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

Archive for June, 2012

Laminate flooring

Posted by Lissa on June 29, 2012

This stuff is AWESOME!!!!

In preparation for BabyKitty, we cleared out the bedrooms and the dining room and brought in someone to rip out all the old, nasty, gunk-stained carpet and replace it with hard-wood-floor patterned laminate. It’s much cheaper than real wood, it’s more durable, and I’m less likely to cry the first time BabyKitty rollerblades across it.

We went from this (and even in this little photo, you can see the state of the carpet we inherited) —


— and this —


— to THIS! Isn’t it pretty???



The previous owners took good care of their house, BTW, but an off-white carpet does not survive a baby boy growing up. It just doesn’t.

We’re getting set, here. Bring on the crib!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | 5 Comments »

Looking Glass News: the Romney Gift Registry

Posted by Lissa on June 27, 2012

I haven’t done this in a loooooong time, but let’s go back through the looking glass and pretend that the Republican candidate did this . . .

Governor and Republican Candidate Mitt Romney horrified people across the nation when he suggested that people donate to his campaign in lieu of birthday, wedding or anniversary presents.

“It’s creepy!” exclaimed Maureen Dowd. “What kind of weird, sick, religious cult does he belong to that he thinks we should give HIM money to mark important life events? Is THIS what the Mormon church calls normal?”

New York Times columnist Charles Blow was equally appalled. “Clearly, Governor Romney has no idea what is appropriate regarding private celebration and political panhandling. He should shove this idea in his magic underwear.”

Yale professor Harold Bloom wrote, “We have long been told to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s — and ONLY that. Governor Romney must think that birthday parties and weddings fall into this category. I can be forgiven for dreading a strengthening of theocracy in our civil culture.”

There are those who say that Romney simply misjudged how this marketing campaign would make him and his campaign appear to the average voter. However, the rest of us are quite sure that this is an evil and scurrilous attempt to insert himself, his faith, his church and his filthy polygamist beliefs into the daily lives of innocent Americans. For shame.

*Thanks to Walter Russell Mead for collecting the examples
**Seriously. Wouldn’t all your liberal friends and family find it creepy as hell if Romney did this?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

A Haiku to my pinky toenail

Posted by Lissa on June 26, 2012

Pretty painted nail
Cruelly ripped away from me

It was a good toenail. I shall miss it.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | 6 Comments »

German environmentalists: The means justify the ends

Posted by Lissa on June 25, 2012

I wrote back in September 2010 about how, for some people and in some instances, the means justify the ends. I was exploring the idea that results are not necessary for those who thinks their motives and actions are so wonderful that the lack of results is the merest pettifogging detail.

I thought of that again when I read about the German environmentalist craze.

And I don’t mean psycho enviroweenies threatening to blow up animal testing facilities, or even Green party representatives. I mean the fervent adherence to practices that will “save the environment” . . . even though there’s no evidence they they do and, in fact, may have real-time practical consequences that do NOT help.

Two examples from the article:

I sort my garbage. There are four symmetrically arranged containers in front of my front door: a blue one for paper and a yellow one for plastic on the right, along with a brown one for compost and a gray one for everything else on the left. It doesn’t look very nice. It also stinks a little, especially on summer days when I wouldn’t mind sitting outside. But I know that I have to make sacrifices.

The German ordinance on packaging is respected, and the product recycling regulations are held in high esteem. According to the rules of Germany’s dual system of waste management, when yoghurt containers are put into the recycling bin, they have to be “completely empty,” “drop-free” and “spoon-clean.” Some people even put the containers in the dishwasher before stuffing them into a yellow recycling bag.

But then something strange happens. My yoghurt container, which I’ve carefully rinsed and sorted, isn’t recycled at all. In fact, it’s dumped into an incinerator with all the rest of the garbage and burned.

Yes, this is allowed. By law, the dual system is required to recycle exactly 36 percent of plastic waste. Waste disposal companies can do what they want — and what is most cost-effective for them — with the remaining 64 percent. As a result, much of it ends up in waste incinerators for what’s called “thermal recycling,” bringing the cycle to a sudden end.


