Monday, August 31, 2009

Crying over spilled peas (and a pork chop)

Remember how yesterday I was semi-bragging (okay, gloating, really) about how mellow and cool I am? About how nothing phases me, and I pooh-pooh minor things like using the wrong flour and making messes? Well...I wasn't feeling that chill vibe later in the day. Well, most of the day. Yesterday was just a difficult day, mostly owing to a couple of things:
  • Being pregnant and being tired/constantly pulling my ab muscles/having back pain/being moody/having headaches/hurting in various other places
  • Not getting quality sleep this weekend, due to dogs running amok and waking me up every half hour (we had a dog house guest who has since departed)
  • Being pregnant
  • Having a deadline looming in a few weeks that's freaking me out (yes, plenty of time, but still!)
  • Being pregnant
  • Worrying about not working/not having money
  • Being pregnant
Anyhow, I held it together most of the day, long enough to pick up a few things at Target, find the Illustrator book I was looking for at Borders, clean, bake a loaf of bread (in the machine), and do a little blogging (which mostly involved looking up recipes and getting distracted by links to other blogs). I won't lie to ya, I was hurting all day, very tired, headachey, and just uncomfortable. The lovely abdominal pains didn't want to let up all day, so I was having fun tolerating those as I moved around, doing my thing. But all in all, I held it together pretty well.

That is, until I showed Pete a 3D image of a 16-week fetus (my current stage) and tried to wow him with interactively rotating it 360 degrees for his amazement. He wasn't so amazed but merely amused, and made some goofy comments about the baby image and walked away. Now, normally that would not phase me and I might even laugh. But not yesterday. This set off a chain reaction made of hormones, tears, and more hormones and tears. After getting weepy for a few minutes, I decided to heat up a leftover chop and peas from Saturday night. I cut away the bone from the chop's meat, and as I tried to slide the bone into the garbage, my entire plate and dinner somehow fell out of my hands and shattered on the floor. Yes, there were peas and pork and plate chunks all over the place. This set off even MORE tears, after which Pete sensed he should get his butt in the kitchen and soothe and help me. I, of course, in my hormonally-hijacked body, tearfully tried to push him away, more for dramatic effect than anything. A wobbly, weepy pregnant woman was no match for Pete, and he succeeded in shooing me away and cleaning up the mess ("But there's peas under the wall!" I wailed, to which he calmly replied he would take care of it.)

Of course, it wasn't enough that I was hurting, weepy, and tired. I had to ignore Pete's suggestion that I go rest, and instead I started washing dishes (well, we DID have a sink full of them). He asked what he could do to help me, after offering me the remaining chop several times (I declined). I did shakily suggest he could rub my back later, "if he wanted to," to which he wisely agreed. I finished the dishes and heated up some hot chocolate, which I finished in a few gulps in front of my laptop, reading blogs. Pete retired to the living room and watched some Military Channel show about ultimate battles (Note: I really don't like the Military Channel.). I eventually calmed down and contemplated what to eat, since I steadfastly refused the extra chop and anything else Pete attempted to bribe me with ("Potatoes? No? How about the noodles? No? Okay...")

I have since slowly reverted to my pre-hysteria state, although I am still hurting and tired. It doesn't make me feel like drawing cartoons all day, but that is what I must do.

So the next time I drone on and on about being so above it all and in a state of pregnant bliss, ignore me. Or at least take it with a grain of salt (and a side of pork and peas). Just remember I have a bucket load of hormones cursing through my body, as well as a gigantic belly that puts a strain on my poor system (and it's only going to get worse). At least I recognize my weaker moments, eh?

(Image from Terrystuff)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Not quite ready to graduate from cooking school

As a side note to last night's wonderful dinner, I must admit it started out a bit shaky. I mentioned I had to run out to get bread flour from the store, right? So off I went, made my purchase, and returned home with said flour in hand.

