Saturday, December 11, 2010

Finals

Hello there!

I just thought it had been a bit too long since I posted. What's new with you guys? Me, I'm working on finals. I have 2 classes out of the way but somehow that still means I have 5 different projects left to complete:

-2 5 page papers
- 1 15-20 page paper
-1 evaluation plan
-1 final
-1 stakeholder report

Wait, that's six things! For the record, 4 of those things are for one. class. That's right folks. 100% of our assignments for the semester are due on the last day of class. Smart! Luckily, 3/6 of these things are group projects so it's not quite as overwhelming.

What else is new? It's really cold. I can't wait to go to Tucson in less than a week where it is anything but cold. I love being from a warm climate! And I can't wait to live in one again! I don't have the constitution to withstand long stretches of 20 degree weather.

Yesterday we had two friends over for dinner and I made turkey burgers and oven fries. The trick to oven fries is to add a tablespoon of sugar to the spices you toss them in. Makes 'em all crispy! Thanks to Allrecipes for teaching me that.

So far today I have written almost 2 pages. Could be worse. Also I found some cheap blackboards to buy in bulk online to use as cute and easy signs at the reception. So productive! I think I'll reward myself with an episode of Top Chef All Stars.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Wrap-Up: 5 Pies


This Thanksgiving we hosted dinner in our little apartment in our little town. I looked around the table, and I was so thankful for the people sitting around it. I have spent the last three Thanksgivings away from my family of origin--the last two years I spent with Eric's family and the year before that I was eating turkey with my American brethren in San Jose, Costa Rica. So it was extra special to have them all there. Plus, as time goes by, the distance I have put between myself and Arizona becomes more palpable. I didn't just go away to college. I really moved away. I actually live far from home. Somewhere in my subconscious I knew that this is what was happening in late August 2005, as I cried and cried after my going away party. I knew that I was really leaving then, but in college you go home plenty, and everyone is far from home, and its just normal and it just seems like a phase and the truth of it fades. But the truth of it is clearer to me now. The realities of distance are clearer to me. And I know now what it means to gather your loved ones from far away into one place.

So, the people around the table: We had my brother there, who had just successfully completed his Basic training at Ft. Knox, and who found it generally easy and enjoyable, unlike everyone else ever. We had his girlfriend, who had made it through 4 months separation on nothing but letters, a few phone calls, and a few days in October. I truly don't know how she did it. My dad and my mom, who I appreciate more and more as I grow up. My friend Natalya was there too, who is from Kazakhstan and was very patient with us as we explained American Thanksgiving to her, even though I'm sure she heard the same schpiel last year. And next to me was Eric, my co-host who will sit next to me for many Thanksgivings to come.

We ate dinner. And then we ate pie. I made three pies: pumpkin (recipe from the Stokely's can), maple bourbon pecan pie (courtesy of Martha Stewart, and also my mom who took the reigns on this one), and cranberry apple.

Ta-da!



Now, the title of this post says 5 pies, because last Sunday I made another cran-apple pie for Friend Thanksgiving, and also because my mom and I can't count. I knew I had to make 3 pies, so naturally I made enough for 6 crusts. But this neglected the fact that there is no top crust for pecan or pumpkin pie. So we had 2 extra crusts. So we threw together the fruit we had--frozen berries and leftover apple/cranberry filling and made a 4th pie on Black Friday. The guests are now gone, but hey--I have berry-cran-apple pie! That should help get me through the next 3 weeks of school insanity.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Life List

There's a little movie I was particularly fond of as a young teenager, and its called A Walk to Remember. In it, Mandy Moore's character has a list of things she wants to do before she dies. More recently, there is something of a blog meme going around where people make life lists. I have thought absent-mindedly about making such a list for myself before, and I've had some semblance of the list in my brain, but then I read this Cary Tennis column about a man unhappy with his life even though he seemed to have everything. Maybe, I thought, this man never thought about what he actually wanted out of life. It is hard to get what you want if you don't know what it is. I do not want the same fate as that man. So I opened a new Word document. And here's what we got:

  1. Take a Eurorail Trip. Bonus points if its before I turn 25, so I get that sweet discount.
  2. Have more than one child. In so doing, parent with long-term love in mind, keep me being me, and enable them to confidently be who they are.
  3. Be an extra on a movie or TV set.
  4. Own a dog.
  5. Make a habit of homemade, simple Christmas gifts for neighbors and friends. Homemade jam or something.
  6. Dance around a fire in a faraway place.
  7. Go on a cruise.
  8. Become strong enough to dance en pointe again.
  9. Watch all the Best Picture movies.
  10. Go back to Varanasi.
  11. Go back to Biolley.
  12. Have a garden.
  13. Have a tree house with a pulley.
  14. Stop being afraid of fish and other animals with unpredictable movements.
  15. Have a home where all comers feel welcome and people just stop by.
  16. Floss.
  17. Take a hot air balloon ride.
  18. Become good at wine pairings.
  19. Have a job that requires power suits and heels, but don’t stay there too long.
  20. Take my parents on a vacation.
  21. Go on a hard cider tour of Europe.
  22. Never make a pie with pre-made crust.
  23. Open a pie shop in Austin, Texas
There are 23 things on this list. I got to around 20 and decided that 23 would be nice, since I have that many years of life behind me, and maybe I can add one new thing each year. I realized a few things after making this list:
- Making this list made me very happy. I felt an overwhelming sense of possibility as I wrote it, so much so that it made me feel almost teary. Like anything could happen.
-This is the list of someone who has already been very, very blessed. The list has two items about going back to beautiful, distant places. I have already done and seen and experienced so much. If never do any of the things on the list, I'll still have lived plenty.
- My career is nowhere to be found on this list. I tried to work it in, honestly. But the things on this list are mostly things that reach for something beyond what I already know and feel capable of. Work, school? That I can do. Having a home where people just drop by? For me, that is the greater challenge. That's why I had to put it on the list.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The News

People always complain that there is only bad news on the front page of the paper or leading off the nightly news. Presumably, this is because bad news is more interesting than reading about how everything is fine and absolutely no one in the west side neighborhood had anything bad happen to them at all today.

I think this blog has sort of become like the news. Except that I feel a stronger need and/or ability to write about things that frustrate me than I do about things that cheer me up, keep me happy, relax me.

But I don't want everyone to get the wrong idea. I read over my posts and I just seem a little angry and unpleasant. Sorry about that. I don't take any of it back (I really do feel that strongly about job application notification), but on the blog there is no taste of the other side. The happy me that balances righteous-anger me.

Things are really good, actually. Sure, school is rapidly becoming end of semester crazytown. But take yesterday night for example: we walked to the grocery store, bought ice cream and hot fudge, and watched Toy Story 3 (which was so good--the last scene tugged at my heart like only the first few minutes of Up have ever done. Pixar: how do you do what you do?!?? There is some supernatural situation over there at Pixar Studios, I'm telling you.) And today there was gorgeous weather, lunch with friends, and West Wing!

