When should you die?
As the article states, "[t]he biggest factor in the skyrocketing price of gasoline is the historic ascent of crude oil."
The knee-jerk villains in all this are the oil companies, fat with multibillion-dollar profits, frequent targets of populist anger. But wait: The oil companies don't set the price of oil or the cost of a gallon of gasoline.
Prices are a function of the open market, the result of futures contracts being traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange, or Nymex, and other exchanges around the world.
Oil prices often fluctuate with production decisions from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which supplies about 40 percent of the world's crude, or when conflict in the Middle East or Nigeria threatens supplies.As for the oil companies' "windfall profits" that Democrats want to tax, despite the fact that that will only increase gas prices:
In any case, huge profits at big oil companies like Chevron and Exxon Mobil aren't because of high prices at the pump. Their enormous profits are tied to their exploration and production arms, which are benefiting from record crude prices.Go ahead and read the whole article. It discusses the steps in gasoline production, how much each step adds to the cost of a gallon of that sweet unleaded, and how gas stations set prices.
Oatmeal - I bought some steel cuts oats and tried both the overnight soak/stovetop method and the crockpot as a double boiler technique. Both worked.
The crockpot method - It left a little bit of what I could only describe as "goo" on top of the bowl but once I stirred it into the oatmeal and it didn't have a taste effect so don't let that scare you. And it was really easy and made practically no mess (just one bowl more to clean that cold cereal).
The overnight soak/stove top - This was nice since it incorporated soaking which is even more healthy but it took too long for me to do on a weekday. It was easy and didn't need much watching, but I don't have an extra 15 minutes on a weekday, it would be fine for a weekend though.
The biggest discovery was really that we don't like steel cut oats. Craig doesn't really like oatmeal at all, he will tolerate it when we are camping but in general, he prefers cold cereal. I like oatmeal from rolled oats but steel cut oats are too chewy or nutty or something. Anyway, if you like steel cut oats, either of those two methods would probably work fine for you but I would rather eat oats either in granola or meusli form.
Refrigerator Muffins - Love, Love, Love these. I just pop them in the oven before I take my shower and Craig takes them out when he heads downstairs. By the time I am dressed, they are sitting there for me, all warm and yummy.
I used this recipe because it uses applesauce instead of oil, not only because it is healthier but it means the muffins are super moist. And I hate dry muffins. The first time, I made the recipe as it is written, except for using all sugar, not half splenda. I just made a second batch using half wheat flour and I couldn't really taste a difference at all. Next time, I will try cutting down the sugar since with the applesauce and sugar in the cereal plus the extra you add, they are pretty sweet. I think they will be fine with 1/2 of the amount listed but I haven't tried it yet. I didn't want to make too many adjustments at one time. The recipe says it makes 50 servings but I only made three muffins a day for 7 days and it was all gone. That also means I can't vouch for the batter lasting more than a week but they are so good, you probably won't have that problem either. Oh, and this week we splurged a bought a big thing of blueberries and a couple blueberries added to top each morning also does not hurt these muffins one bit.
Granola - I have had a request for my granola recipe. It isn't a family secret, just something I made up after reading several different recipes online and combining what I thought sounded good. The first time it was great. The second time it sat for a week on my counter waiting for the new oven to arrive. It was edible, but had a weird texture. I am pretty sure it was because it sat there and soaked up moisture but I want to try it again to make sure I really do like it before I post it. But it should be coming soon.
A few weeks ago it was about hand washing and told me that as many as 50% of men and 25% of women don't wash their hands after going to the bathroom. Eww, gross...how is that knowledge helpful to me at all. If I am part of the 75% of women who do wash their hands (and I am) then all I can do know is avoid people and anything they have ever touched...not very practical. And if I one of those people that don't wash their hands then obviously I don't care much about personal hygiene anyway.
It's like that every day, one minute's worth of random pieces of information that really aren't very helpful. So today when they announced that there was no "Something you should know" I was overjoyed and I will admit it, I did a little happy dance in my seat. And well, I figured that was something you should know.
The only part I didn't like was the kissing between Susan and Prince Caspian - where did that come from? But I love Lucy in this one, the way she knows the truth the whole time but still had to learn a lesson about letting others stop you. It was violent but amusingly non-bloody. It's still not for little kids although we saw a good number of the under 10 population segment there, as well as some crying babies but that is another rant altogether.
