Thursday, 30 June 2011

With love from sender

I'm from mid-west US.  Pete is from Auckland, NZ.  We live in London, UK.
How do you maintain your relationship with family when its divided between three countries? *

Do you…
a)      Make regular Skype dates and yell at each other while staring at a jumpy picture of your loved ones and the occasional confused cat.
b)      Answer the phone despite it ringing at the most inconvenient times (I mean they have uncanny timing) and let dinner (or partner) go cold because it’s the least you can do since you decided to live halfway around the world.
c)       Dutifully read every piece of news lovingly clipped and sent every few weeks, sometimes with photos, and realize that the clippings are doing the exact opposite of what the grannies/aunties/mums intended.  Instead of enticing you ‘back home’ you realize you have no idea what is going on ‘back home’ and aren’t entirely sure you can go back.  
d)      Regularly do battle with Royal Mail/Parcel Force in order to track down and receive the packages sent by family every month (and vice versa).  Packages which regularly go ‘missing’ or arrive broken to such a degree that they obviously were involved in an impromptu cricket and/or rugby match between RM and PF carriers.  Then gamely attempt to find room for all those coffeetable books (you don’t have a coffeetable), blankets, pillows, framed photos, lamps, flatware, etc…that do make it through unscathed.
e)      All of the above.

*I am stretching the truth here a bit for entertainment purposes.  We love that our families are thinking of us.  We know you love us and miss us.  Rest assured that we are thinking of you just as frequently and love you just as much.  However, we live in a very small rental flat with no storage.  Save yourself the postage.  The amount you are dropping on sending packages and/or newspaper clippings half-way around the world every month could pay for a plane ticket and you could tell us in person.  Seriously.  

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

The Fun Stuff

And in contrast to yesterday's soul-searching, some fun stuff.  Putting together outfits is my new favourite hobby.  Here are two.

Jacket: Circle of Trust, Shirt: emma nissim,
Skirt: Anthropologie, Shoes: TK Maxx
This was a party outfit.  Actually it was a birthday party for one half of the emma nissim venture.  This T-shirt is the first item I bought from them.  They have a gorgeous little shop in Greenwich Market decorated with Victorian antiques.  They use steamer trunks to store their stocks of hand printed shirts, dresses, baby clothes, scarves, ties....  Everything is green fabric and this particular pattern of elephants helps the shop adopt an elephant in Thailand.  They also have a sea turtle design that supports a turtle in Barbados.  Their iconic designs are based on Cockney Rhyming Slang.  If you visit them at the Market, be sure to say 'Hi' to Alfie.  The Golden Lab (and their first animal model) is always lounging in the shop somewhere.  Now that I am attending their birthday parties, guess how much I have dropped since that first tee?

Jacket: Peter Werth Men's Jacket,
Shirt: a shop in Beyoglu, Istanbul
Jeans: GAP men's, Shoes: TK Maxx

This was a running errands/meetings outfit.  Nothing special, but that doesn't mean it can't still be stylish, right? That's assuming it is stylish. 

