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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Tight and Fluffy

The rolo cookie recipe said, “Beat one cup sugar, brown sugar and butter until ight and fluffy.”
I decided to fix the typo but I was on the phone and distracted so I just added a “t” in front of “ight.” Later when I was attempting to make the cookies (for the third time), I kept giggling when I would read “Beat…until tight and fluffy.”

And then it made me think of that song, “Ridin’ Dirty” so I made up my own lyrics:

They see me bakin’
They hatin'
Makin’ Mistakins
Tryin’ to make ‘em tight and fluffy
Tryin’ to make ‘em tight and fluffy
Tryin’ to make ‘em tight and fluffy

So the real question is, did they turn out tight and fluffy? Yes! They were cookie exchange worthy:

Were they as good as Mandy’s? No. Not even close. But still…they were pretty good. And while most of them looked lovely, like these:

There were some that would have fit in better at a trailer park cookie exchange, like these:

But really, the best part of the cookie exchange was getting to eat everyone else’s cookies:

Look at those!! I got to take them home!
Now that is what I call tight and fluffy.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Bad Bakinggal: She’s BACK!

Well, it’s been almost a year since the Rolo Cookie Catastrophe of 2005 and it’s taking me about that long to muster up the courage to bake them again.

My motivation? A cookie exchange on Granbury Dr. that’s happening tonight. I was instructed to bake five dozen cookies, bring them, divide them up amongst the other girls and I would come home with several varieties of cookies. (Thankfully, I’m not in charge of the math formula.)

I was sure I could bake them correctly this time because I had all the right ingredients. I would not substitute. Plus, I would prepare ahead and make the dough on Sunday, bake them on Tuesday so if they didn’t turn out, I would have time to re-do.

As Cul de Sac Carrie said this morning, “It’s Re-Do Wednesday.”

That’s right. My cookies did not turn out! Look at them!

You might think they look okay but that’s only because you haven’t seen Mandy’s Rolo Cookies. First of all, hers are dark chocolate. Second of all, they don’t stick to the baking pan like mine do (and I even greased it!) And third of all (and most important), hers taste good!

So I had a cookie conference call with Mandy this morning. She made some suggestions. Instead of using cocoa in the blocks I need to buy the powdered kind. Instead of using butter I should try Crisco. And instead of using dark brown sugar I should use light brown. I had both kinds but since the recipe didn’t specify I went with dark because the cookies are dark. When I told Mandy my brown sugar rationalization she said, “Oh, you poor thing.”

After Frank tried them last night he said, “At what point do you just buy cookies to exchange?”

Never! I will not give up! I’m trying again today and I will succeed with the Rolo Cookies! And if that doesn’t work, well, who doesn’t like Chips Ahoy?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


When Frank and I first met one of his female pals asked him, “So what does she look like?” Frank said, “She’s short and blonde” and the girl said, “Yep, she fits your profile.” Frank responded, “That’s right. She’s pro.”

And thus one of our favorite phrases was born: Pro Girls.

When Frank says “pro girls” he means petite blondes. You know, your Reese Witherspoons, Kristen Bells and, now that she’s of legal age, your Hilary Duffs. But, as Frank will explain, the term “pro girls” is not exclusive to this type of lady (or teeny bopper). Your “pro” can be whatever you want it to be. Maybe you’re a girl who likes tall, hairy men from Kazakhstan. Maybe you’re a guy who likes portly, 50+ receptionists. You can get as specific or as general as you want with your pro.

“That’s the beauty of pro,” Frank always says. “Everybody has one and everybody is one.”

Here are some ways you can incorporate “pro” into your daily vernacular:

“Hey, look at that guy over there, he’s pro.” (note: if YOU’RE the one saying it, you mean that he’s YOUR pro.)

If the object is your friend’s pro, you would say this:

“Oh, that exotic-looking girl with the wrist tattoo is so your pro.”

“Hey, pro girls!” (what Frank would yell if he were to walk into a theater showing a Mary Kate/Ashley movie).

“He’s sort of pro except he has a nose ring.”

“Sport Clips. Where the pro girls work.” (Frank, before he gets a hair cut).

Sometimes we don’t have to say anything at all. Sometimes I just hit Frank and that means there’s a pro girl around. My intention is to hit him for looking at another girl but he thinks I’m just giving him a head’s up.

We’ve been using the term for over seven years now and we’re really pleased with how it’s sweeping the nation. But still, if you haven’t started using it, feel free to do so now.

