Category Archives: Everyday Mundane

Pint-Sized Goals

Ian still doesn’t know yet, but he has a New Year’s resolution aspiration. I haven’t told him, and quite frankly, I don’t think I’ll bother. For a year-and-a-half I have pandered to and abetted in a lifestyle I don’t approve of. Somehow the proverbial arm got twisted up my back and I have adapted a little too easily to life with the use of the remaining appendage. At three-and-a-half, I don’t think it’s too early to set goals and keep them. It’s a life skill, and who am I to get in the way of that(?)

I’ve decided to put my size-8-thanks-to-my-last-pregnancy foot down and grow a back bone; well, one that doesn’t bend as much anyway. I’m tired of him preferring a chef’s concoctions over mine, it’s despicable and down right rude. So, Chef Boyardee, your days are gone. I have been quietly phasing you out over the past three months and I am happy to say, you’re gone! We used the last tin of you last week and–he didn’t even finish it.  We didn’t use your services all that much, but enough to get my knickers in a twist.

So far, we have dabbled with (and consumed) pork, chicken-flavoured rice, corn (that’s HUGE!), braised beef, real mashed potato, egg (salad) sandwiches, black beans, pistachio and cashew nuts. And I’m not done yet.

There are occasions, like last night where I pandered to my own taste buds, because I can. I could feel myself hitting this rut and I didn’t want to go near it. So, I looked up chicken breast recipes on a popular recipe sharing website and found the top hit: Bourbon chicken. It is also bourbon-free! Yes, it is just a clever name. It is reminiscent of Teriyaki chicken with a Chinese red chili chicken back-hander. It is amazingly tasty. Ian didn’t have any…

Prep. Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins

2 lbs boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 tsp ginger
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup apple juice
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
5 ½ tbsp soy sauce

Heat oil in a large skillet.  Add chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned.  Remove chicken.  Add remaining ingredients, heating over medium Heat until well mixed and dissolved.  Add chicken and bring to a hard boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Serve over hot rice and ENJOY.

You can thank me later.

In a Beautiful Quandry

I’m in a bit of a predicament and it’s driving me crazy. To those who just made a snide remark about my current level of sanity, I say: SHUT IT!

Bryan bought me an iPod shuffle for my Christmas (I really don’t need anything bigger, just something to drown out the kids…and plus, I’m so pedantic when it comes to listening to music that they’re perfect for me) and I received a duplicate from my in-laws. They also sent me a sandwich toaster, sadly Ian had bought me one for my birthday early December (it also makes waffles, it’s brill). So, I sent those back and got a sweet refund–minus the bloody shipping because it “wasn’t their fault”.

That’s the predicament.

I sat and poured over amazon.com’s pages for about 3 hours one night looking for things to replace them with. Nothing. I couldn’t find one single thing that I really wanted. I’m at a total loss. Bryan bought me a sewing machine (I’ve never personally owned one), so nice scissors or how-to books would be great. Other than that, I don’t really NEED anything. If I could just cash it in, I would be happy.

What would you buy with $112.06?

Resolutions? Nay, Aspirations!


He apologises in advance for making anyone’s uterus ache.

My biggest hurdle of 2007? It was tiny. A tiny little package of frogs, snails and puppy dogs’ tails. My trip-and-land-flat-on-your-face of choice was transitioning from one child to two. It was a complete adjustment in its entirety. Shifting from a self-sufficient, independent toddler to coping and managing (and ENJOYING) two little souls really threw me for a loop. You go from knowing, loving and embracing your current routine then, in the blink of an eye you’re thrown headfirst into a place of familiar unfamiliarity; feeling lost and discombobulated all in a hair’s breath. My fingers felt like huge sausages, cumbersome and clumsy. How could I change this tiny one’s nappy or bathe him delicately? My footsteps and voice were suddenly booming and echo-y. Excuse me? But how do you care for the soon-to-be bellybutton again? Sorry, I forget. I know I’m meant to know, so I won’t ask. I’m the old-timer here; seasoned and under control. So while I’m standing haphazardly in my pink hospital gown and gorgeous blue slipper socks, speed-reading up on it on my fact sheet so I don’t have to call on the nurse, a jet-powered stream of baby pee covers his face, legs, arms, hospital bassinet–and quite possibly the adjacent wall.

No option now but to call the nurse.

Once I adjusted to my life slowing once again to the pace of the little one, I relaxed, breathed and approached it differently. It took quite a few weeks to realign everything. So, I metaphorically stand before you now and say: If and when the time arises, I’m hoping 2-3 is not such a long-winded, confusing event. Emphasis delicately placed on the if.

