Friday, December 30, 2011

Seven Quick Sort-of Christmassy Takes



--- 1 ---

When we were visiting Scott's family last Friday, Younger Elder Brother called and asked if we wanted to come visit with the rest of the family on Monday. (YEB and Mr. Cobbler both had Monday off work.) So we did. It was a lot of fun. It was only the third time I've seen Mrs. YEB, and I didn't really talk to her at the wedding because she had to leave right after the ceremony to sing at the vigil Mass at her parish. (She's a music director type person.) So it was nice to feel like I got to know her a teeny bit more. We're going to see Scott's family again for Eldest Younger Brother's birthday today. It's a lot of visiting, but I've been enjoying it.

--- 2 ---

I finished making that skirt for Teresa and brought it with me when we visited my family in the middle of last week. I put it in a bag under the tree even though she'd seen it already to try it on. Then on Christmas Day I Skyped with my family and asked Teresa if she liked her skirt. She said yeah and then said, "But how did you get it here!?" I must admit, I'm kind of tickled that I still managed to surprise her. :)

--- 3 ---

Last Friday, Scott and I didn't get home from visiting his family until 2 a.m. On Saturday we didn't get back from midnight Mass until 2 a.m. On Monday we didn't get to bed until about 1 a.m. And then I developed a nasty cold because I am allergic to staying up past midnight. I seem to be better now, though.

--- 4 ---

I was considerably less relaxed and happy on Christmas Day than I thought I would be, probably due to the aforementioned staying up until 2 a.m. twice in a row right beforehand. Note to self: Don't do that again. Ever.

I made sausage gravy and biscuits for brunch (I had fudge for breakfast around 9 and then made the real food about 11) and then after brunch went to throw a chicken in the crockpot for dinner. See, last time we made crockpot chicken this totally worked. But on Christmas the chicken had a little paper packet of innards stuffed inside its little ribcage and since it was frozen solid I couldn't get the little packet out no matter what I did. Finally I told Scott that if he ever wanted to eat again he had to make it be fixed. Then I went into the bedroom, shut the door, and sobbed into my pillow for half an hour while he made it be fixed. Then I stuck the chicken in the crockpot with some spices and told Scott to do dishes while I surfed the internet.

You'd think that would convince me I have the best husband ever, but NO. I've spent most of this week grumpy because I always have to ASK him to help with dishes/take out the trash/give me a backrub/do whatever my little heart desires. I kid you not. Despite having read a million times that men are not mind-readers and don't realize you need help unless you ask...I think I am the special-est snowflake and should have a telepathic husband.

I really need to get more sleep.

--- 5 ---

Lest you have now abandoned all hope of me ever being a real grown-up, I went to run errands BY MYSELF this week. TWICE. The first was an emergency toiletry restock before we went on that aforementioned road trip with Scott's family. (The only other thing I'll say about that: This Wal-Mart is the size of Liechtenstein and STILL doesn't have my preferred variety. Amazon Subscribe & Save is looking more appealing all the time.) Then the next day we realized we were on our last roll of toilet paper, so yesterday I went out and stopped by the post office to mail some thank-you notes and then went to Wal-Mart to get a giant package of toilet paper. (It's not like we're ever going to stop using toilet paper, and 20 rolls were the cheapest in terms of unit price.) I still haven't tried shopping for a week's groceries without my security blanket/husband, but I'm getting there.

--- 6 ---

Speaking of grocery shopping, our total spending for December was 199.91. That's including the groceries we bought at the end of November and the $11.37 of groceries we bought using a Kroger gift card we got as a Christmas present. And I still have a TON of food in my kitchen. I was going to list it all but then it got too long of a list. Maybe I'll do a photo post on January 1.

--- 7 ---

Also speaking of groceries, last Friday two weeks ago for dinner I made pizza from scratch and Scott ate it and did not get sick. Scott is, as far as anybody can tell, not actually allergic to anything, but he has a complicated set of weird food sensitivities and if he eats the wrong stuff his body goes all crazy and he can't eat anything but chicken soup until he recovers. And he's got a BMI of 19 on good days, so he doesn't need that kind of stuff going on. (Seriously, once he could eat almost nothing for 2 months and he got visibly thinner, which I didn't think was possible for him. It was Not Okay.)

Obviously, it would be possible for him to just go his entire life without ever eating pizza again, but he's Italian and pizza is good and it was just a major disappointment for him that every brand of pizza he tried had the same result. So I promised that one day I'd make him homemade pizza and we'd see what happened. I felt like this was worth a shot for 2 reasons: 1) I had this primal (irrational) instinct that anything I lovingly prepared with my own two hands would naturally be more healthsome and good than something mass-produced by a stranger. 2) Teresa once broke out in hives after eating a particular brand of takeout pizza (even though she'd eaten homemade pizza and other brands of pizza before; we didn't usually get that brand but that day we happened to have a coupon) and we found out later that that brand tends to cause reactions in people who are allergic to shellfish. (Mom's been keeping her away from shellfish ever since as a precaution. Not that she'd touch shellfish anyway.) So I know it's possible to have an allergic reaction to pizza due to some random trace ingredient.

