Friday, December 30, 2011

Resolution review

A year ago today, I posted a list of fourteen goals I had for myself to complete in 2011. Let's see how I did!

House and home
1. Redo upstairs bathroom. Done. It looks so, so much better. I still want to add a shelf and I have a print to hang, but I love going in there now.
2. Attach headboard to bedframe. Done. See below.
3. Get new nightstands. Done. We actually bought a gorgeous bedroom set (an extra-long sleigh bed [so Andy's six-foot-two self can sleep comfortably] and two nightstands) from some friends and refinished it. I am very happy with how they came out, and that the height all matches now.
4. Repaint the crappy job we did with cut-in in the living room. Didn't do. It wasn't really a fair item, though, because I can't reach the cut-in even on a step stool, so this would be more accurate as "Make Andy repaint crappy cut-in", which I wouldn't have added to the list anyway. Also, I've been assured that it's not as noticeable to people who aren't me.
5. Get our kitchen knives professionally sharpened. Didn't do. We bought a fancy do-it-yourself sharpener, which didn't help as much as I hoped. I'll add this one to my 2012 list.
6. Host a fancy dinner party. We hosted both our annual Halloween party and Thanksgiving, so I'll call this one done.
7. Take at least two weekend trips with Andy. Done! We went to Belhurst Castle in May, Maryland to see the fat baby niece in July, and Boston in October! I liked this so much that I think I'll add it to this year's list too, because it's good for us to get away.
8. Visit friends in NYC and Boston at least once each. Done. I went to New York in March and again in December, and Andy and I went to Boston together!
9. Go camping and enjoy it. Half done. I went camping, but while there I confirmed that camping is simply not my cup of tea. I have decided that I like Andy and our friends enough to be willing to spend up to two nights a year camping, but that three nights is too much. The friends we camped with were picking out our site for Summer 2012 before we even left, so we'll see how it goes.
10. Relearn to drive standard. Not done. We sold the truck I was going to learn on, so it seems a lot less crucial now. Also, interestingly, a whole lot of people have found this blog by searching "I hate driving stick," so I'm glad we can agree that it sucks.
11. See a dermatologist and learn how to better care for my specific skin. Nope. I started paying a lot more attention to what I put onto my body, and I'd like to find a dermatologist who uses natural shit as much as possible. I just don't really know how to find that, so I sort of put it out of my mind. Going back on the list, for sure.
12. Investigate laser hair removal. Nope. I remembered I'm a giant sissy with sensitive skin and would prefer stubble to lifelong scarring.
13. Complete Couch to 5K. Nope. I got to week five, but running just really isn't my thing.
14. Nail down the design of my next tattoo, then get said tattoo. Half done. The design is complete, but the artist I was planning to go to is no longer an option (she's making some choices that mean I don't want her in charge of putting something permanent on my skin), so I'll have to research artists and save up for someone who's worth it.

So! Seven and a half out of fourteen (or out of thirteen, if we remove the one that was really for Andy anyway). Could have been better! However, in that time, we also decided to become and then got certified as foster parents, became godparents, redecorated a bedroom, and generally enjoyed the shit out of each other, so overall, 2011 gets a thumbs up from me.

Coming soon: my 2012 list!

What's your resolution this year? Do you have a list? I'd love to see it!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Holiday interlude

The week between Christmas and New Year's is always weird, isn't it? Andy and I both have to work this week, but things are off because it's a short week, and next week is another short week.

Last night we decided to stay in and recover from all the go-go-go we'd been doing, and it looks like tonight is going to be more of the same. I stopped on my way home and got some Festive Ale and Everything Must Go, which is a Will Ferrell movie I had never heard of but which looks pretty good (and more like Stranger Than Fiction than Talledega Nights, which is a huge bonus in my book).

We actually had an invite to go ice skating and then drink hot cocoa (with booze in it), and we both felt pretty fine about saying no. Turns out I'm more of an introvert than I ever realized.

How do you spend this week? Are you on vacation, or back to the grind?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Obligatory holiday post

Morning! I hope you are all having the best possible Christmas. We had a pretty awesome morning - I had a delicious almond latte, thanks to the milk frother my friend in Brooklyn got me, and I could have put it in my badass, super-tough new Thermos travel mug from my sister and her husband, and I'm wearing a new cozy flannel shirt from Andy, who took the time to find one that would actually button over my boobs without gaping everywhere. So, yeah, definitely feeling the love.

Two more awesomes: I got a scratch-off ticket in my stocking and won $40, and also Andy special-ordered me a rubber stamp that reads BULLSHIT, and also a bright red stamp pad, so I can properly label everything at work now.

We're heading to my folks' in a few. I sincerely wish you all the merriest of holidays, and I hope you are feeling loved too.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday spirit!

I'm already home for my Christmas long weekend! I usually don't get out of work until 4 at the earliest, but here's an awesome thing: at our work Christmas party, my work-best-friend won a game and got herself four extra hours of vacation time for this week. She knew my sister and Brian and the best baby in the world were coming into town (they arrived last night), so she asked my boss in secret if she could split it with me. Boss said yes, so work-best-friend and I both got two extra hours of vacation time, and I get to be home early!

I made Yuletide nipples yesterday, and I think I'll try to fit in a batch of m&m cookies this afternoon before we head to family dinner at my parents' house. My grandparents are in town for Christmas, which should certainly keep things from being boring.

I hope you all are having the best holiday season EVER.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Doing all the things!

So Andy got free tickets to today's Bills/Dolphins game through work. There are so many awesome things about this:
1. He's never been to a pro football game, but has always wanted to go.
2. The tickets were free.
3. He's a huge Miami fan (but not in such a way that he is an asshole all night if they lose, which was high on the list of attributes that made him marriage-worthy).
4. The first person he thought to ask was my brother, who is a Bills fan. I thought that was sweet.
5. Normally I'd be bummed at spending a full weekend day without Andy (seriously, we just like hanging out), but he's already getting tired of Christmas moves so it's okay that I get full control of the tv all day.

I also have a million-and-one things to get done today, many of which are secret and Andy-related. On the top of that list: I knit him this sweater two Christmases ago. It was my first sweater ever, and I didn't take into account that the pattern doesn't include any ribbing to keep the hem from rolling. Which it does. Enthusiastically. So Andy never wears the sweater, because it ends up sitting just about level with the top of his pants. So today, I'm picking up a bunch of stitches around the edge, and knitting several inches of ribbing. This is the one thing I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to find time to do before Christmas, because when would I have a chunk of several hours without Andy? And then the gods of football smiled upon us, and his sweater will be done today.

After the knitting, I'll be wrapping all of his presents, so he's allowed to go in the library again. Then it's back to knitting, so maybe my mom's sweater will be done by Christmas!

