Monday, November 29, 2010

Conspiracy Theory - Graphite Spray and Pumpernickel Stix

Why I am not totally stressed out, I have no idea, but I am as cool as a cucumber despite my crazy evening.
It started out innocently enough...Steinvic needed Sugar In the Raw in packets and plasticwear for work, and he wanted graphite spray to shoot into our locks since we're going to have bad weather this week.
I got through working before he did, so I called him at the office and said, "Want me to just stop so you don't have to?" His company's e-mail had been down part of the day and I imagined he'd have to stay late. "If you don't mind stopping...or I can stop," he said. But I wanted to make life easier and figured I could get everything he needed, plus sourdough bread and pumpernickel sticks at one place close to home: Meijer.

I pulled in, enjoying the sounds of my awesome iPod touch (amazing wedding gift from Steinvic) and clip clopped up to the entrance, remembering that last year, Meijer carried a Nutmeg Spice spray that I've been coveting since last year and figured I could get again this year. Wrong! Discontinued. Me and my boots clip clopped on over to the automotive department.

I wandered through the aisles. No graphite spray. I loitered in the outer aisles, hoping to see a clerk. Nada. Picked up the courtesy phone. "I don't think we carry it, but I'll send someone over." Nope...they don't carry it, the super duper nice lady told me. But maybe Lowe's.

I bought the plasticwear and sourdough bread - noting that they didn't have Pepperidge Farms Pumpernickel Sticks and thinking WTH - and checked those off the list.

Lowe's is across the (very busy) street. No problemo, I thought. In fact, a tiny Sears Hardware is also in the same complex, and I know they're struggling, so I figured I'd try there, first, and Lowe's second, stopping in Aldi's in between for the sugar in packets.

Sears Hardware does not have graphite.

Neither does Lowe's.

And Aldi's does not carry sugar packets at all, including Sugar in the Raw, Steinvic's favorite. Nor do they carry pumpernickel sticks.

So, I headed on up our main drag, seeking an automotive shop, figuring they would have the spray. Advance Auto Parts had graphite spray - yeah! I kidded the clerks, "Yay! I will be allowed in the house tonight!" He said, "Will your husband have a glass of bubbly waiting for you?" I said, "I know my husband...after this trek, he'll have a drink waiting for me."

I went to Kroger. Sugar in the Raw? Check. Pepperidge Farms Pumpernickel Sticks? No! They had Snyders, Pumpernickel and Onion, but I can do without the onion dust, thanks. A quick check to Pepperidge Farms' site shows that I'm S.O.L....)

I got home and sure enough...Steinvic right there, at the door, grateful, icy cold Whipped Cream flavored vodka + club soda on ice waiting for me, and soup thawing in the microwave.

Life is good. We've got supplies. But what the heck, Pepperidge Farms?!

p.s. I wanted the pumpernickel sticks because they're awesome and I'd made the double batch of spinach dip this weekend...pumpernickel sticks wouldda rocked with that! And yes, D was very appreciative of our efforts...he ate a ton of the bread and dip when we saw him on Saturday...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Getting Ready for Christmas...

I love Christmas. It would be easy for me to not really care about this Holiday, or to even not like it at all...

I worked retail for more than a decade. THAT could kill the joy of the Holiday Season for even the toughest of us.

But once I got out of retail, and began celebrating the Holiday without the aid of a mall, I really have come to love this time of year.

I think that, no matter what your religious beliefs are (I had an associate who was of the Jewish faith who LOVED the Holidays) or no matter whether or not you love the hustle and bustle of the Season, you gotta admit that people (for the most part) seem to want to be in a festive mood.

The key is not getting too caught up in the have to's or the spending.

So yesterday, we made a list of gifts for others we need to buy (it's not a super long list) and talked about our plans. We purchased and assembled a tiny shelf for the basement (which now holds the last two boxes of unpacked memorabilia from when Steinvic moved here) so that it will be prettier down there for when Young Man and his girlfriend join us in the next few weeks. Steinvic got out the little tree from his place, and put the exercise bike in the basement so that our living room is clear.

