Friday, December 21, 2012

Seven Quick Christmas Takes

--- 1 ---

Matthew's adoption is FINALLY finalized! It took place over the phone (because it had to be finalized by a judge in the state in which he was born, but my parents weren't keen on driving all the way back there), so my parents' end of the call had to be witnessed by a notary, so they drove down to their insurance agent's office. I drove up and got to have lunch with them and witness the finalization and still get home in time to pick Scott up from the bus stop.

Anyway. We're very happy.

--- 2 ---

As of about two days ago, I was totally freaking out about Christmas presents. I had presents for my mom and siblings but none for anyone else, and there are a lot of anyone elses.

On Wednesday night, Scott spent ages on the phone with his family having a long back-and-forth discussion about what all his younger siblings wanted for Christmas. I eavesdropped on his end and opened up tabs on my browser as I heard him mention things, so once he got off the phone I'm like, "Okay, want me to click 'Order'?" So now we have a group gift for his siblings on the way. We still don't have anything for his parents, but they decided they want an Epiphany gift rather than a Christmas gift, so I'm not stressing.

Oh, and I got my dad a present while I was out shopping on Thursday.

--- 3 ---

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Scott's mom had to have gallbladder surgery a few days after she found out her brother had brain cancer. She is apparently recovering well, since she was able to fly out and be with him for the last week or so. She's coming back the day after Christmas, which is one of the reasons the holiday celebrations on that side are probably getting deferred to Epiphany.

Anyway, prayers for her and her brother and for safe travels and non-delayed flights and all that would still be appreciated.

--- 4 ---

I just remembered that THREE members of Scott's immediate family have birthdays in the next 9 days. I need to drag him out to select birthday cards...

--- 5 ---

Scott's paternal grandparents are basically the most adorable couple ever. (The other set died long before either of us was born, so I don't know if they were likewise adorable.) For the last two Christmases (and remember I've only been married 13 months), they've sent me my own personal Christmas card, with money inside, signed, "Love, Grandma and Grandpa [Cobbler]." Scott gets a separate but equal card.

My grandma just sent us one card, but she was not ungenerous with her enclosure either. I think she gets the "most adorable widow ever" prize.

(Please note that I don't think money = love, but I thought it worth mentioning that I'm a 23-year-old grandchild-in-law and I STILL get money.)

--- 6 ---

Speaking of money, I went out yesterday (to a million stores, in the cold, cold rain...) and got all the food I need for the rest of the month. My total grocery spending for December? $173.69.

I think I've been sticking pretty well to the budget even without my weekly spending updates, don't you?

--- 7 ---

I was just thinking about how I'm going to be happy to have Scott home for 4 days in a row after this evening, and remembered that I never told y'all that his contract got extended! As much as I like having him around, it'll be nice for him to still be employed after the New Year.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A week in Post-it notes

Since this is my blog and I can post whatever incredibly boring thing I want to post, I decided a couple of weeks ago to post what a "typical" week looks like for me chore-wise. By "typical" I mean that I wasn't traveling or anything this week. I probably did more chores than I typically do simply because I wanted this post to look more impressive. It's like the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, but with dishwashers.

I called it "A week in Post-it notes" because I like to write to-do lists on Post-it notes, but then I ended up writing everything here instead, so the title is a misnomer but I'm leaving it anyway.

Please note that this recounting doesn't include getting my husband out the door in the mornings (which involves packing his lunch, heating up his breakfast, and driving him to the bus stop), or fixing my own little meals of leftovers or toast or whatever, or basic personal hygiene. I promise I showered at least a few times.

Monday, December 10:

- I washed and dried laundry, which took 2 hours or so altogether but only required about 15 minutes of concentrated effort. I don't sort my clothes or anything fancy like that.

- I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, which probably took about 20 minutes.

- I made two batches of fudge, which took almost the whole day altogether and at least a couple hours of concentrated effort--I was endeavoring to make the fudge gluten-free so my brother-in-law can eat it, which required much washing of pans and things to make sure they were not contaminated. Then each batch of fudge takes about 20 minutes to cook and requires near-constant attention. Then it takes some time to cut up the chilled fudge and store it away in baggies.

- I bagged up the kitchen trash and set it by the door to be taken out to the dumpster at some point. This only took a couple of minutes, but trash is really gross so I have to steel myself to touch it.

- I made chicken and pasta for chicken carbonara. This took 3 hours altogether but only perhaps 20-30 minutes of concentrated effort...checking on them as they cooked, cutting up the chicken, that sort of thing. Scott made the bacony stuff for the carbona. He volunteered, and I was tired, so I let him.

- I worked on balancing the budget. Scott helped with this too. I think I worked on this very inattentively for 30 or 40 minutes...I was Skyping at least one other person the whole time. (One other person besides Scott, who sends me numbers from his paychecks which I copy-paste into the spreadsheet).

Tuesday, December 11:

- I put away all the laundry I'd done the day before, which took 50 minutes altogether but only about 25 of actual work. I am not a fan of folding laundry.

- I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher TWICE (two batches of fudge and a batch of chicken carbonara produce a lot of dishes), which took probably 10-15 minutes both times. The second time it was only half-full of dirty dishes, so at least I didn't have to run it twice.

- I washed all the dishes that couldn't go in the dishwasher. I don't know how long this took; I worked on it very lazily for a couple of hours, with much wandering off to do other things.

- I made a batch of egg muffins (with BACON instead of sausage), which takes about half an hour of prep and 30-40 minutes of baking.

- I took out the kitchen trash and a milk jug that was sitting by the door since forever. I did this on the way to get Scott from the bus stop, so it took about 10 seconds of extra walking and 2 seconds of lifting the dumpster lid and chucking the stuff in.

- I made a grocery list, which took 3 hours of very halfhearted effort. Maybe quarterhearted effort. Usually I make this on Wednesday and shop on Thursday, but I wanted to go to Wal-Mart while I was going to the library because they're in the same direction, and I always go to the library on Wednesdays.

Wednesday, December 12:

- It was 21 degrees when I dropped Scott off, so I went into my closet and switched out my short-sleeved shirts for long-sleeved shirts. This took only 15 minutes and did not require very much heavy lifting. I was surprised.

- I put dishes into the dishwasher throughout the day and finally ran it after dinner. I also partially scrubbed out the muffin tin from the egg muffins aforementioned. I hate scrubbing muffin tins, but muffin papers stick so dreadfully.

- I bagged up the kitchen trash AND the bathroom trash. Usually I do not have the psychological stamina for two bags of trash in one day. See, I have OCD. Some people with OCD are kind of germophobic, which I am not at all. But I do have this visceral tendency to view certain things as Contaminated. Trash is one of those things. I'm not afraid of getting sick from the germs. Just, if something is classed as "trash" by my brain I don't want to touch it or even come near it because that way lies uncleanness.

I did not take them out to the dumpster. I'm not that brave with my trash-touching.

- I went out to Wal-Mart and got the car's tires filled with air (for free!) and bought some stuff. Laundry detergent and things like that.