I set the bag on the counter next to the bread machine, and carefully read the recipe instructions. And what kind of flour did I end up using? No, not the bread flour that was sitting right next to the bread machine, but the bag of all-purpose flour that was way up high in the baking stuff cabinet. I actually had to get a chair, climb up, find the bag, open it, measure it out, and pour it in the bread pan. I didn't realize my blunder until a good 15 minutes later, when I was thinking about how to store the extra bread flour and realized that I never even opened the bread flour. And to my horror, I saw the all-purpose flour sitting innocently on the counter, far from the bread machine, but obviously opened and used.

Meanwhile, the bread machine churned away, merrily mixing up the rogue dough with nary a worry.

Oh well. There's no emergency stop button on the bread machine, so I had to make do and whip up another loaf of bread. Funny, cuz in the past that would have sent me into a frenzy of panic and anger, but I just shrugged, called myself a dum-dum, and started making those lovely Ghirardelli brownies.

Is it the influence of the little person who's on his/her way? I think so. So much is starting to roll off my back, and things seem less critical than they used to. Getting upset over wonky bread is not worth the time and effort. And the little bean was popping about inside me as I baked (poorly), reminding me that there are so many other things in life to worry about that are far more important. And after all, who can get mad when you've got brownies baking in the oven?

(Cookie image courtesy of Cookie Madness)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

LIttle miss chef

I'm in a cooking/baking mood today, perhaps because of the recent run of cool, rainy weather. Fall-like temps make me want to cook like mad, warming up the house with rich, fragrant smells from bubbling pots and steaming pans of goodies.

Today I'm making a lovely Saturday-night special dinner for two of my favorite guys: Pete, and my dad. My dad is all by his lonesome tonight, due to my mom working and my little brother camping up north with my older brother. So I invited him over for dinner, and when I read the menu to him, he was more than happy to oblige.

Here's tonight's menu:

Smothered Pork Chops

Oven Roasted New Potatoes

Baby Peas

Tangy Buttermilk Cheese Bread

Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Brownies (yes, it's a mix, but who cares)

I'm hauling the bread machine we got for our bridal shower out of its box for the occasion (better late than never), and I figured I'd give it a whirl. (Note: all pix are from OTHER peoples' attempts to make this stuff.)

I'm off to buy some darn bread flour for the bread recipe...have a happy (and delicious) Saturday!

Friday, August 28, 2009

What makes this woman happy

What makes me happy?

FINALLY having my stove (Magic Chef 1000) hooked up and merrily cooking away. I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to be able to cook on a stove and bake in an oven, after almost two years of microwaving food and eating out. I almost wept when Pete and his friend Scottie finally installed the stove this past weekend.

And what a cool and impressive stove to cook with. I marvel that this thing was made in 1935 and is STILL running in excellent condition. I do have to calibrate the smaller oven because the knob seems to be a bit off, but everything else is great. I'm amazed that it has pilot lights and is so efficient, for being so old. The ovens have to be lit with a match, but that's not a big deal at all, and it's cool to watch the strange burners with central rings of gas light up. Of course, I immediately set about cooking not only dinner for the three of us (for which the stove performed flawlessly, as always), but...

I baked the first cookies of many in it as well. This was the first test cookie (chocolate chip), and it turned out great. The smaller oven needed a lot of extra time, but it did all right, leading me to discover the knob needs to be adjusted. But the larger oven is wonderful, and has been baking batch after batch of cookies for us. (For the record, Scottie ate the first cookie baked, which is only fair, since he helped us so much.) Matt had also played a key part in helping Pete to move the stove to its proper location (no small feat, since it weighs about 560 pounds), for which I treated Matt out to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant.

Anyhow, yes, I became a baking fiend, but couldn't help myself. These were gone in a matter of minutes, with everyone drooling over the cookies, including the dogs.

A few days later I also made more chocolate chip cookies, and a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies too.

Another wonderful thing is that Matt and Pete brought in my china cabinet from the garage, which has been in storage for the last few years too.

