Posted in Events Life Update (all)

Odysea in the Desert

DATE DAY:
Where: Odysea In The Desert
Links: Odysea Aquarium, Pangaea Land of the Dinosaurs, Four Peaks Mining Co, Pangaea Dinosaur Grill, Arizona Territory Trading Post
Date: April 25, 2019.

We decided to go out and have a good time the day before my surgery. We wanted to spend a little time having fun before I was knocked out of action for some time. The morning of our date we had some La Quinta breakfast, including the waffles we like so much (yes I am white trash).

We had noticed last time we were in Scottsdale that they were advertising a large aquarium. Being from Seattle and the Ocean we were a little skeptical, but also interested. We decided to go whole hog, treat it like a tourist destination and do everything.

We got there pretty early in the morning and found the aquarium was indeed open. We bought our tickets and on a whim bought other tickets for Pangaea for when we were done. Going into the aquarium I found it was really nice. Things were organized fairly well, and they had a lot of hands on exhibits. There were two specifically that I liked a lot.

The first thing we came across was the Sturgeon Cove where we got to pet the sturgeon as they swum by. It was interesting, and they tolerated it, but they didn’t seem to seek it out too much

This was just a lead up to my absolute favorite part of the day. The stingray tank. There is a large tank/pool that you can walk up to. Many stingrays are swimming in it, and when they see you they come rushing to you. You can pet them and give them attention and they will get pushy with each other to get our attention. It was pretty fantastic feeling the smoothness of them.

They hubby and I wandered around the rest of the aquarium, it was interesting, they had some nice displays. Unfortunately a lot of the tanks of fish I had already seen here in the PNW, but it really isn’t a bad aquarium, especially if you are living down there.

We then moved on to Pangaea Land of the Dinosaurs, and found that was an incredibly large disappointment. I have been to other dinosaur exhibits and I was prepared that it would be lackluster, but this was just sad sad sad. It was more of a childcare exhibit, which is totally fine. However, they don’t make it clear what it is and that is on me for going to it anyways.

We lasted about 7 minutes in the exhibits, decided to bail and ended up getting bad photobooth photos before having lunch at the Pangaea Dinosaur Grill. I have to say the Gyro and Greek Fries was an awesome meal and it mollified me for the Pangaea Exhibit.

We wrapped up our visit with a trip to the Arizona Trading Company and picked up expensive tourist knicknacks for our friends, but while it was expensive it is still cheaper than the airport. Our final visit was the Four Peaks Mining Co, where I picked up cheesy bracelet and hubby picked up a fossil. Overpriced, but was still a lot of fun.

Overall, this day went really well, it ended with my pre-op surgery, which I will cover in my surgical post. The only sad part of the day is most of my photos did not work out, the iPhone couldn’t handle the speed of the fish or the dark, but I will get a better camera at some point.

Posted in Life Update (all)

Persian Sabzi Polo (rice dish)

Just finished cooking

Type: Side Dish (rice)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6-8

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 bunch fresh dill
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen fava beans
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Kalbi Pork, Sabzi Polo and Garlic Bread

Instructions:

  1. Rinse rice under tap water.
  2. Prepare parsley and dill by chopping them finely
  3. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil (not part of the ingredients above).
  4. Once boiling, put rice into water and boil until rice rises to the surface of the water.
  5. Drain rice of water, then thoroughly stir in oil and the 1/2 cup water from above.
  6. Add parsley, dill, turmeric, cinnamon, salt and pepper.
  7. Place rice back on stove, cook over medium for 4-5 minutes
  8. Cover and simmer rice on low for another 40 minutes.
  9. Eat as much rice as you can. It is optional if you want to have a meat side dish, or just enjoy the tasty tasty rice.

Per Wikipedia: Sabzi polo (Persian: سبزی پلو‎‎) is an Iranian (Persian) dish of rice and chopped herbs, usually served with fish. In Persian, sabz means green, and sabzi can refer to herbs or vegetables. Polo is a style of cooked rice, known in English as pilaf.

The herbs used in sabzi polo vary, but typically include coriander, dill, chives or scallions, fenugreek, and parsley. It can be done from both, fresh and dried herbs.

Iranians traditionally eat sabzi polo with māhi sefid (“white fish”), the Caspian kutum, for lunch on Nowruz, the Iranian new year, with their family and relatives.