Lo and behold, I was right. I think I'll have to feed him pizza a couple more times before I feel totally safe, but I'm cautiously optimistic.

Also, I just guaranteed that I'm going to have to make pizza from scratch on a regular basis until I die. No deciding it's too much work and calling for delivery for me. Oops.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Weddings are not that expensive

If you're lucky enough to be getting married in rural Ohio, anyway.

A cost breakdown, which I'm providing mostly for my own amusement. You might find it interesting too. (This is mostly money I spent on the wedding; in certain places I will note how much other people spent, but obviously I don't know all of that.)

Attire:

My dress cost $200. This was the result of having a friend who was willing to be my dressmaking slave for about 4 months. I'm not sure what my dress would have cost if I'd bought it; I didn't see any dresses available for buying that I really liked. (And I mean that stylistically; not just "Oh, that dress costs $5,000; it's "not my style" therefore.") I also spent $56 on accessories (Shoes: $11 ballet flats from Wal-Mart. Tiara: $15 from Claire's. Necklace-which-was-an-impulse-buy-the-week-before-the-wedding: $30 from Amazon. I was buying a bridesmaid gift which was $10 and was therefore trying to get Super Saver Shipping and one thing led to another. And I ended up doing the free trial of Amazon Prime anyway, because it was too late for the 3-5 business days Super Saver Shipping.)

I also spent, according to my handy-dandy spreadsheet, $209 on bridesmaids dresses. This was mostly for the rush shipping, not for the dresses themselves. It was worth every penny, by the way, because as it was some bridesmaids barely had time to get theirs altered. (In case anyone's curious, the total bill for bridesmaid dresses was $928; I think that was the single most expensive money-spending incident in the entire wedding.)

I have no idea how much any of the guys' attire cost or even who paid for it.

We also spent all of $45 on wedding bands. I was all embarrassed to admit that, but then I decided frugality is nothing to be ashamed of. So there.

Total for attire: $510

Reception venue:

We spent a total of $250 for the hall. (Plus a $150 deposit, but we got our deposit back.) Said hall was clean and reasonably well-appointed (the bathrooms were really nice), but nothing very fancy. In my home city there are a couple of places that charge $1000+, but those were less desirable for other reasons, actually. (One required you to use their catering, which was a) expensive and b) not actually very good. The other doesn't allow children or really anything interesting. Way too many rules for me.)

We did end up spending some money on decorations. I have no idea how much. I know the linens were $8 (yay for secondhand linen outlet stores!), but then we just bought out the dollar store, basically, getting silver-colored plastic utensils and little candy dishes and this and that and the other thing. I'm just going to say decorations were $50.

Total for reception venue: $300

Food:

This was the biggest area of concern for me before we got back the RSVPs. We invited 200+ people but only had about 60 attend. I think part of that was due to the fact that it was Thanksgiving weekend, but part of it was also due to the fact that about 90% of our guest list lived out of town (most of those out of state, a few out of the country...). We had 100% attendance from the people we invited who lived in the same county.

Anyway. I ended up paying the caterer $628. This was for two meat options (ham and chicken; beef was too expensive) and literally something like 7 side dishes. And most of it was really good. (I didn't try the baked beans, because I don't like baked beans as a matter of principle, but Scott tells me they were delicious.)

Cake was $85 for one smallish tiered cake and 80 cupcakes. (40 chocolate, 20 white, and 20 spice cake. It just seemed Thanksgiving-y to have a little spice cake.) I did have one person tell me the cupcakes were a brilliant idea (rather than cutting a sheet cake or something), so yay me.

I also spent $36 on Hershey kisses to use as centerpieces. We also had chips and nuts and pretzels and pastel mints given to us for free because they were leftover from a friend's wedding.

We still have some leftovers a month later.

Oh, and we spent maybe $35 on drinks. I don't remember distinctly. The hall provided drinks and basically at the end of the night they tallied up how much your guests drank and you wrote them a check. Scott wrote the check and I was stupid tired at that point in the wedding day, so I really don't remember. It was somewhere between 25 and 35, so I'll err on the side of more expensive.

Total for food: $784

Flowers:

As I've mentioned before, my godmother paid for these. After I went and picked out what I wanted and it had all been ordered, I sat down and added it up and realized it was probably about $600 worth of flowers. I do seem to recall that my godmother pulled some small business owner strings (her husband runs a dry cleaner's), so maybe she didn't spend that much. It still feels a little weird. But not too weird because my flowers were gorgeous.

