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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pinterest to the rescue!

Today was beautiful in Central Florida. Well, probably not to some. It was cloudy and pretty gray, but really breezy so it felt like Fall! In case you haven't been watching the news, we had Hurricane Sandy blow by for a visit really late in the season...not much rain, but I really appreciate the drop in temperature. Hopefully we're on a downward swing and we won't be creeping back up toward the 90s again. When we get fall and winter type weather, I actually WANT to cook...or bake.

Dinner this evening was compliments of a Pinterest Challenge. Well, not really a challenge...just one of many recipes i've pinned recently.

In my on-going battle with organizing the Paisley Cottage- I noticed the chest freezer was due for a defrost. So we are working on using stuff from the freezer so we don't have to borrow a bunch of coolers in order to defrost.

I found a bag of Tyson boneless skinless chicken breasts (the ones that aren't individually wrapped) that had 3 large breasts. Chicken it is!

I used this recipe from Christy Jordan's Southern Plate and it was pretty darn good. Chicken, cheese, cream soup, yellow rice and a few hours with a crockpot. Delish.

I threw the 3 chicken breasts in the crockpot, topped with a can of Campbell's cream of mushroom soup and some onion flakes (I don't really like onions and Mr. Paisley doesn't like cooked onions...only raw onions). I figured it would need the onion flavor and we can both manage with the flakes.  Cooked on low for 4 hours and dumped in a can of corn (drained). Then I cooked the yellow rice according to the box. When the rice was done, I tossed that in, and dumped in a bag of shredded double cheddar blend cheese. It was an open bag, I would guess it was a little over a cup of cheese. Gave it a quick stir to break up the chicken and let it sit on warm for 20 minutes while the cheese melted.

I served it with a couple of King's Hawaiian sweet rolls. Normally I would also add a green veggie, but I skipped that tonight.  It would probably be good with chopped broccoli thrown in...but I'd serve it on the side.

There is easily enough of this left over for lunch tomorrow and probably Monday for at least one of us. I'm calling dibs!

Next time I make this, I will use reduced fat cheese and reduced fat / low sodium soup. This dish is really rich!    

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sometimes you have to make your own sunshine...

Ever had one of THOSE weeks? This past one has been a whopper.

My job is...well, it is what it is. As of today, I still have it! That's a plus. There were some MAJOR changes made this week. More than half of our locations across the US and it's territories were shut down. As you can imagine, some massive layoffs. In a meeting with our regional leadership this week, we were straight up told "we don't know" and "we should always have a Plan B".

Well that's reassuring. Apparently, if you make 6 figures you just automatically have a new job dropped in your lap if you get laid off. Please let me know how that works for the rest of us? Seriously...clearly the majority of us have a Plan's called find another job. Easier said than done in this market don't you think? in addition to the the big shut down, there are more layoffs coming over the next fiscal year. Seriously? So in addition to having a Plan B you want me to come to work and be productive and not feel like I have to look over my shoulder for the next 365 days? sweat. It's not like I have bills to pay, 2 mortgages and some high priced repairs to vehicles and houses pending. No problem. See you Monday morning. 

On the plus side, at least with this round of layoffs they actually cut a lot of highly paid folks who were not at all necessary. Of course I feel bad that they're out of work, but at the same time, they were part of the reason the company was being bled dry. Trust me, the people I spend my days in the cube farm with are NOT taking up a large percentage of the money the company is paying out. 

I guess the simple Plan B would be start looking for a new job now. Not so simple. I have 5 weeks of paid time off, plus holidays, and several weeks of banked sick time because i've been at this job for 10 years (just last month actually). So do I get a new job, have no time off to enjoy Robin's Nest and hope that I find one with decent benefits? Thanks to Obama many companies are doing anything and everything to decrease benefits. Why have them, we have Obamacare! How about one of Central Florida's large employers - Darden. The fine folks that brought us Olive Garden and Red Lobster (among others)? They are talking about dropping employees to part time because of the proposed mandatory "paid sick time" on the table for Florida. Of course i'm sure that would only be for the worker bees (chefs, servers, etc) and not corporate workers. I'm sure they would still get all the bells and whistles. They already have medical folks on staff at the office. 

It's frustrating. It's depressing. It blows. 

That said, Mr. Paisley and I have been doing some number crunching and it would be tight, but we could swing it on his income alone. Robin's Nest would, of course, be priority 1. Finish the remaining fixes, move out our personal belongings and put it on a rental program to get some income flowing. I would have plenty of time in my day to actually get some stuff done at the house. Like my office. It's still a disaster. Redoing it was my Christmas Gift from Mr. P last year. I haven't purchased anything. Still at my old desk. Still piles of paper to go thru. Ugly metal file cabinet - still here. With nothing else pressing, I think I could have the office cleaned, sorted, shredded, filed in two weeks. Maybe less, i'm not sure how long it would actually take. I could get back on track with C25K. I could have that yard sale that has been pending since last Spring. I could redo the garden bed and have it read for the spring. I could sort and repack all those holiday decorations that I wanted to do after Christmas last year - get rid of stuff, make sure it's all properly labeled and easy to find. Dreams of being organized...

Alas, i'm still employed (Thank God), so baby steps on the organization and the office. I got a portable, wifi enabled scanner the other day to work on getting the paperwork under control. I have an all-in-one printer/scanner, but it refuses to play nice with this stupid iMac (3 years and I still hate it!). I bought a new one because the old one (the printer/scanner) wouldn't work with the iMac (should have, but wouldn't). So bought one that had the Apple drivers and it worked great for a few weeks and now no matter what I do, it sees the scanner part, but won't actually scan (works fine on my HP laptop, so it's not the printer).  On that note, i'm going to scan some stuff.

More soon - it's a beautiful day here in Central Florida - it's actually fall like (well Florida Fall) and i'm going to enjoy it.

Monday, October 8, 2012


My vacations have been anything but relaxing in recent months and frankly, I am DYING for a good ol' boring, do nothing, sleep in, trip to anywhere but here.

In June we took off for Robin's Nest for a week...with the in-laws. No sooner did we get there, than Mr. P and I bailed on his parents and drove up to Ohio to be with my family. My grandfather was diagnosed with cancer. He was 90. Surgery wasn't an option.

In July we went to upstate NY for a week...with the in-laws. Almost ALL of the in-laws. Mr. P's parents. His sister (and 4 kids under 10), his brother and sister-in-law, his uncle, his aunt, a cousin's family...where we attended a service and celebrated the life of Mr. P's grandmother. 

We just returned from Robin's Nest last weekend and it was somewhat like the June trip. My grandfather passed away the week before and no sooner did we get the truck unloaded, than we were back on the road and headed for OH. Grandpa turned 91 in July. The world lost another proud WWII veteran a month later. Semper Fi granddad - you will be missed, but we are at peace knowing that you are with your wife and son...two losses that you never far from  thought. He lived his life on his terms. Up until earlier this year he was still running around on his scooter - though he had to downsize from the Vespa to a Wildfire. The Vespa was just too heavy. I didn't tell my mother this, but the morning of his visitation, I was up early to iron our dress clothes and Mr. Paisley was still asleep upstairs. While I was ironing there in the hallway (the only space with decent lighting and an outlet for the iron) I caught a whiff of ol' grandpa and I cried for a few minutes before telling him that I was happy he finally got to come see the cabin that we all knew he would have loved - he was just not up to an 11 hour drive from FL, nor the 5 hour drive from OH...and it was hard enough to get him on a plane to spend the summer up there, so no chance of getting him on a plane to Knoxville. No limits on the other side. He's free to come and go as he pleases now. 

Not only have my vacations (or lack there of) been rough, but my whole department at work has had it rough this year. There are 8 of us. My manager lost his mother while I was on that trip in June. My director lost her father. One of the nurses lost her mother-in-law and her mother within a few months of each other. While I was in TN / OH on this trip, her cousin passed away - they were more like siblings. As if that wasn't enough - the program manager's nephew was killed in a motorcycle accident over the weekend.  We all need a break...this is too much.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Great deal

If you happen to be as much in love with my family room rug as I can get it for $119 + $9.95 shipping. I just happened to run across it on the Heartland America website. Actually, it's the smaller size (5'x7'-ish). I seriously love this rug...still. I've had this one in my family room for almost a year and a half. It does shed a LOT in the beginning. There were always big brown or orange dust bunnies in the corners and the Dyson would sometimes look like I vacuumed up a bright orange clown afro wig...but it eventually died down and it still looks like new! 

My rug on Heartland America

And my my family room. Oh look...a sneak peek at the changes in the Family Room at the Paisley Cottage.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

It will never happen to me...

You know when those crazy, random things happen? Those things with 1 in a million type odds? didn't happen to me. BUT it did happen to someone I have knows for more than half of my life.

I mean really...who expects a guy to drive into your bedroom at 2 am? No one...but guess what? It happened. Here are a couple of links to the story, video of the scene and photo slide shows.


Action New Jacksonville 

Please keep Brian and Jenn in your thoughts. While they are out of the hospital and will recover from their injuries, they will clearly be out of their home for quite some time. 

I have always hated the fact that my master bedroom is in the back of the house - because I can't hear anything going on in the front of the house...this has changed my perspective for sure. While it may never happen to you - it may very well happen to someone you know.

So very thankful that they are ok.