Thursday, December 31, 2009

You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!

It snowed last night! Not like a little dusting, but real snow! We're at about 1-2" and still falling. I can not remember a winter like this. My dad claims that it shows that global warming is hooey. From what I've read, if we didn't have global warming, this would happen more often. I don't know. Either way, we've had three major snows and it's only December!

My new baby, Evie, won't stop meowing! I'm thinking she's teething, or she's upset that Wicket doesn't like her. Probably the former. The other thing that worries me, though, is that she is sneezing as well. And her nose was running yesterday. I thought she was being cute, rubbing her nose on my face, until I realized she was wiping off the snot! She has a vet appointment in about half an hour. I'm praying my baby won't be sick for the new year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

People and Things I Love

Beyond the expected boyfriend and family, of course.

I love Garrison Keillor. He makes my heart skip multiple beats. Not in a lusty, gotta have him kind of way, but in a way that makes me want to live in his world. Everything about it feels perfect and beautiful, even when it's sad. I love how he wears red tennis shoes, even when wearing a suit. He makes me think of my favorite professor in college. They're probably about the same age.

His work makes me think of the place I grew up. Yes, I've moved back here, but it's not the same. The fall festival I loved so much has withered into a mere shell of what it once was. The major town here has exploded into a city of yuppies. My gorgeous, independent local coffee shop that supported local artists was obliterated when Starbucks came through town.

Preparedness for the New Year

For Christmas, I got a solar-powered, crank-powered flashlight/radio/phone charger. I also got 8 cans of peas, partially because of my pantry, and partially because my brother and I expressed an interest in canned peas for holidays since we only had frozen as kids. And for the coup de grace of my preparedness gifts, I got 250 rounds of ammo for my 38. My parents are awesome :o)

Eventually, I'd like to have a rifle, and sell my revolver to get a pistol. But it will be a little while. I'm encouraging *B* to go hunting with his dad again, but I have a hard time eating venison. I don't eat a lot of red meat, and the venison I've had in the past seemed really bloody. *B* is going to have to make it and not tell me what it is for me to eat it. I am open, though, to trying new things.

I think that I'm well on my way to being prepared, but there's a lot more that could be covered. I am planning on buying gamma buckets as soon as I am financially able. Because of Christmas, and our mortgage being a pretty substantial change, it might be a little while.

I was surfing the web today, and came across this Newsweek article on preppers. It seems to me that when my grandparents were younger, the idea of keeping a stocked pantry and money on hand was an ordinary idea. Now, the media makes it out to be a big deal, like 9/11 and Katrina helped create the idea of being prepared. We're just getting back to what we once did as good homemakers and providers for our family.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

What a Surprise!

I got the best Christmas present ever. While it wasn't what I was desperately hoping for, it was very good nonetheless. May I present to you:

EVIE!


My mom, along with my dad and brother, got me a kitten! As you can see, she's a gorgeous tuxedo cat. She's purrfectly symmetrical (I couldn't help myself). She just loves to purr and be cuddled, which is what I do best. Her name, Evie, sounds like the letters E and V. It's a common nickname for Evelyn, and was the main character in V for Vendetta. Wicket is not at all happy with her being in the house though. It will be a long, slow few weeks until they get used to each other. I'm praying for a somewhat quick acquaintance period.

We went to see all of our close family on Christmas Day, but went to *B*'s parents to see extended family yesterday. We ended up sleeping over because it was closer for *B* to get to work. Then, we saw my extended family today. Talk about running around!

To top it off, we went to Ikea tonight to get some pieces of furniture that we really wanted for the house. Yes, we could have lived without them, but I think they complete our rooms.

I am totally beat from all of the running around. I will post much more extensively tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

We Made It!

We weathered the storm (pardon the pun) quite well. We got two feet of snow! That hasn't happened since I was about 7 years old. As it's such a rare event, I took a million pictures :o)


That's a normal size picnic table right there - the snow went well over the seat.


We walked down to a local park to see what it looked like outside of our neighborhood. This is a good indicator of how much it snowed. *B* is just shy of six feet.


This is Main Street of our little town. Isn't it gorgeous!?

*B* taking a much deserved shovel-break.


This is picture number two of me on this blog. Not the best picture of *B*, but it's Christmas break. He's entitled not to shave or wear contacts :o)

Even Wicket got into the action! We weren't afraid of her running, unlike other times of the year. We tossed her out into the back yard earlier in the day to see if she'd like snow. A few seconds after this picture was taken, she was pawing at the door to get back in.


I've gotten so much done in the last few days. Almost a year after I received it, I made a good playlist for my digital picture frame. Before, we just threw in whatever card was full. Now, they're good pictures that make me happy.

I've finally gotten my meds in order. I am so thankful for it, too. I was pretty miserable. I'm still working with a psychologist. I'm starting to think teaching (or at least teaching physics) is not for me. The more I talk to her, the more I realize I dread work. Not as much as other jobs I've had, but still more than I should for a career. She made a really good analogy - what would you say about a relationship where you're together because he's an okay guy and there was no one better around, but you didn't love him. That made a lot of sense to me.

I also reorganized our pantry this week. For my birthday, my brother got me 24 boxes of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix. That means we now have enough cornbread mix to feed an army!




Isn't it a gorgeous pantry? I've asked for gamma buckets for Christmas, and I plan on getting/making more shelves like those shown here. We've got plenty of vitamin C fruits, veggies, and canned soup to last us for three months. I'm so proud! It feels so good to not NEED anything. There are things I go to the store to get (like the ingredients for our awesome dinner last night), but nothing I MUST get.

Speaking of last night, I made prosciutto-wrapped pork loin with pears and sweet potatoes. It...was...AMAZING! I got the recipe from Real Simple. Oh so delicious, and very, very easy.

I'm also very excited for our Christmas Eve dinner. We're going to a very nice (so my brother says) local restaurant. I've never called to make reservations anywhere before, and I've never been there before, so this is going to be fun. *B* even said that he'd dress up for it. I just have to get him a dress shirt. He only has two collared shirts, and they're super casual.

I love Christmas!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Break

I'm so thankful that it's Christmas break. While I haven't finished my Christmas shopping, I still have a little bit of time. I was going to go today, but the snow changed that idea.

Right now, I've got cinnamon raisin bread in the bread maker. Tomorrow morning, I'm making cinnamon rolls for breakfast, assuming that *B* doesn't make it into work of course. I'm a bit worried that he will try to go in tomorrow morning and get stranded. Not that I have a problem being alone, I just prefer not to be.

I'm sad to say I've been rather sick lately. I have had a headache for 3 days, and I've been really nauseous. I have a feeling that it's helped along by my meds problems. Today, my blood pressure was through the roof and my right eye was twitchy. I have doctor's appointments this week to get everything squared away. I am hopeful that everything will get squared away and fixed by the new year.

Hunkering Down

We here on the east coast are getting ready for what is to be the biggest snow storm since I've been alive, or at least since '96. They're already forecasting 10-20 inches of snow for our area. That's unheard of! It's both a good and bad thing that today starts Christmas break for me. Good: I have no where to be. Bad: This snow wasn't useful in terms of getting days off of school.