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Mind Fit

Since my last Tuesday Fit-Day post, I have shifted between being five and eight pounds away from my goal weight.  That was over a month ago.  I still have yet to find an occasion for that suit. 
However, I want to move this thread toward Mental Fitness.  I’m feeling pretty comfortable with my physical fitness levels and body shape.  I run 5Ks two-three times a week and almost always take the stairs and I can regularly go shopping without breaking down in tears, which is not as great a thing when you have no income.  I have been sliding a bit in terms of making healthy food choices, but I’m reigning it in.  Lately, I am more concerned with my mental self-care.  It sounds like terminology.  It is. As regular readers may be aware, I am currently battling my third bout of depression in a little over 10 years.  I am trying a new type of therapy this time around and it feels like a good fit.  This time around it is about trying to change behaviours and allow for self-care with the goal of learning how to stay mentally fit in the long term and avoid back slides. 
A big part of this exercise for me is to work toward seeing who I am now and not who I used to be or thought I would be or wanted to be, etc.  This brings me to another change.  The Ariel and Sadie theme was a product of this thought process.  It was a way to stand back and take stock of how I have grown as a person in the last 10 years or so.  When it began, I was of the mind that I had lost myself because the Ariel I thought I remembered and the Sadie I had become seemed completely different people.  And, let’s be honest, in some areas that is a completely true statement. 
The Ariel I was channelling was a combination of late High School/late University persona.  That’s problematic to start.  That Ariel had yet to experience the world outside of her little bubbles, and while her bravado and idealism is commendable, it makes me cringe to think of the way I carried myself then.  However, that Ariel also dreamed big and without really trying, or noticing, Sadie accomplished some of those big dreams; living abroad, travelling the world, finding a life (and travelling) partner, earning a PhD…
Ariel and Sadie will no longer be about lamenting a lost future.  By definition, can a future really be lost?  In a lot of ways this last year has been a bit difficult for me, but it has also been equally illuminating and awesome.  (By the way, I tend to mark my passing years by the academic calendar which happens to correspond with our anniversary.)  Pete is now officially my life and travelling partner and I finished that effing PhD.  Not too shabby for one year. 
So Ariel and Sadie will become a conversation about how awesome my life is turning out.  Hopefully its a fun one filled with pretty drinks and dresses and maybe even a job at some point.

Monday, 27 June 2011


The beautiful weekend is done and gone.  We enjoyed it thoroughly.  This morning I feel like I was out way past my bedtime and have the nagging feeling that I might have done something that was caught on film and will forever mar my chances of taking a public office. 
I didn’t.
What actually happened is that we experienced the first proper summer night of the season.  And while it was lovely to not have to cart that extra layer around (though I still did, and some other things besides.  Or I should say Pete did.  Sorry, baby.) it is not lovely for sleeping.  It was a very still night and all the windows were open, but there was no movement.  This might have been rectified by opening the blinds a bit, but as I have described earlier, our neighbours’ windows and back patio have a direct view of our bedroom and marital bed.  However, I would have been more than willing to allow viewing of our sleeping patterns if it would have brought a breeze without bugs.  It would not.  Because, like the rest of Europe and the world, as far as I can tell, for some unknown reason Britain does not do screens.  It’s not like they don’t have flying bugs and mosquitoes.  They do.  They just seem happy to let them cohabitate.
I am not happy to do so. 
I open our windows and back patio doors pretty much every day in the spring and summer when there is no rain (so about 10 days.  I kid.  12.) and within moments there are at least three very large, very lazy, flies bouncing their way through the flat off of every window and mirror they can find.  Of course, they never find their way back out again without strong direction from some rolled-up paper good.  They can't identify the gaping open air of the ajar door, but they can thread the needle of the barely open blinds like maneuverability pros.  Most days I strongly will myself to ignore them, or at the very least turn up the TV/music to a level that drowns out, what I can only believe are suicide attempts.  However, on my baking days, which are steadily increasing with my prolonged unemployment much to the distress of my newly svelte waistline (and the waistlines of my neighbours, friends, local shop owners, random strangers), the flies drive me to the brink of committing insectal genocide.  If they were smart, they would stay away.  Do they not see the scores of empty snail shells littering the back patio?  We have already started down the path of evil, it will not take much more to tip me over the edge!! (I should note that I did shed some tears over the snail incident.  I didn’t realize we had so many and watching them turn into florescent green bubbles is quite horrifying.  If they just stayed away from my basil these steps need not be taken.)
But nothing is worse than the incessant buzzing of a bouncing fly on a sticky, sleepless, restless summer night.  I find that they love to take breaks from bouncing off the wall by dive-bombing my ear.  Or maybe it’s a game.  They hover above the bed and play ‘How close can you get to the ear of the semi-sleeping giant before she sits bolt upright in bed arms flailing and yelling obscenities much to the distress of her slumbering husband who can sleep in any condition despite his arguments to the contrary.’ 
If that’s the case, the three (thousand?) from last night had a rip-roaring time. 
Now I think on it, considering the potential viewing audience outside our bedroom window (and my summer sleeping state of undress), my feeling of dread over in-criminating/decent video may be well founded. 

Friday, 24 June 2011


Welcome to ‘The Chronicles of a Reluctant Housewife’ where I document my love/hate relationship with my current occupation.

