Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

Posts tagged “crazy story

As It Turns Out, You Can Cut Yourself With A Plastic Picnic Knife

Can I just say, things have been so crazy at work that I’ve been trying to write this post for a month? I never have time to finish it and just click publish. If only I had more time to post at home.

I know I’m overdue to post my pictures of my progress. To be honest, I just don’t see much progress. Maybe it’s because my eating habits haven’t improved as much as they should. I’ve cut out carbs that come from flour and white potatoes, but that’s about it.

I’ve been doing a pretty good job of eating mostly home cooked food. It’s when I don’t have time to cook that things go awry. Vending machine food is the enemy!

Sometimes, I run to Wal-Mart and grab some groceries to make myself some easy lunch or breakfast. This usually means salad fixings. And that leads to the point of this post.

After doing Tracy Anderson cardio one day, I was starving. I felt weak and knew I needed to eat something, like NOW. I rushed to put together a good salad, with bacon of course. Because I purchased all the good salad fixings, I needed a good salad.

That involved heating up the bacon slices and making my own fresh bacon bits, getting shredded cheese, shredded carrots, and dried cranberries. And it also involved cutting up an apple for which I neglected to bring an appropriate knife. So I grabbed one in the employee lounge.

Next thing I know, I slipped and cut myself.

With a plastic knife.

I didn’t even know they were sharp enough to do that. I guess it was because I was eating a Fiji apple. those things are quite firm and required a lot of applied pressure to cut. As I watched my finger begin to bleed, I contemplated stopping the salad preparation.

But I was just so damn hungry.

So I grabbed a napkin to press against the cut and kept slicing the apple. I have to tell you, it was so worth it because that salad was delicious. And I had the whole time I was eating to contemplate how in the hell I managed to cut myself with a plastic knife.

Eventually, my hunger subsided enough so that I could properly clean and bandage my finger. The problem is that I do a ton of typing at work, and not just my never-ending attempts to put out a new blog post.

Imagine trying to type with a hurt and bandaged finger, feeling all the worse because your dumb ass cut yourself with a plastic knife.

Because I like to learn from my mistakes, this led to better meal planning so I’m not so ravenous when I finish working out. I’m still super hungry, but not so much that I will literally let myself bleed just so I can eat some food.

It’s different working out at work compared to at home. At home, I can just turn on the shower, throw off my clothes, go grab some food. I can do all that in any order. At work it’s a very clear order. I can’t exactly walk around the building in my workout gear so I can grab a pre-shower snack.

So now I try to eat and apple or banana 30 min before I work out. And I have something for lunch that I can start to munch on while whatever else I’m preparing the rest of my food. And so far, I haven’t cut myself again yet.

With a plastic knife.


Evil Ass Chocolate Cake

Do you like chocolate? I happen to love chocolate. When I got a sweet tooth last Sunday night after making dinner for the husband and his parents, I decided to make a chocolate cake. I figured it would be a good time to use another recipe from my Bon Appétit cookbook for my cooking blog, and I always make cookies, so I wanted to make something different.

The last time I attempted a cake, it was for the husband’s birthday in 2011. I don’t think he even knows I tried to make this cake because it ended so horrible. The inside was raw, the outside got overcooked, it was just atrocious. I dropped that crap in the garbage and headed to the grocery store to buy a cake baked by someone who knew what they were doing.

Back to the evil ass chocolate cake. I was flipping through recipes and saw that everything I wanted to bake needed eggs. We were out of eggs, but the husband was nice enough to run out at like 10 pm to go buy eggs for me to bake. I settle on the chocolate cake recipe and right when the husband got back with the eggs, I realized this recipe didn’t even need eggs. I figured since I’m confessing things, now would be a good time to apologize for the errand request that was completely unwarranted. Sorry husband.

Now that I’m done with the spouse confessional part of this blog post, let me say that the eggs were actually quite useful in the recipe. I made up the batter and threw in one egg to make it more moist. You know how some in-a-box brownie recipes give you the option to use 2 or 3 eggs depending on your moistness preference? I know baking is so precise, but I figured it might work the same way. I have already ruined several cakes over the years, so I was no longer afraid of the shame.

It turned out that the evil ass chocolate cake was super delicious! The recipe called for a three layer round cake, but I don’t have any round cake pans. Instead, I made 12 cupcakes and a sheet cake I cut in half a turned into a two layer cake. There was a thin slice of cake left over after I made the layer cake, so I put some super delicious frosting on it and the husband and I had a tasty late night snack.

