Tag Archive | postaday2011

Car Troubles and Casseroles

So…I managed a couple of drama-free days, which, unfortunately,  seem to translate into blog-free days.  So, blog=drama, right?

Anyway, I spent a quiet morning at home, studying and composing a shopping list so I could, you know, actually eat tonight.  When the time came when I could take a break from the studying, I headed down to my car, turned the key…and nothin’.

My car has been temperamental all winter, so I didn’t think much of it, it’s been taking two or thee tries to get it started.

After ten, it TRIED to turn over, but it still didn’t start.  A few more tries, and a jump-start attempt later I did what any responsible grown woman would do.

I called my Daddy for help.

My wonderful father drove an hour and a half to look at my car.  After doing some mechanical magic, Dad declared my battery to be fine,  and my starter being what  has issues.  Which means, a trip to my home-town this weekend, providing I can get my car started, of course. Fortunately,  every where else I’ll need to go this week can be reached easily by bus.

Dad was kind enough to drive me to the grocery store and back so dinner, at least, is right on track.

I decided to make one of my favorite comfort foods.  We call it tortilla casserole.  I don’t know if my mom found this recipe somewhere, or if she made it up–I’ve never seen her use a written recipe to make it, and I was taught to make it without  a recipe as well.

Tortilla Casserole 

the ingredents

1 lb ground beef.  (I used ground turkey.  If you ask, it’s to save on fat and calories and in no way simply because ground turkey was 75¢ a pound cheaper than the ground beef)

1/2 of an onion, diced

1 can cream of mushroom (or chicken, or celery, or whatever you have on hand) soup

1 4oz can of chopped green chilies. (er, here’s the thing about the chilies.  I usually use Hatch brand green chilies, but the store didn’t have any.  They did have the  4 oz cans, but in a brand I wasn’t sure of.  Now, I’m not particularly picky when it comes to brand names, but I’ve had a few bad experiences with off-brand chilies.  So, with great hesitation, I got a 7 oz can of the Wal-Mart brand of chilies.  It worked fine, but I’d still prefer to have used the smaller can of the brand I’m familiar with.)

4-6 soft taco sized flour tortillas

that looks about right

Shredded cheese.  Growing up, we usually used mild cheddar, because that’s what we had in the fridge.  Here, I used colby jack.  How much? Yeah, no clue.  One of those things that, because I’ve never seen this recipe written down, I don’t know how much to tell you.  I will tell you this:  I love cheese.  My dad doesn’t, so I’ll use more cheese when I’m making this for myself than I would if I were making this for my family.

Okay, on to directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Heat a large skillet over high heat.  Add meat (if you are using ground turkey, or some other low-fat meat, you’ll want to add a bit of oil to the pan first), onion and green chilies.  Stir constantly, until meat is browned and onions are clear. Add the can of soup to the meat mixture and blend throughly. In a line the bottom of a 9×9 baking dis with a layer of tortillas.  Now, tortillas are round, and the baking dish is square, and this can cause some issues.

issues

 

I thought I got a picture of this next step, but apparently I didn’t.  Grrr.

Anyway, tortillas are easy to crease and tear, like paper.  So, take another tortilla, fold it into fourths, and tear it so that you’ve got nice little patches for the corner.  The bottom is the only layer that you need to worry about covering completely.

Spoon some of the meat mixture on top of the tortillas, spreading evenly.  You should use about a third of the mixture.

 

yum. And yeah, I have very little counter-space. The stove often pulls double-duty.

Next spread a generous amount of cheese over the meat mixture.  Or not, depending on who your making this for.

I had to restart my computer twice before I could upload this image. I hope it was worth it.

Next, tear a tortilla in half, and line up the torn edges with opposite sides of the pan.   If it’s not on the bottom, you don’t need to worry about covering the whole pan.

Continue layering the meat mixture, cheese and tortillas like a lasagna, until you’ve used up all of the meat.  I can usually get three layers.  You’ll want to alternate what side you put the straight edges of the tortillas on, to give your casserole added support.