Now, we can decorate. Maybe tonight, maybe throughout the week. It's not massive amounts of decorations or anything...but I'm excited because this is our first married Christmas, our first Christmas in one home, our first Christmas of mixing our decorations and beginning our own new traditions.

Hope that you're finding some joy in the preparations of this season. Pop Elf into the DVD player, dim the lights, light some candles, pour some Nog (or Peppermint Coffee if you're anti-Nog) or wine and kick this season off the right way!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cooking Post - Spinach Dip

Howdy! We have had quite an extended weekend so far...enjoyed Thanksgiving up north with Steinvic, came back in the rain and dark that night, then basically sat around like couch cushions yesterday, fiddling on the computer, watching a Seinfeld marathon and looking for adoptive puppies online. I did run out to the grocery in the evening (no traffic!) but other than that, we were pretty chill.
I'm making up for it all today. I got up early, put a turkey breast in the oven for Steinvic, and I've done two loads of laundry already.
And I made a batch of spinach dip for a nice fellow named D. We've gotten acquainted with him because he's been coming to our local for a few months. He is here from Florida - he's a liquidator - and can't go home because he doesn't get days off. On Wednesday night, he told us that he hadn't had a day off since Easter. He is living in an Econo Lodge. We told him that if we were going to be here for Thanksgiving, he'd be welcome to come to our place and he was so appreciative. But he seemed pretty happy about just being able to be off work. He said he planned to stay off his feet the entire day and sleep. Besides his family, one thing he said he missed about the Holidays was home cooking and that he had been craving spinach dip, "the kind you put in the bread bowl."
Lucky for D, I have my own little recipe for that and I told him I'd whip up a batch and bring it to our local on Saturday. And I'm going to share this recipe with you! Grab your bread bowl and get started:

You'll need:
  • A cup of drained frozen spinach
  • One 16 ounce container of sour cream (huge fan of Daisy Light)
  • One 8 ounce container of whipped cream cheese
  • A packet of Ranch Dressing Mix (I think Kroger's brand "Salad Magic" is just as lovely as Hidden Valley's at a fraction of the cost.)
  • About a half cup chopped water chestnuts
  • One small carrot chopped fine
  • About 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • Garlic powder
  • Dash of salt
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Black pepper
How to make it:
  • In a big bowl, mix the sour cream and whipped cream cheese until thoroughly blended.
  • Add the ranch dressing mix, dash of salt, about 15 turns of the black pepper grinder, four dashes of garlic powder, and about a half teaspoon of the crushed red pepper. Mix thoroughly.
  • Add the water chestnuts, onions and carrots and mix completely.
  • Add the spinach and gently mix until it looks like this:

You could add a little more or less of any of the ingredients and still be fine. This is one of those recipes where every ingredient tastes good on it's own, and putting t hem together makes them taste even better. You can't go wrong!

I'll let you know how D likes it, and if you try making it, let me know how you like it! Enjoy!

Friday, November 19, 2010

In the Club

I've spent the last week joyfully changing my last name to match Steinvic's.

I actually had a colleague tell me that she was disappointed...that my maiden name "carried a lot of power" because it was the name I'd had most of my life, and a name I worked really hard to get back when I went through the divorce from Hell.

She has a point, but I really felt strongly about having the same last name as Steinvic, primarily because I adore him, and also because I love his family and what they stand for. I feel like I have a whole army of people who love and support me. While I know my Mom and her husband love me, too, I am grateful for the amount sincere welcoming and acceptance I've recieved from Steinvic's people. It's amazing.

Actually, I was the last of my last name. With my Dad dead, my sister married, my Mom remarried...well, it's an odd feeling. In one way, given everything in my life, I felt like a survivor, and wearing that last name was a reminder that I could stand on my own and handle anything thrown (hurled, catapulted, shot) at me.

