Saturday, November 26, 2005

Turkey Day the 2nd!

So, today, Jessi and I had our own, private Thanksgiving dinner (the one we get to have leftovers from, and prepared in a healthier manner). I believe I mentioned we'd purchased a pre-cooked turkey -- and I won't be doing that again, believe me!

It's not that the pre-cooked turkey was bad or dry or anything like that (although it did warm up unevenly)... you just can't do in-the-bird dressing with a pre-cooked turkey, so our dressing was cooked out of the bird... and Jessi doesn't like out-of-the-bird dressing. So it will fall upon me to eat it all (and honestly, I made too much).

We also had low-calorie candied sweet potatoes (which came out very well, even though I didn't have the fake brown sugar to use with the recipe I had, and substituted a bit of diet coke to help make up for the lack of color), mashed potatoes (but no leftovers of that, as we only had some small potatoes left, and I cooked 'em all - will have to buy more tomorrow), and the first homemade gravy I've ever made that came out well, and I didn't cheat to make it, either (as in, adding store-bought gravy to what I was making). The secret? I used cornstarch instead of flour -- made all the difference in the world!

And we had crustless pumpkin pie for dessert. A good meal!

I have been tired the entire day... well, at least, since getting back from walking the dogs this morning, anyway. Actually, tired isn't the word... exhausted may be more apt a description. Yes, I got up early for Weight Watchers today (lost another .5 lbs), but that shouldn't have affected me that much! Despite being tired, though, I couldn't take a nap.

And there may be some unconscious lack of desire to nap -- because every time I've taken a nap in the past five years, I ended up staying as much later than normal as I slept earlier in the day, and that just messes up my routine way too much!

So now, it's 9:16 (as I'm writing this section), and Jessi and the dogs are all already asleep, yet I'm still up. Sheesh.

Finished my latest re-read of The Comic-Book Book today. Haven't decided what I'll re-read next yet. Maybe one of the trade paperbacks or something.

Nope, I'm not posting mini-reviews tonight, either... to be honest, I'm beginning to wonder if I'm losing interest in new comics, even those by people whose work I admire, or books featuring characters I've always been fond of. None of the books I read yesterday really excited me at all. Perhaps this means I should start cutting way back on what I'm getting... on the DC side, I'm about ready to drop all the books but Infinite Crisis, and then just get 52 after that, assuming I haven't lost interest there entirely. At Marvel, I'm ready to drop all the titles I'd been getting, not that there's that many of 'em to begin with.

Perhaps the thing for me to do is to just stop buying new comics entirely, and just get TPBs at the comic shop, and keep with my usual back issue buying at comics shows.

So, fair warning there, okay? Of course, I could end up just changing my mind tomorrow... but more and more, I find my interest is more from comics from the 30s to the 70s, and not much beyond that -- the only 80s books I'm even interested in getting are Roy Thomas' All-Star Squadron and Infinity, Inc. -- and if DC would just do TPB collections of those books, I'd be set!

Oh, well... I guess I'll pop out to the garage, have a smoke, and see if I feel like going to sleep yet.

Jon

Friday, November 25, 2005

Friday Night!

Well, the day didn't quite go exactly as expected, but pretty close...

When I woke up this morning, Jessi still wasn't back from her early-morning workout and shopping trip... but she got home about 5 minutes after I was up. It was raining pretty hard, and we were thinking about taking the dogs for a walk anyway, but a call from our friends Paul and Bridgit (fellow white boxer owners) canceled that idea entirely. So I made breakfast for us, I took a quick shower, and we did some grocery shopping.

I really need to remember to not go grocery shopping with Jessi again. Please don't take this as a criticism of Jessi, but just about every time I've gone grocery shopping with Jessi (or, for that matter, shopping for stuff for the house), I tend to go quite a bit over budget.

After getting back from grocery shopping and getting everything unloaded and put away, I headed off to work. It was a pretty slow day, even slower than I'd expected, and despite not showing up until 10:45, I was finished at 2:00 -- hardly seemed worth it to show up, you know?

