Friday, March 29, 2013

Sidelines

Well, I wanted to be able to leave comments completely open but holy cow, I get multiple spam comments every day, it's crazy and frustrating.  I keep getting excited that I have a comment and then it's some formula comment with a website link.  So I apologize in advance if it makes commenting harder, it didn't want it to be this way.

I know I haven't been posting very much and I really want that to change.  Sometimes it's hard to post when you don't want to offend anyone but I don't even know if things are worth saying if they don't offend somebody.

Someone commented on another blogger's site that they used the wrong spelling of the saying, "back and forth" and they were kind of mean about it, like ha, ha, you pretty girl, it's "back and fourth," better luck next time empty brain and I was like jeez, I really thought it was back and forth but even if it's not do you have to dig at someone over a misspelling?  And then I looked it up and unless my search is wrong, it is "back and forth" and I wanted to go back and be like, "stupid head, it is back and forth," but I didn't.

My SIL posted photos on Facebook of her daughter with adorable bunny ears on.  It was so cute and then I started getting sad.  I get sad less and less but sometimes something really strikes me.  I'll never be able to put bunny ears on my baby.  Like it's the worst thing imaginable.  And it's not really, it's not the end of the world.

I decided a while back the best way to handle holidays is to take charge of them.  If Halloween makes me sad because I'll never have that memory of trick or treating with my children then I'll start throwing a dinner party on Halloween to distract myself.  And it works, it really does.  I make Christmas a big deal because I love Christmas and decorate the house and put up a tree, these things are supposed to be important because you're making memories for your kids but I make it important for us.  And then I throw a Christmas party at our house just to make sure all the decorating is justified.

I've been looking forward to dyeing eggs, another family tradition, and it's so easy thanks to Pinterest because ALL of the dyeing ideas are for adults.  Oh really, you're going to teach your 2 year old to gold leaf an egg.  I don't think so.  Parents are shrink wrapping those plastic covers onto eggs just like my mom used to.  So I was excited about how fancy I could get dyeing those eggs, I was looking forward to it, and then bam: baby in bunny ears.

So now, I'm totally nervous about going to my dad's for Easter.  Am I going to break down and start crying at the sight of my brother and his wife and his two adorable children making Easter memories while Brian and I watch from the sidelines?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Empathy

Well, today was supposed to be the day the guy who broke into our house last year takes his plea.  Is that what you call it, "taking a plea"?  I should know this, I'm married to an attorney. 

This guy had broken into a house before our house and was caught but his case was resolved after our crime was committed.  So when he broke into our house he hadn't yet broken his probation.   He actually didn't even go to jail at all regarding our case, he turned himself in and when you do that you get a court date and you go home.  But then he was caught in possession of a firearm (as a felon) and that's what really did him in.  He's been in jail for that since October, I think.  That's the charge that revokes his probation.  And when they did the plea offer, everything was lumped together and the judge decided no, his revoking his probation should mean serving that time after our lump time.  And the guy who broke into our house didn't accept that plea offer adding 6 months (I think) to his sentence.  So now it goes to trial.

I admire that the judge did that, that he's actually in trouble now for his first break in.  This whole time I've been thinking - No Freebies.  It's easy when things start piling on to lump it all together as one thing but I never liked that.  And yet he's been in jail for months now and now that he's actually been punished and he was going to go to prison for a bit longer I was satisfied.  I was happy to end it, have it be over.

Brian says he has a case with the gun because he wasn't walking around with it, it was in the house he was staying at.  So that could potentially be dropped, meaning he didn't revoke his probation and he's only left with the break in of our house.  I don't even know what that mean if he's found guilty of our break in but not the gun charge.  For just our house, what is the punishment?  He left his fingerprint on our bedroom window so I think that's pretty solid evidence, it's kind of odd to have a jury trial with a fingerprint, kind of a waste of resources and a whole lot of peoples' time, but that's how the system works.

I've written two letters in the course of the last year.  The first one was more for the judge.  It was back when I was so worried about "freebies" and I wanted our crime to be considered on its own.  The second letter I wrote yesterday after one of my 4am wake ups where I can't fall back asleep.  I wrote the letter for the guy who broke into our house.

