The Rodeo Incident

Haven’t written for a while, right? Mostly cuz I have nothing to say… so today it’s a throwback:

Friday, August 27, 1999. My twenty-third birthday. Was supposed to be my first date with my future ex-husband. I got home from work that day a little early, to find a message from him on my answering machine (remember those?) with some lame excuse cancelling our date. (In his defense, he did not know it was my birthday.)

So crap, it’s Friday night, it’s my birthday, and I have no plans. But fear not, there’s a rodeo in town. So, I decide to take my nephew (age 12) and my niece (age 8) to the rodeo!

We get there, and kids being kids, they want to sit way up at the top of the bleachers. We climb the bleachers, get all settled, but we’re early. We want something from the concession stand, but we don’t want to lose our seats. I can SEE the concession stand from where we’re sitting, so I give my nephew money and send him on his way, while my niece and I stay behind and hold the seats.

The concession line was quite long, but I can see my nephew at all times, so I’m not worried that he’s gone for a long time. I start chit-chatting with the family sitting behind me, some people I know.

It’s getting dark. The bleachers are filling up. I look to see how my nephew has progressed in the concession line… and I can’t find him. That’s fine, though… he’s probably got our stuff and he’s just making his way back.

I scan the crowd for him. I can’t remember what color he’s wearing. It’s fine though.

The national anthem starts. It’s getting darker… the bleachers are getting crowded. I think about how hard it can sometimes be when you’re looking for someone in the bleachers. When you left, they were almost empty, you think you know exactly where you were sitting, but when you come back you’re disoriented. If I lose my nephew at the rodeo my brother will murder me…

I decide to ask the people behind me to keep an eye on my niece while I go in search of my nephew. I start down the bleachers, stepping between people, excuse me excuse me oh crap was that your finger I’m so sorry… I get to the edge and look over the side.

So… here’s a good time to tell you that I have depth perception issues. At that time (I later had surgery to try to correct it) I was completely blind in my right eye. This makes things look closer to you than they actually are. Which actually is fine most of the time… it annoys other people in the car when you wait too long for traffic to clear but in most scenarios it’s better for things to look closer than for them to look further away.

Unless, of course, you are on the edge of the bleachers and you are contemplating how far of a jump it is over the side.

So… I jump.

It’s further away than it looked.

And just as I make the move, some guy darts out of nowhere… and I… well… I land on him. Almost perfectly… like… he’s giving me an unintentional piggy back ride.

And HE certainly didn’t see it coming. He doesn’t know who or what or why… just that something has landed on him, so he does the most reasonable thing and …. more or less body slams me.

So here I am, flat on my back… people come running all around. He’s looking down at me, horrified, with this look like what the hell just happened?!?

Anyway, still flat on my back, I look up and the first thing I see is my nephew, hands full of concessions, looking down at me in ultimate horror and embarrassment.

Paramedics who were no doubt intended for the bull riders show up, I refuse medical attention, dust myself off, back up the bleachers we go… enjoy the rodeo. It’s fine. Everything’s fine.

A year to the day later, Sunday, August 27, 2000. My twenty-fourth birthday.

I can’t remember why, but I’m driving in a part of town I don’t go to often. I get to a four-way stop sign. I stop. I see a big white truck coming, but he has a stop sign, so, after I stop, I start my way through the intersection.

Except. He doesn’t stop. And the reason he doesn’t stop, in retrospect… is that it’s actually a two-way stop sign. I had a stop sign. He did not.

So he hits me.

We get out of our cars, someone calls the police (this was before everyone had a cell phone) … witnesses are helpfully pointing out to me that I had a stop sign and he did not… the man is actually being pretty cool about, but he keeps looking at me kind of funny. I know why, but I keep hoping he won’t bring it up.

Finally, he can’t take it anymore. I had written down my name and phone number and insurance policy number, etc. He asks me… Have you ever gone by any other name? I feel like I know you from somewhere.

No, that’s my maiden name. But I’m actually getting married next weekend, I tell him (which was true).

He asks what my fiancé’s name is. I tell him. He doesn’t know that name either.

He asks me where I work. I tell him. No, it wouldn’t be from that.

He asks where I went to high school. I tell him. No, not that either.

He asks if I have brothers. I tell him. No, not that either.

Did I ever hang out at such and such local bar? No, not that either.

