Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blue moon

Tonight's New Year's Eve blue moon is the first since 1990. Another won't roll around for another 19 years.

Here's wishing y'all a very Happy New Year!


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Here....we go.....again

I have a blog and know how to use it

Read that and weep, you bitches of commerce.

Remember back a scant six months ago when I said
  • As gawd is my witness...I'll never go without hot water again
  • ?

    Yea. Well.

    Our three thousand dollar
  • Navien Natural Gas On-Demand Hot Water Heater
  • took a gigantic poop last night.

    And the geniuses (and I use that term very sarcastically) at Navien haven't a clue as to how to fix the gawddamned thing.

    Our plumber spent about three hours working on it today. After he exhausted all of his "expertise", he called the company, who proclaimed, after instructing him to turn this valve on and switch that switch off and clean out that tube and push that button three times while turning around seven times and chanting, "It's fixed! It's fixed! It's fixed!" that voila!'s fixed and should be working fine.'s working fine...we get all the water we want...except it's as cold as a well digger's ass in Alaska.

    I actually felt sorry for him...the same plumber, by the way...that installed this particular non-functioning, ridiculously expensive, Rube Goldbergian contraption that's supposed to be energy-efficient to the nth degree.

    Screw you, too, Al Gore!

    Fortunately, it's still under warranty, so even a total replacement is covered.

    Unfortunately, no one is sure of exactly when it'll be fixed...and we're headed into what might be the coldest fucking part of the in temps of a big, fat 0...and below.

    Which means no hot showers. We could do the whole boil-water-on-the-stove-and-fill-the-tub thing...except for the fact that it's so cold that the water will cool off like...really fast.

    I won't say that Navien is a crappy company and that no one in their right mind should by a hot water heater from them.

    But if it's not fixed in a couple of days....


    After two days of tryin to figure the damn thing out, countless calls between our plumber and Navien's tech support (which totally sucks, btw), it's fixed!


    Sunday, December 27, 2009

    Got snow?

    Want some?

've had enough.

    It mostly missed Christmas day, but started Christmas night...and except for a few brief pauses, it hasn't really stopped since.

    It's been great for bird-viewing, though.

    It keeps da boyz pretty entertained, too.

    Santa brought Ziggy a new wireless scanner/copier/printer for Christmas.

    After six hours or so and three calls to India, we discovered that "wireless" is a relative term. It's only wireless if you have a wireless router...which we don't. (Well, hell...who knew? Our wireless mouse works, so....?)

    He finally managed to get it to work...with a wire...but now, my photo uploading thingy is all fucked up with no unfuckedup-ness in sight. (sigh)

    It was a real quiet Christmas here at the River Rat Retreat. Strangely enough, almost too quiet. I don't miss all the hassle of Christmasses-past (Valium, anyone?), but there's gotta be a happy medium somewhere. We weren't able to celebrate with the kids...too much scheduling conflict. Talk about your "nuclear" family...nuclear is right...all blown to hell.
    We are planning a get-together next weekend...providing this fucking snow will just STOP.

    That's kind of...anti-climactic, I guess. See...for me...Christmas is over when it's over. I'm done with it. I even yanked the tree down yesterday.

    I dunno...I'm thinkin somewhere tropical for Christmas next year.

    Wednesday, December 23, 2009

    Like heroin to an addict

    There's a good reason they call it "Satan's Candy"

    Because you're doomed to the very depths of hell when you take that first bite.

    I know it's not for everyone, but if you're at all attracted by the whole sweet/salty have to try this candy.

    The original recipe is
  • here

  • While it sounded incredible, I just couldn't see using anything but a really good Kosher or sea salt. So, in true Pammy-fashion, I tweaked the recipe just the teeniest bit...and then made a double batch.

    Satan's Candy

    2 bags bittersweet...not semi-sweet...chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips)

    2 bags white chocolate chips (I used Nestle Premium White Chocolate Chips)

    2 cup creamy peanut butter (Plain, ole Jif works fine)

    Kosher or sea salt

    Melt the white chocolate chips in a large heat-proof glass bowl, immersed in a dutch oven filled with 2-3 inches of water. Or use a damn double-boiler if you have one. I improvised.

