Lady Music

I’m in the middle of reading the February 26th issue of Entertainment Weekly, which was delivered to my home earlier this week. I don’t understand why it was delivered, since the label on the front clearly states my EW subscription expiration month as JAN10, but if they want to keep sending me free magazines, I’ll keep on reading them.

There’s an article in this issue about Lady Antebellum. The article taught me that Lady Antebellum is actually a group of three people, not one single person. My confusion stems from two sources: one is that the names Lady Antebellum and Lady Gaga both appeared on my radar around the same time, and since Lady Gaga is one person, I figured Lady Antebellum was as well. This, of course, is the same kind of rash assumption that caused Darius Rucker to shout at a friend of mine, “MY NAME IS NOT HOOTIE.”

I’ve never actually heard music from either Lady; country isn’t my thing, and although a friend of mine gave me a copy of a Lady Gaga album, I’ve been too busy listening to classic acts like Duran Duran to give it a shot. Although I do get to hear “Poker Face” almost every week at the roller rink.

The Lady mixup is not as confusing, however, as when a young female singer named Nelly Furtado appeared on the scene at roughly the same time as a young male rapper named Nelly. Man, that one boggled my mind. I was never really sure who was who most of the time. And I actually felt bad for both of them. Most of the confusion was probably in my own head anyway — many years ago, a girl I worked with said she was going to the Pink concert. I expressed my surprise, since I hadn’t heard that Pink Floyd was back together. Yes, I’d never heard of Pink at the time. And yes, she looked at me as if I’d grown a second head … because she’d never heard of Pink Floyd.

Bottom line, don’t call yourself Lady if you’re not a lady. That’s just confusing. Keep it normal and easily gender- and size-guessable, like that sweet young lady I’ve heard of recently, Flo Rida.

All Hail the New Bed

We’ve had the new bed for a week now, and I’m making a note here: huge success.

Here’s what we ended up getting: from IKEA, the ANEBODA bed frame and the SULTAN HUGLO mattress, which was the firmest spring mattress they had (and the name “HUGLO” immediately became joke fodder). I also got a GOSA SYREN pillow (for side sleepers). On top of that, we got a memory foam topper from Sam’s Club. We also got a jersey sheet set from Target.

The sheets are incredibly comfy, like sleeping in a giant t-shirt. And the mattress/pad combination is great — a nice solid base, with a firm but yielding layer of squish on top. I can lie on my side, with my bad hip pressing into the bed, and it doesn’t hurt. Yay!

I also took one of our little LACK side tables (they don’t appear to carry the nesting ones anymore, so no linkie for you) and put it at the foot of the bed for our old fat cat to use as a step up. He’s never been the best jumper, so this makes it easier to get on the bed for him. As you can see, he made it up there just fine. (You can also see my frog humidifier up in the left corner.)

A majestic beast on the new bed.

Cheesy Chips with Guacamole

Sometimes, you want a quick and easy meal. Did you know you can make crispy, delicious chips using only cheese? They really hit the crunch spot, and carbs aren’t an issue.

Cut the cheese.

Nuke the cheese.

Eat the cheese.

I used slices of Tillamook medium cheddar, because it’s the best cheese on earth. And because when cut into nines, the slices make the perfect sized chips.

I cut a round piece of parchment paper (man, I love parchment paper) and arranged the cheese around the outside. Then I microwaved it for a minute. You can re-use the parchment paper a few times; just wipe the tasty cheese grease off between batches.

To finish, I took a Wholly Guacamole 100-calorie pack of guac, mixed in some extra red onion and lemon juice, and … yum.

Zazzed-up guac and cheese chips!

Zem from Squornshellous Zeta

The new mattress has been purchased. Although it’s not in-house yet; IKEA is offering free removal of your old mattress with delivery of a new one, so we’re having the mattress and a new bed frame delivered tomorrow. Only one more night on ol’ lumpy!

We checked many a place. Several of the department stores at the mall carry mattresses, but for some reason, department store mattress salespeople (at least in Orlando) are exceptionally slimy. Plus, the prices are all a bit more than they should be. And if you want a mattress only, with no box spring? Even less of a good price. We checked Macy’s, Dillard’s, Sears, and JC Penney. Nuts to them.

