a99kitten’s Musings

I blog about a WHOLE LOT of stuff :)

OK, on this Sunday morning the con is not officially over but basically over for me. I’ve been in my hotel room in bed sick since Saturday AM. I don’t think I’ve been sick in like..3 years so naturally I get it while at Comic Con. NOOOOOOOOO!! Seriously sick, like it hurt to get out of bed to get water sick.

BUT…my trip/Con from Tuesday – Friday was AMAZING! And really I mean Friday was AMAZING! Sat in line from noon Thursday till about 10pm to get wristbands for Friday’s Hall H. My con partner, Sonya, and I were in line Thursday for The Last Ship panel around 11:15am. And we looked at each other at the same time and said “I think we should get in line now for Hall H.” We had planned on getting in line right after The Last Ship panel but we both had this feeling. So we got out of line and went down there. The line seemed to be about 500-750 people. Now more people would joining all of those people but we felt secure in not being 6500 people before us.

Sat in the sun all day long and waited. Made new friends in line :) Around 7pm, the line got quite hectic (and the twitter drama following it all!) as there were line cutters and security had to be called and, once again, SDCC was unprepared to handle these issues. So we were starting to get stressed that we wouldn’t actually make it in. But we did – got B wristbands and we were allowed to leave the line and sleep in our rooms and shower (I *really* wish everyone would take advantage of that…)

Got back in line at 6am and waited some more. Got to see some line cutters get removed from the line – that was fun! We all yelled SHAME at them as they were escorted past us. LoL.

Anyway – got in and saw everything I love: The Walking Dead panel (OMG trailer for season 6 is INTENSE!) and Game of Thrones panel (quite obvious they went out of their way to avoid the Is Jon Really Dead question.) Plus a panel for Fear the Walking Dead which looks GREAT! The Entertainment Weekly panel after GoT was full of hero hotties who were hysterical!!! :) And then STAR WARS!

Obviously happy to see everyone but let’s be real – I was out of my mind to see Harrison Ford! :) SQUEEEEEEEEE!!!! I had just seen the rest of the cast at Star Wars Celebration in April but no Mr Ford (who was still recovering from his plane crash.) The place was bonkers when he came out. Bonkers.

And THEN after the panel we got treated to a special Hall H attendee only Star Wars concert with fireworks! We all walked from Hall H to the San Diego Symphony music center down on the water. Mark Hamill drove by us and was talking to fans and waving. Daisy Ridley did the same and was high-fiving as they drove by.

We got light sabers and the music was played to footage (the previous 6 movies, not new footage) and the fireworks display was FANTASTIC. And everyone there loves Star Wars and the energy was just awesome.

My throat had been dry all day but I assumed it was just because I was so exhausted. But when I woke up Saturday AM to try and get ready for the day – I could barely move. Getting out of bed for water hurt. And my throat was on fire. So I’d like to thank whoever came to SDCC fully infected with sickness. I hope you still feel sick for weeks.

As sad as it made me to not get out there on Saturday, I knew I a) felt too horrible and b) didn’t want to be that person who was germy everywhere. I missed out on a lot but 99% of my excitement for this year’s con was for Star Wars. So I got my fill and more. Best Con Day Ever – Friday 7/10/15.

You can see the panel here:

You can see the Behind the Scene footage here:

And then ME in a video down by Verizon (for Facebook). In the same vide as Harrison Ford – ARGH!!!! (I’m about 35 seconds in waving with my Chewie backpack on :) :) :) ) This was Thursday night while we were in line for wristbands to Hall H…for Friday…

Check out what #StarWars brought to #SDCC2015. We’re excited for December 18th!

Posted by Verizon Wireless on Saturday, July 11, 2015

I took a bazillion pics but these are a few of my favorites:

The Legacy trio!

The Legacy trio!

I love you. I know. :)

I love you. I know. :)

Star Wars panel 3

Star Wars panel 4

Interesting article regarding a new book coming (a whole book?!?) out about the beanie baby craze. Pretty interesting. Basically the book is saying the beanie craze was manufactured by some crazy women it seems….I wonder if the book has pics of them. I know how I mentally picture them. But I would add that it really helped propel eBay as well.


And yes…I have some. Big surprise. I can remember hitting up Hallmark stores or small gift shops in search of new cute ones or rare ones. And constantly searching eBay. This is also when I first learned, from an Australian friend who saw TONS of fake beanies being sold on the streets in China, how they were made at a factory (in China) and some of the “rejects” that did not pass QC were then “thrown out” which actually meant employees took them and sold them on eBay as variants and rare for big $$$$. I learned how to look for the errors in the TY tags (the Chinese always seem to mess up the English in everything they steal/copy.)

