Sunday, August 23, 2009

Amanda, my Panda

My bestie Amanda is moving. I'm trying to pick my jaw off the floor and then I'm trying not to be selfish and obnoxious. Things which are difficult for me because I genuinely don't want her to go, but I think that it's a good opportunity for her. I will however miss going out to eat with her, having endlessly unfocused conversations that snake between a dozen different topics, and cooking together. She'll be muchly missed by this Kelly. I know she's a little misunderstood, but I like it. I like her eccentric nature. I think it's a colorful splash of excitement in an otherwise boring and conservative dull world full of khaki pants and polo shirts.

I hate saying goodbye, (although given my history with death this year I suppose I should be a veteran at this) but at least I can always hop a plane and visit her. It could be worse. And selfishness aside I think it's due time that she get out. Staying the course has made her miserable. And if you're unhappy you have to do something about it. Life is simply too short to be spent doing things you hate around people who take advantage of your good nature.

I'm very supportive of her decision to go. I think the opportunities that you pass up purely because of fear are the ones that you regret. Fear alone is not a reason to give up on something. And the best time to take chances is when you're single, without roots yet, and the world is yours to explore.

On the bright side? If I desire to go to Texas I have another place to crash. You know, apart from my uncle, aunt, my cousins and various other extended family members out there. I'm not 100% crazy about this notoriously conservative state with 100+ degree heat but I guess it's more about the people you see rather than where you see them.

She leaves soon. Less time to mourn our loss, perhaps? In any case, if you want to reach out to her, I'd suggest doing it ASAP. Otherwise you'll likely miss the window of opportunity.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Best Barbie Doll Birthday Cake Ever

People. Please stop dying. My little heart just can't take it.

Rest in Peace, Carol Ann....and everyone else.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Another Deck Bites the Dust

The 2nd house thing fell through. I'm sad for Trevor because he really seemed to love it. But I'm sure there'll be others.

On the bright side, my husband has ripped up the boards on the back deck and is now in the mist of replacing them with the assistance of his bro Devin. The cabinets are finally repainted and all placed back where they belong, so thankfully the kitchen looks less like a construction zone. The same can now no longer be said of our back deck/entryway, but progress is progress. The deck was beginning to rot anyway. The house itself is over 100 years old, so you have to expect that with the charming quaintness you inherit a few repairs.

It must be deck re-do time because my dad just finished repainting his an incredibly bright light blue. I kind of wonder about the color selection, but Dad insists it's great. Dad takes some serious pride in his handiwork. Mom gets frustrated that it seems to take 5 times longer than it should to be completed, but my Dad's mantra is that it needs to be done in a professional manner and that just means taking one's time and doing it right the first time....so stop hounding me, woman! Okay, I made up that last part but it's a lot more entertaining my way.

And I have to say this now because I'll likely forget to on the day of since I'll be busy doing stuff. I'll be married to my Trevor for one year this month.

I know, right? Crazy! I'll have to figure out an anniversary gift. I hear the first year is paper. (Piñata, it is.)

It's super cliche and meaningless but I'll say it anyway...it just flew by. I guess that's a good sign that overall, it's been a good year. I still hope next year is better but I can't complain. I get to share my time with a pretty rad guy who doesn't mind that I get itchy for international travel every year. (PS: Now that we've gone to Europe I now want to go back to Asia!)

I'll try to continue with this theme but here it goes.
THINGS I DIDN'T KNOW BEFORE I GOT MARRIED

Mind you, I tend to over-research things so I really honestly thought I had this whole marriage thing pretty figured out. Naïve...I KNOW. But having lived with the same person for a number of years I figure that co-habitation in sin thing would prepare us in such a way that being married would be poof, nothing. Marriage is after all just a matter of mumbling some vows and signing a piece of paper right? When it comes down to it, those are the things that bind us legally as a married couple.

Right?

