Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sign me up for the antidepressants... well, not just yet.

I heard about something on a blog recently about women suffering from postnuptial depression. I sort of chuckled at the thought, but as I read about how frustrating and depressing it is when you spend so much of your time and money and put so much heart into planning your wedding, once it's over and the emotional rush of the whole thing is over, it's enough to put you into a bit of depression. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how true this was! Just the other day, my mom & her sisters and I went out for a Girls' Day shopping trip. We happened to go into the Paper Factory, where they sell all kinds of party supplies (I don't know how we ended up in there, but we did!) and I got to going down the wedding aisle... I was just blue, whining that there was nothing for me on that aisle anymore... and I did the same thing a Hobby Lobby. And NOW I am able to find all kinds of cute "engaged" or "getting married" graphics online now, and when we were engaged and I was looking, I found nothing! So, since everyone these days has some affliction, I guess this is now mine. I've got postnuptial depression. I bet "baby-fever" would cure it! LOL... ah, eventually... I can't talk about babies much because it makes me want one so bad. I'm not on any BCP, and I'm trying to get a Norplant put in so that it will force me to wait. I want to go to grad school and I want to put Jake through grad school as well, so I want us to have time to travel and spend a few years just the two of us, so five years would be nice, but like I said, thinking about babies too much makes the natural mother in me ache to have a baby right now... which is not an option.

I am also kind of blue about the weather. It's soooo cold, it's in the single digits. I can't stand it. What's worse is that I'm having to wear dress clothes today for the interviews I'm going to today, so that's gonna make it even worse. And wouldn't you know that I'm wearing the outfit I wore to my grandpaw's funeral... and today makes exactly 12 years since my granny's funeral. Blah, I hate feeling sad.

At least I have some very happy news that I think this semester is gonna be a lot easier that I have had in the past, and I am in LOOOOOOOVE with my yoga class! I will definitely be blogging about that as I learn more and more. I'm going to the tanning bed and working out as well, so that's making me feel a little more pretty, which is always helpful.

I've got so much more to talk about, and I'm happy that I'm not as down as I usually am in January- this is my least favorite month. Valentines Day always helps shake off that wintery dreariness for me, and this one promises to be even better since it's our first as hubby and wife. =)

I need to go, so I'm not rushing today... I HAVE got to post the recipe for Cast Iron Sirloin, which Jake made for me last night... the single best steak, everrr.

Love to all.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Irrevocably in love with Twilight.

Back before Christmas, I asked a couple of friends who were then head-over-heels for the Twilight series what all the fuss was about, and they raved and raved about how wonderful it was, so I decided one day to see what was so alluring about this fantasy book about werewolves and vampires. I have never in my life been a fan of anything remotely fantasty-like, so I was positive I'd find Twilight as unappealing as I had The Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter... I loathed both of those, simply because the fantasy and magic of it all over-shadowed the story for me. But, I gave Twilight a chance to prove me wrong, at the nagging of many friends. I went to Books a Million one day, sat down in the most comfortable chair I could find, then started fliping through the book. I started reading. Before I knew it, I was in 100 pages deep, and completely captivated by Edward's mystery and the force pulling him and Bella together. It hooked me. I was pretty shocked, given my history with this kind of book. SO, I asked for a copy for Christmas, and hubby bought me the first book in the series over the holiday. I didn't start it right away, with all the crazy holiday things going on, so I waited until Jake when back to work after the new year started and finally started it a few days ago. I read it in one day, and HAD TO have the next book in my hands. HAD TO. So, on the way to Jake's dodgeball game (yep, Hubby is playing in a dodgeball league!) we stopped by the store and I got it, and read half of the second one before I went to bed that night. I was smart enough to get the 3rd one while I was at the bookstore, considering how fast I was flying through them. My mother in law had just finished the last one, so I knew I could get it from her. I finished the entire saga last night.
Let me just say, it was the most amazing series, ever. Period. It was like the fact that we were talking about a vampire-werewolf-human love triangle was a complete afterthought. What held me so completely entranced was the descriptions of Bella's feelings. Her thoughts, her senses, her feelings. The way it was written had ME in love with Edward and Jacob, too, just as Bella was, and I was just as anguished as to how to make peace with it. By the end of it, I was completely convinced that Edward and Bella's love story is up there in the ranks of other classic literary lovers. Especially Cathy & Heathcliff and Romeo & Juliet... It was amazing.
I'm sooooo thankful I got to finish it before I go back to school...tomorrow.

