Friday, February 26, 2010

Train up a child in the way he should go...

My fabulous husband is so well-trained that it's almost amusing.  I credit his mother, mostly.  He was like this when I found him.

I just got a phone call: "Is it okay if a couple friends come over to watch the U.S. hockey game at 2:00 and we get a pizza?"

"Yes, dear.  That sounds like fun.  Maybe I'll go to the food court and have some pizza for lunch, too!"

I actually really appreciate it, especially if there are going to be people there when I get home.  It's nice to be prepared for that sort of thing.  Then you know not to come in the house swearing.  Or whatever might be inappropriate for the situation.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I think there's a reason they don't revive "Carousel"

My voice teacher and I occasionally get in interesting discussions because of the music.  We were doing "Can't Help Lovin' dat Man" from the musical Showboat.  The lyrics are along the lines of "Tell me he's lazy, tell me he's slow.  Tell me I'm crazy, maybe I know.  Can't help lovin' dat man of mine."  Great, right?  But he does actually love her and treat her well...until he leaves her, which is still better than some shows.

But that got us started talking about Carousel, and women who put up with abuse.  We've sung through all the songs I have from that in my anthology, including "What's the Use of Wond'rin'," a rather terrible song about how "Something made him the way he is, whether he's false or true, and something gave him the things that are his, one of those things is you."  The whole plot is really crappy, including plenty of domestic violence.

Or there's "As Long as He Needs Me" from Oliver!, wherein, "In spite of what you see, I'm sure that he needs me."  Not only is it a rather boring song musically, but there's nothing particularly lovely about a woman who sings how she's going to stick with him even though he beats her, because she's just sure he loves her, really.

There's a lot of these "stick with him no matter what" songs in old musicals.  It clashes with our modern sensibility, for sure, which tends toward the "cut bait at the slightest sign of a problem."  Obviously, that's no better.  People have problems, people work problems out.  We need some sort of mix of the two.  People shouldn't put up with abuse, of course, but maybe we shouldn't be so quick to give up in general, but especially in marriages.  I read this great article months ago in The Week magazine.  I find it interesting that it is now/still on their "most emailed" list.  I think a lot of people are having the same problems, the same thoughts on their mind.   To quote the article, "It's a story about hearing your husband say, 'I don't love you anymore' and deciding not to believe him." 

Anyway, moral of the story is old musicals are crazy. The "blow that felt like a kiss" really gets me, even just reading the synopsis.  You come back to rectify your wrongs so you can get into heaven, but instead you end up slapping your daughter?  That's classy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

But at least there's not gum in my hair

I am one Crabby Patty Cathie lately.  Nothing went horribly wrong last night, but everything was a little crappy. And to top off my excellent evening, I discovered that my favorite cashmere argyle sweater got washed...and dryed. It was an accident and I appreciate that he did laundry, but still.  It was my favorite sweater.  It was such a crappy night that I'm still out of sorts this morning.  Sigh.  Anyone know how to restore a shrunken cashmere sweater without paying to have it restretched?  I'd write to Martha, but it's not actually my biggest concern in life right now.

In other news, I want this purse made from an old Nancy Drew book.  I read every Nancy Drew book available when I was in elementary school, and actually have a stack of them.  The old ones, like the one made into a purse.

I like how I don't transition, or keep posts to a single topic.  I just say "in other news" and press on.  Example:

In (other) other news, I finished my antibiotics last night and my throat STILL hurts, which is bad news for baby.  The possibility of having to get my tonsils out just became far more probable.  Oh well.  We just bought a new blender a few weeks ago, and I recently discovered the joy that is Haagen Daz Dulce de Leche ice cream.

What's good, people?  I need something happy to lift my spirits.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

You can almost see the stench trail

What do you get when several old men gather for a meeting?  A stench only Pepé le Pew could ignore.

There is no polite way to say, "I'm so sorry, you stink.  Your cologne choice is terrible and application too liberal.  Please limit yourself to one spritz before you leave work.  No reapplications during the day."