This post is a rant about the movie theater bathrooms. We went to the new theater in town, it was just completed a few months ago. The movie theater has 6 screens, three on one side of the concessions, three on the other. Each side also has a bathroom. As in one - the right has has a men's, the left side has a women's. Which means that if you are a woman and see a movie on screen 4, 5, or 6, you're out of luck. I don't know what the designers were thinking.
Since we don't go to the movies that often, Craig and I splurged on an extra large Dr. Pepper, complete with refills. So obviously, half way through the movie, I had to make my way to the ladies room. Which meant, walking out of that hallway, around the concession stand, wait to show my ticket stub to the bored looking teenager who then tells me that my movie is on the other side. After explaining I know that but still need to go to the bathroom, he lets me through. Then afterwards, I have to again leave that hall, walk around the concession stand, show my ticket to the other bored looking teenager, then try to catch up on what happened in the last 10 minutes of the movie. LAME!
"My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it," she said, dismissing calls to drop out.
We have seen an X-ray of a very dark soul. One consumed by raw ambition to where the possible assassination of an opponent is something to ponder in a strategic way. Otherwise, why is murder on her mind?
And get some sleep, lots and lots of sleep. I have been so tired lately. I'm generally a morning person but for the last few weeks I just can't seem to get out of bed in the morning. I go to bed between 10:30 and 11, it shouldn't be hard for me to wake up at 7, that is still 8+ hours of sleep! I'm thinking I should start taking vitamins or something but I can never remember to actually take it. I don't know what else I can do, every time I read a list of the "Top 10 things you can do to feel more energized" or "8 easy ways to get more sleep" I find that I do all those things already. I eat breakfast, I don't drink coffee or smoke, I follow a sleep schedule, what else is there? It's actually pretty frustrating because I have been trying to be more healthy lately and it seems to be backfiring but somehow I think incorporating more whole grains and vegetables into my diet is not a likely cause of my sleepiness. Any suggestions from formally fatigued friends are welcome.
This is the same Congress that, through gas taxes, restrictions on drilling, and obstacles to refinery construction, has caused oil prices to rise far beyond what they otherwise would be. Yet they need to deflect blame in this election year, so they call oil company CEOs onto the carpet. Listen to this claptrap:
- ‘‘Where is the corporate conscience?’’ Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill
- ‘‘People we represent are hurting, the companies you represent are profiting,’’ Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt
- You have ‘‘just a litany of complaints that you’re all just hapless victims of a system,’’ Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told the executives. ‘‘Yet you rack up record profits ... quarter after quarter after quarter.’’
- ‘‘Is there anybody here that has any concerns about what you’re doing to this country with the prices that you’re charging and the profits that you’re taking?’’ Durbin asked.
The CEOs tried to educate the Senators at this hearing, but I doubt it did much good. I suspect that, if I were in the CEOs shoes, I'd find it hard to be nice. I'd probably start screaming at the Senators and calling them morons. John Roberts and Samuel Alito, recent Supreme Court appointees, probably felt the same way while they were being grilled by their intellectual inferiors during their confirmation hearings. I think the President should send up a sacrifice nominee for some position before he leaves office, just to have that person yell at and berate some Senators, like they so deserve. It would be the most entertaining programming C-SPAN has seen in a long time.
Last chance, I mean it. When I responded to Craig's question about my WFMW post, all I heard was "oh no, don't write about that" and "your putting too much girly stuff on the blog."
Okay, now that we got that out of the way, let's get started. So what has been working for me lately? The diva cup. Now don't get all weirded out. It's great. And while the topic is kinda personal, I feel indebted to the woman bloggers I learned about this from, and I feel drawn to share this with y'all. I mean, no more tampons, no more pads. This little cup is my favorite thing about my period. And by that I mean, it's the only thing about my period I like. For those of you who haven't heard of it, it's a little silicon cup that you wear inside. You can't really feel it and to change it, you just empty it, rinse it and put it back in place. I know it sounds icky, but if you think about the more traditional alternatives, they sound icky too. I find it to actually feels much cleaner. There is a slight learning curve when it comes to getting it in place but after a few tries, it is a piece of cake.
I could give you the lots of "green" reasons for using the diva cup. Nothing gets thrown away, no harsh chemicals leaking out into your body, etc. Plus it doesn't have the risk of TSS like tampons do. And yes, it is cheaper. Just a one purchase and you are done forever! (or until you have kids). But no, I don't use it for any thrifty reason or in an effort to reduce my carbon footprint.
