Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sorry, I'm Married

During my 1.5 year stint as a steakhouse waitress, I managed to acquire one whole phone number. Well, 1 and a half if you count the 16 year-old who insisted on handing me his seven digits while his absolutely mortified mother tried to convince him that I was way too old for him, therefore making the blossoming relationship illegal (and me almost a predator!).

And it was a good thing she talked some sense into him, because let me tell you I was ready to hand in my apron and run off to Mexico with the kid right then and there if he asked me to.

The REAL phone number was scribbled on the back of a receipt. And, if I remember correctly, the tip was about 10%. Scoff. Mutter. Scoff, scoff.

Sure, there were times when I preyed upon unsuspecting males, but I had a definite type. Worn Chuck Taylors, mousy hair, black t-shirts, optional acne, metal-studded leather belts. You know, the sort of single teenager who didn't know if he wanted to be a rockstar or play Halo for the rest of his life. He was my victim. Especially if he came out in groups of three or more.

Alls I had to do was be really really mean and sarcastic, while showing my love through endlessly abundant complementary rolls.

They'd each pay for their $10 or $12 meal with a twenty and tell me to keep the change. And I'd come away from that table with thirty or so dollars.

It was beautiful. And shameless. And quite lucrative.

So this evening, as I walked to my car from Cold Stone (had to cash in on my complementary birthday sundae!), I almost didn't hear the guy call from across the parking lot.

"Excuse me."

Walk, walk.

"Excuse me."

I turned around, ready to say "No, you can't use my phone", or "No, I can't give you a ride" but instead he said this,

"Can I have your phone number?"

Uh. "Sorry," I said, "I'm married."

And as soon as the words came out of my mouth, I felt like I was lying to the guy. And I suddenly wished I'd have accompanied it with a "I'm sure you're a nice guy, but . . ." or a "you know, I hate to say this, I really do, but . . ." because somehow those sorts of intros make it seem less like I'm lying (and scared! and annoyed!) and more like had things been different, the guy would have had a fighting chance.

And then I realized that the New Year is days away and the schmuck probably just needed a date.

Well, he certainly has a few things to learn about choosing your prey.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Tale of Procrastination

In an epic act of procrastination, I was going to provide you with a photo of me climbing out of a sarcophagus.

And in an even epic-er act of procrastination, I just spent 20 minutes tearing the apartment apart, looking for the envelope of photos from my trip to Turkey that I may procure my sarcophagus photograph and retell the epic story of how I climbed into the tomb, got really freaked out, climbed out of a tomb, and then thought my camera had been cursed by evil spirits--or the awakened dead.

Stephen King would have been proud. As would Stephanie Meyer.

But alas! The photograph has been misplaced, meaning one thing:

Though I tried to avoid a New Year Resolution List that included "tidiness" and "organization", I have been bested.

New Year Resolution #14 - sort through, weed out, and pitch all of my crap (while simultaneously finding homes for the few items that are less like crap and more worth keeping).

In the meantime, here is a photo of the ancient clock tower in Antalya whose nearby trash can was bombed by terrorists during my first week there!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Middle Ages - Mayan Prophecies

It's official. I'm 26 years old. I've been this now for five days. And as I mentioned before, I totally recognize that it's not the end of the world. I get that. But it doesn't settle right with me.

And I can't help but wonder if the Mayans foresaw my aging angst.

The Mayan calendar, in all its precision and epic ahead-of-its-time-ness, simply stops at year 2012. Now while they may have simply gotten tired of making the calendar and set the project aside for the next generation to pick up, there are those that believe that the year 2012 is actually a prediction of sorts. An end of the world prediction, if you will.

The actual Doomsday is set to hit December 21 or December 23 of 2012.

And I find this quite uncanny.

Could it be that the Mayans foresaw my December 22, 1983 birth and subsequent uncomfortableness with turning thirty?

Could it be that they agreed my reaching such an age would prove cataclysmic? Catastrophic? And maybe even apocalyptic?

Could it be that my aging angst has such pull on galactic revolutions, my frustration with turning thirty will align the stars in a way that will bring the world to an end?

And could it be that the Mayans were understanding enough to know that, since my birthday already contends for popularity with Christmas, the last thing I would want would be for it to contend with an end of the world prediction? Therefore, making the targeted date fall on either the day BEFORE or the day AFTER my 29th birthday and eliminating the possibility of turning thirty alltogether?


That's some powerful stuff to think about.

Perhaps now I'll be given credence when lamenting over nearing the thirties.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Theological Warfare

"Why did you break up with him?" I asked my friend.

"Well, there were some major issues. He was 35, for one," she answered.


"And he also didn't believe we are born with a sin nature."

