Friday, January 6, 2012

Seven Quick Epiphany Takes

--- 1 ---

It has been my tradition since the earliest days of this blog to post T. S. Eliot's Journey of the Magi every year on Epiphany, because it happens to be the best poem ever. This year I don't feel like fussing with the formatting (for some reason, copy-paste kills the line breaks every time), so I'll just direct you here, here, here, or here for some poetical awesomeness.

--- 2 ---

Today Scott and I went to the post office, the Social Security office, and the bank. Scott had to come along because we were depositing money in two different accounts.

At the Social Security office, the government employee who happened to assist me had a very fun time saying my new last name over and over in a fake Italian accent while he typed my information into his computer. Apparently his last name also has two c's and it's exciting to meet somebody else in the same predicament. Is this a club or something? Should I be applying for my Unpronounceable-by-WASPs-Italian-Last-Name club membership in addition to a new driver's license and passport?

--- 3 ---

Last month I mentioned to my mother-in-law that I was interested in giving her my little babysitter spiel so she could distribute it to the Big City homeschool group. I never got around to that, but it was on my mother-in-law's radar so when Other Homeschool Mom sent out an email to the homeschool group saying she needed a nanny, my mother-in-law gave us each other's emails.

So on Tuesday I drove down to their house (which is an awesome 100-year-old Victorian with all sorts of weird little nooks and crannies) and met everybody, and on Wednesday I drove down there at the crack of dawn and babysat the 8-year-old and the 1-year-old until 3:30.

It was quite possibly the easiest babysitting job ever. The 1-year-old was easily kept happy as long as I threw balls for him to fetch and fed him goldfish crackers. (I did feed him other stuff. I care about nutrition.) The 8-year-old cheerfully and efficiently did all her schoolwork and then played a computer game for a little while and then got out the art supplies and made a very pretty paper chain for her sick grandmother's hospital room. Meanwhile the baby was napping so I was reading one of the new American Girl books. (8-year-old, seeing me sitting around doing nothing: "What do you like to do? Do you like to read? We have books you can read.") (The old American Girl books are better.) Then the 8-year-old wanted to know what she could do next. I suggested TV, and then kicked myself because I really should learn how to suggest things other than glowing screens. So the 8-year-old watched a few episodes of Word Girl on Netflix and then her brother woke up and I was all despairing because I thought, "Great, now I'll have to entertain him, so I can't do anything enriching with her once she's done watching TV." Well, once the episode was over the girl got off the computer and played ball with her brother. So I didn't have to entertain him and she was doing something not screen related.

Can you believe I made money doing that?

--- 4 ---

In the middle of that last take, I wandered off to make eggless cookie dough. Just leaving the egg out didn't work (the dough was all dry and crumbly and didn't taste quite right), so I used one of the egg substitutes on this page (the one that uses flour and water and oil and baking powder, because I have all of those things).

That worked. The texture is perfect; the taste is perfect. (Scott says it's too sweet, but he's never had cookie dough before so what does he know?)

I have not yet moved on to Phase Two, which involves actually baking cookies using this dough and seeing if they turn out okay. I am not sure I will ever get to Phase Two. Guilt-free cookie dough eating forever!

--- 5 ---

As I mentioned in my last post, we came in a whole nine cents under budget for groceries in December. The only downside was that we kept running out of meat. (This was especially noticeable the last few days of December.) So this month I decided to see how much meat we eat when there's an abundance thereof.

I shopped the sales as much as possible and the result was this:

Pictured: Approximately 6 3/4 pounds of pork, 9 pounds of chicken, 2 pounds of tilapia, 2 1/2 pounds of beef roast, and 3 pounds of hamburger patties.
Immediately after I took this picture I had to rearrange everything because my freezer door wouldn't close.

I also bought one pound of ground hamburger at full (Aldi) price because I felt like making meatballs. When I got back from massive amounts of shopping on Monday I didn't feel like making meatballs just then, but Scott and I both had a hankering for spaghetti, so we mustered our energy and did it anyway. They were delicious.

On Tuesday we cooked half a pork roast (about 2 1/4 pounds). I was going to cook a whole pork roast, but it wouldn't fit in my crockpot so I had to take a big old butcher knife out of my knife block and saw this frozen log of meat in half. That's why in the first picture you can see one long log of meat and one short log of meat.

I didn't cook on Wednesday because I was too tired. On Thursday I cooked spaghetti carbonara with chicken. Today we've had some tilapia and will likely have more.

I will report back next week on how much meat we managed to eat between Monday dinner and next Monday lunch.

--- 6 ---

On Monday night I managed to catch the lovely and brilliant Emily on Skype and we talked for the first time since the wedding. Then on Tuesday Grace had a snow day (she's a math teacher) and I got to talk to her for the first time since the wedding. I can now pat myself on the back because I am NOT one of those people who gets married and falls off the face of the earth.

--- 7 ---

I have actually been doing a fair bit of writing and writing-related stuff. I'd post some of it here, but then I'd run the risk of my work counting as "self-published" and then when I query for actual publication it'd be a "reprint." Which is not something I want to get into. Anyway, suffice it to say it is cool.

Also, I re-downloaded the family tree software that I was using back in May to make an awesome 200+ character family tree to go with my novels. The first time I downloaded it was right before a virus almost killed my computer. I'm going for it being a correlation rather than causation thing. If I disappear after this, though, you'll know what did it.

(The program somehow got deleted off my computer, but the file with my family tree was still there. So I can pick up where I left off rather than having to re-enter the first 200 people. Yay!)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


Emily G. said...

Good-looking stock of meat! It's more work in the beginning, but I think it's easier to repackage than saw up/pry apart frozen meat. When I get a pork loin, I cut some chops and chunks of various sizes appropriate to meals I will likely use it for. Then I wrap the meal sized portion in plastic wrap and put it inside a ziploc bag. Chicken breasts also get individually plastic wrapped, bagged and frozen. It's nice to be able to grab one or two chicken breasts without having to pry them apart, which was my previous method. I'm not trying to tell you what to do, just what I find easiest...

I made meatballs (and sauce with more meat in it) on Monday too! Must have been something in the air. My husband was off. He calls meat sauce "Sunday gravy". We sat down to eat and he declared happily while looking at his big plate of penne covered in meat sauce and meatballs, "I love Sundays!"

"Me, too," I said, "But just so you know-it's Monday."

The Sojourner said...

Don't worry, I willingly acknowledge that people like you are in the right and people like me are in the wrong when it comes to frozen meat storage. (Unless you have like 5 teenagers and it's reasonable for you to cook 4 1/2 pounds of meat in one go.) I think I have these problems because the two housewifely things I like least are grocery shopping and handling raw meat. So when I come home from grocery shopping with 20 pounds of raw meat, I just throw it all in the freezer so I don't have to deal with it. I am getting a little better, though. When I pried off a hunk of chicken for the spaghetti carbonara, instead of sticking the other 5 slabs right back in the freezer I pried them all apart too and put them in individual baggies. It's still less efficient than dealing with it all immediately but at least this way I don't have to get out the cutting board and the big knife every time I want food.

It's hilarious how much guys love meat. I mean, I love meat too so I probably shouldn't generalize, but it seems very easy to keep my husband happy just by periodically offering him the flesh of dead animals.