I tried talking to a manager, to have him say something, but I don't think it's been done.  If it has, the message didn't stick.  I don't think he's said anything, though.  It's awkward, I understand. But that's why they pay you the big bucks.

Moral of the story: no matter how much you like your fragrance choice, chances are not everyone does.  Be considerate.

I am the champion

Last night, we played three rounds of Scene It.  Two full, and one with the smaller "quick game" board.  I wanted to stop after the two full games, but FH couldn't stand the fact that he had lost twice.

So we played again, and he lost thrice.

I happen to be a big fan of movies, trivia, and Wheel of Fortune. He should have known he could never beat me.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lovely Logan and Lousy Lady

I have no pictures from our day trip to Logan on Saturday.  I am just not much of a photo taker.  It's terrible, I know.  I have all of these print credits at Snapfish, and nothing to print!  Except wedding announcements, of course.  I actually ordered some today so we can mail those out.  The nice thing about announcements versus invitations is that there's really no time crunch.

Anyway, we went to Logan to pay FH's old landlord some money (long story, involves the Lousy Ex-wife) and pick up his dad's mother's ring which the landlord was keeping safe/holding as collateral.  While there, we saw some old/new friends, did some shopping, went to the temple, and picked up tithing contribution statements for tax purposes.  I won't get into the story on the last one, but let's just say there's not as much as there should be and the ex-wife doesn't exactly appear to her best light in this episode.

I'm not sure what makes me angrier, that we'll get a smaller tax refund because we can't prove the contributions (I'm just not willing to take a gamble with the IRS, even if we are the most white bread tax return around), or that a person would actually pocket someone's tithing money.  No, I do know.  That's stealing from God.  That's messed up.

In other news, we ARE going to California for spring break, but in a slightly different capacity.  San Diego was cancelled because our vacation money/tax return went to pay the afore-mentioned debt, but thanks to in-laws going on a cruise and a very awesome friend getting us buddy passes on JetBlue, we'll still have a trip.  The beach, no work, no coats...it will be great, even if it wasn't what we planned.  Fabulous Husband fabulously offered to cancel the trip if needs be so we can get to Arizona (Grandpa isn't expected to survive the week) but I insist on it. I promised SeaWorld for his birthday; SeaWorld he will get.

Also, I don't scrapbook, but I think I might get a wedding photo book.  What do you think?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Eh, close enough

I'm pretty sure I just got a wrong number.  I answered with "Security, this is Cathie," as I always do, and he said, "Hi, what are your hours?"

We don't really have hours, in that sense.  This isn't isn't Jiffy Lube.  But whatever.  I seemed to have used up my "give a crap" allowance for the week.  I told him, "There are generally people here until at least five."

I don't know whom he was trying to call, but let's hope they're open until five.

How expensive is healthy eating, really?

I was reading something the other day that complained about how much more expensive healthy food is than fast food.  Really?  Have you BEEN to Wendy's lately?  Maybe they mean that healthy fast food is more expensive?  But no, a lot of time people are complaining about the price of produce.  I have to wonder, where are they buying produce, Whole Foods?  7-11?  I will concede that the token bananas at convenience stores are dodgy at best and always overpriced.  Maybe these people are complaining about the price of organic produce?  Or maybe they're buying strawberries in February?  Because that is expensive, unless you get them frozen.  Of course, people decry frozen produce as less healthy.  It's not.  In fact, it's often more nutritious than fresh produce, because it is picked ripe and frozen right away, rather than ripening on its way to the store.  And in December, frozen zucchini is going to be a lot better looking than anything that might be out on the shelf.

I was looking at the ads this week, and honestly, you don't have to spend a lot on fruits and vegetables.  For the price of a six-buck "value" meal (is that really a great value? I made steak, salad, and scalloped potatoes last week for about $2.50 per person), you can get over fifteen pounds of oranges.  Instead of a tiny order of fries from the dollar menu, you could get ten pounds of potatoes.  Instead of spending twenty bucks on a pizza, you could buy twenty pounds of tomatoes, or forty pounds of bananas.  This is all at the same store, which also tends to have the best produce of any of the stores in my area.