- I went to Aldi and got a bunch of food. An old lady scolded me in a friendly way for not wearing a coat. (Really, it was adorable.)

- I went to the library and dropped off a book that was due and picked up a reserve that had just come in that very day and browsed a little bit in the hopes of finding an interesting movie to watch with my husband. I was not successful in that last thing.

The last three points were all the same trip, but I list them separately so it seems like I did more.

- I had a migraine. This isn't very productive, but it took up a good portion of the afternoon, so it totally goes on the list. (Tylenol is magical, by the way.)

- I put all the groceries away.

- I made chili and cornbread, all by myself because Scott was tired. I was tired too, but I didn't feel like playing the who's-more-tired game, so I just made dinner my own self. Like a boss.

- I took the package of chicken breasts out of the fridge where I had put it in the hopes of making my husband deal with it. (Raw chicken is also Contaminated, in case you are curious.) And I dealt with it myself. Also like a boss.

- I helped my husband sign up for a free trial membership of Amazon Prime so we can procrastinate more in buying Christmas presents.

- In spite of much dithering, I managed to order Christmas presents for my mom and baby brother using Amazon. Mom's didn't have Amazon Prime shipping because the non-Prime listing was a better deal even with added shipping.

Thursday, December 13:

- I made cinnamon rolls, because it was St. Lucy's feast day and cinnamon rolls are totally Swedish, right? This took the whole morning, but I did other things while the rolls are rising and stuff.

- I cleaned my ears out with peroxide. This takes a while, so it goes up a level from "basic personal hygiene" to "chore."

- I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher. This never ends, people.

- I cleaned the toaster oven, because it is annoying when you go to make toast and smoke comes out from all the gunk on the bottom.

- I went out to Kroger and Meijer and Aldi for groceries that I didn't get on Wednesday. (I went to The Other Aldi on Wednesday and they didn't have the right variety of bacon and stuff, so I went to my usual Aldi while I was at Meijer anyway.) I only had a few things to get at each store, so it didn't take long.

- I went to Target (it's right next to my usual Aldi) and get Christmas gifts for my sisters. I used a gift card left over from my wedding to pay for them.

- I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher. AGAIN. It took longer than usual because I finished scrubbing the muffin tin and scrubbed the chili pot. I did not run it, because it was not quite full.

- I cleaned out the inside of the microwave, which was NASTY. It's my own fault for letting it go so long, but I still rewarded myself with a cinnamon roll.

- I STILL had a migraine. Tylenol was less magical than on Wednesday. Blah.

Friday, December 14:

- I cleaned a spot on my wedding dress to make sure the detergent Mari recommended wouldn't hurt it. (Mari made the dress, so she should know.) It didn't. Now I have to hand-wash the entire train and then figure out some more permanent way of storing this thing than "stuffed in a bag in the corner of my closet."

- I made two batches of fudge. The same notes from Monday apply.

- I cooked salmon a couple of times for eating. Including once for Scott.

- I took out a couple bags of trash that were sitting by the front door. There were two others, because on Thursday night Scott bagged up the kitchen trash AGAIN, but I didn't take those out because I can only carry so many.

- I finished loading up the dishwasher and started it.

- I felt generally run-down and awful, but less migrainey, so yay? (I felt better the next day, so I have no idea what my problem is.)


- I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher. This seems to be the one thing I manage to hit every day, possibly because my kitchen is claustrophobically tiny even without dirty dishes in it.

- I handwashed all handwashables. I do not do this every day; usually I wait until we run out of steak knives. Then it looks like I'm preparing some kind of arsenal when I wash them and line them up on a towel to dry.

- I made my final batch of fudge for the 2012 baking season, which didn't turn out as well as I would have liked because I was tired and went to take a nap and then had to rush to cook the fudge so that I could take a 10-minute shower so that we could get out the door.

- I went to Confession and Mass, as did my husband. There's got to be some extra work-of-mercy points for taking your non-driving spouse to Confession, right? (I go way more often than I would without him, because he's so pitiful when he asks to please be driven to Confession that I can't resist.) We skidded in at 4:10 and were both shriven by 4:20, in plenty of time for 4:30 Mass. So I felt especially bad for yelling at my husband because I was running late. (I yell at him when it's his fault we're running late and when it's my fault we're running late. This is why I need Confession, y'all.)

- I made calzones for dinner, but it took forever because I didn't have time to start the dough before we left for church. I yelled at my husband again (because I was hungry and he was there). So much for Confession.

- I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher again. I don't know if I ran it this time because I am polishing this post on Tuesday night and my notes don't tell me.


- I put together a cute little thing of fudge so we could go to a volunteer appreciation party at the church where Scott does most of his Schola stuff. When we went there in the afternoon, the doors were all locked and nobody was there but one other Schola family. We wandered around for half an hour chatting with the other family and then went home. Now there is an artful container of fudge in my fridge, instead of a non-artful container in my freezer, so I am thoroughly off the giving-up-sweets-for-Advent wagon. At least I am eating fewer sweets than I normally do in Advent.

- I vacuumed the living room, which was really pointless because our fake tree shed fake needles everywhere not 5 minutes later.

- I moved the furniture around and got out our fake tree, which had been put in the closet in such a way that it could be pulled out easily. I was very pleased with my younger self. Then I sat and watched while Scott put the tree together. I would have helped, but he seemed to have it under control.

My family's tradition is to assemble and decorate the tree on Gaudete Sunday. Last year, Scott and I were too tired to decorate by the time we got the tree up (I can't remember why it was harder last year), so we put off decorating until Christmas Eve. This year we are doing that again just because it worked out pretty well last year. So apparently we have a tradition of our very own already, after 13 months of marriage.


So, that's my week. You might notice a sad lack of, you know, CLEANING THINGS. Let's pretend that normally I clean all the things and I was just busy with fudge-making this particular week.

Feel free to comment and tell me that you have 5 kids and do way more chores than I do. Or feel free to comment that you have 5 kids and do way less than I do but feel better about it now that I've set the bar so low. (I mean, if an unemployed, childless woman in a 600-square-foot apartment can't keep things clean, why should you?)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Seven Quick December takes

--- 1 ---

I am currently freaking out about the Holy Day of Obligation tomorrow, because freaking out about things is my full-time job. See, our usual parish has a nice convenient vigil Mass tonight, so I was all, "Oh, we can go to that."

Except Scott is singing at First Friday Mass at a different parish, so we kind of can't.

My mother and two random college friends (on Facebook) say that the readings from the Mass you attend have to be the readings from the feast for the Mass to count. Fr. Z and Ed Peters disagree, but I don't know them; they could be some dude in his mother's basement posting about canon law for giggles. (They're probably totally the same person and Fr. Z just disagrees with Dr. Peters' interpretation of another point to maintain the ruse.)

--- 2 ---

Something that was debated on my Facebook wall earlier this week: Does four children count as a "big family"?

It'd be kind of cool if it did; I've always wanted to come from a big family.