I've always had this sense in myself that if you just explain something to someone they could see your side.  I think it came naturally to me to see another person's side so I just assumed it did for everyone else as well.  And I believed it to be true until I started writing my blog and it began to get popular.  When I first starting getting negative comments I thought to myself oh I just haven't explained myself very well so I would try to re-explain my position.  And I was taken aback when this didn't work, people still hated me and didn't care to have me explain myself.  I could explain myself all day and they would feel the same way.  I think politics have gotten like this too.  You can explain yourself until the cows come home and people will still think what they were thinking at the start of the conversation.  I'm a liberal (who thinks she's an independent) and most of my family are hard core tea party so you can see how there's not any wiggle room there (and yet at the root of it we all want the same things, which is the funny part of it).

But there's still this part of me that wants to shake this kid who broke into my house and tell him, you hurt actual people, people with lives and hopes and dreams and problems and pain.  You added to that with no good purpose.  And after all these months of thinking about him and how is life got the way it is and how to change it for the better now, I wanted to tell him what the world had to offer him.  Did I think I was going to change him?  Just that dreamy part of myself.  But since the plea fell through my letter wasn't read in court today and will never be read to him.  And it's not over after today.  There's a jury trial next month.  A jury trial!  I never even imagined that.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Gross, Rayon

I think one of the hardest problems with being a plus sized girl is trying to find clothes that are stylish and come in your size.  Just because someone is overweight does not mean they have to dress dumpy or wear polyester all the time.  And yet, it's nearly impossible to find clothes that aren't made of polyester and/or look dumpy.

One dress that has caught my eye a time or two is this one by Anthropologie. 


I've seen it on famous people, bloggery people, and even flaunting its tiny size in the store window.  I know better than to fall in love with something like this but I love the stripes and the red and it's so cute...

So when Old Navy came out with this dress I gasped a little. 



And then I realized it was made of rayon and cried why or why to the Old Navy gods.  But last week I was trying to get to $50 for free shipping so I had it shipped to be just to give it a shot.

Verdict?


Sigh.  This is the frumpiest dress I may have ever tried on in my life.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Oscar Party Insight

Hey guys, sorry in advance about my photos, these are iphone photos from 1/2 hour into the party.  This is the reality of throwing a real party and not having a photographer come over and stage your dining room table for a pretend party and you can tell it's a fake party because there's not enough food, there's like 5 petit fours and a bowl of jordan almonds.  Ok, ok, maybe I'm a little too worked up over the supposed "party blogs" who aren't throwing actual parties.

At my parties the food isn't even ready when you show up.  If I'm lucky I already have the platters out and arranged how I want them with little cards on them that say what goes where.  I didn't even get that far this time and other folks placed things on the table for me.  No staging here, I'm afraid.  I wasn't done cooking until 1/2 hour into the party and then everything sort of looked like this.  Sigh.  Note to self: you need different salt and pepper shakers for parties.  The Costco ones aren't feeling the vibe here.

My black and white striped runner is from etsy, I would have had to buy a long piece of fabric and then sew it myself, I don't think I would have saved money doing it myself.  Be careful if you go this route because some people just sew a zig zag stitch down the side and not really hem the fabric.  This one is hemmed. I have French flags in my vase, you can kind of see it.  I bought a bunch of flags to make a garland or something but couldn't figure out how I wanted it so I just stuck two in the vase.  My napkins are totally hidden but they have macarons on them.  They are very cute.

No one eats tossed salad at parties.  At least I didn't buy a fancy salad dressing container.  No more salads at parties for me.  That little bowl of raspberries behind the salad, big hit!  Also fruit was huge last year when I did fruit kabobs.  I have to remember that.  That cute silver star confetti is all great until it's time to clean up. I'm still finding little silver stars everywhere.  I usually use small plates and will in the future.  I used large plates because I thought people would have their salad and then their quiche on the same plate.  I don't know why I thought this, probably because that's how it's served at a restaurant.  Like one person ate the salad, it might have been my husband.

If you want sources on anything ask me in the comments and I'll get them for you.  Same with links to recipes.  Most are on pinterest but I'd be happy to put them here too.



