Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Feisty Bento #389: Just call me blonde and get it over with


Left to right: grilled soy-garlic wings; sauteed bean sprouts; baby bok choi

Entirely comprised of leftovers from my nephew's birthday party on Saturday.  My sister made the wings so I don't really have a recipe, I think she marinated it in soy sauce, garlic powder or salt, maybe onion powder as well?  I don't know, but her hubby grilled them and they were good

SO.  Let's talk about The Beast (what I named my vehicle because of its hulking size and because it's funny to me and because of all the issues). 

And how I may just have to dye my hair blonde to match my intelligence...

I failed to mention yesterday, because I failed to see the significance, that I was parked on a steep hill on street over from my street. 

I live on a somewhat steep hill, and the street over is even steeper.  When you park on my hill, the front of your car is raised; when you park on the street over, the back of your car is raised.  I've noticed in the past that when you park on my hill, the gas gauge reads higher than it really is.  I rarely park on the street over, by luck, mostly, and being able to find a spot on my block or along my own street, in any case. 

Being that the gas reads higher on my hill, it reads lower on the other hill.  This means that the gas, being a liquid (it is, right? despite its name, it's not a gas, right? LOOK I NEVER SAID I KNEW ABOUT CARS AND THEIR INNER WORKINGS OR SCIENCE AND JUNK, ok?!), has shifted one way or the other.  Right. 

When I parked my car on this very steep hill last Friday, I made a note that I was low on gas - a little less than a quarter tank - and that I needed to get gas the next morning before class.  I planned to leave a bit earlier in order to do so, and I did.  I challenge any of you to tell me you would have chosen to pump gas at midnight, given the choice between then and early the next morning.  I was tired, it was cold, and there just didn't seem to be a good reason to put gas in the car at close to midnight, when I could easily do it the next morning. 


Do you see where this is going?

Apparently, the car being so drastically tilted, the bit of gas I still had left was pooling to the front, and not enough gas was reaching the engine to start the damn thing.  (I'm no engineer or design person, but wouldn't it make sense for the tube to be in the front & bottom of the gas tank?  Or at least at the front [to prevent sludge and sediment from rushing into the engine at every chance, bottom might not be a good idea] - I'm just saying.) 

Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you... easily one of my stupider moments.

I MAINTAIN THAT I DID NOT RUN OUT OF GAS... THERE WAS ENOUGH GAS FOR ME TO GO THE NEXT MORNING TO GET GAS.  It is just the whole hill thing screwed with everything!  I'm not that blonde yet! 


Of course, the tire is now going flat again, slightly more slowly, but still. 

Hi, my name is Yvo, and I am a car jinx.  If I have to choose one problem between the two, I would prefer the tire require pumping occasionally versus the engine not starting.  Thank you.

Also... now that one bit of stress is eased off my shoulders, I have more transportation woes.  My morning bus has decided to stop showing up on time.  That's going to be one angry letter I pen to the MTA later today.  Stay tuned.  I might post it. 

think outside the lunchbox~!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Feisty Bento #388: The Beast


Top tier: stuffed peppers (recipe to come on Feisty Foodie)
Bottom tier: watermelon; peas; roasted zucchini salad

(There's actually more roasted zucchini salad just hiding under the peas, ha.) 

So, this was going to be a happy post, bento #388.  Unfortunately, I wound up not packing lunch on Friday, so it got pushed to Monday, and stuff happened that turns this into a tearful, unhappy, mess of a post. 

I said almost 3 weeks ago now that I'd stop complaining about the car.  I'm not here to complain about the car.  However, I am going to update you with what's going on because some of you are incredibly, incredibly helpful and knowledgeable about cars, and because I need to let it out before I scream. 

Last week, my lovely, loving boyfriend took the car to get inspected, and to figure out why the tire insisted on leaking all its air, to look under the hood as well and see what was going on with the battery.  It turns out that the tire is fine; the rim was rotted (don't ask me, I don't really know how a metal rim rots but I'm not going to argue) and needed to be replaced.  His father, who has been absolutely amazing to me the entire time I've been with my boyfriend and accepted me as family pretty much right from the start, went to the junkyard and found me a new rim, replaced it, so now the tire issues have been fixed.  That made me happy enough as, let's face it, now I don't have to pump the tire everytime I want to use the vehicle.  Yay!  HOORAY!!! 

