Apr 27, 2011

Purina® Cat Chow® Correspondent Contest: Runner-Up

Hey, so, you guys remember how I entered that Purina® Cat Chow® Correspondent Contest? Well, I didn't win but I got runner-up! My cats are enjoying their free cat chow now! Thanks, Purina!

They also gave me praise. I love praise! More than money! To quote Lisa Simpson during the teachers' strike (if I recall correctly), "Grade me grade me grade me."

Now, granted, I don't know how many runners-up there were. Maybe everyone who entered got the same e-mail... I don't care! Praise! Yay!

Ok, now back to your regularly scheduled programming...

Update: So far I can only find a total of 3 other Runners-Up out of the 3,000 applicants. Here are their related posts in no particular order:

Not that I'm obsessively checking. Ok. I'm obsessively checking. It's just that the email means so much more if only shared with 3 other hopeful cat correspondents, not, y'know 3,000. May, 10 2011

Also, please stay tuned for the upcoming book/website "Cats In Places" by author Amy Wallace (and me!).

[Update: www.catsinplaces.com is now live! Book in the works!]

Apr 23, 2011

Pills Are Bad M'kay: Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Capitalism, & America

So, in an effort to "fix my problem," my latest doctor prescribed me a drug called Detrol.

Quick back story: I have mysterious ailments that doctors can never seem to get a handle on. For years I was misdiagnosed with a mental illness only to discover it was a blood sugar problem. For years I was on meds that did horrible things to me that I was never even supposed to be on! So, now I am super cautious about putting anything into my body without research and trial and error in a safe zone with witnesses.

This time we did a blind study. Jeremy read the side effects, while I did not. I took one pill and would report any side effects that I felt. Y'know, to avoid hypochondria.

Well, first up this morning I felt like HELL. It was like I drank 1 million beers last night I felt so hung over. Then I sat down to my computer and everything went blurry for a second. Then it happened again but longer. Then paranoia set it. Now I'm having trouble keeping track of my thoughts and as I type this I have to go back and reread sentences to make sure I didn't leave out whole words (something I noticed while trying to compose a tweet earlier).

I am a writer (whether I get paid to do it or not), so I kind of need my eyes and my mind. I need to be able to use my memory. And I remember everything.

So, anyway, then I read this:

New York Times reporter Melody Petersen, who wrote the book Our Daily Meds: How the Pharmaceutical Companies Transformed Themselves into Slick Marketing Machines and Hooked the Nation on Prescription Drugs (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008), said that "the most outrageous thing" she saw covering the pharmaceutical industry was a PowerPoint presentaton on "Creating a Disease," which created a disease called "overactive bladder" for the purpose of marketing Detrol. Doctors try to manage incontinence in non-pharmaceutical ways, she said. Detrol became a blockbuster, said Petersen, despite the adverse effect of severe memory problems.[1]
Oh for fucks sake!!! Can't they do anything right?????????????

So, it's a made up stupid disease that doesn't even exist with a stupid pill that does horrible things to you all so a CORPORATION CAN MAKE A BUCK.

No one cares a fuck about your health in America.

No one.

In fact, they want to keep you sick and keep you coming back for more meds.

They want health insurance private so they keep you trapped in a 9 to 5 office job chained to your desk all so you can have the privilege (not the fucking right) to healthcare that doesn't even care about you only the money they make off of you.

You are cattle.

You are a dollar bill.

You mean nothing to them.

Except money.

It is Capitalism, after all.

Capitalism is the opposite of progress.

You wont get the best care, you'll get the one that makes them the most profit. Well, then it must be cheap for them and expensive for you. If it's cheap for them, then it's not the best. It's the worst with ballooned, inflated prices so that the crumbling, dwindling middle class can cough up a few more dollars, y'know, instead of sending their kids to college, all so that Mr. Pharmaceutical CEO can buy a new yacht.

No fucking thank you if I could move to France I would.

Or England.

Or Canada.

What I would really prefer is to stay right here in America, but we fix this damn country and make it smart again. You cannot cater to the masses and expect greatness. It doesn't work that way. That's like "design by committee" - you will not invent a light-bulb this way, you will only get internet porn. See what I mean?

