Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like...

Snow dog whaaaat

...well, Christmas, obviously, because it snowed twenty-one inches and people are fist fighting over parking spaces at the mall...so I've heard, because my social anxiety and mallphobia don't allow me in malls or discount clubs during this time of year.

...I will never finish all of the sewing projects I intended to do for gifts. I've been working like a madwoman every minute that I'm not at the office. Who knew cross stitch was so time consuming? Also, there's no way a gift will get out to Utah at this point, which pretty much makes me a delinquent daughter. I guess it will have to be a New Year's present!

...I should have gotten an egg roll with my lo mein lunch.

...this could be the last Christmas for some of my very elderly Great Aunts, so it's good that I'll get to see them. I will take them poinsettias and chrusciki (which I will be buying at the store) even though I was told not to bring gifts because flowers and food don't really count and you can't show up at your Great Aunt's house empty-handed.

...Did I mention the whole sewing thing? Because I actually dreamed about sewing last night. I should have gone to bed with my needle and thread because I might have finished something.

...I'm going to extremely miss my parents this year. It's our first year apart on Christmas. I won't know what to do with myself. I do get to go hug my developmentally disabled and mentally ill friends at the Arundel Lodge on Christmas morning, so that will be uplifting.

While you're out shopping frantically tonight, I will be home sewing frantically tonight. Once I'm done with the cross stitch I have some embroidery to finish, then more cross stitching and some bead embroidery (if I can find my giant box of beads and special floss which -hello- could only be in one of three rooms in my house and doesn't appear to be in any of them. Theory: gnomes? fairies? the notorious breaking-and-entering-bead-eating bats of Pasadena, Maryland? No, dang it. The bats are only out in the summer. Maybe I am just a huge dumbass. I never lost huge boxes of seed beads and Nymo-D when I used to drink regularly.)

Hopefully I'll get more done than I think I can, and I'll put up some pictures once everyone has their gifts. Not that anybody reads this, let alone anybody I know, but...you know. Just in case.

Friday, December 18, 2009

This beef jerky is nasty

I just got some beef jerky from Ollie's for $1.99 (Pioneer Brand - Rip Into It).

It tastes like jalapeno soap (or what I would imagine jalapeno soap would taste like).

The texture is pleasant, though.

I will continue to eat it in the name of science.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Little Chocolate Mint Vixens.

Someone (who obviously doesn't appropriately assign value to the things in their life) has left half of a sleeve of Thin Mints unattended in the kitchen of my office. This means, in the terms of my office, that they are fair game.

I had enviable self control yesterday and I DID NOT TOUCH THEM.

Today, they are still there. Minus three that are now all in my teeth. Maybe four in a minute.

Who leaves Thin Mints just lying around seductively this is a place of work for crying out loud.

I'll be right back, I'm going to the kitchen for some...uh...to get a napkin...yes.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What did your fake boyfriend get you for your birthday?

...In which I explain to my friend in an email how he became the romantic rival of a sixty-something-year-old developmentally disabled dude, just in case he ever thought things couldn't get weirder.

Let me set up a little background for you:

One of the agents I work with has a friend whose uncle is developmentally disabled. At some point in time several years ago, the agent took the uncle under her wing. She started bringing him into the office on Wednesday afternoons when she was picking up her mail. This is how I met him.

His name is Tom*. He's in his sixties. He can hardly hear anything so he has to look directly at you to understand what you're saying. He yells everything because he can't hear and he's a little garbled and difficult to understand. If he's 5'2" I would be surprised.

He's got a mind like a steel trap.

At my office Christmas party last week (no "holiday" party for us because we are all Christian, obviously) Tom tried to ask me out on a date. For real. I floundered a little bit, because I didn't want to hurt his feelings, but I didn't know what to say. When I didn't answer right away, he asked if I have a boyfriend. I said "YESSS".

"What's his name?"
"What's your boyfriend's name?"
"Hold on, somebody is calling me."

Half an hour later...

