Wednesday, October 31, 2012

internal conflict

Lately, I've had a lot of internal conflict about our living situation. There are a lot of things that I miss about where Bunny and I used to live. It's not just those freedoms, though, it's also the fact that I flat out loved our old home. It was a place where my relationship with Bunny really flourished, where we took a lot of big steps together. It was where we first created our own shared space, and really settled into a happy shared lifestyle. It was our home when we got engaged, and where we first started investing in serious joint possessions. It was ours in a very visceral way. There's a certain pride in having your own home, and a sense of ownership there. Our home spoke to the lives we lived together, and who we are as people and as a couple. We had a great community, we lived in a city that I loved, and where we were nearby to most of our friends - or at least going to see our friends was only a short trip away.

Then there's the cultural stigma of being adults living with our parents. To be honest as much as this is in my mind, I'm not overly concerned about it. If people who don't know me want to judge my living situation, well, they'll do that. With all my own internal conflict I just don't have the energy to care what others think. What's hard though is balancing being an adult, and a responsible, productive member of society against living with a parent. It's hard to feel like an adult when you're constantly being parented. I struggle with being trivialized, and it's a constant battle to get my mother to treat me as the woman I have become rather than the child I was. The longer we've been here the more it bothers me.

Having just a basement, that's still not entirely ours, isn't so easy at times. This house is my mother's home, and while I grew up here it's never really been my home. I don't feel at home here. As much as I hate to admit it, for most of my young adult life in my own personal definitions of what would signal "success" and "failure" at life in general the number one signal of failure has always been living with my mother post-university. That's been a hard one to wrap my head around.

We don't live here because we have to, although financially it makes a lot of sense right now. We're more than happy to be real, equal financial contributors to the home, although that's something that we can't seem to convince my mother to let us do. (So we help out in the way of home repairs, cooking and cleaning, and buying my mom special presents). We choose, albiet somewhat passively, that this is our living situation.

Beyond the finances there are a lot of benefits to being here. Because our moms have been next door neighbours for twenty years we have the benefit of having our entire immediate familly under one roof. (Except my brother, but he's in school so it's a little different.) It's nice to be able to be so close to everyone and that's a real pull factor for us to stay put here. It's probably the biggest reason, even above finances, that we haven't too seriously started looking for our own place. The difference between being a thirty second walk from family and a ten minute drive is huge.

Bunny and I are constantly reviewing and talking about our living situation and the potential changes we'd like to see to it. Timelines for when we'll change things, and how those things will actually change. He has an easier time with the whole matter, maybe because the reasons for us being here were much more profoundly about him than they were about me. What's so difficult is that whatever we do, we lose out.

Stay here, we lose on the privacy and ownership and pride in having our own home. We lose freedom and independence that are still highly important to me. When we get our own home, whether we buy or rent, we're giving up the direct and easy access to family and the chance to build and strengthen those relationships. We end up making a financial output that, while it makes sense, leaves us with much less freedom and less ability to save for our future.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

roasted cauliflower and parsnip soup

This slow descent into cool weather, while unfortunate in that I'm always so bone cold, does have some side benefits. I'm a winter cook, really. The foods I like to make tend to be of the heartier variety and often involve turning the oven on.

This cauliflower and parsnip soup percolated in my brain for several weeks before I got around to making it. Strangely the first inspiration came from a cauliflower that had gone bad in my mother's fridge, and thinking about the fact that it was a vegetable that Bunny tolerates. I needed to come up with a way to make him actually like it. Clearly that was through a soup. Then I needed a stronger flavour to go with it, maybe with a bit of kick. Therein came the parsnip. The rest? Easy peasy.

Ingredients:
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 4 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-2 inch disks
  • 2 sweet onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-3 inch sections
  • 3 stalks of celery, cut into thirds
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 6-10 cups chicken or vegetable stock (or water, if that's what you have)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp + 1 tbsp olive oil
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350* F.
  2. Spread parsnips on a baking sheet, drizzle with 1 tsp oil set time for 20 minutes, put the 'snips in the oven.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a large dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat. Heat up the remaining oil.
  4. Add onions, saute for about 10 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic, saute another two minutes.
  5. Add carrots and celery to the onions. Pour stock over the vegetables until just barely covered in water. Place lid on pot, bring to a simmer.
  6. After 20 minutes, spread cauliflower florets over parsnips and place in the oven for another 20 minutes.
  7. When cauliflower and parsnips are done in the oven, carefully transfer them into the stock pot. The parsnips particularly should have some caramelized sections on them from the olive oil. Add more chicken or vegetable stock to cover the mixture, replace lid and let the soup simmer for another 20 minutes.
  8. Remove from the heat. With an immersion blender, carefully puree the mixture. (Alternately, transfer to a normal blender or food processor and puree). Continue adding stock to the mixture until you reach your desired thickness and texture for your soup.
  9. Taste for seasoning. Depending on your stock you may need to add some salt, but that's all to taste.
  10. Serve with nice crusty bread and enjoy!

Monday, October 29, 2012

the pregnancy dream

Bunny and I (although I think mostly me) are still healing emotionally from the miscarriage. It changed us. It changed our perspectives. It affected how we feel about having children. We're very sure that we want babies though, and that we want them sooner rather than later. Right now, we're just letting go and allowing what happens to happen.