Total for flowers: $0

Photography:

We found our photographer on Craigslist (really) and it was supposed to be $550 but because of a goof they made at one point we got that reduced to $500. At some point we will also need to pay for prints of our pictures, but I'm not in any great hurry, since we have the CD of high resolution photos to keep forever.

I am unequivocally happy about how our pictures turned out, by the way. Really, the only people I love more as a result of the wedding are our vocalists. (Who had to deal with a lot of disorganization and unclear expectations and still sounded AMAZING.)

Total for photography: $500

Paper goods:

I have on my spreadsheet that I spent $157 on invitations. Basically, it was $1 per invitation and $1 for postage (and I sent out about 110 invitations), but I had some coupons and also my mother-in-law pitched in. So we'll say that figure is accurate.

I've spent about $17 on thank-you notes (a package thereof, plus some stamps). I might spend more on postage at some point, but so far I still have a lot of stamps. (And a lot of thank-yous to send. Need to get on that.)

The programs were free. I had some pretty paper on hand, and my maid of honor's mom allowed me to use their color printer for nothing.

Total for paper goods: $174

Tips and gifts:

I wrote $575 worth of checks to my priest (as his own personal gift), the church, the organist, the two vocalists, the two altar servers, and the one Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.

I also spent about $63 on gifts for my bridesmaids. (Gifts for our parents kind of...didn't happen. I also didn't get them anything for Christmas. Maybe they need a combo wedding-Christmas-Epiphany gift.) These were pretty much just normal gifts, like I might have gotten as Christmas presents. My mom was all, "Aren't bridesmaids gifts just supposed to be something they'll wear at the wedding?" and I said, "No, the Knot says NEVER DO THAT and if I read it on the internet it must be true."

Total tips and gifts: $638

Miscellaneous:

We spent $100 to register for Pre-Cana. I thought that was kind of ridiculous and spent 2 months complaining about how we'd better get some REALLY fancy pamphlets for that kind of money. We actually did, and the food wasn't bad either, and the whole thing was not the colossal waste of time I thought it would be. (It wasn't a life-altering experience either, but it was a fairly pleasant way to pass a day and Scott and I had some fun conversations as a result.)

We also spent $40 to get a marriage license. We ended up getting one in Scott's county of residence even though we got married in my county of residence (this works in Ohio, trust me), because in my county of residence it cost $66. See above where I'm not ashamed of my frugality.

Total miscellaneous: $140

Grand total: $3046

My goal budget going in was $4000. I seem to have accomplished that, thanks in very large part to people who either gave me stuff for free or who pointed me in the direction of places I could get it cheap (a friend's mother clued us in to the cheap linens). Also, included in that $3000 I spent was $900 my parents gave me when I got engaged; not included in that $3000 was money they spend on clothes for themselves and my sisters or on the rehearsal dinner or on my grandma's hotel room. Speaking of which, I also didn't include the fact that Scott and I stayed in a hotel room the night after the wedding (which was a very good call because of the aforementioned stupid tired; I wouldn't have wanted to drive about 80 miles to our apartment in that state). Or the fact that since we couldn't have hot apple cider at the reception I took us by Tim Horton's on our way to the hotel and bought us some. (Scott REALLY likes hot apple cider.)

Um...The End. Go back to your lives.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Names Part Two

At one point this summer, I changed my Facebook display name from Megan D____ to Megan Elizabeth D____. I did so because Scott said he didn't know how to spell my middle name (I don't think he's aware of the Elizabeth/Elisabeth controversy, he just never thought about how to spell Elizabeth) and I thought that was sad because I love my middle name so I put it on display.

I'm kind of happy I did so, for two reasons. One, I hope it helps my Facebook friends more quickly identify who I am. I know I get confused when a friend goes from Mary Jones to Mary Smith (that's made up), so I'd hope going from Megan Elizabeth D____ to Megan Elizabeth S____ is a little more...distinctive. But mostly I like it because then I can make it clear that I'm NOT using my maiden name as a middle name without being too passive-aggressive about it. For some reason it irritates me vastly when people write my name as Megan D____ S____. (More than one person has done this and I get equally annoyed, so no blog readers should feel singled out by this.) It's not my name, and never will be my name, and come to think of it this is the same feeling I experience when people call me Meg. (NEVER DO THIS.)

Then again, I also get annoyed when people assume (like in giving wedding gifts) that I'm changing my name to Megan S____. (This was prior to my Facebook name change; now you're allowed to assume because I've given you reason to assume.) (We didn't have any trouble cashing checks even though my driver's license didn't match 90% of them; if we had I'd be a lot more offended.) I mean, I am changing my name, and maybe it's a safe assumption to make given that I'm fairly traditional minded, but then again I'm also a journalist (albeit with a very small body of published writings) so how do you know?

