Archive | February 2013

Shameless Silliness Day

Yesterday, February 23rd, was Shameless Silliness Day, or as I like to call it: Saturday.   I’m a manager and have an office filled with Hello Kitty.  I cannot be shamed.

I realized that I haven’t posted anything lately.

Most recently, I’ve only been posting about running.  I have slipped a bit on my marathon training.  I always do when I get up to 7 plus miles at a time.  Also, regardless of my mileage requirements, I’m getting fat.  Because, I’m so hating having to run all these miles so I skip all other exercise.  No weight training = big fatty.  So, I’m giving myself a bit of a break on the running and starting mixing it up.  I will never be fast;  I’m not built for speed.  While running is necessary, I need weight training.

Otherwise I’ve been keeping myself busy making jewelry, baking, cooking, and being a worker bee, a mother, wife, saving Skyrim from dragons, and watching the Walking Dead.

Tonight, my husband suspected that the Governor would kill Andrea.  I know that she will never be killed off because I hate her character.  I call this Terra syndrome.  Terra from True Blood.  So close so many times and yet they always bring that obnoxious character back.  I hate that character so much that it has extended to me hating that actress.  The lady does some voice overs and I even hate the characters she voices.  Down with Terra!
Anyway, I’ve clearly been drinking so I’m going to walk away from the keyboard.  I’ll load some jewelry pictures soon.  Just as soon as I stop watching Russian car cam videos.   Holy crap, Russians are f?&*ing crazy!!!! I love it!

Cheers.

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For the Love of the Bacon

My family is a family of bacon lovers.

I kept seeing recipes for bacon brittle and candied bacon and other bacon-themed goodies and I really wanted to try them.  My husband and I both lost lots of weight and he has put bacon on the “do not buy” list.  I try to eat sensibly, but I love bacon and I’m willing to skip other things so that I may have bacon. – Lately, I haven’t been skipping enough things, but that is another story.

While looking at lovely things on the internet, I saw a recipe for bacon roses.  As we were nearing Valentines Day I decided that I now had my excuse to make some bacon-y goodness.

First I decided that if one could make candied bacon and bacon roses why not combine the 2?  And I did.

Here’s where I got my inspiration for the Bacon Roses.

Candied Bacon Roses

  • bacon
  • brown sugar
  • skewers
  • baby leaf lettuce
  • mini muffin pan
  • toothpicks, lots and lots of toothpicks
  • Wax paper
  • Ribbon
  • empty metal can (for bacon fat)
  1. Dry your bacon on a paper towel.  I used slightly more than 2 – 1 pound backs of bacon for my roses.
  2. SAMSUNGCoat the individual strips with brown sugar.  I took a big Rubbermaid container and threw a bunch of brown sugar in the bottom.  I didn’t measure.  – Helpful hint, the coating shouldn’t be overly thick as much of it will kind of “melt” off during the cooking.  Also, my bacon was rather fatty.  I couldn’t find any leaner bacon than this.  Leaner bacon would have made nicer roses.
  3. SAMSUNGUse the fatty edge as the top of the rose.  Roll up the strip, roll each “layer” slightly lower on the outside of the rose so that the center is the highest part.  Remember however, not to allow the rose to get too tall as it becomes hard to balance it upright during cooking.  A tall thin rose will not stand up nicely.
  4. SAMSUNGInsert toothpicks near the bottom of the rose to a) hold the rose together and b) create a stand for the rose so it doesn’t sit in the bottom of the muffin tin.  As I made so many roses, I used two muffin pans.  The mini muffin pan was great because I could use only 2 toothpicks and nicely balance the roses.  For the second muffin pan, a regular size pan, I needed 3 and made a sort of tripod to balance the roses.  It was a little awkward and toothpick placement was very important.
  5. Bake at 350 F for 30-40 minutes.
  6. Remove roses to a paper towel or cooling rack and, working quickly, pour the hot bacon fat/brown sugar mixture to an empty coffee can or other suitable metal waste container.  If you let this get hard, it is very difficult to remove.  And you certainly don’t want to pour this down your kitchen drain as it WILL clog.
  7. Lie a large piece of wax paper on a flat surface.
  8. Take a washed piece of baby leaf lettuce and impale it upon a skewer so that the point of the skewer is on the “inside” of the lettuce (the lettuce leaf curves toward the tip of the skewer).
  9. Add the rose to the top of the skewer and lay the rose on the wax paper at the top of a corner.
  10. Repeat step 8 and continue placing completed roses to make a bouquet – I only added lettuce to a third of the skewers.
  11. Neatly wrap the wax paper around the roses and tie with the ribbon.

SAMSUNGAfter talking about my roses to a friend, I am convinced that had I poured the bacon fat/brown sugar into a prepared cookie sheet that it would have made a delicious and heart-stoppingly deadly brittle.  I guarantee I could have sold that.