We are very prepared for the storm, but I decided that we could do with some niceties: orange juice, fresh fruit, etc. So we went out to Food Lion. It was a little busy, but not crazy. When we went to get my prescription refill at Rite Aid (next to Safeway), the parking lot was ridiculous. It took me ten minutes to get out of the parking lot alone! It seems like everyone is rushing out last minute.

I'm very excited for the snow, even if it means staying inside. I have a book and a magazine to read if the power goes out. I'm hoping it doesn't come to that, but either way I'm ready for it!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

So Proud!

*B* got accepted into a nighttime masters program! Things work out so well. He will transfer in January to a daytime job that is mostly Monday to Friday, then in the spring start taking classes that are just down the street from his work at a pretty well known college! He will have an MS in Environmental Biology. This does mean, though, that his tiny raise that he would get from transferring will go toward tuition instead of helping me pay bills. But I'm going to teach him how to do the FAFSA today, and hopefully he can get aid.

On a slightly sadder note, we found out the other day that his mother has to have her gallbladder taken out two days before Christmas. She will be laid up over the holiday! We're going to make her a get well basket, but she's really a go-go-go kind of person. She's going to be miserable... I hope that she can recover quickly to enjoy some amount of the holiday.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

It's 6 am...

...and I have been up for 2 hours. I just wrote a paper for my science methods class. Today is the last class and I am SO thankful. This has been the worst class I've ever taken. After 2 or so weeks, our first teacher quit. Our second teacher has never taught this class before. I really can't say that she taught anything. She read some bullets on some PowerPoints. No elaboration, just bullets. For the last FOUR classes, we've been teaching mini lessons. There are only 10 classes total, and we canceled two! The assignments don't have explanations, just rubrics. You have to figure out what they want you to do by reading the rubric. And my last paper, the highest score on the rubric just says "demonstrates understanding with more than one example" for six random concepts. Mind you, we never discussed these concepts. I had to assume what she means by "science and the community" and "the historical and cultural applications of science." I am so glad today is the last day, because I am beyond frustrated with this class!!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Medication Troubles

I had to go to a doctor to get my medication adjusted. I went in knowing I had a problem with anxiety, and I came out with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. I didn't believe him, but I took the medication anyway. He put me on a mood stabilizer and an anti-depressant. I feel awful. I'm unhappy, unmotivated, and uninterested in anything. I've been nauseous lately. The smell of salmon today made me gag. It's an awful existence. I need to find another doctor. I have a terrible time making appointments, though, so I keep putting it off. My lack of motivation doesn't help.

On a good note, *B* got a transfer approval. He'll be working much closer to home and much more normal hours. I'm really hoping that this change will improve our time together. Lately we've been somewhat distant. Or rather, I've been distant and he's been supportive. I hate acting that way, but I can't help it. I really can't. :o(

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Let it Snow!

We got over 5 inches of snow yesterday! That's a big deal for around here, and probably the most we'll see all winter. Wicket seemed to enjoy it, as she ran out the back door when I opened it. Usually, I freak out and run after her, but I knew that she wouldn't get far in the cold, wet snow. She pawed around for a good two minutes and ran right back inside. Good girl :o)

Because of the snow, we couldn't go to get a tree like we wanted to. It took me an hour and a half to get home from school yesterday morning when it's usually a 45 minute trip! So instead, we addressed all of our cards to be mailed tomorrow, had some mildly spiked coffee, baked cookies, and watched Christmas movies.I love spritz cookies. We happened to go to Joann's (a craft/fabric store) the day after Thanksgiving and I saw a spritz gun for $6.99. I just had to have it. So yesterday, I made 5 dozen chocolate spritz cookies in varying shapes.
When I was little, I had a teddy bear hamster. If you don't know, they are what most people who think of hamsters imagine. We gave him a tree-shaped spritz cookie for a treat, and he stuffed the WHOLE thing in his pouch. It was bigger than his head! You could see the outline of the tree through his cheek. It was hilarious.
More spritz cookies. YUM!I only made half a batch of shortbread, because I didn't pull enough butter out of the freezer ahead of time, and it was eaten quickly. I have four left this morning. Side note - I've cleaned that pan a million times, and those splotches are still there. It used to be my mom's, and that's how I got it. Any ideas?

I'm really hoping that we'll be able to get the tree. Last year, we waited until the weekend before and I didn't feel I could enjoy it. We used the little lights last year because that's what *B*'s family does. This year, we're using the big, C8 light bulbs. I like them much better.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

An Overview of My Break - In Reverse

Happy birthday to me!!! I turned 24 today at 5:30 pm. Woo hoo! For lunch/dinner, my parents and my brother took me to Carabba's. It was sooo good. I like their chicken marsala a lot.

This morning Michelle and Bill took *B* and me out to breakfast at a really awesome cafe called Blue Moon in the city. *B* had Cap'n Crunch French Toast (omgosh) and I had a great omelet.

*B* had promised me a planned party on the day before my birthday. I was a little disappointed when it didn't happen. He got caught up and didn't invite anyone. But his friends Dan and Laura came over and we chowed down on leftovers - turkey korma with samosas using the leftover turkey and mashed potatoes. The boys even polished off the trifle *B* made for dessert on Thanksgiving.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, it went really well. Unfortunately, my camera died and I couldn't find the battery charger. But I took pictures with my mom's camera. I'll post them as soon as she sends them to me. We had ten people total, and a 21 pound turkey. There was stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, peas, and sauerkraut. For dessert, there was pumpkin pie, pumpkin gingerbread trifle, chocolate pie, and apple crisp. We still have a full pan of apple crisp, turkey, some peas, sweet potatoes, and curried potatoes, but everything else is gone. My dad and his parents got on well. I'm glad to see their year long feud has at least taken a hiatus. Right after everyone left, *B* and I pulled out Christmas boxes and started watching DVDs and decorate. I love the holidays! I can't believe it's almost Christmas!

Before that, my mom and I painted my upstairs bathroom. It looks so good! It needs one more coat, which will probably be done during the Christmas break. Again, as soon as I find my charger, I'll post pictures.

One of my first activities once the break started was to go out and buy a whole heaping cart full of food during the holiday sales. I swore it would cost me $200, but I got out of there just shy of $80. I am well on my way to stocking a good, healthy pantry!

I'm also through a book and a half in my nine days of vacation. I had bought but never read Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence a number of years ago. I finally pulled it out and read the darned thing. I ended up really liking it! I bought The Reader by Bernhard Schlink, thinking that I love Kate Winslet and every movie she's been in, and I've found it lacking. It's not great, but not awful. It's a shame - I read Little Children by Tom Perrotta and found it engulfing. Not so much this time. I also own, but have not read, Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. That will probably be my next book. I have asked for Look at the Birdie by Kurt Vonnegut and Wishin' and Hopin' by Wally Lamb for Christmas. Vonnegut's book was published posthumously, and Lamb's books are amazing, but few and far between.

