Sunday, January 31, 2010

Happy Birthday for My Mommy

My mommy turned the big 5-0 yesterday. I made a turkey roast, and my brother came over with his girlfriend to make asparagus risotto. It started to snow around noon, but it didn't look too bad. By the time my mom and dad left my dad's house, the roads were impassable. After cooking all this food, my parents couldn't make it down here. My poor mommy spent her birthday trying to get to work without spinning out.

Instead, they came down this morning and we all went out to breakfast. It was a pretty good time. We tracked down a Wii Fit for her. She was so happy. She also took home a whole cake that I made - lemon with chocolate icing. Everyone always thinks it's gross until they actually try it.

Tonight, since we ate 2/3 of the turkey roast last night, I will be making turkey pot pie again. It is oh-so-delicious.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Guilt

Just after we moved, we had a system in place. *B* worked part time, so he did the laundry, dishes, and some general cleaning. I worked full time, so I'd do the big cleaning (mopping, vacuuming) on the weekends. I felt like I got the better end of the deal, but he liked it and it worked. Since the new year, *B* has been working full time, and tonight starts his first master's class (so proud!). I haven't really picked up the slack work-wise. It's not that I refuse to do any work, it's just that I'm so wrapped up in figuring what the heck is wrong with my head (and my recent back pain) that I don't really see the mess. On Sunday, I felt so awful for not helping that I cleaned the living room on my hands and knees despite the searing pain.

Due to a traumatic (and I now realize, abusive) prior relationship, I've also had a hard time being emotionally and physically close. He is very patient - probably the most patient guy I've ever met. But I feel so guilty because every time he kisses or snuggles on the couch, I get anxious and I shy away. My inadequacies as a fiancee have taken over my waking thoughts, and now even my dreams. I had a dream last night that he presented me with a list of my short-comings. While he would never do that, I feel horrible. My job is suffering because I only want to go home. When I get home, I can't relax because I keep obsessing over how inadequate I am. It's gotten to the point (and it's never happened with him) that I'm wondering why he's choosing to marry me.

How does one break this vicious cycle? Would one good weekend of being an amazing fiance followed by as many helpful and loving gestures as I can muster make me stop worrying? I do plan on joining in on Momzoo's effort to show love to our men. Is that enough?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Virtual Privacy

Yesterday, a current student told me that a former student was a Kennedy. So tonight, bored, I checked it out, and it's true. There are a number of prominent families at our school, so I looked them up to see if their families were famous in any way. What I found instead bothered me greatly. I googled the last name, and a facebook group page came up. It contained the cell phone numbers of many of my former and current students! They are smart enough to make their profiles private, but when a friend makes a public group because he lost his cell phone, they all posted their numbers for the world to see! Should I tell the administration? Warn the kids I know?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Owie

I've majorly hurt my back three times in my life. This is my third time, about three months after the second time. In the morning, I can't hardly move. At night, I'm almost okay. This morning, *B* had to help me out of bed. If I were alone, I would have had to roll off the bed and hit the floor after a 3 foot drop. The worst part is that it keeps me from going to the gym. I really want to go, but I know that it will just aggravate the injury. I didn't sleep well last night. We have a memory foam mattress topper, and every time I turned I got a stabbing pain. Tonight, I'm sleeping on the couch. I'm hopeful that it will help even me out. Are there any home remedies for back pain?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A God Week

Afterthought: I always proofread my posts before I publish them. While the title on this was supposed to be "A Good Week," I think the title that came about instead seems more appropriate.

I think it has been a good week. Monday was a free day (yay!), Tuesday was a repeat of last week, Wednesday and Thursday we did a lab, and Friday was Right to Life Day. On Thursday, my school had a dress down day for Haiti. We raised (drumroll) $15,800!!! I couldn't believe my ears. People donated way past the $5 minimum to dress down. The money went to the brotherhood who sponsors our school. They have been working in Haiti for some time, so they have some idea of how to best help. It may go to immediate relief, or it could go to rebuilding. Either way, I know it goes to a good cause.

