Wednesday, December 31, 2008

More FLYlady

People who know me know that I never do anything halfway. After reading the first book of the Harry Potter series when I was 16, I completely immersed myself in the fandom. When I took up knitting I couldn't stop, and quickly began to surpass some of the girls that helped teach me. So, just a couple days after my mother suggested I visit the FLYlady's website , I took off and am FLYing fast!

The program builds on itself, so on day two my instructions are to maintain my clean and shiny sink, and to "get dressed to the shoes."

I figured that putting on your shoes every morning is a great step for full-time homemakers and stay-at-home moms, but I put my shoes on every day. I chose instead to get dressed to the make-up, which fits in nicely with another of my resolutions to dress so that I could be photographed.

I wrenched myself out of bed reluctantly at around 5:30 this morning (I usually hit the snooze until 6:00 or later!) and jumped in the shower. Amazingly, once I was out of the shower, I didn't feel sleepy or groggy.

After I got dressed, make-up and everything, I headed into the kitchen and followed FLYlady's instructions to put away clean dishes from the dishwasher right away. When that was done and I sat down to eat breakfast, I couldn't believe that I had an entire half-hour to relax before I needed to head out the door.

By the time I was in my chair at work, I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I'm in a great mood today after a month or two of a slump. I still am feeling quite cheerful as I'm writing this.

I am super-optimistic about 2009. Woohoo!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Shiny Sink

I decided to get a head-start on my first resolution this evening.

When I told my mother I wanted to work toward keeping my apartment neat and tidy, she pointed me toward the FLYLady's method. The first step, according to FLYLady is to "shine your sink."

When I got home this evening, I got right to work following the sink-shining instructions. I'm sorry, I forgot to take a before photo, but picture a sink full of dishes, coated in grime, and speckled with red candle wax from an incident a couple weeks ago.

This is what my sink looks like now:




The FLYLady was right! My shiny sink literally puts a smile on my face.

It's That Time of Year Again!


That's right, it's time to think long and hard about all the things we hate about ourselves and declare that this year is going to be different! This year I'm really going to loseweightquitsmokingsavemoremoneyworkouteveryday.


So, without further ado, here's my list:


Resolved: I will finally have a home that I'm not ashamed to invite friends into. I am going to learn to maintain a neat and tidy home with the help of the FLYlady. I'm going to do everything in my power (read: lots of nagging) to get Husband to help.


Resolved: I will cushion my savings account with $50 a month, whether I really really want those new shoes or not. Next time my car wigs out on me unexpectedly, I'll be prepared.


Resolved: I will dress well enough to be prepared to be photographed at least four days a week. This means jeans that fit me, nice shoes, a nice top, hair done, and (the horror!) make-up. I want to be an attractive, well-dressed woman that Husband will be proud to show off. Not for his sake, but for mine. I'm tired of just rolling out of bed every morning and running out the door.


I'd also like to start practicing yoga regularly again, eat a natural and primarily locally-produced and seasonal diet; but as the three resolutions I've already listed will mean getting up at least half an hour earlier every day, I'm not holding my breath.


May we all be happy and healthy and surrounded by friends in 2009!


Monday, December 22, 2008

I'm going on vacation--without you!

In the months leading up to my wedding, my mother felt compelled to make sure I wasn't making a decision I would regret. She and my father married young and later divorced, and I frequently get the sense that she wants to keep me from going down the same path.

One of the things she said to me on several occasions was something like this: "What are you going to do when you want to go backpacking through Europe, and Husband isn't interested?" My usual response was, "I'll go without him."


Now, I'm happy to read in this article from time.com that doing that won't harm our relationship. In fact, traveling independently from each other could even strengthen our marriage!


So, Sister, how about that trip to Luxembourg?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

No Facebook?

Whenever I try to access Facebook I get an error message. Is anyone else experiencing this? It's been like this for about 24 hours.

I think I'm dying!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Little Help?

Husband and I raised our voices to each other yesterday.

You see, I was running around the apartment trying to tidy up so that I could make a huge mess later with all the baking I had planned for that afternoon.