"So, what's your boyfriend's name?"
"How's your sister doing?"
"What's your boyfriend's name?"
"Oh. Is he older than you?"
"How old is he?"
"Where does he work?"
"For the government."
"What does he do?"
"Where does he live?"
"Uh...somewhere...in Maryland."
"Does he take you out?"
"Does he drive?"
"(head down, dejected) Oh....does he love you?"
"Not really, hey! look they are putting out more shrimp I know you like those why don't you go get some before you figure out that I am pulling your leg and treating you like you are neither an adult nor a human being by lying to you in an attempt to spare your feelings."

Because Tom might love me more than my fake boyfriend, but the one thing he could never do is drive me somewhere, and that's what all the girls really want.

He has been asking me about my birthday for a few months now, always carefully remembering that it's December 15th. The day arrived yesterday...and...no Tom.

I was having a weird time coping with turning thirty in any case, so it wouldn't have been the best time for me to deal with fighting to not let Tom kiss me on the mouth. I have to give the dude credit, it's not for lack of trying.

Cut to today...

I am in the kitchen at work, making some shitty chicken nuggets in the microwave way after lunch time because I got busy at lunch time and no-one was here to remind me to stop what I was doing and eat something. Around the corner comes Tom. Surprise!

Tom has beautiful yellow roses for me for my birthday. He tells me that he didn't forget my birthday, NO SIR.

The first thing out of Tom's mouth after I sit back down in my office:

"What did your boyfriend get you?"

At this point I have completely forgotten that I have a fake boyfriend for Tom's benefit. Clearly, Tom has not.



"Uh...We went out to dinner."
"Oh. What did he get you?"
"He should have got you a diamond ring."
"I got you flowers."
"You sure did."
"So what did you do last night?"
"Went out to dinner."
"What did your boyfriend get you for your birthday?"
"Nothing yet."

Tom got a very smug look of satisfaction on his face. He quizzed me to make sure I would answer the same, and both times I did; my fake boyfriend got me nothing.
He trumped my boyfriend by getting me flowers...my fake boyfriend made up for the sole purpose of deflecting Tom's advances.

I just thought I'd share that with you, in case you didn't have enough Christmas spirit and you needed an uplifting holiday story involving me, a developmentally disabled guy and my fake boyfriend with your name and easy-to-recall details.

None of this is meant to skeeve you out, and I've never pretended that you were my boyfriend in any other context except for to get free things (which has never actually happened, but in case that ever comes up I just thought I should let you know that I would sell you out for something free like a cocktail wiener on a toothpick or an iPod or those socks with the toes and I HATE the socks with the toes, but hey, free).

I will probably put this on my blog after I change everybody's names because who else would do some crazy and inappropriate shit like this except for me? One day I'll be famous, and your name in my story will be changed to Doctor Cowboy Andrew Jackson and Tom*'s name will be changed to Tom Cruise, Jr. or maybe [redacted for it's closeness to Tom's actual name, this fake Tom not to be confused with real Tom who is my friend's roommate and has nothing to do with this story, what up, real Tom?].

The End.

*Names changed to protect the identity of anyone who may or may not be embarrassed.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

On Turning Thirty (in which I abuse the hyphen)

I've always secretly admired people who don't broadcast their upcoming birthdays. It's cool, right? The only day that you have to be the boss of everything, and you just don't want it.

I tried to play it cool this year, but since today I am officially thirty for the first time, I've been playing it horrified for a few weeks. I've never been good at keeping my feelings to myself. I'm an over-sharer. I've been single forever, so everyone that is around me on a consistent basis gets to hear how I'm feeling because I don't have someone to go home and boo-hoo or woo-hoo with.

Everyone has been asking me if I'm okay today, because I guess I look like I just a saw a ghost. I did just see a ghost. The ghost of my not-yet-actually-thirty-years-old self, rattling chains and laughing maniacally at single, childless, thirty-year-old me.

My friend, K, has been exploring the concept of accepting that we can't change our past, and I think that's pretty poignant right now for me in this ghost-seeing, hey-you!-don't-eat-all-of-my-cake-because-what-if-I-want-to-have-a-piece-tomorrow mood.

I am trying not be crunchy about all of this. I will be happy for it to be tomorrow, because it's just too much responsibility to have to try to be happy for the sake of other people about myself turning thirty. Also, it's really hard to be thirty with any dignity when you're listening to Fall Out Boy. Seriously, self, that's what's happening? Yes, it is. You'd think I'd ring in this time of contemplation with some Nick Cave or Robert Johnson, because that would be appropriately pretentious, but no.

