30 May 2012

Flare For The Dramatic

As you know, I'm nesting. Nesting entails cleaning everything out of our already extremely tidy and tiny studio flat. But not just the closets, cupboards, and shelves! Oh no, also the few keepsakes I tote around. For instance, my Tide detergent box of notes.

I have saved every note, card, and letter, every piece of paper scribbled back and forth upon by two friends during class, every address, every post-it hello, every piece of personal post I have ever received since 1998. It's a lot. And my Tide box has been mostly full for well over 2 years. But still, every time I get a card or a letter? It gets stuffed in the box.

Then I got married. And am now having a baby (it's unbelievable how many cards and letters you get for those two events). So my Tide box could no longer function as the container for all my correspondence - unless I threw some things out. Now, I did not count how many items were once in that orange and yellow box - but it was a lot. Remember when you used to fold notes up into cute little boxes or hearts or "pull tabs" or cats or frogs or houses? Well just think of how many of those little notes would fit into an old Tide detergent container when pressed. It's a large number. So, I had to throw some out.

I have always avoided throwing notes away, partially because it's hard to read about some of the issues I was facing and the things my friends were dealing with then decide what is worth keeping and what isn't. So, I finally undertook that task. It turns out? It is much easier to throw things away than I had imagined. A lot of them were just one big dramatic slur. I discovered that I had no desire to keep a majority of my notes. Some of them? Were great. Hilarious and full of love from one friend to another, but a lot of them were just permeating meaningless back and forth. And those aren't the memories I want to keep.

I definitely had favorites:
"I am writing this to you up against a window. While having sex. With an albino midget wigger."
"I'm applying to be your love slave... I don't mind working nights and weekends."
"If pineapples could had wings and had intelligent thought, where would they fly to?"
"It is the year of the dragon (who knows actually) and I can't wait to release my beast of a dragon."

And I kept quite a bit of what was there. Most of the cards and a handful of the notes. My Tide box is now about half full, just waiting for more letters from family and friends. From my husband and cards from my little Critter. I'm excited to fill it up again, but with happier and healthier words. All those letters brimming with the dramatic? I am no longer close with most of the authors. Not because they aren't good wonderful people and not because we didn't make fun memories. But because I don't want or need drama in my life. I am creating a tiny little Creature who will absorb all my time and energy in the best way possible. I don't need to be distracted people who feel their every issue is bigger than that. I want to devote my stress to the good things in life, nothing that brings me down.

If you don't want drama in your life, it won't be there. When you finally let your life be about more than your passing issues and let those around you know that you're not interested in being their vent about selfishness, that's when you gain. As much as it might sting to lose those people at first, it becomes a relief. - What I'm not saying is "cut them off." You should never do that to someone. But you should step back from anyone who puts their needs before the rest of the world. Let them know you're there for them if they ever really need you, and make sure you let them know when they ask for you and it's not something earth shattering.

Surround yourself with people who can see the bigger picture. Who value others as well as themselves and view friendship as a two way street. Be selfless instead of selfish and never stop being amazed at how much bigger the world is in comparison to you.

25 May 2012

Life Hydroponic

I made a promise, long ago, that I was not permitted to mock Twilight until I tried it.
(Kids, that's how you get hooked on drugs! Just say no to the needle and Twilight!)
So, I read the books. I'm a fast reader, it drives my husband nuts, and I will dive into any book I pick up off the shelf with love and enthusiasm from cover to cover. But therein lies the problem with reading Twilight. I have to want to read a book, which is why my teachers hated me so much in school. It took me nearly 2 weeks to get through Twilight, book freaking one! - and this coming from someone who is one of those irritating people who read the Deathly Hallows in under ten hours. I can therefore say, with experience and whole heartedly:
Stephanie Meyer is the worst author to ever have been published.

Now, I can go into great lengths about how much I absolutely loathe these books, but I won't. Because that would be a very long and angry blog. To sum up? She writes at a third grade level about issues third graders should know not of. And, of course, there is the issue of dear Bella being the main character (I have similar issues with Sookie in True Blood). Anyway, I made this promise and I have kept this promise. I have painfully pulled myself through four books and three movies of absolute torture. To be fair, I prefer the movies. They don't take as long to get through, and I don't have to read Stephanie Meyer's horrid style. Sure, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson are awkward and almost painful to watch, but I have a feeling that might just be the script.