I'd gotten a call from Jessi at about 1:30 saying that she and her friend Kathy were going to get their nails done soon, so I didn't bother calling her when I got off work. I did, however, stop at the comic shop, buying four weeks of comics (which didn't end up being as expensive as I expected -- thanks to no more Countdown to Infinite Crisis miniseries!). I ended up reading most of the stack before Jessi got home shortly after 4 (she decided to do a bit of window shopping after getting her nails done -- she didn't head for home until I called to see why she wasn't home yet!), and then we got together with Kathy and her boxer brood to walk the dogs (unfortunately, it being after 4 before we started, we missed out on the clear skies, so it was clouding over, getting colder, and it started getting dark already, so we only did a 1-mile walk instead of the usual 3). Getting back home, I got things ready for dinner, after which I did some preliminary cooking for tomorrow.

You see, since we don't collect leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner at my parents, we've been doing our own individual Thanksgiving dinner. Last year, it ended up being three weeks before Thanksgiving (at least, that's how Jessi remembers it -- I could've sworn it was the Saturday after T-giving, but she remembers these dates better than I do), this year, it's the Saturday after! So, I prepared a batch of low-calorie stuffing (not that different from standard stuffing -- used Sara Lee bread that's only 1 point for 2 slices and fat-free chicken broth, but other than that, it was pretty much standard stuffing recipe). I considered getting the sweet potatoes prepared, but figured that could wait for Saturday.

We won't have to spend all day cooking, because Safeway had turkeys that were already cooked -- they just have to be warmed up, which apparently takes less than 2 hours. You can't stuff them, so the dressing will have to be cooked individually. We'll have turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy (hopefully I'll do a better job of making homemade gravy than I've done in the past), and sweet potatoes, with crustless pumpkin pie for dessert!

No comics mini-reviews from me tonight -- but I should get to them over the weekend... Sunday night at the latest!

Oh, almost forgot... Krypto got his first birthday card today, from PetSmart (his birthday isn't until December 31) -- this was thanks to my signing up for a PetPerks card when they started that up, and with the card was a coupon for $6 off the purchase of any dog toy. I picked a smallish soccer ball with rope attached to it (Krypto and KO love playing with soccer balls -- and I'm not sure why) priced at $13.50 -- and the cashier ended up giving it to us free! I don't know, maybe I completely misinterpreted the coupon, but I don't think so -- but I don't believe in arguing with an employee who's insisting on giving me more than I expected!

Jon

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving Wrap-Up!

OK, we've been back home from Thanksgiving dinner at my parents' house for a few hours, Jessi's gone to bed, so here's a wrap-up of the day...

The day started out with a surprise -- I was paid! Thank goodness for direct deposit -- Friday was the scheduled payday, so I'm not sure how this happened.

As planned, we did take the dogs for a walk at 9:00 this morning. It felt bitterly cold to me (I've completely lost my tolerance for cold that had developed while I lived in Wisconsin), and after two 1-mile laps, my joints were aching, probably more from the cold than the walking, so we headed for home, making a quick stop at the grocery store for a few necessities (like dog treats and ketchup -- which we'd run completely out of -- as well as fat-free Cool Whip for the pumpkin pies). We relaxed for a bit at home before getting ready to go, leaving at noon (we expected heavy traffic on the freeway, plus I needed to put gas in my car).

Funny thing about the traffic -- it was pretty bad heading southbound, but we were heading north, and so we arrived much earlier than planned. This worked out all right, as most everyone else had arrived anyway. We spent an hour or two just visiting before dinner was ready. As I mentioned before, I'd made whole-wheat rolls for dinner -- and frankly, I don't think I should've bothered. I know I ate two or three of them, Jessi had one, and I think two family members had one each. So that's like 6 out of 35 eaten. Wait, it gets worse...

Dinner itself was pretty good. With the sheer number of people we have for events like this, when they're held at my parents' house, we're divided between two different tables, so there's usually two platters or dishes with everything (except, strangely, the yams and the green bean casserole -- only one dish for each of those, which were both at the table Jessi and I weren't sitting at, so we had to go to the other room to dish those up).

