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Archive for October, 2009

cooking

Cooking sometimes feels like work to me, but more often than not it is just fun and interesting. I’ve noticed it usually feels more like work when I have already worked that day, and less so when it’s one of my days off. I’ve also found that if it’s something I’ve never made before, or something I am especially craving, then it again seems like less work than it does otherwise. It’s the most monotonous and tiring and awful of activities only when it’s something you’ve made a million times before, and you don’t particularly feel like eating it today but that’s what you’ve got the stuff to make, AND you just got home from work, to boot – that’s when it’s the worst. And that’s just about the only time I get self-righteously mad about being the only one in the household who cooks with any regularity. So, see, it would be so much more beneficial for my marriage if I only cooked what I really wanted to eat, when I really wanted to cook it.

However, that’s not very realistic. Mind you, if my husband were left to his own devices, he’d be fine eating pb&j almost every night. He’s not the problem. What can I say? I like eating real food, substantial meals served fresh & hot. This is why I like eating out so much, I think – because the food is hot and it was (usually) just made, plus I didn’t have anything to do with any of that. I like cooking for the sake of cooking, but often the only reason I cook is so that I can have that hot, fresh food – not because I particularly want to cook right then, but rather because I can’t bring myself to settle for a pb&j.

Still, regardless of who is the impetus for all this cooking, it skews the household work heavily in my direction. Doing the cooking also means doing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen afterwards, and often it means the trash needs to be taken out, too. (No one wants discarded meat packaging or vegetable roots sitting in that trash can for long, believe me). So my new policy, given my love of both cooking and eating just-prepared food, is that I will handle the kitchen and Trevor can handle everything else. Haha.

I really wish I had my camera back. I love Posey Gets Cozy because she’s constantly using these beautiful pictures as illustration of what she’s been up to. And I’d love to post pictures of the yummy food I’ve been making lately and places I’ve been going, amongst other things. My brother is very kindly fixing my camera for me, but it’s really taking a long time, and it’s hard to ask someone who’s doing you a huge favor to please hurry it up.

Lately I’ve been cooking almost exclusively out of “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution”. My mom bought it two weeks ago, but she hasn’t even gotten to use it yet. She left it with me the day she bought it so that I could look through it and I’ve been holding it hostage ever since. However, I’ve still only tried three recipes: the chicken stroganoff (sans mushrooms), the cauliflower cheese soup, and, tonight, the mini shells with creamy smoked bacon and peas sauce. The latter was a big hit. The stroganoff would have been good, except I misunderstood amounts and put in WAY too much parsley. My mom came over for dinner the night I made that and very kindly sat through three or four spoonfuls before we both threw in the white flag and went out to eat instead. I liked the cauliflower cheese soup despite my dislike of cauliflower, although it was missing something – it was just a bit bland. I also pureed it, which Trevor did not like although he said the flavor was good. I think next time I might make it with broccoli instead and I will probably add the cheese only after I puree everything else. Would that work?

Those were the only three recipes I had so far picked out of the book, but I think I’ll take another look tonight and see if I can find something more meat-y. Trevor is a meat and potatoes kind of man and he gets a little tired of my steady stream of pasta dishes.

Also, I should probably just get my own copy of the book at this point. Haha. There is so much kitchen-related shopping I want to do lately, and I have a little extra money but its a false flushness really because it’s supposed to be saved for car repairs (I’ve spent half of it already, though). I really want a large, squared-off saucepan. And a utensil tray so I can break out my new silverware and actually have a place to put it all. And I want to get a ton of ingredients for a ton of different new dishes I want to try. And I need a pie pan. Need is probably a strong word, but, c’mon, who doesn’t want a pie pan?

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Okay…not really. However, my and Trevor’s wedding WAS featured on Offbeat Bride today.

The site has a basic template you can fill out and submit about your wedding (after the fact, of course) and then they feature different peoples’ weddings each week/day. They tell you that you may never get featured, or that if you are featured it may be a year or more before you see it up on the site. But on Monday I got an e-mail telling me I would be featured this week – a mere 3 months after the wedding! I was pretty shocked and excited.

It was also fun to see which pictures they chose to use. You just send them your flickr set and they choose which pictures to feature. I think their choices were representative of the feel of our wedding, which makes me insanely happy because that must mean we pretty much pulled off the feel we were going for – it was hard to tell if we did, even after the wedding, just because we had so many pictures and the two of us were running around all night so I couldn’t really tell how it might look and feel to a guest and/or onlooker.

Anyway, enough gushing.

