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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Look out Betty Crocker!

I tried not one, but three new recipes this weekend! I tried the Steak Bites recipe I posted awhile back. DELICIOUS! I was right...beef in butter cooked in an iron skillet...AMAZING! Mom mentioned a recent "invention", some kind of salad. It sounded good. I tried it. It's good! Cucumber, tomato, purple onion, red bell pepper, with balsamic vinaigrette. I let all of that soak, I guess the correct term would be marinade. When it was time to serve, I added feta. I am a genius...YUMM-O! That was last night. This morning I got the wild hair to make pancakes and bacon. May not sound difficult to some, but I've never made pancakes before in all of my years. It was a mix, don't let me fool you. But, I did use cream (fat free creamer) instead of milk and added a little vanilla. After I poured each pancake in my skillet, I added blueberries. Such a good idea! If you add them after mixing, the berries stay whole and the batter doesn't get all purpley. My maiden voyage into pancakes was a success. No more will I have to traipse to our favorite brunch spot. Ya'll bring me bloody marys, I'll whip up some blueberry pancakes! Late this afternoon, I got the random urge to whip up some fried chicken. I've never made that before either. Like the pancakes, I must have had beginners luck on my side. What a great summery supper....fried chicken, my cucmber etc. salad, and an ear of sweet corn! Of course, I had a glass or two (or three) of Crystal Light lemonade. Sorry that just read like a diet diary (not really like a diet--there was butter and oil and bacon and pancakes). I am so excited about my culinary attempts and their positive outcomes.
It's Sunday night, and it was a good weekend. Nothing special...no wild stories to report...no big crowds, but it was a good weekend. My house is clean. I never made it out to clean the car. Something about 90+ degree weather doesn't make the task that appealing. It has to get done this week...Acura wedding weekend road trip! Lauren's getting married on Saturday. I have a foxy dress, some swanky shoes, Spanxx (man those things rock!), and a can of spray on tanner from Wal-mart that I pray works (I'd appreciate ya'll's prayers as well...) because I really don't want to spend the 20-something bucks to get sprayed at the tanning place. Although it's a somewhat necessary expense...the skin on my feet and legs is past pastey...it's transparent!
Friday night, Brandi made supper, we drank wine, and we watched the movie "New in Town". WATCH IT! I still giggle to think about it!
Have a great week! I have tables to make like you would not believe, but that means there is an end to statistical analysis...if it's not one thing it's another!

Friday, May 29, 2009

It's Friday!

Pisces
February 19 - March 20
Seek out the beautiful and marvelous today, dear Pisces! It is one of those times when the cheap and shoddy just won't do. You need the Rolls Royce to take you to the ball tonight, not the beat-up lemon that barely chugs along. Travel in style and dress as if you are flying first-class all the way. There is a boisterous social element to the day that should make your waking hours pleasurable and possibly very romantic.


I have my horoscope on MyMSN page, which is my internet homepage. This is today's.

Will someone please tell me what this means?!?! Seek out the beautiful and marvelous...well, I shouldn't look in the mirror then! It's a glasses, t-shirt, and tennies day. Yes, mom, I did put on make up (very minimal, but it's there!). The Acura is amazing, and she is not a lemon! Travel in style and dress as if you are flying first-class all the way. We've already covered this...not happening. possibly very romantic...who writes this crap?! I'm not going to sit around and wait, I've got stats to run and tables to make and a job application to file...Fern has things to do, and I'm gonna go do them now! Have a great weekend!

To do this weekend:
  • Clean/Laundry
  • Find shoes for Lauren's Wedding
  • Find Lauren and Levy Wedding Gift
  • Think scientifically and work on this dissertation
  • Clean the Acura

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Heath Bits Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 Cup Shortening
3/4 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1 1/4 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
3 TBSP Milk
1 TBSP Vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 Cup Flour
3/4 tsp Baking Soda
3/4 tsp Salt
1 1/3 cups (8 oz pkg) Heath Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits, divided

Heat oven to 375 F. Beat shortening, peanut butter, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Add egg; beat just until blended. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture. Stir in 1 cup toffee bits; reserve remainder for topping. Drop by heaping teaspoons about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet; top each with reserved toffee bits. Bake 7-8 minutes. DO NOT OVER BAKE. Cool 2 minutes. Remove to wire rack. Cool completely. About 3 dozen cookies.