I've been waiting a few days to write this post because really I wasn't sure what I wanted to say.  Part of me thinks that might have been my last Oscar party and part of me thinks with some changes I would go again.

I can't really even pinpoint what stressed me out so much with this party.  Wednesday before the party we had like 5 people who were going to come and our closest friends weren't coming and no one from work was coming (I really felt like Michael Scott, in a bad way) and I really just wanted to cancel the whole thing.  It takes a lot of work to pull this off, I knew I had 2 days of prep in front of me and I didn't want to go through it when guests were dropping like flies.  It's a sucky feeling when you feel like people don't want to come to your party.  So keep that in mind if you like your friends and they ask you to a party, especially a themed party or something more than, "hey we were going to invite a couple folks over and have some chips and dip, wanna come?"  I'm talking about when someone gives you a hand made invitation, it's a big deal when invitations are involved.

Brian rallied and next thing I knew we had 12 people coming.

The next thing that happened was we went grocery shopping.  Keep in mind that I had a French themed party in mind and all my recipes were very french.  The bill came to $250!  I was expecting like $150, $250 just seemed nuts to me.  That's over $20 per person, crazy.  I looked over the bill to see what I could have cut out and dropping the crab quiche would have been a big help but it still would have been over $200, and I don't know if 1 quiche would cut it for 12 people.  Next time and every time from here on I'm going to have a better idea of how much I'm about to spend.

Then on Saturday I started baking.  I was four hours into baking with no breaks and I had not even completed one dessert.  I had 2 desserts almost finished (the macarons and the eclairs) but nothing was completed.  By 10pm that night I had 3 desserts done and all my sauces.  That about 8 hours of solid cooking and I still had Sunday.

Sunday it was time to get dressed and I didn't think my dress was appropriate but it matched the party and it fit me and Brian said it was fine and I should wear it so I did and I was miserable.  I was so uncomfortable and I knew the stupid dress wasn't age appropriate and none of the other girls even dressed up.  I felt pretty ridiculous.

I had test ran Macarons two other times making about 4 or 5 batches total and though my cookies tasted fine, they were a beautiful robins egg color before they were baked and came out like a brownish green and I was pissed.  I still am not sure how to fix that a) cook them less, I think maybe I'm overcooking my macarons or b) use a powder-based food dye instead of the gel so I can get a more powerful color post-baking.  I really thought I had them perfect this time, I would have taken a photo before popping them in the oven if I knew they were going to brown out.

The recipe I used for the crab quiche called for too much crab and that was pretty much all you could taste.  It was still okay but not what I was going for.  And crab is expensive and I'm not sure if the expense is worth it. The other quiche was 10x better and way less money.

And now for the good:

Oh my god, I made mini-croque monsieur and they were divine, so unbelievably tasty.  Instead of using mustard since I don't like mustard and Brian is finicky with mustard I used extra bechamel sauce to coat both sides of the bread and again on top and it was so delicious.  These are high high maintenance sandwiches, I wish I could serve them at every party but they take way too long.  But for small affairs, these are going on the menu.  I really want to try them with country ham.  I feel like it might be the best thing ever made.



The quiche Lorraine was really really good.  I am definitely using that recipe again.



The mini-eclairs were very good.  A lot of work, I mean a lot of work, but they were cute and could be done before hand and tasted very good.  My American palate wants the custard filling to be slightly more sweet and the chocolate dipped a second time and I would make these again using those modifications.  Really good.  Look how cute they are, little fat things.



I still want to try to get the macarons right, that's saying something.  You haven't defeated me yet, French pastry!

I really like picking a theme and going with it and if I stop having Oscar parties I won't get to try this again.  Part of me is thinking, let's just see what movies are nominated next year and what sort of menu I might want to try.

So, I'm thinking this is my last Oscar party but I'm not 100% sure.

Oh, I almost forgot, 3 of my dishes used Gruyere cheese (at $12 a pound) and though tasty, Gruyere is not something we eat every day.  I would not recommend having Gruyere dominate the menu.  It's smelly and the smell sticks around, despite soap or open windows.  Just keep that in mind.  It's a two day post party commitment of EVERYTHING, AND I MEAN EVERYTHING smelling like Gruyere.  One dish, okay, three dishes, too much.  Trust me on this one.