Category Archives: Life in General

Mundane Update

I realized I haven’t posted in a while, so I thought I should write something… apologies in advance because this is probably not going to be that great of a post since I don’t really haven’t anything all that interesting to talk about.

Nothing all that exciting has happened lately. I took a break from my canning hobby for a bit. This weekend was the first trip to the farmers market in a long time. It was pretty much just inspired by a recipe for “Dilly Beans” that I had found online. It is pretty much wax and green beans in a liquid mixture of vinegar, wine, and a little sugar and salt, and then some dill seeds, dill, and mustard seeds were added to each jar. I made it last night using some new Weck jars I picked up Sunday. This was my first experience with Weck, and I still have not decided if I like them or not. I think the standard mason jars are easier to deal with, but maybe it just takes some practice. The jars were also kind of large and made fitting them in the pot more difficult, and my jar lifters didn’t fit them well either. My current thought is just that I will stick with the mason jars, but I will definitely use the Weck ones I already have because the damned things are too expensive not to.

My new weekend obsession is the cafe in Grand Asia. They have dim sum on the weekends, and I am in love with their shrimp dumplings and the pork rice wrapped in bamboo leaves. They also have bubble tea, which is pretty awesome. And a some tofu “puddings” of which we have tried two. The spicy and salty one wasn’t all that great, but the (slightly) sweet one with tapioca pearls was wonderful. This obsession is fading since we have been three or four times now, but I still love it.

And we have of course been playing Guild Wars 2 constantly. Love that game! Although now TV shows are coming back so I don’t know which will win out yet… TV or GW2. It is going to be hard. It is tempting to try out an adapter to use my iMac as a TV!

I know everyone is wondering if we have the new iPhones yet, and no we don’t. We aren’t eligible for upgrade at the discounted price until next summer, and I don’t think they are waiving it this time. I am considering going down to an AT&T store to see if they will waive it though. We did briefly stop by the Apple store to play with the new one yesterday. They are so light they almost feel cheaply made. After leaving the store our phones felt about 10 times heavier. If we do get the iPhone 5, I want a white one for the first time ever; I liked the look of it a lot with the new backplate.

On a bus

I am on the bus, somewhere on I-85. The day started out with my alarm sounding at 4:15 this morning. So that was awesome. Surprisingly I actually woke up on the first alarm, and I made it to meet the bus on time. I even managed to get there just before the bus pulled up.

Things seemed to be off to an okay start on the trip. I was on time, the bus was on time, everyone else was on time, and the bus had wifi. The first thing to signal a less than ideal bus ride was when we stopped to pick up our out of town guests, one of which is a wheelchair user. A fuse was blown in the lift, and it took half an hour to figure that out and figure out how to manually operate the lift.

Once we were finally on the way I managed to doze off for a couple hours. When I woke up it was kind of warm, but I didn’t think much if it. Of course, later in the day when we were leaving the park we discovered the air conditioning did not work. So after the bus sat in the sun all day, it was pretty toasty on our ride over to colonial Williamsburg for dinner. At least the temperature is tolerable now, since we are going 70mph or so down the road and it is dark out.

I am pretty tired, but with only an hour or so left to go I am afraid I won’t be able to sleep once I get home if I sleep now. I will be so glad to see the parking deck though, and even more glad to get home and see my hubby and my pillow.

The day was somewhat enjoyable. Once we got into the park I of course immediately lost everyone else. So, I wandered a bit on my own for the first hour or so. I didn’t mind… It was the first time I have really been able to leisurely browse all the little gift shops. And I didn’t buy a thing! I also stopped in at the little aviary and hung out with the birds for a bit. You can purchase little cups of nectar to feed the birds, which was pretty cool. There was on extra friendly bird that immediately perched on my hand, then crawled up to my shoulder for a bit before deciding to sit on my head. That was cool, and I am glad it did not poop on me. Especially sInce as I was thinking, “please don’t poop on me, Bird” I watched the one sitting on the rail in front of me blast the foliage.

