Ah… the train….

Some days it rocks.  And some days it only carries rocks.

This morning we had the pleasure of sitting across the aisle from a woman with her son (he’s probably about 9 years old).  I made the mistake of making eye contact early on.  Her kid was playing with his Transformers and made a loud to that I, without thinking, turned to look at.  More habit than anything.  When I looked over she was looking at me so I smiled and then turned away.

About a minute later she was offering everyone on the train a York Peppermint Patty.  Gregg and I turned her down.  She then offered it to the man sitting behind me.  When he said no it sounded more like, “Excuse me?  Are you talking to ME?  No – I don’t wany your nasty chocolate.  What the heck are you even asking me for?  leave me alone you annoying little gnat!”

Really, all he said was “No.”

Then she waved it to all three of us again and said, “Are you sure you don’t want any chocolate?”  Then directly to me she said, “They’re really low in fat.”

What the –?

“No thanks.  I’m good.  Really.”

Then the man sitting behind me waved her over and whispered something to her to which she responded with something to effect of, “Ok, I’m sorry.  I won’t do it again.”

What do you think he said?  The one with the cleverest guess wins … something.

Then she sat back down again and said something about the weather being cold and how she likes cold weather.  Smile and nod.  No eye contact or we’ll be chatting it up the whole way.

She stood up, crossed the short aisle, invading my personal space something fierce and proceeded to tell us why she likes cold weather.  She has siezures when it gets to hot.  She had surgery on her wrist (“See the scar?”) and then on her head (“Just this pass March – see the scar on my head?”).

I’m so mean.  My only thought was, “Lady, you’re two inches from my face.  Yes, of course I see the scar on your head.”

Anyway… it’s Friday.  And it’s only morning.

Trek: Day 1

Ha – no, I didn’t go on trek.  Jon did.  Usually when he’s gone, or is going to go, unusual things start happening.

On Saturday our fridge died.  Friday night he left it open a crack (accidentally of course) and on Saturday morning it was up to 60 degrees.  Two brand new gallons of milk, cheese, bacon, mayo, and more food wasted.  Not really that big of a deal – we all make mistakes, no use crying over spilled milk, so to speak.  He cleaned it out, shut the door and turned on the “power cool” feature and we left to go to Costco to replace the food and buy a new matress.

When we got home, the fridge was down to 40 degrees (or so the thermostat said).  We put the food away and then he had some errands to run while I went and got a massage and then we went over to EmaLee’s house for poker night at about 7.  We left Em’s at 11 so that we could stop at the store and get a few last minute things for Father’s Day dinner to be held at our house the following day.  We got home at 11:30 to find the fridge at 60 degrees again.  Now we have two more brand new gallons of milk, cheese, chicken, shrimp and lots of vegis (among other things) that we have to try and refridgerate at 11:30 Saturday night.  We knew that breaking the Sabbath to buy a fridge on Sunday wouldn’t be the right thing to do so we had to think of something.  Jon, being the genius that he is, went back to Ralph’s and got some ice then to his work and got some dry ice pellets.  He brought it all home, put a layer of dry ice in the bottom of all of our coolers and regular ice on top of that, put the food in the coolers (the stuff that HAD to be refidgerated) and poured the rest of the ice over the top of that.  The milk was find Sunday morning and half frozen on Monday morning but all of the food survived!  The freezer side of the fridge was still working so we didn’t have to worry about that food, thankfully.


Trek officially starts today.  My day was normal up until I got to the train station and found out that the train was cancelled.  Luckily, Gregg had introduced me to a couple of ladies who ride the train almost every morning and they were both there so we carpooled up.  I drove, just grateful for the use of the carpool lane!

Here’s why the train was cancelled.

Fun times.

Overheard on the Train

There was a guy on the train today that had a very private conversation very publicly.  I was a few rows away from him but heard every word.  Unfortunately for Gregg, he was sitting directly across the table from him.  Here’s a combination of mine and Gregg’s accounts of the conversation:

Hey Ted….  Yeah, so Janie tried to kill herself last night, or at least made it LOOK that way….  Yeah, I found her laying naked on the floor covered in blood with a barbeque fork next to her and a big cooking knife next to that…. Yeah, she’d poked herself a few times with the fork but didn’t use the knife…..  Yep, called the paramedics and they took her to a mental institution…….  I’m going to go in on Monday and file a restraining order.  I’m so done with it…….  Yeah – next time it could be me!  ….. so anyway, I’ve got a rental truck coming…. Yeah, I spent three hours cleaning up blood last night.  It was real fun. …. I talked to her sister and she said there’s nothing I can do but I told her I just wanted you to know……  she’s so out …… so that’s all there is so why don’t you meet me around 8 o’clock tonight and you can help me move out ….. (long pause then even LOUDER starts laughing and slaps the table (hard – it made me jump four rows away) and says) …..  I know!  But whatcha gonna do? ……  Ok – talk to you later.”

You can’t make this stuff up.

