Thursday, September 29, 2011

Blargh -- Sickness Ahoy

Warning: this post is really rambling.

So this past week I've been flirting on-and-off with staying home and going to school. I apparently have a sinus infection (first time for everything, eh?) and just started antibiotics yesterday after my rather fortuitously scheduled doctor's appointment. But I had stayed home from classes Friday after sleeping straight through my first class, felt moderately fine (just very sniffly) Saturday, and had a 100 degree F fever (38C) by Sunday night. As I had not gone to classes Friday, I HAD to attend classes Monday, and was completely wiped by the end of the day, massive amounts of ibuprofin, pseudoephedrin not-withstanding. Tuesday, I skipped my one class and rested for most of the day, applied for a job and had band practice in the basement. I felt mostly fine. Wednesday dawned and I felt decent, took my massive quantities of drugs (robitussin added to the litany) and attending my four classes and headed for my doctors appointment. It was on my way back to campus for practice with a theory partner and orchestra rehearsal that I crashed. Hard. I was so out of it when practicing with M that I played a C major scale on the piano and called it an F scale. He was like "uh... that's a C scale. You ARE really out of it!"

I wound up passing on orchestra (try playing an oboe with a completely throbbing head - you won't like it) and my normally an hour-long journey home took me about two as I had to get up the gumption to make said journey. It may or may not have involved lying on the grass trying to eat a banana while incredibly nauseous. Just sayin'.

But, make it home I did, and I slept for two hours until Mister came home and bought my antibiotics and we made a frozen pizza.

I slept well last night, and canceled on rehearsing with my theory partners again today and just told them that I'd work on it here (we have to perform a sightreading trio for a quiz Friday -- we need to learn all three parts and sing it three times through, switching parts each time. My prof is kinda crazy awesome. I think I'm the only one who finds this entertaining). Hopefully with another day of puttering, I'll be up to going to classes tomorrow.

You might notice I am putting more emphasis on MWF classes -- I have four classes on those days, and only the one on T/Th (which was canceled today anyway). So it's more of an ordeal to get behind on four classes than the one. I also know that all we were doing in Tuesday's class was a group discussion of the questions on the stories that I didn't have to work on, my group having gone last Thursday. I love my Literature class, but I know that a group discussion is easier to miss than a lecture.

Man, there is nothing scarier than being sure you're going to not make it home ok and not having any escort. Just KNOWING that the journey is an hour long and full of bumps and poor braking skills and loud noises... I was sure I was going to have another episode of passing out on the train.

Although, in my love of pissing people off, I was rather amused that when I was kinda stretched out over 2.5 seats on the train, a woman sat down on my feet and went "EXCUSE ME!!!!" and gave me a Glare-o-Death x1000Mh. I've never had the balls to actually do that -- I just usually glare at the offender while standing, but I was half-dozing on the train, so I'm sure I wouldn't have noticed that action.

... ok this is waaaaaaay to rambling and I'll cut this off here. Let's just leave it at I've been having an Adventure this week and I'd rather not be. :-P

Friday, September 23, 2011


The other day, L and I raided the damaged produce cart at the grocery store. We came home with four packs of tomatoes, one pack of red peppers, and one pack of apples. All of the tomatoes and one single pepper have been turned into meat sauce (which was then turned into lasagne last night OM NOM NOM), and just the apples taunted me. I knew that I wanted to make applesauce, especially as I'd opened my last jar a few weeks ago. The fact that the sauce inside was runny and too sweet was mildly disappointing.

So today, I chopped up all of the apples, added a bit of water and the runny applesauce and set it to cook down. It cooked down about 5 hours or so, and then I deemed it worthy. :-P (As the previous applesauce was too sweet, I didn't add any additional sugar or spices.)

Keeping in mind my failure recently, and remembering that I STILL am without my jar lifters (grr), I was a little more cautious this time around. Heeding Francesca, I popped the jars into the oven to warm, instead of submerging them in hot water. I then took great care in using my silicone gripper and a wide spatula when lowering the jars into the water.

According to my Ball Blue Book of Canning, applesauce should be waterbath canned for 20 mins. They've been in there for at least 10 minutes (I'm timing for when the LAST jar went in, because you can't overprocess them by a few minutes) and when they are done, I will remove the WATER with a measuring cup (I did this last time to great effect) and thus, minimize any attempts to burn myself.

When this is all complete, I will have 7 jelly jars (8oz) of applesauce for the minimal price of $1.

UPDATE: Success! 7 jars and no burns! :-D

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


And L told me "Don't make me turn this conversation around! Go do your homework!" And that she wasn't dead and/or lost, she was by the RiteAid. Which, when she tried to figure out how to get lost after first dying, she accused me of being morbid and scaring her when I offered the option of being murdered and having the murderer drag her body off.