Now, I am finally embarking on the fourth film. To my deepest displeasure, it is not the last leg of my Twilight torture, but hopefully I can find some strange redeeming quality? I do enjoy Alice and Jasper throughout the books, so perhaps there will be much of them and little of everyone else - doubtful, having read the book, but I'm still hopeful.

Moving on... I don't believe I remember to blog about the fact that I passed my gestational diabetes test - with flying colors, I might add. My hemoglobins are normal! Huzzah. In other pregnancy news, you are no longer told that a half a glass of wine is okay during your third trimester! Uhm excuse me, medical professionals, that is what gets most of us moms through those first two obnoxious trimesters. I'm not saying I'm an alcoholic and I gotta get me some booze, I'm just trying to enjoy some of the simple pleasures of life again. Seeing as I'm not allowed to play any sports or do any extreme yoga, eat sushi, have mixed drinks, eat lunch meat, lie on my back or on my stomach, stand or sit for too long, wear any of my normal clothing - and one million other things - the least you could do would be to let me know I can have half a glass of wine maybe once a week with my husband. Evil has come into the hearts of our hospital's staff, pure fucking evil.

Anyway, possibly every adult woman I have ever met has whined about how difficult it is to keep basil alive. I would like to point out that all these women are liars. Basil? Is difficult to kill.

Look at it! So pretty! Mark and I needed basil about 3 months ago for something or other and we literally could not find any basil at the grocery except starts. So we bought it, because it was the only basil in the store, and brought it home. After using what we wanted, I didn't want to just throw away perfectly good basil, but it seemed weird to put something with roots into a refrigerator. So I took one of the glasses Marko made (from a wine bottle, but that will be another DIY day), put some water in it and let it sit. Three months later? It's obviously doing well. It's currently looking a little sparse because we've made pizza twice in the last week and we typically use basil for the sauce and for on top with cheese! I really have no idea what anyone was talking about when they said it's difficult to keep basil alive. I can't seem to get rid of mine! Which lead to green onions in water, these ones are a little older and recently chopped up, but often times we have green onions growing halfway up the window.

Now I'm curious as to what else only needs water and sunlight, because taking care of these puppies is easy. They sit right above the sink so I see them everyday and can give them water when they need it, I think we are going to put the green onions in a bigger glass, maybe like the one the basil is in. It runs out of water faster and sometimes I miss it because of the cloudy quality of the glass. Anyone else a hydroponic gardener and have some ideas about what you can keep in acqua?

Rhubarb Chicken Sausage and Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

New addition to Where In The World - house rose posts! Why? Because I am the vagabond house rose, but am currently not vagabonding. Hopefully soon, but not currently. And so that leaves us with just house rose-ing.

In totally unrelated news, I literally just watched a beautiful sunny day become a lightning storm! One of the top ten reasons I love living in the countryside? You can see, hear, and smell a storm coming. And witnessing a storm come in? Is one of the things that should be on your bucket list.

So best friendling, Kendall, brought me two merry gifts yesterday when we met for coffee! An adorable outfit for Critter (it has duckies) and a whole lot of rhubarb. Then came the wonderfully interesting question - what does one do with rhubarb other than make Strawberry Rhubarb Pie? Answer? Have a fuck ton of fun.

My husband? Is a chef. I don't mean he likes to cook, I mean he is a chef - it was once his occupation. So when he cooks? It's an elaborate delicious ordeal. We shop for specific ingredients and the whole kitchen becomes slave to one meal. Two sinkfuls of dishes and a hot mess afterwards, it is entirely worth it. I am not a chef. I am a cook. I love to cook and I love to bake even more (to the chagrin of my husband as he claims his belt line suffers), but I am no chef. I typically use about three dishes when cooking, two if I can get away with it. And I cook from the cabinet and the fridge. What needs to be eaten and what can I create from it? Answer part one: Rhubarb. Answer part two: No idea.

(beautiful blue streak of lightning + thunder)

And so I googled. And pinterested. And searched my cookbooks and the internet in vain. I didn't have any pork and even if I did want to venture out of my bubble to get some? We only have one car and my husband was currently using it some 15 miles away at work. What I did have was chicken sausage. Purchased at Trader Joe's for the incredibly mean price of $2.99 for 12 links, I had a starting point. Rhubarb is good with cinnamon and so are sweet chicken sausages, go.

I cooked the chicken sausage and pulled it out of the pan in order to saute some veggies in the sausage oils, cause that's yummy! My lovely pan had onion, orange bell pepper, zucchini, and Kendall's rhubarb - but you could add whatever veggies you're most fond of. I figured I might add a little butter if the oils from the chicken sausage weren't enough, but it ended up being fine. After they were all heated up, I put a lid on that sucker and let them cook.

