Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tale of a cracker

Awhile ago when I ate at Jason's Deli, I noticed that they had some interesting-looking crackers on the salad bar, and I tried them. I loved them! They were Dr. Kracker Pumpkin Cheddar crackers. They're interesting--very hard (a couple of reviewers at Amazon said they were like eating concrete), but really tasty, I thought. So I looked for them, and found that they're really hard to find.

A couple of stores in my area carry them, but not all the time, and they're very expensive. They have them at Amazon, but you have to buy a lot at one time. Which is fine, I guess, but I hate to make that big a commitment.

I remembered that they used to have some similar crackers at Target in the produce aisle, and I remember wondering if they were any good, but not willing to buy a whole package to find out. And of course, once I started looking for them again, they weren't there. So I contented myself with eating them once in awhile at Jason's, and buying a box here or there if I saw them.

Then today I was at Target, and they had them again! I gasped when I saw them! They're Target brand (Market Pantry?) and they didn't have the Pumpkin Cheddar, but they had Sunflower Spelt, and they're almost exactly the same. In fact, I'd be hard pressed to say that they're any different at all from the Dr. Kracker brand. I bought two bags, because of course I wanted to try them first and be sure they were the same. Since they are, I'll go back tomorrow and buy any that they have left. SOOOOO happy about this!

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Monday, February 16, 2009


Although I'm sure it isn't really true, I felt like I was just going, going, going non-stop this weekend.

  • Shipped off Ebay orders
  • Posted stuff on Ebay
  • Posted stuff on Etsy
  • Made stitch markers
  • Made soap
  • Finished knitting a scarf
  • Did Laundry
  • Cleaned out the refrigerator
  • Caught up on freelance web stuff
  • Worked on my Second Life shop

I had ordered some new soap molds and fragrance oils a couple of weeks ago, and finally got them out yesterday and made soap.

I made:

  1. Cucumber Melon (the green)
  2. Coconut Lime Verbena (white)
  3. Rosemary Mint (swirled green)
  4. Nag Champa (purple)
  5. Herbal Orange (orange flecked)
  6. Lemongrass fish (fish)

The thinner bars tend to warp slightly as they dry, so I turn them over, but I like the way the fishes' tails turn up.

I also made a few new things that I put up on my Etsy shop (and reduced prices on a few things), some of which were these space alien stitch markers:

That one at the bottom right looks like it's trying to get away . . .

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Friday, February 13, 2009


On Wednesday it was 70 degrees, and I went outside after lunch to get something from my car, and didn't even wear a jacket. Yesterday morning it was raining as I left for work, and while I was driving the rain turned to freezing rain and big sloppy snowflakes. When I got off the highway to take the last turn, I stopped at a stop sign behind a big truck and thought it was going to roll back into me. It didn't seem slick to me, but he must have hit a patch of ice. He was able to get up the hill, though, without incident.

This morning it was raining when I left for work, it turned to snow partway there, and by the time I got to the office the sun was shining.

Schizophrenic weather!

While we were in Mexico, we hired a driver and van to take us on a little siteseeing trip through some of the villages near Puerto Vallarta. One of the places we stopped was a town called Sayulita. Our driver called it a "hippie town;" it was full of funky little art galleries, bistros, and surf shops.

When I was looking for information on Sayulita on the web, I discovered that Sayulita was one of the places where Olivia Newton-John's former boyfriend Patrick McDermott had been spotted after he faked his death. According to several sources, he's been seen there, living in a "$33 per night shack" on the beach. Just a funny coincidence. I didn't see him, though.

Just a note: I thought the beach at Sayulita had a kind of old-time charm to it, kind of 60's vibe, and I post-processed the photos I took to play that up. If you click on the ones above, the full-size photos will open up.

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Thursday, February 05, 2009


On Tuesday morning I came in to work, had a meeting, did some work, then around 11:30 I was hungry, and ate some crackers that I had brought with me. Almost immediately, I started feeling HORRIBLE. The same thing had happened to me a few months ago, just a sudden awful feeling, stomach pain that seemed to involve my whole torso. A feeling that my clothes were too tight, and that I couldn't straighten up.

I went into someone's office who has a couch and laid down, but it didn't really help. I could feel the color draining from my face; I didn't think I was going to faint, but I definitely didn't feel right.

Anna was there, and asked me if she should call 911, and I said no, no, I was okay, I just needed to lie down for a little while. But it was like I couldn't even relax, and it didn't really feel any better lying down. I just wanted to get home where I could take my clothes off and huddle in bed until I felt better. So I got up, went into my office and IMed Anna that I was leaving, and that I'd call her later, and I gathered up my stuff and drove home.

