Tuesday, January 26, 2010

day of being vegan

so, we're applying for life insurance. that requires a physical for the good husband. being a lover of all things buttery and cheesy we decided he needed to go on a crash diet before the blood draw. he agreed (even suggested) that he would basically live like a vegetarian for the week - okay, only three days he reminded me, but i'm excited about those three days! yesterday morning i took my vegetarian cook book to the gym with me to peruse while using the elliptical. i made up a good list of ingredients and dog eared some recipes. when i got home i cross checked some of them online to see if i could figure out which ones would be most delicious and appeasing to a man used to animal products. finally i settled on three recipes i'm going to try: tofu and veggies in peanut sauce, asian mushroom soup, and lentil and spinach soup. bret loves mushrooms and i think he liked a pad thai dish we once had. while looking over the options allrecipes had i came across bbq tofu - they supposedly are like eating chicken wings but without the bone and veins and gross fatty stuff. since all these recipes were on the internet i decided the vegetarian cookbook is going to the di. anyone want it before i send it off? it's lovely, just not necessary. anyway, i took a walk to the asian market in the afternoon and picked up some firm tofu, a head of cabbage, and green onions (i also got more nori paper since bret's discovered his love for home made sushi and we were running low). back home i made up the bbq tofu strips, sampled them, decided he might like them and put them in the fridge to reheat later for dinner. i also made the tofu peanut stuff. i decided i better get the tofu over with in one night since i didn't think bret would be a big fan of it. turns out - he LOVED the bbq stuff. he also really like the peanut stuff and said we should make it when we have our neighbors over again - the ones that are vegetarian. we had a side salad (which i must admit i allowed him to put ranch dressing on - not much - his only "treat" for the day) and then orange slices for dessert. it was delicious. he loved it so much i got extra hugs and kisses and he couldn't stop commenting on how happy he was. by the way, for lunch i sent him off with a tub of homemade hummus and baguette slices, along with carrot sticks, an apple, and a banana. i figure he might be extra hungry so i gave him extra fruit to fill up on. he said he was satisfied the whole day. i hope this new vegetarian kick can last longer than three days! it might do us both some good. he doesn't weigh himself often, but he did this morning and it was four pounds less than the last time he weighed and that made us both happy. hooray for positive reinforcement!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

perfect morning

okay, maybe it wasn't perfect, but for a moment i felt perfectly happy. i'd just completed a few errands and was walking out of the store when i was greeted by the lightest, gentlest snow. i wouldn't have loved it so much except that it wasn't sticking and it felt more like seattle than utah. but the cherry bit that made me smile was the cacophony of birds chirping. it was morning, after all, so i'm sure they were just doing their bit to greet the day, but it sure reminded me of spring and it just made my day. now the day is over. it's dark. i've failed at making bread, and i can't say i got that much done, but it was a saturday - and i enjoyed it. now i'm off to see some documentary about a teenage boys basketball team with plewe - haven't been to the movies in ages - i'm excited!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Happiness reminder

So sometimes, life gets such that you forget how good you have it. Married life is an adjustment - it's a brand new job for me! So is teaching primary, by the way - I should post about that sometime! Anyway, lately i've had a case of woe is me i'm a failure. Anyway, today was one of those days where I rose above the blues. When I got home tonight I saw these flowers (bret gave them to me a week ago saturday) and remembered once again how blessed I am. It's been nice having them. More than once this last week i've had to look at them to remind myself how good life is. I like having little reminders. It reminds me of how when I was a kid and feeling whiny my mother would tell me to count my blessings. P. S. One more blessing today - mother let me take home leftover pot pie I helped her cook this afternoon - dinner is done!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2009 in review

i just read an article about new year's eve and how it used to be about nostalgia and looking back on all the great memories. maybe you knew this already. i've always thought it was a looking forward sort of event. i guess that's what you are supposed to do on new year's day. anyway, my memories of the whole dec 31/jan 1 thing is more of endurance and then feeling tired and regretting how i spent the last night of the year - nothing extra special, nothing memorable really. so, i've decided i want to spend some time looking back. cherishing some memories. i don't have a lot of photos - just bought my first one when i got married - but i think photos are the best way to share the looking back moments. so i'll see what i can do.

so here's a retrospective: i began the new year by sleeping over at bret's parents' place. that was a big step for me into the "this is serious" world. he may not have thought so, but it wasn't easy for me. we had done dinner and played games the night before which was a huge change from the usual "attend the singles dance" plan of years past - but i did miss the safety of routine.

january - the only highlight i can remember is taking a trip to houston for work. we went to check out how high schools there manage to team their teachers and work together on curriculum. it was interesting - not worth the money - but i enjoyed the extra time i took to visit my sister andrea's family. while i was there i got to go with them to help clean the church. mostly i just like one on one time with people and i don't get it often enough with andrea.

february i finally won the fight with weber state and received my bs in english. it was only the first step in a long struggle to become highly qualified. well, maybe not the first - i had to take a whole bunch of ugly classes before that. in other boring news that was the month i refinanced my house for 4.65 - taking advantage of the recession. i hope it pays off - i knew it possibly wouldn't if i got married and we wound up selling my house within two years. i have one more year for it to be "worth it." that was also the month i bought a "family membership" to the planetarium for a me and a bunch of friends. we haven't used it as much as we'd have liked but at least we've gotten our money's worth. i recommend such things. i eventually got bret to join our family to help me use it more often. being february i should at least mention that i had a really good valentine's day for the first time that i can remember. a real boyfriend who got me real presents and made the holiday a really special event.

