Monday, April 30, 2012

Meal Plan Redux

I have been meal planning for over two years now, so I feel like I have a pretty good idea of what we eat, what we get tired of often, and what meals end up never being cooked.  Let's just say I can pretty much laminate my two-week grocery shopping list since it changes so little.

When The Man was gone earlier this month, I fell out of the habit of cooking each night.  I was mentally in a bit of a funk and didn't really want to cook for one all week, so I ate out more than I should have.  Okay, I ate out every night for one week.  And it was all crap food.  And now my body is in pure revolt.

The human body was not designed to exist on fast food.  Lesson learned.  Again.

Over the weekend, The Man and I sat down together and planned both lunch and dinner meals for this week.  He usually doesn't participate much in the process, but I think he has a better understanding of how difficult it is for me to plan meals around our schedules and food preferences.  We even worked it so that we have hot lunch leftovers most days of the week.  That means we don't have to buy bread or lunch meat, unhealthy crackers and chips, or other not good food.

Last night included turkey and rice soup, homemade bread rolls, and these delicious cookies (sub rice or oat flour and add an egg or ground flax seeds to make them gluten-free).

Monday: Chicken Parmesan (g-f pasta, baked chicken without breading)
Tuesday: Pork chops, green beans/peas, and hominy
Wednesday: Shoyu Chicken and rice with steamed broccoli
Thursday: Homemade pizza
Friday: Fish sticks and rice (The Man's night to cook this week)

Our Wednesday lunches are the only non-leftovers, so I'll probably reheat Sunday night's last bowl of leftover soup.  The Man can take a frozen meal or eat out.  Making food in the evenings and knowing it will make four meals means we have to watch our portions in the evenings in order to have food for lunch the next day.

I can't say I've failed at meal planning, because that's not the case.  I just started over.  I dug deeper.  I found a new system that also works.  Now if only I could get The Man to cook all of these meals...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Two Weeks is Too Long

I'm a very independent person, always have been, but I learned something about myself last week that surprised me more than I realized.  The Man was on a business trip for two weeks and just got home on Saturday.  The first week was a breeze, but the second week was just plain miserable.  He was home for a few short hours on the weekend in between, mostly so I could do laundry for him.  As soon as he popped in, he popped right back out, and it was almost like he was never home at all.

It's not that I like having someone else in the apartment at night--I do.  And it's not that I love having him to bounce ideas off of or having someone else to cook for or someone I love physically close--all of those are great things.  I missed the myself-outside-of-myself.

I know that doesn't make any sense, but I'll try to explain.  When The Man and I are home together, we're usually engaged in our own little worlds.  He plays video games and I watch TV or quilt or cook.  If you were to come over tonight, chances are we'll be doing those things.  But sometimes I will encounter a crazy thought--it happens--or a situation arises where I need his input.  It's not so much that I want his opinion as much as that I want him to reaffirm my decision.

The Man is sort of an extension of me.  He's the voice in my head that I can't always hear or sense.  He's a grounding force, a reassuring glance (or slightly worried expression), a second chance.  He keeps me sane.

And when he was gone for two weeks, well, I really missed him.  I missed part of me.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Jesse Macht

The Man makes fun of me for never listening to new music.  In truth, I don't often listen to music.  It's not that I don't enjoy listening, but I am not often in a position to really listen.  I want to be undistracted when I listen, and the times when I'm not working, cooking, cleaning, watching TV or movies, or playing my own music are rare.

Plus I can't be mentally bothered by music when I'm dealing with words.  I think the two, music and words, take up the same space in my head.  The Man reads and listens at the same time.  I can't do that.  I just can't.

However, I was surfing YouTube recently when I came across this amazing artist.  Jesse Macht blew me away!  That's saying something, considering how rarely I find new musicians that even cause me to pause.  His songs are now earworms for me, on the spin cycle in my head as I go about my day.  I have to give him credit for vocals that are easy to understand (I hate slurred lyrics), and I haven't found any offensive language (generally a turn-off, I can get that elsewhere).  He's also playing or singing music that isn't quite like anything else I've heard: it's not exactly pop music, definitely not country, not rock music, and it doesn't have a folk sound.  I would only do his music a disservice by slapping a label on it and pigeonholing him into one thing.

Oh, and not only does he sing, but he plays lots of instruments.  It ticks me off when I hear someone refer to a famous singer as a musician when really they're not musicians, they're just vocalists.  You don't sing music, you sing lyrics: musicians play music.  Mr. Macht is a musician that can also sing, something that I definitely noticed and appreciate.

You can see him and listen to his YouTube channel here.  Enjoy. :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

I Discovered Hulu. I'm Doomed.

