Instant Pot Wars

Let’s Eat!!!!!

I am writing this from a low point. No seriously, I’m lying on the floor with my feet up on the couch to realign my back. But I am also writing from an emotional low. I had a kitchen fail. You know how it goes. You get a new appliance and you try to make something that you’ve always made a certain way.  You want to join the crowd and want to give it an A+ effort. I sat back and listened to 18 months of success stories. Tales of fantastic meals and mouthwatering pictures. In a midnight, peer pressured moment of weakness, I caved. I bought an instant pot. I am attracted to accessories. I love them. I think they are far better than the actual products they are intended to support. So when our mutual Amazon browsing event led us to oogling all the cool accessories, we were left with very few options.

So, while googling over all the different accessories for an instant pot, I obviously had to buy the actual pot in order to enjoy them. And buy the pot, I did! I bought the best; the biggest; and the most excessive pot available. It arrived and I made my first meal. I turned a family recipe that typically takes 8 to 10 hours into a 20-minute pot of deliciousness. Cranberry chicken, tender and plump rice, red sauce, chunky cranberries . . . it was amazing.

Obviously, I was hooked. However, that first meal requires a bit of a storytelling moment. You see, nobody told me that it was loud. Nobody told me that I would likely jump when it got loud. Nobody told me that I really needed to read the directions. So, when I operated the instant pot for the first time using the QuickStart guide it is completely acceptable that in the moment the steam escaped and made a loud hissing sound (much like a rattlesnake) I JUMPED. In my sudden moment of fear, I managed to slap myself … with a boob.  I forgot to mention one more missed warning I never received: nobody told me that my own body appendages would assault me during this cooking process.  Needless to say, I wear a bra when I use my instant pot now.

Moving onto my failure. The first meal was a success, so I went for the homerun. I gathered my ingredients and decided to tackle pot roast. If this magical pot can make my chicken tender and juicy in 20 minutes, then how could it not pressure cook my pot roast into submission? I measured my liquids. Seared my roast. Sliced my onions and gathered my potatoes. The layering was beautiful.  I learned about the “burn” warning and made sure I took the steps to prevent that disaster. After all this care, I proceeded to close the lid.  Sidebar . . .does everyone else look stupid when they close the lid? That’s just a general question.

25 minutes later I armed myself with body armor, flipped the steam valve and jumped back. I patiently waited for the first site of my masterpiece. I cracked the lid, the machine sang me a song, the smoke started to come out, and the smell took over. My roast was done.

Aaaaaaaaaannnd then I touched it. Not fall apart; not loosey-goosey; and definitely NOT my pot roast. “Do it again”, my evil spirit told me. “Cook it longer”, the spirit whispered. “How could it hurt”, the little devil said. So, I snatched broth for gravy, plucked my potatoes from the drought, sealed the capsule, and hit pressure cook. While my meat took soak #2, I prepared my sides.

Let me just tell you right now, it didn’t work out. I made some amazing potatoes. My gravy was on point. But the roast?  That piece of meat was dead to me. I’ve come to learn that no matter how many times you pressure cook a roast, if it didn’t come out right the first time, it probably won’t come out right the second time or even the fifth time. Failure.  I’ve been bested by an electronic. Crushed. Beaten down.  Decimated.  How can I go on trusting this thing

So now what do I do I’ve spent all this money I have this beautiful kitchen appliance and yet it smacked me in the face. Do I get back up? Do I go buy more roast? My old way was just fine. I like it it.  Slow cooking worked for me. Why do I need to change? Oh . . . the accessories.  I must press on.

I will stand up and I fight because, I have a dream. One day we will sit hand-in-hand eating a juicy fall apart roast.  And that satan machine will be the one to do it! I have a dream. But for now, I’m a failure. Press on, we must.

So, to all you instant pot lovers of the world and all of you other people sitting on the couch, reading this at work, or doing whatever it is you do with your day; take note, I will not back down. This is a lesson for everybody. Don’t let innovation beat you down. If you’re an android person don’t be afraid of the Apple. If you’re an Apple person, well, you’ve already won that battle.  And, if you are an Insta pot failure, join me as we forge ahead. Arm yourselves, it’s time to show this pot that it may have won the battle, but the war has only just begun.