Have you ever noticed that if you're running around tidying up, and someone else is sitting and doing something more relaxing that it gives you just a little twinge of resentment? Well I was feeling that little twinge for the last week or so, and yesterday it started to grow.

And when I went to do the dishes (the task that I hate above all others) I found the proverbial hair that broke the proverbial camel's back. It was a large dirty bowl filled with dirty water, and a plate sitting inside of the bowl and neatly sealing it off.

"Husband, can you come here a second? I want to show you something," I said in a fake-sweet tone. I walked over to the door of "his room" and beckoned with one finger.

"If you're going to complain about something I do that bothers you can I complain about all the things that you do that bother me?" He said as he reluctantly got up out of his chair.

I pointed out the plate-in-bowl issue and he looked at me like I'd lost my mind. "I just really hate when you do that," I said, "It's hard to get it out."

He then picked up the bowl and tipped it over so that the water came pouring out and the plate went with it. "Was that so hard?"

"Well, I just want a little help around here! You complain that I never do the dishes, so you could at least make it easier for me when I do!"

"No, you just think it's slavery if you have to do the dishes once a week!"

"I've done the dishes four times this week!" (Yes, I had been counting.)

"Then the dishes are getting done twice a day!"

It went on like that for about five minutes. The point is this: how is it possible that I feel like I'm the only one who does any work around the house, and he also feels like he's the only one who does any work around the house? I would really love to have a third party fly-on-the wall observe us and determine who actually does "all the work around the house."

But then again, Husband would probably get angry when that third party points out that I was right and he was wrong. ;)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Crying Over Rotten Asparagus

In one of my earliest posts I mentioned that one of my goals is to develop healthier eating habits. One of the biggest obstacles to reaching that goal is that I can never seem to eat the fresh fruits and vegetables I buy before they go bad.



Last night I got out some asparagus that I bought on Saturday so that I could cook it for dinner and was so aggravated to find that it had already gone bad. After some Internet searching I learned that asparagus only has a shelf-life of 2 to 3 days. I'll keep that in mind next time I go shopping, and plan to cook asparagus the day I buy it.



In my digging I found this article from Real Simple about how to keep produce fresh. This article also explains why the carrots I bought a couple weeks ago went bad: I left the greens on them when I put them in the fridge.



I'm amazed at how much I didn't know about storing food. If you have any tips about how to keep things fresh, please share!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Getting By Without A Car

I've managed just a little over a week without my car, and I've got to say, it's not so bad.

At first it was hard, because the bus schedules are so tight that my chance of catching my last connecting bus home was pretty slim. I learned that the hard way when I found myself stranded at a cold dark bus depot frantically dialing my friends' numbers. (You're a life saver, LA!)

After that ordeal, I found myself scouring the Internet for alternatives. Today, I think I've finally got it all figured out. Here's my new and improved plan:

I take a bus from the mall by my apartment for $.50 all the way to the nearby airport. From there, I can get on a Metro bus for $3. It takes me to the same Metro station that the commuter bus was taking me to for half the price! Then it $2.60 to take the Metro to a station near my office.

In the afternoon, it's a little bit trickier. I take the Metro a little further this time for $3.85. I catch a Commuter bus out of that station which only costs $1.75. It lets off at a shopping center that's a couple miles from my apartment. If the Gods are smiling on me, I can take a $.50 connector, but it's more likely that I'll be walking back to my apartment.

Before, I was paying $10 or so one way making my daily commuting cost $20! With my new plan, I'm only spending $11.7o a day! That is slashing my cost by almost half. Woot.

And, as an added bonus, with all the walking (and when time isn't on my side running) I've been doing, I feel like I'm making up for some missed workouts.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Decking the Halls

Ok, I admit it. I LOVE Christmas! Once Thanksgiving is over every year, you can find me singing carols, thinking about gifts, decorating my house, baking, and doing lots of other Yuletide things. In fact, in the years since I gave up Christianity, I've found that I am automatically converted back to Christianity every December. Glory to God in the Highest! And on Earth peace, goodwill toward men!