I am not advertising for Hulu when I say this, well not intentionally anyway.  I get on these kicks where I watch everything by a certain actor all at once, and I am coming off a seriously Johnny Depp bender.  He was in 21 Jump Street in the '80s, and that whole serious is available on Hulu for free.  I was able to watch hours upon hours of free pretty-good-quality streaming TV shows that I can't even remember when they were airing.  Yeah.  It's sort of a headrush for me.

What you don't understand is the amount of TV I've consumed in my few years on this tiny space rock.  Also on Hulu are some shows I grew up watching and totally forgot about: Silk Stalkings, Doogie Howser MD, Magnum PI, and loads of other shows.  I get to relive my very early childhood.

The Man thinks I'm nuts.  He doesn't watch TV and certainly never consumed TV like I have.  He comes in the room when I'm watching Rob Estes capture bad guys or Tom Selleck being all handsome and goes off saying my shows are trashy or bad or old or just plain stupid.

I'll admit, sometimes the shows are funny when they show how dated they are.  It's great seeing cameo appearances by actors that were then very new and are now very famous.  And it's neat to see how actors have changed.  It's fun to see how I've changed since I watched these the first time.

Hulu is awesome.  I love free things.

Also, Johnny Depp benders?  Better than pints of ice cream washed down with chocolate.

I think I'm doomed.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I'm a New Woman

I got my hair cut yesterday.  It's slightly shorter than I usually get it cut, but that's just fine.  I like it up off my neck and jaw so that my necklace chain doesn't grab at it, and I don't have to try to hold it back when I'm brushing my teeth.

I repainted my nails.  My first color was a pretty turquoise, but I opted for a more vampy plum this time.  It looks quite a bit darker on my nails than it does in a lot of those pictures.  I bought three more colors, too, that I'm very excited to try soon: Merino Cool (a light purple-grey), Aruba Blue (deep, dark, shimmery blue), and Over the Edge (dark metallic silver).  It would be safe to say I'm less interested in french manicures, natural looking nails, or ballet pink nails.  If I'm going to go to all of this trouble to paint them, they're going to have color.  They're going to look painted.  And I'm going to have fun.

I also ordered a ring yesterday, but it hasn't arrived yet.  Though I was a fan of this ring first, The Man and I both agreed that this ring would be more appropriate for my finger size and comfort.  I'm really excited to have a piece of jewelry that isn't blingy and fits my personality, plus the price was very good.  Can't ask for better.

Between all of these little things, I'm like a new woman.

Monday, April 09, 2012

A Wild Hair, er, Nail

I'm four out of five on my 2012 resolutions, blogging being the one taking a back seat.  I've made some progress using my camera often, but most of it has been for work and won't be published on this blog.  I have been making slow--very slow--progress on my quilt project.  And I've definitely been taking some serious time out for me this year.

I get a wild hair every once in a while to do something out of the ordinary.  Like, completely random decisions. My most recent one shocked even me!  I painted my fingernails.  To the average woman, that's not a big deal at all.  Lots of women paint their nails.  But, as with last month's hair dying incident, these are firsts for me.

Okay, that's not really fair, I've had my nails painted before, but I was probably thirteen years old and physically restrained at the time.  I've never been a fan of polish, especially that sensation of wet peanut butter stuck to my nails that doesn't wash off.  The colors have always been a hideous shade of dusty pink, an obnoxious goopy metallic red, or an abomination of taupe and peach that screams "off-Band-aid" more than neutral nude.

So when I was getting the wild hair to paint my nails, suffice it to say I was shocked at myself.

I obviously had no polish sitting at home.  I didn't even know which brands were still available.  I researched nail polish for several hours before I found a brand sold locally that had a good reputation.  Also, I called my very in-the-know sister for advice (physically I realize we're sisters, but sometimes I really do think we came from different parents).  She gave me a wonderful crash-course in all things nail polish over the phone.  Thankfully my research agreed with what she told me, and I walked armed with knowledge and a good idea of what I wanted.  Three stores later, I had purchased two colors of polish, a base coat, and a top coat, along with some orange sticks (that aren't orange or have anything to do with oranges), and some flowery decal thingies.

Some hours later, I had managed to get my left hand coated in five layers of base, polish, and top coats with minimal smudging or streaking.  I then utilized my less-than-helpful left hand to lob polish in the general direction of my right hand.  Another two hours later, I had ten fingernails painted Essie Turquoise and Caicos green.

We're now almost three days later, and I have yet to put a single chip or smudge in them.  I'm slowly getting used to seeing color on the ends of my fingers, and the wet peanut butter sensation has lessened somewhat.

