I know I promised you a riveting biblical question and pondering…I haven’t forgotten, in fact, I’m doing research as I type this…okay, not literally but anyway, I haven’t forgotten I’m just a little distracted! I’ll get it up soon.
Monthly Archives: August 2010
So, can I just say, without hesitation or qualification HOME REPAIRS SUCK.
We have had nothing but fiasco after chaos following disbelief and awe with every.single.project along the way. We had a good, overall, home building time though. But every single thing since then has been a “thing.” A huge, dramatic thing.
This week is no different. Yesterday, the guy who came to rip out the old tile (this is not our choice but the bad detra underlaying all our tiled bathrooms) didn’t really know what he was doing. I mean, he was a comptent hammer and chisel guy, but as he confessed as he was leaving he is a “hardwood” guy not a tile guy. Most people don’t put hardwood in their bathrooms so he lacks experience at things like flushing the toilet twice before you remove it. So, there was an entire toilets worth of water spilled onto the exposed under flooring. And he didn’t cover the exposed sewer outlet either. So the whole house smelled like, well, sewage. Nasty, nasty sewage.
I went to stay at a hotel because with my pregnancy superpower of super smell I just couldn’t take it. Plus gross. Just gross.
So, today at 11am (I have never met trademen/construction guys who started work just before lunch before) when the guy from yesterday showed up along with 2 others I was hoping for a smooth, stink free day. No such luck. The tiles that they brought with them for the master bath aren’t correct. And not just a little off. We have white hexes with inlaid blue squares. What they brought was sheets of white hexes with blue glass squares that they were going to manually inlay. Yeah. Oh, you already know? Well, I had no idea that glass tiles are twice as thick as ceramic. So imagine walking on a combination of ceramic hexes and tiny blue square tiles that are twice as tall. Poor flooring choice not to mention hard to grout.
So, guess what??? We get to do this ALL again. The plan, as fas as Mr. T has explained it to me, is that they will lay the white hexes with white squares today and at some future point they will come back, rip this out, and replace it with the correct flooring. I consider myself procapitalism and almost proconsuerism (it is, after all consumption that drives our economy and I am pro-economy) but this just seems incredibly and foolishly wasteful. On the other hand, not having a functional bathroom doesn’t seem like a good choice either.
Any how, the breakfast at Hampton Inn was good and the bed was almost comfy. And best of all it didn’t smell like…
So, here is the review of my first visit to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse from 2006.
Ambiance and Service: D
One finds a well made $10 Ketel One martini (extra dry, extra dirty) sitting
at the well appointed, although understocked, bar. I, myself, enjoyed two
during the wait for our reservation.
The two TVs on the back wall above the bar were completely unnecessary and
compromised the elegant yet rustic look the restaurant seemed to want to
achieve. Not to mention that the subtitiles were not even on so one
couldn’t really follow what was occuring anyway.
The bar crowd was older and better dressed than those who were waiting in
the incredibly small vestibule by the door. At 9:40pm I let the maitre d’
know that we were waiting in the bar for our reservation.
It was well after 10:15pm when I went back to the maitre d’ to enquire
regarding the delay. He assured me that we would be taken care of promptly,
pulling my reservation card from under the book (the few remaining
reservation cards were displayed out in front of him in chronological order.
I went back to the bar and we waited further.
Just after 10:30pm a hostess escorted us to the Platinum Room and to a table
that, although in a quiet corner was right below the courtesy phone and near
the kitchen doors which were swooshing heavily back and forth. This awkward
arrangement would not do so we requested a better table. We were moved to
the Main Dining Room and seated right on top of a party of 8, a party of 2,
a party of 4, and once again right next to the main thoroughfare. I spied
an empty table in the corner of the main dining room and asked again if we
could move. The waiter said of course, that we should just “Pick up our
stuff” and go. Sigh. At McDonald’s one may think this is fine service,
but, at just over $100 a person, this is not the service one is accustomed
Undaunted, we did “Pick up our stuff” and move. The location was great but
the table, part way through our meal, gave out, collapsing completely on one
side. Had it not been for the staff dismantling the dining room while we
were eating, we would have wondered what in the world was occuring. But,
being observant we noticed that the staff was removing folding tables from
the dining room and reconfiguring the seating. We asked a staff member if
they had increased their seating for Valentine’s Day. The resounding “yes”
was not the shock. The increase was the shock. From 43 tables to 86 they
double their capacity and our table, it seems, was one of the temporary
Our waiter while chatty was not keen to the little touches that make a
dining experience flawless- consistent water pouring, wine recommendations,
ensuring that bread and butter were plentiful, remembering our drinks. But
he was tired, I’m sure, as he had begun his shift at 4pm and is going to
school at Middle Tennessee and is studying to be a physician’s assistant
because although he tried to get a liberal arts degree he just had no
passion for it and he tried to be a chiropractor but wanted hospital
privledges…well I digress…one gets the point about chattiness.
