Wednesday, November 30, 2011

An update to the most recent MIL saga

As expected my MIL freaked out when I responded to my BILs email saying "the reason we never responded was because we were never actually invited".

Completely unexpected was that she actually responded to me.   Well partially.   She responded to me and said that Hubby and I were most certainly invited - she sent an email to Hubby and BIL to check on dates.   Also, that the dates I recommended (Monday before Christmas, Monday after Christmas) wouldn't work because FIL teaches on Mondays.

She then emailed Hubby an invitation for hanukkah (see, we were invited...) and then emailed Hubby a separate email saying they would look at the calendar and see what can be arranged, that we were most certainly invited, despite my response to BILs email, and that they wanted Hubby to call MIL because they "are quite upset at this turn of events".   Then MIL called Hubby 3 times that morning.

At the same time, SIL asked if I wanted them to push the Monday thing, or if I just wanted to get out of going.   I told her not to worry about it, but she decided to push it and here are the responses they got:
- FIL teaches class that night (the night after Christmas)
Oh, schools are closed for holiday break?   Then...
- FIL has a faculty meeting that night (again - the night after Christmas)
Oh, you say that's the day after Christmas?  Then...
- MIL has a faculty reception that night (not only the night after Christmas, but she works at a catholic school)

Then she went on to tell SIL and BIL that with family's growing, we can't always be together for the holidays because we have other family committments.

So let's review:
- The email MIL claims to have sent to Hubby and BIL was ONLY sent to BIL, and only had BILs email address on it, not hubby's. (again, because they don't care about us since we don't have offspring)
- The invite that was sent after I pointed out that we weren't invited, was sent AFTER the fact, therefore it just doesn't count!
- MIL continues to make craptastic excuses as to what they have on that Monday after Christmas - No one is working or has a holiday reception when you work for a community college and a catholic college!   I bet a lot of money that I could drive by their house that night, and they would both be home doing nothing.
- MIL continues to use the excuse of "as family's grow we can't all get together for holidays".   This is the second time that we weren't invited to a holiday function (in my opinion, completely on purpose) and then MIL eventually used this excuse about families growing and not always being able to spend holidays together. 
- Subpoint - my sisters are able to spend the holidays with both sides of the family and their families on both sides are the same size or larger.   Do any of you have both sides living in the same town, and just can't see them both for some reason?
The final result is that we will not be seeing them for the holiday, BUT I guarantee we receive an email or phone call in the next couple weeks asking when we are gonna come see them...

P.S. Look out in the next week for my "Dear MIL" letters that I would love to send!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

$905,000 wasn't enough

Being the superintendent of Philadelphia must be an awesome job:
- You get paid $350,000 a year.
- You get to hire all your friends to sit in an office with a cushy job and get paid six figures.
- You run the district into a $630 million deficit
- You get paid $905,000 to leave your job
- After getting paid $905,000, you get to file for unemployment and get paid $573 weekly

Obviously, that isn't really how it goes down - but thats how it went down for Arlene Ackerman with that last bullet point just coming out in the news.   There are thousands of people out of a job because of her inability to keep a balanced budget (or even semi-close to a balanced budget).   Those same people receive unemployment checks that are probably half of what she is getting and they struggle to survive on it, and they pray to get a new job before the checks run out.

There are others, like my hubby, who lost his job and then lost his fight for unemployment benefits because his company claimed he quit, and it was he said-she said.   Ackerman was virtually got fired (and got paid to leave) and yet she gets to take money from the government that is STRUGGLING to stay above water.

I understand that we all pay into unemployment, and its your right to take the benefits, but at some point you have to listen to your better judgement.   Additionally, at some point, the government needs to stand up and say that the rich can't take money from the poor!

Monday, November 28, 2011

So many yummy desserts

There are a ton of desserts Ive been eyeing since I started to follow a bunch of different food bloggers the last month or so.   I starred the recipes and was just waiting until I had time to make them, which finally started to come this weekend

I was able to make a couple (and reviewed them here), but I made another one on Sunday so I could bring with me to Sunday dinner with my family.   

I had leftover desserts from Thanksgiving that I brought, so I didn't really need to make another cookie, but I had the butter out for softening, and I really wanted to try these, so I squeezed the time into the day to get it done.  

I put about 20-25 cookies on the plate for 8 of us, plus I brought the leftover pumpkin, white chocolate and mac nut cookies and 3/4 of a strawberry/rhubarb pie (no recipe as it came from the store) - and in addition to finishing off the pie, we pretty much finished off the new dessert (in addition to making a dent into the pumpkin cookies). 