At the same time, they took a look under the hood and decided to install a new battery.  Remember that I was having trouble starting it?  Honestly, it was still having trouble starting, but after a good 2-5 minutes of trying (not just holding the key in start position! but trying, trying, then trying again, waiting, trying again), it would turn over.  Yes, this was annoying, but dealable because if my try/try/try again method failed, I had the jumper that I mentioned last night to help it start.  It would start.  So, new battery in place, ostensibly, my car should be workable and running well as can be considering the age and wear on the car.  It should be good. 

The post I'd been planning on making on Friday would have explained all this, and told you how unbelievably THRILLED I was to have a working car.  Would have said how happy I was for such a "small" thing in other people's lives (some people, not everyone); how I am not taking for granted having a vehicle, when I have lived the by and large majority of my life without a vehicle and done just fine, thanks. 

Of course, on Friday, I hadn't picked up my car yet (I was temporarily using my boyfriend's car).  So, Friday night, after a lovely party at Robicelli's, I headed over to pick up my car from my boyfriend.  I got in the car, turned the key, and the most beautiful thing happened: it turned over in one shot, and I drove home, parked, and went to sleep in anticipation of my 9am class the next morning. 

I wrote about what happened next on Facebook in great detail, but you can't read it (or you shouldn't be able to, I have my privacy settings pretty strict) unless you're my FB friend.  The basic gist is... the car wouldn't start on Saturday morning, and the jumper I had before wasn't in my car.  I cried.  Yes, I cried.  I took car service to my class, and on the way, I saw a highway accident where someone must have died (they shut down part of the highway), and I reminded myself, "It isn't that bad." 

My boyfriend lent me the jumper again, and we tested it together last night.  He stood in front of the car, and I turned the key. 

But even with the jumper, the engine would not turnover.

I could complain here, instead of just telling you the facts.  But the facts speak for themselves.  I've sunk a good chunk of money into this vehicle, and I need it to work.  It isn't a matter of convenience.  It is a simple matter of needing it in order to do the things I do.  Hey, I went to school last semester Mon-Wed, without a vehicle.  I can do that (although my CSA pickup is on Tuesdays, so actually, I need the car for Tuesdays as well this semester).  It's Saturdays that are freaking me out.  Trains and buses run funny on weekends.  It may take me 2 hours or more to get to school... a school that is, by all accounts, only 15 minutes away by car with no traffic, 30 with traffic.  My first class on Saturdays starts at 9am.  Do you really mean to tell me that I need to leave my house at 7 - a full hour before I leave for work on weekdays - in order to get to school on time?  A school that is closer to me physically than my office is, but my work commute only takes me 50 minutes???

The thing that I find the most frustrating is that I'm doing well in all of my classes - this is strictly a transportation issue.  Despite taking two writing intensive classes and my third class being my worst subject, I feel like I have a firm grasp of the material, and that I have lucked out with good professors.  By "good" I don't mean easy graders, I mean good professors from whom I will learn a fair amount.  Maybe even more than that, which is awesome.  I've never been able to get really into history, and this professor just really is so passionate about the subject it's hard not to catch that passion just a lil bit by proximity. 

So basically, I am standing at a fork in the road, with a few options, none of which appeal to me as much as the impossible shut down road that is "keep doing what I am doing with the same vehicle because the thing will start."  Because it doesn't start.

Here are my choices:

  1. Buy/lease a new car -
    Pros: brand new car shouldn't have issues and if it does, proof that I'm a car jinx.  (But then what???)
    Cons: I don't want to (read: really can't/shouldn't) take on that financial commitment. 
  2. Buy a used car -
    Pros: I'll have a car that works... maybe... and I would only spend $2k or under, as much as possible under.
    Cons: No guarantee that car will not have issues, if not now, then in a month or two, and then I'm back where I started.
  3. Start taking public transportation only -
    Pros: Save a little bit of money (gas, tickets, repairs).
    Cons: Waste a LOT of time (sleep less = more grumpy); push CSA pickup duties entirely to partner, which is unfair to her, even if she doesn't mind. 
  4. Drop all of my classes for now until I resolve this transportation issue -
    Pros: No longer need a car and can stop stressing over this.
    Cons: Really, it just prolongs the whole getting-my-degree thing, and puts off this stress/worry since I have to go back eventually anyway.  Plus I may lose my tuition assistance if I drop classes now - definitely won't get back all of my money, not sure if I can get back even some.  Also, who's to say that I'll get as good professors again as I did this time? 

