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

Archive for December, 2010

Like a jungle gym for grown-ups

Posted by Lissa on December 24, 2010

Houses in Florida generally don’t have basements, as they’re all below the water line.  They do have attics, but since the heat is fierce for 2/3 of the year they’re used only sparingly.  In fact, the only use for ours right now is that we can run lines and cables through it.  Which led to the following project.

See, Mike wanted to explore the possibility of running our surround sound speaker cables through the ceiling, rather than along the ground, and perhaps even work his way up to installing speakers in the ceiling.  We therefore set ourselves the task of running Ethernet cables from the living room to the office, just to see if we could. This adventure would require crawling under air ducts (moving them as needed), stepping beam-to-beam, *not* scraping our scalps among the shingle nails, and making our way deep into the attic.

Now, I know I haven’t met y’all in person — although I have met a good chunk of you, yay! — but anyone who has read this blog for any amount of time knows that A) I am somewhat petite; and B) Mike is rather larger than I am.  In fact, his shoulders are about half again as wide as mine.  So it only made SENSE that *I* would be the one worming my way through the labyrinth while Mike waited in a clearer space and fed the cable.

Suitably resigned to my wifely duties, I dressed for action:

– a long-sleeved shirt
– gardening gloves (with sleeves pulled over the wrists)
– sweatpants (with the shirt tucked in to avoid any creepy-crawlies going down my knickers)
– soccer socks pulled a good six inches over the pant ends (see creepy-crawly fears, above)
– sneakers
– an LED headlamp, and
– an air filter face mask.

I looked hawt, y’all.

(It looked even better when I was wearing safety glasses, but they fogged up and I had to ditch ’em.)

Things I learned while ducking under, heaving over, squirming sideways, and wriggling on my butt:

1) Garden gloves were smart as hell.  I’d’ve been digging out splinters all week without those.

2) Headlamps are really smart too!  Especially when you need both hands to hold onto a beam while you snake your body through an opening more suitable to Rajah than to you.

3) A fear of dark confined spaces will make playing in the attic REALLY fun.

4) Said fear fades after a while, but then you’ll start worrying about exactly how MUCH sawdust you can inhale before your lungs resign in protest.

5) Twice-said fear will come roaring back with a vengeance when you contemplate a drop-off of two feet, with a roof barely six inches over your head, and no visible way of making your way back up if you go back down.  (At this point I decided discretion was the better part of valor and called back to my husband that I could not, in fact, get to the desired corner.)

6) There are very very few creepy-crawlies in our attic.  Thank god!!!

7) If you put the air filter mask over your nose and your mouth, you will blow dust directly into your eyes with every exhalation. However, if you cover only your mouth, you will forget and breathe through your nose repeatedly, snorfling that sawdust like Paris Hilton on a bender.

8.) If your sweatpants don’t have pockets, your husband will thoughtfully strap you into his toolbelt so you can carry electrical tape and a few other essentials.

9) Upon discovering that A) you only needed the electrical tape; B) the tape fell out of the belt *somewhere* along your crawl and we don’t have a spare roll; C) ponytail elastics can do the job in a pinch; D) lost tape rolls will of course turn up AS SOON as you’ve disheveled your hair — then do immediately stick that sucker in your sock.  You already look stupid as hell, so who cares?

In conclusion:

Sometimes size matters. But agility ALWAYS does.

Also? Shingle needles are sharp as hell, and they like to eat scalp.  Just so you know.

Happy Christmas Eve, y’all!

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Radio gun bigot

Posted by Lissa on December 16, 2010

I was running errands yesterday when the DJ started pontificating on Hulk Hogan’s wedding.  (I know — a subject about which you surely care as much as I.  Namely, zero.)  It seems that, upon forcible expulsion, a paparazzo declared that he was carrying a gun and was wrestled to the ground.

So far so boring, right?  Hulk Hogan, wedding, paparazzo, threats, *yawn*.  But then the DJ went on to declare:

“I just don’t understand why people are allowed to have guns.  Y’know?  Like, why don’t we just limit it to police and military? Why should people be allowed to have deadly weapons, y’know?”

At that point I just about broke my finger stabbing for another channel.

Why, indeed?  After all, police and military are the Only Ones Professional Enough . . .