I'm coming up in a few days on what is expected to be my third period since the miscarriage. Periods are really, really hard. On the one hand it's a good signal telling us that my body, reproductively speaking, is back in working order. On the other it's a reminder that I'm not pregnant even though I was. It's also a little confusing because my cycle has come back a little differently. I used to be on a 30/31 day cycle, and would have my period on almost the same day every month. Now my cycle seems a little bit shorter, more like the standard 28 days. Honestly, that's confusing as all get out for me, because I have no idea if I should or shouldn't expect things to come a little bit earlier than it used to. When you want to be pregnant not knowing exactly when your period should come sucks.

The fact that we had our miscarriage opens up the possibility to a really big dream of mine, though. The dream pregnancy. Which isn't to say a perfect pregnancy, although it does mean a pregnancy that ends in a baby. But my dream pregnancy, well it doesn't involve just Bunny and I. It also involves the in laws. Nothing would make me happier, baby-wise, than for my sister in law and I to have babies at almost the same time. Given that I can't even control my own reproduction all that much, I know this is something that's totally out of the realm of human influence and the only thing we have going for us is that we're both trying at the same time.

This dream isn't so much built on pregnancy and timing the pregnancies together so much as a dream I have for our families. I want our babies to grow up together. Part of the reason Bunny and I live where we do, and planned to eventually move back here even before his dad died, was that this was a privilege we wanted to be able to give our future children: growing up near their extended family. Having grandmothers and aunts and uncles and cousins close at hand. It's about giving them the biggest, strongest support system and web of love possible. And you know it would be really, really cool if they could have the built in playmates and friends of cousins down the street or across town, rather than living hours away from the family.

Friday, October 26, 2012

book review: Reamde

Picking up Neal Stephenson's "Reamde" I had a feeling I was going to like this. I've read plenty of his previous works and been thoroughly impressed with his takes on science fiction, his wicked sense of humour and his ability to put out amazing lines. Mostly though I picked this book up because it was massive and I knew it would occupy me for awhile. It's been quite some time since my last review, so clearly I was right.

Honestly I don't even know where to start with this book. It was amazing. So amazing that I've decided to give another go to one of his earlier, but drier, novels that I'd enjoyed. Stephenson has this uncanny ability to take twisted, complex storylines that just flat out shouldn't work and make them perfect.

The first half of this book was all build up to the action, setting up the storylines and allowing them to develop to the point that they could all run full steam. It starts out with the founder of a multi-million dollar (billion dollar?) online role playing game at his annual family reunion in Iowa. The game, the founder and his family are all big players in this book.

Before things get too far in Stephenson's somehow managed to incorporate the Russian mafia, hackers in China who have set up a major computer virus designed to make money off the video game, a cell of Islamic terrorists/jihadists, and the British intelligence organization MI6. Those would just be the main players in this book. The first half of the book builds up this beautiful crescendo, setting up the chess board as it were with this crazy set of characters. The second half moved as if propelled by rocket fuel, bringing everything together into a huge climactic battle.

I've only come across a handful of writers who can juggle such wild plotlines and still have the book come together in a cohesive whole. The premise itself is almost too much, but the very absurdity of all these forces affecting each other and coming together is what gives the book its gritty realism. This book could actually happen. Or at least that's how well it's written.

On top of these amazing plotlines, Stephenson also has this amazing prose, and both his descriptions and dialogues come to life. I laughed out loud at more than one occasion. I read passages out to my coworkers. Some bits were so good I even underlined them for next time. I may have even stayed up too late a night or two trying to delve deeper in the book.

I know that a lot of people try to stay away from science fiction. I also know that it might not mean as much coming from a fantasy and sci fi fan, but this book is so seriously worth reading. The science fiction (Stephenson's genre) only really comes out in terms of the video game that serves to push the plot forward. I'm looking forward to re-reading this one in a few years.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

rings

Every marriage has their own little quirks and shorthands. Those little moments that only make sense to the two parties involved, but are a pretty big deal for those two. For Bunny and I one of those things has really become our wedding rings.

I'd like to put the historical symbolism of rings implying ownership, particularly in a sexist way, out of the picture. That's not what I'm talking about here, and while it may be an underlying factor it's not something that I'm focused on when I say the rings are important. The rings do symbolically bind us together, but in our marriage that's a two way street. Our rings also link us to our family and both of our families were involved in the choosing of the rings.

My mom was the person who actually found my bridal set and pointed it out as something we should consider (looking back, it has a lot of similarities in style to her engagement and wedding rings). The only aspects of my rings that are at all like what we'd discussed are the white gold and channel set diamonds. Everything else? Things we'd planned on staying away from: it's a bridal set, and the main diamond is a solitaire, and the setting is very different from what we'd wanted. But Bunny and I both adored this ring once we saw it. No brainer.

Bunny's sister also works at the biggest jewellery chain in Canada*, and is an expert in wedding jewellery. So buying both of our rings through her was a no brainer. It made us feel connected to the purchase, and we were able to completely trust her that she was trying to help us find what was right for us and not push us into a bigger purchase for commission. When Bunny bought my ring, she was the link between what my mom and I had looked at and what Bunny looked at. (She kept a list and helped him out, although he made the final selection himself). There also may have been some extra discounts which were a bonus.

I may actually love Bunny's ring more than mine. Buying that for him was exciting and empowering. We went together, unplanned, to make the purchase just because we happened to be in the mall, because his sister was working. The actual ring he selected was very different from what he'd planned: tungsten carbide instead of gold, and there's a little bit of flash and pizzazz to the design. This ring actually speaks to who he is; the mechanic in him is thrilled with the material.