It was so good, that I had requests for the recipe - so now that I got you all excited and never even mentioned the cookie - you wanna know what it is?

Too bad, just wanted to get you all excited :)

Obviously, Im just kidding.   They were caramel apple cider cookies and you can find the yummy delicious recipe here.   I would agree that you should heat the cookies up in the microwave for a quick 5 seconds to warm up the caramel inside, but even if you don't they still are fully of tons of yummy-ness as we never heated them up.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Waiting for the phones to start ringing

I just replied to an email with a good deal of inferred attitude towards my MIL and I know the phones will start a-ringing as soon as she reads the email.

I got an email from my SIL this morning asking if we were ever invited to celebrate Hanukkah with my ILs because they were invited with a variety of dates to choose from and when they responded asking whether we were invited my ILs said that they have not heard back from us.

Guess why they never heard back??   You should be able to guess really easily. 

Ready to see if you guessed right?   Im confident you probably did.

We never responded because we were never invited!!  No phone calls, no emails, no nothing.  

My BIL responded to MILs email and included us in on it to say what worked for them and ask us.   I then responded to all thanking my BIL for inviting us and bluntly stating "we never responded because we were never actually invited".   Unlike my MIL, I was taught not to lie - so I just stated the truth - maybe with a little attitude, but oh well, Im sick of their lies.

Let's see if she faces the truth head on and calls Hubby to yell at Hubby (ie us) and say how untrue that is (she lies so much she believes her own lies) and say how rude it is or if she hides from the truth and just ignores the email because she knows we caught her in the lie.   I guess the former.   Whatever the case, she will never actually face me about it - she is too afraid of me :)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Thanksgiving Feast - Dessert Edition

Yesterday I reviewed the recipes I made for the main meal, and today I wanted to share some of the desserts we had on the dessert buffet table.   I had my guests provide the desserts, but then as I was procrastinating on cleaning the house on Wednesday and couldn't start the turkey and sides until Thursday morning, I decided to make some sweet recipes that Ive had my eyes on.

A couple weeks ago, I gave some ideas of what to do with leftover halloween candy, and I couldn't wait to make to make the recipe for leftover halloween candy bark.   So while I was doing my food shopping for Thanksgiving, I decided to also buy the ingredients I didn't have to be able to make this.   Instead of using bittersweet chocolate, I had dark chocolate chips on hand, so I used those instead.   Other than that, I followed the recipe.   It was good, but the idea sounded better than the product for me - but others really like this one - which was evidenced not only by the response, but also by the minimal amount left.

That wasn't the only candy bark I made though.   I also saw this recipe for halloween candy corn bark on one of the blogs I follow, and since I LOVE LOVE LOVE candy corn and white chocolate, this was right up my alley.   I have to admit - I can't wait to make some more!   Its almost gone and it was really good.   My one sister found this to be too sweet, but she also admittedly has the same issue with white chocolate  which accounts for this.    With that being said, I love the level of sweetness, but it could definitely go for a little less oreos (maybe 10 instead of 14) and a little more pretzels (maybe 2 cups)

The last thing I made was this recipe for pumpkin cookies with a few substitutions.   My turkey day surely was not a kosher affair (although it was a kosher turkey) so there was no reason to use margarine in place of butter, as butter is yummier, bakes better and isn't full of the trans fats that margarine is.  Also, I don't like walnuts, so I substituted macadamia nuts as they are a great compliment to white chocolate.    There also was another change to the recipe that wasn't on purpose.   While making the cookies, I was grinding sea salt into the recipe for the small amount of salt when my salt grinder broke and the sea salt went pouring into the batter.   I was able to pick most of it out, but there were plenty of sea salt rocks that I did not get out, so there was more salt than should be and it was in the form of rocks and not ground.   Many of the cookies do not give that salty flavor, but the ones that do still taste good, but I also like salted caramel and such.

But even better than these recipes were some of the desserts my guests brought.   Hubby's Aunt and Uncle (FILs brother) made two AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS pies that she made last year as well.   From here on out - this is what they will always be bringing :)   If you want to try your hand at these recipes, you can find them on her blog here: Apple Pie and Pumpkin Pie.