I like to end with a layer of cheese on top of  the last tortillas.

 

Hmmm. Maybe I should have grated more cheese.

Put the casserole in your pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and everything is heated through.  Above is what it looks like before going into the oven, and below is what it looks like coming out of the oven:

 

Dinners ready!

And this is what it looks like after two little dogs got fed up with my not dropping food and decided that they needed to go for a walk, and I could come back in and actually sit down to eat:

 

Okay, so I'm not a food photographer, and the light in my kitchen is less than great. Still...are you curious, yet?

This casserole will serve about six, depending upon what you’re using as side dishes.

Taste wise, the chilies give a nice little kick, but not too much of one.  I’ve had people who only eat the extra-mild salsa rave about this dish.

Anyway, go, cook, enjoy!  And be grateful when you put your key into the ignition of your car and it actually starts up.

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Any more drama, and I’m going to have to turn into a theater major

This adult gorilla uses a branch as a walking ...

Image via Wikipedia: This has nothing to do with my post, I just thought it was amusing that it was suggested as a feature image.

I thought it was over.  I thought I had gotten all the drama out of the way for, if not the semester, than at least the first month.

I was wrong.

So, I missed the first day of school on Wednesday.  I was upset by it, but not terribly, because the first day is simply all about meeting your instructors, going over the syllabus, and making sure you have the right book(s).  For me, this semester…well, it hasn’t quite worked that way.

Anyway, what with modern technology having progressed considerably since I went to school the first time, my syllabuses can be found online. So, last night, I looked up the syllabus for the class that I missed–and, wait a minute…

The names of the lessons were along the lines of “Forming study groups” and “becoming involved” not, as one would expect from a stress management class “meditation” and “keeping thins in perspective”.  So, off to find the catalog to see if I could figure out what exactly was going on.

Well, it turns out that the class I was signed up for wasn’t stress management, it was college success, which, frankly, I should have taken ten years ago.  So, off to see if I could get that changed.

Begin act two.  Or one.  Or the prequel.  Whatever.  This drama thing really isn’t a good move for me…

So, I causally mentioned a hiccup regarding my grades a few posts ago.  Here’s what happened with that.  According to the records, I got an “E” (which is like an “F”, but for some reason, UVU doesn’t give “F”s) in my math class, which put my GPA below a 2.0, which means I got put on academic probation.  Well, I got an email from my math professor explaining that my failing grade was caused by a computer glitch, and I actually got a “D” (which still means I have to take that class over again), which would raise my GPA above 2.0, and thus take me off of academic probation.  The thing is, that hasn’t happened yet.  And, because of the academic probation, there was a hold on my record, so I couldn’t add a class, and, for some reason, I couldn’t drop the class I didn’t want.

So, off to campus today to meet with my advisor, to try and get this fixed.  After explaining the situation twice–she couldn’t understand me through the tears–she was able to take the hold off my record, and agreed that I really needed the stress management class–which, by the way, is not only full, but has a wait list that’s over 20 individuals long.  Which makes two classes now that I know I’ll be taking over the summer.

So, barring, say, a meteor strike, I figure everything that can go wrong has already, so it’ll be smooth sailing from here on out–right? Right?

Why are you laughing like that?

Whatever you do, don’t lose the receipt.

The bus stopped for me this morning, which automatically made today a better day than yesterday.  The amount of people on campus, and more specifically, in the book store lessened this to a certain extent.

I made an effort to avoid having to buy books from the bookstore this semester.  However, after comparing bookstore prices to several different online booksellers, I discovered that I wouldn’t be saving any money by buying online, so I figure I might as well face the hassle of the crowds and lines to avoid the hassle of shipping and waiting.

I checked online, and made a list of the books that I thought I needed.  A few hours later, I was sitting in my English class, and discovered that the books I bought for that class were, in fact, not the books that I needed.  Which meant, another trip to the bookstore.