I still don't know what wild hair caused me to do this, but I sort of like it.  Well, I don't like it enough to pay some foreign lady in a nail shop $50 to do this to me... the stench of those places alone turns me off.  But at-home manicures aren't so bad after all.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

On First Impressions and Individuality

Hi, my name is Jaggy, and I'm...

I don't know how to finish that sentence.  I don't have a good label to slap on myself.  There are lots of things that I am, and, of course, tons of things I'm definitely not.  Which of those words, though, do I hand-pick as one to describe me?

I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be an individual and how we represent our individuality to the rest of the world.  Yes, this is the fodder upon which my mind chews late in the evenings.  I wonder what strangers think when they see me, when they speak with me in those few critical moments that generate a first impression.  Who am I to other people?  How do I convey me through my less than stellar social skills?

Looking for objectivity, I had to consider all of this about someone else.  My husband was a logical step, seeing that I know him pretty well.  I remember our first few encounters and the impressions of him I had (which differ vastly from my current view, I might add).  The Man is the kind of person that, when you first meet him, you're swallowed by his presence.  I'm not saying he's large or overbearing or intimidating, not in the slightest!  But when you talk with him, he's completely present, completely there.  He's like that as a dancer, too, even from the very first dance with him.  He is a giving partner, a gentle but firm lead, and isn't trying to be ahead of anyone or thinking about the next dance or anticipating five steps out.  He is present and has a presence about him.  My aunts and grandma joke that he gives the best hugs, but they're completely right.  He gives great hugs because he's there in every hug, all of him.  It's so much a part of him, this presence, that it shows clearly in a first impression.

I considered what first impressions other friends and family members gave me.  I was too young to have a real "first impression" of most of my family, but I can see them through my husband's eyes.  The Man and I discussed it over dinner one night, those few words we would use to describe our loved ones.  My father came up early, and we struggled between "gracious" and "bashful."  Dad isn't gracious in a regal sense, but more gentlemanly without being overly curtious.  He isn't bashful like little boys are bashful, but it's a humble self-consciousness bubbling out.  Dad isn't the "man's man" type or the opposite or any particular type really: he's completely an individual, and you see that about him right from the start.

I don't know what first impression I give people of me.  Quiet, maybe.  Thoughtful, probably.  But in those first few moments do they see musical or crafty or faithful or geeky?  Can someone possibly see my hunger for knowledge or dry humor or knack for puns?

What makes me an individual?

Monday, April 02, 2012

I'm an Accessory to Something

Maybe it's because I didn't have the money to spend on frivolous things.  Maybe it's because I didn't understand how it all works.  Maybe it's because I didn't have a goal in mind, a prescription for what I needed or didn't need, a sense of how it could all come together.  Whatever the case, accessories have been on my mind lately.

Excusing the fact that the vast majority of my life has seen me in one form of fashion disaster or another, I like to think I can clean up pretty well.  That is to say, when I do make an attempt at looking all girly and made up.

(What do you mean polar fleece isn't formal!?)

Since Mr. Wonderful slid this little ring thingy on my finger a few years back, I've changed my attitude about all things sparkly.  I absolutely love my wedding ring.  I recently acquired a few other rings to wear on my right hand.  I wear a necklace all the time.  Even my watch went through an upgrade a couple months ago.  That's some serious branching out.  I've been careful to not spend a lot of money on these things, though I very easily could have spent far too much.  I've always been of the thought that accessories should not define a person but rather highlight the best parts of a person.

Take my sunstone earrings for example.  I didn't get them because they spoke to me: I got them because they speak of me.  They're Oregon sunstone, and I'm an Oregon girl.  They're not ostentatious, not ordinary, but also not common.  I'm not like them, they're like me.

I have been searching online a lot trying to find accessories that might work for me, that fit what I consider my style, that adhere to my rule form follows function and are not terribly expensive.  I am liking this medallion right now, and I'm pretty sweet on this ring.  I have learned that I prefer vintage or antique rings, specifically the art deco style, or rings with marcasite.  When it comes to bangles or bracelets, I tend to like things that can be sized to my wrist like leather cuffs or linked bands where the links can be removed.  Necklaces are easy for me since I just look for pendants to swap on and off the same box chain.  I could get into wearing hats very, very easily as well.  I love the fedora style, and this brown trilby would be gorgeous with the right jacket.  If I ever had a windfall of money, this sinamay hat would be high on my list.  Why did this ever fall out of fashion?  (I swear I was born a century too late sometimes...)

I'm in search of accessories.  What are your favorite accessories, and how did you come by them?

Editor's note: I've started a Pinterest page called "My Style and Wish List."  You can see all of my favorite accessories and fashion plans there.