Monthly Archives: May 2015

Before I forget: On Mind Reading.

My boyfriend and I are more or less telepathic to each other. A lot of the time when we’re looking out the car window (which is how we spend 80% of our time together even when we’re not on vacation) we’ll both notice the same things even when there’s a lot going on around us. If there are 5 billboards on a short stretch, we’ll probably start snickering about the same one. “Get out of my head” is a common phrase with us.

Last night we got pizza from a Dominos across the street from the hotel for dinner (he picked it up). He was going to get me a bottle of water from the cooler in the car, but between the two pizzas (because I’m not paying $12.50 for 1 medium 2-topping when I can get 2 medium 2-topping for $12.90) and his own soda, his hands were full. I didn’t mind going down for my own water, but while I was smart enough to grab a room key before I left, I didn’t think to grab a car key. He parked  right below the window to our room (which is on the 3rd floor), so I was able to see the light on, but not actually communicate (left my phone in the room, too). I stood outside for a good 30 seconds debating whether to try hollering at him or see if I could set off the car alarm before I had the great idea to use telepathy. I stood there for a good minute or two mentally projecting for him to unlock the car with his fob before I gave it up as a lost cause.

I went back up to the room and as I opened the door, he told me that he’d just unlocked the car for me. Turns out he was distracted by pizza and it took him a minute to realize that the car was still locked. Telepathy? Or he saw my phone and key next to him on the desk in the room? I don’t know or care, haha.

The Baja Explorer--our home away from home.
The Baja Explorer–our home away from home.
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Currently on Vacation

Literally.

My boyfriend and I set out last Saturday (May 23rd) to visit his brothers in New Mexico and then see the rest of the country since I’d never been further west than my aunt’s farm in Kentucky. It’s been amazing! I plan to write a detailed account when we get back home next weekend, but here’s a few pictures (in no particular order) to whet your appetite:

The Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean
Painted Desert at Petrified Forest National Park in AZ
Painted Desert at Petrified Forest National Park in AZ
Oldest, Middle, Youngest
The purpose of this trip.
The Grand Canyon at the Desert View Watchtower
The Grand Canyon at the Desert View Watchtower

Dinner and a Mess…or two.

I am NOT a “Suzy Homemaker”. I work a full time job. I despise doing dishes. I hate folding laundry. I have never used a vacuum in my life (except for a shop-vac). I’m a very lazy cook.

But tonight, I feel very accomplished…sort of. The boyfriend has been nocturnal this week as he readies one of the Explorers for our cross-country trek this upcoming 2 weeks (!!!), so I told him that I would do the long neglected dishes from the past few days, my treat. Usually our routine is that I cook, he does the dishes a few days later after I’ve complained. Anyway, when I got home from work, I was still bouncing ideas around my head for what to make for dinner and whether to go head and make tomorrow night’s dinner as well since the ground turkey had been in the fridge for 5 days. I also had half a loaf of french bread going very stale on the counter.

Well, I talked myself into being productive! Tonight’s dinner would have taken a whopping 45 minutes to prepare if that long: bread crumb coated fried pork chops with mac-n-cheese. Guess what homemade fans: the breadcrumbs came from the store pre-seasoned! And the mac-n-cheese? Kraft. Hey, I work! At least I started with raw pork chops and breaded them myself.

Meanwhile I browned the ground turkey and tossed it into a casserole dish to await some cooked rotini and a jar of good ol’ Ragu Traditional (the boyfriend’s favorite, though he did accept some Ragu “Chunky Super Vegegetable Primavera” without complaint a couple weeks ago).

In my spare time I chunked up the french bread (and watched pieces bounce across the room), diced up some canned peaches that have been in the cabinet too long because they’re store brand and the guys are picky like that. The first mess is that I started using one dish for my bread pudding and quickly decided that it wasn’t big enough. The kicker? It was one of the dishes I’d washed before I actually started cooking dinner. Actually, of all the dishes I washed before cooking, only 2 remain clean at this moment.

Let’s see. Mess number 2 is collectively this kitchen because I’m a messy cook. At least the boyfriend doesn’t mind cleaning the stove after I’ve destroyed it. Have I mentioned that he’s a PHENOMENAL cleaner?!? Yeah–he can use a vacuum like no body’s business and I’ve seen the toilet sparkle! I’m pretty good at wiping up the counters as I go along, but sometimes I get sidetracked.