She was angry with me, and told me that I should never have driven myself home, that she would have, or someone else would have, and I know she was right, but I was so focused on getting home that I just did it. She called me to tell me she was mad at me, and made me promise to either go to the emergency room or call my doctor. I'm glad she did; I probably wouldn't have otherwise, but a promise is a promise. I called my doctor and described my symptoms, and he said it sounded like a hiatal hernia.

I told him I'd felt like this before and it went away, and I assumed it would this time, too, but man, it was awful. This was around noon, I guess; I slept a little, but by 5:00 it wasn't any better, so I called him again, and he called out a prescription for a muscle relaxer that you dissolve under your tongue. When Bob got home from work he went back out to pick up the prescription and an over-the-counter box of Prilosec -- which I just realized I forgot to take this morning.

It took about another four hours before everything took effect, but by 10:00 I was feeling a lot better. I was a little worried about eating after that, but I seem to be fine now. Maybe if it only happens every six months or so I can just deal with it. I'm keeping the pills in my purse in case it happens again. Matt has a hiatal hernia, too, and he keeps bottles of Pepcid on his desk; he said if I ever need one, just come over.

I know what Anna was worried about, and it crossed my mind, too -- heart attack symptoms in women often mimic heartburn or indigestion, but my doctor said it's different. He said mine could also be gallbladder, but from my description he was pretty sure it was a hernia. A little scary, but mostly inconvenient.

A friend of mine was in a bad car accident while we were in Mexico, and has been in a coma since then. I don't want to compromise the family's privacy, so no links, but if you're the praying kind, and you're so inclined, please send one up for my friend Brant.

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Sunday, February 01, 2009


I kind of went into a holding pattern in January. I tend to do that when I have something big coming up, in this case a vacation in Mexico. Also, life, specifically my job, was taking up most of my available brain power and time, and all I wanted to do when I got home was relax, have some dinner, and go to bed.

We just got back from seven days in Puerto Vallarta with our friends John and Leslie, and Kelly and Craig. It was a great trip, very relaxing, really fun. Bob broke his toe a couple of weeks ago running into a dresser in his bare feet, so that was bothering him, and as soon as we got to Mexico he came down with pink eye in one eye. Then the other eye. Things kept happening to him, to the extent that Kelly started keeping a list.

He was out in the ocean fishing with John and Craig, and a wave got him and pulled him under, and he swallowed a bunch of seawater. The list, so far, read:

  • Toe injury
  • Pinkeye in one eye
  • Pinkeye in second eye
  • Drowned, vomited in ocean

I got slightly sick the first day, and spent Sunday in bed. I got up and went down to breakfast, and sat outside briefly, but was shivery and unhappy, and decided to give up on trying to be sociable, and went back to bed. I spent most of the day sleeping; Bob and the guys had hired a boat and gone out fishing, and didn't get back to the hotel until around dinner time.

After dinner, he brought me bread and a candy bar, the only things that I could think about eating. The next day I felt quite a bit better, although still not 100%. That day I ate mostly rice, potatoes, and bread, and by the next day I felt mostly fine. Bob's pinkeye was getting better (he had some drops left from the last time he had it), but he had gotten blisters from his sandals.

The hotel was wonderful. It was brand-new, which was a little bit worrisome, but it was fine. Everyone was friendly, and the food was great, better than anyplace we'd been before. This was a very upscale place -- there was premium liquor at the bars, and there were several very nice restaurants on the property; we had a private a jacuzzi on the balcony and a huge freestanding tub in the room. Bob and the guys went out fishing one day, but other than that we only left the property once.

We hired a van and driver to take us on a tour of some of the small towns nearby; we went out for about four hours, stopped a couple of places to do some (very brief) shopping and have drinks one place. It was a great day.

I guess the next day that Bob and the guys were out fishing in the ocean, and a wave got Bob again, and ripped his (prescription) sunglasses off. So Kelly added to the list:

  • Blisters from sandals
  • Lost sunglasses

The next time he went out, I asked him if he wanted to take his religious medal off and have me hold it, and he said no, that was the only thing keeping him alive!

I got a bit of a sunburn the first day, but it wasn't too bad, and I was very diligent about sunscreen the rest of the week. I guess my own list would have been:

  • Sunburn
  • Got sick
  • Strained shoulder (no real idea what happened there, but it still hurts)
  • Couldn't open safe (had to get a security guy to come open it because I apparently messed up when I locked it one night when I was hurrying to dinner)
  • Caused tsunami of bath water

But wow, it was a great week in spite of all the stuff. We laughed a lot. I spent the week sleeping, eating, resting, and playing cards, an absolutely ideal, wonderful, relaxing week. Too bad it only happens once a year.

More photos here.

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