Cheese Continues to Be The Answer. Also? Bacon.

My experimentation with items from Trader Joe’s continues to satisfy my every cheesy, gluten free, grain free need with this green bean casserole kicked up a few notches to five thousand & twenty on a scale of 1-100.

Let’s make it!

Preheat your oven to 400 & get out the following:

1/2 bag of cleaned & trimmed green beans

1/2 package of Just Chicken

4 oz bacon cheddar

That’s it!

Take an 8×8 roasting pan & layer the green beans, then the chicken, then crumble the cheese on top. Put in the middle rack of your 400 oven for 30 minutes & voila! Makes two servings adding up to the following nutritional benefits & 322 calories (per one serving):

 Some prep notes:

If you’re like me & have fibromyalgia, or some other neuromuscular thing like MS or what have you, or just have weak hands or are lazy, I don’t chop on bad days. Sometimes a knife is truly dangerous in my hands, & some days it’s like an artist’s brush. But today There Would Have Been Blood.

So the reason I spend a little more for fresh-yet-pre-cleaned green beans & Just Chicken (as opposed to chicken that isn’t already cooked) is so I don’t have to use a knife. I can tear it with my hands if I need it smaller. Or smoosh it, depending on my level of dexterity. Something to think about.

The most important thing is that this is amazing & has 9 net carbs. NINE. But it has no potassium, so figure that out somehow with your other foods.

Make it & post your mods below!

Cheese Is the Answer

Do you want this? Are you on a grain free diet? Behold! I will make your day with this thing I just improvised after a mad dash to Trader Joe’s, land of amazing cheeses.

Here’s the recipe (a bit over 500 calories a serving). Preheat an oven to 400 & then take from the cupboard & fridge:

-1 package chopped butternut squash

-1 can half salt albacore tuna

-2 tablespoons organic mayo

-1/8 tsp garlic powder

-black peppercorns in a grinder (or black pepper to taste)

-4oz carmelized onion cheddar

Tastiness assemble!

Open & drain the can of tuna, then dump into a bowl & stir in the mayo, garlic powder, & a few grinds of pepper.

Now dump the butternut squash into a roasting pan (I used an 8×8). You don’t need to grease! Spoon the tuna mixture over the squash, then crumble the cheese evenly over the top.

Pop this on the middle rack in your 400 oven & pull out after 30 minutes, then eat! Yum! 

This should feed two people (have a salad or something on the side) or one hungry person who hasn’t eaten much during the day (not recommended as this dish is heavy on the Vitamin A, which you must not over do).

Here is the nutrition profile for 1 generous serving:

Tell me what you think when you make this, & any mods you came up with, in the comments below! I never make a recipe without tweaking it, so I assume y’all also personalize. For example, Amelia might substitute chicken for tuna and heavy cream for mayo or she may just light the whole thing on fire & throw it in the trash.


  It happened again. I dreamt a thing & then a version of it happened the next day.

I dreamt I was still working at the hospital in Reno, but was stuck in traffic more indicative of Los Angeles than northern Nevada. I moved slowly forward & accidentally bumped a cop car in front of me. My dreams are very real, so I felt the bump (akin to hitting a curb gently when you parallel park) in addition to the adrenaline rush when the cop in the driver’s seat emerged with gun drawn.

I had my window down so I put my hands up & shouted out “Unintentional!” He approached me (very Reno, thick mustache & belly) with the gun still up but said “Good. Exactly the right way to behave.” He lowered the gun slightly & asked me to exit the vehicle.

The two plain clothes officers he was traveling with at this time went through my glove box for my paperwork & patted me down. Meanwhile I was explaining that it was Take Your Cat To Work Day & I was distracted by Neil’s yowling & I was very sorry & felt super stupid. 

One of the plain clothes emerged from the rear of the car with a carrier that contained the yowling Neil. “Take Your Cat to Work Day?”

I shrugged. “It’s not an intelligent department.”

The uni drove my car into the “station” (log cabin) conveniently located right next to the road (where the Hell’s Angel house is in actual Reno, if I remember correctly) & they detained me & asked me some questions while Neil chased some chickens around (even Reno doesn’t have chickens in the police department in reality).

I was apparently so charming & entertaining that they let me go.

Fast forward to my actual driving to work in the real, waking world. Not 500 meters from my house, in a line of abominable LA traffic, my car lurched forward ever so gently. It felt like the engine revved or knocked or something, so I looked for a light on the dash, looked to see if the gear slipped, turned off the radio & air to listen. Nothing.