After dinner, most everyone helped clean up -- except for my dad and brother-in-law Bob, who promptly fell asleep in the living room, and my nephew RJ and my brother Jeff, who went downstairs to play video games, and my nieces (who were doing other stuff). Then my mom, my sister Debi, my sister Sandy's daughter Danika, Sandy's husband Bob, Debi's daughter Alisha and I played a game of Hand and Foot (a card game).

Now, maybe I'm just getting grumpier as I get older -- but when you're playing cards, especially a game where you're playing in a partner situation -- you shouldn't be announcing your intentions to your partner unless that's part of the rules! In Hand and Foot, 3's are bad cards to have when a hand ends -- but you shouldn't be telling your partner how many 3's you have in your hand so they don't go out and stick you with those points! That's just an example. This kind of stuff was going on the entire game. So call me a purist.

While we played cards, Jessi and my brother Jeff's wife, Kristi, were looking through all the newspaper inserts for the amazing day after Thanksgiving sales.

Halfway through the game, we dished up dessert. Now, as I said, I made a homemade pumpkin pie with fresh pumpkin, made to be low-calorie. My niece Alisha apparently decided she had to make pumpkin pie herself, and made two of them, plus someone brought two store-bought pecan pies (which I refuse to eat anymore, after finding out they're an incredible 12-13 points per slice -- or about 600-650 calories!).

Well, Jessi and I each had a piece of my pie, with the fat-free Cool Whip. Someone else had half a piece (I don't know who). And that was it for my pie. I think there's just half of one of Alisha's pies left, and 3/4 of one pecan pie.

For Christmas, I'm not even going to offer to bring anything I make myself for Christmas dinner. It's just not worth my time and effort, you know? Maybe I'll offer to bring the cranberry sauce, or a veggie tray, or something like that.

This isn't the first time what I made was snubbed at a family event, either. Yes, I know that not everyone is as concerned about how healthy they eat as Jessi and I are -- but my family (and make no mistake, I love them -- no matter how much they may annoy or frustrate me at times) rarely will even *taste* something that's a healthier version of a particular food. Nobody who'd tried my pie could taste any difference between it and the more calorie-laden version. No false modesty here -- it was very tasty, and Jessi and I will enjoy it for the next week or so.

So, when will I cook food for my family? When any or all of them come over here for something I've invited them to. And if they don't want to appreciate the effort I make to create a good meal that's tasty and healthy, that's their problem. But I will no longer bring anything I've made with me to share. Maybe I'll bring enough for Jessi and I, but for nobody else.

Anyway... away from my grousing (I'm sorry, sometimes holidays bring out the worst in me)...

Tomorrow, for some ungodly reason, Jessi's going to get up at 5:00 am -- she has the entire day off of work as a holiday -- so she can meet her friend at a local gym and work out. After that, she's planning on going to Fred Meyer for their 50% off sock sale, and may even go to JC Penney's for one of their doorbuster sales. At 9:00 she's meeting up with people to walk the dogs (I'll likely go on this with them). We should get home at about 10, which will give me enough time to get ready for work. I'm strongly considering riding my bike to work on Friday, since it'll probably be a very short day -- the only disadvantage is that it's been very cold lately, and I can't figure out what happened to the last pair of gloves I bought! Maybe we'll stop at the Dollar Tree and get a cheap pair, just so I have something for my hands!

After work, I'll likely stop at the comic shop on the way home (it's only a few blocks away), and then, after taking a little time to relax from the ride, it'll be grocery shopping time, then dinner, and a relaxing evening at home!

I have no idea what else we'll be up to this weekend, aside from Weight Watchers Saturday morning at 8, and dog walking at 9 both Saturday and Sunday.

Jon

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Wednesday Night Blogging!

Yeah, much to my own surprise, I'm blogging again tonight!

I heard from a former co-worker the other day, a man named Tom Wright. Tom worked with me at a company called Commercial Communications Inc. (CCI) in Wisconsin, along with many other people. And like so many other people who left CCI, he's gone on to bigger and better things.