Well the first hurdle (for me, not necessarily for everyone) was changing my name. I was practically dragged kicking and screaming to change my name. I have a lot of personal reasons but foremost was it's MY NAME. I didn't want to change it, but I did because I wanted to be a family and I didn't want to wrestle with that whole hypenation thing. Sure we're just a family of two right now, but nonetheless it's symbolic of a committed union...plus Trevor really made me feel guilty about wanting to be a feminist who kept her own name.

Truth be told, it did not start off on a good foot since I was so anti-changing my name, but it was awful. Taking precious time off of work to sit in public administration buildings among incredibly sketchy people, not to mention just GETTING to the building and finding parking and navigating the line that gives you a number to get into the line to be serviced. It took a lot of patience I didn't really have.

Step one. Social Security Administration. You can mail in this one but I decided to drive there so I wouldn't have to part with my marriage certificate for an extended period of time and I knew that the moment I parted with my marriage certificate I would be asked to show it to someone to get something done. It's a rule. When you don't have it, people need to see it...that's how life works. At least that one's free.

The Department of Motor Vehicles. I don't like being at the DMV under the best of circumstances, but (at least in Connecticut) they take away your old license and they make you take a whole new picture. As many women will agree, taking a new picture can be traumatic...what if you have bad hair and an uneven complexion in your picture? You're stuck with that thing for years. Also free, but be prepared to beautified. Also since you're already there, be prepared to change your voter registration since you will have a new name for that too.

My passport. UGH. Kills me. I don't even want to talk about it but I will. If you've had your passport for an extended period of time and then get married and change your name you have to entirely renew your passport. That means your current (and likely not expired) passport that you barely made a dent in is junked and you have to start all over. New pictures need to be taken, new stamps need to be collected, new fees need to be paid.

The rest is pretty easy, but I think I'm still traumatized by the whole new passport thing.

And none of this is my husband's fault. I'm sure he didn't know about all the time consuming, anxiety causing red-tape, but I had to deal with it and he didn't. And I kind of resented him for it. I felt like in a partnership both of us had to suffer equally but in fact it was just me. He just got to sit there with his own name as though nothing had changed and nothing about him had to be compromised. Of course now that time has passed I'm 400% over it, plus I never have to do it again so there's no point in having a spaz attack over nothing, but at the time it was awful. I don't recommend it. You have to change everything. The name on your loans if you have any, your insurance, your car title, your cell phone service, any cable, credit cards, your doctor has to be informed, your dentist, you have to go to your bank and resign things with your new signature and new name, new checks...it's a huge laundry list of things.

Not to mention that whole sense of lost identity. At least for me. I guess if you have a really awesome first name then who cares if you change your last name? You still get to be Cher! Or Madonna or Lettuce or whatever...

Maybe one day we'll just all come up with combined nonsense names and both the husband and bride will change their names equally. So like, for instance if my last name was Miller and my husband's last name was Johnson we could compromise and be the Millson family.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Pots and Pans, oh just clap your hands, oh just clap your ha-ands

Sooo, I only just broke open the box of my pressure cooker and used it.

I got this pressure cooker as a bridal shower gift about this exact same time LAST YEAR.

This clearly just goes to show that I did not deserve to receive so many gifts because I might be 80 years old by the time I break into everything I was gifted and use it. Mind you, I'm grateful for everything, I just might not live to use it all. And this was one of the things I genuinely wanted to have because I was curious how it'd work. In fact it's pretty rad. It's like a crock pot, only without all that pesky waiting time of slowly cooking all day. I do however have to admit that I was intimidated by using it. I've seen a lot of cartoons in my youth where it blows up and expels its contents all over the room. I'm sure a lot of other people tend to feel the same way; I've never seen anyone actually use one on any cooking show, my mother's never used one and my friends never make any mention of.

I think it's sort of retro. But so far I like it, and I think it'll be my new favorite toy when making things like stock that sit on my stove chugging along for hours and hours and hours. Instead of that I can throw it in the pressure cooker and be done in 1/3rd the time. Saves time, saves electricity (I have an electric range..sigh) and they say it saves nutrients and vitamins because they aren't all cooked out. I don't know how much I believe that, but I'll just nod along.

