Monday, October 31, 2011

wait, what?

The week just started, and already I don't know where I am going to have time for all the things we are supposed to be doing.

Tonight Bunny is off playing zombie at the co-op haunted house. That man gets far too much joy from scaring small children. So I get to stay in and get stuff done (laundry, reading, cooking, dishes, watch some crap on tv while I cross stitch), but it's more a night for "me" time and me things. I could go to the library, but I bought a couple books over the weekend, and the co-op share pile had a few new books that I swiped for a couple weeks. I love when I find reading material there. (Side note, The Scarlet Letter showed up there ... and in now firmly on my "I must read this next" spot. I've been wanting to read it for awhile, so we'll see how that goes.)

Tomorrow would usually be grocery night, but one of Bunny's best friends is turning 40, so we will be having dinner with J & L. Which likely means I'm in for one of the best dinners of my month, because any time we have been there for a dinner party they have had amazing things (L made me fall in love with beets - and boy do I love beets), and L is also a sommelier, so I know that there will be amazing wine. Plus, they are just Good People. I'm looking forward to seeing some of the other people there.

The only downside the this is that I always end up feeling so darn young when we hang out with them. It's par for the course when you're in love with a man 11 years older than you that you will meet a lot of friends who are older. The thing is though, which some of his friends I feel this contrast more starkly then others. J & L just always seem so ... worldly in some ways. L is the most amazingly sophisticaled oeneophile chic goth chick, and J is just this amazing, fun loving, follows his passions laid back guy. They just make me feel young. In a neutral way - not as if being young is bad, and not that sweet! I don't look old kind of way. Just, out of place a little.

Wednesday is a bit of a wash. We are going to do our grocery shopping then, right after work. After that, Bunny is basically locking himself into study-mode to make up for the fact that today and tomorrow will be utterly unproductive. He's got a handle on all his assignments, he has no homework from today and tomorrow's he can get done in the breaks between class. He's this crazy insane diligent student though, and likes to type up his notes on the daily. This man takes handwritten notes in class, types them up nightly, reviews them weekly, and re-reads them all right before tests.

Is it any wonder he's known as Mr Perfect to his classmates?

But considering Monday and Tuesday as social nights, and Wednesday as a catch-up evening for Bunny (which also means that I will be doing all the cooking/cleaning that happens that night. Barley stew it is!), we have 3/5s of our week booked.

We haven't even found time this week to go see the venue. Joey can have us by any day, but we will probably be awhile. And if Bunny has had two nights of no study time this week, we can't exactly take away a third. Consensus is that the venue will not happen until next week.

I know it doesn't seem like a lot, but I don't like to have my week super booked. I like the time for spontaneous plans (even if I don't often make them). I like feeling like I have time to relax.

I like to think that when Bunny's done learning how to tear apart a combustion chamber that we might have time to play a game of chess. Doesn't seem to happen, but still.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

the wedding cohort

Back in high school, and even in university, friends would always joke about how one day we would all get married. In the back of my mind, there has always been the idea that as you grow up, at some point all your friends get married in roughly the same time period, lasting a couple of years. (Followed a little later by everyone having babies, all in the same general time period).

For myself, I really never imagined that I'd be part of the wedding crowd. Historically, I have not been the boyfriend kind. Really, before Bunny, previous relationships that I have been in have veered more towards the friends who spend a lot of time in the sack together instead of a more emotionally mature relationship. Sure, there were people I slept with. Sure, there were people with whom I had emotional entanglements. Very rarely were these the same people.

In fact, probably the most serious, longest lasting "relationship" I had before Bunny was with a very good friend who was at the begining in an open relationship with someone else. Even when he and she eventually broke up, and we were still sleeping together, Moosebutt (that's a nickname of his) and I would lay in bed after getting it on and we would talk about this girl he wanted to ask out, or my crush on the Bear-Man (what was I thinking?).

So I never expected to be part of the mad rush to weddings. I expected to be a bridesmaid about a million times in my twenties, but I did not expect that I would be getting married here, at this point in my life. I figured I'd be the kooky, crazy professor, who wouldn't bother to settle down until my thirties or forties. I imagined I would be city- and province-hopping as I moved from undergrad to masters to doctorate to fellowship to being a professor. It's not I life I imagined would allow me the opportunity to settle in with someone so early. (Deliberate wording there - I am setting in, not settling down. I'm not giving anything up - I want to be here.)