Yesterday was the anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision. Our school allows (encourages) students to go the the March for Life in DC by taking buses down and having chaperons. More than half our school went. I stayed behind as I did last year. For those of us at school, we watched a gorgeous movie, Bella. It's described as a pro-life movie, but I'd describe it simply as a great movie. I highly recommend it. Afterward, we had mass. After lunch, a man from Ghana came to talk to us about Catholic Relief Services. He was touched personally by their efforts as his parents and two brothers died from starvation, and his older brother ran away. Now, with their help, he has a masters degree and works for them, stressing the importance of education to liberate people from poverty and distress. Finally, we had a concert by Tony Melendez and the Toe Jam Ministry.
He was a thalidomide baby from Nicaragua. He plays the guitar with his feet. He really is amazing. While he wasn't as good as the guest from last year (Jesse Manibusen), I still liked him.

I think I've just about figured out where I stand on the pro-life/pro-choice issue. I don't believe I could ever have an abortion. I think that unbiased education, not slanted arguments like "abortion causes breast cancer," is key to saving lives. I think that crisis pregnancy centers, adoption agencies, and yes, even planned parenthood can help reduce the need for abortions. We can't outlaw abortions while ignoring the causes of the pregnancies. Women who are desperate enough will have the procedure done. Beyond my strong belief in unbiased prenatal counseling, I don't want the government having that much control over my body. We should convince people not to do something, not forbid them from doing something.

Today, *B* and I proctored the SATs at my school. I usually do it, but *B* decided to go too and donate his pay to the wedding fund. Such a sweet guy!

I managed to read a book and a half today. The first book I read was Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. It was so great. It's split between a young Jewish girl living in 1942 Paris and a 45 year old American expat living in ~2000 Paris. I highly recommend it. The other book I was working on I'm still on the fence about. It's Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. I've started it three times now. I'm about half way through, but I'm not entirely sure why it's supposedly such a great book. It definitely doesn't draw me in the way Sarah's Key did. Once I finish, I'll decide whether or not I liked it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Sweet Intoxication of Preparedness

I decided to go back and take a look at our preparedness plan tonight. I knew that Evie wasn't on there, but I also knew that I had made it for the house we have now. So I went back to ready.gov and went through their plan/identity card forms. Oh, how I love making plans! I use the PACE acronym for our evacuation plans - Primary, Alternative, Contingency, and Emergency. You would not believe all that I have put into it. But I really do like it. Maybe this summer I could work for FEMA or MEMA (our state agency).

Monday, January 18, 2010

But I Don't Want to Go To School! And Other Random Ravings

Isn't it awful that I'm 24 years old and still saying that? This week won't be so bad. I had off today, and Friday is the March for Life in DC, so I really only teach three days this week. My grades are due tomorrow, though, and some of my kids need to do makeup work from a religious retreat they were on.

I think the reason that I don't want to go to work all the time is that there's so much to be done here at home. I still need to put another coat of paint up in the bathroom, rip the border down in the bedroom, paint the bedroom, and organize the office. The office is the hardest because I need to tear apart my desk and donate it. The last time we donated to our local thrift shop, they told us we need to call first because they have too much stuff. I need to figure out what the theme of the office will be before I can really decorate it. We still have the old curtains in each room. In some rooms, they work. In others, they are really out of place. The office is one of those places.

I went to the gym today. I feel so bad, which is out of the ordinary for me. Usually, I feel really, really good after I go. I guess it's because I tried to make up for not going for 6 days in one weekend. I was also kind of bummed when I hopped on the scale today and realized I have not lost one pound since starting at the gym. It seems like I'm really going to need to buckle down on my foods if I want any results.

One thing I really want to do is get pictures for my picture frame that is to go on my desk at school. My therapist said it would be good to have reminders of home at work. I bought the frames, but I have no ink in my printer. I'm going to need to go to Walmart to have them printed. One frame has three different picture spots, so I need to figure out the sizes and orientations with respect to the pictures I have. I'm just hoping that I get it done in time to enjoy it before the end of the school year.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Oh So Delicious!

*B* and I were bit by the Food-Network-convinces-you-to-go-gourmet bug today. We had planned on making a chicken dinner for friends today anyway. But after watching a few shows, we stepped it up. I made a roast chicken, standard recipe with a little lemon and thyme added in. We're having parsley-ed potatoes (a standard from my childhood, which explains the weird name) and asparagus. We started Italian bread, but it turns out that we miscounted by an hour and it will be done late. The exciting part, however, is the lemon-poppy scones with lemon butter. Adapted from a few different recipes, I think it's safe to say we made it our own.

First, we made lemon butter. It was so easy! We just put the zest of 2 lemons, 4 tbsp of honey, and 1 pint of whipping cream into my kitchen aid. We whipped it way past whipped cream and ended up with the butter and oh-so-delicious flavored buttermilk. The buttermilk, we used in the scone recipe.