I think the conclusion to draw from this post is that I'm just a cranky person. I should go put up the tree and stop blogging.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Seven Quick Takes with Wedding Pictures!



--- 1 ---

Quick life update:

We got certified copies of our marriage license in the mail (at Scott's parents' house, because at the time we applied for our marriage license we didn't yet have this apartment). Which means I didn't have to call them and request them. I'm thinking this "ignoring the problem until it goes away" thing is starting to look like a viable life philosophy.

We visited my family on Tuesday and Wednesday. Today we're visiting Scott's family. Then we'll be ALL BY OURSELVES on Christmas. I am looking forward to that way too much.

Relatedly, I discovered this week that 1) It is possible for me to want time away from Scott. (A long-distance relationship kept me from discovering this before now) 2) I can get an introvert buzz just by taking my computer to the dining room table instead of sitting next to him on the bed and computing. (He computes sitting on the bed.) So I don't have to kick him out for a few hours a week to preserve my sanity. Yay! (Our apartment is like this: An L-shaped living and dining room with a kitchen that opens into the dining room leg of the L, a hallway with a bathroom on one side and a storage closet on the other, and a bedroom. So the bedroom and the dining/living rooms are the only viable computing places. I do have a desk in the living room but it has my sewing machine on it.)

Christmas-wise, we picked up the spare fake tree and a box of ornaments from my parents' house. And a 8x8 glass baking dish that we got as a wedding present. So I made fudge yesterday. But we still haven't put up the Christmas tree.

--- 2 ---

We got our CD of 350 high-resolution edited wedding photos last Saturday. They've since been downloaded onto my computer, Scott's computer, and my mom's computer. (And we're planning on taking the CD to Scott's parents' house for yet more copying. Don't worry, I have a copyright release.) I also uploaded 120 pictures to Facebook. (More than 120 of the 350 are good; I just got bored.) I'd just post the public album link, but then you all would be able to see my full married name and I don't think Scott would like that. (Oh yeah, and everybody in the world would be able to see what everyone looks like and stuff.) So! Pictures!

A shot cropped by me (because Scott still won't let me put his face on the interwebz), chosen because it shows the train on my dress to full advantage (the rest of the dress doesn't look bad either):


Said dress was custom-made by a friend. She's still speaking to me, as long as I don't ever bring up the dress. Meanwhile, I LOVE the dress (not just LOVED it, I'm actively loving it right at this moment), so I call that a win.

--- 3 ---

I need this shot printed and framed:



Relatedly, here are some awesome pictures of my sisters individually:



Teresa got this scarf from the maid of honor and was playing with it. The photographer took advantage of the narrow window of opportunity.


We also got two very good family portraits, but Scott is in the one of my family and several people who value their internet anonymity are in the one of Scott's family. So, you'll just have to imagine the miracle of pictures in which whole families are actually all looking at the camera and looking reasonably happy AT THE SAME TIME. It's kind of amazing.

--- 4 ---

The photographer took lots of pictures of our flowers, which is fine by me because they were gorgeous flowers. Some examples:




(That headless shot was actually cropped by the photographer, not me. There is also a non-headless shot of Scott's mother pinning on his boutonniere.)



Bonus: Scott's wedding band. You can't really see mine behind my engagement ring, but once you've seen one plain band you've seen them all. (Really, mine is just like Scott's but a little thinner.)

(You may recall, by the way, that these flowers were paid for entirely by my fairy godmother.)

--- 5 ---

Two or three weeks before the wedding, we sort of collectively realized that the groomsmen needed clothes. So Mr. and Mrs. Cobbler dragged four of their sons out shopping (a task I do not envy) and found these shirts and ties:



(This is a picture of Eldest Younger Brother making a toast, after he'd taken off his suit jacket. He is not normally headless.)

They were quite pleased with their accomplishment in finding those things, and so was I. (I didn't see the groomsmen's outfits until they showed up for the wedding. Which shows, I think, that I am getting placid in my old age.)

--- 6 ---

The day before the wedding, my local friends (and a few out-of-town friends who happened to be there) descended on the reception hall and made it look amazing. Some examples:




--- 7 ---

Here's a picture of us giving a bouquet to Mary near the end of Mass. You get to see a bit of the inside of my church and the back of Scott's head. Aren't you happy?


For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Seven Tired of Being a Grown-Up Takes



--- 1 ---


At some point today, my mom is going to have a big announcement over at her long-neglected blog. Here's a hint:



--- 2 ---

I emailed with the photographer and our CD of photographs got mailed yesterday. There are apparently 330 of them. I'd be excited if I wasn't tired.