It’s the one “pro” we can all agree on. It’s not controversial because it doesn’t come in front of “choice” or “life” or “war” or “carbs” or “bono.” It’s just pro. And it only works if you identify yours and seek it out. Or as they say, “Once you know your pro, find yours and go.”

Monday, November 27, 2006

Monday MOOsings

Eating is like shaving. If you suddenly start shaving your pinky finger then it will want to be shaved all the time. Since I started eating non-stop on Thursday I must be fed all the time. It's like I've got one hairy pinky finger.

On that note, let's compare and contrast my Thanksgiving dishes:

Green Bean Casserole:



Pretty close except they have their fried onions decorating the edge. I like mine all blended up in there.

Corn Casserole:



Mirror images I tell you. And it was a big hit too!

Mashed Potatoes:



*Mashed potatoes actually made by Cookinggal's mom. They look pretty professional!

Pumpkin Pie:



Mine looked a little brown to me but still tasted good. Crust was a little too flakey.

Mini Cheesecakes:



I don't care if these aren't pretty; they tasted awesome! I say ten of them equals one piece so if you look at it that way, I only had a piece and a half.

And here's my salad although I don't have anything to compare it too.

Thanks for the recipe, Stefanie Richter! It was delicious, though not as good as yours.

After we ate we needed some exercise so Grandma demonstrated the crab walk.

Smelling the food from three streets over, Luke the beagle decided to escape from his backyard and join us. We returned him promptly but not before he left us a little gift in our backyard. Frank found it on his shoe the next day.

Writing about all this food is making me hungry. Better go shave that hairy pinky finger!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Tales from the Fridge

I don’t know about you, but I love looking in other people’s fridges. When we were house hunting, that’s one thing I always did—open the fridge. I guess I felt like it gave me some insight into the person.

So what does my fridge say about me?

a). That I’m the mother to six hungry teenage boys?
b). That I’ve turned into my roommate circa 2000-2001?
c). That I’m hosting Thanksgiving tomorrow?

Trick question. The answer is actually “d” (“both b and c). Yes, I’m hosting Thanksgiving but I’ve also turned into my roommate. (If you’re reading this I’m not criticizing you. Promise.) She loved to cook and always had a full fridge like this. In fact, every time I opened it, I could count on something (or some things) falling out.

Yesterday that happened in my fridge. Every time Frank opened it this dip would fall out. That’s when I realized that I had morphed into her. Brought me back to 2000-2001.

Back then, at the turn of the century, I would have NEVER dreamed of hosting Thanksgiving. I wouldn’t even dream of making something for dinner besides a sandwich.

Enter Cookinggal 2006. I’ve already cleaned the house, set the table and made place cards. Of course, all I’ve managed to cook are 36 mini cheesecakes. I only had one muffin pan so they had to go in shifts. Now they’re hidden away in various nooks and crannies in my over-stocked fridge.

And every time I open it, a container of those darn mini cheesecakes falls out. Ah, to be 23 again.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

CookingGal Takes on Thanksgiving (Again)

Remember last year when I announced that I would be taking on Thanksgiving? It was the day before T-giving when I wrote that blog and I was talking about how that day I was going to clean and the next day I was going to cook. Ha!! CookingGal 2006 laughs at CookingGal 2005. Here’s what I know now:

-Cleaning should start the weekend before the guests arrive
-Most of the cooking should be complete by the day before
-The table should be set two days before
-Nobody wants a healthy Thanksgiving

So with my lessons from last year tucked away in my brain, here’s what’s on the menu this year:

Turkey: Frank is the grilling captain again.

Green Bean Casserole: It’s a classic, a favorite, a Thanksgiving tradition yet I’ve never made nor do I think I’ve ever even had it! My old palette wouldn’t have liked it.

Mashed Potatoes: These aren’t just “a” favorite, they’re MY favorite. In junior high I used to bring 50 cents for lunch every day and just get mashed potatoes. Then I would ask everyone around me if they were going to finish theirs. (Although it wasn’t until this week I realized that they’re called “Mashed.” I always said it minus the ‘ed.’)

Corn Casserole: Because Frank only had one request: something with corn

Stuffing: My mom is making it and bringing it (this year I’m not having anyone make anything in my kitchen. Too many questions for CookingGal.)

Salad: I’m making my friend Stefanie Richter’s famous sugary pecan salad; I’ve tried it twice but haven’t gotten it quite right so we’ll see.