For an appetizer I order the classic shrimp cocktail which at $10.95 I
expected to revival St. Elmo’s in both jumboness of shrimp and spicyness of
sauce. Unfortunately, what was served on an enourmous pile of shredded
lettuce was a mess of tasteless ketchup and light horseradish with 6 18-24
count shrimp. My dining companion ordered a bowl of Lobster Bisque (a
recommendation from a man eating at the bar) and the crab stuffed mushrooms.
The soup had good flavor but was lacking in actual lobster. The
mushrooms on the other hand were plump and well filled with a combination of
crab, spices, and breading. Overall they were quite tasty.
Dinner for each of us consisted of the regular sized Filet Mignon (served
Medium Rare and Medium) with a nice grilled crunch on the outside, soft warm
center, served with sizzling butter on a plate hot enough to melt glass. My
fork was so warm from resting on the plate that for several minutes I could
not use it to eat! Anytime you take a high quality piece of steak and
slather it with butter, a tasty experience is expected. Make no mistake,
this was the best steak I have ever had. For side items we had potatoes au
gratin (which may have started as white sauce, canned potatoes, and shredded
cheese), creamed spinach (which I liked but my dining companion thought
tasted like creamed grass), and asparagus with hollandaise (which would have
been dynamite had I been able to eat it warm instead of politely listening
to the waiter drone on about being 29 and back in school and all the places
he has lived…well, again you get the point).
When we were finished with our meal our waiter packaged our food in front of
us to take home. Utilizing plastic ziploc baggies he artfully bagged
“doggie bags” for us and we inquired about dessert. I chose the Creme
Brulee and my companion the Chocolate Sin cake. I was pleased with my
selection. It ranks among the better creme brulee’s I have experienced. It
was smooth and creamy and served with an assortment of fresh berries. The
Chocolate Sin cake, unlike many of its flourless chocolate cake
counterparts, was smooth and not the slightest bit grainy. More raspberry
sauce and a few real raspberries would have taken a great dessert and made
All in all, I will probably not choose Ruth’s Chris again. Flemings offered
almost as good a steak, better side items, better service, better
atmosphere, and almost most importantly better prices.
When in Indianapolis check out St. Elmo’s. In your neck of the woods log on
to http://www.tomhoran.com/steak_list.asp and check out a favorite.
Best of Dining to you!
So with that lackluster review of a very expensive meal, it was with a great deal of protesting on my part, that last night, on a random Saturday, Mr. T and I endeavoured to have a better experience at Ruth’s Chris. Mr. T has been the ever doting husband and father-to-be for the past 18 weeks and last night was no exception. When he asked me what I wanted for dinner I said confidently, “Steak, mashed potatoes, and creamed spinach.” He said, “Okay. Where can we get you those things?” Then I protested thinking of the cost and said, “Or I could have cereal.” He wasn’t very hungry and it occured to me that spending $100+ on a meal that I can make at home was just silly. But he persisted and insisted. After looking up what the options were he chose Ruth’s Chris. I told him that my last and only visit there hadn’t been all that but he, ever the optimist, said that our experience would be better.
He was right.
First, we didn’t have a reservation although I did call and ask if they had a wait. We only had 2 1/2 hours before he had to go to work and anticipating a nice leisurely dinner we didn’t want to take up our time waiting. Mr. T is a teatotaler (which I think is a hilarious term because he really does totally drink tea and does not drink alcohol) and I am in a “family way” and therefore don’t partake so sitting at the bar would have been a pointless exercise. But, there was no wait. In fact, the hostess waited for Mr. T to join me from giving the car to the valet before seating us.