Anyway, my favorite answer was from my friend Mari (herself the eldest of four children) who said:

No. You come from an ambiguously medium-sized family that seems sprawling to some and pathetically small to others. Everyone will either wonder why there are so many kids, or why there aren't a lot more. No one understands you and you will be marginalized FOREVER.

--- 3 ---

Last week, Mom and Teresa were at the library (probably Matthew was along too, but he doesn't feature in the story). Mom was doing her own thing while Teresa played board games with a little boy around her own age. When it was time to leave, Teresa came up to Mom and asked for their phone number. Mom asked why she needed it, and Teresa explained that she and the little boy weren't done with their game so she invited him to come over and finish it.

Mom declined to provide the number. Apparently Teresa has, as a result, been paying really good attention during the "learn your phone number and address" lessons that are part of her kindergarten curriculum. I am going to laugh and laugh if Mom gets random calls from strangers about scheduling a playdate one of these days.

--- 4 ---

This post at Seven Angels, etc., reminded me of something hilarious that happened to me about 3 years ago. I don't know if I ever posted about it, but if so I might as well post about it again.

Once upon a time (in November of 2009), I was at "the Pub" buying myself a sandwich or some candy or something. I don't remember. One of the TOR sisters was in line in front of me, buying a sandwich (or something like that) and piece of pumpkin pie. Now, the prices on food could be kind of confusing...if you paid with your meal card, they didn't have sales tax, but if you paid with cash, they did. One way or the other, Sister was about 25 cents shy of what she needed for her food. As she forlornly remarked that she would just have to put the pie back, I quietly opened up my little coin purse and deposited a quarter in front of her. Somehow I communicated the fact that yes, she was allowed to keep it, and no, of course she didn't have to pay me back. She thanked me effusively and went away happy with her pumpkin pie; I went away happy with the glow of my good deed.

That's not the point of the story. The point of the story is that about a week later, I was sitting having a write-in with my friend Rebekah (this is how I know this story happened in November of 2009), when that same Sister came scurrying up to our table, made some remark about how happy she was to have found me, and put a quarter down in front of me.

I was too astonished to say anything (I do have distinctive long hair, but with my hermitlike ways I can't be that easy to find), and she scurried away as quickly as she'd come.

I know it's not quite the same thing as Jane's example, but three years later I still squee from the sheer cuteness of it.

--- 5 ---

I forgot to mention in my last post that for our anniversary Scott and I made this:

It was delicious. Note also the sparkling cider in the background there. This was on November 24, because on our actual anniversary (November 26) Scott had Schola (Schola night means he's out of the house from 7 a.m. to about 9:30 p.m.). There ended up being CAKE at Schola because it was the director's birthday, so when I came to pick him up I got cake too. It was kind of neat.

--- 6 ---

I've been doing some baking lately. Last weekend it was homemade caramel (for my own secret purposes which will be revealed later). My first attempt looked like this:

This is how you all know I'm not actually magical in the kitchen. This stuff smelled as bad as it looked. The second time I was more vigilant and produced this:

That's a whole different saucepan, in case you're curious.

I also made pumpkin muffins yesterday, because it's never a bad time for pumpkin muffins. I had, some time ago, chopped up and boiled a pumpkin that I purchased at the store as a Halloween decoration. The giant bowl of boiled pumpkin had been taking up space in my fridge ever since, but I finally pulled out all my tiny plastic containers and just started filling them. The final result was this:

That's 1 cup of puree in the muffins (I made a small batch) and maybe 15-20 cups in the various other containers.

Remind me next year that one pumpkin is more than enough.

--- 7 ---

This is my Advent wreath:

I actually absolutely love it; my aesthetic sensibilities tend toward minimalism in everything but church architecture. As an added benefit, I'm setting the bar low for all the ladies who have small children and stuff. You're welcome.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Seven Quick Thanksgiving Takes

--- 1 ---

First, some prayer requests: My mother-in-law's brother was recently diagnosed with brain cancer. I haven't heard any updates on how he's doing, but I'm sure he could use prayers no matter what.

Meanwhile, my mother-in-law herself had to have gallbladder surgery a week ago. She's doing okay last I heard, but of course she wants to recover as quickly as possible so she can go visit her brother.

--- 2 ---

Thanksgiving with the in-laws was nice. Relatively low-key, since my mother-in-law was not exactly feeling 100%. I made green beans and bacon, which were a big hit; my father-in-law reported having 3 helpings.

Younger Elder Brother brought this board game called something like The Game of Things. One of the prompts was "Things you wouldn't want to be allergic to." I was trying to think outside the box a little bit, so I wrote "copper."

As soon as YEB read off my response, Scott and Eldest Younger Brother immediately said, in unison, "Your weakness is copper!?"

Yeah, they're kind of awesome.

--- 3 ---

I finished my NaNoWriMo novel today! I have 50,496 words according to Microsoft Word 2003, and 50,487 according to the NaNo counter.

Now I am totally burned out on writing, so I am going to spend the entire month of December playing Sims.

--- 4 ---

The lovely and brilliant Emily stopped by briefly last Saturday on her way home from visiting her parents for Thanksgiving. (We're actually probably an hour total out of her way, but we'll pretend it was on the way.) We spent most of her brief visit talking about health problems, because apparently we are 80 years old instead of 23/24.

There was going to be something else in this take, but now I forget what it was.

--- 5 ---

I remembered around Tuesday that I still don't have an advent wreath. (Last year, as you may recall, I got married less than 24 hours before the beginning of Advent. I was a little distracted.) So on Wednesday I went down to Wal-Mart and got myself a new watch (I've been needing one for a while) and a fake evergreen wreath and five candles. (3 purple, 1 pink, 1 white.) The wreath and candles were less than $7 altogether. Then I was looking at the candle holders, but they were like $5 apiece, and I didn't want to bump my spending from $7 to about $32. Fortunately, I remembered that we actually already had candle holders in our Big Box o' Christmas Stuff. When I got home, I dug them out (there are 5, which is perfect) and now we just need to set up the Advent wreath and we'll be good.

Well, we also need to figure out if we're actually allowed to light candles in the apartment. THEN we'll be good.

--- 6 ---

Anybody know how to get rid of used books in an easy but mildly profitable way? I have a dearth of closet space and spending money and a surfeit of books I'm never going to read again.

--- 7 ---

Here is a picture of Matthew eating his birthday cupcake. His hair is not actually as dark as it looks in this picture. Our parents DID take him to get a haircut, though. Now his lovely curlies are all shorn. :'(

You can also see the string of one of his dollar store balloons. Teresa was intensely jealous of those balloons, even after Mom pointed out that she got to go to the aquarium for her birthday. Obviously next year Mom and Dad will be able to save a pretty penny on special birthday treats, since it turns out $1 balloons are about a million times better than $25 aquarium admissions.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Twelve Quick Matthew Takes

My life is boring, and today is my baby brother's first birthday, so I am going to do something different.

1. Very late November/very early December 2011: Being held by Mom in the NICU. When he was born he weighed 3 pounds, 15 ounces and was 17 inches long.

2. January 2012: Matthew says, "You're not going to post these pictures on Facebook, are you?" Mom does, but crops them for modesty. 

