Oscars Tweet Shuts Down Twitter!

A selfie tweeted from the Oscars show last night supposedly had so many instant retweets that it shut down Twitter. Imagine that! I only use twitter a little bit, but evidently that was the preferred method of sharing opinions among thousands of friends during the show last night.

And, sadly, my prediction for best picture totally missed the mark. I had picked American Hustle but “12 Days a Slave” won instead. I am the first to admit that I have no clue what the people voting on these categories are looking for or why they vote the way they do. Heck, I can’t even figure out why these women with hundreds of thousands of dollars available to them for a nice dress, hair and makeup still manage to look like shit on the red carpet!

Watching the Oscars

Most of the awards shows are not interesting to me, but as much as I love movies, the one awards show I try to watch is the Oscars.

This year the best movie category is clogged with excellent movies. I have no idea how they are going to decide on just one. I think that 12 Years a Slave was an excellent movie, but no one that I know says that they went to the theater to see it. Strange, with all the racial news stories that we’ve been watching this past year or two.

My personal prediction for best movie is American Hustle. I think it has all the Tarantino elements that Hollywood loves so much. I have not seen Nebraska, but if I miss on my first pick, I hope that Nebraska wins. I guess we will see in about an hour who wins the big one. Can’t wait!

Comfort Food for this Cold Weather

Winter is being a little more harsh this year than in recent years. It’s not just in this area, we are actually missing some of the snow and extreme cold (knock on wood!). Even so, the cold that we are having makes me crave comfort. The kind of food that cooks for a long time and makes the whole house smell yummy. The kind of food that tastes so good that you barely chew it – you shovel in your mouth so fast that you practically inhale it.

Some of my favorite comfort foods are chili, beef stew, and the #1 favorite, chicken and dumplings. All three of these are made from scratch and often turn out slightly different each time, depending upon what I have on hand and how hard I shake the spice jar.

I also love macaroni and cheese, but that always turns out different and I have several different recipes. I have a speedy version, my cheap version, recipes clipped from magazines over the years, and my full blown childhood memory of my mom’s version. Sometimes I use elbow macaroni, other times I uses ziti or rotini or other specialty pastas. And the kind of cheese can be anything from from shredded four state cheddar to Velveeta.

What are some of the special foods that you like to cook during the cold weather months?

Heat Pump Issues for my House

Two weeks ago we had several bitterly cold days in a row. It was part of the polar vortex that made something like 90% of the country experience colder than normal winter temperatures and a lot of areas had snow and ice in addition to the extreme cold.

Here at my house, the heat pump tried valiantly to keep up with the fast dropping temperatures. It was literally 60 degrees one day and then two mornings later it was only 4 degrees. A heat pump is not actually designed for that drastic drop. I heard that a heat pump can only heat the air inside a house 15 degrees warmer than outside. Since it was 4 degrees outside, the inside was so in my house that I could see my breath when we woke up on the weekend.

I tried to see what the temperature was inside, but the thermostat was not displaying the digital read out. There is a little strip on the side of the goldfish aquarium that I use as a guide – the goldfish like it between 70 and 72 degrees. The last number on the aquarium strip is 62 and the temperature had dropped so low that it didn’t show on the strip at all, so I know it was less than 62 degrees. My best guess is that is was about 40 degrees inside the house.

So, I tried switching on the emergency heat, which is a short term auxiliary heat unit. But it did not seem to be putting out any hot air all day. By the next morning, I had to admit that the heat pump issues for my house were more serious than just the quick drop in temperature. Something was very wrong. The problem with that was it was the weekend, during a statewide freeze. It was pretty much impossible to get a plumber or heating repair guy to even answer the phone. My regular repair company said they were totally booked up until the following Friday.

Thankfully, the polar vortex only lasted 4 days. By Wednesday the outside temps were back in the 50′s and after I got the bright idea to replace the battery in the thermostat, the digital display was working again and the heat came back on. So, I still don’t know if the heat pump issues are related to the actual heat pump failing or the emergency heat failing or if it was just a failed thermostat. Very frustrating – and I really hope I don’t have to go through another polar vortex any time soon.

Brutally Cold Day for Us

One of the best things about living in Tennessee is that we have all four seasons, and the number of days that we have to deal with extreme weather is very short compared to other areas of the country. But this week we are dealing with brutally cold days. It’s not just us, though, I think the latest weather map shows about 80% of the U.S. is having extremely cold weather – even Florida.

I have tried to be as proactive as possible about weather guarding my house and car. But my house has a heat pump and it is not the best heating system to deal with fast drops in the temperature. We went from 60 degrees a couple of days ago to just 8 degrees right now, and the sun has just gone down, so it will undoubtedly get colder over night. I’ll need an extra blanket tonight, for sure!

I found a box of old gloves and winter hats that I don’t really need to plan to use, so on my lunch break I took them to the downtown rescue mission and donated them. They desperately need coats, hats, socks and gloves for the thousands of homeless people who have nothing to protect them from this extremely cold weather.

We just have to deal with this for a couple of days, and by the weekend the temperatures are supposed to get back into the 60′s. Thank goodness we don’t have several weeks of this brutal cold live they do in North Dakota and Minnesota and the northern states. My heart goes out to the people in those areas who live in little shacks and have to deal with little to no heat during the harsh winters.