Friday, March 22, 2013

Seven Quick Tired Takes

--- 1 ---

This morning, I was thinking, "I should start a Seven Quick Takes post today so I'm not scrambling for ideas on Friday."

At about 2:00, I realized that TODAY IS FRIDAY.

It's been another one of those weeks, internet.

(Relatedly, I think I should get some kind of Catholic cred for the fact that I prepared and ate meatless meals for 6 hours before I consciously realized it was Friday.)

--- 2 ---

I have been doing really badly at two of my three Lenten resolutions. On the bright side, one of the two failures led to some really useful self-knowledge, so maybe God is okay with that.

Also, maybe God gets that I've had enough penance that's NOT self-imposed.

--- 3 ---

On that note, please pray for the resolution of some possible medical issues that have come up over here. (It's seriously been rather hydra-like for us this Lent.) Nothing life-threatening, so my mom should put the phone down and stop freaking out, but just...wearying. I'm super tired of doctor's offices and pharmacies and phone calls. (The phone calls are going to be the death of me, seriously.)

Also, I'm sorry I have to vague it up. I'd blog about this stuff if I could, trust me.

--- 4 ---

On a lighter note: Our new microwave arrived last Saturday! I like it a lot. It is already much dirtier than it is in these pictures.

The plate was not included, of course. I just stuck it in there to illustrate that this microwave is JUST the right size for our dinner plates.

--- 5 ---

Scott got his learner's permit on Saturday. He didn't study for the test at all and I was worried until I remembered that he's passed it about 3 times before.

Incidentally, we went to a fair bit of trouble to make sure we had his birth certificate and social security card...and then we get there and they want proof of address too.


Fortunately, we got the nicest DMV lady in the entire city (I'm guessing), who said that I could go back to our apartment REAL QUICK and get proof of address and we wouldn't have to re-wait in line.

So I drove back home, shoved the giant FedEx box inside the door (our microwave arrived while we were chilling at the DMV), grabbed a utility bill, and drove back to the DMV. That all took only 10 minutes. I am a master of efficiency.

Stay tuned for further adventures as we try to actually teach Scott how to drive.

(Side note: I was under the impression that there was no point being too hasty, since he turns 24 in June, but it turns out that your license doesn't ACTUALLY expire on all birthdays divisible by 4. I checked--I got my current license about 2 months after I turned 22--'cause of getting married--and it expires when I turn 25. I feel like I've been lied to all my life.)

(Side side note: 24 seems so old. That's like mid-twenties. When did we get old?)

--- 6 ---

Yesterday, I was at Meijer and found a HOLLOW DARK CHOCOLATE BUNNY. Do you know how many Easters I have spent wishing that such a thing existed? Now I can spend the next 9 days in blissful anticipation of how awesome it is going to be.

Relatedly, I have spent $206.40 on groceries so far this month. *cone of shame* I will do better next month.

(I don't plan on buying any more food before April, incidentally, so hopefully $6.40 will be the extent of my budget transgressions.)

--- 7 ---

For my seventh take, I present Cute Sibling Pictures, Then And Now Edition.

The first picture is from early July of 2008, when Teresa was 20 months old. 

The second picture is from early March of 2013, when Matthew was 15 months old.

(My mother should chime in and tell us if Matthew really is 5 months ahead of Teresa's growth curve, 'cause he certainly looks about the same size as she was.)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Seven Quick Takes in which I complain a lot

--- 1 ---

I actually started a Quick Takes post last week that had some Deep Thoughts in it, but then this week totally kicked my butt, and I don't have the mental energy to edit any kind of profundity. So.

THIS WEEK, YOU GUYS. *headdesk*

The first thing was a tangle of technological problems. About a week and a half ago, my laptop's power cord abruptly stopped working. I was able to limp along for a while borrowing Scott's cord, but it wasn't an ideal solution for lots and lots of reasons, so I was very glad when my mother stopped by and dropped off the power cord for my sister's dead laptop. (Mom was going to be in the city anyway; she didn't make a special trip just so I could surf the internet to my heart's content.)

Now my laptop's wireless card or some such thing has decided to join the party. I'm not computer-savvy enough to really know. All I know is that I get internet for about 2 minutes out of every 3, which works okay, I guess (I just have to hit "refresh" a lot), unless I'm trying to listen to music on YouTube or something. It's still very annoying, and the fact that I've been having hardware problems suggests that my 6-year-old laptop is on its last legs. (Software problems Scott thinks he could fix by reinstalling Windows.) I don't even want to think about whether buying a new laptop when this one dies would be a financially prudent decision. (We can afford it, but "paying off student loans" is a little higher on the priority list, you know? Shoot, buying a new car to replace the 10-year-old car that's currently on its last legs is a higher priority.)