3. February 2012: Matthew learns how to smile and in general becomes more interesting. I stop getting accused of heresy for calling him "Cute but boring."

4. March 2012: My family comes to visit and we go to the children's museum. Matthew sleeps through the whole adventure but wakes up for the photo op. (This might be the only picture of all six of us together. This will have to be remedied.)

5. April 2012: Matthew actually loves swings, but hates hats and hoods with a burning passion.

6. May 2012: Matthew discovers dogs. (At our uncle's house.)

7. June 2012: Matthew is far too cool for King's Island. (He kept putting his leg like that on purpose, promise.)

8. July 2012: Matthew apparently doesn't do anything cute. I will have to hound my mother for a picture to complete my collection.

UPDATED TO ADD: The dearth of photos apparently occurred because they were busy taking videos...July was the month in which Matthew learned to dance. 

9. August 2012: Matthew is not amused by being dressed up and posed like a little doll. Also, he pulls himself up for the first time, but that picture is blurry. 

10. September 2012: Matthew stands up long enough for people to get non-blurry pictures. He also wears awesome polo shirts and coordinating pants and has the best elbow dimples ever.

11. October 2012: Matthew dresses up as a panda for his first Halloween. 

12. November 2012: Matthew is 1 year old. He has curly brown hair and bluish gray eyes. At his last checkup (at the end of October), he weighed 21.5 pounds (more than five times his birthweight!) and was 31.5 inches long. I don't know the percentiles, but I think that means he's tall and skinny. He has 6 teeth, can say a few words ("Kitty!" and "Yum" being his favorites), crawls REALLY REALLY FAST, and can stand while nonchalantly resting one hand on the wall. One of these days he'll take off running, I'm sure.

We never knew just how incomplete our family was until you were in it, little brother. We love you and happy birthday!

Visit Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Anonymous commenting off

Lately I've been getting several spam comments per week, all anonymous. They get caught by the spam filter, fortunately, but it's still really annoying. So anonymous commenting is off.

I think all of my regular commenters use Blogger accounts, except my husband, who has a Blogger account but can't be bothered to sign in. So this shouldn't be too much of an inconvenience for any of you. (I think the way I have it set now you could also use a Wordpress or Livejournal or whatever account. You just can't be anonymous.)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Seven Quick November Takes

--- 1 ---

A little election humor for you, courtesy of my father-in-law (red) and Middle Younger Brother (yellow):

--- 2 ---

I am getting very tired of leaving the house. On Monday Scott had an allergist appointment (went fine, thanks for asking), on Tuesday we went to vote, on Wednesday I went to the library, on Thursday I went grocery shopping. Tonight, I am seriously considering going to a write-in, which involves TALKING TO STRANGERS. Talking to strangers who are as crazy about novel-writing as I am is a little less scary than the regular kind of strangers, though.

Then this weekend Scott and I are having a private birthday celebration for me, because next weekend on my actual birthday we will be at my parents' house, celebrating Matthew's birthday and my birthday and Thanksgiving. (I believe I mentioned this last week. By the way, don't come steal all our stuff while we're gone. We may or may not have sentry robots who will kill you.)

(You are scoffing, but my husband really can program robots. I wouldn't be too sure that I'm bluffing if I were you.)

--- 3 ---

Speaking of NaNoWriMo, at this very moment (8:36 on Friday morning), my novel has 16,668 words, which is just a hair over 1/3 of the way. Considering this is Day 9 (not Day 10, 1/3 of the way through the month), that's pretty good. It's especially good considering that only a couple hundred of those words are from this morning's writing session. I'm hoping to inch up to 18,000 before I go to bed tonight.

There's still plenty of time to crash and burn, though. :)

--- 4 ---

On Wednesday, Scott worked a little later than usual, so I didn't rendezvous with him at the bus stop until about 6:30. Then I had to stop by the library to return a book that was due and pick up some reserves, so we didn't get back to our apartment until 7:00. Then I stared at the pound of ground beef thawing in the fridge and thought, "Meh."

Scott wasn't feeling well, and I wasn't feeling so great myself*, and it was late, so we mutually agreed that spaghetti and meatballs were just not a priority. We ate toast sitting around in the living room instead. It felt cozy and pleasant for some reason, perhaps because we were kind of playing hooky from adult responsibilities. (We should do that more often; we are very boring now that we are old and married.)

Scott fell asleep on the couch around 9:00, which made me kind of excited because he takes up a lot of room in the bed for being so skinny. I proceeded to wake up roughly every half hour all night because I kept trying to kick him in the shins and not being able to find him. (No, really. I'd wake up with my feet way over on his side of the bed, pawing forlornly at the empty sheets.)

On the other hand, Scott says he slept really well on the couch. I wonder why.

Scott thinks this is especially funny considering that I am forever fussing at him for having his feet on my side of the bed.

*We both felt better the next morning, so I think we just had a bad case of the Tireds.

--- 5 ---

Scott and I are doing the De Montfort Marian consecration again this year. It's a 33-day process; we started on November 5 so we could finish on December 7 so we could consecrate on December 8.

Last Saturday, November 3, I was thinking it was about time to start so we tried to calculate exactly what day we needed to start on and got into an argument (I was in a bad mood) and then got over the argument and got into a long and spirited discussion about math. Scott tried to explain to me the proper way for calculating start and end times of a 33-day process, but I got hopelessly confused, so he asked me to explain how I calculated it. (Since I had gotten the right answer before he tried to start explaining it to me.) So I told him the exact literal thing that goes on in my head when I am performing that particular mental calculation. The high point was when I said emphatically, "AND THEN THE NUMBERS CHANGE COLOR."

This is why I had trouble with those "show your work" math tests. I basically had to lie, because nobody actually wants to hear how a highly visual, somewhat synesthetic person does math. They want you to pretend that you got the answer the same way normal people do.

(The numbers aren't inherently colored, in case you're curious. Mathematical concepts have color, and the numbers change color depending on what I'm trying to do with them.)

--- 6 ---

I finally got around to making a pumpkin roll this week. It went well up until the point when I tried to roll it up, at which point it the cake broke into 3 pieces and frosting oozed everywhere and everything was all sticky. I'd show you pictures, but the pictures I took do not adequately convey the overwhelming sticky-ness.

After some frustration, I managed to mummify it in plastic wrap, shove it in a loaf pan (so it would hold some of its shape), and stick it in the freezer. That ended up being the right choice, because a day later I cut myself a slice that looked like this:

Not exactly spiral-shaped, but still pretty, right? When it's frozen, it's still soft enough to eat easily, but it doesn't ooze everywhere and it doesn't taste cloyingly sweet; the spices have a chance to come out. (Sometimes that "freezing things makes them less sweet" concept works to my advantage. Don't freeze pudding, though.)

(I used this recipe, except I used a 13x9 glass pan and no wax paper, I omitted the nuts, and I put 2 extra cups of powdered sugar in the filling because frosting is supposed to be FLUFFY, not runny.)

