Monday, November 28, 2011

O' Christmas Tree!

Woke up with a serious case of the crud this morning. Well, i take that back, my throat was hurting last night before I went to bed. Now when I swallow it's like there's a great lump on the right side that just aches. -_-;; Do not want sick! I have an interview tomorrow and an eye doctor appointment on Wednesday!

Yesterday evening, before I started feeling cruddy, my cousin dropped by their old Christmas Tree. They bought a new, bigger, pre-lit tree, and so gave me their old 6 foot, unlit one. I LOVE it! They'd forgotten to grab the lights on the way outta the house, but they'd had clear lights for it. Matt and I went out and picked up a few decorations, a tree skirt, and some colored lights, since they're my favorite kind.



It's so pretty I love it!

I've been spending the morning on the computer and doing chores. While I was playing some computer games it quite suddenly struck me that I now live in the city, and that this isn't some strange extended vacation. It was such a weird and sudden thought it really gave me pause. I guess it's partly from coming down here for so many years to stay with my Grandparents for a week or two. The city has always been the cool place we go to visit for the day, it's just so weird to think of it as my home! In our apartment it's easy to pretend the whole kit and kaboodle is still in Stillwater and my parents are only a three minute drive away.  Not that I'm upset to be living in the city or anything, I guess my brain just still isn't used to it!

Blregh. Gonna go find some medicine, I feel so cruddy!

~~Brunn~~

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Nice and quiet!

After a busy, busy Thanksgiving day, I'm happy to just be at home, enjoying the quiet! There was tons of fun having turkey and trimmings with my family, but it's nice to not be around so many people! I've spent the last two days watching TV and playing Skyrim, and cooking Matt and I's two favorites- Chicken Noodle for me, and last night, Chicken and Rice for him!

Well, I say everything's been quiet. We did venture out on Black Friday, late in the day after the majority of the anarchy had passed, and picked up one MAJOR quality of life improvement for the two of us.


Matching desk chairs! Woooo! They were both originally $150 each, and we got them on sale for $75. Nice leather, pretty wood arm rest struts and wheel... thingies. They're such a massive improvement for us, as we both spend so much time at our computers, and the tiny foldout chairs we had were very uncomfortable. Especially after long periods, our backs and butts were very sore! But no more!

We also went to a pet shop called Alligator Alley, looking for betta stuff. They didn't actually have any fish things there, but they did have TONS of neat lizards and snakes. I was having a blast looking at all the reptiles and amphibians, but Matt wasn't particularly comfortable in the tight space with all the awkward pets. He was not pleased when we came across a glass container with a massive scorpion in it, and we quickly left. I made him promise to take me back though, as they actually have real alligators there, but they're viewing area was closed at the time. :(

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

~~Brunn~~

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Cory Cat is No More....

Mage killed the cory cat today. I was on the computer and watching TV, happened to look over at the tank, and there he was lying on his back breathing heavily. It's partially my fault, I knew Bettas were often times too territorial for any tank mates, even low key mostly bottom dwelling fish. But they'd been doing so well together since Saturday night and Mage had never once bothered the cory cat, so I'd stopped watching out for them. He wasn't even interested in the cory cat at all.  Mage was just trying to make the cory cat leave his territory, but since it's a tank, there's simply no where to go. I feel really bad.

I netted the cory cat out, who was wounded but still breathing at the time, but he quickly expired. Poor thing. I am a sad panda :( Matt even offered to have a cory cat funeral tonight when he gets home, but I feel too bad about it. I just want to dispose of the little guy and be done with it.

This is also a bit of a double whammy on my feelings- I did not get the Circulation Desk position at the Northwest Library I wanted. I was very, very excited for the job as it would be a chance for me start working with a library from the ground up, even assisting with the load in of the books and materials. It would have been an amazing opportunity and I was extremely disappointed to get the generic "Thanks, but no thanks" email yesterday afternoon. I've still got three other interviews lined up for library aide positions at other locations... At least they will still be in a library, which is better then nothing.

~~Brunn~~

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fishy things, recipe, and a minor Stew-Splosion....

Fish. If you've ever tried to photograph a fish, you'll know how hard it is. Really, pets in general are hard to get nice pictures of. You'll see them doing just the cutest darn thing, but as soon as you pull a camera out they stop. Or worse, they wander over and stick their noses right up against the lens to see what you're doing!

