2022 Reading List

Welcome to the 2022 Reading List! I read 35 books last year! I hope to beat that this year. :) I am also happy to add that my voracious reading has inspired Nick to read more, as well! This pleases me!

Goodwill Hurl! June 2022

Cruising Attitude, Heather Poole. Picked this up for light reading – and it certainly was! LOL This is a collection of anecdotal essays about being a flight attendant. This girl is pretty dumb and overall, she doesn’t really raise the perception of flight attendants. My fave sentence went something like this: …and the motel I was in was in view of a big white building in DC. The White House? I don’t know. Wow. So, yeah, a lightweight trying-too-hard to be a tell-all, this book is strictly a palate cleanser between better reads.

The Light Between Oceans, M.L. Stedman. This was an excellent read! Set in SW Australia, it is a lovely story set at a lighthouse far from anything. Stedman’s descriptions of the SW Australia coast is exemplary. I did get pulled out of the story occasionally by the comments of a “blistering January” or a “chilly June”. It is really odd to think of the seasons as opposites! But the characters are pretty well written and the story, while sometimes slow, is compelling. I have the movie version of this book that I’ll watch once I’ve digested the book. I like to have space between reading a story and seeing redone in visual form. If you run across this book, it is worth the read.

The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls. The first memoir by Walls. The second, Half Broke Horses, I just read and it was EXCELLENT.

Fifth Chinese Daughter, Wong. This book was actually written in 1945!! I have a 2002 edition, with an updated intro from 1989. The author died in 2006 and was known for her ceramics work. The story is written in third person, which is a Chinese tradition, but makes it read a little dry. But still an interesting look into turn of the century Chinese immigrants.

A River Runs Through It, Norman Maclean. Yep, the movie was made from this. This is a short story collection with the title story being the first. Maclean has a very distinctive voice and a lovely, lyrical way of writing.

Half Price Books hurl!

ALL these are from the memoirs section. I’m on a memoir tear!
Ruined By Reading, Lynn S Schwartz. This is a short tome, which is to its benefit. It is a memoir of a life of reading and musing on various authors. The book was published in 1996, pre-internet as we know it. Which is why this quote is prescient:

“If those of us who live by language become superfluous in years to come, it will not be because of the advance of technology, but the loss of coherent discourse.” – p.24, Ruined by Reading.

OH, YES. She is right on the money. She is of the Silent Generation (b. 1939), so many references are a bit dated, but she certainly has a handle on being well read and dealing with morons who are not. Good read!

MORE BEHIND CUT!
Continue reading “2022 Reading List”

Looking for VSG/Bariatric info?

Hi there! If you’d like to see ONLY my extensive research on Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy, bariatric diet and managing GERD (reflux), you can filter out all my other posts and see just those by clicking HERE. You can see my vlogs about my VSG journey here.

To see any category (recipes, for instance), use the drop down menu to the right labeled “View Posts by Category” and select the category you’d like. Thanks for stopping by!

I Survived Captain Trips!

I tested positive after DragonCon this year. Not a shock at all, but an inconvenience.

This current strain is very transmissible, but also pretty mild. It was like a very light flu. I had a low grade fever for about a week with some light congestion and cough.

Nick got it, too, despite his getting a booster right before con. All the booster did for him was make the tests give a false negative. He’s a couple of days behind me in recovery.

I’m on day 9 today. I tested positive yesterday but no fever since Thursday, so I think I’m done. The rules are unclear and most places have given up trying to control the spread. My new p/t job at TJX has no quarantine or masking rules – positive or not. Sigh. I put off starting the job until I at least had no fever, so with that done, I’ll be starting on Monday. I’ve got a jury summons for Monday as well, but if I get called, they’ll give me a 3 month waiver due to the Covid infection.

I’m happy to have a p/t job – gods know we need the money. Nick is also pursuing two jobs that pay better than MM and are on this side of town. I really hope he gets one of them! Even a buck or two more without an hour long commute would be excellent.