--- 7 ---

Stolen from my mother's Facebook page, but paraphrased:

My mother and my siblings were out running errands when they heard an ambulance pass by. Teresa said, "We need to pray!" Then she said, "Please help the people and the doctors help them if they broke their leg or their arm or their neck came off." Mom snickered a little bit. Teresa said, "Would that be hard to fix?"

Yes, dear, it would.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Threeish Quick Gloomy Takes and Four Birthgiversary Takes

--- 1 ---

Ever have one of those days when you burst into tears because of a song on the radio?

Me neither. }:^|

(My brother-in-law invented that. He calls it "The Vulcan emoticon! The only one you'll ever need!")

--- 2 ---

Don't you hate how by the time you're old enough to do whatever you want, you're old enough to realize you shouldn't be doing it?

In addition to my recent discovery that I can be a civilized human being if I go to bed by 11:00, I discovered that I can actually feel semi-normal if I don't eat carbs. (By not eating carbs I mean I restrict them to 30-40% of my calorie intake. Stop clutching your pearls.)

Exhibit A: I stopped eating carbs a couple of weeks ago and experienced immediate relief of some annoying physical problems I will not describe to you all.

Exhibit B: On Wednesday I had five pieces of candy. FIVE. And two of those were tiny little Starburst candies. (I also ate more tortilla chips than were strictly necessary to go with my nacho dip. That didn't help. Altogether I estimate that I bumped my carbohydrate intake to 50-60% of total calories, which is actually within USDA recommendations instead of below them.) Yesterday, in addition to being violently ill, I was a sobbing ball of anxiety all day long. I am exaggerating only a very tiny bit.

So when I dragged myself to the store to buy groceries, I bought some smoked sausage stuff and some pepperoni. And told Scott that he was not allowed to even THINK about eating them. (He gets the munchies at midnight and instead of eating carbs like a normal person he vacuums up all the meat in the fridge. It's annoying.)

I was all excited and optimistic for about 2 seconds. Then I accidentally had some smoked sausage this morning as a snack, instead of eating cheese or tuna or something. So now I'm even more depressed because eating high-protein ruins my religious life. (Updated later in the day: I skipped dessert and eventually felt better about my life. Probably due to not getting the carb-hit of dessert.)

--- 3 ---

I started NaNoWriMo yesterday. It's actually going fairly well, but I've got a whole lot of room still to crash and burn.

(That's how pessimists brag. "I haven't crashed and burned yet!")

--- 4 ---

Scott and I decided to get Matthew this for his first birthday (November 16). By "Scott and I decided" I mean that I decided, asked Scott if he had a problem with it, and when he said no took care of the order process myself. In this case, "taking care of the order process" meant that I asked my mom if she was ordering anything from Amazon, because I don't believe in paying shipping for Amazon products ever but you can't get Super Saver on a $16 order. Fortunately, my mom was just getting ready to place an order, so we both got free shipping and I don't have to remember to bring anything along when we come visit. Win!

It's a grossly age-inappropriate present and he will probably eat it, but I always wanted one of those wooden train sets and what's the point of having a little brother if you can't live vicariously through him? (I'd buy trains for Teresa, but she's not the "sit quietly and build things" type, like I was.)

Anyway, by the time Matthew is 3 and can actually play with wooden trains, his penny-pinching sister will have managed to round up a fairly large set piecemeal. I do not see how this could be a bad idea.

--- 5 ---

I told Scott that for my birthday (November 17) I want him to make me a lasagna. This is because I would not enjoy a present that required taking money out of our funds, unless it is something we are going to buy anyway, like food. (He might also "get" me a new watch, since the battery in my old one died.) I think Scott has also promised some Calvin and Hobbes reading.

Meanwhile, my mom wants me to give her "fun" gift ideas, and I have very few ideas. Saving money is fun. Other than that...

I am not even 23 yet and I'm already a boring old person.

--- 6 ---

We are going to Scott's parents' for Thanksgiving. Younger Elder Brother and his wife are coming over as well. I am actually kind of excited. I think my general enthusiasm over Thanksgiving (BEST! HOLIDAY! EVER! How did Puritans come up with such amazingness?) is overshadowing any in-law anxiety I might otherwise have.

My mother-in-law has not yet replied to my offers to help cook, but hopefully I will succeed in gaining a backstage pass to the kitchen. For one thing, I handle social situations better when I have a defined role, like "cook the potatoes." For another, I want to agitate for things like real mashed potatoes and no glazes on meats. (In her defense, my mother-in-law has never put a glaze on a meat in my presence. But you never know when mothers will get fancy ideas...)

(I can gag on cue just thinking about cranberry glaze. *gag, gag*)

--- 7 ---

To round out the Trifecta of Novemberly Awesomness, Scott and I will be celebrating our first anniversary on the 26th. (The Trifecta includes my birthday, Thanksgiving, and our anniversary. Matthew's birthday is awesome too but doesn't count.) So far we have no plans except making beef stew out of steaks. Go ahead and clutch your pearls over that one; I am pretty sure it will be delicious and don't care if that's not the right way to cook steak.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Seven Quick Halloweenish Takes

--- 1 ---

My hometown is really weird about trick-or-treat scheduling. This year really took the cake, though (or perhaps took the candy?) because official trick-or-treating was scheduled for last night. 

The upside of this is that you get to see cute pictures of my siblings all the sooner!

--- 2 ---

A brief tutorial on how to react properly to the above pictures. (The situation in the video is the reverse, but it is still relevant.)

The fact that somebody thought to put that clip on YouTube makes me really love human beings.

--- 3 ---

I just spent about an hour redoing my mother's Seven Quick Takes post for her because the HTML or something got hopelessly messed up. (I am not actually sure what happened, but when I carefully transferred the relevant bits to a new post they got dewonkified.) As a result, I am allegedly getting an extra handful of candy in the bag of Halloween goodies they are saving for me.

--- 4 ---

Earlier this week, I was coveting apartments with washer-drying hookups. Then I was envying houses with giant kitchens. (One of my old friends from college is looking at houses with her husband. They are torn between a modern townhouse and a nice but older house. The nice but older house has a kitchen that looks to be about 6 times the size of the townhouse kitchen. (She posted pictures on Facebook and solicited opinions.))

My mother claims the solution to itchy feet is rearranging furniture, so I moved some chairs around today. We'll see if that works.

--- 5 ---

I have been doing a little better on the "sticking to bedtime" front this week. (I'm sure you're all fascinated. Just imagine how interesting this blog will be when I have children!) I have been having a bit of "trouble" with my usual nap, in that I would go to bed and doze for about half an hour and then be wide awake again, rather than falling into deep sleep for an hour and a half or so.

So yesterday I didn't take a nap at all and ended up getting overtired and not going to bed until midnight.

My conclusions from these bits of data: 1) I have the sleep habits of a 3-year-old child. 2) I am probably going to spend the rest of my life sleeping from 10-6 and then lying down for half an hour after lunch. At which point I will just have to cut my hair and dye it dark brown in order to completely turn into my mother.

--- 6 ---

The power went out for about an hour and a half this afternoon. I used my computer until the battery was about 50% gone (my battery runs down fast), then hibernated it, had a snack, and read a book.