As with last time, the dining room was well apointed and just dim enough to be special but not so dark as to be, “Huh? What am I eating?” dark. The first of our two wait staff enquired about our drinks and promptly brought them. She then ensured that refills of water and tea were plentiful and unobtrusive which was lovely. She didn’t review any specials but I believe that our waiter did. Sea bass. Not too exciting as I’m not supposed to have fish just now. Something about mercury or lead or poision. Poisson? 😀 Sorry.
Ruth’s Chris is featuring a $39.95 three course meal and a $49.95 three course meal. We selected the less expensive of the two and were well satisfied. I have to go meet a lady to buy used cloth diapers but I will finish this today. And also I have a biblical question/musing coming up tomorrow. So, hang in there! 😀 ( See that wasn’t too bad. Might even have been worth the wait!)
So, where was I? Oh, yes. $39.95 3 course meal. One has a selection of soup or salad, an entree with choice of side, and dessert. Normally, we aren’t 3 course meal type go-out-to-eaters but just a steak at Ruth’s Chris starts at $31 so the price was definitely right.
I selected the corn and crab chowder to begin and Mr. T had the goat cheese and tomato salad. My soup was interesting. It was very spicy. At least my palate thought so. But it was rife with bits of crab and just a few bits of corn which is a great ratio. There were also some potatos in the party. My first bite I didn’t think I liked it very well. My second bite it was better. I probably wound up eating 1/3- 1/2 of the soup all the while trying to figure out if I liked it. I think in the end the spice overwhelmed it. If we go back I’ll ask for it without the chilipowder and pepper.
Mr. T’s salad choice was a surprise to me–he loves goat cheese and likes tomatos so that isn’t why–because he doesn’t like frisee and basically that was the lettuce in the salad. His little face looked so crestfallen when the salad arrived. Evidently he hadn’t read the “real menu” description and instead operated off the little title on the Prix Fixe menu. Poor guy. He did his best to pick around but he would have scarfed it I’m sure if the salad had been built on romaine or bibb or butter crunch. He just doesn’t like frisee.
We had a few minutes to talk between soup/salad and our entrees which was nice. The meal, overall, was well paced. We weren’t wondering what was going on and we didn’t feel rushed. Perfect. Then our entrees arrived.
We both had the shrimp and filet. It is the $39.95 steak option. 4 spiced and buttered shrimp cooked perfectly rested on top of each 5 ounce filet. Each filet was served on a scorching hot plate with a generous pool of salted and peppered butter. Our steaks were done perfectly-mine medium rare (I figured it would get reheated and that it would continue to cook sitting on a fire hot plate) and Mr. T’s medium. Lucky for me Mr. T doesn’t dig on crustaceans so I had 4 extra shrimp. Did I mention that they were perfect? That can be difficult to attain because there is a narrow window between done and overdone with shrimp.
For our sides I had creamed spinach and Mr. T had the ever-so-slightly garlic mashed potatoes. Now, the “deal” says it comes with “personal” sized sides. Um. I had a boat of spinach. Not complaining but surprised. Mr. T had a boat of mashed potatoes. That were ever so yummy. In fact, dinner was so plentiful that we just had the leftovers for dinner tonight without addition. So, basically, we had 2 dinners for the price of one! Yeah! That makes it more “economical” right? 🙂 No, it was still a HUGE splurge.
So, after pacing myself well, I was going to have dessert but I wasn’t that excited. The Prix Fixe menu comes with creme caramel with exotic fruit. Eh. Not exciting for me. So I had planned to just order an a la carte dessert. But lo and behold! For a mere $3 you can order *any* dessert. Yes, you read correctly, any of their desserts. Just prior to leaving the house to come to dinner Mr. T and I watched a banana cream pie throwdown with Bobby Flay. And lucky for us, Banana Cream pie was one of the choices on the menu. The bananas were bruleed and the cream wasn’t overly sweet (it was supposed to be “white chocolate” which can be cloyingly sweet). It was divine. Mr. T chose the cheesecake. It was also superb.
Overall, for the price and the experience, it was great! We will definitely, albeit not soon, be back if they continue to offer the Prix Fixe menu. It was just perfect.
