Archive for October, 2008
October 21st, 2008
So, I was blog-hopping the yesterday and I discovered this really pretty blog, My Romantic Home, via Blue Castle’s blogroll (a pretty little blog that doesn’t exist anymore).
It reminded me of a magazine that I used to love when I was somewhere between 13 and 15 years old. I bet you are having no trouble guessing what that magazine was? (For those of you who are slower to catch on, the answer is Victoria Magazine.)
My Romantic Home is just as beautiful as the old Victoria Magazine that I would read over and over, inhaling its soft, sweet fragrance and dreaming of being a grown-up with a house filled with beautiful frilly things.
An odd thing for me to do really, since I was never a girly-girl, I hated pink, and I never did girly things such as imagining my future wedding. But, just as I do with everything, I obsessed over the few issues that my mother bought, either for my birthday, or because I begged her to, and then I forgot about the magazine for awhile. I remembered it again in college and searched for it, but couldn’t find it. I had since learned that it was discontinued, but only just recently realized that it’s been resurrected.
In my Internet search to uncover the mystery of Victoria Magazine, I discovered this post about Victoria Magazine on another new favorite blog of mine Morning Coffee & Afternoon Tea. (The post is dated May 09, 2007, just four days after my wedding!) The author’s description of why she loves the magazine perfectly explains my fascination with it as a budding woman (ewww! I can’t believe I just used that phrase!):
If you haven’t experienced this magazine, put it on your list. It was sumptuous! It had the most beautiful photos of antiques, roses, beautiful gardens, silver and china and linens, homes, anything to do with romantic and gracious living. The articles and features were good, of course, but I have to admit I was addicted to the eye-candy that could be found on almost every page. I just hope this new Victoria lives up to the standards of the old one.
Victoria Magazine was, as is the the blog mentioned above, first rate eye candy .
Furthermore, I’m by far not the only fan of this magazine as you can see by the amount of comments in response to her post. I do wish that my old copies weren’t lost in the chaos of my childhood home (and the covers I chose to display in this post were chosen because I recognized most of them from that time period) but I suppose I my sadness can be assuaged by the knowledge that I could purchase them at any time from EBay, if I felt I needed them badly enough.￼
And to the author of Blue Castle, I’ll be posting a recipe of my creamy potato, pea, and fennel casserole soon so you can see how easy it is to make the onion cream sauce.
***Note: When this was originally posted, it had 5 comments. Unfortunately, all comments before March 2010 were lost when I accidentally deleted my blog.
October 17th, 2008
It’s been a long week with my new job and more regular hours than I have been working for the past few months. It is a beautiful, bright, sunny day, today, and I plan to spend it cleaning my house….
But first, I want to express my surprise over cooking three excellent meals from scratch this past week!
I’m not including recipes at this point because of time constraints, but I really must express how shocked I was to find true joy in cooking this week. This is a component that I have been missing for several years now. But by the time I made my third meal this week, I was on a roll – rather than agonizing over every detail as I usually do, I just followed my instincts (the way my husband always cooks) and it came out better than just edible!
The first meal was a red potato and Swiss chard soup with smoked paprika. This is the second time I’ve made such a soup and I’ll make it again, so I’ll post pics and a recipe in the future. We chose to go out to eat the next day and I didn’t eat leftovers until the third day, at which point, the chard was too soggy and made me gag. Yuck. I’ll have to keep that in mind. The rest of the leftovers will be tossed.
Monday night, I made another meal from scratch – a stir fry using only what was in my fridge and cupboards (a big step for me as I often go to the store before I cook).
I made a marinade for the tofu using soy sauce, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and a bit of rice wine vinegar. Next time, I’ll use more marinade, for longer, and leave out the vinegar.
I included tons of garlic to please my husband, onion, broccoli, carrot, and napa cabbage. I wasn’t pleased with all that cabbage, as it made the veggies a bit soggy, but my husband really liked it (that’s sometimes all that matters).
The brown rice was quite soggy, as usual, but again, my husband didn’t mind. The next day, I mixed it all together with a dash of soy sauce, sriracha hot chili sauce, and hoisin sauce and it was delicious!
Tuesday night I really surprised myself and whipped up a potato, fennel, and pea casserole with onion cream sauce. I served it with my first perfect salad without bagged lettuce and a home-made vinaigrette (I learned how to do that from my husband). My husband ate it with some leftover roasted chicken and I ate it with a Boca Burger – eaten with a knife and fork, no bun.
***Note: When this was originally posted, it had 3 comments. Unfortunately, all comments before March 2010 were lost when I accidentally deleted my blog.