So for some reason, the UVU bookstore is the only place left in the universe that can’t look up a purchase with the credit card that was used– and they wouldn’t accept my return without a receipt.  And, guess who, in the few short hours between buying the books and trying to return them, lost her receipt.

Obviously, you’ve been following my blog, and fully understand the mess that is me.

After tearing my backpack apart in a futile attempt to locate a small piece of paper, I gave up and just bought the correct book, frustrated that by the time the end of the semester rolled around, I’d be selling back a book that was still shrink-wrapped.   On my way to find my last class of the day, I passed the slatted bench where I put the original books in my backpack, and noticed–wait for it–a small piece of paper that had fallen under the bench.  I picked it up and gasped loudly enough that the girl sitting on the bench correctly identified what it was.  By some miracle of poor janitorial services, I was able to recover my receipt that had been on the floor in one of the busiest hallways on campus.

So, drama over the books settled, I headed off to my last class.  I got there early enough that I had to wait.  And wait.  And wait.  It turns out that there was a scheduling mix-up, and the instructor who we all thought was going to be teaching didn’t know she was supposed to be teaching.  But I didn’t find this out until hearing a lecture on Nikola Tesla from some random student, and successfully staving off a migraine by sheer force of will.  And Advil.

I don’t want my random janitorial and scheduling issues to dissuade anyone from UVU.  The start of a new semester is always hectic, and, as annoying as my two little mini-adventures today were, I’m feeling super lucky and blessed to have found the receipt, and as for my art class…well, it’s frustrating, but I’m going to chalk it up as one less thing I have to think about this weekend.

In other news…

Mom had a doctor’s appointment today, to check on her after her surgery, and to get round two scheduled.  A month after the fact, her surgeon wasn’t shy about telling her that as far as he could tell, the repairs he had done on her leg had never been done before.  By anyone, anywhere.  She’ll be going back on February 4th for her sixth and hopefully final hip replacement.  Again, it’s not really the surgery that is worrisome, it’s the recovery.  But, the hospital was very impressive the last time around, and I know she’ll be in good hands.

Somewhere out there, there is a person who can’t help but to catch every break that comes his or her way, to balance out my life. I think this person owes me a check.

Bus company De Lijn in Belgium promotes public...

Image via Wikipedia: This isn't the bus that failed to stop for me. This bus is in Belgium and has a car on top of it.

My class schedule for the spring 2011 semester goes something like this:  On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I have my stress management classes.  Tuesdays and Thursdays is everything else.  Today was the first day of the new semester, and so I just had my stress management class to start things off.

I made sure to get to the bus stop in plenty of time, but the bus seemed to be running late.  Just as I was getting ready to head to my car and try and find a parking spot in the pay lot, the bus came around the turn…and just kept going.  It didn’t even slow down.

Great.

After my mouth managed to close, I stood there for a bit wondering what the hell just happened, and what I should do about it.  I didn’t have time to walk to campus, so I decided to go the pay-lot option.   I know I was perfectly visible, because while crossing the street to get to my car, I slipped on some ice and fell–in front of an oncoming vehicle, of course.  The driver of the vehicle was kinder than the bus driver–she at least acknowledged my existence by stopping her car and asked if I was okay.

So, off to convince my car to start so I could fight traffic on campus.  When I got there, the pay lot was full. (except, I just looked up a map of parking, and discovered a lot that I assumed to be employee parking is actually another pay lot.  So, next time, I’ll know.)  So back home, fighting both traffic and tears this time.  And, frankly if not having the bus stop (I didn’t miss the bus, I was where I was supposed to be when I was supposed to be there) and then not finding a parking spot left me in as big of a wreck as it did, It’s evident how badly I need that stress management class.  You know, the one I missed today?

And that is the story of how I missed the first day of my second semester back at college.

I’d be much more amused by it if stuff like this didn’t happen to me all the time.

If I’m going to be a writer, I really need to work on my titles.

