Sunday, November 30, 2008

Makes up for being a slacker-ass

Ok Ok, I admit it. Since I busted the ankle, I've been a slacker ass. My foot hurt terribly the first few weeks and I didn't do any outdoors work for fear of twisting the ankle any further. I've laid around doing a whole lot of nothing and selfishly enjoyed every single minute of it. But I really don't love doing nothing. And truly, I've done nothing for the past month. It's boring, but well, the busted ankle, threat of strep throat (it is a miracle my big-as-golfball-tonsils didn't catch it) and the cooler weather have all contributed to it. I thought this long weekend was going to result in another slacker-ass weekend. It all started like this...

Wednesday I got out of work early. I called around to a few of the gals for a drink but schedules didn't work out. I got my hair done, went home, changed into pjs and drank wine and pretended it was Friday (watched previously DVR'd tv shows while my husband fell asleep on the couch). Thursday we woke up, got dressed and headed to the in-laws for a yummy thanksgiving dinner. Ham was served which made me a happy little clam. We had appetizers, 'dinner', dessert, then a second dinner consisting of English muffin pizzas and pumpernickle and swiss cheese sandwiches and (of course) second dessert.

Friday- breakfast out with the in-laws and a rainy ride home. After that we laid around, read our books, watched tv, still in pjs (no shower) and then I decided... hey, I think I'll paint the window sills today. So I primered the windowsills.

This is where it gets weird. I woke up on Saturday thinking it was Sunday and realized I hadn't really done a darned thing this weekend. So, after dragging myself out of bed, I made sauce and breakfast at the same time. While hubby was making meatballs I put up the christmas lights outside. Then I painted the windowsills and we made homemade pasta. After the pasta was made, I made the Christmas Eve lasagna (and an extra b/c we had extra everything). We decided the windowsills looked so good we could remove all the doors on the first level, remove the hardware and hinges, primer and paint them, replace the hardware and hinges with some updated ones and rehang them. This included a trip to Home Depot (for anyone who is newly married- is it me, or does this damn trip ALWAYS result in an argument?)

Sunday: made the trip to Home Depot and another miracle! We did not get into a fight. I felt it coming on but then it passed. Oh, thank goodness because we have a lot of work ahead of us. We decided Saturday night that we could paint a coat of primer and paint each night during the week, so the job didn't have to get rushed through this weekend nor wait until next weekend. But, when we got all the stuff at home depot, and I've been a slacker-ass, I primered all those damn doors. TWICE! And shoot, they look so good, even withOUT the paint on them. A billion times better than that crappy dark wood we previously had. I held back on doing the painting today bc i was getting tired, hungry and crabby. While I was painting, hubby was replacing all the hinges on the doorframes. I was feeling a little rushed and didn't want to rush through this job and make it look sloppy. I had some lunches to cook for the week (which I had to cook twice because the first time I didn't cook the chicken all the way through). I made some more protein nuggets (with pumpkin).

Off to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and hopefully that's it. After all I feel like we've accomplished this weekend, it sure makes up for being a slacker-ass for the past month!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Glimpses of the weekend...

  • Beers at Vaughn's with Jenn and Stefania. Stefania is a new friend, we have tons in common and it was truly wonderful to meet her. I hope I run into her again sometime.
  • Fancy dinner in front of the TV with my husband
  • Husband fell asleep before 10. Watch What Not to Wear and Say Yes to the Dress
  • early wake-up call on Saturday. Several attempts to do minor fix-it things in the house. New dryer delivered and installed. laundry.
  • Jenna and Luke arrive, make beer bread, eat Stromboli and beer bread
  • Shop at mall with Jenn. Buy more presents for me than for Christmas. Feel selfishly fulfilled.
  • Hot date with husband. Bosc Wine bar in Avon. YUMMY.
  • To bed by 10pm
  • Wake at 10 o'clock! (what a lazy bum). Husband cooked breakfast and made coffee. I stayed in PJs and read my book. Showered, grocery shopped, donated a frozen turkey, made hamburger sliders and sweet potato fries.
  • Early to bed.
  • FINISHED MY BOOK The Yellow Raft in Blue Water and I'm onto Silver Bells our book club book. This seems to be an easy read. Next up is The Glass Castle. I am looking forward to that one!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I am a lucky lady...