Human beings could have eradicated MALARIA from India, Africa, Asia, Central and South America just as it has been eradicated in Europe, Russia, and North America. But instead DDT was banned. Now I see commercials to buy mosquito nets for $5 or $10 to send to places still effected by Malaria. Huh. How much does DDT cost? Pennies. How many people w0uld be saved thousands? Millions? How does it benefit the “developed” world to keep malaria around? Huh.
AIDS treatment, as Bono just told me, costs 80 cents a day. How much money does the US spend on AIDS research each year? 22.8 BILLION according to the CDC. CANCER (not just one kind mind you…this includes breast, lung, ovarian etc)…wait for it…wait for it…1.5 billion. Now, sure, I can eat certain things which may or may not help. I could be born with a certain genetic mutation which causes my cells to divide slowly…but really, cancer prevention is pretty difficult. In the US (obviously, in places where women’s rights aren’t respected and folklore is the best cure) AIDS should be declining sharply. I think every student by the time they reach middle school has sat through the “dirty needles, unprotected sex, and or rubbing infected blood on your mucus membranes or in open wounds,” shpeal about how AIDS is transmitted. We have needle exchange programs, free condoms, and um, OSHA. I’m thrilled that there is treatment for such an awful disease but why (again in the US!) is this completely PREVENTABLE disease cornering research dollars which could go to cancer or autism research.
Think about it. If 1 in 125/150/90 (depending on your source) of babies born in the US develop autism how much is this going to cost our society? How much do we spend on research and treatment?
Now you are probably scratching your head thinking, okay, well, how does Malaria, AIDS, Cancer, and Autism figure together for this post. I guess I always think about where money comes from and what it used for. Obviously, certain elements in “developed” nations chose to ban DDT (once malaria was eradicated in their area of course!) and it has continued to cost lives in other parts of the world. Obviously, certain groups in the US have vast political and lobbying power which has resulted in more than the lion’s share of funding being dedicated to AIDS research. Are either of these situations the wise course of action for the US? For the world? How do we benefit from people dying of malaria, cancer, or suffering with autism? What does governmental dependence have to do with these things?
I don’t have the answers. I just have some (probably) controversial observations…the last of which is how much money is GAP and Bono actually giving to the RED project? How is this campaign not just a HUGE marketing ploy? Happy Sunday night y’all!
Some sources on malaria and DDT…
Also check out Guns, Germs, and Steel and what happened to Singapore when it eradicated malaria. Just think what could happen in places like India and Africa…
My uterus has moved north past my belly button. Yep. In the process my stomach (literal not figurative) has been smushed. By smushed I mean cramped. I mean crowded. I mean squeezed. Basically I can eat about 5 bites and I am full. Like, 1 triangle of a cheese quesadilla sliced into 4s and I’m all, “I couldn’t eat another bite!” Heck, pregnancy may just be the best diet I’ve ever been on. Cause make no mistake, I *am* losing weight. Almost a pound a day. Which isn’t supposed to happen unless you are throwing up. Right? Well, I’m built for the famine so, no worries, but wouldn’t it be wild to come out of infertility with not only a perfect baby but a perfect body? Yeah, I know. Not likely. 🙂
What else? Mr. T’s week from hockey sticks and hades is over. Except he gets to keep working. So, that isn’t exactly over but he doesn’t have to work 12 hours any more. He’s happy.
I saw “The Switch” last night with a friend. Um. Can we spell S-L-O-WWWWWW ladies and gentlemen? And predictable? And other words that imply a bad movie? Yeah, this is one where if you’ve seen the previews you’ve essentially seen the movie. I think it would have made an okay 30 minute short. Earlier in the week Mr. T and I saw “Scott Pilmgrim vs. The World.” I liked it until the last 30 minutes when it lost all sense to me. But that’s okay. At least it kept moving. 🙂
Want the best cookie recipe EVER? Here ya go:
Preheat oven to 325.
1 1/2 c. sugar \
1 1/2. brown sugar > Place these into a pan. Melt together until smooth. This will help the cookies be soft and chewy! Yay!
1c. butter /
Into the bowl of the mixer place the melted sugar/butter mixture. Let it cool for 10 minutes or so. Mix in 2tsp of vanilla. Let it mix for a while. Maybe 2-3 minutes. This will help the mixture cool further.
Dump in 2 1/2 c. flour, 2 c. oats, 2 tsp baking soda, and mix a little bit. Then add in 2 (VERY IMPORTANT PART COMING UP!) *room temperature* eggs. Mix thoroughly.
