A sorry 2011 and a hopeful 2012!

I’m sitting at home, as I do every New Year’s Eve.  I’m not ashamed or embarrassed to say this, as I take quite a bit of pleasure being home, with my furries, especially on such a crazy evening.  It isn’t as though I’m the only one.  If you don’t believe me, then ask yourself why the plethora of New Year’s Eve programming?  But, I digress.  I don’t want to harp on what an absolutely shitty year 2011 has been, not just for me but for many others.  I won’t tell you how incredibly disappointed I’ve been at not finding a better job, or that going back on Monday to the hell that is my current position is a fate I don’t wish on anyone, even Charles Manson.

My smallest kitty, Tatiana is at the vets office being spayed.  I didn’t really plan on doing this today, but the opportunity presented itself, and today was the best day to have it done.  Perhaps this is a sign of a greater beginning not just for her, but for me as well.  Tatiana has gone from a skinny, very sickly stray cat, to a very loved 5 pound ball of terror!  She’s going to start the new year a brand new kitty.

I should do the same.  I keep telling myself, things happen for a reason.  I need to go out and get the things I want and not be afraid of making changes.  You know why?  Because those changes might just be part of something great!

So to 2011, I say, “Go sit on a porcupine!!”

And to 2012, I say, “Bring it on!”

Drinking the Kool-Aid

This term has been used for the past few years, mainly in politics, as a sort of a joke. Meaning, when someone has an idea that is incredibly outrageous or ridiculous, they’ve drank the Kool-Aid. Many times you see the user jokingly say the term, often with a little smirk on their face. Honestly, this phrase makes me want to cringe. I have to wonder if those using this phrase realize what they’re saying.

If you aren’t familiar with the real meaning of this phrase, allow me to educate you, and if you have forgotten, take a moment to refresh your memory.

On November 18, 1978, 918 people died in jungles of Georgetown, Guyana.  These people were part of The Peoples Temple, headed by Jim Jones.  Jim Jones formed the People’s Temple in Indiana, in the mid 1950’s.  Jones was a socialist, and he used this philosophy in his church.   People who were part of the People’s Temple loved Jones.  In theory, it all seemed wonderful, and for a time in practice it was.  After some criticism on how his “church” was run, Jones uprooted his flock and moved everyone to Redwood Valley, California in 1965.  During the early 1970’s several more branches were opened in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The bottom began falling out of the organization after a scathing newspaper article was written in 1973, which questioned Jones leadership and what the church was really about.  Some members began to leave and family members of others began to want to know more about Jones and the organization.

Seeing this, Jones decided to move everyone to a place where he would be able to have total control over everyone and everything.  The move came in 1976, and little by little members moved to Guyana.  What started out as a dream turned into a nightmare for many.  On November 14, 1978 Congressman Leo Ryan, after receiving many calls from concerned family members, decided he would go to investigate Jonestown for himself.  He took with him some family members hoping to bring those who wanted to leave home with them, along with a reporter and cameraman.

After a few days Ryan as well as some of those who had traveled with him sensed danger and were asked by Jones to leave.  As they arrived at the airstrip they were all gunned down by members of Jones’ army.  At the same time, Jones and his more loyal followers were reading their own demise.

Contrary to popular belief, this was not a mass suicide.  Many of those people did not willingly drink the cyanide laced “Flavor-Aid”.  The adults were encouraged to give the poison to the kids first, and then themselves.  All the while being surrounded by men with rifles.  In the end, Jones died of a bullet through the head.  It’s never been confirmed whether he shot himself or someone else shot him.

33  years ago 918 people died, from drinking Flavor-Aid with cyanide and not actually what has always commonly been believed to be Kool-Aid.

So there you have it.  The origins of the overused phrase so many joyously use in order to look clever.   Next time you decide to say this, please remember where it came from and the lives lost.

Santa Claus!

Okay, so I HAVE to brag. This is Sofie’s (my Yorkie) first Christmas with me. For those who don’t know, Sofie used to live with my dad and his wife. She was his wife’s dog, and for reasons I won’t go into again, this woman wanted to give her away to a friend when her sister came to live with them and needed constant care. Sofie has been with me since April of 2011, and this is her first official Christmas photo! Okay, so her dress didn’t come out as floofy as I wanted to, and you can’t see the cute rose. Her little tag is sideways, so you can’t see the heart that has her name on it, but look at that face!

I’m telling you, this has got to be the cutest Christmas pet photo EVER! If you are curious, the dress is a Toile Christmas design. I was drawn to it because 1. I love Toile, and 2. it had dogs and cats watching Santa as he put presents under a Christmas tree.

If you aren’t sure what Toile is, here’s a little sample:

She was a little excited, but she let Santa hold her and she sat patiently as we took her picture and picked out the perfect one. Afterward, we drove home in a torrential rain storm and when we got home, she shared some treats with her favorite kitties.

Gardein Mandarin Chicken – Review

One word, AWESOME!

I decided to get a few things at Target this past Saturday afternoon, and in the middle of finding the perfect stockings for my two new furry additions to the family, I realized I needed something for dinner. I love shopping at Target, because ever since they added the grocery section I find many wonderful meatless options either in frozen foods or on the shelves next to some of the dry foods. Thankfully, Target has begun offering some Gardein choices in their vegetarian section. I was reaching for the meatless burgers when I noticed the Mandarin Chicken package!

Of course, I couldn’t just serve this alone. I’d need some sort of side, so I opted for a steam-in-bag broccoli, and added some some boil-in-bag brown rice at home, (can you tell I’m all for convenience?) My entire meal took less than 15 minutes to make. I did however have to improvise a little when it came to the sauce for the Mandarin Chicken. The pouch exploded in my microwave, and I only had about 2 tablespoons of sauce, watered down sauce, left. I add a little honey and some red pepper flakes and mixed it into the chicken as it was in the pan.

It was delicious! This package is enough for several meals if you are cooking just for yourself. I not only had enough for dinner, but I had plenty left for lunch today and dinner later as well. So for less than $6.00, between the Gardein and the broccoli, I managed 3 very tasty and convenient meals. I won’t count the rice, because I already had that.

I love Gardein. There are many meatless offerings I haven’t had, simply because not all markets sell all of their products. I suspect they just sell the most popular. I won’t complain very much though, since I’m happy to be able to find anything from them. If you want something delicious, quick and not too pricey, especially if you are feeding several people, this is the way to go.

Gardein Mandarin Chicken easily gets 4 tuna cans from me!