Today marks the first Year of the Housewife ala Sadie. 
So far today I have done three loads of laundry and baked the second layer of our anniversary cake and done some light cleaning. 
It’s been a long year.  I’ve learned a lot about myself and marriage. 
But for now, I think I will keep those lessons to myself. 
Over-sharing will re-commence on Monday.  We are promised a beautiful weekend full of sun and humidity and I plan on relishing every second.  Sundresses at the ready!!!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Morning Fantasies

There is a moment in the morning where all is right with the world.  Pete is in the process of rolling out of bed and the sun is brightening the room despite the blinds.  I can stretch out into my preferred diagonal position and relish having the whole bed to myself for these moments.  The neighbourhood is waking around me.  The birds singing in the garden in the back, water gurgling down the pipes from upstairs and next door’s showers, the boiler exhausting into the side return outside our bedroom window, and then it starts.  Voices erupt from the next door’s kitchen (just below our bedroom window).  I mean, it is just toast.  Does it warrant actual screaming and swearing and ganging-up? Could we not have a morning without broadcasting your dysfunction to your bed-lounging neighbours?
Every. Single. Morning.
I try not to get too annoyed by these daily morning disputes spilling into my auditory space, as I assume that our family (when we get around to adding to it) will also be a loud family, but I would hope that we could manage to get out of the house most mornings without a full-on screaming match. 

I’m dreaming aren’t I?  Don’t tell me.  Let me enjoy the fantasy. 

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Sadie's Kitchen

I'm hungry today.  I want to eat every meal on our list this week all at once.  Instead, I am posting some photos of dishes that seemed to warrant a photo at the time.  It's a safe bet I wasn't as ravenous as right now.  Because right now, the idea of taking photos of the plate before diving in (in fact, who needs a plate? I have been known to eat directly out of the pot, although I usually managed to get the pot to the couch.) seems like a huge waste of time. 

But here you go, recipes to follow the next time I decide to add them to the meal list.  Most of these I make frequently, but I still pull the recipe out each time, even if I never look at it.  That way, if something goes wrong, I can blame it on the oven or the stove because obviously it wasn't me, I was *following* the recipe.  No operator's error here.

This first one is a staple soup for the rainy/cold months (so every week).  In the winter we enjoy at least one soup a week in lieu of big comfort food dishes.  They prove just as comforting but keep the winter insulation layer to a minimum.

Carrot, Red Pepper and Cumin Soup

Counter to that, in the warmer months we make big salad dishes twice a week.  This one is a bit of an ongoing experiment.  The first time I fried the chorizo to within an inch of their 'lives' to accidentally create a new kind of crouton.  Still good.  Is chorizo ever not good?  It's like bacon. 

Chorizo and Roast Veggie Salad

In more chorizo adventures, this is the dish we take to all BBQ/Picnic to which we are invited.  This summer (i.e. those two weekends in April that made us all believe we may actually get a summer this year.  Silly us.) we made this three times in two weekends.  Love it!!!!

Chorizo Potato Salad

This next one is also a staple.  It's different everytime, but always good.  This was the first time we added beansprouts (they were hanging around the fridge threatening to go slimy).  Pete usually handles this meal.  I do the cabbage underneath, but Pete mixes the sauce depending how he is feeling that day (the secret is in the sauce).

Soy Chicken on a bed of Savoy Cabbage

I haven't made this next one in a while, but it always surprises me.  It is a simple recipe, if I am remembering correctly, but the flavours are awesome.  Of course, fresh dill is mandatory, no exceptions. 

Courgette and Prawn Pasta

I am in no way a chef/foodie, but I think these attempts put my single-gal one-pot boiling cooking to shame.  Still eating on the couch, though.  Baby steps.  Baby steps to the kitchen table. (Anyone else have a flash to 'What about Bob?' there?)  Funnily enough, it would only take a baby step to reach the kitchen table, but we still prefer to carry dinner up eight steps to the couch.  A mindful attempt to insert exercise into our daily lives or an addiction to 'Friends' repeats? 

Maybe we just focus on the food here?  Agreed?