The government is even teaching our smallest citizens how important it is to treat precious water responsibly. The Environment Ministry’s children’s website admonishes them to “Think about how you can save water! Taking a shower is better for the environment than taking a bath. Turn off the water when you’re soaping yourself. Never let the water run when you’re not using it. And maybe you can spend less time in the shower, too.”

This is all very well and good, but there’s only one problem: It stinks. Our street is filled with the stench of decay. It’s especially bad in the summer, when half of Berlin is under a cloud of gas. [snip]

Our consumption has declined so much that there is not enough water going through the pipes to wash away fecal matter, urine and food waste, causing blockages. The inert brown sludge sloshes back and forth in the pipes, which are now much too big, releasing its full aroma. [snip]

The waterworks must now periodically flush their pipes and conduits. The water we save with our low-flow toilets is simply being pumped directly through hoses into the sewage system below. On some days, an additional half a million cubic meters of tap water is run through the Berlin drainage system to ensure what officials call the “necessary flow rate.”

Germany has a lot of water. It has many rivers and lakes. The amount of rain that falls from the skies over Germany is five times as much as the entire water requirements of the entire population and industry. Less than 3 percent of the country’s water reserves would be enough to supply all households.

The obvious solution to our pipeline problems would be to use more water again. But that’s not how the Germans work.

Apparently Germans are so determined to “Do The Right Thing!” for Mother Earth that the actual results – which are not good for Mother Earth, the air, the land or each other – become unimportant.

Can you think of other examples where this phenomenon takes place? I can!!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | 1 Comment »


Posted by Lissa on June 21, 2012

Did you know that “while dicing jalapeños” is a really, really bad time to nick yourself?

You’re welcome.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

MSNBC caught deceptively editing Republican candidate

Posted by Lissa on June 20, 2012

I know. You’re shocked, right? But remember, the MainStream Media is called that for a REASON – a lot of people still use it as their only news source. It’s therefore important to point out when that news source is DISHONESTLY EDITING.

Go over to SooperMexican to see how their attempt at creating a “supermarket scanner” moment for Mitch Romney is disproved by an unedited handheld video. (How do I know they wanted it to be his “supermarket scanner” moment? Because Andrea Mitchell asked her audience if this would count as such.)

Now. What have we learned?

1) MSNBC will edit video about Republican candidates (or “white Hispanics”) to make a point.
2) If that “point” is not accurate or true, well, whatever, f*** you.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Geico strikes again!

Posted by Lissa on June 19, 2012

There is a land called Passive Aggresiva and Geico is their king.

One of the companies with which we do business called up and asked if they could buy us lunch today; we’ve recently sent them a number of client accounts and they want to say thank you. So I hammered out the details with Veep, Big Boss and the company rep and sent an email out to the team explaining the situation and asking them to send me their meal requests yesterday afternoon so I could call in the order this morning.

Now, it turns out that Geico is scheduled to be out of the office today. What, pray tell, do you think was his response?

1) Replying to my email by ordering something that will keep for a day. It’s a barbecue place that sells smoked meat by the half pint or pint, so there’s quite a lot of choices that would suit.

2) Replying to my email with something along the lines of, “Oh, come on! They HAD to pick the day when I’d be gone?” At which point I would have advised he proceed according to #1, and we’d all go about our merry way.

From what you know about Geico, I think you can guess that he went with . . . .

3) TOTALLY IGNORING my email, but sending out a SEPARATE email to the whole team reminding everyone that he will be out of the office today.

Let’s hear it for Door Number Three!

I actually debated with myself for a while about whether I should go to his desk and point out Option #1. Then I was quite irritated with the necessity of doing so, because GEICO IS A GROWN MAN IN HIS FIFTIES. SERIOUSLY. MAN CAN’T ORDER FRICKIN’ BARBECUE WITHOUT MY HOLDING HIS HAND???

*snap* *snarl* *growl* *grumble*

BTW, Mike thinks I’m being unnecessarily hard on Geico in this specific situation. I freely concede that I’m already irritated with him because he’s suddenly decided to start parking in the spot I’ve used since we moved to this building last October. Jerk.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | 6 Comments »

Donating my glasses did pretty much no good

Posted by Lissa on June 18, 2012

Damn. Remember the picture at the end of this post? I was so pleased and happy to have good vision and to send my glasses off to some needy and deserving person! Yay vision! Yay donation!