For the scones, I mixed 2 cups of flower with 2 tbsp baking powder, 2 tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp of salt. I cut in 1/4 cup of butter until crumbly. Then I mixed together 2/3 cup of our buttermilk and 1 egg. I poured that in with 1 tsp lemon zest and 1 tbsp of poppy seeds. After mixing with a fork, I turned it onto a floured board and made it into a round. This is what it looks like just before baking:


It's got a little bit of turbinado sugar on top, and the wedges are scored. I baked it at 425 degrees for a little more than 15 minutes. Mmmm, so good.

The original recipe came from cooks.com. Doesn't it look good?

The chicken (and especially the gravy) turned out amazing! It was a recipe from Ina Garten on the Food Network. The carrots were roasted under the chicken. I took everything from the bottom of the pan, minus the carrots, and made the most delicious gravy I've ever had.



Oh so good! Yum!

It was so nice to be with friends. I was amazed that they stayed for four hours with no real lull in the conversation. I could see this being a bi-weekly kind of thing. Food really does bring people together.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Peace and Relaxation

We took Wicket to the vet. They told us it would be $411 for x-rays and blood work to make sure she didn't have an obstruction. We hemmed and hawed because we really couldn't afford it with the wedding, but we'd be much more upset if something happened to her. So the doctor came in and looked at her. He gave us a $5 tube of "kitty lube" which is like ex-lax for cats. The string should work itself out. She goes in one week from now for a follow up to make sure she's okay.

We also put a deposit down on the restaurant for our reception. We found out the church we booked overlooks the restaurant. It's walking distance! Here's what we still need to do:
  • Get my dress
  • Pick out bridesmaid dresses
  • Pick out men's clothing
  • Negotiate pricing with my photographer friend
  • Buy wedding bands
  • Get flowers
  • Find a DJ/ask a friend to MC
  • Book honeymoon
I'm sure there are other things, but those are the biggies. We have our date set, and that's the hardest part.

Worried About My Baby

My first cat, Wicket, has developed a knack for getting into the trash can over the past few months. Right after Thanksgiving, she got some turkey scraps. Soon after that, she got some pork that had gone bad, and Wednesday was the worst of all. I made a turkey breast that was wrapped in an elastic netting. I forgot to take the netting off before I cooked it, so when I took it off after, some turkey came with it. It got thrown away, no big deal. The next morning, it was a part of some vomit I found in the shower. It looked like almost all of it was there, so I was a little worried but not too bad. This morning, Wicket ate voraciously, threw up, then started eating again. She never throws up! I was thankful that I was home when it happened so that a) I could clean it up right away and b) I knew which cat did it. There was a little piece of string in it, so I know Wicket was the one that ate the turkey, not that I had doubts. It looks like we'll be going to the vet today. I really can't afford it, but I don't want my baby cat to die. Please pray for us that she will be well and the vet will not be too expensive.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Yay!!!

We think we've got a place for a reception! It's gorgeous and fully decorated:



It used to be an old train station, and it sits right next to the tracks and a river. The price is much less than other places, and includes all food - even the cake! It's gotten rave reviews for the past few years for its food. I've been there twice and really liked it. I can't believe I was skeptical that I'd like it as a reception place. And, with 100 people, we get the whole restaurant to ourselves.

I asked a friend from grad school who was a former professional photographer to do our wedding and he said yes! That helps SO much. On top of that, my mom is friends with a woman at work whose son I knew in school who does flowers on the side. My mom said she'll pick up the tab for it, too. All we need is a church (which should be taken care of tomorrow) and a DJ! After that, it's up to us to get clothing and bands and we're pretty much done.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What a Headache

I went to the gym today. I didn't feel like going, but I forced myself to just go anyway. I ended up staying for almost an hour and a half. It felt good.

My mom was sitting at my house when I got home. We went to visit one wedding venue, peek at another, and try on wedding dresses.

The first venue we went to was pretty. I loved the upstairs, which was where dinner would be served, but was not a big fan of where most of the party would take place. When we sat down with the woman who gave us the tour, she printed up an itemized bill. Not including flowers, photography, an officiant, a DJ, or a cake, it was $7000! And I wasn't asking for a lot. The rental fee was one of the lowest for this area at $1050, but food and drinks were astronomical. The worst part - the cost of food per person is comparable to other places around here.