“Man,” he says, “I just can’t shake the feeling I know you from somewhere!”

I take a deep breath. “I know what it is,” I admit.

“You do?”

I nod… “So do you remember last year… at the rodeo… and some chick fell out of the sky and landed on you?”

His eyes get huge… “Oh my God! You cut your hair!”


Analyze This

So… I’m changing jobs again.  I really liked my “new” job, but I was just working too much.  It wasn’t even actually the fact that I was working so much, it was more the unachievable deadlines putting me in this scenario where I couldn’t leave until “it” was done.  Three months in a row, I wound up working 13-14 hour days on Deadline Day, on top of quite long days the rest of the week.  On Deadline Day, I felt as if I were being held hostage.

The end of September, after working 2 consecutive 13 hour days, I decided, that’s it.  I’m over this.  I called a recruiter that represented another company which had offered me a job at the same time I was offered this one, and asked if she might still have anything for me.  As a matter of fact, she did.  She put me in for five jobs, and within three weeks, I had an offer.  Done.  Moving on.

The last Deadline Day I worked, I hit a giant raccoon on my way home.  It made a lot of noise, but I didn’t think it had hurt my car… but when I pulled in the garage and walked around the car to get in the house, I saw the front bumper hanging off the passenger side, and the passenger headlight hanging loose.  So… my pretty new car is on the bench until I can get it in to the body shop for repairs.  This makes me very sad, but I’m coping.

The night before my last day at my old job, I had this dream:

My coworkers and I were going out to lunch to commemorate my last day.  We all drove separately, and I was driving my silver Monte Carlo (which I haven’t had since approximately 2008).  We stopped at a gas station on the way.  Once inside, we noticed men with guns standing at all the doors.  We were being held hostage.

We’re all just standing around, and I look over and see a side door, and no one is standing with a gun at that door.  My Monte Carlo is parked right outside the door.  I whisper to one of my coworkers… “Hey, we can go out that door.”

She looks at me like I’ve sprouted a second head, “No we can’t!  We’re obviously being held hostage.

“No, look… my car is right there.  We just walk out that door and run to the car and we’re clear.”

She looks over and narrows her eyes, “That’s not your car.”

“What do you mean that’s not my car?  Of course it’s my car!”

She shakes her head, “That’s a Honda Accord.  You drive a Chevy Monte Carlo.”

“WTH are you talking about?  That IS a Chevy Monte Carlo.  That’s MY Chevy Monte Carlo.”

She shakes her head, “That’s a Honda Accord.  And we can’t leave anyway, because we’re hostages.”

So I go to another one of my coworkers, and tell her, “Look, there’s no one standing at that door.  My car is right there.  Let’s just go out that door and get out of here!”

She looks in the direction of the door and asks, “Where did you say your car was?”

Right there.  My Monte Carlo is parked right outside the door, see it?”

“That’s not a Monte Carlo.  That’s a Honda Accord.  You don’t have an Accord.”

So I just give up.  I wish everyone the best of luck, and I walk right out that door, get into my Monte Carlo and begin driving away.  Just as I’m pulling out of the parking lot, a giant raccoon runs out in front of me, and I hear a giant CRACK.

I keep driving though… because there are men with guns who might be following me.  I decide to just drive to my insurance agent’s office.  My agent comes out, surveys the damage, and says, “The car’s totaled.  So what we’ll do, is we’ll cover you for a new car, as long as it’s either an Acura or an Accord.”

He gives me a list of Honda dealers and tells me, “You can go to any of these dealers, and pick out any Acura or Accord that you want.”

“But… this car is a Monte Carlo!”

“They don’t make Monte Carlo’s anymore, Ginger.  So you’ll have to get either an Acura or an Accord.  Do you accept the terms of this offer?”

I signed a piece of paper and headed to the first Honda dealer on the list.

When I got there, I asked the salesman, “Do you have any Acuras?”

The salesman told me no, he didn’t have any Acuras.  But he has an Accord?

I decide to try a different dealership.  I ask that salesman, “Do you have any Acuras?”

That salesman says, “We only sell Accords here.  Would you like an Accord?”

I tell him that I’d really rather have an Acura.

There’s only one dealership left.  I go there, and I ask the salesman, “Do you have any Acuras?”