And beyond those happy little things, I also just feel fulfilled these days. I just got a promotion of sorts in my school job, and I am starting to dig in deeper to the IU community. I even stood out on campus with a clipboard and asked people for signatures for a cause last week. By myself. I just...don't do those things. But it was great! I felt like a part of something. And little by little, I think we are establishing a stronger social fabric in this town. And of course, it never hurts to be in love with someone who loves you back. Plus we've got pre-cana going on and I find it comforting to deal with our relationship's challenges. Relying on the current status quo of happiness isn't very secure, but relying on our ability to work things out--that makes this feel solid.

So I've got school/career, friends, and love.

But I complain about registries. Those posts are funnier. But good news needs to be on the front page sometimes too.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Roundup of Thoughts and Musings

- So I did spend money last week, as you know. I also mostly drove, but I did take the bus once. I also completely kicked the challenge to the curb on Saturday night to go out to dinner and ice cream with the boy to celebrate getting a new and better job at school. Lessons learned from the experience? Saving money requires planning ahead. Planning ahead on the daily details does not come easily to me--or, actually, its more accurate to say that ACTING on my future plans does not come easily to me. I know I have to make my lunch for tomorrow. But I say, I will do that later. And then its 1 am and its time for me to go to sleep and so I say, I will do that in the morning. And of course then its 7:15 am and I say, it is fine if I sleep 10 more minutes. This is actually how my life rolls. Now you know.

- My netbook kicked the bucket and now I am relying on my old and sturdy Gateway. It is a good and solid computer, and I am grateful to it for stepping up to the plate and being my computer when I needed it, despite probably having abandonment issues from the last year where it mostly sat on a desk under a pile of papers. Alone. Forgotten. But now it is back and working hard at computer life, and 75% of the time it is great. Except, at random and unpredictable intervals, it will just grind to a halt and go so slowly that I bang my head on my desk and contemplating chucking it through a window. My relationship with this computer is very fraught, very volatile.


- I have decided that entire world of employers needs to have a come to Jesus moment and realize that it is incumbent upon them, as members of society, to act with a modicum of sensitivity to the fact that people who apply to jobs with them probably want to know what the **** is going on with their application. I really don't know when it became okay to let someone spend precious hours filling out an application and write an obsequious letter heaping praise upon the organization and practically begging them to give them the privilege of working for next to nothing--or in some case, actual nothing!--and not respond with a 1 sentence email saying "We have reviewed your application and have chosen not to hire you at this time." This economy gives people who have jobs enormous power over those who don't or who want better ones that actually utilize the education they worked hard for and incurred debt to acquire. We want the job they advertised for, sure, but we also just want to know if we should still hold out hope. Have some compassion. Write the damn email.

- I do not know why Blogger decided that this post needed to be double spaced, but it is really stubborn about it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fail, Part II

So...the sandwich I brought for lunch was not tasty. Other than that I have an apple and chips. And a Gatorade. I am supposed to go to Modern dance class at 7.

I think I'll be pulling out my wallet again today.

Tomorrow I'm going to have to prepare better.

Caffeine and Warmth

Okay, well, I survived a day of Zero Dollars Spent Week. I'm about to go buy a cup of coffee. It is freezing in this building, and I am about to fall asleep while reading.

I accept defeat and resolve to try again tomorrow.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pre-Cana

Tomorrow is FOCUS day. This is an acronym and I don't know what it stands for except we are going to the church to fill out a questionnaire, compare notes, and see if we are headed for doom and gloom or long happy lives together.

I'm actually really excited about it. I am weird, I know, but 1) I love filling out surveys. If only you could see my livejournal from back in the day... 2) I have read only good things about premarital counseling and 3) I am a nerd and like to talk about marriage and relationship nitty gritty and this is a good institutional excuse to do so.

Also, I think tomorrow we get matched with an old wise married couple who is going to show us how its done. Sweet! I may have my quibbles with the Catholic Church* but this part is a super great idea.

The last piece of this process is that in March we will go on the Engaged Encounter retreat. I love this title. "Encounter" is a word that is almost exclusively used for supernatural things. You know, encounters with the dead, spirits, etc. So it sounds spooky and mystical which is fabulous because I am sure in reality it is sitting in a classroom listening to PowerPoint presentations on Natural Family Planning and how to fight right.

*We are not getting married in the Catholic Church, but we are going through their marriage preparation process so that our wedding can be convalidated.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Enough

Yesterday, I was thinking about all the blogs that I recently added in my new blog roll over there on the right. I was thinking about why I read them, what it is that keeps me coming back to them. Some of them, it's because they are funny or well-written. But mostly, its because each of them tells the story of someone who doing more than expected, just because. Just because it is beautiful or adds value or is an expression of self.

Deb over at Smitten Kitchen, for example. This woman makes elaborate from-scratch meals as a regular habit. Makes things I didn't think home kitchens even made, like scones. Brings freakin' root bear float cupcakes to potlucks. Some slightly-above-average cookies and everyone would have been like, "Ooh yum, awesome" and loved it. But she just triples down and brings those cupcakes.

Or Jordan Ferney. She threw this party just for fun with her friends! (okay so probably partially for business, since she's a party planner, but still!):


And I realized that I want to be like that. My default mode is to do enough to avoid anyone thinking I did anything wrong/ugly/uncool. Just...get by. Me, getting ready in the morning: "Does this look acceptably decent? Yeah? Awesome." Out the door. I even actually say things to this effect to Eric all the time, "Does my hair look not-like-a-total-disaster? Kgreatthanks."

The root of this, if I can be so bold as to pscyhoanalyze myself, is that somewhere between middle school and early high school I realized that it was way not-cool to be the kid who gets 102%. This was overachieving, teacher's pet, obnoxious behavior. So, I stopped trying so hard, and I made an attitude out of it, and particularly when I was talking to boys, would play up how I totally only did the bare minimum cause like, whatever! (All of you reading this, if you knew me in high school, are probably thinking that I am full of sh*t about this, because there occasions where 102%s were made. But if you listened carefully, you'd probably have heard me telling someone that I had barely studied and it was just lucky.)

In some ways, I'm not sure this attitude shift was all bad. School is not everything, and its good to realize that less than great does not equal doom and gloom. But I think it's bled over to other parts of my life, and it's time I really examine that. Make sure that it's conscious choice between what things I choose to just do enough with and where I choose to shine. Fact is, I can't and won't be a fabulous baker with fabulous style with fabulous hair and fabulous fabulousness everywhere you turn. Not happening.

Maybe, though, the default should be "fabulous," instead of "enough." It's easier to dial down than scale up.


