Thursday, November 17, 2011


I was gonna write about something else today..but an fb friend posted a video this morning that reminded me that I've been meaning to post about this for a while...

at the end of August hurricane Irene visited the northeast..actually by the time it got to NY it had been downgraded to a tropical storm (btw did you know that the ONLY difference between a hurricane and a tropical storm is wind speed..39-73 mph for a tropical storm..74 mph or higher for a hurricane) ...for at least a week before it hit, Irene was all anyone talked was the top news story for DAYS...especially where I'm from which is very close to NYC

this time I guess I'll cut 'em some slack...normally I would joke about how the city flips out any time a potentially serious weather event is predicted (somehow to them 2 inches of snow is a potentially serious weather event...or at least it used to be..I think they might be getting over themselves now that the earth seems to have shifted on it's axis) I said..Irene was a major news story for days and days...people were preparing for the apocalypse..stocking up on canned goods..building arks and whatnot

as the day approached I was totally PSYCHED...I LOVE severe weather..the windier the better!! ..of course I was mildly concerned about our house getting flooded AGAIN...but for being in a valley..we're high up and far from the river..the chance of any kind of devastating flood damage here seems pretty unlikely
being the dork that I am I can't help but keep an eye on the weather reports and whatnot...I get a kick out of seeing the city streets completely empty but for soaking wet reporters holding inverted umbrellas..pointing at trees and street signs blowing in the breeze...

my only real concern personally was losing power..but we live smack between the local fire house and police even though this whole area is generally neglected by the power company (and news) we very rarely lose power for any significant amount of really I knew we'd be ok short of a tree falling on our house or something like that...

for me and the spousal unit, Irene was just an excuse to laze around the house in our PJs and listen to the rain...y'all know I LOVE rainy days!! :)

when all was said and done we had nothing more than a very rainy day...there was plenty of mild to moderate flooding nearby AND in the city, long island etc. but nothing particularly newsworthy...we've been through worse (in fact we just were a couple weeks ago when we had a major snow storm at the end of october)

so...because the city and surrounding areas made it through virtually unscathed news of Irene fizzled out pretty quickly...

unfortunately this means that most people are under the impression that once again the big northeast storm hoopla was as usual..much ado about nothing

when nothing could be father from the truth!

what you likely didn't hear about was the complete and utter DEVASTATION of entire TOWNS in upstate NY!! (less than an hour from me) 

as you can tell from these videos below..this is NOT an affluent area..and these people lost EVERYTHING!! ...many of them have had to be separated from their families in the process of finding more permanent lodging/waiting for FEMA to approve them for trailers etc.


what you can't see in the videos is that even the houses that LOOK ok were hit with massive flooding and are now filled with mud..and rotting from the inside out!!
if you click THIS LINK you can see video that was taken just a few days ago of the same area...sadly not much has changed! 

in addition to the loss of homes and personal belongings..businesses were destroyed (more jobs were lost!) people lost lost animals and entire crops were completely wiped out!!

here we are now over 2 months later..and still so many people there are displaced..wearing donated clothes, eating donated food and drinking donated water...they have NOTHING but the love and support of their neighbors and a whole lot of HOPE!

I've been doin' a lot of moping around when I saw my friend's vid on fb..instead of sitting here feeling sorry for myself..probably re-writing for the 20th time a letter I'll probably never a person who probably doesn't care anyway...I decided to write this post 

when I watch these videos I can't help but be reminded of how absolutely fortunate I what if I'm a little wounded least I still have this roof over my head..all my family photos and keepsakes..and I don't hafta pick through donation boxes for something to wear or eat or drink! 

thanks to the economy it won't be the best holiday season for most people this year...but we all still have a lot to be thankful as we prepare for the national day of stuffing our faces and giving thanks for all the awesomesness in our lives (home, food, pets, those crazy people gathered around the table with us) couldn't hurt to send a few good vibes to those less the people you probably never knew existed in the mountain towns of upstate NY...who are holding their lives together by a donated thread :) ♥

Thursday, November 3, 2011


I have a general rule that I don't order food in a restaurant that I can make at home... whether I can do it for cheaper or not it doesn't matter..I just can't see spending money on a meal that I can make at home...

sure some things are better left to the professionals...certain ethnic foods require equipment, odd ingredients and generations of knowledge to get just right (Indian & Chinese for example...I can't be bothered when there are great places to get them around here for not a lot of money)

but there are a lot of things I CAN be bothered doing..I've become a half way decent cook over the years...being poor and liking good food..I have learned that a lot of what I get in restaurants I can easily replicate at least as well at home (usually for A LOT less and with better ingredients)

so now when I get something out that seems like it would be worth my time..I add it to my own repertoire..which on one hand is cool cause I can have it whenever I want..but on the other kinda sucks because if I follow my rule of not ordering things I can make at home..that doesn't leave much to get out...