Are you done with Christmas shopping yet?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


After work today, I had to stop at the grocery store to figure out something for dinner (note, please, that the "figure out" part of the equation hadn't happened, because I had absolutely no idea what to do for dinner, and Andy's working late). I heard a commercial for the annual production of A Christmas Carol at our local theater, and instead of thinking, "I should see how much tickets are! I've always wanted to go see that," I found myself thinking, "Damn, who has time to see a three-hour play between now and Christmas?!" That's when I realized I was somewhat overwhelmed with my holiday season.

We do have a lot going on. I just got back from four days out of town. We are watching my parents' pets while they're out of town, starting tomorrow and lasting through Sunday. I have to knit one-and-one-quarter hats and half a sweater in twelve days. We have invitations to several holiday parties this weekend. I haven't even thought about sending out cards. My sister and her husband are coming into town on the 22nd (RIGHT, KID?) and staying with us. And on top of all of that, we're giving unconventional Christmas presents - baskets of our homemade preserves and jams and jellies and stuff - which were a fuckton of work and cost probably slightly more per person than the usual gifts we exchange, but I worry that we're going to look like cheap weirdos or something, so I'm stressing about making sure they're JUST RIGHT - like, compiling a list of recipes and ways to use the stuff in each fucking jar - before I can relax about it.

So I got to the grocery store, and instead of figuring out a real meal, I got makings to make myself a kick-ass cheese plate. And I stopped next door at the liquor store and got a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. And I made myself a super fancy, carefully presented cheese plate, which I ate at the kitchen table with a real napkin while I read the L.L. Bean holiday catalog. Because I needed to settle the fuck down.

I think it helped. I feel a little better, and I only had one glass of wine.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Home again, home again

I hope at least one human being reads the title of this post and immediately thinks "jiggety jig."

I'm home! I came home to a clean house and pretty flowers (Andy always gets me flowers whenever I go out of town. It's a very sweet thing). I had a seat to myself on the train both on the way there and the way home, which is pretty great. I may be causing myself tennis elbow (again) and/or carpal tunnel syndrome with my knitting - my wrist was doing an interesting tingling thing on and off while I was knitting - but I more than doubled the amount of my mom's sweater I had done, and I completed about 90% of Andy's hat, so I'll still count that as a success.

New York was fun, as always. I really like visiting that joint, particularly Brooklyn. Brooklyn's weird. I'm never the one dressed funny, or being too loud, or whatever, when I'm in Brooklyn. If you happen to be there any time soon, check out the Richmond, a bar coincidentally located on Richmond Street, and get an Old Tom Collins. Very well made and very delicious. Or, if you're more in the mood for a dive and some ski-ball, try Redd's on Grand Avenue. Their Tom Collinses are less well made, but I didn't let that discourage me. And it turns out that $5 gets you 18 songs on the jukebox, which all play in a row. That's more than enough to force the other guests to listen to all of Alanis Morisette's Jagged Little Pill in a row (and yes, for some reason they have that).

What's your favorite thing about coming home?

Thursday, December 8, 2011


My computer is fixed! Just in time for me to go out of town for several days!

I'm heading to New York City in the morning. I'm super busy getting ready tonight, so the plan was that Andy was going to pick it up while I was out of town. Instead, he surprised me by getting it on his way home tonight, just to be nice!

One of my best friends lives in Brooklyn, so I am going to hang out with her and pretend I'm in Home Alone 2 for a few days. We will be doing touristy things like seeing the tree in Rockefeller Plaza, window shopping, eating at the Carnegie Deli, and doing our best to thwart a pair of bumbling robbers slash would-be child murderers.

And to any other would-be robbers out there, Andy can't get the time off from work, so he'll be home guarding our house. Don't get any bright ideas, because he is fully trained in the use of Micro Machines, paint cans, and acetylene torches for home defense.

My keyboard is making an interesting clicking noise any time I have to delete something. Looks like this is a good time to slow down and type things correctly the first time, or to learn to love that it sounds a little like there's a tiny tambourine under the backspace key.

What shouldn't I miss when I'm in New York? Share!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Exciting evening

I don't know if I've mentioned this, and I'm still on Andy's computer which takes forever so I'm not going to bother searching for it, but Andy plays drums at a local church for Christmas Eve every year. He has practice at the church tonight, so I'm going to take my pants off and really buckle down to some knitting and some Christmas-movie-watching. I don't know how I'll be able to handle the excitement.

My computer is getting fixed, so posting should resume some sort of regular schedule next-week-ish. I just find my netbook so much more convenient and easy to use!

Oh, one more exciting thing: I'm planning to try to import two books on CD into itunes so I can listen through my ipod. I've never done this, so wish me luck that I don't accidentally delete all my files on there or something. I've been told there's a way to rip them so they take up less space, so I'll be poking around on the internet trying to figure that out. Good times all around tonight!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Feeling festive!

It's December 1, which in our house is Christmas Decorations Day! I just finished setting up the tree. This is by far the biggest pain involved in decorating our house for Christmas, as we have my parents' twenty-year-old seven-foot monstrosity. I like to get it set up before Andy gets home so we can start in on lights and ornaments while we watch a Christmas movie. This year it's Elf, which has just given me yet another reason to love it: if you leave the menu up without selecting anything, THE MUSIC STOPS PLAYING after one loop! This is so great!

I have a big pot of chili on the stove ready to go, and I'm going to put up the garland and lights we loop over the weird bannister thing we have.

The one thing I am still working on for this year is a good pine-scented candle. Last year I just got one at Wal-Mart, and it was fine but not spectacular. I think I'm going to try one of the Balsam Fir ones from Bath and Body Works, as I've been assured it smells just like an actual pine tree instead of like gross chemicals.

What holiday set-up traditions do you have? 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Late November scurrying!

Hello, internets! I hope you all had a lovely holiday and that being back at work today wasn't the absolute worst. Our Thanksgiving was as smooth as these things tend to be: we had one startling moment where some squash we were warming bubbled over, causing the oven to fill with smoke; Andy's uncle's girlfriend (who made the sweet potatoes for me last year) remembered that I had mentioned that my dad's a diabetic, so she made the squash and her amazing cranberry relish with honey instead of sugar, so it was slightly better for my dad; Andy's dad only made one overtly racist comment; my homemade pies were very well received. Overall a smash hit!

We're making serious progress on the nursery in our spare time these days, which explains much of the silence up in this joint. And we finally dropped my computer off to be fixed on Saturday, which explains the rest of it!

Are your Christmas preparations in full swing? I'll be putting up our tree on Thursday when I get home from work, and we'll decorate it together when Andy gets home - our tree always goes up on December 1st. I'm knitting like crazy trying to get everything done, and I'm something like 3/5 of the way done with the awful lace on the sweater I'm working on. Hooray!