Until we meat again Sir IP . . . until we meat again.                                      


A Review of “The Hate U Give”

I am often the LAST to watch a movie and offer an opinion. Thus, I give you my latest dribble regarding a movie that I sat and watched without falling asleep (fairly rare). Obviously, I will preface my official review with a bit of background. I am outspoken. I don’t put much weight in rather or not you agree with me. Instead, I place a significant amount of weight on rather or not you can discuss the issue with me. That being said, I’ve encountered law enforcement at all levels, from both sides of the cuffs. I am neither pro-assumed guilty or pro-law enforcement. What I am is reasonable, and able to step back and take a look at an issue from all perspectives. And sometimes, there will still remain a perspective and moment in time that I, nor anyone else but the individuals involved, will ever understand.

Here is a link to the trailer for the film if you haven’t seen it or need a refresher:

The breakdown: Star middle child in a group of 3 siblings living in a rough part of town. Her parents, one whose parents got out of that environment and the other who was raised in the thick of it, agree to send the children to a school in the suburbs. Star lives two lives, the private school life of proper English and behavior, and then another life that represents the streets and where she is from. Suddenly, these two lives are thrust together with the shooting of a childhood friend by a police officer during a routine traffic stop. The friend was unarmed, and had reached into the vehicle to grab his hair brush. He had been told by the officer to keep his hands on the hood and wait while he ran his license.

The shooting insights protest and people taking sides. Star attempts to balance her two lives while also coping with the sudden death of a friend and the crossroads of standing up or being sat down by the oppression around her and against her. In the end, Star realizes through great turmoil, loss, and revelation that she has a place and a purpose. That the uprising and protests are not about one single incident; they are about society as a whole. Her late friend quoted 2Pac moments before he was shot:

“Pac said Thug Life stood for ‘The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody’.” – Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give

I didn’t alter the language on purpose. It’s a direct quote and it really messed with me for a while until I did some research and applied it to life and the purpose of this film. Angie Thomas, the author of the book that lead to the movie, explained that when our younger generations are treated without care, they grow into a leading generation with even less care about the world and their surroundings. If we don’t rise up and raise children to understand more than one side of the story, they will grow to only live the side dictated to them.

This was a phenomenal movie. Watch it. Watch it with you kids. Watch it with your friends. Use this movie as a talking point for discussion about real life. What are we teaching our children? What is the point of our words? Our actions? These are the questions that began to rattle me last night as I lie in bed rehashing this movie. What is Angie Thomas trying to imprint on our society?

I truly believe you can not watch this movie without being affected. The screenwriters and original author take care to introduce both sides of the issue. Time and time again in our society we are seeing police involved shootings that result in violent riots, increased aggression, misunderstandings, vilification, distancing from the community and law enforcement, disconnect between family, friends, and co-workers, and mostly mass confusion on where we go from here.

I attempted to include a list of police officer involved shootings in the last 5 years. But my research led me to lists so long I’d have to employ a second web domain. The hard truth is that it happens everyday. Officers face deadly decisions EVERY DAY. If I put myself in their shoes, I couldn’t do it. Every time they flash their lights to pull over a car, hop out to check in with a suspicious person walking down the highway, or begin their beat in a notoriously rough neighborhood they put their lives, their families, their partners lives on the line with them. Ask yourself this: Are you perfect in your career? Nobody is. Sure, we expect perfection from others, but that doesn’t make it right.

Oh, I hear the noise, but they are supposed to protect us. Well, they actually do. But no one is perfect. Perception, angle, perceived threat, lack of training, lack of equipment are all factors in making a decision. The other factors we don’t hear or see are verbally combative, physically aggressive, disrespectful, non-compliant individuals that raise suspicion. See . . . their are two sides to every situation. We are only capable of seeing one side during the event, and sometimes its not the side that offers enough information to justify the actions.

I’d like to end with my favorite part of the film. The dad. This character has raised his children with the tenants of the Black Panthers. He does not do this to rise up a personal army of fighters, but instead to rise up a family based on how you react and how you allow your reactions to affect others. He goes even farther by realizing in himself and his children that everyone has a purpose, and for some it is to entertain, for others it is to educate, and for a select few, it is to shine. Star, the lead of the movie, takes the stage in the end with a single reminder for the masses. It is not about THIS. It is about everything. Use your voice. Be heard. But in the middle of the fight, don’t lose sight of what you want. A protest with no goal serves no purpose.

So, what are fighting for? I believe every action has a reaction. Where do we go from here? For me I will cry with and mourn loss. I will also support and encourage the men and women that protect my family from harm, even when their reaction, their decision in a split second, may not be the most popular or the “right” one. But it doesn’t have to destroy them.