We visited a joint called “Rooms To Go”, where capitalizing your preposition is all the rage. Upon entering the store, we were immediately pounced upon by a sales dude. We told him we wanted to just look at mattresses, and he delcared with pride, “They’re all throughout the store, in all of the displays!” Great. So we told him we’d do a lap and see what there was, but no. He wanted to know what kind we wanted, what we were looking for, blah blah. I told him I wanted a really firm mattress with no pillow top. He took us to a couple of sqashy-soft mattresses with huge layers of padding. I told him no, firmer. With less padding. We passed by a really firm-looking one, and when I stopped to look at it, he snapped, “NO, that’s definitely NOT the one you want.” then he took us to another squashy one with a huge layer of padding on top. I told him, “No padding. This is too soft.” His repsonse: “This isn’t a pillow top, and it’s the firmest mattress in the store.”

Turns out the one that was “definitely not the one [I] want” was the firmest (to me) and had no padding on top. When I told the guy that it was what I was looking for, he got all smarmy and said, “Clearly we’re just not communicating clearly.” I wasn’t about to give this douche any kind of commission, so we headed out.

We checked both Costco and Sam’s Club, to get the warehouse pricing. Sam’s Club actually had a nice Serta, but we’d have to get a U-Haul truck to get it home. Costco has good mattresses on their Web site, but you have to wait a month between ordering and delivery.

Scott tests the Sam's Club Serta.

So it was back to IKEA for more sitting on and laying on and checking out. We ended up with the firmest SULTAN spring mattress and the cheap-but-solid ANEBODA bed frame. Then we went back to Sam’s Club and got their memory foam topper, which was half the price of the one at IKEA. A stop at Target for sheets and a comforter (we’re trying out the jersey sheets that feel like t-shirt material), and we’re ready to go. I’ll report in after a few nights. If we hate the mattress, at least IKEA also has a 90-day like-it-or-swap-it policy.

Take It to the Mattresses

Moving across the country was a great thing. But a few mistakes were made. One of those mistakes was our choice of new mattress.

When we left Seattle, we got rid of our old queen bed — It was over a dozen years old, and we figured we’d get a king when we got to Orlando. That old queen was a great bed, though. I bought it at the Bon Marché in my single days, and it was still in good shape when we moved.

When we got to Orlando, we bought a pillowtop king. NEVER AGAIN with the pillowtop. Sure, it was comfy at first. But we soon realized that we couldn’t flip it over, since there was no pillow on the bottom. And we could rotate it, but that meant we each got each other’s former footzone under our heads. So it’s never been rotated. And now we each have a permanent butt-divot, so it’d be even more uncomfortable to rotate the thing.

We were at IKEA today, and checked out the mattresses. It appears that the IKEA method is to get a simple spring or foam mattress, then put a foam topper on that. I like this idea; the topper can be rotated and flipped, and if it gets worn out, it’s cheaper to replace than the whole mattress.

Does anyone have any experience with IKEA mattresses? Online reviews are mixed; either people hate them and find them supremely uncomfortable, or they’ve had one for 5-10-15 years and still love the hell out of it.

IKEA mattress and topper.

Quick Crab Bisque

We love the lobster bisque at our favorite pricey eatery, Texas de Brazil. So we decided to try making a bisque at home. Since we had canned crab on hand, it’s a crab bisque. And since we’re all about the quickness, many other things also came from cans. Hey, don’t be a can hater.

Creamtacular crab bisque!

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp butter
1/4 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 tsp garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp salt
dash cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 6-oz can crabmeat
1 14-oz can chicken broth
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream

Sauté the celery and onion in the butter until transparent. Add the garlic, let it soften a little bit. Add the spices. Then add the xanthan gum to create a roux. When it thickens, add the broth, tomato sauce and can of crab. Bring to a simmer.

Now, it’s time to blend. We got an awesome immersion blender, and this was its first use. You could also blend this up in a blender, but do it in small amounts so you don’t send hot soup all over your kitchen. Blend until smooth, then add the cream. Bring back to a simmer, and serve.

Next time, I’ll add more xanthan gum to make it a little thicker (since I won’t use flour or potato). It was a little thin, but plenty delicious. And from the start of chopping the onion and celery, it took maybe 15 minutes to complete this fancy little soup.