Excuse me, I have to go be an adult now.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Thanks, Mint Fudge Covered Oreos. Thanks a lot.

At least I am turning thirty tomorrow filled with palm and/or palm kernel oil.

Bonus: I didn't even buy them.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


My Momma over at Spirit Clay has been involving herself in all variety of craftiness, including new and awesome HALLOWEEN CRAFTINESS.

I am inspired. I might even join in on a challenge and make a spooky thing.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I Love This Rocking Out Asparagus.

You're awesome, myzoetrope.
I found this browsing Etsy during lunch.
It speaks to me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Banana Cupcakes with Caramel Filling and Bourbon Buttercream Frosting WHAT

It was like magic.
I didn't even know what was going to happen.

I've never made cupcakes from scratch before, so I wasn't sure how things were going to turn out.

A comment on these cupcakes from a taste tester: "Damn!"

That's what I was aiming for, and I didn't even know it.

The magic recipe for Jan's Banana Cupcakes with Caramel Filling and Bourbon Buttercream Frosting (Drunk Monkeys, perhaps?):

I used this recipe for the banana cupcakes. Magnificent and easy, thank you a million cupcakes, howtoeatacupcake.net. I came out with 24 mini cupcakes and 11 regular size.

Then I made the buttercream like this:

1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter
2 cups of powdered sugar
4 tsp bourbon
2 tsp vanilla (the good stuff)
2 tbsp milk
pinch of salt

I creamed the room temperature butter, added the powdered sugar (I started with 1 1/2 cups but had to add more later). I added the liquids and beat the heck out of it. I put some bourbon in my tea and continued on my adventure with a spring in my step.

Once my cupcakes were cooled off on the rack, I had the wild and crazy idea to use some of the some kind of brand of caramel ice cream topping I have in the fridge for making coffee drinks to fill the cupcakes. Because go big or don't go at all, right? P.S. The store bought caramel sauce is the only component of these bad boys that is fat free WORD.

The caramel is in a squeeze bottle, which I believe made my life (or just filling these cupcakes with caramel) easier.

I cut little cones out of the tops of the minis with a paring knife, leveled off the cut-out piece to just a lid, filled the cakes up most of the way with the caramel sauce, and popped the lid back on. Easy!

Then I tried it with the bigger guys - still easy!

I loaded the buttercream up into a ziplock, cut a hole in the corner and went to town. The icing didn't turn out pretty on every cake - I definitely need to figure out a better consistency for my own liking, but I couldn't find a recipe for bourbon frosting that didn't have cream cheese or wasn't a glaze. I did not want or have cream cheese. I did not want a glaze. Necessity being the mother of invention, I just spread those mothers out when they didn't pipe right. Excellent!

Here is photographic evidence that all of this happened:

That's what I'm talking about.

Janice with cupcake
both of us full of bourbon
happy together

Cupcake haiku YES!


I've got supplies!

I went to Williams Sonoma on Saturday and used the gift certificate my company's attorney gave us for Christmas. I got a mini muffin tin and some vanilla bean paste and some fancy honey.


I got flour and butter and confectioner's sugar and chocolate chips!

I'm pretty excited about making a few different kinds of cupcakes. I'm a long time cupcake eater, first time cupcake maker. Well, first time from scratch. I make lots of cupcakes from mixes, and they're alright, but I know that I'm missing something not making the cake and frosting myself.

I also really like to make tiny sculptures and I could totally make tiny cupcake sculptures with fondant. How cool would that be? Totally.

I have some funky old bananas lying around the kitchen, being good for nothing but throwing into the woods, that might find their way into a batch of cupcakes with some bourbon frosting once I find a bourbon frosting recipe that doesn't have cream cheese in it and/or isn't a glaze. You try it. It's hard.

It's good to have a hobby, and with my hobby of late being bead embroidery my eyes are starting to cross and I'm poked all full of tiny holes from the sewing needle. So I'm going to have two hobbies: Cupcakes and Bead Embroidery. I capitalized those words because they are Important.

Onward and upward!