And for dessert?
Mini-cheesecakes: My grandma is coming and this is something she makes. I got the recipe from Jenny Johansson. Mmmm…tiny cheesecakes.

Pumpkin pie: I’m not messing with the two layers this time; just the pumpkin and the store-bought crust.

Okay, so just like last year, I’ll take photos of my creations and compare and contrast (probably more contrast than compare) the professional images with mine.

We’ll have twelve at our table this year. Hey, it’s sort of like the Last Supper! (Except with more food and hopefully not all that biblical betrayal.)

Join me tomorrow for a day-before-Thanksgiving update!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Why Fergie Doesn't Rock (not one bit)

I was driving home from teaching cycle, thinking of what I should muse about today when I heard quite possibly the worst song ever written and performed. Fergie’s Fergalicious. Now this is quite a title I’m bestowing on Ms. Ferguson because since 1997, I have always considered “Around the World” by Daft Punk to be the worst song ever written and performed. Here, maybe if I print the lyrics to that one you’ll remember it:

Around the World, Around the World (repeat 142 more times).

That’s it. Those are the lyrics. And I’m not lying about them saying it 144 times. Someone actually counted. Since I hate repetitive things, you can see why that song would irk me. I just can’t imagine the meeting where that song got the go-ahead:

Band: “Check it out, we’ve got this new song. We’ve been up all night finishing the lyrics.” They get out of the voice box and begin to chant “Around the World, Around the World…”

Studio execs: “That’s genius! And catchy too! Let’s release it right away.”

I mean, why do they even bother to say those three words? Where are they going around the world? Are they making stops in cool cities? Is it like “Been around the world and I-I-I, I can’t find my baby?” Now that makes sense.

But back to Ferg: Here is how she usurped the throne after nine years:

Fergalicious (so delicious)
But I ain't promiscuous
And if you was suspicious
All that **** is fictitious
I blow kisses (mmmwwahhh)
That puts them boys on rock, rock
And they be lining down the block just to watch what I got (four, tres, two, uno)

So delicious (It's hot, hot)
So delicious (I put them boys on rock, rock)
So delicious (they wanna slice of what I got)
Fergalicious (t-t-t-t-t-tasty, tasty)

So you’re thinking, “Aw, that’s kinda cute. She’s delicious but not promiscuous. Sweet. And I like it when she blows kisses.”

But did you know she's 31? 31! This song is for three-year-olds. My biggest fan Avery is probably a Fergie fan.

What I really want to know is what does her hot boyfriend, Josh Duhamel think?

Does he listen to that song and say, “That’s right! You ARE Fergalicious! Sing it again!”

I mean, he knows it’s stupid, right? I can only hope they sit around at home and say, “These songs are so ridiculous but you’ve totally cornered the under-four crowd! We’ve got them all fooled!”

I have to think that similar conversations are going on at Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale’s house. I mean, that guy’s an actual musician. He can’t think that B-A-N-A-N-A-S is real music.

I know; I sound like an old curmudgeon but I’m actually younger than both of these women! And I just hate to see the day when Avery is dancing around to “How come every time you come around, my London, London bridge, wanna go down…”

I’ll take “Around the World” 144 times over that any day.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Writinggal, Unleashed

Besides miracle babies, there's another species I don't hate: dogs. Many people think I hate them because:

a). I don't have one
b). I become terrified when I'm around them

(It's still puzzling how this misconception developed.)

So just to clarify, I don't HATE all dogs. I like certain dogs and I don't like certain dogs. It's a case by case basis. I feel the same way about humans.

In fact, to prove my adoration for canines I've even become a part-time dog walker. Today, for instance, I'm going to walk Cul de Sac Carrie's dogs, Jaxx and Katie:

Yes, two dogs at once! Their leashes get tangled up, they stop to eat acorns every couple of steps and you don't even wanna know what happens if one of them spots a bunny rabbit.

Here are my rules for my dog walking business:
--I don't pick up poop
--I don't accept payment in the monetary form (maybe a glass of wine or something)
--The dogs must listen to my stories (I don't have anyone else to talk to during the day.)
--I always give treats afterwards

The other day three of us walked Thabo, the 150-pound Rhodesian Ridgeback. And I thought Jaxx and Katie had a lot of poop!

When I first met Thabo, I'll admit, I was frightened. (He wasn't in costume.) This fear stems from when I used to run around neighborhoods a lot. You wanna talk about a species hating another species--dogs hate runners. This is not a case by case basis. They always chase them. So after being chased and harassed by my fair share of dogs (and owners passively saying, "Down boy," as their dogs trampled me), I did develop a bit of a fear. This causes me to sometimes unfairly judge dogs before I've had a chance to get to know them.