Yeah, that was pretty much worthless.

But such efforts turn out to be a terrible waste, for reasons that are completely logical once you think about them. The case of recycled eyeglasses illustrates how easy it is to fool ourselves when we think about thrift, waste and charity. We overestimate the importance of the physical things we can see and forget about the real costs of time and attention, as well as the importance of intangible values like aesthetics to the people we’re trying to help.

Twice the Cost

In a paper published in March in the journal Optometry and Vision Science, four researchers compare the full costs of delivering used glasses to the costs of instead delivering ready-made glasses in standard powers (like my drugstore readers, but for myopia as well). The authors find that recycled glasses cost nearly twice as much per usable pair.

Read the whole thing. It makes an awful lot of sense – glasses are both personalized (can you just pick up and use a stranger’s glasses, even if you’re both myopic?) and often dinged up, scratched, or otherwise not in good condition. Brand-new glasses, on the other hand, will be, well, new – and even if they’re not J.Crew or Gucci glasses, they’ll do someone in the third world a helluva lot more good if they’re 1) in mint condition, 2) an identifiable prescription.

…… Still. I like the picture from the Lasik post. But what they should really do is have a donation cash box on the side so you can pose with your old glasses and then slip them a $10. That would make a lot more sense.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Healthier chicken parmesan

Posted by Lissa on June 15, 2012

Chicken parm = YUM. There’s a restaurant in downtown Boston – Papa Razzi – that does absolutely mouthwatering chicken parmesan. They take a huge, flat slab of chicken, bread it, deep-fry it and top it with sauce and cheese. The SIDE for this dish, by the way, is spaghetti with sauce. Yeah.

I’ve been leery of trying my hand at chicken parm because it’s such a classic dish and Mike loves it so much. And I steer clear of deep-frying ANYTHING, because it’s messy and makes very unhealthy delicious food that you eat too much of and then regret. I have a boatload of kitchen equipment (mostly gifts from my wedding registry) and have refused to allow a fryer through the doorway.

So, here’s a healthier way of getting it done. I think of this as

Chicken Parmesan, Piccatta-style*”

Buy a package of the Thin and Fit chicken breasts that are sliced really thin. (They go on sale at Publix buy-one-get-one and I stock up.) You can pound the chicken out yourself but it takes longer and you’re not going to get them as flat without a serious amount of effort.

Salt, pepper and garlic powder each side of each piece of chicken. Dip each side onto a plate of flour, shaking off excess.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook chicken about 3 minutes each side (4-5 minutes for thicker chicken) until golden brown. (This might take two batches; add a little more oil as needed.) Remove chicken from pan and lay out on a cookie sheet (I recommend lining with aluminum foil or parchment paper for easier cleanup).

Top chicken with spaghetti sauce (homemade is best!) and sprinkle thickly with reduced fat cheese – mozzarella or four-cheese Italian blend. (You can add in a bit of real parmesan if you like – I did.) Either stick it under the broiler or bake until the cheese gets bubbly and melty. (You don’t have to be picky here. If you’re messing with other things, bake it at 350 for 10-15 minutes. My oven was already set at 425 for the roasted broccoli*, so it took about seven minutes.)

If you like a moist dish (or your husband was a little late to dinner) I recommend topping with additional sauce (again, homemade is best). Serve hot and enjoy!

*I only recently started doing chicken piccata and this is how you do the chicken part of it. Mike pointed out that it could easily apply to chicken parm, and voile!
**I have completely OD’d on steamed broccoli; I just can’t eat it anymore. So lately I’ve been drizzling it with olive oil, adding salt, pepper and garlic powder and roasting it in the oven at 425 for about twenty minutes. Yum!!!


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

The weirdest pregnancy item I’ve seen so far

Posted by Lissa on June 14, 2012

Believe me, I’m proud and happy to be pregnant. And I’ve definitely got a baby belly now. But THIS?!?!?


I have no urge to make my baby bump a paint-by-numbers. If I ever do, y’all will be the first to know.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | 2 Comments »