Monthly Archives: August 2009

>COFFEE!

>

Last week, I won a pound of coffee from The Coffee Beanery by retweeting a post they made. I eagerly awaited my coffee. My doctor has suggested that I not drink coffee because it makes me a little like this guy, but I love it and drink it a few times a month and I am fine. My father gave me a really cool coffee maker but, due to the fact that I live alone, most of the time I drink coffee at restaurants. I wasn’t sure how this was going to work out.

I made a decision. I brought the previously mentioned really cool coffee maker and the cherished and won (in a long hard fought internet battle that required exactly two clicks) coffee to work. I figured that if I shared the coffee with my coworkers it would guarantee two things.

1. I would not drink all the coffee at home and alone with the cats. I think if I did that I’d have to get a typewriter and a pack of cigarettes. (Would I be a real writer then? I think real writers are 2/3 coffee and nicotine.)

2. The coffee would not come to live permanently in my freezer. (Sometimes, things go in my freezer and get moved from apartment to apartment. I look at them longingly and lovingly, but never really use them.)

Now, let’s talk about the coffee. The tweet I received that told me I won said that I would get one pound of coffee. IT WAS A LIE! I got so much more. I got, as promised, one pound of Mocha Java, one coffee scoop, one pots worth of Smores flavored coffee, one pots worth of Carmel flavored coffee, and one pots worth of Dark and Rich flavored coffee. (I considered giving the last one to my mother since that’s how she likes her men, but I figured her tastes might have changed after meeting her current male friend. He’s something else altogether.)

The first day I was to make coffee in the office I couldn’t decide which flavor to use. I walked up to an employee with the flavors turned away from him and asked him to pick one. He chose Smore’s flavor and I declared my love for him. (I got a little excited. I’ll admit it.) I prepared the coffee and the smell flooded my office. I could barely wait for the beep of the finished coffee pot. I poured my first cup and added half and half and sugar. I took a big sniff and then I sipped out of the coffee cup I borrowed from my boss. (Don’t worry, I washed it.) It was delicious. It had a sweet flavor that had hints of smoke, I swear. It was like magic in my mouth. I won’t lie. I drank the entire pot by myself.

If you want to find out more about the Coffee Beanery you can check them out here or follow them on twitter here. Don’t worry! They also carry Decaf!

>The Oh So Glamorous Life. Part II

>This morning I crawled into bed at 4:52am. This is exactly 24 hours after the last time I got out of bed.

Yesterday, Meg came to my office. In case you didn’t notice, Meg is my best friend. I asked her to bring me something chocolate from the drive through and she said she forgot. I was totally cool with it and I told her that it was no big deal. Then, she pulled a parcel from her purse. It was a bag from the Cheesecake Factory. I couldn’t believe it. I was so happy that I threw myself on the floor and moaned in ecstasy. She bought me a giant piece of Godiva cheesecake. (Why yes, we do have an incredibly professional work environment. Why do you ask?)

It was while I was rudely scarfing down the cheesecake that she asked me to go with her to the Blue Martini. I didn’t have a choice. I mean, she brought me cheesecake. It was decided that we would go and she would pick me up at 9:30pm.

I planned to wear a short black dress, but I left my only pair of shoes that go with the dress at my boyfriends house, so I went with jeans, a cute top, and a pair of one inch heels. I wore make up and before lipstick this is how I looked:

The Blue Martini and I have a history. That history is basically me going a few times and loathing it every time. I have been on Friday and Saturday a few times and that is sheer misery. It is packed to the gills and impossible to move. There is nowhere to sit or stand without being touched or jostled. The dance floor is small and surrounded by tables, but people are dancing everywhere. Generally, the crowd is so thick that it is impossible to walk through.

Tuesday night at the Blue Martini is Latin Night. We started the evening on the patio. They were out of the wine I wanted, so Meg chose a Chardonnay. We drank the first glass waiting for our friend, Anna. When she arrived we purchased glass two. We drank the second glass and suddenly Anna decided we were going to dance. I agreed with her. It was time to stop sitting. Meg was not happy, but we started dancing near our table and Meg got into it. Suddenly, Anna walked away. She came back bearing Latin men. I’ll admit it. I was terrified.

Now, I am not afraid of men or Latinos. I am afraid of dancing. I am a horrible dancer. Anna tried to show me, but she decided that I needed a man to lead. She brought back a man who was thrilled to pieces to dance with me. He didn’t seem to notice the look of sheer terror or maybe he mistook it for a drunken smile. Who knows? We were on the dance floor and I was trying. Anna was dancing with a total hottie nearby and she kept leaning over with helpful hints like “Relax” and “Let him lead.” I thought I was letting him lead.

Apparently, I was the furthest thing from relaxed. It’s hard to relax. This type of dancing requires being in very close proximity to a person that I don’t know. This guy bought Anna and I another glass of wine. I didn’t want it, but he seemed to really want to buy it and Anna was thirsty. We all talked for a while and then he got all Gropy Groperton on me. I was forced to give Anna and Meg “The Signal.”