There's alot more on my mind, but I've got some errands to run today, so maybe tonite I'll set down and purge my brain... I've got to make room for all the junk I'm gonna be stuffing in there very, very soon... I hate starting a semester. Gulp.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Health Insurance, Ethan Frome, & Myspace make me blue.

So I've been spending my free time reading Ethan Frome & researching insurance terms.

Let me just make it clear that if I ever am a housewife like I've been this week, I'd go insane if I didn't volunteer, work part-time, or something. Just throwing that out there.

The reasons I am reading Ethan Frome is I'm going to be reading it in ENGLE 519 this semester- I read it way back when I took AP English & had forgotten what it was about. Slowly, it's coming back, and I'm remembering why I didn't like it so much... so freaking sad. It makes me blue, the poor guy needs to be loved, to cared for, and appreciated. And the setting, my gosh. Starkfield, Massachusetts. Really? Could it get any more bleak & gloomy? Needless to say, reading this book isn't exactly conducive to helping me shake the rainy day blues that have a hold of me. I've been feeling kind of down, & I have no idea why. I'm feeling fine physically. Not stressed, not busy. Loved & adored. Fine all around, really. I think it has a lot to do with the weather. It's been so wet & foggy & just blahhhh lately. And I've not done anything really exciting in a while. Christmas was great, New Years was okay... maybe it was New Years that got me into this slump. Anyways, I'm hoping Springtime & starting a new semester will pull me out of it. As dumb as this is, being ignored by Myspace after emailing them numerous times to get my password reset hasn't helped. Going cold-turkey from Myspace is like a smoker quitting after living off a pack a day.


So this brings me to my quest for health insurance. I got up this morning and got dressed & went to the OB/GYN. I had an appointment to talk about getting a Norplant in my arm, which would keep me from getting preggo for about 5 years, as Jake & I are hoping. Anyways, I got myself mentally prepared for the visit... I haven't had an invasive exam since... well... ever. My general doctor has never seen a reason for me to have a pelvic exam if my BCP was working just fine and everything was normal, so naturally, I didn't object. Who would? So, since the Norplant (or even the possibility of an IUD) would require an OB/GYN to do, my doctor refered me to a Gynocologists' office down the street & set up an appointment. I got there, went about the usual routine of signing papers & showing my insurance card, when the lady suddenly got huffy and told me my insurance didn't cover me. I was like, UH... WHAT?

As it turns out, my dad's insurance was supposedly going to cover me even if I had gotten married & changed my name because of the fact that I am still a full time student.
This would be so much better than putting me on Hubby's insurance since it was gonna cost us about $5oo/month for him to cover me... and with him being a teacher, that's a huge chunk of his check. So the people at my daddy's work called & checked with the insurance company, and they supposedly said I was fine as long as I was full time student, regardless of my marital status or last name. WRONG-O. I was trying to explain this at the desk at doctor's office this morning, but she said they wouldn't take it. She ended up calling the insurance company herself and come to find out, Daddy's work must have never notified them that I was married and had assumed I would file under my maiden name... the lady told me that's borderline insurance fraud! I was stunned!! Needless to say, the people at my daddy's work put me in a sticky position. The only way they'd been covering me was under the impression my last name was the same- who knows if these people at Daddy's work even told them I was married! So naturally, as soon as this lady at the OB/GYN told the insurance company I was married, they dropped me right then. I had walked in with insurance, and walked out with none. I left the office without being seen, completely shocked & infuriated. It's also quite frustrating to get yourself prepared for an exam like that & then it suddenly not happen, you know? Anyways, I got home, got on my laptop & started hunting for my own insurance. I barely knew what a copay was, much less, the diference between a PPO & an HMO. And what the deductible covered, and all that other jargon was. I started making quote requests and got a phone call from a company immediately, ironically, the same company who dropped me just today!! It ended up being much more affordable to buy it from them individually, than for me to be put on Jake's work's plan. I called & made sure it was the same company, that my doctors all accepted them, and the signed up, with help from my mom. What's even more ironic is that Hubby has no idea any of this has happened. In the time he's been at work, I've lost my insurance, got new insurance, and learned an entire dictionary full of insurance terminology.
One battle over and won. Now, on to dinner.