Wow, when I began listing out the choices, I thought I knew which one had the edge; then I added the pros/cons portion and it seems things have changed.  I'd be most interested in hearing anyone else's thoughts, whether you've been in a similar position or not, because I am sure you have invaluable insight into all of this. 

Thanks for reading... and always

think outside the lunchbox~!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Feisty Bento #387: Chili!


I'm just pushing my luck with the lunch jars this week ;)

Jar: CHILI!!! :D I've been dying to make some... and it's pretty cold out, so there you go.
Cups, from top right on down and around: lime; green onions; chopped raw Vidalia onion; cilantro; shredded cheese

I should have a 4th cup but when I went to open a brand new container of sour cream, I discovered mold on it, so I decided to skip it.  But I WILL be buying some sour cream tonight because chili deserves sour cream when I eat it.  Yes.  Yes it does... ;) 

Oh, and I added a ton of bell peppers - green, yellow, red, orange - to the chili, so that's something slightly different.  Yummm!  And I made a ton of it by accident - sort of - so uh, expect to see this again.  I'll probably wind up freezing some for later... mmm! 

Think outside the lunchbox!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Feisty Bento #386: Magic Soup

My entire weekend in three pictures:


studying while the furbaby tried to distract me...


a very early birthday present from the bestest.boyfriend.EVER (not just for this alone, but this definitely goes in the "Reasons" column!)...


and our (our being used to indicate BF & I) last game at Citi Field for the '09 season.  The very horrible '09 season.  But we won, 6-2 (grumble should have been 6-0 but Stokes grrr). 

Yes, I studied on Friday night and almost all day Saturday before allowing the boyfriend to come over with part 1 of my birthday present in tow.  (My birthday, by the way, isn't until late October.)  Then we played Rock Band, ate dinner, played Rock Band some more, and I discovered that I don't know the names of many, many Beatles songs... and out of the 5-6 chapters we've completed, only one song had I ever truly never heard.  (I would see the name of a song and say, "I've never heard this song before," and then it would start and I'd say, "Oh, okay, I know this song," and do fine.  But that one song I never heard really threw me and I scored wicked low... haha!) 

Sunday was the last game to which we held tickets, and I'm glad we won.  It was a nice way to close out my season.

But let's talk food.  So when I say I "studied" on Friday & Saturday, well, my creativity kicks into full gear when I'm supposed to be studying... and I finally discovered how to motivate myself into cleaning the kitchen. 

Find something else I want to do even less.  So I cleaned and washed dishes instead of studying because I was just sick and tired of reading about the industrial revolution already (which, by the way, apparently in Europe / in college history, didn't start the same way it did in America / in elementary & high school history; that cotton gin thing and all those inventors really didn't mean squat in the larger sense of the time period, who'd have thunk?!). 

And I cooked.  I whipped up an apple dessert thing because I had two apples on my table that were going soft and I'm tired of wasting food.  I made stock (which I still need to strain and reduce a bit more... from a 12 quart pot!).  I roasted bone marrow.  I roasted zucchini.  I made soup.  Ooh, did I make soup. 

Saturday, after cleaning, studying, going a bit stir-crazy, I discovered my nose running like it was Forrest Gump and I couldn't stop sneezing.  It wasn't "there's too much dust from cleaning" sneezing, it was sneezing "I'm about to be full blown sick" so I did what any normal girl does when she's about to get sick. 

I made soup. 

You know that soup I've been making all summer?  I did that, with extra garlic, extra red pepper flakes, and I drank it, sweating a little from how hot I'd made it - both temperature and spiciness - and sweated out the toxins.  I went to sleep and woke up refreshed and not even close to being sick anymore.  (I changed up the ingredients a little, so I'll be posting a new recipe eventually... titling it "Magic Soup" or "Healing Soup" or... any suggestions?) 


