Wednesday, April 27, 2011
I had grand dreams of a royal wedding slumber party where my girlfriends would come over and we'd eat fancy British food like crumpets and cucumber sandwiches and stay up all night watching the wedding coverage. Sadly, all my friends have to work on Friday and they all think the wedding is lame so I'll be partying all by my lonesome. I have my DVR set up to record 12.5 hours of BBCAmerica on Friday. So that's what I'm doing on Friday.
I think it's going to be epic, but I am kind of sick of people referring to it as the "wedding of the century". In thirty years, Williams and Kate's kid is going to get married and I'm sure that's going to be the "wedding of the century" too, just like Charles and Diana's wedding was the "wedding of the century" thirty years ago.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
1) As I mentioned before, am doing more of the housework. Housework is a contentious issue for a lot of couples, and it was one of the biggest issues Chuk and I had when we first moved in together. Here's my two cents on all of it: Chores are the rent we pay to be in a family. Living with others is work and everybody needs to contribute to that work. That being said, what is equitable isn't always what's equal. When I'm not working (which is most of the time) I do most of the housework. However, now that Chuk is putting in 110% at work, I'm willing to put in 100% at home. It's not equal, but I think it's fair.
2) I make his lunch. This has definitely made it easier for him to get out of the house earlier.
3) I remind him to go to bed early.
4) I project positivity. You know the sayings "happy wife, happy life" and "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy"? In a manner of speaking, I find this to be true. Because my spouse is such an easy-going guy, I've noticed his emotions tend to shadow mine. If I'm melancholy or cranky, he's likely going to be acting kind of down too. If I'm happy and outgoing, he's usually all smiles. I'm not being fake, but I am being optimistic and enthusiastic and I've noticed Chuk's mood has improved as a result.
5) Lots of hugs and kisses.
6) I keep telling him how much I appreciate what he's doing. I'm also spreading the
"I love yous" around pretty generously.
7) I create fun. Silly songs and dances? Check. (The song below is a particular favorite of mine lately.) Funny TV shows? Check. Playing games? Check. Get togethers with friends? Check. Laughter is a stress buster.
8) I've been treating him to some of his favorites. Chuk used to drink two liters of soda a day until I made him cut way back. Now, I'm buying soda a little more frequently, as well as some other little "luxuries" I know he likes that I normally don't get like frozen pizza and junky snacks.
9) I'm giving him space. Usually, I like to spend lots of time with him, but now I'm not saying anything if he wants to spend alone time tinkering with his bike or watching CSPAN. And, I'm watching hockey games with him even though I don't really like them.
10) I've got nothing. I just thought it would be lame if I ended with only nine things.
Chuk had a bad day at work which was the catalyst for a "come to Jesus" talk tonight. Long story short, his job is in danger. This is hugely problematic since he is our only wage earner. Besides the financial strain, he's feeling extra stressed because he has to be perfect at work. Even one little mistake could result in termination.
I don't know what your partner is like, but mine doesn't like to talk about his problems. However, we've found that when we are both open to talking about what we're going through it brings us closer together. I work hard to encourage him to talk about what's going on by being persistent, asking open ended questions, helping him to verbalize emotions, and being sympathetic. Even though this process can sometimes be exasperating for me, the emotional intimacy is totally worth it. If your partner isn't forthcoming, it really is a worthwhile skill to work on together. I'll get off my soapbox now.
We made a "worst case scenario" plan in case he does lose his job and that helped us both feel a lot more secure. At this point, the WCS plan is for Chuk to move to a smaller apartment, go to grad school in the fall (as planned) and work at a part-time retail job, while I would get a job teaching English in Korea and send remittances home. Yes, this plan would suck because we'd be apart, but it would only be for two years. Besides, people all over the world do this type of thing everyday, so I'm sure we could manage it too.
The non-worst case scenario plan is for Chuk to bust his butt at work for the next two months, or so, to remind everyone how indispensable he is. He will mind all his Ps and Qs, put in longer hours, take lunch breaks outside his office so his "off the clock" time isn't confused with slacking, and he will not use the internet for any personal reason at all. I will pick up more slack at home so he can go to bed earlier and make him lunch everyday so he can be early to work. Additionally, I will stop looking for permanent work (not that I was looking all that hard before) and instead try to start working with another temp agency since I have not been getting very many assignments anymore. We will use any money I make to bolster the emergency fund...which thankfully, we do have.
The reason I won't be looking for permanent work is because we are OFFICIALLY trying to have a baby now. (I likely wouldn't make enough money to cover the exorbitant cost of child care in this area and, no judgement, we agree that we would prefer a parent stay home with any child(ren) we may have. It doesn't really make sense for me to get a job only to have to quit after a few months.) We even looked at ovulation charts and I made an inspiration board for how to convert our guest room/office to a baby room/office. At this point, the plan is for me to temp before and into my pregnancy, and then try and babysit another child once our baby is a few months old and I've gotten into the swing of things, to contribute to our income.
So there you have it internet, we're talking about job loss, big moves, future careers, babies, and money. We made a big life plan and a big life contingency plan. I'm feeling very adult.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Anyone else have a love/hate relationship with technology?