P.S. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that while I swear I had these thoughts the day before Meg over at A Practical Wedding posted this, her post did make me turn those thoughts into this post.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Butternut Squash and Carmelized Onion Galette

Another day, another smitten kitchen recipe attempt. Her recipes should really come with a warning that you have to clear your whole evening in order to have time for them, but for this recipe my 2+ hours in the kitchen were oh-so worth it.

This was the final product:


It doesn't look exactly like it's supposed to (when does it?), but it tasted yum yummy. I didn't change anything really from the recipe except I used asiago cheese instead of fontina, and my sage wasn't fresh.

I figured I would post about it here because this is a very pie-like meal. I want to recommend that you make it, but honestly, it took forever! Why would I wish this upon a friend? If you want to make it and have an easier time of it than I did, I would do the following:

- use pre-cubed squash
- use pre-shredded cheese
- don't be a hero with the crust and just use a food processor.

Happy cooking!

One Week, Zero Dollars

Starting on November 1st (i.e. after rent/bills are paid) I am going to try to spend a week without spending a single dime. I will cheat and go to the grocery store right before the week starts, but I don't think this is really cheating, since it will still mean I am eating only at-home meals. I am also going to take the bus, which is free for students, instead of driving and using gas. I think it will show me how often I spend little bits of money (coffee at school, lunch with friends) without thinking.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Registries, part ii

Registering certainly gives you a new window into the ridiculousness of modern American life.

I'm not saying I didn't almost register for this, but behold:


A toaster-coffeemaker combo!

Not even the kitchen gadget lover in me could abide this:


A waffle cone maker. Unless you run your own ice cream shop, I'm sorry, no.

Also, as of last night we had registered for most of the essentials and even some silly wishful thinking things, and we had 35 items. Supposedly I need to multiply that by nearly 10 times to have sufficient selection for our guests. 10 times!! I don't know what I can come up with to need. No wonder people register for waffle cone makers!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

WHY

DOESN'T ANYONE COMMENT ON THIS BLOG?

I know you are reading it!!!


FJEOWHFUejrifapeaytpfeuj!!!!!!!!?!?!

ahem.

i promise to be much more professional in the next post.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Registry Rage

Last weekend, we went to register at Bed, Bath and Beyond. I have to tell you, I have been SERIOUSLY looking forward to registering since I first heard of the concept. The zapping of things you want with a scanner! Zap zap zap! For the materialist in me, I always felt a Christmas-morning-esque glee when I thought about registering.

And then reality. Oh, reality.

I think registering may have been my closest encounter thus far with the WIC (Wedding Industrial Complex--common parlance in the wedding blog world, just so you know). The WIC is basically the evil empire that tries to sell you ridiculous and expensive things under the guise of etiquette and "but it's your one big day!"

So. This registering. We had a consultant, I guess. The person who set up the registry, and she told us about all the things that we now NEED, now that we are getting MARRIED and starting our LIFE (I thought I had one...already?). I think all that needs to be said about the experience is this:

"You'll want to get about 6-8 towel sets per bathroom."

Yeah.

The zapping was still fun, though.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Reciprocity Pie

So back in the summer, two far-too-generous friends took me to the airport so early in the morning that it was not even close to being light outside. The Baltimore airport. While we lived in DC. I promised them baked goods in return.

And then I worked 12 hour days and lived in a house with a truly disgusting kitchen and no pie pans. So for months their good deed went unrewarded. But finally, yesterday, I made them raspberry pie.

I used the standard vodka crust with this recipe from allrecipes, with the butter omitted and cornstarch instead of tapioca. Maybe tapioca was what it needed, because it was YUM, but it also left a raspberry soup behind in the pie pan and was generally pretty messy. There is a lot of water in raspberries I guess.

But still: I made pie! I made good on my promise! We drank wine and ate pie and talked about boys, so all was well.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I just ate an entire carton of raspberries in the span of five hours.

There are 4 cartons left in the fridge (what? they were on sale for $1 at Kroger!). I wonder if they will survive to become pie later this week.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

More Airport Poems

Awhile ago I posted a poem from the Indianapolis Airport. Here is another one. I don't know why I am so fond of these things, but I am. I just love the romance of flying.

for now you're flying
over quarry lakes, green water
where stone was once cut
for the Empire State,
the nation's capital, buildings
all over the world
aspiring toward sky
deep and blue
as you, heading away
or back, thinking of the people below
living their lives
above bedrock
formed from the silt
of ancient seas,
on prairie plowed flat
by glacial ice. And though
you are of that swirling earth below,
for these few moments
you float
with some small time away
from the matters you're going to,
the places you've left behind.

- Joseph Heithaus

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Quiet

Eric is on vacation. A working vacation I suppose.

And it feels very quiet at home as I sit here trying to read for class on my computer. The thing is, I am not sure it is any more silent now than it is when he is sitting in the next room, on his computer. He does type loudly. I worry for his keyboard. But he's not always typing. A lot of the time he is reading. I think its his presence, or my knowledge that he is just there around the corner, that must normally fill up the air.

Kale-Squash Gratin

This is for people who want to eat healthy and not spend very much time at the stove.

So this recipe is from one of those recipe cards that you can get at the grocery store. I love to pick those up but this is the first time I have ever used one. I nabbed a $1 butternut squash at the farmer's market, and it reminded me that I had this recipe stowed away. This recipe is a winner in my opinion. It tastes good, doesn't have many ingredients, and is nutritious! People, kale is the main ingredient and its yummy. Go forth and cook!

First, get yourself a butternut squash (or an acorn squash), some kale, and an onion. Chop these things up. Put the squash in the bottom of a greased baking dish, cover it with 2 tbsp flour and some grated Parmesan. Then put the kale and the onion on top. Put more squash on top of this if you have enough left (I didn't). Pour a 12-oz can of evaporated milk over everything. Top it all with some cheddar cheese and put it in the oven at 400 for 45 minutes. Voila! Easy peasy.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Why

Why do we continue to do things that make us unhappy? I know, at this point in my life, the things that make me happy and the things that make me unhappy. In the first category are cooking, crossing things off my to-do list, dancing, yoga, seeing friends, talking to friends, and listening to music. In the later are many things that I did today--procrastinating, sleeping too late/too long, forgetting to call people, not writing letters that I was supposed to.

I think the thing is, the happiness things require action. And instead of acting, I sit and I sleep or I do the immediately necessary thing.

What I need is commitment and accountability. Yesterday I went to this dance show where my friends were performing and it was a great time and I left there buoyed by seeing people that I like and by seeing some dance. Why did I go? Honestly, I think it was because the day before in class I had told people that I would go. In the moment of final decision-making, this commitment was what kept me from saying "Oh, I dunno if I really want to go."

I am trying to figure out how to expand this notion to other parts of my life. Or how I can get myself to actually feel accountable to myself, the future me or the me-that-knows-better. If I could do this, I think 95% of my problems would be solved. I would always exercise, because future-me would definitely favor that. I would get up early and eat breakfast at a leisurely pace.