I hope everyone out there had a good, relaxing holiday!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"Fighting" with my Father Leads to Interesting Results

I fight my family politically all the time. They send these ridiculous emails out and quote statistics. I never have any stats on my side to back my reasoning up, but I always research later and find out I was right. That being said, today I'm investigating our national debt. And believe it or not, I'm going to use my research as a lesson for my Algebra II kids! I went to the treasury department's website and found the U.S. debt for each year dating back to 1791. Crazy what you can find on the web, huh?
Check out the graphs I made:


Sorry they're a little blurry. They're screen shots that went into paint, then through Blogger and then were enlarged. What I get out of this data is that our debt is growing at an astounding rate (duh). In GWB's presidency, the debt was raised by roughly $500 million per year. Under Obama's presidency, the debt is rising at $2 billion per year. Wow. That's 4 times as fast!

Check out the large dip in our debt in the 1830-1840's. I've never heard of that. At one point, the U.S. debt was only $33,733.05. My college loan debt is just about that much!!! But we were right up there in the next ten years or so.

One of the reasons I read so many blogs, newspapers, articles, and listen to NPR is that I'm trying to get a good handle on what is actually happening in our country. I want to know who I should support and of whom I should be weary. It makes sense, to me, to be aware of what is going on in our world so that we can be ready at a moment's notice if something major changes. It's great that we have food in our pantry and 72 hour kits upstairs, but if we don't work to be mentally and intellectually prepared in our lives, then it's all for naught.

Since I live so close to DC, I get scared probably more easily than a lot of you out there. If someone nukes the capital (God forbid), I have a very short period of time to leave. I am thankful that I have moved a little further outside of the fallout range, but I am still close enough that a stiff wind will cause major issues in our lives.

Bleary Day

It's really yucky outside. It's drizzly and cold and gray. My mom was supposed to come over yesterday. We were going to go shopping and paint my bathroom. I had some issues when I tried to paint the bathroom myself, so I needed her expert opinion. Instead, she said she was going to come over early today - 9 am. Well, she called and now she'll be over around 11. By the time she actually gets here, there'll be little time to spend with her.

I miss my mom. When I moved closer to home, she moved farther away. It didn't hit me until I moved, but she's still 45 minutes to 1 hour away from me, just like she used to be. It's hard to get up there to see her, especially since we're both so busy. She'll be coming to Thanksgiving, but she works that night, so she's got to leave really early.

I'm hopeful we'll get to spend some time together.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Proud of my Pantry

I'm so proud of my pantry! Food Lion had 10.5 oz cans of veggies 2/$1. I couldn't pass it up, so I bought 12 more cans of veggies. As soon as I got home, I ran downstairs with my laptop and inventoried the pantry. I have few things left to pick up to have a complete three month supply for dinners:

Black Beans 19 cans
Broccoli 14 cans
Canned Soup 8 cans
Canned Veggies 14 cans
Carrots 6 lbs
Chicken 35 lbs
Chicken Broth 7 cans
Cream of Chicken Soup 1 can
Cream of Mushroom Soup 2 cans
Creamed Corn 6 cans
Diced Tomatoes 8 cans
Eggs 7 eggs
Evaporated Milk 2 pints
Ground Beef 4 lbs
Kidney Beans 16 cans
Mexican Cheese 16 cups
Mushrooms 6 cans
Oil 5 cups
Olive Oil 7 cups
Parmesan Cheese 3 cups
Roaster 5 roasters
Salmon 16 fillets
Salsa 5 jars
Shallot 5 shallots
Sour Cream 8 tubs
Stir Fry Veggies 8 cups
Tomato Paste 17 cans
Tortillas 8 packs
Tuna 14 cans

I'm so excited! I'm almost stocked! I'll then move onto breakfasts, then lunches. I need many more fruits with vitamin C though. I've currently only got 1 can of crushed pineapple and 1 can of mandarin oranges. I do, however, have a ton of spinach pesto, which has a good bit of vitamin C.

I'm very, very excited to be hosting Thanksgiving this year. I've got my whole menu planned and written out with start and cooking times. I've gotten everything I need from the store. I've done everything I can do already. I'm dying to get everything ready! It feels like I'm really, finally an adult by hosting this. Only one other time in my almost 24 years do I remember not having Thanksgiving at my grandmother's house, and now I'm hosting it for her. It's a great honor and privilege for me. Considering I found my camera, you all will definitely get pictures :o)

Friday, November 20, 2009

My Amazing Boyfriend

I have an amazing boyfriend. It's true. He is, by far, the best thing that's ever happened to me. No matter what crazy thing I do, he's here for me. He bears the brunt of my texts when I'm down at work. He cooks, cleans, does the dishes, and does the laundry. He lavishes attention and love on me even when I feel like I don't deserve it. He tells me I'm pretty, and he brings me flowers. He's patient, laid back, and generous. He writes cute things on our chalkboard.


The plutonium comes from the fact that we've seen the Back to the Future movies 15 times in the last two months.

The quote is from a Pogues song that he sang to me our first New Year's together while dancing at midnight.

On that note, every New Year, he puts on Auld Lang Syne and a Pogues song and slow dances with me, no matter who's around. Last year, we were in his parents' kitchen while a whole lot of people were just standing around talking.

I am one lucky girl - I would be totally lost without him.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Hard Row to Hoe

I've been trying to be less than sour about my life lately, and I'm finding it really difficult. I spend my days intensely wanting to be anywhere else than where I am. It's really hard to get going in the morning - I woke up at 5 am and laid on the floor for half an hour this morning. I dread going to work, and the idea of coming home is no relief. I get home round about 4 pm, and I have to go to bed around 7-8 pm or lose critical sleep time. I get up at 5 am again to start the cycle over. It's not like I can even pull out what I'm specifically unhappy about. If I could, I'd have a much easier time figuring myself out. It's not like I'm going through any real crisis, so why am I so depressed and stressed? My drug of choice to self-medicate has been caffeine. And I know that complaining perpetuates a downward spiral, so why am I writing this?

Things to be thankful for:
  • *B* - in so many ways
  • My family (both mine and *B*'s)
  • My friends
  • Having a roof over my head
  • Having a reliable car
  • Having a good job (even if I don't always like it)
  • Thanksgiving break starting tomorrow afternoon
  • Being in relatively good health
  • Having good health insurance

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Things I Would Like to Accomplish Over Thanksgiving Break

Things I Would Like to Accomplish Over Thanksgiving Break
  1. Relax!
  2. Paint the bathroom
  3. Inventory the pantry
  4. Finish unpacking the office
  5. Host Thanksgiving
  6. Get Christmas decorations ready
  7. Address Christmas cards
  8. I almost forgot - have a happy birthday!

School Work and Self Reflection

In my Differentiated Instruction class tonight, we did this activity:
Imagine that you are in a room with four objects: a bouncy ball, a clipboard, a microscope, and a stuffed puppy dog. If someone asked you to go to an object that speaks to you, which one would you stand near?

  • If you chose the bouncy ball, you are active and unpredictable. You like to think outside the box.
  • If you chose the clipboard, you are organized and like to plan. You like to make lists and check them off.
  • If you chose the microscope, you like details and discovering new things. You work well on your own and want to know why things happen.
  • If you chose the puppy dog, you are loyal and friendly. You like to work in groups and keep the peace.

I've done this activity before and was told I'm a microscope. I think I might be more clipboard, but I don't like associating with other clipboards. We were told that clipboards and bouncy balls don't get along very well, and that microscopes are generally the teacher's pets. The whole point of the exercise is to identify what your learning style is and what the learning styles of your students are. Where do you fall in this activity?

