Friday, December 30, 2011

My 2012 resolution

I am not big on lists, even though I should get into a habit of making them.  I don't think I have ever written down my next year's resolutions, which I mentally make about every other December.  Being as disorganized as I am, half the time I forget to make them in December and end up scrambling first week of January or not doing them at all.  I decided to break away from that habit, and actually document what I wanted to achieve in the coming year.  There were lots of important things, such as paying more attention to the kids, becoming more organized, losing weight, ridding oneself of guilt.  It would include not only the goals, but the important milestones and ways of achieving them.  It would've been a very good list, even if never followed.

Only at some point between thinking about it and writing all of that down, I got re-inspired by The Bloggess.  I started thinking as to what was it that I really wanted in 2012?  And I decided I wanted to feel happy.  Somehow between taking care of my wonderful kids and a new bigger house and work and finances and all things that life threw my way this year, I forgot about being happy.  It somehow slipped away, almost by choice.  And yes, to be happier I need to become more organized, lose weight and feel that I am a better mother than I am now; I know that it won't happen by itself.  But the main focus should not be on the steps to happiness, but on happiness itself. And if it requires not only taking care of big stuff, but doing silly things that brighten up the day?  Well, I am up for that challenge! 

I will try my best to silence the voices telling me that once one declares the intent of being happy, all kinds of hell breaks loose.  Because I need to be happy, and if I don't try, I never will be.

Therefore, there is only one resolution on my list this year:  2012 should be the year of being

                  Furiously Happy!!!

Wishing everyone happy, no, furiously happy and healthy 2012!

And if you never read Bloggess, I suggest adding this to your list of resolutions!

(Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess, being furiously happy, which could be hard to see because she is wearing a wolf. But she is, trust me.)


Where I admit to being a musical Grinch

I think my relationship with jazz music has been well documented on this blog.  I don't like, at all, in any way, shape, or form, period.  The only music I dislike as much as jazz is Christmas themed music. Unlike jazz, I do not object to Christmas music out of my musical sensitivities.  On the contrary, it all begins rather lively and teeth-grinding-free around Halloween, when every station in the nation (even those who only yesterday were advocating to "Tie Your Mother Down" and taking a "Highway to Hell") starts playing Christmas music.  However, at some point in early November I realize that I am listening to the same 10 songs again and again, day in and day out, and that's how it's going to be until December 26th.  And it looks like it simply cannot get worse, musically-wise.   Seriously, folks.  It has nothing to do with religious intolerance on my part because if I had to listen to my the Best of Queen album all day long for two months, I would most likely develop a strong dislike for classical rock.  (No, that's blasphemy and will never happen, but you get the point.)

Well, remember how only in the last paragraph I said that things couldn't get any worse, and of course I was wrong?  Well, it was also well documented that I have a cubicle neighbor with a penchant for jazz.  I don't think I have ever heard him play Christmas songs.  And now, after months and months of torturing me with Norah Jones and the like, he decided to try something new and tuned into one of those stations that play nothing but those ten Christmas songs.  Only there was a different spin on them.  They all sounded jazzy, i.e. incredibly sad and depressing. Why did the singers sound so sad if "it's the best time of the year"?   Even Jingle Bells sounded like a story of two forlorn lovers separated by cruel fate.  Yes, this was as bad as it gets.

I have been waiting for December 26th this year like I have never been waiting for it before. It meant the end of musical torture and the beginning of auditory freedom. I hoped and waited only to be laughed at by cruel fate and radio DJs.  Folks, it is now December 29th, and Christmas songs are still playing almost nonstop in my neighbor's cube.  Is there an end in sight?  Only time will tell.  Yet I learned another valuable lesson:  it could always get worse.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sub-cry for help

Co-worker, looking in my trash can:  Wow that is a lot of candy wrappers!
SubWife: (evil glare)
Co-worker:  No, really, that IS lots and lots of Milky Way wrappers!
SubWife:  Apparently, not everyone is eager to see 2012...