Here's what I've been up to in the first week of December:


I bought a Christmas tree, set it up, and decorated it all by my self! My Grinch of a husband insisted that Christmas trees are too much trouble, and If I wanted one it was my responsibility and he would have no part of it. (Bah Humbug!) Besides, shouldn't I be saving my money to get my car fixed?






Silly Husband! Didn't you know I could save money by making my own ornaments? I made this one with instructions from the queen of crafts herself, Martha Stewart. They weren't terribly difficult, but you should allow 24 hours to dry the glue.










Also, you knew I was making Christmas stockings. They're finally finished! Trouble is, without a fireplace, I don't know where to put them.


Finally, here's the Creche that I found at a thrift
store:


Friday, December 5, 2008

I learned a new trick!

Last night was date night. I'm still doing without a car, and Husband came to pick me up from the bus station. He was in a sour mood from the moment I opened the car door. When I asked him where he wanted to go for dinner, he insisted that he wasn't hungry. When "Bohemian Rhapsody" came on the radio, he got mad at me for singing along. When I asked what he was wrong he said "nothing." When I asked him what he did today, "nothing."


We eventually decided to go to the Macaroni Grill. After about ten minutes of his one word answers, I was fed up. "What the hell do you have up your ass tonight?"


Eyes wide, he said "That was mean!"


"I'm sorry, but you're being grumpy even for you."


That seemed to shock him back to normal, and his mood improved vastly after that; he was laughing and making jokes. Perhaps I'll have to start using this tough-love approach more often!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

What I want to be when I grow up:



Can I just say that I love my mother? And I promise I'm not just saying that because she'll probably read it. I think a lot about how lucky I am to have such a great family, especially my momma. There are so many daughters out there who have these contentious relationships with their mothers, and I'm happy to say I'm not one of them. I like spending time with Momma, and I sometimes get jealous when she's too busy for me.




Also, my home would be a wreck without her. For some reason, I just didn't inherit her eye for design. Shortly after I moved into my current apartment, she came over and appraised the decor, then asked if she could rearrange a few things. All she did was move some furniture around and add a few throw pillows, and the place suddenly looked like a proper home rather than a dorm room.




When I think about motherhood and parenting, I always come to the conclusion that I should emulate her style. There were all these little things that she did that made me feel loved, and a little spoiled. Here are a few examples:




Blow-drying my hair after a bath, and blowing the warm air onto my cold, bare skin.


Secretly going into my room and tidying it up while I was at school.


Taking me on spontaneous adventures. (A friend and I were recently reminiscing about how we were playing together and Momma said "come on girls, we're going out!" And took us horseback riding)


Providing me with a mug of hot-chocolate to sip while waiting for the school bus on winter mornings.




There are so many other little things like this! In fact, here is an excerpt from an e-mail she sent today:

AND I got the sofa for you (the white one at auction). I would like to
come out this evening and switch so we can try it on. B and I LOVE
it!! So, if you WANT, why don't we play with your house tonight? We can
move the futon back to Husband's office, and see how this sofa looks.


I'm looking forward to it!


Monday, December 1, 2008

Anyone know a mechanic that specializes in exorcisms?

So, my car is possessed by demons. I won't go into the details, but what it comes down to is that it is not safe to drive and is going to cost a fortune to be repaired.




Husband insisted that he would not allow me to "commandeer" his car as I have in the past when mine was out of commission. So, for now, I'm taking public transportation.




Now, I'm a big supporter of public transportation. If I could, I would get rid of the car altogether and use only public transportation and my own two feet to get around. Unfortunately, as this map illustrates, I live really far away from, well, everything!


But, I can manage. Here's what I did this morning: I walked to the mall in my back yard where I was able to catch a bus to a local commuter parking lot. From there, I catch another bus to a Metro Station where I catch a train which stops within a few blocks of my office. That's all fine, until you break down the costs.


Bus #1 -- $.50

Bus #2 -- $7

Metro -- $2.60


That's about $10. Double it, (because at the end of the day I have to go back home) and that's $20 a day!