  • I use butter instead of shortening and cream instead of milk
  • the Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits are hard to find, but I have had success with the Toffee Bits (1 Cup) and Milk Chocolate Chips (1 Cup)
  • DO NOT OVER BAKE! These seem to over bake really easily

These are delicious! I hope that you enjoy them as much as my friends and I have!

No, I have not Forgotten...

Howdy! I haven't forgotten. Thursday through Sunday last week I took a little "vacation". I was at the barn on campus...preparing for a lamb sale. Yes, it's true. It was great! It's one of my favorite weekends of the entire year, and it's definitely on my top ten things I will miss when/if I ever leave here list! There was four days of good food, good friends, good laughs, and oh yeah, there were sheep. Most everyone worked hard, but we also focused on the food and the fun too. My computer was in the shop, so I really didn't feel overly guilty for playing for 4 days! I slung hash, went on beverage runs, watered sheep, made sheep pens, ran to the mall for sale day wardrobe advice, ran random errands (4 consecutive trips to Tractor Supply)...I was your all-around gal. I even offered to wash sheep. Friday was amazing...we relaxed, we ate, we ate, we ate some more...and of course we had to wash down all of that delicious barbecue (Hops farmers everywhere were thanking us). They made ribs and pork loin and potatoes and jalapeno poppers. I made cookies, yes, the famous Heath Bits Peanut Butter Cookies (recipe to follow at the end of this post). The ribs fell off the bone. The pork loin was stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon...I know, how can anything with added cream cheese and wrapped in bacon not be good! And, my cookies lasted from noon to nightfall. Sunday was Sale Day, and it went well. Sarah and I ran the books and they worked! Everything came out! Closeout was near painless when compared to previous years. It was a decent day. We celebrated Memorial Day and the end of a good week with brisket and sausage and beans and potatoes and German Chocolate Cake and Sangria Wine, etc. My culinary abilities are essentially famous around these parts! (or so I like to think) Don't think I was responsible for all of this food...only the Sangria and the cake on Sunday. It was a FABULOUS four days with my sheep family!

I need to get to making some tables, but a few things first:
  • Don't go shopping when you are hungry--I did last night and came home with a whole rotisserie chicken and some crappy dip
  • Above bullet point reminds me of a quote I read once, "Don't look to find men in a bar, it's like grocery shopping when you are hungry, you bring home things you don't need.
  • I still have a mild obsession with Crystal Light lemonade
  • They put mouse bait out in my office today, which will hopefully alleviate one problem...mice, but create another...dead mice

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Case of the Mondays!

Unfortunately, I have a case of the Mondays...

After a short chat with my major professor, I am bummed. This damn research project may be the death of me... After what seems like years, but is only months, it's not going to be as earth shattering as I'd hoped...no wonder no one wants to hire me... It's true folks, I peaked somewhere around the age of 11.

My computer has a hic-up today...I hope that it is only the crappy network, as I don't want to pay the $35 diagnostic fee + whatever they have to do to it + $50 rush fee because I don't want to/can't really wait 3 to 5 days! I've ran virus scan and will start a de-frag shortly, so wish me luck!! I'd be better off losing a kidney instead of this computer at present.

My weekend started off with a bang and ended with a thud! I spent Friday lunch with Stanley and Johnny D at Wings-n-More...ate too many fried pickle chips, hot wings, chicken fingers, and curly fries...but man was it delicious. The company was absolutely amazing too! Friday night started slow at the Chicken and the longer we were there, the more our little group grew. What started out as an evening saying "We won't stay out too late..." ended late. After a refreshing breakfast of chorizo and eggs on Saturday morning, I started out for a backyard birthday bash at an old friends. I never made it. Torrential rains had me turning around and heading for home. IT WAS HORRIBLE!! I had to drive through water over the road (no less than 3 times). I couldn't turn around because my decision to use the GPS "to see where this takes me" had me on a road without shoulders and a lot of trees and low spots!! I was stressed about the weather, pissed about the party, and all the while I had great hair and makeup! Made it back to town to find some beer and catch the horse race! What a race! Girl power! Sunday left me sleeping in, feeling flu-ish (NO, not the brown bottle kind), doing some laundry, and hanging out with Newt the Best Dog Ever.

Now it's Monday. Back in the Saddle and ready to spur this horse into the finish line, but my horse seems to buck more and spin than run forward. Hell, I'd be happy if this pony would walk out...nope, this dissertation and I are just limpin along!

