Wednesday, September 24, 2008

So Glad I'm Not Retiring Now.

I can't imagine being one of those people being a year or two away from retirement. Having to watch as your investments plummet in value in the course of a week. Then you would have to weigh either retiring on less money, not being able to do the things that you wanted in your retirement, and possibly running out of money. Or you could work longer, save more, and hope for economic rebound.

People like my husband and I who have money invested in retirement have seen our share of loss as well. Thankfully we are young and have 30 years to recover and surpass it. If we are really smart we will invest now while the market is down and make even more money. The knee-jerk response to this is to pull all our money out of the market and stuff it under our mattress. However, we have done our best to live and spend responsibly and not beyond our means. Plus Scott has significant job security thanks to the baby boomer generation being so large and entering the ages of needing more and more medical care. Selling our house would make it even easier on us financially. Saving $300 a month on gas would be a big plus (more money to invest?).

Other than the economy crumbling around our ears, things are well with the family. I think the total so far of my canning adventures is 26 jars of pickles and 15 jars of tomatoes. I got lots of Roma tomatoes this year and they are so yummy. I also found a great use for my eggplant. I tried out a Greek dish, Moussaka. It was so great and it was nice to actually be successful in cooking with eggplant. The bechamel sauce was so smooth and brought everything together. . mmmmm.

No tattoo so far. I don't feel strongly in any direction as to the design that I want to permanently etch into my arm, so I will wait. But Erin decided to do some decorating herself. Her favorite part was pulling the stickers off making me say Ow! The other picture is our grapes that grew on our pergola this year.

I am feeling the itch to knit again. I think it is the changing leaves and the appearance of fall even though the temperatures continue to climb into the 80's. I just need to pick a project, to a gauge swatch and dive in. I think my downfall has been that I don't do a gauge swatch. I'm not a person who likes to take my time and get my ducks in a row, I like to dive in and it has doomed too many projects for me. There is a great idea for a hat with an attached scarf for kids that would be wonderful for Erin this winter. That would be a nice small project to start with.

Scott's brother, sister-in-law and their son Ian came for a visit. Erin had a lot of fun with him. He is just crawling so their interaction was pretty limited. However, the other weekend we visited Scott's sister and their son Walker is 1 1/2 and they played so well together. It will be fun having cousins close to her age as they all get older. They had so much fun on Walker's toy train, it was hard to get them off it.

Sunday, September 07, 2008


I want to be done now.

It all started August 15th. Our realtor suggested that we do some sprucing up of the unfinished part of the basement to at least make it more presentable to potential buyers. So I took on the project of painting the walls and the floor. My mother helped me and we spent the weekend and a couple of days getting it done. It looked really good.

Our old utility tub was cast cement and one of the basins had cracked and would leak onto the floor so we decided to replace it. The dilemma was how to get the solid cement tub out of the basement. It had to weigh over 300lbs. I did not want my husband or anyone else crazy enough to attempt getting the sink up our steep cellar stairs and severely injuring themselves. All I could picture was whoever that was on the bottom having that monstrosity come crashing down on them and inevitably breaking a bone. My suggestion was to smash it up and carry it out in pieces.

Scott (my husband) decided for option one and got my brother to reluctantly agree to at least try to get the cement sink out. After a single attempt and both of them straining their backs, he opted for my suggestion.

I bought a sturdy plastic one and replaced it so our laundry had a place to drain. It was a single basin so it also takes up a lot less room.

After the walls and floor had been painted Scott got inspired and wanted to take down the drop ceiling and put up a pine planking ceiling like the one we have in our bedroom. Of course my mom and I got roped into this project as well. So we proceeded to stain and varnish 400 sq ft of boards. Thankfully with the three of us working it didn't take too long.

Scott had a few days off and my brother also had some days free before he started school, so they got a decent start to the ceiling. I had taken down all the drop ceiling for them to get things moving along. The following weekend my mom watched Erin while Scott and I worked on the ceiling. Of course we hit snags along the way that slowed us down and were frustrating. I did all the cutting with the miter saw and jig saw. There were a few curves that threw me . . . well. . curves. I did all the cutting outside so I ran up and down the cellar stairs A LOT. Lets just say I have calves and buns of steel. =)

We also worked the next few days when Scott got home from work to get it done before our weekend away in Minneapolis. I really didn't want to have that looming over our heads while we were gone. Thankfully we got it done and the basement looks so nice.

I got Scott to finally help me bring our love seat and ottomans downstairs to put together a little TV area. It is so nice to have that downstairs for when Erin is napping or going to bed. I have my treadmill set up behind the love seat so I can watch TV while I am running. Which by the way I am still doing and it is still going well. I have lost 8 pounds so far and quite amazed at myself. I always anticipated it to much more painful and torturous. But I feel in great shape, which I want to be in since I am not getting any younger. I also want to be at a better starting weight when we decide to have another baby. I think I will in better shape for the next pregnancy than I was with Erin. Whew. . . another baby. . . I'm still a little nervous thinking about it.

