What’s for Dinner Tonight?

The Meal I Invented by Mistake

November 13, 2020 3 of 8

Way back when dinosaurs walked the Earth, Rice-a-Roni had a recipe on the beef Rice-a-Roni package for a kind of Spanish rice recipe. It involved basically making the Rice-a-Roni according to package directions then adding canned tomatoes (or was it stewed tomatoes? I can never remember and it’s really immaterial right now). My mom always browned pork chops, then browned the rice/vermicelli mixture then put the pork chops into the pot with the Rice-a-Roni and tomatoes too cook the rest of the way through. It’s really good and was one of our staple dinners from my childhood.

In late 1991 or early 1992, I was a newlywed and had these chicken breasts that I’d bought basically on a whim. I was on the phone with my mom and my inability to come up with anything interesting to do with these chicken breasts came up in the conversation.

My mom suggested that I make them with Rice-a-Roni rice pilaf, so I basically did the pork chops and Spanish rice meal with chicken breasts and rice pilaf. Well, without the tomatoes, ’cause that would be weird.

It was awesome. Thomas and I both loved it and I made it pretty frequently.

Fast forward to autumn of either 1999 (when my mom came to help with Alex after he was born) or 2001 (when my mom came to help while I had my chemo). Actually, it was probably 2001, because I don’t remember my dad being there.

I made this dish for my mom and she said that it was delicious and asked me where I got the recipe.

Thomas and I both looked at her and I said, “I got it from you.”

She assured me that she’d never heard of this meal and she certainly would’ve made it herself if she had.

So I told her about the phone conversation where (I thought) she suggested it.

Turns out she didn’t mean to do it this way, she was thinking more of using the Rice-a-Roni as a side dish. And she went on to say that she wished she’d thought of it because it really was good.

I’ve had a taste for chicken and rice pilaf lately but Alex has not, so I made it for myself tonight. I even have leftovers for maybe tomorrow night, or Sunday, or something. Maybe I’ll freeze them and have them next week. The sky’s the limit.

My Gratuitous Amazon Link this time is the *fourth* book in the Streetlights Like Fireworks series. I posted the second book and now the fourth. It looks like I somehow missed putting read dates down for the first and third. So I guess those are now going to be in my reading queue. Anyway, here it is: This Gem in My Hand, by David Pandolfe.

New Thoughts on Language Studies

November 13, 2020 1 of 8

I still haven’t decided on what language I’m going to focus on for my eventual degree. And I have lots of time to choose; I’m not going to start the degree until about 11 years from now, at the earliest.

But the thought occurs that I would like to do lots of travel (and, ideally, I’d need to study there for a semester for the degree) in a country that speaks my target language.

As we all know, Spanish is my path of least resistance. I have two years of college-level Spanish already and I speak it nearly daily in my job.

And, as a woman who would likely be traveling alone, I probably want to avoid countries where I’d be shaken down for bribes. So I’m looking at the Transparency International map for 2019 and the yellowest (the ones with the lowest corruption indices) countries on the map are Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, New Zealand, Singapore, and Luxembourg.

I already speak German, so there’s that.

So I guess I need to add Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, and Dutch to my language rotation somehow.

If I’m willing to go as orange as the United States, that opens up a bunch more, including France, Spain, and Portugal. Also, Ireland, Japan, Estonia, Hong Kong, the UAE, and Uruguay.

So I could stick with Spanish and plan for Uruguay. Also, Irish, Japanese, Cantonese, or Estonian.

I think I’d be biting off more than I can chew with Japanese or Cantonese, frankly.

So I guess I’m trying the languages of Scandinavia next. I have a friend who is learning Swedish, so at least I could maybe have a language partner there.

I have also decided that it’s too much work keeping up on my newest books read for my Gratuitous Amazon Links this month. So I’m going for my oldest read dates on my Goodreads account. And my current oldest read date is . . . . July 13, 2016? Don’t ask me. I guess that must’ve been when I started my Goodreads account. So I bring you: The Trials of Apollo, Book One: The Hidden Oracle, by Rick Riordan.

I Really Need to Stop Procrastinating

November 12, 2020 1 of 8

Although what I’m doing while procrastinating is kind of helpful for the long haul, I need to literally and figuratively get off my butt and do something more immediately productive.