Beyond that we both go crazy seeing his ring on his finger. His ring. His finger. At least once a day for the past six weeks there has been a comment of "I love my ring" (from him) or "I love seeing that ring on you" (from me). I love that he likes how it signals his commitment to me. The fact that he likes wearing it is even better. Every time I glance over to him and see that ring I get this happy, warm feeling spreading through me. It feels good.

There's also only so many times a day we can say "I'm so glad I married you." Our comments on loving the rings have become one of our relationship shorthands, where we say one thing but it means so much more than that.


* I know, buying from a chain store isn't ideal. I had concerns about conflict diamonds and such. But the family connection was a very big deal for us.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

zombie brain

I've had insomnia my entire life. As in I clearly remember the same poor sleep behaviours, and inability to sleep going way back to when I was about six years old. I have never been a good sleeper.

Having Bunny in bed with me often helps. Just being able to cuddle up to him or be snuggled, and because he's such an easy sleeper I have the sound of his breathing to help lull me to sleep. The last four years I have had more productive sleep than in my entire life.

I have a number of little "rules" that I've been known to employ to promote good sleep at night. Even though I love a good nap, when my sleep is going downhill I avoid them like the plague because they make it even harder for me to get a full night's sleep. I adore my caffeine, but don't touch the stuff in the afternoon. When Bunny and I had our own apartment our bedroom was for sleep and sex only - there was no other reason we'd be in there, and although we had a tv there we didn't use it. Currently that rule doesn't work, so I've adjusted it so that the bed is for nothing but sleep or sex.

Rules or no rules, I'm sleeping terribly lately. I've been lying awake at least half the night and I just can't fall asleep. After four years of mostly good sleep this is driving me nuts. Apparently I've forgotten how to properly function as an insomniac.

Are you a good sleeper? What habits help you get a good night's sleep, and how do you function without one?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

talking about it

It's been almost three months since the miscarriage, and I'm only now getting to be comfortable talking about it. There's a big part of me that thinks "this is over with, what's the point in bringing it up" but that fact is it's not over. Sure, the physical loss is complete, and I've had enough periods to be sure that my body is back on a normal system again and things are in working order, but it's not over. I'd be kidding myself if I didn't admit that the miscarriage is going to have a huge emotional impact on our reproductive future, and affect how I feel about future pregnancies. Even in my ability to be as supportive as I want to be of my pregnant friends. The emotional process of dealing with this doesn't end so easily.

When we were pregnant, as much as I was really, really excited and wanted to shout things from the rooftops Bunny and I made the decision not to tell our families about things until we were three months along. You know just in case something happened. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I would not have been able to handle my mother's reaction if I did have a miscarriage (love her, but she has no ability to respect my emotional boundaries no matter how clearly I set them, and she's made it clear that this was still the case when Bunny's dad died). Not telling my mother made it an easy decision not to tell Bunny's mom, as information flows back and forth pretty quickly through them. It's what I get for marrying the boy next door. Momma Bunny found out that we were an item through my mom (way back when), because within minutes of me telling her she went and told Momma Bunny, so I have a pretty good gauge of how unfiltered that stream of information is.

A little ways back some circumstances changed and for a variety of reasons it made sense to tell a few members of Bunny's family what had gone on for us this summer. I had my first honest and in depth face-to-face conversation with someone about the miscarriage. It felt really, really good. It was freeing. The conversations went on without any tears, but with lots of love and hugs and understanding. I'm still not ready to talk about everything, and I'm still not sure if I'm ever going to get around to telling my own mom, but actually having a discussion about it? So good.

Partly probably because I could see the healing within myself, that this thing that I couldn't even think about without crying could now be the subject of a rational conversation about life and what happens therein. Progress, you know? Baby steps.

Do I expect this to be all easy here on out? No. But as long as there are more forward steps than back steps I'm ok with that.

Monday, October 22, 2012

faster

Today's post title comes courtesy of a 2003 documentary called, well, "Faster". Narrated by Ewan MacGregor, about grand prix motorcycle racing.

Which is one of the great shared loves in my marriage. Motorcycle racing. Let's put this in one kind of perspective here: Bunny is a motorcycle mechanic and me? Well, I don't drive, much less ride motorcycles - although to be fair, I'd choose a bike before a car any day. To put it in another perspective: I have a mind that's built for keeping track of histories and statistics, and remembering little bits of data, Bunny has a terrible memory.

Together? We adore motorcycle racing. To the point that our eventual, long delayed honeymoon will be timed to coincide with one of the four races that occur in Spain. (My vote is for Catalunya because that track is breathtaking to watch, but I'd be happy enough going to Aragon or the season ender in Valencia.) When we talk about "one day, if we win the lottery" one of our big things is that we want to take a year and hit every single race on the Grand Prix circuit, Qatar to Valencia.

So, eighteen days a year we get really excited because there are going to be three really awesome hours of motorsport entertainment for us. We don't always cheer the same riders (he has a thing for the Spanish riders and the flash, my soft spot is for the Italian riders and the ability to dominate), but we both enjoy the same races. We both get worked up over clean passes, daring maneovers, lean angles and terrifying crashes. I analyze the heck out of everything and then he explains to me how the bikes work.

This passion for racing? Doesn't just cover watching our races. Bunny buys the racing magazines, and I read a lot online through a couple of publications. Right now I'm getting excited hearing about all the behind the scenes work going on to get next season started: riders changing teams, changing bikes, moving up and down classes and major buyouts that are taking place. Some days I shock myself how much I know about prototype motorcycle racing. I mean, Bunny's the only reason I got into it in the first place.