Posted in Life Update (all)

Peanut Butter Bar

Peanut Butter Bar

Type: Cookies & Bars
Prep time:  15 mins
Cook time:  35 mins
Total time:  50 mins
Serves: 12 pieces at least
Results: The hubby really liked this recipe. The peanut butter taste isn’t overwhelming and it isn’t too sweet. We did not make the frosting, it would be pretty sweet and without it was tasty enough!

INGREDIENTS

yep, lazy with less pictures this time.

BAR

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 16 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1.5 cup peanut butter (I used both because that is what we had)
  • 1.5 cup granulated sugar
  • .5 cup golden brown sugar, packed
  • 1.5 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbs vanilla
  • 4 eggs at room tempurature
  • 2 Cups flour, sifted

BAR DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray coat the pan.
  2. Melt butter and peanut butter together then set aside to cool.
  3. Sift sugars and salt.
  4. Whisk in one egg at a time until combined.
  5. Add vanilla.
  6. Whisk in peanut butter mixture until combined.
  7. Sift in flour and mix until flour just disappears.
  8. Pour into prepared pan and bake (about 35 minutes).

Icing

  • 1 C confectioner’s sugar
  • .25 cup peanut butter, melted
  • Milk (based on your thickness preference).

Once bars have cooled, flip out onto a cooling rack fitted into a cookie sheet (to catch the icing).  Mix icing ingredients togther until of desired consistency.  Drizzle over bars.  Let icing set up and cut.

Posted in Life Update (all)

Oatmeal Pie

OATMEAL PIE 

Type: Dessert (Pie)
Prep time:  15 mins
Cook time:  40 mins
Total time:  55 mins
Serves: However many you want (6-8 is what seems reasonable).
Results: Pretty good, this initial recipe is a bit sweet for me but I really like it. I will attempt less sugar next time (not dark corn syrup, that is important) and update this recipe as I go.
Yep, lazy on the crust today.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3/4 stick (6 tbs) butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅔ cup corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup regular oats
  • 1 unbaked, frozen 9-inch pie crust (I got really lazy here)
INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 325 and place unbaked, frozen pie shell on baking sheet.

2. Cream sugar and butter.

3. Mix in eggs, corn syrup, and vanilla, scraping down sides of bowl.

4. Remove bowl from mixer and stir in oats.

5. Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake at 325 for 45 minutes or until crust is brown and center is just a bit jiggly.

6. Enjoy fully by eating it!

Posted in Life Update (all)

Old School Oatmeal Cookies

Old School Oatmeal Cookies

oatmeal cookies
Fresh baked oatmeal cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 c. shortening, soft
  • 1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 c. sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 c. oats, uncooked

Instructions:

  • oatmealcookies2
    Perhaps a little overdone

    Combine in a mixer the sugar, eggs, vanilla water and shortening together.

  • Add the flour, soda and salt in a separate bowl and stir together.
  • Cream the flour mixture into the sugar/shortening mixture.
  • Add oats into the mix.
  • Drop by the teaspoon onto greased cookie sheets (or in my case silicon baking mat).
  • Bake on preheated oven at 350 degrees for approximately 13 minutes (give or take based on taste).
  • Let sit for at least 5 minutes to cool down.
  • Enjoy

I think these are the best oatmeal cookies I have tasted in years.

Posted in Internal Thoughts Life Update (all) Video Blog

Life Changes

Be still my beating heart, I am actually posting a typed entry along with a video :).

Things are undergoing some major changes, I have mentioned some but not very clearly. Today is my last day on the job as a State Auditor (tomorrow is my last official day, but I took a furlough day to take it off). I accepted a position with the County as a Senior Accounting Analyst. Its a lot of changes, but I think overall it is for the better. I start the County on October 8th (next Monday).

The biggest pros are money and travel. Currently as a State Auditor my pay is lower mid range for my profession, and I am almost capped out. The problem being is the state already has us under a 3% paycut due to the economy and no COLA (Cost of Living Allowance, increase for inflation) for the last four years. Supposedly this year we will get the 3% paycut back (no COLA still) but the state is short by almost a billion dollars again and we all know we wont get it back and in fact it may go up to a 5% paycut. This doesn’t include the fact that in the last four years my benefits out of pocket cost as quadrupled (yes four times) and the coverage has dropped so much its almost a why bother (but not quite).

Local and federal government (at least in Washington) pays more than state. My new job will start me above the max I can make with the office, the benefits are better and and cheaper. Both of these things alone are worth it. In addition I get my own cubicle, dear god how I look forward to that. I like moving around for the fact that if something goes bad I only have to deal with it for a few weeks. However, I am tired of working out of basements, electrical closets, no bathroom within five miles. Having my own space will be great.

Another reason I took the County job specifically is I have audited them three years in a row. I am familiar with the operation and the position I will be in. I will be directly across the table in conferences from where I hae been currently (meaning I am one of the people being directly audited). The people there are pretty damn cool as well. The Controller and the lead Analyst are both ex-State Auditors. The person I am replacing was also a State Auditor so they will understand that while I know how to audit fund balances and controls, I don’t have the other side experience. They are already prepping to get me training.

Oh, and  a side note, I have the same retirement. All local/state employees in Washington (except for three cities that have their own reitrement) use the same retirement, so I maintain my same retirement with no drop in contributions.

Another huge reason for the jump is travel. Right now I put 20+ thousand miles a year on my car for my job, depending on the audit. I spend up to 1.5-2 hours each way in travel (also depending on audit, probably at the moment closer to 1.5 or slightly less). I don’t get reimbursed fully due to state cuts and my work days end up being 11-12 hours for only an 8 hour job (that is the worst side, it can go down to a 9-10 hours normally). The County building is directly on the “Swift” route of buses. The Swift is a bus line that has something like 12 stops along its entire route (which spands from Everett down past my house in Lynnwood, approximately 15 miles). I live four blocks form a Swift stop, and the County is a Swift stop. It means that I can get on a bus, and 35 minutes later I will be at the County, not driving. 35-45 minutes is the absolute minimum drive for me with my new apartment so it matches up. Plus the County reimburses for the bus pass.

Another thing I hadn’t realized I wouldn’t  miss was lugging all my equipment. A overstuffed backpack with a laptop, and then a roller suitecase with printer, router, paper, manuals, and office supplies that i lug everday to whatever audit site I am on. Now I will just get my coat on, maybe bring a lunchbox and if I want to bring something I can use my own backpack, but I can mostly just walk on the bus with no luggage.

I have a lot of spite at the moment with the Auditor’s Office. I will probably post some on it later after I start my new job. Even with the spite though, I will miss some of my coworkers, and the ability to walk away after a few weeks. However, I have had problems in the office with supervisors so its not like I can walk away from that. So I guess I am wrong, its not so easy to get away from drama.

TL;DR: I am leaving the Auditor’s Office this week, this is my last actual working day. I start at the County as a Senior Accounting Analyst (basically a Fund analyst) on Monday for better pay, better benefits and my own actual cubicle :).

 

edit: I uploaded a quick video for those of you who don’t want to read. I am trying to do both video and post at same time. Oh and I didn’t prep for the video so my appearance not the best 🙂

Posted in Health Life Update (all)

August 17 2012 – General Update, Health & The Batman

This is my first remote update. I kind of like the 2-4 minute update from a non-home location using my iPhone. I think I might do this, it is easy enough I could do it daily without a problem.

 

Posted in General Update Internal Thoughts Life Update (all) Opinion

Church and Taxes short rant

I was reading about a petition to enforce federal 501(c)(3) regulations by removing the tax-exempt status from churches that engage in political activity. Basically a lot of churches support political positions or candidates from the pulpit.

I firmly think the second a priest/minister/or someone else in a church starts supporting anything on the ballot, or political driven, that church needs to lose its tax exempt status immediately, do not pass go, do not collect your $200.

It’s horrible that they claim tax exempt to begin with (actually I don’t think anything should be tax exempt, including charities, etc, you only pay taxes on profit so therefore everyone who makes a profit should be paying). It is especially horrible to be up there promoting politics of any sort without having to pay the tax man. You don’t get benefits from both sides, or you shouldn’t at least.

I am not sure if its this way now, but a few years ago the only IRS recognized church that paid its taxes voluntarily and didn’t claim “exemption” was the Church of Satan headed by Anton Lavey. It is sad when the only church with ethics is the Satanic Church.