Idiotically I started looking around the inside of the car to see what caused it, & then I saw my rear view mirror. I had since edged a little forward as the traffic had moved about a meter, and in the mirror was a white Prius, & in the white Prius was a slim young woman in huge sunglasses making wild gestures at her steering wheel. It was interesting enough that I watched her for a while before the light turned green & I was able to finally go. I noted that she was texting while also flailing.

It was about 5 minutes later I realized she had hit me, exactly with the same almost-nothing force that I hit the cop car in my dream. And I had let her go, not because her flail-texting behind the wheel was entertaining, but because I genuinely hadn’t figured out what happened.

When I got to work, I checked the bumper & she hadn’t damaged it at all. I did not notice any damage on her bumper when she was behind me. So that was the strange, short tale of the bump.
I say “again” because the last dream I posted here also came true-ish, in that I was lost in Pasadena (where Christopher lives) in a mall & the surrounding construction looked exactly like the Pirates of the Caribbean construction in the dream. I turned to my sister & said “I have intense déjà vu right now,” & then realized why.

And also because this has been happening to me since I was 9 or 10. But many of you already knew that.

Taking Offense

 A friend of mine from high school has posted a couple of thought provoking questions on his Facebook page this weekend. I’ll allow you a moment to swallow your disbelief that

A. Finding one’s high school friends on FB is ever a good thing &

B. That anyone posts thought provoking questions and they do not lead to nasty arguments.

I swear both are possible.

Anyhow, miracles aside (I do happen to befriend awesome people fo lyfe), I was forced to admit something to myself this morning that was honestly unrelated in any way to his questions. But the provocation of thoughts sometimes draws out other thoughts. Thoughts are fun like that; they multiply.

I am capable of taking offense.

“So?” you ask. “Who ain’t?” But, I protest, I so frequently tell people I’m never offended by anything. Yet the truth, if I’m super honest with myself, is that I’m actually offended by a ton of things, but I handle it differently. I will enumerate the process so people who cling to their offendedness can understand:

1. A statement is made that offends me, or I see something that offends me (a strapless wedding gown, a Toyota Corolla, a sweeping generalization meme, etc)

2. I choose not to react to it or dwell on it.

That’s it.

Were you expecting more? Offense is now a cottage industry. Nay, it seems a sprawling corporate industry where some genteel lamb of a creature reads a thing that seems sort of mean or whatever & then makes it his/her mission in life to

A. Have a really horrible day requiring endless analysis of the offense

B. Attempt to destroy the offender & everything he/she has ever loved.


This would be a real reason to freak out.

No effort is made to clarify the objectives of the alleged offender because it’s assumed the person is evil, a half breed, or a full breed, whichever is the opposite of the offended flower. No effort is made to calm down & get on with one’s life because that would end the wild & rollicking roller coaster of exciting offense emotions such as indignation, righteousness, having a mission outside of binging on Netflix, & having excuses to make poor food choices. Or whatever. I have no idea because being perpetually offended seems like a horrible time to me.

Yet I am, truly, not jokingly, offended by a great many things. I get offended by things that aren’t even leveled at me, because I find the level of intellectual dishonesty offensive. I am offended by how I see people I don’t know treat other people I don’t know. I am offended by the zeitgeist. I am offended by my well meaning friends. I am offended by the casual way people don’t care about each other or aren’t concerned about tragedies in other countries. Deeply, passionately offended. All the time. Every day. By the way people smell & make sounds with their mouths. By the way they drive. By how they talk to the bag boy. Everyone. Sometimes a few times an hour, if I’m online.

But I let it go. So many things are not worth fighting about. So many things can be addressed by modeling kind behaviour. So many people are utterly stuck in their behaviour patterns & are so sensitive about them that it’s not worth offending them back.

I used to say things. “That’s not true, though. Here, I found an article for you.” Or “Why do you think that?” That does actually yield results…1 out of 10 times. And that’s still pretty good. But now we’re all on social media, talking to each other passively or otherwise many times a day, & God never wired us to engage on such a level. I don’t even think Satan could have imagined the political meme, or the anonymous troll.

So sure, get offended. With so many anonymous opinions, we are bound to encounter something that makes us insane with rage online & in our increasingly less genteel world. But let it go. Unless someone’s behaviour is literally preventing you from getting on with your life, get on with your life. It’s more fun!