I took some of the soup in my thermal jar, in the side cup is roasted zucchini salad (not the ultimate one! just a new random thrown together concoction), and in the star baking cup is apple... betty... sort of.  I haven't decided on a name for it yet, and I really need to tweak it slightly (but now I need more apples!) and then you'll have the super simple method for that. 

I'm kind of pissed about the thermal jar though.  I got to work and opened up my bag and it was LEAKING everywhere.  Isn't this supposed to be watertight???  I even removed a bit more of the soup because I tend to overfill this container, which is okay when it's rice, but this is soup so I emptied it a bit.  BOO.  Why do jars keep leaking on me???  Zojirushi, wtf?!  It got ALL OVER my stuff and ALL OVER my bag!  Not cool.

In any case, I'm still looking forward to lunch, although I'm wondering a bit just how MUCH soup was lost (seriously it was pooled in the bottom of my lunchbag)... will I need something else to eat?  Hmmm...

Think outside the lunchbox!!! let's hope not 'get soup outside the lunchbox' though!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Feisty Bento #385: Spinach


Today's lunch!  You may find it gross.  Sorry.  I like cheese.  A LOT.

Top: slices of local/organic tomatoes from my CSA; stuffed zucchini (recipe to come on Feisty Foodie) (zucchini also from CSA!); more sliced tomato and a grape tomato - also from my CSA!  Yum, deliciously sweet!
Bottom: quick creamed spinach I whipped up in about 5-10 minutes after class last night, lol


Different angle, so you can see the stuffed zucchini better. 


You might wonder what's with the ginormous amount of spinach... well!  I bought 40 ounces from Fairway on Sunday for $1.99!!!  I'm trying to use up a lot of it before it goes bad, so it's been spinach non-stop.  I was going to stuff some manicotti with a spinach+cheese mixture, but I didn't have much time so instead I just made a sort of creamed spinach.  I haven't decided yet if I'll post the recipe, as I'm not entirely in love with what I've made so far (twice).  A few tweaks with the rest of the spinach and I should have a workable recipe for y'all, if you're interested! 

Think outside the lunchbox!!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Feisty Bento #384: Two Tier Treat


Top tier: stuffed eggplant; stuffed zucchini; baby carrots & hummus
Bottom tier: roasted zucchini salad; grape tomatoes (omg, so good!); spinach sauteed with garlic


Here's a closer up photo of that top tier.  I'm not sure I'll be sharing a recipe for the stuffed eggplant on Feisty Foodie; I wasn't too thrilled with the entire thing, but it was an issue with the eggplant and not with the stuffing.  I used the same stuffing for the zucchini, which was delicious!  :)  That recipe, I will for sure be sharing, along with the roasted zucchini salad recipe ;)

Think outside the lunchbox!!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Feisty Bento #383: Foodbuzz Food Blog Awards!


Left: Roasted zucchini salad
Right, top to bottom: short ribs that I didn't like so no recipe forthcoming; baked mac & cheese

This bento was actually prepared for and consumed on a Saturday!  As I mentioned before but didn't really go into details, I have class on Saturdays from 9am to 3pm.  That's two 3 hour classes in a row - I thought it wouldn't be that bad, but just the thought is making me antsy in my seat, hah!  There's only 5 minutes between classes, technically, but my 9am class professor so far has been letting us out 20 minutes early, instead of breaking in the middle for 20 minutes.  That's fine by me - it's a little early at 11:30am for me to want to eat lunch, but we'll see as time goes on, since my 12pm professor said she'll most likely break for 20 minutes or so around 1:30ish, which is much more in line with my normal lunch-eating-time (when I'm at work, that is; weekends are usually anything goes). 

Class is... interesting.  I'm a little terrified of one of my professors (on the off chance that somehow, this blog finds its way to large scale attention, I think I'll refrain from giving any identifying details!) - but on the bright side, I'm learning a lot and actually somewhat excited and interested in a subject that previously was my most detested.  So, we'll see how that goes.  I have a good suspicion that my 4.0 from last semester will be destroyed, but hopefully, not too much.  We shall see...


On another note... HB and I hung out after a weekend of me staying in and studying; I really should have stayed in and studied some more, but BF was all "You deserve it, go out and have fun," and well, it was GORGEOUS out, and I technically do have some extra time to study since there's no class this Saturday.  So hopefully I'll be able to study throughout the week (this is going to be a very busy week for me! what with classes and then two events I wouldn't miss for the world... hmm!) and get all caught up so that I can go out this weekend as well - I didn't even see my BF this past weekend!!!  (Well, in his defense, he was away.  Haha.) 

