Can it be true?!!! Earlier this week, M and I stopped by my favorite fast food restaurant (Wendy’s) for my staple food items which includes their $1.09 yogurt with granola. To my shock, they informed us that they had stopped carrying the yogurt. Apparently, they had phased it out and only just ran out of their old inventory. Really? Yes, he said, really. So there you have it folks. One of the main reasons I go to Wendy’s is their relatively healthy dollar menu items. Now, I’m left with just ordering chili which is quite frankly not the same without my yogurt with granola to accompany it. I think it’s a not-so-smart decision on their part. I’ve literally stopped going to all other comparable fast food places because of Wendy’s yogurt with granola. Now, they have driven me into the waiting arms of Mr. McDonald’s. McD’s yogurt parfait is possibly healthier than Wendy’s yogurt with granola anyway, but I’m not too happy with the fact that the fruit is more often times than not frozen. Tooth freeze anyone? 🙂 Hell, with the way the server’s would severely short me on the yogurt quantity (i.e. instead of a full cup, I’d get literally 2 tablespoons of yogurt for $1.09), I’m amazed that they were turning anything less than a profit on that item. Or maybe people (except me) got pissed that they were getting two tablespoons of yogurt for $1.09. This is really not good. I’m not even sure anymore that their tasty chili will be enough to keep me there now. In a good/weird way, I’m glad this happened. I need go get weaned off my yogurt habit. Scratch that. Specifically, my Wendy’s yogurt habit. Just ask M. I’ll stick to my 4-cup tubs of Yoplait Light yogurt from now on. Update: I’m perusing their Website and sure enough, their lowfat yogurt with granola is no more. I’ve got an old PDF containing the nutritional content of their super value meals somewhere on my computer as proof that once, Wendy’s had her heart in the right place.
It pours and then, glorious sunshine some through. 🙂 I’m referring to troubles as the rain and the good as sunshine. On Monday, M & I set out for my place of work. We were trundling merrily along the loop or highway when M’s car suddenly stalled and stopped. He couldn’t accelerate and we were at a junction where a feeder road met the dangerous highway. We managed to pull over on some small stretch of land and ended up being flanked by cars doing anywhere from 55 mph to 75mph or more. I was scared, but stuffed down my fear with some yogurt we had bought from McD. I also ate M’s which he graciously ignored as he was puttering around with his car. Moments later, he came to me with the verdict: his acccelerator cable broke. He actually found the little piece that had come off. Well, this was good that we knew what the problem was. Solution: Matt started hunting around for some duct tape or any tape that he had which he actually used to close the gap in the accelerator cable. He had forgotten his phone at home so we had to share mine and I couldn’t help noticing that it was the one morning I hadn’t kvetched at him to bring his phone that this had to happen to us. I started getting uptight because I like getting to work on time. I’ve relaxed on my rigid 8am or before stance and now I try to be there before 8:15am which works because I’ve got some cool bosses. Anyway, I started calling for a tow truck and M at that time said it would be about $50. It was definitely affordable at that price, but in retrospect, I’m certain the towing fee could have reached up to $200. I started to piss M off and he just focused on doing his thing and wouldn’t you know it, he had that car running with a little bit of duct tape and some righteous anger!! lol. Since Monday, that car has been running on duct tape and we’re waiting on the dealership to have the part in stock. You heard that right. None of the famous car places had this accelerator cable. It’s one of those weird incidents. Anyhow, the good part that also came out this was that M got his blinkers fixed! The part that he had to remove to troubleshoot the accelerator-cable issue was the key to getting this done. For as long as I’ve know M, his blinker lights have not been working. True confession. His car is one of those models that are out of production so it’s been hard to perform routine repairs on it because either the mechanics yank up the price/labor cost for working on the car because of the model or whatever spare part is needed is out of stock. Despite our no-blinkers status, we haven’t had any major issues because M is really a good driver. So we got his blinkers fixed and we’re pretty happy about that.
