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Restaurant Review: Cilantro Mexican Grill

May 3, 2018

Y’all. Y’ALL. Moose and I have a new favorite Mexican restaurant. We liked it so much, we took Moose’s cousin the next night. And if they do even half of the things that the management talked to us about, they’re going to be well worth the drive into BCS just to try them out.

The restaurant itself is a tidy little spot just a couple streets over from the main drag, in the ever expanding revitalization of downtown Bryan. The decor is an interesting mix of old and new. Unfinished brick walls and faded black and white tile contrast with crisp guacamole green accent walls. The reclaimed wood bar has a sleek black counter. And while the chairs are pretty much the same style you would find at any mid-range restaurant, the seats are a funky paisley embossed vinyl in varying shades of the same avocado green. Even the music gets into the theme, swapping from Shakira to Salina with ease.

The warm red salsa brings back fond memories of a restaurant my family and I used to go to when I was in high school. Red pepper and tomato with an undertone of char which hints that one or the other (or both) have been roasted. Don’t let the cold salsa fool you, though. It’s the spicier of the two. There’s definitely some heavy jalapeno going on there and I would lay good money on other peppers as well.

The first night I had their beef short ribs and this was probably the worst dish I could have started with. It set the bar for everything else so high that I honestly had trouble fully appreciating the carnitas I got the second night. They arrived sizzling on a bed of onions and bell peppers and were coated in a delicious spice blend. They were so flavorful that I almost wanted to eat them alone. Fortunately, Moose convinced me to try them with the vegetables and the combination of that and the in house made corn tortillas was divine.

The second night I had the carnitas and I have never been happier to be disappointed that a dish wasn’t quite as good as its predecessor. I think if two dishes in a row had been that good, we’d be eating here for lunch, dinner, and the eventual promised breakfast until we were broke.

The guacamole needed just a touch more salt on the first night, but was perfect the second. Every subsequent trip has shown that the first night was the outlier in that experience.

The rice tastes like it is flavored with something like Goya Sazon, but with a tiny kick on the back of the tongue. The refried beans are okay, nothing terribly special to write about them. But the charro beans are the real star of the side dishes. The spice blend is deliciously complex, with a depth of flavor that puts them head and shoulders above every other charro beans I’ve ever eaten.

I’ve tried several other dishes since our first back to back trips and every single one of them has been delicious. It would hard to pick a single favorite. From the enchiladas filled with a delightfully spicy beef picadillo to the accidental beef fajita tacos al carbon (I’d ordered chicken and the beef looked too tasty to send back), every dish had been delicious.

But seriously? Try the short ribs.

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My Brain is an Asshole Today

March 10, 2018

My brain is an asshole today. Whether it’s PMS or Jerk Brain or not getting enough sunshine or sleep or whatever. My brain is an asshole. It’s telling me I’m a terrible mother, that I’m making stupid demands of Moose, that Moose is angry with me, that I’m not good enough.  For pretty much anything. Every choice I make will be wrong. Everything I do will fail.

It’s hard to function on days like today. Even the smallest of tasks seem overwhelming. On days like today, I lean heavily on Moose. Sometimes literally. And I try to remind myself that whatever the fuck is going on inside my head, it’s only temporary. Tomorrow or the next day or the one after… things will be better.

For now, there are small comforts. A bottle of Not Your Mom’s Apple Pie. Delivery Sushi. And watching Jessica Jones with my husband. Easy things, to take small comfort in. Until my brain stops being as asshole.

Things I Learned While Trying to Yahtzee My Chore Chart

February 18, 2018

This is my chore chart:

IMG_20180211_234217.jpg

It’s a sticky note in my planner that helps me keep track of the things I feel are most important to clean each day. I made it using this template, Google Sheets, and some not-Photoshop to make it fancy. This is not what my chore chart usually looks like at the end of the week.  At best, half the boxes have Xs. Or just a single slash to indicate that the chore was only partly finished. But this particular week, I decided I wanted to mark off every box on one day. Which I did easily on Monday. So I just kept going. And here’s some of the things I learned:

  1. Check boxes are really satisfying. Especially when it’s a physical box. Thus, the Chore Chart.
  2. The dishwasher doesn’t actually need to be run every single day. But it is useful to have the clean dishes unloaded so that dirty dishes can just go right into the dishwasher as they are used.
  3. Making the beds every day gets easier if they’re actually *made* every day. Then it’s more about just straightening the sheets and blankets than a full on re-make.
  4. I probably won’t need to do a load of laundry every day at some point in the future… But I probably should try to hit this one pretty hard for the foreseeable future.  There’s an awful lot of towels just kind of hanging out in the mud room.
  5. Folding Laundry shouldn’t get a full X unless the laundry is actually put away. Otherwise I just wind up refolding laundry when the kids start crawling all over it.
  6. Our floors seem to generate tiny bits of flotsam all on their own. It’s either that or the toddlers. And the cats. And the adults.
  7. The Daily 20 is probably the most important thing I can do each day. Thanks Unfuck Your Habitat!

And because someone asked about the Daily 20, here’s the gist:

  1. Set a timer for 20 minutes and pick part of a room to clean. Just the floor, or just the stove, or just the shower/toilet.
  2. Clean just that one area. When it’s clean, move on to something else. Keep the goals small, so that progress is immediately noticeable.
  3. It’s okay to get sidetracked, but if you stop cleaning, you have to pause the timer.
  4. None of the other chores on the chore chart can count towards the Daily 20. It has to be something extra.

