Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Meet Bruno

As you know, back around the beginning of November, I gave my lab mix puppy, Champ, to a friend because they had a huge yard and another dog he could play with.  It wasn't fair to him to be stuck in a cage for 10 hours a day, then have nowhere to run outside at my townhouse.  I found out that he died this past weekend for unknown reasons.  Their other dog was a 13-year-old German Shepherd.  That dog died on Thursday or Friday.  Then they said Champ was really said, he slept in the other dog's bed and once they buried the other one, he laid on top of that area and wouldn't move.  He was throwing up some, so the doctor gave him some antibiotics and said he had a cold.  On Saturday around 11pm, he died.  They called the vet before and said he was getting worse and he died with the vet.  They don't know if they both got into something or what happened.  Champ would have been 3 next month :'(

In the meantime, Ana and I had been talking about getting a small dog.  She met someone with a Yochon (Yorkie and Bichon) and fell in love with it.  Its a small dog (doesn't get much bigger than 10 Lbs), and it doesn't shed, which is perfect for those with allergies.  So she started looking online to find one.  The best one she found was in Iowa, a 5 hour drive.  So on Sunday, we took the trip and got Bruno.

He's a cuddler and loves to be held.  He's playful and still sleeps a lot.  He sleeps under the bed with his head poking out from the bed skirt.  So far he hasn't had any accidents in the house, but we've been good at catching him when he starts sniffing.

I, personally, love big dogs like labs and golden retreivers, but it doesn't make sense for me to have one with my small house and no yard.  I love little Bruno, and he's getting really attached to me!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Penne Rosa Recipe

-Chicken Breast pieces (as much as you would like, I do about 2)
-1 box of Penne noodles
-2 TBS Olive Oil
-2 TBS Butter
-Diced Green Onions (optional)
-Minced Garlic (to taste)
-2 small cans Tomato Sauce
-1 CUP Heavy Whipping Cream
-1/2 CUP Grated Parmesan Cheese

I cut chicken breasts into small pieces and season it with some Montreal Steak Seasoning, salt and pepper.

In a skillet, I heat some about 2 TBS of olive oil and about 2 TBS of butter.  Once hot, I'll put some onions and minced garlic into it and let it sizzle for a minute.  Then I cook the chicken breasts in the skillet.

In a separate pot, I cook a box of Penne noodles (1 or 1.5 LBS) according to its directions.

In a bowl, mix 2 small cans of tomato sauce and 1 CUP of Heavy Whipping Cream.

Once the chicken is cooked through, add the sauce mixture to the skillet.  Cover and simmer on medium-low for about 5 minutes.

After the 5 minutes, add about 1/2 CUP of grated parmesan cheese to the chicken and sauce mixture along with a little basil and/or italian seasoning.  Simmer for about another 5 minutes.

Then mix the sauce with the noodles and serve.  This recipe goes great with my other one for the Red Lobster Cheddar Biscuits.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Made The Switch To The iPhone

Most of you that know me know that I'm a smartphone addict.  I love my phones.  Over the past years, I've used Windows Mobile, Symbian (Nokia), Blackberry, Android, and Windows Phone 7.

My list of phones I've owned in approximate order:
-Palm Treo 700wx - Windows Mobile
-HTC Vogue - Windows Mobile
-HTC Touch Pro - Windows Mobile
-HTC Tilt - Windows Mobile
-HTC Fuze - Windows Mobile
-Nokia e71x - Symbian
-HTC Touch Pro 2 - Windows Mobile
-Blackberry Tour - Blackberry
-Google Nexus One - Android 2.1-2.2
-Samsung Captivate - Android 2.2
-Google Nexus One Again - Android 2.3
-HTC Surround - Windows Phone 7
-HTC Inspire 4G - Android 2.3

Wow, that's quite a list there!

And now, as of this month, I'm using a 32Gb iPhone 4S.  I know people were disappointed when Apple announced the 4S because it didn't offer a whole lot from the 4, but for someone that's a new iPhone user, it only made sense to buy the 4S.

And guess what...I love it!  I love not having to spend hours tweaking my phone to get it how I want it.  I love not having to reload my apps because I had to load a new ROM onto my phone.  I love the selection of apps that are out there, even compared to Android.

We have music docking things in the house (an iHome, and a Klipsch stereo), so its nice to be able to dock it and play music and have it charge all at once without a bunch of messy wires everywhere.

Reception seems better than my past phones and I don't think I've dropped a call yet.

Windows Phone 7 (WP7) was nice, but its not quite mature enough for me.  There wasn't a big enough selection of apps for me.

Android has been my favorite for a while now, but it would slow down and require reboots too often, plus lots of tweaking to get it to run how I wanted it to.

Where I used to suggest Android to people, I have to say that I'm now an iPhone fan and will suggest it to people.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Heart Aches For Bryan

Doesn't he look like he's having a great time in that picture?  It was taken the weekend before last.  At times, he seems to be in a great mood, but at other times, we can tell that something is bothering him.  Ana has felt that he holds in his emotions a lot, but he'll also act out, even though that's not necessarily what he's wanting to do, but that's the only way he has of showing it.  He doesn't mean to hurt anyone.  When he acts out, we would punish him by putting him in a time out.  He would scream and cry and throw a big fit almost the whole time he was in one.  Sometimes he would be there for 30 minutes until he calmed down.

Yesterday he was home with Ana since its her day off.  It was a pretty long weekend with him, even though we were both home on Sunday.  At one point, he said something to Peyton (Ana's daughter that's 3) and it hurt her feelings.  Instead of putting Bryan in the usual time out, she told him to go to his room and talk to his bears about what's bothering him.  She told him that he can tell them anything and to express his feelings to them.  I think this was a good idea and will help him express his feelings.