basically the scope of things I venture out for is pretty limited these I said..Indian, Chinese...and pizza!

as much as I love pizza..I just can't be bothered..sure I could make half way decent pizza..but that's it really..all it would be is half way decent..because I don't have the proper oven...

so basically any time I've wanted pizza..I either had to go out for it..or I was left with the old stand-by of my youth...the universal 'I don't have the time or energy to make real dinner' ENGLISH MUFFIN PIZZAS...everyone's had 'em...MOST people love 'em...somehow I married the one person on the planet who doesn't like english muffins (or english muffin pizzas)

which seriously sucked on those nights when I didn't have the time or the energy to make real dinner...I admit sometimes I'd make them anyway whether he liked it or not...but I always had this twinge of guilt...not that we don't all deserve a break once in a while..but here he is working hard all day and he comes home to some crap he'd rather not eat...I remember that feeling growing up..having a long day at school or whatever and coming home to some dinner I REALLY didn't sucked! ...therefor english muffin pizza nights..although pretty rare..always kinda bothered was like the guilt kinda overshadowed the ease of convenience...

that is until I discovered the skizza...

we have this restaurant nearby that makes these things they call skizzas (skinny pizzas) ...I had heard about them for years..everyone who had one said they were so awesome..and even though one of my bestest friends in the whole world worked there..I never went...I'm kind of a pizza snob

in general trendy pizza-things turn me off...good pizza SHOULD be skinny (thin crust) ...if you call it a skinny pizza or give it a stupid name like skizza you can usually count me out...I have a set idea on what a pizza should be (thin crust that folds in half easily, gets a good crack down the center but doesn't fall apart..the tip should flap over just a bit when you pick it up..the crust should be crisp on the bottom but slightly chewy and have good is NOT just a vehicle for sauce and cheese! ...but the sauce and cheese have to be just right too) ...if yours doesn't meet my gone <insert snobbish hand gesture> I don't want anything to do with it!

hey..I'm from New Yawk..what can I say? ...fugeddaboudit!! day I found myself in the town where the skizza is from...I was with my father so I anticipated issues regarding where to have lunch...but we had the monkey with us and she had had the skizza I of my bestest friends worked there and he had taken her there once a while back to make her lunch and show her that is where she wanted to go..I wasn't all that hungry so I didn't really care

we ordered a couple of skizzas...and to be honest..I was pleasantly surprised..but as delicious as they were (and they were SUPER delicious!) for the price ($12 and up depending on your toppings) all I could see when I looked at them was how I could easily make them at home for A LOT less money (it's a sickness I tell you!)

I was pretty eager to try it because if the spousal unit liked would be a GREAT alternative to english muffin pizzas...if this worked I could FINALLY have a guilt free 'lazy' dinner

needless to say (since I'm writing this post) my homemade version of skinny pizzas were a hit...I've made them MANY times in many variations..they take NO time..are SUPER easy and there's virtually NO mess to clean up after...I mean seriously..this shit is TRI-WINNING! (take THAT Charlie Sheen!)

it's a 'flatbread' crust...which to me looked like a flour tortilla..if it wasn' was damn close!! that is what I used...having had mine and theirs..I gotta say..I really can't tell the difference

basically you slap on whatever you like on a pizza...I'm not generally one for buying pre-made, prepared products like sauces and whatnot...but there are a couple brands of pizzas sauce I love and have no problem using when I'm feeling lazy (muir glen..if it's on sale! ...and Don Pepino..I freakin' LOVE Don Pepino pizza sauce!!...I can only find it at one whenever I'm there I stock up!!)

and it doesn't hafta be traditional pizza sauce...make a white pizza...or use BBQ sauce..and some leftover chicken..maybe some shredded jack or somethin'..I dunno be creative..use whatever ya like..or have in your fridge...

and they cook super fast (less than 5 minutes!!) ...just put the oven on 500 (or as high as yours goes..NOT broil!!) if you have a pizza stone..just slap it right on there like you would a regular pizza...I don't have one of them so I just use a cookie sheet which I hit with a bit of cooking spray (because god forbid I lose any bits of cheese that get stuck to the pan!)

of course nothing beats a real good NY style pizza...but I'm tellin' ya..this seriously works in a pinch..helps calm the pizza craving AND makes a GREAT guilt free lazy night dinner...but also looks cool enough to serve to could even have a make your own pizza party..have lots of different toppings and let everyone create their own...the possibilities are endless!!

so what are ya waitin' for?? ...MANGIA!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

weekend update: bloodbath in brandiland...

