Wiggle, Wiggle

Shortly after my alarm went off this morning, we had an earthquake here. It wasn’t much by the time it reached where we live, but I definitely noticed it. I heard it before I felt it, because it sounded like a big gust of wind hit our outside wall and made it crack and groan, and then our bed started to shake slightly. The shaking felt like my dog was scratching an itch near her tail and really getting into it, but she was snuggled up sleeping still.

I had time to open my ABC7 news app on my iPhone and look at the QuakeCam they have on there, and when I first started the live feed, it was still, but within a few seconds, it started jiggling all over. It took a few minutes for all of the local news stations to start reporting on it, but the comments people have written on Facebook have been positively epic! Props to this guy. It’s my favorite.

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A lot of people are freaking out because it happened during El Niño storms. I don’t understand the superstition thinking behind that, but I’ll let them have their panic attacks, if that’s what they really want. Speaking of El Niño, we had a nice, long rain yesterday, and it’s already raining again this morning. I had time to run down to the laundry room and wash some rugs before the rain hit, so I’m glad I got it done first thing this morning. I’m not going to attempt any more loads of laundry today, because they’ll just get drenched on their way back to my apartment from the laundry room. I want a washer/dryer in my apartment, dammit!

Just for your amusement, I’ll leave you with this screenshot I took of the ABC7 QuakeCam.

QuakeCam

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High Speed Pursuits and Showers

Yesterday, I had to make a run to our local post office to pick up a couple of packages they had attempted to deliver while I was gone over the holidays. Our post office isn’t very far away. I’d guess maybe a mile or just slightly over that. Anyway, I live on a street with two schools on it, and our apartment complex is basically sandwiched between them. I was pulling out of the driveway, and I stopped at the street to check for traffic before pulling out when a silver Honda CR-V flew past me followed by at least six police cruisers – lights, sirens, the whole nine yards. At first it didn’t dawn on me that a police chase was happening right in front of me, because my very first thought was, “Wow! Those cops must have an urgent call to be flying down THIS street that fast!” which was followed not even a second later by, “Oh holy shit! They’re chasing that guy!” I checked again to make sure no one was coming and made my right turn into the street, going the same direction the maniac and police cruisers had gone, and when I got to the stop light at the corner, I noticed the idiot in the CR-V had plowed down all of the signs and shrubbery in front of the school there. They were all laying out in the street. Three more police cruisers quickly flew past me while I was waiting at the light, driving balls the walls down the street in front of me. At that point, I decided it may be a good idea to turn off my radio and crack my windows so I can listen for them in case that imbecile decides to come back in my direction.

Luckily for me, that was the last I saw of them, but after I stopped at the post office I had to run to the bank, which is a few miles away in a different city. As I was driving down the main road to get there, I started seeing small chunks of tires and car body, a headlight, and other debris strewn across the lanes I was in. Needless to say, this shook me up quite a bit, because I usually observe this sort of Southern California insanity from the comfort and safety of my own living room, rather than physically in person. Had I been even thirty seconds faster in leaving my apartment complex, this jackass could very well have hit me on the street while I was driving. I definitely consider myself quite lucky.

One of the packages I got at the post office was the Christmas present my husband’s aunt sent us. I love this! It’s the coolest idea ever, because we will use it the entire year, and she knew it. I was so excited when I opened the envelope and saw it, because I love looking at scenery photos.
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How awesome is that?! We have a Swiss calendar, in French and German, to use this year. What’s really cool about it is that I had told myself yesterday morning, before heading out to run these errands, that I should really stop at the store and buy a new 2016 calendar. Now, I don’t need to.

El Niño has finally arrived here in Southern California, and I’m so stinkin’ excited about the rain, you have no idea! I planned this week’s meals around the weather, and today it finally decided to rain on us, so I’ll be making split pea and ham soup in my Crock Pot. I’ve mostly held off on my soups and chili this year, because I didn’t want us to get tired of them before the rain came. Now, it’s here, and I’m taking full advantage of it!

I Miss Spring!

This week we’re supposed to hit triple digits. Summer has come and it looks like it’s here to stay. That means I’ve had to close up the apartment and turn on the air conditioner, so we don’t bake to death! I appreciate that the heat here in Southern California isn’t sweltering and sticky like it is back in Texas, but I really don’t like heat, either way. I like Spring temperatures.

Spring is my favorite season. It’s the time of year when everything turns green again and looks beautiful, before the heat of summer bakes all life out of it again. It’s the time of year when it’s not too cold and not too hot. You can feel comfortable with your windows open, and most of the time you don’t even need a fan. I get a lot of my cooking and baking done during the Spring, because it’s just too damn hot to heat up my whole house with my stove or oven during the summer, and during the winter, I’m busy making things that will keep you warm, so I don’t really have time to experiment.

I also like Spring because my birthday is smack in the middle of it. I know that as soon as everything has turned lush and green and beautiful, we’ll be celebrating me, and who doesn’t love that?

