Thursday, October 28, 2010

An Experiment

Things have not been so amazing lately.  I'm starting to wonder, though, how much of that is caused by my attitude toward situations rather than my attitude being a result of situations.  I think I've started myself on a downward spiral.  Therefore, I've decided to conduct an experiment.

For this whole week, Thursday to Thursday, I'm going to think positively.  I'm going to let go of the problems of the past, and only focus on now.  I'm going to try to be excited about things I usually dread. 

When I get worked up about a parent's email, I'm going to try to remember that they're just worried about their kid and that they don't mean to treat me poorly.  I'm going to make a list of what I need to do and get it done.  The faster I get my certification done, the less I have to worry about.  I might not be perfect, but I know I can pass if I try hard enough. 

I'm going to try very hard not to stress about the wedding.  No matter what happens, I will be married on December 18th.  That's the important part.  It's alright if a train whistle blasts through my vows (it's possible - and very loud), or if my dress doesn't exactly match *B*'s tuxedo. Because in the end, I'm going to remember what happened more than I'll look at all of the pictures.

I think that if I have one good, open conversation with *B*, things will work themselves out.  They always have in the past.  I think I've been overly critical, and need to let somethings go a bit. 

I'll keep y'all updated.  I'm hopeful that at this time next week, things will be looking up!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Getting Back to Normal

Wow, it's almost been a week since my last post.  I'm still trying to get myself back to normal.  When last I left off, my life was imploding to some extent.  The saga continues.

I had a (mostly) good weekend, but things have been coming back to bite me in the rear.  On Saturday, we had a really good time at the Renaissance Festival for the first few hours.  My mom went for the first time ever and dressed up, and we got my future mother-in-law to go too.  There will be pictures soon. 

I got an early birthday present that I feel REALLY guilty about.  We shouldn't have done it.  A renaissance dressmaker I love had a paper up on their shop that said 50% off.  So I was super excited, and dragged *B* into the store with me.  For the last few years, my birthday presents have been renaissance clothing.  Even though I wanted something different this time, the store beckoned and we went.  I tried on two dresses.  One took 15 minutes to put on with an insane amount of help.  Think Kate Winslet and her mother putting on her dress in the movie Titanic, complete with the foot in the back. 

So I tried on another dress that I liked very much.  It was significantly cheaper (by a lot).  I'm in it, my mom and *B* say YES - that's it.  She cut the tags, and the lady quotes us the price.  But it's half off, I say.  Oh sorry, she says, that was just the sale bin.  I didn't see that!  But it's so beautiful.  I've visited it every time I've gone for the last two years, but I've never been able to suck it up and get it.  I can't say that I haven't slept on it and given it some thought

*B* convinced me he'd get it anyway.  I can't believe he did it.  I can't believe I agreed.  I'm ashamed to even admit how much it cost.  I'm way too calculated to let him do something like that.  Don't get me wrong - I love this dress.  It's gorgeous.  I will wear it for many, many years.  It fits me well, looks good on me, and since it's split in the middle, accommodates child bearing years as well as normal years. 

My dress is very similar to the one above, but the chemise is a mint green with slightly sleeves and neckline.  Think an old lady's nightdress, in a totally fashionable, vintage way.  I don't have the plaid part either.  The chemise covers shoulders and decolletage and the skirt area, and it looks very nice.  I can now add to it if I feel like it in the coming years, though it's not necessary. 

So I am at the Renn Fest, happy but guilty.  Then came more trouble.  *B* had been drinking throughout the day.  I have no idea how much he had, but I do know that he was holding his own for a while.  I, myself, had a cider and a half or so over the eight hours we were there.  *B*'s friend showed up, and at that point, he was gone.  My mom was with fMIL, *B* was with his friend, and I was left by myself.  I was annoyed. 

When *B* drinks, he changes.  Not necessarily in a bad way - he's never violent.  He just gets kind of whiny and stuck in his own head.  I can't interact with him.  So I'm being ignored by everyone, and when I'm not ignored, I can't even hold a simple conversation with him.  We have a friend's birthday dinner to attend after the fest.  And *B* is being weird.  Silent brooding ensues.

Then comes the worst part - the parking lot.  We decided to leave at 6 to be down the road and at our friend's house at 6:30.  This is an hour before the end of the day.  There was so much traffic.  It took us one and a half hours to get out of the parking lot.  People kept jumping out of line, driving through the grass and cutting everyone off.  Think leapfrog here.  But I wouldn't - I have standards of conduct.  So we got more and more behind as time went on.  We missed the birthday dinner completely.  *B*'s no help and I can't talk to him because he's still somewhat drunk.  I am seething.