Next, I made a batch of Bacon Almond Brittle.  You can follow the recipe here.  Mine didn’t turn out the best because I cut all the fat off of the bacon first.  As my bacon was very fatty, this left me with relatively little bacon in the brittle.  It is still very tasty, but not very bacon-y.  Good bacon is the key to both of these dishes (and really, any bacon dish).  All the bacon I found was extremely fatty and I went looking at 3 different stores.

Last, I made some bacon-wrapped scallops.  I don’t have pictures for the brittle or scallops.  Mostly because I’m being lazy.

The recipe for the scallops is from a very old cookbook I have.  Actually, these scallops are part of the first meal I ever cooked for my husband back when we first started dating.  The entire meal consisted of Bacon-wrapped Bay Scallops, Artichoke Pesto Pasta Salad, some entree (that neither one of us can recall), and Boston Cream Pie.

For Valentine’s Day, I made the scallops and the Boston Cream Pie.  The recipe is:

  • 2 pounds of bay scallops (I used one pound of wild-caught sea scallops)
  • 1 pound of bacon cut in half width-wise
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup vermouth (I used a semi-sweet white wine – I keep a jug for cooking)
  1. Wrap each scallop with a 1/2 strip of bacon
  2. Mix the seasonings with the vermouth
  3. Marinate the scallops in the vermouth/seasonings mixture for at least a 1/2 hour
  4. Drain the scallops and place on broiler pan
  5. Broil 4″ from heat source for 10 minutes
  6. Turn the scallops and broil for an additional 5-7 minutes

My husband told me that instead of making candied bacon roses for the kids, I should just kill them outright.  But he didn’t complain at all about the bacon-wrapped scallops.  He was very happy about the scallops.  He has been bugging me to make them since the last time, 20 years ago.  I think the scallops are good, but although I love bacon, I prefer the scallops without the bacon.

Hope you had a lovely Valentine’s Day!  My was bacon-licious

 

 

Cleveland Marathon 2013 Training – Days 38 – 42

Well, I’m nearing the end of week 7 (which is actually the 6th full week of training).  I had a wicked head cold; coughing up disgusting, disgusting things.

My training should have been 3 miles on Tuesday, 2 miles on Wednesday, and 5 miles on Thursday.  Instead, I did Tuesdays run and took Wednesday and Thursday off.  Yesterday, I made up for my days off and did 7 miles.  Friday should have been a rest day.  I still have all kinds of congestion and I wanted to skip yesterday too.

I got on the treadmill telling myself that whatever I did last night, I wouldn’t need to do today.  I have a 2 mile run today and tomorrow is 7 miles.  I didn’t want to do 9 miles today and then 7 miles tomorrow.  So, I started out not wanting to run at all but telling myself every step was a step I didn’t need to take today.

I couldn’t keep up with the normal pace and it was getting really discouraging.  But then I thought every step counts.  Not every run has to be a great run.  The most important thing is just to run.

Using this logic, I did all 7 miles.  I didn’t look pretty.  I didn’t run fast.  But I ran and that is the most important thing.

Today, my husband replaced the belt on my treadmill so I’m off to try it out.  I’m going to try to do at least 1/2 mile at 2 mph faster than normal.  With only 2 miles to go, I’m sure I can.  But cross your fingers for me anyway.

 

Take This Job

I work for a huge multinational company.  In the time I’ve worked there, I’ve gone from getting paid a premium and getting topnotch benefits to being paid less than industry average and getting rather crap benefits.

And this change has nothing to do with my performance.  It has to do with the company thinking that, because of its name, can attract top talent without paying for it. Only, I can tell you what kind of talent is being attracted.  Top talent doesn’t need to work for a company just to use its name on a resume.

The work load has increased almost exponentially in the past few years as more and more people leave or are let go and not replaced.

The worst part of all of this is that is doesn’t make sense.  We have an entire department of people who try to find a way to save 2 cents on a pen.   But leadership doesn’t spend anything on talent retention.  It can cost tens of thousands of dollars (in real expenditures and in lost productivity) to recruit and hire someone new.  But because this figure doesn’t show up on a stupid spreadsheet, no one is paying attention to it.  But this is such economically retarded behavior.

Company “wisdom” is that we’re so big that we can cover any hole that occurs when we lose someone.  But since the company already cut into bone, this isn’t the case.  And the people who stay, because they don’t want to relocate, because the job market is still on the tight side, aren’t going to be as productive.  Good ideas and high efficiency doesn’t come from people who feel trapped in their jobs.

I have coped for so long because I my work is pretty solitary.  My department is very small and we’re mostly left by ourselves.   I also learn from what I observe.  I have had so many excellent bad examples.  Dozens and dozens of examples of non-leadership.  Lying, avoidance, bullying.