This is what instilled in me *Caveat Emptor* of ANYTHING bought on eBay (or from China.) But there are people who pay $25 for a Prada purse from a street vendor who actually think they just got a good deal on a designer bag. I am assuming these are also the people who respond to the Nigerian Prince…

I can remember going to McDonald’s to get happy meals for the teenie beanies. I’d go to the one at Stanford Shipping Center in Palo Alto – do NOT get in the way of wealthy soccer moms attempting to get toys for their screaming kids!! And do recall people ordering the Happy Meals and telling the cashiers to keep the food (ummm…give me those fries!) It was definitely nutz.

My beanies are currently all (EXCEPT the 2 husky beanies which are on my bedroom dresser) stored away in 2 containers in my garage. But I can honestly say I never paid more than $50 and that was just for 1 on eBay – the Princess Diana bear. When I moved a couple years back, I considered donating them but I just couldn’t make myself give them up. They are too cute.

So when I start to worry I collect too much Star Wars stuff, or Funko POPs, or anything else…I can re-read this :) I might actually get this book. Cannot argue the guy was a genius. And he owns the Four Season in NYC?!?!? From crazed women (mostly I am sure) buying stuffed toys. That is fantabulous.

Just watched tonight’s episode of Big Bang Theory. Wow. You caught me off guard guys. I’m still sniffling.

I hate to admit that I had kind of forgotten that the actress died. And when Howard mentioned his Mom, I thought to myself right then “oh, that’s how they will deal with it. Have her away, etc. She didn’t appear on the show so maybe even find another voice.” Yes. I thought it during tonight’s episode. It’s Hollywood. They do that.

Then Mrs. Wolowitz died. And I got instantly sad. The actors did a great job of being very sad and remaining in character.

When Sheldon said “When I lost my own father, I didn’t have any friends to help me through it. You do.”, it made me cry and smile at the same time. When my brother died, my friends are the ones who got me through it.

Them. And Big Bang Theory. I watched repeats every single night for several months. It was the only thing I could watch without getting sad. The only thing besides my huskies that could make me smile at all.

That was a great episode tonight.

Now I need to go get all this dust out of my eyes.

RIP Carol Ann Susi AKA Mrs. Wolowitz #fuckcancer

I found this recipe in a Williams Sonoma catalog (catalogs ARE good for something!) and it’s actually what made me want to buy the Paderno Spiralizer. I changed the recipe a bit from the original for my taste:

2 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (plus extra for topping)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup packed basil leaves
1/2 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup packed mint leaves
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 lb. medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
4 zucchini – spiralized!
1/4 cup pine nuts

To make the pesto, combine the garlic, almonds, Parmesan, 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a food processor and pulse until the almonds are finely ground. Add the basil, parsley, mint, 3/4 cup olive oil and the lemon juice; process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl.

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in small pan and brown the pine nuts. Remove from heat after browned so they don’t burn. Then add to pesto when stirring in with the noodles.

Preheat a pan over medium-high heat until smoking. In a bowl, toss the shrimp with the 1 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp to the pan and sauté until just cooked through, about 5 mins. Transfer to a plate.

Toss the zucchini noodles with the pesto (not all at the same time) until evenly coated. Divide the zucchini among 4 bowls and arrange the shrimp on top. Drizzle more pesto on the shrimp and sprinkle with parmesan. Serve immediately.

This was SO delicious. Actually better than I expected. Will definitely make again! And honestly, it didn’t take that long which I like :)

It was supposed to be cold, rainy and (hopefully) snowy over the weekend so I thought a good time to make some meat sauce and try over zucchini noodles using my new toy!


2 pounds ground beef – I used organic, grass fed 85/15%
1 shallot, finely diced (I used my food processor)
1/4 cup minced garlic
4 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 (14 ounce) cans tomato sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
1 tablespoon dried Italian herb seasoning
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and stir in ground beef, shallot, and garlic. Cook and stir until the meat is crumbly, evenly browned, and no longer pink, about 15 minutes.

2. Transfer the meat to the slow cooker. Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, chicken broth, red wine, Italian seasoning, basil, salt, and black pepper.

3. cook on low for 8 hours.


Obviously you can use real pasta (mmmmmm) but I wanted to try zucchini noodles! SUPER EASY! First step – bought the Paderno Spiralizer 3-Blade from Williams Sonoma. Sure, sure…you can slice them manually but I know that I won’t do that and like kitchen tools :)

Once you have spiralized the zucchinis (2) heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet and cook/stir in the noodles so they are all coated in the oil. Then add in about 1/4 cup of water and cook until the zucchini is softened, about 8-10 mins or so. Season with a bit of salt and pepper as you stir occasionally.  You want the water soaked up by the noodles.