Another of hubby's aunts (MILs sister) brought her yummy brownies.   I don't know this recipe - but she has been to three of our gatherings and brought these brownies each time - and I wouldn't have it any other way.   I am not a big chocolate lover - but these are nice and fudgy and perfect for chocolate lovers and chocolate not-so-lovers!

And for the healthier options, my mom brought some delicious fruit, which amazingly was the first thing taken by two of the kids (even before the "dinner").   To accompany the fruit, I made a healthy pumpkin dip - it tasted good, but was overlooked by the yummy, unhealthy stuff - which just means more for me when I try to get back on diet today (or more like Monday when I can "dump" all the unhealthy food on my co-workers).

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Thanksgiving Feast

For the second year in a row, Hubby and I hosted Thanksgiving at our house, with a lunchtime buffet, for our family (minus MIL and FIL) and in addition to having a great time with our family, we had some yummy (and not so yummy) food, and I wanted to share the recipes I made and the reviews.

Hubby carving his first turkey

The center of any Thanksgiving is (supposed to be) the turkey.   Although we hosted Thanksgiving last year, my parents graciously made the turkey last year, so this was my first time making the turkey and hubby's first time carving the turkey.

"Grilling" our turkey

For our turkey, I was searching different recipes, when I randomly found this one for BBQ Turkey.   I really don't know how I found it, but it really caught my eye and sounded really interesting, so as soon as I saw it I knew it was the one, so we grilled our turkey.   As you can see from the picture, although it cooked on the grill, we really didn't grill it, in all reality the grill was just an outdoor oven, as it was cooked in the roasting pan.

Some of the turkey plated - YUM!
As for the recipe, I did make some adjustments.   I couldn't in my right mind include 2 - TWO! - cups of butter in and on the turkey.   That's EIGHT (correction - this is FOUR, which is still a lot of) STICKS!    I think in the end, I used 1/2 stick to a stick, so about 1/8 cup to 1/4 cup - much more reasonable.    For the chicken soup base, I was going to use chicken stock, but all I had was chicken broth, so I used that.   For the onions and apples, I cut all that up, but I barely crammed 2/3 of it in, so I just threw the rest around the turkey to add to the gravy flavor.   I also only used about 1/2 of the bottle in the turkey, so I also put that in the roasting pan to keep everything moist and add flavor.   Then I just let it cook.     I set my alarm for 4 hours, but for some reason it never went off and 45 minutes after it was supposed to go off I realized I never took the turkey off.   The sugar in the (dry) wine caused some burning, but it didn't burn the turkey or anything - and it all turned out delicious!   I actually would probably overcook again to add that flavor to the turkey and the gravy.

Now, although the turkey is the center of Thanksgiving, everyone really fills their plates up with the sides (as I just ate a plate of leftover sides - YUMMY!), so that is really where I put a lot of my thought and time.   I had everything planned out for the recipes and then the night before when I started one of the sides that could be made early and reheated, I realized I didn't look at the recipes to see how many the recipe was able to serve - UH OH!!!  With that, I used what I had on hand to increase the serving sizes, all of which worked out fine but one of which could have been better, so without further ado - the sides:

The soup simmering...

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup - My sister is allergic to apples, so I substituted pears for apples.   That same sister is also a vegetarian, so I used veggie broth instead of chicken broth.   Other than that, I followed the recipe (btw - its missing the step where you are supposed to saute the leeks in step 2) and it was AWESOME!

Mashed Cauliflower - You can follow any recipe, but here is just a sample.   I made way more of this than needed - what can I say I have that jewish gene in me that makes me provide way more food than necessary.   For this, there really is no need for the reserved liquid, and you just need a tiny amount of oil for liquid and flavor.   I also then baked it to try and crisp the top and remove some of the extra liquid.   I thought this came out great and I got some good reviews.

Cranberry-Pear Sauce

Cranberry Pear Sauce - Typically we just have canned cranberry sauce, but I really wanted try to make one this year.   I was very pleased with this recipe.    Also, my brother-in-law made a gelatin cranberry sauce that was really good, so if I get that recipe, I will share.

Sweet Potato Casserole - This is one of the recipes that I realized I might not have enough, but I happened to have a can of Yams, so I used that to supplement the sweet potatoes.  I also didn't add the pecans because Im not a fan of them, and I also killed the health factor by doing a little more than scattering the marshmallows.   But with that, I also made a smaller one without the marshmallows for the vegetarian family members and those that don't want all the sweetness.   I think the fact that this was pretty much gone sums up its rating.