October 7th, 2008
I swear, never finish anything. I’ve just realized I checked this book by M. J. Ryan, out on September 19, loved it, got really into it over some morning coffee, read thirty-six pages of it and then moved on to other things ….
(I think it was wading through an unbelievable stack of mail while looking for some insurance forms that made me feel overwhelmed and depressed – and put me out of my “change my life” reading mood. Sigh.)
Granted those things I moved on to have been really BIG things:
- (I started this blog for one!)
- I said, “Its now or never!” and agreed to be on a panel at a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) conference that is coming up at the end of the month. (I’ll be the youngest, most inexperienced person on the panel, but hey, I’ve got two more weeks to get my presentation together!)
- I got a new part-time job teaching American Sign Language in a Home School program to five high school girls. The girls have been without a permanent teacher since September 3rd, and are totally thrilled to have me. (***ETA, that job turned into a 2 year job, before we moved, with five classes and 30-40 students. 2/26/13)
Items two and three were of the Susan Jeffers, Feel the Fear…and Do It Anyway variety.
I stayed awake nights worrying over both of these things and thought to myself that the benefits would far out-way any of the discomfort that would come from plowing ahead.
See, I turned thirty on September 12th – and it hasn’t been so bad – but it really is that, “I had better start living life!” moment.
These things I’ve listed may not seem like all that much to you, dear readers.
You’re probably thinking, “Duh.”
But you must realize that for me, my entire life has been about feeling the fear … and never leaving my house.
I’m big on sharing success stories and here’s the truth: I went from flunking out of college and losing a scholarship and a spot in an accelerated program, to finishing my Master’s Degree in Linguistics and meeting my wonderful husband (who is a doctor of all things!).
I’m proud of my successes. My motto is, “Screw it! Life is not a race!”
During my first two years of college, I was put on Lithium and earned a total of seven Fs and a smattering of As and Bs, because I couldn’t handle a load of more than two classes at a time, but it was too overwhelming for me to deal with the bureaucracy of dropping the classes (or even putting school on hold for a while, which is what I should have done).
Now, I think this unfinished book – about finishing what you start – may have had an influence on me!
In a couple of weeks I went from working too few hours at a part-time computer job from home, to doing two very grown-up things (and starting a blog, which only a blogger will understand).
And my life feels better. More … fulfilling.
My kitchen is still a mess…
(And I honestly can’t fit into any of my teaching clothes because I have gained thirty pounds since I married my husband.) But, I’m pretty happy. I love this new teaching job. I’ll survive the darn conference presentation and live to tell about it, and little by little, my house will get cleaner.
So, tonight as I go to bed, I’m hiding the stacks of books about knitting, gardening, HTML, and whatever else I’ve got out from the library right now, and I’m gonna continue reading this book. It’s actually really good and I’d recommend it.
And finally, before I go listen to the Presidential Debate on the radio (because we don’t have TV right now) I want to thank Susan from Raisin Toast for checking out my blog and sending me a personal email (after I commented on hers). I actually think I may have stumbled upon your blog a while ago and been completely intimidated by it! (But I’m a new woman now, and I take action – such as feeling the fear and blogging anyway!) It means a lot to me that you enjoyed my blog. I figured, what the heck, why not thank you right in a post.
(***ETA – I never finished that book. 2/26/13)
***Note: When this was originally posted, it had 2 comments. Unfortunately, all comments before March 2010 were lost when I accidentally deleted my blog.
October 4th, 2008
I feel guilty about the state of our tiny backyard. Perhaps I’ll post a picture of it so that my readers can give me their advice (but today:
• my allergies are pretty bad, and
• it’s Saturday, and
• I start a new job on Monday, and
• I just don’t feel like it, and
• I would rather rest).
My husband and I have lived the student life for so many years that it is hard to get into the mind-set of taking care of a lawn. And perhaps it’s difficult because we don’t own our house. Or perhaps the guilt is simply worse since we don’t own our house.
One big problem I have is that I know nothing about plants. We have only one plant in our entire house – a Snake plant that requires virtually no care – which was bestowed upon us by my husband’s parents – and which we’ve come as close to killing as possible.
Other problems I have with lawn care:
• I don’t really know what is a weed and what is not.
• I actually feel guilty watering the brown patches on our lawn because I don’t want to waste water.
• If I pull out the tangle of leafy things overtaking our lawn, I fear it will look worse!
• I can’t bring myself to use the electric lawn mower provided for us by our landlord, because it’s too loud (and smelly, yuck gasoline!).
• I don’t want to buy a push-mower because we don’t own our house.
But sites like this give me hope. It is one family’s answer to the problem of knowing too little about nature.
The site is guided by the book Handbook of Nature Study and you can jump in and follow at any time.
I would really like to give it a try – I’ll let you know if I get around to it.