Here I am, somehow. Getting married. Two of my best friends also in the process of getting married. I am getting married. I have plenty of other friends who are engaged, or newlyweds or starting to talk about getting married. So here I am, part of the wedding cohort.

It's crazyface, because I don't feel like we are old enough for this. I don't feel like I am old enough that it would possibly be the done thing in my group to get married. It doesn't seem crazy that I am getting married, or that any of them individually is getting married ... but have we really reached this point in life where we are all, as a group, getting married?

Knowing that so many of my friends are doing the same thing is what makes me feel a little off-balance.

I feel a little bit like, really? We were just coming home at six am after mad parties not too long ago. It wasn't so long ago that I was skipping rope with some of these girls in recess. Now we are getting married (to other people)? What the?

kitchen time? yes, yes please!

Today Bunny is busy with about a million and one chores. He's making dog food (and I run from the massive amounts of raw chicken). He's hopefully going to put in some freelance hours, if he gets the files he needs. And he's taken the last two days off from hoping for shopping and Gears of War and reading World War Z (which apparently rocks - thus there has been zombie-weirdness all over the house this weekend).

Which leaves me to fend for myself. And since the silly boy likes to plop himself down right in the middle of the living room to study, that rules out playing Kinect. It also rules out any computer-related fun because he needs the laptop (well, it's his laptop anyway so it's not like I can whine - maybe I should quit being cheap and get my own, except we don't need two laptops and his work computer. It's why I didn't replace the last one when the hard drive died.)

Which has me thinking about cracked sugar cookies with a caramel sauce. I love the idea of sugar cookies - but I always find them a little bland. It's just meh for me, even though I enjoy making them. I am also slightly obsessed with caramel lately. I'm all over making caramel sauce, caramel popcorn, caramel-apple topping for my pancakes. I am on the caramel wagon.

It's actually ridiculous how much I enjoy the stuff. Absolutley absurd. But OMG caramel? With a little bit of salt to round out the flavour? Heaven. Absolute heaven. (Picture me licking the stirring spoon as I'm mixing a caramel sauce with my eyes rolling back in my head practially ... oh, wait, my reaction to a good caramel is NOT internet appropriate). I am in love with this stuff. I could eat it everywhere.

I'm also excited that cookies are an excuse to use the new ice cream scoop!!!  Weee!

Later in the day I will be making about a dozen quiche. (Do I exaggerate? Well, yes, but only a little.) Last time when I did the ham and caramelized onion quiche we froze a second and it was so amazing to be able to pull it out of the freezer and have a real meal that we are doing it again. Quiche is not significantly more work in bulk, and it's a signature recipe of mine.

So, game plan?
Finish the dishes, go to the store for whipping cream and maybe popcorn (because if I have all that caramel anyway I might as well, right?), make sugar cookies, cook sugar cookies, chop veggies and grate cheese, make caramel sauce, assemble quiche, dip cookies in caramel as quiche cooks.

Um, what?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

books & boots & tools

Today was Shopping Day. There are no words for the love I have for days spent doing nothing but shopping. Wake up, sleep in, cuddle with Bunny under the covers. Finally pull myself out of bed to a day of adventure.

First stop was Benix for kitchen-y goodness. We picked up mostly odds and ends that we had been missing - a steel carafe for steaming milk, a metal mixing bowl for recipes that need a double boiler (swiss meringue, melting chocolate), and an ice cream scoop that is also perfectly sized for cookie making (I'd been eying one of those for a long time - next I need a cupcake sized scoop). We were also hoping to get a medium wisk, but all of the ones we saw had handles short enough to be uncomfortable. So we were pretty happy with the kitchen purchases we came away with. We also looked at some things that we'd love but aren't necessities at the moment. (Rectangular baking pans, miniature oval casserole dishes that I want a set of, angular serving dishes ... we salvitated over the lot of them.)

If only we had more counter space ... that is the one thing we don't love about our place. Other than that it's fairly perfect. Just the kitchen needs to have more room! Granted, if we got rid of the dining table we never use that would free up space - but that's another story.