How was your holiday? How's your Christmas prep coming?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Deep calming breaths

Today it felt like the universe was conspiring to piss me off. You ever have a day like that? I had my boss point out some errors I had made, of the sort that will be caught if the people who touch my work after I do are doing their jobs, which left me feeling like every other function in the building has built-in "making mistakes is part of being human" room, whereas my job is expected to be perfect on the first try. It probably didn't help that I hadn't had any coffee yet when I had this conversation with the boss, so my whole day was set up to be frustrating before it even really got started.

After a singularly irritating morning, which spilled over into a ravenously hungry early afternoon, I decided I'd splurge a little and order myself Chipotle for lunch (where I come from, $10 for a burrito is a splurge, ok?). I placed my order online, as I always do, and hit "submit" blithely. Only after I had submitted my order did I realize my burrito would be ready to pick up IN AN HOUR. And I had already paid for it, so tough cookies.

I arrived at Chipotle in an interestingly roundabout way, thanks to construction, which took forever. I walked in and didn't have to wait in line, and then the soda machine spit out exactly the right amount of ice on the first try! I wondered, "Could it be that my day is turning around?" As if in answer to my question, whatever nondescript soft rock song had been on ended, and FUCKING INI KAMOZE started playing! Yes! Maybe the day was salvageable!

On my way back to work, I got stuck in a traffic jam because a tow truck was being towed by another tow truck, so my Chipotle trip took twice as long as it should have. Then I got back to my desk and discovered that my beautiful burrito bowl, lovingly crafted and the same goddamn thing I order every time, HAD DISGUSTING CILANTRO-WHATEVER RICE IN IT. I'm one of those lucky people who thinks cilantro tastes like soap, so my awesome, day-saving lunch tasted like asshole, but was too expensive to ditch. So I ate it, and was grumpy.

Now I'm taking deep calming breaths and planning to go to Target with my husband. If that doesn't work, some homemade fudge and a bottle of wine will have to do the trick.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanksgiving plans!

We're hosting Thanksgiving again. We like hosting holidays, because it means we don't have to go anywhere and we only have to eat one meal. With both of our families less than ten minutes away, we spend part of each holiday with my family and part with Andy's, so we get double meals. Hosting Thanksgiving is awesome, too, because there are no presents - we hosted Christmas one year and somehow ended up timing it so that we opened our presents with both sets of parents here at the same time. It was super awkward. If we ever host Christmas again, we'd probably have my parents come over earlier and do presents, then have his parents join us for dinner, then do presents with his side after my folks leave. 

ANYWAY. Last time we hosted Thanksgiving, Andy's mom offered to make and bring the turkey. This worked out great, as she makes a great turkey and I don't know how to cook one. So we're doing that again this year. Andy's mom is in charge of turkey and stuffing. Andy and I are making roasted winter veggies (Brussels sprouts plus probably parsnips and carrots), mashed potatoes with roasted garlic, and baked sweet potatoes with pecan praline topping stuff (we made these a few years ago and would recommend using SMALL sweet potatoes, not the large ones called for, because no one can eat an entire large sweet potato plus all the other Thanksgiving foods). Oh, and I'm making homemade applesauce and some small-batch pear-cranberry compote, which I MIGHT just can up and give as favors or some fancy shit. My folks are in charge of appetizers and rolls, and I know my mom will BRING IT with the appetizers. For dessert, I'm making a traditional pumpkin pie and a pecan pie without corn syrup.

We're going to have eight people, including ourselves, for dinner, and my brother and his wife will be dropping in for appetizers or dessert. We will have way too much food and not quite enough room at the table. It will be lovely.

Do you host holidays? What are your Thanksgiving plans?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On adulthood

This post is not well thought out or organized, and the bullets are in no way in matching formats or anything, because I’ve added to these lists over a few days as things come to me.

Things that make me feel like I’m faking this whole “being a grown-up” thing:
  • Listening to Christmas music on Pandora all day. Specifically, reading legislation while listening to the Chipmunks 
  • How often I burp 
  • How often I go without pants when at home 
  • I have a stuffed cow that joins me in bed when Andy doesn’t 
  • How incredibly silly Andy and I are when we’re alone together 
  • I would rather watch Christmas movies – specifically, Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Elf, The Santa Clause, or Christmas Vacation, in that order – than almost any other movie 
  •  The part where I found out today that I wasn’t supposed to be paying into my Health Savings Account all year, as I switched health insurance plans a year ago. Apparently, this is a no-no, and I have no idea how to fix it (yes, I emailed my HR person.)
 Things that make me feel like maybe I really am a grown-up after all: 
  • Planning a Thanksgiving menu two weeks ahead of time so I have time for everything 
  • I started Christmas shopping over two months ago 
  • I pay a mortgage, and have never paid it late 
  • Sometimes I remember to make a haircut appointment before I start to look like a homeless Dennis Leary (usually I don’t, though, so maybe this belongs in the other category) 
  • Making my next haircut appointment before leaving the salon (I did this for the FIRST TIME EVER yesterday. Hello, not looking like shit for Christmas parties, nice to meet you!) 
  • Supporting local businesses and farms and being able to explain why it’s important 
  • How much time I spent today talking about fucking health insurance 
  •  The part where the state has said I’d be an acceptable parent, and the part where they’re going to give me a kid
  • Being able to describe myself as being happily married
 What about you? When do you feel like you’re faking it? When are you all, “Yes! I’m nailing this grown-up biz!”?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Weekend project!

I finally convinced Andy that we should paint the nursery/guest room! I think we both know that if we wait until after we get a kid, it'll never actually get painted. As soon as I got home from work, I moved most of the furniture (all the stuff I could move by myself) into the middle of the room, and I took off all the outlet covers and stuff.

I want to paint the room a soft dove grey and use emerald green as an accent color. I'm 98% sure Andy thinks that's insane, and I think he's voting for sage green walls. But what the hell color can you use for accenting sage? At least with grey, if we end up with a placement who stays with us for a while, we can switch out the green for a different color: eggplant, or bright orange, or WHATEVER WE WANT because we have a neutral background!

Obviously, now that I've done the useful, moving-shit-around stuff, I am waiting for Andy to get home so we can go get paint. It can't hurt to spend that time searching Pinterest for grey nurseries and bookmarking the good ones, right?

What color would you paint the room if you were us? Options must be okay for children of either gender between birth and age five, and must not be fugly.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Colds and banquets

1. The lady who sits next to me at work has been sick for two weeks. She was out part of last week and has been to the doctor at least twice this week. In my professional opinion, it sounds like a bad cold, but this lady doesn't cover her mouth when she coughs or sneezes. I can hear the difference, and I can tell you that the only time I've heard her cover her mouth when coughing was when she was actually on the phone with her doctor's office. So I know she knows she's supposed to, and she just doesn't care. What an asshole. I've been hoarding my sick days so I can take a few days off when we get a kid, and I haven't been out sick since July, so if this bitch gives me her gross cold because she doesn't know how to be a functioning member of a society, I'll cut her. I've been munching chewable Airborne like candy, even though they're made with horrific disgusting fake sweetener. I also will be taking fish oil before bed for the next few nights (secret: taking it before bed = no awful fish burps!). I am determined not to get my usual fall cold, even with gross neighbor lady's best efforts.