I am really glad the power came back, not only because my precious internet has returned (the modem can't do its thing without power), but also because you would not believe how much stuff I have in my freezer, even with it being the end of the month.

--- 7 ---

Speaking of books, I read Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes earlier this week and am now working my way through the much thicker Good Calories, Bad Calories.

I find his ideas interesting, but he lost me completely when he claimed milk was too high in sugar. Sorry, buddy, but if I'm giving up bread and sweets you will be prying milk out of my cold, dead fingers.

(I was about 20 years old before I realized there are people who don't drink milk. I mean, other than the lactose intolerant. I don't get this. Milk goes with everything and is delicious.)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Seven Quick Mid-October Takes

--- 1 ---

My little sister, Teresa, is six years old today. I'm feeling less of the usual "She's growing up TOO FAST!" thing today. Maybe the difference between six and five is less than the difference between five and four. Maybe she just seems to be growing up slowly compared to Matthew. (Babies are so disconcerting. One day they're all tiny and squishy, and then less than a year later they are crawling around at lightning speed and  kind of saying words and...It's ridiculous.)

--- 2 ---

Last weekend, Scott and I were up in my hometown, so we went to Mass with my family. Teresa sat next to me, partly because she thinks I am awesome, and partly (no doubt) because that way she was way on the opposite end of the pew from Mom and Dad.

At one point we were having a (quiet) conversation about Father purifying the vessels, and she commented knowingly, "He's drinking God's blood, but it tastes like wine." (Over lunch afterwards, I asked her where she learned that and she said "Jesus told me." I think Mom told her a couple of times as well, but hey. Maybe she DOES talk to Jesus.)

On the other hand, during Mass she asked me if Halloween was the day Jesus rose from the dead. So I don't think I should rest on my godmotherly laurels just yet.

(Halloween and Easter both have candy, so they're totally the same thing, right?)

--- 3 ---

My mother wants me to mention here all of the free food we've been getting in the last month. So:

1) Almost two weeks ago, we went out for ice cream with Scott's family in honor of Middle Younger Brother's birthday.

2) A week ago, we went to spend the weekend with my family and got lots of free food, including takeout pizza and even more ice cream. Also, my grandmother treated us to a buffet lunch on Saturday.

3) Scott's Team Mom* keeps a bowl of candy on her desk and strongly encourages people to eat it so that she doesn't have to. But then as soon as it gets low she buys more. This behavior puzzles Scott, but I don't care because it means he occasionally brings home candy for ME. I love candy.

*Scott's coworkers are all 20-something men with the exception of one 40-something woman. Judging from the stories he tells, the group dynamic is pretty hilarious. (Yes, he really does call her "The mom of [his team]", when he's not calling her by her name.)

--- 4 ---

Remember the part of the last take where I mentioned takeout pizza? You should; you read it like 10 seconds ago.

Okay, now remember the part where Scott gets very ill if he eats takeout pizza? (Homemade pizza, for unknown reasons, doesn't bother him at all.) You might not, since it's been a while since I mentioned that.

Well, my mother is a generous soul and decided to order something different in the hopes of hitting upon something Scott can eat. So she ordered some kind of chicken pizza with tomato slices and a garlic-butter sauce in place of tomato sauce.

Scott ate three pieces. He loved it and was fine, not sick at all.

His stomach is weird.

--- 5 ---

This week, I relapsed on the going-to-bed-on-time front, staying online until after 11 two nights in a row.

I felt SO awful, you guys, which gives further evidence, I suppose, that my late-night surfing is a contributor to my chronic tiredness and anxiety. Obviously I'm a slow learner, though, since I did it two nights in a row.

--- 6 ---

I made apple crisp this week for dessert, even though we still have a fair number of chocolate chip cookies left. I didn't make any muffins, though, since we still have banana muffins that need to be eaten.

I have been experimenting with dinner as well. On Tuesday (I have gotten thrown off my usual dinner schedule by all the free food) I made soup with ground beef, egg noodles, carrots and celery, and onion and garlic for seasoning. It was very good, but didn't last long enough.

Then yesterday I made a sort of stir-fry with pork, rice, broccoli, and soy sauce. It was good, but too salty. I think I will try to salvage this batch by making up some more plain rice and mixing it in to dilute the flavor. In the future I will remember that a little soy sauce goes a long way.

--- 7 ---

It's bad when you get gas for $3.49 and think what an awesome deal that is.

Also, ground beef was up 20 cents a pound yesterday. I was disappointed, but my budget isn't too tight so I bought it anyway. Bacon is up too, but fortunately pork loin and chicken breast still come on sale regularly. 

To make up for the boringness of that take, here is a picture of a messy baby. (Mom gave him a cereal bar to keep him occupied on the way home from the store, apparently.)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Seven Quick Takes in which I am not wasting time on the internet

--- 1 ---

As I mentioned in my last set of quick takes, Scott was singing at First Friday Mass. He had to be at rehearsal at 6:15, so he took the bus straight from work to the church. (I packed him some extra food, same as I do on other Schola days. That time, he ended up just eating most of it when he got home.) I left our apartment around 6:15 and arrived at St. FifteenMilesAway (not to be confused with St. TenMilesAway, our usual Sunday parish, or St. TwentyMilesAway, Liza's usual parish) shortly before 7:00. Mass started at 7:15, ended at 8:00, we left almost immediately thereafter.

Since it is all late in the year and such, it was dark by the time we were driving home. At one point, I was driving along minding my own business when I caught a bit of motion out of the corner of my eye. I slowed down, because that is my default when anything unusual happens while I am driving.

I ascertained that the moving thing was a white grocery bag. A few milliseconds later I ascertained that it was being held by a man wearing a black hoodie and black pants, jogging nonchalantly across the middle of the road. He got to the other side and I went my merry way.

Hey, I don't have a problem with going and getting yourself some pop and cigarettes (or whatever) at 8:15 on an October evening. I don't even have a problem with you crossing nowhere near a crosswalk; sometimes going all the way up and down the street can be a total pain.

But if you are going to be doing those two things, WEAR REFLECTIVE CLOTHING.

--- 2 ---

That wasn't even the weirdest thing that happened on our drive back. At one point, we were approaching a railroad crossing when the lights started flashing and the bars started going down. I stopped. A train approached from our left and then stopped. Scott and I wondered what was up. Then, as we both watched in amazement, it started backing up and going the other way. The bars came back up. I hesitated a second before I went ahead and drove across the tracks, just to make sure the train was really gone.

I'm glad we were both there, or else we might have had to write it off as a sleep-deprivation induced hallucination.