Phew, I'm excellent at complaining and going straight to whining about not having time, huh? 

In any case, the above?  HB and I stopped by the Red Hook Ikea & Fairway after a food adventure, and inside Fairway was a lobster tank.  $9.99/lb for lobster - a dramatic increase from what I'd paid - but DUDE THESE LOBSTERS WERE HUGE!  Look how big that one next to HB's fist is - no, it's not a picture of her trying to punch it, it's for size.  I would say that lobster was easily 10 or more pounds... dayammmmmmm. 

I went home without it. 

Hahahahaha what, did you think I really bought that sucker?  Not even sure I could fit it in my biggest pot!!!  And I was NOT going to lug it home, as it was, it was annoying lugging home the 40 ounces of spinach I bought for $1.99.  Yeah, I don't know why it was so cheap, either.  I'm not going to complain about it though. 

One last fun thing!  Foodbuzz is holding their first annual Foodbuzz food blog awards!  You can nominate any food blog you like, and I suggest you do - there are a ton of fun categories!!!  The food blog you nominate doesn't have to be a Foodbuzz blog, so go and nominate... and in a few weeks, I'll remind you to go and vote :)

Think outside the lunchbox~!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Feisty Bento #382: Slow Cooker Woes


Baked mac & cheese flanking a slow cooked BBQ short rib...

I have to say, I'm having a bit of trouble with the slow cooker.  I'm used to cooking on the fly, very hands-on (even roasting items in the oven is slightly more hands-on), and able to check seasonings as I go, tasting it, testing it, and making it taste amazing.  Not so with the slow cooker.  It's like, I need to measure things and put it all in perfectly beforehand, and I'm not doing that.  Blegh.  :( 

The baked mac & cheese, however, was FABULOUS :)

Think outside the lunchbox~!!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Feisty Bento #381: The End


*evil laugh*

MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  As impressed and smug and self-pleased as I was with putting jamon Serrano in my bento (scroll all the way down) a while back, I think I topped that.  I mean, jamon Serrano is still more expensive than lobster - $23.99/lb. - but I think more people will instantly recognize the sheer ludicrousness of my putting lobster in my bento.  That's 3 lobster tails up there, too, so it's crazytown up in there! 

Top tier: baked mac & cheese (Alton Brown's recipe) in two left tiers; grape tomatoes from my CSA
Bottom tier: ULTIMATE LOBSTER SALAD... topped with lobster claws and a bit of chive (which is also in the salad as well)

I'll be posting the recipe for the ULTIMATE LOBSTER SALAD on Feisty Foodie in just over a month.  (With school and all, I write the posts as they happen, but schedule them for down the line, so you are never without posts!  Aren't I nice?) 


This bento set is a Lock & Lock set; each tier is 470ml, so together, it's 940ml, way too big for me for lunch.  Not that I couldn't have eaten all that, but I'd rather not, if I plan to achieve my goal weight.  So I ate half of everything - some tomatoes, one section of mac & cheese, and a lot of the lobster salad, then repacked it... for dinner.  Since I had to take the bus straight to school after work, instead of going home, then driving to school. 

I'm a little bored of complaining and whining about my car situation, aren't you guys tired of listening to me?  I have to say, though, again, a HUGE thank you for all the love & support and comments that came through from y'all offering solutions and suggestions.  They are REALLY appreciated.  I plan on trying to go this Saturday, after class, to get the tire looked at (by the same people who put it on), and to see about a new battery.  Maybe for the battery. 

My boyfriend, patient person that he is currently being, came up with a pretty creative solution to the issue, because I need to use the car.  He owns a ... I don't know what you call it.  Portable jumper?  It was purchased to use for a boat that occasionally had trouble turning its motor.  So it's basically a thing that you hook up to your battery that jumps it, that doesn't need to be connected to another car.  So I don't need another person. 