--- 3 ---

My anxiety apparently decided to go on honeymoon without me. Or, you know, I wasn't anxious because I did nothing but sit in my apartment and cook. This week I seriously got back into doing stuff, and coincidentally my anxiety levels were extremely high again. Joy.

--- 4 ---

When I bragged about my grocery budget last week, I didn't realize that there were THREE weeks left in December, not two. Then again, I'm counting the groceries we ate during the last few days of November/first few days of December as December groceries, though they should properly be November groceries. That just feels like cheating, to give myself a full budget for a month in which we were only eating our own food for 4 days.

Then again, money just makes my head hurt lately. We have plenty of it, thanks to Scott's clever saving habits, but I don't know how to deal with budgeting. Normally it's easy, you just spend less than you earn. But we're not earning anything. (Prayers for gainful employment would be appreciated, by the way.) So part of me wants to hoard every penny until we're earning money again. The other part of me thinks that we're not so poor and wretched that I can't go $2 over my grocery budget buying chocolate chips so I can make fudge so we can, you know, celebrate the birth of Christ and all.

--- 5 ---

One of the things on my task list has been to give Scott's mom my "I'm an awesome babysitter" spiel so she can send it out to all her homeschool mom friends (I had my mom do a similar thing at the beginning of the summer and it worked pretty well, but now those moms are a 90-minute commute for me) so I can maybe earn a little money without having to get a real job. Composing my spiel should be a 10-minute task, but see the part where I have social anxiety disorder. Sometimes I hate my brain.

Relatedly (in that it is also in the "money woes" and "social anxiety woes" file), I am way overthinking sending thank-you cards to people who gave us money (cash or check) as a wedding gift. I am also way overthinking how to spend said money. I feel like it should be spent on non-essentials (like chocolate chips, except I don't need a truckload of chocolate chips...well, probably not...), because 1) who really wants to hear, "Thank you for the check. We used that money to pay our electric bill." and 2) I am very wary of giving the impression that we need handouts to manage basic life necessities. Because we don't.

--- 6 ---

One thing that is going well: In late May or early June, I started making a tiered skirt for Teresa. As of two days ago, it was still just three loops of fabric (one loop was X inches around, the second was 2X, and the third was 4X), one of which had a straight hem along the "bottom."

Well, now it is pretty much a complete skirt. I should figure out topstitching, but that's not essential (though I suspect an extra row of stitches won't hurt the skirt in terms of sturdiness), and I need to adjust the elastic waist to make sure it's the right size. Fortunately, I should be seeing Teresa on Sunday. I'll just have to tell her she should still act surprised when she gets the skirt on Christmas.

--- 7 ---

Another thing I had on my to-do list for this week (which will get moved to next week, because I don't feel like dealing with it today) was calling the court where we got our marriage license and asking for certified copies so I can change my name. (Apparently changing it on Facebook doesn't make it official.) I did try on...Tuesday, I think...but of course I got stuck in a maze of answering machines and gave up. Maybe I'll make Scott call them. It's his marriage license too, right? Just because he's not the one changing his name doesn't mean he can't do some of the work.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Names

I was reading some posts at Swistle Baby Names, and since they're from 2007 or 2008 I feel uncomfortable commenting on them. So I will blog instead.

The major thing I wanted to say is that name popularity can be vastly affected by region/culture/etc. For example, almost every young Catholic family I know has a Teresa/Theresa/Therese. (And Mary/Maria/Marie, but I'm not talking about that right now.) When we picked out Teresa's name I know Mom at least was majorly concerned about it being too common. Then she looked it up on ssa.gov's baby names widget and found that in 2006 (the year our Teresa was born), her name was #533 in popularity. It's kept plummeting steadily since then; it was #695 in 2010. So you can pick a name that's not in the Top 500 for your kid and still encounter "There are three other kids with her name in her class."

(Theresa was 717 in 2006, which is funny because people tend to misspell Teresa's name as this, yet it's actually the less common spelling. Maybe it's more common in English-speaking circles, whereas Teresa is more common in Hispanic circles--which would further prove my point about culture and popularity.)

(Therese was 949 in 1984, after which it fell off the charts never to be seen again.)

Now for the real rambling, just because I love talking about baby names: When Andrea and I were born (in the late '80s), our parents' main concern was picking a name that was recognizable as a name but not popular. Yet they still picked names in the Top 100. Andrea was #36 in 1987; Megan was #11 in 1989. (And it made it to #10 several times in the '80s and '90s.) I've known a lot more people with my name than Andrea has; I think part of that is that there really aren't alternate spellings for Andrea but there are a ton for Megan, so my perception of my name's popularity was affected by all the Meghans and Meagans and Mayghinns. (Okay, that last one was made up, but I bet somebody out there has that name.)