2. Tonight we're going to the county's annual foster parents recognition banquet thing. Even though we don't have a kid yet and will almost certainly only know each other and our certifying worker. My reasons for wanting to go, in order of importance:
     A. To introduce ourselves to the homefinder (the person in charge of actually putting a kid in our house) so she knows who the hell we are and will actually give us a kid.
     B. To eat a free dinner (the equivalent of wedding food, as the venue is a popular wedding reception place).
     C. To maybe meet some other foster parents in our age range to befriend.
I have no idea what the hell one wears to a banquet, as the last one I attended was when I got a scholarship in high school. Wearing what I have on from work feels too casual, but anything dressier feels like I'm trying too hard or something. Trying to impress strangers is hard, y'all.

What are your secret don't-get-sick preventative measures? I'll try anything, as long as it's cheap!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Daylight savings dreariness

This weekend we all dutifully turned our clocks back an hour. It's just past 5 p.m. and it's very much dusk here. Andy gets super bummed about having to work from before it's light until after dark, so I'm trying to think of ways to cheer him up when he gets home tonight!

I think, first, I'll have the blinds drawn, so he can't see how dark it is outside, and I'll have lamps going and probably light a couple of candles. I'll also make him some spiced cider, which I know he loves but which he rarely drinks. Maybe, instead of Arrested Development (my choice), we'll watch Parks and Recreation (his choice). And after dinner maybe we'll have some hot chocolate. And maybe we'll add some Bailey's. Because why the hell not?

I don't really mind the time change, except that it feels like it's way too late to do anything by, like, 7:30. I had an irritating day at work - everything too three times as long as it should have, and everything I picked up had some stupid problem that wasn't obvious until I had already spent an hour doing twenty minutes' worth of work - but none of that is related to the sun rising and setting. Pretty sure it was just an irritating day in the office.

I don't think Andy has Seasonal Affective Disorder, but I'm reading through this list and thinking of ways to keep him cheerful: Give me your best SAD hacks! at Metafilter.

How do you feel about the time change? Any suggestions for a cheerful evening?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Low-key Friday evening

Have you dudes ever tried roasted Brussels sprouts? Turns out: they're fucking magical. 

Andy and I like those things to begin with, but roasting brings those tasty little bad boys to a new level. And they're easy as hell to make! Easier than steaming, even, which, until today, was our go-to method.

I had a few parsnips (we got two, for some reason) and a buttload of carrots from our CSA to use up, so I chopped that stuff into biggish chunks, slapped 'em on a baking sheet with the cleaned and halved sprouts, tossed everything a few healthy glugs of olive oil and some generous pinches of salt, and roasted them at 400° for about half an hour. We ate them with some pork chops that we smeared in peach butter. It was delicious.

Now we're about to watch a movie and veg out, to celebrate not having any plans tonight. This is the first night this week that we're just staying home, so I'm knitting and we're probably going to bed early. Hooray!

I'm going to try to talk Andy into a Christmas movie. The lace knitting I'm doing on my mom's sweater takes a lot of concentration, so I can't really knit and watch something with an intricate plot, or I'll fuck the lace all up (again). But if we watch a movie I know by heart - basically, a Christmas movie or Newsies - I can be entertained AND the lace survives!

Wish me luck. Something tells me Andy will be resistant to my brilliant logic.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Nursery decor

My computer still isn't fixed and I find Andy's seventeen-inch Powerbook less comfortable to use, so I've been enjoying a reduction in the amount of time I've been spending online. It's been kind of awesome.

I think this weekend I'm going to drag the old, hand-me-down nursery nightstand out to the garage, strip it, and repaint it. In order to know what color I'm going to paint it, I have to know if we're going to paint the walls in there. I really, really want to paint the walls - our whole upstairs is covered in pine panelling,  Andy and I agree that the panelling isn't a look we love, and to be frank it's not likely to be in style again for a very long time. But it is kind of an irreversible thing to do to a room, so we haven't bothered in the nursery yet.

I want green to be the focus in the nursery. If I had my way, I'd do the walls a nice dove grey then decorate with emerald green. I doubt I'll be able to talk Andy into grey, though, so we might do the walls green. Which would make a green nightstand overkill.

Either way, I want to get or make a giant print like this to hang over the crib. I've actually had that Pinterest page open and shrunk down on Andy's computer for four days, so I don't forget about it. The only art we have on the walls in there right now is a wooden elephant carving my sister gave us, which is gorgeous but is just about impossible to see against the wood panelling!

Any recommendations for affordable, positive-message, kid-friendly art sources?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Obligatory holiday post

I just realized that I've been blogging for a year! Actually, Saturday was the anniversary of my first post, which sucked. I did post a pretty awesome one a few days later, in which the wider world was introduced to my father-in-law. In the year I've been doing this, I've posted 281 times, which equals one post every 1.3107142857 days (if you want to be technical about it). In this time I also have not been offered a book deal, I was not invited to Fashion Week (or even Aldi), no one has offered to sponsor any posts of mine (even Wegmans), and I haven't mobilized an army of supporters against William Shatner. I will still call it a net win, though, because I have at least three people a day stop by and read whatever bullshit I'm thinking about when I happen to sit down and write. I'm not exaggerating about that number. Tell your friends to read my blog, or something, because I think we can see that I'm not exactly aces when it comes to marketing myself.

Anyway. It's Halloween. Our party on Saturday night was pretty good. Andy and I dressed up as Grimace and the Hamburglar, which was a huge hit. Other notable costumes included Lucille and Buster from Arrested Development, and a hobo in an actual union suit with a bindle. It's always a little hard to mix all of our groups of friends together, and we were missing some key players in the "let's get everyone to mingle!" category, so it wasn't the best one we've thrown. Oh, and some girl, a guest of a guest, BROUGHT HER AUNT AND UNCLE. A girl we've met literally once - because a friend we invited brought her to our party two years ago - brought along her mid-fifties aunt and uncle. They were the oldest people by about 20 years, and they knew a total of two people there. So, so weird.

Andy's family is going slightly less all-out this year than they usually do. They used to have this huge, scary setup in the front yard that would have inspired Childhood Rachael to skip their house. But the demographic in the neighborhood has changed, and there are a lot less kids of trick-or-treat age, so it's not worth three hours' worth of work in almost-freezing temperatures for only 50 kids. I'm hoping this means I get to hang out with Andy, but don't worry: I'll have my cell phone handy and ready to record any ridiculous shit spouted by Andy's dad.