Basically, for the time being, when I need to use the car, I need to jump it using this thing, then pump my tire, then I can use it.  It's so absurd, that I can't help but laugh.  What else can you do?  I mean, now that the initial annoyance and frustration has worn off, it's really quite amusing that acquiring this vehicle, ostensibly meant to make my life easier, has now created so much trouble, headache, and aggravation... I'm just going to laugh it off.  No other choice.  :) 

I'm hoping that I am able to get to PepBoys on Saturday afternoon and everything will be taken care of and done with.  Ignoring cost for now, and doing what needs to be done. 

Thanks again for bearing with me as I failed the test of "Can Yvo keep her cool as her car falls to pieces?"  lol


On a bright, happy note: I went to J&J's for a "bbq" on Labor Day (and yes, I took pictures of all the food, and that post will come also on Feisty Foodie, in a month), and they gave me something they'd picked up especially for me in China.  :D


I'm not sure you can see it clearly - the lighting was not the greatest this morning - but it's a rabbit, with a moon above it.  Some of you - maybe - will get the reference.  Most of you probably won't, but that's okay.  It's a different part of my life, mostly in the past now, not bad, just past.  I LOVE it, it's totally adorable and will be rocking this soon :) THANK YOU to J&J again for the extremely thoughtful and lovely gift!!! 

And in other news... you may have already seen this.  Maybe not.  I want to thank the 15-20 people who sent me a link to this article in the New York Times about bento packing.  Hahaha.  It's a great article and covers a lot of angles - definitely not all of them! - but it was nice to see that it didn't focus solely on children's bentos, or charaben (the cutesy bentos).  Some of my favorite bento bloggers were featured.  A great read for any of you out there who like to read about bento... which should be any of you reading this right now, since I (sort of) talk about bento here, lol. 

Alright kiddies!  Chins up!  Heads high!  Smiles in place!!!  Don't let other people bring you down as you struggle to get up!  Remember that! 

Think outside the lunchbox~!!!  ;)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Feisty Bento #380: Seriously FML


That was lunch.  A big container of Stew Leonard's New England clam chowder.  I ate half of it already, so the remainder was the perfect size for lunch.  I went to the Elevated Acre to sit and watch the boats go by while I ate.  Actually, I studied for my English quiz, but y'know, same thing. 


But I added lobster.  See, Stew Leonard's is this giant supermarket that's about 30 minutes away from my home.  I had a terrible end of week last week - as anyone who read the last two posts knows - and I just was freaking out and then I saw this on the Midtown Lunch forums: lobsters for $3.99/lb.  Uhh, hi?  I managed to convince my boyfriend that we should go; it didn't hurt that porterhouses were on sale for $3.99/lb. as well.  So I bought 5 lobsters and we spent 2 hours in there walking around and buying stuff.  Final total: $120, which isn't bad considering the amount of stuff we got.  However, I later went to Trader Joe's (to get eggs, because I have yet to find a place that beats their egg prices, except that once at the Asian supermarket where it was $2 for 3 dozen eggs...), and realized that some of the things at Stew's was priced similarly to Trader Joe's, but slightly more expensive.  Doh!!!  I have to remember my prices!  Oh well, it was fun walking around when you can see things like:


Creepy doll, far left, girl reading healthy food book, man in cow costume waving to everyone.  And behind me, a family listening intently to the story, eating french fries.  I mean that was their entire lunch - they sat right next to us, and ordered like 5 orders of fries for 5 people, and maybe 2 hot dogs. 

We had a good time though; the store is really large and kind of walks like a maze, you almost have to walk through the whole thing to get to the end, and there's a ton of good food.  The container of soup I bought is $5, but really good - actually I've mentioned Stew Leonard's before here and here - cuz I really like going there, but rarely do.  Because 30 minutes isn't far, per se, but it's not close, either. 


This seagull started freaking out when I tried to take his picture as he stood in front of me.  Guess he thought I could actually shoot him with my camera, har-har-har...

So, the most wonderful thing happened!  Thus the title of this post.  Well, that's sarcasm for you.  I'm flabbergasted by the whole affair, actually. 

I mentioned that I now have a vehicle.  Last semester, I took public transportation straight to my school after work, which kills lots and lots of time (I get to school very early this way), but there's no very good nor direct way for me to get from my apartment to my school via public transportation.  It would probably take an hour or an hour and a half, while driving only takes 10-15 minutes.  20 if there's traffic. 

