Sunday, August 16, 2009

Recession Part II; Week Three

Well I still haven't gotten fired.
Or "laid off."
But I did get two wee reprimands!

Reprimand #1:
Passive aggressive in nature, said in front of almost the entire staff:
"Having a time issue, are we?"
Which I replied honestly, "Yep, I guess I can't seem to figure out the traffic."
Which is true.
The biggest thing about this job that I don't like is that it's 20-30 minutes away.
Which isn't a huge deal, I guess. The whole "beggars can't be choosers" adage.
But christ-on-a-cracker do I hate traffic.
I wouldn't hate it so much if it was the same everyday. If I could leave at the same time and get to work at the same time. But this doesn't happen in my world.
So I continue to hate traffic with a passion.
I hate it so much that I've resigned myself to getting to work 15 minutes early so I don't have to deal with it.
I hate it so much that I've decided to skip the freeway altogether and take the "backroads" there. Which adds about 10 minutes to my drive time, but I don't have to deal with multiple d-bags cutting me off only to slam on the brakes because there really was a reason I wasn't tailgating the person in front of me.
I would also like to note that with this many people currently out of work, I would really hate to see traffic when the recession is over.

Reprimand #2 was done privately, and in a friendly tone.
I found this reprimand quite hilarious, because it plays right into my whole "Homeless Barbie" routine.
As I'm sitting at my desk-ish area, the practice manager (PM) says to me, "Do you know the sole of your shoes is coming undone?"
"Oh that? Yeah, I guess." Then I pause and maybe shrug my shoulders, as I flip the part of the sole that is coming off of the shoe, not extremely noticeable in my opinion, but whatevs. PM keeps kind of looking at me and my old old shoes.
"Is that I problem?" I ask. Thinking she's going to say something about slipping and falling, or a health issue.
"Well, it just looks kind of scruffy."
"Oh, alright. Well I will just wear other shoes then."
Because let's be real, it's not like I don't have other shoes. But I thought the way she went about it was just really funny. Like I almost had to control myself from laughing.
And to be clear, the rest of the staff, well most of them, wear CROCS.
Because THOSE are the epitome of class and non-scruffiness.
Even E was like, you should just wear your crocs.
To which I replied, "I don't want to be seen in public with those things on."
And he laughed.
Because it's true.
I will admit to owning crocs, but I wear them for their intended use, around the house and gardening.
And going into our gross basement.
Kind of like a rubber house-shoe.
Not to mention, the faux-sherpa lined ones are PERFECT for the winter-time and letting the dog out.
But we don't wear them to the store.
We don't wear them to bars.
And, I refuse to wear them to work.
At least at this point.
I have a super cute pair of pink and olive KangaRoos that I will be rocking at the Vet office from now on.
But that doesn't mean I will look any less homeless.
Just a fair warning.

Recession food:
Homemade black bean burgers made by E.
I have since deemed him the official BBB of our household.
They were delicious and will go excellently with the gazpacho that I whipped up today.
If we ever have expendable income, I think one of my first purchases will be a food processor.
Hand chopping the gazpacho veggies has deemed this necessary by my account.
But the gazpacho is delicious, especially for the first time ever making it! Here is the recipe, take from "The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook" by Karen Brooks, a cookbook picked up after our neighbor couldn't sell it at our neighborhood rummage sale. This recipe turned out great and I have to say, it ain't just for vegetarians! Not to mention, this recipe is vegan and requires no oven! And let's be's been warm lately.

Gazpacho (cold spanish soup)
  • 4 tomatoes, cut into small pieces
  • 1 green pepper, chopped (I used a HUGE red pepper cos that is what we had)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 2 c. tomato juice (in true recession fashion, I didn't have tomato juice, but I thinned about a 1/2 c. of pasta sauce and made it into tomato juice!)
  • 1 1/2 cloves of garlic, crushed (I used about 3-4 cloves of garlic as it wasn't the freshest garlic around)
  • 1 tbsp. parsley (I have fresh basil so I coarsely chopped about a 1/3 c. of it)
  • 3 tbsp. oil (I used olive oil)
  • 3 tbsp cider or wine vinegar (I used red wine vinegar)
  • salt and cayenned pepper to taste (I sprinkled a liberal amount of each)
  • 10 pitted black olives (I left these out, because while I love to draw olives, they are on the food I hate list)
In a large bowl mix all ingredients. Blend half of mixture and mix with unblended mixture. Add olives if you're using them. It says to serve with croutons, but I think it's delicious all on it's own.