I use it because it is comfortable and convenient. I have had some awful cramps in my life. Just a few months ago, I had to leave work at 10am because I couldn't stand the pain and needed to lie down. Luckily, it was the flu season and I work with scientists-boys who told me to go home, lie down and eat lots of oranges. Instead I went home, lied down, and ate lots of chocolate. But after switching over to the diva cup, my cramps have been so much better. I have probably cut my Tylenol usage by 75%. Also, you only have to change it every 12 hours, even on heavy days! That beats a change every fews hours by a landslide!
In case you don't believe me there are some another resource to check out is here.
Once you are convinced you need to try this, you can easily find them online. The cheapest place I found, and hence where I bought mine, was here. There are two sizes, Model 1 for the childless or under 30 crowd and Model 2 for those who have had kids... I guess having kids changes things down there :-) It comes with instructions including one folding method for application, but look around online and you will find others. The official one didn't work for me and I got frustrated at first, but once I tried something different, it wasn't a problem.
And that is what works for me, be sure to check out other ideas at Rocks In My Dryer.
Saturday we slept in, at some refrigerator bran muffins (review coming soon), and headed to the farmer's market. There weren't a lot of fruits or veggies since it is so early in the summer, but it is fun to see the crafts and it got us in the mood for planting. This town and I have a love-hate relationship. Winters - hate hate hate. Spring and Early summer - love love love. The weather is so very nice. Other things I love are being able to walk around town and the gardener's market. This time we actually saw a couple people we knew which was neat too, made me feel like I am actually a part of the community. That' a nice feeling. After we had our fill of crafts and herbs we headed to our local garden store down the road and got some flowers. This is the first place I have lived that I could plant stuff outside and I was so excited to pick our what we wanted. On our way home we stopped at the little health food store on main street to get some organic steel cut oats. In general, I'm not a big "organic" person, I don't think it is worth the money. But in this case, buying organic meant I could buy just a bit so I could try it out without buying a whole canisters worth. And it turned out to be cheaper than the grocery store so alls well that ends well. We also got some yummy smelling curry powder for this recipe I am anxious to try.
After we got home we cleaned up our porch area and planted our flowers. I had so much fun with just that one flower box, I can't wait till we actually have a yard and a garden. The porch area looks good although I think it would be even better without an oven in it. Yes, the oven is still there.
Saturday and Sunday afternoon were spent lounging, calling up old friends to catch up on life and working on different projects. Photographs are pretty much taking over our life...and our living room, but I am hoping it is the calm before the storm. I am determined to get them under control by the end of the summer.
State undercover liquor-control agents made lewd propositions to a waitress, then waved a $5 bill at a boisterous woman in a Clearfield club, daring her to expose herself in what they later explained were tactics to fit in with the crowd.Agents also apparently do a lot of this, to create open container violations:
At an American Fork restaurant, agents badgered a waiter into bringing them a round of beers, then ticketed the eatery for serving alcohol without a required meal.
And in a Salt Lake City pub, three agents ordered shots, two purposefully left the table, then they cited the server for delivering too many drinks.
In April, the Tooele bowling alley Star Lanes was fined $800 after agents left with drinks in their hands.It is no wonder why Utah drinkers and bar owners feel persecuted, and these actions can't help but create animosity towards the government and the majority religion here.
I have a dilemma though, I don't know if I prefer color or black and white. For a few pictures it was obvious, like I had to leave these in color
and this one looks so much better in b&wbut for the rest I was torn. The colors at Arches are so pretty and rich, the orange-red of the rock, the bright blue of the sky, the white of my skin...oh, wait I'm not in these. But the shapes at Arches are great too, and the black and white pictures really showcase the rocks cool geometry. Plus, I love Ansel Adams so I think I am drawn to the b&w even if they aren't as good. Since I just can't decide so be forewarned, there will be some repeats. Feel free to give your opinion on the B&W vs Color showdown.
At this point, I was tired of choosing between the true and tried to split the difference, I'm not sure how I feel about it.
Craig and I searched everywhere. And when I say everywhere, I'm not talking about Craig's version of "everywhere" when he is looking in the fridge and can't find something anywhere but as soon as I get up and walk over there, it magically appears. This used to happen to my mother when I was younger so finding things must be a magical skill that appears when a girl becomes a women but even with my magic skills, we couldn't find this thermometer. I even wondered if maybe Zeeba had dragged it away and hidden it somewhere where only cats can fit. I know it sounds improbable but seriously, it was gone.
I scoured the entire apartment then gave up and and got a new one. It was not good and after a week of getting wacko results, I had to give up on it. Then I bought a new one from the same company as the old one. It was exactly the same except this one was white and the old one was purple. But apparently in the world of thermometers, color is important, because this one wasn't so good either. In fact, almost every day my temperature was off the chart. Now, it is really hard to chart something when it is off the chart! But since it was at least consistent, I had been using it. It stressed me out a bit, but I was trying to accept the fact that the old thermometer was gone and move on with my life.
