People of Walmart

I had a people of Walmart experience this weekend in Charleston, As for Charleston itself, we didn’t see much of it.  The weather was pretty terrible Sunday.  It was way too windy, cold and rainy to do anything outside.   We did, however, have a most interesting adventure at Wal-Mart. Elizabeth and I decided to stop there on the way back from our coffee run, so we could grab some essentials.  As we parked I was telling her why I always avoid Wal-Mart.


This trip did not disappoint.  As we were checking other, we heard a commotion behind us.  Two women were screaming at each other at the top of their lungs. I got the feeling that it was over a guy, but they were so hard to understand.  Finally, the lady in line called out her foe for getting a fight while working.  Yes, one of the combatants was a Wal-Mart employee.

Once the facts of her employment are brought up, the employee ran behind Elizabeth and to the front of the store.  The employee tore of her vest and threw it before coming back for the customer.  Meanwhile, she’s screaming that “she’s not employed no more.”  Concurrently, the floor manager was running full board, while screaming call 911, to grab the employee before she made it back to the customer.  Honestly, it was scary.  The two women were completely off their rocker.

Needless to say, I’ll not be going back to Walmart anytime soon.  Although to be fair, there were people begging at the entrance to Target.  I’ve never seen that before.  I also had a man come up to me at the hotel multiple times asking me where the mall was located.  Spoiler alert, the mall was visible from the hotel parking lot.  It was so weird.  You would think he would have found the mall in his own after the first day.  After my most recent people of Walmart experience this weekend, I won’t be stepping in that store anytime soon.

Long Drive

It was a long drive back from South Carolina to Florida last night, but we made it home safely. Fortunately, our drive was a happy one. The Mayor and his team won the championship Monday morning. Excitingly, the Mayor had a hat-trick in the championship game. He was on fire, to put it mildly. Speaking of fire, his goalies had an awesome weekend and earned the team the number one seed.

The problem with most tournaments is that the skill level in the brackets is all over the place. There’s usually a team that gets blown out every game and a team that blows everyone else out. Thankfully, this was not the case this weekend. There was a lot of parity in the U16 bracket. In fact, at the end of the round robin all four teams were tied in points. We had the lowest goals allowed, so we got the number one seed.

After the game we headed back to the hotel, so the Mayor could shower before we started our drive. Obviously, we didn’t want to hit the road with a stinky hockey player. Once he showered, we headed to Ihop for a quick lunch. Ihop definitely hit the spot. We finally hit the road just before 2:00 pm. As we headed out of Charleston, I uploaded and edited the pictures I had taken over the weekend. Thanks to my hotspot, I was able to upload the pics to Shutterfly and share with the team before we left South Carolina.

The drive home was pretty uneventful except for a major accident of the north side I95 in Georgia. Traffic on the southbound side didn’t slow too much despite the helicopter landing on the other side of the interstate. Its never gold to see the helicopter. Hopefully, everyone involved will be okay.

We broke up our long drive with a stop at Buc-ees in St. Augustine. For the uninitiated, Buc-ees is a chain of gas stations and convenience stores that are very large in scale. The chain is from Texas and it lives up to the reputation that everything is bigger in Texas. At the Saint Augustine location, there are 104 had pumps. The amount of food, drinks and random things sold at the store was overwhelming. However, I would highly recommend the chopped brisket sandwich. It was really good.

Road Trip

We left the house this morning for a road trip up to Charleston via Savannah, Georgia. Originally, we had intended to drive all the way through to Charleston, but the Mayor’s first game isn’t until late Saturday night. Consequently, we thought we’d take the opportunity to spend a day in Savannah. It took a little bit longer than I had hoped to get out of the house this morning. I definitely was not moving very quickly, nor was the hubby. We finally got on our way at 10:30 this morning. The trip is arduous and long, but the drive up I-95 is literally pretty straightforward. While the 95 is a pretty easy drive, it is as boring or even more boring than it is easy to drive. There’s just nothing interesting to look at.

We made brief stops in New Smyrna and Ormond Beach for gas and Chic-Fil-A. I usually love their grilled chicken sandwich, but I wasn’t feeling it today. Fortunately, the french fries I split with the Mayor were very good. The two stops pushed back out ETA for nearly an hour. Thankfully, as we got closer to the larger metropolitan areas off of I-95 the traffics jams lessened and we made up some time. We finally got into Savannah around 5:00 pm. Tonight we’re staying in an AirBnB, which is my preference when traveling, in historic downtown Savannah. It’s a cute two-floor apartment in an older building on a busy Savannah street. Honestly, it’s just perfect.

I prefer AirBnBs to hotels because you have a lot more room to move around. If you’re traveling with your family, a hotel room is way too cramped. Also, I like being able to keep eating meals when on the road. If you’re in a traditional hotel, you can’t cook your meals. This helps save money and ensures the diet doesn’t go too far off the rails. We’ll be staying in a hotel once we get to Charleston because we don’t have any other option. This tournament is a stay-to-play tournament, so we must stay where the tournament directors put us. Honestly, it’s one of the most annoying aspects of youth sports. I hate spending $50 more a night for a room, so the rink and tournament director can get a kickback. Moreover, not only are the hotels overpriced, they’re not always high quality.