In other news.
Tonight's tv schedule is looking to be tops:
True Blood
Mad Men
Although, I have to say, Entourage is kind of getting lame. Ari isn't as funny as he used to be, and all his friends just seem to be lame. I gues it's still better than network, but it truly is a mind suck and doesn't offer too much in the way of entertainment...but maybe something exciting is bound to happen. Whatevs.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Recession Part II; Week Two

Well I made it.
I've been gainfully employed for two weeks now.
Still haven't gotten fired, feel like I know what I'm doing a bit more.
But most importantly.
My first paycheck!
Without delving too much into the dire financial straits E and I seem t constantly be in (I really don't know how two people can be so bad with money, but voila!), the UI was getting hard to live on. Upon accepting this job, I was told it would be part time averaging 30 hours a week. When I worked this out with my hourly wage I was getting, subtracting out the taxes (well, an estimate of the taxes), I wasn't terribly excited at the weekly paycheck I would be getting. I took the job mostly knowing that it would EVENTUALLY get me out of the UI hole, plus eventual free vet care for the Super Code.
But Friday rolled around, and with great trepidation I logged into our bank account.
But to my surprise, my paycheck was almost $100 more than I expected!
Joy of joys!
My secret hope is that they "forget" they told me I was only supposed to get 30 hours a week, and keep letting me go at full speed.

In other news.


The day begin wet, but by the time we got to the Sausage Haus it had stopped and it looked like I would be able to run my first 5K after all.
But then there was thunder.
The way you love me is frightening.
And the 5K was postponed for a half an hour.
We all huddled in the Sausage Haus, listening to the sounds of De La Buena, and eating our free snacks and coffee provided by Alterra.
After my second cup of coffee, my hands were sufficiently pruned and were losing feeling, as I was soaked to the bone and it was kind of cool out. I knew, however, that once I started running the blood would beging flowing again.
Finally they announced the race would start at 9:20.
So two hours after arriving, picking up my goody bag and free t-shirt, I finally took my place next to other soaked people.
And then we were off.
As predicted, I forgot about the cold, wetness of me, and focused on heating myself up, so I may have ran faster than usual trying to get the blood flowing to all of my digits. But with ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky" playing, how could you not run fast?!
Towards the end, I did get tired, but there was something exhilirating about running with a huge group of people, knowing that E was waiting for me at the end, and as cheesy as it sounds, having people clap when you finish.
Not to mention, the endorphin rush was perfection and lasted until about 3 pm that day!
Official time:
I was 462 over all.
34th out of 53 in my division.
150th out of 316 for my sex.
So I completed a goal!
Ran the whole thing-check.
Ran it under 45:00-check.

Next on the list, training for an 8K in October.
Which I think will be alot harder than training for a 5K, but I have two months to do it.

In dog news, it appears that we will be fostering a greyhound mix puppy.
You heard right, a puppy.
I think by the time we get him he will be about 8 months old.
We've been told he has ADD, and has an insane level of energy, but with my training getting a little more intensive, we (okay maybe just me) thought it would be a fun challenge.
His name?
Logan, soon to be Detective Logan (Chris Noth's character from L&O):

I will let you know how this Adventure in Fostering goes.

In other L&O news, it turns out that our CSPBFF's M&Z are going to a wedding which will have Jeremy Sisto featured as a groomsmen. I have asked them to report back on his height, because he is a tv bf of mine, and he seems really tall. Plus he's beardy!
This has made me realize that E and I really don't know enough people.
M&Z also alerted us to a Pick-n-Save on the southside that has beans in bulk! For cheap!
And how to make said beans in a slow cooker! Thanks guys!

On the docket for next week:
Brewers v. Padres, the ol' Castraburch rivalry.
Me pops' b-day/tailgate party.
E's dad and "step-mom" will be staying at the Castraburch B&B.
And perhaps the most important of all:
August 13 is National Left-Handers' Day!
Know a lefty?!
(and if you're reading this blog, you most assuredly know a lefty!)
Thank them for being so awesome.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Recession Part II; Week One

As you can see from the title of this blog, I have divided this recession into parts.
According to my calculations we are in the second stages of the recession.
The job part.

As I stated before, my new gig will most likely be quite comparable to the unemployment I was getting. So while it's not exactly a step up, hopefully I will do this job well and get my scheduled raises, and then it WILL be a step up. Not a huge step. But a baby step...and soon I will be able to say:

And to keep the nautical theme going, the first week of the new gig just sailed on by.
As most of you know, I hate being the new kid.
People who know me find this to be shocking, as most people say I'm outgoing.
But this is true only in situations where I feel comfortable.
So if I don't know anybody AND I have no idea what I'm doing.
It spells critical uncomfortability for Jj.
However, if we were allowed to drink on the job, this might change.
I'm just being honest here, folks.