I’ve basically spent the whole day reading comic books so that I can fill in those blanks in my Goodreads page.

Meanwhile, one of my friends has a sick dog and her paycheck was short this month, so I’ve just offered to spot her some money so she can take him to the vet.

Additionally, back in 2018, I found a pair of sandals I really loved (Earth Origins Nellie) and so I bought a bunch of them. By the time I found out that I was going to love them, the local DSW was sold out, so I had to scrounge what I could online. I ended up with one pair of black (the one I got at DSW), and one pair each blue, red, and brown. I wore the blue ones until they were just about worn out and the red ones until they were completely worn out. That means I wore the red ones for running around the house and things for a year or thereabouts. So the insole finally completely fell apart last night and so I’m changing to the brown ones.

Since I’m used to the sandals being red, every time I look at the brown ones I feel like my eyes’ color balance is off. It’s very disconcerting.

Since I realized how old these shoes are, I decided to see if I could still get them. I was very, very surprised to see that I actually still can. I honestly thought that my current pair was the last pair in the world. The store at Amazon.com has both black and white in my size, so I’m getting three black and two white. That should hold me until, well, if they last as long as the ones I got in 2018 did, 2022?

Boy, that added up fast. But for two years’ worth of comfortable sandals? I think it’ll be worth it.

I had to go back and look over all of my soon-to-be posted posts to see if I can figure out where I left off on Gratuitous Amazon Links. It looks like I was on the first Squirrel Girl compilation so, I bring you: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 2: Squirrel You Know It’s True, by Ryan North, Dan Slott, Erica Henderson, Matt Haley, Kieron Dwyer, and Ty Templeton

One of these days I need to go back through my Gratuitous Amazon Links and make sure that they are still good and that they lead to the books that I’m intending them to. That day will not be today, because I’m trying to focus on writing. Maybe I’ll do NaNoEdMo this March and do it then.

I Don’t Have Anything to Write About

November 10, 2020 1 of 8

I came up with all kinds of topics and am drawing a complete blank right now.

Last night, I dreamed I was marrying Prince. We were doing our makeup before walking down the aisle and his looked *so* much better than mine. I was seriously put out about this.

I asked him if he had a professional makeup artist on staff that I could borrow to give me a hand, and he said that he did, but she has the measles.

I don’t know. I can’t explain my subconscious.

Even though this hardly counted as a blog post, I’m still including a Gratuitous Amazon Link: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Volume 1: Squirrel Power, by Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Steve Ditko, and Will Murray. I didn’t really intend it to work out this way, but in my project of rereading all of my comics in order to put “read” dates on my Goodreads, I literally ducked into my bedroom in between the second and third paragraphs of this “post” and finished reading this volume. Now on to the next volume!

Lanuage Learning Progress

November 9, 2020 4 of 8

I made so much language progress yesterday while I was driving. I listened to my Pimsleur lesson (which I haven’t done yet today, btw), then I did five ChinesePod lessons (which I need to get back to downloading from the site — I was in the middle of the advanced lessons when I quit, IIRC (yes, I have a bunch ofover 400 advanced lessons to download, but it’s not a totally insurmountable goal)).

Then I listened to El LadrĂ³n del Rayo for another few hours and once I was close enough to San Antonio to get 104.5, I went back to Spanish-language radio.

So that’s three languages (Czech, Chinese, and Spanish), and, with my foreign-language game playing, amounted to more than $5 saved towards my master’s in modern languages. I’m still not sure what language I’m going to learn.

This last $5 put me over the top to buy another CD (the investment kind, not the music kind). This will make it 14 CDs and 5 shares of stock. I’m trying to amass $16,000 in principal for this degree. I’ll get there someday.

Today I haven’t done nearly as much. 20 minutes of radio in the car, one Duolingo lesson. My foreign language game money. I paid myself before I did my Duolingo and Babbel lessons yesterday, so I do have that money coming today, as well.

Now if only I could remember how to open a new CD at my bank . . . .

Gratuitous Amazon Link time! Today’s book is Educated by Tara Westover. This is the story of how Westover, a homeschooled daughter of doomsday preppers, educated herself. She now holds a PhD in history from Cambridge University.