How were your Halloween parties? What did you dress up as?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Three things I like and one thing I don't

1. It's Friday, and we're having our party tomorrow, and Andy has done 100% of the decorating for it.
2. I really like grocery shopping with my husband. Is that weird?
3. There's a new comic up over at Hyperbole and a Half, and it's fucking good. The comments that are all "you're too awesome to be depressed! cheer up!" are seriously misguided and come from people who almost certainly have never dealt with depression, but most of them are awesome. (Also, I thought I had talked about my depression here before, but I just checked real quick in the googles, and it seems to indicate that either I haven't really talked about it much (I mention it here) or I used secret key words I no longer remember. In summation: I have dealt with depression. It fucking sucks. Telling a depressed person to cheer up, or trying to put depression "in perspective" by pointing out how much worse other people have it, will not help. Ever. Also, I'm much better now, thanks.)

1. Knitting lace. So, so awful. Reading charts takes a million percent of my concentration, so I can't even zone out on a good movie while I knit. Ugh.

What are you planning to be for Halloween? WANT TO COME TO MY PARTY?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fostering: we're certified!

As of 12:32 this afternoon, Andy and I are officially certified foster parents and our home is open for a placement. Woo!

It's seriously weird to think that we could get a call any minute now to take a placement. There was a dude in our very first meeting who got a placement his very first day of certification. We know it's more likely that it will be a while, so we're still hosting our Third Annual Awesome Halloween Party on Saturday, and we're still planning to host Thanksgiving at our house.

I want to paint the ugly nightstand in the guest room/nursery, which will have to wait until after the party this weekend, so it would be kind of cool if we didn't get a placement till after that. Otherwise, I'm set.

Do you dudes have any questions about this shit that I haven't answered yet? 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Computer issues

Ducklings, my laptop is still not happy with me, and Andy's is being borrowed, and I still can't figure out how to post from my phone, so you will all have to wait patiently for the hilarity to resume.

In the meantime, check out these three things to make you happy:

Animals talking in all caps

Homemade mustard on Food in Jars (Andy LOVES mustard, so I am thinking of making this for him for Christmas)

Absolutely spot-on list of Things For Which There Should Be Punishment by Amy at Just a Titch

I can still read and reply to comments, so maybe share something awesome too!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fostering: still waiting

We're still not certified.

By all accounts, this is what I should expect from foster care. Our final home visit was great. Our caseworker got our homestudy finished and to us to review within two days. We got it back to her the same day - last Friday. She said she'd turn it in to her supervisor on Monday.

Now, the supervisor is in charge of 17 caseworkers, and is the only person who can sign off on our homestudy so that we can officially be opened for placements. I get that there are things that are a lot more important and urgent than reading a six-page thing about people you've never met. But seriously, how long can it take to flip through it and give it a stamp?

My mom and sister threw us a fucking awesome foster shower a few weeks ago. We have everything we need and a whole lot of stuff we wanted. We could get a kid today and only have to buy clothes and diapers and formula (if the kid is young enough to need 'em). But we have absolutely no control over when that paper gets signed, and no control over how long after that we'll get a kid.

I texted my sister that every time my phone lights up that I'm getting a call (instead of a text), I jump. I pretty much never get actual phone calls, so for a split second each time I think it's the county. I told her I'm irritated at having to wait. The Kid, in a fit of wisdom, pointed out that the universe knows that we throw a really awesome Halloween party and wants to make sure it happens this year too.

I finally got the list of approved daycares in our area, so next week I'll at least have a project to keep me a little busier. I'm going to call around and see if any of the approved places keep an open spot for foster kids, and if they have any availabilities, and if Andy and I can come in to check things out. We like the looks of one place that could be on the way to work for either of us, and found out today that they're on the approved list, so I'll start there.

Any tips on how to be patient when there's no way to know how long stuff will take? Also, any questions about any of this shit?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

How we met

Did I ever tell you all about how Andy and I met? It isn't really meet-cute, tell-the-grandkids stuff, but it's funny, I guess.

I went to school with a bunch of dudes who were in a band together. I had a major crush on the bassist, for, like, ever. He dated the same girl pretty much straight through high school, so I never told him how I felt, besides flirting outrageously at any chance I got.

Andy was in a band then too, and the two bands were often booked together at a terrible, disgusting dive bar not far from us. The dudes in the two bands would hang out a bit before and after shows, until Andy somehow became a peripheral and then a regular member of the group I hung out with.

I want to remind you all that I have an absolutely terrible memory, and that I count on Andy a lot to remember stuff for me. In this case, I believe this is how it happened, but man, he comes off looking way better than I do.

The day we met, the bassist I had a crush on was coming over to pick me up for some group event - I didn't get my license until I was 19, so someone was always coming over to pick me up. I had great friends. ANYWAY, this dude stopped by, and Andy was with him. Or so Andy says. I honestly had such a crush on the bassist that I don't even actually remember being introduced to Andy! I just know that he became part of my group of friends that summer.

Later that summer, the bassist's long-time girlfriend (the same one from high school) was revealed to be a horrible cheating scumbag, right around the same time I broke up with a douchebag I had been dating for a little while. The stars aligned - by which I mean we got varying degrees of wasted and talked on the phone - and I told the bassist that I had had a crush on him since eighth grade. No big deal, right?

Bassist-guy and I dated that summer for a few months, but agreed neither of us were really in the right place for a relationship. Plus, being with him wasn't as awesome as I had expected it to be. There was nothing wrong or anything; we just weren't the right fit. We broke up very amicably and continued hanging out with the same group of friends as always. While I had been dating that dude, though, I had started to develop a real friendship with Andy.

At the end of the summer, our friends all started drifting back off to school. Our big group of friends dwindled, until it was just me and Andy and one other guy/girl pair. The more time I spent with him, the more I realized how awesome he really is (my sister is gagging right now) and the rest, as they say, is history.

Oh, and I'd like the record to show that I remember our first kiss very well, as I'm the one who initiated it.

How did you meet your beloved? Do you at least remember it?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I shook off yesterday's grumps and got a lot done today. In addition to my usual eight-hour workday, I have done the following things:

  • Read the entirety of a former classmate's blog. The girl who was my neighbor when we were kids got into some serious shit when we were in high school - like, drugs and trouble with the law and stuff - and I hadn't heard anything about her in probably five years. Recently, a friend sent me the link to her blog, and it turns out she was into even worse stuff than I had heard about, by a lot, but has since found Jesus and has been clean for over a year and is working on becoming a minister. So, good for her. 
  • Called the Western New York something-or-other to get the list of approved daycares that my county works with. We don't have a placement yet, but our caseworker suggested it's a good idea to start looking for places with available space and interview a couple, so that we're not scrambling to find a place we like and that has room once we get a kid.
  • Made granola bars for the friend who diagnosed the problem with my netbook. She didn't actually do anything to fix the problem, so she insisted that granola bars weren't necessary, but she contacted Samsung for me and found a few possible solutions, which means baked goods are in order. Today I added dried cranberries and golden raisins. Should be awesome. 
  • Bought a Harvest Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk cake (from Wegmans, which is the only store ever with amazing store-produced bakery items. I will fight you on this one). I'm trying to decide if I feel like going to Pints and Purls and bringing the cake to share, or if I want to stay home and watch Arrested Development on Netflix for three hours and have the cake with Andy.
Sometimes I like to do a review of my day like this so it looks like I've gotten so much done. I'm also one of those people who rarely remembers to make a to-do list before getting stuff done, but who loves making one afterwards so I can cross everything off all at once.