After the birds had emptied my nectar cup I wandered on, rode the Griffon, and found some coworkers. We hung out for a bit and then met up with most of the group at Fest Haus for lunch. When did they change the show at Fest Haus?? It use to be traditional dance… Now it is some trippy shit with gingerbread men, little red riding hood, wolves, and various other vaguely fairy tale and/or Christmas costumes. And it is loud! We had to shout at each other until the show was over.

Once we had eaten as much as we could of the massive amounts of food we were provided for lunch a group of us headed to the new roller coaster, Verbolten. The wheelchair user I mentioned earlier was in our group, so we got to skip waiting in line. They just said to come back in 20 minutes and we could get right on. So we did, and they ran us around twice. It is a pretty cool roller coaster, definitely different from all the others at Busch Gardens. I don’t want to give any spoilers about it in case anyone wants to ride it… It is best to let it surprise you.

The rest of my day at the park was pretty much the same, I won’t continue to bore you with the details. Even though I am bored. On a bus. With nothing to do. At least I have my iPad to entertain me, maybe I can find a new game or something.

So, wear more flair then?

My company hit a goal and to celebrate they are taking the entire company to Busch Gardens. That includes flying up the people from Dallas. Cool right? Not really. I have been there a bazillion times. Okay that was an obvious exaggeration, but that is how I feel. Hell, the first roller coaster I ever rode was Loch Ness. Between family trips, school trips, trips with friends, etc I have had my fill of Busch Gardens. And theme parks in general really.

Last time we went was, hmm… 6 years ago? We made the mistake of staying in the area for 3 days. The place we stayed at had free shuttles to both Busch Gardens and Williamsburg, so we shuttled around to both. By the end of day 2 we were pretty bored. On day 3 we left early. We have even been to Williamsburg since then and didn’t go despite it only being like 10 minutes away.

But this time I apparently don’t have a choice. I tried to gracefully bow out of it with a mention to one exec that I wasn’t sure I wanted to go, citing my many visits there in the past. It wasn’t long after that I was pulled into another exec’s (my boss’ boss) office with a, “Are you thinking about not going? We would really like for you to go.” I really felt like I was being told to wear more flair. At that point it seemed like I had no other option but to go.

So Wednesday I get to wake up at 4:30 in the morning, get to work by 6:15, and then be held captive on a bus for a while. Once we arrive at Busch Gardens I will be set free to wonder the park until 5pm, at which point we will be bused into Williamsburg for dinner at a tavern, then bused back home… scheduled to arrive around 11pm. Ugh. I know I am just being a cynical party pooper, but I would really rather just have a day off. Or a new office chair. That would really be nice… the chairs at work suck.

I wish I could bring a +1. The only way I see enjoying the day is if Sean could be with me. But who knows, maybe I will have fun.

Bored While Waiting for My Car

This morning I am feeling grateful for modern technology, and a job/company that allows me to work from pretty much anywhere.

Monday I took my car for an inspection, and was worried the front tires would not pass. I knew they were worn, but had been procrastinating because I didn’t want to spend the money to replace my expensive run flat tires. Especially considering I have less than 15,000 miles on these tires.

But, of course, they failed inspection. Luckily I know someone that works for Tire King, and was able to get a good deal on a set of new tires. They couldn’t get them in until the next day though, and since I had a code release that day I couldn’t miss work. Luckily Sean volunteered to take care of it for me, which was super awesome of him. So he got new tires for me in the morning, and then took it back to the place where it failed inspection in the afternoon.

I thought I was done with the tires, but no such luck. This morning I had just made it out to the main street in my neighborhood when the tire pressure warning light came on. Turns out the Mini tells you which tire is low, so that is pretty handy. The tire only had 12psi air in it, so I wonder if it would have been completely flat if they weren’t run flats.

Anyhow, now I am hanging out at Tire King and being grateful for wifi, laptops, VPN, the fact that my job can be done from just about anywhere, and that I work for a company that treats its employees like adults and therefore has given me a laptop and lets me work remotely if needed. If I was still at my last job I would not be able to work right now, and would be having to make up for lost time later. I won’t get into the last job though, that could turn into a long rant worthy of its own post… but you shouldn’t speak ill of employers past or present so I will shut up now.