Note that these are *my* rules for the Daily 20. If you decide you want to do your own Daily 20, you probably want to develop your own rules. Unfuck Your Habitat can be awesome in helping with that. Check out their book!

If Christian Rituals Were Treated Like Other Religions

December 20, 2017

Peace be with you! I am Sister Mary Beth Sapphira Jones! I am a fifth level devotee of the ancient rites of Catholicism. I am here to share with you the bounties of this beautiful and ancient religion which you, too, can learn!

CLASSES

Baptism: Baptism is an ancient cleansing ceremony which will bring you closer to the Christian Gods.  Usually reserved for Christian babies, this ceremony can be beneficial for adults, too! Wash away your negative energies and be filled with clean positive energies!

This class will teach you how to choose, honor, and use the tools for Baptism. You will receive hands on training in Baptising yourself and others!

Recommended Supplies:

Blessing bowl, “holy” water, extra virgin olive oil, frankincense oil, lavender oil, prayer (“rosary”) beads.

$125 for the class alone, $200 for the class with supplies included.

Eucharist: The Eucharist is a special prayer that can be said over your food to make it more holy. Some Christians reserve the Eucharist only for special occasions, but many of them pray over every meal! Make every meal a blessed meal and be filled with the holy spirit with every bite.

This class will be taught by an actual priest ordained by The Universal Life Church Ministries. He will show you how to bless your food, right in the comfort of your own home!

Recommended Supplies:

Communion Wafers (or bread), wine (red is preferred but white or even grape juice will do!)

$75 for the class alone, $100 for the class with supplies included.

NOW AVAILABLE!

GENUINE CHRISTIAN PRAYER BEADS – Hand crafted prayer or “rosary” beads made by an actual Irish woman! $50 per strand. Ask about our special blessing rates!

 

(Special thanks to Indrani and Romeo for the inspiration.)

Overthinking It, Cars Edition

December 6, 2017

There are several small cars shown which are clearly intended to be “kids.” And several cars who refer to other cars as “dad.” So how do baby cars get made?

In the first movie, a van passes Mac with a mattress strapped to its roof. Where is it going with that mattress? Who is going to sleep on it?

Mac says “Thank the Manufacturer” when Lightning McQueen is found. Do cars have religion? Do they worship Henry Ford?

The second movie talks about Doc Hudson’s death, but never how he died. There’s a scene where one character “drowns” and another which shows a character getting burned up by the Evil Plot Device. But multiple other characters are shot by the Evil Plot Device and are only incapacitated. It seems like most car parts can be replaced, so what exactly has to break in order for a car to die?

The second movie shows several monuments which were created well before our modern invention of cars. But they are built to the scale of cars, implying that these monuments were built by this society. What came before motorized cars? Anthropomorphic carts? Boats? Bikes?

Restaurant Review: Zaxby’s

November 25, 2017

In a town full of amazing fried chicken options, Zaxby’s is a resounding “Meh.”

Props to the chain for having their allergen information readily available. The website has a pretty thorough listing of the most common allergens and the restaurant itself had the allergy and allergens binder right being the counter for easy employee access. The restaurant we went to had one of the fancy Coke machines that has a whole slew of flavors.  It was also very clean. And while this isn’t going to be a negative review, that’s about the sum total of everything good I have to say about the place.

Zaxby’s is apparently intended to be a fast food wings joint. And the food certainly came out fast. So that’s another positive thing. But we were rather unimpressed by their wings. I got the BBQ wing sauce in the hopes of getting some decent barbeque flavor. The wing sauce managed to be both disappointingly bland and much too hot. I suspect it was relying almost entirely on some kind of capsaicin oil for impact. I wound up peeling the skin off of half my wings because I was still hungry and yet unable to stand the heat anymore. The flavor of the sauce simply wasn’t worth it.

Moose had the original sauce and also declared it kind of meh. Despite supposedly being a butter based sauce, the flavor and texture was barely there. He specifically described it as “thin.” The kids had the chicken fingers, which they apparently liked. I had a couple of bites and found them fairly dry. Moose also had a chocolate chip cookie milkshake and declared it “okay.”

If you’re looking for wings, go to Wings and More. If you’re looking for chicken fingers, go to Caine’s, Layne’s, or Chicken Express. If you’re just looking to play with one of the fancy Coke machines… Go to Fuddruckers.

Thankful for my Pain

November 21, 2017

Years ago, I wrote Squirrel’s Theory on Smoking With Asthma. For those who don’t feel like clicking the link, the theory basically goes that smokers who claim they aren’t having as many asthma attack just aren’t noticing the attacks because the percent change between their baseline breathing and an attack isn’t as noticable.

My fibromyalgia had been flaring up these past few days. It’s probably not the first time this has ever happened, but I think it is the first time I’ve ever noticed. Before, a flare up meant the difference between a stabbing chest pain once a day and a couple of stabbing chest pains a day.  It was all the same to me.

Now, though, a chest pain is an anomaly. The tingling pain when I rotate my wrist is unusual, not just something I register as part of my baseline. The aches and pains in my joints are a noticable annoyance rather than the background to my every day. And while I’m not feeling as well as I was last week, I’m still feeling far better than I did before starting the new medication.

So while I haven’t been feel well, I’m still better. These small pains remind me that things were so much worse. And I’m thankful every day for that.