Some couples struggle with theological differences. Tad and I like to joke about ours. I mean the whole Calvinist / Free Will thing is way too easy to make fun of.

At one point the other day, Tad busted out with this crazy G-R-A-C-E acronym (God's Riches At Christ's Expense) and expected me to identify. I had no idea what he was doing. Or saying. This was way beyond WWJD or FROG. I had never heard it before in my life.

He was astonished.

“Sorry, but we weren’t all about Grace and Mercy like you Baptists,” was my response.

“Oh, that’s right,” Tad said, “You were all about losing your salvation.”

“No, no,” I corrected, “We were all about . . .”

I threw my head back and in my best Mel Gibson/Braveheart voice yelled:


Because I knew topping off the discussion with a war-hero, action movie reference would make me a shoe-in for the win.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

No "L"

An example of white trash Christmas decor:

It was propped up in someone's yard, lit like a marquee by thousands of appropriately colored lights.

And I struggled to understand its meaning. Come, follow my thought process:

What? Bad "L"? Wrong "L"?

No, it has to be No "L". No . . . no Leh, leh, lesbians?

That doesn't make sense. Why would someone say no to lesbians and not gays?

Then maybe it's No LGBTs?

No. People aren't that cruel . . . are they?

No . . . No Lawyers?

Why would someone say that?

Good point. Maybe they hate a certain family whose last name starts with "L". Like No Linderman's Allowed!


No Loitering? That one is at least plausible.

Or maybe it's not a letter thing at all. Maybe that "L" is really a right angle. Like No 90 Degrees! As though they're cheering for the cold.

. . .

I cannot be this stupid. Think, think, THINK!

No "L"
No "L"
No "el"
No el



Friday, December 11, 2009

Honeymoon's Over: Day 237

Him: Do you still like our Christmas tree?

Her: Yeah, do you?

Him: Yeah. I'll like it even more when I add a few additional ornaments.

Her: Nope.

Him: Yeah, it'll be awesome.

Her: Nope, there's no room.

Him: I'll sneak them on when you don't know so that you won't notice.

Her: Oh, I'll notice.

Him: I'm not so sure. Well, maybe only the ones that make noises when you turn the lights on.

Her: Then I guess I'll have to put your action figures in weird poses*.
*Overly effeminate or childlike stances that are strikingly unmasculine

Him: Nooooooooooooooooo!

Her: Yes.

Him: That's not proportional.

Her: That's very proportional.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Recipe: Sweet Basil Turkey Burgers

Introducing my first ever mostly my own recipe!

I’m a wimp, relying on tried and true concoctions and Betty Crocker-backed guarantees for my baking and cooking inspiration. But not today! Today, I present my very own recipe:

Sweet Basil Turkey Burgers

Sounds so menu-worthy, does it not?

Serving: makes 2 burgers

Half pound of lean ground turkey
Six shakes of salt
Five shakes of pepper
A penny’s worth of dried basil, plus two shakes
A quarter’s worth of olive oil
Three cloves of garlic
3 T of diced onion (more, if you’re an onion fan)
Blue cheese dressing

In a small bowl, shake in the salt and pepper. In your hand, pour about a penny’s worth of dried basil. Crush with your fingers as you allow it to fall into the bowl. Feel free to add a shake or two more of basil, if you feel up to the challenge. Pour about a quarter’s worth of olive oil into the bowl and swirl it around so that it eats up the salt, pepper and basil.

On a small cutting board, shell three garlic cloves, smack them with the side of your gigantic knife, and mince. Once the garlic is in pieces that you think you can deal with, add it to the bowl of oil and seasonings.

Crumble the meat into the bowl. This probably isn’t necessary. You could probably just dump in the slab as a whole, but I like to think that crumbling it helps it to more easily mix the seasonings into the innermost parts of the meat.

With your BARE HANDS, squish and squash the meat (without gagging) until you either can’t take it anymore or feel as though the mixture is mixed enough (keep in mind you want to have garlic pieces INSIDE the patties and not just outside them).

(Here is a picture to show you what this looks like, though I warn you it is not for pregnant women, small children, or the faint of heart):

Dice a chunk of onion. Feel free to use the same knife and board that you used for the garlic. Set aside (doesn’t that sound SO recipe-ish?).

Divide the meat equally and form into patties. Remember, flatness and thinness is key to avoiding the common patty plump syndrome (a condition in which your patties swell when cooked and turn into balls of meat instead of patties).

In a medium sized skillet (also very official sounding!), on medium heat, place the patties. And, because I am gross and don’t care about safety, I toss the onion in the pan as well, being very careful to keep it away from the juicing meat. (If this is going to kill me, please let me know so that I can have my parents take out a life insurance policy on me. Thank you.)