He says no, but he has beautiful Accord, right here on the showroom floor.  It’s the most beautiful Accord in the world, and he’ll take me there, but I have to sign this piece of paper first.

I look at the paper, and across the top it says “ACCORD AGREEMENT”.

The agreement says, by signing this paper, I agree to never drive anything but Accords for the rest of my life.

I tell the salesman, I’m not sure about this… I’ve never actually driven an Accord before? He promises me that they’re a lot like Acuras, besides, they’re made by the same Company.

“Well let me at least just look at it first.”

The salesman shakes his head.  “Nope.  We have to come to an accord on this first.  I can’t show you the car unless you sign the agreement.  But I promise you it’s the most beautiful Accord you’ve ever seen.  You’re going to LOVE it.”

I decide the salesman’s kind of handsome.  And if he says I’ll love it, I probably will.  So I sign the paper and we go to the showroom floor and there’s my car… my real car, the car I actually own in real life.  And I do love it!  I tell him, “It actually looks a lot like an Acura!”

He shrugs and says, “Nope, we don’t have Acuras here.  Only Accords.”




What Happens in Dollar General Stays in Dollar General

At the moment, I’m working between 60 and 70 hours a week.  Mostly due to the fact that I took a vacation during June’s month-end close, and we recently lost a staff accountant.  I’ve been purposely seeking time management tactics to help me balance my life a bit better during this time…. By the way, if you’re interested in that sort of thing… this isn’t a bad podcast…

I took the day off today even though I’m afraid I’ll regret it later in the month… yesterday I was interviewing someone and they asked me what CPA stood for and I honestly couldn’t remember.  So I decided this might be an indication that I need a break.

On the way home from work last night I called and scheduled myself for a massage.

As I was driving to Massage Envy today, I was thinking about the various errands I need to run, and thinking about ways I can manage my time better, get things off my plate, etc.  One of my weekly errands is going to Dollar General to pick up the week’s supply of Mountain Dew Kickstart, which is $1 at DG versus $1.35 at Wal-Mart.  (See this entry for more details about my addiction- Good news!  They’ve brought my flavor back to the States!)

As I was waiting for my massage therapist, I was wondering if I could find a way to get my Kickstart delivered, maybe I could even do some sort of auto-order service or something… so I looked it up, and sure enough, I can order it through Amazon and it’s even cheaper than Dollar General, and if I order a two month supply at a time, there wouldn’t be shipping… and hey look you can get an even bigger discount if you do an auto-order.

So I signed up.

My first order won’t arrive until Thursday though, and I currently have only one cold Kickstart in the fridge at home, which obviously is not enough to make it until Thursday.  So after my massage, I stopped at Dollar General to refill this week’s stash… One last time.

I filled up my cart with 6 Kickstarts and a candy bar, and got behind a woman who was buying three small items: deodorant, a pack of gum, and toenail clippers.

The clerk bagged her items in a very large bag.  The woman told her she didn’t need that big of a bag.  The clerk explained that they were out of normal sized bags, and these were all the bags she had.  The woman huffed and puffed, and made exaggerated movements lugging the huge heavy bag off of the counter… and stormed out of the store, pissed off at the universe.

The clerk sighed and began to ring up my items.

Clerk:  People are really freaking out about these bags.  I’m not sure what to tell them, we’re out of regular bags!

Me:  Did you see the way she drug that bag off the counter like it weighed 20 pounds?

Clerk:  Yeah you wouldn’t think a huge plastic bag would make her two pounds of stuff weigh that much, would you?

Me:  No, but I guess that’s why I’m an accountant and not a physicist.  Apparently, I just don’t understand the way the world works.

Customer behind me:  *guffaws*

The clerk finishes bagging my stuff, and apologizes for the huge bag. I told her I have bigger things to worry about, and I hope her day gets better.

I walk out to my car, pop the trunk, and load up my precious Kickstarts.  As I’m getting in the car, the man who was in line behind me walks out.  I notice him staring at the front of my car, turning as he walks past it to look back at it. He gets to the other side of the car and motions for me to roll down my window.  Thinking he’s about to tell me I have a flat tire or a dead body dragging, I oblige.

Him:  I know this is gonna sound weird, but… are you married?

Me:  Um. Well yes, I am.

Him:  Well damn. You’re a really beautiful woman. And you seem so sweet.