Then, like a good Asian, I put some jasmin rice in the rice cooker to give my veggies and chicken a nice bed to lay on (beds are important when cooking - or something). Once the rhubarb was mushy, I added a touch of salt and several shakes of cinnamon. I thought about adding a little sugar to even out the super tart of the rhubarb, but decided I could always go back and do that later if I wanted to. I threw the chicken sausage back in and let everything heat up and mix together until my rice was finished. And bam. Rhubarb Chicken Sausage over jasmin rice.

I don't mean to brag about how awesome I am, but it was delicious and I am awesome.Very North African with the cinnamon and the tart over rice. But my wonderous meal needed a thirst quencher! And I had been meaning to make lemonade for about a week... sometimes I forget what we get from Foley's. I also added a lime, because that sucker was turning into stone.

Now, in order to make a full pitcher of lemonade, you need 4-5 normal sized (not gargantuan) lemons. You do not need any more than that. I learned this the hard way, so please just trust me. This probably won't surprise you, but I like to do things the old fashioned way - which means I refuse to own a juicer. Hand squeezed is probably nine hundred million times better than anything your juicer can come up with, just saying. I get that they are an awesome invention and my bestie, Wesley, has one that he makes rather strange, but good, juices with. However, they got nothing on fresh hand squeezed. 

Plus, it's just more fun and interactive. You can only do about 1 1/2 lemons at a time in that little dish, but it has a very convenient spout (compliments to Sur La Table, Marko's favorite kitchen store)! 

Now add some local honey to give Critter all of the allergens needed to keep away allergies! Should I probably have gone with agave syrup, which everyone seems to have jumped all over as "healthy?" Maybe. But I didn't have any and I love to support my local businesses. How much you put in is totally up to your sweet tooth.

I forgot to take a picture of how much lemon juice there actually is versus water - but it's a little to a lot. That's a regular sized glass pitcher that ended up being full to just below the spout. I even ended up adding more water to mine this morning because I did five lemons and a lime. Sometimes I add whole strawberries, mint, basil... I even thought about using more of Kendall's rhubarb, but decided that would probably lead to adding more sugar. I never ever ever blend them with the lemonade though. They can steep and give off flavor. If it's mint or basil, I might slap them to break the leaves open, but I never cut them up and I never blend them in. That's gross and does not belong in my lemonade.

Anyway, my North African tasting meal was so yummy! As is the lemonade, of which I am drinking right now. Mark had some once he got home and we both lamented our lack of beer. It was the perfect meal to go with beer. Not for me, obviously, but that is a whole different lament.


23 May 2012

Fat Rain

Hallo, Nesting! (picture/hear Hannah Hart in your head) I have so looked forward to your arrival and now you are here. Precious. I love the nesting, however, it does make it very difficult to concentrate on anything else. You want to talk to me about my day? I want to go home and reorganize my closet. What am I up to these days? Well, I - am just thinking about cleaning the carpet, so I really don't have an answer for you. Stop asking me questions and just let me wreak uncluttering havoc on my home!

Possibly the largest benefit from my overwhelming need to absterge, other than my neat home, is work. I work in an environment where my overly efficient pregnant self is exceedingly helpful. I get everything done in a timely manner and am on top of dates and times and programing and website upkeep and God knows what else. It's almost irritating, to be honest. Things don't take me as long as they normally do - which would be great, except I'm paid by the hour. My prompt pregnant mannerisms are depleting my paycheck. If only I had less scruples and could lie about my hours... but I work for a church and I feel like that's cheating. So, instead! I am making up stuff to do! Like working on things a month in advance and reorganizing all the files in the computer! Golly gee!

I'm listening to Britney, don't judge me.

Here's the issue lately: I want to be taken seriously. Seriously. Stop asking me if I'm ready to take care of an infant, then laughing and patting me on the head. I am far more prepared for 3 hour sleep intervals than I was to multiply my pants size, so shhhhhhhhhhhh. And while I realize the average childbearing age is rising, there was a time when being "16 and pregnant" was not news. Because it was normal. Now, I'm not advocating teenage pregnancy, there is something to be said about our generation maturing later. But for serious people - stop your judging! No judgey!