I just spent the better part of an hour staring at my screen and pondering on what to write. After a while, I called up the parents (after they’d called me. :D) and we had a nice little chat. They’ve implanted a thought into my brain that will not go away. I mean, the possibility of going visiting sometime this year. Now, obviously, this will require saving and being smart about my finances. So, I will pull up my bootstraps and start actively thinking about this. There are direct flights to Lagos, Nigeria so that considerably eases my fears about a trip home. I’m actually going online to get a glimpse of how much it will cost. I’m budgetting for $1,500, and I’ll be damned, there are prices within that ballpark! Provided I give a 6-month window, I’m pretty sure a round-trip ticket will be about that price range. So, here’s to hopefully seeing family sometime soon!
In other news, M & I spent some quality time snoozing in this weekend. lol. While he went to work, I arranged our grocery cabinet and plotted a cooking schedule. I bought some egg noodles because I had become obsessed with attempting to re-create the Campbell Chicken Noodle soup. Needless to say, I’ve lost some cooking mojo because I haven’t done a lick of cookin’ as of yet. Boo. I need to muster up some energy because no home cooking means eating out and we do not want to eat out. Nevertheless, because of the inevitability of eating out, a lab mate generously gave me a coupon book that actually does save money. I mean, we’ve already used a few coupons from that book to places like Chick Fil-A, Quiznos, etc. They are mostly buy-one-get-one-free deals which work out perfectly because there are just two of us: Me and M so if we were going to eat at any of those places, we’ve saved the money that would have been spent on me/him. I still we’re doing well with not spending money eating out. We’re spending money smartly and talking about the future. Good stuff. 🙂
Update: I got my lazy butt up and finally cooked! I made some brown rice with with broccoli, onions, green beans and corn. It’s delicioso! And, I fried some plantains to boot. Matt’s in food heaven now, but I still haven’t made some stew which he’s totally craving, apparently. So, that’ll be my next project for next Saturday. My days are very full these days. I actually like it, but everything’s a work in progress.
The computer’s specs at the lab are anemic. For hard drive space, it has a whopping 10GBs. Memory (RAM) is an anemic 256MB thus ensuring I can only have 2 windows (one for Internet Explorer and the other for Windows Explorer for file browsing). It is both good and bad that this is so. 🙂 I’ll leave it at that. I don’t get online as frequently as I used to. I’ve stopped being on the phone as much and I’m very proud that I’m trying to be as professional as I can. Top secret thingamajig (not really) has started. It’s pretty cool. It will actually be of benefit to me. I don’t think it’ll be a long-term thingamajig, but it will be definitely interesting.
Life at Hotel California (inside joke) is going on as well as can be. The heating/cooling games are still going on, but I’ll keep doing what I’m doing: trying to save us all some money by keeping the thermostat well below 65 degrees Fahrenheit. I woke up this morning to a reading of 71 degrees Fahrenheit. I don’t know what PC is trying to do, but I think it’s not too far-fetched to assume that he’s not feeling the pinch because the love is being shared between 3 other people. Grrrh. I don’t like that assumption. Nevertheless, he bumps it up and it’s my unofficial job to bump it back down. We had come to some sort of agreement to keep the temperature at 68, but on days that are just fine, I don’t really see the need to keep it at 68. I’m sure we’ll be having a meeting about this. It’s not a biggie because the past 2 mths, our utility bills have been the lowest in a while for 2 people. Imagine if we weren’t on the internet (of which the phone comes whether or not we want it). Overall, I think our weird system works out.
I finally signed up at the Gym close to my place of work. I’m excited at jump-starting my fitness again. I’ve grown tired of treadmilling so I anticipate that I will do a lot of anaerobic exercise, leg lunges, weight lifting, that sort of thing. It’s funny how I used to do nothing but the treadmill for hours, years past. Now, the stuff I’ve read has convinced me that it’s strength and conditioning exercises that cause you to lose body fat. It is very possible for someone to be skinny, but still "fat" because their body fat percentage is still high! I am thinking to splurging to get some sort of body fat analysis done. Anyhow, on my lunch break, I shall check the place out. I brought my gym clothes (a.k.a. regular clothes that I’ve worn before) and I’m ready to rock and roll!! 😀 I can’t wait to sign M up so we can do some exercises together.