What comes next really hurts me.  Every time I think about it, it makes me cry because my heart aches for him. What's done is done, and I can only do so much to help him understand and to support and comfort him.

Basically, Bryan told his bears that he feels that his mommy doesn't love him anymore because she left him and that she doesn't want him and that he is mad and doesn't like her anymore.  He said he wanted his daddy and cried.

After hearing that, Ana talked to Maddox (her 5 year old) and asked him to talk to Bryan, kid-to-kid.  Maddox told Bryan that he misses his Papi (his dad), but knows that he loves him even though he can't see him and he knows Bryan loves his mommy and that she loves him, and that we all love him too and want him to play and be happy.  Bryan said he's mad at her, and Maddox said "I know, but we all love you".

After that, Bryan came downstairs and said "Hannah?" (that's what he calls her)
Ana: "Yes?"
Bryan: "I'm mad"
Ana: "I know"
Bryan: "But not at you"
Ana: "okay....I know I am only Hannah but I can love you and fix your booboo like a mommy and that won't change"
Bryan: "I know but I am so mad"
Ana: "well I get tired when I am mad I would rather be happy and play instead"
Bryan: "Me too"
Ana: "your mommy is tucked in your heart always and forever, don't forget that."
Bryan: "Okay, can I have some chocolate milk?"

I'm glad he opened up some, but I'm sad to hear that he feels that way.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Problems With....The Beast

So I have a 2004 GMC Sierra 2500 4x4 that I bought from my dad in 2007.  I haven't had any major problems with it...until now.  And yes, it got the nickname of The Beast.

So I brought it in today for the 100,000mi tune-up since it has over 107,000 miles on it.  The check engine light was on and Auto Zone said it was low fuel pressure.  The good news is that the dealership said it was the gas cap and can put a new one biggie right?

Well, then lately I've felt a vibration in the front end and sometimes could feel bumps even though I was on a smooth road.  I guess the front left hub is bad and is about to fall off.  So that's gonna cost about $500 to fix.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the water pump is leaking really bad.  Of course now that winter is almost here, I can't have that through these Chicago winters, so that'll be another $500.

So with the tune-up and all of this other work, my bill will be about $1500.

Let's just hope that's all that's wrong with it and I'll get many more years out of that truck.  Its been good to me so far.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Red Lobster's Cheddar Biscuits

This is a recipe I found from an app on my phone.  I LOVE these things when I go to Red Lobster, and now I've tweaked the recipe a little more and got them almost perfect.

-Preheat oven to 400 F

-In a large mixing bowl, combine (work the dough, but not too much):
  - 2 1/2 cups Bisquick Baking Mix
  - 3/4 cup Cold Whole (or 2%) Milk
  - 4 TBS Cold Butter (1/2 stick)
  - 1/4 TSP Garlic Powder (I probably do a little more)
  - 1/4 TSP Garlic Salt (This wasn't in the original recipe, but I add it do the batter mix)
  - 1 cup (heaping) Grated Cheddar Cheese

-Drop dough on an ungreased cookie sheet, about 1/4 cup in size (ice cream scoop)

-Melt 2 TBS butter in microwave, then add some parsley flakes and about 1/2 TSP of Garlic Salt to butter

-Brush the melted butter mixture on top of the dough, but save some to repeat after cooking

-I usually add more parsley and garlic salt to the top of the biscuits before I cook them

-Bake for about 16 minutes until the tops are light brown

-Add more of the melted butter mixture on the tops & serve

I can usually get about 15 biscuits from one batch.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Recent Events

I decided to start some of this blog over again.  I deleted some of the old posts and am making a fresh start.  I have a lot of things to talk about.  A lot of you probably know most of the events, but some of you might not.

First of all, my divorce is still going on.  We're hopefully almost done (like within weeks).  Its been a roller coaster, that's for sure.  The good news is that I got residential custody of my son!!!  Melissa has already moved out of state and Bryan is living with me now.  I'm still in the townhome, but probably only for a few more months unless the bank does a miracle and accepts a loan modification.

I had to give up Champ, which I REALLY miss him.  It wasn't fair for him to be stuck in the cage as much as he was.  He's a big, athletic dog, he needed room to run.  He was in the cage for about 10 hours during the day, then again overnight.  The good news is that he went to a friend who has a big yard for him to run around and who also has some other dogs so he has playmates.

Bryan is now almost 4 1/2.  He's about 44.25" tall and weighs 62 Lbs!!!  Talk about being built for football!  He's been adjusting to the changes pretty well.  He'll act out and not listen sometimes, but what kid doesn't?  He is learning to a lot on his own now.  He'll get dressed in the mornings, get his shoes on, get his coat on (sometimes zipper it up too), eats with his mouth closed, is learning how to hold a fork the right way and more I'm probably forgetting.

Now for the biggest change....I'm living with someone!  Her name is Ana, and she has 3 kids.  Marce is 19, Maddox is 5 and Peyton is 3.  They're all with me, along with Bryan.  Talk about a house full!  She is amazing and treats me very well.  We have a great time together and are always laughing and smiling.

At work, that's been another roller coaster.  Back at the end of August, Packaged Concrete, Inc. sold the company to Quikrete.  Of course there's an adjustment period.  We've had some people leave (retire) and there's always rumors floating around about what's going to happen next.  I'm busier now and doing the job that I did before plus the job of someone that left.  Things usually slow down in the winter though, so that'll help me catch a breather.  I still do the IT Administration for this plant, although its not quite the same and I don't have the same authority I had before.  I'm also still working for PPCGeeks and his network of sites.

Other than all of that, things have been pretty normal I guess.  I can't wait to take a vacation though, that's for sure.  I've had to use most of my time off this year to meet with lawyers or be in court.