ETA: I once stumbled across another way to open that CD, but I couldn’t figure out how I got there. I finally just broke down and did it the old-fashioned way.

Longhorn Cavern State Park, Burnet, Texas

November 9, 2020 6 of 8

I think this is my 6th post for today. Maybe it’s my 5th. I was, like, well, I can always look at the place where I paste all of my posts for the month for NaNoWriMo counting purposes, then I realized that I don’t copy that part of the post over because I feel that would artificially inflate my word count. I’m not even that sure if my Gratuitous Amazon Links should count.

Agh. Never mind. Longhorn Cavern.

These are the stairs down to the caverns. My first picture showed more of the top of the stairs, but I was afraid that part would be too overexposed (and I was right — I mean, just look at the top of this picture) so I slid over to the right and took this one, which I also think is more interesting.

First, a warning. Since I had Mila with me, I couldn’t go in to buy a ticket for the tour, so I haven’t taken the tour yet. I do intend to sometime. Whenever I have the time and energy to go all the way to Burnet again.

I wouldn’t’ve been able to take her on the cavern tour anyhow (I just double-checked that with the tour website), so I definitely didn’t take the tour.

There are three things that make the park interesting. The first is kind of standard if you’ve been around here very long — the hiking trails. It was pretty warm, and while I’m getting Mila used to strangers, she was a little tense with strangers, since she was so far from home (I’ll bet that Burnet smells different from San Antonio to a dog). I’m hoping that she’ll get better about that, since I want to be able to use her as a travel buddy. As a result, we didn’t get to see all of the trails. We did the trail near the cavern entrance, and the Backbone Ridge Nature Trail. The Backbone Ridge Nature Trail connects the second interesting point:

There are a number of Civilian Conservation Corps (“CCC”) structures in the park. I believe that I’ve gone through this before, but given the nonlinear nature of this blog, I’ll do it here. The CCC was one of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs, and it may have been the one that was most popular with the general population. The men who worked for the CCC were housed in camps and given food, work uniforms, medical care, and an income that works out to less than $3 per hour in today’s money, quite a lot of which were sent to the men’s families.

The CCC was employed in building flood-prevention structures, reforestry, and also in building structure to improve public lands, including parklands. There are three CCC structures at Longhorn Cavern State Park. One, the administration center, is next to the visitor center at the park. This building has a deck that is reachable without going into the building, so Mila and I went up there. There is a cabin, and an observation tower. The cabin is used for storage and the observation tower had this metal spiral staircase that I didn’t like the looks of, so we didn’t go up there.

And, of course, the third thing is the cavern itself. Mila and I walked down to the entrance of the cavern, which has stairs and arches and things that I think are also by the CCC.

The cavern was formed by water filtering through cracks in the ground during what’s known as the “Llano Uplift,” which I don’t really understand and will have to research. I eavesdropped on one of the tour guides and he said that there are relatively few caverns formed this way, and even fewer (I think he said four?) are open to the public.

Now for the Gratuitous Amazon Link. I really need to catch up on my nonfiction reading, to give this section a little more variety. Alas, this is another kidlit book. The Secrets of Solace is the middle book in a trilogy by Jaleigh Johnson set on the planet of Solace. Interestingly it looks like the three books of the trilogy are independent stories. The first two certainly are.

Well, I Just Almost Had a Heart Attack

November 9, 2020 3 of 8

I wasn’t expecting one of my eight posts to be about my license renewal.

In the world of pharmacy technicians, there are two kinds of qualification, certification and registration. Texas requires registration but not certification, but if I want to leave Texas someday (and I do), I’ll need to maintain my certification as well as my registration.

I went to the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board website and realized that the renewal window for my certification closed on Halloween. This was the first, biggest, heart attack.

It looks like if I shell out another $25 I can apply for recertification, and I did shell out that extra $25, so hopefully that’ll go off without a hitch and I’ll be certified for another two years.

Then I went to the Texas State Board of Pharmacy’s website and applied there. They’re requiring refingerprinting for anyone who has been a technician for more than five years, and I’ve been a tech for six. But it didn’t say anything about it when I applied.