--- 3 ---

This past week, I have been enforcing a "No computer after 10:00" policy. (Which turns into a "No computer after 10:15" policy sometimes, but hey. Nobody's perfect.) See, I "need" to be on the computer from 8-10 because that's when I can Skype my friends. (Mari is almost always on, and when other people want to Skype I tell them to catch me between 8-10 p.m.) But then after 10 it devolves into mindless surfing. Lately, I had been getting off at 11:00 or 11:30 and then doing my bedtime routine, which goes thus: Hibernate and unplug computer, put on pajamas, brush teeth, get a glass of water, set all 3 of my alarms, make sure the front door is locked, make sure the sliding door to the balcony is locked, resist the urge to go downstairs and make sure my car is locked, get meat down for dinner tomorrow, make sure the stove is turned off, make sure the front door is locked again, go into the bedroom and recheck all 3 alarms...etc, etc. When that happens I don't go to bed until 11:30 or 12:00 and lie awake for an hour because I'm too keyed up to sleep. This means, for those of you who are mathmatically challenged like me, that I fall asleep between 12:30 and 1:00. Then I wake up at 5:45 to start my morning routine and wonder why I'm so grumpy. (I do take naps, but naps are a band-aid on the gaping wound of not enough sundown-to-midnight sleep.)

I need to go to sleep earlier, because I can control that where I can't control my anxiety levels, and if I get more sleep the anxiety levels will drop of their own accord and I will have less trouble getting to bed (because of all the checking) and falling asleep (normal for me is 30 minutes, not 60). Screentime doesn't directly affect that (as far as I know), but it gives me something to do when I'm up late. I can "concentrate" on mindless surfing far longer than I can concentrate on reading a book.

--- 4 ---

Besides being more well-rested and less anxious, this "No screentime after 10:00" policy means that I've been reading again. Up until about my sophomore year of college I was a voracious reader. Then I got burnt out, and having my own computer with readily accessible internet made it easy to use my free time to just mindlessly surf instead of reading actual books that require concentration. (My blog reading actually shifted during this time as well. I used to read deep theological stuff online. Now I mostly read blogs that are cute or funny. I was a theology major; I didn't need any more treatises to read.) I think I really am getting less burnt out, too, because I've been wanting to read even when I could be on the internet instead.

--- 5 ---

The other thing that's been keeping me off the internet this week is my novel. See, I've been working on this particular novel for 5 1/2 years, and this particular draft of this particular novel for 2 1/2. The first draft, as you might guess, took 3 years of on-again, off-again writing. (2007 to 2010, so about half of that time was post college-induced burnout.) I let it sit for a few weeks and then tweaked it and sent it off to my beta reader, who reported that one day she went to read it and found herself hunting for a hard copy book, before she remembered that my book wasn't published yet and was in a file on the computer. I was very proud of myself. Then said beta reader decided to go through it chapter by chapter and tear it into tiny little pieces. So I've been rewriting it to make it even more better.

The first few chapters were easy; I just had to tweak some things and work on making the "voice" truer to the characters. (When I'm writing from the perspective of the character who doesn't like to read anything more profound than a bus schedule, I have to use different language than when I'm writing from the perspective of the character who likes epic poetry and philosophical tomes and such.) But then I started getting to the point where I had to kill subplots that weren't going anywhere and add subplots to set up for things that came out of nowhere in the first draft, in addition to paring down sections that were too wordy and beefing up sections that were too perfunctory. It was basically writing the whole book over again. It took a discouragingly long time, and half the time I didn't know if I was even making it better.

Now, though, I'm at the point that was the last half-dozen chapters in the previous draft. I had forgotten that when I get to the end the story just kind of sweeps me up. It's like I've been spending 100 pages setting up an elaborate pattern of dominoes and then I tapped the first one and now it's just a matter of keeping up with them as they fall.

So, yeah. I've been spending a couple of hours per day writing the novel. Doesn't leave much time for mindless internet surfing.

--- 6 ---

I am totally going to make these as mini-muffins this week. And I am going to make an apple crisp, because we have lots of apples and I just bought vanilla ice cream. (Okay, that sentence isn't quite logical. I bought the vanilla ice cream because I was going to make apple crisp, not the other way around.) After that, I am going to make a pumpkin roll. (Something like this. I picked that one because it has a pretty picture to go with it; I have not yet decided what recipe to use.) I have never made one before, but why should I let that stop me?

Now I just need a house elf to do all the dishes for me afterwards. And I might need to steal my husband's metabolism for a while.

--- 7 ---

Here is a picture of a baby rejecting his bottle in favor of an apple. Matthew is apparently enjoying having teeth. (Mom was trying to eat the apple herself.)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October grocery shopping and menu planning part 1

These groceries were purchased on Thursday, October 4.

Chicken: About 9 pounds for $15.30 at Meijer.

Eggs: 2 dozen for $2.98 (!!!) at Aldi. (Is there something wrong with the chickens this month?)

Green beans: 2 pounds for $1.99 at Meijer.

Bacon: $3.19 at Aldi. (It used to be $2.99. Boo.)

Milk: $1.69 at Aldi.

Parmesan: $2.39 at Aldi.

Cream cheese: $1.19 at Aldi.

Sliced provolone cheese: $1.99 at Aldi.

Lunchmeat: $3.49 at Aldi.

Shredded cheddar cheese: $2.99 at Aldi.

Salsa: $1.69 at Aldi.

Pickles: $1.49 at Aldi.

Applesauce: $2.19 at Meijer.

Potatoes: $1.99 at Aldi. (That's a really good price. I didn't realize that until now; I just chucked them in the cart.)

Vegetable bouillon: 2 packages for $2.38 at Kroger. (I always get two because it's impossible to find.)

Sweetened condensed milk: 2 cans for $2.38 at Aldi.

Lentils: 1 pound for $1.29 at Kroger. (And then Meijer had them on sale, 4 for $5. Oh well.)

Chocolate chips: $1.57 at Kroger.

Total: $52.18 (See? I told you it was unbelievably low.)

Grocery > Other Total: $13.16

Menu plan:

Friday: Leftover veggie soup, fresh garlic-cheddar biscuits

Saturday: Meatloaf, potatoes with parsley and butter, applesauce

Monday: Potato soup

Wednesday: Chicken alfredo, green beans and bacon

Saturday, October 6, 2012

September Grocery Shopping Part 3

These groceries were purchased on Thursday, September 23.

Muenster sliced cheese: $1.99 at Aldi

Orange juice: $1.29 at Aldi

Sour cream: $1.29 at Aldi

Bread: $1.29 at Aldi

Eggs: 2 dozen for $2.78 at Aldi (!!!)

Lunch meat: $3.49 at Aldi

Peas: 99 cents at Aldi

Shredded cheddar cheese: $2.99 at Aldi

Mixed veggies: $2.19 at Meijer

Beer: $14.99 plus 98 cents tax at Meijer (This was my dad's birthday present. Scott and I did not drink any of it.)

Pickles: $1.49 at Aldi

Diced tomatoes: 59 cents at Aldi

Tomato sauce: 2 cans for 58 cents at Aldi

Cream of mushroom soup: 69 cents at Aldi

Onion flakes: 99 cents at Aldi

Spaghetti: 2 pounds for $1.69 at Aldi

Egg noodles: 99 cents at Aldi

Total: $41.29

Grocery > Other total: $24.06

September grand total: $198.38

September Grocery > Other grand total: $49.22

Yes, I only went shopping three times in September. We apparently haven't been eating, because I came in about $17 under budget in terms of "food actually purchased for us" and was therefore able to incorporate my dad's present into our grocery budget, which is good since we don't really have a gift budget--if we want to buy gifts we have to cut back somewhere else. (Had our loaves and fishes not been so multiplied, Dad would have gotten a smaller package of beer.)