Add in 1 bag of sweetened coconut. 1 1/2 bags of high quality semi-sweet chocolate chips. 1 bag of dark chocolate candy bits (I used Special Dark and they were delicious!) And mix. It will be difficult. You might need to use a wooden spoon and a tall, handsome man. I didn’t have that so I used my kitchenaid and a wooden spoon to mush everything down. Oh, and as a note, I put in both bags of chocolate chips and had chips leftover at the bottom of the bowl and the final cookies were probably more chocolate chips then dough. No one complained though. Optionally also add in up to 1 cup of chopped pecans, walnuts, or almonds. Optionally add in 1 cup of dried fruit ie raisins, craisins, diced apricots. For this particular batch I opted in pecans and opted out dried fruit.
Place 1/4 c. scoops onto cookie sheet (I was able to get 6 on each sheet) and bake for 17-22 minutes. My oven baked these babies perfectly at 18 minutes. Let cool on the pan while the next batch bakes. Then move to wire racks. Yield about 32 cookies or so.
Count down to ultrasound: 18 days! Countdown to cheese making class: 4 days!
So BFF and her BabyGirlE spent several eventful days at Children’s hospital. Yuck. Then I came down with the same vomiting, headache, diarrhea awfulness. But I hadn’t been awake for 48 hours followed by only 2 hours of sleep at a time (BFF) nor am I a 3 day old baby. So. Viruses suck. It sucked worse for BFF and BabyGirlE though.
So, life has been a little slow around here but that is okay. We found a recliner we love. It should be out of the factory sometime in the next 6-8 weeks and I cannot wait! I’ve also been on dish duty and sorting like mad. I don’t think it is nesting per se but just this strong desire to get the house neat and clean. We’ll see…
Mr. T has to work an extra 20 hours this week. He is a trooper though and hasn’t complained much yet. He doesn’t even get any time off and basically, wakes up, eats breakfast, goes to work, comes home, sleeps. Rinse, repeat. But he has a new lunch bag that I love. It is from Whole Foods and it is a picture of a tin pail. Very industrial looking but also, cause he takes his lunch in it, very antiquated a la “lunch pail”. Love it!
Oh, and I have 5 maternity/nursing shirts and 2 maternity/nursing dresses at the seamstresses waiting to be constructed! I’m thrilled! It is the Mariposa tunic/dress from the book Handmade Beginnings. I’ll post pictures once I have one…
So, I said to Mom, “BFF is in labor. We have to go.” Then we just stared at each other for a few moments trying to process and plan. I’ve never left a hotel in the middle of the night but that’s what we did. I stopped to pee and get some hot cocoa (my caffeine of choice) and we were on our way home. I still had a book on CD so I listened to that. We were about an hour from the hotel and Mom said, “I took a sleeping pill.” Great.
We made it to BFF’s house in about 2 hours and Mom took my car and headed to my house. It was 11:45pm. BFF was on her hands and knees laboring in the shower. Her plan was to stay home as long as possible. Lying down didn’t feel as good as being in the water. Her husband had packed up the car already. He had to move stuff around to accomodate me though. BFF labored at home for another hour and 15 minutes or so. She did get sick. I thought, “I read that some women go through a transition like experience at 4cm,” but I didn’t say anything. Her pressure waves were coming about every minute to two minutes and lasting about a minute.
She put on her hypnobabies tracks on her IPOD and plugged in her headphones and listened all the way to the hospital. She was quiet and calm. At the hospital we had to go in through the ER because it was 1am. The ER was a little crazy and I felt bad for BFF because people kept coming up and hollering in her face asking her questions. After about 5-10 minutes (time gets funny starting here) patient transport came and wheeled her up to overflow.
That’s right. Every room on the Labor and Delivery floor was full so we went to “overflow” also known as Gyn Surgery. We were told we’d only be there a little while. The midwife on call came and checked BFF. She was at 7cm! Yay! They needed to get a 20 minute heart rate tracing on the baby.
Unfortunately, for BFF this meant lying in the bed. She weathered it well despite having to do an extra 15 minutes-10 minutes on the front end due to a bad connection and 5 minutes on the back end because the nurse didn’t come in and tell her she could stop it. At some point I went out to ask for ice water and was told BFF would be moving “momentarily” by a nurse who parked a wheel chair in front of BFF’s room. Unfortunately, “immediately” at a hospital and in the real world are not the same thing. “Immediately” wound up being a good 30-45 minutes.