So, I feel a bit more positive than I have for a while. At least money will be less tight with me bringing in a coupla hundred per week. I got a notice from Macy’s Northlake that they want to hire me, but I think I’ll go with TJX in Buckhead even tho there’s a commute. For some reason, that store appeals to me. WE SHALL SEE. LOL I give it 2 weeks before they get on my last nerve.

That’s the state of the Weasels on this fine September day. Mercury Rx has been a bitch, but hopefully it will not interfere with Nick’s job hunt. It didn’t hurt mine. We will likely drive to Buford tomorrow to fix a game at the skating rink. It’s been put off due to the plague. Need to get that out of the way. Then we need to get the bathroom painted. It is disgusting with mold growth despite our best efforts. Sigh.

So I can definitely say “I Survived Captain Trips” now! I’ll wear my shirt with pride! LOL Get yours at Tee Public!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Print

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

By roasting the squash, you concentrate its flavor. Also, using full fat buttermilk adds a really nice tanginess that works well with the sweet squash.
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author misangela

Equipment

  • stick blender or counter blender

Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed 1" cubes about 2-3#, 4-5 cups cut up
  • 1 small white onion, diced about 2/3-3/4 cup
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbl butter add another Tbl if you like!
  • 1 Tbl flour heaping Tbl!
  • 1 Cup Chicken stock water is fine, you'll need more seasoning
  • 1.5 Cup full fat buttermilk sub half n half, but do try to use the buttermilk and make sure it is FULL FAT, not low fat
  • 2 Tbl EVOO
  • S/P to taste
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg fresh if you have it
  • 1 tsp dry rubbed sage +/- to taste (fresh is great, use sparingly)
  • water as needed

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Cut up squash and place on large sheet pan in one layer. Drizzle with EVOO and season with S/P generously. Toss to ensure squash won't stick. Bake for about 40-45 mins until squash is soft and slightly browned.
  • In a large soup pot over medium heat, add butter and sweat the onions and garlic until translucent. Add flour and cook a couple of minutes. Set aside.
  • When squash is done, add to soup pot along with stock (or water). Put on med high heat and stir to break up the squash. This will be thick! Kill heat. Add add buttermilk, so you can blend with a stick blender (or counter blender).
  • Once puree is smooth add nutmeg and sage.
  • Adjust thickness with water and check seasoning.
  • Serve with roasted pepitas.

Notes

Tip: foods often need more salt after they've been refrigerated! This soup will likely need more salt due to the dairy. This soup is not freezable. 
If you cannot find full fat buttermilk, you can use low fat, but be careful with the amount used. It is thinner than full fat, you might need less. 

Vegetarian Stuffed Zucchini

Print

Vegetarian Stuffed Zucchini

Zucchini stuffed with Israeli couscous, fennel, marinara and cheeses. This dish was born of leftovers as many of my recipes are, but it's so good, I had to share!
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword fennel, israeli couscous, marinara, mozzarella, parmesan sauce, zucchini
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author misangela

Equipment

  • 1 9x13 baking dish

Ingredients

  • 3 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise and scooped out Find straight ones for easy cutting, leave 1/2 inch all around to hold filling
  • 1/2 cup fennel, finely diced Sub onion or celery
  • 1 lg shallot, finely diced Sub 2 Tbl onion or omit
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced About 1.5 Tbl
  • 1 cup cremini mushrooms, fine chop
  • 1 cup prepared Israeli couscous Or more if you like
  • 2 cups marinara sauce If you don't have your own, buy the Mezzetti brand. It is the best! Or you can make my recipe, search 'marinara'.
  • 1 Tbl dry marjoram Or use basil, oregano or all three!
  • 1 Tbl fresh thyme Or 1/2 Tbl dry thyme
  • 2 Tbl fennel fronds, fine chop If using fresh fennel
  • 2 Tbl sherry vinegar Sub red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ground parmesan The dry kind found on the Italian aisle or you can use a little shredded
  • 2/3 cup shredded parmesan
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella You can use fresh, but I think shredded works best here
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs Mixed with 1 Tbl EVOO
  • S/P to taste You'll use more than you think
  • EVOO Used in various places