Funnily enough, we're both pretty sure I enjoy it more than he does. (Or so our watching time tells us. I'm the one who goes online and watches old seasons. Bunny? Not so much.) For us? This is marriage. Giving each other's interests a fair chance and finding out that sometimes those interests are shared. I don't need to share all of Bunny's hobbies or interests, but I do give them a fair chance when he wants me to.

And I can't wait to see next year when Rossi is back on a Yamaha. If only Bunny would let me put him on the elevator list.

Are there any hobbies or interests you picked up from your significant other that surprise you?

Friday, October 19, 2012

soup weather begins

I'm not generally speaking a fan of winter. I don't like being cold. It's painful at times, to be honest, and when all I can feel of my hands or feet is ice, I'm a miserable person. But when cold weather starts to roll around, a part of me gets very excited. It means that there are things coming up that I'm looking forward to in the kitchen.

Just before Thanksgiving it finally got to be an appropriate time to make the first of my winter soups. Nothing to fancy, just a variation of my sweet and spicy butternut squash soup. So pretty much my favourite. Even better, my mom managed to scrounge up a bakery that does a pretty sweet baguette, so it was well accompanied. Was it ever delicious. Although I could, perhaps, have done without my soup being compared to the first ever bit of solid food I ever ate, but that's what happens when my mom's around. (Baby stories, all the time. Broccoli has been my favourite food since I was two and she has proof.)

Making this soup has the most marvelous affect: it inspires me to make even more soups. My mind is already churning with other flavour combinations I could soup-ify. My belly is going to be very happy this winter. So far, new new ideas include:

  • roasted cauliflower and parsnip (the bite of the parsnip should help offset how mild the cauliflower is)
  • carrot and ginger soup (it's nothing new, but it's good)
  • beet soup (um, should I have been born Russian??)
I'm sure more will come to me, especially in the grocery store (as they always do) but I'm curious. What are your favourite soups? What are some awesome flavour combinations that I haven't thought out yet but clearly need to?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

the name game

A lot of women have a really difficult time deciding whether or not to change their last name after marriage. Me, not so much. I always knew that I wanted to ditch my last name because it has difficult associations for me, and for a lot of reasons it never sat right with me to do a name change to my mom's maiden name when I was single. (For starters, I can barely pronounce it. For other reasons, it would have quite literally been a nail in the coffin to any relationship with my extended paternal family which has been on rocky ground for years anyhow).

So I've always known I'd take Bunny's name. What I didn't expect was that it wouldn't entirely be easy.

Even just being able to "assume" his name by use of our marriage certificate (when we get that) doesn't make the process easy. We can't even send away for that until almost 2 months after the wedding, and then have to wait for its arrival. I still have to do a lot of paperwork, and inform various peoples. And things have to go in very specific orders that I'm still trying to work out (for example, changing the name on my SIN card, bank accounts, and at work will all affect each other for tax purposes and the ability to deposit my paychecks and so has to be done in an effective order).

I've already changed my name socially, which has been easy as pie. Update facebook, correct people when they refer to me by the maiden name or Ms. (because I am a Mrs., thank you very much). It felt weird for the longest time seeing that on facebook, and logging in to the new email address with the new last name.

The bit that's got me all turned up in knots right now? My signature. The other week I was bridesmaids dress shopping for a dear friend's wedding, and after putting the money down I needed to sign off that I was aware this was non-refundable. Well, great. Except this was the first time I had signed my name as a married woman (other than at work, where I still have to use my last name) and I froze. I got my first name out and then had this deer in headlights, what the heck do I do moment.

So that's how I left it. Just my first name, in its terrible scribbled format. So now the question is this, what do I do with the signature. Do I just scrawl "Sheryl Rabbit" in the same awful scratch I've always used with my maiden name? Do I need to wait until things are formally changed? Do I take the opportunity to update the signature and make it something I like more?

I hate how drawn out this process is. I hate that there's so much effort involved in changing the name, because quite frankly I can be a very lazy person and putting effort into something so superficial is nonsense. It would be easier to keep my name, but that's not a decision that feels good to me. I don't want to keep my name. I just don't want to have to go to all this effort to change it, and it's just flat out not fair that the effort is all on my part.

So, to the married ladies (and soon to be married ladies) out there: how has actually getting married affected your feelings on changing your name? Is it still the same old decision it's always been, or is it somehow more complicated or loaded?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

things I miss about having an apartment

It's been over four months since Bunny and I moved in "temporarily" with my mother. Four months. We weren't supposed to be here this long, but life got away from us, as it so often does. At this point we're a little ambivalent about how much of a rush we're in to move. We like being so close to the families, but it is really hard living with my mom and not having the same level of freedom and independence.

Because things are not the same when you live with your husband in your mother's house. It's an odd situation, but it works for us now. There's a lot of stuff that I miss though. Just to indulge myself here's a list of the top ten things:

  1. Walking around in the nude. Clothes at home suck.
  2. Spontaneous living room floor sex. (PS, you may not want to sit on our carpet.)
  3. Our couches that are waaay comfortable but are stuck in garage style storage.
  4. Queen beds. The twin we have now works, but there isn't much room for the two of us to toss and turn.
  5. Not needing to talk to anyone other than Bunny when I'm in a bad mood.
  6. Lights on at night. My mother doesn't believe in this, and Bunny and I go a little crazy in the constant darkness.
  7. Our artwork! We have some great pieces that we love displaying, but can't right now. We also have a whackload of pictures we've been planning on framing, but there's not a lot of sense right now in doing that.
  8. My own kitchen. Organized my own way. With me knowing absolutely everything that's in it. And all my lovely pots and pans out.
  9. Feeling free to have friends over. I guess I could do so here, but I just don't feel comfortable doing so.
  10. The satisfaction of knowing that Bunny and I are making our own way in the world, taking financial responsibility for ourselves. That feeling is huge.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

married money

As I've already mentioned, I don't really feel like my relationship with Bunny has changed much, other than just being altogether more awesome. So many things are exactly the same. Still, some things do have to shift slightly and coalesce into a more unified front.