If anyone knows how to do that, advice would be much appreciated.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Movers

"There ought to be rituals for the leaving of houses. But we just call the movers."

This is yet another gem from Cary Tennis. I don't know why I am copying it for you since SURELY after my repeated laudatory posts about this man's writing you all read his column regularly.

Anyway, my parents are moving out of our house. Into a better one, and I am very happy for them. They were going to move when I was just a wee freshman in college and I threw a fit, basically. It was about as mature as it sounds, but at the time it really terrified me to think that I wouldn't be able to come home from college. Leaving for college is a time of upheaval and I really couldn't take another major change. I do have a sentimental streak in me after all.

But now I'm okay. I'm okay but I still think Cary is right. We should have rituals, but instead we call the movers. As if a home is just a place where your stuff is. We all know it isn't, but we don't have a ritual, so we just call the movers. If there were a ritual I could say to my professors that I have to take a day off of class and go home to say goodbye to my house. But instead, they will probably sell it before I can get to it. Because modern life doesn't understand humans. But that is a topic for another post.

*I was going to call this post "Tennis," in reference to Cary Tennis, but then I realized that I also played tennis today for the first time in a very long time. Heh.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Home

This is a curtain in our new home. I sewed buttons onto that curtain, and I hemmed it, and though it does not look like much, I am quite proud of it.

I like the new place very much. This will surprise you after hearing two things:

1) We have no dishwasher.
2) We don't have cable.

I know. I know.

The first thing is so far, not so bad. Check back in 3 months or so. But so far, it is not so bad to scrub my cereal bowl once I am done eating my cereal.

The second thing, is actually a positive change. I know. We decided not to get cable because most of the shows I watch I can get online and the other ones (Mad Men) I can buy on iTunes. It was not a decision I made easily, but staring at $40 a month just made me decide that it was time to act like an adult and make a sane financial decision. I thought it would be quite a sacrifice, but just a necessary one. But I actually like that an entertainment option has been taken away from me. It makes me more creative with my time. For example, I would probably not have gotten around to this blog post if we had cable. I would have flipped it on and found that, say, Friends was on. (oh...should not have written that...now I feel like watching a Friends rerun. Have the DVDs but no player yet--working on it). And there would go my hour/half-hour.

I find that I have these 30-60 second moments when I come home and don't know what to do really. In those 30-60 seconds I would normally turn on the TV. But now I can't. So I have to think of something else.

(I do know that all of this is like basic life 101 to most people, but TV and me have been like *this* for as long as I can remember, so it's no small potatoes.)

Other things I like about our house:
- its ours
- the floors are hardwood
- there are built-in shelves, desks, and a lazy susan (was unreasonably excited to discover the lazy susan)
- from our window I can see a garden that a neighbor is growing
- we have a plant (seen in the picture above)
- we can walk to almost anything--coffee shop, grocery store, best buy, target, Bloomingfoods, ice cream store.

And now, off to said grocery store.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Nostalgia

I have lately been feeling nostalgic for younger me. In very small ways, but it keeps happening. The other day in the shower something smelled like old Bath and Body Works and transported me back to days gone by. And then a Moulin Rouge song came onto my Pandora station, and I remembered living and dying by that movie. I loved that movie. I went for a run and thought about when I used to run around the block and see if I could do the whole thing just by listening to Lady Marmalade and a Pink song.

It's not like I don't have favorite fragrances anymore or movies I love, but these small things keep popping up and taking me back and like, its almost as if this old me is someone that I miss. I liked her and its sad that I never get to see her anymore. I am still me, and I don't feel like a huge shift has occurred, but I just don't listen to the Moulin Rouge soundtrack on repeat with my Ipod mini during family road trips anymore.

I wonder if this thinking is because I feel on the verge of true adulthood and am mourning my evermore distant adolescence. Maybe.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Epiphany

I thought I already "got it" that my wedding didn't have to be perfect. I am not a perfectionist. I knew I didn't care if my bridesmaids shoes were all the same or if the cake were to show up on the wedding day being the wrong flavor.

But.

That doesn't mean I had let go of the idea of a perfect day. My idea of perfect is a little different than the standard wedding perfect, but I had one nevertheless. I had beautiful weather, all of my family and every single last friend being there, simple dress, tasty food, fabulous pictures, and the just-right venue of beautiful scenery and laid back charm. This idea of perfect is better, in some ways, than the "the chicken MUST be served AT 7:15 pm!" perfect, because it is more my style. But it is still unattainable. It is still an ideal.

This epiphany has made me so much more relaxed. Because I thought I already was relaxed, and yet somehow I remained stressed out trying to figure out how to make it all happen. So I thought there was no more give. But there is. It won't be perfect. It won't even be my version of perfect.

But it will still be great.

*weight off shoulders*

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Donut Peach Crisp

I know.

You thought for a minute there that I was a culinary genius and had come up with a way to turn Krispy Kremes and fruit into the end-all-be-all of desserts Actually, I just made a peach crisp last night with some weird little peaches from Whole Foods called donut peaches. Local AND on mega-sale. Win! So these peaches. They were like peaches but squished flat and looked like apples when cut up. They tasted not quite like apples and not quite like peaches but the dessert was tasty anyhow. Even better, now having written this post, they may have inspired me to come up with a dessert that involves glazed donuts made into crust.

Maybe I AM a genius!

What else? Modest goal update= FAIL. Total fail. A few times it wasn't my fault and a few times it was, but all in all I can count my recent coffee-free days on one hand. Actually 2 fingers...

I am on about a 4 day cycle of wedding stress. Every four days or so I totally freak out (on the inside only of course--I am cool and collected and totally together on the outside! *hairflip*) about the fact that I know nothing about my own wedding. Not where, not when, not anything! And I have been engaged for 5 months! (Whoa...five months...) So every four days I go on an online rampage trying to find something to settle on that is within in my control and not dependent on the when or the where of the wedding. Usually this is just me hunting for dresses on used wedding dress classifieds. Which we all know is pointless because I am not going to drop several hundred bucks sight unseen, no returns allowed. Anyway.

That's what going on with me.

By the way, sorry this blog has become totally boring. Even I am bored. I had big plans to post pictures of the progression of the peach crisp a la Smitten Kitchen, but alas, she has a way better-lit kitchen than I do, because none of my picture attempts turned out.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Big Day

I had no caffeine today! At alllllll. Success of my modest goal. I also ate a super healthy salad for lunch, which was also delicious (love you, Trader Joe's!), but I was sad because it was spicy and caused my random asthma to flare up, so I can't buy it again. I think I am allergic to capsaicin. I can't breathe properly when I eat foods with too much chili pepper. I swear. I never have normal problems.

Anyway. That's really all I have to say.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Modest Goals

So I had big plans for this summer.

Before I knew how many hours a day I was going to work, I thought that I would have this chic adult life wherein I woke up early and went running on the mall, came home to make myself delicious food, worked for my outside job several hours a week, and was generally healthy, wealthy and wise. Or, more like--healthy, not broke, and wise.