Happy MLK day to everyone! I’m at work as I knew I would be. I felt a bit guilty at not going in over the weekend. Still, I think it wasn’t a bad thing to lay off working all weekends all the time. The good part about working on holidays though is the laid back atmosphere. I would’ve been at home anyway so I might as well be at work. We get paid for federal holidays so it’s no skin off my nose anyway. I anticipate getting home early or maybe not because it just ocurred to me that the public transit bus might be on holiday too!! Oh well, in that case, all that needs to be done is getting M to take me home when he’s on his lunch break. I also settled on calling my rice-vegetable dish a "casserole" minus all the cheese and whatever’s "unhealthy"-sounding with casseroles. I can guarantee you that he’s tearing it up right now. 🙂
My next attempt at cooking will be to make herb-seasoned potatoes. My inspiration for this comes from one of our visits to Julie’s place where she whipped out a bag of these seasoned and baked potatoes (store-bought) and I ate myself silly. It’ll be labor-intensive, but I hope to at least learn from what I turn out. I really like cooking when the spirit moves me to do so. I would cook up a storm if I had more room for storage. Right now, we’re using just 2 drawers in the fridge. So, I’ll have to wait till we eat up the rice-vegetable casserole and the chili. That won’t take too long. lol. It’s also ridiculous inexpensive to make! The rice is brown rice and that’s a tad more expensive than white rice. Nevertheless, I’d advise all and sundry to make the move to brown rice as it’s way healthier for you because of the higher nutrient content. I can’t even tell the difference (texture-wise) between brown and white rice. It’s that good. It’s about time for me to write up the protocol as we say in the lab or write up the recipe for my famous rice-vegetable dish.
Jane’s Famous Rice-Vegetable Dish a.k.a. Casserole
- Ingredients: brown rice and onions are a must (or not if you hate onions). I vary the vegetables I add. However, for simplicity, I’ll just write out the recipe for the last batch I made (refer to the paragraph about Matt tearing something up). That included 2 onions (chopped), 2 green bell peppers (chopped), oregano (dried, 1 tbsp), curry (2 tsp), garlic powder (1 tbsp), seasoning (lol. It’s on the Mexican aisle of Walmart. You can use Maggi or Knorr seasoning, about 1 tbsp or to taste), corn (1 can).
- Cook the brown rice per the bag’s instructions or
- Bring the water to a boil ( roughly 2X the volume of rice you want to cook) and add the rice (along with a bit of salt. I use at least 1 tbsp of salt for a $1.42 bag of brown rice or about 1 lb). Turn the heat to medium-low and let the rice cook. Check it periodically for swelling and texture. If it’s already welldone to your taste, feel free to whip out a cup and get excess liquid off.
- Once the rice is about to get done, start up a skillet with EVOO or extra virgin olive oil (about 2 tbsp or more). Add the chopped onions and bell peppers to the skillet. Cover for 5 mins and stir. Fry the items till they are tenders and the onions are just about to start browning. Toss in the various seasonings (see number 1) and mix them up well.
- Transfer the rice pot to a lower heat setting and add the vegetables. Mix thoroughly and keep on low while mixing. Turn off the heat and your food is ready to serve!
Was that painless or what? I know my instructions are not all that, but you can add any and everything you want to the vegetables to add variety. I’ve done things like added tuna or even black-eyed peas to add some protein! So feel free to be creative and keep cooking! lol. I feel like Rachel Ray. The average time for this dish is less than 2 hrs.