For now, though, I don't think I have any other options.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

8 Things No One Tells You About Marriage

Since I havn't had time to come up with new posts lately, I figure I'll let someone else do the work for me. I found this great article about what to expect in marriage on WebMD.com while I was trying to figure out why I've been sleeping 10 hours a night and am still tired in the morning. (More on that later.)

It's a very good article, although, I bet any woman who has been married for a substantial length of time could have told me the same things. Maybe I should consult my grandmother about it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sorry.

I apologize for the lack of posts this week. I have a bunch in mind, but I havn't got around to taking or uploading photos for them. Here's a teaser of what's in the works:

The finished Christmas stockings.

Decorating for the holidays.

Arguing with Husband about how I spend my money.

Recipes from my contribution to Thanksgiving dinner.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Home for the Holidays

The question is, whose home?

Although Husband and I have only been married a couple months, we have been living together for two years, and dating for over six. So, the "where will we spend the holidays?" question is one we've gotten used to struggling over.

Last Thanksgiving, we decided to do a double-header. Our parents live about an hour's drive apart from each other, so we planned on having a Thanksgiving lunch with his family and then Thanksgiving dinner with mine. Sound exhausting? It was.

This year, deciding that we were not up for a repeat of last year's hectic rush, we went back and forth quite a bit before finally making the decision to have Thanksgiving with my family. I happily announced to my mother that she "won," only to be told that she wasn't expecting us and had made plans to go out of town! I was completely disappointed. Fortunately, after some discussion, she and my step-father decided that if we would spend Thanksgiving with them, they would stay home.

Christmas, is still up in the air. Because of Husband's job, he may need to work on Christmas. His family traditionally exchanges gifts on Christmas Eve, so there would be no loss there; but I will then be left to spend my first Christmas day as a wife alone with my own family.

I'm sure that will be fine, but I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't feel just a little bit lonely if that is the case.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Date for the Opera

A few posts ago, I gushed about how Husband bought me tickets to see Denyce Graves in Carmen (Photo taken from the Washington Post. Photographer Karen Kooper)

I came home one evening, and Husband sneakily tricked me into checking my date book for something. When I opened it up to November, I saw the date of the Opera highlighted, and my tickets were taped inside!

He got laid that night.

Something I didn't mention before though, is how happy I am with his honesty. Husband asked me if I wanted him to join me at the opera. I answered his question with another question: Do you actually want to go?

Of course, I would love for my husband to get dressed-up with me and stroll down the red carpet at the Kennedy Center (no really, the carpeting at the Kennedy Center is red!) and escort me to my seat; but I knew that once he sat in his seat he'd be bored to death for the rest of the evening.

Back to our discussion: He said that he would happily go if I wanted him to go. But that's not what I asked. I wanted to know if he would actually gain any pleasure out of hearing Denyce Graves' sultry voice decorating some of the most seductive music in the opera universe.

"Honestly? No, I'd be bored to death. You always complain about how so many people buy up tickets to the opera, who don't actually want to be there. They just go to be seen. You should take someone who will enjoy it as much as you will."

Next week when I am strutting down the Kennedy Center's red carpet, the person on my arm will be one of my very best friends. My college roommate who studied opera with me at Shenandoah, and who is an even bigger opera fanatic than I am.

Thank you, Husband!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Talking in my Sleep

This morning, in an internet message, Husband said this:

"Last night you said you wanted more space in our relationship because your sweater didnt fit."

I guess I was thinking a lot about the sweater I'm knitting. It's starting to look like it will be too big.

I do remember having a very fitful night, and I don't feel terribly rested this morning. I'm pretty cranky today.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Those Little Pleasures

I realized that most of what I write about in here, with regards to my marriage, has to do with our differences and disagreements. I'd like to take a moment to talk about one of my favorite things that Husband and I do together.