So, how did Tom find me? He was thinking about me in connection with a conversation he had with another co-worker of ours, and did a websearch for "waffyjon," which led him to this blog, and to my email address!

Strangely enough, Tom also has a boxer (as well as a boxer mix). Neither of us, so far as I can recall, were interested in boxers when we worked together.

Unfortunately, some other people I've lost touch with (friends from before I moved to Wisconsin, mostly) will likely never find this blog, or me again. Glenn King, whom I've mentioned before, is one of those people I've lost touch with, and I doubt he'll find me again... Glenn was part of my Champions group, and I think that unless he does a web search for LaserAvenger, for example, he'll not find my blog.

Anyway...

Got off work at 6:15 today, which was a little later than I expected (but good to get that many hours in anyway). I came home and started working on dinner and the rolls for Thanksgiving (dinner was my breaded shrimp and french fries -- I had to give the shrimp time to thaw, during which time I mixed up the dough, and let it rise while I cooked the shrimp and fries and we ate dinner). After dinner, I separated the dough into roll-size portions, put them in a pan, and let them rise again while I made the pumpkin pie -- or should I say, pies!

I'd made a double-batch of the crustless pumpkin pie recipe I got from Weight Watchers, which I figured I'd prepare one batch normally, and the second batch, I'd make into a standard pie, using Reduced-Fat Bisquick to create the crust. However, there was both enough crust and enough of the pie filling to make a third pie, save that the third pie only had crust on the bottom -- and bizarrely enough, the crust absorbed much of the pumpkin filling, so it ended up being more like a pumpkin cake with pumpkin pie filling on top! Tasted good, though (we each had a piece for dessert).

Anyway, after the pies came out of the oven, the rolls went in. And it's all done, the pies are in the fridge, and the rolls are in cheap zip bags (note to all of you: Don't buy zip bags from the dollar store - I have yet to get any of these to close).

So now, I'm watching Futurama (an episode I've never seen before), drinking a Diet Dew, and blogging while Jessi sleeps!

Jon

Wednesday Lunch-Break!

Not a lot to report from the past few days... well, since Monday, anyway.

Tuesday was a longish day at work... 9 hours and 15 minutes. Today will likely be a bit short (I'm sure by the time I get back from lunch, most of the stuff due by 5 will be done, and there'll be a few new ads to build for Saturday, Sunday and/or Monday, but that'll be it).

Of course, tomorrow (here in the USA) is Thanksgiving -- and a happy one to both of you reading this!

We'll likely take the dogs for a walk in the morning at 9, since they'll be stuck at home while we're eating probably too much food, and get back home, have a quick breakfast, and I'm hoping we can hit the road by 12 or 12:30 to Tacoma. We're due at my parents' house at 1:30, but one never knows about traffic on a holiday! I'd imagine we'll be there until 7 or 8 or somewhere around there.

We're bringing a homemade pumpkin pie and homemade rolls, which I have to make tonight. Those will likely be the healthiest items we'll have to eat, unless there's a veggie tray! Well, white meat turkey is pretty good for ya, too.

Friday will bring payday to me, and it's a good thing, too! I'll stop at the comics shop finally -- I've got about 4 weeks of stuff piled up there! -- and also to the Sprint store to pay my cell phone bill (unless I do it online or via phone), and give Jessi my share of the rent, so I don't have to wait for her to get paid to have that money gone. There'll also be a serious need for grocery shopping!

Friday will likely be the shortest work day of the year. For once, I won't even worry about getting in early -- and if I'm there past 3 pm, I'll be amazed (making it likely a 4-5 hour workday), so no lunch break is planned for me.

Chances are, I won't blog again until Friday night, so once again, Happy Thanksgiving!

Jon

Monday, November 21, 2005

Monday Night...

OK, so Jessi appears to have decided on a course of action for our wedding... but I'm not going to spill the beans at this point, just in case she changes her mind again!