Now that I have a vehicle, I go home first, walk the dog, eat dinner, clean up a bit, you know, do things that are semi-productive as opposed to sitting on my butt at school, waiting for class to start.

Last night, I got in the car to go pick up my CSA on my way to class. 

I turned the key in the ignition.

Grrr, then silence.
Grrr, then silence.

Nothing.  It wouldn't even grind a little.  I did what I normally do when I have trouble starting a car (this has happened in the past; when I was younger, I used to start my parents' car for them and as the car got older, it had issues with its starter).  But it wasn't giving me that funny lil noise like the starter went bad. 

Obviously, I was having battery issues, but I didn't leave any lights on or anything battery draining! 

I sat there in shock, really, because it was just that point where I laugh and say "Seriously?  Are you kidding me?"  I had one of those teetering on the brink of being terrible day yesterday, so this was just pushing me towards the edge.  I tried again.  And again. 

Someone came by and gave me a jump; he pointed out that my battery had corrosion on the top, so it was the battery.  Which isn't an expensive fix by itself, but added to everything else just makes me throw my hands up in the air and think, WHAT THE F???????  Is this car cursed or what?  None of these problems a short 4 months ago, before I took ownership of the damn thing!!! 

The worst part is that I switched bags before I went to the car.  I wanted to go to class anyway and risk it; if the car didn't start after class, at 10pm in the middle of nowhere, I could still take the 1.5 hour route home, at least I wouldn't miss what was the first instructional class for the semester in this class.  (Last week was just talking about the professor's expectations, etc., what was required of us - one of those things being ATTENDANCE.)  But because I'd switched bags without thinking this would be a possibility, I left my MetroCard (for the non-NYers... it's basically a transit card that you put money on and swipe when you get on the subway or bus; I have an unlimited card, so forgetting it at home is not a choice) in my other bag, plus I only had like $3 on me.  I had to go back upstairs to get the card, but I couldn't leave the car running on the street!  AND I STILL HAD TO GO PICK UP MY CSA SHARE. 

I let the car run for 10 minutes, then ran upstairs and ran back down.

Grrr.  Grrr.  Total silence. 

Totally dead. 

I sat there, shaking with fury and anger.  Not at the world, not "Why did this happen to me?" and not even at myself for being so stupid to go upstairs.  It wasn't stupid.  It was reasonable because I couldn't get home without my MetroCard.  I was just angry and upset and I couldn't keep hold of my emotions any longer; the day took its toll on me.  I almost started crying.  Almost. 

A minute later, I looked at the clock and realized that it was 7:50 and I needed to pick up my CSA share before they shut down for the night at 8 pm.  I ran out of the car, grabbed my grocery bag and nothing else, ran to the train, swiped the MetroCard I'd just liberated from my apartment, and didn't stop running until I got to the CSA pickup spot at 8:01.  It's actually pretty far from the train station, but because I ran, I cut down the time drastically.  Hah!  That running paid off as training for this!  I grabbed my veggies and turned to go home. 

Class starts at 8:10.  There was no way I could take public transportation and get there in any normal amount of time.  I might get there... just as class was ending.  What was the point in that?

So I went home, calmed myself down a little bit, and decided that if I couldn't be productive and go to class, I would do something else productive. 

I made bread crumbs by hand from a baguette I'd bought from Stew Leonard's that already hardened. 
I baked mac & cheese (and didn't take a picture of the finished product, oops). 
I made the ultimate lobster salad and packed it for lunch.  (Initially I was just making it, thinking it would be good, but it turned out to be ultimate, so a recipe is forthcoming.) 
I caught up on some writing.

I did not, however, touch a drop of schoolwork because the mere thought of school made me sick to my stomach.  I didn't miss ANY classes last semester, and even though I had a totally valid reason, it just really upset me.  I had to distract myself from my missing class.


Think outside the lunchbox!  And if you have a working car, just for going from point A to B, that you want to sell for less than $1,000... let me know.

Sigh.  More car troubles.  More money down the drain... and I apologize for talking about money so much lately, I know it's tacky.  My bad... it's just what's on my mind the most lately. 

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Feisty Bento #379: Thank you


Just the sight of that bento makes me extremely happy.  The colors aren't quite as balanced as they could be, but it's so bright and happy, well-lit (because it's actually SUNNY in NYC for once!), that I have to smile.  And the long weekend!  Yay! 