After the kitchen store I got distracted in Payless, and because they had a bogo thing on, I ended up leaving with a pair of everyday black boots (the sort with a medium high, sensibly thick heel that are also knee-high) and then a simple pair of silver flats. Who doesn't need some cute metallic flats?

After that we went headed to the Eaton Centre and just wandered around. We ended up at Indigo (strangely at Bunny's request - he might nto have asked if he'd realised I would keep him there for an hour an a half), and left with a few books.

Last stop was Canadian Tire, where Bunny got a massive professional grade ratchet set on sale (he saved about $300, and paid less than what he saved). We were also hoping to pick up another fireplace heater, but the one we wanted that was on sale was sold out. There's another one we liked, but because it wasn't one sale and was a little over the what we'd been expecting to spend, we decided to hold off. It will still be there, we know how much it costs, we can get it any time. Plus - maybe that one will go on sale? I hope I hope!

What was really great about the day, is we did some very low key wedding planning as well. We talked a little more about the restaurant we hope to have it at; which we'll be visiting next week. We talked about what that meant for the wedding in general - the guest list, the budget, how we felt about things ... it was really good and really low key. We're pretty excited about the idea of having our wedding at our friends' business. We are going to throw a big chunk of change at a venue, and we both feel better about it being friends.

It feels good all around. We are supporting their business. They've indicated that we might be looking at getting a bit of a deal. Beyond all that, the food there is fantastic. (5 star chef, baby - and I might not always be a gourmet food whore, but I sure know how to appreciate it. Plus, Chef Lynn is phenomenal. She makes me like blue cheese - and if she makes me like blue cheese, I know I will like whatever she comes up with.) Beyond which, I just feel like it's the sort of atmosphere we want. They create an atmosphere of being homey and like we are simply hosting our friends rather than being a complete restaurant experience. When it's friends that are taking care of you, you know that's love there.

Which is what I want at my wedding. If we are having a tiny wedding, I don't want vendors that feel impersonal and like people we hired. I want people who feel like friends.

Now, I am off. Bunny and I are making our menu/shopping list for next week and I'm excited. Maybe after, I'll make cookies.

Friday, October 28, 2011

where's the (food) love?

I'm kinda disappointed in myself a little this week. (Which is sad, because I've been in a most great mood all week and had awesome hang outs last night.) Why disappointed in myself, might you ask?

I totally dropped the ball in the kitchen department. Usually I spend a third of my night, easily, in the kitchen. I get in from work and make things sparkly and clean. Then I put things in ovens and on stoves and make delicious nutriousness. Once the nutrious stuff is dealt with, then I tend to do even more dishes and often make something that's just delicious.

This week? Not so much. I did make biscuits (the worst ones ever, unfortunately) and yummy cupcakes and brownies-from-a-box with a special ingredient twist. But healthy things? No. Cleaning things? Nope, Bunny did all of that.

I need to hurry up and make a menu/shopping list for next week. I blame this on lack of preparedness - and when that results in KD and frozen pizza you end up with a very grumpy rabbit.

places like home

Bunny and I are looking at venues next week.

Or rather, venue. We are looking at the one venue we have seriously considered for the reception ... and if we don't like it I'm going to be concerned. I'm kinda iffy as is, because I don't 100% know if it will even work. It seats 30 people (max), or 20 comfortably. I'm not sure that it would leave us any space for dancing afterwards, and there are some discussions we have to have there - but that we'll work out.

I'm nervous to go. This is the only venue that Bunny and I have seriously considered for a wedding. It's a separate room at a restaurant that friends own with a celebrity chef. The concept behind their every day dinners is magnificent - it's a four-course chef's menu and it's always been spectacular. Even when menu has foods I dislike on it, they tend to be prepared in the most fantastical ways. As well, they do a family-style service, which feels so homey and welcoming to us. It's one of those things that just feels right when we think about it.

So I'm scared. What if we don't like it? We know we like the main dining room - but we want a private space, and we've never seen this room. We've both been planning our wedding in our heads at this restaurant since the words "wedding" and "marriage" first came up. If we don't like it, that's back to square one.

The thought of having the wedding there feels like hosting a party. We like that idea a lot. That's the feeling we want behind our venue - somewhere personal and special.

Maybe I'm just borrowing trouble. I hope so!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

titles and names and emotions, oh my!

So I've been thinking a lot about what getting married means for my name. Or more, for the implications about the decisions I've made regarding my name.

There are a lot of big opinions out there on this. Everyone has their own say, and then there's the social science of feminism and the consequences of changing our names as women.

I have always known that I want to take my future husband's name - even before getting engaged. My entire adult life I have insisted on being "Miss" rather than "Ms"; and in that line, I am going to be Mrs. Sheryl P when I get married.

Most people who know me on a superficial level are surprised by this. I am weird and wacky and not interested in doing what people expect of me. When people complain that I'm not being proper or ladylike, I throw it in their face. My shirt is too low and my cleavage is bothering you? Well, that's your issue, and if you are going to complain I am going to flash you. There is nothing inappropriate about some boobage.

I am not someone who is easily described by the terms 'proper' or 'traditional' or 'ladylike'. Except ... as the wonderful G!Ness would tell you - I am a little bit socially conservative when it comes to my own values for my own life. More so than people would ever expect. (Sex and the City example for you much? People's general first impression is that I'm a "Samantha", but I'm a "Samantha" with this huge, hidden dose of "Charlotte" underneath).


While I have these weird pockets of traditionalism and conservativism in who I am, they are a choice. I am choosing to take Bunny's name, and to be a Mrs. Those are my choice. They are not being forced upon me.

Sometimes, though, I get this massive dose of guilt from society about it. Feminists who say "you can't be a feminist - you're changing your name". Other people who think I am undermining my own womanhood and autonomy by changing my name. Casual friends who think "oh, you're changing your name? Have you ever thought about keeping your own?"

What's so stupid and ironic about that, is that the women who don't change their names, and who want to be "Ms" or who decide to hyphenate and keep some portion - society guilts them about it too.

Why is making a choice about what our names will be for the rest of our lives as a woman something that we should be made to feel bad, or guilty about? IT SHOULDN'T BE. It's a choice. It's identity. For a lot of people, changing their name is never going to be honest. For me it is.

I have a lot of reasons to change my name. I've never been attached to my name. In fact, it's a pretty easy name to tease about (I can't tell you how many three little pigs jokes I've heard in my life). Beyond which, I have genuine negative attachments to my name. I have a barely-there relationship with the paternal half of my family. I have no relationship with my "father" - why would I want his name?

For me, getting to change my name is partly about getting to step away from associations with people who have hurt me, and who are toxic in my life. It's an amputation of sorts, with all the messiness and loss implied (because for me, everything to do with the paternal side of my family is messy).
s wor
It's more than that though. It's about being able to redefine myself with a name that I love. It's about deciding to embrace a new family that I have chosen and that I am creating. It's about honouring Bunny's mother and father, and his family. Honouring them doesn't involve dishonouring my family. My mother and brother are still a part of my life, and getting married does not by definition change my relationships with them. Sharing a last name has nothing to do with the relationship I have with them. My family relationships are defined by feelings and time together and shared experiences. A new name does nothing to change that.

For Bunny and I, it's a symbol of coming together and creating a family. It's about mental and emotional unity. Is it fair that I have change my name and he doesn't? Maybe not. But I'm ok with that.

No relationship is equal. It's not like we split everything equally down the middle. Somethings work out to his benefit, some things to mine. Some issues are hard on me and he wouldn't have noticed. Every relationship has its inequalities in it. At the end of the day, it's about each person making enough compromise to be comfortable and feel right to both parties.

And geeze, I haven't even gotten to the Miss/Mrs/Ms thing yet. Maybe I'll leave that for later, lol.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

pretty pretty ... oooh sparkles

So lately I'm a little fashion obsessed.

I mean, I get on the streetcar in the morning and I look around and I think "ooooh that purse is just too adorable. want. need. must have". Or "I love the way she is rocking that dress with THOSE boots" or "cute sweater! squee!" Looking at all sorts of things online that I simply Must Have.

Now, there's nothing in an of itself wrong with being a little fashion-crazy. I'm down with it. If a cute skirt and cardigan makes me happy, then really, I'm just happy I'm happy. No judgment. If having my way-too-ridiculously expensive purse makes me smile everytime I look at the lining, I'm good. I've essentially paid $2.60 a day for it since I bought it - a number that is creeping down. And if the orange leather coat makes me smile every time I put it on, or pair a new scarf with it, I'm good.