I love these kind of activities where you learn things about yourself. I have a hard time sometimes because I fit a number of categories. When I took the multiple intelligences test, I fit four of the nine intelligences. While it's good that I'm well rounded, it's hard to make career choices in those situations! Wouldn't it be nice if they could just scan your head and tell you what career would make you most happy?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mona Lisa Smile

I love this movie. It really makes me think about how I sometimes feel bad for not finishing graduate school. Rather than leaving for a husband, I left to teach. I'm still not sure that it is my calling in life. I miss having deep and meaningful conversations, rather than teaching formulas over and over again. I think that my education was indeed lacking, as I was once told in grad school. But rather than lacking a physics background, I think I lacked a true well roundedness (if that is a word), and didn't get a chance to explore who I am. I'm fairly convinced that physics is not for me. It doesn't get me excited. So why have I spent all this time and energy (and, unfortunately, money) working on it? I subbed for an English class today, and I really liked it. What does that mean? I have no idea.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Great Weekend

So far, this has been a great weekend. I stressed about my assignment to teach a lesson to a class full of teachers yesterday, but I got through it okay. Because I was the first to go, and I got my other work done early, I have no work due until December 5th. Woo hoo!

In the middle of my lesson, my phone rang. This really threw me off because I swore I had forgotten it at home. Regardless, it was *B*'s mom. Her friend backed out of a play last minute, and so she offered me the ticket! I went with *B*'s mom, his aunt, and a family friend to see the Wizard of Oz on stage. I ran down after class and we had a great lunch (mmm, crabcakes), then skipped back into the city to go see the play. It was very well done, I am pleased to say. I had a really good time, and I'm glad that I went, despite my initial reluctance.

Today, my brother's coming over to help me fix some little things on my car, then *M* and her boyfriend are coming over. We always have a great time with them. I'm thinking we'll do late lunch/early dinner out in town here, then dessert at our place. What to make?? I've got a lot of things to do before they get here: bedroom, office, bathroom, living room, and kitchen all need to be tidied and swept/vacuumed. I'm off to clean!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Busy Days and Sleepless Nights

The next two weeks are going to be super busy. Tomorrow is parent teacher night. I will see parents for ten minutes at a time from 2pm to 8pm. I have 30 sets of parents signed up for times already. It is particularly stressful, because I never know what's going to happen. Last year, I had parents blaming me for their kid spacing out in class, I had one mother in tears the whole time because she didn't know what to do about her kid, I had a bunch of parents love me, and a bunch of parents just sit and stare at me. I am praying for a happy, yet uneventful parent teacher conference night.

Beyond that, I have a ton of work to do before my class on Saturday. I'm not quite sure when I'll get it done. I signed up for the first of three days to present my mini-lesson. Basically, I have to stand up in front of a bunch of science teachers and teach them science for 30 minutes. I'm shaking in my proverbial boots.

On a nice note, we haven't had to turn our heat on yet. It's cool in here (maybe 60-65), but it's not freezing. Because we have baseboard heat, I'm avoiding turning it on. When we finally do put it on, I think it'll only be in the living room, kitchen, and bedroom. We're going to close off and stuff our office and basement doors, because we rarely go in there.

*B* and my mom were supposed to caulk our windows and re-insulate our attic today. My parents had leftover insulation from trying to finish our basement a number of years ago. My mom generously offered the insulation that they didn't use to us. Unfortunately, tropical storm Ida ran through here today, and she couldn't bring anything over. I am hopeful that we can get it all insulated before the cold really sets in. The sooner we're set for winter, the more at ease I'll be.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Lovely Weekend

We had a great time this weekend. Thursday, I came home from work and I had an early anniversary present waiting for me. Really it was a present for both of us - a mattress topper. We both have some nasty back problems because we have a mattress that might be older than we are and is hard as a rock.

On Friday, I called out sick because I honestly needed the time off. I might not have had the flu or a fever, but I sure was sick. Unfortunately, I apparently left my camera at school. I could not find it anywhere! So you'll have to use your imaginations.

For *B*'s birthday, we woke up at the reasonable hour of 7:30 am and, upon realizing that we don't keep nice breakfast foods in the house, decided to go out for breakfast. There's a little locally owned restaurant just down the street - it was nice. They have great food. Afterward, we went to Ikea to pick us up some not quite necessities that we've been putting off. *B* got a nice, affordable nightstand to match mine, and we got a much needed lamp for the living room. When we got it all home and assembled, Wicket went crazy sniffing it all out. Our lamp has a pull cord, and she figured out how to turn the lamp off. She hasn't continued to turn it on and off, but at least we know she can.

For *B*'s dinner, we had rosemary honey mustard lamb roast with roasted parsnips and potatoes, steamed broccoli, yorkshire puddings, and wine. Yorkshire puddings remind me of thicker popovers. Mmm, popovers, I haven't had them in a long time! Sorry, anyway :o) The pictures below aren't mine, but the closest to what mine looked like that I could find on the great world wide web.


Allana's Leg of Lamb Recipe
1 boneless leg of lamb
Rosemary
Breadcrumbs (I use panko)
Spicy Mustard
Honey
Garlic

Sear the lamb in a skillet. While the lamb sears, cut about 2 garlic cloves into slivers. Put the lamb in a roasting pan on a rack when seared all over. Cut small slices in the lamb and stuff the garlic in. Let sit for a while. Mix equal amounts of honey and mustard together. Mix an appropriate amount of breadcrumbs with a fair amount of rosemary. Put the breadcrumb mixture in a flat dish big enough to hold the lamb. Baste the lamb with the honey mixture on top first. Flip the lamb honey side down into the breadcrumbs. Push in to coat. Baste the rest of the lamb with the honey mixture, and turn in breadcrumbs. Bake at 350 F until internal temperature is 155+ F.

Yorkshire Puddings
1 cup flour
2 eggs
1 cup milk
pan drippings or oil

Collect the grease from the bottom of the roasting pan when lamb is just about done. If there is not enough grease, you can use vegetable or canola oil. Mix together 1 cup of flour, 2 eggs, and 1 cup of milk. Don't overbeat, but make sure all are incorporated. Pour the grease/oil in the bottom of a cupcake/muffin pan until the bottom is just covered, maybe up to 1/8 of an inch. Do not put the batter in yet. The pan must reach the temperature of the oven before batter goes in. Once the pan is hot, ladle batter into pan and throw back into the oven. The puddings are done when the tops are just crispy and brown.

They are usually puffed when you pull them out of the oven, then collapse like in the picture above. They are wonderful with any kind of sauce: jam, honey, gravy, meat juice.

Having gone to the grocery store the day before, we made ourselves a lovely breakfast yesterday. We sat around and did absolutely nothing (except maybe sleep) all day and it was wonderful. When I woke up from a two hour nap, we went out to dinner at a great Italian restaurant. I had shrimp and scallops in a divine cream sauce with fettuccine, and *B* had chicken in a tomato sauce with mushrooms and angel hair pasta. Fettuccine is, by far, my favorite pasta ever. Everything about it was really lovely. There was even a lady playing some kind of harmonica-like instrument that you hear in cheesy Italian music.