With that being said. By the end of the week I was at least treading water. I was able to take some phone calls, schedule some appointments, answer some questions, etc. So I'm hoping by the end of next week things will be better.

I haven't been fired yet, so that is a plus.

What I find humorous about the job is how BUSY/CRAZY everyone says it is.
Obviously they have never worked at a coffee shop when you have a line out the door.
So it doesn't seem that crazy (knock on wood). But maybe I just don't know enough about anything yet.
Which could totally be the case.
This is what I do know:
1. We get lots of birds.
2. The dr's, thus far, have been incredibly nice and approachable, which is a nice switch from other mecial practices I've worked at (vet and human).
3. The people seem pretty nice, I suppose. Lots of moms. I think I will get along with the other receptionist quite well as she reminds me a bit of my mom in her demeanor and how she relates to people. Plus she has a huge St. Bernard mix that I got to see. So so cute.
4. It's already 100% less depressing than the WHS. PLUS!

I will keep you posted as to how week two goes.

In other news:
The 5K training is coming to an end!
I run my 5K on SATURDAY!
I'm not looking to win (obs), just to run the whole thing. This could be quite the task as I totally slacked on training this week, due to E's wonky schedule. But this week we should be good to go. Upon completion of the 5K, I'm considering keeping the training going and training for the Al's Run, or I think now it's known as the Brigg's Stratton Corporate run for Kids or something.
For us native Milwaukeeans, it's Al's Run.
This would be an 8k in October, which would mean two months to add another 3Ks.
We'll see.
We'll see how the 5K goes.

Farm Share news!
Well E and I have been very successful eating most, if not all of our farm share during the week.
Most of the time we both enjoy what I prepare.
I'm not afraid to try making new things, knowing that usually E or I will end up eating it.
I've also learned I don't like beets, but at least I did try them.
Yesterday was a fail and a half for me:

Upon receiving our farm share and divvy-ing everything up I realized we had a lot of carrots. Upon looking through the vast array of cookbooks I have acquired, I found two recipes that looked interesting.

The first was a carrot salad, taken from the cookbook PO got me for my birthday:

This is a vegan recipe and while I thought it was interesting, and I will eat it, E didn't like it at all, and I probably won't make it again, although it was incredibly easy:
  • 1/2 lb carrots
  • 1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 sm. clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh chives
  • salt to taste
Peel carrots; grate on the large holed side of a four sided grater. Transfer to a bowl and stir in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, chives and salt. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Like I said, the recipe is incredibly easy, but there was something about it that seemed "too much." We couldn't decide if it was the lemon juice, or if it was because I used fresh-from-the-farm-super-punguent garlic. I should also note we did not have chives, so I skipped those. That may have helped. This was the half-fail recipe. All though now that I think about it I may try it again but with the chives. We'll see.

The epic-fail recipe I made was a dish called Carrot Timbales, which I had never made before. And although the process seemed rather long, it wasn't anything we could handle...I thought we would be making mini-quiches as the recipe called for this egg/milk mixture to be mixed with the carrots and onion. Except then in got weird. Then it instructed us to put ramekins in casserole dish, fill with hot tap water (the casserole dish) so only a 1/3 of the ramekin wasn't in the bath, and then cover with foil. They cook then you open the oven door, loosen the foil and cook for another 10 minutes. Then you let them sit for ten minutes and invert them and eat them.

After putting the casserole dish/ramekins in the oven E became enlightened with some information:
E: Jj I don't think you're going to like this recipe.
Jj: Why?
E: Well I think the reason we have to do the water thing and cover with foil is that we're steaming the eggs.
Jj: Ew. So they will be like poached eggs?
E: Yeah, I think so. But I could be wrong.
Jj: I'm totally not going to like this.

So we waited. We followed the instructions and.
E was right.
It was like five little poached eggs meals.
And if you know anything about me, it's that I only eat eggs dry.
Scrambled hard.
Quiche baked well.
There cannot be a hint of ooze from the eggs.
And these were the ooziest of ooze. Steamed eggs.
Whoever thought of such an idea?
However, if you like steamed eggs, and vegetables, this could be the recipe for you.
Email me and I will email you the recipe if interested.

Another Epic fail?
The Brewers. My team is slowly bleeding out and there is nothing I can do. First we lose to the Nationals. Now the Padres.
To clarify:
The Nats have the worst record in ALL of the MLB.
The Pads are in LAST in the NL West.
The good news is that E is a Padre fan, so there is at least that.
But still.