Monday, January 05, 2009

The Spaghetti Squash Experiment

So, the last time I went to the grocery store, I bought big whole spaghetti squash after seeing a recipe for spaghetti using squash instead for noodles on Rachael Ray. I loooove Rachael Ray & will try just about anything she makes, so I thought "hey, why not?'

Well, I bought that big squash and it cost nearly 5 dollars, but I still was excited about it & hoped it would be worth it. I don't know why I was so scared to try to cook it, I'm NEVER scared of cooking... but I've avoided it and cooked the old faithfuls. Anyways, this squash HAD to be used, and I wasn't gonna waste my money by letting it go bad, so today, Jake's first day back to school, I decided to cook it and have it on the table when he gets home. I'm even wearing the "Marylin Monroe" style apron my mother in law got me. As it turns out, I didn't exactly follow Rachael's recipe & put my own spin on it. I'm pretty sure I'm gonna be making this again!

Here's a link to the Rachael Ray Recipe where I got my inspiration. =)
http://www.rachaelray.com/recipe.php?recipe_id=2145


Italian Venison & Squash Spaghetti
1 whole spaghetti squash, cut into halves length ways
EVOO
1 pound ground meat (I used deer meat, of course.)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
5 pieces of bacon
2 teaspoons of butter
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
about 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
spices to taste-
paprika, parsley, ground glove, garlic salt, coarse ground pepper, etc

Take the 2 pieces of squash, and place cut-side down on a cookie sheet drizzled with EVOO.
Bake for 45-60 minutes.
While the squash bakes, cook up the bacon and set aside to crumble later.
Then, using the bacon grease, saute the diced onion & carrots & chopped garlic until veggies are almost tender, then add the ground venison. Cook until meat is brown & veggies are very tender, seasoning with spices to taste as it cooks.
When the squash halves are done, take them out of the oven & set aside. Use a fork to pull insides apart, forming what looks like noodles. Put a spoonful of butter on each piece of squash.
After the meat is brown & veggies are done, add the brown sugar and spaghetti sauce to the pan.
Let meat & sauce simmer together until all the flavors are married and the brown sugar has carmelized.
Spoon the meat & sauce mixture over the squash noodles & cover with cheese & crumble bacon. Put the whole thing back into the oven until the cheese is melted & you're ready to eat!

~*~This was also my first time photgraphing the food as I cook it. I really liked having the pictures to scroll back through to remind me of what I did step by step. It also will come in handy for a cookbook one day, lol!
The finished product :)

Saturday, January 03, 2009

My first try at graphics...

So for a while now I've been wanting to learn how to do HTML/CSS & make my own graphics & layouts for my blog & my Myspace... well, I finally made my first layout. In "researching" graphics and the people who make them, I've seen some girls get pretty nasty about making sure you tell where you find any and everything... I understand the desire to get credit for your hard work & the hours you spend creating these things, but if you upload it to the internet, you are, in one way or another, putting up there for anyone, anywhere to 'jock' or take without your permission... so stop whining!! Anyways, not that this matters b/c I'm currently locked out of my Myspace... I tried changing my password & for some reason I can't log in now... oh well. :(
But I still want to learn to make pretty things.
I've realized that that exact phrase- "making pretty things" -more or less sums up my hobbies.... scrapbooking, cooking, bartending & mixing drinks, baking, sewing, painting, gardening, photography, decorating, and now graphic designing... I like that all of my interests & hobbies fit into that nice little phrase...