But then, a few days ago, I found my beloved thermometer! It was stuck in between the mattress and the box spring and must have come loose when we changed the sheets. It's so great to have it back, all purple and useful. Everything is right with the world again. Oh happy happy day.
*No, we aren't Catholic but NFP doesn't stand for "Not For Protestants." Oh, don't ya just love a good clean birth control joke? They never fail to get a laugh, even if it is only a sympathy laugh.
If you decide not to pay for DirecTV, you can still watch the LiveMap feature, which tracks your plane's progress. However, the little plane icon is very oversized:
If this image were correct, I could almost travel from Denver to Salt Lake City merely by walking from one end of the plane to the other. That would make the trip quite convenient, for sure. I think this feature would be much more interesting if the plane icon were a bit smaller.
Recently, a certain person hurt my feelings, and turned something good into something that well, hurts. Now this person wouldn't want to hurt my feelings, didn't mean to hurt my feelings, and really, if they knew, would probably feel really bad that they did. But that made it even worse, because I couldn't be angry at said person, I just felt sad and hurt. And at work I have been working on a project that requires sitting and holding this tube, for hours on end, with nothing else to do but think. So I have been sitting and thinking about how my feelings were hurt. And then, because I don't even think my feelings were valid to begin with, I started feeling like a horrible, awful, self-centered person, for getting upset. So there I was, sitting with a tube in my hand, feeling like poop.
But then I remembered what I have been learning in my Beth Moore study this week - Believing that I am who God says I am. She showed us that in Ephesians 1:3-8 God says we are Blessed, Chosen, Adopted, Accepted, Redeemed and Forgiven. The ones I needed to hear were chosen and accepted because the truth is, I was feeling rejected.
But that isn't how God sees me and I need to believe Him. Sometimes it seems like knowing God accepts us isn't enough, like knowing your mom likes you isn't always a big help when you are in 6th grade and no one else seems to like you. But knowing that God loves me and accepts me and wants me needs to be enough. Because everyone else will let me down at some point, my friends, my family, even my husband. But if I know how God feels about me, then other people letting me down isn't the end of the world. It will hurt, but I can stand firm in who I am. And I am free to love people the way Christ loves us. He not only knows that we will let him down, he knows how. But even though he knew Peter would deny him, and I'm sure it hurt him, he didn't say "Hey, Peter-man, I think we need to go our separate ways because your going to hurt me and I need to protect myself from that." Nope, he loves him anyway, just like he loves me anyway. So today, I will now be sitting in my chair, holding that tube and thinking of how God loves me...and how I want this tube holding project to be over.
A co-worker and I flew around looking for bird nests and owl burrows. It was pretty fun; it sure beat sitting in the office. Normally, I'm not a fan of heights, and so you'd think looking out the window of a helicopter at the ground several hundred feet below would bother me, but it didn't. I think that's because it was so interesting to look at features on the ground from a bird's-eye view that I didn't think about being freaked out. I'm also proud to note that, unlike my co-worker, I made it through the day without throwing up. Thanks to the pilot's ability to make fast landings, his machine was (mostly) spared from the contents of the co-worker's stomach.
Wow, nothing screams "scrapbook material" quite like a double chin. Or Craig takes a picture of me, then I take one of him, like we did at this arch last weekend.
It's a little more flattering, but still not something I want to frame. Sometimes we get another person to take one of us but its tiring to always ask and often times on hikes there isn't anyone around. But halfway through our trip to Arches, I realized I had this mini flex tripod.
It came with my camera and I had never used it much but it is great. It's small and light, I just screwed it into the bottom of my camera and left it there for the rest of the trip. The flexible legs mean I can balance it on an unsteady rock or branch and unlike when I used to just put my camera on the car or a ledge, I can adjust the legs to tilt the camera upwards so we don't end up with pictures of our feet. Here is a picture I took using it...much better, don't ya think? You can't see up my nose but you still think we like each other.
As I said, I got mine with my camera but they aren't expensive at all. I could only find my exact one at this British website but B&H camera has a number of them, most for less than $20. This one looks particularly neat, and so colorful too.
Oh, and for those special shots when you want a real person to take the picture, try looking for another couple struggling with the same problem and offer to take their picture. Most of the time they will reciprocate afterwards.
Pictures for two. That's what works for me.