What awesome stuff have you gotten done today?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I got home from work today and had my grump on, for no good reason. Then I wrote a whole post about all the awesome stuff we got in our CSA share today, and Blogger ate it. Then I made awesome whole-wheat mac and cheese with broccoli for dinner, and for some reason my sauce wouldn't thicken, so basically I made the world's weirdest soup accidentally, plus I had to clean up the giant mess I made while trying to make awesome food and failing. (Note: Andy still ate it with gusto and insisted it was delicious.)

Now my glasses have a smudge from where my eyelashes hit the lens, which happens every fucking day with these glasses and are you freaking kidding me, I've worn glasses since fourth grade and I've never had this happen, so what the fuck, Warby Parker. Also, I am writing this on Andy's giant MacBook, because my precious little netbook, which he got me for my birthday two years ago, is currently out of commission with what the internet says is a really common issue (the little power slide tab thing appears to have broken its spring) and which Samsung is claiming they've never heard of.

All I'm trying to say is, thank god for Honey Brown lager and Netflix.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lovely autumn Saturday

Did I ever tell you that autumn is my favorite season? Well, it is. I hate summer, basically, because I get heat exhaustion really easily, and I don't love winter, because my toes are always cold, and in spring everything is muddy for four months. But autumn? Cooler weather, pretty leaves and mums and cloudy days? That's just wonderful.

I had a really boring post written telling you all about what we're up to today, but it boils down to this: We're hanging out, eating good food, taking care of our home and each other. That's pretty cool, right? Right now it's super windy out so I'm sitting at the kitchen table writing this and watching the leaves and pine needles flying around my backyard and feeling grateful for how awesome my life really is.

Is that too cheerful? I can say more cusswords next time if you like.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Because pills fix things, right?

So I just took Pancakes to the vet. We were there to have her checked for a UTI, which my sister suggested might be the reason she's been peeing in the house. The vet confirmed that she did have a UTI (way to go, Kid!) and gave us some pills, which should eliminate the peeing-in-the-house nonsense.

I also talked to her about our frustration with her inability to focus on anything. Like I said, she can sit and lay down, but by the time we go to praise her for following the command, she's standing or jumping again. So we got a prescription for something called trazodone, which is basically doggy ritalin. We're supposed to give her half a pill at a time when we need her to chill out and/or focus. I'm hoping it helps calm her down enough to actually learn to obey. The best part is, we got the UTI pills at the vet, but we have to get the ritalin stuff at the actual pharmacy, so Wegmans is going to think I'm absolutely insane when I drop off a prescription for Pancakes [LastName].

While we were there, I noted that Pancakes is way more awesome than a lot of other dogs. I think I saw maybe a dozen dogs go through the waiting room while we were there, and I'd say more than half of them flat-out ignored the owner. Some of them were big dogs, like labs or whatever, and just pulled the owners around whenever they lunged to try to smell something. Pancakes stopped pulling at her leash when I told her to, and didn't lunge anywhere (except she did try once to make a break for it to play with a huge dog who would have eaten her). So, you know, it could be worse, or something. Except I don't like big dogs, because I'm a sissy and at least if my dogs turned on me I'd have a fighting chance because I could throw them, so I wouldn't get a big dog anyway.

Have you ever used doggy ritalin? Also, what's your favorite trick for giving a dog a pill? This is time-sensitive.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

If I had been born in the 1800s, I'd have died young, I think.

I'm just sitting here reflecting on how awesome Midol is. I'm not kidding. Every few months, for some reason, I spend one day a month in absolute misery. Pain all day, aching (lower back and uterus, in particular), shaky, and generally cloud-y-brained. The crappiest part of it is that Midol doesn't really do much to help on the very worst days, even though it's pretty useful the rest of the time. As you might guess, today is one of those it's-not-helping days, which is why this post probably won't make very much sense.

I got ear infections sometimes as a kid. That's where the title of this post came from. I was thinking about how if I had been a lady in the 1800s, I would probably have either been ignored or given, like, opium for my mysterious lady problems, but also they wouldn't have had amoxicillin to fix my ears. (I looked that up to confirm it, and can now state with confidence that amoxicillin was discovered, or invented, or whatever, in 1972.) I also don't know if an untreated ear infection could kill a child, but I do remember getting a terrible ear infection on Christmas Eve when I was six and we were visiting my grandparents in another state, and I can tell you that the several hours it took to find an open doctor and then an open pharmacy was enough to reduce me to tears.

I came home from work and put on pajamas and am applying a hot pad, but instead of staying here in my jammies and watching NOVA for five hours, we're going to Andy's parents' house for Andy's dad's birthday dinner. The real shame is that I'm so exhausted I probably won't even be keeping a running commentary by text message, so whatever gems Andy's dad comes out with will probably be lost to history. Or something.

This doesn't make any sense.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

On Pancakes

So a lot of the stuff I'm about to write isn't actually official, and is mostly me just processing feelings and stuff because I don't actually know the difference between having a blog and having a Livejournal. Oh, and it's also pretty boring, probably, so maybe just go read my archives or something.

Andy told me yesterday that he thinks we need to find Pancakes a different home.

You've read about Allie Brosch's simple dog over at Hyperbole and a Half, right? Well, Pancakes is an awful lot like that simple dog. She wants, very badly, to be a good dog. She just doesn't have the mental capacity to do so a lot of the time. This causes Andy a lot of stress and unhappiness.

Pancakes is part Jack Russell. This means that she is really, really into finding stuff to do outside of, say, our backyard. She has managed this by finding a weak spot in our fence and worrying at it until she got it loose enough to slip through, then by doing the same to any fix Andy has made to it. Now that he has it on serious lock-down, Pancakes has apparently discovered that she can, in fact, just jump the fence.

She jumped the fence and disappeared last night, while I was asleep, and refused to come back when Andy called her. He had to find her in our dark neighborhood at midnight. He came to bed and told me what had happened, and then said, quietly, that he didn't know if he could keep dealing with this. When I asked him what that meant, he told me that he thinks it might be time for us to find a better home for her.

It's not like we haven't tried to train her, and she is in fact loads better than when we got her. But she also does completely bizarre and unacceptable things sometimes. For example, I put the dogs outside, waited for them to pee, let them back inside, then went down to the basement to get something. Pancakes followed me down there and peed on the carpet. What the fuck is that about? She's housebroken and had literally just been outside.