Husband works until 10 PM most nights. His days off are Thursdays and Fridays. We've made a tradition to have a date every Thursday night. Sometimes we go out with friends or go to the movies, but most weeks we walk to the Cheesecake Factory which is literally a few hundred yards from our apartment, and have a nice dinner together. This is really the only time every week that we can look at each other's faces and truly check-in. We talk about our jobs, about our triumphs and failures, about silly things that we heard or saw or did, about our friends, anything really.

Every evening when we get home from one of those dates, I look at my husband and say "thanks for taking me out. I had a great time with you."

Picky Eater

My husband is a picky eater. He eats like a child and absolutely refuses to try anything new. Here is a list of some of some of the things he will eat:


Steak, fried chicken, buffalo wings (not too spicy!), barbecue sandwiches, fried shrimp (no other kind of shrimp), barbecue ribs, lasagna, spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, grilled-cheese sandwiches, ham and cheese sandwiches, pepperoni and cheese sandwiches, pizza, scrambled eggs (no other kind of eggs), pancakes, chocolate cake.


Now, I'm a vegetarian, so half of that list is out for me.


This is frequently a source of conflict for a few reasons: I refuse to cook meat (I might do it on a very special occasion); I would like him to eat healthier food; I refuse to cook two meals. He can eat what I'm eating, or he can fix something for himself.


So, the compromise is usually spaghetti marinara, or meatless lasagna, or pizza, and me getting fatter and fatter while The Metabolizer stays ultra skinny.


I can occasional get him to eat vegetables. He likes steamed broccoli, salad greens, and corn on the cob. I've also noticed that if I buy bananas they mysteriously disappear.


Fortunately, he works nights so most evenings I can just prepare dinner for myself.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Day After Election Day

My candidate won. Immediately after hearing the news, I was elated.

. . .but my elation quickly became tempered by my some of my fellow citizens' and friends' reactions.

Obviously everyone does not agree about the candidates, otherwise we wouldn't need to hold elections. But what I didn't expect was the bitterness and alienation that appears to be felt by my friends who supported the losing candidate. Did I feel that way after the 2004 election when my hopes of an end to the Bush Administration, and along with it an end to the Iraq War, were dashed?

I don't think I did.

At the time, it seems like I was able to commiserate with other John Kerry supporters in our mutual discontent about the Bush Administration. It felt like there were so many of us, and we weren't quite sure how we lost.

I guess this time there actually are many of us--enough to successfully elect our candidate. Perhaps the supporters of John McCain do not feel as numerous as Kerry supporters did in 2004. It also may be that most of my friends are in the 18-30 demographic that so heartily turned out for Barack; and that the few of us young people who were on the other side of the aisle are feeling like outcasts.

I did not expect this to be such a divisive day. Shouldn't we, the winning party, be able to celebrate without regard to the downcast faces of the losers? After all, after eight years of Republican rule, isn't it our turn?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Go vote.*

*Extra points if you choose Barack for president.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Just when I thought our appartment couldn't get any more cluttered. . .

Husband's parents are retiring and moving, so earlier last week they asked him to come out and pick up some of his things that they had been storing for him.



That evening when I got home, this is what I found when I walked in the door:








Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you're looking at two guitars (a Gibson and a Fender), a violin, three B-flat clarinets, an A-clarinet, an E-flat sopranino clarinet, two E-flat alto clarinets, a primitive type of clarinet called a basset horn, an oboe, a saxophone, and a flute.



One of these B-flat clarinets is a very valuable professional-quality Buffett clarinet:







You see, Husband and I used to be musicians. In fact, we met in college where we were both music majors. But, since graduating, we've both decided that we're not as passionate about music as we once were, and have both pursued careers outside the musical world.



Husband hasn't touched these instruments in about three years.


I'm trying to convince him to sell them so that we can work on our goal of saving up to buy a house. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pumpkin Muffins


Here's my mother's pumpkin muffin recipe. When I was a kid this was one of the most exciting treats my momma could come up with. We enjoyed them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


Mix 1 1/2 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 cup of milk, a can of pumpkin puree, 1/4 cup of butter, and an egg into a lumpy batter.


Distribute into a greased muffin tin and sprinkle a bit of sugar on top. Bake 18-20 minutes at 400 degrees.


