Most Evil Creature Known To This Humble Blogger.  (I won’t even click on that post if I can help it.  That’s how much I loathe and fear these mini-monsters.)

So like I said — I’ll take the 600-plus hits, and welcome . . . but don’t think I like you any better, hell-bugs.  As far as I’m concerned your proper and ONLY place will be smeared along the bottom of a shoe.  Preferably by Mike, while I hide in the corner and cry.

Do y’all have any funny posts like that?  Random hit generators that make you shake your head?

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The opposite of Fail – happily ever after!

Posted by Lissa on July 29, 2009

Plus an official LookingForLissa product endorsement! We were seriously cynical about the THIRD pot-and-lid combo to be delivered — all three within seven days, mind you! — but they wrapped this one in a helluva lot of bubble paper and it got here just fine.  Hooray! Lid 3

I swear I came *this close* to tap-dancing while singing Hosannas to the heavens.  Of course, Rajah doesn’t really approve of tap-dancing, so I refrained.  Also that tap-dancing around a very-obviously-breakable casserole dish didn’t seem like the greatest idea.

And now, your product endorsement!  So far we’re two-for-two with our new cookbook, 29 Minutes to Dinner (Volume 2) by the Pampered Chef.  (Mike:  “So are they pushing 29 because it’s *so much better* than those THIRTY minute meals?”  Yes, Mike.  Yes, they are.) Anyway, we’ve tried two recipes from the book and so far they’ve been amazing successes.  Here’s the first one we tried, Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts with Creamy Lemon Sauce: Cheekons = Goot They’ve got some very smart techniques for saving time and labor, y’all.  Many of their recipes call for cooking the meat (especially chicken) in the microwave for the first half — gives you a head-start, you don’t have to stir it, you don’t lose moisture — before braising it, or pan-searing it, or whatever.  Then you take the juices from the microwave dish and mix it with lemon juice, lemon zest, spices and a can of Cream of Chicken soup (reduced fat works fine) to make the creamy sauce.  You dump the spinach in the colander and then drain the orzo over it — keeps the orzo from slipping out of the holes and wilts the spinach in one easy step.  AND, it looks pretty!

We tried the Braised Cabernet Chicken last night and it was excellent.  Again, as soon as you have the bacon frying, you pop the chicken in the microwave.  The sauce was surprisingly simple and you only had to use one pan, but it came out better than other (far more complicated!) chicken marsala recipes we’ve tried in the past.  (They’re silly for recommending potatoes on the side, though.  It went over egg noodles.  Duh.)

Now, I’m not saying that you can make these recipes in 29 minutes or less, as they claim.  I can’t do it with Rachel Ray recipes either.  (I will never chop and dice and slice things as quickly as a real chef does.  I also prefer to carefully transfer things from one pot or pan to another.  Thus, prepping and cooking takes me much longer.  On the upside, I still have all ten of my fingertips and an absence of massive burn scars on my forearms.)  Nevertheless,  each recipe definitely took less than an hour, which is quick enough for me.

Moo Shu Pork with Mock Mandarin Pancakes tomorrow!  Let’s hope to keep the streak alive!

P.S.  I also highly recommend the Calphalon 3-quart casserole dish.  If you can manage to get your paws on one that’s not broken.

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Double Fail

Posted by Lissa on July 28, 2009

Mike and I are HUGE fans of Amazon.com.  We share a Prime membership with his parents so it’s a natural first stop when we’re looking to buy something online — two-day shipping is “free.”  Throw in our Kindle shopping and we should probably buy stock in the company.  (Hey Mike — do we own Amazon.com stock?  Just curious.)

All that being said, sometimes online shopping is just a pain in the butt.

Case in point — the 3-quart casserole pan.

One of the gifts my folks gave us for our birthday was a Pampered Chef 29-minute cookbook.  I’m all about quick recipes — I try to get dinner on the table by seven every night, and I don’t get home before six — so I was really excited by some of the recipes and the shortcuts.  (More on this later.)  I eagerly paged through and selected a delicious-yet-simple-looking recipe for our first trial run.

Only problem — we didn’t have the requisite cookware.  So we went poking around and settled on a Calphalon cabernet-colored dish, noting in relief that it would arrive in time for our planned cookbook trial run.