But fish... I think fish are the worst! You've gotta compensate for the movement of water,t he weird lighting problems. If I had a dime for every weird, streaky blurry photo of Mage, I'd be rich!


I did manage to catch this adorable shot of him investigating under the bridge... That's his cute little taily sticking out :) And here's a nice shot of the cory cat, whom I've yet to name.


He's really cute. He spends his time nosing all over stuff with his little whiskers! This morning, no one was out and about in the tank when I switched the light on. Mage was resting at the bottom and when he finally decided to rouse himself I dropped in a few pellets for him and some flakes for the others. Suddenly, there were shrimp all over the bottom of the tank, all grabbing food and stuffing it into their little mouths. It was the cutest thing!

In other news, last night I decided to make Stew for dinner. It's my grandfathers recipe and it's pretty much my second favorite meal right after my mom's chicken noodle recipe. I've even asked for it for birthday dinners in the past! It's made using 2 McCormick Beef Stew seasoning packets, which look like this:


Make sure you get the regular old 'Beef Stew Seasoning Mix'. They have two others, one for a season-in-bag thing, and another for crockpot. I've not tried those at all, but I assume they've got thickeners and stuff in them you likely don't want. I make it almost exactly how he's showed me, except for perhaps some minor seasoning changes to the meat- down to the lima beans that my m um despises!

~~~~~Papa's Beef Stew Recipe~~~~~

  • 2.25 pounds of ground beef (I like it extra meaty!)
  • Diced Baby Carrots
  • Diced Celery 
  • 1 1/2 Diced Onions
  • 2-3 Medium to Large, peeled and diced Russet Potatoes
  • 1 can Lima Beans undrained
  • 1 can Whole Kernel Corn drained
  • 1 can Green Beans
  • 1 can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 can Italian Diced Tomatoes (Basil and Oregano seasoned I believe)
  • Seasonings such as Worcestershire, Oregano, Garlic Powder, Parsley, Celery Salt, Italian Seasoning, salt and pepper, etc.
Crumble the ground beef into a large skillet. Just pull it apart and loosely toss it into the pan. Season with your meat seasonings to taste. I used Oregano, Celery Salt, Worcestershire, and garlic powder last night. Give it a good mix- this makes sure the seasonings are all nice and in the meat, and you don't end up with weird one sidey flavored meat! Once mixed, press the meat down into a giant patty and turn the stove to medium high. Let brown.

Meanwhile, dice up your carrots, celery, onion, and potatoes. I try to keep the amounts even between all the ingredients, you'll just have to figure out how much of them you like in your stew! Put them into a large pot. When the ground beef has been gotten nice and brown on one side, take a spatula and cut the patty in half, then again the other way, so you have 4 pieces. Flip each piece (Carefully, it likes to spatter as it falls back into the grease!) and brown the other side.

Once the ground beef is browned on both sides, use the spatula to cut those 4 pieces into slivers and then into bit sized chunks. Cooking it as a patty keeps it from crumbling when it's in the stew! Once you've got the pieces cut down to size, use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat into the pot.

Add in the canned goods. Take a large cup and fill with cool water, then using a whisk, mix the seasoning packets in and pour into the pot. I usually do one at a time, it keeps it from clumping. Once everything's in the pot, fill it up with water until everything is nice and loose when you stir it! Simmer at least 2 hours, to get the veggies done, but longer will help the goody combine! Do stir it occasionally and scrape the bottom of the pot!

Serve with hot buttered cornbread, crackers, or over a bed of seasoned rice! Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I did just this last night, got it set up on the stove, flipped the burner on and went back into the computer room to see Mage and dink around on the internet. About 10ish minutes later I decided to pop in and give it a stir. I came into the kitchen and "OMGOMG!" Was all I could yelp. Stew was -everywhere-! I'm still not used to the electric stove and it was boiling! Hard!

There was stew on the linoleum, the counter top, the stove top, the pot, all down the front of the oven and the oven handle... It was not fun. I got it turned down and cleaned up the kitchen, and besides the minor 'stew-splosion' it was delicious! I wish I'd thought to get a picture of the mess- now that I look back on it, it's pretty hilarious!

Anyhoo, off to grab some more stew for lunch, and start a new puzzle! I'll detail those tomorrow, me thinks :)

~~Brunn~~

Sunday, November 20, 2011

New fishy friends, and a family visit!

"Okay, without your glasses, read the lowest line you can."
"Uhm.... E."

I had an eye doctor appointment this last Friday. Had to pick out some new frames and get a stronger prescription... I despise picking new frames, it's like selecting a new nose; they make you look completely different! Unfortunately I have to drive back down to Stillwater on the 30th for another appointment and more tests. I may have Glaucoma after all, which is a fairly serious, if treatable disease. They want to make positive I have it though, before they put me on the meds, since I'll have to take them the rest of my life! O.O; Will jsut have to wait and see!

