Super Birthday Valance: I am too tired to write a witty title

Eric and I drove to Lake Odessa today to visit with him mom, her boyfriend, and the boyfriend’s family. It was a lovely time, and they are lovely people who live in a lovely home. They had lake access. They have a barbeque. We ate like royalty, went fishing, and enjoyed the company of some very sweet dogs.

I am surprisingly tired.

But before we left this morning, I whipped out that leftover Spider Man fabric, and I made a valance to round out the sewing for my brother’s Super Birthday Project. With the exception of the fabric being a bit uneven on the bottom when I started, this was an extremely easy part of the project.

I cut the fabric toward the bottom, so that I had three sewn edges and only had to make the loop for the curtain rod. I even managed to straighten out the fabric while I did this. All together, it took about thirty minutes. Then I cleaned up the area and put the valance with the other projects.

I have one final idea for the project, and I am going to work on that now before bed. I should be completely finished by Monday, which means it will ship in time to arrive by the special day.

I am feeling very accomplished, having sewn a curtain (despite the rather silly yardage error), a valance, a pillow, and put together a no-sew fleece throw. That means that I have added two sewing projects to my “tried it” list, and another general craft there as well.

Also before we left, I made a dish to bring with us to the get-together. Usually I make an easy tomato salad (tomatoes, cucumber, red wine vinegar, oil, and salt), but I only had one cucumber, and I wasn’t sure it would be enough. In order to make it a little less tomato heavy, I cooked up some rotini really fast, used two tomatoes to make some fresh sauce, and I added some spices to make a sort of pasta salad. It was quite tasty.

I am off to draw some stuff. Almost forgot! Here is the eye candy:

Twofer Tuesday 1: Dinner for two

I had the day off today, and with so much time on my hands, I have to admit I was not as productive as I would have liked. Sure, I could blame Netflix and X-Men or Janet Evanovich (guilty, fast food reading pleasure, anyone?), but the truth is, I was just feeling lazy.

Until about 2pm. Maybe the key for me to take away here is that, since most days I get home around 11, go through a normal morning routine, and start doing stuff (technical term) in the afternoon, my new start time is just after noon. I can make peace with that. I can work with it. And I did. In the past 3 and a half hours, I have been a busy polymath.

First, I spent some time in my craft room, which will be the highlight of my second post today, after everything is done. Between drying layers, I still managed to get some reading in, too.

And then I got it in my head that I should just go ahead and make homemade macaroni and cheese. Now, usually this entails just mixing some cheese in with the cooked pasta and baking it. That alone is more exhilarating, not to mention fancy, than the usual mac&cheese from a box. Relax, we buy Annie’s, so it’s not that bad. It’s not like I keep a box of Kraft macaroni around…all you foodie types eying me like that. ūüėČ

So, onto my actual point here. I got it in my head to make a cheese sauce, yes, a roux, followed by a saucy b√©chamel, if you can believe it. Because I can’t. It actually worked, even. First try and everything.

Honestly, now I’m a little concerned. I have this blister on my toe that is unnervingly large and a little painful, and then this comes out well. Am I trading culinary success for a strange foot disease? If I am, I’ll take a tough, discolored and unworkable roux over the disease any day.

But that’s not appetizing at all, and I apologize.

So here are some pictures of the sauce, the baking, and the final product with a few pinches of a paprika on top. Mmm mmm mmm! It’s the cheesiest…

A New Recipe, and I Want to Scream

Life really likes to throw curve balls. No. That’s not right. Life likes to throw knuckle balls and spit balls, then follow up with a fast ball, and finally throw a curve that swings in low and knocks you on your ass. That is what life likes to do.

And normally, I am standing at the plate, bat at the ready, my eyes focused on the prize.

Lately, though…lately, it has been too demanding. I cannot continue to juggle all of these required, important, necessary things. Not everything can be so required, important, and necessary. Not everything can take priority.

At work, my boss is consistently unaware of what is going on, preferring to let me do the work for the department. Then he asks for an update and plays boss for a while. When he is unhappy with a decision I have made or work I have done, I suggest ways for us to combat the issue -perhaps I should direct such decisions to him? But the minute I suggest that, he says “no, no, I want you to learn and make the decisions”. Translate: I like it that you do all the work, and I can just play boss when I am bored.

Fine. Whatever.

At home, E and I talk about work. And we spiral down the “whose position in the company is worse” road, until we both have nothing but one word answers for each other. We answer questions with “nothing” and “okay”. We don’t find peace or comfort because we just feed into each other. And then we end up resenting one another because we don’t feel heard, and awkward, silent nights pass by with nothing good brewing between us.

Today it was even worse because, due to winter conditions, we both worked from home, so our frustration of work that is usually confined to the office spilled out into our living and dining rooms. Now not only are we unable to be supportive of each other, but we’re having our work frustrations right out in the open. There’s no screen between the work and our slightly-less-frustrated time at home. To borrow a line from Frodo, we’re “naked in the dark.” This has resulted in a lot of angry, short responses from both of us. “I wasn’t paying attention, what did you say?” “Nothing.” “Okay, fine.”

I am so frustrated, and I am so unhappy.

But then just now I received a call from an unknown number, and it was a woman calling me about my resume on Career Builder. She said she thought I would be a perfect fit for the job, and I regretfully declined, since I am hoping to move back East. It meant so much to me just that she wanted me…it made me feel more confident.

So I decided it was time to write a post!

Earlier this week, I decided to make something with some frozen tortellini that I had bought on sale. I didn’t want a lot of sodium, so I opted out of a traditional sauce, choosing instead to just saute some vegetables for a light sauce.

1 package of tortellini, 3 roma tomatoes (diced), 2 zucchini (sliced), 1 can of white beans, 1/2 cup of cheese

While the water boiled, I threw the zucchini in a tbsp of olive oil and another tbsp of balsamic vinegar to cook for a while. Just before the rolling boil, I threw in the tomatoes and beans and some minced garlic. These were heated in the pan while the tortellini started to cook, and the tomatoes made a nice watery base. Once the tortellini was cooked and drained, I tossed it in the pan with the veggies, mixed it all together, sprinkled on some cheese, and took it off the heat.

It was a simple and filling meal, with a little bit of everything. E was happy with it; I was happy with it, and the ultimate calorie count (since I’m counting those things now!) was not too high.

Some days I wish I could just cook and craft. But I am grateful to have a job, and I’m even more grateful that that job makes me an ideal candidate for jobs just like it! Ha ha. Here’s to new recipes, and the ability to refrain from screaming. And to be wanted!

Forgot to mention: pair this recipe with a nice Cab Sauvignon, and you’re all set.

The final outcome of tortellini stuff