This morning, I'm awake, *B*'s asleep and the whole house is quiet (aside from Wicket trying to kill bugs). It has been a very lovely weekend.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

You May Wish to Settle in for a While - It's a Loooong Story.

I am one of a group of girls who all grew up together. We were all in the smart kids reading group when we were little or in honors classes together in high school when we met. To explain what's going on, one needs back story.

*K* - Dropped out of college and messed around job wise for a while. Got married after dating for a few months and after suffering two miscarriages. She now has one healthy baby girl and one girl (supposedly) on the way. She lives with her husband in her parents' basement. I have never liked her husband, but am trying very hard to get over that. Neither of them have a full time job, but they both work.

*M* - Went to a well-known university for Business, met a great guy (who *B* and I have a couple crush on), and bought a house with him. They will definitely get married, but are not in a rush. Not in the job of her dreams, but is living well.

*K2 - ME* I am the youngest of the group, but as of the end of this month, we'll all be 24 years old. I dated a guy for seven years, and everyone (including I) thought we were going to get married. We even went ring shopping at one point. While dating him, I went to a tiny college and got a degree in Physics. I went to grad school at a good university with my boyfriend where he dumped me. I met *B* and was in a much happier relationship, but dropped out of grad school because I hated the work. This is my second year teaching high school, and obviously, we just bought a house. We can't afford to get engaged/married right now, and I have to suck it up and deal with it for the moment.

There is more back story with the other two girls in the group, but the three of us keep in contact the most.

When *K* met her husband, she changed. Not just a little bit, but A LOT. She used to be an intelligent, confident woman with whom I could hold a conversation. Not anymore. If you are not a member of the "Mommy/Wifey" club, she seems uninterested. She appears to have no other interests than her daughter or having more children. It annoys me to no end that she professes to be very religious (first Lutheran, now Catholic because her husband is), but doesn't/didn't lead a religious life. I can deal with it if you tell it like it is, but I have a hard time accepting hypocrisy.

The thing that bothers me most is that I have worked really hard to get what I want by doing things properly. I know that you can argue me on that fact because we bought a house before marriage. But here is what I mean:
  1. I am careful not to bring children into this world out of wedlock. I'm a firm believer in this. I feel awful that she had to endure miscarriages. I'm sure there are few greater losses in one's life. But they wouldn't have happened if she was preventing them. You can't claim not to use birth control due to religious beliefs when those same beliefs don't permit pre-marital sex.
  2. I've been with my boyfriend for a substantial amount of time. Such a time period lessens the chance of finding out they're a complete creep (which, IMHO, her husband is).
  3. I will have a stable place to live before having children. Short of an unexpected crisis, we will be set with a home.
  4. We will have a stable financial situation with which we can support ourselves and our children. Short of an unexpected crisis, we will be financially stable.
I have done things to ensure that I am not creating a burden on anyone around me. I am being responsible.

I've pretty much gotten over the fact that I was "supposed to" be the first one to get married in our group. I know there's no such thing in life as "supposed to," but all those involved, even tangentially, thought my ex and I would be the first. Whenever I'm around *K*, I feel like she's sticking it in my face that she is where I want to be as far as marriage and possibly children. She even told me once that I'm jealous because she has a family. I have kept my lips zipped - this was an unprovoked comment.

When I'm with *M* and her boyfriend, it is the polar opposite. We have a great time, everything goes well. We like each other's company. But they live at least 45 minutes from us. *M* is very grounding, and makes me feel good about where I am in life, even if I still long to be engaged. At least we've started out life well.

Tonight was *K*'s daughter's first birthday party. Both *M* and I were invited to the party, but *M* couldn't make it. Whenever I go to gatherings with *K*, I feel a tension-not reciprocated, but within myself. I stood around for two hours by myself tonight while everyone focused on the baby and *K*'s impending second one (due in March). I am not self-absorbed. Of course I understand it's the baby's day and her's by default. But *K* spent all her time talking to other mothers about what the baby was probably thinking or if she was messing her diaper rather than anything of substance. I tried talking to other random people there, but they were all her parents' age. Even when talking to *K* alone, she just stops listening or talking and stares at or plays with her daughter in the middle of a conversation. It's like talking to a brick wall.

It's not that I can't deal with not being first to hit a major milestone - *M* got a house first and I was/am really happy for her. Whenever *M* has something happen in her life, I'm generally really excited for her. But with *K*, it just digs in a little harder, like somehow her success is directly to my perceived failure in life.

Here are the big questions:
  1. Why does *K*'s personal/family situation bother me so much?
  2. Why do I get so tense around *K* in general?
  3. Why can't I deal with people who get so absorbed into babies and motherhood at the expense of everything else?
Aside from the fact that I now feel like I'm a big whining baby, any thoughts?

Back on Track and Thinking of the Weekend

I'm back on meds and feeling much better. Sorry for the off-the-wall posts.

I'm so excited for this weekend! Friday is *B*'s birthday, Saturday is our anniversary, and Sunday we agreed to do absolutely nothing. It will be gorgeous!

For his birthday, *B* asked for lamb, parsnips and carrots, potatoes, and yorkshire puddings. He also asked for a lemon pudding cake, which is essentially lemon cake with lemon pudding between the layers like a trifle. After the weekend, I will definitely post pictures (with recipes) of all the great food.

For our anniversary, we're going to a restaurant that was our second date. It's a little place owned and operated, that sells any kind of meat you could want (his reason for going) and has great food (my reason for going). Last time we were there, he got alligator tail and buffalo bites. They have venison on the menu as a staple, not just a gimmick - something I've never seen before.

A funny note: I picked up a book from the library called Find More Time by Laura Stack. Problem is - I haven't found time to read it! Maybe this weekend...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Having Problems

The other day I must have been really stupid. Even though I even wrote that one should never quit their meds cold, I stopped taking my Prestiq and didn't start the Xanax. At first I was really hyper, then I got very angry, then very sad. My mom's a nurse, and she told me to take the Xanax. So I started yesterday. It has not helped in the least. I've been freaking out about health problems that don't exist, just like I used to. I've been having chest twinges, and I think I'm losing my vision. I think I have either cancer or a brain aneurysm ready to burst. My temperature tonight was 97.9F, and so I covered up under blankets until I reached 98.4F. I was dizzy all day and almost fell asleep driving home. I'm glad I didn't drink at all today, because my mom just called and said it can cause blackouts. I've been nauseous, and I haven't eaten anything substantive for breakfast or dinner. I know that I am really dehydrated. My kidneys hurt, and I'm pretty sure I'm diabetic, though all tests I've ever done have come out negative.

There was one good thing that happened today, and it was a big one. Every year my family goes to the oyster roast in my town. Though my father hasn't spoken to his parents in over a year, he apparently invited them. I guess the incident where they met at my housewarming party (and I'm sure my mom's intervention) prompted him to change this. Everyone got along well, considering the situation, and it allows me to invite them to Thanksgiving at my house. I'm very happy to not be stuck in the middle anymore.

