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.