But there’s a risk inherent in ordering breakables online.  Can anyone guess what it is?

Lid 1

Yep, shattered lid.  The packing was kind of terrible — a single cardboard sheet separated the inverted lid from the dish, not nearly enough to keep it from breaking.

Happily, Amazon.com does quick work for returns.  Mike popped online and triggered the send-us-another-0ne widget, I used a plate to cover the dish for my cookery, and Amazon told us not to bother sending it back.

Two days later the replacement arrived.  I joyfully picked up the box to carry it inside . . . . and heard a tinkle.

(No, not the peeing kind, the broken-ceramic kind.  Silly readers.)

I didn’t bother really opening this one, just peeled back the brown paper enough to confirm . . .

Lid 2

Yep, broken lid #2.

You have to admire a system that efficiently sent us two casserole dishes, both with broken lids, within four days.

We were rather bummed at this point, figuring for-sure we’d have to send back Dish #2 and just receive a refund.  Happily, Mike hit the Call-Me-Please button Saturday morning and worked his sweet, sweet magic on the call rep.

Coming soon — the Happily Ever After!

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I can’t believe this qualifies as food

Posted by Lissa on July 27, 2009

The weight-loss section of Shaw’s is located across the aisle from body wash.  I think they may have misplaced this item, because damn sure I’d rather rub it on my feet than put this in my mouth:


That’s right, it’s Calorie-Free Whipped Peanut Spread!  Doesn’t that sound just delicious?  Let’s take a gander at the ingredients!


Water, cellulose gum, salt, cornstarch, xanthum gum.  Mmmmm.

When speaking of his favorite foods, my father likes to say, “If you put a piece on top of your head, your tongue would beat your brain to death trying to get it.”

I’m fairly sure my tongue ripped itself free from its moorings, picked up its skirts and dashed down the street screaming in horror.

And you know, I can’t really blame it.  Self-preservation, y’all.

(I’m not a fan of mayo so the no-cal version on the left doesn’t bother me; YMMV.)

UPDATE: Mike:  “So basically, it’s terrible, but it would still kill someone with peanut allergies.  That is its only purpose.”

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Ammo bleg

Posted by Lissa on July 24, 2009

A week and just a few days ’til the Second Annual Northeast Blogger Shoot Meet & Shootin’ Spectacular, yippee!  VERY MUCH looking forward to it; I had a blast last year, and that’s when there still existed the remote possibility that I was going to meet a bunch of rootin’ tootin’ shootin’ hicks.  Now, of course, I know better — that mere possibility has bloomed into complete certainty of hanging out with rootin’ tootin’ shootin’ hicks.  (Said with ALL possible love, O Bloggy Friends!)

While I plan to bring a lot of the same equipment from last year — bug spray, camera, more bug spray, cookies, and extra bug spray — I’d also like to bring more actionable supplies, if I can.  Problem is, I can’t bring any boomsticks to this ‘do, and neither can I bring ammo; as a MA resident I don’t have a permit to own the stuff.  (Because bullets are DANGEROUS, you know, whether or not you actually have a gun.  I might decide to chew and swallow them one crazy night.)

If I assume that all the folks will be as courteous, generous, and crazy-nice about lending their toys this time around as they were last time (Weer’d Beard, Jay, and doubletrouble (and Mrs. Doubletrouble!), and Marko, and . . . oh hell, I’m looking at all of you) . . . d’ye think I’d be mostly shooting 9 mm and .22?

And if so, would anyone be wiling to pick me up a box or two of each?  I will gladly pay market price plus a finder’s fee so I don’t have to mooch off other people’s ammo as well as swipe their toys.  (Paid in actual cash, not in cookies.  Well, the finder’s fee might be paid in cookies.  Is anyone allergic to peanuts?)


UPDATE: Thanks very much, Jay, that would be lovely 🙂

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Lack of politics posts

Posted by Lissa on July 23, 2009

Good morning all!  As usual, I’m sitting here at 6:30 AM, groggily sipping coffee and blearily peering at the screen and trying to think of something to say.

You may have noticed that my posting has been more personal lately.  I used to do more posts on domestic and international politics, but that’s fallen by the wayside in the past few weeks.