As a side note, this may be why I can't make a buck on a necklace. I use top quality materials. Real gems, real silver or gold, etc. Thus, the base product is already expensive. In order to make any kind of money, I have to charge more than normal work-a-day folks can spend on luxuries these days. If I switched to plastic and random metal, I could make money. I'd be a better Capitalist. But I'd be producing shit. And I can't get behind shit. I can't sell shit. I can't stand to make shit.

How can we get back to a place where we, as a country, make quality products we can get behind?

I want to be able to TRUST my doctors. Not think of them as drug dealers for pharmaceutical companies, because, in reality, that's all they are these days.

I just want to be well and safe and happy and healthy and I don't want to get that from a fucking pill. I want a real health professional to help me get better, to find out what's causing all the problems and prevent them.

Is that too much to ask for...in America?

PS: Every time I go in, they ask "Are you on any medication?" And I say, "No," they look at me incredulously. They implore, "Are you sure? None? At all?" "Well," I reply, "none aside from medical marijuana for chronic ovarian cysts." To which, they typically wave their hand in dismissal. "That doesn't count." Why is everyone so shocked all the time that I don't take a prescription pill everyday? My grandmother didn't until the day she died at a ripe old age. I think our society is just totally screwed up and that we're doomed Roman Empire style... Is it too late for us? Or can we cease this downward spiral?

Apr 21, 2011

Peanut Butter Fudge Drop Cookies (recipe)

So, I'm not in the habit of posting recipes as I don't really fancy myself a cook but I sure do love making cookies or, more specifically, experimenting with cookies. My latest tinkering in the lab has resulted in some seriously tasty NomNoms, so I decided to share. Note: If you are an experienced cook and/or blog recipe reader/writer, please bear with me as I am none of those things!

It all started with Trader Joe’s Easy Melt Baking Chocolate.

What I wanted was a chocolate chip peanut butter cookie but I'm avoiding soy lately which means avoiding chocolate since almost all chocolate contains soy. However, Trader Joe's baking chocolate does not. However however, baking chocolate is not sweet. Hence I was faced with a task: How to make my baking chocolate nice and sweet like milk chocolate?

Lucky for me, my husband found a recipe on eHow but I don't have the link anymore, but here it is plus a few tweaks of my own at the end for flavor. Note: It was meant to be eventually hardened to cut up for chips but that never happened, the hardening, I mean, thus why I went with a "fudge drop" cookie.



  • 1 package Trader Joe’s Easy Melt Baking Chocolate
  • 14 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk (this is where I'm not vegan I cook with milk, eggs & butter)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon raw agave syrup (add more or less to taste)
  • 3 packets Stevia (again add more or less to taste)

Note: Since we don't have a double boiler, we just used a small saucepan and metal mixing bowl, hence these instructions will be as thus.

Bring water to boil, make sure mixing bowl does not touch boiling water, add chocolate. Wait until the chocolate is totally melted before adding all the other ingredients. Stir in all the other ingredients except the stevia and agave unless you totally trust me then go on with ya bad self.

Once it's all stirred and melty, give it a taste. WAIT! Before you do it's gonna be crazy hot so, like, don't burn yourself then come sue me. I don't have any money anyway. Ok, so, after you've let a spoonful properly cool and what not, take a taste. You may think it's perfect. I wanted it sweeter but I did not want to add more sugar so I added the super sweet raw agave syrup and Stevia. I found a Tablespoon of agave and 3 packets of the stevia worked perfectly for me, but you may prefer a different combo.

Once you've perfected the flavor for ya own taste buds, you can turn off that stove top and set the fudge aside.

Note: we were hoping to harden the chocolate so we put it into smaller glass containers that we then covered and stuck in the freezer. It did not harden. We waited overnight. Nada. Point is, you don't need to do all that, but you may want to stick it in the fridge just to give it some thickness for later.
Now on to the cookies!!!!!