But in another...well, there is something very lonely about being the last one standing. Our unique qualities can make us feel so different that we feel solitary.

And while I believe that as much as possible, I have always had Steinvic's understanding, having his last name makes me feel like I belong. Not in a possessive way, but in an accepting way. I'm one of the gang. I'm in the club.

And it's a damn fine place to be...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bonus Post - The Value of an Apology

Extra post today because I realized I'd meant to tell you this and somehow, with everything going on, forgot.

Remember when I made Kicky Corn Chowder on Halloween? Well, we were kind of waiting to eat until the trick-or-treaters thinned out, so while that was cooking, we were watching TV and answering the door as the little cuties came by.

Around 7, I heard a knock and there, at our door, stood our neighbors.

The wife was right at the door with their tiny daughter and her husband stood back on the sidewalk. She didn't make eye contact but said, "Hi...I think you met my husband, but we didn't get to meet, and this is my daughter," and said both their names.

I was so surprised that I just did what instinct suggested and focused on the child. Then I shook the wife's hand and said, "Great to meet you..."

And then, from the sidewalk, the husband said, "And I'm really sorry about that. About the parking thing, and how I handled it."

Wow. That takes balls. I said, "It's okay. It's fine now." I meant it, and Steinvic feels the same way. Do I ever appreciate the sincerity of his apology and the courage it took to look me right in the face and fix what was broken.

Apologies, when they're heartfelt, really can fix everything. I am a forgiving person in most circumstances. When someone makes a true effort to right a wrong, and it's something as simple as a parking dispute, take the apology and dismiss the garbage. Life really is too short, and I'm reminded of that every day. Read the is over quite quickly.

This apology from my neighbor makes me think about the person who keeps anonymously commenting here, wanting to stir the pot about the "maid of honor" situation. I'm going to address it, even though I think it would be smarter to just keep deleting the comments. Because it is, after all, my blog, and yes: if someone is confrontational and misinformed, I'll delete it, just like I delete the spambot stuff and anything else that doesn't belong here. It's not your blog; it's mine.

If someone really knew the situation, including the details of my last conversation with our mutual friend, that person would not comment. Anyone in the know would understand that I am protecting myself and my family and would also acknowledge that I'm entitled to do that peacefully. In fact, the post this person keeps commenting on is one where I'm wishing our mutual friend well, so the snide comments make no sense at all.

When someone says certain, irreversible things to you, (and slurs their words after the cocktails they've downed before calling you,) you're entitled to create some distance from that person. And anyone who is really friends with this person has undoubtedly, unfortunately been on the receiving end of what I'm talking about, because sadly, she can be very angry and unhappy, and sometimes, as a result of this anger, lashes out. Honestly, it is the only thing about this person I can't live with. And so I won't. It hurts. And I'm grown and I don't have to listen to that kind of talk any longer.

So...if our mutual friend is really better off without having to "deal with my crap," then why comment? Put your energy into something positive, as I have, and relax. You're not accomplishing a thing by posting here, unless you need this crumb of attention to survive. I am sure that isn't the case...I believe you have a good life, full of promise and friends and family. I wish you well, too, and hope your new situation is better than where you've previously been. Be well.

What a Week!

I have been meaning to post all week long and it just didn't happen.

So...where to start...on Monday, Steinvic got home from work and we decided to go up to our local and watch the first quarter of the Bengals game. We like to step outside for a cigar when the weather is cool like this, so I asked him if he had one and he said that there was a packet in his sweater. The sweater was in his car so while he had the door open, he offered, "Do you want me to drive?"

You must know that we take "my" car everywhere. It's newer, gets amazing mileage and it's tiny, so we can park anywhere. So, it was really odd to be hopping into his passenger seat for a routine jaunt anywhere.