Is the guy is suicidal and that was his cry for help?  Should I get involved?  Let me ponder this over chocolate; I've heard sugar helps brain activity.

P.S. Pointing to someone how much chocolate they have consumed takes the "fun" out of the fun size candy.  Really.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Sub-Cake or where I pretend that I can bake

It is Chanukah, so naturally I am blogging about Sukkot, when I took the whole 9 days off, we had our own sukkah this year and had been expecting friends over for dinner.  Suddenly I found myself in an unusual position of being able to experiment with food and having volunteers to be experimented on.  (Unlike my family, guests couldn't opt for cream cheese sandwiches at the sight of unknown food.)  It was a perfect opportunity to try Suburban Correspondent's upside down cranberry cake.  It had everything I was looking for in a recipe:  it was easy; it came highly recommended; it had cranberries in it; and being from Suburban Correspondent, it had a potential for good blogging fodder.

Honestly, I don't know why I keep bothering with the last requirement.  Firstly, life keeps on throwing blogging fodder my way ALL THE TIME.  Fodder that would make you laugh, cry or remain uninterested - I have it all in my life.  If only I blogged about it.  Which would be, "secondly." Probably because I have so much fodder thrown my way, I can't find time or energy to produce a readable blog entry.  Actually, any entry.

But there it was, in all of its perfection - easy, tasty, cranberry-filled cake with high potential for blogging fodder.  I was sold.  That night, after I made three gazillion side dishes, soup, main course or two and a super hot pepper dip, it was finally time for cake baking.  SubHub, exhausted from watching me cook all night, slowly made his way into the kitchen only to restart the conversation we have been having for the past 8 years.

"Wow, what a mess."  "Yeah, I know.  I am almost done," I replied.  Then SunHub followed with a friendly suggestion I heard only three hundred times before, "Why don't you clean up as you go along instead of leaving it till the end when you are so tired?" "The counters ARE clean," I countered.   I'll spare you the details of this dialog because it deserves a post, if not a book, of its own.  That time it ended with SubHub taking a mercy on his hapless wife and washing a few pots and pans.  And, as the genre would require it, SubHub went off into the sunset feeling he had performed his duty and saved him damsel in distress.

The next day I, after the guests at SubCasa were souped and main coursed, was about to serve the dessert.  Fortunately, I had enough sense to try the cake before experimenting on my guests serving it.   The first cranberry I tried tasted a bit off.  "Wow," I thought, "those are some spicy cranberries."  This phrase was also off, so I repeated it again and again in my brain before finally realizing how crazy it sounded.  Spicy cranberries?  I took a big bite of the cake and felt my mouth on fire.  To my credit, I must say I never blamed the recipe or Suburban Correspondent.  Or SubHub, even though everything  that goes wrong is his fault. Unfortunately, not that time.  I had no one but myself to blame.  I tried to retrace my steps on the night of baking.  The only logical explanation I had was that the knife I had used for cutting up very spicy peppers for the dip was also used for cutting up margarine for the cake.  I knew I washed it, with soap, but apparently that wasn't enough to get rid of their aftertaste.

So I went in, fessed up to everyone who would listen, from the guests to the neighbors, about the importance of cleaning the knives after very spicy peppers.  We had a good laugh, at my expense, ate jello or lollypops or equally horrific backup dessert, some of the guests probably vowed to never eat in my house because I couldn't even wash my cooking knives properly.  

A few days later SubHub, while chowing on the very spicy cranberry cake, fessed up that during the clean up time he found a small quantity of unidentified goop on the otherwise clean counter, right next to the pan with the cake, so he just threw it in the pan thinking it was dough, or lemon peel, or something that truly belonged in the cake.   Which we now, of course know, to be the ground up super duper spicy peppers. "It's not even that spicy, I don't know what all the fuss is about," said the man who finds jalapeno peppers mild.

And I learned several valuable lessons, the most important of them that it is always husband's fault.  Even if all the evidence points in another direction.