    Stir until smooth. Evenly spread in a thin layer over a large foil-lined cookie sheet and set aside. In the same bowl, melt the bittersweet chocolate chips, stir until smooth, then stir in the peanut butter plus 2 tsp salt.

    When the chocolate and peanut butter are completely mixed and melted, gently spread peanut butter mixture over the white chocolate. Sprinkle the top with more Kosher salt and refrigerate until set. Cut or break into pieces and don't blame me if you gain 5 pounds over the holidays.

    Now, the original recipe added (before sprinkling the top with salt), "Marble with a fork so the white and dark chocolate is attractively swirled."

    Good luck with that.

    I tried it...and wound up just kind of mushing it all together...not so attractively. I think it would have probably worked had I let the chocolate/peanut butter mixture set just a bit before trying to swirl it.

    At any rate, it's easy as pie...but far, far more addicting.

    Merry Chrismoose!


    Monday, December 21, 2009

    Merry' shizzle!

    Send your own ElfYourself eCards

    And...from da boyz...

    Send your own ElfYourself eCards


    Saturday, December 19, 2009


    I've always anticipated Christmas with the intensity of an 8 year old. What can I say? It's a bad case of arrested development, I guess.

    For me, Christmas is all about home and family and friends. And presents. And food. And decorations. "Oooohhhh! Sparkly!"

    I love decorating, though I really haven't done much this year. I love finding just the perfect presents for each family member...that's the most fun of all, I think. The food...well, obviously I love it all.

    And...well...I love getting presents, too. There. I admit it.

    For some reason, I've managed to pretty much ignore the rampant commercialism that surrounds Christmas. Oh...sometimes, I just have to say, "What the fuck?"...but mostly I just let it slide. Why bitch about something you have absolutely no chance of changing?

    For the last 20 years, though...well...Christmas has been bittersweet.

    Twenty years ago today, I lost my dad. It brings tears to my eyes to type that. On the other hand, thinking about what he'd say about what I just typed makes me smile.

    I can just hear him..."You LOST me? What the hell?? What did I teach you about losing things??."

    See, dad had a rather...ah...unusual...sense of humor. You couldn't have a serious conversation with him if your life depended on it. It absolutely infuriated my mom...which always made me happy. Ah, but that's a story better left for another time.

    I could get all maudlin here and tell you what a great guy my dad was. How scary-smart he was for only having a sixth-grade education...and how funny...and how stubborn and mule-headed. And I could tell you how much he'd have found a kindred spirit in da Zigster...he'd have loved him. And I could tell you that he would have adored his great-granddaughter every bit as much as he adored his granddaughter.

    But he'd hate it that I got maudlin.

    So I'll just say, "I miss you somethin awful, Daddy".


    Thursday, December 17, 2009

    Morning has broken... the first morning...

    The sunrise this morning was magnificent. I had to run out onto the my grab a couple photos.



    Tuesday, December 15, 2009

    All in a day's work

    But I don't usually make the paper for doing it

    That would be me there...on the right...finishing up an H1N1 vaccination.

    We whipped through about 500...not 400 like the
  • story
  • 2.5 hours this morning. I'm tellin ya...we've got it down to a science.

    I wasn't sure I'd make the clinic this morning. I got in the car and started down the road, only to discover that my car wouldn't...go. Well, it'd go, but it wouldn't shift.

    Thankfully, da Zigster's on vay-cay this week, so I headed back home and jumped in the Man-Van, instructing him to call the dealer to see when we could get it in.

    Come to find out, some little...critter...chewed on a bunch of the wiring while it sat in the driveway this past weekend, disabling the speedometer. If the speedometer won't work, it doesn't register that the car is it doesn't shift.


    Anywho, I'm all fixed up again and ready to roll.


    Monday, December 14, 2009

    Need a laugh?

    Check out the captions.