He put the key in the ignition and...nothing. Dead again! We thought that was all behind us, considering it had gotten us home safe and sound from C-bus and had transported him to and from work on Monday with no problem, but there we were. I said, "Let's go to Auto Zone and get jumper cables. We should have a set anyway, and we can jump you and drop the car off at Goodyear tonight." Steinvic suggested Home Depot because it's closer and we could get there and back and still see the Bengals kickoff.

We got the cables, jumped his car, and he pulled out, me following in my car. As soon as he turned on his headlights, the car died. I pulled around in front of him and jumped him again so he could park. We decided to handle it in the morning when headlights weren't required.

Turns out, the new battery had a bad cell, and they replaced it gratis. We picked another "to do" from our auto maintenance list, and they planned to have it repaired and back to us at the end of Tuesday. But, once they got in there, found they needed a new part (no after market parts available) and had to order one new. A $200 bill became $800 and Steinvic needed my car to go to Columbus for work, so I hitched rides for two days from co-workers and my folks (Thanks, J, for offering to loan me your spare Jeep!) and when I picked up the car on Thursday night, they said, "The breaks really need to be replaced right away."

Really? Because we'd specifically asked about safety and the breaks and no one put them on the list when we took it in for the new battery last month. But because we want Steinvic's car to be safe, we sucked it up and got them fixed, too.

So here we sit, RAV 4 in good shape, last day of Indian Summer weather, Ohio State on TV, vegetarian chili cooking on the stove (using the last of my frozen Mom-grown tomatoes), and thank you notes strewn around, as I've been taking my turn with them today (Steinvic did a huge batch on Tuesday).

It's been a crazy week, but it feels really good to be sitting and relaxing with no real have tos... I hope you have some down time for yourself today, too!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Party of Our Lives

Last night, about 120 people gathered in a party room in Columbus - a little cozy back room of a restaurant/bar that Steinvic frequents- to celebrate our marriage.

I'm going to come clean and say that when Steinvic recommended this place as a possible spot for our party, I had reservations. Actually, I was kind of a big jerk about it and said I didn't want to have our party in a bar.

But you know, after we went and checked out the back room together, I saw what he was visualizing. I saw that I was wrong. And I'm so glad that we had it there - it was perfect.

The room had a giant bar on one side, tables on the other, enough room to move comfortably, and a big projector so we could run a slide show of photos the whole time.

There were a few people who Steinvic worked with to coordinate - Toni and Meghan and the Bar manager - and they made sure that people had food and drinks and were comfortable. They were amazingly kind and generous.

(We had a small snag...when we arrived, we unloaded everything and began decorating. Steinvic's cousin came to give us a hand and when Steinvic went to pick up our balloon order, our car wouldn't start. We decided not to worry for the moment...our cuz loaned us her car and Steinvic got the balloons, and the next thing I know, Toni says, "You two just have fun...I'll feed the meter until it's 8:00," which is when the meter service ends there. I mean, how lovely is that?)

Ivory table cloths, candles (the flameless one's I've raved about), tiny green organza bags of treats, petite fours, hoers de oeuvres, snacks, a giant veggie tray, pizza, wings, open bar... it was just right. I felt proud...proud to be Steinvic's wife, proud of our family and friends, proud of our party...just bursting with pride.

And while our ceremony was a few weeks ago, this gathering made it feel official.

I'm on Cloud Nine. We had our friends and family all in one place, all celebrating and enjoying and we feel really, really fortunate. We had family from all over - Chilicothe, West Palm Beach, Wisconsin - and lots of friends who drove the 90 miles from Cincinnati to be with us. Blown away at how much people care. I had no idea...

Oh, and our cousin's husband? He got the car going...we were so thankful he figured out the problem (corrosion on our new battery) so that we could come home!

I've had a foot soak, we've had some drinks, some salad and now I'm curled up with Steinvic. We're catching up on shows and relaxing. Happy Wedding Party Weekend...