Mess number 3 happened as I was typing this. I’d put the pork chops in the oven on 170 to keep them warm while I waited for the kid to get home (the boyfriend called and said he’ll be changing yet another part while at his friend’s house, so I don’t expect him home for another hour). Well, I filled the kid’s plate because the kitchen is a disaster area of only 10 ft by 10 ft, plus I was still cooking the pasta for tomorrow, but left the pork chops in the oven. Then, once everything was done and I was putting off washing the dishes by writing this, I tossed the bread pudding (which is based on this simple recipe, that I happily ad-libed ‘cuz that’s how I roll) into the oven at 350…completely forgetting about the pork chops. Luckily it dawned on me as I was writing about them and I pulled them out. They look fine. And trust me that it’s not my first time.

Oh, sorry for the lack of pictures: not only do I not take pictures of my food as a rule, my camera is broken and the boyfriend’s cell phone isn’t home and even if it were home, I still think it weird to show off the food that I’ve described. I’m not here to teach you how to cook, I’m here to entertain you with the reality of being a “working mother” (no, I don’t have kids of my own and said “kid” is only 3.5 years younger than me, but honestly these two need someone looking after them like I do…maybe one day I’ll describe the fridge/freezer and cabinet situation and other stuff…).

Well, if I wait any longer to do the dishes I won’t get them done. See you on the other side!

The Idea Bank

This isn’t my first go at blogging and my previous problem has always been with actually keeping up with it. I used my old blog purely as a dump for my feelings on politics and current events during college when I didn’t want to actually talk to folks about these as I worked my way from childhood to adulthood. Pretty much the only thing I learned was that I can out-debate myself, which is why my essays in college always got mediocre grades. It isn’t good when your argumentative essay only results in you completely changing your perspective by the end of the concluding paragraph (though in my case, I usually had a pretty flimsy belief in my original choice to begin with). I’m still this way, which doesn’t bother me. I like being able to agree and disagree with both sides of an argument because that means that I’m living in the real world with all it’s grayness.

Anyway, I want this blog to be much more coherent. I want my book reviews to challenge me to actually think about what I read, even if I’m reading wonderful pop-fiction romance novels. I want my delves into my personal life to not be simply rants, but interesting tidbits of what it’s like to be dating a guy 19 (and 2 weeks) older than me at the “tender” (or maybe advanced) age (I’m reading Sense and Sensibility right now) of 26. And I do want to set myself the challenge of posting more than just when I feel like I have something I need to say. Which brings me to the Idea Bank.

I was looking for a simple list of questions or ideas to prompt me to think outside the box when it comes to posting. Something that would encourage me to reveal some deeper part of myself (because I’m an introvert who seems to be a “highly sensitive person” and who is probably on the Autism Spectrum, so I try to avoid emotions and feelings as a rule). Because I don’t want this blog to turn into a rant-fest. I want a place that I can be proud of showing off rather than hiding in my own private corner of the interwebs while I try to figure out what exactly I believe and think.

Anyway, it’s getting late and 5-7am comes mighty early. Hmm…I think I shall have to write 3 posts simply to explain all the allusions I’ve made in this one, haha. But telling myself I won’t write after 12am has never worked (but at least I’ve convinced myself that I need to stay away from Fox News after 8pm). Gah! Say goodnight, Cathy!

“Good Night, Cathy”

Godwinks

NOTE: this post is about the idea of Godwinks. I haven’t read the book itself.

I heard about this idea a few months ago when I saw a clip on the Today Show. Supposedly these are instances where God speaks up and creates some uncanny coincidence in a person’s life. While I think that the instances are sometimes amazing, I don’t believe that they’re anything that mean anything in particular. I think that “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” explains away most “Godwinks”.

Here’s my own experience with a Godwink: My boyfriend and I were in the same places at the same time about 11 years before we officially met. In theory, there could be photos with the two of us in them, though we wouldn’t be the focal point. He’d be in the back of a picture of me, I him, or both of us in the background of some third person. It’s actually a really good thing that we didn’t know of each other’s existence because then things would be really awkward!

You see, my boyfriend 19 years, 2 weeks older than me to be precise and he has a son who is 3.5 years younger than me. We met at the bowling alley in 2011, where we bowl duckpins. Back in the years ’99-’01, during the annual youth state tournament, both me and the kid bowled (albeit in different divisions) and my boyfriend was there to cheer on his son. Given our shared interest in duckpin bowling and his love for his son, it would be stranger if we weren’t there together.