    I laughed myself silly. Ah...sillier. heh


    Things that work

    In today's world of scams and miracle claims and cheaply-made, imported crap, it's great to find products that actually do what they claim they do.

    I figure they're worth mentioning, so I will...from time to time.

  • Squirrel Be Gone Bird Feeder
  • works.

    We love feeding the birds in the winter. And, while the squirrels are fun to watch, they can clean out a bird feeder faster than
  • Jim-Bob's
  • family at an all you can eat buffet.

    The little bastards can chew through heavy plastic, bend metal and in general, figure out a way to get into just about anything if they think there's food in it. Smart little buggers. Squirrels, I mean. Not Jim-Bob's family. heh

    After throwing away a multitude of chewed up, bent and otherwise squirrel-damaged bird feeders, we finally discovered one that really keeps 'em stymied.

    The design is crazy-simple. When a fat-ass squirrel tries to climb up on it, the spring-loaded metal casing slides down over the holes sealing 'em shut. Birds aren't heavy enough to trigger the springs, so they can feed without a problem.

    And it seems that once the squirrels figure out that they can't filch the food, they stop trying. Mostly.

    I have a couple of photos of a stymied squirrel...unfortunately, after playing with my template over the weekend, I've somehow lost my "Post a Photo" ability.

    Fuck. Back to the drawing board.

    Thank gawd for Blogger forums. A simple switch back to "old editor" fixed the photo problem.


    Saturday, December 12, 2009

    New look

    Same old shit

    Good gawd. I'd rather have my girly-parts waxed with hydrochloric acid than mess with my template.

    Unfortunately, it had to be done.

    See...last night, I logged in to Haloscan to check my pretty-much nonexistent comments, only to discover that Haloscan has been/will soon be taken over by something called "Echo", a commenting system that charges for the service. Of course.

    Now, I wouldn't have minded so was only like 10 bucks a year...but after signing up, I discovered that it was clunky and junky and not at all user-friendly...for a Luddite like me, anyway.

    In other words, there was no "If you want to do (whatever), click here." kind of instructions. In fact, it took me a good hour to figure out exactly where the damn "moderate comments" doo-dad was. Of course, it didn't say "moderate comments"...or even anything that would translate as that.

    Fuck that shit.

    Soooo, this morning, I girded my non-waxed-in-hydrochloric-acid loins, dived into Mr. Template and attempted to remove the offending Echo crap and switch back to Blogger comments.


    Let's just say it was easier to ditch the whole fuckin mess and start over.

    So I did.

    Fortunately, I've finally figured out how to add my links back in...or most of 'em, anyway. Unfortunately, I've thus far been unable to figure out how to add my little blogger awards and other doo-hickeys to the sidebar.

    Screw it.

    I need a martini.


    Thursday, December 03, 2009

    Oh, yah...

    Coulda told 'em dat, fer maiden name is Peterson, yah?

    You Are Swedish

    You are a very unique and interesting person. There aren't many like you, and your kind is a bit of a dying breed.

    While you fit inside the mainstream, you are an outlier. You have your own unique words and expressions that many people don't understand.

    You wish more people appreciate you for who you are. You are like an undiscovered indie rock band or an underrated type of cuisine.

    You are beautiful, fascinating, and expressive in your own way... if only people would stop and take the time to listen.

    Snagged from the lovely
  • Leslie
  • Labels:

    Wednesday, December 02, 2009

    From brain to bowl

    Just call me "The Barefoot River Rat"

    I'm not normally a big soup eater. I'm really more of a meat-and-taters kinda gal. But I loooove to make soup. I think it's because, even more than most other foods, soup is creative. You can make soup out of damn near anything. And it can be as complicated or as simple as you want to make it.

    See, there's been this pound of Italian sausage hangin out in my freezer for longer than it should have been. It looked at me accusingly every time I reached in there for a package of chicken or a beef roast.