As it turns out, Thabo is very calm and sensitive--even if he does at first appear to be a killer.

So I've made a lot of breakthroughs with the neighborhood dogs. The biggest one being winning over Katie (pictured above with brother Jaxx). When I first went to walk the two of them, Katie wouldn't even come near me. She just barked like crazy and wouldn't even let me walk her. Now (after lots of treats), she's my buddy. She comes right up to me. In fact, I think she and Avery Clayton are gonna have to duke it out over who's gonna be president of my fan club.

Who's not vying for the job of Vice Prez? Sophie.

She has a "professional" dog walker who actually picks up poop, accepts money and doesn't make her listen to stories of her cart crusade. Although I'm pretty sure Sophie's walker gives her treats.
It's pretty standard in our biz.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

It’s Beginning to Sound a lot like Christmas

There I was driving around in my car with the top down—wearing shorts and sunglasses—and what do I hear when I turn on the radio? The Carpenters’ Christmas song. You know the one… “Merry Christmas, Darling…” and something about the logs on the fire filling her with desire. (Hello? TMI)

So it’s November 16th and it’s already started: The endless Christmas music on the light rock station. Hey, I love me a good Please Come Home for Christmas (Bon Jovi version); MariahCareyMerryChristmas always rocks, Britain’s version of We are the World is a good one; I even like the classics like 50 Cent’s Little Drummer Boy.

But it’s too early even for me. I mean, I’m still putting up my sun visor thing in the car! And the poor DJs! How do they stand it?

Give me at least until the day after Thanksgiving. Then I’ll get into it. I’ll even make the light rock station one of my pre-sets. Okay, fine. It’s already a pre-set. But I’ll play it non-stop from November 24th-December 25th. Until then, though, ain’t no logs on the fire gonna fill me with desire.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Duped by the Dip

First it was Dr. Praeger. Then Dr. Oz. Now the salty snack empire that Frank works for has tricked me.

Frank brought home this yet-to-hit-the-shelves dip called “Creamy Southwestern Ranch.” It’s like a combo queso/ranch. I know what you’re thinking. Why didn’t they think of this before? It's genius.

So I used it on our fish tacos and I got really brave and looked at the nutritional label. I saw that a serving size was 2 Tbsp and in my head I thought, “don’t be more than 150 calories…don’t be more than 150…” and to my surprise, it said “10.” I read it over and over again: Still 10.

“OHMYGOSH! It’s a dip miracle!” I thought. So strong was my jubilation that I began to put this stuff on everything:

Omelettes with Creamy Southwestern Ranch.
Salads with Creamy Southwestern Ranch.
Pretzels dipped in Creamy Southwestern Ranch.
Sandwiches spread with Creamy Southwestern Ranch.
My spoon covered in Creamy Southwestern Ranch (You know, like a soup).

I was really piling it on because I thought, “It’s only 10 calories for every 2 tbsp!”

I even called my sister and told her about it. She said, “Save me some for Thanksgiving!” I asked Frank if he could find out when it was hitting the shelves and if he could get more samples. I got my answer (January) and a whole new jar of it!

But then—and I think you know where this is going—I got suspicious. I was reading my Diabetic Living magazine (no, I’m not one but I write about it on TV…well not on TV but I write about it) and it had a hint for diabetics when they’re eating out: It said, “Watch out for descriptions that say ‘creamy.’”

Hmmm…my new fave dip says creamy. Then when I was at the store I started thinking how this particular salty snack empire always slaps a green sticker on everything that’s even remotely healthy. There was no green sticker on my dip/salad dressing/sandwich spread/soup.

So when Frank brought the other jar home the other night I shared my suspicions with him. I checked the label again. Yep. Still said ten calories. Frank said, “Well, how much is in Salsa?” We checked the salsa. Also ten calories. And everyone knows salsa is like the healthiest food you can eat. Better than broccoli. Surely, my beloved CSR dip could not be as healthy as broccoli.

And then--and this totally proves that we just see what we want to see--I saw it. The big sticker slapped across the nutritional label: FPO.

“FPO!!” I screamed. “It says FPO!!”
“What does FPO mean?” Frank asked.

Luckily, I know from my advertising days: For Placement Only.

These were placeholder nutritional facts! They probably came from the salsa!