I honestly can't remember when we ate what. Perhaps Scott will remember for me. Anyway, at some point we had the following meals:
Leftover cheese pizza
Veggie soup and garlic cheddar biscuits
Hamburgers provided by my parents (we were visiting for my dad's birthday, naturally)
Stroganoff and peas
Spaghetti and meatballs
Chicken noodle soup
Pork roast with random leftover sides
Pork chops with random leftover sides

(WHERE is all this food coming from?)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Seven Quick October Takes

--- 1 ---

The other day, I complained that Scott was crowding me. (I have a very large personal bubble even with my husband.)

Him: "I can't help it. I'm just drawn to you."

Me: "My gravitational field must be stronger because I'm bigger."

Him: "I think that has more to do with mass than volume, though in this case they're probably the same thing."

Me: "Yeah, I think all humans are equally dense."

Him: "That explains a lot."

And then we both dissolved into giggles. (Manly giggles, in Scott's case.)

--- 2 ---

The Christian radio statio to which I listen while driving is having their fall pledge drive this week. I find pledge drives annoying at the best of times, but the thing that really rubs me the wrong way is the fact that they're pushing an "Easy $40 a month donation." Newsflash, radio people: $40 a month is not pocket change to some people.

Look, I'm not saying I'm poor. We're well above the poverty level over here and even "poverty level" in America is pretty cushy compared to, you know, Haiti or something. I am writing this with my handy high-speed internet access, after all. Still, I also don't blow $15 a week on Starbucks or anything.

Let me hasten to say that if you do spend $15 a week on Starbucks, that's fine, as long as you're not starving your children or something in order to afford it. That's just the most common example I see/hear in A) money-saving articles (Packing your lunch instead of eating out can save $50 a week! Giving up one fancy coffee a day can save another $15!) and B) fundraising campaigns. (They haven't said it yet, but I can bet you that they will at some point say that the easy $40 a month donation is like NOT going to Starbucks X number of times. The Starbucks is basically a unit of currency.) And it annoys me because it assumes we all have this lifestyle that, while valid, is completely foreign to my experience.

--- 3 ---

You guys, I get SO MANY coupons all the time. Really. I just sorted coupons for the second time this week and I have a legal pad's worth of paper on the floor next to me.

It wouldn't be so bad if the coupons were a TINY bit targeted. But I get ads for Medicare and electric wheelchairs and carpet cleaning* and roofing and yard care services and I just think about all the trees that died to tell me how I can save money on things I'm not going to buy anytime in the foreseeable future.

*It says in our rent contract that we have to go through the landlord if we want our carpet cleaned.

Oh well. At least I do have one Dairy Queen coupon for BOGO sundaes. Hot fudge, nom nom nom. I think I need to suggest to Scott that we go out on a date sometime before November 30.

(In case you're curious, in light of my last take: We average maybe $5 a month on our dates.)

--- 4 ---

One of my neighbors always parks directly over the yellow line so he's using two spaces. (All cars are "he" in my world, even the ones with actual female drivers.) I've been assuming the car's owner is handicapped and needs the extra space to get in and out, because otherwise why would you do that? I mean, I get that we all get 2 unspecified, unassigned spaces in the parking lot (that's another thing on the rental contract), but if you only have one car it's polite not to hog two spaces anyway.

At least they're not doing this, though:


--- 5 ---

Some Matthew spam:

That is apparently what he does to avoid diaper changes. He can't even walk yet but he can do THAT. Oy.

Teresa was and is a climber too. Just the other day Mom found her with her picnic table pushed up against the trunk of one of our big old trees; she was trying to get high enough to reach the lowest branches so she could climb it.

Dad was taking some pictures to show how patient Tammy-cat is with Matthew and managed to capture this moment for posterity: Matthew putting the end of Tammy's tail in his mouth and biting it. Mom (you can almost see her sitting next to him) pried it out of his mouth and the cat was fine, but Tammy apparently decided to revoke his tail-grabbing privileges--now she pushes his hand away with her paw whenever he tries.

I hope that clicking will embiggen that. For those of you who can't figure it out: Dark blue is my dad, light blue is me, green is my mom. (And red is my uncle Mike.)

--- 6 ---

I still have one piece of cheesecake left in my freezer, but that stuff keeps for months. I know this from experience. So on Tuesday I baked chocolate chip cookies. (I could have, theoretically, eaten the last piece of cheesecake on Tuesday and made the cookies on Wednesday, but Wednesday was a cooking-dinner day and Tuesday wasn't so it seemed better to trash the kitchen on Tuesday.)

Then on Thursday I didn't have a lot of groceries to buy (Really, I spent about $60 when I normally spend about $110 my first trip of the month. I have no idea where all this extra food came from.) so I got another bag of chocolate chips (I bought three bags at the end of last month because it seemed like a good idea at the time and then used one of them for cookies because I had never bought Kroger brand chips before and wanted to make sure they were good. FOR SCIENCE.) and two cans of sweetened condensed milk. So sometime this next week I am going to make plain fudge (this recipe) and freeze it. And then I will make marshmallow fudge, and then I will make cookies and creme fudge (I invented my own recipe for that last year), and then I might make one or two experimental types of fudge as well. You can never have too much fudge, right?

(Yes, I am planning on giving away some of this fudge. Be prepared, friends and relatives!)

While I was impulse-buying fudge fixings on Thursday, I saw pumpkins for sale and almost impulse-bought some of those too. I have declared to Scott that we are going to get some and color them with markers and display them for a little while and then chop them up and cook them into puree. (Geek Lady reminded me of this with her post.) See, if you draw on the pumpkins with markers you can still eat them, but if you cut them up as jack-o-lanterns then you get bugs and whatever inside your pumpkin and have to throw it away. (Or so I've been told. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.) Scott seems okay with this plan, but he might have just been tired and distracted when I told him about it.

Incidentally, am I the only person in America who grew up drawing on pumpkins? I was well into my teens before I realized actual people (not just, you know, characters on TV) carved pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns. I think this clever bit of propaganda just came about because there was no way Mom was letting either Andrea or me handle knives. (Last year was the first time she made her own puree, so it can't have been that.)

--- 7 ---

This week is Scott's busiest Schola week for the entire fall "semester", unless his director decides to spring another performance on them out of the blue. (And I think she promised to not do that.) He had his regular practice on Monday night and then this evening he's singing at First Friday Mass and on Sunday there's some kind of Mass with the Archbishop for some unspecified reason. It might just be the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. 

I'm using that as a cop-out quick take so I can go clean my kitchen or something before I have to leave for Mass myself. (Note to blog-stalking thieves: There's nothing worth stealing here except delicious chocolate chip cookies, so don't bother coming by while we're gone.)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!