Who will speak up?

Who will shine?

A Preamble to “Love”

I was having a discussion with my lovely 15yr old daughter the other day about love and relationships. She’s a teen, she’s around boys all day, and well . . . in this particular part of her life, she is quite normal. She has a crush. I don’t think any of my other kids ever admitted to a crush. I’d just assume and then promptly bust them out in front of all the girls in their lives. I took, and still do, great pride in that. But, lets stay on track.

First, have you ever tried to “define” love? It is not that easy. Especially when the response to every statement you make is “but, why”? Take a seat, grab a drink, and relax. My view on love and relationships will likely leave you more confused, possibly suffering a loss of brain cells, and definitely wondering what you could have been doing for the time it takes you to read and recuperate from ridiculous, but legit conversation in my home.

Let’s say I have a bowl. It’s my favorite bowl and I protect it. In my bowl goes only the best cereal. If you even attempt to dump your Wheaties in my bowl, we are gonna have a go around. That’s gross. My bowl is special, it deserves better. Wheaties are so basic and one dimensional in flavor. There’s no surprise in the experience. Well, that’s not entirely true. There is definitely a surprise in how long it takes the fiber to work its way from top to bottom and in what agonizing speed it will chose to exit. But that discussion is for a different day.

It took me a very long time to understand my bowl. Sometimes I get done with my morning “bowl v. Chenon” meeting and I will have clearly lost the battle. Other days I finish as the champion, no milk splatter, no soggy endings, really, it’s the start to a fantastic day. But that bowl, I’m telling you, it’s tricky. Out of nowhere it will get an attitude and just shut me down. It jumps out of my hand, dives off the counter, or refuses to take a bath in time for its next scheduled appearance. Where does this bowl get off? Is there bowl rehab? I should look into that. I mean, we’ve had a conversation. I made it clear that IKEA has not ended its family line and there can be a replacement. If not that, at least a needy cousin that will be a perfectly good stand in.

Even with these obvious issues, I do not think I could ever intentionally go against my bowl. It knows what it wants. It wants Reese Puffs, Marshmallow Matey’s, smores cereal, and generic frosted flakes. I don’t dare throw a curve ball and change it up. This bowl has survived a marriage, a divorce, 7 kids, reckless roommates, 5 moves, and yes . . . some pretty nasty butt licking pets. Sure, it throws a fit every now and then, but I know there is a mutual feeling. We support each other, we know, when everything else falls away, we can take care of each other.

Have you figured it out yet? I don’t think I can be any more basic than this. Ok, fine. I will spell it out for you. Your heart is your constant companion. Take care of it. Obviously it knows way more than you do. Look at its job!! Its literally keeping you alive. I guess you could come back at me with your life saving career skills, but lets face it. You are not as cool as a heart, or my bowl for that matter (ehhh, maybe that was a bit too far).

This brings me to my epic parental response when the kid asked what she should do about this crush and how she would know when she was in love. I’d like to note that, no, she has not spoken a word to this alien being of a male as of this conversation. So being in love is a bit of a stretch. I sat back, and figured the best solution to the inquiry would be to confuse the hell out of her and come back to this discussion in say, 10 years. Makes total sense, right? My heart, oops, my bowl agreed.

“Ashley, love is an enigma. It’s hard to catch, but when you do, take care of it. Also, it is entirely possible to love something today, and a year from now simply like it. You look confused? Hmm, let me try to explain that a little better. You’ll be wishin’, hopin’, and prayin’ for a better man. There will be days like this, and others will be like you got hit with a wrecking ball. Don’t act like you wear a halo. Keep your poker face in play, but not too long. If you don’t say hello, you might appear shallow. But don’t stop believing, you too will find slow hands and a guy from Austin. At the end of the day, he may say ‘marry me’ or he could say he has 99 problems and you aren’t one of them. A wise guy once said that if you sit on the dock by the bay, gravity will find you, and you will be unbreakable. If not unbreakable, you’ll at least find a slice of American pie and take a photograph”.

She walked away . . .

Day One

Today has started off like any other day. I slowly woke up and realized that
yes, it happened, I survived the night. With that melancholy awareness I
slid out of bed and elephant stomped my way through the frozen tundra (aka my bedroom). As I flung open the door to the amazon (aka my bathroom) I was hit in the face by the soothing sensation of a room kept warm and toasty just for me.