Possible justification for my parents thinking it wasn't that popular: It's only been in the Top 1000 since 1952, and the Top 100 since 1975. So their perception of its popularity was probably affected by the fact that they didn't really grow up with any Megans. On the other hand, it's totally a trend name. Oh well. I still like it.

I must admit I'm kind of leery of Top 10 names as a result of my own name (though, come to think of it, that might just be the misspelling thing). Scott and I have a little list of names (disclaimer: not pregnant, just obsessed with names) and they're all over the charts. Of our eight boy names, two are in the Top 10 for 2010 (but neither of those has an alternate spelling that I know of, so now I feel better), two more are in the Top 100, two more are Top 200, one more is Top 300, and one hasn't been in the Top 1000 for the last 131 years. (That last one is a name Scott loves but I'm less loving towards, partly because I don't really recognize it as a name, even though it is.) Of our seven girl names, one was #2 (yeah, I'm giving you that one if you bother to look it up), one more was Top 20, one more was Top 100, two more were Top 1000 (300's and 600's respectively), one was Top 1000 briefly in the mid-sixties (but is a spelling/ethnic variation of a Top 500 name, poor hypothetical child), and one hasn't been Top 1000 since 1942 (and is not a variation of anything). One of those was my suggestion, one was Scott's but I like it. Obviously I have a little more taste for the obscure when it comes to girl names.

There was no point to that ramble. I'm going to go eat lunch now.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Archives

I started blogging in November of 2007. I think this is my fourth URL (this fickleness doesn't lend itself to long-term readers), but when I moved over here last year I brought all my archives with me and thus it's as if I've been blogging here for four years and change.

Occasionally I feel self-conscious about that, like maybe somebody will go back and read a post from 2008 in which I was trying (and probably failing) to be all philosophical and they'll assume that my current views on the topic are accurately summarized in that post. This is particularly true when I think about the time I had two blogs, a personal one and a philosophical one. I tried too hard to be philosophical a lot of the time just for the sake of posting and thus put out into the ether a lot of half-baked ideas. And I never followed up on them because at that point in my life I wasn't blogging much at all. (I'm not good at compartmentalization. It might not seem like I blog a lot now, but at least now blogging isn't a total chore wherein I have to be philosophical even when I don't feel like it.) Someday I do want to follow up on those posts, but in the meantime they're still there all un-followed-up-on.

I wonder how other bloggers handle this. I've seen some blogs that cull their archives periodically, presumably so only the best and most well-thought-out posts remain. I've seen people who only have a year or two of archives on their blog. (I assume that they save their old posts for themselves, but maybe not everybody is a digital packrack like me.)

And then I realize that it's probably the height of vanity to think that anybody even reads my archives, and I get off the computer and go do dishes.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Seven Quick Takes: Seriously, I love being married



--- 1 ---

Scott and I are already starting to get settled into a rough routine. Or I'm settling into a routine and he's conforming because he loves me. Probably the latter.

I get up around 9 or 9:30 (my morning person heart cringes in shame, but for now I'm enjoying not having to get up and go anywhere). I eat breakfast, get ready for the day, and do dishes. (I do NOT do dishes after dinner, as is my mother's habit. Mwahaha.) If I finish those things before 11, I surf a little bit before eating lunch.

Scott sometimes gets up at 9-ish, in which case he eats breakfast and then either helps me do dishes or takes a shower. Sometimes he sleeps till 11, in which case he eats breakfast while I'm eating lunch and then eats lunch at 2 or 3 in the afternoon.

After lunch is "big project" time, which really isn't so big. Often we'll run errands. (My mom likes to run errands in the late morning. Score two for individuality!) Once we did laundry. (Now that we know the ins and outs of the communal laundry room, this is no longer a big project.) Once I chopped and boiled potatoes for potato soup because no way was I doing all that work at dinnertime.

After we finish whatever big project we were working on, we might sit around and do our own things for a while. Sometimes these are little projects that are productive. Sometimes I read blogs and he plays video games. At about 4 I start thinking about what we're having for dinner. We have dinner at 5:30 or 6 most days. After dinner I might take a shower, and then we watch TV together for a couple of hours before bed. (We go to bed at 10 or 11. Yeah, sometimes I am getting 10 hours of sleep. It's pretty awesome.) By "TV" I mean that I log into my parents' Netflix account and we watch stuff on Instant Play. We finished Firefly on Monday, watched Serenity on Tuesday, and then started on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Scott hadn't seen Buffy before and I'm surprised by how much he likes it.