Me:  Aw. Thank you!

Him:  Do you live around here?

Me:  Oh, no, actually… I just stop here sometimes on my way home from errands to get my soda.

Him:  Oh. Well.  Maybe I’ll see you again sometime.  I live just up the road.  I’m in here all the time!

Me:  Ah. Well, maybe you will.  Have a good weekend!

I didn’t have the heart to tell him I was hoping to never have to go to Dollar General again, thanks to Amazon.

Fate can be a cruel mistress sometimes.


Cost Benefit Analysis

I just did something I’ve never done before in my life.

Not only have I never done this thing, never in my life have I ever even considered doing this thing.

And now that I’ve done it, I’m wondering what it says about the person I am today compared to the person I’ve been the last 42+ years.

For the first time in my career, my employer doesn’t offer regularly scheduled CPE for my CPA license.  They reimburse me for it, but I have to find it and take it more or less on my own time.  It’s just something I’ve never had to really worry about figuring out and making sure I get in until now.

So I’m doing this online class, for 16 CPE credits… and by “online class” I mean I download a 300 page document, “read” it, and then take an 80 question test.

There’s no time limit or anything (well I guess technically there is –  I need to get this done before December 31… ). I just need to get at least 80% on the test.  And!  if I should happen to fail, I could take the test over.  As many times as I want, actually.

I’ve been diligently working on the test here and there over the last couple months, reading the questions and finding the section in the 300 page document that covers that topic, reading it, and finding the answer I know is correct.

Tonight, I got to question 72.  I thought to myself, “Most of these answers seem to be B.  I wonder what would happen if I just answered the rest of these questions B.”  And I laughed at my joke.  Because, really, why would one blatantly not even try to answer a question on a test correctly?  I mean, an OPEN BOOK TEST.   Like, it’s foreseeable why one would just guess… I mean, it’s foreseeable but one would really only do that if they were in a huge hurry or actually really didn’t know the answer for sure.. then one might be okay with just narrowing down what seem to be the best choices and guessing… you know, if you were in a really really huge hurry.  Or if a man had a gun to your head and was saying… JUST GUESS.  YOU AREN’T ALLOWED TO LOOK IT UP!  IF YOU LOOK IT UP I’LL SHOOT YOU.  Then it would probably be okay to… you know… guess.  In that scenario.  Yes, in that scenario, it would definitely be okay to just … guess.  In that scenario, it would be okay to just pick an answer willy-nilly, right?

But the man did say to GUESS.  To be a legitimate guess you have to read the question and at least try to figure out the best answer, right?  So in that scenario I couldn’t just say B to the rest of the questions, could I?  Because then he might shoot me for not following directions.  The man specifically said GUESS, didn’t he?  It’s important to follow directions! If you don’t, you could get yourself shot!

I thought to myself, “Wait, hold up.  No one’s going to shoot you, first of all.  (Why are you even thinking about that… you need help!). Second of all, you’ve already looked up 71 answers.  You’re going to pass.  Just choose B for the rest of them.  Chill out.  Jut answer the questions.”

Anyway, just to be sure, I checked to see how many questions I had to get right in order to pass (56).. and figured I was on question 72, and I was sure about all of maybe 2 of my answers… and I thought again, “Why are you doing this??  Just answer the questions.  Pick a letter.  Submit the test.  Get back to your Saturday night!”

So I read question 72 and tried to think, based on my basic level of professional knowledge about impairment of goodwill, what might be the answer?  I got halfway through the choices and thought, “Why are you doing this??  Just pick a letter.  Submit the test.  Get back to your Saturday night!”



I clicked:  B, B, B, B, B, B, B, B, B

9 B’s.

My hand hovered over the mouse, positioned over “SUBMIT TEST”.

I asked myself… are you SURE you want to do this?


Yes.  I’m sure.


I waited with baited breath for my score.

I passed!  88%!!!!

Now… back to my regularly scheduled Saturday night.

Be honest.  Do you think less of me?


Sunday Adventures with a Crockpot

Rainy Sundays are perfect for putting a soup on in the crockpot.  I decided to try a new eMeals recipe.  But I had to decide whether I wanted to use my regular old crockpot, or my instant pot.

If I’m just wanting to use the crock pot feature, and don’t need to take advantage of the instant pot’s feature allowing the cook time to be delayed, I actually prefer the regular crock pot.  I feel like crock pot recipes I make in the instant pot take longer to cook and are more watery than I like them, compared to using the “regular” crock pot.

My plans to use my crock pot were foiled, though, because when I took the crock pot out of the cabinet, I found it had burnt on food on its walls, that apparently I missed seeing the last time I washed and put it away.

I (halfheartedly) attempted to scrub it clean, but it wasn’t budging (and who knows how long it had been there, anyway), so I googled “HOW TO CLEAN BURNT FOOD OUT OF CROCKPOT” and found the suggestion to dump 1/4 cup of baking soda, water and a squirt of liquid soap into the crockpot, cover and cook on high.  The directions said to cook for 4 hours, but I only did 2, and the gunk wiped right out.  Easy peasy.

In the meantime, I loaded up the instant pot with the ingredients for Chicken Tortilla Soup, and eight hours later, I had dinner.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1.5 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces (but I used to 12.5 oz cans of canned chicken, drained)
  • 32 oz carton of chicken broth
  • 10 oz can diced tomatoes and green chiles
  • 12.7 oz pkg frozen Southwest vegetable blend, thawed
  • 10 oz enchilada sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic (I used a teaspoon of refrigerated minced garlic)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin (I used 1 heaping teaspoon)
  • 2 tsp chili powder (I only used 1 light teaspoon)
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • Tricolor crispy tortilla strips

Throw everything but the avocado and cheese in the crockpot, cook on low for 8 hours.  Garnish with avocado, cheese and tortilla strips.

This was good stuff, will definitely be saving this recipe.  I did have trouble finding the Southwest vegetable blend – only one of the two local Walmart stores carried it.  I’m sure if I shopped at fancier places, though, it would be easy to find.

And no, Tarzan wouldn’t try it.


What My Husband Wouldn’t Eat For Dinner Tonight

You guys!  I’m super excited!  I tried a new emeals recipe tonight and it was ah-may-zing! I mean really really good.  Company-worthy.  Shoot, I’d go as far as saying restaurant quality.  Definitely a new favorite in my recipe box.

However, it is a little spicy.  I’m not a big spicy food eater, but I can handle it a little.  Tarzan used it as an excuse not to eat it.  I really didn’t think it was that bad.  I’m not sure there’s a way to make it milder, I think that’s the point of the recipe.

Anyway… here goes:

Spicy Pork Ragu

  • 8 oz rigatoni
  • 1 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 24 oz jar of arrabbiata sauce
  • parmesan cheese

I threw the pasta with 4 cups of water in the instant pot, on the manual setting, for 6 minutes.  I know, I know, it’s not that hard to boil pasta.  But, I love using the instant pot, because it frees up my stove space, I don’t have to worry about stirring to keep it from boiling over, it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan, etc., etc.  I can just set it and forget it while I work on the rest of the stuff.

Heat the olive oil over medium-high, then cook the pork until no longer pink.  No need to drain!  Dump in the wine and the sauce, cook and stir on medium until the pasta is done.  Drain the pasta, then dump in the pot with the rest of the stuff, stir, and serve with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

This is seriously good stuff.  It’s just something different from your run of the mill pasta dish, the flavors of the wine and the arrabbiata sauce blend so well.  It reminds me of Pasta House’s Shrimp Diablo, which isn’t on the regular menu, but they serve it as a lunch special on Fridays.

I had never even heard of arrabbiata sauce, but I found it at Wal-Mart with the rest of the pasta sauces.  I used the cheapest brand I could find, which turned out to be a Sam’s Choice label.  The recipe actually called for grape tomatoes, but the arrabbiata sauce I purchased had little balls of tomatoes in it already, so I skipped that part.

Someone else needs to try this!

P.S.  The recipe is supposed to serve 6, and comes out to 516 calories a serving.


What I Did with 4 Ounces of Rigatoni

So tonight I decided to experiment with my instant pot.

I had leftover Cowboy Chili from last week, and I had about a fourth of a box of rigatoni noodles.  I really hate it when recipes don’t call for a full box of pasta… what are you supposed to do with four ounces of rigatoni noodles?

So I decided to kill two birds with one stone and finish up these leftovers.