With that, I am heading to the kitchen to rustle up another chorizo dish.  We may have two addictions to deal with...

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Longest Day

I know you have been dying to know what I have been getting up to, but I have to say it hasn't been much.  It's a busy week here at the TWE house (which means it's probably the level of semi-busy for everyone else).  We are in full-time throes of visa extension paper collection.  I know.  It's so glamorous.  You're jealous, it's okay.  Today I am scanning a year's worth of bank statements from three different bank accounts.  Can you stand it? 

With all this paper-based fun we did manage to squeeze in some actual paper-based fun.  We went to Royal Ascot this past weekend with some lovely friends as a joint anniversary/birthday celebration.  We got a tad soaked on arrival, but the sun came out and the day went swimmingly.  We were in shoe-throwing distance of the Queen (although we would never think of actually throwing a shoe at her majesty) and Pete won on a semi-longshot horse, meaning we came out slightly ahead.  Plus, there were hats to be worn. 

Her Majesty the Queen
Pete's horse winning, which he missed.  He was standing in line somewhere.

Sadly, this next photo is the best we got of my full ensemble.  As you can see, it was at the end of the day and we were getting a little sloppy.  Nothing too embarrassing, just partaking in the tradition of going from classy to trashy when betting and alcohol are involved. 

That's classy!
There were no Eliza Doolittle moments to be had, sadly.  We couldn't swing an invite to the Royal Enclosure and I was never really clear about how my horse was doing in the course of the race.  I shouted general encouragement which was lost admist the roar of the Grandstand. 

That should hold you for a few days, yes? 

You want more? 

my DNA source

Thirty years ago today, on the longest day of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere), my parents got married with flowers in their hair.  (I would show you a wedding photo, but they were Polaroids and might be lost in a box somewhere. Hippy days in San Fran will have to do.)

Happy Anniversary, you crazy kids!!! 

Friday, 17 June 2011


It's Friday! Welcome to ‘The Chronicles of a Reluctant Housewife’ where I document my love/hate relationship with my current occupation.

I’m watching Desperate Housewives of Orange County.  I don't know why.  It's a car wreck.  If you are ever feeling bad or uncomfortable in your life and marriage, watch this.  It is guaranteed to make you feel better about yourself.  That’s not to say that I am feeling bad or uncomfortable, the complete opposite actually, but there it is.  I am also currently battling a migraine (TV and computer screen are probably not the best weapons) and the meaningless buzz in the background keeps me from thinking about the pain behind my eyes. 
I wasn’t feeling this post today.  The headache was getting too much and nothing was really flowing.  I decided to pack it in and take a shower and start on my to-do list for the day.  As it turns out, I ended up taking a very long steamy shower and was still sweating 10 minutes later.  I had applied some of that gradual tan lotion and was waiting for it to dry before pulling on my outfit for the day, which means that I was walking around the house in my undies.  (No, you won’t be getting a photo of that.  What kind of girl do you take me for?)  In a rare move, I was wearing a matching set and caught my reflection.  I have to admit, I wasn’t horrified.  Here’s what happened next…
I finished doing my hair and started in on make-up, deciding to try out a more dramatic look for tomorrow’s races.  So there I was in my matching undies, hair and make-up looking pretty good and some house cleaning to do.  I also wanted to clean my ring and the best way of doing that is to clean the bathroom.  I’m serious.  The ‘grime and lime’ formula makes Betty shine.  If you know me, you know what happened next. 
I put on Madonna’s greatest hits and started cleaning and dancing…in my undies.  I might be a Desperate Housewife afterall.

Royal Ascot this weekend.  Hats!  Yeah!! 