The second place we went to was my front runner. It's a gorgeous converted Amish barn at a winery we like a lot. We have an appointment to talk about costs and needs. The biggest difference between the two is that we can bring our own food to the winery. We weren't allowed to do that at the first place. We'll see what happens.

My mom and I decided to go to David's Bridal - a 45 minute drive - to take a look at dresses. We got there an hour and a half before they closed. When we got there, a lady told us we were welcome to go through dresses, but she would just look through the catalog if she were me. We found three dresses I really liked. When I asked about trying them on, they said I couldn't try them on without an appointment! We drove for an hour and a half total just to go there and look for 10 minutes. I had already seen the dresses online. It wasn't like I didn't know what they had there. Ugh, so frustrating.

My mom and I decided that it would be best if I started looking for dresses in the summer. That way, I'd have a chance to see the effects of my workouts a little more. It'd be awful to buy a dress now that doesn't fit me in six months. At least, that's how I'm hoping it will turn out.

Friday, January 8, 2010

72 Hour Kit

I was making coffee yesterday and thought of something brilliant. I was reading a few months ago that every 72 hour kit should have a barter/charity pouch. Things like coffee, feminine products, cigarettes. Basically, if there is an emergency, you can use comfort items to get what you want or help out others. The Starbucks Via coffee would be perfect for this. It's good instant coffee, and comes in individual serving packets. It's super light, too. The stuff I have is good until August 2010, which is outside of the 6 month pack rotation. That way, you can keep it in the pack for the 6 months, then pull it out and use it up. I got the Costco size box of it for Christmas, so I'm definitely putting some in mine and *B*'s packs!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Whirlwind

The past couple of days have been a whirlwind of activity. We're looking to set our date as December 18, 2010. This means I have less than a year to plan a wedding on a very small budget. In order to save money, we will be having appetizers, cake, and drinks. Since it's close to Christmas, many venues are pre-decorated. All I need is flowers for the ceremony then. My friend Michelle and I were talking about making favors/place cards by using Christmas balls with names written nicely on them. Instead of a band or DJ, we're going to use an iPod and ask a friend to be MC when necessary. I've asked a friend from grad school if he still does photography, but I have yet to hear back from him. *B*'s job is to buy the wedding bands. I'm looking at getting a dress for less than $500. Our major expenses now are location and honeymoon. It's amazing what some places charge. We'd like to have a nice honeymoon, but I'm not sure how possible that really is given our budget. For a week in London, right now, it's running about $3000 for hotel and airfare. I think that once we choose where the wedding will be, it will be smooth sailing from there on out and time for all the fun to start.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Speechless

I was supposed to go out with my mom last night to get some shoes. I wasn't going to come home first, but I remembered Evie needed medication, so I did. I rang the doorbell (which I usually do because it takes forever to open the lock on our door) and *B* never answered. So I got the door open, and this is what I saw:

video
I know it's sideways, but use your imagination. I can make it rightside up on my computer,
but when I upload it, it goes back to the way it was filmed.


I walked in the door, and *B* had the box in his hand. There were candles everywhere, our song playing, and some wine on ice. He said "You know Kim, 'when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.' Will you marry me?" What can I say, I'm all about the cheese factor. Of course I said yes, and pretty much jumped out of my skin for the rest of the night. I think it was the most perfect proposal he could have done.

*B* took the video afterward. I can't believe I'm engaged! This is what my engagement ring looks like:

It's funny. Two nights ago, I really prayed for the first time in a while. I was just thankful for what I have and asking God to help me get closer to Him and to be a better girlfriend to *B*. Then all this happens!

*B* said he used an online sizing guide using another one of my rings, and he bought a size 5 the day after Thanksgiving. He wanted to propose before the end of the year. When he got it and saw how small it was, he had to send it back to get resized (I'm roughly a size 9). It just came back yesterday at 1:30, and by 4:30 I was proposed to!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Can't Sleep

I want a family. My family has deserted me. My mom moved an hour away and works odd hours. When we make a date to see each other, she cancels or shows up late after I call her to remind her. My dad is needy and dependent. My brother is rightfully doing his own thing as a 20 year old college kid. My grandparents are petty and sometimes cruel with a side of guilt trip. The rest of my family lives far away.