Hey honey, do you want to split the last pumpkin cupcake?








Saturday, November 15, 2008

Happiness

Jenn forwarded me a 'tag' (gosh, I so don't understand some of this new-technology stuff) called Happiness. The rules are:

(1) List six things that make you happy
(2) Pass on to 6 more bloggers
(3) Link back to the person who linked you
(4) Link to the people you are passing it on to and leave them a comment to let them know.

Strangely, this task felt impossible. I thought about doing this for several days and finally last night and this morning attempted to find 6 things that make me happy. And I take this seriously. Not 6 things that make me proud or content, that's easy. Not six things I'm thankful for, that's easy too, especially all that is going on around us lately. Not six things people expect you to write. But truly, honestly, six things that make me HAPPY. I could, upon the first time thinking of it, only come up with one:

1- puppies. At first I considered it to be a wagging tail, but then needed to specify it was a dog, then thought about how adorable puppies' tails wag and realized it wasn't the tail but the puppy itself that makes me happy. When I see a puppy, no matter what my mood it, my face lights up, I feel a little drunk and generally my hands come together in front of my chest and I run toward them. Yes, puppies make me happy.

So I lay in bed thinking about other things. I even polled the audience. Hubby rattled off things that make him happy, and I truly believe they do- the house, the yard. The yard makes me happy too, because it makes him so unbelievably happy but it can't make the list. BUT, I think I found my number two:

2- doing things to make others happy. Or witnessing other people do things to make others happy. There is such a truly beautiful sense of giving that makes me feel happy. Whether it be gift buying or cooking for people, whatever, it is the act of making others happy that makes me happy. Two birds with one stone kinda thing.

This quickly led me to number three. Which is similar to puppies:

3- old people, preferably old men. There is something so truly adorable about old people. Their wrinkles and slow movements, the way their wrinkly eyes sparkle when they smile and the laughter that can make me feel safe and warm. They have this wisdom about them after years of living that makes them spectacular. I'm not talking about our parents age, I'm talking OLD people. To me our parents are middle-age. I'm talking minimum 70 years old, white haired, cute, little, long ear-lobed old people. And little old men who unabashedly flirty with young women. People who can openly cry at the sight of a little baby. People who can appreciate taking moments out but have the devilish spirit of a 6 year old. It might be weird, but old people make me happy.

This is where I kind of got stuck. I kept trying to think about what things give me the same response that seeing puppies do. That's when it struck me:

4- Friends. Seeing old friends or friends I haven't seen in a while. Maybe this means that I take my friends I see all the time for granted. Don't get me wrong, I love seeing my friends regularly. That makes me feel content. But seeing dear friends who I don't get to see often invokes the same response puppies do: hands together at the chest, big smile interrupted by little giggles followed with holding back tears of joy. Some people value their self worth based on money they make or materials things they own or a title/position they carry. I value my self worth from the richness of my friendships. I take friendships very seriously and cherish them deeply. Seeing friends makes me happy.

Oh god, I can't remember the last two... I had them, laying in bed, just 20 minutes ago... I'll have to take a break but shamefully this task did not come easily to me. Oh, well this wasn't on the list but something that just popped into my head is, I suppose, an addendum to number 2- surprises. I love surprises. Either creating a surprise for others or being surprised myself. The conspiring of a surprise is so fun and sneaky and similar to happiness item #2, but I also LOVE being surprised myself. Little packages in the mail, even unexpected phone calls.

Taking a pause to try to remember the last 2 items. 10:10 AM.

10:48 AM:

Oh, I've remembered one more:

5- laying in bed in-between snoozes with my honey. Since we tend to get up early we don't often have this snuggle time but in-between snoozes I love spooning. That is such special time together and nothing making us jump out of bed (no puppies, babies or gym-going) allows me to snuggle in and feel so happy. Those are the moments when I think about my life and all that in encompassed in it and feel so happy and lucky to have all I have.