Now, the thing is, as much as I love my amazing purse and luxurious coat, and love my fancy skirts and dresses and super-cute shoes and boots and all ... but here's where it all falls apart.

One would imagine, loving fashion as I have been lately, that I might actually put some effort into what I put on in the morning, yes?
And the fact of the matter is, I completely intend to. I wake up and I think "oooh, purple plaid pencil skirt and a black top? that sounds adorable. And I could wear those sweet little black pumps I never wear, and maybe the black suede jacket." I have every intention of putting that super cute outfit on in the morning ... and then, I crawl out of bed to go pee and all I can think is:

"Coldcoldcoldcoldcold why is it so effing cold? Oh my gosh so cold. Must cuddle up back under blankets and put on warm clothes."
Because you are also looking at the chick who hides under blankets in the middle of August. Seriously, always cold. And so I turn on Breakfast Television, it tells me that it's 9* outside (colder with "wind chill" - but don't get me started on that) and I my mind goes to warm pants and fuzzy sweater. Cute outfit? Out the window.

Now, if I had a single pair of pants that a) I liked and b) fit me well, this perhaps wouldn't be a problem. Ok, pants will never be as cute as skirts, but no big. Pants can be fine. But every pair of pants I own pretty much sucks - either poorly cut, or baggy, or makes me look fat (pants inevitably make my pooch look bigger than it actually is - I have yet to find a single pair that does not do this). So as soon as I say "pants" in my head I am also giving up on "cute".
And then I make it worse by showering, but not getting the grease-ball hair clean because wet hair in cold weather? That's just not happening.

Of course, there is the easy solution to this problem.
Step 1: Get a heater for the bedroom so I don't want to hide under the covers all morning
Step 2: Buy some freaking pants that fit

Problem? I'm cheap. And I'm kinda freaking out about money right now.

See, I don't mind making the occasional splurge purchase ... but I have a lot of problems with the basic, everyday "all my underwear is old and grandma-y and I need new ones" purchases. Or the "new pants" purchase. Because, you know, I may not love the pants or underwear I have, but they stop me from going out in public naked (I wouldn't care, but everyone else might, lol), so they are good enough. Why spend money on more pants?
(This logic is also not helped by the fact that I've lost some weight recently, and it seems determined to keep coming off. Why am I going to spend money on pants right now, when I know I'm going to be in the same "all of my pants are too big/don't fit right" issue in a few months anyway? And shopping for pants is very frustrating when you've got hips like mine. And when you don't really know your size, shopping always sucks.)

But then, you know, I'm kinda being stupid here. I love cute clothes, but I won't spend my money on them. Or, I have some cute clothes, but I refuse to wear them because I'm too cold. (I seriously need to migrate south. I am not a good northern girl.) So I essentially doom myself to being un-cute most of the time. Which is stupid! Why do I even do that? Ugh.

I do need more clothes that fit, and I know it. But clothes that fit are not tooo much currently in the budget. Unless save-my-spending money strategy yeilds some seriously amazing results in that little jar (which is constantly growing!). And the fact is, I don't give myself a lot of spending money ... but there isn't really room for much more in the budget. The only places that currently have wiggle room are savings and debt-repayment ... and those are rather non-negotiable to me.

And that money has to go pretty far over the next year or so:
- Christmas is coming! Smallest year of Christmas presents ever, really, but it's still Christmas and we have a long list of people to buy for, and we do a fair amount of Christmas travelling
- My future sister-in-law's wedding ... which is in Jamaica and man is that going to be painfully expensive, but Shane and I would really like to be there
- Our wedding, because while we are trying to stick to a number that feels comfortable for us, and we don't have a crazy demands it is going to be expensive. Also, Shane and I aren't really helping matters by wanting to essentially have a big party after our wedding for everyone who we would love to celebrate with in a more low key way.

This is not helped by Bunny being in school - although I'm very glad that's where he is.

But it's big demands on our income. And I have to spend some serious time going over our budgets and seeing where our money is going vs where it needs to be going. And it is not to new clothes.