I think the real problem is that you actually have to cook in order to eat healthfully.  And planning ahead doesn't hurt, either.  A $.99/lb bunch of broccoli doesn't exactly scream "dinner," but you could make cream of broccoli soup, baked potatoes with cheesy broccoli on top, Chinese stir fry...even just a side of steamed broccoli. 

Our society is being lazy and blaming it on being cheap.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Clothing swap

I have tons of clothing and shoes that I don't want anymore.  Some of it is barely worn.  Some of it was never worn (I'm looking at you, adorable brown sneakers I bought from an online clothing store going out of business that just rub my heels wrong).  Lots of really great brands (but maybe these Kenneth Cole Reaction shoes are just too strappy and impractical for church, y'know?).  I could donate it to charity and get the tax deduction, but I'd kind of like to see something for it now.  I actually took it to a consignment shop, but apparently the brands were good but they didn't like the styles.  Snobs.  I'd hold a garage sale, but I don't think I have enough stuff overall to make it worth my time.  I need to join forces with someone else for a big, multiparty garage sale.

Elaine of fashion blog clothed much has a nifty virtual clothes swap, SHOP clothed much.  I assume this is working out for her; unfortunately (for me), she's tiny, so that's no help.  I have a blog following of approximately eight people (high guys ladies!) so I doubt I'd have much success with a similar format.


I've been hearing chatter lately about clothing swaps, where friends bring clothes they don't want anymore that are still in good condition, then swap them around.  This would be a swell idea if any (many?) of my friends were my same size.  I've kind of given up buying clothes for a while, what with all the medical copays and not working that's going on at our house, so it would be nice to refresh my closet for free.  What I need is for someone else to plan a clothes swap party and invite all of their friends who are my size.

Most of these plans seem like a lot of work.  Sigh.  Maybe I will just give it to charity. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ask Martha, eh?

I subscribe to Martha Stewart Living.  Some great ideas, some nonsense.  (Dude, I'm never going to roast a duck.  I'm just not.)  In March's "Ask Martha" column, Dear Reader writes, "How can I prevent my towels from pilling in the washer and dryer?"   Martha's response is basically to buy better towels.  My response is to ask, "Dear Martha, how can I make it so pilling towels is my biggest question in life?"

Dumb things people say to me

Welcome to a new series, called Dumb Things People Say to Me.  Please, enjoy this recent stupidity.

He: Is there a way to make the lines darker?
Me: Darker than...black?
He: Bolder?
Me: Do you want the lines thicker?
He: That should work.

Another He, via email: Is there more information on the incident? It looks like it might have been left off.
Me, composing a reply: The document is three pages; the bulk of that incident report is on the second page.
AH, before I have time to send my reply: Never mind, I found it.

She: When is your baby due?
Me: *blink, blink*  ...I'm not pregnant.
She: Oh.
(Note that the above took place over the summer, when I was not pregnant, not married, and not seeing anyone.  Just having a fat day, apparently.)

Same lady as above, a few weeks ago: I don't think I know you.
Me: *puts bookmark in book, chews the Triscuit I JUST put in my mouth*
Me, thinking: Yes you do, you asked when my baby is due.
Same Lady: Caught you with food in your mouth.
Me, thinking: During lunch, of all times!
Me: I'm Cathie, I'm in security.
SL: It's nice to meet you.
Me: *goes back to reading*
SL: What are you reading?
Me: Harry Potter
Me: *goes back to reading*
SL: Which one?
Me: Half-Blood Prince
Me: *goes back to reading*
SL: Is that the British version?
Me: Yep
Me: *goes back to reading*
SL: very long winded story about punctuation differences between the British and American versions
Me: It's true
Me: *goes back to reading*

Stay tuned for our next episode of Dumb Things People Say to Me, because heaven knows people aren't going to stop saying dumb things!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Join us in sunny San Diego!

Fabulous Husband doesn't read my blog.  I'm not sure why. It's not like I prevent him from it; he just doesn't seem too interested.  So I feel comfortable talking about him, since he's obviously never going to know about it.