So without further addo.. here's my first Myspace creation!
layout preview
This isn't the prettiest thing ever, but the extended network banner was created 100% by me using Xara Xtreme (Corel?) and the background image came from Google Images (although I could have made it, I now know how!) but I just wish I could have done the coding by myself, so I had to use a layout generator online; which explains why I can't seem to get the table width on the right side to be even with the banner I made... but not so bad for a complete beginner! =)

No need to post the code, right? Who's gonna sang a layout with mine & hubby's pic on it!? lol...

Friday, January 02, 2009

Holiday Pictures <3

A few pics of how we ended 2008...

Our Treegoing caroling
Me & two of my lovely cousins :)attacking our gingerbread houseChristmas morning at our house!my beautiful sister in law, who's become a closer friend each day!Bella & her stocking!my beautiful doggie in her Santa dress!

Welcome 2009!

What an incredible holiday! 2008, a year of firsts and life-changing moments, has offically came to a close. I have to admit, I didn't want it to end, simply b/ this year has been one of many milestones...
- first (of many) plane rides
- first trip outside of the United States
- first real enounter with culture
- the wedding, the wedding, the wedding, the wedding!!!
- really, really living on my own (I realize now that living away from home during college doesn't count as much as you think it does, you're still not on your own in so much that the bank comes hunting you down if that morgage ain't paid!!)
- first time thinking of myself as a "sexual" person... (I know that's a little personal, but hey, it's a true change... being together 5 years and building a relationship in which premarital sex was not something we wanted to have, introducing it into our relationship now that we are married has been a new dynamic of our relationship...)
-my first [insert holiday here] without my parents. As an only child, I'm really close to my parents. They are my heroes, my biggest fans, my friends... and not being with them as much as been hard on both me and them somedays.
- my first loan application- applying for a morgage is SCARY...
- our first time purchasing a vehicle out of our own pockets, completely alone...

There are really too many firsts to name here, but with us getting married, the economy, school... this year has made me a totally different person than who I was in December 2007. I was just realizing the changes that marriage was going to bring, and now I am actually experiencing them. Realizing what it means to start our own traditions and own ways of life, balancing our families, watching our career paths bloom and change, it's all so overwheming.
I'm proud of the woman 2008 has helped me become. Our pastor preached a while back on the economy and after that, I've had a lot of peace. I've not worried so much this year, which ironically, was one of my New Years Resolutions for the 2008 year. I know that if the worst of the worst happens, I can hang on to those who I love and trust God to get me through.

And, oh the wonderful, amazing season that we call Christmas... let me TELL you about my Christmas this year.
We put lights on our house- it was so beautiful (and it was really all ours!!!) that I almost cried..
I went caroling for the first time ever (growing up in the woods, you lived too far out to go caroling, it was too dark, and you were libel to get shot! so not an option where I lived as a kid) in Charlotte with our church and seeing the surprise and joy on the people's faces when they opened their doors to hear us sing "Joy to the World" I could hardly sing for smiling so big! Bringing others true joy- what a moving experience!!! Then we helped buy Christmas presents for a child in need- and I can't even begin to explain how much God came through for us there- or how touching it was to be able to help someone like that.... and waking up on Christmas morning to open presents with Jake & Bella... it was so full of love... I loved this year... it was quite possibly the best holiday ever...

2008 came with some heartache too... Losing Uncle Dean & struggling with feeling so helpless to comfort my Aunt Christy. Losing Jake's Uncle Joe. My issues with trusting men came to light in 2008 as well. I've seen first hand that the men you think could never fall to temptation; who would never step out on their marriages- can do just that. And the hurt from seeing men I trust as examples of Godly husbands do such revolting things has made me jaded, and worried that life will get complicated and start erroding at mine & Jake's marriage... and this could happen to us, too.... but I've also seen learned that many, many things contribute to adultry. And keeping God first in our marriage, and communicating about everything is mandatory... Even though I can't help but fear for my marriage, it's made me more and more determined that we will not be another statistic, and more passionate about keeping our relationship in check... making sure we are taking time to talk, to pray & spend time with God together, to make sure we put each other before ourselves, and to avoid temptation at all costs... I feel confidant that God has blessed us with some wisdom about marriage- following His directions and guidance is the challange.