Good news...
  • THE BEAN IS IN!! Hopefully I'll have a report sooner than later.
  • Lamb Sale is this week! For some reason this has become one of my favorite weekends of the whole year! Good friends. Good sheep. Good food. Cold beer. Really now?? And, I've gotten the wild hair to make Peanut Butter Heath Cookies...they are yummy and famous at the Sheep Unit! If I get industrious (if I remember) I'll put up a recipe. They are one of the things I do really well (I can provide references if necessary!)
  • I SO recommend the Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb Series! (thank you Katy Pat for the recommendation). They are perfect for taking my brain from stats and science to fiction at the end of a crazy day!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Its a GREAT day!!! Wings n More lunch with 2 old friends!!! Fern's heart is smiling!!
Wishing everyone a FABULOUS weekend!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Randoms

It's been awhile since my last post. I've been contemplating how to entertain my following with my bits of wit...okay, that's crap...I've been up to my elbows in data crunching in my cubicle. Oh no, I'm not done, just taking a break.

Over the course of the past week my obsession with Crystal Light Lemonade has also morphed into an extreme like of Diet Lemonade from Chick-fil-A. It's SO good!

It's graduation weekend here, and I am so glad. It's the end of another semester, and the majority of them all go away for the summer! Bliss! No traffic. No waiting in line at the grocery store, at restaurants, anywhere.

I made the most amazing supper the other night, and none of it really went together. I grilled a piece of Tilapia. It was okay. I'm not very good at cooking fish (I've been told that I grill the best steak ever, but fish...no), nor am I very excited about cooking for one. To go with my fish I made steamed broccoli (the new Ziploc steamer bags are AMAZING!), corn on the cob, and sauteed mushrooms. Completely random, but oh so delicious. I confirmed that I need more practice cooking fish, that Tony's seasoning should not be used on fish, and that one should not attempt to eat corn on the cob while on the couch--it makes for a mess. I followed my main course with reduced fat vanilla ice cream and berries...YUM! I've eaten so many strawberries lately, I may just turn into one!

The new bed is still amazing!

I really like this time of year. I really DISLIKE the increasing temperatures and the elevated levels of humidity. But, I do really, really like the season of fresh produce. My fridge is full of fresh fruits and veggies. Heavy on the fruit, and I know that's not as good as the veggies. Man, I just love the berries and the watermelon and the pineapple. Along these lines, I am going to so miss the Farm Patch (a little local produce market) and HEB (only, the best grocery store ever!) should I leave Texas.

Speaking of food...I have found a recipe that I cannot wait to try. It combines two of my absolute favorite things BEEF and BUTTER! I stumbled across it on the Pioneer Woman's site. Check it out--she has a really neat page! Look at this recipe and tell me that your mouth doesn't water.....Steak Bites

Unfortunately I have little to report where the MJF book is concerned...my evenings have went like this...leave school between 7 and 8, get home to eat and decompress with wine and TV, shower and bed. My brain is fried after a day of data!!

I've only eaten out once this week! (Thanks Lauren!) I needed to get away more than I needed to eat!

The Bean is en route to my Wal-mart store!! I'm getting excited!

Have a fabulous weekend! I hope to take a little drive around Texas, and spend some time with an old friend. I also need to find black patent pumps to go with my fancy dress for a wedding on June 6 (thank you Lauren for not making me cut cake!). Then there's always laundry and a quick sprucing up of the casa and playing with Newt (the best dog ever) and moving forward on this darned dissertation!

Peace, Love, and Lemonade!
~Fern

Friday, May 8, 2009

Pisces
February 19 - March 20
Unfortunately you can't measure love the way you would the stock market, dear Pisces. And it's all right if that scares you a little, because you know that you have to work at something if you want to make it happen in your life. We all need to have the courage to try new things. So, yes you will find love in your life, but as to whom you will 'invest' with and how much you will 'invest,' you won't find out until the big day. Be patient, you won't be disappointed.

So that was my horoscope this morning on myMSN...funny, as I made blog notes last night while I was watching Grey's Anatomy (and weeping). The episode focused on "the best day" and how one doesn't know what their "best day" is until it is here and gone, and those "best days" are those that are ordinary and filled with our favorite people and often just little things. I agree with this...and I'm anxious for more "best days". Funny how when you want one...it never shows up, but when you are least expecting it...there it is!! Even funnier is how my horoscope lines up with this....