We are looking at a small, private ceremony... with basically just enough people there to make it legal... with a larger party for all friends and family afterwards.

As predicted, it was a busy day at work today... 9 1/2 hours (which is almost two hours more than the norm for Mondays lately).

Current reading: All In Color for a Dime -- the Krause edition. AICFAD was one of the first two books about comics I bought (the other being Feiffer's book), and I read my original copy enough that the front cover fell off. My late wife, Barbara, bought me this copy, and even had Harlan Ellison autograph his chapter for me (alas, I haven't had a chance to get any of the other authors to sign their chapters). Sadly, I'm already about halfway through it. Next will likely be the follow-up book, "The Comic-Book Book."

Speculation is running rampant at work that we may be paid on Wednesday, not Friday, as so many banks are apparently going to be closed on Friday. It would be nice if this were the case -- I could hit the comics shop on Wednesday, and have some fresh reading material (sheesh, did I even post mini-reviews of the last batch I bought? It's been so long), plus be able to get some Diet Dew (I'm currently drinking Safeway Select Diet Coke -- well, I bought a bottle of Diet Dew at work when I needed a boost and the two cans of SSDC I brought with me were already gone) to take to my parents' house for Thanksgiving.

I decided to relist some stuff that didn't sell on eBay last night... and so far, not a single bid. I think that after this, I'll wait until January, or maybe even February, to sell on eBay again -- it just doesn't seem worth it this time of year, you know?

Anyway... not much else to blog about tonight, so I'll close!

Jon

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Massive Brain-Fart!

Sheesh, there was stuff to talk about from this weekend, and I completely brain-farted on it!

Jessi's been driving herself (and me, a little bit) crazy thinking about wedding plans. No, we haven't set a definite date yet. She's trying to choose between 7 or more different dresses (not that she knows for sure what she thinks I should wear). I don't know if we're going to be doing the wedding relatively locally, or if we're doing the destination thing.

She was thinking earlier that maybe, we could fly to Vegas, and spend a few days there, taking a side trip to the Grand Canyon and getting married there (not sure how practical that would be)... but if we're going to somewhere warm, she figures we should get married during a colder time of the year, like February, so we'll be going from cold to warm...

...and if that's the case, we won't get married until 2006, because there's no way I'll be able to save up the cash we need that quickly!

I'll have to check and see what's available (so far) for vacation time in July, just in case we make July the wedding date -- although until we know what we're going to do, and start looking into details, I'm not sure I should commit to a specific vacation schedule yet!

Sheesh. As I told Jessi earlier today, all the really matters to me is that it's she and I, and we're making that lifetime committment to each other. Nothing else (where, when, what the details are) really matters that much to me!

But I understand it's important to her... so once she can decide what she wants, we'll be able to proceed.

Jon

Weekend Wrap-Up!

OK... anything exciting to say about what's happened since Friday night?

Well... I lost a very little bit since last week, and shared some of the recipes with my WW group that I already posted here.

Did I mention we liked Harry Potter? And that I think the Superman Returns costume's colors are way, way off?

Saturday, the dogs went for two walks... one right after WW, and then another one around mid-day, since our friend Kathy (who not only has her own boxer, but her son's three boxers to take care of) wasn't able to go at 9. The dogs were tired after that, I'll tell you!

Just the one walk today, though.

Worked on a bunch of new Cover Stories columns this weekend... I think I'm ready to start on the March columns now (what can I say? I like to stay well ahead of the game).

Expecting this week to be very unusual at work... Monday and Tuesday should be late nights... since with Thanksgiving being this week, we should be on early deadlines.

This means that our "must get done before going home" priorities for Monday night are to get everything done through Thursday, and Tuesday, we'll need to have things done through Saturday, and Wednesday things done through Monday!

Wednesday should be an average day, I'm guessing... could even be an early day for me.

Friday will be a slow, dull, short day, if last year is any indication (I think I was done at work at about 3:30 or so... hours before I'm usually done on a Friday!).

I'm not sure what I'll blog about during this week... but I'm sure I'll come up with something!

Jon