Why “Day One”? Well, because every day is day one for me. I make a
lot of self-promises and goals that typically have a “day one”. After
that, it’s hit or miss. I can’t think of many that have had a day five. No, I’m
not unmotivated or careless. I simply forget. Half way through my bowl of
cereal I remember that I’m eating a low-carb diet. 13.5 seconds after my
favorite DVR’d show begins I remember I promised we would make it to church today. And yes, oh yes, let’s not forget that as I climb in bed at the end of the day then, and only then, do I realize I was supposed to have joined a
conference call at 6pm. Alexa alerted me at 5:25pm; Siri yelled at me at
5:50pm; and then “60 Days In” beckoned me at 5:55pm.

Contrary to what you may be thinking, I actually like day one. Day one is
like a new beginning. I have purpose again, I have a goal, let’s GET IT! Today
I will finish my assignments for class before I mess with the blog and podcast
set up . . . oops. Never mind that, its day one, there is room for mistakes.

There is a minor hiccup. I haven’t totally decided what this day one is for.
Let’s just go with the obvious, its day one of you and I, and hopefully lots of
other people getting together for a few lines about absolutely nothing and
taking 29 min, or less to ponder the world we live in. So, lets ponder . . .

Who invented the snap? I mean the button and snap that serves as a tool to
keep your pants from falling. Who thought that up? A little research and I’ve
found that there’s a minor debate between Herbert Bauer of Germany and Bertel Sanders of Denmark.[i] This may seem like a topic that is a waste of time but think of all the moments you could have lost your pants. Graduation? Wedding? For me, a fateful day in the parking lot of Sam’s Club.  Let’s be honest, who wants to see THAT happen?

I remember the day well.  It was raining.  I hate rain. My glasses get spots on them, my hair goes crazy, and it makes flip flop wearing a bit messy.  Anyway, as I’m pushing my cart to the car, I realize I’ve got a nice breeze.  I didn’t even know we had wind today, but it was hot in the store, and well, it felt good. I slowed down to appreciate it and take it in.  I even tilted my head back to maybe catch a gentle spring breeze across my face.  Nothing.  Why is my nether region the only area getting a cool-down period?

I need to add that I often shop online. Occasionally wires and messages get crossed and I order or receive the wrong item.  At the time of my welcome
breezeway, I had recently received new undies (yay!).  But they were satin.  I’m not a fan.  I’m also no champion of the laundry process.  So, satin it is.  Let’s go back to that fateful afternoon.  Walking and wondering, I feel a shift.   The breeze is definitely centralized on my rear/crack region and I think I just heard my pants scuff on the ground when I took that last step.  Suddenly I realize my satin undies have done me dirty. There is no apparent breeze!  The only breeze gaining attention is the flapping of my butt cheeks in the wake of my procession to the vehicle.  The stupid bobsled undies have created the perfect environment for my jeans to work their way down my oversized behind and are now resting at the back of my thigh like I’ve just spent an extended stay on the southside of Chicago and began sagging my pants just to fit in.

Obviously, we have a problem.  I have now topped the hill in the parking lot and have begun the decent to my vehicle.  Problem 1: Do I grab my pants that are being held in place by the snap in front or do I act as though I still have no idea.  Problem 2: Do I maintain control of my cart that, without a two-handed effort will undoubtably take on a soapbox derby-esk lift off down the hill and into the front row of the movie theatre that rests at the bottom of the hill.  Bonus: if I let go of the cart and retrieve it later, maybe I can get some buttery popcorn.  Hmmm, decisions.

I decide for the wellbeing of the community to increase all arm strength and
one hand the cart which obviously has not been serviced because now I am going diagonally toward the wrong vehicle while attempting to slide/tug/hoist my pants back to a position that doesn’t show off my 18-inch bootie. Finally my butt was covered, I hadn’t hit the shiny Suburban with my cockeyed cart, and I was sitting in the driver’s seat of my car and eating a Zinger.  I earned it.

Service your snaps people.  They can save your life.  Or at least save the
eyes of those around you.  I’m certain there are roughly 5-6 people that have my behind etched in a forever damaged cortex of their brain.




[i]  CITATION Wik19 \l
1033 (Wikipedia, 2019)


 BIBLIOGRAPHY  \l 1033 Wikipedia. (2019, February 10). Snap Fastner.
Retrieved from Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia: