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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Love everywhere

It's kind of funny; I see hearts everywhere. In puddles. In rocks. In water stains. No matter where I go, I will inevitably see hearts. Which makes me think that we don't have to look very far or very hard for love; it's all around us. The universe wants us to love and to be loved.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Meh...

Today, my friends, is the prime reason behind exactly why I had to tell you about my two year plan. Because I needed to put it out there... To call myself to the mattresses... And make sure I actually follow through with it. Because I'm great with ideas! Follow through... Not so much.

I mean, seriously, when God was handing out the ability-to-see-something-through-to-the-end gene, He either totally skipped over me or He gave me so much damn ADD gene that it negated my ability to follow through with just about everything. Unless I can do something immediatelyrightthissecond, I'll lose interest. Actually, not interest - the sheer magnitude of guilt I feel tells me I'm still interested in the idea - I lose the desire to keep doing it. No...that's not it, either. I'm just damn lazy sometimes.

How the hell do you get past A Herculean sized desire to sit on the couch and do nothing all day??

As I mentioned before, it's the day-to-day details that move me forward toward success. But, really... Right now, I don't feel like dealing with details. Right now, I just want to go to bed. But right now, I'm so sleep deprived that I know I won't get up early enough to take care of the details in the morning. So I'm trying to talk myself into taking care if all of it tonight. I know I'll feel better if I do, but I just don't want to. Talk myself into taking care of the bullshit, that is. Of course I want to feel better.

And I'm only ten days into this plan. Sweet lord! How am I going to make it through
another...whatever 365 plus 355 days equals?!

Ok...I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna go pack my lunch and get my vitamins ready. And shave my legs.


Maybe....

Monday, June 27, 2011

Super Delicious American Chop Suey

I don't think there's a person alive who hasn't had American Chop Suey. Seriously, it's the easiest, simplest, yummiest thing in the world. OK -- maybe not the yummiest thing in the world, but it's quick and easy and darn tasty [when made right].

Related to the post at hand -- one of my "selling points" to The Boyfriend™ was my love of and ability to cook. I am no Gordon Ramsey, but I can hold my own in the kitchen. Whoever it was that said the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, was right.

So, The Boyfriend™ and I are on our own with no Troll supervision until the middle of next month, and we're trying to keep the grocery budget smaller. Recipes like American Chop Suey are easy on the budget and rely fairly heavily on things already in your pantry (and in your garden). The Boyfriend­™ had never heard of chop suey until I introduced it to him, and still doubts that what I make is actually chop suey (which is when I point out to him that it's American Chop Suey... and there's a whole, 'nother different Chinese version). So, for him, I dedicate my first cooking blog

(Oh, I forgot to mention that, from time to time, I'll be posting recipes up on here now):

Step 1: Gather your ingredients from your cupboards, garden and pantry shelves. You will need:

- Peppers
- Onions
- Garlic (either fresh or the stuff in olive oil)
- Tomatoes
- Tomato sauce
- Meat or tofu crumbles
- Pasta (pick your poison. I usually use macaroni noodles)

Step 2: Boil some water in a big pot. This is important, because when I asked The Boyfriend™ to get the water ready for me, he put it in a sauce pan. Umm.. no. BIG pot. After you get the right size and put the water on to boil, add a little olive oil to it.

Ignore my stove. It's gross



Step 3: Grab a frying pan and start warming the beef, turkey or tofu (really, it's up to you what you use. I used beef in this recipe). After it gets nice and brown, drain off the excess fat. Because, seriously, fat is nasty.

For grain fed, organic beef, there's a helluva lot of fat in here. Gross!
Step 4: While the meat is browning and the water boiling, start chopping up the veggies. Watch out for those pepper seeds; the oil feels like BURNING!

Why yes. Yes, my counter DOES have '70s era Formica on it. Why do you ask?

Step 5: When the water gets roiling and boiling, add your pasta to it and turn the heat down to medium. Cook according to package directions.

Step 6: While the pasta's cooking, after the meat is all browned and drained, toss your chopped veggies into the pan with meat.

Step 6a: Add a ton of garlic. The more, the better in my opinion. I love garlic! I love it so much that I use it in everything possible AND take garlic pills. The Boyfriend™ doesn't seem to have a problem with my breath. Why do you ask?


Step 7: Stir the meat and veggie concoction around a bit to warm the veggies a bit and get everything mixed up right. Now add the tomato sauce -- not too much, but just enough to sort of coat the meat/veggie mix.


Step 7a: Let the mixture simmer for about five-seven minutes. I usually do the prep dishes during this time, cuz I'm good like that. A clean kitchen makes for a happy me. Every once-in-a-while, go back over to your stove (which, because you're better than I am, I'm sure is cleaner than mine) and stir the meat/veggie/sauce mix.

Step 8: When the pasta's ready, drain it and toss it back in the pot or put it in a serving bowl. Whatever works for you -- American Chop Suey is not picky. Then toss in your meat/veggie/sauce concoction. Give it all a big stir or two (to combine):

Please just pretend that my stove isn't disgusting. I blame The Boyfriend™. He did horrible, bachelor things to this stove

Step 9: Grate some Parmesan (or use the sprinkle kind), put some of this deliciousness in a bowl, topped with the Parmesan and enjoy! 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Two Year Plan... T-Minus 103 weeks

It has officially been one whole week and The Two Year plan is still going strong. The Boyfriend and I are sticking to our budget; making sure those tiny little details, like getting lunch ready the night before, are attended to and are keeping on track in general.

Speaking of tiny details... I just spent the last three or so hours making reusable snack and sandwich bags. I saw some at A2Z (a science and learning store) back home & thought they were just awesome. A bunch of research, $21 worth of lining material, and one instruction manual later, I made a whole mess of 'em for cheaper than I could've purchased them for! In the long run I'll also be saving money on sandwich bags (The Nugget needs lunches for camp) AND we're doing something good for the environment!

More and more The Two Year Plan feels exactly right. More and more I feel like my time in Florida is like living someone else's life for a short while. Days seem rather surreal and I feel like I'm only 1/2 present (mostly because my head is busy planning and plotting every move toward Two Year Plan success!). The surreality may have something to do with The Trolls still being in Massachusetts and my days not filled with the routine of caring for them.

But I try my best to still be present for them even when they're not here: football fabric for The Nugget's bags and buying ingredients for homemade organic snacks for when they come back. I miss my trolls immensely. Our time together as a family - The Trolls, The Boyfriend and me - really tuned me in to what my soul needs, and to those small things that make my children and beloved truly happy.

Every step we take from a week ago to two years from now brings us closer to living that soul deep happiness every day.

Keep the positive thoughts and love coming, my lovelies. I feel it working and immensely grateful for it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mmm... Home grown deliciousness! Now with BURNING!

So, we reaped some of what we sowed to add to supper tonight. Excited? Yes we were! We even nibbled the end of one of the peppers, just to get a sample before the flavor was diluted.

It's eleventy seven bajillion degrees of HOT in Florida right now. So hot, in fact, Hell feels like an air conditioned oasis. So, needless to say, I'm sweating like a nun in a whore house.

When one sweats, one normally wipes away the torrent of beads streaming down the face. I am no exception. I should've been. The sample we tasted in our garden gave no hint of the sheer HOT contained in these peppers. All of a sudden the skin on my face felt like sulfuric acid had been pored on it! Holy egads!! All the burning made me sweat more! It was a hellish catch 22 practical joke.

So... The moral of the story is peppers are hot.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

More scenes from the back yard

The Trolls used to have a kick ass castle bunk bed, courtesy of the magic workings of Uncle John making The Nancarita's vision a reality.

When we moved in with The Boyfriend, The Trolls decided they had kinda sorta outgrown the castle as a bed, but wanted to keep it as a fort. It just so happens there's a perfect climbing tree in the backyard, which the castle fits neatly under. Add a rope and we have a fort fit for some Troll Kings.

...I tend to play in it the most, though. ;)

Houston. We have produce!

So there have been a couple of beans, and some peppers that didn't quite grow all the way. And I've given up the ghost on the corn, but dammit! I have a tomato! And it is almost ripe enough to pick!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Two Year Plan...Ssshh I'm not supposed to talk about it.

My first instinct is not to say anything about The Two Year Plan, lest Injinx it somehow, but upon further consideration, if I don't say anything, I'm likely to just keep it a plan and not do anything about it.

I'll get to the plan in a moment...

My head is spinning right now, so I can't sleep at all. Tomorrow I have to go back to work and there is absolutely so much I have to do, in such a short period of time. Fortunately, The Trolls are still in Massachusetts for the next few weeks, so I'll be able to commit to linger hours at work, which will help. But still...nothing like leaving paradise to come back to the gauntlet. Jeez Louise...

This past week was magical, even if nit terribly exciting. I feel like The Boyfriend™ and I connected on a really solid level. We spent some real quality time with The Trolls, creating good, happy memories for us all. You can't put a price on that.

Even though I didn't have near enough time to see all of my family or most of my friends, the time I did spend with family was solid and good. I feel grounded and whole again. The Boyfriend™ got to connect with my family and glean a greater understanding about why I am the way I am (which, I think went a great deal toward helping connect us).