So now I’ve got two jars of the stuff. I'll still eat it sometimes. I mean, I can't go cold turkey. Speaking of, now I have plenty for my sis at Thanksgiving. Shhh...don't tell her our little secret.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

In Sogginess and in Health

Frank—or the man formerly known as a cruncher—has become a sogger.

I’m not sure how it happened. Maybe he watched how I would enjoy my soggy cereal everyday and got a bad case of cereal envy.

(Writinggal's Cereal)

All I know is that he used to say “WHEN” as soon the milk hit the bowl (why do we say “when” anyway?) Now he says, “a little more…a little more…” and lately he just wants me to drown his cereal in milk. (Yes, I pour his cereal for him every morning.)

Now his cereal looks like this:

(As you can see I’ve even managed to sneak some blueberries in there.)

While I’m thrilled that he’s getting more calcium, I have to wonder, can a sogger-sogger marriage really last? We used to have the perfect sogger-cruncher relationship and now it’s like we’re the same person.

But if we’re the same person and that same person is me, I think I can handle that.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Monday Musings

Just got back from teaching cycle where someone said, “We all think you have methamphetamine in your water bottle!” Another person told me all about her liposuction and boob lift.

Ah, conversations like that can only mean one thing: must be Monday morning with the Frisco housewives. Love those gals.


One week and two days until my Grandma arrives at my house! I’ve hosted Thanksgiving many times but never have I had Grandma Lib as a guest. I put a night light in her room and I’m planning on picking up a gallon of pimento cheese later this week. Should be all set.

When I spoke with her last week I said that on the night before Thanksgiving we’ll just grab something to eat like at Chick Fil-a. She said she would treat because “that would be quite economical.”


Saw the Borat movie. Loved it. High Fiiiiiive!! (Now I finally know what Thea’s been talking about.)


I’ve got a new fan: It’s Avery Clayton, age 2 and ½. She and her mom, Alicia, were going to the airport to pick up Alicia’s mom (Nana) and Alicia asked Avery, “Do you know who we’re going to pick up?” Avery said, “Elsa!” Alicia said that makes me cool because I’m on the same level as Nana.

But this really solidified it: When Alicia asked Avery what she would name a puppy if they got one, she replied, “Baby Elsa.”

Yes. Having a dog named after me is totally flattering. I better watch it or I’ll get an inflated ego.

Too late.



That’s how close we are to $100. I think if you guys can click on ads this week, we should get there before Christmas. Then I’ll start making plans for the HUGE $100 blow out.

Just think of all the boxes of wine I can buy!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Robe if you Want to

In TV Shows, whenever people wake up in the middle of the night and have to answer their door unexpectedly, they always throw on a robe. But I don't think we do that in real life anymore and I think I know why: Victoria Secret went and made the old terry cloth robe sexy.

For instance, who wears their robe like this?

Thanks to her, everybody thinks robes are sexy and now they can’t throw them on in a pinch.

Sometimes we stay at hotels that offer robes. It doesn’t happen often because let’s face it, “La Quinta” is not Spanish for “free robes.” So when we get 'em, we capture the moment:

Even Frank gets into the spirit!
But see? We're saying, "Hey, I just got out of the shower. I'm all bundled up because it's cold and I'm going to get ready for the evening now. Thanks."
But what is this girl saying?
"I was just lounging on this futon in my robe when someone knocked on the door. I yelled 'Come in!' and then I struck this pose. I wish more of my leg would show though. "
And what about this girl?
"I love my pink robe but sometimes I'm like, 'what about my feet and calves? They're cold too.' So I wear these pajama-style UGGs. They're great. My thighs still show and I don't have to wear a moo-moo."
Sometimes men try to get robe-sexy too:
"I wonder if the girl on the futon will dig me in this robe. Should I put both hands in the pockets? Should I show some chest hair?"
Now this lady, she knows how to wear a robe!

"I'm going to get the morning paper. I feel comfortable AND I won't give the neighbors a peep show. I'm classy but not frumpy."
I've had the same white, hooded terry cloth robe since I graduated high school. I'm thinking of getting a new one. Will I get the morning-paper-lady one? Nah. I'm totally going for that cute, calf-length pink number.
And maybe some pajama-style UGGs to go with it.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

One Flu Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

“Weidmans don’t get sick,” my dad always told me. And that was true. I rarely got sick growing up and I can count on three fingers the amount of days I’ve called in sick to work (and one of those days I wasn’t even sick; I just didn’t feel like cold calling all day for Don.)