I noticed that the cake was a bit crunchy right on the edge. I figured the cooking time must’ve been off when I converted it to cupcakes. I intended to take the cupcakes to my parents’ house for Labor Day the next day, but didn’t want to take over-cooked cupcakes if they would all be a little crispy on the edges. Who wants crispy cupcakes? No one, that’s who.

Those evil ass cupcakes still got packed up in an airtight container and taken to my parents’ house on Monday. I warned everyone that the inside would taste super delicious, but the outside may or may not have some crunch. My daddy cracked jokes and no one touched the cupcakes. After dinner, my brave uncle decided he’d try one. The only other dessert was store-bough apple pie, and he didn’t want any of that.

He grabbed a cupcake and I left the room. When I came right back, he was finishing the cupcake and told me it was really good and I was a better baker than I thought I was. I walked over to the container to grab a cupcake for myself and saw that in that short time period, he had actually inhaled two cupcakes and I saw him finishing the second one. I figured they really must taste good. I took a bite and they were so moist and tasty, not at all crispy.

I realized they tasted like Hostess cupcakes, except without that extra ingredient that tastes like it could survive longer than humans could. Just sweet home-made goodness. I let my mom have a bite and she loved it too. I was so proud of myself. I figured the frosting and the air-tight container had something to do with softening the cupcakes. They were a hit and they didn’t make it til the end of the night. No leftovers is always a good sign.

I went home proud of my cupcake adventures, and glad I had a whole 9 square inch layer cake to eat. And eat it I did. The husband and I have eaten 1-3 servings of chocolate cake every day this week. The cake was so good. And it keeps so well. We go through a lot of milk, but we used even more this week with the super delicious cake.

What was the result of the super delicious cake? We’ve been so sluggish. We aren’t eating balanced meals, we’re just eating cake and things-that-taste-good-right-before-cake. We sleep more. We exercise less. It’s been such a struggle to get through my exercises and I’ve been half-assing the cardio. Friday I decided the cake was an evil ass cake and had to go.

We still had a good 3″ of cake left, but it had to go. I threw it out. The husband hates wasting food, but I had to do it. That cake was taking over our lives. It’s not like when I make cookies. I cut the recipe down and only make like 12 cookies. It wasn’t so easy to cut down the cake recipe, so I made the whole thing. And our diet and exercise plan fell off a cliff. So now I know to just make the entire batter into cupcakes and leave that shit at my parents’ house. Maybe we’ll keep six cupcakes for our house.

Knowing I have an amazing chocolate cake recipe feels good to my soul because I loves me some chocolate. But that evil ass cake isn’t welcome in my house for at least three more months from now. I’m thinking I’ll make some more maybe for Christmas, and not a day sooner.

Do you know any good evil ass recipes? I’d love a great pie recipe!


You’re Not On The Side Of The Road If You’re Standing In The Road

With that title, I feel like this post could be a metaphor for relationships, or career paths, or self-love. But it’s not. It’s just a story about these people who gambled with their life when their car stalled on the expressway.

The husband and I were driving somewhere on one of the expressways in Chicago. It was raining pretty badly, but not so bad that you have low visibility. I think visibility was just the right level that you might not notice a man standing in the road until it was too late.

If you aren’t familiar with the expressways in Chicago, the exit and on-ramps don’t give a lot of space. There’s usually only about 50-100 feet of merging. That’s not a lot if everyone is driving super fast. But it is a lot if your car stalls out and you need to pull over.

For some reason, this man has his car pulled over not on the shoulder, but in that gray area right where the lane splits off for an off-ramp. The back of the car barely fits into the space, and he decides it’s a good idea to stand next to the back of the car. Yes, ladies and gentleman, this man was standing partially in the expressway.

And it wasn’t just him. There were two other people with him. At least the other two had the good sense to stand on the side of the car where the traffic wasn’t. So let me paint this picture for you. It’s raining. A car is stalled right where the expressway splits off into an off-ramp. The car barely fits into that space. Three people are gathered around said car, one on the side where he’s got one leg out in the road like he’s trying to catch a cab in Abu Dhabi or some 1940s movie. And it’s raining. Oh yes, and the hood is up.

People are flying past at 55-75 MPH because it is Chicago after all. I began imagining all sorts of horrible things. I’m talking Final Destination type things. What if the tail end of the car was hit by someone who was going to exit the expressway but changed their mind at the last-minute? It happens all the time in Chicago, and with the rain, they might misjudge the space they have between them and this stalled car. They could hit that car and all three people near it. With the open hood, a spark could ignite and BOOM, now there’s a fiery crash that shuts down three lanes of expressway.