As a result of having his power cord commandeered, Scott found out that his computer's battery isn't functioning properly. New batteries are relatively cheap on Amazon, but it's still MONEY. We've had lots of little things happening this month that cost $30 here and $20 there and it gets a bit overwhelming after a while, you know?

--- 2 ---

A week ago, our microwave broke. It was a hand-me-down from Scott's brother and we've used and abused it for well over a year, so it wasn't too surprising, but I'd still rather it had limped along for a few more months. I am actually getting pretty good at reheating things on the stove, but that produces DISHES and dirty dishes are the bane of my existence. (Seriously. You know how a lot of women complain about endless mountains of laundry? Laundry is a breeze. DISHES ARE EVIL AND BREED LIKE RABBITS.)

We made halfhearted attempts to see if anyone had a free microwave lying around, but nobody did, so we ordered ourselves a new one. It shipped yesterday. I am regretting making Scott order it (my spotty internet was making web shopping literally impossible), because that means I cannot obsessively track the package to see when my microwave-less purgatory will end.

Updated to add: Scott just gave me the tracking info. MY MICROWAVE IS IN KENTUCKY, YAY! (It started out in Georgia.)

(For those of you who are just tuning in or not very good at context clues: I live in a state that's just north of Kentucky. In fact, I can drive to Kentucky from here in less than an hour, unless traffic is really bad. YAY KENTUCKY!)

--- 3 ---

Scott got the results from his outpatient procedure that I mentioned some weeks ago and had to meet with his doctor to Discuss Medication Options. That actually ended up being a non-event, but it was very much weighing on me until Wednesday evening.

Actually, I should probably not say yet that it's a non-event. We'll have to see if this medication WORKS before we breathe a sigh of relief.

(I am going to insert a note about how much I love health insurance here. It makes essential medications cost $10 per month instead of $100+. Definite sigh of relief there.)

--- 4 ---

Okay, even I feel sick of listening to all my complaining after that. So: NEW POPE, YAY! I don't really know anything about Pope Francis except the fact that he's a Jesuit, and I have an unaccountable fondness for Jesuits. I think that I am under the impression that every Jesuit with a foreign name is actually from the 1500s.

On Wednesday I made a really ugly cake to celebrate, because it seemed like the thing to do. See, here's the cake:

It is white because the Pope wears white. I know, lame, but what do you want me to do when it's late and I just got back from a Discuss Medication Options doctor's appointment and I don't have a microwave?

It tasted good, anyway. And there's still half of it sitting in the fridge waiting for Sunday.

--- 5 ---

Pinterest meals of the week:

A. Chicken gnocchi soup. I pretty much followed the directions, except I used whole milk instead of half-and-half because I am too lazy to figure out how to use up the rest of a container of half-and-half.

It was very good, but next time I think I will try two things. First, I will use two cups of spinach instead of three. Three were too many. Second, I will attempt to make my own gnocchi. (This will probably end in disaster.) Storebought gnocchi just lack a certain something.

Amusing side-note: I had to buy a whole bag of spinach to make this, but I don't like spinach very much. My mother-in-law commented on my Pinterest activity on Facebook and I "jokingly" suggested that I'd lend her 2/3 of a bag of spinach. She responded that she loves spinach.

Bet she didn't think she'd actually be getting a bag of spinach after robotics one day, but so she did.

B. Parmesan crusted pork chops. I cut out a lot of parts of this recipe...I just dipped the pork in egg and then dipped it in a bread crumb/parmesan mixture. And then fried it in olive oil, of course.

It was good, but surprisingly boring. It tasted, as you might expect, like pork with cheese on it. I don't need Pinterest to tell me that you can stick some cheese on meat. I do that all the time when I'm bored and can't think of anything else to eat.

Still, Scott liked them a lot and we need more pork recipes in the rotation, so I'll probably keep making them and just fiddle with them a bit to see if I can make them less boring.

--- 6 ---

Scott and I saw this as a bumper sticker yesterday. I hope the driver of the other car noticed us pointing and laughing.

I should also take this opportunity to highlight T-Rex Trying, a site that Geek Lady shared in the comments on my last post featuring a T-Rex.

--- 7 ---

As I sort-of mentioned above, my mother and siblings came by on Tuesday. Andrea had a consult with a neurosurgeon downtown (she's fine, her VNS just needs a new battery), so I watched the little kids for about three hours.