Yesterday was a very busy day! My entire extended family, minus my uncle, came over to see our new apartment. At first it was just going to be mom, then she stopped by my grandparents house to see if they'd like to go to lunch with us, and they decided to come see it too. I'd asked mom to call and let us know they were their way- a few minutes later, I get a call from my Aunt Carol, telling me that they were all headed out, including my cousin Danelle and her Husband Ryan! 0.0; But we had a lovely visit, and lunch at Chelino's, and they all really liked our new place!

In other news, Matt found a neat addon for our XBMC (X-Box Media Center) app for our TV. It takes all the TV shows and Movies we have saved on our computer and arranges them into channels for us.


It's really nice, as it gives us a way to 'channel surf". We tag all of our shows with genres and it runs them on a time schedule. If, say, Nightmare Before Christmas is scheduled to air at 8 PM, and we shut down the program, then start it back up at 8 PM, it will be playing Nightmare Before Christmas. So long as we don't have it rebuild the channel list, it keeps to the schedule even when it isn't actively playing! We can even find bumpers, commercials, and movie trailers we like, and have it run those in between our movies and tv shows! I could find the old Gator Golf commercial from the 90's and have it play!

In other, other news, yesterday while my mum was here, we went and picked up a five gallon hexagonal tank for my Betta Fish, Mage.


This is my Betta, Mage. I really wish I could say he still looks as good- he's currently suffering from fin rot most likely from ammonia and nitrite poisoning, which is a common bowl ailment. Bowls just aren't good fish environments, and during the anarchy that was packing and moving, with me changing living locations every couple of days, and him getting moved to my mum's house at one point, he just wasn't getting the care he deserved.


This is Mage's new home- lots of plants and a bridge to play with and in, TONS of space for him to swim around, and he's even got some new friends! A spotted cory cat, dwarf african clawed frog, and 4 little ghosty shrimps! With the filters and other fish, it'll be a much more stable environmental, and his tank is big enough to have a heater on it that keeps the temp at a constant 78ish degrees for him. After a few weeks, it should be all good to go, and then there will be minimal cleaning effort needed- no more having to net him out and do full water changes and the like! Woot!


The colors are really, really off. It's hard to get clear photos of a fish tank anyway, and on top of that the water is dyed blue from his medicines!


You can see how short his tail has gotten. :( My poor baby fish! He seems super happy now though! He's having tons of fun exploring, playing in the woosh of water from the filter, chasing his foody pellets and stuff down. He bullied the ghost shrimp around last night, but hasn't bothered about them at all today. Everyone seems to be getting along just fine! I'm so happy for him!

Gonna go get Mage some antibiotics tonight to clean up any residual fin rot problems he may still have, and some ich treatment to prevent any infestations from the rest of the new friends we added. Then it's off to Best Buy, and then to Walmart to pick up stuff to make Stew for dinner tonight! Awesome weekend!

~~Brunn~~

Thursday, November 17, 2011

How I discovered a nearly six pound chicken fits in a gallon Ziploc baggie...

It's been a fantastic couple days. We've settled into our new home nicely, and we've yet to find anything much wrong with it. Even the neighbors (so far) have been quiet; I've never once heard the upstairs neighbor walking and only a few times heard water running in the next apartment over. It's really nice not having paper thin walls!

The only disturbances thus far have been a Rent-a-Center person come by the day after we moved in looking for the PS3 the previous renters apparently stole, and the carpet cleaner people who thought we'd scheduled an appointment. They were just as confused as I am, and he even told me something along the lines of "We were just here last week to clean everything...O.o"

Anyway, last night we invited Lance over for a nice homemade dinner- Roast Chicken with Country Vegetables, and Mashed Potatoes with Giblet Gravy. Yesterday morning I set about getting the house clean and dinner prepped. I didn't want to have to rush around that evening so I opted to get the chicken and veggies in the pan, seasoned and everything and put it in the fridge, ready to pull out and transfer to the oven at four PM.

This is where the Freezinator comes in. I have (just now) dubbed our refrigerator that. When we first moved in, that very evening we went and picked up some groceries so we wouldn't be without breakfasty things the next day. Well, the next morning Matt goes to make himself some cereal and the milk is frozen. Like, frozen solid. This was a block of milk.