It Started With an Onion

I wanted to make something for dinner but knew that we didn’t really have anything in the house to make anything with.  I had to stop at the store to get some mousse anyway so I started looking around for some fresh stuff to make dinner with.  The first thing I thought of was corn on the cob.  I LOVE corn on the cob.  No luck – it was all gone.  The first thing to catch my eye was a big, juicy looking onion.  Mmmm…  I love onions too (if cooked right anyway).

After some thinking and some looking around I ended up leaving with my mousse, an onion, three roma tomatoes, a box of fresh sliced mushrooms, a zucchini (or Italian squash), some shredded parmesan cheese, a bag of penne and a smoked sausage.  Mix them all together and what do you get?  This:

In case you want the “recipe” here ya go…

  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 juicy looking onion, chopped
  • 1 medium Italian Squash, peeled and chopped (you could leave the peel on if you want more color)
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 box sliced mushrooms (about 2 cups)
  • 1 smoked sausage (or any flavor you think tastes good with pasta)
  • 1 bag penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasonings (or as much as you want)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder (powder, not salt and you could sub in 1 or 2 freshly chopped cloves if you’d prefer)

In a medium/large pot, cook the penne as directed on the package.

While that’s cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet (the big ones with the high sides work best – a wok would work too).  Saute the onion until the sides start to go clear.  Don’t cook it all the way (unless you like them mushy).  Add the mushrooms and Italian squash and saute together.  You can also add the Italian seasonings and garlic powder here too.  Some salt and pepper is always a good addition as well.

When the vegis start to soften, add the sausage.  You may prefer to add it at the same time as the onions but if it’s already cooked/smoked all you really need to do is heat it up – so you can really add it whenever you want to.  I like to have all of the different flavors so I add things separately rather than letting them all soak up the same flavor.

Once everything is heated and the penne is done and drained, mix the pasta with the vegis.  Let it sit for about 5 minutes over medium/low heat.  Make sure that the pasta has been tossed enough to be coated with the butter sauce.  Once everything has been mixed together, remove from heat and add the diced tomatoes.  Serve with shredded parmesan on top.

Some other yummy options…

  • Artichoke hearts would be a yummy addition.  I would add them with just enough time for them to heat through.  If you use the bottled kind, drain them.
  • Asparagus would also be yummy – grilled, steamed or cooked with the onions.  They tend to be a little tough so you’d want more cooking time with them.
  • I would have put some olives in with the tomatoes but Jon doesn’t like them.
  • A tiny bit of lemon juice with the butter in the beginning would be yummy too.
  • Any kind of noodle would do, it’s just easier to eat the smaller pasta with the vegis.

Let me know if you try it and if you liked it 🙂

Adventures in Orange County

Every once in a while Tasha and I will have a real adventure at lunch time.  A few weeks ago we went looking for a CPK and by the time we got to it we’d spent half of our hour on a street with way too many red lights.  Yesterday’s adventure doesn’t technically count as a lunch time adventure because we were actually at a trade show but it still counts as an adventure nonetheless.

The trade show was at the Long Beach Convention Center.  Neither one of us had been there before so we had no idea where to park.  The GPS dropped us off right in front of the Long Beach Performing Arts Center which, apparently, is attached to the Convention Center, but, being tourists, we didn’t know that.  We ended up parking in some underground condo parking lot.  We had no idea where to go from there so we just started walking.  Neither one of us was wearing walking shoes as we were dressed for a trade show not for wandering around.  We walked into the admin offices at the Performing Arts Center and got directions.  Then we had to walk about three blocks to get to the convention center.  Yeah – we would have moved the car but we’d already paid eight bucks (!) to park it.

We found the trade show, found our booth, chatted with the other peeps there and then walked the floor.  After seeing all there was to see, including the restrooms, we took a short walk to the cute little harbor right across the street.  The Convention Center being the size that it is though, it was another two blocks to get there.  By the time we got close enough to see everything both of us felt like our feet were going to fall off.  Tasha was in worse shape than I was as she was wearing heals and everything outside was concrete.  There wasn’t anywhere close enough to buy some sandals at so we had to just keep going.

It was BEAUTIFUL outside that day and it was so nice to be out in the nice ocean breeze.  I’m still a little sunburned from last weekend’s trip to the beach with the Barneys but it was still so nice to be outside for a change.  After taking some pics of downtown Long Beach, we headed back to the car so she could get me to the train station in time to go home.  We decided to take a short cut and ended up behind the convention center in the shipping and receiving section of the building.  We could see the row of doors that we needed to get through in order to shorten our trip to the car and made our way over there only to find that they were all tied and locked shut.  Luckily there was someone inside that pointed us to a strange backdoor entrance.  Once inside, we found that the other doors that we needed to get through were also tied shut.  We ended up wandering around all the service places in the Convention and Performing Arts Centers.  We finally found a door that lead to a hallway that lead to the side entrance of the admin office that we had walked into looking for directions in the beginning.  From there it was easy to find our way back to the car – at least it was for me.  Poor Tasha’s feet were hurting so bad that she’d lost all sense of direction.  By this time we were both laughing so hard that it was a bit of a miracle that we were able to keep walking.

Anyway…  here are some pictures that I took down at the harbor yesterday.  The one of the really tall building with the green roof I took in the car on our way out of LB.  All in all an eventful and interesting day.