I'm never doing anything of note these days, it seems I'm always doing updates and status checks on life. Oh well. As a snapshot, I can see the guy who paints the house sweeping paint chips off of my porch and hear the garage band next door rocking out. I've also got marinara on the stove (holy cow that asshole just went the wrong way down not one, but TWO one way streets!)... ahem. I've got marinara on the stove that I started yesterday (tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, garlic, fried onions, fried red pepper, ground beef and fried mushrooms) and I'm delaying writing a paper for history (due Friday) and some responses for something in Lit (due tomorrow). ... AND my theory homework, and studying for my Ear Training exam on Friday, and my Russian work... I just don't wanna right now!

I harvested my first cantaloupe the other day; it's the Pixie variety. It's funny, it tasted and looked (when cut) like an orange honeydew melon. It had that smooth, almost crisp texture of the honeydew and was less sweet than I expect cantaloupe to be. But still delicious! I have another one on the counter waiting for me, and I have three on the vine that might ripen in time, and I discovered two rotting as babies on the vine (I'm thinking that a ladder smooshed them -- house painting, remember?).

Hm, my sorta roommate, L, is missing... she went out for a walk and a phone call and hasn't come back for two hours. I should probably check in to make sure things are ok...

On her end, she finally did get a job (R, I've told you some of the tale I believe), it's the SAME ONE that she was trying to get, but she's still looking because although they brought their offer back up to the pay she was initially offered, the hours are still 6pm-2am, and the train stops running at 12:30am which means she'd have to be driving downtown during rushhour to GET to work... ick. But, it's a paycheck until something better comes along. AND she has a new car. AND she's dating four boys. So, her lack of boyfriend, car, job and apartment (all in the same week) is just down to apartment!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Couple of Recipes

I've had a few tabs up on Lappy, so I'd like to clear them out.

Biscuits and Gravy -- I've yet to find a place around here that does them justice.

Homemade Egg Rolls -- I've had some miserable luck with egg rolls, so I'll have to try this recipe, which the author claims is easy. :-P

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wedding Planning

On, they have a lovely set of tools to help those that are planning a wedding. Lots of etiquette tips, check lists, planning schedules, and of course a registry at! As some things have changed in the planning yet there isn't an option to ADD items to the checklist (although thankfully I can delete them!), I'm going to have a running list here, based upon Amazon's.

12 Months Ahead
- announce engagement
- select sites for ceremony and reception: Mister's uncle's house for the reception, court house for the ceremony
- start working on guest list for approximate headcount: ~60 people
- introduce both sets of parents
- talk to families about budget, place, size, etc.
- open a joint bank account for wedding savings (not sure if we're going to do this one)
- set a budget for wedding rings

10 Months Ahead
- start thinking about invitations and shopping for a stationer: me, I just need to pick a font and practice it over and over again
- start scouting for vendors (all ? indicate unconfirmed status)

- caterer: Redbones?
- bakery: family and friends?
- musicians: Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band?
- photographer: Mister's coworker?
- videographer: n/a
- florist: Trader Joe's
- calligrapher: me

- start sketching dress designs
- help decide landscape choices at Mister's uncle's house

8 Months Ahead
- register for gifts: just a couple things to hammer out...
- discuss wedding ring style with partner: and got an appointment set up with the jeweler in January :-D
- book your caterer (Redbones)
- book your musicians (ENSMB)
- research honeymoon
- finalize guest list and start collecting addresses
- order stationary: I have the invitations, I just need a business card-sized card with the registry address, Thank You cards and a postcard for RSVPs
- decide what cakes to make: due to brilliant brainstorming, we'll be making 10 pound cakes (of 5 recipes), so we need to pick tasty ones
- decide on a dress design
- pick out fabric and notions
- make decisions about disposable vs. real dishes/glasses/flatware etc.
- start thinking about table settings

6 Months Ahead
- scout accommodations for out-of-town guests: Mister's uncle offered three bedrooms, and we MAYBE have one, but that's it
- plan menu with caterer
- plan playlist with musicians: we'll probably just say "have fun"
- shop for wedding bands: will already be done, if my January schedule works out
- book honeymoon
- mail invitations 6 months before
- work on dress?
- finalize table settings

4 Months Ahead
- research requirements for marriage license
- make honeymoon reservations
- meet with party-rental company to discuss tables and chairs
- work on dress?