Spinach Gratin - I kinda screwed this one up - and I wasn't a fan of it, and I don't think others were either.   There were tons of leftovers, but I do have to say it was better the next day, but still not something I would make again.   Now with all that being said, I really didn't follow the recipe and did some other things to mess this up.
  • I didn't think it was gonna be enough so I added an extra package of spinach and then guess-timated what I needed to add from the other ingredients without actually sitting down and doing the math
  • I put the spinach in the fridge overnight to defrost, but forgot to take it out in the morning to fully defrost.   Because of that, the spinach was still pretty much frozen, and I decided to take my chances and rush it and didn't take the time to defrost it under hot water and squeeze out all the liquid.   I tried to soak some of it up with some extra flour
  • I used 1% milk instead of 2% because I knew we would never drink the extra milk leftover if it was 2% (I usually buy skim milk)
  • I put A LOT of parmesan cheese in there to again soak up the extra liquid - which it didn't do at all.
  • I didn't bother to measure the cheese on top and just loaded it up
I might give the recipe another shot later on following it more accurately, maybe add a little more salt and nutmeg because it still needed some flavor - possibly add another spice, just not sure what.

Beer Cornbread - would go great with Chili

Beer Cornbread - I made this using yeungling.   It was good, but probably would have been really good with a lighter beer like a Hefeweizen (Blue Moon).

Check back tomorrow for some of the dessert recipes...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Hubby and my first turkey - cooked on the grill!

I want to wish all of my friends, family and followers a very Happy Thanksgiving!   On this thanksgiving, there is much to be thankful for...
  • the amazing husband I have.   He loves me even when I'm an anal, OCD wife and annoy the crap out of him - even if he doesn't admit it, I know its true :)
  • great parents who are always there for us when we need help, even when I don't admit it or ask for the help.
  • two great sisters who are always my best friends even when I just want to fight like we did when we were younger (and man did we fight)
  • great extended family, new and old.   Its always great to see them, hang out and catch up!  Wish we could do it more often.
  • some of the best friends in the world, even if I don't get the chance to talk to them as often as I'd like, we can still pick up a phone and talk for hours.
  • two lovable and amazing dogs that we rescued from the streets in the south.
  • the fact that Hubby and I are both gainfully employed for only the second time since we have been together in 2008.
  • that after a couple years at work, I'm finally really enjoying myself, my coworkers and my boss.
  • that I'm able to afford the mortgage on my house, the utilities to heat and cool our house, the food in our house and all the "extra's" that allow us to live the life that we do - even when we struggle, we still live much more comfortably than many others.
  • for the great thanksgiving lunch with my family and some yummy food
    Overall, I'm very thankful for this great life I have to live with some very amazing friends and family who stand by me through all the ups and downs.

    What are you all thankful for?

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    My life the last month

    Work, work, work, work, work, travel for work, travel for work, travel for work, work, work, work, work, family plans, wine, work, travel for work, travel for work, work, work, travel for work, travel for work, flight cancellation during work travel, work, work, work, work, work, travel for work, travel for work, travel for work, work, work, work, day off, sisters wedding, laundry, work, work, work, work, travel for work, travel for work, travel for work, work, work, day off to prepare for Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, FREE WEEKEND!!!!, Work, Work, Work, Work, Work, Work, Sunday OFF!!, Work, Work, Work, Travel for Work, Travel for Work

    Any that is what my life has looked like for the last month and next few weeks...

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    The Penn State Scandal and my thoughts...

    Im not quite sure where I sit yet on the whole scandal going on at Penn State, I still have to read the grand jury report before my final thoughts are made, but with that being said, here are my thoughts on how it is currently playing out.

    It sucks for everyone!
    • It majorly sucks for the victims - especially any victims that it happened to after 2002 when Penn State became aware of who Sandusky really was, and covered it up.
    • It sucks for Penn State whose reputation is now being tarnished because of the cover-up.   
    • It sucks for JoePa who had an illustrious career at the head of Penn State football, graduating his students and no scent of the NCAA violations that are occurring everywhere else.   
    • It sucks for the senior football players who are having their football careers end on such a sour note and it sucks for the entire football team, who chose to go to Penn State with Paterno at the helm, and now he will no longer be there.
    I think that JoePa should have been given the dignity to let his resignation, effective at the end of the football season, stand.    JoePa made a HUGE mistake, and there is no disagreeing with that.   But with that said, JoePa did not abuse those kids, he did not cover it up himself, nor did he lie about anything.   The state found that he broke no laws, he just failed miserably on a moral level. 

    Just like its not fair for someone to get away with things because they are famous (like Michael Jackson did for actually molesting little boys), its also not fair for someone to be punished for their fame, and I honestly feel that is where this sits right now.  

    If JoePa were a "no-name" professor and Sandusky was some famed Dean of his school, and the same exact situation played out, I feel pretty confident that there wouldn't be the media circus that there is, and that the professor wouldn't be fired.    I think that's evidenced in the fact that Mike McQuerry still has a job as the receivers coach, and he is the one who witnessed it and told JoePa and didn't do anything past that.

    I wish JoePa would have fired Sandusky's ass and gone to the police, but he didn't.   He also didn't keep the news to himself.   Is JoePa's legacy tainted because of this scandal? Absolutely, and only time will tell by how much.   And JoePa will have to live with his decision and what it did to his career and life for the remainder of his life - but I think that he should at least have been given the chance to end it with his own resignation.

    Hell - the president of my university stole TONS of money from the university, and you know what he got for that?   A congressional investigation that went away when the media went away and a huge multi-million dollar parachute package with him resigning and not being fired.   Obviously stealing money and molesting kids isn't the same - but keep in mind JoePa isn't the molester, nor the one who made the decision to cover it up, just the one who went along with his bosses decisions - things we do everyday even if we don't agree.

    Keep in mind, I have no personal affiliation with Penn State.   I am not an alumni, I never even applied there because I never had any wish to go there.   My sister and her (soon-to-be in 2 days) husband are alumni, my other brother-in-law who married into my family is an alumni and my Hubby went to a school affiliated with Penn State.   I myself grew up in PA where Penn State, Penn State Football and JoePa have always been talked about in high regards, so I grew up with a respect for the three.   I also went to a university without a football team (I know - I can't believe my sports-loving self went to a school with very little sports identity) so I rooted for Penn State as a default.

    Everyone has the right to their own opinion, and I respect everyone's opinion, and like I said, I haven't made my final decision on where I sit with this, but as of right now, this is my opinion.  I know there are plenty reading this, who couldn't disagree more, but as of right now I think this was a HUGE moral error on the part of JoePa and not something worthy of his firing - especially when he said he would step down at the end of the season.  

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011

    No Dogs Allowed!

    When I got home from work tonight I was really thinking about a lazy night in front of the tv and munching on food (thats not to say that it still won't be that type of night).   I had a semi-long day at work, I was exhausted, I had a headache and the check engine light on my car just popped on on the drive home.   That last thing really doesn't have anything to do with the rest, but it didn't help the situation.

    Anyways, I forced myself to take a walk with the dogs, after about 2 blocks I decided I was gonna keep this short and keep it at a mile by just staying within my section.  

    When I take the dogs on walks, I typically run into lots of people who want to pet the dogs, or say how cute they are or stop their cars for directions or to talk about my dogs.   So when I was half way through my walk and this car started to slow down and I started to hear a voice, I thought nothing of it...until this conversation occured:

    Lady in Car: (rudely and with attitude) Hey, Id appreciate it if you didn't let your dogs go to the bathroom on my lawn
    Me: They aren't, see (holding up two bags of poop)
    Lady: They are peeing
    Me: No, they are sniffing the bush*
    Lady: Just get your dogs off my lawn (and she continues her way around the corner and goes into her driveway)

    If she really doesn't want dogs on her front yard, here are some things she can do to stop it:
    - Put that stupid sign on your yard that says no dogs allowed.   But in all honesty - dogs just see that as a great thing to sniff and pee on .
    - Replace your grass with concrete or pebbles - dogs aren't attracted to that
    - Fence in your yard!!!

    I'm sorry, but if Charger wants to go to the bathroom, he will find the spot he wants and refuse to be pulled off no matter how much muscle I put into it (Kalas on the other hand is still a little puppy, so I cna pull all 25 lbs of him - but that won't always be the case).   Whatever the case, no matter how well trained a dog is, he is trained to go to the bathroom outside, and Lady - thats where your non-fenced in lawn is!

    *By bush, I mean overgrown shrubs.   There is NOTHING special about this lawn, the grass is just as crappy and weedy as mine, and her planting area is full of a bunch of overgrown shrubs and weeds

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    Where do you live?

    So I randomly checked the stats for my small, little blog to get a general idea of who is reading this.    I don't expect to have some large following - heck, I don't post anything that interesting (...yet...) to go beyond my family and friends (hopefully in the future, Ill get this down and be able to expand).  I digress...the reason I bring this up is because the stats always make me question who is reading my blog.

    I always expect it to be like 10 people - mostly from DC/VA/MD/NJ/PA and then when I checked the stats the other day, I was reminded that (DUH!) one of my friends lives in the UK.   But it goes beyond that.   Here is a breakdown of my audience by pageviews:

    United States - 95%
    United Kingdom - 2%
    Russia - 1.8%
    Germany - 0.5%
    Italy - .02%
    Canada - .01%
    Greece - .01%
    South Africa - .01%

    To be honest, I can account for US (DUH!), UK and Greece - and Canada could be easy enough as its just over the border.    But who of you lives or has traveled to (and checked my blog from your travels) in these other locals?   Cause I'm honestly confused....

    Then again, it could be blogspot being wierd because they also listed these as referring sites:

    They really don't have anything there that would refer someone to my site...

    P.S. As far as US stats - when I changed the name of my blog (and therefore web link) I forgot to update it in my google analytics, so Im stuck with the stats the blogspot gives me, which doesn't breakdown by states...

    Monday, November 7, 2011

    What to do with Leftover Halloween Candy

    Last year, Hubby and I prepared for lots of trick-or-treaters.   We live in a great trick-or-treating neighborhood with a decent amount of kids, and a neighborhood across the street that isn't good for trick-or-treaters.   Originally, I bought one giant sized bag of candy from BJs, and then a couple days beforehand with coupons and sales in hand, I feared that I wouldn't have nearly enough candy - and you don't want to be the house without candy.

    I'd estimate we had about 10 kids who came by - and that included the older kids who didn't think Id notice when they came by a second time on their way out of the neighborhood.    I was stumped!   That was until I took the dogs for a walk and noticed that one short block down Halloween was a-happening.   They way my neighborhood is set up is that it is a big loop with lots of little loops inside.  We live on the big loop and are the entrance (or exit depending on your direction) to the neighborhood.    No one wants to walk down the extra block for more candy when you can just go around the loop - and with that, no one on my block does Halloween because no one comes down - so we were the only ones with candy, and we were at the very end...

    Well the last thing I wanted to do was eat all the candy, and I knew all about dentist offices paying you for the candy, but I didn't know of any - and then I found out about Operation Gratitude and their Halloween Candy Program.   This is a great way to show our service members that we care - and since its the fall/winter, they accept all candy, even Chocolate, because its not so likely to melt like it would in the summer.

    But to each his own - and maybe you really do want to eat all that candy, and if that's the case, I saw this delicious looking bark recipe that I can't wait to make.   Of course this year, I have no leftover candy and I don't have kids, so nobody to bring candy into the house, so I have to go out to buy all the ingredients...unless of course you all have some of these Halloween leftovers that you want to share with me before sending it off to Operation Gratitude :)

    Hope everyone had a happy and safe Halloween this year and that no one was super interrupted by the freak snowstorm we got on the northeastern coast.

    Saturday, November 5, 2011

    How did they get the MD license?

    So as a meeting planner for a medical education company, I interact with a lot of doctors across many different specialties - Emergency Physicians, Cardiologists, Neurologists, Endocrinologists, Orthopedists, Plastic Surgeons, Ophthalmologists and on and on and on.  

    Every year, I have at least one meeting that is for Chicago-area primary care physicians (Internists, General Practitioners, etc.).    IT SCARES ME!  

    They aren't scary people or anything - it just scares me that these people practice medicine on the general public. You know how the few bad eggs spoils your view of a group?   Well unfortunately, this is more than a few "bad eggs", its more like a few "good eggs"...

    Here is a small sampling of the situations encountered with these folks last weekend - and sadly, these really aren't the worst of the situations...

    Situation #1:
    Standing at On-site Registration, which is at one end of a line of 6 tables
    Me: Are you preregistered?
    Registrant: Yes
    Me: Okay, its all alphabetical by last name starting with A at the other end
    Registrant: (still standing in front of me) Okay, well I'm B
    Me: (Silence)
    Registrant: (still standing in front of me) Oh – I have to go to the other end

    Situation #2
    Last years meeting
    This Asian lady comes up to registration and starts yelling at myself and a co-worker because it was apparently our fault that she couldn’t figure out how to get from the parking garage to the meeting, and therefore ended up being 15 minutes late, even though all 500 other people got there early/on-time without any issues.   She also couldn’t read the sign that said R-Z with a left arrow and On-site with a right arrow and went to On-site…

    Fast forward 17 months
    An Asian lady comes to the meeting 30 minutes late, registers on-site and goes into our overflow room (because the main room is PACKED).   5 minutes later the lady walks out and comes up to registration:
    Asian Lady: Can I have a question card
    *Question Cards are exactly that, cards that people right questions they have for the speaker on it, and after each presentation, we go around and collect them and bring them up to the moderator.   Much better than having people yell out their questions and trying to get over quick enough to give them a mic, and then have them hog the mic.   We also get to ignore the stupid questions this way - Don’t believe people when they say there is no such thing as a stupid question J
    Registration Temp: (hands her a question card from the pile sitting right in front of Asian Lady)
    Asian Lady: (with a SHIT-LOAD of attitude) I can only have one?!?!
    Registration Temp: No, you can have as many as you want (picks up a handful and gives them to lady…by the way, did I mention the pile is RIGHT IN FRONT of the Asian Lady – so much so, its closer to her than my registration temp)
    Asian Lady: (Storms off with attitude into the room)

    20 seconds later
    Asian Lady: (lots of attitude) Can I get printouts of the slides?
    Registration Temp: These are downloadable from the web, a link was sent out prior to the meeting and will be sent out afterwards, plus we have internet access in the room
    Asian Lady: (tons more attitude) Well I didn’t bring my laptop
    Registration Temp: Im sorry about that, but there are notes pages inside the book, or if you wanted, you could go to the FedEx Office on the 2nd floor and print them out from there, but that will cost money
    Asian Lady: (storms off into the room)

    20 seconds later, walking out with pocketbook
    Asian Lady: (LOTS AND LOTS of attitude) Where is the bathroom?
    Registration Temp: (pointing to the corner behind our table to the left) The bathroom is in that corner right there.
    Asian Lady: (again – shitload of attitude, but yelling now) WHAT CORNER?
    Registration Temp: The corner right over here (pointing directly to the area)
    Asian Lady: (Did I mention she has a huge attitude) Where?   Past the escalators or past the elevator? 
    BTW – escalator is across form the elevator, if you pass one, you pass the other
    Registration Temp: (Calm as calm could be) Here, Ill show you (and kindly walks the lady to the bathroom).

    Thank G-d I was just a bystander and not the one dealing with this lady – because I would have knocked some sense into her – maybe even tried to get the stick, that is so far up her ass its stuck in her brain, out…

    In case you didn’t figure it out – Asian Lady from last year is the same as Asian Lady from this year.

    Situation #3
    Attendee comes out an hour after the AM break ends
    Attendee (wearing heavy winter coat): Is there no coffee out here?
    Me: AM Break ended an hour ago
    Attendee: But its cold in that room, Im wearing my winter coat
    Me: I’m sorry, there is a Starbucks in the lobby if you want
    Attendee (in annoying whiny voice): You don’t have any coffee out here?   Every meeting I go to has coffee throughout the day outside
    Me: It’s a free meeting, so we stretch our budget as much as possible.   We only offer coffee during breakfast and break times
    Attendee (yelling in annoying, whiny voice):  Last year you had coffee out the entire time
    Me (clearly starting to get frustrated): Im sorry, but I ran the meeting last year as well, and I know I did not have coffee out the entire day
    Attendee: Will you have coffee at lunch
    Me: No, we will have water and soda
    Attendee: Us doctors don’t drink soda, its not healthy and they are coming out with all these studies showing how bad it is
    My Co-worker: There will also be iced tea
    Attendee: Will it be hot tea
    Co-worker: No, it will be ICED tea
    Attendee: Well its really cold, you really need to have hot beverages around
    Co-worker: There is a starbucks downstairs that you are more than welcome to go to

    P.S. All the sodas were finished during lunch
    P.P.S. You should know when you go to a hotel meeting, it is ALWAYS cold in the room – come prepared
    P.P.P.S.   You didn’t pay a freaking penny for this meeting and you are getting 6.5 hours of CME credit, breakfast, lunch, two coffee breaks, free internet if you brought your computer and discounted parking in the city – STOP COMPLAINING!

    Situation #4
    Attendee walks out of overflow room to grab lunch.   There are two doors to this room – one which was closed since 7am, the other which was always open.
    Attendee: Someone closed the door to the room that my stuff is in
    Me: That door has been closed, but this door goes into the same room
    Attendee: No, I went in that door, and now I can’t get back in
    Me: This door and that door take you into the same room, so you can go in this door
    Attendee: No that was a different room, and someone closed the door and I can’t get in now
    Me: This door will take you into the same room, it is just a different door
    Attendee: (getting frustrated at me) Someone closed the door on me, I need to get back in to the room
    Me: This door will take you to the same room.
    This went back and forth a few more times before the attendee just walked away from me with total annoyance and frustration.  

    Situation #5
    During this day long meeting, we break in the afternoon and split into 3 different workshops.   There are two timeframes for the workshops, so you can select 2 out of the 3.   It has been like this for 3 years, there is signage all around, it is promoted like this in the brochure and listed in the program book like this.   Fast forward to the break where we split.
    Attendee: What are the workshops
    Me: All workshops are listed on this sign and in your program book, additionally there is a sign in front of each room that says which workshop it is.
    Attendee: I want to go to A and B
    Me: Okay, well there are two time slots, so A is in Room 1 and B is in Room 2.
    Attendee: But I want to go to both
    Me: You can, we have two different workshop times, you just select one, go to that room now, and when it breaks you go into the other room
    Attendee: So I can only go to one
    Me: No, you select one, and then at the break, you go to the other
    Attendee: So I have to split my time between the two
    Me: Well there are two different times.   Each workshop will run twice – once in each time frame (pointing to signs with time frames)
    Attendee: Okay, Ill just go to A (and walks away towards Room 1)

    I'm afraid to ever see one of my doctors at a meeting like this.    If I do, no matter how great they are, I might have to switch doctors…

    Friday, November 4, 2011

    Weight Watchers turned me away

    So yesterday I briefly mentioned how I got turned away by weight watchers.   To be fair, that phrase sounds worse than the actual situation - but it was just really funny.

    To start off, as I talked about in that post, I had a really bad week on weight watchers last week, and although I was gonna try to skip WW this week, my coworker was starting this week, and we were gonna push each other, and I was gonna go to the meeting we were gonna try to go to weekly.    So at lunch time, we left not for lunch but for weight watchers.   I get there, and I wanted to turn around right away because the meeting location looked like a shithole - but then again, I work in a pretty po-dunk town.

    To back track a bit, I have a fast pass.   The fast pass is kinda like a monthly train pass that you pay for monthly and get to whenever you want, how often you want.   Its cheaper than paying each week, and its easier.  It automatically renews every month, and I have a printout showing I paid, and if you look at my weight tracker, every week they put a sticker on, which shows my height, weight, goal weight, how much I lostthat week, total lost, FP # and FP expiration date (the last two are important to this story).

    So, back to Wednesday, I stand in this line of about 6 people and wait forever, eventually getting to be next, so I hand over my weight tracker, which included inside has my fast pass.  The lady starts asking for my fast pass, I say what I gave her is what Ive been given.   She says I should have received a card, I said I never did, but Ive never had problems.   So then she starts telling me about how their system is down and it isn't a problem when the system is down, but she can't check anything.   I said that the information is there, I went last week and had no issues.   Again, she says that their system is down, blah blah blah.    Then she says she can't accept this and count this week unless i have my fast pass, as she needs to write down my fast pass number (which remember is in my weight tracker!).   Finally after the constant going back and forth, I just said fine, i won't weigh in - Ill just take it as a sign that I shouldn't weigh in this week.

    So then my co-worker goes up to register, and the lady says there is a deal starting next week where registration fee will be waived.   My co-worker thinks about it and says no, she is here now and she just wants to do it.   You'd think that would be enough - right?  Nope, she keeps going on, trying to convince my co-worker to leave and sign up next week - almost even tearing to pieces the registration form.    After she realized my co-worker is wanting to sign up, no matter the costs, she then offers the 10 week plan where you pay a little less a week - but you pay it all up front - and guess what the special is with that plan?   No registration fee.

    Clearly this lady was trying to turn us both away from weight watchers...

    Somewhat off topic - but not...

    Do I go to weight watchers tonight after a really bad week that I know I gained like 3 pounds and I already ate my days worth of points for the day (damn snacking when working from home!)?   Or do I skip it, and try to make up for it next week, even though I will be traveling 3 days - which means I have 3 full days worth of meals out - and will have to weigh in on Wednesday - which means its a 5-day week?