Turns out the temperature control was up as high as it goes at 9, so everything in there got a bit to frosty. We turned it down to the lowest we could set it, at 5. It shows that it goes lower, but no amount of twisting that nob will turn it... Dunno why.

Anyway, we figured that surely that'd be enough. But when I set some ground beef to thaw in there a day or so later, it was still hard as a brick the next morning. It's like Mr. Freeze has set up base in my refrigerator.

Freeze ALL the things!!

So skip back to two days ago when we went and got more groceries. I picked up the chicken from the store, which was definitely partially frozen in the middle of it, but the outsidey bits were all soft and thawed. I thought nothing of it besides to stick the sucker in the BOTTOM of the fridge, as far away from the cooling elements I could get it. Surely, surely, in two days time it'll thaw out completely. I mean, the fridge has had a few days to warm up a bit inside. But when I got it out, the outside was definitely frosty....

Darnit! I decided that surely it's just the juice and stuff on the inside of the package... I mean, it's been in the fridge! For two days! I can't honestly be frozen all the way through, come on! This is a chicken we're talking about, not a 20 pound turkey. I floated it in some water in the sink and waited while I diced veggies for the bed of the pan.

After around an hour, I poked it. Seemed soft and squishy in it's little bag. The skin seemed all squidgy and defrosted... It should be good now! Draining off the sink, I sliced into that sucker, went to rinse him off, and lo and behold-

LOL! I'm still frozen! :D

Darnit! Frantic, I think of what to do. Should I just float the whole chicken in water unwrapped like this? Surely that can't be sanitary! Then I think... Ziploc baggies. MAYBE it'll fit inside a ziploc! Feeling a little weird, I go and fetch a gallon sized freezer bag, and set about stuffing a nearly six pound chicken into it- and it fits. I've never been so thankful for a freezer bag in my life! I never realized how much those things will actually hold.

The rest of the evening went mostly without a hitch. I was super excited to find a neck, liver and giblets inside the chicken; the others I've roasted have all been around 3 pounds, so they've never come with them before. So I changed my plans from making long grain and wild rice to mashed potatoes and giblet gravy. Besides the chicken breast getting a little overdone and the veggies being pretty burney, everything came out great! And even the veggies were still tasty!

But the best part of the evening was the house warming gift that Lance brought us! I wish I'd though to photograph it before we disassembled it, Lance had it arranged all pretty in there! Two gorgeous, deep green bath towels, two contrasting wash clothes and a hand towel, a dark green rug, and a light green shower curtain with a set of beautiful decorative silver rings to hang it with. It was all from JC Penny, so he spent way too much on us, but I love them! We put the rug in the guest bathroom for everyone will be able to see it when they're in the apartment. I must admit I decided to be selfish and put the pretty green shower curtain in the master bath! I wanted to be able to enjoy it! XD

Anyway, I have a job interview today at 2:00 PM with the Warr Acres Library for a library aide position. It's not the position I want the most, but I'd be more then pleased to get it! I'm still hoping for the Circulation Desk position at the new Northwest Library here. I interviewed with them on Monday, and it sounds like they're getting some new and fantastic technology in there. I'd love to get a part of that action!

So anyway, Yay chicken dinner! And yay interviews! And remember-


Ziploc Freezer Bags: For all your sudden frozen chicken needs!

~~Brunn~~

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Apartment! Squee!

So it's been a while since my last post. Between driving back and forth between Oklahoma City and Stillwater, packing up the old apartment, constantly sleeping in a new location every couple of days... I was so stressed out that I just haven't felt like posting. Nothing much has been going on anyway besides being called in for interviews at the local libraries- but I'll post about all that business later. For now- NEW APARTMENT! Lots of pictures ahead!

First off, we'll start in the living room. It and the dining room are the most cluttered still, with odds and ends that haven't gotten put away yet, and boxes with the video game consoles, games and cords still lying about. I wanted to wait and set those up until we have the time to sit down and bundle all the cords and wipe down the consoles and surfaces.... Mucho Dusty!

Click the pictures to get a bigger one if you want!


Yes, that's our laundry basket full of alcohol... And those are my sad little puzzles- nowhere near enough to actually cover the wall space in there, but I had to put something up. The blank white walls were driving me crazy!