--- 2 ---

I am especially proud of my potato soup, because I just made it up. Here's how it goes:

1. Cube and boil about 8 large potatoes. Set aside.

2. Chop up a small onion.

3. Brown it in half a stick of butter.

4. Add half a cup of flour. (Now that I look at it I'm thinking I got the ratio wrong there, but it all worked out.)

5. Add 8 cups of milk.

6. Stir until bubbly. (Mine never really thickened. Maybe upping the flour and butter would have helped.)

7. Dump in the potatoes, a cup of shredded cheddar, and a cup and a half of bacon bits left over from your wedding reception. If you don't have bacon bits, you should give your time turner a turn and cook and crumble some bacon. (It was VERY bacony, which is definitely not a bad thing, but I think you could easily get away with a cup of bacon.)

8. Cook it a little more. (I did this because the potatoes were cold from being in the fridge all afternoon; I didn't do it for long because it was 6:30 and Scott was majorly hovering.)

Scott says it was even better left over, because the potatoes kind of seeped potato flavor into the rest of the soup. Maybe cooking it a little longer after adding the potatoes would have remedied that in the fresh soup.

At any rate, it was delicious, and we ate it all up.

--- 3 ---

The first two times I went grocery shopping, I went to Aldi because Aldi is simple and I like simple. Wal-Mart scares me. (We did go to Wal-Mart twice to pick up assorted non-food items. The Wal-Mart here is the size of a small country. It's scary.)

Well, this week we got a lot of ads in our poor little mailbox and I went through them and noticed some good sales at GFS (vanilla; we also got yeast while we were there) and Meijer (chicken, eggs. Not oranges, though. Note to self: $2.50 for a bag of oranges is still more expensive than the $2 for a bag of oranges at good old Aldi. Don't do that again.) So I cross-referenced the locations of the nearest GFS and the nearest Meijer and after lunch Scott and I went out. (I need Scott when I venture into the big city; he's my security blanket. Yes, I realize this will be a problem when he gets a job again.)

Conveniently, there was a GFS about 5 miles from our apartment and then a Meijer about a mile beyond that. We didn't think to see if there was an Aldi along the same stretch of road. For one thing, I figured my limit was two stores in one day. For another, I am a creature of habit and there's a particular Aldi I already think of as "mine."

Well, on the way from GFS to Meijer we spotted a Aldi on the left. We decided to swing by on our way back (2 right turns > 2 left turns, especially on busy five-lane roads) and managed to do so and get all of our groceries and be $5 under budget for the week so we could afford to get a Bucket o' Ice Cream. (The best thing about Aldi: 5 quarts of fudge swirl ice cream for as many dollars. And then you can wash the bucket and use it for storage!)

(My grocery budget is $200 for both of us for a month. So far I've spent $59, $43, and $48. Go me.)

--- 4 ---

One of the reasons I wanted to get errands out of the way today rather than tomorrow is because Liza Jane and her James are supposed to be coming over for dinner tomorrow, and hosting a dinner party is probably going to require all my energy for the day. (I actually like people sometimes now, which is progress, but I am so still an introvert.)

--- 5 ---

Whenever the people upstairs open their front door, it sounds like somebody is trying to break into our apartment. (They just did so, which is why I mention it.) That's the only complaint I have. Apartment living really hasn't been that bad so far.

(The neighbors keep to themselves; that's probably why I like it. Then again, I like the landlord too and he's super-duper friendly and outgoing.)

--- 6 ---

I don't have the CD yet from the photographers. I'm not concerned, given that it's been less than 2 weeks. Probably on Monday I'll email them and ask if they want me to come pick it up or if they'll mail it to me.

--- 7 ---

I have done NOTHING to prepare for Christmas except throw that little digital Advent wreath up on my sidebar. I am a bad Catholic housewife, oh yes.

Well, and I did buy vanilla, which means that I might maybe someday make fudge. Maybe. 'Cause fudge is the reason for the season, right?

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Seven Quick Takes: Being married is way better than getting married



--- 1 ---

Well, first off: I didn't win NaNoWriMo. I made it 75% of the way there, though (37,500 words and change in 30 days) and I'm trying really hard to wrap up the storyline in the next few days so I don't forget the things I wanted to write.

--- 2 ---

The last couple of days before the wedding were REALLY stressful because random things kept popping up that needed fixing and I was busy pulling together last-minute details and really didn't feel like putting out fires.

In the end, though, everything worked out beautifully. The only major thing that went wrong is that the page for the Prayers of the Faithful didn't make it the last 15 feet from the front pew to the altar and Father ended up ad-libbing. I do feel really bad about that. See, I'd filled out the paper that morning and given it (along with a stack of other things) to the maid of honor. Mr. Cobbler, who was going to be reading the petitions, asked Father where they were. Father said he'd ask me, but didn't. I remembered while standing around in the room next to the church that I should make sure Emily knew to give the petitions to Mr. Cobbler or Father, but then by the time I got my mom's attention I forgot all about it again. I feel bad mostly because Emily felt so bad about it.

