Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Letter to my Immune System

Dear Immune System:

We need to have a chat.  I appreciate your hard work.  You are normally very good at your job, keeping me fairly illness free, aside from the usual cold here and there.  I understand that you may need to take a break now and then and let your guard down.  Let me assure you that NOW IS NOT THE TIME!!!  I'm sorry.  I know I don't take care of you as well as I could.  You don't get the tools you need very often.  But I'm worried, because lately you seem to be on the fritz.  You can't do that.  You see, I have very important things coming up this weekend and I need you at your best.  If you perform well this weekend, you'll even have a chance at a better quality of life afterwards.  I've loaded up on your favorite vitamin C and will continue to do so until the important stuff is over.  Afterwards, I promise to try as hard as I can to better attend to your needs.  As for the tomfoolery with the sniffles and scratchy throat this week:  Knock it off!!!  I understand you may need a break.  After all, you do work hard.  If that's the case, I can also assure you that I will not whine/complain/otherwise throw a tantrum if you take a break after Tuesday.  But only after Tuesday!!!  Such nonsense beforehand will not be tolerated.  That is all.


Edit:  The cold indeed waited until after the important stuff was

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Tale of Two Pies

It turns out I can bake.

I know! It was a surprise to me too!  I think the last time I baked was chocolate chip cookies from pre-made cookie dough.  Or heck, even the "awesome" blueberry muffins I made in high school for band trips...that were made from mix out of a box.  Domestic, I am not.  My definition of domestic has been largely in the cleaning area (which, I have gotten much better at then when I was in college, truth be told).  I know how to cook a maximum of 4-5 dishes that aren't microwaved or made out of a box.  And, not all of those are main courses.  Granted the dishes I do know taste amazing, but I've mostly relied on friends and my husband for good home-cooked meals.  

Then Nathan's birthday came around, and since we're poor I wanted to do something nice for him that wouldn't break the bank.  I decided, initially, to make him a Key Lime Pie, since a pie that didn't have chocolate in it would obviously be a pie for him.  I ended up telling him, because I can't keep a secret from him for anything.  When I informed him of this, he says "Hun, I'm pretty sure Key Lime Pie is supposed to be pretty tough to make.  You can pick something else if you want."  (doubting my baking abilities, I'm sure) He then informs me that apple would be a perfectly fine substitute. "Crap, I can't bake an apple pie, I don't know how to make pie crust and you have to with apple cause you need one for the top (naive, I know)."  "Buying me an apple pie is a perfectly fine birthday present.(again with the doubting)"  "Done."

Done, until the actual day of his birthday when he's at work and my mother guilts me into baking him the pie by informing me that I can buy pie crusts that come in packs of two for one on top and claims it's not hard, and I should really just bake the pie.  I hurriedly search for a recipe, find one online and dash to the store.  At this point I'm completely panicked because I was starting this adventure with no plan and limited time to pull it all together since I was getting a late start due to the whole, just gonna buy it thing.  I'm a huge perfectionist.  The idea of doing something new like this without a set game plan panics the hell out of me.  

Oh, and by the way mom, that whole "not hard" thing, yeah, you are full of it.  That freakin thing took me 4 hours, about gave me carpal tunnel from all the peeling, and involved a frantic phone call to mom where the first thing I said to her when she picked up is "I can't believe I let you talk me into this!!!!"  It turns out eight apples is too many, and that sent me into a panic about whether or not my portions for the other ingredients were off (I'm an OCD scientist, I freak if equations get messed up.  Sue me.)  There was another panicking moment when I went to put the top crust on, and it proceeded to completely fall apart on me.  BUT it was all worth it to make my baby something special for his birthday. (I'm aware you're all gagging, shush it)  Despite the panicking here are the results, which in my and my husbands opinion, tasted DELICIOUS:

The ingredients before going in the pie.  The pan is sitting on top of books because I don't own a wire rack to let things cool.