May I just say that being off work for an extended period does not suit him?  Perhaps it would be better if he had unlimited mobility, but as it stands--or rather, as he sits--now, it's not going excellently.  He's been out for about three weeks now, and it makes him...not his normal self.  He's bored.  I understand the desire to get out of town, but maybe going on vacation isn't the best financial decision when he's going to be on unpaid leave for another month.  Maybe a vacation isn't a good idea for the barely able to walk.  Maybe people who are home all day don't really need a vacation.  Maybe he just needs to get out of the house, not the state.

And yet, he does need a vacation.  Heaven knows I do.  Just talking about it--looking up flights and hotels, researching and planning--has given him something to live for.  At this point, I'm nearly willing to pay the money just to get my husband back.  But still, we can't make any commitments until we know what's going to happen with my tonsils (I'm on antibiotics, but we may take them out anyway).  I can't buy plane tickets until I've discussed my absence with my boss and the other secretary.  I don't want to spend this kind of money until we're sure of how much of his surgery we have to pay for.  I wanted to save some/most of our tax return.  There are a dozen reasons not to go on vacation, or at least not to plan it now, but one very good reason to go: he will talk about it until we do, or I explode.

I spent a good deal of the day on the phone with him, talking about vacation plans.  We have decided that we will go to San Diego during spring break.  It is right before he's planning to go back to work, so his foot should be okay by then.  Anyway, when we went to Disneyland for my birthday, I promised we'd go to SeaWorld for his.  So we are.  I had several conditions: it has to cost less than our tax return. No new flat screen TV. He has to call his Logan ward clerk and get a tithing statement, since his charitable contributions will affect our tax return to the tune of several hundred dollars. We have to see how my tonsils turn out first.  Really, though, we're going to go no matter what happens with my tonsils.  If I have to get them out, I'll just push it back to late spring/early summer.  I've dealt with them this long; what's a few more weeks?  It's a small price to pay for a happy husband.

Now my only wish is that we were going AFTER his birthday, so he could drive the rental car. That's what I get for robbing the cradle, I guess.

Post-edit: A lot of really bad things happened all at once.  No San Diego, but maybe still some California.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I told you they was organized...

I'm trying to figure out how to organize my recipes.  I am a rabid recipe clipper.  Any time I come across a recipe that looks interesting--newspaper, magazine, back of a box, ad insert, whatever--I rip it out.  I frequently bring home the Wednesday "life" section of the local newspaper, and sometimes the food section of the New York Times, too.  (Not usually the Times, though, because their recipes often involve foods I've never heard of or couldn't find in a regular grocery store.  That, or weird "fancy" foods that I [and normal Americans everywhere] would never eat.)

My problem is that I have a stack an inch thick of newspaper clippings and magazine pages.  What do I do with them now?!

I guess the first thing to do is start making them and see if I even want to keep them, eh?  But then what?  I'm leaning towards a physical compilation because, as convenient as it would be to have them on my computer, I prefer to cook from hard copies.  I do cook from recipes on my computer, but it's going to cause a disaster one of these days, I just know it.  You drop one opened bottle of vanilla, and suddenly you have a very expensive, nice-smelling paperweight.

Maybe I should type them up so I have them archived and searchable, but then organize them in three ring binders?  It just seems like such an ordeal.

How are your recipes organized?  Any tips you wish you'd known when you started?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Do we really need commercials telling kids to play?

Apparently we do.  While the FH watched the Super Bowl, I ate popcorn balls (I think I had seven?) and read. At one point, there was a commercial telling kids that they should play for 60 minutes a day.  May I just say, srsly?  Our society has gotten so bad that we have to tell kids to play?

Now, don't get me wrong, my mom used to yell at me to "put the book down and go do something!" but I was a nerd.  And I do remember swimming all summer, playing in the back yard, riding my bike, doing actual physical exertion during P.E., playing jump rope (I sucked at double dutch, alas) during recess, playing kick the can with my cousins and other normal kid things.  Apparently kids don't do that anymore.