Day one of the road trip has been a success. We ate dinner at a cute restaurant off Broughton St in downtown. Before dinner, we walked downtown and down to the river. The riverside was absolutely stunning. It’s a super cute area lined with shops, bars, restaurants, and hotels. The famous Savannah City Market is there too. I wanted to stop and buy some chocolate but the Mayor was hungry. Since the Mayor turns into a monster when hungry, my mission to get chocolate was quickly and sadly aborted. Needless to say, I’ll be walking down that way tomorrow morning before we head north to Charleston.

Perfect Day

So today’s theme for bloganury is perfect day. How fitting that yesterday suck and today was a much better day. Was it perfect now? But on the whole it was significantly better than yesterday. In fact, even the puppies were on board for a better day. To be fair, however, they did lose their morning front yard privileges. Their morning and afternoon trips outside were relegated to the backyard, which apparently is not as interesting.

At work, things were much better as well. It wasn’t the knockout days I’d come accustomed to during AEP, but it was good. Goalielocks was able to go back to school after staying home the last few days with the flu. Tamiflu is definitely a wonder drug. It knocked out the worst of his symptoms pretty quickly. We kept him home until he had been without a fever for 24 consecutive hours. Yesterday would have been just short of the requisite 24 hours, so he stayed home.

Since the new year started, my ability to wake up early and workout had disappeared. Consequently, I ran two miles and walked a mile over my lunch. It’s actually a really nice way to breakup the workday and collect my sanity. Moreover, a good run always helps improve my energy and erase any negativity from the morning. The puppies would love for me to run outside, but the impact is just too much for me at this time. Hopefully, once I get back from Charleston, I can get back into my early morning habit.

Today may not have been the perfect day, but it was a great day! The highlight, of course, was talking to Jake. He looked and sounded really good today. In fact, he didn’t look as tired as usual. Thankfully, work and school continue to go really well for him. I just love getting the call from him and seeing how good he looks and sounds. It definitely puts this mom’s mind at ease.

One of those days

Today was one of those days that makes you want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over your head. It started off with the puppies simultaneously trying to separate my shoulders and tearing my sandal while trying to greet the neighbor’s dog. Anakin was no better the second time we went out. This time it was over a bird. Needless to say, my sales assistants were not on their best behavior this morning.

As much fun as I had with the dogs this morning, the leads at work were even worse. Now I can’t complain too much as the leads have been pretty good lately. Nonetheless, they were pure and utter shit today. There’s nothing I love more than talking to someone who wants every type of insurance except dental and vision. I did manage to have a semi-respectable day, but was super happy when 6:00 rolled around.

On a high note, the dumbbell set I ordered in late November finally arrived today. This was the second attempt to deliver the product. Unfortunately, the first dumbbell set they sent is still floating around the FedEx facility in West Palm. At any rate, I’m just happy that we finally got the last Christmas present delivered. Honestly, I cannot wait until things go back to normal. Anyway, while today was one of those days, I’m look forwarding to a better tomorrow.

Panthers

The Florida Panthers are so fun to watch this year. In the sixteen years since we’ve been here, they’ve never been better. I was worried when Coach Q got fired that the wheels were gonna fall off, but they haven’t. In fact, interim head coach Andrew Burnette, one of my favorite MN Wild players, had done a fabulous job since taking over the reigns. In fact, he was just named as one of the head coaches for the NHL all star game. Hopefully, Viola and company will do the right thing and make him the permanent head coach.

As I started this blog, with writer’s block, Barkov scored a beauty of a short handed goal. The Panthers now have a commanding 5-1 lead over the Canucks heading into the third period. This team is just so good. Huberdeau is so good and deserves so much more recognition than he is given. He’s has multiple games over the last month with more than four points. I love the way he plays. Duclair, Gudas, Ekblad and company are so good. I hope this is their year because this squad is good.

This evening started with the Mayor’s hockey practice. For the first time in a long time, it was cold in the rink. Naturally, the cold rain and standing water in the parking lot didn’t help the situation. Thankfully, it’s always a good time at the with our Hawks 16u family. Now we’re back home enjoying the comfort of the couch and a nice warm blanket as we take in the Panther’s game.

Swiss Cake Roll

I have loved Swiss cake rolls since elementary school, but I never thought of baking my own. After all, Little Debbie did a hell of a job with the tasty treat. And then I saw them bake a Swiss cake roll on the Great British Bakeoff. Consequently, I knew I had to give it a try. Yesterday I baked one for the first time and it was delicious, so I thought I’d share the recipe tonight.