Top tier: parsleyed potato salad; dill salmon (broken up because I was in a hurry and had no time to try to cut it neatly); zucchini & fresh corn sauteed with butter, topped with basil
Bottom tier: mini-caprese salad (fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and basil); watermelon

I went home after work, got home at 6:30, and managed to whip up this entire meal and leave for class afterwards at 7:45, got home from class at 10:15, washed the dishes, and was in bed by 11:30.  Exhausting but I was pleased with the effort and the ability to be super productive instead of being a lazy lump.  Nice. 


I was asked to review this book (associate link).  I like the abundance of photos and it's a very quick flip-through book, with lots of ideas.  Since I'm the kind of person who rarely makes things exactly according to recipe, I appreciate the book as just 'suggestions' and not stuff I'd actually have to follow closely - especially in bentos where they used natto (fermented soybeans), which I've tried and can't imagine most Americans (myself included) eating too happily unless they grew up with it.  But for those who want to follow the instructions exactly, a lot of it might be a bit of a problem for them.  A more comprehensive review can be found here - Pikko has a firm grasp of why she does and doesn't like the book. 

I mentioned in my last post about my car issues; unfortunately, since it was really noisy at work, I couldn't concentrate and I didn't clearly express my thoughts (which I rarely do, anyway, but y'know...).  So I want to thank you all for your responses! and add a few more details.

I've looked at the tire, and there's nothing stuck in it - no nail, no chunk of whatever causing a slow leak.  It actually leaks quite a bit, within 24 hours it goes from 30-35 lbs. (the inflation is measured in pounds of pressure per cubic inch, I think, but definitely pounds of pressure per something) to 20.  So while that's actually a valid guess as to the problem, it isn't the problem.  I almost wish it was, because that would make it a simple fix!  I think the rim might be dented somewhere I can't see (because I've looked at that as well), and the air is leaking such.  So it's fixable, but annoying as all hell and I wonder why the guys at Pep Boys (where I bought the tires 2 months ago) didn't tell me that.  I will, however, be going back to ask them what gives, because it didn't even occur to me that perhaps the tire is defective, so thank you for that, Mrs. Flabby & SkippyMom. 

As for the bent axel, it's a slight bend that makes it unsafe to drive at high speeds or for long distances.  I don't go far and it suffices... and no, it's not still bending/bending more as time goes on.  It's just enough to make it impossible to align the wheels, and the treads wear down unevenly.  But not a HUGE deal - no one's been like "Look you can't drive that car, it's not safe." 

The windows are power; the gears or whatever are stuck.  To fix it requires opening up the door, and doing whatever to fix up those little things in there, but that seems like such a minor detail that I don't want to spend the extra money to fix it.  I don't want to spend any money on the vehicle actually - I didn't want to spend the $200 for the tires + oil change (oil change was technically free), either! 

Thanks for all your help and advice guys.  I really REALLY appreciate it.  The car is just to get me through the next 5 months, and then hopefully things will change and I can get rid of it.  (It was a free car, so I'm not complaining at ALL about that, and it's a tremendous help- I wouldn't have been able to wash the dishes after class if I'd had to take the bus to the train to get home!  I'd have gone home and tried to go to sleep right away, because it'd have been 11:30 or so!)  I sincerely just don't want to throw money down into the toilet because at this current point... I have no extra money to play with considering the plans I have for the near future.  So, suck.  Yep.  (And last night: another $220 on vet bills.  Hooray.) 


Have a FABULOUS long weekend everyone!  Thanks again for coming through for me and helping me out!!! 

Think outside the lunchbox! 

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Interim Post

The internet hates me today, and I'm kind of starting to hate it, too. Hmph.

I swear I made and brought a bento last week - pretty sure it was Friday - and I took pictures, got them all prepped and uploaded them, I could see them sitting in my account, and now they are gone. I did this twice already and am thoroughly annoyed without the patience to try again. I will post it when I can figure out why it isn't working or, if not why, just make it work again. Ugh.

(I also had a bento yesterday. That will get posted as well. Promise.)

I need a nap. And a Snuggie. Hehe.

In the meantime... think outside the lunchbox.