It was awkward, though, when my grandmother asked when we're getting married, because they want to take a trip to Alaska. We're not even engaged. Apparently, all the things I had told my mom, just pipe-dreams really, she passed on. They're under the impression/illusion that we're getting married this summer. That is very, very unlikely. And besides, who asks that kind of question? When I get engaged, they'll be some of the first to know. Until then, hold your horses, ya know?

Our pumpkins turned out pretty well:
*B*'s Pumpkin
My Pumpkin

And because she's so adorable, my cat Wicket:

Hey Guys, how's it goin'?

This is my Halloween costume: evil cat.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bad Day in My World

I've been really off lately. You may have noticed. Today, I decided to talk to my community co-moderator (homeroom co-teacher), who happens to be a guidance counselor with a doctorate in psychology. I explained that I've been really depressed and I'm on these anxiety meds. She told me I had to call a doctor right away and to go see a medicating psychologist. She took my class for ten minutes so that I could call them. It's a good thing, because I couldn't hold it together and finally broke into tears in the middle of the science teachers' office. My resource teacher (boss-ish) happened to be looking up my schedule at the time so that he could spontaneously observe my teaching. He was very good about postponing it, especially considering in what condition I was. I ended up leaving a period early and going home.

When I called, the doctor prescribed me Xanax, but I'm not sure if I want to take it. He wasn't my regular doctor. When I called, I talked to a receptionist who put me on with a nurse. They called me back after 3rd period, and whoever was on the phone didn't even know I was on another medication. She told me to just stop taking what I was on and start the other one. Everything I've ever heard said NEVER stop your medication cold. You have to be weaned off. I've got an appointment with a psychologist on next Thursday, so I'm hoping to get it cleared up by then.

I'm starting to use more interesting techniques in my teaching. Aside from today's class, which was not very good, I've been very creative lately. Tomorrow, I'm showing pieces of the Magic School Bus: Plays Ball. In this episode, the kids play baseball on a frictionless field. I think it really illustrates Newton's Law of Inertia. When *B* and I went to the library tonight to pick it up, he got School of Rock. I've never seen it (yes, *gasp*), so he put it on while I was working on my homework. Wouldn't you know it, there's a perfect song for our universal gravitation chapter. I'm glad to be using multiple learning strategies to help my kids out. My Algebra II kids will be making their own videos of skills we've learned so far for a quarter 2 project. I'm very scared about it, but I'm modeling the project off of mistershah.wordpress.com. At least I know who to call if it doesn't work out!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pumpkins

We carved our pumpkins tonight for our FHE. Once we finished, we cleaned the seeds and roasted them in the oven. Double duty! I'm excited, but nervous, to try them. I've never made my own before.

I've decided to take a break from classes in the spring. I've been going non-stop since January. I'm so worn out and sad. I'm worried that my anxiety meds (which double as depression meds) aren't working as well as they used to. I've found I have a very short emotional capacity. By my third class of the day (aka after 3 hours of teaching), I can barely stand to talk to anyone. I know that I'm sleeping better than when I was off the meds, but I'm not sure about the rest of my problems. Are they job related or neurochemical related? I'm tired of fighting the kids and the parents and the administration. I just got an email from a parent saying they're pulling their kid from my class. He failed my class because he wouldn't listen to a word I say, not necessarily because I'm a bad teacher. Why don't people understand this?

I really love the fall colors on my drive home. A nice quiet car ride through the country is a nice way to wind down before I get home. While I recognize that one of the reasons fall is so nice is that it's fleeting, I don't like the season that succeeds it. There was once an email I received called "Enough." I think it's appropriate, so I've copied it below:

Recently, I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at a
regional airport. They had announced her departure and standing near the
security gate, they hugged and she said, "I love you. I wish you enough."
She in turn said, "Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love
is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Mom." They kissed and she left.
She walked over toward the window where I was seated. Standing there, I could
see she wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on her privacy, but she
welcomed me in by asking, "Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it
would be forever?"
"Yes, I have," I replied.
"Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever good-bye?" I asked.
"I am old and she lives much too far away. I have challenges ahead and the
reality is, the next trip back will be for my funeral," she said.
"When you were saying good-bye I heard you say, "I wish you enough." May I
ask what that means?"
She began to smile. "That's a wish that has been handed down from other
generations. My parents used to say it to everyone."
She paused for a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail, she
smiled even more.
"When we said 'I wish you enough,' we were wanting the other person to have a
life filled with just enough good things to sustain them," she continued. Then,
turning toward me, she shared the following as if she were reciting it from
memory.
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye."
She then began to sob and walked away.

Monday, October 26, 2009

So Disheartened

My grades are due tomorrow morning. I was finishing up all of my grading tonight, and I've hit a sad road block. In all of my classes but one, my kids did really well. In my last class, they were awful! The average is about a 68%. I had two kids who decided not to show up to take the last test that they missed for junior retreat. The kids don't seem to be taking the class seriously. They don't come in to see me when they need help, they mess around in class, they bomb tests without a second thought. It seems like a general trend. I don't know if it's just my school, or all kids now a days. But then again, I was always an honors student, so maybe the regulars have been like this for a while. It just seems to me that our society emphasizes a lack of personal responsibility. You forgot to get the digital TV box? We'll change the switch over date. You tank your company? We'll give you lots of money to bail you out. Is it just me, or does anyone else see this degradation of our fundamentals?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Need to Get Out of this Rut

This morning, I got some of my homework back from my teacher, and I did really poorly. She offered the opportunity to redo it, but I was very upset nonetheless. The assignments we've been given have nothing to do with what we're learning in class. The first assignment was to write about a lab we've done in the past. Our second assignment was to send in a form with our previous classes and our GPA. We get graded on how good our GPA was in college! So if you're a changed person, too bad. I decided not to go to Ren Fest today because of the class. On the way home, I got stuck in traffic, not moving for one whole hour. It took me two hours to make a 45 minute drive.

That all being said, I need to learn to be less negative. I'm frustrated by the class, but it's my fault for not being more careful with my assignments. I was annoyed by the traffic, but at least I wasn't the one whose car was obliterated. I've been in a cycle of unhappiness and illness, sloth and gluttony. I've been eating (for the most part) total crap, I feel tired and unmotivated to do anything, I get depressed, I eat more junk, I feel worse, I get more depressed. I'm not sure what is causing which. But I've got to change something. I went to a party tonight because I said I'd be there, but I only stayed two hours, and really didn't have a whole lot of fun.

There are things I need to do to feel less anxious: get my assignments done, finish grading, clean the house. *B* cleaned the kitchen for the most part today, so some of my duties are out of the way. I need to put laundry away, vacuum, mop, and organize. I have three assignments due ASAP because they need to be redone or were supposed to be turned in today. All my grading is at school, so I can't do that this weekend.

Tomorrow is the last day of Ren Fest, so I should go, but I honestly don't feel like it. *B* really wants to go though, so I'll go. I'm to the point where I'm hoping that I get sick so that I can stay home from school. Sad, isn't it?

