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?