I got the base recipe for the peanut butter cookies from a random blog when I Googled "peanut butter cookies" awhile ago whilst visiting my Dad in Florida (I signed myself up to make all the cookies for a party there... 200 cookies! I was on my feet all day cooking cookies. Anyhoo...they were tasty!). Here is that recipe plus my own additions and notes.



  • 1 large egg (I was scarred as a child by an egg with a partially formed baby chick inside so I never use eggs, instead I used 1/4 cup ReddiEgg)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (this last time I used 1/2 Trader Joe's Organic Brown Sugar instead of just white or raw and it was way better)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (I prefer Trader Joe's Creamy Salted Peanut Butter but Crunchy works, too)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican vanilla (I just use any old vanilla I have and it's been perfectly fine)
  • 1/3 cup chopped peanuts, to taste (I recently used mixed nuts and really dug that, added another layer to the flavor to have almonds, cashews, etc mixed in)
  • 1 scoop protein powder (I add this for cookie 'body' and protein but you don't need it)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, beat together egg, sugar, baking soda and vanilla. I use my husband and a wooden spoon for this, but if you have an electric mixer that isn't broken (like me) then you'll probably want to go ahead and use that. Or a whisk, I guess. (I don't have one of those anymore either. It rusted.) Mix in the peanut butter and protein powder. Stir in the chopped nuts.

Now, at this point, if you used oily peanut butter from your cupboard like me, you may want to stick your dough in the fridge for a couple minutes just to firm it up a little but you don't need to. I didn't this last time, but I admit I think I like how they turned out before when the dough was a little firmer, but, meh, whatev. A cookie is a cookie is a cookie. They are still so delicious I have to force myself to not just eat them all in one sitting.

Ok, so, now I use my actual teaspoon to scoop out perfect little balls of dough. I definitely use heaping spoonfuls, though, which yields less total cookies, but I think makes for a better sized cookie, especially when you're adding fudge drops which, omg yes, we are!

Now would be a good time to go get your fudge. It's ok. I'll wait. No, go.

*tap, tap, tap*

Ok, good, you're back. I was getting worried. Did you have to pee? Maybe you should wash your hands.

So, now, take your teaspoon, scoop out balls of dough and place them in little rows on your cookie sheet, y'know, not too close together, use your best judgement.

If you let your dough firm up a bit in the fridge, take the bottom of your teaspoon and use it to make little divets, indentations if you will, in the center of each cookie. This is where you'll drop the fudge.

Now, I use a 1/2 teaspoon to scoop out little balls of fudge to then drop on each cookie but this is CRAZY messy. I highly recommend using one of those cake icing squishy things. I need to get myself one. What the heck are they called? Anyway...

Put a dollop of fudge on each cookie.

Now, if you want to get totally crazy with the cheese whiz you can like totally add a mini marshmallow to each cookie if you want. It's pretty good, but I won't lie, the cookie doesn't need a garnish. It's crazy good on its own. I just think it's fun to dress up a cookie every now and then.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Voila! You now have super yummy peanut butter fudge drop nomnoms. Eat and enjoy!

Note: please let cookie cool before nomming. That fudge gets like napalm it's so hot. Y'know, like when you burn the roof of your mouth on hot pizza? Yeah. So, cool on cooling rack first! Then eat & enjoy!

PS: I edited the ingredients slightly. Forgot I used half sugar/half brown sugar combo not just all brown sugar. Also, if you actually try this recipe, which, of course, I hope you do, or I wouldn't have posted it here in the first place, I'd love for you to come on back and post a comment on how it turned out for you - good or bad - and if you have suggestions or substitutions (For example, how would a vegan alter the recipe? I'm seriously curious!). All comments are moderated, prior to posting, so only I will read it first, not the whole world, in case you just want to tell me & not have it posted for others. Also, you can post anonymously. Thanks for reading!

Apr 4, 2011

What Let Go

     are you so afraid of
     are you so afraid of

     are you so afraid of
                         revealing too much
       revealing too little
     are you so afraid of
                              no one
     are you so afraid of
   having nothing to believe in
              no one
                          too much
                                          never enough
     are you so afraid of
                           letting go
                           let go