Downtown Long Beach

The Harbor

The Harbor

Endless Dreams and a Lighthouse

Sea Gulls Taking a Bath

Random Building with a Green Roof

The Worst Train Ride EVER

This is going to be completely unbelievable – I know that before I start typing this out.  I swear that not one single piece of this is even in the least bit exaggerated.  It all happend right after my previous post.

I got on the train to come home today, like I always do.  In case you’re not familiar with the structure of a train car, when you walk in the door, you’re standing in the downstairs portion.  Off to the right or left is a set of stairs that leads up to the middle level.  The middle level has four sets of seats.  Each set has two rows that face each other and two of those sets have tables.  There’s an aisle splitting the sets down the middle and at one end of the aisle there’s a door going to the next car and at the other end there are more stairs leading up to the upstairs level.  I usually sit up there but today there was a table completely open on the middle level.  Never stay on the bottom.

Here, I tried to sketch it in Paint (what a joke) – hopefully this will help.  The arrows are pointing the direction that the seats are facing.  There are two seats for each rectangle – split in half by the black line under the arrow.

So I’m sitting, facing forward, on the right side of the train in the front (where the star is).  This guy that rides the train almost every day sits in the seat across from me and next to the aisle.  He’s kind of annoying and loud so when he sat down I thought, “Great.”  Across the aisle from us, facing forward, is a guy listening to his iPod, minding his own business.  Across from him is another guy playing a video game on his iPod with the volume up so we can all listen to it.  Behind me is a couple on their way to Oceanside for a weekend get-away.  I don’t remember who was in the other two seats across the aisle from them, and there were two people sitting in the “jump seats” in front of me.

Ok, so to the fun part.

I get on at Tustin.  We stop at Irvine.  Uneventful.  Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo is where the fun starts.  The guy with the iPod gets off (lucky sucker).  About 12 women in various stages of drunkenness get on the train and head upstairs.  They’re loud and obnoxious and no doubt annoying the commuters upstairs because they’re annoying us and we’re not even up there.  The train conductor asked for their tickets to find out that they tried to pull a fast one on him and only bought half as many tickets as they should have and that they are on the wrong train – they really wanted the Amtrak.  Oh well.

Next, we pull into San Juan Capistrano.  The guy with the iPod gets up to get off.  He has a big ol’ backpack that he swings around to put on his shoulder, narrowly missing the guy sitting across from me.  As it’s swinging around something is coming from the back of it.  He grabs the case of Mobile Motor Oil he’s carrying and gets off the train.  It all happened so fast that I didn’t realize what was going on until he was off.  The lady behind me said, “What WAS that?”  I looked at her and said that I didn’t know and then looked down to see that my OPEN laptop bag was wet.  Really wet.  She asked if it was motor oil or if it was the chew spit that he’d been collecting in a water bottle.  WHAT?  My laptop bag is black so the only way to figure out what it is and then determine how to clean it up is to lean over and smell it.  I thought I was going to hurl.  It was CHEW SPIT.  And there was enough of it in my bag to create a puddle in the bottom.  Seriously.  Not even joking.  But it gets better.

By this time we’re getting close to San Clemente.  I’m still sitting there trying to comprehend what’s going on.  After we leave the San Clemente station, I ask the not-so-annoying-anymore guy across from me to watch my things so that I can go down and get some paper towels out of the bathroom.  He offers to go for me but I’m already up so I head downstairs.

Apparently, this crazy man got on the train by accident in San Clemente and he’s pacing back and forth trying to figure out how to get the doors open so he can get off the train.  He was beyond drunk.  And so were the three friends of his that he had helped onto the train (reason for being stuck).  I get past him and fling open the bathroom door.  The door is wide enough to fit a wheel chair (just to give some perspective).  Inside the bathroom is a woman sitting on the toilet.  She understandably freaks out, stands up and slams the door in my face, locking it.  DUH!  Why didn’t you try that to begin with?  So I stand there waiting for her to get out.  She comes out swearing at me in some language I’ve never heard.  I grab a handful of paper towels and head back to my seat.  I wipe out what I can and then take my hand sanitizer and drench my bag in it.  The smell will not go away so now my bag smells like chew spit mixed with alcohol.

We’re now somewhere in the middle of Camp Pendleton and the guy across from me is going over the whole story with me and we’re cracking up.  The couple behind me is laughing too.  As we pull into Oceanside, I look over at the pier and the beautiful ocean, grateful that this is almost over and then, just in the nick of time, I glance over at a couple of surfers in the parking lot pulling a “surfer change.”  They have towels around their waists and are changing from their wetsuits to their clothes.  One of them looks at the train and pulls his towel open, flashing us all.  Thanks dude.

Seriously.  All in one trip.

I need a new bag.

For the Two of You

Roses are red
Violets are blue
When it comes to readers
I have two
One is my sister
One is my friend
To them this message
I really must send
Thanks for your time
Your patience and care
I hope you keeping reading
You make such a pair
This is to you
Both Carrie and Em
Thanks for hangin’ here
You’re such a gem