But then I became a Simcik and I guess that Weidman immune system went away. In February ’05 I got the flu. When a person who never gets sick actually does get sick, it’s the worst. We’re not good patients.

Despite Frank’s effort to shield himself from my germs (he sprayed Lysol on everything I touched), he got it too. Then we were both miserable. I remember I had to take video defensive driving while I was sick. That’s torture even when you’re healthy.

So this year we decided to get flu shots. Frank’s company sent around a flyer saying they would cover them. The flyer said, “Get a flu shot, it’s on us!”

Employees could get free ones at work and spouses had to go through all this ric-a-ma-roll (as my grandma would say) to get one. It said if I went in-network, they’d cover it 100% and there would be “no claims to file or fees to be paid on your part.” If I went out-of-network, they would cover it but I had to pay for it up front and file a claim.

Obviously, I wanted to go in-network but since I never get sick, I don’t even have a doctor. So here are some conversations I had yesterday:

Me, to myself, “Oh, here’s a good doctor. He’s close to our house. Dr. Gates. Maybe he could be our doctor forever. Frank will get sick and I’ll say, ‘Better call Dr. Gates!’ Then I’ll take Frank there and the nurse will say, ‘Hi, Elsa. We hardly ever see you anymore; I guess it’s because you never get sick. Well, can’t wait to see you at the doctor’s Christmas party!’”

Me, calling Dr. Gates to initiate life-long relationship: “Hi, I’m a new patient and I need a flu shot.”
Receptionist: “We’re all out. Have you tried the grocery stores?”

What? Am I destined to a life of relying on the pharmacist as my doctor?

I gave up on finding a long-term doctor and just called a ghetto health clinic:

GHC: “We can give you a flu shot but we ain’t filing no insurance claim. You best just pay for it. You can use a money order though.”

Then I called another regular doctor that said they were taking new patients. Turned out they were really taking new patients:

Dude at the money-hungry doctor’s office: “So you just want a flu shot? Well, here’s what we’ll do. I’ll make you an appointment and you can come in for a consultation with the doctor, he’ll do a thorough check-up on you and then I’m sure if you ask him for a flu shot, he’ll give you one.”

I don’t think when the flyer said “Get a flu shot, it’s on us,” they meant get a consultation and a thorough check-up while you’re at it. How ‘bout some x-rays?

Where, oh where, could I just get a dang free flu shot??!! Then I noticed on the flyer that it said “Call your plan to find out where to get your free flu shot.”

So I did. I called United Health Care:
Bitter United Lady: “What? I don’t know where you can get a free flu shot. You’ll have to call places in your area to see who’s offering them.”

Me: “But the flyer says to call you and you’ll tell me where to go.”

BUL: “That’s only if you have an HMO. You have Choice Plus.”

Me: “That sounds nice but what does it mean?”

BUL: “It means you have Choice Plus, not an HMO.”

Oh, now it made sense.

Me: “Okay, but I can’t seem to find a doctor in-network who will just give me a flu shot.”

BUL: “Maybe they won’t give you flu shot if they’ve never seen you before.”

Me: “But the grocery stores give flu shots and they’ve only seen me shopping for Kashi! They don’t know anything about my medical history.”

BUL: “If you go to the grocery store that will be out of network.”

Ah!! Where was good old Dr. Gates when I needed him?

So I eventually settled on some random office in one of those indoor-shopping-center type places. They had all these cosmetic procedure flyers in the waiting room. Totally shady. I paid $30.

After all that ric-a-ma-roll I better not get the flu. And if I do, I’m totally just going to see the pharmacist at the grocery store.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Big Change

Well, we suspected it would happen. Things have been the same for awhile and I think everyone was just ready for something different—a shift in power. Of course, this change brings about mixed feelings. Some are happy about it. Some are really angry. We don’t know how this change will affect our daily lives but one thing’s for sure, things will be different. At least that’s what all the networks are predicting. Yes, November 7th was definitely a turning point in history…

...Britney filed for divorce from KFed!

And now that they’re splitsville, both Brit and KFed have asked me to write their personal ads. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

For Brit:
Twice divorced, former pop star with two kids, seeking non-back-up-dancing, employed Southern gentleman. Preferably no children and/or pregnant girlfriends. Access to free Cheetos a plus.

(Yikes. Better strike that last sentence or else she’ll be going after my husband.)

For KFed (or “FedEx” as Perez Hilton has dubbed him):
Rapper, father of four (but possibly more), seeking sugar mama who is ready to get knocked up and has an aversion to shoes. Access to private jet so I can go to Vegas with my biz-oys a plus.