I have more patience with Pancakes when she does stupid shit like escape or chew on stuff, because I know we need to give her more exercise than we do. I guess I see it as a failing on our part instead of hers. But the peeing in the house? Oh, no. That needs to stop.

Andy has agreed that we can try a) getting a long lead for the backyard, so that Pancakes can't go past a certain distance but can still run around, and b) trying an obedience class so we know she'll come when we call her even if she does get out. We'll do that before we start talking about who we know who might be willing to take her (even if we do find another home for her, it absolutely wouldn't be the pound).

Ugh. I'm PMSing, so obviously I'm even more emotional about this than I need to be. I see how stressed Andy gets when he has to go out looking for a dog who has plenty of room to run in our backyard, and how pissed he gets when she pees in the house. He doesn't deserve to feel that much stress in his own house. He deserves to not have to worry about what she's getting into. But at the same time, I feel like he's giving up without doing any of the extra stuff himself: he is okay with ME finding her an obedience class, or taking her for walks more often, or whatever, even though he's the one with the problem with her behavior.

Like I said, this post is just me sorting through what I'm thinking and feeling, which can be summed up as follows: this fucking sucks, no matter how I slice it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

More craigslist joy

So you all remember my paranoia about buying that crib mattress off of Craigslist, right? Well, I wasn’t murdered then, but I still remain wary of Craigslist transactions.

On Sunday afternoon, I listed a bunch of landscaping rock on the “free” section of CL. I got, like, fifteen freaking responses. And it turns out, more than being full of creepers, it’s full of lazy people and/or flakes. I’ve had two different people tell me they were on their way to get it and never show up. I even stayed home from going to the bar for football last night, because some stupid lady was supposed to come get it and never did. (I had beer at home, though, so it worked out okay for me.)

This morning I emailed my home address to four people who indicated they were still interested. I assumed I'd get home to find my house destroyed, but at least the rocks would possibly be gone. Turns out they weren't. So I have given at least six people my name and/or address, an idea which is terrifying, because of crazy people, and these fucking rocks are still here.

Oh, and I forgot that I put my phone number in the email I sent to people yesterday, and I was seriously freaked out that I’ve gotten four phone calls today from unrecognized numbers, so I didn’t answer any of them. Turns out I did put my number in there, and asked people to call for the address. Oops.

I'm going to re-post the ad, with the address in it this time, and say that they're down by the curb. I seriously want them gone, and I'm feeling reckless.  

Have you ever been irritated at how difficult it is to give things to strangers? This is crazy.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Birthday list

My birthday is in early November. When we were kids, my parents made it a rule that we couldn't start asking for things for our birthdays until one month beforehand, because my siblings regularly started asking for stuff ten months in advance. So, that habit has stayed ingrained in me and now I don't start thinking about what I want for my birthday until it's so close you'll probably have to pay extra for shipping.

I also have never really been good at asking for things. When I was six, my entire birthday list was "a skirt for my Barbie." Thing is, they really didn't make many Barbie skirts, and when they do, they sell them with summer stuff. So my poor mom schlepped all over town and finally found one in some weird toy store, probably at an exorbitant price. A few years later, for Christmas, I asked for "an elf and a beanbag chair." Same story - everywhere you looked there were toy Santas, but no elves. My mom says she finally found one on Christmas Eve, after looking for a solid month.

So basically, I like to make giving me things difficult.

Anyway. Here's what I'm asking for this year:
1. Skull earrings. Small enough to not be super-obvious, large enough to be awesome.
2. Art to put in my upstairs bathroom, now that it's painted and looks good. I really like this print. Anyone know if having it laminated at, like, Kinkos will keep it from being ruined in the very humid bathroom when I refuse to use the fan all winter because it makes me so cold?
3. An actual grown-up winter coat like this or this that will keep me warm. I've been wearing an Old Navy winter coat for two years. I'm not fourteen, so this is no longer an acceptable state of affairs. The first of those links is majorly on sale and comes in navy and pink, but the second is mostly wool, which I really prefer, but also a lot of money and out of stock in my size in the good colors. Looks like we'll be heading to the Lands' End outlet twenty minutes from my house to try some stuff on, hmm?
4. This pattern series from Etsy and someone to make me some pajamas. I understand that knitting with jersey is not easy, and also I can barely sew, so maybe I can find someone to custom make it. Also, and somewhat unrelated, it looks like that seller FUCKING MAKES COSPLAY WEIRD SHIT FOR GROWN-UPS WHO WANT TO PRETEND THEY'RE BABIES, AND IT LOOKS LIKE I JUST FOUND THE KEYWORD FOR MY PAJAMA SEARCH. I am a little uncomfortable adding "cosplay sicko adult-baby onesie thing, to be worn as pajamas in a decidedly unkinky way" to my birthday list, though, so we'll just stick with the patterns for now.
5. Knitting 24/7 and some new size 6 bamboo circular needles.

What's on your birthday list?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Baby names

This week I ripped the baby name section from the paper and left it on the table for perusal at my leisure. Andy picked it up and had a lot of fun reading some of the names to me. The best part is that Andy's dyslexic, so some of them ended up even more bizarre than they were on the birth certificate. He also walked around chanting "bry-ny-sha-ha!" for about twenty minutes. Fun.

- A'naiya Charvae
- Hiram Junior [Last Name] III (Junior is his middle name, and he's a third)
- Seratice
- Raihne (Rain? Ra-heene?)
- Yazir Ackylles-Malik (The middle one there is Achilles)
- Zero [Last Name] (Andy actually really liked that)
- Pipper (Combining Piper and Pippa [which is itself a nickname for Philippa]?)
- Lajha'Lyece
- Luv Faith
- Harmonni Deziree
- Mi'Kel
- Mykel (Really, is "Michael" that complicated?)
- Brynayshah Jamiyah Bryonna
- Jah'Mere Camr'yon (How the hell is that middle name pronounced? Like Cameron? Ugh.)
- Karizma
- Mattingly Sky (You better hope she grows up to be a baseball fan.)
- Jorddy
- Jetson David
- Emmaleigh (Emily was too pedestrian?)
- Sevin
- Fenix (Phoenix was too hard to spell?)
- G'Marceo
- James'Michael (WHAT)
- Regmyr "OB" JaQuez (How does he already have a nickname??)
- Isra'il S'amir (THE FUCK? Israel and Samir are perfectly reasonable names.)
- Jurney Nevaeh
- Twins: Kay'Monnie Ja'Siayah-Mon'Nay and Kar'Marrie Jo'Siayah-Carl'Edward (Two different people thought it was reasonable to combine full, normal names by just jamming an apostrophe in there. NOT OKAY)
- Dynasty Bonita

Lots of winners this week!