If you really wanted to, you could make your own pumpkin puree from a real live pumpkin, but it's labor-intensive, and quite honestly not worth it.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Warning: TMI post ahead

We're going to get intimate with our discussion here for a moment, so if you know me personally and don't want to think gross things about me or if you're in my family or something, you may avert your eyes.

This is a blog about being married, and part of marriage is sex.

I ran out of BC pills last week. It totally caught me off guard. I called up the pharmacy to refill my prescription and they said that my prescription had expired and that they couldn't refill it without a doctor's approval. Oh my god! Has it been a year already?

Well that took place on a Friday, so it wasn't until Monday that I could call my doctor's office. They were able to get me an appointment for today. That's a little over a week without the pill.

Well, I went in this morning, and my doctor was able to get me a fresh prescription after some unpleasant poking and prodding; but I was caught off guard again when she said that I should wait until the beginning of my next menstrual cycle to start it up again. And then, I should "use a back up method," for one full cycle.

Well shit. That amounts to two months of condoms. Husband is not going to be happy.


In other news, I finished one of the Christmas stockings. I promise I'll post a photo. I also will get that muffin recipe up this week.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Miscellaneous Ramblings for Tuesday

Good morning my few readers.

This weekend I made my mother's recipe for pumpkin muffins. They are a delicious morning treat, and I plan on sharing the recipe, along with pictures for you all later this week.

I started knitting the cabled Christmas stocking, and it is proving to be a quicker and easier project than I had expected. I'm currently in limbo with that until I can find a set of size 13 double-pointed needles. Pictures coming for that as well.

In other knitting news, I became determined to finish a pair of socks I began knitting about two years ago. I was nearly finished with the second sock last night, only about an inch away from the end of the toe when I ran out of yarn. I'm happy that there were no witnesses to hear the very un-ladylike words that escaped my mouth.

Husband and I are having a disagreement about grocery shopping. He and I like very different things (I'm a vegetarian, and he is a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy), and he has been frustrated that I have failed to bring home food that he likes when I come home from the grocery store. I don't understand how he can expect me to get things that he likes when he cannot seem to specify what he wants. Last night, I really tried to get the junk-food that he wants but I haven't yet heard from him if I did ok. This might turn into an ongoing saga.

And in happier news, Husband bought me tickets to see Denyce Graves in Carmen next month (yes, that's opera.) Denyce Graves is one of my idols, and is probably the first "real" opera singers that I became enamored with.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Don't spend it all in one place!



Last night, the in-laws invited us to dinner so that they could present us with our wedding gift. It was a fairly large sum of money, and they told us to do with it what we wish.

So now there's a decision to be made. How will Husband and I collaboratively use this money?


I can think of a zillion things to spend it on for myself. I could get those perfect Louboutin pumps I've been dreaming of, or buy a season's opera tickets, or buy one opera ticket and a fabulous dress to go with it.



I expect that Husband's is imagining a new souped-up computer.



If we're going to do something to benefit both of us, its a bit more of a challenge. Traditionally, we should get something for our home, like a new piece of furniture. We have an ugly shelf in the living room that our TV sits on. We could afford to replace it with a nicer one from IKEA, and maybe even have enough left over for a flat-screen TV.

Then there are our financial goals that need to be attended to. We could dump the cash in a savings account and add to it until we have enough to make a down-payment for a house. We could also invest it.




We had so much fun on our honeymoon, that I'd love to save it for our next vacation too. Husband wants to go to Alaska, and although it wouldn't be my first choice for a destination, I know it would be beautiful.




What if we just cheated and split the dough, 50/50?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Knitting Christmas Stockings



Disclaimer: Some people, myself included, get really annoyed when others get into the "holiday spirit," before Thanksgiving. Understand that, if I decide to pursue this project it will take quite a bit of advance preparation.




Now, I believe with all my heart that proper Christmas decorations ought to be home-made, handmade, children's projects or heirlooms.