Oh yes, gosh my memory is terrible. And number 6

6- Nature's Wonders- I could just say the window of our bedroom but that would be weird. But all the things that nature does to create beauty- surprising rainbows and crystal clear blue water, brilliant flowers and vegetables, amazing sunsets. The surprises that nature brings always brightens my thoughts- even the little yellow leaf that drifted by the window (just now, as I type this) makes me happy. I mentioned our bedroom window because of the beautiful yellow hue that we see when we look out it. It's been a joy to wake up to this week, so brilliantly yellow. And oftentimes, no matter where I live, in the Autumn, there is a very large and incredibly busy spider that makes a web in my window (on the outside). It's amazing to me how delicate and detailed the webs Charlotte (that's what I name her every year) builds. It's a wonder to me how she does it and some days I've spent longer watching her than I do taking a shower.

So, that's 6 things that make me happy. WOW, it was a surprisingly difficult feat, but having accomplished it, perhaps I realize I should focus or seek out the things that make me happy rather on dwelling on the things that bring me down.
I know the rules are to forward on to other people who blog, but really, the only person I know well enough to ask to do this is Jenn, who already did it. So, truly I did this for happiness reason #2- to make her happy. It made me happy too. Thank you Jenn!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Hour I First Believed

Last night I went to the book reading and signing of Wally Lamb's new book The Hour I First Believed This was the first author discussion I've ever attended and was pretty excited about going. He was a professor at UCONN when I was there and many of his books are based either at UCONN or in Norwich, where he grew up and where I lived for a short period of time. It's fun to read his books because he references specific locations but twists the words a bit. For example, in I Know This Much Is True he references a place in his book named Cow Barn Hill. If you went to UCONN, you know that Horse Barn Hill is where you'd go to play a serious game of hide-and-go-seek or flashlight tag. It was where everyone went armed with a tray from the cafeteria after the first big snowstorm to sled (or tray) ride. And it was where you could escape for a little clarity. Many of my friends would go 'talk to the cows' or my favorite- feed the horses, when you needed some time alone. So it is always a little more special to me to read Wally Lamb's books knowing I share this with him.

He began by talking about his family and his upbringing. He brought himself up to just after I Know This Much Is True became successful (uh, hello, Oprah bookclub). Then he talked a bit about the struggles he had creating a new story. It's been about 9 years since he's published a new novel. He talked about his conference in New Orleans in 1999 where he stepped inside the church on Jackson square and lit a candle hoping for a new story. It sounded like he was really struggling. Then he talked about some terrible tragedies that plague our nation: Columbine High School massacre and September 11th.

These are two topics that I struggle with personally. During his speaking I caught a lump in my throat when he brought these up. He talks about these because one of the characters in this novel is, fictionally, one of the teachers at Columbine High during the massacre. All Wally Lamb's novels are dark where the main characters struggle with some mental illness/issues. It seems that this main character is the same, struggling with childhood bullying and power issues.

He read a condensed version of chapter 4 last night. It was interesting to hear not only HOW he read, but also the story itself. It was a chapter which was repulsive and funny, where the main character, 8 years old, was in school and being bullied by the janitor, who was flicking his 'little package' and convinced this little boy that he's a 'dirty boy'.

There is no doubt this book will be as deep and strong as the other Wally Lamb novel. Due to the topics, I'm not sure how ready I am to jump into this emotion-laced novel. I might just wait to hear the overall reviews. Or I might just avoid it, something a typical Wally Lamb character would do.

Here's Wally Lamb doing a little speech similar to the one from last night.