I immediately set about hauling out all my vintage teacups that have been piling up in my cabinets since we moved here. I was a bit surprised by how many I had (22, plus one more missing a saucer), but they were so pretty to look at, and I was glad to have them out of the company of the mugs and glasses and into the china cabinet, where they belong. Since then, I've bought two more at the local antique shop, bringing my collection (with saucers) to 24.

For the moment, they're simply resting in the hutch of the china cabinet. The hutch was missing its shelves and had a piece of loose moulding, but I got it at Crate and Barrel Outlet for less than 1/3 the price, so I don't mind.

Pete needs to build/find some shelves for the hutch so I can properly set up the teacups, as well as our small collection of wedding china.

Another sublime development in our house this weekend is the moving of our entertainment center into our living room from our garage. It, too, has been in storage for two years now, waiting for the floor to be finished in the dining room so it could be moved into the living room. Pete had forgotten I even got the center, but I reminded him about it and the fact that I got it for FREE. Not bad for a solid piece of oak furniture. I'm so happy to have places to store DVDs, books, etc., as well as a proper place for our tv (and NOT the buffet cart that belongs in the dining room).

I also got a nice rug for the sink area at Crate and Barrel Outlet, and the cats and dogs seem very fond of it. Max especially likes to rest here, which is funny, because he is so photogenic against the bright orange rug and vivid blue floor.

Yes, I'm still waiting for Pete to fetch our dining room set from Jeanette's basement, and yes, the walls are unfinished in the kitchen and dining room. But I don't care. I am so happy to have a little bit more normalcy in our house and our lives (I am SO sick of microwave soup/chili and pizza rolls!), and I couldn't be more content at the moment. Well, that is, until Pete gets one of his broken cars up and running and gets rid of the other two beaters. But that's a challenge for another day. For now, I'm enjoying the sweet taste of victory (and cookies) and appreciating the baby steps we've taken to make our house a home, before our baby arrives and is stepping out as well.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Surrounded by dogs

Roxie, our old landlord's dog, is staying with us for the next several days, and Adora isn't exactly being the gracious hostess she should be. She has been herding poor Roxie everywhere, nipping at her mouth and using body checks to keep her coralled. Adora has even tried to eat Roxie's food, which Roxie thoughtfully overlooked. Note the literally high-ranking position Adora put herself in outside while Pete was exercising the dogs. Queen of the Roost, indeed!

If you saw Roxie in person, you'd think she'd be the aggressor, since she's a big Rottweiler and looks rather imposing. But no, it's our little circus bear Adora who's being the dominant one, with Spanky a distant third in the temporary pack ranking (of course, we humans are first and second in the pack, with mama-to-be being top dog, hee hee). Spanky doesn't seem to care what Roxie does, as long as he's reassured he's still loved with lots of petting and cuddling.

This is going to be a loooong weekend....

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Back to the drawing (and proofreading) board—again!

I'm happy to say that things are perking up a bit in the freelance department for me lately. I've just been given an illustration project that will run for a few weeks (about 30 hours worth of work). And a potential temporary proofreading position has opened up as well, for which I just need to hash out the details and see if they'll work with my schedule (since I'm working on the illustration project first). AND, I'm beginning a collaboration on a children's book with an friend of a former coworker, which doesn't pay right away but has already been to a publisher and approved, so it's definitely got a chance of turning into something good.

I'm glad this is all hitting me right now, as I'm in the early part of my second trimester (I'm 15 weeks 2 days as of today). I was so severely fatigued, nauseous, and just generally feeling like crap for the last few months that I had trouble simply going about my daily routine at home (walking up stairs, doing laundry, feeding pets, brushing my teeth, etc.). So now I'm a bit refreshed, and although I have to take it easy with the physical stuff cuz I seem to keep pulling my ab/groin muscles (a wonderful side effect of pregnancy), I can certainly sit at my computer and work.

It's amazing how good it makes you feel when you have prospects (and hope for future prospects) after several months of no work and no job leads (except for the one freelance project I did back in June). I'm hopeful that work will pick up, and even if I'm not able to find full time work, perhaps I can become a full-time freelancer at home, which has always been my dream, and would be perfect with the impending arrival of our little one in February.

May you all have great success in your career and creative endeavors!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Frolicking in my very "Euro" bikini in the Ausable River

Part of the gang hanging out at the Flume, in the Ausable River—From left to right: Isabelle, me, Pete, Olivia, and Jeanette

A view from above—belly shot at 14 weeks

While in the Adirondacks, we swam quite a bit. And since I don't swim that much normally and my bikini from my honeymoon still fits, I didn't see the reason to buy a new swimsuit. I was a bit worried that I would look odd scrambling among the rocks with my big belly hanging out of my bikini, but Jeanette assured me it was very "Euro" (lol, not sure if that's true, for all my European friends) to wear a bikini while pregnant.

I actually didn't mind wearing it because it didn't strangle my belly, and I was pregnant enough so that it didn't look like chub, but an actual baby bump. I did get a few curious looks, but most people didn't care, and it didn't bother me enough to hide under a big t-shirt or my sarong. Nicole took a picture of Pete and me, where my belly is super pregnant looking, and I was shocked by how big I had already become (when she sends it to me I'll post it).

Seems like I popped during the last few weeks, and the shorts I had been able to wear on the way up to the Adirondacks were no longer comfortable on the way home. Oh well, c'est la vie, eh?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My husband—the man with the spirit of a little boy

Pete wearing his WWII jacket

Pete wearing his WWII tunic

During most of the time we were up in the Adirondacks, Pete ran around in one of either two outfits: a WWII jacket, and a WWII tunic. He loves anything WWII, and he was super excited when we ordered these from an eBay seller a few months ago.

He wore the jacket on the way up to the park, but most of the time he sported his little tunic. He wore the tunic around the cabin, without pants, for some reason (he still had his boxers on), prompting my 5-year-old niece Amelia to ask at one point (while he was changing from a day of swimming), "Is Uncle Peter going to wear his dress now?"

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Home never felt so sweet

Pete and me on Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks...yes, that's my preggo belly straining at my tank top in the picture.

We're back from the Adirondacks, and I'm so glad to be home. I missed the furry children, and sleeping in my own bed. I have lots of pix to upload to vivid, but hopefully I'll get those posted soon.

Hope you're having a great August so far, too!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

On the road again...

As you read this, Pete and I are off to the Adirondacks for a lovely vacation in a beautiful cabin near Lake Placid. We were there in '07, and I was super-excited when I found out we were able to go back again this year.

These pictures are from the last time we were there. We were leaving our hotel room and starting our second day of travel, headed to New York and the mountains. Pete had just had some coffee and was super hyper. I, of course, was still drinking my cup and not fully awake. My reaction is priceless, I think, lol.

Hope you all have a wonderful next 10 days while I'm gone...I may try to blog while I'm up there, but I don't know what sort of Internet I'll have, if any. So until then, au revoir!

Thursday, August 6, 2009


The rumors are true.... :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sleeping kitty

They are so cute when they're sleeping and not causing trouble, aren't they? Dollie's favorite room is our dining room/kitchen, which is still under construction and full of fun things to play with like scraps of sandpaper, stray screws, and lots of dust. But she also finds it a great place to catch a good nap.

Thanks to everyone who wished us a happy anniversary (Pete and me, that is, not Dollie). We had a great weekend up in Savanna hanging out at the farm and just relaxing a lot (and eating, of course). I'm moving a bit slow this week, and still getting to reading everyone's recent blog posts (I've been soooooo out of the blogging world lately!), but looking forward to our upcoming trip to the Adirondacks on Saturday. I've been busy locating my cameras and running mental checklists for the journey. Hopefully we can get some much needed R & R up there and come back refreshed and calm.