One of those things? Our finances. And honestly, it's a strange one. Bunny and I have always been very clear on the general definition of how we'd handle our money when we got married, and we have pretty clear guidelines. What we knew going into the wedding was this:
  • We're of the "one pot" completely joint money philosophy
  • We both want and need the freedom of personal spending money, and so we will both get monthly spending allowances
  • I will be nominally in charge of our money (balancing the budget and checkbook, handing out both of our allowances, tracking and paying the bills) but Bunny is to have an absolutely equal voice in how we manage our money and is to be kept 100% in the loop of our financial status
  • This means we'll probably have monthly budget meetings to review where we stand and make sure I've updated Bunny on what's gone on in a clear form (not just "oh, we spent too much on groceries" in passing)
  • We both have large financial expenses (my student loans, Bunny's final apprenticeship classes upcoming, Bunny's work supplies which can get super expensive but are tax deductible) that we will work at together
Going into marriage we were both very in the know about each other's finances. He knows what my debts and savings are, I know what his assets and credit cards look like, we both know how much the other makes on any given paycheck and we made decisions about how our expenses worked as a team. Still, our bank accounts have been (and at this point still are) completely separate.

Those accounts? They won't be merged until mid November at the earliest, because we're doing our damnedest to make sure we have a solid picture of our finances before we get going on this. So October is Track Our Spending Month. We're each jotting down every purchase we make, even if it's only bus fare or a couple dollars on coffee. We'll keep track of the cash flow and at the end of the month I'll play with the numbers and, and put together a budget to suggest to Bunny. He'll take a look at things, see how he feels and if there are any tweaks he'd like to make, things I'd forgotten, or inequalities that I'd missed and then we'll update it until we reach something we both feel good about.

We've done this before, though less intensely, when Bunny quit the design firm to go back to school. What we hadn't done that time is completely merge the money. So it's just a step past from what we've already done with our finances. But it's still different.

Even ahead of that, though, I can already tell that on an emotional level how I approach our finances has changed. What gives? Well, Bunny's been in some significant tooth pain for about a month now and I finally got him to go see the dentist. Turns out the poor man needs a two-part root canal. Which is clearly not so cheap and we will be saying goodbye to almost a thousand dollars at the end of the month in consideration for his health.

Why is Bunny getting a root canal a big deal? Because I pushed him into it a little bit, despite his financial concerns. He was going on about the fact that "he can't afford it" and doesn't have the money and wanted to wait. My response?

"We have X thousand dollars in emergency savings. You needing a root canal is an emergency. We'll take the money out of the fund and pay ourselves back. Your health is important."

Those emergency savings? They're technically in "my" bank account. This is literally the equivalent of my life's savings, the money that I have scrimped and scrounged for since having adult jobs and responsibilities. A year ago, in this situation? I would have without hesitation offered the money to Bunny for his health, no strings attached. What I wouldn't have done is framed it as his money. It feels amazing though, that my financial care and planning has enabled us (me?) to take care of Bunny's needs.

It feels a little odd, because I definitely do have a sneaky emotional attachment to those savings as "my money", but I also completely see it as our money as well. It's an interesting contrast inside me that I'm still working out. Clearly there is a shift, and it's certainly significant, but it's also subtle. I'm pretty emotional about money: having it makes me feel good, not having it makes me feel pretty crappy. So this joint money thing? May be a bit of an emotional ride.

Monday, October 15, 2012

the lips have colour

Do you wear lipstick? (Or lip gloss? Or anything more than chapstick, really?)

I have a fairly developed makeup routine, I like playing around with the stuff using it to smooth things out and playing with colours on my eyes. I've figured my way out around concealer and foundations and powders and blush and about a million different eye products because making my eyes prettier is my favourite thing. What I haven't really figured out is lipstick. I mean I'm so at odds with the stuff I didn't even wear it when we got married.

Which is odd, because lipstick had been my first foray into makeup. My mom used lipstick, from Amway in Venetian Plum (always the same) as the lynchpin of her makeup routine and I grew up with her not leaving the house without at least lipstick and earrings on. So why the heck haven't I figured out lipstick?

I have some great lipsticks, colours just a little richer than my own lip colour that feel smooth going on. I even know how to apply them, in three different ways, and how to blot excess off and make the main bit stick better.

Two issues bog me down with wearing lip colour though: it never stays in place once I start to eat (and I drink and nibble throughout the day), and more importantly I always feel "fake" in it. It looks so clearly different from who I am that I figure everyone must think I look like I'm trying to hard in it. Which is completely backward, because when I see lipstick on other women and I adore the look, but I just don't have the confidence to carry it off myself.

Any lipstick fans here? What do you like about it? How do you get it to work for you?

Friday, October 12, 2012

boots, oh dear lord but the boots

I was not supposed to buy boots last weekend. I was not supposed to buy boots last weekend. Guess what I bought last weekend? Kind of slashed the budget to smithereens, but the price was phenomenal ($65, real leather, brand that I trust to last and be comfortable - this is less than what Payless was advertising), the boots were perfect, and I am a weak willed woman when faced with beautiful boots.

I've been promising myself a new pair of everyday boots for awhile. I have multiple pairs of black boots (from delicate calf length to gothy-stompy-fun to practical to dress), and a handful of fun coloured calf length boots, but I am somehow completely and utterly bereft of brown boots. (Until now, that is). So of course the past two winters I've told myself that I could buy brown boots. One pair of beautiful brown boots.

Except everytime I see a pair I like they've been $200, and maybe I'm cheap but that was just not happening. Maybe, maybe $150 but I'd have to be crazy in love with the boots, they'd have to be real leather and possibly even brand name to warrant that price. This last weekend? I didn't even mean to end up in the outlet mall, but we were already there and it would have been just ridiculous to leave without at least stopping in Coach and Nine West.* And then once I struck out there, clearly I needed to stop in Danier and in every other shoe store in the mall.

Finally, when there was only one store left, and it was the comfortable shoe store, I said "well, self, you've gone in every shoe store up to now. might as well check this one out just in case." And what do you know, not only did they have some knee high, cognac leather smoking hot heeled boots, but they were less tan $100 full price and they were giving out 30% off coupons.

Can I just say, these are smoking hot. And together with the skinny jeans? Boo ya. (Or at least, I'm pretty sure that's what Bunny's been saying when he manages to drag his chin off the store). It's interesting lines, and its sexy and I just feel hawt. These boots are making me want to go out and buy more skinny pants, because I want to show them off so much. (Also, they co ordinate with the new bag I treated myself to. NBD.)


*Note to self: don't walk into Coach if I don't intend to walk out with a purse. That's just dangerous right there.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

people do not own people

This breaks my heart that I'm reading about a case of human trafficking occurring in Canada. I mean, I know I shouldn't be surprised. This is an issue I pay attention to, and it's one has been known to get me so worked up I can't form a coherent sentence. It is ridiculous that in this world, these days, such a thing as slavery still exists. Not just in the developing world, but in industrialized nations. In North America. In my home.

That's how this feels; like this issue is literally invading my home. It makes me feel unsafe, like my own autonomy and freedom are at risk. That's the thing though: when we allow any one person's freedom to be taken away, when just one person gets away with "owning" another individual it impedes on everyone's freedom, everyone's security. No one should have to go through this.

So when a human trafficking ring is busted in northern Alberta, my heart hurts. When a religious leader is implicated in that bust is blows my mind.

I don't know where to go from here, and I don't think there are any easy answers. But this is something I can't simply turn a blind eye to, I need to stand up and acknowlege this and be very, very clear: This is not ok. I am not ok living in a world where people treat other people with this level of disrepect and contempt.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

crafting notes, and favourite things

So this quilting this? Or, at least piecing the quilt blocks? This is way, way easier than I'd expected it to be. Use some tools to measure and cut correctly, and then sew some straight lines. Iron some stuff, sew more straight lines, move on to the next block. Seriously, this is easy. Of course in all fairness I'm doing easy blocks, no triangular bits or curved lines (but I have been doing some blocks-within-blocks to test things out) but still. This is easy. (Disclaimer: this is easy for people who can sew and like to do so.) I've got almost a dozen quilting blocks made at this point, and it's not so easy.

I love that I have this simple enough thing to do with my hands when I'm sitting around watching tv, or just chatting with the family. I love that at different points it requires more or less concentration. (More concentration? Measuring, cutting and marking seams. Less concentration? Sewing the seams.) I love how every day I can be doing something different but I'm still, you know, making a quilt.

It's fun to get to show off the pieces and have my sister in law and my niece ask to see updates and want to know exactly what it is I'm working on at the moment, or to help me decide how to put the blocks together.

I'm still figuring out just how big this quilt is going to be. I've kind of run out of two of my base fabrics, and this thing isn't yet going to be as big as I want it, so I'll need to get more. The question is how much more.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

testing the waters

I'm still not exactly sure to talk about this, but apparently I'm capable of making sick jokes to friends about the subject now, so maybe, just maybe, that means it's time. (Please note, there is a completely tasteless joke included in this post. I don't normally go around making these sort of jokes, but it's part of the story.)

When Bunny's dad died it was this huge, overwhelming, emotional life changing thing that happened to us that we needed to get through. Just making it through the day was about all that we could ask for at that time, but somehow because talking about being devasted by a death is acceptable I felt ok talking about it. People talk about it when the people close to them die. It took a lot of time to get to the point where we didn't need people to handle us as if we were marked FRAGILE! Handle With Care, but I felt ok walking around with that label. Everyone loses people, and so even if it isn't something everyone's experienced, people have a general idea of how to respond.

Sometimes with the tough topics, the not-quite-as-universal ones, it seems like there are only two scripts for talking about things. There's script A: "this terrible thing just happened in my life and woe is me please watch me cry and feel some pity for me". Then there`s script B: "This shitty thing happened and I'm over it, mostly so I'm just going to deflect it by making a joke".

When the next tragedy hit, neither of those options really felt like they worked for me. I didn't want the world to have too clear a view into the exact source of my pain, and I didn't know how to talk about it. I didn't feel like I was allowed to talk about it. I didn't feel like I had any right to the Handle With Care sign, even if I needed it a little more, and the information I would have had to give out to get that sign was just too incredibly private, and invited too many unwanted questions and too many stupid responses. Seriously, half of my friends who found out what was happening managed only to make me angry with their attempts to express sympathy and make me feel better. And these are smart, emotionally mature people who don't usually say thoughtless things - it's just not a subject that comes up enough for people to necessarily learn what inappropriate responses might be.