I was about to also use my cake platter/dome, but the tiramisu I made was way way way smaller than the dome and if I put the tiramisu in there it'd look so tiny and sad. Plus it'd eat up like 1/3 of my fridge space because tiramisus need to remain chilled due to all the dairy. One day I'll need to make a normal cake that doesn't require refrigeration.

I do however feel good about wiping all those glasses and goblets off the registry because ugh, yeah..I only have like one shelf in one cabinet available for glasses and those suckers take up a ton of space. Now that I'm married I also do not drink any more than I did previously. In fact, I drink a lot less...so I really WOULD be 80 by the time I finally used those glasses. I know everyone says "oh, but we'll need it when we have holidays at our house" but when is the last time I even had a dinner guest? My dinner table is positioned so that only three people can eat at it. That means, Trevor, myself and one lonely guest.

I've been bargaining back and forth with myself about getting an enamel coated cast iron dutch oven. I want one...but I don't need one. So I keep going back and forth. And then back and forth. And then I hover extra long at Macys looking at one. They are crazy heavy just empty so I imagine I might break my weak chicken arms trying to carry one from the range to the oven and then to the table. But I also don't have a good stove. It seems silly to spend money on something I don't need when I have 90 gazillion pots and pans already. Perhaps when I have a really awesome gas range I'll find it'll be a welcome splurge for myself. A gift for being patient and awesome.

That or I accidentally melt some more of my existing pots and pans by being a doof and thus need to replace them.

I melted one this past weekend because I forgot about it on the stove when I was boiling water. Honest mistake. I didn't like that one anyway...wasn't non-stick. Constantly had gunk stuck to it I had to soak repeatedly to get off. I know that chefs seem to like the stainless, but I can't get into it. I have to use like 4 times more oil to coat the pan and I start feeling queasy about how that's all going to be stuck to my arteries. (Never mind the fact I use olive oil...I still am convinced I'm going to die.)

What did I make this weekend? Lasagna rollups for my Trevor. I'm not the biggest lasagna fan, but Trevor is so I pulled together a crab, shrimp and salmon filling for the lasagna. Rollups? Well, it's a slightly less time consuming manifestation of lasagna that traditionally takes hours to cook in the oven. These, you boil your noodles, lay then flat on your counter and spread your filling on top of the noodle. You then roll them up like a jelly-roll cake...except pasta-y. I had a mix of tomato sauce from a jar and a homemade mushroom cream sauce. Your precooked lasagna rolls still need to go in the oven to get all gooey and delicious. I don't have a timer...I just eyeball it. Maybe 30 minutes?

I would make a horrific cookbook writer, huh? I never have any measurements and I never know how long it takes to do anything. But it was delicious. And I like that it's individually portioned.

I know everyone and their dog's best friend's cousin's chiropractor has a story about how their grandmother made sauce from scratch, but not me. My grandmother never even ate spaghetti and meatballs in her entire life. And everyone just does it from the jar or can anyway. They talk a great game about how they love homemade sauce and then just go out and by it prefab and throw in some garlic powder and oregano to pretend it was homemade. Seems a little odd to me.

How many ingredients do you have to add to something in order for it to go from unhomemade, to homemade? I'm curious...I'm not just being a jerk about it. Like, if I buy bread and take a slice, stick it in the toaster and schmear it with butter, I didn't just make homemade toast?...or did I? Does the heating it make it homemade? If that's the case, if I heat up a frozen pizza can I then claim it's a homemade pizza?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Some bubbley with your shampoo?