Okay, I should get back to work now…

Early Birthday Present

So this morning Sean gave me an early present. He knows I like the Pandora charms, but they are pretty pricey. A while back he won an Amazon gift card and has been trying to decide what to do with it. It looked like he had finally decided to get a new iPod, since he now has too much music for his current one. But he gave that up to order a bag of Pandora-like charms for me, as well as some other stuff to go with it that hasn’t arrived yet. He is such a sweet hubby :)

Discovered Another Spice Shop

We’re taking it easy this weekend. No canning, no smoking, no big house projects.

Today was just a laid back day. Sean had a hair cut scheduled this morning, so I got to sleep in while he went out to take care of that. When he got home we had a tasty BLT brunch using some persimmon tomatoes we grew ourselves. I know I know, I shouldn’t be eating tomatoes because it causes my rosacea to flare up… but these didn’t really seem to bother me that much. Maybe it is the lower acidity, I dunno.

I had never had a persimmon tomato before and was surprised to see the inside is different from your usual tomato. Instead of having those large seed pockets your typical red tomato has, the persimmon tomatoes were pretty meaty with lots of little seed pockets marbled through it. And they are huge! The persimmon tomatoes are more than a pound each, and one slice covered the entire piece of bread. We have a lot of tomatoes out there, so if anyone wants some please let us know. I am still amazed we succeeded in growing them. Those tiny little seedlings we planted in the spring are taller than me now! I totally underestimated how much they would grow when we planted them.

Food devoured and a few chores done, we decided it was time to head out. After stopping for a quick visit with Sean’s grandmother we headed to Cameron Village. I spotted a spice shop I had never noticed before named Penzey’s, and just had to stop in. We usually buy our spices from Savory Spice Shop in Lafayette Village, but it is a pretty long drive. Cameron Village is closer than Lafayette, so I was hoping Penzey’s would be a good alternative.

Well, it isn’t. If I need something that is hard to find, and I happen to be in Cameron Village, I would buy from them… but I just don’t like the shop. Not only is it more expensive, but it just lacks all of the appeal that Savory has. When you walk into Savory you immediately feel welcome. Savory is small and has a warm, inviting atmosphere. The moment you walk in the proprietors greet you and ask if they can help.

At Penzey’s the one cashier said nothing to us, it was too bright, too “arranged” and the classical music was too loud. I found myself speaking softly and the other customers seemed to share the feeling, as everyone seemed afraid to make any noise. It was like a spice museum. The only thing I can say for Penzey’s is that they do have a larger selection, including the sweet curry power that I was trying to find ages ago. But I don’t plan on shopping there unless I have to.


Things learned since last post:

  • There is a Southern Season Outlet store I had never heard of before??
  • If your soup turns out too salty, add in some cooked potato to absorb the salt
  • Persimmon tomatoes look like this inside:
Borrowed from


Hello again, ATC

Today was my second day at my new job. It almost feels like my old job. My old old job. Like, 2007 old job. It is in the same complex, with a lot of the same people, and pretty much the same industry. The downside of that is it means I am already pretty tired of three of the five restaurants on campus! The other two are new. But on the other hand, I already know the area, so I don’t have to do too much exploring for lunch spots. It is just a matter of whether or not I feel like driving anywhere, or feel brave enough to walk outside of the little bubble that is the American Tobacco Campus.

I haven’t actually done any real work yet. So far it has just been getting things set up, and learning about stuff. Hopefully I will get my hands on things tomorrow, rather than just watching demos. I probably won’t have much time to play around though, considering the whole day is full of meetings.

I had really wanted to get back to that start-up type of environment, and I got my wish. My department has 4 people in it… including me. So very different from my last job, where there were at least 70 people in my department alone. And the office is quite small and cluttered, just shy of cramped. I would say 90% of the furnishings came from Ikea. There are even people sitting in what should actually be a hall. The breakroom is somewhat of a mess, as it is littered with boxes of snacks and the tables have all been shoved aside to make room for foosball and table tennis. I will call it a “lived in” feel.

There are so many things I like about this new place, I really hope this isn’t just the blinders of the honeymoon period talking. With luck I will be happy to stay here for years to come!