After about five minutes, flip the patties. And stir around the onions a little (you should poke at the onions every once in awhile as the meat cooks).

After another five or so minutes, flip them again. Once they are done juicing (i.e. juice is no longer pouring from the and the pan has pretty much dried up and turned the juices into crusties), they are done.

Place the patties on hamburger buns.

Turn off the heat and swish around the onions in the crusties at the bottom of the pan. Sounds gross, but you must keep in mind that gravy is really no different.

Top the turkey burgers with a good dose of onion, depending on the consumer’s preference. Drizzle a bit of bottled, store-bought blue cheese over the onions and the burger, keeping in mind that as it heats, it may become runny. So, it’s best to drizzle near the middle of the burger and don’t go overboard with the drizzling.

Put the top of the bun on top of the burger and voila!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Bit About Health and Care and What Happens When the Two Become One

My doctor’s name is Michael Scott. I have never known anything to be as equally awesome and unawesome.

I’ve only visited Michael Scott once. Long, long ago. So, fittingly, I had a freak out moment when I realized that the current calendar year was quickly coming to a close, meaning only one thing:

All that money I had put into health insurance was about to go to waste. Not literally. But figuratively. I had spent an entire year throwing money into a system without taking advantage of its offerings.

So, I scheduled an appointment.

But the thought would not leave me. All that money. And here I am as fit as a fiddle.

And I became enraged. Enraged because the system trapped me. I, along with millions of other policy-holding Americans, throw hundreds if not thousands of dollars into the health insurance pool every year. We do this because we’re terrified not to. We’re terrified that the minute we pass on the offered insurance plan, we’ll find ourselves with purple eyes or a foot growing out of our hand and won’t have the money to get it taken care of let alone the chance to skirt the “preexisting condition” crap.

I got even more angry, thinking about how the relationship is totally one-sided. How I throw money at the insurance companies, trusting that it’s a good investment whether I cash in or not. But do you think they’d take a chance on me in a similar respect? Nope.

So there was my frustration. Knowing I was trapped (and I HATE feeling trapped) in a system that was just screwing me over.

But then I went to see Michael Scott.

Michael Scott is part of a network of clinics all over Fort Wayne called Women’s Health Advantage. And here is what happened….

I showed up at the wrong location. But before you draw any conclusions about me being tossed around from doctor to doctor, parking lot to parking lot, I’ll have you know that it ended up being a wonderful experience.

Women’s Health Advantage has all their files set up ELECTRONICALLY (!). So, when I found out I was in the wrong place, the lady behind the counter simply looked up my file and set me up to meet with a nurse practitioner person (as long as I was okay with that, of course), because she feared that redirecting me to Michael Scott would result in me having to wait a LONG time to see him. He’s a busy man.

So, I accepted the nurse practitioner person. . .

. . . And was done and out of the building in thirty-five minutes.

They didn’t have to go over my past experiences, my family history, my health history. They didn't throw a ton of paperwork at me or roll their eyes or act like I was a bother. They didn’t even have to re-scan my hand to make sure a foot wasn’t there. No, they just handled me as though I had originally scheduled my appointment at THAT location instead of the other one.

All this to say, there are some definite problems with health care. And reform may be the solution. But Tad said something to me a few months ago that I hadn’t experienced until yesterday:

The health care system is fixing itself. We just need to give it time.

I’m okay with that. So long as a foot doesn’t grow out of my hand and I find myself without a Blue Cross or a Blue Shield. (or an Anthem, considering that technically is my provider…not BC/BS).

Friday, December 4, 2009

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Gestures

My dreams of starring in a musical have been crushed. The bad news came this afternoon. Sometime between 2 and 3. In the form of an emailed audition announcement.

Allow me to share the part that dashed my dreams:

AUDITIONS: Auditions will be held at the Arts United Center building on Sunday, January 3rd from 6:00 pm until 10:00 pm. with possible call-backs on Monday, January 4th from 7:00 pm until 10:00 pm. Please call 422-8641 Ext. 226 to sign up to audition. Enter from the back of the A.U.C. to check in. All people auditioning should arrive no later than 6:00 pm and be prepared to dance first. Those auditioning should be prepared to perform a song (16 bars) and provide sheet music in the proper key for the pianist. Everyone should be prepared to dance and sing at the initial audition. Be prepared to stay the entire times listed above.

Emphasis mine.

I don't know what I was thinking. Did I really expect to be in a musical that didn't have dancing? Did I really expect to get off the hook that easily? For decades, local music theatre participants have humiliated themselves at the hand of silly arm gestures and synchronized twirling.Why did I ever think that the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre was the exception?