So, this brings me to 2008 and all It has to offer. You should know, I haven’t made a New Year’s resolution in years. I decided a long time ago, I would rather set goals for myself rather than come up with some collection of senseless ideas that I would probably never keep. [cough, mutter] Like exercising. Sometimes the goal is lengthy and time-consuming, like Learn to Touch Type (post script: without cursing at Mavis Beacon) or Teach Yourself Basic AND Advanced HTML. Sometimes they’re simple, like Learn How to Play Backgammon (even if your opponent happens to be the bias Computer) or Take More Photographs.

I usually don’t come up with the aspirations until post-Ne’er Day, but I do come up with them nonetheless.

1. Make friends with your new sewing machine.

  • First point of action: remove it from its taped up box
  • Re-learn how to use it after a eigh****-year hiatus
  • Harness its capabilities and overlook the mind-consuming danger that you could ram the high speed needle into your left forefinger
  • Make some rawkin’ things with it, including a Rag Quilt

2. Recycle more to fit more rubbish in the wheelie bin. How can such a small family generate so much crap?

3. Revolutionise Your Blogging Experience

  • Move blog (and archives–BAH!) to another server

MSN has been getting my knickers in a twist for a very long time. Despite blogging here for the past 2.5 years, becoming Space of the Week twice, being featured on The MSN Homepage and having over 207,000 hits under my belt, I have taken all I can stomach with the Nuisance. The catalyst was the most recent of changes: No basic or advanced HTML in the Sandbox. At all. Basically, you can’t make a clickable header anymore, which is why mine has huge ugly white spaces all over it. My other option is to just leave it altogether.

  • Be done with Blogging
That’s a goal, right?


Babies Have a Sense of Humour

My life has been a lethargic haze to this point since having Cameron.  By 6½ weeks he was doing amazing and sleeping five hours all by himself.  At seven months old, we left for Yellowstone and then on to Utah.  While we were in Island Park, Idaho we slept in a trailer.  To save on space and issues, rather than put the Pack N’ Play up, we decided to let Cameron sleep with us.  Since then, it has been an uphill battle to say the least.  We essentially started over again after we returned home.

Going from self-soothing and drifting off to sleep to the other spectrum of needing us near him has been exhausting and taxing on me to say the least.  Bryan works very early shift, so I have tried not to disturb him if possible.  We kept him in our room (not in our bed) until recently, moving him into his own room (a GOOD 100 feet from ours.  Try walking it, bleary-eyed at 4 a.m.) at ten months old.  This has been very successful and I have been getting a lot more sleep than I had to this point.  Previously, he was waking every two hours like a newborn again and I had been a walking zombie on a good day.  After moving him, he was staying asleep for four hours.

I have known all-too-well that by this age, he should have been sleeping through the night.  I kept a pretty rigid nighttime routine with Ian with which I was by the book.  I had to give the book back and didn’t bother buying it (I’m totally serious!).  I figured I knew what I was doing.  It was so nice to have a little one around again that I got sucked into the I’ll-rock-him-to-sleep-til-he’s-unconscious trap and that was my (other) downfall.  Something had to change and I realised I needed help.  A friend gave me a gift certificate to an online store and I bought me some Supernanny books.  I figured I needed them for Ian too.  Last night I sat in bed until 1 a.m. pouring over its pages trying to learn all I could on techniques to remedy the situation and make everyone’s life a little easier.  The technique is:  The baby wakes, you go in after two minutes of them crying and rub his/her back and soothe them with a comforting noise, but don’t talk.  Don’t pick them up and don’t feed them.  When they have calmed down (but are not asleep), walk out the room.  Double the time increments you wait until you re-enter the room until they stay asleep.  It may be a long night, and a very long week to say the least.

The little bugger slept right through until 9 o’clock this morning.

Small Town Cooking

I wouldn’t necessarily say I live in a small town, it’s more of a small village.  But not necessarily in the British sense though: small amount of people over a vast amount of space.  I have to say, it took us about a year to finally feel like we wanted to be here.  It was a huge culture shock to us both.  We got here and had to adjust from “it would be a great place to vacation” to “farce, we have to freakin’ live here”.  Ian?  He took it in his pee pee-holding, snot-pickin’ stride.  It’s nice though, going from crazy-you-might-die traffic to complete calmness.  Heavy traffic here is 6 cars in front of you at the four-way stop.  There’s no traffic lights, certainly no roundabouts, and for that matter, very few pavements (sidewalks) – including on my street.  Most people know each other, and for the most part, you can tell an out-of-towner because they’re the ones not wearing Wrangler jeans and not walking with an invisible horse between their legs (and that’s just the women).  Eighty percent of the women here are, shall we say, non-threatening?  But very sweet people, of course.  There’s been a few days I have dropped Ian off at pre-school wearing absolutely no makeup and feeling completely comfortable with it.  I would never have dreamed of it in Utah.