“The Signal” is for when a dude is being a bit too familiar or creepy. When you are in a club, you keep an eye on your friends. If your girl tosses out “The Signal” you go rescue her. No matter what. You stop making out, dancing, brooding, or any other thing you are doing and you go take care of her. PERIOD. Meg saw it and in true BFF form she marched over, pushed him away, and dragged me off while I grinned apologetically.

Anna was not happy. She said “Oh no he didn’t!” and stomped off into the crowd. I yelled “Don’t hurt him!” She came back with A WHOLE GROUP OF CUBANS! Not kidding. She apparently tossed her dude cast net out and roped us some dudes who did not speak English. Greeeat. The guy who was tossed my way was approximately a foot shorter than me. He was wearing shoes that appeared to be made of crocodile or alligator. Anna demanded that we all dance, so we did. It was fun and the men kept their hands where they belonged. This made me happy.

I should mention that I look like a complete idiot when I am dancing. I do it with my eyes closed. I know it looks stupid or like I am really drunk, but there are so many commands being tossed out at once.

RELAX! DON’T LOOK AT YOUR FEET! LOOK AT MY FEET! FEEL THE MUSIC!

It’s enough to give this girl a complete panic attack. I was close to it and covered with sweat when Anna and Meg said we should go sit on the patio. We and our new found Cuban friends all headed to the patio where the men attempted to talk to us. They also requested that we speak to them in Spanish. We explained that our Spanish was worse than their English, so we kind of sat there looking at each other.

Anna was suddenly unwell. Not just queasy, she was about to be unconscious. I had two and a half glasses of wine over a 5 hour period, so I was totally fine, but she apparently had a lot more than me. The men scurried around while Meg and I barked orders at them. We had them go get us water and napkins. They obeyed without question. Meg went to get the car and told me to bring Anna out to the Valet. Anna demanded that I take off her shoes, but I am an idiot. I tried but I couldn’t get the things off. The men saw the problem and stopped the ridiculous wrestling match between me and her feet. Two men each took a foot and undid the ankle strap (that I hadn’t seen. /Facepalm)

We walked Anna to Meg’s car where she fell face first into the car. I thought she was going to try to sit up, but she simply lifted her feet up and I shut the door. The men said goodnight and headed off. We also headed into the night.

Anna sat up, rolled down the window, and hung out of the car. There was a police officer in front of us for a long time and Meg pleaded for dear life to get Anna back in the car, even giving her permission to vomit in the car. Anna wasn’t having it. We continued driving that way for a while and then Meg had to make a right turn. The road was closer than Meg had anticipated and she had to turn abruptly. Anna literally flew across the car and into the door, face first. Meg and I were horrified. We had asked her to put on her seat belt, but she was afraid to puke in the car.

Anna screamed “I BROKE MY NOSE!” Meg and I couldn’t speak for a moment because we were laughing so hard. After about 10 seconds, Meg regained composure and asked if she was bleeding. Anna screamed that she was, but we looked back and she was just a bit drooly from her mid ride flight. We tried so hard to stop laughing and if she had been hurt we would have stopped at once, but it was awful. We could not stop.

We found Anna’s apartment and helped her out of the car. The left side of Meg’s vehicle was now covered in oatmeal looking vomit. We were in giggles again. I got what was coming to me though. In helping Anna into the apartment, I was covered in her vomit. After everything else, it really didn’t seem like that big of a deal and, of course, we laughed about it.

We stopped at IHOP and had breakfast. We rehashed the entire evening and laughed until we nearly cried.

As I crawled into my bed, shortly before I had to get up, I found myself giggling about the weirdness of the whole night.

>Chili Time

>I have an employee named Sadia and she makes the best damned chili. It is so good. She said that they used a random internet recipe, but then her very soon to be husband misread the directions for the spices and this is what came together. I highly recommend it.

Sadia and Jeff’s Fuxed Chili

3 lbs lean ground beef
1 large chopped onion
1 chopped green bell pepper
2 chopped celery ribs
2 (16oz) cans kidney beans drained
1 (29 oz) can tomato puree
1 (16 oz) jar salsa
1 (14 ½ oz) can diced tomatoes
2 cups of corn (frozen or canned.)
1 can beef broth
1 ½ cups of water
¼ cup chili powder
2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
1 TBSP dried basil
2 TBSP ground cumin
1 TBSP garlic powder
1 TBSP salt
1 TBSP ground pepper

In a large pot (6 qt), cook the beef, onions, bell pepper and celery over medium heat until meat is browned and vegetables are tender. Drain. Stir in the remainder of ingredients and bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer uncovered for 30 minutes or until chili is desired thickness.

>The Oh So Glamorous Life.

>

This morning, I woke up at 4:52am. I have no idea why, but once I was awake there was no going back to sleep. I paced around for a bit, had breakfast, showered, and emptied the cat box. I decided that I might as well head out around 6:15 because I had to make a stop anyway.