Aside from the fact that I don't have the slightest when it comes to dance preparation, the annoying truth is that because I'm the new kid, I'd be judged as though I'm supposed to be impressive. As though I'm supposed to run around like those breakdancers on GAP's Christmas commercials. While the house favorites slide by with nothing more than an exaggerated jump accompanied by a rhythmically appropriate shrug.

But they're good enough. Because they've worked with us before.

And thus the circle starts over again. Because some other unsuspecting, big-dreaming soul in the audience will think to themselves, upon seeing the Christmas production-esque choreography, I want to do that! I want to sing the lead role and walk across stage with authority and storm away in disgust only to return in absolute splendor as I'm lowered from the rafters . . . and I can. Oh yes, I definitely can.

And then they'll see the audition notice and realize that they're no Justin Timberlake. And even though they're assuming that, considering the dancing they saw on stage, the JT test mustn't be that daunting, the thought of going up there and accompanying their song with a little jig is just too much.

And the dream will die. Even if they know that they can exaggeratedly jump and rhythmically shrug and synchronically spin with the best of them, the dream will certainly die.

Farewell, dream.

I suppose I'll just stick to acting.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Middle Ages - Music

In 20 days, on the 22nd, I will be 26. It's really not that old; I realize this. But each and every day, I'm finding subtle reminders that I'm approaching the "middle ages". A dark, scary time when I'll no longer be the young blond or the girl with the cute jacket. I'll be the middle-aged lady with X number of kids or the mom-ish looking woman who just so happens to have a cute coat therefore making the normally cute coat very un-cute.

This is what happens during the middle ages. The dark ages.

In the past it has been known to throw entire civilizations into a period of unproductive laziness and wandering and so it will do to me . . .

But I digress.

My most recent reminder that I am quite aged occurred when I decided to relive high school by borrowing a certain CD from the library.

My senior year, I took Art 101 as an elective. I am quite impossible at drawing/painting/smudging, but this was the type of class that handed out A's for effort. So as long as I tried my very best, it didn't matter that my sketch of a shoe looked like a giant turd or that my collage of a campfire on the side of a cliff looked like I had taken and cut up actual pieces of pictures of fire and rock (which I had) or that my watercolor of a snowman ended up being my very best work . . . because you don't have to actually paint anything to create snow.... you just leave blank spots. So that was my painting...a big blank spot with a tiny bit of color for shadowing.

It was awesome.

Anyway, during this class period, our teacher played one CD and one CD only.

Sarah Brightman's La Luna.

I loved it. And here, eight years later, I found myself singing the songs over and over to myself, wishing desperately to hear her sweet voice once again. To be moved by her brilliant compositions and modern way of merging pop music with opera.

So, I went out and got the CD from the library.

But what I got was a dose of reality.

It dates me. It dates me big time. Takes me way back to pop-mania only in a really bad heavily-influenced-by-the-90's way.

Tad said it sounds like something that would play during a dance club scene in The Matrix.

For my honor, I had to disagree.

To hear my guilty pleasure, click here. Popups must be enabled.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Thanksgiving Cake Post

I now present the Triple-Layer Lemon Thanksgiving Cake that sucked three hours from my life (and it wasn't even a vampire).

Three hours. I kid you not. I began at 10pm (thanks to the silly Biggest Loser Where are they now? episode) and wrapped things up at 1am. I have no excuse for my lack of speed aside from my meticulous and perfectionist nature.

(not super pretty, is it?)

Ah, you say, But Amanda isn't the least bit concerned with precision. She could care less about baking times and exact measurements and following recipes.

And to that, I say, Did this Amanda you speak so highly of ever bake a cake?

Why yes, you say, Once or twice maybe. I can't remember; it wasn't very good.

And there, my friends, is the secret ingredient. If Amanda wants her cakes and cookies and pies to be edible, she has to pay VERY CLOSE ATTENTION. No giving in to the A.D.D. that Tad is now agreeing may plague her.

Back to the cake . . .

The majority of the three hours was spent measuring. I'm an obsessive measurer. I've mistaken Baking soda for baking powder before. I know what it's like to add a cup extra of flour. I don't want to make these mistakes ever ever ever again.

The next chunk of the three hours was spent trying to pry two of the cakes from their pans. (No one should EVER be flippant when they tell you to grease and flour a pan. No. They should hold your face between their hands, their eyes as wide as a person who's just seen the devil, and speak the words slowly and intentionally, throwing in words like "tons" and "lots" and "a glob as big as your head" when describing the amount of crisco to use).

But thankfully, despite my A.D.D., I am a very patient person. (please disregard how this phrase makes me sound like I'm mentally insane).

And the last chunk of the three hours was spend frosting the thing so precisely that I swear I only had like ten crumbs the entire time.

Pretty proud of that fact.