The cliches are that “hindsight is always 20/20” and that “people see what they want to see” and both are true here. The first moments of a meeting between 2 strangers is spent searching for so called “Godwinks”–“oh, my mom went to UCLA, too!” “oh, I love the bagels at Giuseppe’s on 5th, too!” “oh, my cat’s name is Rat, too!” If two people don’t have anything in common (which I believe is impossible) then they leave each other and never think of the other again. The more important a connection to someone is, the more the couple searches for and therefore find these “Godwinks”. And yet, 2 strangers who never speak a word to each other may share a virtually identical history. So is God still winking when it’s in his power to make sure that these identical strangers never meet?

I think that the most good we can do is to search out these so called “Godwinks” but not because they’re a “wink from God”, but because society is degraded every time two people decide that they have zero in common and therefore can never get along. I believe that two people who “agree to disagree” are simply too stubborn to see what similarities they actually have (see–they can agree that they’re both stubborn).

Anyway, I may put this book on my to read list, or I might not. If someone owns it and wants to send a copy to me because you hate this “review” with a passion, drop me a line and I’ll give you an address to send it to.

***Giveaway!*** Sew Deadly

I’m relatively new to the cozy mystery genre. I only started reading them because my mom is a book buyer and I was desperately in need of something to read. I must say that I was a quick convert.

This one combines by mom’s love of crafts and my love of libraries. I liked that each of these topics was given an equal amount of attention.  I’ve found that some authors tend to neglect their subplots to the book’s detriment–that wasn’t a problem here. There could have been a little more character development done, but on the whole it was average.

I’m not sure about the Southern stereotypes portrayed in this book. I consider myself a Southerner because of my location, but Hampton Roads is a bubble. It’s the equivalent of a very large city population-wise with a lot of transient people because of the military (please don’t judge our graduation rates too harshly–some parents don’t think to formally withdraw their children from school when they move). I don’t think I’ve ever met a little old lady who says “bless your heart”. I don’t know how it is further south and in actual small towns, so maybe this is a Southern thing and I’m just not a Southerner even though I was born here.

Milo reminds me a lot of my boyfriend, especially when he asked Tori out the first time. I know exactly what it looks like when a guy looks positively relieved when I said that I would indeed go out with him. ‘Course, my guy looks nothing like Milo. Milo is relatively tall and has an averagely muscular build and is a self-declared shy nerd. My guy is 6 ft 4 with a barrel of a chest who simply looks like a Big Truck driver. ‘Course, while my guy isn’t shy (except when it came to asking me out because he was scared), he is very much a nerd (I have difficulty getting him to watch anything not Sci-Fi), he’s somewhat introverted (though not as much as me), and I didn’t insult him when I told him early on that he’s definitely smarter than he looks :-). He made me stumble over the Latin while discussing the various forms of vivipary the other night. Don’t judge the backwards looking redneck truck driver by the cover of his Star Trek universe novel, hahaha.

Anyway, back to the book. I was very surprised by the murderer’s reveal–I didn’t see it coming. I identified most of the red herrings for what they were (and thought them excellent choices). I didn’t like the portrayal of the investigator because it was gratuitous. Yeah, that’s a good word for it. I’ve just looked at Goodreads about this series and am thrilled to see that these characters continue to exist. I shall hold off real judgment on Investigator McGuire (and Ms. Casey) until a few books later when we can see if his character evolves.

Enter this giveaway at: ***Giveaway*** Sew Deadly (powered by Gleam.io).

The Wind in the Willows

This is one of those books that I think I was supposed to like a lot more than I actually did. I suppose it’s supposed to evoke some kind of nostalgia which I kind of got (the desire for a simpler life). I liked the idea much more than I enjoyed the characters, who generally just annoyed me.

I wish Mr. Toad had started being redeemed much earlier than he was. I wish Ratty hadn’t had that day or so of extreme depression. I wish they hadn’t amassed a literal arsenal to take back Toad Hall.

Funny Vintage Frog Barely There iPhone 6 Case
Funny Vintage Frog Barely There iPhone 6 Case by golden_oldies
Look at Funny animal Casemate Cases online at Zazzle.com

I’m selling my stuff!

Well, not all my stuff, but I have some things lying around the house that I just need to get rid of. I’ve got them for sale on Amazon.

These decorative scissors come packaged as pictured along with 6 additional pairs of scissors (possibly more if I find them lying around the house by the time you order). $10.