Friday, October 7, 2011

On being picky about stuff

I don't think it's any secret that I love getting rid of stuff. If it's not useful or beautiful, it goes. I've mentioned that telling people we're becoming foster parents somehow causes them to give us lots of stuff. This has created some conflict for me.

Yesterday I went through six boxes of stuff that people have given us. Most of the stuff inside was toys, for infants all the way up through five or six. I just got back from dropping off easily 80% of the stuff at Salvation Army.

Something I learned while working at the shelter was that people will donate all sorts of damaged, broken, dirty, stained garbage, because "the poor" can use it! As if "the poor" have more time, ability, and energy to mend the broken zipper on a pair of jeans, or should somehow be grateful for a puzzle missing a sixth of its pieces. People feel guilty about throwing things away, so they donate them instead. The problem is, a lot of the stuff that's donated is only fit for the trash, so shelters (and thrift stores) have to spend time and money on sorting through and disposing of this stuff. Seriously, I once spent an entire eight-hour shift sorting through Christmas donations, moving stuff from a general "incoming" heap into trash piles or bins sorted by age. People donated things like ripped bedsheets and stained stuffed animals, and about a third of the stuff I sorted went into the trash. Fortunately, people have been much better to us, probably because we're friends with good people and because we aren't faceless "people in need."

In fact, almost all of the stuff I donated today was in perfect condition. The problem was, most of it made noise. The very vast majority of the toys required batteries and had some sort of electronic component. Several of the things I donated today were Leapster or other pseudo-educational things that yelled out colors or letters or whatever when you pushed the buttons. Andy was especially surprised that I wanted to ditch those. However:
  • I learned in my eight years working with kids that my tolerance for noisy toys is very low. 
  • If I cannot make the sound stop by pushing the button a second time, I will very quickly learn to despise the toy.
  • I have seen many toys end up with faulty wiring and start making startling noises in otherwise quiet rooms without having any buttons pushed. I do not want that to happen in my living room, or in a bedroom where a foster child has just fallen asleep.
  • The batteries and mechanisms add some considerable weight to otherwise basic toys. I have seen heavier toys do real damage when used as weapons. If I'm going to get hit in the face with a toy (which, considering the age range we're looking at, is a likely event), I want that toy to be as light as possible.
  • In my experience, toys that make noise do the imagining for the kids. A basic wooden wand can be a magic wand or a spoon or a light saber or a pony, but an electronic light-up light saber can only ever be a light saber. I'd rather have fewer toys and more imagining.
So all of this means that I've been quite up front with people about what we want and need, and have happily volunteered to take whatever they're offering, and if it isn't right for us, I'll find it somewhere else to go. Sometimes that's to other friends and family, and sometimes it's to a thrift store. If the person offering it to us would rather hang on to it than see it donated, that's great and no hard feelings.

I feel like this is a good habit to be in, letting our friends know what we'll keep what works for us and find better homes for things that aren't. That way I don't have to feel guilty for donating a gift that is really not a good fit for our household. Now I just need to work on developing the same habit for weird Christmas gifts I'm given.

How do you handle being given things that you don't want or need? Any advice?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Regular occurences

Three things that happen pretty often in my house:

1. I eat beets. I remind myself while I'm preparing them and while I'm eating them that beets make my pee turn pink, and that pink pee doesn't mean I'm dying. I go about my day. I go pee. I note that my pee is pink and immediately think I'm peeing out, like, my kidneys or something. Every goddamn time I eat beets, the next time I go to the bathroom I have a minor freak-out.

2. Many mornings, Andy wakes me up just before he leaves for work. He does this because he's noticed that I'm not up yet, despite both of my alarms having gone off and the fact that I'm now ten minutes late. Instead of immediately getting up, I kiss him goodbye and spend ten more minutes in bed, reading the weather and news updates on my phone. It's really, really rare that any of the news articles I read are in fact useful to my life. Then I rush around like a madwoman trying to get out the door on time. I'm relieved that my job is flexible enough that I can be ten minutes late whenever I want, but I wonder if they were stricter if I'd be better at getting the hell out of bed.

3. I pick up something heavy or bulky, like a laundry basket, from next to a coffee table or end table or dresser. "Oh," I think to myself, "better watch out for that coffee table!" Then I immediately turn and crush my finger or jam my toe or scrape the everloving fuck out of my shin on the exact thing I just reminded myself not to hit.

The moral of the story here is, I don't exactly have it as together as I sometimes make it seem on this here blog.*

*Having said that, our corned beef dinner was fucking perfect.

Do you do this kind of thing too? I can't be the only one!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Death row meal!

If Andy were ever on death row, he says his last meal would be corned beef and cabbage. I think mine would be some sort of extravagant seafood bonanza, with a whole steamed lobster and fried clams and scallops (ideally, from The Red Barn in Maine) and french fries and corn-on-the-cob, except that I always cut off the kernels because they get stuck in my teeth. And a green salad, which I probably wouldn't eat because I'd be saving room for the lobster and clams and scallops. And a Coke (NOT DIET SO HELP ME) and also a good lager beer. And chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream. And now I'm really hungry.

Yesterday our CSA share included both cabbage and potatoes, which are two of the four ingredients necessary for Andy's favorite dinner - the other two, of course, are corned beef itself and carrots. I pulled a big hunk of corned beef out of the freezer to defrost, and will have to grab carrots from Wegmans later, when I stop to get beer, because drinking anything else with that meal will be silly. Oh, and here's a fun thing: turns out that putting corned beef in a Crock-Pot on low for nine hours is just about the perfect way to cook it. We like the vegetables to still taste like vegetables, so we don't cook them together, so I'll just cook that shit up separately when I get home, and we will eat like convicted inmates, or something.

You all might as well know now that I seriously love corned beef. It was the last meat I ate before I became a vegetarian twelve years ago, and it was one of the first I ate (after my body was used to animal protein again, so I didn't get sick) when I started eating meat again two years ago. It remains the only meat I will ever "snitch" - like, I'll open the door to the fridge to get some cider, or whatever, and, oh, while I'm in here, might as well grab a bite of corned beef. Oh, what's that, honey? Want me to grab you something from the kitchen? Sure. While I'm in here, I'm going to stand in front of the open fridge and eat a chunk of this stuff with my hands. It is the only meal I cook where I will fight Andy for the last bite. We buy slabs of it at Sam's when they're cheap and keep one in the freezer for corned-beef emergencies. It makes me happy that it's one of Andy's favorite things, because then I have an excuse to cook it more often, and still seem magnanimous and caring and wifely instead of gluttonous. This paragraph isn't going anywhere. It's basically just a love letter to corned beef. Dang, I'm pumped for tomorrow.

Only sort of related, but interesting: final meal requests from Texas's department of corrections, updated through 2003. Made me hungry and also slightly sick to my stomach at the same time.

What would your death-row meal be? Be creative!