No Interpretation Feasible

Last night I was unceremoniously woken at 4:30AM by a vomiting cat. I had to pee so I got up & stepped in the vomit, which necessitated cleaning my feet & making it impossible to just drop back to sleep.

So I read a couple chapters of Harry Potter & The Methods of Rationality before falling back to sleep. This may have been an error in judgment. I usually read the prophets to sleep. Sorry, Isaiah.

My friend Christopher turned me on to this fan fic, which you know was no small undertaking because, well. Um. Cough. But this is Christopher. He knows things. Anyhow, I’m hooked.

Subsequently I dreamt that Christopher & I were visiting w/ his school friends. He is working on a PhD in physics in Los Angeles, but in the dream it was an undergrad in Engineering from UNR.  His friends lived in a part of town that was already  known to be enchanted, but thanks to overzealous Disney development had become possessed of evil spirits. 

It was an unholy mess. Disney was building a Pirates of the Caribean themed shopping center in Reno, which is the last place anything like that should happen, & also something like that should never happen. Ancient tortured souls now infested the shopping center. Christopher’s friends lived adjacent.

I drove over there with my actual real life roommate & Christopher, pointing out along the way all the times I had seen actual gnomes in this neighbourhood when I lived there, before Disney chased them all out. When we parked, I spotted a stone gnome & dragged Christopher over to a stand of trees to see that they were real. Christopher shrugged, said that there was probably a scientific explanation, & I patted the stone gnome on the head & told Christopher he was undoubtably right. Stone gnomes don’t talk, so the little guy smiled & went back to being a statue.

Christopher’s friends were two blonde girls who had both made foods Christopher & I can’t eat (him, nuts; me, celiac disease). They said that we were pussies if we didn’t at least try, but Christopher talked them out of it (& apologized to me out the side of his mouth). I mean it was a frigging nut cake, walnuts & wheat. My roommate made up for us by eating a bunch.

Christopher wanted to have a word with these girls, so he left me alone in the kitchen. My roommate went with him part way. I saw a leather bag on a chair & went to move it to sit down, but the second I touched it, it turned into Persephone, who has just died in real life, & I held her & sobbed & told her I missed her while stroking her. Christopher came out, saw I was crying, & asked what was wrong. I told her “She’s dead, but she came back for a minute to say goodbye properly. Don’t you see her?”

“Kellie, I’m sorry, but that is a purse.”

“No, it’s my cat,” I sobbed, but it did turn back into a purse, so I set it down. While I had been crying, I’d removed my glasses & now couldn’t find them. Christopher & I were looking for them, then saw my roommate had them in her hands. She said “Do you need these?” & then snapped them in half. We were shocked. His blonde friends came out cackling & said “Now you can never leave!” My roommate said she had a migraine but I could tell she wanted to stay with the blondes. I knew something was wrong so I shouted “Run!” & started running.

I was half way down a walk way/gang plank in the stupid shopping centre when I realized Christopher wasn’t behind me. A father & his kid told me “You’ve been sprinkled with poison. You need to rinse off,” so I wandered back looking for a shower. I ran into Christopher & he said, “I’m so sorry. My friends have become evil witches. I’m trying to talk sense into them.”

They were already closing around me, so I just tried to stand in the shower with my clothes on while they hovered over me with hands like claws. Then a little blonde angel boy appeared in an orb of white light & said “Don’t be afraid! They cannot hurt you now.”

The witches backed off & the little angel boy came closer to me. Then he turned into this guy:


The Simpsons’ social worker/black angel, Gabriel.

He then said “You and Christopher must vanquish this evil. Also you were black all along. Behold!”

And I looked down at my fingers & they started to go from my usual pallor to darker & I looked in the mirror & I was this girl from Bones

  & I turned to everyone & said “I knew I was black!” And my roommate handed me a Happy Meal & I said “I can’t eat this; I have celiac disease,” & the angel Gabriel said “Yes, you can, child. You’re black now.” So I shoveled that hamburger, bun & all, in my face while Christopher said “That doesn’t make any sense. African-Americans are also susceptible to the genetics of…” & then the alarm went off & I woke up.


The Long, Fluffy Life of Persephone Girl Cat

 If her birth is known to anyone, they haven’t shared that story with me or the shelter. I got Persephone when she was, by the SPCA vet’s estimate, 8 years old. Her tummy was shaved from having just been spayed.