That "no judgey" line doesn't just apply to chastisement from older people, it also applies to all those young people who get irritated and uppity about their friends getting married and having babies. Do I judge you for going to club until 4am to "dance up on some honeys?" No. Well, sometimes. So I need to take my own advice! Live and let live, humans. I'm happy being married and preggo. And I'm happy for you if you're happy not remembering your Friday nights. Do I think you're nuts? Absolutely. But I'm overjoyed that you're having a good time, bro. Let me have mine.

Speaking of myself, my good friend Wynn found this gem and it made her think of me:
That, friends, is the nicer, more politely spoke, glasses wearing version of me with a better laid out blog. Have I offended you lately? Read her sweet verbage instead of my harsh and overexcited tones until you feel like we can be friends again. In all seriousness though, it's a cute blog.

In other news, the weather... yah.

I am not a multitasker. I always put that I am on resumes, but it's recently come to my attention? That I am a liar. I wasn't intentionally misrepresenting myself - I was misunderstanding myself. I thrive under high amounts of pressure and do well with lists, but that's not the same thing. Once I start a project, I am able to put it away and start/finish another, but I am not able to do them simultaneously. My ability prioritize well and do excellent work under duress lead me to believe myself a multitasker. Funny how you're never really done learning about yourself...

Marriage? Continues to be awesome. I married the anxious version of myself - right down to the curly hair (I keep praying that our child will have Mark's hair rather than mine, his is so nice and soft! Mine is just unruly.). We have deep lengthy conversations about world issues and make sex jokes, we watch Dr Who, have on going Canasta games to 50,000 points, Pinterest shamelessly, make delicious home cooked meals (on tonight's menu? Doughnuts, son!), laugh until it hurts, spend sunny days laying together in the hammock, fold laundry, slow dance in our kitchen, take long showers, and just love one another. It's disgustingly wonderful.

I love fat rain drops, it's one of those times being grossly overweight is incredibly beautiful.

Pregnancy continues to improve. I like nesting, nests are cool. I spend probably too much of my time daydreaming about baby, but I don't mind. I love the little (and big) kicks and that I can watch my belly move. I love the sleepy joy that overtakes me when I think about becoming a mom. Third trimester is definitely the best. 11 weeks to go as of Saturday? I think so. Strangely, thinking of it in terms of weeks? Makes the last leg seem a little shorter than thinking about it in terms of months. Mark keeps forgetting that the month of July exists, so every time someone reminds him it's not just June and then August and baby is here? He gets all pouty. It's pretty funny.

I'm really excited to teach Marko about babies. It's been so much fun to go through this process with him. He still firmly believes that our critter will come out and be able to go spear-fishing with Daddy and eat homemade baby food. I'm hoping reality will set in once August is here, but honestly? I wouldn't be surprised or disappointed if it doesn't. He's going to be such a good father, I married a good one.

Okay, love you, bubye!

19 May 2012

Loving A Wild Thing

Beauty isn't in the eye of the beholder, it's everywhere. It just takes someone to behold it. Sometimes I dream in black and white, other times in color, but I think my favorite is when I dream and everything is tinted green. Walls, flooring, drapes, furniture, even the light spectrum themed forest. People talk about rose colored glasses, but I only see in shades of green. It brings me absolute, consuming joy. I've been weird lately, thinking a lot about the two/three years or so I spent pretty much functioning alone. I had friends, but no one really close to me. I was busy travelling, figuring out who I was, where I was going. I kept in touch with people, but intamacy was somewhat absent from the world I created. I had journals and blogging, I read books and thought up intricate plans for whatever was next, I listened to Putumayo and spoke in languages I only had a minor grasp on. It was a beautifully lonely time for me. I almost miss it, but then I realize that isn't what I miss. What I miss is embracing that loneliness with warmth and affection. Being alone takes a lot of work and even more work to enjoy it without letting it drag you into dark places. After some serious work? I accomplished living in the contentment of being lonely. Spending quite a bit of time on my own in the evenings these days means that I am facing that loneliness I once pressed into happily with an awkward sort of side hug. The kind you are supposed to give to people it's "inappropriate" to hug full frontally (which, for the record, a side hug is not any "less appropriate" - just more awkward). I'm working on making it more natural, slowly but surely... Shifting gears. I? Do not have gestational diabetes! What. Up. After a month of fretting about it and four days of torturing myself with the possibilities, there is nothing much wrong with me - aside from the usual nuerosis. I do have Moon River and the fire escape scene from Breakfast at Tiffany's playing over and over again in my head (I assume that if you don't know what I'm talking about you will run to the DVD store and purchase a copy to watch or http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7SI7N22k_A - but I'm disappointed either way that you didn't already know). I love that scene. It's the only time Audrey Hepburn ever sings for herself in a film. Happy sigh. Back to baby related things, our little one continues to kick and move. We won't hear his/her heartbeat again until June something, but after that? We will probably be visiting every two weeks instead of once a month. I'm not terribly excited about the next visit. They will just weigh me (which is depressing) and then take my heart rate (which couldn't be better) and finally let me hear little creature's heart (which is the only fun part and only lasts one minute). Other than that, they will ask me questions to which I will give near meaningless answers and ask if I have anything to ask them. Mark will probably jump in at that point with his myriad of worries and woes, which I'm grateful for. I can never think of anything to tell or ask a doctor. I always forget when I am sitting there with those high ceilings and blah colored walls with diagrams of my insides plastered to the doors and cabinets. I can only think about how I want to hear the heartbeat and go home. Mark is better at remembering every complaint or thought I've had about baby and baby related things over the last month. I suppose that's why I married him. I'm meant to be writing more, but I'm never sure what to write about these days. The iPad is too bright and I have too many thoughts running through my head, the baby is kicking and I would rather write with a pen... I'm too distracted. All the time. By everything. It's useless to try and do anything with me these days. Some yoga, old movies, and foreign music. Maybe Criminal Minds and getting pen all over my hands, some books, some sodoku, some cooking and cleaning... I'm kind of just floating on through. It's nice enough, but I do wish I could focus on one thing or another. Pregnancy brain is real. Now I'm too distracted to even finish, oh well. I think I'll watch Breakfast at Tiffany's instead. Bye, Fred Baby.