This is sad.  I read something yesterday that basically said kids spend every waking minute with some sort of electronic (7.5 hours a day, but thanks to using multiple devices at once, they get 10.75 hours of exposure out of those 7.5).  I remember a time before the internet, when computers were good for typing reports and the occasional round of Oregon Trail.  And I think I turned out okayish.

We have all this great technology now, but are our lives really any better?  Kids can't write complete sentences because of texting and IM.  They don't even really know how to have an actually face-to-face conversation.  We have all these new ways of staying in touch, but far less communication.  It's sad, really.

There was a commercial on Nickelodeon a few years ago about going outside to play.  Actual Reality, they called it.  "Feel the ball in your hand, because you're actually holding it!"  It was kind of weird for a kids TV station to run commercials telling you to go outside, but it's not a bad idea.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Just Say "No"

Generally speaking, I don't have a problem saying no when I can't or don't want to do something.  Supposedly as women we have a hard time saying no because we want to make people happy and whatnot.  I want to make people happy, but I also don't want to make myself crazy.  It's all about finding the line between making other people happy and yourself happy.

Monday night, someone called and asked me to talk on Wednesday about yoga and the importance of breathing.  Just five to seven minutes she said, but I could call the Someone Else in charge if I had questions.  Someone Else sent out a mass email yesterday reminding/inviting people, and based on what it said, I was supposed to teach yoga.  So I emailed Someone Else, and sure enough, she wants me to teach some yoga in 15-20 minutes.  So, with about 24 hours to prepare (most of which is set aside for sleeping and working), I'm supposed to distill the five years or so I practiced and yoga into a half an hour.

I'm having a really hard time not being annoyed.  Talking for seven minutes about breathing is fine.  Teaching yoga is not something I really want to do tonight, but I was already committed by the time I found out what they actually wanted me to do.  So I didn't even have the opportunity to say no!  I haven't been practicing lately, and am hardly conditioned to teach.  I'm exhausted.  Fabulous Husband sleeps all morning while I'm at work, and therefore has no problem keeping me up until midnight watching TV on DVD (as though I could go to bed without finding out who cannibalized the body they found in the bear).  I, meanwhile, had to break into the emergency Dr. Pepper stash this morning, and want nothing more for tonight than to crawl into a gently warmed bed under a down blanket as fluffy as a cartoon cloud as soon as it's dark.  Alas, that's not in the cards for me.

It's frustrating.  I get home at 5:30, and will make some pancakes before I haul my moderately lame (but increasingly mobile) husband down to the church at 6:00, where we will no doubt be asked to serve in the primary, because where else would they put us? (FH really doesn't want to. I like kids, but I'm just hoping we get something with the under-eight-but-over-three crowd.)  At 7:00, he gets to tag along with me to a different church building, where I get to teach yoga with zero preparation.  Then I'll probably load the dishwasher and put away whatever laundry didn't get put away today (everything that's mine, I expect; I'm particular about how I fold my clothes), wash my hair, and pass out in bed.  It's enough to make a girl want to stay at work.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Harry Potter and the...

I guess there are spoilers, but it's been long enough since the last book came out that if you don't know what happens, you probably don't care.  But, y'know.  Pirates ye be warned and whatnot.

I asked on Facebook the other day what everyone's favorite Harry Potter book is.  I think Azkaban won, although my sample was really too small to be predictive.  I refrained from saying my favorite, as I hadn't finished my re-read.  Having received the complete British set for my birthday (thanks Ma!) I decided to read them all, which I haven't done since the last one came out. I usually would just re-read the one preceding whatever was coming out.

Anyway, I finished Deathly Hallows last night, and I think I can say that Prisoner of Azkaban is still my favorite.  I liked Goblet of Fire less than I had before, and Order of the Phoenix more.  I wish I could say Deathly Hallows is my favorite, but any book that makes me cry that much just can't be my favorite.  (Also, I find the afterward immensely unsatisfying.)