Or maybe he just hits the guy’s leg that’s sticking into the road like a poorly positioned scarecrow who hasn’t yet learned to ease on down the road. Then you end up in jail because this dumb ass didn’t think to utilize the large number of people in the stranded car to push the shit 200 feet. You know what was 200 feet away from him? An underpass that would protect him from the rain and allow them to be fully on the should and out-of-the-way of cars flying by.

I wish I could’ve sent the man a message to let him know to move. That he literally had body parts just hanging in the road waiting for someone to swoop by and amputate one of his limbs. After discussing and agreeing that this man was a complete idiot, the husband and I began contemplating if his friends were complete idiots too. Why didn’t one of them say, “hey, dumb ass, stop standing in the road like a deer with a wish to become jerky and wall art.” Nope, I think the woman was fishing for something in the backseat and the other guy was just standing there looking rather forlorn.

I’d be forlorn too if it was raining and I was in a danger zone and shelter and relative safety was 200 feet away. I’d be making plans for smarter friend recruitment. And I’d be walking my ass to the gas station that was just up the off-ramp at the next corner. I mean it’s Chicago. This death-defying situation did not have to happen.

I was feeling a bit ranty, but now I feel better. Thanks for listening.


Getting Home To The Husband From Arizona

I just got back from Tempe. I went for a work conference, all expenses paid. Technically, all expenses paid/reimbursed, but close enough. I was looking forward to coming home to my husband. He’s usually the one leaving for his music, and I’m usually the one waiting.

This is the first out of town trip I’ve taken without him since we got engaged. I missed him and couldn’t wait for the wine, candles, etc. promised me upon my return home. But all hell broke loose at work. On a really terrible night, we’ll have 4 or 5 organ cases going at once. We get lots of people transplants, but it a heavy workload for whoever works that night.

This night, there was only one organ person on plus our supervisor. She asked if anyone could come in. My flight didn’t get in until midnight, but I still said I’d come in. I guess I’m more committed to my job than I thought. The super-understanding, raincheck-cashing, chauffeur-impersonating husband drove me straight to work from the airport.

Because it was so late at night, there was no traffic. I was glad to spend at least a little bit of time with him. I was also glad for the air conditioning in the car. I may love Tempe for the Southwest cuisine and the amazing integrated diversity, but I hate their lack of air conditioning. Everywhere is air conditioned, but it never gets cool enough. My hotel room was set on 69 degrees.

If my house was set to that low temperature, I’d be bundled up in sweats (as if I own real sweats!) and a blanket. But in Tempe, that was barely enough. So I will focus on how Latinos, black, whites, and Asians of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds fill up the same spaces. Being a born and raised Chicagoan, integration stands out to me. I need to make sure I change that so I don’t pass the expectation of segregation on to my children.

Back to the air conditioning in the car. It felt great! The air conditioning on the plane was a joke. It was so warm in Chicago last night, that it didn’t get any cooler as we arrived over Midwestern airspace. Something about the air on the plane was messing with me.

I began experiencing a series of symptoms that possibly made me think I might die if I didn’t lie down immediately. I felt nauseous. I felt lightheaded. My respiration rate slowed way down and I had to force myself to breathe in and out. At the same time, my heart rate went way up, so I felt on edge. The light was low, but I still had to close my eyes to shut out the light. The only thing not wrong with me was I didn’t have a headache. I felt similarly on the plane on the way to Tempe, but I chalked it up to not having drunk enough water.

I don’t know what happened on the plane, but I’m not interested in re-living it. Warm climates are apparently not for me, at least if I ever want to arrive or leave by plane. Making matters even more disconcerting was the woman next to me on the plane.

I don’t know many of you talk to people on planes, but I’m not one of those people. There were two boys in front of me who were travelling alone. They were maybe 9 and 10. I think the woman thought I was also a kid travelling alone. She kept asking me all these questions, and finally she asked my age. When I responded “27,” she asked me four more times, repeating, “no, I’m asking you your age.”

When I finally got her to understand that I was truly saying I was 27, she told me she thought I was 13. I know I look young for my age, and even younger when I have all my hair off my face, but really?! 13?!? I swear that only black women over 45 ever come at me with that “you look like a baby” shit. If I were a worse person than I am, I would inform them that they’re husband/boyfriends/sons/brothers would all recognize I was a grown ass woman and just because I haven’t aged my skin with too much drug, alcohol, cigarette, or sun exposure doesn’t make me a child.

But I’m a better person than that. So I just smiled and pretended to be asleep while thinking about how excited I was to see the husband.