But these plans were quickly derailed. There are many, many external factors that contributed to the dissolution, but I also accept that I could have and should have overcome more of them. Because I have never been running on the mall, I have cooked my own dinner all of 4 times, and I am just now starting on the outside job.

Fail.

In an attempt to make a small, but important improvement in those healthy-wealthy-wise measures, I have decided to....

Replace coffee with sleep.

I have yet to adjust my bedtime to my wake up time. Which results in a desperate need for a cool caffeinated beverage each morning to the tune of $1.29 (pretty good for iced coffee, but an unnecessary $1.29 nonetheless). So I am disallowing myself from purchasing coffee during the day. I think I will learn my lesson pretty quick about the bedtime. And I will be healthier and have more $$ in my pockets as a result! So it seems like the wise thing to do.

Perhaps all is not lost for this summer quite yet.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Things Going On

1) Eric was here this weekend. It was very fun. But now he is gone. Which makes me sad. Because I love him. And he has sparkly eyes. Also, he now hates me for saying he has sparkly eyes on my blog. But he DOES. And now they are gone. Boo.

2) Went to fireworks on the mall this 4th of July. I made a strawberry/blueberry trifle and made it look like a flag. Temporarily forgot whether the stripes were red and the stars were on the blue or vice versa. Got very made fun of and called a communist, which I found unfair because--hello, I was making a dessert in a flag design. This was the most American thing I have probably done all year.

3) No pies have been made recently. Chocolate chip zucchini bread was made for an office party. People liked it. Almost certainly because I over-did the chocolate chips and under-did the zucchini. Tips of a master chef, people!

4) Job is great overall, had a bad day today.

5) Summer is flying by with the speed of...something really really fast. But I kind of wish it would fly faster only because today it was 100 degrees and humid. That is just not okay. I realize I complain a lot about the weather, but you must remember--I am from Tucson. It is a strange land. I have grown up with expectations of sunny, dry days and the occasional torrential storms. I am not well suited to extreme conditions other than sauna-style heat.

6) I think we need to go back to the days of WWII-style propaganda. Saw a poster in the American History museum this weekend that encouraged carpooling. The message? "When you ride alone you ride with HITLER!" With a chalk ghost of Hitler sitting next to this non-eco friendly man. Where is that kind of oomph today in our carpooling PSAs?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Metro Music

So everyday at Farragut North someone is playing music as I get off the metro in the morning. I have paused to think about it, mostly because I wonder how the street musicians divvy up who goes when where. Because almost always, its only 1 musician and a different musician daily. Which seems very well-organized and very convenient for us office drones getting off the metro to have that musical variety in our mornings. But beyond that, it didn't occupy too much of my mental space.

However. Today, there was no music.

No music! It made me sad.

I think this means I have to bring some cash tomorrow to tip them.

Maybe this is part of the uber-organized Street Musician Association's plan, taking the NPR Fund Drive tactic of taking away your entertainment so you realize you miss it and donate. You never know.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Friends, awhile back I posted about how I loved Cary Tennis' column on Salon. Because I do. But sadly Cary took a break from Salon while undergoing cancer treatment. But while I was on vacation these last weeks: voila! Cary is back! Still writing in the crazy way I love so dearly because it is just not what you can read anywhere else. I think Cary is a bold writer. He always has these intense thoughts about who we are and why we live and how we act out our anxieties and these ideas are so far removed from what most of us think about on a daily basis but he just writes them down. Doesn't bother to temper them with doses of the quotidian or justify how abnormal they may be. So anyway, go read Salon.

The other blog news of the day is that I am sadly becoming un-enamored with Smitten Kitchen. The photos are still great, but I have now made 3 of her recipes and none of them came out very good (asparagus and goat cheese pasta, blackberry crumb bars, and baked rigatoni with tiny meatballs). I may just not be quite advanced enough in the kitchen, and to be fair I did have to do some adjusting of the recipes based on what I had in my fridge/pantry at the time. The real trouble came today though, when I attempted the rigatoni dish. Friends, I had only minor mishaps, but the thing took THREE HOURS. Three. Hours. Of. Cooking. And it was decent. But if I spend 3 hours in the kitchen ever again I better come out with a Thanksgiving dinner or a gourmet dish. I think the Bon Appetit short rib sandwich took a really long time too, but at the end of that endeavor I ate the best sandwich of my life (except for that Craftwich one).

Okay, off to bed.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Marriage

Probably the best thing so far about being engaged is that it has been a catalyst for me to start reading and thinking a lot about marriage. This is kind of obvious, in a way, but also not, because sometimes I worry that people forget completely about marriage until they are actually married, having been distracted by the wedding in the mean time.

And who can blame them? In all the wedding frenzy that exists in our culture about 5% is at all related to the groom and about 1% says anything about actually being married. But somehow before I got engaged I stumbled upon OffbeatBride.com. Which led me, post-engagement, to apracticalwedding.com. Which is awesome.

Marriage is really fascinating. I have been so interested to read about how it changes you to actually stand up and say vows. Before I started to read from people who had been married, I assumed getting married was for fun and family and for a party and to get the legal stuff sorted and to be official, but that the fundamental relationship would be unchanged. And in many ways I still think the relationship will stay the same. But I also think it will be better somehow. It will be more solid and it will run deeper. That's what the people say, anyway. And I actually feel this way about being engaged. We have already had big, serious talks that didn't seem necessary before, and they definitely were not fun but somehow they intensified something. We are building our lives together. It's hard to do that, but also awesome.

The other day I was talking to a new friend (who I have decided is the big sister I never had) about her marriage. And how very very very hard it is. Managing two people's distinct needs and careers and dreams. And it was great to be able to talk about that in an honest way. It is hard, but that doesn't mean the end is nigh or you are with the wrong person or you love each other any less. In my experience, people either say 1 of 2 things about marriage 1) I love my hubby and our life is perfect! or, more commonly 2) Husbands! Ugh! Hahaha. It's time we start being more honest about what it's really like. Though admittedly there should always some sacred space in the relationship.

The point is this: a wedding is 1 day, a marriage is a whole lot of days if you are lucky. And I'm glad that somehow the webosphere has focused my attention on the latter, especially in these first few months. I think it will help me keep perspective once the wedding planning phase kicks into high gear. (By the way, if I DO lose the plot when the planning kicks into high gear, feel free to set me straight. But be nice about it. Methinks weddings stack the deck against you keeping your sanity. K thanks.)

Oh and I would be remiss if I didn't say that this post was inspired in part by the most recent post over at Suburbalicious Living. Which I found through A Practical Wedding. The joy of hyperlinks!!

Also P.S. thanks to my parents for being good at being married and showing me how that works.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Planning

I just had this unnerving thought that my life is (so far) turning out frighteningly the way I thought it would.