On the drive home, I finally spit out what was wrong.  Yes, I felt guilty about my present.  Yes, traffic annoyed me to no end.  But I was more than mad, I was worried.  *B* has been drinking a lot lately.  He goes to happy hours with friends one or two times a week.  He drinks during Renn Fest.  When I told him what was wrong, he told me I needed to find friends.  I was taken aback.  This doesn't sound like him.  We haven't spoken of it since.  But now that worry is in the back of my mind.  I know that now that Renn Fest is over, he will cut back a lot.  I hope.  I've been turning over all of the little problems we've been happening between us.  Is there anything we can do to get back on track?  Will things change after the wedding?  Am I being too harsh?  Have I changed?  Has he?  Am I too needy?  I've had some problems slipping back into depression again.  Will I have to deal with this forever?  Or will I be okay?

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Having a Rough Go of It

Today has been terrible, horrible, no good, and very bad.  All at the same time.  I keep hitting roadblocks with my job.  I want to be a good teacher.  I really do.  I'm just so frustrated.  Here's what I need to do my job:  kids who are respectful, who don't talk while others are talking, who do their assigned work, and who turn things in on time.  Is that too much to ask?

My honors kids do just fine.  We get along well, and we even have some fun.  With my regular kids, all I get are excuses and apathy.  From some, it's I didn't know we had homework, I never got a worksheet, we never learned this, you didn't tell us it was due.  From others, they sit with their head on the desk, not doing anything.  Then at the end of the quarter, I get emails from them and their parents asking for extra credit.  The parents are especially incredible.  They don't care that their child got a 30% on the last test, but if the child said that a homework was turned in and it wasn't graded, then they jump down my throat.

To make it worse, I'm in the midst of trying to get my certification.  I'm supposed to be observed twice this semester.  I have crazy kids, a wedding in seven weeks, and now I've got to be worried about passing observations!  I don't think that my supervisor likes me all that much either, so we'll see how it goes.

Now, in some respects I'm lucky.  I've never been cursed at or had my life endangered unlike local public school teachers.  But it's still not an easy job.  I daydream of the day I can stay home with children.  I have realized, though, that I'm the bigger earner, which will make it very difficult when we drop down to one income.  I can only hope that *B* has managed to move up a little by then.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Stress, Sadness, and Sleep

Yesterday was two months until my wedding.  That, in and of itself, is a good thing I think.  Despite the stress and frustration, I am looking forward to it as one would expect. 

Yesterday evening, though, we got some bad news.  My future brother-in-law might be my former future brother-in-law before we even get married.  He and *B*'s sister, who have been having problems since their son was born, are actually talking about splitting up.  She wrote me to tell me he probably wouldn't be coming.

This is not good on three levels.  One, we really like him and don't want him to go.  He's a great guy and an awesome dad.  Two, we feel bad for their son.  She's American, he's British, and their son was born in Germany.  The boy will have serious custody-related problems and either travel back and forth between the continents his whole life or miss one parent for long periods of time.  Three, BIL was to be in our wedding.  Not just because he's the husband of *B*'s sister, but because we genuinely wanted him there.  So not only will we miss him, we'll be uneven.  Since *B* doesn't have many close male friends, it's not like we could replace him.

Given that this happened just before bedtime, I had dreams about it all night.  In my dreams, no one was really doing anything for the wedding.  *B* and other people in it were just sitting around in a random room.  My dad was in street clothes.  And to top it off, the priest skipped out, so we couldn't even get married.  We couldn't get a refund on our honeymoon, so we had to go unmarried or do a quickie wedding, which was not at all the kind of person I am.  It was a complete disaster in every since of the word.  This is my second wedding dream, though probably not the last.  At least they're dreams about the ceremony going wrong, not about *B* being the wrong guy :o)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Cocoa, My Love

I realized today, much to my dismay, that I have run out of cocoa mix.  Bad for me, good for you, because I will show you how to make the most amazing mix ever.  It's SO easy! 

Nota bene:  This recipe is not syrup sweet like Swiss Mix.  You can add more sugar if you want, I just prefer it on the less sweet side.  It reminds me of a Caffe Mocha without the Caffe.

All you need is a box of Hershey's Cocoa Powder, some salt, and some sugar.

Because I'm lazy thrifty,  I keep my cocoa mix in the box it came in.  The recipe actually makes two boxes worth.  So either keep another box from a previous go around or put the mix in another container.  I washed the old box out and dried it thoroughly.  If you don't dry it, you get glue.

One box of cocoa is two cups.  Be careful when pouring, it flies everywhere. Dump it in a large bowl.

Then, measure out 2 cups of sugar more or less. Dump that in the bowl, too.

Put a little less than two teaspoons of salt in the bowl.

Mix very carefully but thoroughly.  Make sure there are very few clumps.  Clumps of salt or cocoa make things gross when recombined.

Pour carefully into the containers you chose.

Clean up all of the powder and sugar that has settled all over everything.

When making cocoa, put 4 tablespoons of mix into a mug with 8 ounces of milk and microwave for two minutes.  If making a large batch, you can make it on the stove top.  Adding the slightest bit of vanilla perks it up a bit.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Simple Pleasure Thursday

My simple pleasure today is a spur of the moment surprise party!