Please note that I have great respect for officers of the law.  I believe the vast majority of police are upstanding members of the public and do a hard job for a small salary. But that does not AT ALL mean that:

– I trust them to be the ONLY armed members of society; nor that

– I trust them to ALWAYS be on call and within reach when someone the size of Hulk Hogan — or hell, the average paparazzo — goes goblin; nor that

– I choose to forfeit my Constitutional right; nor that

– I allow someone else to deprive me of my Constitutional right; and especially not that

– I think the average radio DJ put any thought into his statement.  🙂

(BTW, it was 35 degrees this morning and the high for today is 71.  My thermometer is asking for the name of Breda’s chiropractor.)

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This post is warmly dedicated to Mail Merge

Posted by Lissa on December 14, 2010

Because the only reason I have time enough for a quick blogpost is that I didn’t have to write out the addresses for seventy-five recipients.  Sure, I had to transfer my paragraph-form address list from Word to Excel, format it, and then merge it back into Word, but after that was done — voile!

Envelope after envelope spat out — closely monitored by Rajah, who worships at the altar of the Printer God — and I had only to write the notes, seal ‘n’ stamp ’em, and send ’em on their way!

I can’t believe I only figured this out now.  Gods and goddesses, I love living in the future 🙂

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Posted by Lissa on December 10, 2010

Don’t these silly creatures know that I’m higher on the food chain? That I eat poultry at least once a week? That I’m bigger and stronger than they are? That I have opposable thumbs and training with weapons?


I took this pic during my cooldown a few days ago.  I used my iPhone with no zoom — that should give you an idea how close they were.  These enormous walking pigeons wander around our neighborhood and have absolutely no fear, or respect, for large man-like or man-made objects.  It’s not unusual to come across a line of stopped cars, waiting impatiently for them to finish their leisurely crossing of the road.  Meanwhile, I’m angrily mumbling “Just hit them, already!  Nudge them with your bumper! You’re bigger than they are!” to myself, five cars back.

I console myself that, come the Zombie Apocalypse, we could bag ourselves a few meals by driving around and hanging out the windows with a baseball bat.

What’s that you say?

Shaddup, you.  I can buy you in the grocery store.

*sigh*  Respect is so hard to come by nowadays.

(We saw the ostriches during the Animal Kingdom safari, also iPhone with no zoom.  I was careful not to hang out the window, lest they make a grab for the camera – they were that close!  Damn giant turkeys need a lesson with birdshot . . .)

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Workout Wednesday and Delicious Meat

Posted by Lissa on December 8, 2010

Helllooooo everybody!  Between stabbing myself in the palm with sewing shears and spearing myself on straight pins, it’s been a Christmassy workshop around here.  But we’re still finding time to work out 🙂  In fact, last week I jogged 4.0 miles without stopping — that’s the longest I’ve ever done.  I would like to thank the Academy; my husband Mike, for being my running partner; and beautiful Florida, for providing perfect 55° weather and flat sidewalks with no hills.  It’s really pretty awesome when setting out for a 2.6 mile run with no stops is a “short” run.

One thing I’ve noticed, technique-wise: I have to start very, very slow.  Jogging-at-the-speed-of-powerwalking slow.  If I start super-slow then I can concentrate on form and focus on quick, light footsteps with a fast turnover.  Once I settle into rhythm then I can speed up and go from there.  If, instead, I start at a normal speed?  Disaster!  I gasp for breath, my feet start pounding, my shins ache, I can’t flow, and all I want to to do is stop and walk.  Seriously, the first 5 minutes of my run can make, or ruin, the next 35.

And why do we need to make sure we work out?  Well . . .

Chianti braised short ribs coming up!

. . . it just so happens that short ribs were on sale this week 🙂  I couldn’t find any recipe I really liked, so I kind of made it up as I went along.  (Sliced onions across the bottom, topped with sun dried tomato spread, sprinkled savory, marjoram, thyme and a bit of mustard, browned short ribs, sauteed minced garlic, halved baby portabellas, a few sliced carrots, fresh chopped rosemary, beef broth, and Chianti.  Low and slow, baby!)

Oh, and since The Runt Compound was showing off knives, I’d like to show you the best use for a watch that has a dead battery:

Hideaway beneath watch

(That’s my little Hideaway knife, set to be grabbed with my right hand.  Damn I love that thing.)

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Why Pocket Rockets are awesome!

Posted by Lissa on December 3, 2010


This is one of my favorite shirts – it’s comfortable, the color is nice and rich, and it’s appropriate for either business-casual attire (worn over a nice skirt) or over jeans for a casual look.  And hey, who would ever notice that little lump in my pocket?

In fact, the iPhone and spare magazine in my other pocket makes almost as big a lump as the gun does. Pretty inconspicuous!