At 15, I thought I would go far away to college (check), fall in love there (check), go to graduate school (check), and marry that person I fell in love with in college (check in the future).

Isn't that odd? I was reading an old journal from early college today that talked about an internship that I wanted to get one day and now...I have that internship this summer.

WHAT IS GOING ON???

It's very strange to me that it seems so wrong and weird that my plans for my life are coming to fruition. Isn't that...ideal? We have visions for the future because we want them to become reality. Why do I feel so weird that they are becoming reality?

I guess on some level we must make plans for life and not fully expect to follow through on them, or expect that something will change our course. Which is natural since so much of the future is unknown and so much in life often depends on luck or chance.

I think my unease about this things are turning out the way I thought they would situation is related to my perpetual feeling that the other shoe is about to drop on my life. My life is too good. Things work out for me, and I have been blessed in many ways by virtue of nothing more than being born where I was and to whom and with what genes. People aren't supposed to be lucky like I am lucky. I shouldn't be so blessed, so what's the deal? Is the world buttering me up in preparation for some big catastrophe? I have been waiting for this other shoe to drop for years now and nothing. Most people who seem happy or privileged have something hard in their lives. Divorce. Illness. Death of a parent. But I don't! Most parents want their children's lives to be better than their own. I just hope we break even.

Such ridiculous problems I have. I should probably go to sleep.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Smitten Kitchen

Just last Thursday, I was having dinner with some people from school, and it just so happened that nearly everyone at the table had foodie tendencies. In our conversation, they mentioned this blog Smitten Kitchen. I checked it out when I got home and I was immediately both thrilled and horrified that I had gone this long without being aware of its existence: fabulous food photography! killer recipes! inspiration! It really is inspiring to read this blog because the writer has a day job, a tiny NY apartment, a husband, and a newborn and still makes her own pasta. I have zero children and a great kitchen so whats to stop me from making Julia Child recipes nightly and amazing desserts for weekend parties? Well, I am dealing with a budget constraint that is tighter than hers is I imagine, but given that I am newborn-free, I think its fair to call it even.

There are a lot of things I simply assumed could not be made without an industrial style kitchen and the blog has proved me wrong. For example: doughnuts. Doughnuts are just not something laypeople make, am I right? Apparently not.

Behold: http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/10/apple-cider-doughnuts/

There are only a few things wrong with this blog 1) the author loves leeks and leek recipes and I don't even know what a leek tastes like 2) there are a lot of recipes involving almonds. blech. 3) The photographs have yet to leap off my computer screen and onto a plate in front of me.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Blackberry Pie

So, you know my life has taken a turn for the better when I have time to make pie! And today I made blackberry pie. Its still in the oven, so verdict is still out on its tastiness. But Kroger had these blackberries for a dollar a carton which I thought was awesome but turns out...you get what you pay for. They were inedible in fresh form, so I had to do something about it. Thus, pie!

Anyway, I am feeling very relaxed and free on this fine May Day Saturday. It is ironic that the weekend before finals and I feel less stressed than I have since before Spring Break. Actually, probably since before the entire semester began. Now I am almost done, I have been through hell and back, and I have emerged without too many scars.

You Get What You Pay For Pie: blackberries, sugar, vodka crust with milk and sugar on top.

Thursday, April 29, 2010



Image from the Southern Weddings blog.

Okay, so sorry for posting the entire board, I really just wanted one of the pictures, but the point is...

Check out that altar! How flipping amazing is that! They built it to be like a church! But outside! There is a chandelier OUTSIDE. And if you click on the pic and zoom in you can see that there is even a back wall to the "church."

This is so freaking cool I can't stand it. Anyone out there have phenomenal construction skills and lots of spare time that wants to build this with me???

Monday, April 26, 2010

Trade?

So in the last week, my life has consisted of giving 2 presentations, writing a case memo, writing 3 papers, working, going to class, and performing in a show. Awful. Okay, so the performing in a show was fun. But still. You don't want my life.

Eric's life has consisted of teaching elementary school art and middle school math, watching soccer, and writing about soccer. Tomorrow he will teach elementary school PE. He insists that the elementary school art, which I think sounds so adorable, was a miserable experience due to some unruly 3rd graders. I do recognize that 3rd grade is a particularly obnoxious stage in a young person's life. But still. He wins so much.

Okay, back to paper #891032019401. I am so over it.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Today, I read two different things about weddings

One of them made me angry about weddings:


The other made me think that weddings are the most beautiful thing in the world:


I recommend you just read the second one.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Life

2:00 am: go to sleep
6:30 am: wake up
6:30-8:30 am: finalize presentation slides
8:30-8:45 am: get ready for work
9:00-2:00 pm: at work
2:15-2:45 pm: interview
3:00: conference call/meeting
4:00-6:00: practice group presentation
6:00-8:30: statistics homework/lab
9:00pm : home
9:00-??? laundry, work, practice OTHER presentation

and that, ladies and gentlemen, is why grad school=death.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Project Don't Go To the Grocery Store's Great Success

So on Thursday, a great acheivement was seen in this household. Eric found a recipe that:
1) Only used things we had had for waaaay too long: Canned pinto beans, canned corn, frozen brown rice, tortillas and spices.
2) Was delicious
3) Was easy to make
4) Will be very very cheap to recreate.
5) Fed us for 3 meals.
Basically these were black bean and corn (we subbed pinto) veggie burritos. YUM.
PDGTGS Success!
When we double our rent next semester (and I triple mine this summer) you can bet I will be all over this recipe.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Project Don't Go to the Grocery Store: Day ??

So we have been doing a bang-up job on the project so far, if I do say so myself. We have made the TJ's Spinach Pie from the freezer, our Red Beans and Rice (how does Zatarain's make that box of food so dang flavorful? I am always impressed), and Annie's White Cheddar Shells and Cheese. Also lots of sandwiches.

In other news, I am currently in super-duper-duper stress time of school. This semester has been non-stop work, and now its non-stop work but twice as much. Somehow. Right now I am researching for a presentation (1 down, 4 to go for the semester!) on nuclear waste management, and I am glad it is only temporary and I don't research this topic for a career or anything because it is terrrrifying.

Monday, April 12, 2010

I don't understand...

Why does everyone think cupcakes are so much better than regular cake? They are the same! You literally make them from the same batter!

There is a weird fondness in the indie wedding world for using cupcakes instead of cake. It's nearly a prerequisite.* I mean, sure, why not, but don't pretend they taste different.

They are the same. You. Are. A. TOY!

Thanks, I needed to get that off my chest.

*Not for me! I think you all know what kind of dessert will headline our wedding.

In other news, school is really stressful right now, but my mind refuses to be stressed! Its like I have reached my 2010 stress limit and I am not allowed anymore. Sounds great, but then again I have done about 20 minutes worth of work in the last 4 hours and I feel pretty kosher about it.
In this case, I think I need a healthy dose of stress.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Details

So, here's a fun fact. This whole time (I know, I know, it has only been a month) I have had it in my head that we could do an iPod with Emcee reception instead of a DJ to save some $$$.