    Imagine that that little package of Italian sausage could talk. It'd sound just like Joe Pesci's Nicky Santoro character in
  • Casino

  • "When the fuck you gonna use me, asshole? You shit-kicking, stinky, horse-manure-smellin' motherfucker you. You don't use me, I'll stick you in a hole in the fuckin' desert."

    Mmm...ok. I've got an over-active imagination. So sue me.

    I also had some shrink-wrapped
  • gnocchi
  • in the pantry that I've been wanting to use, but could never decide on a recipe to try.

    Since we're breathlessly awaiting the first snow of the season (fuckitall) and I love all things Italian, I figured some kinda Italian soup might just hit the spot.

    And it'd get that damned Italian sausage off my back.

    Pammy's Gnocchi Soup

    1 lb. loose Italian sausage, browned and drained
    1 lg. can crushed tomatoes
    1/2 lg. onion, diced
    1 C baby carrots, sliced
    3 C fresh spinach, roughly chopped
    1 T dried celery flakes
    1 t dried basil
    1/2 t dried thyme
    3 small bay leaves (don't forget to fish 'em out before serving!)
    3 large garlic cloves, (or to your taste) grated
    Sprinkle of red pepper flakes (or as spicy as you want it)

    1 T Kitchen Bouquet and 4-5 C water (you could use beef broth or veggie stock...I didn't have any)

    1 lb. potato gnocchi

    Brown the onion in a little olive oil. Add the garlic, celery flakes, red pepper flakes basil and thyme. Throw in the drained sausage. Add the tomatoes, Kitchen Bouquet and water or stock, carrots and bay leaves. Simmer for...a while...I dunno...the longer, the better.

    Throw in the spinach and continue to simmer.

    When you think the flavors have melded (a couple hours or so, I guess...what? I look like Giada fuckin DeLaurentiis?), bring it up to a boil, add the gnocchi and cook until they float.

    Serve it up in bowls with a little sprinkle of freshly grated parm on top and some nice, crusty bread.

    It's good. It's good for you. Well...except for the sausage. And...uh...the potato gnocchi. But makes your house smell like Joe Pesci's mama's.

    I guess.

    I've never smelled Joe Pesci's mama's house. But it's what I imagine it would smell like. heh

    Labels: ,

    Tuesday, December 01, 2009


    One of my favorite movies, too

    Tonight's moon is coming up pretty much exactly where the sunrise is these days. Odd, that. Or not. I dunno. Do I look like an astronomer? heh I just thought it was really pretty.

    That's Amore
    In Napoli where love is king
    When boy meets girl here's what they say

    When the moon hits you eye like a big pizza pie
    That's amore
    When the world seems to shine like you've had too much wine
    That's amore
    Bells will ring ting-a-ling-a-ling, ting-a-ling-a-ling
    And you'll sing "Vita bella"
    Hearts will play tippy-tippy-tay, tippy-tippy-tay
    Like a gay tarantella

    When the stars make you drool just like a pasta fazool
    That's amore
    When you dance down the street with a cloud at your feet
    You're in love
    When you walk down in a dream but you know you're not
    Dreaming signore
    Scuzza me, but you see, back in old Napoli
    That's amore

    (When the moon hits you eye like a big pizza pie
    That's amore
    When the world seems to shine like you've had too much wine
    That's amore
    Bells will ring ting-a-ling-a-ling, ting-a-ling-a-ling
    And you'll sing "Vita bella"
    Hearts will play tippy-tippy-tay, tippy-tippy-tay
    Like a gay tarantella

    When the stars make you drool just like a pasta fazool)
    That's amore
    (When you dance down the street with a cloud at your feet
    You're in love
    When you walk down in a dream but you know you're not
    Dreaming signore
    Scuzza me, but you see, back in old Napoli)
    That's amore
    Lucky fella

    When the stars make you drool just like a pasta fazool)
    That's amore
    (When you dance down the street with a cloud at your feet
    You're in love
    When you walk down in a dream but you know you're not
    Dreaming signore
    Scuzza me, but you see, back in old Napoli)
    That's amore, (amore)
    That's amore

    Great. Now I'll have that stuck in my brain for 3 days.