Mom brought a vanload of toys, but the thing that kept them occupied longest was raiding my pots-and-pans cabinet. (Matthew also liked turning on the dishwasher. I discouraged that. If he was tall enough to load and unload it, though...)

Here is Teresa trying to look fierce while wearing a mixing bowl as a helmet and using a pot lid as a shield.

And here is Matthew looking painfully adorable while wearing a very crooked helmet.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Seven Quick Takes: Art, Food, and Cardinals

--- 1 ---

The other day, I was showing off to Scott the fact that I've been conserving paper by printing multiple grocery lists on the same sheet. (I was going to post a picture, but the sheet was also the tail end of a Google Maps printout and has our full address neatly typed across the top, so no.) That segued into a discussion of how when I was little and was constantly asking for paper to draw upon, my mother would try to get me to draw on the backs of junk mail and the like. I always spurned this suggestion.

Scott apparently did the same thing when he was little. He totally agreed with me that you cannot create ART on the backs of old flyers.

I told you we're weird in awesomely compatible ways.

--- 2 ---

I made burritos earlier this week. This is what they look like before being folded up:

That's a dinner-plate-sized flour tortilla with 4 ounces of taco-seasoned ground beef and goodly portions of kidney beans and cheddar cheese. I ended up cutting the burritos in half after I folded them up because they were really big. Next time I will probably try the smaller corn tortillas.

Scott reports that they are good, but they need lettuce. And salsa.

--- 3 ---

I up and decided to join Pinterest the other day. I have my real name associated with the account, so, sadly, those of you who are not also my Facebook friends cannot watch me wildly pin ALL the frosting recipes! Don't worry; I'm sure you'll find a way to overcome your disappointment.

--- 4 ---

My grocery spending for February was 198.38. I think I've adapted to the lower basic food costs and now am buying fancier foods. (We had a pot roast at the beginning of February just because I felt like it. It was 3.49/lb) I'm also not going out of my way to save a couple of dollars--for example, buying ground beef for $2.49/lb at Aldi instead of 2.29/lb at GFS. Granted, if I buy 10 pounds that's a savings of $2, but only making two stops during my grocery runs is a lot better than making three or four.

(For the record: Our lower basic food costs are because I went on a diet. Did you know that eating low-carb can save you 10% of your grocery bill every month? Me neither. Apparently an endless parade of muffins actually costs money.)

--- 5 ---

The other day, I unilaterally decided that it has been far too long since we had pancakes around here. (Yes, I realize pancakes are made of carbs. Consistency, hobgoblin, little minds.) So on Monday I am going to make pancakes and sausage links for dinner, even though sausage links are all kinds of expensive. (Yes, I am firmly in the Breakfast for Dinner is Awesome camp. People seem to be passionately divided on this issue.)

Side story: I bought two packets of sausage at Aldi and realized only when I went to bag them up that one of them was maple-flavored. The nice cashier let me run back and switch it for a plain one. I told Scott this story, and he was disappointed...apparently he likes maple-flavored sausage. And no, he cannot just put syrup on the plain ones. That is all wrong and gross.

Oh well.

I also bought canned fruit, which is actually cheaper than fresh fruit, but it feels illicit somehow. I'm supposed to make everything from scratch, right? I should probably be canning my own fruit. Of course, in order to do that right I'd have to have my own garden, and the patio just isn't big enough for a year's worth of fruits and vegetables.

(It is getting toward pea-planting time over here. We'll see if I can keep them alive better than I did last year.)

I also bought Craisins, which are basically glorified candy, but I'm going to pretend they count as fruit too. I love Craisins.

--- 6 ---

This morning, I dropped Scott off at the bus stop as usual and came home and realized that it is the first. And a Friday.

So after I went on my grocery run I called him up at work and said, "Did you know you're singing at First Friday Mass tonight?"

Him: "That's good to know."

He took not-his-usual-bus to the church, and I made dinner a little early and drove down with some food and his Schola books and met him about half an hour before practice started and all was well.

Also, it was totally weird to have the priest pray for "our pope" without the name Benedict in front of that.

--- 7 ---

I don't have any new cute pictures of my siblings, so I'll post a cute story instead.

Some time ago, I was visiting my family and Teresa and I were lounging around in the living room, chatting. We got onto the topic of birds and she told me excitedly about this time she saw a red blue jay.

I suggested that perhaps she had seen a cardinal...they're birds, and they look just like blue jays, but red.

Teresa made sure to use her most sweetly patronizing voice, the one that says, "I know you big people are kind of slow, but do try to keep up while I explain things to you."

"No," she said. "It was a RED BLUE JAY."

Make sure you keep that in mind during the conclave. 

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!