march was when we had our annual spring equinox snow and bbq event. i DO have a picture of that. as usual, it's a really nice time with good friends. we did a bit of tromping around in the snow and then a lot of sitting with good friends and eating good food. in less than fun news that was the month i got called to be an activities cochair in my ward (or maybe i got called in february). anyway, we got started on planning a passover dinner for everyone - which i have to say wound up being a huge success. but it happened in april. and i have pictures of it. march and april were the big "yearbook is wrapped up" months - huge feeling of accomplishment - but it wasn't totally done because there are lots of little things that still needed taking care of - in particular, planning the distribution. still, it was a huge mile marker at work.

april is also when i had spring break. luckily it happened about the same time as general conference and was when bret needed to take some time off. he was kind enough to take it off when i had a holiday so we could spend time together. he was also kind enough to agree to a road trip to see my sister. we had good long discussions on the road that helped us feel better and closer to being able to get married.

may is always a great month as a school teacher - things wrapping up - summer coming - heaven! the last couple of years, though, i've had a lot of stress and resulting back pain. i'd like to report that 2009 was pain free! at the very start of may i got to go on the annual women of the world trip down to bryce canyon. we took a really long hike that led down into the bottom of the canyon and then back up again. i'm proud to say it's listed as "strenuous." women of the world can do anything - and kristin did it with a blister! it was the fairyland loop for those who want to follow our footsteps.

june brought holiday! and my holiday was booked! first i went to nantucket to visit the good brother. he let me teach a couple classes, really, just lecture them. i shared with them the importance of setting a purpose, in reading, doing chemistry, and living life. it went over well. my favorite part, though, was when i was done and the kids were doing a worksheet and this one boy asked me for advice on writing an essay. when i got back i took the praxis test - the final step in becoming highly qualified (well except for actually applying for the license from the state of utah). i'm proud to say i passed with flying colors and no studying - i knew i was highly qualified! bret had a bit of time off that we used for exploring some cool sites here in utah - like mormon flats and red butte gardens. it was a great week of spending time with him. at the end of the month i got to go to utah state with yearbook kids - a working vacation of sorts. it wasn't as fun this year as the one before, but still a good experience for all of us.

july started with family in town. i missed a lot of my family bonding, though, as i went to aspen grove with bret's family. i got to be the "might as well be my sister-in-law" type of introductions. only a bit awkward. mostly it was tons of fun. i really enjoyed bonding with his family. we played in the pool, we hiked, watched kids fish, we played shuffleboard, we sat and watched people play horseshoes, we played that volleyball game where you hit if off the walls too, we just played a lot! later in the month i went on a road trip with a couple friends from my ward. we drove to the california coast and up through the redwood forest. it was gorgeous! i found lots of places i want to visit again and again.

august was a birthday. i got to celebrate in lava hot springs as i was in charge of a large ward activity up there. bret was really cool and arranged to pick up a birthday cake in a nearby town and we had a surprise celebration with friends who went up early like we did. i hurt my bum somehow (wish i could remember - i think it was from going down a slide) and it limited the amount of fun i had on the trip. plus it was cold and i didn't want to get in the river. we did check out a sort of ghost town nearby that i recommend. fun trip. good times with bret. in the non-busy times of summer i filled my days with reading to the little boy next door. he got some stickers at one point that he needed to share with me. i can't say i was terribly pleased. luckily it was just that one incident.another major thing that happened in august - i finally lived alone. my roommate of 11 years moved out when my other friend bought a house just a block south of me. we spent much of august and september (and she kept working through october and november and still has work to do) making it livable - mostly painting it.

september was the start of school. actually it starts the end of august - but basically september is a good marker. i loved my classes. things went great, but i was getting pretty antsy wondering what lay ahead for bret and me. i let him know too. we did a family (his family) temple sealing event and i was the only non-robinson present. i decided it made me feel special. but bret finally got the message he needed to do some serious thinking.

october usually brings my annual halloween party. i knew bret doesn't enjoy such things and i didn't want to subject him to the pain, but since he hadn't taken any action i decided i'd go ahead and throw the party. by the time the party came around i WAS engaged, but it was too late to cancel. he endured just fine. the party was the usual success but the best part was knowing it was my last one to throw. i love seeing so many good friends having a good time, but i look forward to having smaller more select parties. i think october may also be the month i applied for an english endorsement with the state of utah. baby steps - endless ones it seemed!

november brought my last month of work. i gave my 30 days notice when i got engaged. kids blamed me for "quitting" but i think they are just teenagers who like to give teachers a hard time. there was a group of kids, though, that i sincerely worried about. i'm sure they'll be fine. november was pretty nerve wracking and emotionally straining as i dealt with the transition. the wedding itself was wonderful - perfect in every way - and i haven't had any regrets about leaving my job. i love being a wife! in preparation for the wedding i got the band together to practice a bit - that is the best feeling. i also got a formal proposal - bret took me to the park in centerville where he first peeled me an orange and peeled me another. right before leaving my job i'm happy to say i was awarded my full teaching certificate and labeled "highly qualified." big check mark going on there!

december was pretty much married life. i'm not as organized as i'd like to be. each day i have a long list of things to do and then don't do enough of them. i love cooking meals and have mixed feelings about all the cleaning - but it feels good to have chores done so when bret has time off we can play. our new ward has been a good experience. i got called to teach sunbeams - bret's calling is coming. i've been tapped to fill in on organ as needed. we'll see how that goes! the main organist is leaving in june so i have some time. we've made friends with neighbors and have enjoyed having little get togethers in our home. we've put bret's condo on the market and repainted the whole thing (much to the debt of good friends and family). oh, and christmas was great! we had pie for breakfast and green smoothies for lunch.

well i've gone on way too long! i hope to find some photos to insert and get this posted. good job if you actually read it all. i'm not sure i would have. but for my sake i like to have the year in review. maybe i just should have stuck to photos. :)