I've been wanting to knit Christmas stockings for ages, and I always seem to run out of time. I may have run out of time for this year too. Is it worth it to spend much of my free time from now until December developing carpel-tunnel syndrome? Should I be knitting a decoration for my home when I could be knitting gifts for people? Should I work extra long hours on a complicated but beautiful pattern, or should I opt for an easy one that is not as elaborate?




Here are some of the patterns I like:



(The white one is the one I'm interested in.)


When I learned a cable stitch a few years ago, I was so proud! It's hard to do though, and this one has many of them. No doubt, this project would be labor intensive!




I love the folksy look of this one. I've never knitted pictures before, but I understand that it isn't terribly complicated.
I could also do this one and omit the pictures, to make just a plain colorful stocking. I do like the little Christmas trees on it though.

I found both of these patterns on http://www.knittingpatterncentral.com/ . It's a great source for free downloadable knitting patterns. I always think it's silly to pay for patterns. What's the point of making your own stuff if you still have to shell out a ton of cash?
I may make a stop to a craft store this weekend and get started. I'll let y'all know what I decide to do.

I want to be a neat freak.

It's been my mid-years resolution, and I started early last summer. Mother stopped by my apartment and, as usual, was horrified by the state of it. She offered to stay and help me tidy up. We ended up spending all afternoon just overhauling the place: scrubbing the floors, doing laundry, organizing the closets, etc. When we were finished and I looked around at my beautiful apartment I promised myself I'd keep it that way.

It's been an uphill battle.

You see, husband and I have different ideas about what "clean" means. To my husband, clean means disinfected, not germy, not dirty, not gross. He doesn't like dishes in the sink or scum in the bathroom.

To me, clean means tidy, uncluttered, looking nice.

So, if husband has piles of dirty laundry on the floor, unless its really dirty laundry, it doesn't bother him, but it drives me nuts! But I don't mind leaving my dishes from dinner in the sink overnight, and husband gets irritated at me for that.

So if I want to have an apartment that is my idea of clean, I need to teach my husband to help me out with some of the little things, like hanging his towel back up when he gets out of the shower, or putting his dirty clothes in the basket.

So far, I've been unable to get through to him. How am I ever going to become the next Martha Stewart (don't hate, I love her!) if my husband can't make the bed when he gets up in the morning?

P.S. I just did a spell-check on this post and discovered that the word "apartment" only has one P. I've been spelling it with two Ps for AGES!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Honeymoon Recap

I thought I'd tell y'all a little bit about our honeymoon. (This is really just an excuse to learn how to add pictures.)

We took a cruise on the Carnival Valor. We stopped in Grand Cayman; Isla Roatan, Honduras; Belize; and Cozumel, Mexico.



When we first arrived in Belize, we took a cab to the beach. As soon as we got there, it started raining!






So we went to Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville for lunch. It was a deliciously cheezy and overpriced tourist trap.





At Roatan Island, we were supposed to go snorkling. But because of bad weather, it just ended up being a boat ride. We still had fun though.



The highlight of the trip was visiting the ancient Mayan city of Tulum.






Boldly going where no young wife has gone before. . .

Yesterday I took on a very scary challenge: I attended one of my husband's family functions without my husband! And, to tell you the truth, it wasn't that bad.

It was husband's cousin's birthday, and the family was getting together for lunch. Husband had to work, so I went alone. I don't know what I was so scared about. It's not like I havn't been to a million lunches like this one with that family, and we get on pretty well. We chatted about the wedding and the honeymoon, and about husband's parents' new house. I never once felt out-of-place, or unwelcome.

I guess I'm part of the family now too!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Forgive me, for I have sinned.

I have a confession.

Today I spent $3.75 on a gourmet hot chocolate from Starbucks, even though a couple posts ago I said I would overhaul my finances and improve my diet.

Diff'rent Strokes

Husband and I have very different family models. You know, the sorts of families that we were raised in and the sorts of families we expect to lead. I am reminded of this frequently by our different reactions to things. Here's something that happened last night:

I came home with a package I had picked up from the post office. It came from Target, where we had registered for wedding gifts. Husband was sitting in "his room" (an office type space where he spends much of his time playing video games), and I began to open the package on the dining room table.