After Grey's I tuned into the Michael J. Fox "Always Looking Up" special. He is an amazing individual! I especially liked his shout out to the farmer! I was frightened by Bill Murray's freakishly white-blonde hair. While I was scared of the hair, a man with PD was golfing amazingly well...during this golf game MJF says, "It's not about winning, but about accepting yourself." This was appropriate, but hard to swallow. I LIKE TO WIN! I do need to be more accepting of myself, but I like to win!! So, I'm going to set out to win the races I can!! (Which is obviously not the race to get a job, the race to finish a dissertation, the race to have the cleanest most immaculate house, or the slimmest sleekest gal you know)...damn, I'm severely defeated!

During commercials, I read the new Glamour magazine that came in the mail (and playing with Newt) and I read about budgeting...I did so well from January through March, but I fell off of the wagon and it ran me over sometime in March until now. No Starbucks or pedicures and limit the lunches out. More importantly, I learned that hips are in!! I think that they should have put that on the front cover! Lastly...I read that the #1 most romantic line of all time comes from one of my favorite movies, "When Harry Met Sally". I guess I'm still waiting for the rest of my life to start...but I've got a lot to do in the meantime.

Random Friday thoughts....
  • Brandi hates me, as she has discovered The Pioneer Woman site through this blog...if you haven't stopped in to meet the Pioneer Woman, I encourage you to do so...but make sure you have a block of time and a diet coke because you'll be there for awhile
  • I'm walking for a while tonight in Relay for Life in remembrance of Dr. Edwards
  • I have a recently developed obsession with Crystal Light lemonade
  • I ordered The Bean this week and it has been shipped...stay tuned for results and report of The Bean workout
Have a good weekend!
~SFC

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Looking Up!

The day started slow...okay, so I slept later than I wanted to which puts me in an odd kind of a mood. As I'm hurrying out of the house, what should run out from under my car--across my path but this damn black neighborhood cat. I spit (all over myself) right away (darn superstition...who ever told me to spit probably did to make me look like a moron!).

Speaking of morons (oh wait, that's me)...I got a text message from the Putz today and it has totally perked up my morning! Maybe I should explain...one of my oldest and dearest friends and I had an odd obsession with the movie "Grumpy Old Men" while we were in high school. We would literally recite the lines with the actors, and eventually my mother banned us from watching it (okay, so she tried). Somehow through all of this I became the morn, and a naturally she became the putz. We had a rally of texts going this morning that had me belly laughing in my car, which was likely dangerous on several counts. We talked of diets and cancer and peanut butter rolls from the bakery and me too often falling on my hiney...its all intertwined I promise. Scary I know!

I did read the introduction to Always Looking Up before nodding off last night, and honestly, I'll probably have to read it again tonight to get the full effect.

The job hunt is once again frustrating today. I've been informed of this phantom job posting no less than 3 times since I woke up and I CAN'T FIND IT ANYWHERE! (hence phantom...).

One of my students pointed out an ultimate time waster this morning http:\\textsfromlastnight.com. Oh my goodness...it's hilarious! Hit the site if you need some mindless fodder. It is soon to become a fave of graduate students far I wide I would estimate...only to fight with Facebook, You Tube, and FML...or if you are in my office any and all show livestock websites (shows, sales, farm Web pages, etc.)...please do not think that I am guilty of utilizing all of these myself, I am not! However, in an office of seven you see all kinds!

Back to data analysis!!

~SFC

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Always Looking Up...maybe I'll try this


I used to be an upbeat spunky soul...I don't know when or how it happened...okay I might...and I think that cubicle life is taking a small toll on my psyche...not to worry I'M LOOKING FOR SUNSHINE! The other day I was in Target. As I passed by the books, I noticed the new Michael J Fox book Always Looking Up. I bought it. I am in need of new reading material, and I think that I'll start there this evening. I'll let ya know how it goes.

It Brightened My Day


Thank You my "sister" and her family for brightening my day!! I GOT FLOWERS TODAY!!! Trust me, this NEVER happens!! And, they just happen to be one of my "right now" colors...orange! What started out as a "off" day turned up when the flower man came. I didn't sleep well. No, it wasn't the new mattress or my Cinco de Mayo activities of yesterday. I think I just had a lot on my mind. Received yet more rejection in the mail yesterday...I am jobless, soon to be homeless... Also, my dad had a skin cancer spot removed from his neck this morning. They have been telling me that it is not much to worry about...I'm worrying damnit! Its times like this that make me question my Texas-ness. Don't get me wrong, I've loved my time here and the friends and "family" that I have made here, but it sucks being so far from home!