So I had another minor rise in my blood pressure over this. I thought that maybe they had put a hold on that project because of COVID? But then I got the email with the link to sign up for the fingerprinting. So I’m doing that one week from today, at 9:50 in the morning. The fingerprinting site said that there were 20 appointments in the next 7 days, but I couldn’t sign up for anything before next Monday.

Maybe there are 20 appointments next Monday? Who knows? All I know is that by Thanksgiving, everything should be fine.

Now to move on with my life, and get another Gratuitous Amazon Link in here. I don’t have any other way to monetize this thing yet, and I’ve made a whole $0.97 from Amazon here so far. Let’s see if someone will eventually make that, I don’t know, $10,000? $20,000? $100,000? Today’s link is Ms. Marvel: Time and Again, by G. Willow Wilson, Saladin Ahmed, Rainbow Rowell, and Nico Leon.

Can I write with my figerfinger while walleigwalking?

I’m was wayberrier bothing behind on both my steps and my word count. So I went looliglookiy looking for another dictation app to try. Rather than a dictiodictation app, thoslthough, I foul found the Google haddhandwrity writing um…interfae interfaceQuerythingy.

so I’ve installed it au and amus is an amusing am using it to wait write this post while I walk.

This still requiry requires a lot more looking down than dictetion dictation would, but also requires less precision than typirnsg.

will I stick with this? Let’s siresive give it the weak at weekers weekend to find out.

Btw, I awe have a three day weekend coum coming up starting tomorrow.

ETA: Not perfect, but better than my tries at dictation. Also slower than dictation or typing, but let’s see if I can get it going faster and eliminate the typos. Are they typos when you’re writing with your finger?

I Had So Many Writing Ideas . . .

November 9, 2020 2 of 8

Earlier when I was walking, I was, “When I get home, I’m going to write about this, and about that, and . . . .”

And then I got home and it all disappeared.

I was going to write about the recipe I invented by accident, but I’ve pretty much been writing about cooking while making the dish itself. I just texted Alex to see if he wants to have dinner tomorrow. If so, I’ll see if he wants that dish. If not, maybe I’ll stop and get chicken tenderloins on the way home and make it tomorrow night anyhow.

Oh, I was going to post about the weird dream I had last night. It was weird enough that maybe it could make a post of its own.

I also need to post about the two parks I went to yesterday.

As I said, I went for a long walk today. I think I’ve already posted about my greenway picture-taking project. Evelyn and I are looking for shady places to take the dogs for walks, and so I’m taking pictures every 10 minutes while I walk and am going to make movies of them so we can get an idea of which trails/parks are the shadiest. I’m up to 11 photos (the greenways are out-and-back, and I don’t take pictures on the way back. So 11 photos is 3.67 hours of walking.

Oh, and I’m working on my last? Next-to-last? hour of continuing education for my pharmacy technician registration. I need to knock those out tonight so I can get that together.

Since I’m on a Ms. Marvel roll with my Gratuitous Amazon Links, next up is Mecca, by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona. Technically, this should have come before the one I used for my first post today, but since there’s no continuity here, I don’t think it’ll matter.

Catching Up on My Goodreads Listings

November 9, 2020 1 of 8

Let’s see if I can actually make it to eight posts today. I’m off today; it’s 3:30 pm; that’s a little more than 1 post per hour.

While trying to get read dates on my dateless Goodreads listings, I’ve added dates to five Ms. Marvel compilations. There are also three more books that I didn’t even have on myGoodreads. I’ve read those and am adding them to my Goodreads account right now.

Or I will if my computer ever catches up to where I am. I really need to close all of my windows and tabs and restart once I’ve finished this post.

Oh, my God. My computer is so slow.

I’m almost caught up with the Ms. Marvel comics (though apparently there’s one more compilation, from when they changed writers from G. Willow Wilson go Saladin Ahmed, that I didn’t notice and that I’ll have to go back and read it.

I don’t know if my collection of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl comics has read dates, but I know that some of my Avatar: The Last Airbender comics don’t, so one of them will be the next thing I read once I finish Ms. Marvel.

I have read a bunch just yesterday and today. I guess I’ll go with Teenage Wasteland, by G. Willow Wilson and Nico Leon.