Did I tell you that Ariel, the creator of Offbeat Bride, now has launched a sister site called Offbeat Mama?! Don’t tell Trevor, but I’m really excited!

Also, on Tuesday the 20th, this blog had 43 page views! That’s some kind of record…well, it’s the most since I used it as the wedsite. Thanks, everyone!

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a departure

Today I’m not going to write about my marriage or my general dealings with my husband at all. I’m going to write about writing. This blog has become my only reliable outlet recently. I’m a big journaler, and I’ve written in some form of diary or journal (or blog) ever since I was about 7, but consistently since I was around 13. You should head over to my livejournal account, which has been all but abandoned by me at this point – there are entries there from July 24th, 2001 on (I was 16). No matter how little I write there anymore I just keep it up out of some kind of nostalgic reverance – there are too many embarrassing blog entries on that thing to count, but now that I have enough distance I find them kind of endearing, too.

Anyway, the point is I love to write. I used to write a lot of poetry, and I thought I was pretty good at that. At the time. Like almost all things one wrote a long time ago, I look back on those poems and just think “yuck, what was I thinking?” – although there are a few that stand the test of time and high school (the period when most of them were written). The books I’ve loved the most in my life have been memoirs. Combined with my early and persistent love for journaling, it makes sense that this is the medium I am most excited about writing now.

Except I haven’t actually been writing anything lately. Except blog entries, which are certainly autobiographical and, in that way, similar to memoir. I’ve always found it difficult to write long, sustained pieces – be it memoir, fiction, or term paper. I was relatively comfortable with writing screenplays in terms of length because a complete, finished screenplay is about 90 pages, which is still pretty brief as writing goes. The problem there is that my big weakness is in writing realistic, believable dialogue – good thing it’s writing for movies then, right? Kidding. I think with screenplays you can also trick yourself into writing a lot more than you think you’re capable of. One minute you’re on page 3 – next thing you know you’re at page 60 and nothing much has happened and “oh shit I’m running out of pages and nothing has happened yet!”

This has not been the case for me with any other type of writing. Even with my autobiographical nonfiction work, even when I’m just writing about myself or those around me, it’s surprising how little I have to say – or, I should say, how quickly what I have to say is said. After all, I have a lot to say, but it seems like 6 pages later I’m done already. Maybe I’m just a highly efficient writer. (I almost laughed out loud when I typed that last sentence).

Every writing-advice book or article that I’ve read ever has stated that you must make a habit of writing, make it a part of your day, every day. I did this before I even knew I was supposed to, back when I was in high school writing all that poetry. It really just pored out of me. Poems upon poems tumbling out at all hours. But not anymore, not any kind of writing. I don’t even journal with the consistency that I used to, and we all know this blog is in no way consistent. How much of that is because during high school everything just seemed so huge and immediate and life-altering in a way that it doesn’t now? I mean, I wrote because I had to, because it was just spewing forth. Now I’m lucky if I can eke out a blog post once a week. And I say I love writing.

I do, but to what end? I still dream of being a Writer. You know, a real Writer, capital W – I don’t even need my sole source of income to be writing, I just want to do it all the time and get paid for it some times.

I know this has been a long and rambling, self-involved entry, but here’s what it comes down to: I am going to sit down and write for at least one hour every day. And it doesn’t matter if I’m writing a blog post or working on a screenplay or a poem or what – I am going to write every day until it is a habit, until I don’t have to tell myself to do it, until it just seems natural again – because I do love writing and I want to do more of it. I find that sometimes we just need to remind ourselves to do what we love, often.

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alls i know

My husband says “alls I know” and it is the cutest thing ever. I mean it, I’m not being sassy. It really is just the cutest thing ever, it’s like music to my ears.

Also I went and got us a dining room table tonight. $80 for a table and four chairs (there’s room for six, though). Thank you Craigslist! Trevor thinks this proves him right about how much a table should cost but he doesn’t understand. Haha

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fall is here!

It is officially cold…inside the apartment. That, to me, is the true signifier that it really, truly is fall now. I keep telling myself that I am not going to turn on the heaters at all this fall/winter. No matter how much I dust them out they still smell awful, and while the odor lessens after the first few uses it never goes away completely. Plus I could live without Trevor’s electricity-bill-related grumbling during these colder months.

It’s like our bodies somehow exist in two separate climates although we also exist in the same space and time. I’m almost always cold, and, because of this, he is often warm when I am cold. But the car is the exception – he likes to heat it to, oh, broiling – while I prefer a milder oven-like environment. In the shower we switch places so he can rinse the shampoo off and he steps into the water, immediately registering with dismay my secretly-administered temperature upage.  I always want to put the big, luxurious, puffy comforter on the bed about a week before he does (it’s been there for the last 3 days, now).