Today? Someone else gets to wrestle with my chaotic mop of hair. Don't be too excited, I'm being boring and just getting a trim. I'm still committed to having long loose tussled-on-purpose hair. I'm psyched for salon time though. I'm a very recent convert; before the wedding you would pretty much have to drag me to get a hair cut because it was unfun and mildly stressful to pick a style. But now I dig it, I think I found a good stylist that "gets me." In fact it's the girl who did my hair for my wedding and I've been going back to her since then because she's so nice and makes me feel so welcome. Plus she totally hooks me up. I love it. I recommend her to local friends but I'll refrain from doing that via internets for fear I'll never be able to book a haircut without a 3 week wait. (P.S.: I am selfish.)

My hair history: I started off bald, I stayed pretty boyish looking until 5. I'm not ashamed to admit this because it's just a fact. If you threw me into a gender neutral outfit my mother would often get "what a handsome boy" as compliments. What are you gonna do? Turn back time? Buy baby toupees? My dad however was concerned my lack of hair grow-age would somehow correlate into my being a lesbian (ah, the worries of a first time parent) but he clearly needn't have bothered because it grew out like a dark wavy ocean. Where I got this thick crazy hair is beyond either of my parents. Where once there was hardly any, I suddenly looked like I was distantly related to Diana Ross. Ah, adolescence...what an amazingly awkward unattractive time for me. Thankfully as I grew older it calmed down, straightened a little bit, and I learned a few things about hair product usage and washing practices so now it's actually somewhat under my control.

BUT I still hate styling it. I commend anyone who wants to wake up an hour early to wash and dry their hair. Every hair stylist I've ever sat down in front of runs their hands through my hair and exclaims I have way too much hair for one person's head. Thanks? I never quite know how to reply. One day I'll have to make a list of snappy comebacks.

For Kim's wedding I think I already told this story, but I'll re-iterate and include way more detail. I wanted to give her a great bachelorette. But, as you might imagine giving a bachelorette party to a pregnant woman comes with a lot of intrinsic roadblocks. You can't have her consuming alcohol. You can't drag her around walking all over NYC or Boston or VEGAS the poor dear's feet would likely be swollen beyond recognition. And just going out to dinner is so benign and normal that it wouldn't even register as a bachelorette outing. We go out to dinner just on regular random days...your bachelorette should be slightly more special.

So someone mentioned doing glamour shots. Well that seemed funny enough, but a little too cheesy, so it morphed into doing pin-up girl pictures at a local salon, called Hot Rock & Dye. Because it would be highly inappropriate content to share...I won't. It was hard enough convincing the entire bridal party to do it at ALL because I had to convince them it wasn't the equivalent of selling your body on the streets. It's just a picture. Photoshop exists for a reason. You can wear whatever you want. If you don't want to wear a nightie, wear pajamas. If you don't want to wear pajamas, wear a...space suit. No one can make you do anything you don't want to do. It's never going to end up on the cover of some gentlemen's magazine. And whatever body-related issues you have...well, that's up to you to have. Everyone is their own worst critic. Believe it or not, I have cellulite and zits and a long laundry list of other things I don't feel 100% comfortable and happy about. But everyone has issues. Women have ridiculous quantities of issues, but you can't let it get in the way of living your life.

Soapbox moment, done.

I will however say it was a lot of fun channeling my inner Bettie Page. I don't think my individual pictures came out that fantastic, but it wasn't my bachelorette, so who cares? I also did not plop down over $100 for a personal session, so you can't expect perfection right away. It was a fun experience and I had a ton of laughs. The group pictures we took were nice and Kim's individuals were nice too.

HRD also did the wedding party's hair, so we spent a LOT of time at that salon between pin-up girl hair and makeup and then wedding hair and makeup. They were very nice and from what I hear weddings have been keeping them very busy lately...something I'm happy to hear from a new business because every business's first year is rough when you're trying to start up a new list of clients. Plus I don't really identify my hometown as a rockin' place and all the stylists have tattoos and super colorful hair and piercings...and are generally very "alternative." The fact that there's a niche for this is pretty rad. My Mother In Law told me there's a salon the town over called The Hair Saloon, which has a western cowgirl type theme...plus a bar.

Hair cut, plus a tall cold pint of beer?! What a time to be alive.