Monday, April 11, 2011
I spent much of the weekend going through my wardrobe, purging my clothes. Clothes are the trickiest thing for me to declutter. I thought a lot about why that is and the conclusion I came to is that I had a hard time getting rid of things because of hope. I was hoping I would fit into something again. I was hoping I would recreate the good times I had had while wearing a particular outfit. I was hoping to be the younger, prettier, more fun, more successful version of myself.
I had to accept that if something hasn't fit me for seven years, it probably isn't going to fit me the eighth year. Things that worked for my lifestyle when I was single and in my early twenties don't work for me anymore now that I'm married an in my early thirties. I had to give up the fantasy that one day I'd again be a size X and wear suits to my powerful job and spend weekends making out with hotties in nightclubs. That's just not who I am anymore and that's okay.
Getting rid of 10 bags of clothes (weighing more than 65 pounds!) is a step towards self acceptance. And I have to say, I feel so much better now! I feel better about myself and I'm loving how my closet and dresser look.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Just stopping in for a quickie. (Oh la la!) Remember when I guest posted over at Lauren's about how to make beef stroganoff and mushroom stroganoff? Well, I didn't have a picture then, but I made the vegetarian version again last week and took a picture so you can see what it is supposed to look like. See! I eat things besides cheesecake.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
To turn a bread pan into a garden container, simply puncture the bottom of the pan with a nail using a hammer so excess water can drain. In the photo above, I put the lid of an plastic kiwi container under the pan to catch water runoff, using a piece of foil works too though.
I found this container abandoned in the basement of my building.
I have sucessfully grown basil, green onions, chives, romaine lettuce, spinach and wheat grass using this method. Windowsill gardening works for me.
Monday, April 4, 2011
How do I make my posts wider? I think all the blank space on the sides of my blog look dumb. I've researched blogger help and googled it, but I can't figure it out with the new design settings. I really REALLY don't want to have to pay someone to fix it for me. Can you explain it to me? Pretty please, with sugar on top?
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Brownie Bottom Peanut Butter Cheesecake
(adapted from here)
For the Brownie Crust
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
12 mini peanut butter cups, halved
6 Tbsp butter, melted
1-1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease a springform pan.
2. Stir together butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in large bowl.
3. Stir in flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; blend well.
4.Spread in prepared pan. Sprinkle the top with chocolate chips.
5. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until brownie begins to pull away from side of pan. Meanwhile make cheesecake layer (see below).
6. Immediately after removing brownie from oven, sprinkle halved peanut butter cups over brownie surface. Spoon cheesecake mixture over pieces. Turn down oven to 325°.
For the Cheesecake Filling
2 lbs cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
12 mini peanut butter cups
1. Beat cream cheese in bowl of electric mixer until smooth.
2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. Add sugar, peanut butter and milk; mix until smooth.
4. Stir in vanilla.
5. Pour filling into prepared crust
6. Double-wrap springform pan with aluminum foil to prevent water seeping in.
7. Place springform pan into a larger baking pan.
8. Pour hot water into the larger pan so that the water comes 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan.
9. Bake at 325 degrees 1-1/2 hours, or until firm and lightly browned.
10. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for one hour.
11. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (preferably 24 hours) before decorating with the peanut butter cups.
The flavor of the cheesecake was relly good, but I thought it was a little dry. If I make this again (and Chuk would like me to) I will probably only bake it for an hour.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Chuk: We don't even have plants any more.
Me: What are you talking about? Yes, we do.
Chuk: Well, I don't know where they are.
Me: In our living room. [Sigh]
Chuk: I have an idea. Since we can't go swimming tonight, let's take a walk. There's lots of stuff on the curb for bulk pickup.
Me: Ok. Do you think I should put on pants? I haven't shaved my legs in like a week.
Chuk: No. I can't even tell from here.
Chuk: I heard a good joke on NPR today. What did the reviewer say about the new restaurant on the moon?
Me: I don't know.
Chuk: The food was good, but the place lacked atmosphere. [Laughs]
Me: You thought that was a good joke?
Chuk: Yeah. I'm going to download the podcast so I can hear the rest of the jokes.
Friday, April 1, 2011
Last weekend, I went to Rebecca's fun game night where she introduced me to yet another awesome cocktail. It tastes just like red hots--spicy and a little sweet.
Cinnamon Apple Sparkler
Sparkling apple cider
Mix approximately five parts cold sparkling apple cider (the faux champagne, non-alcoholic kind) with one part cinnamon whiskey.
I'm not a big whiskey drinker, so I didn't even know there was such a thing as cinnamon whiskey. According to Rebecca, it's more common in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Let me tell you, it's delicious. I'm imagining drinking this cocktail in early fall in the evening after a BBQ.
I would also think you could make this a mocktail by mixing the cider with a few drops of cinnamon extract. I'll experiment and let you know.
I had planned to go back to work after finishing graduate school, but between the recession and family obligations that hasn't happened yet. I spend my days debating whether or not I'm ready to have a baby and trying to make our life simple, efficient, frugal, green and fun.
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