Then pour some sauce over your noodles and sprinkle some parmesan over it and YUM!

I haven’t made homemade mac and cheese in a very long time so I decided it was time! I found this recipe a few years ago in the Macaroni & Cheese cookbook put together by Joan Schwartz (easily obtained on Amazon!) I like this one because it has some spice!


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups salsa – I used Frontera (Rick Bayless) Chipotle salsa
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt
  • 1 lb dried pasta (I used elbow macaroni but can also try cork-screw cavatappi or the spiral rotini or fusilli)


Pour 4 quarts of water into a large pot, cover and set over high heat.

In a medium-size saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, then stir in the flour and whisk until the mixture turns a deep golden, about 2 minutes.

In a small saucepan over medium heat (or in a glass measuring cup or bowl in the microwave), warm milk for about 1 minute.

Add the warm milk and continue to whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and comes to a full boil, 4 or 5 minutes. (Whisk diligently and there will be no lumps.) Stir in the salsa, remove from the heat, then stir in cheese. Continue stirring until all the cheese has melted. Taste and season generously with salt, usually 1 1/2 teaspoons. Cover to keep warm until the pasta is done.

When the water has come to a boil, add the dried pasta. Stir well to keep the pasta from sticking together and boil until the pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain thoroughly and add the pasta to the sauce. Stir until all the pasta is covered in the salsa cheese sauce.

You can eat it this way. But I decided to put the mac and cheese in a baking dish and top with some fried onions (or buttery bread crumbs could work as well) and bake in a preheated 375 oven for 10-15 minutes, until browned and crisp on top.




I love Buffalo Chicken Wings (prefer boneless though.) I love Buffalo chicken pretty much anything. I hate when people call anything spicy “Buffalo” but whatever. Use Frank’s and you are pretty good :)

2 (10 ounce) cans chicken breast
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot original cayenne pepper sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup ranch dressing
1/4 cup Greek yogurt (Fage)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place cream cheese in a medium bowl and stir until smooth. Mix in Frank’s Red Hot, mozzarella cheese, ranch dressing, and yogurt. Stir in chicken until thoroughly combined. Spoon mixture evenly into a deep 8-inch by 8-inch baking dish.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until mixture is heated through. I serve with pita chips and sliced cucumbers (also carrots and celery but yuck.) :)



TOTAL last minute party. Decided on some favorites of mine that would also be kind of easy to make Sunday AM. #1 is a dip I had at a cooking class called Bubbles and Bites. It was actually already made when we arrived for the class (so I’ve never tried making it) and we got the recipe to try at home. I did change it a bit for me (noted). This is my first time not just using Lipton for my sour cream dip!

Caramelized Shallot and Bacon Dip aka A More Time Consuming Onion Dip So You Can Feel Better About Not Using A Processed Packet (that is still delicious, don’t get me wrong) :)



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (original recipe is for vegetable oil)
  • 1 cup chopped shallots (original recipe called for 1.5 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt(I added this)
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 5 strips thick sliced, cooked bacon, crumbled (make sure cooled before stirring in) (original recipe is for 4 but MOAR BACON)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (original recipe is for 3/4 cup)
  •  1 cup sour cream (original recipe called for 3/4 cup)


  • Heat a large skillet over low-medium heat. Add the olive oil. When it shimmers, add the shallots, cover and cook for 10 minutes and then add balsamic vinegar and salt. Continue to cook (covered) until the shallots are deep golden brown in color, stirring to make sure not burning, about 20 minutes or so. Let cool.
  • Whisk together the mayonnaise and sour cream in a medium bowl to blend. Add shallots and bacon. Season dip to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Cover dip and refrigerate until flavors blend, about 2 hours, or even overnight (I did mine early in the AM of Superbowl Sunday.)
  • Serve with thick potato chips (YAY!) or veggies (for that 1 weird healthy-eating person at every SB party.)



    It’s been 1 year since I adopted Smokey. He has 2 different birthdays (Feb and April) on his old vet records so we don’t know when his actual birthday is or his age (2 different years). So this means I am using his adoption date as his birthday and I decided on his age (6) :)

    On January 27th 2014, my ex and I went to look at 4 dogs, all available through NorSled (where we adopted Shadow.) I brought them with me so we could see how Shadow interacted with the dogs. He was going to have to be friends with him (or her) so best to have him help interview too!