Monday, November 10, 2008

weekend update

I finished Like Water for Chocolate and I really really enjoyed it. I hear it's a movie so I might try to see it, though, it was wonderfully magical and I don't know how a movie like this book could be done without looking silly. Next up: A Yellow Raft in Blue Water by Michael Dorris (Courtney suggested it to me)

This was a good weekend for us, we visited with some family and celebrated birthdays all around and I cooked a TON of food. I bought some turnips and sweet potatoes on a whim at a farmers market last week. I've never cooked turnips but they looked so great and yummy. So I made a stir fry with turnips, sweet potatoes and shrimp for lunch. yum! I made a Cumin Rubbed Pot Roast with Sweet Potatoes and Turnips. I tried for a potato and turnip gratin but that didn't work very well- too watery and not enough cheese. I also made some blueberry muffins and pumpkin cupcakes for the birthday celebration. Dear hubby made a western scramble (ham, onions, peppers) and fruit salad for the birthday celebration.

It's getting to be holiday season, I can tell (not by the tickle in the back of my throat) but by the recent requests for Christmas lists and chatter about Christmas budgets. I was shocked to see candy canes in the grocery store because it doesn't yet feel like Thanksgiving is coming up soon either. To me it feels like August, still. I know that's weird. Maybe September. What happened? When did autumn happen? We had such a mild 'autumn' it's hardly been chilly. But the leaf blowers heard throughout the neighborhood signify the changing of a season. And the lack of neighborhood chatting we do b/c we're not in the yard and it's dark so early. Though, this is a fun time of year. I love this time of year. Not yet stressful, almost the calm before the storm!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

just some updates

Foot: Getting much better. Went to the gym today and yesterday. Did ok but took it easy. Still more bruising showing up (amazing, really).

What we had for dinner last night: Pork Tenderloin with mexican dry rub, homemade refried beans and broccoli.

What I'm reading: on the second to last page of Same kind of Different as Me. Getting ready to start: Like Water for Chocolate. And Bookclub tomorrow. WHOO HOO!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Another Shopping Success story

We were offered a free 60 day membership to BJs in the mail and decided to give it a try. It's one of those things we wonder if we'd actually benefit from a membership to one of those warehouse clubs. And for reasons I can't describe, I do NOT want any part of Sam's club as much as I try to avoid Walmart. So BJs gave us a trial and based on our theory of 'buy only what you need for the week' mentality, I wondered how my sweetie would handle this trip. For only two people, going to a place like this equals 'buy toilet paper for the year'. I seriously thought my husband would have a harder time with this trip than I would. So we get our pretend membership card and as we get out of line, sweetie-with-the-cart beelines for the medicine aisle. Since the foot-thing I've eaten a good amount of our advil supply. So we definitely needed advil. We got some. Also use a good amount of lotion, deodorant, razor blades, hairspray and powerbars. We got them. We also got a good amount of day-quil/ni-quil, in case of sudden freak illness (like last year). This toiletry stuff is expensive! so the discounts were really remarkable. The lotion price was amazing! But we probably won't need to buy lotion until this time next year. We have enough trail mix mixins to last us months! 5 lbs or raisins goes a long way when mixing with cranberries, almonds, peanuts and, of course, m&ms. And after all our shopping, and a ridiculous amount of money spent, I don't feel nearly as excited as I did after my Ann Taylor Loft visit... maybe b/c most of the stuff bought is not for me... Yes, there is some for me, but I sit here, stunned and wondering, what happened to the 'buy what we need' guy? The guy who helped me appreciate the 'at the end of the week the fridge and cupboards are empty' guy. The guy who has always impressed me at his impeccable ability to truly buy food only for the week and by Saturday there is NO more food in the house. (I even got to a point a few weeks ago to buy 4 cans of soup in case of a sudden illness or freak storm we wouldn't starve to death). I don't know what happened to him, but it makes me feel a little better about the Ann Taylor Loft visit.

Foot Update: considerable progress with the range of motion and pain free steps/motions. I feel so much better I'm going to attempt an easy visit to the gym/bike. I hate the bike, but I need to do something.

What we ate: tonight we tried some Halibut steaks, pan fried in oil, garlic and shallots and white wine, topped with some leftover home-made pesto, wild rice and broccoli. We were impressed with the steak-i-ness of the frozen halibut (not from BJs) and would definitely try again (perhaps with the 8 tuna steaks for 10.99 from BJs?)