*B* turns 25 in the beginning of November.  I hadn't thought a whole lot of it (other than picking out a present) considering my birthday is soon after, with our wedding a mere month later.  But I really want to do something nice for him.

It means I have a lot of work to do, but I'm ready.  It'll be a lot of fun.  I'll have to plan decorations, scams to get him away from the house, food to prepare on the sly.  Ooo, yes, this will be fun!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Homemaker Holiday

Monday was a glorious day.  I enjoyed almost every minute of it.  I cleaned my whole bedroom top to bottom and put new sheets on the bed.  I did all of the laundry and put away what was dry.  The towels will be put away after they come out of the dryer. 
I made applesauce and apple butter and canned it.  From a local Asian market, we get amazing fuji apples.  They're huge!

A quick applesauce/apple butter how to:

Peel the apples.  I've done it with and without peeling, and I definitely peel from now on.

 Cut them into quarters and core them.

Slice the apples up.  If you want chunkier sauce/butter, leave them bigger.  If you want smooth sauce/butter, dice them.

For applesauce, I threw them into a big pot on medium/high with half a cup of water and the lid on.

After twenty minutes, it's mushy.  I use a potato masher to get it to the consistency I like.

I do a hot pack, so I pour the sauce straight into sterilized jars from the pot.


With apple butter, instead of using the stove, I put the apples into the crockpot with 2 cups of sugar, three sticks of cinnamon, and enough ground cloves and pumpkin pie spice to cover the top.

 The finished products:

Please excuse the messy counters.  If I always waited to have the kitchen clean to make things, I'd never get anything done.

For dinner, I made a turkey roast with mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables, and snap peas.  With the leftovers, I made turkey shepherd's pie for later in the week.

We also managed to get some garden work done. Though I've let it go a bit fallow, this is our main flower bed:

*B* was working on composting old plants.  We've cleared out a good bit of our garden and planted potatoes.  Wouldn't you know it, when we cleared it, the squashes started producing.

On our neighbor's side of the fence, there's a ton of pokeberry.  While it's poisonous (though some eat it anyway), the berries make a really nice ink to draw with.

 This little guy was eating our carrots.  I think he's a black swallowtail. We let him live.

While out in the garden, I deadheaded my marigolds.  I remember my mom doing this when I was a kid.  The seeds store really easily.  Any savings is a good thing!

Check out the Tuesday Garden Party over at An Oregon Cottage.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

And Breathe...

I'm doing much better now.  I did quit my job, so I'll have my last day this Wednesday.  That takes a lot off my mind.  My dress fitting was today, and everything will work out just fine.  She's taking two inches of material out of the back.  And I was worried it wouldn't fit!  Updated photos with my veil and all:

That's with everything but my necklace - shoes, unders, and all.  Not half bad if I do say so myself :o)  The day is coming soon.  I've got two months and eight days to go.  I know it's going to fly by.

Tomorrow is the florist, the last thing I'll have to do for the wedding for another month or so.  Finally, a break!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Simple Pleasure Thursday

I have many things for today's list for which I'm thankful.

1)  I quit working Wednesdays at my second job as of last night.  I'm hopeful that I can quit Saturdays here in a few weeks.

2)  It's fall!

3)  I came home last night after a long day to find the upstairs totally clean and organized.

4)  What I missed last night was that I had flowers waiting for me in the kitchen from *B*.

5)  I broke down and finally registered for the wedding.  Nothing big, just a few things.

6)  I have 72 days until my wedding, which is just over 2 months.  The end is in sight!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sheer Exhaustion

I've almost hit the wall.  I'm so very tired.  In order to pay for the wedding, I'm working extra time.  I go to school 7:30-3:30.  Then twice a week, I work at a learning center sort of like Sylvan.  Beyond that, my whole weekend is taken up (besides working) with wedding obligations, family obligations, and renn fest.  Yes, they should be happy things, but really they're too much.

On top of all of this, my mom is chiding me for not losing more weight for the wedding.  I understand why she does it, but it's more stress than I need right now.  I have a really hard time losing weight, but I don't have energy to go to the gym.  I tend to get home and eat whatever I can scrounge up, which is never very healthy.  I really don't know how to fix it.  For a while I had resigned myself to this is how I am, but now that my mom's been pushing again, my anxiety has wound itself back up.

Though I had been doing so well on my housekeeping, it's all gone by the wayside.  There are dishes in the sink, papers on the floor, and laundry waiting to be done.  For a while, I at least had the bed made every morning.  Now the bed is sitting all messed up.

Last night, though, I didn't even go to bed.  I slept on the couch.  I don't know why, I just did not want to go up to bed.  No matter what I did, I could not be happy.  I've definitely had a backslide on the therapy-free road.  I'm going to try to tough it out a bit before I go running back.