The other week though I was catching up with a dear friend who I don't talk with as often as I'd like anymore, and he was asking questions about the elopement and what had led up to that. Here's the conversation, almost verbatim:

J: So, what led to eloping? Not that I was expecting an invitation or anything, but I kind of expected you to do something more than that.
Me: We had a complicated year. Eventually it just got to the point where we needed to be married.
J: Well congratulations! And I know you wouldn't have gotten into complicated if you couldn't handle it.
(long pause)
Me: Well, it wasn't exactly the sort of complicated that we planned for.
(pause, cue me feeling awkward and like I needed to give some sort of explanation but not actually wanting a discussion)
Me: You can't plan for dead dogs, fathers, or babies.

Apparently announcing a miscarriage through a dead baby joke leads to lots of concern. Who knew? But that's thing crux of the issue there's no easy way to acknowledge that situation and own it without either seeming like I want pity, or being crass. Talking about this is like ripping a bandaid off and showing off a great big open wound and it's uncomfortably revealing and private in ways that I don't really want to share. I still don't know how to talk about it, but I'm trying to figure that out, because there is oh so much to talk about with it. So I'm going to start, with baby steps. (Even if I still used the terrible joke as my segue into this.)

Back in July I had a miscarriage that was absolutely and unequivocably emotionally devasting for me. It was without question the most difficult thing I've experienced in my adult life, and one of the most isolating. It also really cemented some rather profound changes in myself and in how I think about the world and other people in it. (But this isn't the time to get into that.) I still don't entirely want to talk about it, but I kind of feel like I need to. Because someone should be talking about this. It might just take me awhile to really truly figure out how to talk about it.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey all, it's Canadian Thanksgiving so you're only getting a baby post today, because I'll be busy. Bunny's home from closing up the trailer for the year (seriously though, I'm bummed that I missed the entire summer camping season this year) and my brother drove home from school yesterday and I haven't seen him in about four months. So I'm enjoying the visits and time with loved ones.

In the spirit of the holidays, here's a round of things that I am thankful for this year:

  • Seeing my little brother
  • Making it through the hard parts of 2012 to get to the fun stuff on the other side
  • Being married to Bunny
  • Having great friends and family
  • Happy things happening to the people I love
  • Being able to pay for Bunny's Hallowe'en root canal with no worries
  • Catching up visits and chats with some of my favourite people in the world
  • Life, because while it's a wild ride with plenty of downs it's got its upsides as well and I'm glad I'm on it
So happy Thanksgiving to all (even if you won't be celebrating it for awhile). What are you thankful for, this year?

Friday, October 05, 2012

autumn in the air

September is slipping through my fingers faster than I even know how to account for. The first full month of my married life has passed, my favourite season has officially started, and as much as I hate the cooler weather there are some awesome benefits. Somehow my bank account isn't keeping up with projected numbers, but certain planned expenses had to occur earlier than anticipated.

Fall life has been busy. There's been work, and so many errands, Bunny leaving for his first camping trip as a married man. The quilting project is slowly starting to take shape, as is my newest cross stitch. I'm half way through a big, complicated mess of beautiful novel that I'm not even sure how I'm going to review. (So far: sci fi, a WOW ripoff, a team of hackers, Russian mobsters and a terrorist organization have all played major roles. And we're not even at the halfway point.) Unfortunately one thing that's fallen a little to the wayside is this blog: usually I have a week's worth of posts scheduled in advance, to be supplemented by whatever ramblings I feel the need to share with the universe. I have some more meaty ones planned for the near future, but finding the time to sit down and actually write them has been hard.

I'm starting to drag out my tights from the basement to pair with the pile of dresses that I can't wait to transition to fall. Because the heat is so fleeting I appreciate every drop of sunshine all the more.

In that past couple of days my KitchenAid has started to beckon from the kitchen counter. The heat has dropped to the point where turning on the oven seems like a good idea, as I proved the other night when I broke out home made macaroni and cheese for the first time in almost six months. I`m looking forward to a winter filled with soups and roasts and big beautiful baked dishes.

What`s your favourite part of fall?

Thursday, October 04, 2012

crafting notes

You guys? I'm loving this quilting thing. It's as much fun as I'd hoped, and a lot easier than I thought it would be. I'm a little surprised at how quickly I can knock out these blocks and how awesome they look when I'm done. Of course, I'm totally acknowledging that I'm only doing simple things and it's a little amateur, but it's so darned cool!

A couple of quilting notes to myself, for future reference:

  • if the pieces don't fit exactly the size I need, it's still possible to make it work as long as there's a small seam allowance
  • maybe I make my seam allowances too large (which is an expensive problem in the way of fabric waste)
  • dressmaker's chalk pencils are amazing, and are so much more effective (and faster!) than masking tape for marking off fabrics with dark backings
  • rotary cutters are amazing both for speed and accuracy
  • my need for everything to match and have an exactly perfect pattern must be suspended. embrace the slightly chaotic
  • next time check the back of the fabric. I will like myself so much more if it's a pale backing. For realz.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

in which I go very low brow and talk about television

Apparently I'm the sort of person who now thinks talking about tv is acceptable blogging. Because, well, clearly I'm about to talk about tv. Mostly because this past week there were two things that I was really excited to see on television that are both very much on my mind. So fair warning, if you are a Grey's Anatomy or Doctor Who fan and haven't seen the most recent episodes, there may be some spoilers.