16 May 2012

Captain America

Fade in on a girl...

First and foremost, H&M has a maternity line. Why did no one inform me of this?! I found it on accident whilst looking for baby clothing. In case you're wondering, their baby clothing is absolutely terrible. But the maternity wear? Despite it not even being a large section, I could very possibly go broke there. Go check it out.

On to the main events...

I recently had a friend tell me that Captain America was their least favorite comic film and least favorite Avenger. I very nearly took this as a personal offense. Steve Rogers has come to rival Batman for me in the comic world. Some of you who know me a little better might ask, "Really? Captain America? Since when is patriotism your thing, Malialani?" It's not. Him having "America" in his title is possibly the biggest deterrent a Superhero could have. Then why?

To be completely honest, I think it has a bit to do with me growing up a little. I'm no longer interested in self absorbed characters out for their own gain who enjoy the pleasures of this world with no thought to the cost. Everyone experiences hardships, but does that really excuse actions? Captain America represents goodness. That's a hero I can get behind. He fights against injustice and seeks to protect those around him who can't protect themselves without compromising his morals. He finds a way to be truly honorable and humble. My kind of guy.

Pregnancy continues into it's third trimester and I must report that I like this stage of pregnancy, with one exception. The Gestational Diabetes test. Swallowing 12oz of melted Otterpops mixed with syrup in 5 minutes is enough to give anyone diabetes, much less a girl who avoids candy and whose only sugar vice is 100% juice - gee thanks, guys. I threw it up, but they took three samples of blood over 2 hours anyway. I have yet to hear back from the hospital, but if they tell me I have to do it again? I might tell them to just give me the damn finger stick and check my blood sugar on a regular basis instead. It was awful, worse than my entire first trimester.

Other than that? I like being two-thirds the way there. I'm excited to be a mom and I kind of enjoy the stomach jolting kicks. I like watching the little creature move and feel like we are a part of one another. I'm still stoked to get baby out on it's own, but I am beginning to understand that glowy expression women get when they talk about being pregnant. That doesn't excuse them from not telling me it doesn't happen until week 26, but I'm starting to get it.

This morning I awoke to my little one telling me the sun was up, thanks sweetie. I checked my clock and the hour literally made me cringe, but there was no way the movement inside my belly was going to allow me to sleep so I got up. I read and journaled, then did my 45 minutes of yoga followed by breakfast and turning on the coffee pot for Marko, and crawled back into bed to find my husband awake as well. We got to cuddle and talk and watch about 5 episodes of My Drunk Kitchen (www.youtube.com/user/myharto) before getting out of bed for the day. Getting up at the crack of dawn has its benefits, and I think I like them. I will probably never set my alarm, but if baby is up? I'll get up.

Err, and get rid of all your excess stuff! That's all for now. More updates later when it's not nice out... Critter and I must soak up as much Vitamin D as humanly possible! Slurp!