I go to bed before him most nights and when he slips into bed he, for once, is as eager to get warm as I am – however, I disagree with his methods for doing so. He cuddles up to me, putting his freezing-cold hands directly onto my now-warm skin. Then he rubs his equally freezing-cold feet all over my toasty-warm legs. I always accuse him of simply trying to torture me and he always says, “I’m just trying to warm up” – but with a mischievous grin that suggests otherwise. Also his feet, bizarrely, never warm up. There might be something wrong with his circulation, I don’t know.

I have great plans for the coming seasons, my favorite time of year has always been Fall into Winter. I’m going to make my very first from-scratch pie (with a lattice top!). There will be an attempt at acorn squash soup. In general, I hope there will be many soups and stews and chilis, and other such warm things. I might finally finish knitting the scarf I have started, stopped, and restarted about a million times since last year. I’m going to learn what to do with a huge turkey this Thanksgiving.

Also vague visions of a Holiday Party are swimming before me – but that seems like one of those things that may go unrealized. Last year I really wanted a christmas tree and Trevor talked me out of it – and, you know, I really missed it. So this year I think we will have to compromise – I will get a very small tree, maybe even a tabletop tree, and decorate that. I also think that, unless I come up with some other amazing option, I will just get Trevor a bunch of small things instead of one big thing this year. I love shopping for people, imagining how they will react to this or that gift, hoping they’ll like it as much as you think they will, having those amazing “this is it!” moments when you find the perfect gift – and all this is magnified simply by shopping for more. Trevor loved his guitar last year, I would say I did good, but my shopping-related joy was pretty limited accordingly. This year, we both win.

Honestly, I’m probably going to have to turn the heat on at some point. And I should probably buy some chains for my car tires, if last year’s ice storm was any indication of what might happen this year. But these are the more practical, less exciting seasonal ponderings. I choose to focus on the pies and gift-buying instead.

On an unrelated note – tomorrow night I am going out with Beth, of JP and Beth, who are our “couple-friends”. By this I mean they are friends that are a couple and that we both get along with and like equally, thus, couple-friends. Before being married, even when I was in relationships, I never had any couple-friends in this same sense, where both me and my partner enjoyed hanging out with said couple equally. However, tomorrow night the womenfolk have been exiled from an all-male game night hosted by JP. So Beth and I decided it would be a good idea if we hung out together, too. I don’t think the boys have realized yet what a bad idea this might be as it pertains to them. I mean, we talk enough shit on them when they’re actually there with us – it’s going to be so much worse after both of us have been forcibly excluded from the goings-on; Beth has been told to stay out until midnight (effectively meaning she has to stay at her mother-in-law’s in order to get enough sleep to get up for work the next morning); and I have been told to drive myself up there even though Trevor is already going to the same place. I don’t want to become, with Beth, this caricature of the wives rolling their eyes, it’s just that sometimes our husbands seem almost to invite it.

All of that aside, I have to say I am happy to be going out with Beth, and I don’t actually begrudge the boys their time together. I’m all about making new friends, or in this case, hopefully becoming better friends with those I already have. Also, Trevor gave me the money to pay for my night out since I am broke, and that is very nice of him. So I’m trying to keep that all in perspective. Plus I get to see Whip it! and I get to eat delicious pasta. I mean, really, what is there to be angry about?

Additionally, I often think of what the judge who performed our legal marriage ceremony said to us at the time: basically, that we should never criticize each other to others. The judge did not use the word “de-ball” but that is how I think of it: that de-balling each other undermines our relationship, especially when it’s in the company of others and/or the other person isn’t around. I really believe the judge was right here. I think it accomplishes very little beyond allowing you to vent, and then there’s always this weird feeling of a loss of sacredness or privacy between you because you’ve shared your disappoint in each other with others. At the same time, I really do enjoy doing it, as awful and vindictive as that sounds. So I will have to be careful tomorrow night. I’m sure Beth and I could both go on for hours about things our husbands do that we don’t like, but I’m hoping we won’t, if only because I want us to be able to get to know each other on our own terms, as individuals, not always in direct relation to our husbands. This to me is the main obstacle to having couple-friends – there’s always two people who start it by dent of their own friendship and then the other two people are always going to be the spouses-of until they can get to the point where they actually know each other as individuals, too. So, here’s hoping.

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