I stopped at the Wal-Mart next to my house. They are the only place open at 6:15 and conveniently located on one of my available paths to work. It was not a pleasure visit, as much as a search and obtain mission.

I was marching through the store when then ridiculously attractive, probably felon, employee of Wal-Mart looked at me. Not in the way that you look at the crazy folks in Wal-Mart. He looked at me in the way that a man looks at a woman. I scurried away as fast as possible.

I should probably note that my style, for the most part, is probably the same as a 12 year old boy. I am wearing beige corduroy pants, sneakers, and a black t-shirt. My hair was up in a tiny pony tail and still wet from my shower. I don’t really wear make up that often, and today was definitely not one of those days.

I collected my purchases and was making my way to the register when Mr. Tall, Dark, Handsome, and probably a criminal again stood in my path. I froze like prey and then he looked down. Oh God. I realized suddenly that I stood there holding the ultimate and perfect man repellent. I held in my two, suddenly sweaty, hands the following items:

  • One Giant Box of Tampons.
  • One Giant Box of Maxi Pads
  • One pack of prepared chocolate pudding cups.

I scurried away and hurried through the checkout, passing him again at the cashier’s desk. I marched off into the darkness and went to work.

>I think we need to have a talk, folks.

>Recently, my friend John Hummel was in an article in the St. Pete Times. You can see the article here. The article talks about how John was a Mormon and through life’s journey found himself to be an Atheist. It talks about his curiosity about other religions and frustrations about the misconceptions of his own religion (and now lack of religion.) The article goes into how John’s curiosity leads him to start a blog and a podcast about seeing 52 religions in 52 weeks.

I am not here to talk to you about the article, as much as I am here to talk to you about people’s response to it.

TomH from Arizona commented:

Hummel’s problem is simple. He has no faith because he doesn’t nourish faith. He could not endure the taunting of the “large and spacious building” and gave into unbelief. Faith is like a seed, it must be planted and nourished. Otherwise, it dies

My problem with Tom’s comment is that he expects blind faith in a god. This is the crux of nearly all religions involving a god. You must simply believe, without any proof at all, that they are there. You must believe that things happen because the god wants them too. It’s almost as if there would be nothing good in the world if a god hadn’t created it. I think John believes in the goodness of man. Tom believes that John was taunted by the “large and spacious building”. I’m not sure why he feels that way since the article never says that. It specifically says that John left the church because he disagreed with their involvement in the political arena. Prior to that he had continued to be an active, but Atheist, member.

I’ll admit that I know John Hummel. I met him at the first Tweet Up that I ever attended. I liked him from the start. He is funny and well read. He is snarky at times, but never unkind. He listens with genuine interest to views that are not his own and honestly considers them.

I have met his lovely wife, Holli. I have met his beautiful children. I have never seen a man more in love with or devoted to his wife than John Hummel.

Some people assume that an Atheist is stupid or that they have no morals, but that is not true. I have been friends with many people who consider themselves to be an Atheist and the vast majority of them are thoughtful people. They want the best for humanity because it the best for them too. They volunteer. They fight for their country. They feel sadness when their friends and relatives die.

Paul D. Valentine, the leader of the Worldwide Church of Satanic Liberation, has a channel on YouTube. I find him to be incredibly interesting. I am subscribed to his videos because I enjoy listening to him talk. He is an Atheist. Contrary to popular belief, he does not actually worship Satan. (He doesn’t really mind if you are silly enough to think so though.) I was listening to a video one day and he was talking about the sadness of loss for an Atheist. He said that it was significantly more sad to know that you would never see the people you love again. I agree.

Doesn’t it take a significant amount of, well, faith to believe that there is no god? You have to look at everything around you and believe that it occurred because of some cosmic fluke. Beyond that, you have to believe that you are not a special edition hand crafted by a god being. You are just another blip in the cosmos, no more significant than a grain of sand.

Another response to the article was directed towards me, as I had left a comment.

I said:
To TomH – You are wrong about Hummel’s problem. John had been an Atheist for a while, but until the church made stands in areas in which they should not be involved, he remained in the church because he felt they did good in the community.

ea from Washington responded:

“Areas in which they should not be involved”? Who are you, Courtney or anyone else, to say what rights ANY group can or cannot fight for? I would not think to deny any opposing group the right to organize and petition.

I doubt “ea from Washington” will ever read this or my comment that I wrote back, but when I wrote that I was writing about a little thing that people have been trying to shred or protect for years called separation of church and state. The churches do not pay taxes. It’s not a good idea for them to be getting involved in politics. It’s also not a good idea for governments to be getting involved with (or banning) religion. When churches want to start paying taxes like any other business then I think that they can participate in the political arena. I just don’t think that they should at all.

If you are interested in learning more about John Hummel please visit www.blogthereligions.com or another blog he runs that I like called Between the Bits. Including this post about the insanity at the Town Hall meeting about the Healthcare reform bill.