this past Saturday was one of those days where we had to try to cram 2 days worth of stuff into one doesn't help that the spousal unit and I both subscribe to the 'why do today what can be put off till tomorrow?' philosophy when it comes to chores!

so we knew we couldn't just lounge around and wake up slowly like we'd LIKE to do on a chilly Saturday morning...a major FREAK snowstorm was predicted to start around noon and we needed to take care of some fall cleanup we had to get at least ONE of our old rust buckets...err I mean 'classic trucks' out of the driveway to make room for the plow guy to move snow around...

when I woke up I noticed what looked to me like the cat had barfed on the carpet near the front door...typical! ..god forbid she ever do it on the kitchen floor where it's easy to clean up! ...or how about on a day where I don't already have a million other things to do?

but the more I looked at it, grunting at the prospect of having to clean cat puke out of the carpet the more I noticed it looked awfully DARK...her barf is usually the color of her food (a tannish-mustard yellow color) ...and this looked BLACK!

this mystery helped inspire me to drag my lazy ass out of bed and I turned on the lights and saw that what was on the carpet more closely resembled a pool of BLOOD than a hairball!! ...this had me confused, as everyone was accounted for and seemed to be alive and free of any gaping flesh wounds!

as the morning haze lifted and I continued to look around the house, I noticed there was blood EVERYWHERE!! all over the kitchen floor, the breakfast bar (nobody eats's more a catch-all spot for all our mail and stuff), the little table next to my recliner...and of course..the puddle on the carpet...

it looked like a crime of course the spousal unit and I were playing detective..trying to piece it together all Dexter-like..determining the directionality of the spatter and whatnot heh!

we could NOT imagine WHAT the hell was going on...we could see that WE were clearly it HAD to be the cat! :/

this looked like an awful lot of blood for a little cat to lose! ...and where was it coming from? if she's throwing it up, is it internal bleeding or did she swallow it somehow (maybe she killed a critter...a large bloody critter!) ...but there was no sign of a struggle or any other critter leavins (a body, some fur...or that little organ they always leave behind)

I started to I did the first thing you do when your cat might be sick...I had just bought a whole bunch of fancy feast, which we give her as a I opened one (it's well known that when you open a can..if the cat comes running they are ok..if not..SOMETHING is wrong!) ...she came I thought THAT is a good sign...but then she didn't really eat much (usually she devours the whole thing in just a couple minutes) ...a few minutes later I see her walk by and she has blood dripping from her face!!!

not just a drop...but like..MAD blood..pouring out!! ...I couldn't tell if it was coming from her nose or her mouth or I started to kinda freak out! ...we called the vet..who took her right away

long story somewhat less long...the vet determined that she had somehow CUT the underside of her tongue (that weird veiny part) ...she tried to show us...and sure enough..she has a big gash...looks like someone tried to cut out her tongue (ok maybe it's not THAT bad) hehehe

so NOW the mystery is WHAT the hell did she cut it on?? we can't find anything that looks like it could have caused this...there were no cans laying around with jagged edges for her to lick...nothing sharp anywhere...

so we're only giving her mooshed up, soft food..and antibiotics to help it not get infected...and it seemed to be better..until last night when it started raining blood all over again...I noticed a few drops...and when I went to get a paper towel to clean it up I saw huge pools of blood all over the breakfast bar again, some books and check book..some fruit...the CLEAN laundry!!

~sigh..I'm afraid if this keeps up she's gonna need a transfusion!! or at the very least we'll need to hire a crime scene clean-up crew to take care of the mess!! ...this morning I woke up to blood all over the arm of my semi-new couch!! much for this place FINALLY looking half way decent...the two newest things (carpet and couch) are all stained up with blood!! (feel free to share any blood removal methods...cause what I've been doin' ain't workin'!) that's that... 

in other news: like I said..we had a crazy storm that dumped over a foot of heavy, wet snow on us! rather than share photos of our little are some pics of the great SNOWPOCALYPSE!!

we were getting a few inches an it is a couple hours in!!

this is pretty much the same view the next morning...

more of the back yard...

you can hardly tell there is a big ol' truck parked under that tree!!

isn't it pretty?

as you can see..some trees still have their leaves...

some haven't even changed color yet!!

because MANY trees still had leaves this caused major damage and power outages...we got lucky in brandiland..only lost partial power and no real damage to speak of...just pretty white stuff (which thankfully, is melting rapidly as we speak!) it was a lot of snow..especially considering the time of year (we don't usually start getting any real snow until late November)
it made a HUGE mess..many people are STILL without power...we got off easy! and because we were sorta snowed in..we got to do pretty much NOTHING on Sunday...which was a nice rest after the crazy day we had on Saturday!!
so...that was our weekend..I hope yours was less eventful!!