Before putting the top part on.  The recipe actually makes too much filling, so there was a moment with the smoke detector when some started bubbling out when baking.

The final product.  You can't tell, but the edges were burnt, and all I could manage of the top was trying to cut steam vents in with a fork instead of latticing the top, but I was INORDINATELY pleased with myself

Skip to a couple weeks later, I'm sitting at home again last weekend while Nathan was at work, looking for something to do.  His new job means he works most weekends, so I'm finding myself with a lot more free time on my hands.  I decided to see if the fact that the apple pie tasted so good was beginners luck.  I went with blueberry this time because it was something I knew we both liked and there wouldn't be peeling involved.

Holy crap was this one easier.  The prep took me literally, 20 minutes.  Again, because of the lack of peeling and slicing, and also because you don't really make the filling before hand.  Just throw the ingredients in and the filling cooks as the pie bakes.  It was going so quickly, no ingredient photo was taken (a disappointment to all, obviously.)
Before baking:  I decided to try the whole lattice top thing since it was so easy to make.  I was quite pleased for the fact that it was my first attempt.

Final product.  Fun fact:  I zoomed in on the pie to disguise the fact that one of the books used for my makeshift cooling rack was a cheesy romance novel.  I'm A GIRL! Stop judging.  Also, no burnt crust!
 The moral of this story:  Obviously, I'm a domestic goddess that's just now realizing her abilities.  Martha Stewart should watch her ass.

Monday, October 3, 2011


It feels like I haven't posted in months.  Turns out it's only been a couple of weeks.  I've been trying to figure out why time has been seemingly dragging and I've narrowed it down to a few reasons.  Among them:  work schedules and lack of trips home.

Work schedules has been the primary cause, I believe.  Working 2nd shift has it's pros and cons.  Pros:  Don't have to wake up to an alarm if I don't want to.  It turns out my body naturally starts waking me up around 11 am.  Also, I don't have to take any time off work for things like doctors appointments, etc.  I can wake up and run all of my errands before work.  My body naturally prefers 2nd shift so I've been feeling as rested as I ever have.  Cons:  Having work land in the middle of your day can kinda suck.  Luckily me and Nathan both ended up on a 2nd shift schedule rather than one of us 1st and one 2nd but there are definitely days when it feels like we get no time together.  Getting to wake up slowly rather than rushing to get out the door in the morning like I did on 1st is nice but having a few hours before work and a few after can often make it feel like my entire day is taken up by work.  I've tried the idea of waking up right before work and staying up later but it seems my body now refuses to sleep past 11.  Also, 2nd shift is apparently the one with the most changeable hours.  There are days I need to go in at 11:30 - noon and others when I don't go in until 3, depending on the work that day.  And then of course there are days when I have to switch to first for only a couple of days at a time.  So yeah, I'm figuring this is a large portion of why time has been dragging.

Then there's the lack of trips.  Me and Nathan both have depended on frequent trips home to see everyone when we can to keep our sanity.  Unfortunately, due to various reasons the frequency has shrunk to basically, once or twice a year.  So, needless to say, we miss all our friends and family.  We were lucky enough to have Nathan's parents visit this weekend.  It was great seeing them again and we had a lot of fun.

The final (and probably most important) reason:  I am nothing if not impatient.  A little while after writing previous post mentioning my dream job, I decided it was time to stop waiting around and get on with it, so then Nathan can get on with finishing what he wants to and we'll both be much more satisfied in the career department.  (All the other departments of our marriage are going swimmingly already <3 )  So I've been working on getting to a point where we are settled for a while in a career I love, be it forensics, tox, research or pharma, something that I can get behind and really enjoy my job.  Problem is, it turns out serious job hunting takes time and requires a lot of waiting.  I don't wait well.  My patience factor is basically something along these lines:

Because I don't feel right if I don't put something funny in my blog.
So here's hoping for something soon, because here soon, I'm afraid days are going to start feeling like weeks.