I used to make up for it by filling that role with my ex's family. That worked fairly well, until we broke up. With *B*'s family, he has nice parents, no grandparents, and semi-distant aunts and uncles. His cousins are not people that I would like to associate with because of problems with drugs, baby drama, and the police. I did love his sister, but she and her husband and almost 1 year old son are in Germany.

I think fairly often about getting married and having children. I tried to go to bed about 45 minutes ago and couldn't sleep. I ended up lying there thinking. The only reason I could think of desperately wanting - no, needing - these things so bad is that I want to have a family in a way that I do not right now. I know, however, that this is no reason to rush things, so I restrain myself. I end up reading tons and tons of blogs about people with families, how to raise children, and live vicariously through it. It's like reading food blogs without a kitchen.

Beyond having a flaky family, I have very few friends. We are friends with three couples, and two of the three live about an hour away. I'm not very close with people at work. Some of it is because I live a substantial distance away. The rest of it is that there is no real way to become friends with them besides staying late Friday nights and going to happy hour. At that point, I'm so exhausted, it's all I can do to drive home.

Even Wicket doesn't like me very much. She'll lay all over *B* with no problems, but if I touch her, she gets up and walks away.

And...I'm whining. Sorry.

Food Network is Evil

I went to the gym this morning. Though I said I'd take it easy, I went for an hour and a half. It was glorious. During my last 25 minutes, I watched the Food Network on the bike. I didn't realize how much I missed the Food Network.

The problem I have, though, is the feasibility of using the recipes in my everyday life. Upon occasion, I'll go out and find a recipe I like, gather the ingredients at the store, then make it. But when I have a number of ingredients at home already, it's hard to find a top notch recipe that will fit them. There are always unusual ingredients like red wine vinegar or fresh tarragon. Is there some kind of essential pantry list somewhere that I'm missing? I'm a bit afraid of some of the ingredients, too. Between things like lentils, broccoli rabe, and onions, I'm not sure how to expand my palate without going hungry every night. It seems like, with one notable exception, all of the recipes I've tried lately were really nasty. I guess the only option is to try weekly meal planning again and ignoring any cravings that come my way.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Beautiful Sound

Evie is getting better. She has an upper respiratory infection. I have to give her amoxicillin twice a day for a while. We did find out, however, that petsmart was wrong about her age. She's five months, not three. Not that I love her any less, but I have less kitten time with her now.

After just about a week of quarantining the cats, I'm currently listening to the pitter-patter of eight little feet. Wicket chases Evie up the stairs, then somehow Evie ends up chasing Wicket down the stairs. While we won't go anywhere without separating them, they seem to be okay together while we're here. We only let them out together for a little while. Wicket's still scared of her and hisses at first, but overall we're doing just fine.

We had a lovely little New Year's party. There were only nine of us, but I enjoyed it immensely. My friend from high school confirmed that *B* will be performing his wedding ceremony! I'm very excited. *B* has only performed one other ceremony, and that was for his sister's wedding a few years ago. It does mean, however, that we have to get up airfare and hotel to get to Indiana for a weekend. It's two months after *B*'s best friend's wedding, too. I guess I'm getting to that age :o) I'm hoping that I'll be able to post news about me in that respect, but I don't know when that'll happen. Right now, I'm just hoping and praying that it'll be soon. As Billy Crystal said in When Harry Met Sally, "...when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."

I decided to join a gym a few days ago. It's $30 a month (less than normal because I'm a teacher). I had been putting it off because of the expense, but I realized my health is worth more than $30 a month. This place is open 24-7, is less than a mile away, and has brand new equipment. I went for the first time yesterday. I was so excited to get back into it that I spent almost two hours there. I loved it so much. Now, though, I hurt SO BAD. I'm going back tomorrow for some light cardio. If I don't, I'm not sure if I'll ever go back :o) *B*'s aunt gave me a cute padded journal that looked like a sweatshirt. This is a journal something like it:

My access card fits just in the pocket, and I can keep track of what I'm doing. I like keeping data on my progress. When I first got it, I was thankful but ambivalent, though now it seems like it perfectly fits my needs.

Once I get into the habit of going to the gym, then I'll work on eating better. This year will be a much more relaxed endeavor than the usual "lose a bunch of weight" campaign. I want to be healthy. If that means I end up losing weight, great. If not, at least I'll be fit. Maybe, as if by osmosis, *B* will follow suit. Not that I'd ever critique his physique, his family's history of health problems is cause for concern. And anyway, he's the one that pushes vegetables all the time. Maybe now I'll actually listen to him :o)