This kit might be labeled used, but it’s never been opened. This is one I wish I had time to make, but I’ve got a seasonal “Welcome” sign that I haven’t touched in a few years that I should finish first. Actually, if you’re interested in the Welcome sign, let me know and I’ll toss what I’ve got finished in the envelope with this kit. I have the L C O and the M w/out the turkey completed as well as a portion of the black and gold border. I’ll include all the thread I haven’t used  as well as the instructions. $10.

These stamps might be labeled as collectibles, but really they’re ideal for the crafter. I decoupaged them to wooden boxes to give as gifts a few years ago and they turned out awesome! These are still attached to their envelopes, but it’s super easy to take them off for your crafting project: just soak them in water for a good 5 minutes then gently peel off the paper. Lay the stamps flat on a clean towel and let them dry. 100 stamps for $1!

On my boyfriend’s smoking

I am a very adamant non-smoker. My grandfather died from lung cancer a few months before I was born and never meeting him was one of the driving factors in my hatred of smoking. He was 58.

Before I started dating my boyfriend, I tried out online dating for about 2 weeks. I admit that the driving force for that was simply needing a bit of positive male attention during a bout of loneliness.  At the time I was 24, I’d never been properly asked out or properly kissed, but except for a few isolated (and scattered) weeks where I felt a deep frustration about this, it didn’t bother me. I saw so many friends in middle and high school going through the roller coasters of relationships, I just didn’t want to bother with that. My ideal was meeting one guy who’d want to spend the rest of his life with me, and I him, and that would be that. Turns out I’d just needed to grow up ‘cuz the dude’s way too old for me :-). Anyway, to make a long story short, during the 2 weeks of online dating I “met” a few guys who gave me the compliments I was needing for my emotional health (sometimes a girl just wants to hear that a guy thinks she’s cute), met one guy who I went on a lunch date with (turns out that in person I didn’t have the looks that he desired), and met one of those guys who’s simply an asshole online.

The asshole was a smoker and when I said this was a deal breaker in my first reply to his initial contact (simply saying that he’d have to quit), his response was to attack my desire and then my looks. I wish I’d kept a copy of this conversation for posterity, but oh well. I think I sent him a very appropriate and tactful reply as I tore him a new one–he didn’t respond again at least.

After that experience, I decided that I definitely wasn’t going to bother with a smoker because if that was his response to my request he wasn’t worth my time.

Then my boyfriend got the guts to finally ask me out.

I’m not sure when exactly I told him that he’d definitely have to quit smoking, but given that I know we discussed finances, his previous marriages, and his death 6 years ago by the 3rd date (we went out every night for a week while I house-sat for one of my aunts), it was probably at some point then. I asked him a few weeks ago if he knew he’d have to quit before he asked me out and he gave me a violent head nod, so yeah, he knew. It’s been a year and a half now and it’s been a learning experience for me (and him as well, I’m sure).

The first thing you need to know about me is that I have a “Hitler face”. No–I don’t look like Hitler, but when I want something done now I get this look on my face that clearly says “move it or lose it”. My boss at work sees this face a lot because the only time I really talk to him is when there’s a problem (yes, he’s run in the opposite direction when he’s seen me coming–we all laughed :-)). My boyfriend is the one who christened it the Hitler face because of my German ancestry.

Anyway, for a solid year he made no progress on quitting because I’d put on my Hitler face whenever I saw him smoking. I will tell you now ladies and gents, this isn’t the way to get someone you love to quit smoking. It just stressed him out and I get that. The problem was that simply talking about his habit made him want a cigarette which did not work for me. I’m a very goal oriented person and when I want something done, I make a plan and stick to it. He, on the other hand, is very much “I want this to happen and it will happen when it does….” Plans aren’t made because they will be OBE (overtaken by events). He used to drive big trucks and got screwed very often when he had to set a deadline only to be rendered late by traffic.

So yeah, he doesn’t have a plan to quit smoking and during those few moments when I’ve actually gotten him to discuss it, he’s admitted that he’s scared of who he will be without cigarettes. I will admit that he can have a short temper when he “needs” a cigarette and it can be jarring because he’s usually so calm, cool, and collected. Even though his shortened temper is still a nicer person that many others I’ve met, he hates that persona. I’m confident that it’ll be temporary, but getting him to quit long enough to get through that time is proving difficult.