    Smokey was the first dog we met as he was in the Woodland area and the rest were in the bay area. So we met him on the way down. When I walked in and met him and hung out with him for a short time, I instantly loved him. He was not black & white, like all of the others I was going to see that day and he was not as fluffy as Angelus and Storm or Shadow and we had no idea of his mix beyond husky and/or malamute mix. But he was the sweetest guy ever. I left there to go look at the others to make sure I wasn’t just taking the 1st dog I met since losing Stormy in August but I knew I loved him.

    Met 3 other fantastic dogs who were all gorgeous, lovable, sweet and needed homes but Smokey stayed in my mind. So after all day of driving and meeting dogs and foster moms and dads (and frankly I think Shadow was getting stressed thinking he was being dropped off somewhere!), we decided to stop and eat for the 1st time that day. Buffalo Wild Wings. Mmmmm.

    I sat there thinking how would I feel if I drove home and didn’t get Smokey – and I felt immediately sad. So we called the foster mom and told her we were coming back to see him again – this time letting Shadow have more time with him. We took Smokey and Shadow for a walk along with the foster mom – who I think was sad to lose Smokey (she was originally going to keep him but that didn’t work out for non-Smokey reasons).

    That was it – I decided then to do it. Signed all of the paperwork, wrote a check and loaded him in the car. Had Shadow in the backseat and Smokey in the back back. I think Shadow was starting to wonder what the heck. But he did get along best with Smokey as well. I think he was most happy I didn’t get the girl husky as she was half his size but kept kicking his butt as female huskies are likely to do!

    First night in his new home!

    First night in his new home!

    Got home around 11pm. Smokey was pretty stressed – obviously. New house after stranger took him away from his mom of 11 months. We woke up 3 or 4 times during the night. I was worried he had to go potty, but I think he just wanted to walk back to his old house.

    It took a few days for him to calm down a little and settle into a routine but I’m good at routines :) Angelus and Storm trained me. He still gets stressed when his routine changes. But he has settled into a pretty darn calm and happy guy :) And honestly, he has been a dream. How anyone could have not wanted to keep him (and hurt and abandon him) is beyond me. He had gone through several homes and all this proves to me is that people generally suck and most probably have no business being responsible for a pet rock. But I’m a wee bit cynical.

    After losing Angelus and then Storm, I was pretty sad for a time there. Now, I am happy literally every day. And I hope he feels the same way. I’m pretty sure he does. :)

    His 1st snow! 1/30/14

    His 1st snow! 1/30/14

    1st beach visit at Mavericks! 2/14

    1st beach visit at Mavericks! 2/14

    Full of smiles :)

    Full of smiles :)

    Snow fun with Shadow 1/15

    Snow fun with Shadow 1/15

    Happy Birthday Smokey Dokey :)

    His daily adventures can be followed at http://packdog.com/smokeydokey

    And anyone can donate to NorSled. These people work endlessly to find northern breeds homes from bad (and sometimes VERY bad) situations and need every penny: http://www.norsled.org/how-to-help/

    Even though it has not been terribly wintery all January (pretty much do **not** like you at all right now Mother Nature), it’s still pretty darn chilly at night. So warm and wintery dinners sound good. I found several recipes for beef stew and thought I’d try that!

    As a a kid, I LOVED Dinty Moore beef stew. There is nothing short of a zombiepocolypse that could get me to eat that now (no clue what that meat is…), but boy oh boy did I love it when I was 10-11yrs old. So I combined several recipes that I found that kinda sorta looked like I remembered and changed it a little for my tastes:


    2 lbs of beef cut into 1″ (ish) cubes – I asked the guy at the meat counter for the best type/quality of beef (you need some marbly fat)
    1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1 clove of garlic – minced
    1 bay leaf
    1 teaspoon paprika
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    1 shallot – chopped (all recipes I found called for onion but ick)
    2 cups beef broth
    1/2 cup red wine
    4 baby red and 4 baby white potatoes – quartered (left skin on)
    4 carrots – peeled and sliced
    10 oz white mushrooms – sliced (no recipe I found called for this but I love mushrooms)

    For later: 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup cream

    All of the recipes called for celery – also yuck. But if you like it, go for it.


    Place meat in the slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt and pepper. Pour over the meat and stir to coat the meat with the flour mixture.

    Stir in the garlic, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, beef broth, wine and veggies. Then put in the bay leaf and stir in but kind of on top.

    IMG_6973 copy

    Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours. The cook on high option says 4-6 hours but I always prefer the low cook.

    At around 9.5 hours I thought it looked a little watery for stew. So I added the additional 1/4 cup flour and cream. This pretty much made it perfect. It cooked for another 1hr 15 mins and YUM!

    Plus I’m guessing it will be even better tomorrow!

    beef stew

    I’m thinking next time, use 1.5 cups of broth to prevent the wateriness. Maybe? Or maybe just keep the cream ;)