Since I had made the chili in my instant pot (with the slow cooker feature), it was already in the inner pot from my instant pot.  So I just took a slotted spoon and fished out the stew meat chunks.  Then I dumped the pasta in the chili broth, set the instant pot on 6 minutes using the manual setting, locked the pot and waited to see what would happen.

What happened, was the pasta was cooked perfectly (I chose 6 minutes because that was how long a different recipe I recently called for cooking rigatoni)… and the broth was steaming hot enough so that when I mixed the stew meat back in, it adequately heated the meat, so it was ready to eat as soon as I got it all stirred up!

I thought it was great.  My husband?  He had hamburger helper.  *shrug*



I Wonder Why They Call it Cowboy Chili?

Well, we survived Snowmageddon.  Got home from work Friday evening and neither one of us left the house again until Sunday.  Over 24 hours of torture marital bliss.

Actually, it wasn’t that bad.  I’ve been sick with my annual Cough That Won’t Go Away.  It was a good excuse to do absolutely nothing.

It was a little unfortunate that I hadn’t made it to the grocery store before the blizzard… we were forced to eat frozen pizza Friday night.  I had a rare hankering for fried chicken and mashed potatoes Saturday.  Tarzan offered to go to the gas station up the road and get me some, but they didn’t have mashed potatoes and I knew that just wouldn’t do.  So instead I had Raisin Bran (Tarzan had a bologna sandwich) and Sunday morning we went to brunch at Ponderosa (which was about as awful as it sounds, but I got the fried chicken thing out of my system anyway).

With all the spare time available, I perused emeals and planned my meals for the week (lunch at work and dinner at home, 6 servings a piece, and given that Tarzan rarely eats My Food… “meal planning” for the week equates to two emeals recipes).  Sunday evening, I mixed up “No-Cook Black Bean Taco Salad” for my lunches, and this morning I put “Cowboy Beef Chili” in the instant pot (using the slow cooker feature, setting the timer to start later in the day).  Both recipes turned out to decent, although I think the Cowboy Beef Chili was more brothy than I would usually want chili… but I do think it would make an exceptional base for vegetable beef soup.

I altered the original recipes a bit:

No-Cook Black Bean Taco Salad

  • 2 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup no fat Ranch dressing
  • 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco
  • romaine lettuce

Mix the first 4 ingredients, spoon over lettuce.  (The recipe also called for tortilla chips and avocado, but I skipped the chips in the interest of saving calories.  The avocado would have been a nice touch, but I wouldn’t use a whole avocado in one serving, and it would have just turned brown.)


Cowboy Beef Chili

  • 2 lbs stew meat
  • 32 ounce carton of beef broth
  • 2 cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes (with seasonings added)
  • 1/4 cup frozen chopped onion*
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic*
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon chili powder*
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin*
  • 1 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

I chopped the semisweet chocolate in my Ninja, it worked great.  I wasn’t sure about chocolate in chili, but while I couldn’t taste the chocolate, the chili had an exceptionally good flavor.  As I mentioned.. it was more soup than chili, I think.  I’ll defintely use this base recipe again someday, but add potatoes and vegetables for a vegetable beef soup.  I think it would be delicious.

*The recipe actually called for 2 cups of chopped onion, and twice the amount of minced garlic, chili powder, and ground cumin.  I tend to be sensitive to all those ingredients, and typically always half those.

So… now you know what I did on my winter break.  😉


Life is Good

I’ve kept a diary since I was in third grade, and one thing has always been true:  The more interesting my life gets, the less I write.  🙂

So you might take that to infer that my lack of activity here indicates that interesting things have been happening.  And… you’d be somewhat right.

The most significant thing is, I’ve changed jobs again.  This time you might even say I’ve changed careers!  I’m still in accounting, but doing something completely different and in a completely different industry.

Around August, it became apparent that my health could no longer sustain the travel my job requires.  I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rhuematoid Arthritis as a child.  Since my teenage years, I have only had a minor flare here or there, easily controlled by over-the-counter meds and the occasional cortisone shot.  But, in November of last year I began to have more serious symptoms.  The cortisone shot didn’t help this time.  It would ebb and flow, but things got progressively worse as the year went on.  After a particularly tiring work trip that included almost 24 hours in a airport due to delayed flights, I just kind of fell apart.  It was time to make a change

This is kind of a big deal because I’ve worked really hard at building a career in my current niche, and I was good at what I did, and I was paid well, etc.  However, it was more than just my health.  I don’t say these kind of things often, but I felt that God was telling me I needed to make a change, and now.