Punish whom you might ask? Glad you did. It is my personal opinion that they serve to punish you a.k.a. me. How? Let me start from the beginning. I have been a longtime user of Nero 7. I ponied up the dough which was about $60 for the program. Well, Nero 8 has come out and guess how much it will cost me to upgrade to Nero 8? You guessed wrong: $59.99 is the princely sum. Needless to say, I will not be upgrading anytime soon. There’s another piece of software on my computer that needs upgrading (Acronis True Image Home 11 from version 10), but again, it’ll cost about ~ $30 to upgrade. *sigh* I’ll be doing all/any software upgrades during the new year. I will take my chances with “old” software. In other news, a release candidate of Windows XP Service Pack 3 is out! Key word: release candidate (RC)Â not release-to-manufacture (RTM) so use at your own risk. Me, unless there’s some serious vulnerability that doesn’t involve protecting me again obvious evils like visiting bad sites, I’m not touching that service pack. Lord knows that might be all my poor desktop needs to kick the bucket. Tonight, M and I will be hanging out at J & J’s. Should be fun with Tyler and Sadie. 🙂
Matt brought this movie home as a Redbox DVD rental and we (a.k.a. I) haven’t stopped talking about it. We told our landlord about it and he can’t stop talking about it. My lab mate watched the same movie and he can’t stop talking about it. It was wicked and very well done movie. My God, I’m enthralled with Kevin Costner all over again. The soundtrack was perfect for theÂ movieÂ in its eerie spooky way. Please, just go see this movie. I can’t even talk about it without giving it away. 😀 However, Matt recently brought home another movie that hit me in a not-so-good spot. It is called “Poor Pretty Eddie” and I’m still wrestling with what this movie was trying to do. Matt feels this movie was trying to show the deep South a(it was filmed in Athens, GA) and their prejudices. I say this movie is playing to those sickos who dream of repeating the atrocities that were perpetrated in the movie. Without spoiling the movie, the revenge doesn’t even come at the hands of the wronged character. Revenge comes on the mind only when one of the character’s pet meets an untimely death. I’m sorry, I just couldn’t like the movie and I don’t know what made me continue to watch. I felt so dirty and sad at the same time. M and I have agreed to disagree on this movie so I’ll leave it at that. Next time he brings any movie, I’ll be sure to do my research on it.
In other news, an aunt called and wants M & I to come on over. We’ve got Christmas eve and Christmas Day booked so the only “free” time for both of us to come jointly will be the day after Christmas and the next. I, on the other hand, am technically free because my employer gives us from Christmas eveÂ up untilÂ New Year’s eve. I’m wrestling with myself about taking the plunge and taking all the days I’m allowed. Afterall, they are paid holidays. Nevertheless, I’m torn between wanting to do all the work I can possibly do in order to feel like I’ve “achieved” a little bit of something. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I guess I should start by informing the bosses about my being off on the 24th and 25th. Then, depending on our financial situation, we may (or just I) go to visit my aunt.
In yet other news, PC bought a router to match the wireless adapters we have i.e. a Belkin G + MIMO router to match out Belkin G + MIMO USB adapter. I have to say that we have been experiencing a lot more uptimes. It’s unbelievable. Previously, we were using the regular Belkin G USB adapter with his Belkin G Wireless Router. Needless to say, from all the bellyaching that has happened on this blog, you know by now that we were hardly ever able to get on the internet. This frustrated me to no end considering that we were footing two-thirds of the internet (and phone bill) because there was no “internet without the phone.” Expectedly, I wanted to be able to have a good browsing experience for all the money we were chipping in (at least $50). After much complaining, PC conceded that:
(1) No, encrypting the wireless network doesn’t somehow cause intermittent connections or nor was the encryption the problem. I got some grief from him because I refused to surf without putting some protection on the wireless network. He was not very willing to do this because he didn’t “have anything sensitive on his computer.” Well, seeing as I paid my bills on the internet and did have sensitive material on my computer, I sure as hell was not going to back down on this issue. I’m happy to say that: (i) Yes, we do have WPA encryption with a kickass password that he thought up.
(2) The problem with connection was more than likely the weak Belkin G USB router. We are easily 2 rooms away from him and it’s explicitly stated on the package that walls do interfere with signal. Even before, we were right next door to him, it was always a game of plugging in our router and praying that the Wireless Gods would let us connect. So, first of all, we upgraded our usb adapter to the belkin g plus mimo thingamajig. We still weren’t able to connect very well so we pushed for a router upgrade. Thankfully, the upgrade happened and we didn’t have to spend any more money. We didn’t have to argue over whether or not to encrypt the network because I was armed with information from the US Government no less!! lol. Just ask Matt.
That’s enough kvetching for now. Take care! and Happy ChrismaHanuKwanzaKah! 🙂