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."
"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.