Just moments ago this thought occurred to me:

Neither of us own an iPod.

Haha! How had this little fact not entered my mind before? Lordy. Also, the iTunes music we both own is definitely un-dancy music. I might have like 1 JT song and a few Rhianna tunes.

This would make for an EXCELLENT party, no?

I am highly highly amused by this oversight. I think I forgot because duh, everyone has iPods. Everyone, except us.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Two Things

1) Went to the Grocery Store today. Bought: bread, milk, strawberries, peanut butter, cereal (Eric gave it up for Lent, so we bought a. lot. today. Also, Cracklin' Oat Bran was on sale for freaking $2.60!! Also also, if you don't know what COB is, get thee to a Kroger! NOW.) Also we bought Easter Candy. 'Cause just cause our mommas don't buy us candy anymore doesn't mean we don't want to eat chocolate eggs anymore!

2) I kind of want to turn this into a partial wedding blog. Will you all hate me if I do? Why am I even asking that? Gah. There is some kind of ridiculous pressure on peeps getting married (and by that, I mean BRIDES, since according to the world there are only BRIDES at weddings, getting married to...centerpieces, it would seem) to simultaneously plan a freaking awesome party, not offend anyone, spend $1 doing so, and never stress out about it or even talk about it cause, ugh! with the wedding talk! No one cares!

Which: can we all just stop with this? It's nonsense. I recognize that having your head talked off about whether you should use silk flower or real flowers or no flowers at all or pink flowers or blue flowers or or or or...etc. is annoying. I hear you. Not my jam either. BUT. Getting married is something we value here in the US of A. It's a ritual, a rite of passage, a big deal thing that we are supposed to support.

So, can we please actually, you know, support people as they go through this big deal step in their lives?

I am not talking to anyone in particular. My friends and family have been wonderful to me so far. If anything, I am talking to me a year ago. Me who bought into the cultural norm that says its totally cool to look at weddings on Facebook and go "ooh don't like that. that's pretty! mmmm, questionable choice on that dress." I mean, what the hell? The people in those pictures just wanted to stand up in front of their family and friends and say they love each other and plan to keep doing so forever and then throw a party for everyone to celebrate. Can we give them a frickin break on how the cake looked?

Wow. So that was a long-winded diatribe on how I feel bad trying to turn this into a part-time wedding blog. But really--I am engaged. You all know this. You all know this means I am starting to plan a wedding. Why do I feel guilty posting wedding thoughts in this blog about my life?

Anyway, I am eschewing this guilty thing. I am still me, you all know this. And if you love me, I hope you realize that me planning a wedding is the same me that always was. Seems like a simple idea, but let me tell you that the minute you go from not-Bride to Bride, the whole world seems to think that you have magically transformed from an intelligent person into irrational crazy person whose train of thought now goes "Wedding colors! Wedding favors! Wedding songs! Wedding! Wedding!" Look, I do think about those things, but they just take up the brain space that used to go "I wonder what made Jim decide to leave Karen in New York and ask Pam out?" So, not a real loss, intellectually.

This is a long post by now, and I am going to get back to this paper I am supposed to finish tonight.

Ciao readers! Thanks for reading the diatribe.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Project Don't Go Grocery Shopping: Day 1

We are about a month out from the end of the semester (somehow 2 cases, 5 projects, 3 finals, a dance performance and myriad other small tasks are supposed to be completed in that time! awwwwesome.). We are both leaving for the summer (hopefully--please someone let me be your intern!) and our fridge, pantry, and freezer are VERY full.

So today we are embarking on a journey in which we only go to the grocery store for daily-needs items like milk, juice, bread, lunch meat and cereal. All other meals will have to be made creatively and/or with us both eating separate Lean Cuisine meals that I bought before I remembered that there are two people in this mini household-within-a-household so making frozen meals for one make no sense.

Yesterday I will consider day 1, and it was a very good success. We had a Chicken, Apple, Cheddar Spinach Salad.

Cooked up a frozen chicken breast on the stove, sliced some apples and cheese (Raw Cheddar from Trader Joe's which is PHENOMENAL) and tossed it all with some spinach and dressing.

Now, about the dressing:

Ladies and gentlemen, we have all been collectively duped by the people at Newman's Own. You should never buy salad dressing! My mom taught me this, and its maybe the most valuable thing I have learned from her (Just kidding, mom! You taught me many many important things!). It is SO EASY TO MAKE. You take some olive oil (just like a teaspoon), put in an equivalent amount of citrus juice (lemon, orange, whatever), add some dijon mustard (trust me), some garlic if you want, and whisk with a fork. Done! Also, it tastes delicious and with only teeny amounts of each ingredient (read: cheap) you have a fully dressed salad. You can adjust the ingredients as desired, depending on your salad ingredients, so long as you always have the olive oil and the citrus. Takes a bit of finagling and tasting and trial and error but ugh, it's so good, I don't know why anyone ever uses anything else.

Tonight: Pancakes and eggs. I doubt it will require as much explanation :)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

News, and a long story to go with it

Okay so one day, far in the future, I will post about India.

But for now, I have more pressing news. If you read this blog you undoubtedly know this already, but it's fun to announce so I will do it again:

I'm ENGAGED!

In caps again, so you know I mean it for real. A couple of people have requested the engagement story on the blog, and I am glad for the opportunity to tell the story in writing. When people ask me "how did he do it?" I always tell some abridged version because they probably don't actually care about every detail. But I would like to remember every detail, and I've found that when you tell a story, the way you tell the story becomes how you remember the actual event, and I want to remember the actual event just as it happened, because it was perfect.

So while I was in India, Eric told me he was looking into some cabins in Brown County (which has a lot of getaway cabins and is close to here) to rent for when I got back, to have some fun coupley time since we were apart for three weeks over break. The best weekend we could book was last weekend.

I guess that's not really the beginning of the story. The real story actually begins when Eric was on Jeopardy last year. When I went to see him shoot his episodes, I wasn't able to see him that much, because he was kind of busy winning the money that would one day buy me a ring. (Thanks Jeopardy, by the way!) And there was something about being so close yet so far away from him that tugged at my heartstrings or something, like I missed him but I could see him at the same time. I dunno. That, plus the fact that I was there to watch him tape his episodes as his girlfriend, and I had to introduce myself to people that way over and over again during the weekend. But the word "girlfriend." It seemed so insufficient. I was his girlfriend in March 2006 too, but we were so much more than that now. I wanted the world to know that we were more than that. On the way home on the plane (I flew alone), I had a lot of time to think, so I thought about this epiphany that I wanted a promotion from girlfriend. I realized that I had just seen him win a lot of money and be on TV and I wanted to make sure that it wasn't coloring my decision too much. So I really tried to think about all the fights we'd had, all the things that bug me, all the worst of it. And from that negative place, I still thought, yep I want to marry that man. I went home and we talked about it and he didn't want to get engaged til he had a job, some degree of settled-ness. So that was that for a little while.