Jan 3

Image by brandsvig via Flickr

So, I remembered something yesterday–I LIKE being read.  I actually don’t think my traffic was much higher than usual, but enough of y’all clicked on different posts to make my hit counter register more than a three-fold increase of my usual traffic.  Granted, considering that I took a six week  break from blogging, and wasn’t exactly churning out quality material beforehand, this wasn’t hard to do.

A special thanks and welcome to Mesacoelsombero, who not only liked my post yesterday, but subscribed to me as well.  Mesacoel (can I call you Mesacoel) represents the first subscriber that WordPress  has told me about.  He (or she, I couldn’t find a gender reference anywhere) has a blog about the economy of Latin America, which I’m would be much more fascinating to me if both Google Translate and I understood the language of finance.

Anyway, I’ve kind of purposely, and happily, been avoiding thinking about much of anything today–the new semester starts on Wednesday, which will bring with it all sorts of opportunities to think and stress etc, so for today and tomorrow, I’m just taking it easy and trying really hard not to think about things like tuition and books and various other supplies I’ll need.

In other news, I actually went to church yesterday.  I woke up with the beginnings of a migraine, and considered not going, but then decided that if I skipped the first Sunday of the new year it’d be setting a dangerous precedent–especially considering my resolution to go to church at least three times a month.  I made it though two hours before the migraine hit, and I had to go home.  Apparently, it was one that made me look ill–I had three people stop and ask me if I was okay as I was trying to slip out the door.   Sigh.

Anyway, life is good, for now.

2010 in review

WordPress sent me this email this morning.  I think they overstated the success of “The Storyteller Chronicles” but it’s interesting none-the-less.  And hey, look!  I can officially call this a Post-a-Day entry!

 

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 5,100 times in 2010. That’s about 12 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 234 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 247 posts. There were 542 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 1,019mb. That’s about 1 pictures per day.

The busiest day of the year was January 5th with 119 views. The most popular post that day was Fighting the beast.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, cuteoverload.com, bumalafa.blogspot.com, en.wordpress.com, and touch.facebook.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for crab spider, josie greathouse fox, whistling at the northern lights, the storyteller chronicles, and ouroboros ring.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Fighting the beast December 2009
2 comments

2

Who I Am January 2010

3

My Nook Report November 2010

4

Just because I have a mental illness doesn’t mean I’m crazy February 2010
1 comment

5

Indecision pt 2 May 2010
1 comment

Requisit Resolution Post

While I acknowledge the end of one year and the beginning of the next as a perfect time for change and renewal, I’ve never held much truck to the idea of making resolutions–they don’t tend to stick.

That being said, I have been thinking about what’s happened in 2010, and what I would like to happen in 2011.  Personally, emotionally, I think I’ve made great strides in 2010–and accomplished something I wasn’t planing on–namely, going back to school.  I don’t remember if I made any resolutions for 2010–I could probably look them up here, but I’m far to lazy to do that (now watch WordPress find it automatically for me…)

so, here they are, my goals for 2011.  The goals that one might say I’m resolute to see happen…

  1. Get (and maintain) at least a 3.5 GPA.  Seeings how I got a “D” in one of my three classes this semester, this might be hard, but I think I can do it.
  2. Go to church at least three times a month, and all three meetings at least once a month.  Along with this, scripture study and prayer every day.
  3. Blog every day.  WordPress has a Dailypost challenge thing to help remind people to blog everyday.  I’ve signed up for that…it’s a little intimidating, blogging every day was the goal of The Storyteller Chronicles, and I failed miserably.  So were trying it again.
  4. Write every day.  Not connected to the blog or homework.  Stories, free-writes, whatever.  Every day.  Connected to that…
  5. Write a novel.  150,000 words–that averages out to about 410 words a day–not counting things like outlining and editing.  It doesn’t have to be ready to send to an agent, let alone a publisher.  It doesn’t even have to be good.  It just needs to be a complete, lengthy story.   Um, eep.

Looking over this list, it’s going to be tough, but an easy goal isn’t really a goal, right?  So, here’s to big things happening in 2011!  Now if you’ll excuse me, this big, ambitious list is making me tired.  I’m off to take a nap.

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