BFF threw up again. I thought, “transition!” Her parents arrived.
We all moved to Labor and Delivery and BFF was eager to get in the shower. She tried several positions before discovering that sitting in the birth ball in the shower draped over the shower chair was the best position. It was a tiny shower. After 15 minutes or so, BFF’s husband yells, “You are flooding the room!” And she was. Water ran all the way into the hallway! We pulled blankets and towels from everywhere and tried to hold back the flood. Poor BFF. She was pulled from her hypnosis and forced to change positions. She took it in stride though.
It was about then, I think, when the nurse began doing frequent blood pressure checks–most in the middle of contractions. Needless to say BFF’s blood pressure was high. Not dangerously high, just high. So the midwife asked her to get back in bed and lay on her side for 10 more minutes of monitoring. BFF was saying that if she had to get back in bed she’d have to have an epidural. Midwife checked her.
BFF was complete!
Then midwife insisted that an IV get started. Poor BFF. I think they stuck her a couple of times trying to get one going. Finally they were able to and get the blood draw they needed and BFF was allowed out of the bed to start pushing!
And away we go! It was about 4am at that point. She requested to push on the birthing stool. It came into the room and looked like a “bumbo” seat for adults. Completely ridiculous. Purple plastic. Not the regular chair height with a center cutout of the seat like I had imagined. She was only a few inches off the ground and not really comfortable.
Oh, I’ve missed an important part! BFF’s husband, Mom, and myself had been providing various kinds of counter pressure and massage and continued to do so until BabyGirlE was born.
She tried laboring on the toilet. It was better. But our nurse and midwife were suddenly nowhere to be found and BFF could feel BabyGirlE’s head with her fingertips. So, I stepped out and went to the nurse’s station to let them know. One of the nurses came into the room and insisted that BFF get off the toilet. Grrr. She pushed on the birth stool until the midwife came back in and asked her to get in bed.
BFF obliged and got into a hands and knees position on the bed. After pushing that way for a few minutes, the midwife asked BFF to move up to the top of the bed so she (midwife) could get off the floor. BFF moved. The midwife suited up for the delivery and BFF asked for perianal support. I got the midwife a glove and washcloth.
BFF pushed and pushed hard. BabyGirlE’s head would poke in and out. It was just amazing. Her face came out and then the rest of her body. BFF turned over and BFF brought BabyGirlE up to her breast. The midwife started pulling on the cord.
This is where this story gets difficult. BabyGirlE was born at 5:15am. BFF’s placenta was delivered by 5:18am. That’s when things got tough. BFF started bleeding. Midwife did internal massage, sweeping the uterus for the retained bits of placenta. Several big globs came out. Along with 460cc’s of blood. Midwife also tore BFF so BFF then required stiches. The nurse meanwhile was doing external massage which appeared to be beating on BFF’s lower abdomen with her fists. BFF asked for it to stop. She asked if it could be done later. Even though I was really upset, I caught BFF’s eye and said, “You are bleeding. You don’t want a transfusion. You don’t want a D&C. Relax. It will be over soon.” She nodded and calmed. I started doing vigorous nippple massage in hopes to help stimulate oxytocin. Midwife put in 2 cytotec ampules rectally and ordered pitocin to start. Midwife also catheterized BFF and got a good amount of liquid. The midwife was not yet down stiching when a nurse came in and said that a woman in another room was delivering and there wasn’t any attendant. Midwife ripped off her gown and went and helped out there.
BFF, her husband, and BFF’s parents all began getting to know BabyGirlE. I sat in the corner reveling in what I had just experienced. It was beyond amazing. It was miraculous. I patted my belly baby and marveled that one day I’d have the experience of giving birth.
By 6:30am I was exhausted from being up 26 hours and was ready to go home. Mr. T picked me up on his way home from work. I began crying from exhaustion. At home I became hysterical. Then I slept. I wish I could report that I slept a long time. But I awoke after 6 hours and got up. Mom had been out shopping and was home. She made me breakfast, I showered, and we went to take presents to BFF. They were all cuddled into their recovery room and content.
BabyGirlE is just gorgeous!