--- 3 ---

That whole "tap your glass to make the bride and groom kiss" thing also drove me slightly insane. (We had plastic cups and silverware, but people FOUND A WAY.) I'm just not a PDA person.Six days later, though, I just find it mildly annoying rather than rage-inducing.(I know, rage seems a little extreme even if you don't like PDAs, but I have this thing about people ignoring me when I ask them to stop doing something that distresses me. Usually it makes me burst into tears, actually, so I think I get points for not doing that at the wedding.)

--- 4 ---

Some of my favorite things:

1. The music. Our vocalists had a bit of a rough time because there just wasn't good communication happening between me, Scott, them, and the organist. (Getting five people on the same page is HARD.) But they pulled it all together at the last minute into something GORGEOUS. We had the Agni Parthene for the Marian devotion and standing there in front of the Mary altar with my new husband and that song being sung so well was just one of those moments where you get an idea of what Heaven must feel like.

2. We invited the local retired Sister of Charity. (She just recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of her entrance into religious life. She wears a habit and everything but lives alone rather than in a community.) For weeks before the wedding she would mention to me at daily Mass how excited she was. Then she told us a couple of days before about how she had to attend the funeral of a very good friend that morning (in a city that's about an hour's drive away), but she would try really hard to be there for the wedding. She made it, and she told us two or three times at the reception how it was just BEAUTIFUL, one of the best weddings she'd EVER been to. It makes me happy. :)

3. The Firefly reference at the end of the best man's speech. :) (Eldest Younger Brother was the best man.)

4. Oh, that reminds me: A couple of days before the wedding, Scott asked if we had a microphone for people to use during speeches. I said no, and I had no idea how to get one, and then I just put it out of my mind because I didn't feel like dealing with it and hoped if I ignored the problem it would go away.

On Friday as we were setting up Emily asked if we had a microphone and I said no and she said that her brother P. had a microphone and speakers left over from his garage band days. (P. is 19, almost 20, and had a garage band in high school).

So P. brought over his stuff and set it up and we had a microphone and speakers for the speeches and also a thing to which we hooked up my dad's iPod for the music.

Note to the world: Sometimes ignoring a problem until it goes away ACTUALLY WORKS.

--- 5 ---

I took a break from writing this blog post to go make and eat lunch. (And wash dishes. This is the part where my mother faints dead away.) Today it went like this:

1. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large frying pan. (The one I used was 10 inches in diameter at the bottom.)

2. Put two large pieces of tilapia (from the jumbo bag that you got from Aldi a week ago; 2 pounds for $5.99) in the pan.

3. Sprinkle seasoned salt on the tilapia.

4. Cook until fish flakes when poked with a fork. (The advantage of tilapia over salmon is that tilapia goes from pink to white when cooked, whereas salmon goes from pink to slightly lighter pink.)

5. Enjoy.

I actually haven't had to cook much because we had so many leftovers from the reception. But Tuesday I cooked a chicken in the crockpot (Scott: "Why can't ALL chicken be like this?") and then yesterday I made chicken noodle soup with the remnants of that chicken. (Scott: Too busy eating three bowlfulls to say anything quotable.) Next week I am going to make spaghetti (we have all the fixings for that because I was going to make it this week) and baked potato soup (we have an entire 10-pound bag of potatoes still because we had a lot of potato leftovers.) We will also probably buy hamburger patties, which are a great quick meal.

--- 6 ---

How about another wedding-related tale of how awesome my maid of honor and her family are? (The first one being related to how they made a sound system magically appear.) I spent most of Thursday obsessively composing programs. (I called Scott's house seriously about four times asking him about stuff.) At some point, Mom pointed out that we don't have a color printer, so my pretty little clip art that I used to fill space on the second page wouldn't work.So when Emily called that night, I asked if her family happened to own a color printer. They do, so on Friday I went over to their house and printed 60 programs on their color printer.

It's amazing they still love me.

--- 7 ---

I was going to post pictures (carefully chosen for their non-identifying-ness), but then I remembered another story. So I'll wait to tediously upload pictures until next week, when I'll have more anyway.

At the rehearsal Friday night, Teresa refused to walk down the aisle by herself. (As flower girl, she was supposed to go first.) She ended up walking down hiding behind Emily's skirt. (Emily is a very good sport.) So the morning of I told The Only Sister to give Teresa a second to walk down on her own and then just go. (TOS was, I think, almost as nervous as Teresa, so I started to worry that putting her at the front of the line of bridesmaids had been a really bad idea.) Meanwhile, Emily volunteered of her own accord to walk Teresa down if necessary and I took her up on the offer.

But then Teresa walked down the aisle beautifully. And so did TOS and so did everybody else.

I'll be back next week with more wedding stories--and PICTURES! Don't miss it.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!