Thursday, 16 June 2011


I have been putting off writing because this will be my 100 post.  That seemed momentous and so I wanted the post to be momentous as well.  But let’s be honest.  It’s just a number.  Just like my weight, which has stayed the same for the last five weeks, is just a number.  I have a tendency to want things to align in some meaningful way.  But let’s be honest, it’s better when things align on their own than when you force them.  So I’m giving in and writing and it may or may not be a good post. 
Today I had an interview.  I haven’t had an interview for about seven years.  I was nervous to say the least.  I picked out my outfit on Monday.  I watched the forecast all week.  Monday through Wednesday was gorgeous.  This morning it was pissing it down.  Great.
I got dressed, did my hair and makeup.  As an aside, I realize that getting up and doing my hair and make-up everyday is actually practice for when I actually have to look presentable.  It takes the stress out of it when it counts.  Amazing, right? I go on.  I kept my tidy cardigan in my purse (so I wouldn’t sweat under my rain mac) and wore big clogs (to keep myself out of the water), my cute heels in a bag.  I had my rain hat and umbrella.  I was fully prepared.  I had planned enough time (triple the travel time) to get to there and make a stop in the restroom to change.  Here’s what actually happened.
 Public transport was working slow, due to rain.  Because, you know, rain in London is a rarity and they haven’t quite figured out how to deal with it yet.  So by the time I got to the interview building I only had about 10 minutes before the interview was about to start.  There was no one at the reception desk and no signs.  The only direction I had received from the interviewers was to report to so-and-so in room ___.  So I decided to head up to the room.  A nice woman noticed I was looking a bit lost and pointed me the way.  But when I stepped off the elevator I found myself stuck between two security doors.  Hmmm.  The only phone number I had was a general HR number.  I had no other option.  I called and said I was stuck.  They said they would send someone to fetch me.  Then they asked me the colour of the walls.  What??!! 
It was getting really late now.  I still had to change my shoes and put on my cardigan and check the hair and make-up after the rain-soaked journey.  So I decided to change in the hall between the security doors.  The shoes were very clunky and I was wearing bright white socks with them.  Not the first impression I was going for.  As I was pulling on the cardigan, my coat and bags in a pile around my feet, a lovely secretary came to my rescue. 
From there, things went fairly smoothly.  The interview was okay.  It was all very proper and official for a one-day-a-week-for-seven-months job.  A three person panel, at the end of a long room.  One woman was very warm and engaging, a man that had a very straight face, although did smile a few times, and another woman that didn’t say much and was a bit fidgety and distracted.  Either I wasn’t engaging or she way dying for the loo.  She did rush out behind me, so maybe it was the loo.
As I was heading out, the next candidate was waiting in a three-piece suit.  A bit of an over-kill I thought, but then maybe I under-killed it.  Time will tell.  By the way, by the time I got home (30 minutes later) it had stopped raining and the sun was out.  Nice timing.
I came home and attempted a cheesecake, baked in water.  But that’s another story. 
So not momentous, but fairly typical. 

Friday, 10 June 2011

Shop Well

It’s Friday!!   Welcome to ‘The Chronicles of a Reluctant Housewife’ where I document my love/hate relationship with my current occupation.

And…Scene. *movie clapper*  Demon day ended much as it began.  Unexpectedly.  I finally dragged myself off the couch and went for a run (mostly because I have a dress to fit into for Ascot next week and it might be a stretch) and then everything that comes after the run (stretching, showering, etc) which led to more activity and by the time Pete came home I was feeling slightly better and really looking forward to our Turkey Tacos (we have gotten almost too healthy over here) followed by the last big slice of ginger cake with vanilla thick cream. 
As with last week.  I don’t feel like I have much Housewifey stuff to talk about today.  At the book club last week we discussed this term, ‘housewife’ a bit.  Why do I feel like a housewife now when I am pretty much doing everything I did when I was a student?  I guess the answer is, before, the housewife stuff (chores, food, etc.) was a side venture to my studies, now it is my only focus beyond job searching and putting off writing.  And I guess I prefer the housewife title to the job-seeker title.  Maybe if I was a competent sewer or hobbyist of some sort, the housewife stuff would again be a side venture but, I don’t really have any hobbies.  It was one of my resolutions for this year to find a hobby I really enjoyed.  Six months down and I’m not quite there yet.  Still searching. 
But I do have to say that since taking on the Housewife title I have enjoyed cooking more and more.  I still detest creating the meal plan for the week but I do enjoy the actual cooking.  I am trying out new recipes each week and have started making notes for the next time.  I know this doesn’t sound like a big deal, but this is coming from the girl that thought throwing some canned tuna and frozen peas into Kraft Mac n Cheese was gourmet. 
In light of this budding hobby I am going to let you in on my meal strategy.  I know you didn’t ask, but I’m putting it out there.  Here is why I call it a strategy.  A fridge that is full but cannot offer up a meal is a huge annoyance to me.  Before I learned to cook, I didn’t notice this phenomenon, but now it drives me a bit looney.  Actually, now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure my single-hood fridge was a victim but since I considered a bowl of instant rice or popcorn a suitable dinner, I didn’t notice.  If your fridge suffers from this disease, here is the cure. 
Move into a flatshare where you get two shelves in the fridge, one shelf in the freezer and one cupboard to store all your food.  I’m completely serious.  Okay, if you don’t want to sell your home and move into a flatshare, downsize your fridge or, at the very least, declare particular DFZ (de-foodized zones) shelves in the fridge and cupboards.  Here’s why.  When you have limited space you really have to pay attention and plan ahead in order for you not to waste food or money. 
Sit down with your partner or family and think about what is coming up in the week.  If that isn't possible, sit down with yourself and a nice cup of tea or coffee or whatever.  How many meals need to be provided from your kitchen?  Do you have dinner dates or potlucks or whatever?  Do you make breakfast and lunch everyday or do you purchase?  Do you need left-overs for lunches? You get the picture.
Now, decide what those meals will be.  I know this sound Herculean if you have a bunch of people to satisfy, but it is possible.  We do this a few ways.  We have a running list of meals we have a hankering for, or really love, or want to try out.  This has been built up over the past five years.  When we started planning meals we did the same three every week; ‘spag bol,’ sweet ‘n’ sour chicken from a jar over instant rice, lasagna and then some take-away.   We have progressed a bit since then.  When planning the meals, don’t worry about figuring out which meal will happen when, just know that you need to come up with 6 dinners, 7 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 1 potluck, etc.  You may also take a look in your fridge and freezer and cupboards and see if there is something that needs to be used.  It may also help to make sure you have quick meals as well as time-consuming meals.  So those nights when you just can’t be asked, you know there is a fast meal waiting.
For example, this is what we had down for this week (pay no attention to the effort required, I obviously have more time on my hands than some).
Chicken Pad Thai
Chorizo & butternut salad
Egg, spinach & pepper bake
Carrot & bean soup with leek & feta toast
Turkey taco kit
Pork chop, butternut & tenderstem broccoli
Prawn stirfry (precut veggies and sauce packet)

Pete buys his breakfast and lunch during the week.  I have porridge and blueberries every morning and left overs for lunch or a salad with tuna.  This week I left out the dessert, but we still had half the ginger cake from last week.

Next, figure out what you need to make these meals happen.  What ingredients do you already have?  What do you need to get?  Make a list of what you need to complete these meals. 

That’s it.  Your food shopping list is done and you know that everything you buy is going to be used by the end of the week.  Every time you open the fridge you know that there is a meal that can be made.  It takes the guess work (and so some of the stress) out of meal prep.  Yes? But here's the thing, you still have to go to the store and purchase it all.  With list in hand and meals planned out, I find we don't wander aimlessly up and down the aisles just buying random stuff that looks good.  We also always go together.  I know this isn't possible for everyone, but we go together and we have a system while we are there that we have honed so that we are normally done with groceries (door to door, and we walk there and back) in an hour.  Pete heads straight for the fruit, I gather up the veggies.  We head to the meat which Pete picks out while I move through dairy.  We meet up in the grains, discuss and move off again.  We usually end up in paper goods, take one last look on the list and then Pete heads to a check out line while I run for whatever we forgot.  In line, I pack (four bags at most since we are walking the stuff home), he pays and we are off.
So there it is.  That’s our strategy.  If all goes well, we have a fairly empty fridge by the time we go to the grocery each week and have enjoyed some nice meals with minimal stress. 