I’m not of the demographic that gets eyeballed real hard for weapons. Unless folks really know what to look for, that lump — and the clip, if it’s visible — are much more likely to be ID’d as a palm pilot, or a Blackberry, or something else electronic.

It’s not very visible from the side, either:

IWB carry is more difficult for me. Most of my shirts fit well at the waist, which means that even dark fabrics and patterned fabrics print pretty sharply when I’m sitting or in motion. (I tried to take a picture but the dark shirt didn’t show it very well.)

My Kevin fits nicely in the front pocket of my favorite jeans, my cargoes, and even my shorts.  As long as my shirt is long enough to cover the grip, I’m good to go.  And it’s much easier to keep an eye on that coverage when it’s my pocket instead of behind my back.  (When I do carry IWB I’m constantly checking to make sure my shirt hasn’t ridden up behind.  Does everyone do that? Or is just ’cause it’s new to me?)

Finally, for old times’ sake and for comparison, here is Siguette carried IWB:

It looks like my booty just grew an overhang/shelf. Yeah.  I don’t think so.

In other happy Gun News, Borepatch — who is now a citizen rather than a subject — has purchased the first gun of his very own.  Go tell him Congrats!!

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I haven’t laughed this hard since — well, the last time I laughed at pop princesses

Posted by Lissa on December 2, 2010

I know.  Low-hanging fruit.  I KNOW.  But really, if I don’t do it, who will?  And one hysterical laughing fit per day DOES keep the doctors away.  (Though you should still eat your apples, y’all!)

Anyway.  This is one of those annoying bouncy Katy Perry songs.  I consider them appropriate for workout mixes if they’re catchy, but I’ve despised this one ever since I first saw it scroll across the radio bar.  HOW HARD IS IT TO SPELL “GIRLS”???**

I made it ALMOST to the end, giggling away the whole time, but I gave up at 3:20.  Squirting whipped cream out of double cannisters held to your chest?  SRSLY???  I started choking as I laughed and feared injury.

That’s supposed to be SEXY?  REALLY?  Bouncing around in ice-cream bikinis with very obvious cherries?  I can’t stop laughing, so in a way I’m enjoying myself, but somehow I can’t believe that was the hoped-for reaction.

You want sexy, Katy Perry?  I’ll give you sexy.

She’s a better singer than you AND she sings in French AND she’s wearing actual clothing AND she could KICK YOUR ASS.

Naked except for cloud wisps and a hideous wig? Not sexy.  Ass-kicking?


And oh, Snoop Dogg, what hath become of thee?  You’ve gone from Gin and Juice to being dressed up like a pedophile pimp on a Candyland board??  I’ve got one thing to say to you:

*sigh*  What IS shallow, silly, unimportant pop culture coming to???


**The official title of the song is “California Gurls.”  Really.  I have to flip the channel or I have the killer urge to smash my radio.

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Pig and whiskey. Is this, like, a meme now?

Posted by Lissa on December 1, 2010

Borepatch had dinner with ASM826 who used a recipe from Eyes Never Closed for “Whiskey-Fried Porkchops.” Since all the cool kids are doing it, and since I’ve chronically had trouble with pork chops, I decided to give it a whirl!

I spent a good ten minutes helplessly vacillating in the meat aisle.  Thin chops? Thick chops? Center cut? Boneless??? Though I was tempted to close my eyes and use whatever came to hand, I finally decided on center-cut bone-in pork chops.  They were pretty thick, and (to my appetite) fairly sizeable, so I used my largest saucepan.

Per the instructions, I seasoned up the chops with Applewood Rub and set the sauce to boiling.  I used probably half an inch of water and maybe seven shots of Beam — it was a big pan, the chops were thick, and hey, who ever complains about too MUCH sauce?  Once the pig was in the pan, I added more Rub, some pepper, garlic powder, and a small helping of red pepper flakes.

In retrospect, I’m wondering if

a) I should have used thinner chops
b) I should have used less water and Jim Beam
or c) I should have removed the chops from the pan and let the sauce reduce on its own

— because they were a bit dry.  (The instant thermometer was reading 150° when I took them off the heat; I was worried about them being UNDER done, not overcooked.)  I didn’t mind very much — it soaked up the mouthwateringly delicious sauce that much better — but Mike would have preferred his pig a little more moist, with a little less red pepper.

Meh.  Blame the cook, not the recipe.  Oh, and I totally swiped my finger around the pan and slurped up sauce drippings before I could bring myself to wash it 🙂

Happy Noms!

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