The black box on the wall is a TV reciever thingy that Matt got from a friend at work who upgraded to cable. We still don't know if it works, as there's something wrong with the software on the TV. Every time we open the menu to set up the darn thing, the TV locks up! 0.o


Outside the blinds is the patio space. It's rather spacious as patios in apartments go I suppose. It has a screen door and a sliding glass door, and is as wide as the blinds are in the pictures. You can see off into the parking lot- we're the apartment right on the end corner of the building, so we're fantastically close to the cars, and the dumpsters when taking the trash out!


Here's a shot down the hallway- that's the loveseat to the right. See my little window with bars in the kitchen? That's so I can feel like I'm trapped in there I guess. LOL. Actually, the middle bar is snapped in half, we have to put that in our checklist report thing we have to turn in!


Here's our sad little undecorated dining room. We plan on getting a nice wooden table and chairs soon, but until then we have the card table with the wobbly leg. I've got a nice a nice tablecloth for it, but I wanted to wash it before I put it on. I can't wait to get some kitcheny type wall accouterments to put up!! There's also a wall clock going on the wall in here, but I haven't come across the finishing nails yet....




Our new kitchen- Not as much counter space as I'd like, but it'll do. I despise my electric stove though. It's going to take so much getting used too. It was not fun trying to cook eggs this morning... But the storage in here is amazing compared to what we did have, so overall I'm a happy camper!


This is the bathroom/ laundry room you can see at the end of the hallway. To the right in the picture is the counter, sink, and toilet, and around that little corner on the right is the smallest shower in the world! I need to get a shot of it with Lance standing in there. The sprayer would come to about mid chest on him, so anyone actually using it would have to squat down. I figure we'll use it only for extra storage, and right now I have spare hangers hanging on the shower rod.


If you go down the hallway and make a right, the door right in front of you leads into the second bedroom, or the computer room. The hallway is a weird little collision of doorways at the end of it.... Anyway, it's super nice having the computers and desks and bookshelves in a separate room from our bed. Now if someone wants to sleep and the other wants to stay on the computer, we can! It also keeps the bedroom much cooler as we don't have computers and bodies in there heating it up.


This is the view looking back from the desks. A fairly spacious closet with glass sliding doors, and my bookshelves, which are already crammed full. Will need more soooooon! The little inset corner where the brown bookshelf is between the doorway and the closet may be where I put Mage's tank. I haven't picked a space yet, and I want him in the computer room, as that's honestly where Matt and I spend most of our free time. I'd hate for Mage to get Lonely!


Just to the right of the door to the laundry room, and to the left of the door into the computer room, is the door into the bedroom. It's still a little bare right now as well. We were thinking wallscrolls and posters in here. There's the Record of Lodoss War wallscroll Katelyn bought me years ago! Thanks Hokey! I still loves it!


Here's the bed- nevermind the two different comforters. Matt and I both prefer to burrito separately when we sleep, and most of the bedding is bits and pieces that he or I brought from home or that we've picked up over the last 3 years. We'll be buying two matching full comforters and such for ourselves soon! Notice all the lamps so far? NONE of the rooms but the kitchen, dining room, and both bathrooms have any lighting at all. Just plugs hooked up to the light switches. The first thing we had to do was buy two more floor lamps. We already had one for the living room, but we needed one for the two bedrooms.


My poor Jack poster Matt got me for Christmas two years ago. It's a bit worse for wear now, after hanging for so long, taken down and rolled up....


And last but not least, the Master Bathroom. It's an interesting space. Very bare right now, we need two rugs for in here and a toilet seat cover; our other bathroom was so small there was no point in having them before.


There is no medicine cabinet, just the full wall mirror. We're going to get permission to put up an inexpensive one in here above the plugs perhaps... something at least to store medicines and stuff... Until then the counter shall be cluttered!

So that's everything! The entire apartment! I love it so much, we're both so much happier to be outta that dirty, dingy, tiny little thing we had in Stillwater. Now we have room to really make a home for ourselves. Stuff is still kinda cluttered here and there, but we're working on it. There's a lot of storagey type things I need to buy so we can properly put things away- like plastic boxes to put foods and things into since the cabinets are so deep in places. And of course, there's so weird stuff, like the faucet handle being REALLY loose. But that stuff'll get fixed. Realy, I could hardly be happier with what we've got, it's fantastic!

Squee!

~~Brunn~~