I did get up and get myself together today...haven't done a lot of that lately. And...I have made very little forward progress where my academic life is concerned and that itself is problematic. I have been very easily sidetracked lately and unfocused...funny thing though, I get like this and all of a sudden motivation will hit me and I'll make major progress...why, how does this happen!! I have a potential meeting tomorrow afternoon if not Friday with my major professor...gotta get a move on!!

Long story short...thanks Jamie, Jeff, and girls for the flowers...just what I needed to add some spunk to a crummy day.

Stay tuned...on this evening's agenda...bowling! Also, please watch for a recommended reading list in future postings and Ferns Fave Shows...I know, I need to study more and get a life!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Glory of Catchin Some zzzzzz's

I made a big girl purchase this weekend. I bought a new mattress on Friday. They delivered it on Saturday. I have slept amazingly ever since! It was a very adult purchase, but I was was careful in my research and I tried several stores in town. I did try no less than 5 mattress stores in town, and returned to the first because they 1-were the most reasonable in price and 2-had the friendliest and most helpful staff. I upgraded to a queen, and so far the only difference I've noticed is that there's less room in my room. As I upgraded, I had to upgrade some of my bedding. Through this process I have learned this DO NOT BUY CHEAP SHEETS! The cheap sheets will itch you! I have since replaced the itchy sheets with some that I found that are much softer...no, they are not 500 count Egyptian cotton, but they are cute (brown and cream giraffe print) and sateen finish! This bed purchase, like most things I do was rather dramatic. This should not be surprising to those of you who know me well. Yes, the bed was delivered and assembled by two college students who looked like they should've been working at the local beer joint, but hey--I didn't have to do it myself. After they left I decided that I needed to put it on lifts for more under bed storage space...Amber and Sam came to help me do that and install the bed skirt. The bed was so tall I needed a stool to get there! After two nights of literally climbing into bed and two mornings considering parachuting out of bed, I shopped around for lower bed lifts. I found some and I changed them out myself. Thank goodness I was by myself...that would have been some bad YouTube footage! Last night sleep was AMAZING!!! New sheets on a lower, much better bed...life was good...until the alarm went off! I went to my what seems weekly visit to the chiropractor this morning and my doctors were amazed at the improvement since last week...YAY FOR THE NEW MATTRESS!! And, I about forgot to mention, the fabric covering the mattress has ferns on it...obviously, this bed was meant for me!

The mattress wasn't the only good thing to happen to me this weekend. I cleaned my house, and it was much needed!! In the process I found some things that I forgot that I had. I bagged up some stuff for Goodwill. I also have come to the conclusion that my father may well have a stroke when he discovers how much stuff that I have accumulated that he will have to help me move soon. I also need to join a purse lovers anonymous group (if they have one!).

On Saturday, I had my hair done and my girl did a FABULOUS job. I haven't colored it in nearly a year, and I was feeling in a funk so I did my hair. Its great, if I say so myself! I cleaned some more, bought the needed things for the new bed, and the bed was delivered. Some friends and I cooked dinner that night and it was a great time with good friends and good food! After dinner we were all nearly asleep on the couch watching some movie on TV when the girls went to Walgreen's! At Walgreen's we bought a box of hair dye, a Cosmo, face masks, head bands, and some lip balm, oh yeah, and a bottle of $7 champagne. We dyed Brook's hair while we read the Cosmo aloud and wore our face masks. When Get-Ur-Beauty-On was over...we played Rock band with the guys. I was the singer. Many of you know that I am not a singer...it was not pretty...but, I surprisingly had a great time (I nearly lost my voice). It was a good day, and until then, I hadn't had one in quite awhile.

On Sunday, I slept later than I wanted to (more cleaning), and went to breakfast with friends. I had pancakes and bacon at the Mexican restaurant...delicious! I was also able to indulge on one of my favorite combinations: coffee with chips and salsa. That afternoon, I went to a fish fry hosted for two friends that are getting married next month. It was a GREAT afternoon with good friends, good food, and cold beer!

I really need to get to work on this dissertation that is looming over my head...progress has been really slow as of late. Why is it that inspiration comes in waves, as does productivity??

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Green Movement

I was just shopping. I bought one of the new "green" reusable shopping bags...the clerk bagged up all of my things, including the new reusable shopping bag in plastic bags....hmmmm