Anyway. . . now that the ceiling is in it is about 3-4 inches higher than the drop ceiling was so there is that much of unpainted wall exposed as well as the venting downstairs. So now I have to go around the basement and re-edge everything. A project that I thought was finished. I also have to be more careful not to get paint on the new ceiling so I am taping everything. In case there was any doubt. . . painting above your head is zero fun. Hence, I am ready to be done. Thank you very much.
Here's a picture of our little TV area downstairs and you can see the new ceiling as well.

Friday, September 05, 2008

I want a tattoo.

So I've been scouring the Internet to get inspiration for a tattoo. I need it to mean something so I also want to take my time.
I might be ditching the idea of a tree or branch and going for something that signifies motherhood. I've been trying to find a picture or symbol that speaks to me and having a hard time.

There is the Celtic Motherhood Knot. Here is what I found on a website to explain what it means.

A heart within a heart - a mother's love encircling her child, giving it guidance, protection and encourage. This design reminds one of the ancient fertility symbols carved by prehistoric people - usually a symbol with large breast and a swollen belly."
Also on Celtic Lady "Add a dot around the outside or inside the Celtic knotwork for each child. Many designs found in the Book of Kells are enhanced with dot-work."

It looks like a nice design and I could add dots for subsequent children. However, I'm not sure that it does the best job of trying to portray how I feel about motherhood. Motherhood has changed me in every way. I feel things more deeply, cry more easily, and love my baby girl obsessively. I love being a mom and the woman I have become. I am doing exactly what I want to do by being home and raising my daughter. I am more creative and have more patience. All of who I am just makes sense since I became a mom.

I had wanted a dragon tattoo of some kind before I had Erin. I was excited to find this explanation of dragons.

The dragon is the ultimate source of female power and the symbol of magic, motherhood and divinity: a valiant defender. Dragons were perceived as powerful, protective, fearsome, and resolute. They were valued for their warlike qualities, but also for their intelligence, wisdom and ability to prophesise the future. Some dragons lived in lakes or water, whilst others made their homes on top of huge rocky mountains or inside caves. Some dragons could fly, whilst others could breath fire. This mastery of the elements, again emphasises the dragon’s magical prowess.

I also did a search for some moving pictures of moms and babies together. Here are a few that I liked.

I like the outline one and thing that it could transfer to being a tattoo pretty well. Although I am not sure how I feel about a naked breast being on my arm. The fantasy ones of the mother and daughter fairies are very nice and I like that they are in silhouette.

I just need to take my time and be sure of what I want. Perhaps I'll even get a henna tattoo done in the same spot to make sure that I want a tattoo there.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Cooler Weather.

That front that went through yesterday that took that hot, sticky weather and brought this crisp, cooler weather is my new hero. I didn't even want to go outside it was so gross out. Erin and I put some water in the pool to help with being outside, but I was just tired of the hot. I am ready for fall.

Our trip to Minneapolis was really nice. We went to the most amazing restaurant that I have ever been to. It was like actually getting to eat the food we see the chefs cook on Iron Chef America. Everything tasted so good together I just couldn't stop smiling. We took my brother, who is in culinary school and his girlfriend with us. It was kind of like a field trip for him. Plus it was fun talking about the food with him and all the different things they used in the dishes and how they prepare them. The restaurant we visited is called La Belle Vie and is ranked number one in Minneapolis. We wanted to get the whole experience so we did the 8 course tasting menu with wine flight. It was spendy, but it is a meal I will remember forever. Here is the link to their website, It took us 3 hours to get through it all and there were about 7 glasses of wine involved.

We also got to walk downtown quite a bit since our hotel was right in the middle of it. Our hotel gave us a room on the 19th floor and it had a nice city view. Pretty much all of where we wanted to go was within walking distance. So we were able to park our car in the hotel car ramp and not drive it again until we went home. I had fun walking around downtown with Scott during dusk and taking some fun pictures of buildings.

I came home to a little girl that was very excited to see me. She keeps telling me "Mommy home?" I reassure her that yes I am home. I also came home to lots of tomatoes and cucumbers to pick. I am trying to come up with some recipes to use my fresh tomatoes in a tasty way.

Last night I sliced up some of my Roma tomatoes and roasted them along with some garlic cloves in the oven. I reduced some wine with some minced onion in it. I added the roasted garlic to the sauce and some cream and let that reduce a little. Then I added Parmesan cheese and the roasted tomatoes to it. I also lightly coated some tilapia fillets in some flour, pepper, and salt. I got a pan nice and hot and cooked until the outside was crispy. To plate it all I put down some pasta, the fish on top, and the sauce on top of it all. Oh, so yummy!