The air was breathable; the river clear and crisp. I got a good fix of rainy weather, which I have been so desperately missing in Florida, where we are currently experiencing drought-like conditions.

There were ghosts and burnt popcorn. There was one bleeding head. There was peeling skin and picnics on the grass. There was a bedroom campout. There was love and laughter and joy.

I am not ready to leave that behind. So, I won't. Which brings me to The Two Year Plan.

Over the course of the next two years, The Boyfriend™ and I will be scaling back the excess in our lives to scrimp and save every penny toward moving to Massachusetts (back to, for me). It's going to require a phenomenal effort on our parts, considering that I especially have the attention span of a fruit fly, but the benefits will be worth it. By August 30, 2013, if all goes according to plan, we should have about $24,000 saved up, which will be a nice nest egg to start our new life. Here's how it will work.

There are certain fixed household expenses, not counting groceries, daycare, cell phone bills,etc. We're each going to maintain our private bills separately. Fixed bills are about $1000 a month, total, or $500 each. Not a lot, when you get down to it.

We're each going to set aside, in the joint account, another $500 per month, each. This chunk will go into savings where we'll promptly forget about it and let it accrue some interest.

The Boyfriend™ wants to buy a house up there, but I'm more of a renter. We'll have to see how this one pans out, but the ultimate goal is to have a solid chunk of change for a down payment on a fixer upper that we can make our own. The Boyfriend™ currently owns the house we're living in now, so we may hold onto it as a rental property so he, at least, has an exit strategy.

There are a lot of other small details that are going into this plan, such as cleaning up old, existing debts, and making sure that we're planning meals before we grocery shop, so we don't go overboard - and I'll spare you the rest - but, the nitty gritty is what, ultimately, will help us stay focused and on target.

In the mean time, I'm trying to equally realize that much of this is post-vacation syndrome, but also realizing that my excitement has more to do with this being something I really, REALLY want to do (and it's on my life list, no less), and wanting to keep the momentum of my post-vacation syndrome going to propel me toward success.

I expect that there will be hurdles on my way, namely unforeseen expenses, or unplanned trips to the ER, but I will NOT let those get in the way or get me down.

The funny thing is, though, The Universe seems to be pointing us in this direction, anyway, from my Kabbalah tune ups, to my TUT messages, to my horoscope...everything is saying DO IT. And whe. the Universe speaks, it's wise to listen.

Keep the positive thoughts flowing, my lovelies. I'll need all the encouragement, focus, love and support I can get.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

There's no place like home

While I spent the vast majority of my childhood in the bosom of my maternal family, I've always had a special connection with my dad's side of the family.

My parents split up before I was old enough to even sit up on my own, but the sides of the family have always remained friendly. In fact, I grew up within a half hour of the vast majority of my family. Cousins were like siblings and aunts and uncles were extra moms and dads. But my grandmothers were the real deal. They were very hands-on in raising me. I'm very, very close with them to this day, and they remain my two favorite people to hang out with in the world.

A few years ago, my nana sold her condo (the first home I remember) to downsize to something more in line with her needs. Her new place still has that "Nana" vibe to it, but it isn't the condo. I miss that place.

My gram, however, has lived in the same house for all of my life and then some. It's the second home that I remember and the house has all the smells and sights I associate with home.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

One more...

While hard to see (my camera phone doesn't have a zoom function), this scene makes my heart burst to overflowing.

My beloved and my son, sharing a quiet moment in the shade.

-- Sent from my Palm Pixi

Vacation, Day 4

We survived the road trip... All of us. The Boyfriend stayed in relatively good heer throughout, despite the hyperactive tendencies of two Trolls who were cooped up in the car for too long.

I've spent good time with family. I've spent good time exploring my home state with fresh eyes, reacquainting myself with all that is good here... And chuckling over the "bad" parts. I've spent the bulk of the spaces in conversation trying to convince The Boyfriend that we need to move here.

For all the sameness of the daily routines here, and time marked mostly by the passing of seasons, this place is truly magical. I feel at rest and peaceful again. 

It is good.

-- Sent from my Palm Pixi

Saturday, June 11, 2011

On the road... Day 2

The Boyfriend is barely surving, but he's a trooper & putting on his brave face. The Trolls have only been mildly annoying.

On to Washington, DC!

-- Sent from my Palm Pixi

Friday, June 10, 2011

On the road...

The Boyfriend and I are putting our relationship to the test over the next couple of days. The Trolls, The Boyfriend and I are making the 1300 mile trip to my home state, Massachusetts. 

Remember how I said The Boyfriend hates road trips? This should be interesting...

-- Sent from my Palm Pixi