Craig just called. He flew back from the wedding yesterday but had to go straight from the airport to southern Utah to do some work today. He was supposed to be back tonight. But now the weather is bad and the helicopter they were supposed to use is broken and he won't be back till tonight. I'm grumpy and I want my husband back. The End.
I mentioned before that Craig and I are getting better at planning our trips. We are also getting better at cooking outdoors. We always make oatmeal for breakfast and have lunchmeat sandwiches for lunch, a treat as it is a departure from our typical pb&j lifestyle. But in the past our dinners have been pretty boring. This time we were more adventurous. We made scalloped potato foil packets and let them roast over some coals and we grilled pork chops. Before we left, I made up the marinade and kept it in an old jam jar and put the still frozen pork chops in the cooler. Then Saturday at lunch I took the now thawed (but still cold) pork chops and poured the marinade over it in a Tupperware container. By dinnertime they were ready for the grill. I was worried the marinade would make a mess but it didn't and it really helped the pork get all dried out on the grill. While we ate dinner we made a cobbler in the dutch oven using a cake mix, canned peaches and a can of sprite. We also figured out the calorie content while we waited and let's just say it was a good thing we hiked 7 miles that day.
The next morning we got up early, at our oatmeal and picked up camp then headed our for our last hike, Devil's Garden to Double O Arch. It was a bit chilly at first but we wanted to avoid people. Nothing ruins a nice view like people chattering away. You also have a better chance of seeing animals in the morning, like this little bunny.
The hike was paved and easy up until Landscape Arch (behind us),
after that it became "primitive." Sometimes when they say that, it just means a little rocky. This time they meant it, there was lots of climbing up and over rocks, and close to the end we had to walk on a fin (a fin is what the rock is called before the middle wears away, then it is called an arch). It was pretty narrow with drop offs on both sides and really windy. The wind blew my hat off even though my pony tail was through the back. I felt like Mario in that Mario 64 game when if you walk on the one side of the mountain, he gets blown to the side. Anyone remember that? Maybe it's just me.Here's Craig on the fin, where the rock slopes off it drops down really far. Scary. There were a number of arches on the hike, like this one which I don't remember the name of...
and this guy, one half of Partition Arch, which, surprisingly enough, is partitioned in half to form two arches. They are so creative with the arch names.
And unlike some of the other hikes you could really get up into them and explore. But the real joy of this hike wasn't the arch at the end, I mean Double O was okay, but nothing like delicate. The Delicate hike was a hard, boring hike to get to a really pretty arch. Devil's Garden was a hard but pretty hike to get to a boring arch. By the time I got there I though I was going to die but it was worth it for the view near the end.
And, as it always is, the hike back went by much faster and easier. Even so, after 1.5 days of hiking, 13+ miles in all, we were ready to return to civilization. And thus ended our Second Annual Big Spring Camping Trip.
Arches is just the type of park I like, it has lots of short hikes. That way I can follow my hike, rest, hike routine without making Craig stop all the time and wait for me. Although he doesn't mind stopping and smelling the
Plus the variety keeps me interested. We went on two or three hikes in the morning, the first of which was called "Park Avenue" because supposedly reminded people of NYC. I could kinda see it but personally, I wouldn't have come up with that name.By the middle of this hike, I could already tell that we were way ahead of schedule so we stopped and had some camera fun.Then we headed to Balanced Rock. This "hike" was so short I feel lame even calling it that. It was more like a nice stroll around a rock. But the rock was big and seemingly precariously perched so it was cool.Oh wait, that picture is boring. Here is one with Craig and the big rock.
Next we hiking "The Windows." It's other name is the spectacles...can you tell why?
I guess I'm in front of a lens in this picture. It was only a little after 11 but we were ready for a break. We are really improving our trip planning and this time instead of pushing through until we couldn't hike any longer, we stopped, set up camp, ate lunch and took naps. That way we rested when it was sunny and hot and we still had energy. We took another short hike and then headed up to the pièce de résistance of Arches - the Delicate Arch hike. For you non-Utahns, it's the arch that is on the Utah license plate.
This one was busy. Hiking early and late lets you avoid the masses most of the time, but this is one of the most popular hikes so even late in the afternoon there were people everywhere. And it killed me how unprepared some of them were. It is only 3 miles but a lot of it is slick rock, there is no shade, and quite a bit of elevation change. And there were people walking it in flip flops! Silly people.
You have already seen our best Delicate shot but we also had some fun up there before heading down again.
This post is already super long so you will have to wait till later to here about the rest of the trip, if you aren't already arched-out, that is.