I did not get her directly from a shelter. A coworker had adopted her from the SPCA where I volunteered. This coworker then decided she was too much trouble, so she asked me “Does the SPCA get annoyed if you take a cat back?” I asked what the problem was & she said “I’m not normally allergic to Siamese, but I’m allergic to this one.”

When I saw her, after coming by the coworker’s house, I said “Well, you don’t have a Siamese. That’s a Himalayan.” The coworker then admitted that it was more that the cat was a pain in the ass. “She wants to be pet all the time. She’s more like a dog. I wanted a cat cat.”

Well, I couldn’t let her take her back to the shelter. I asked my fiancé of the time if we could please please please please pretty please keep her, & he consented if he got to name her, even though we had just adopted a kitten (Baby Neil Cat) a little while ago & already had Martin Cat on top of him.

The shelter had named her Rena Jean. She was not a Rena Jean. My ex named her Persphone (after the chick from The Matrix Reloaded, not the Greek mythological character) & that suited her. So we took Persephone home.

Persephone was a pain in the ass. She had straight up reactive attachment disorder. She would attack me every time I walked by, not in a playful-kitten-hunting-game way, but in a pissy-mean-girls-in-junior-high way. She’d swipe at my ankles with her claws out, and when I’d admonish her, she’d act offended that I’d even noticed her bitchy behaviour. Ten minutes later, she’d leap up & try to steal food off your plate. Later, she’d snuggle on your lap & purr like a proper Himalayan.

It took a while to gently & lovingly break her of the reactive behaviours. I didn’t blame her, because she’d been rehomed so suddenly after months of shelter time. She gradually mellowed after I applied simple behavioural techniques (never reinforce behaviour you wish to cease) & became comfy & happy in the home my ex & I shared together. 

No regard for furniture’s true form.

She was not entirely happy, though. We steadily became a less happy house, & Martin & Baby Neil Cat, both male tuxedos, excluded her from cuddles either due to racism or sexism; I was never able to decide which. No matter, as Persephone was decidedly human-focused, & the acceptance of the other cats was not terribly important to her.

We also took in a very violent stray who made things very difficult for my chill & cheerful cats. Thankfully our neighbours fell in love with him & took him.

We also had foster kittens for a while. As they were unvaccinated strays, they had to be kept in a separate room away from my grown up cats, but Persephone would sit outside the kitten room & longingly yowl for them. If one ever escaped, she’d run after them & try to scruff them. I’m pretty sure she had a litter or two before she ended up at the shelter. She loved babies.

When I moved to Los Angeles, Neil had never been in the kitty stroller before. Persephone was a fan because my ex & I would take her out in it & she got to meet new people who would inevitably fall in love with her. 

Neil was placed in it right before I pulled the truck out of the driveway for the first time. He then proceeded to freak out, scream, piss himself, & yowl for 2 hours straight. 

Neil yowled going up the mountain. He yowled at the California agriculture inspection station. He yowled down the mountain into Sacramento.
A short while after Sacramento, Persephone had had it with Neil’s yowling. She went over to him (the carrier is big enough for 3 cats), sat on him, & began vigorously washing his face.

Neil calmed down. Persephone continued to sit on & wash Neil the next four hours of my drive (yes, I booked. And didn’t stop).

When we got to LA, the cat stroller was the first thing to come out. I had talked with my new room mate & set up all their amenities in my bathroom. I set out the litter box in the toilet alcove, the food & water in an area near the tub, & wheeled the stroller in once all was ready. I opened the carrier, left, & closed the door. Those of you with cats know you have to rehome them carefully, smallest room to bigger at a time, to avoid nerves & messes. Then my roommate & my friends Scott & Kim helped me move in my crap.

I didn’t open the bathroom door again until everyone was gone & it was time for bed. Neil had managed to get under the sink; Persephone was keen to join me, but not to explore yet.

My roommate & I left the house for a while the next day (I think to get our hurr did) & I came back to this:

Hint: they are lumps.

So it took a while for them to feel free to explore their new digs, but Persephone was the first to claim damn near everything, including the lap of her new roommate.

The rest of this is mostly going to be photos, because that is why the Internet was created. Cat photos.


Meeting a baby dragon for the first time.


I’m in a basket!


Happy kitty face.


The one time Neil wasn’t selfish & actually washed Persephone back.