It doesn’t matter how good your “press” is.  Eventually, people will hear about the awful company culture and will seek work somewhere else.  And they do.  It has become so difficult to fill the positions which are open.  And the people who are recruited tend to leave quickly.

When are business leaders going to remember the value of human resources?  It’s your workers who make your company.  If you’re lucky enough to be at a big company, you can weather the cost of poor human resource management for longer, but not forever.  Instead of worrying about a 2 cent reduction in the price of a pen, worry about keeping your talent happy and engaged.   Those  big spreadsheets will look a lot better if you do.

He Blinded Me with “Science”

I was driving to work the other day when, on my local NPR station, I heard a piece about Dr. Gerhard Roth.  In case you haven’t heard, this German neurologist believes that he can spot evil as a dark spot in the brain in x-rays.

Let’s say that again together.  A German doctor, working for the German government, thinks he can see evil in x-rays of people’s brains.  That would be great if it didn’t raise so many obvious concerns.  Even Dr. Roth says that presence of this dark spot is a 66% chance of actually performing a violent act.  None of the articles I can find say how many people who have committed violent acts do NOT have this dark mark.

There are very few things as complicated as human behavior.  To assume that there will be an easy marker for violence is naive.  It would be great if all “bad guys” came with a tag saying “bad guy”, but to think you’ve found it is silly and self aggrandizing.  However, to be fair, Dr. Roth isn’t responsible for the  worrisome oversimplification of his findings in the media.

Instead of saying that Dr. Roth has found a physical indicator of the tendency towards violent behavior, the media has used the shorthand “evil”.  One can be plenty evil without becoming physically violent.  I know a couple of truly evil people who stop short of physical violence out of laziness.

Maybe Dr. Roth’s dark spot is  just some old x-ray film.

 

 

Cleveland Marathon 2013 Training – Days 30 – 37

I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t been writing much more than a quick couple lines about my marathon training.  I don’t see that changing drastically for the time being.  I did my required miles for this week.  Some days were easy, some were not.  I did get to run outside one day and then we got hit with a bunch of snow.   I love to shovel, it’s such a relaxing bit of exercise.  It’s especially relaxing when it’s dark and my little side street is devoid of traffic and people.  The fresh air, the quiet; it’s magical.

Anyway, loads of people know about my running and so I’m often questioned about running “stuff”.

I have a coworker that used to mock my running.  I’m not fast but I completely own my slow time.  Now, he’s decided to take up running so he questions me about it all the time.  After hearing his questions, I finally asked him his 5K time.  Well, wouldn’t you know, he’s never run a 5K.  After mocking my slow times, repeatedly, he told me that he was pretty sure that he couldn’t run a 5k.

So his newbie running questions all involved the best gear.  The best gear is a race entry.  If you’re coming in 5th or 6th place in your age bracket, then start looking at gear that might give you that little extra.  Don’t worry about $150 shoes if you can’t even run 3 miles straight.  In warm weather, I run in a tech shirt from a past race and some running shorts from Target.  In cold weather, I wear my compression capris from Old Navy, a race shirt, and an Aeropostale hoodie.  My shoes are Nike or Asics that I buy on sale and with coupons.  Most of my trainers come from Kohls.  The whole point of running is overcoming your doubt and pushing yourself.  Wrapping yourself in hundreds of dollars in overpriced gear before you’ve ever run a mile is the antithesis to running.

Speaking of missing the point of the run: today, one of my employees brought me an old copy of the New Yorker with an article about Kip Litton.  For those of you who don’t know Kip Litton, I’ll give a little info.  Kip Litton is a guy who faked his results in numerous marathons from at least 2009 until 2012.

I remember reading a bit about this guy last summer.  But that little bit didn’t come close to the detail provided in the article by Mark Singer.  The oddest thing about his fakery is that it seems as though he really can run a marathon in about 3 1/2 hours.  That is completely respectable.  If only the dude spent as much time training as he did faking his times, he could have made the times he faked.

While writing this post, I wanted to see what Kip Litton looks like.  Somehow, I ended up finding a blurb about how Paul Ryan lied about his marathon time.  I had forgotten about that.  I just don’t get it.

The most important part of running to me is proving myself wrong.  I hate running.  I keep doing it just to make sure I hate it.  But every time I complete another training session I prove that little negative voice in my head wrong.  That voice that tells me that I can’t do it.  That is why I run.  Because even my worst run is better than my first run.  I have earned every sore muscle and every blister.  I have earned every ragged breath and every drop of sweat.  They are mine.  They are more important than my time.  And no one, not even people who mock my time, can take away what I have earned.  Even when my published results are wrong – at the Cap City Half marathon, it lists my husband as finishing a few minutes ahead of me but the pictures for the race show me and the time clock as I cross the finish line solidly ahead of my husband.  That work is mine and it makes me strong.

And yesterday started week six of my half marathon training.

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