This new year is supposedly gonna be a hard one. The experts say it's gonna get worse before it gets better, and the guy on the 700 Club talked about a future of hyper-inflation and a desperate world, hungry for hope. I don't really know what 2009 will bring- & there's no use listening to the predictions. I know it's gonna be hard; but I know we will be okay- and that God is going to use this year to shape me even more into the woman I'm slowly becoming. I trust Him & I trust that this year will be full of even more firsts, and more amazing experiences.

So finally... here are my resolutions.
1. Learn to like to exercise. I'm not resolving to lose weight (although that would be super-nice!!!) but to quit fearing exercise & avoiding it!! It IS the only way I'm ever gonna lose any weight after all, considering my diet is already as good as logically possible...
2. Pray more for Jake. This is carried over from last year. I've done better, I prayed for him more in 2008 than I did in 2007, but there's no such thing as too much prayer. Especially for the man you call your husband.
3. Read more. This includes reading for school, pleasure, the Bible, everything. I put off reading b/c I'm busy... which is more than likely my excuse as a result of my own procrastination. I'm going to use my time more efficently so that I have more time for the glorious act of reading!
4. Believe in my ability to be successful... as a wife, a friend, a teacher, and a student. and even as a mother. 2009 just might be the year we become parents, so if that's the case, I want to believe I can be a good mother. I already know I can do all these things in my heart, somewhere, deep down, but I want to believe in myself passionately.

Those are the nuts and bolts of my resolutions, although there are other things I want to be better at in 2009 including organizing and housekeeping, gardening and decorating, lesson planning and staying organized and prepared as a teacher (I'll be starting my field experience in Aug. 2009, then student teaching in 2010). I'm praying for God's direction with taking on Thirty One and becoming a consultant... praying about money, time, patience... I feel friendships changing and I know some will continue to fad and others will grow. I learned that's okay in 2008. Friends come and go, & that's part of life- God provides.

It all comes down to that 2008 can be summed up with the word "WHOA" and that 2009 is going to be just the same. It's going to be an adventure!!!

____________________________________________

My last "topic" for this post (I feel like a talk show host as I type that!) is on cooking.
I want to share my newest recipes that I'm in love with....

SHEPARD'S PIE (Hubby is Irish- so it's a must in the Wilson home!)
1 pound ground meat (beef is fine, I prefer deer meat!)
1 can Veg-All
1 packet of brown gravy mix
1 yellow onion, finely diced
2-3 cups of prepared mashed potatoes (make them from scratch or from a box, either is fine)
paprika, parsley, minced garlic, salt & pepper to taste

Brown onion & meat in a cast iron skillet with spices. Use a spoonful of butter instead of oil. Onve meat is browned and onions are good & clear, add the can of vegetables and gravy mix. Continue to brown all this together in the skillet until all vegetables are hot, tender, and flavorful... maybe 15-20 minutes. Once the meat & veggie mix is done, pat the mixture down flat into the skillet until in resembles a large patty. Cover and spread the mashed potatoes over the top, being careful not to let the mixture get swirled into the potatoes. Think of this as icing a cake. Lightly sprinkle with paprika. Put the entire skillet into the oven and broil the whole thing until the potatoes start to get a light brown color and become slightly crisp. Garnish with a sprig of fresh parsley and serve straight out of the skillet.
It's really good with boiled cabbage, pintos, & cornbread. =)

Seeing as how this blog has gotten really long, and it's getting really late, this is it for tonite.
Happy New Year to all! <3

I'll sharing more recipes soon.