FedEX! You totally rewrote that one. How many times do I have to tell you that Britney is one of a kind? You’re not going to find someone exactly like her.

Jamie Lynn won’t have you.
Aguilera’s married (I’ll call you when that ends.)
Pink’s too tough (and hitched temporarily).

Hey, what about one of the Olsen twins? Nah, Too bony.
Paris Hilton? She’d refuse to use gas station bathrooms. Too high maintenance.
Tara Reid? She’s got some meat on her and I bet she’d prefer to pee at the BP station!
Ah, but too poor. She could barely fund your wife beater wardrobe.

I don’t know what to tell you, F.E. The people have spoken and you’ve been voted out. I can’t explain it. But I think I finally know what they mean when they say “with liberty and justice for all.”

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Bananas on the Brain

Yesterday, as I was eating my second banana of the day I noticed that the end of it was all brown. “Yes,” I said out loud, right before I took a big bite. Then it occurred to me that some people wouldn’t eat the brown part. Me, I prefer ‘em brown. I like my bananas soggy, just like my cereal.

Then I thought about how it was weird that I had already eaten one banana that day and some people might think that’s a lot of bananas. Hey, at least I won’t get a Charlie horse.

Then I noticed the Curious George sticker on the bananas and I thought, “That’s a cute sticker. Maybe I should put it somewhere. Maybe I could like, collect banana stickers.” Then I remembered that my friend Justin already does that so it would be totally unoriginal.

Then I remembered how Cul de Sac Carrie made that awesome banana pudding and tricked me into thinking the whip cream was fat free.

But then I remembered how she redeemed herself by making another banana pudding in a heart-shaped bowl:

Then I thought about how CC sent this email with a list of all the great qualities of bananas. And even though I know it’s lame to cut and paste something into my blog (and thus get out of having to write a very long blog), I’m pretty busy today since I spent so much time eating and thinking about bananas yesterday so check this out:


The banana is a high-energy food:
Bananas contain a high level of easily digestible natural sugars in both their fresh and dried forms, which it releases quickly in the blood stream. So eating bananas helps in keeping your body engine running at peak performance.

Bananas work wonders for dysentery, diarrhea, constipation and piles:
Ripe bananas help relieve diarrhea and dysentery while under ripe bananas counter constipation and piles.

(WG Note: I don't know what piles is but context clues tell me I don't want to)

Bananas help cure stomach ulcers:
The banana has the ability to correct acidity, gastritis and peptic ulcer. It is claimed that the banana stimulates mucus production by stomach lining.

Bananas keeps hypertension at bay:
Research shows that bananas contain certain enzyme inhibitors which are reported to be effective in controlling blood pressure in hypertensive people.

Bananas helps maintain quick reflexes:
Potassium levels in our body drop after strenuous exercise. Tell-tale signs of low potassium include aching muscles, irregular heart beats, slower reflexes and a feeling of confusion. Being rich in potassium, bananas help in maintaining reflexes and keeping confusion at bay.

Bananas combat iron deficiency:
Low levels of iron cause lethargy and weakness. Iron deficiency is common among women and vegetarians. Being iron rich, bananas can easily combat iron deficiency.

Bananas boost immune system:
Being rich in powerful anti-oxidants, Vitamin C and A and zinc, bananas help in boosting the body’s immune system, too.

Back to WG: Then there was this whole section about different beauty treatments you can do with bananas like using them to help your dry skin or your dull, unshiny hair. And although I don’t have any rules about what time of day I can eat things, I’m not really big on rubbing food all over my body—especially bananas. They kinda stink. And I don’t like bringing food into the bathroom. Curious George would totally look at me funny.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Monday Musings

It's so funny how people get anxious around me if they haven't read the blog. I'll see someone outside the blog world (in real life) and I'll say, "Did you see in my blog…?” so that I’m not repeating something they already know like the cart crusade or my DCC tryouts or the Ziploc omelet. But this is what happens:

"No. I'm sorry. I haven't had time to read it because my uncle got this weird infection and his kids were worried they were going to get it too so I had to go take care of them and there are like twelve of them plus two dogs and then it turned out it wasn't an infection but just an allergic reaction to beef jerky..."

Hey, it’s okay. You don't have to read it every day. I know you have a life (sort of).

And speaking of the Ziploc omelet, Safety Dave and his girlfriend, Laura, (who IS a daily blog reader, not that I’m playing favorites), tried it out:

They put in green peppers, onions, garlic, tukey, mozerella, and a little salt & pepper. YUM!