Anyway, I had a point.

For Hallowe’en, we went to our local Church’s Trunk or Treat.  Everyone was asked to bring chili, so I obliged.  I thought variety might be the best approach, so I searched for a great Chili Verde recipe, as I had never made it before.  You know the kind, a soft green colour, made with chicken and not beef.

Anyway, I got there, sat my covered casserole dish down and opened it up.  A sweet old man who is known for his incessant teasing stopped and stared at it.

“What’s that?  That’s not chili.”
“It’s Chili Verde”, I offered.
*silence, crickets chirping*
“It’s made with green salsa and chicken instead of ground beef.”
“Oh.”

I made it again for dinner tonight and couldn’t help but think about the potential ruckus I could have caused.

Welcome to Montana.

Unavailable

Before I share this blog, I am going to give some background.

I used to work for IBM call centre in Scotland, receiving in-bound calls from end users, stores, banks and helpdesks for hardware faults on their computers, servers and anything in-between. Hence, when a solicitor calls, I give them my time; or my listening ear, if you will.

However, push the wrong buttons and get rude with me and I will verbally attack you until I am finished with my little game.

A few weeks ago I got a call from a company whose name was spoken so fast I couldn’t understand it. Anyway, he claimed he could lower my monthly mortgage payments.

What is your current interest rate on your home ma’am?
5.5%

Is it fixed or variable?
it’s fixed

What is your current balance on your loan?
That’s private information; I’m not sharing that with you over the phone. And how do I know you are who you say you are?

Ma’am, my name is _________ and I’m from _________.
Yes, I understand that, but you have to look at it from my point of view mate, you could be anyone and I just have to believe you, know what I mean?

But we can substantially lower your monthly payments, what is your current balance?
That’s private, I’m not telling you, especially over the phone, I wouldn’t even share that with someone who knew me … so stop asking

But I need it to let you know how much I can lower your payments by …
Look, I seriously DOUBT you would know how much you can save me. You’re just trained to sit there in your wee call center and tell people you can save them money, but how do you really know? You don’t.

We can refinance your mortgage so that it you will only pay 1% interest …
(I cut him off) Is that fixed or variable?

It’s fixed for 5 years.
And then what after that? Eleven, 13? 71⁄2? I think I’ll stick with my 5.5, I seem to be getting a better deal there. And plus (he tried to cut me off) … excuse me, I listened to you when you spoke, please afford me the same respect. Thank you. And plus! I am happy with my Countrywide loan, I know who these people are, I have never heard of your business and quite frankly, if I WAS going to refinance, I wouldn’t be doing it over the phone. I’d want to do it in private in an office where I can see the person I am talking to.

Well ma’am, I can transfer you to one of the loan officers here and they can discuss it with you …
I don’t want to talk with one of your loan officers, in fact, I don’t really want to be talking to you either, so please don’t waste your time. Seriously, I know you can’t accept the first few no’s, and I appreciate that, that’s your job, but I really am not interested in switching my loan to your company.

Well, thank you for your time ma’am, have a nice day.
Hey, you too, cheers mate.

First Things First

Two hundred and eighty visitors, and only 4 people have anything to say?  I can’t believe that.  What’s wrong with you people?
Last week, I had the distinct pleasure of entering the local USCIS office on Thursday and I have to say, these past two experiences have been much more agreeable than in previous years.  I think part of the charm is due to the wonders and marvels of infopass, the online appointment-maker.  That way, when you turn up, half the state and their dog isn’t there with you.  I also must note that the lovely odor has now dissipated.  It felt like a cattle ranch in there, especially with the security officers yelling “sit down!” every five minutes.  Now the officers smile and greet you as you walk in the door and hold the door open as you exit.  But maybe they just wanted me because I’m so friggin’ hot. Yeah that’s it.  That and my amourous Scottish accent.  But I must also say that I was in and out of there in 12 minutes (and I was 5 minutes early), something unheard of in the very recent present.
So now I just have to sit back and wait for my new card to show up and I won’t have to bother with them for a long, long time.  Ahhh, lovely.  For those of you not familiar with the wonders of the division of Homeland Security, your life is empty and void of stress and frustration.  I now urge you to leave your country of origin (for no good reason, as I did) and become an ex-pat and start the process.