I think the season I like least of all is Winter. Winter in Texas meant cold, rainy weather, and it was always overcast and gloomy. Everything looked ugly. The trees were bare, the ground was wet and brown, and the sky was always the ugliest shade of gray. It made me want to curl into a ball and just cry all the time! Here, it’s not so bad. We just have to deal with the horrible smog that stagnates over us toward the end of winter, but for the most part it stays fairly warm here, because of the Santa Ana winds. But, that is the main reason I dislike winter here. Santa Ana winds make you miserable! They’re so hot and dry that you feel like you’re shriveling up and cracking everywhere. The winds suck every little drop of moisture out of your body, so if you don’t constantly inhale water like it’s going out of style, you end up with chapped lips, and cracked, bloody hands.

This post is in response to the Daily Prompt.

What the Whaaaaat?! (And a Chili Recipe, Too!)

Break out the cake! Queue up celebratory music!

I realized today that I’ve reached a very important milestone with my blog. I’m so excited, because this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I’ll never see this again, so I need to stop and take a moment to revel in the glory that is… I’ve reached 69 posts on this blog!

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Go ahead. Laugh. It’s all in good fun, and I’m always one to find the humor in the most inappropriate places, so let’s have fun with this one!


Now, I want to take a moment to talk about my amazing chili. I’ve currently got a pot of this amazing concoction simmering on my stove, since it’s winter, and I thought my readers would enjoy a great chili recipe, today.

Ingredients:
1 lb dry kidney beans, soaked overnight
1 onion, diced
1 large bell pepper, diced
1 large can petite diced tomatoes
3 little bitty cans tomato sauce (it’s just cheaper to buy tomato sauce this way!)
4-5 cups of water, depending on how thick/runny you want your chili
1 lb ground turkey
2 TBSP olive oil
2 heaping spoonfuls minced garlic (from a jar) or 2 cloves garlic, minced
chili powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper to taste

Directions:
I know I already mentioned it, but you need to start this the night before you plan on making it, because you’ll need to soak your beans overnight. Don’t worry if you forget, though, because your bean package should come with directions for a “quick soak.”
Drain your beans and then put them in your stock pot. Add in all of your veggies and water. Start the heat under your pot while you start browning your meat. Once you’ve browned your meat, add it, juices and all, to your chili pot, and add in your oil and spices. Your chili will taste bland still. Don’t over-do the spices, because as it cooks, the chili powder will really come out. I don’t really know how much to tell you to put in – I always eyeball it, but I’d say to start with roughly 1/4 cup.
Simmer your chili on low all. frickin. day. I’m serious about this! The longer it simmers on low heat, the better it’ll taste. So, you’ll want to do this first thing in the morning and just stir it randomly throughout the day. By dinnertime, you’ll have the best chili on the planet.

Optional: If you want spicy chili, buy a few jalapeños, dice them up, and add them into your chili when you put in all of the other vegetables. You can also add extra cayenne to your chili and even some smoked paprika, if you have it on hand and want a slightly smokey flavor. If you like cornbread with your chili, you can make a pan of it and feast like a Southern King!

My husband raves about my chili! Yours will, too, once you make this! It’s so much better than anything you can buy in a can, and the leftovers taste great over some french fries with diced onions and cheddar cheese on top.

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Epidemics and Pandemics – I’m More Worried About the Flu!

Everyone in the U S of A has worked themselves into a tizzy over ebola. Those of us who haven’t are probably the only sane people left! People are crying and screaming that ebola is airborne and thinking that just breathing the same atmosphere as an infected person means they’re going to die!

I’m more worried about catching the flu. That nasty little critter visits us every winter, and every winter, without fail, people die because of it. It’s a misery machine. If you’ve ever had it, you know what I mean. If you’ve never caught the flu, you’re a very lucky person, and should probably play the lottery regularly.

I’m currently sick with some sort of stomach bug. It hit me last night as soon as we finished our dinner. At first, I thought my stomach was just giving me fits because I’d eaten a hamburger, and beef and I just don’t get along well, but I still feel like death warmed over this morning. I have a stomach ache and I’m still really tired. I spent the majority of yesterday taking a really long nap, and I think that’s on the agenda again today. Whatever I’ve got, while it isn’t super-unpleasant in the throwing up and projectile diarrhea department (I thank my lucky stars I don’t have that bug,) it does have me worn down, cranky, and achey.

I’m going to take the time to note that we, as Americans, should probably be more worried about diseases and illnesses we can catch, rather than going full-on scaremonger over a disease that there is a good likelihood most of us will never experience. That’s why I am more worried about catching the flu this year than I am ebola. I got my flu shot last year and still ended up with a nasty case of the flu, so I can say with most certainty that I know the vaccine does not entirely protect you from it. And, since it makes you very miserable and literally knocks you on your ass to the point you can barely crawl across your house to get to the toilet to go pee, I’d very much rather spend my time trying to avoid catching that than spending my time worrying about ebola.

So, how about we spend our time making sure we keep things clean around us to prevent the spread of the infectious diseases that will most likely visit us.

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(Click the image above to visit the Don’t Wait, Vaccinate Facebook Page.)