While they were putting the blog into action in Durango, I was bringing a newspaper recipe for fish tacos to life. I took this “beauty shot” (as we say in the biz) of it next to the article:

And here’s me with them (my own version of a beauty shot).

Frank, who doesn’t even like fish because it’s too “fishy,” gave it an eight!


“Hey, what’s that you’re wearing in the fishy picture, Writinggal?” I’m glad you asked. This is a shirt that my sister saved from the lost and found of her high school drama class, circa 1988. I have always loved this shirt and although I rarely wear it, I can never bring myself to throw it out. I’m not the type to have a bunch of clothes in my closet that I don’t wear so this is big for me.

In fact, as you can see, it literally is big for me.


Sometimes people ask me, “Hey, Writinggal, how did you get started as a freelance writer? How did you get magazines/newspapers to publish your stuff?"

My answer is always the same as the one a Writingguy once gave me: It’s a freelance writing newsletter that has tips, advice and paying markets and jobs. I look forward to Wednesdays when it comes in my email. Here’s the thing, though. It’s rare that one of the paying markets is in my niche. I thought this one was a good example of way out of my niche but maybe it’s yours:

Miniature Donkey Talk, 1338 Hughes Shop Rd., Westminster, MD 21158. F(410)857-9145. Email: Website: Bonnie Gross, Editor. 75% freelance. "Everything on donkeys." Welcomes new writers. Circ 5.8K. Quarterly. Pays on publication. Publishes ms 3-4 months after acceptance. Rights purchased vary. Accepts reprints. Responds 30 days. Sample $5. Subscription $25; $32 Canada; $55 foreign. Guidelines by mail or email and online at NEEDS: "Historical and/or present day, anything relevant to donkeys. Ownership, care, health care, management, non-show events donkeys are involved in." Payment varies per word with a 700-word minimum. Submit query. PHOTOS/ART: None.

My favorite part is “everything on donkeys.” What if that was your niche and you waited years for Writer’s Weekly to post a market about it? You’d be like, “Finally, an outlet for all my prose on donkeys!”


Since I get asked that and other questions a lot, I thought I’d start a NEW feature on the blog. I call it “Hey, Writinggal…” and it’ll be YOUR questions. Email your questions to They can be about anything from writing to recipes to fitness to the cart crusade. Just nothing about donkeys, thank you.

Friday, November 03, 2006

It’s Like Hands Across America

It just pleases me no end that everyone is joining in on my cart crusade.

We even have a celebrity spokesperson!

The other night on the Ghost Whisperer (hey, that show’s good) J. Love Hewitt took back her cart. Well, she started to take it back but then some employee of the grocery store saw her giant boobs and offered to take it back for her. But still, her intentions were good.

Aside: At the beginning of the Ghost Whisperer JLH has this little monologue that explains her mysterious-medium-powers. It goes like this: “Hi, I’m Melinda Gordon. I live in a small town; I own an antique shop; I recently got married. I might be just like you...but ever since I was six years old I’ve known I could talk to the dead.”

Whenever she says “I might be just like you” we always say, “except I have much bigger boobs.”

Here's JLH in real life at the grocery store. The guy pictured is her boyfriend, not a ghost, although he played a ghost on her show and that's how they met. Confusing, I know. I wonder if she plans to take back her cart after stocking up on wine.

Back in non-celeb world, Cul de Sac Carrie, neighbor Tammy and I went for a walk and found this:

Thanks for snapping the picture with your trusty camera phone, Cul de Sac Carrie! Luckily, this cart was over in “the swamp” neighborhood but you never know when the riff raff is gonna come over to our neck of the woods.

And this is my favorite cart crusader: Little Cayden, age 2:

His parents know that you gotta start ‘em young!

Apparently someone else’s parents weren’t so conscientious:

They not only brought a cart into our neighborhood, it was one of the kiddie-car carts! Now that’s low!

Keep it in your own neighborhood, swamp people!

Still, I know that most of you are good cart crusaders. Feel free to send me pictures or tales of your own efforts. And stay tuned for details on my national fundraiser to raise awareness for cart-taking-back. We're hoping to get silver ribbons. I’m just waiting to hear back on JLH’s availability. We're keeping our fingers crossed that we can get her to say, "I might be just like you...except I have bigger boobs and I take back my cart."

For now, I'm Writinggal, reminding you, "Do your part. Take back your cart."