There are a few reasons for that.

First off, I think it’s not surprising that I have less to say about politics than I did a year ago, when we were in the thick of the election season.  Instead of excitedly posting an Oo oo did you hear about this?? snippet, I read the news of the day and just shake my head.  Well, sh*t.  But what did you expect?

But there’s more to it than Obama — or general government — fatigue, and this is the part I’m not proud of.

I received some pretty harsh reactions a few weeks ago on some of my political opinions and it’s hard for me to shake it off.

I think of myself as taking the soap opera approach to politics — I read a lot of interesting articles, but I don’t get into seriously deep analysis.  I’m no Mark Steyn or Victor Davis Hanson; I just find some things interesting.  Occasionally I make the effort to streamline my thoughts into something more elegant than the average four-year-old.  (I said try.  I make no claims about relative success in that arena.)

Some of my friends think I’m crazy (or at least crazy-wrong).  That’s totally fine with me — a few years ago I would have thought I was crazy, too.  I’ve laughingly said that I wouldn’t be surprised if they got out the straitjacket and took me away to the politics asylum.

Why, then, am I so gun-shy just because I got a few negative reactions? Isn’t that what bloggers live for?

Well, no.  Not me.  I’m a middle-child and I tend to deeply internalize criticism.  It’s one of the reasons I’m happy I will never be a big-name blogger with legions of trolls — I don’t have the constitution for it.

Anyway.  Eventually I’ll get over it.  But in the meantime, it’s been easier to post about cats and coffee than about Palin or I’m A Dinner Jacket.

And cats and coffee do have their places too, you know.

May 1 071

Rajah gets PWNED by a monkey

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“Solvent is the new wealthy”

Posted by Lissa on July 22, 2009

That was one of the great quotes that came from last night’s Ye Olde Business School Alumni meeting. 

We stayed all gussied up in our work clothes — oo, oo, I’ll have to post a picture of my pretty heels some time — and stood around sipping wine, occasionally munching hors d’oeuvres and generally schmoozing.  We were subjected to a long, long, long, looooooong update from a gentleman who didn’t understand the whole project your voice thing, nor the tried-and-true rule of keep it short, sweet and entertaining.  Happily, we were posted next to the bar and I managed to snag drink refills without drawing attention to ourselves.

The more interesting part came towards the end, when everyone had sipped an adult beverage or two and gotten through the careful posturing dance of So-where-do-you-work.  I cozied up to the folks who’d organized the shindig and started schmoozing like crazy. 

“Oh, you’re from North Carolina?  How funny — Mike is going to be posted there for the next six months!  What’s his job?  Well, see, he works for Ye Olde Insurance Company . . . ” 

“You used to work for the Berkely College of Music?  Oh, fantastic!  Do you know anything about the choirs in Boston?  Tryouts are next month and I’m trying to decide between two in Back Bay . . . ”

“You know the old CEO of Ye Olde Financial Company?  Why, yes, I did think he was a very humble, unassuming guy!  Mike, you got to meet him once, didn’t you? – when he presented you with that service award?”

I’m telling you, I’d be a kickass politician’s wife.  Except that would make Mike a politician.  And I’d just as soon pass on the lobotomy and heart extraction necessary to such a scenario.

P.S.  One of the organizers — an older guy with a reputation for closing the deal with potential business school money-givers — told Mike flat-out that he should keep me.  This was just after he’d said my old CEO would be a great addition to the SEC, or government, and I opined that anyone with a spine and half a cerebellum would be a useful addition to government.  Zing!

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Putting the “casual” in “business casual”

Posted by Lissa on July 21, 2009

I just rode the elevator with a stylish-yet-profesisonal well-dressed woman in her mid-thirties.

Her black suit fit perfectly, the skirt falling above the knee but not drastically so, showing off slim legs.  Her blazer was nicely structured, creating an hourglass figure, and worn open over a pale pink shell.  Peep-toe black leather pumps lent her height and showed off impeccably groomed toenails the same shade of pink as her shell.  Truly, this woman looked like an all-star graduate of What Not to Wear.

Right up until she started blowing bubbles, her gum the same lovely carnation shade as her top and her toenails.


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