"It's from the W's!"
"That's nice."
"OOOH! It's a WAFFLE IRON!"
"What the hell do we need a waffle iron for?"
"To make waffles, silly!"
"Did you actually register for that?"
"Oh honey, I understand now. You obviously did not grow up in a household that had a waffle iron. Therefore, you cannot possibly know the pure joy that can only come from eating fresh, hot, homemade waffles on Saturday morning. We'll fix that this weekend."

Now, where's the Bisquick?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

What's in a name?

I decided to change my name.

I know, I'm a traitor to women's lib and the feminist movement. This was something I really struggled with. You see, I like my name. I like my first name, and my middle name, and my last name. I've had those names all my life and why should I change them just because I have a piece of paper that says I'm married? Why shouldn't Husband change his name?

On the other hand, I like the idea of me and Husband being one family unit. I like the idea of someone saying "We're going to have dinner with the S's tonight." I want my children to have a secure sense of identity (I grew up in a mixed family with at least four last names.)

Well my mother (who changed her name for both of her marriages) didn't want me to change my name. "You'll lose your identity," she said. She pointed out that one of her sisters got married and kept her maiden name legally, but used her husband's name in social situations. What a brilliant compromise, I thought.

I told Husband that this was what I had decided to do. I was astonished by his anger at my decision. He totally caught me off guard by insisting that if I wasn't going to take his name there was absolutely no point in getting married. He thought it would emasculate him and "going half way" as he called my decision was not good enough.

I was really conflicted now. I felt like he was trying to impose ownership over me and that he should respect my feelings about my name. After all, no one was asking him to change his name, how would he know what this felt like? At the same time, I loved him and wanted to be his wife.

I thought about it, and read opinions about it, and talked to my recently married best girlfriend.

I finally made the decision to change my name, but without losing any part of my current name. I will be Molly Middle-name Maiden-name S. Who says I can't have four names?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Plan

Don't you hate people that have "5-year plans," or "life-plans"? I do, and yet I am one of them. Here are some of the things that I would like to accomplish in the next five years or so:

I want to completely overhaul my finances. Right now, I make regular contributions to my 401(k), and my student loan. Husband and I each put half of our paychecks into a joint account to cover our living expenses. I have no credit card debt, but I do have some private debt after a family member loaned me some cash to cover some emergency car repairs. Once that's paid off, I'm going to start contributing to a savings account until I have a decent "emergency fund" built up. My next financial goal? Investing. How could I not invest in this rock-bottom market? So I'm going to open an IRA and start playing in the market.

Scott and I also want to buy a house. That means more saving. We'll probably need at least $10,000 to make a down payment. Hopefully, we can find a great deal before the market recovers.

I want to improve my diet (and Husband's too if I can.) I'd like to start following the guidelines in Michael Pollen's "In Defense of Food." He recommends that we eat only "real food," that means "nothing your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food." If I'm going to manage that, I'm going to have to start cooking. Something that I don't particularly enjoy. I need to learn how to enjoy cooking.

I want to become a neat freak. Well, maybe not a FREAK, but I want to learn to maintain a tidy home. A home that I won't be embarrassed by if friends stop by unexpectedly.

I want to start practicing yoga again regularly, and eventually start teaching again. My goal is to transition to teaching yoga full time, and quit my day-job.

I don't think it is a good idea to start a family until Scott and I have accomplished these things. And I'll probably start adding to the list like crazy.

OK! Time to get started!

I got married.

My name is Molly and I have been happily married to the love of my life for about 10 days. Lately my new husband and I have been joking about "aw! It's our first drive in the car as a married couple!", or "aw! It's the first time I kicked you in the balls as your wife!"

We're going to have a lot of firsts in the next year or so, and this is where I plan on writing about them. The topics I plan on discussing here include finances, investing, budgeting, relationship maintenance, maybe some light talk about sex, and everything that I experience as a young newlywed.

I hope it will be entertaining; this is my first shot at something like this.