2 Months Ahead
- review insurance (car, life, medical, home) documents with fiance, anticipating change in marital status
- finalize menu with caterer
- finalize beverage choices: having friends brew two kegs for us? and a handful of wines and cider?
- have dress finished by now

4 Weeks Ahead
- plan day-after brunch/party: not sure if we'll do this
- plan seating for reception
- confirm details with all vendors
- confirm honeymoon arrangements (e.g., pet sitters, housesitters, suspension of mail delivery)
- have a favor-making get-together, if you're making your own

2 Weeks Ahead
- get marriage license
- submit final playlist to musican: not sure necessary
- write out table and placecards for reception: not sure necessary
- break in your shoes
- keep up with thank-you notes (for bridal shower gifts or help with making favors, for example)
- confirm honeymoon reservations and give copy of itinerary to friend

1 Week Ahead
- pack for honeymoon
- give caterer final head count
- place fees, including tips, for all the vendors in marked envelopes, to be distributed on the day
- bake cakes/confirm who's baking cakes: ideally I'll have help with this, but I can bake cakes

One Day Ahead
- try to get a good night's sleep
- get outfit set out and ready
- pack car

Wedding Day
- if sending wedding announcements, make sure they're in the mail: I'm not sure if we'll do this, but there will be people that we won't be able to invite that this might be the right gesture for
- eat a good breakfast

Pondering Cooking

I'm sitting in my dining room with my temporary roommate L, me with the laptop, checking up on all of my blogs, and her waiting for a date to show up (he was supposed to be here anywhere from a half hour ago to 2 mins from now... jerk). I have a mug of cold tea and a bowl of cooling soup (Thai Sweet Potato from a box -- not a fan of lemongrass, ick). I also have a stockpot with the beginnings of stock on the stove.

I'd cooked a chicken for Saturday's dinner* (with Mister's uncle and significant other), and the time had come for its carcass to be useful once more. After removing all of the citrus from the cavity, I broke apart the easily separated bones on the carcass and put it in the stock pot with water to cover it. (I left all of the garlic cloves in.) I roughly chopped an onion, a few sticks of celery and added plenty of spices (pepper, salt, rosemary, parsley (semi-fresh, there were some old leaves that I used), dried oregano, two bay leaves, etc.). I'll let it cook down for a few hours and then strain it all, then add the meat back into the liquid and whatever else I'd like to put into my soup.

Sitting here waiting for the stock, I realized that I feel like a competent cook. I've always had a fair hand at baking, but my cooking was usually less than inspired. About a year ago, Mister told me "wow! You've learned to cook!" I was ridiculously offended, but he protested his innocence, claiming that ever since I started reading all of the doomer and cooking blogs, I really picked up a lot, but before I really only knew how to stir-fry things (not a bad thing IMO). I brushed him off at the time, but perhaps he's right. (Acknowledgement a year later means that I don't have to inform him, right?)

I didn't need to look up "How To Make Stock" on the interwebs, I just knew what to do. I didn't even need to double check what spices other people use, I just grabbed what would work. Honestly, I could grab most things in the kitchen and make a decent meal out of them, without resources. To make things spectacular if I've never made them before, I'd probably want a reference. But I don't need it. And that absolutely floors me.

I think what I find most incredible about it is it's yet another step along the path of Adulthood. I've fought really long and hard to deny that I'm full grown, that I can be still considered a kid in some contexts. But in all honesty? I'm 24. I've been living on my own for almost four years (and was at school for three years before that, but that only half counts). I've been working full time for almost four years (and back to non-employment and school :-P). I'm getting MARRIED next summer, and if that's not adult, I don't know what is.

But, I can cook now.

*I stuffed the cavity with an orange cut into 12ths, and an equal number of garlic cloves. It was then trussed to keep it all together. The "marinade" or whatever it's called was orange juice, mustard, butter, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and rosemary infused together on the stove top; although after the first 30 minutes I could use pan drippings to baste, so the remainder of the marinade went towards making the gravy at the end. I cook it for the first 10 minutes at 425F, then at 375 for the rest of the time, basting every 30 minutes religiously. This chicken had the most delicious skin of any chicken I've made yet.

Monday, September 12, 2011


So R, I feel far too lazy to both post and send you an email about school, so I'm just gonna post it all here! :-P

Tuesday was the first day of classes, and I had one class -- ENGL200, or Understanding Literature. My teacher was my kind of people: no bullshit, straight-talking, a bit of a hard ass, but understanding to those who follow the rules but maybe need one exception down the line. :-P I am a fan, and I look forward to those classes.

Wednesday is my main day of classes, as I have all of my MWF classes and band as well (which I actually don't start until the end of the month, as the strings get a few extra weeks of alone time with the conductor to Not Suck). I start out with Russian at 9 am.

My Russian professor, Svitlana, seems very nice, a bit scatter brained, and it's hard to get a feel for how she is as a prof. With it just being Russian 101, I'm sure there won't be any great strides made in my learning the language, especially as one has to teach to the lowest common denominator. But it's a good class to wake up with. Also, the guy who sits next to me is pretty cool, and already took Russian, so he's just boosting his GPA. (A.k.a. sounds like good Class Partner material to me!)