We are finally making progress, though. About 2 months ago I got mad at him and stole his pack of cigarettes. That week I rationed him 5 per day. The next week I cut him to 4/day. The week after I was going to cut him to 3 and we had an argument that it was too soon for him to do that. So we’ve been stuck at 4/day ever since. But 4/day is still a hell of a lot better than what he was smoking before that and the rationing system has greatly improved things in our relationship because when it comes to the cigarettes, the Hitler face is gone. It still comes back when he needs to do the dishes or clean up his messes, but that’s another post.

One of the things I said most frequently before we started the rationing is “how did you do today”. He didn’t want to admit to me or himself what his actual number was, which is why he couldn’t keep up with the chart on the front door that asked him to write his numbers whenever he felt comfortable so we could track his progress without Hitler. Now I don’t need to ask him his numbers because I know what I give him everyday.

There have been slip-ups. The first week, he left his ration at home and borrowed one from a friend. I had to tell him quite firmly that the purpose of the ration is so that I know his numbers and if he doesn’t tell me that he’s borrowed one, then he’s going behind my back to get more than what we’ve agreed is fair. (I’m still a broken record on how long he’s had to do this on his own.) This week he found an old pack in one of his cars that he’s been smoking behind my back (well, he did for 2 days before he admitted it to me). I knew he was because I’ve been watching him build a shed in the backyard with his stepbrothers and I was counting every time I saw him with one.

But, I decided that this time it wasn’t worth the fight. Why, you ask? Because in 2 weeks we’re driving to New Mexico and beyond for 2 weeks and he’s firm that he will not buy cigarettes outside the state of Virginia and he’s agreed to attempt the trip with only 2 packs. In case you don’t know, there are 20/pack and we’ll be gone roughly 16 days: essentially he’ll get 2.5/day, which is about where he’d be if he’d cut himself to 3/day even 2 weeks after I’d wanted him to. The other reason why I didn’t fight him about the stale extra ones (I didn’t cut his ration either) is because he just got a new prescription for Chantix. He tried this last summer and it seemed to work, but he had to come off of it because of a doctor’s appointment. Unfortunately it also put him to sleep, so we agreed that he’d wait until after our trip to start the regimen again.  Since it looks like the end may finally be in sight, I’m able to lighten up about his habit. To some extent.

There is still a deadline he has to meet. I decided a long, long time ago that no matter what I was going to get married on Leap Day (Feb 29th). In 2016, that date will mark about 2 1/4 years of dating, which I think is an ideal amount. But I will not marry him if he’s still smoking. I’ll wait for 2020. I’d like him to quit smoking in time for him to have 2 months cigarette free before he proposes and still give us a couple months of just being engaged. So we shall see…

What prompted this post is that when I handed my boyfriend his ration for today, it was what was left of the pack that he’d left me 5 days ago unopened. His comment upon seeing this pack that I’d opened was “You really don’t know how to open a pack of cigarettes”. I asked him if this was a bad thing and he said “Nope!”.

***GIVEAWAY*** Snow Angels (4 short stories)

“Snow Angels”: Meh–not awful. It’s a traditional Christmas themed romance my mother would buy. (3 stars)

“The Presents of Angels”: A bit too religious for my taste, but the scene between Andy and Josh more than makes up for having to skip a few paragraphs. (4 stars)

“Decorations”: Cute, but not very good as a short story. There’s a distinct lack in the emotions expressed, but I’m willing to blame this entirely on trying to cram a year into 100 pages. There could have been a lot more tension in which guy she’d ultimately choose. (3.5 stars)

“Miracle on Main Street”: I didn’t get past the second chapter. I don’t like the fact that it’s written in present tense, but this is just me. This story hits too close to home for me with parents who think 10 crappy gifts are somehow better than 1 decent one (even if you only have $10 to spend). I just want to smack the wife. But if you happen to like sappy Christmas stories where the evils of commercialism are “magically” revealed by a flood of Angelic light on some unknown (since I didn’t finish the story) entity, this story would be right up your alley. (Unrated for obvious reasons: I’m biased).

If you want to read these stories for yourself, sent an email to flusche.catherine@gmail.com with your address and I’ll send a copy to you FREE. Checkout the Giveaways page for other books I have available. Sorry, only one book per person, first come first served.

CHRISTMAS MAGNET
CHRISTMAS MAGNET by PerGis_NOSaints
Check out Xmas Magnets online at zazzle