Grey's Anatomy has somehow gone from being one of my guilty pleasure shows that I watch in secret, when Bunny's not around, to being one of our shows that we watch together, always. And was last season's finale ever a heart-rendering cliffhanger, where it was very clear that this season was going to start off by continuing pulling the heartstrings. They do like to do this at the end of the season (anyone remember the shooting a couple seasons back?) and I was prepared for some emotional mayhem.

What I wasn't prepared for was how tied up Grey's Anatomy was going to be with my father in law's death. Watching the scene pulling the plug on Mark Sloane somehow had both Bunny and I right back in the moment when we stopped the mechanical support for his dad. Watching the way the accident had affected the doctors, what with inability to get on planes and so forth, reminded me of the messy emotional aftermath of loss. And the final scene, where you see how bad things are for one of my favourite relationships on the show? Just broke my heart, crawled under my skin and I've been uncomfortable and consumed with this need to think about that pain for days. And it's all fiction, all things that aren't really that affectacious to me ... but they bring me back to a very painful person moment and experience.

Now last Saturday's Doctor Who, on the other hand, was just made of awesome. It was this perfect, epic goodbye to some of the best companions the new Who has seen, and a goodbye to perhaps the best friendship that the Doctor has ever had. (I mean, aren't the Doctor and Amy totally the most awesome best friends ever? It's heartbreaking to see him lose that.)

The whole season of Doctor Who has been a toss up so far for me. I miss the big story arcs, and I'm not as big a fan of each episode being more of a standalone experience. I'd be lying if I said I haven't liked most of the episodes (although Dinosaurs on a Spaceship was a little weak for my tastes), but it just lacks the drama of the follow through, and the way the last series ended left me hungering for more story arcs to follow. Without an arc to propel the viewer from one season to the next I haven't been able to get as invested as I want to be in this year's series, but the episodes themselves have been really good in and of themselves.

Leading into this episode I wasn't happy with the idea of letting Amy and Rory leave the show. I still hate that they've left. But this is perhaps the best send off I've seen a companion have on the new series. It played on that dynamic of Amy always being torn between Rory and the Doctor, which has been played up since that episode "Amy's Choice" two seasons back. They're the two most important people in her life, and she loves the Doctor dearly but she will always, always choose Rory first. He's the centre of her universe and nothing else matters when placed against that. The way they played it made it heartbreakingly sad in that they've forever lost their relationship with the Doctor but at the same time amazingly beautiful in the love story between Rory and Amy and how strong their love for each other is, that they'll wait for thousands of years and give up everything else in their lives to be with each other.

So, in the spirit of low brow entertainment and enjoying the small things in life, what's on the tv in your house lately? What's been moving you and engaging you and pulling you in?

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Welcome!

Hello there!

If you've just hopped over here from A Practical Wedding I wanted to say hi and happy to have you on board. :) This blog is still (and probably always will be) a work in progress, and what I might feel like talking about varies wildly from one month to the next but mostly you'll find me talking about food, clothes and crafting as well and general rants and raves about the world at large and what's hitting my buttons at any given moment.

I'm hoping within the next few months to start and actually get such fancy things as an "About" page up and running to make everything easier to navigate, but right now life is just about balancing all the big things with all the fun things I do on the side.

Monday, October 01, 2012

settling in to marriage

Bunny and I never looked at the day of our wedding as a life changing event. Neither of us really had any expectation that there would be some giant, life changing moment or that we'd feel very different from the other side. And the day we eloped itself? Surprisingly normal. Calm morning, when I could drown out the fact that my mom was super excited and expressing it in ways that were making both Bunny and I anxious, and then the rest of the day was just a cloud of happiness and enjoyment of each other. But life changing? No.

After almost four years together, living with each other for more than half that time, we already knew each other's ins and outs. We'd already built up our own team spirit and team rules, and had supported each other on major life changing events like when Bunny had quit his job to go back to school. We kept our money in separate bank accounts, but our budgets were integrated and we both had a say in how money was spent and saved and we split expenses in ways that made sense to us rather than a fifty-fifty even split. After the year of deaths, unemployment and unexpected moves we had already done the "or worse" part of living a life together, and knew that together we could walk out the firestorm stronger than we'd been  when it started. It didn't leave a lot of room for change, even at the moment of marriage.

And on my end, the big cosmic shift of fireworks going off and choirs of angels singing to let me know that my world was changing occurred way back the moment I met Bunny. So I wasn't really expecting a repeat performance of that: the universe had already given me the celebration of coming home to the person I was supposed to be with.

For us, on the surface, marriage has changed absolutely nothing. Our day to day lives function the same, we're doing the work on getting bank accounts in order but we've already agreed on how the family budget runs (and it's an extension of how the old budgets ran), and we love each other just as much. Oh, now Bunny gets to call me "wifey" or "his lovely wife" depending on his mood and I get to call him my "wonderful husband". Our key pet name for each other is still "lover", though, just new ones have been added to the mix. I get called pretty more often now, but that's not a big change.

Underneath, though? There I'm not so sure. It's hard to describe but still there's this subtle feeling as if this one extra thing has shifted into place in our relationship in a way that doesn't actually affect anything but we can still sense it. The only way Bunny or I know how to describe it? Our relationship is exactly the same, but way more awesome. It took some time for us to recognize that extra awesome shift, but it's definitely there in a very subtle way.

It's strange how many different expectations we had going into the whole "being married" thing, and how we were exactly right and exactly wrong at the same time. But being here, married, now? It feels amazing.