From 10 am until noon, I am in what's basically the same class: Theory 3 leads into Ear Training 3. I don't move, it's the same professor, and it's the same principles. I LOVE love love my theory prof. He's hands-down my fave prof thus far. He's funny, he's teaching at pretty much the level I need right now (it's a little dumbed down, but we've only had the third class), and I'm doing excellently and sitting in the front row. I like classes that make me feel smart, and have smart people in them, and there are a lot of smart people in this class. You don't make it to level 3 without being capable of understanding the concepts in levels 1 and 2 competently. That, and the smart people sit up front parallel with me, so we can ignore the few dumb-butts. It doesn't hurt my profs case that, apparently, after the first class, he told my conductor that [the conductor]'d love me, because I play all the instruments. No, that isn't a terrible thing at all in a popularity contest. :-P

From noon to 1pm I have break. Nominally I should be bringing lunch, but half the time I forget, and usually find a secluded corner away from the craziness of lunch.

At 1pm I have the one class that I'm not sure about. It's History of Western Civilization, and I'm leery of both the prof and the class. Firstly, I found out in the first 30 seconds way too much about my prof's life, how she has a bias (her concentration is in Italian Ren, "which means that I'm really reading Roman texts anyway"), and that this is her third year teaching. The part about my classmates... well, let's just give this lovely example. When asked why do we study this time in history (800BC-1600AD), one girl (a self-proclaimed history major) went:

Well, you have Jesus, then you have all the theses [A.N. she meant the Protestant Reformation], then you have the Glorious Revolution, which leads to OUR revolution! That's why we should study this!

... yeah. A little too much Jesus and a little too much America the Beautiful. The one good thing about the class is ONE single classmate who also knows wtf he's doing there. We had a couple debates across the classroom the first day, and by the second class he just moved on up to the front next to me. :-D I rock that way. We had lunch today, and I met his lovely new (as of start of school) girlfriend. I HAVE OFFICIALLY MADE FRIENDS.

All I've done with Band is audition, and I did well. The conductor and I chatted for a while (he's written two books on Gustav Holst! I must find these!) and he was very candid about the quality of the ensemble. He said he's not been ashamed of a concert in 10 years, but that I might be disappointed. Although the clarinetist is apparently ALSO my kind of people, in that he plays everything (started on oboe, but had jaw problems so had to switch) and is all around a Good Guy. I am looking forward to meeting my section (by which I mean woodwinds -- I'm the only oboist).

But I'm liking school thus-far. The work-load is manageable, and I like classes and learning. My classmates are decent, and except for the hallways, I'm mostly not having to deal with stupid 18-year-olds in my face.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Life Changes!

So things have been different in my house these past couple of days, and are bound to get even more so this week. My good friend from high school, L, has just moved to the area and is crashing with us until she finds a place. I love her dearly, and she's been great fun to have around.

One thing that makes me sad to do, but is important, is we're charging her to stay. Nominally, it's $100/week, but she's at $50/week and she's helping us clean (her point was that it de-stresses her, and she's gonna do it anyways). The reason why we have the bar set fairly high is this: another friend from high school, C, has rather irresponsibly decided that she's ALSO moving out here, and is apparently under the delusion that either a) I'm finding her an apartment or b) she's living with me and Mister. Neither of these are happening (esp. as Mister can't stand C and she bugs the ever-loving crap out of me after about 20 mins) so we're charging an amount that we're sure she cannot attain as she does not have a job in the area. :-D Sneaky and underhanded yes, but so is getting a phone call from your mother asking why you didn't tell her that C was going to be your new roommate (apparently my mother heard it from C's dad that C was moving in). It is not an issue with L, as L DOES have a job that starts tomorrow, L is actively searching for an apartment, and L is not obnoxious.

The other thing that starts tomorrow is school. Due to the unemployed aspect of my life, I am going to be a full-time student (yippee kiyay). I'm looking forward to classes, I really am, but the thought of being surrounded by teenagers is really disheartening. Luckily, quite a few of my classes should NOT be populated by young'uns, as I'm taking Theory 3 and Ear Training 3 (my old school called it Aural Skills and I keep finding it difficult to not call it that), as well as Russian and I feel that's a less common one. :-P

Gah, it may not be TMI Tuesday, but TMI ahead: I had an IUD put in about a month ago, and although it will be fabulous in the long run, it means that I have 6 months of cramping and intermittent spotting. I've been in two straight weeks of cramping every single day and not enjoying it. Usually by the SECOND dose of drugs it goes away. I want to remove my organs with a fork and knife and feed it to wild cats.