Any ideas on getting out of this rut I'm in? I'll take all suggestions. I'm dreading the week ahead already, and the weekend isn't even over. How can a girl get some rejuvenation and peace of mind?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Busy Bee

I've been a busy, busy bee. *B* went hunting with his dad for the first time in years, so I had the house to myself for the past few days. The first night, I made spinach pesto with over 2 lbs of spinach. I've never made basil pesto, but I imagine it's similar. I spooned the mixture into ice cube trays, froze them, then put the cubes into a giant ziploc bag. They turned out really well! I wish I would have taken pictures. Here's the recipe, adapted from realsimple.com:

Spinach Pesto
1/2 lb spinach leaves
1/3 cup of parmesan cheese
1/4 cup of walnuts
1/3 cup of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic

Put the garlic and walnuts into the food processor and mince finely. Add cheese and oil and blend. Add the spinach gradually and blend until smooth. That's it!

I promised one of my classes cookies if they earned a class average of 80% or higher. Wouldn't you know it, they pulled an 81.21%. So tonight, I made cookies. I need to make rice krispie treats for the club I moderate, and I need to make pumpkin muffins for my department's annual halloween party. So much food, such a little kitchen! I already made one batch of cookie dough to freeze in ball form so that we can make our own cookies at home, rather than making a whole batch to satiate a cookie craving.

It's the end of the quarter at school, and I'm getting an onslaught of "emergency" emails, late work, and requests for make up tests. It's amazing how motivated kids can be when threatened by their parents at the end of the quarter.

My house has exploded. Not literally, but *B* does the laundry, and I've found 3 baskets in 3 different rooms. Laundry is falling out of it as we (yes, both of us) rummage in a rush every morning. If I had just a little more energy, I could get it all put away, but as it is, I'm pooped. So pooped, in fact, that I'm going to bed.

Night all.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Night Classes Affecting My Day Job

Even though I'm a teacher, and I spend more than 8 hours at school a day, I'm taking two classes this semester. One is on Saturdays, and I liked it before our teacher quit. The new teacher is just no fun. The other started today.

One of the things I've seen a few times in my education classes (different versions) was this video. It's really thought provoking.

This is the first version I saw, and it's my favorite:



This is the updated version. Check it out:


I am just amazed.

It's amazing to think about all of these things that kids know and do that we don't use in our classroom. I was really thrilled when I saw one of the bloggers I read often using her blog as a teaching tool. It's a great post from Mrs. Pear at Home. If I could have kids use facebook, blogs, their cell phones, I would get much more interesting answers.

Ideally, I want to come up with a project for my Algebra II kids where they can choose to create something that illustrates a concept they learned in my class. I would kill for someone to make a viral video. Well, not kill, but I would scream. How can I get my kids to come up with creative projects? My biggest problem - my own ignorance. While I'm by no means technologically inept, I am not a master of photoshop/videography. I'm afraid that if I push them to do something that I don't know how to do, they'll fall flat. I've found this blog, and hopefully I can use that and other teachers' expertise to make a project a reality by the end of the year.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Things I Love

On a dreary, semi-grumpy Monday morning, here are things that I love (beyond the usual):
  • The smell of warm cinnamon
  • Crisp days
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • My fuzzy blanket
  • Sunday mornings
  • Fire
  • Red and orange leaves
  • Lambs ears
  • Warm, fuzzy socks
  • Hot tea in your hands
  • An open schedule
  • A clean house
  • Kitty nuzzles
  • Long weekends
  • Warm pajamas

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Whine Fest - Don't Mind Me

I know what you all will say, but I've got to get this out there in the great beyond.

It hit me today that I will probably not be getting engaged this year like I was hoping.

That means we probably won't be married until next year.

:o(

I still have a great life, I've just got to learn to let things go.

That is all.

Long, Long Weekend

My best friend was in from Oklahoma on Friday night. I have not seen her in a little less than two years. We stayed out until all hours of the night, and she came over and slept over. Saturday morning, I had class, so I woke up early and freaked out about not doing my homework. Yes, I know I'm a school teacher and I should know better, but it's a human practice not to do one's homework I think. I woke her up at 7 AM and hustled us out the door by 7:30, homework left to be polished. I grabbed some awful McD's breakfast on the go and shoveled it down my throat as I flew to my class. The roads were wet, and I had a couple of close calls with people slamming on their brakes in front of me. But I made it to school, and ran to the IT building to print off my paper. I thought to my self there aren't that many cars or people here. I checked my syllabus and sure enough, no class that day. What a waste of a Saturday morning with an old friend. I ended up hanging out with my dad though, which was a good thing.

This morning, I had to get up early to go to work. It's our annual open house, and I had to be there for the science department and to promote our environmental club. The officers of our club were to (wo)man the SAVE table while I did my teacher duty. It turned out NHS swooped in and recruited all my officers to give tours instead. So I had a hectic time running around trying to staff my table. While I talked to a number of people about the science department, only SIX people came by our club. And one of them, I will not soon forget. This lady was not nice! She asked me, in a very uncivilized tone, "what do you know about renewable energy?" She incinuated that I had no idea what I was doing, and asked "Will (school) ever hire someone who knows about renewable energy?" It felt to me that she was saying I don't know anything and when will they get someone who will. Never mind the facts that a) the club is student run and I just make sure they don't kill anyone, b) I teach physics, not environmental science, and c) her child looked like a shell shocked zombie because her mother was alienating everyone around. Who treats another human being like that, calling them out for no reason?

On my way home, though, I made up for it by taking pictures of the gorgeous fall day:

I made a homemade chocolate pie for *B* today. He had been looking forward to it for the last week, and I had just never gotten around to it. I think it came out wonderfully:

Mmmmm, pie....

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rough Night Last Night

Yesterday was to be our FHE for the week. I had planned an activity while I was at school - we were going to research and decide on a CSA for the upcoming year.

I think I had my first panic attack instead.

My throat closed up, I was crying, I was choking, and I didn't want to be touched. I had no real reason for this. Sure, I had some stress yesterday (Praxis II test scheduling, running to grocery store after work, *B* being grumpy) but nothing too unusual. At a certain point, everything collapsed into this downward spiral. I ended up sleeping on the couch all night after *B* went to bed. It was really scary.

As for the Praxis II problem, I need to take tests to be certified. I am seeking a dual certification - math and physics. I took two of what I thought should be four tests two years ago. One of them, I found out, my state wouldn't accept because it wasn't THE correct test. Well, crap. So my certification is quickly approaching, and I decided yesterday to schedule the other three tests. I talked to my advisor, and scheduled the three tests ($290!). Not an hour after I scheduled them, she emailed me and said I only needed TWO of the tests. "My bad" she said. Grrr! Now I need to go through this lengthy refund process that I can only HOPE will give me a full refund on that test.

I'm also a little worried that I might be becoming a hoarder. While not in the A&E special kind of way, I can't seem to go to the grocery store without spending more than I usually do. I'm always getting something "on sale" to stock my pantry. Just because it's on sale doesn't mean that I HAVE to get it - even if it's at a good price. Canned veggies for 40 cents a can, yes I should get them. Corn bread mix at 5/$2 - I could probably live without. After all, I already have TWELVE boxes. Maybe I should schedule grocery trips and just not go any other time. I think I could live with that.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I Love Fall

During this long weekend, while dropping a friend off who stayed the weekend, *B* and I went looking for something that would allow us to open up space in our kitchen. We have very few cabinets, and I have quite a few appliances that I use fairly often. So, as always, we went to Ikea and drooled. When I was much younger, I got very upset with my mom for giving away her hutch. I loved that hutch! So I've found something, while not the same, very similar:
In a couple of weeks, we'll be able to afford it, and I'll have a place to store my good glasses up top, and my appliances down bottom. It matches our kitchen theme well, and I'm very excited.