So… I did.

Several things have happened since then that I won’t get into here, but have confirmed that this was the exact right thing to do.  Besides that, I am loving my new job, loving my short commute, loving having regular hours, and my marriage is improving.

Also!  I think I’ve cooked more in the past month than I have in the past two years (which might be part of the aforementioned “marriage improvements”…)

The latest addition to my recipe book is this.  I was looking for a recipe to use up some ham pieces I had, and when I came across the recipe I had almost everything I needed to make it, so I thought, what the heck.  I substituted canned chunk chicken breast (two 12.5 oz cans) for the turkey, and doubled the crackers for the topping, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly.  Tarzan didn’t love it, but he also didn’t complain (which might also be part of the aforementioned “marriage improvements”). Our oldest granddaughter (who is currently living with us), liked it too.  In fact, the next day, she chose the leftover casserole over the ribs Tarzan had grilled (and he was very offended).

So anyway.  Things have slowed down a bit.  Priorities have changed.  Life is good.

Recipes · Uncategorized

Pursuit of the Perfect Taco Pizza

Early last week, Tarzan grilled some sirloin steaks.  A few days later, noticing the leftovers had not been eaten, I consumed the rest of it for lunch one day.  Apparently all day long that day, he had been dreaming of coming home to his leftover sirloin.  I really thought he had forgotten about it.  To make up for it, he wanted to go to Pantera’s Pizza, which is over an hour away (on a work night!) to try their taco pizza.

My husband is something of a taco pizza connoisseur.  He claims that Pizza Hut used to have the best taco pizza, but they discontinued it.  I think that must have been a long time ago.  Probably before I was born.

He doesn’t like Casey’s taco pizza.

There used to be a place a couple of towns over that had it, although he said it wasn’t as good as Pizza Hut, it was passable by his standards.

He had recently been perusing Pantera’s website (that iPhone’s good for something!) and saw that they had taco pizza and wanted to try it.

So, heavy with guilt from eating his sirloin, I had to give in (did I mention it was a work night?!).

He was sadly disappointed, as Pantera’s taco pizza did not meet up to his expectations.  The main thing they all do wrong, he says, is they fail to use refried beans.  Pantera’s version appeared to use some sort of thickened-up taco sauce in place of pizza sauce, which in Tarzan’s estimation, made the meat too greasy.

Last weekend, we took a boat ride.  We sputtered down the river to the next river town over, docked our boat (probably on someone’s private dock, but there wasn’t a NO TRESPASSING sign), and walked to a local pizzeria.  We were the only customers there, and Tarzan and the owner of the pizza parlor debated the makings of a great taco pizza.

They agreed to disagree.

At any rate, over the weekend I picked up the makings for a taco pizza from the grocery store, and we tried it last night.  My version was roughly based on this recipe.  The biggest thing I did different was instead of making two 12 inch prebaked pizza crusts like the recipe calls for, I used a refrigerated Pillsbury crust (13.8 oz, classic crust) and made one larger pizza, with the same amount of toppings (Tarzan doesn’t like his taco pizza with the tortilla chips on top, so I left that out).  The crust filled up essentially all of a large cookie sheet… I prepared the it as directed on the packaging of the pizza crust (including greasing the pan, and prebaking for 8 minutes on 400) and then, once the toppings were on it, baked it another 6 minutes at 350… because I thought that’s what the directions on the crust package said, but now that I’m looking at it, it actually said to keep it at 400.  So that might explain why the crust wasn’t as crispy as we would have liked it… something to note for next time.

Tarzan had two or three pieces, liked it okay – thought it would have been better if the crust was crispier.  Thinks next time we should make it with thin crust.

This made a LOT of food for two people, and it’s a heavy meal (you have to eat it with a knife and fork).  Tarzan won’t eat leftover pizza, so I had it for lunch and dinner today… and I think we still have 6 or 7 pieces left.  It was definitely worth making, and next time he has a hankering for taco pizza I think we’ll just make it at home.  He says he liked it just as much as he liked anything we’ve gotten in a restaurant recently.  So until Pizza Hut brings back taco pizza, I guess this is our game plan!