Instructions

  • Spray baking dish with food release and preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Cut ends off zucchini, hollow out with a spoon leaving 1/2 inch all around and at the ends to hold filling. I did not use the flesh, but you could if you wish. Just chop and add to filling and adjust seasoning. Place boats in baking dish, drizzle with EVOO and season generously with S/P. Remember: zucchini is bland!
  • Prepare couscous as directed on package. DO NOT use any flavourings that might be in the package, you want plain couscous. Make sure it's seasoned with S/P. You need to layer your seasonings since veg dishes need more seasoning in general.
  • In a skillet over med heat, add 1 Tbl EVOO and sweat the fennel, garlic, shallot and mushrooms. Once veg is soft, add about 2/3 cup marinara and the herbs.
  • Add in couscous and reduce heat to med low. Allow to simmer just a couple of minutes, then turn off heat. Add vinegar and ground parm, then allow filling to cool for about 10 minutes.
  • Taste the filling to check seasoning - you want it well seasoned. It should not be too dry, adjust marinara if needed.
  • Fill zucchini boats with filling, fill them as full as you can get them and allow couscous to cover the tops completely.
  • Add the rest of the marinara, making sure the ends of the zucchini are covered and the couscous has plenty of moisture. Keep on top of the zucchini, it is not meant for the squash to cook in sauce. Some overpour is fine, it will make a lovely crisp!
  • Top with parmesan, mozzarella and finally the panko. Again, any overpour will create a nice crisp at the bottom! (See photo.)
  • Cover with foil and bake at 375° for about 45 minutes. Check the zucchini's doneness with a spoon. You want it cooked, but still strong enough to hold the filling. When done, return uncovered to the oven, under the broiler to brown the panko. Watch this! Panko goes from raw to black quickly!
  • Allow to stand for 10 minutes or so, then serve. One zucchini is a serving, but 2 is fine. It's veg, dig in!!

Notes

Do get the fennel for this dish! It is delightful. If you hate fennel, celery will work. 
Fresh mozzarella could be used, but I like the dry shredded better. It doesn't form a blob and is not as bland. 
Many stuffed zucchini recipes call for sausage, which is fine, but I like how this turned out without it. It is light, but very satisfying with the fleshy zucchini. 
Of course this can be made vegan by using vegan cheese. 

My City Lies In Dust

But, whoa, oh, your city lies in dust, my friend
Whoa, oh, your city lies in dust, my friend
Your city lies in dust
– Cities In Dust, Siouxsie and the Banshees

Long time no post. I know. I have finally hit the wall with the burnout and have closed down for the most part. It’s what I do when I reach this point: I shut down. And BOY have I shut down this time! I let it go way to far and I’m done. I’m dust.

This burnout started in May with the two conventions back to back. I knew it’d be hard, but I underestimated the long term effects of all that. June was consumed with catching up from May and Nick was occupied with sorting junk for the SFGE sales, which was last weekend.

I hit the wall Wed night, as did Nick, I think. My reaction to all this bullshit is to shut down. His is to drink too much. I drink too much, too, but the shut down usually halts the drinking for me. In any case, Thursday was rough; I did nothing but eat junk, sleep and watch movies. I don’t think I spoke at all that day. Yesterday (Friday), I had to do TEV errands, but after that, I again did very little. We had leftovers for dinner and I had a little sake, in bed by 10.

Only to be rudely awakened by our idiot contractor at 6:50am, demanding his check and thinking he can start running jackhammers at 7am in a residential neighborhood on the fucking weekend. He cannot. BUT, OF COURSE, I had to look this up, since a PROFESSIONAL – with the goddam internet in his hand!! – cannot be bothered. And I really didn’t want a noise ordinance ticket from Tucker.

This is the root of my burnout and general dissatisfaction with humanity right now: I am sick of doing all the work for everyone who is too lazy or ignorant to use the goddam resources available to solve their own problems.