Pretty little Monkey Duck Otter Sheep.


Pretty kitties.


She wasn’t shy about cuddling.


She wasn’t shy about anything.


Snuggle buddies.

She died of lymphoma at the age of 19 on April 29, 2015. I was with her at the vet when it happened. We tried to keep her alive with cortisol shots for a bit to support her breathing, but she just stopped doing things. Every breath seemed like a battle. Neil stared at her 24/7. She was way down a K hole when she went, so I finally got to hug her one last time.

My boyfriend liked to say “She’s a good cat.” I would always correct him, “She’s a terribly behaved cat. But she’s a good girl.” And she was. She wanted to meet everyone (except dogs, as I found out at St. Francis’ Day at church) & she wanted to get into everything. If I was not doing something to her exacting standards, she’d let me know with a series of pissy bleats. She liked ice in her water, the exact opposite litter as Neil, & if her bowl was down below the half way mark, she’d place her paw on my mouth to wake me. If I did not get up & had the audacity to close my eyes again, she’d punch me in the face.

She never once in her life retracted her claws. 

One night when my boyfriend visited, she spent the night patting him on the forehead randomly. He reinforced this behaviour by buying her a dress.

That she genuinely enjoyed wearing.

She would pick fights with Neil & be incensed when he defended himself. Typical girl. Always walked slowly, deliberately, looking you in the eye. She was cross eyed.

She legit watched the Kitten Bowl.

She inserted herself into everything and made messes.

  She was wonderful.

Someone wrote her name on the prayer list at Saint Thomas of Hollywood. It was not me; I wrote down three humans on that same day, but not my cat. Whomever did that, I’m pretty sure St. Francis clapped. Also I love you.

Musings On An Incomplete Data Set

For the past 3 nights, including this one, my upstairs neighbours have been conveying, I must imagine in all Christian charity, a herd of endangered invisible metal rhinoceroses from the alley outside my bedroom window, up the stair adjacent to my bedroom, to the room directly above my bed.

They are invisible because when I look out the window to yell something appropriately Christian & charitable, informing them for their own sake (of course) that it is past the time that the noise ordinance has gone into effect, there is nothing there. The angle of my bedroom window is not broad, so the sound occurs (& keeps occurring, for hours, starting at 10:30PM each night) out of my sight, & by the time they have herded this great invisible steel African ungulate up the stairs, I see nothing. To their credit, I am a little disabled & I can’t get out of bed very fast. But surely I would have seen something by now.

So I have formulated a theory as to what’s happening & why, as I am a Christian & cannot imagine that my neighbours are being jerks on purpose:

1a. My neighbours are from a time zone 12 hours ahead (or behind) PST, & believe themselves to be within the parameters of the noise ordinance or

1b. The herding of invisible endangered metal rhinos must be done under cover of darkness because

  • They are a clandestine government asset
  • The mob, somehow
  • Endangered metal rhinos are sensitive to sunlight

2. This activity needs to take place over the course of days, because they can only fit 3 invisible metal rhinos into their invisible truck at a time. So far, they have unloaded 9 rhinos. If this is a herd of a hundred, I may die of lack of sleep. But the rhinos must survive!

3. Obviously my upstairs neighbour’s room contains a quantum singularity through which endangered invisible metal rhinos can be conveyed to their protected new refuge on the moon.

4. The gravity of this work is so taxing that my neighbours must laugh & shout upon the stairwell to keep up their spirits. To deny them this would be unChristian & plunge the world into darkness.

I imagine the rhinos look like this, if you can see them with your very special Science Apparatus:


Very Important Endangered Metal Rhinoceros. From the moon.

It is my sincere wish that the rhinos make it safely to the moon in time & it is at that point I will finally sleep. It is my patriotic duty to Earth to allow this activity to continue unremarked by me to the invisible transporters, all of whom look like Jason Statham, but invisible, except the one who sounds like a rather lively lady.  

Update: My neighbours are pushing furniture out their window or balcony on to the alley below. I can’t tell which floor, but it’s at least one story up. After a particularly earth shattering boom, I looked out the window to see a guy gathering up pieces of shattered cabinet door into a sheet.

They have been doing this since Sunday night. Every. Night. Since. Sunday. Including my cat’s last night where she spent the entire time wheezing, hyperventilating, & coughing before she died.

I am trying to love my neighbour but it is hard.