While out, we also stopped by the Asian market again. While there were no pomegranates (*tear*), they did have more apples on sale. This time they were Macintosh rather than Gala. They make a good, but decidedly different applesauce. I only got through a good four pounds or so when I just broke down exhausted on Monday night.

On Monday, I invited both of my parents over for dinner. My dad was not agonizing over the party situation half as much as I was. I'm happy that I can put that behind me now. We had rosemary encrusted pork loin with root vegetables and homemade applesauce. Man, was that good. It was not the world's biggest pork loin, so we had no leftovers, and I'm really craving it again. I have another in the freezer, so that might be dinner sometime soon. I wish I had taken a picture of it.

This recipe, and many others, is going in my cookbook. I've started this cookbook because my mother never remembered the recipes that she cooked, she just added stuff by heart. Of course that's the joy of cooking, but it's hard for someone just starting out! I didn't want to lose any of the family recipes that I had worked hard to acquire. I'm up to 28 pages so far. I need to start taking pictures of the food that I cook whose recipes are in there so that I can make it look a little more professional. I tried taking pictures of my homemade tuna noodle helper a few days ago, but they did not turn out so well. There's just something about the lighting in my kitchen that make it gorgeous in person and not-so-gorgeous on film, err, memory card.

I love this time of year, but it makes me a little bit sad. I'm happy because the weather's just starting to turn, and the leaves are gorgeous colors. But I know that winter is coming, and I hate winter. It's because I'm short. That doesn't seem to make a lot of sense, but my pants often come close to skimming the ground. They don't touch, but they come close. In the winter, inexplicably, my pants always get soaked to about mid-calf for no reason at all. So, not only am I freezing cold, but I'm wet as well. Though I will say, I am always pleasantly overjoyed at those winter days when the sky is a gorgeous, clear blue. I see them as little treats to get me through the winter before the sunny days of spring.

I've been cleaning for days now, but I can't seem to keep on top of the rolling wave of household chores. I'm very interested in cleaning using natural products (baking soda, vinegar, etc). For those things that my mom used baking soda and vinegar, I do as well. But for other things that could use them, I'm a little more hesitant. I never know how much to use, and I seem to go through an enormous amount of both baking soda and vinegar when I clean with them. Is this normal? I'd also like to make my own swiffer cloths, so that is my next research project.

Our FHE is today, and I'm not precisely certain what we will do. Since we've begun the FHE, we've gone grocery shopping, explored our new town, and made applesauce together. We planted half of our flower bulbs last night, so perhaps we can plant the rest today. I think today will end up being one of those days where we fly by the seat of our pants. Tune in next time to find out what our FHE activity actually was...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Good Times, and Not So Good Times

We had a lot of people come to the party last night. Over the course of 6 hours, 22 people came over, which is a lot for any of my parties. Everything started very well, and all was happy. One little event threw me off for the rest of the night, but I recovered fairly well by the end. This morning, however, I'm still heartbroken.

*Shimmery music and picture as flashback starts*
My dad has not spoken to his parents in about a year and a half. He says that they did things to him when he was younger (punishing him twice for things he had done, giving him no choice in how he lived his life while he was a child) and that they are nasty people (they can be very critical and hypocritical). They pushed him too far on Mother's Day in 2008 when he tried to bridge the gap, and they started complaining about him.
*End flashback*

I invited my grandparents because we still talk and get along, and because they had never seen my apartment when I lived there, so I figured they should see my house. I invited my dad because I wanted him there. When he saw my grandparents, he ran downstairs for a good 10-15 minutes. I went down to keep him company after a while, and he chided me for inviting both of them, and said he should have been told so that he wouldn't have come to the party. After they went outside, he left for the night. Subsequently, I went downstairs and cried for a good 5 minutes with *B* and my mom.

Here's my problem/question: Is it my job to arrange custody? What is he going to do at my wedding? The birth of my children? Christenings? Childrens' birthdays? My grandparents have a right to see their family, and I have very limited time to spend with just them.

How do I rectify this with my dad? Since he and my mom split, we've had a much better relationship. I was so hurt when he left yesterday. If I try to tell him this in person, he will dominate the conversation.

Beyond that, I reconnected with some friends I had in high school. It's good to have local friends again. We're planning on hanging out much more from now on. They even asked *B* to preside at their wedding. They got me up to speed about what's been going on in my ex's life. It's nice to know how he's doing.

We had a TON of food, though I was SO worried about how much food there'd be. We had everything from chili to crab dip and crab cakes to taco dips and more. A good time seemed to be had by the vast majority of those who came here.

At the end of the night, we lit a fire in this tiny, tiny fire pit we have. It was great to just sit around and talk. I loved it.

Today, I'm actually excited to write tons of thank you notes. That will be the second thing I do - right after I clean!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Party Time!

Tomorrow's the housewarming party! We've been super busy getting ready. I've made four batches of chili (the leftovers to be canned) and two batches of cornbread so far. My mom is making crab balls, crab dip, and cheese bread. My grandmother is making deviled eggs. *B* is bringing home a veggie platter and some desserts from work, and his mom is bringing brownies. I think that we'll have a good time. I'm a teensy bit worried that practically no one will show up, but such is life.

I volunteered to proctor the SATs tomorrow. It seemed like a good idea, at the time, to make $100 for four hours worth of work and have time to grade at one shot. But now, I'm worried I won't make it to my own party on time! But I promised, so I'll be there. Everything's just about ready here, so I'm not TOO worried.

Our cat, Wicket, loves to sit in the window. In the past, we've had large window sills that she can sit on. In our new house, our sills are tiny. Our chubby little cat fell through the window screen (on the first floor, thank God), right into our front garden. Thankfully, *B* was quick on his feet and grabbed her before she ran. But now we have to fix yet another window screen. Eventually, things will calm down here, just not in the foreseeable future.

We've decided that having a portable antenna is just too much of a hassle. We connected my old desktop computer to the TV, and we can watch shows using Hulu. Right now, we're watching the Back to the Future trilogy. It's comforting background noise, but doesn't suck you in like regular TV.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ouch!

So I canned the rest of my applesauce tonight. *B* is sleeping upstairs, and I was pulling the top off of the pressure canner that I used for a water bath. The steam burned my arms, and I threw the very heavy top about 10 feet across the kitchen. I'm okay, but I will definitely have pot holders the next time I use that thing.

While waiting for the applesauce, I seeded two pomegranates. I LOVE pomegranates. The only problem is that if I eat it while peeling, it lasts longer than if I seed it first. Somehow, if I have seeds of two in tupperware, it takes much less time to eat the pomegranates. I might get more pomegranates the next time and try to freeze the seeds. I looked up how to can them, but I haven't found anything yet.

*B* has been absolutely amazing. He has done so much work around the house lately - the dishes, assembling/installing furniture, decorating. I'm really lucky to have him. I'm hoping that by Sunday, all will right itself and I don't have to stress so much anymore.