I am tired of doing all the logistics for stupid fucking games and stupid fucking JUNK that needs to be gone.
I am tired of doing all the problem solving for, well, everyone.
I am tired of being the rescue system for so many.
I am tired of being broke.
I am tired of being rejected from even menial jobs because I won’t sign my life over for P/T.
I am tired of the constant struggle just to survive.
I am tired of not being able to help Nick at all with his shitty job and low pay.
I am tired of being tired.
I am tired of this burnout that seems to have no end in sight.

I’m sure there’s more I can whine about, but that list will suffice for now.

I know that things are not that bad in the big scheme of things. We have a place to live and are mostly paying our bills. All the credit cards are maxed, but hey, it’s the American way, right? We are healthy (bodily, anyway, mentally? not so much) and so is the cat. The fucking Ranger is patched up and working for now. The driveway is being fixed by an annoying, clueless contractor, but fixed nonetheless.

So I guess I should just SHUT IT.

And I will. But I think I’ll take this weekend to get over myself and start fresh on Monday. Nothing else to be done. I’ll do some cooking and perhaps mix with the neighbors for a bit for their Annual Bourbon Party. I doubt I’ll be able to put up with people for long, but it’s an opportunity to cook and have some good bourbon, so go I shall.

Guess I’ll just take this dust and make bricks. It’s the only way to go forward. On to the next thing.

All My Wedding Rings!

I just had a pair of rings commissioned for us! I love all my wedding rings (below), but I wanted a set that was matched for us. It only took 18 years to get around to it! LOL



We got married in the first ring, then got the thinner one soon after (matched), but I never cared for them much. The third and fifth rings are the ones I wear the most. I usually have a blue stone, usually a blue topaz, but the third one is a Mystic topaz in Peacock and the seventh one is opal. The fourth one is a really large adjustable ring that I got at Decatur Arts Fest when I was fat and couldn’t wear my peacock ring (also an arts fest purchase). The cool antique one (#6) is off ebay and I adore it, but it’s a tish big. The last one, the current one, I’ll tell you all about below!

Here is the pair of rings! Cool, right? Here are the sexy pics taken by the artist:

I’ve been stalking the artist, Dominic Rossi, on IG for a while now (IG: @Dom_Ross) and one day he posted some reticulated silver rings that caught my eye. Reticulated silver is cut to size, then fired until the silver starts to bubble – that’s what gives it the texture. So I contact Dom via IG message and we started discussing a plan. He showed me some Burmese spinels in several colours and I decided to break with tradition and get a purple one. Now we we’re off to the races!

I had to devise a way to get a good measure of Nick’s finger. Since the accident, it is larger than before and a rather hard fit. He’s been wearing my size 10+ bubble ring and it’s too big, so I was concerned he’d lose it. (I’d been thinking about getting him a new ring when this awesome artist popped up.) I told him the bubble ring was too big and he needed something else. I got my ring sizers and got a measurement of his finger. Armed with this info, Dom and I calculated what size was needed – it is actually pretty complex when you take into account the width of the ring (8mm) and the thickness of the ring (2mm, VERY thick). We settled on 9.75 for his and 8.5ish for me. We were amazingly accurate – both rings fit PERFECTLY!

Dom turned around the commission in just a couple of weeks and his price was excellent. Nick saw the first PP payment and asked what it was and I said “it’s for a thing”, which worked! The second payment I intercepted the email, so he was none the wiser! HA!! Waiting for the rings to arrive was torture! I told everyone about the rings EXCEPT Nick and I kept it off FB, natch. Last night I presented him with the ring and he LOVES it! I am very pleased with my ring, too. The spinel changes colour in different lighting. Lovely!

If you are thinking of a commission or just looking for some really cool jewelry, I HIGHLY recommend Dominic Rossi! He’s in CO and you can find him on his IG: @dom_ross or FB (new page coming): https://www.facebook.com/domb.bomb1

And here are the rings on our old hands: