Saturday, August 27, 2011

Marinated Boneless Pork Chops

So I'd originally planned to make fried pork chops for dinner tonight.  But when it came time, I just didn't want to do it.  So I marinated them instead.


1 large package of boneless pork chops.

soy sauce
Worcestershire sauce
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
Ground Mustard
Ground Orange Peel

Red Bell Pepper, sliced
Orange Bell Pepper, sliced
Medium Onion, sliced
Herb butter rice (or any rice of your preference)

If you've ever read any of my recipe blogs, when I've been experimenting, there simply are no measurements.  Pretty much, get a plastic container large enough to hold all the pork chops, then add enough soy sauce to cover them a third of the way up from the bottom.  Add 3 large dashes of the Worcestershire sauce, then for each of the dry spices, enough to cover the top layer of meat in a very thin layer of each.  Add enough water to cover almost over the top of the meat, then stir it around/ rearrange the meat and let it marinate for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 350, put the pork chops in a single layer in the bottom of a casserole dish, then cover them over with the marinade.  Cover the dish with tin foil and back for 45 minutes.  When you have 15 minutes of that time left, prepare your peppers and onions and start a wok or frying pan with a layer of vegetable oil on the bottom on medium heat.  When it's heated, toss in the vegetables and begin to saute.  Then take the pork chops out of the oven, and put them on a broiler pan and broil on each side for 4 minutes per side.  Take several large splashes of the marinade and spread it over the sauteing vegetables, to add the flavor to them.

When you're done broiling the meat and the onions are starting to go glassy but the peppers haven't gone limp, it's ready to serve.  Put the rice down first, pork chop on top and top with some of the onions and peppers, and enjoy (:

Friday, August 26, 2011

I Will Climb 500 Stairs

The other day, I was talking to a friend and mentioned that I haven't done my morning exercises the first week since school started.  That I was just counting walking campus as my exercise.

Today, I figured I'd actually show how many stairs I climb every day, because I climb stairs now, 5 days a week.  I should mention that I've always been a stair counter.  I think it started when my sister and I were little girls growing up in Europe.  Every single castle we went into, the tallest tower always had 365 stairs.  We eventually asked a guide why and they were astonished that there were that many.  Erin and I figured it might be one stair for every day of the year...

This is the hill up from my truck.  Pretty much, Troy University it built on a variety of hills.
These are the first 2 sets of stairs that I go up Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday morning.  Each case is 12 stairs.
This is the alternate set of stairs I have to take, due to school construction.  Stairs: 12.
These are the stairs into the building I pass through.  8.
And these are the stairs inside the building I've been using as an alternate route.  Stairs:  10.
So that means that I'm walking up  54 stairs to get to my first class, 3 days a week.  When I come back, I go down the first 30 stairs and take an alternate route through the student union to take advantage of their air conditioning.

And the ac (and being out of the weather) are really the only advantages.  It's still 2 sets of stairs, 12 stairs each.
The second half of the stairs in the student union:  12.
So Monday and Wednesday, I'm guaranteed a minimum walk up 54 stairs, and back down 54 stairs.

The stair case in the art building.  First set:  13.
Second set: 12.
So one of the things I notice is that Troy is pretty found of 12 stairs in a set.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I'll go up these 25 stairs, then down them, then up and down them again for my second class 2 hours later.

Total minimum # of stairs on Tuesday and Thursday:  50 up and 50 down.

There are 2 additional stair cases I get to use on Fridays.  This set has a measly 6.

The other set has 11.
So on Friday, it's a total of 74 stairs up, and then back down them.

That means that this week alone, I've climbed up at least 282 stairs, and gone back down them as well.  (You may have noticed I keep saying, 'at least'.  That's because I don't count the number of times I go up and down stairs with 5 or less, or if I make an additional random trip back up the stairs at the student union.)

All of this to say that this semester alone, I'll be climbing at least 4,230 stairs.  Which makes it easier for me to consider it supplemental exercise!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Homicidal Romance, A Musical Comparison

I've previously mentioned that I have random thoughts.  Tonight's blog is the result of random thoughts induced by sleep deprivation.

As I'm laying in bed getting ready to fall asleep for the first time in 20 hours (It's a boring story as to why I've been up that long, so I won't bother you with the details.  Suffice it to say that it involves a spouse, a spoon, and a glass jar of the last little drop Queso goodness.) I'm suddenly under the influence of an popular tune earworm:

I don't generally care for this song because even though it sounds like she's a homicidal crazy woman out to get him, it suggests that he's really upset because she won't commit suicide to prove her love for him...
Then I got to the lyrics, "Mad woman, Bad woman, that's just what you are, yeah.  You'll smile in my face then rip the brakes out my car." and thought,

"Hey!  This reminds me of my all time favorite song dealing with a homicidal romance!

Enjoy (:

Bonding Over Coffee

My oldest son spent a month with my parents this summer.  From the first day that we arrived there, he had a cup of coffee every morning made by his Grandma Kathy.  When I came to pick him back up, he told me he was addicted to coffee.

We don't drink coffee in our house.  But we have a coffee pot because periodically we have guests that do.  So I pulled it out, cleaned it up, bought some coffee and a variety of creamers and made my little boy his own cup of coffee ever morning.  For a month.  After a month, he now only drinks coffee on the weekends, instead of having it every morning with breakfast before heading out to school.

And I realized that he didn't have it quite right:  He wasn't actually addicted to coffee; He was bonding with my mother over their cups of coffee.

I'm sure he'll pick up the coffee more often once the weather turns cold.  I'll start making myself a cup of hot tea every morning and his little brother will start asking for a cup of hot cocoa.  And every now and then, I'll get the delicious refrigerated flavored creamers and we can all have a cup of coffee.
And bond.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

God's Eyes

Troy University is in a serious state of construction.  As my friend Heather Turner said,

"Welcome to Troy University, where we teach our students critical thinking by blocking every entrance to campus."
As a result, in order to get to my English class, I have to pass through another building that I would normally not enter at all.

On my way, I glanced down the hall and saw these:

I knew what they were immediately and paused a moment (to take pictures) to smile and remember why I know what they are.

I can still clearly remember this from when I was in kindergarten.  I had already finished all the existing assignments for the day.  Even done several versions where more than one hand out was possible.  And I still wanted to learn more.  My teacher handed me a book on God's Eyes and sent me off to the side while she was helping the other students with their assigned work.  Using the pictures in the book, I made one with rainbow colored string and two Popsicle sticks.  I remember needing her help to get it started because my sticks kept twisting, but after that, I did it all by myself.

It was a wonderful moment of nostalgia to see in my new school something from my very old school (:

A Lesson From My Youth

When you spend between 5 and 8 hours every day on campus, and you don't LIVE there, you're going to quickly discover you're going to be using a lot of public restrooms.

This is where a handy personal habit that I learned as a kid comes into play:

Always wipe the toilet seat with a bit of toilet paper before sitting down.

On the one hand, you won't end up in anyone else's pee or sitting in over splash from the the flush.  And on the other, you've also confirmed that your stall has toilet paper.

Because -this- is what you desperately want to avoid.

The Box: A Literary Example

So I've previously mentioned that I'm taking English 1102 this semester.  We had our first essay today.  I would like to mention that it's been a -long- time since I really had to write an essay.  I'll see once we get our grades, but I anticipate this is going to go one two ways:  A.  He gets it and I do well.  or B.  I -really- messed this up.  (lol)

The Assignment:

Diagnostic essay worth 50 points

Write a 5-paragraph essay reacting to the horror story below.  Your reaction can be in any form, but must respect the formal conventions of essay writing (no 'you' or 'I', no contractions, etc.).  It could be your take on the story, a personal experience that is related to the story, the message of the story etc.  Your essay should be written in the simple present tense and the material you reviewed from A Writer's Reference will be of enormous help.  Note that the story doesn't have a title, but you must give your essay a title.

"A woman is sitting in her old, shuttered house.
She knows that she is alone in the whole world; every other thing is dead.
The doorbell rings."

Here's my essay.

The Box:  A Literary Example, by Janin Wise

Having grown up a fan of science fiction, fantasy and horror, both in the literary form as well as the screen and film versions, Apocalypses, supernatural creatures and psychological thrillers are almost common place.  The three sentence short story
         "A woman is sitting in her old, shuttered house.
         She knows that she is alone in the whole world; every other thing is dead.
         The doorbell rings."
attributed to Thomas Baily Aldrich can be interpreted to have a deeper psychological meaning, but one can also accept the credibility of the literal surface meaning of the words.  These three sentences are filled with more questions than they are answers.

"A woman is sitting in her old, shuttered house."  Why is she alone?  Is she actually alone or does she only think that she is?  How old is this woman?  How did she come to be in possession of this house?  But more importantly, in the modern world, although many older houses have shutters, they are almost always used merely as decoration.  Why are they being used for their intended purpose?  Why are they actually shuttered?  Is it to keep out the cold or rain, or is it to make it harder to tell that anyone is in the house?

"She knows that she is alone in the whole world; every other thing is dead."  Is she mentally insane and only thinks that she is alone in the world?  Is she suffering from Alzheimer's and has forgotten everyone else?  Is she an older person whose friends and family have all passed away and so strangers are as no one to her?  Or what if it is accepted that the author meant exactly as it is written, then she may be the sole survivor of an apocalyptic event.  Was it war?  Was it natural disasters?  Was it a biohazard?  It can be assumed that all human life is dead, but does this mean that there are no animals and no plants as well?  How can she survive in such conditions?  And more importantly, how much longer can she have left to live?

"The doorbell rings."  If all humans are dead, and she is the only thing alive in the whole world, then what rang the doorbell?  Was it a glitch in the electrical wiring?  Did a tree limb fall just right?  Could she be hearing things that are not real?  Could it be someone that she does not care about, and so in her world, does not exist?  A nurse?  The mailman?  Or could it be a zombie with really good manners?  Who or what is ringing the doorbell?

The most intriguing thing about this story is the unanswered questions left to be speculated.  There are simply no known answers to any of them.  It is the perfect literary interpretation of 'the box'.  A child comes across a closed box and asks his Grandfather what could be in it.  His Grandfather answered that absolutely -anything- could be contained within:  a toy, a pet, a door to another world-- anything at all... until the box is opened and discover that it is not.  Then, it can only contain what is inside of it.  With this three sentence story, there are any number of possible reasons for her to be in this situation, but without further detail, absolutely any of them could be right.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Home Grown

I am so excited!  This morning, I purchased my very own copy of my friend Hannah McLeaish's first CD, entitled, "homegrown".

If you attend Troy University in Troy, you can also get a hard copy from Hannah.  If you don't attend Troy, you can order a copy at

or get a digital copy at

I'm getting to enjoy it as I finish up my evening (:  Hope that you enjoy it as well!

Monday, August 22, 2011

My Nine Year Old Just Taught Me a New Word

So my son brought his book, "100 Most Dangerous Things On The Planet" out to the living room to share.

The first piece of advice he gave me was to surviving an avalanche:  if you become trapped in the snow, curl yourself up into a ball with your hands cupped before your face.  Doing so will create an air pocket.  Then when you spit towards your hands, the direction your spit falls is down and you'll know that going the other way is up.  (I kinda have to admit I hope I never need this bit of information...)

Then he started quizzing me to see if I knew what different disasters were.  After a long stretch of, "yes", he came across 'seiche'.

I had absolutely NO idea what that was.  So he read it to me.  Turns out that it's a french term meaning, 'to sway back and forth' and is used to describe a wave in an enclosed body of water like a lake that's usually brought about by the weather.

I suddenly stopped him and asked him to describe it again.

Because it dawned on me that 'seiche' is a perfect description for the waves you make in a bath tub when you sway your body from side to side.

Sentimental Expressions

When I was driving to school today, I passed by a church sign that said:

My first thought was, "Aw!  It's amazing to have such wonderful friends who really care about you!"

My second thought, following right on the coat tails of the first, was that if you take that same sentimental statement literally, "Not only is your friend very clumsy, but extremely strong to have gotten through your rib cage!"

"Aw crap, Man!  Sorry about that..."