Swiss Cake Roll

Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 10-12 minutes
Rest time: 3:5- 4:00 hours
Total Time: 4-4.75 hours

Tools needed:

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder plus ¼ cup for rolling
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt

For the filling:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Instructions:

For the cake:

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Line a standard 11”x17” jelly-roll pan (rimmed baking sheet) with parchment paper; spray paper generously with nonstick baking spray. Do not skip the nonstick baking spray. Set pan aside.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and vanilla together on high speed for 4-5 minutes, or until mixture turns foamy and lemon yellow in color.
  • Add sugar to the bowl in (3) separate ¼-cup additions, mixing for 1 full minute after each addition.
  • Add oil and mix until well combined.
  • In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Fold flour mixture into the egg mixture until just combined.
  • Pour batter into prepared baking pan. (Tip: Spread batter evenly to edges using an offset spatula.) Tap pan on counter several times to remove air bubbles.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cake springs back when touched in center. While cake is baking, lay a large, thin kitchen cloth on counter. Sprinkle cocoa powder generously on top of cloth.
  • Once baked, immediately flip hot cake out onto the cocoa-dusted cloth. Remove and discard parchment paper. Starting with a short end of the cake, roll up cake (and cloth). Let rolled cake cool completely (2 hours) before continuing.

For the filling:

  • Using a medium mixing bowl, add whipping cream, sugar and vanilla extract. Beat with an electric mixer for 3-4 minutes, or until stiff peaks form.
  • Carefully unroll cake and spread frosting evenly on top of cake. (Tip: Make sure to frost all the way to the edges.) Roll cake back up (this time without the towel). Wrap cake roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

For the glaze:

  • Remove the plastic wrap from the cake and place on a cooling rack set over a sheet pan.
  • Using a medium microwaveable bowl, add chocolate chips and whipping cream. Microwave in 20 seconds intervals, stirring after each round, until mixture is smooth.
  • Let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes, or until mixture has thickened slightly but is still pourable.
  • Pour chocolate glaze evenly on top, spreading evenly over entire cake.
  • Refrigerate cake for 30 minutes to allow glaze to set before slicing.

Notes:

  • If you like mint, you could substitute mint extract for the vanilla extract in the filling
  • You can add sliced strawberries or raspberries on top of the filling for added flavor
  • Cooling time may very based on your climate. The times in this recipe are based on the South Florida climate.

Sunrise

The hubby and I started our day with a trip to the beach to see the sunrise. While the weather didn’t cooperate fully, it was beautiful to watch the sky and water change as the sun came up. We got there just before 6:30 and were taken aback by the number of people already there. Consequently, the surf was unusually high for South Florida, so the surfers were there to take advantage of the nice waves.

It’s always nice to taken in the salty air of the beach. My sinuses always feel better after spending time near the water. Hopefully, next time the weather will cooperate, so we can see the sunrise fully. Nonetheless, it was the perfect way to start our day. Afterwards, we just chilled on the couch with the puppies.

Originally, I had a lunch date with my friend Terri, but had to cancel since Goalielocks had been sick. Fortunately, he does not have Covid. Unfortunately, he does have the flu. Thankfully, we caught it super early and he hasn’t been around the rest of us since Wednesday. Last time he had the flu, we caught it late and had all been exposed. Thank God this time he’s on Tamiflu and is self sufficient. Like last time, he had the flu vaccine, which should lessen the severity of his illness.

This afternoon I channeled my inner baker, thank you Great British Bake-off, and made a Swiss cake roll. It was relatively easy to make, but there are a couple of adjustments I’ll make for the next time. First, the pan has to be 11X17. Secondly, when I roll it with the tea towel, I’ll not wrap it up in the tea towel. This should allow for a tighter wrap.

While I was waiting for the cake roll to cool, I made some pickled vegetables. I’ve developed a taste for pickled vegetables. Naturally, this works well since it’s minimal calories, yet satiating. This time I used cauliflower, orange pepper, carrots, onions, garlic and dill. I made a quick pickle recipe, so I didn’t have to boil the jars or anything. Once I’ve tried them, I’lll share the recipe here (only if it turns out good.)

Friday Night Poetry

It’s Friday night, so it’s time for some beautiful and inspiring Friday night poetry. Tonight’s poem “Invictus” was written by William Ernest Henley.

Friday Night Poetry

“Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be. For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance.
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
  Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
 I am the captain of my soul.”

—”Invictus,” by William Ernest Henley

I hope you enjoyed this week’s installment of Friday night poetry. I for on am thrilled have made it to the weekend.

Sleepy Puppies

I’ve got two sleepy puppies. They’ve had a very busy day of destroying the tennis ball toy they got for Christmas. Also, as my sales assistants, I keep them busy with work all day long. It’s tough to lay down and watch mom work all day. If I wanted to wake them up, I could say the magic word “out” and they’d run to the door. I could also open a bag a shredded cheese and they would run to the fridge. Those sleepy puppies are silly.

I’m glad it’s almost Friday even if work has been good this week. Of course, the best part of my week is Jake’s weekly call home. He looked and sounded great. I can’t wait until we can see him again! Sadly, I have no idea when we’ll be able to fly out and visit him again. I am hoping, however that we can make it out to Utah for the big air show on base.

I received word this morning that one of my former employees has been missing since November. Shenika is one of the kindest most loving people in this world. Please share the above flyer wide and far. We need to bring her home safely. As the search goes on, please pray for her safety and for strength for her friends and family looking for her.