Then in August we went to look at rings. I found some that I liked, one in particular. I still knew we weren't getting engaged for awhile because we wanted to wait until I graduated next May to get married and I didn't want too long of an engagement. Then January/Februaryish of this year rolls around and I had started to get a little anxious. Mostly because Eric seemed totally nonchalant. I couldn't detect any shadiness or secret-keeping-ness, so I naturally assumed that he had no plans to propose whatsoever, and sometimes I thought maybe he forgot he was supposed to entirely. I started thinking I was a ninny waiting around like this for a man to propose when we both know we want to marry each other and shouldn't I just propose. But I always knew deep down that he did have a plan and I didn't want to ruin it.

Then the week before we were going to go to the cabin, Eric told me he had some surprises for me as part of the cabin weekend. At this point the wheels in my head went pretty off the rails. Any repressed thoughts about wedding colors, how to tell my parents we were engaged, who would be in the wedding party, were totally unleashed. I tried to keep it under control, but it was pretty much a lost cause.

The cabin was gorgeous and super fun. There was a hot tub and a sauna and pool and foosball and darts and just all kinds of things. Then Eric told me he made a CD--it had a bunch of "us" music on it. Wheels spin more. Then I get a present. It's Good Night and Good Luck. This was the very first thing we did by ourselves as friends--we went to see a screening at school together when we just barely knew each other. Wheels. I saw a disproportionate amount of cheese in the grocery bags we brought for the weekend. He told me he had found a recipe for Queso Fundido--the best dish ever at one of our favorite restaurants (Noche in Atlanta. Seriously, order the queso.) Even if you hadn't read at the top of this post that I am engaged, you could tell where this is going, right? The next surprise was gingerbread and pumpkin pancake mix from Kerbey Lane, a certain breakfast place we just happen to love in Austin Texas. But THEN.

He told me that was the last surprise. And he seemed to really mean it. And then cursed myself for letting the wheels spin and the whole thing and was generally sad for a while, but I soldiered on in a mindset to enjoy the weekend, because it was really a great weekend regardless. This all happened on Friday. It was an emotional day.

On Saturday, we decided to take a hike out to Lake Monroe. As I went to look in his suitcase to see if there was any sort of shirt he had I could wear (I packed atrociously for this trip--two of the shirts I thought I brought I in fact did not), he told me not to go through his stuff. He never says anything like that. Wheeeeeels! The hike was a bit of an adventure, since we started off going against the flow of the river in an attempt to find the lake until Eric decided to clue me in that this probably would not lead us to our intended destination. And then we had to go off the trail, and on the road, but we made it. It was frozen over and snowy. Neither of us expected this because it hadn't been THAT cold recently, and we are warm climate people who know nothing about how lakes freeze or don't. But it was beautiful. I think pure, untouched snow, is so beautiful and there were miles of it. We stood there for awhile and enjoyed the view, and then we went to sit down and rest on this root that formed a bench of sorts, and I saw a red little box in his jacket pocket.

I don't remember too much of what happened after that, except that I was nervous and nervous for him, and then we were standing at the lake again, and he was hugging me from behind, and then he goes "Okay, you know what, Natalie...." He said somethiing cute neither of us remember. I turned around and he was on his knee (and it was muddy and he was in nice pants, so you know he loves me for real) and he asked me to marry him. I said yes about a thousand times and jumped up and down a lot. The ring was the one I liked in particular, and I still can't stop staring at it.

We made dinner for ourselves later that day, called our families, and had a truly fantastic day.

And that. Is the whole story.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Brevity

Hello world! I am sorry there is still no India post. THERE WILL BE. I said it in caps so its a promise. My life is just cahraaaaaazy thanks to school. I am taking 4 classes all of which have huge involved projects and constant assignments that take up so much time. I have an upcoming assignment for my stats class that is supposed to take TWENTY HOURS. Friends, that is a part time job, and I already have one of those, and I also go to school so: stop it, stats.

I am looking forward to the Oscars.

I am also looking forward to the few trips in my future, though I had hoped there would be a lot more this semester. I only have class 2 days a week, you would think I could get away for some weekends. Not so. I really have never been so busy on such a constant basis.

So that's my excuse for not posting. I'm sorry and I will try to improve!!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Here

Hello!

I apologize for my absence from this blog. I went away to India, you see, and am now finding my bearings in this new semester.

More on India later--I'm planning to do one big post about my time there, so stay tuned.

For the non-India news in my life...

...Bloomington is extremely cold still. I think we have discussed how this makes me sad inside.

...I have two New Year's resolutions: 1) flossing and 2) being more proactive about making friends. Progress has been made on both fronts; more consistently with resolution #1. At first I was doing terribly, but then I decided to follow advice from my dental hygenist and floss in the shower. This sounds really weird, which is why I had always been hesitant to try it, but since I love standing in hot water, especially when its 20 degrees outside, any reason to extend my showers is good with me. If you are having trouble working flossing into your life, I recommend this strategy.

...for the past two issues, I have made the cover recipe from Bon Appetit, albeit in a modified fashion. I have no need to make 5 pounds of ribs, thank you. They have been tasty, but I have a serious complaint to raise about Bon Appetit recipes which is this: they don't give you a timetable upfront. You have to search through the recipe for the times they give you and add them all up to figure out how long its going to take you. Which is a problem when you skip over one little instruction that says "cover and simmer until tender, about 1 1/2 hours." Awesome. On the bright side, the ribs were seriously delish.

...I just got drafted by the dean of our school to do a research project on electric vehicles and I am super excited about it.

...I have been getting into urban ecology and community gardening lately, and I really want a garden which is problematic since I will not be here over the summer and I will live in an apartment next year. I am going to try to get an indoor composter and plant an herb garden, though.

...I recently got WAY into Teen Mom. I watched the Catelynn episode of 16 and Pregnant and it totally touched my heart, and I am now just so fascinated by Catelynn and Tyler's life (they just got engaged! awwww) and the rest of the teen moms. But mostly Catelynn and Tyler cause both their parents are meth-addicts (I think...regardless their parents are screwed up) and somehow they are way mature and responsible and just adorable together. They gave up their baby for adoption and both sets of parents were MAD at them for it instead of proud at how responsible and rational and selfless they were. Insane. I love when you find out there are some real life people making the best of their terrible lot in life. Reader challenge: watch one episode of Teen Mom and tell me you aren't 1) totally hooked 2) loving Catelynn and Tyler and 3) totally going to show this to your children so they use protection.

...Parks and Recreation is a great show. I recommend people ditch The Office in favor of Parks and Rec. I am just a huge Greg Daniels fan apparently.