My fabulous husband I think kind of laughs at me, but everything makes me cry.  I was reading while we were waiting in the doctor's office yesterday, and I was having a hard time not weeping when Dobby dies.  It always gets me.  All the deaths in DH upset me, even Ted Tonks.  I still get a little misty when Sirius dies, too.  The only death that doesn't really bother me is Dumbledore's.  I think part of it is because it isn't a murder.  He planned it.  I'm fine until I get to the part where Fawkes starts singing and the sound is like their grief turned into music.  That always makes me cry.  It's such a lovely, poetic, sad thing.

I think it interesting that my--and several of my friends'--favorite Harry Potter book is the only one in which Voldemort does not appear.  Significant?  Maybe.  Or maybe we appreciate that for once, Harry catches a little bit of a break.  For a little while, at least, he has some family.

So what's your favorite?

Monday, February 8, 2010

So not funny

There is a flower shop that I pass on my way home from work every day.  (I also pass it on my way to work, but it's only on my way home that I am stuck at a red light right next to it.)  They have a scrolling marquee sign (not to be confused with a marquee in Britain, which it turns out is a tent) and lately they've had a little Valentine's-themed poem.  That's normal; I'm sure Valentine's is big business.

Then, a few weeks ago, I finally read the whole thing:
Valentine's is Sunday
That is part of life.
Send flowers Friday
To your girlfriend and your wife!


It makes me furious, every time I see it.  There is absolutely nothing funny about infidelity, especially the ongoing kind they're referring to.  It's betrayal of the the most heartbreaking kind, and I'm supposed to find that funny?  If they had just said "or," it would all be fine.  In the words of the kid on the Emperor's New Groove, it's a pretty crucial conjunction.

Friday, February 5, 2010

One word

I've realized that pretty much all my favorite TV shows right now have one-word names:
- Community
- Psych
- Chuck
- Bones
- Castle
- Glee
- House (although I haven't seen it this season)

Oh, shoot, that's not true, because I friggin love Big Bang Theory.  But it is accurate to say all my favorite shows that I watch on Hulu have one word titles.  I've seen all of ten minutes of BBT this season.  I don't mind too much; I really like my distraction.  In fact, I less than three him, heh.

Actually, just a lot of TV shows right now have one-word names.  I wonder why that is.  Is it supposed to be punchy and memorable? Is it that we're too stupid to remember anything longer or understand anything more subtle?  I find this an interesting phenomenon.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Resolution: failed

So we've already deviated wildly from our weekly menu.  I knew this would happen with the surgery (which went well, by the by); I actually didn't even plan anything this week so that we could cater to the whims of the invalid.  But our best laid plans went awry last week when the power went out right at dinner time.  So we went to Wendy's.

But, we're (and by "we" I mean "I") getting back on track.  The only problem is that I'm sick of cooking.  No, not sick of cooking; I'm sick of cooking the the recipes I already make.  Even if we haven't had something in weeks, it seems like we're eating the same things over and over again.  Admittedly, we do eat a lot of waffles.  I'm putting waffles on the shelf for a few weeks.  We'll have french toast! Sour cream pancakes! Oat pancakes! Whole wheat blender pancakes!  We'll be so sick of pancakes, our very DNA will cry out for more waffles!  Or something like that.

It doesn't help that I don't prepare a lot of meat dishes.  Maybe once or twice a week.  We try to eat lots of beans for protein.  Eggs are good too.  I'm thinking of modifying this egg salad recipe (I like cilantro, but in egg salad?  I dunno...).

Any brilliant recipe suggestions?  I looked at other Serious Eats recipes, but they're mostly crazy.  Seems to be obsessed with fish, curry, and runny eggs.  I don't like my eggs even remotely wet, I don't like onions; I don't like fish. Well, I don't like most meats, really.  Chicken and beef, is basically all I'll eat.  Bits of turkey and ham, fine.  Bacon, of course.  What I really need is some sort of Boring Recipe Blog that only includes ingredients I can get at Sprawlmart.  Anything that has a note that it can be found in "(whatever ethnicity) specialty markets" is not a good idea, if for no other reason than I'll end up with tons of it left over.  It's bad enough trying to figure out uses for an entire bunch of celery, I don't want to have to find a use for that open can of coconut cream, y'know?