Go forth!  Plan, cook, enjoy.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Demon jeans

It’s another demon week, people.  Look out!! 
I can predict them now.  They curiously correspond to the those little white and green pills I take every morning to ensure we remain you and me and not ‘us three.’  But it also seems to correspond to recruitment cycles, although that could totally be in my head.  It seems that potential job listings come out en masse, I spend two weeks working on numerous versions of CVs and cover letters and then two-three weeks later when I haven’t heard anything, I am told to assume my application has not been successful.  This two-three week window always seems to fall during my demon week.  Makes it really hard to feel that it’s necessary for me to get out of bed. 
I’m going to say something horrible here, but I am seriously considering ticking the disabled box (depression is a disability, right?) as all these places guarantee an interview if you tick this box and you meet all necessary and desirable criteria.  For the last four out of five jobs, I have more than met all the necessary and desirable criteria and have not been granted an interview.  How is this fair??!!  I understand the need for the disability act and I support it, but right now, I am finding it incredibly unfair.  I know an interview doesn’t guarantee a job, but at least it is one step closer to feeling like you’re getting somewhere.  That being said, I’m pretty confident I am going to blow my first few interviews since I haven’t had one in about seven years.  But let’s burn that bridge when I come to it.
But that’s not what I was going to write about today.  I was going to go off on a rant about jeans.  On Friday, I felt confident enough to go jeans shopping.  Two hours later I was a sweaty mess and still no jeans.  I tried on every style (curvy, long & lean, straight, boot cut, mini boot cut, skinny (which really was ridiculous in the first place, but I wanted to be thorough) at the GAP, which is my usual go-to shop for jeans, and nothing.  First, all jeans are now this bizarre stretch material that has no resemblance to denim beyond the blue colour.  I don’t know who made the decision that every woman wants stretch jeans, but I am not on board.  Second, anything that fit my caboose could also serve as a rain catcher it gapes so much.  I also don’t know who decided that if you have an a** and thighs you also have a large belly.  I then went to Levi’s to try out their new ‘Curveid’ guaranteed to find jeans to fit any shape.  Except mine.  I went through all the motions of specialized measurements, ratio of waist to hip, etc. and nothing.  When we found something to theoretically fit my waist and not have my a** hang out I couldn’t get them over my massive calves.  Then we found something to fit over my calves, but my a** was swimming in them.  Seriously, the sales girl was baffled by my shape.  She claimed to never have not been able to find a size to fit anyone.  Well, lucky me. 
Perhaps jeans shopping on the eve of my demon week was not the best idea.  Now there is really no reason to get out of bed.  The weather has gone cold and windy again, and since I am not wearing jeans ever again, I'll just stay here under the duvet and wait for those phone calls that aren't coming my way. 

Friday, 3 June 2011

Pseudo marriage science

It’s Friday!!   Welcome to ‘The Chronicles of a Reluctant Housewife’ where I document my love/hate relationship with my current occupation.

I don’t really have much to say about house-wifing today.  I have been going about my routine (although it may not look like it around here, like I said, I’m not great at the housekeeping) with no great shakes or mishaps.  Although I did accidently create chorizo croutons the other night, which was a bummer since the chorizo was the starring feature in the meal, but there it is.  Feel free to steal that one for your next salad, just give credit where credit is due. 
I have been trying to finish this book for a wedding/marriage centric book club.  I’m not going to give you the title because the book is pissing me off, but it’s about the ‘science’ of a good marriage.  It is basically a collection of dubiously analysed (by the author) scientific studies about love and marriage and how to spot if your marriage is doomed.  So far it hasn’t given any advice if, after doing the numerous Cosmo-type quizzes, you find that your marriage is doomed.  I’m currently on the chapter that tells you to expect your marriage to be unsatisfying when you decide to have children.  Don’t fight it, just go with it and know that it will get better when they go off to college at 18.  That’s assuming, of course, that they will go to college and/or move out at 18.  In fact that is a big issue with the book.  It is very American, middle-class , college-educated–centric.  It assumes everyone reading it is of the same background (which actually might be an accurate assumption when thinking about who is more likely to have the time and interest to read a book about marriage).  I haven’t yet read anything about marriage that I hadn’t already learned through a year’s experience (and four years living together prior to the wedding) or our pre-cana exercises.  I wasn’t expecting any brilliant insights, but I also wasn’t expecting statements like; “Wives don’t like sex, husbands don’t like housework, therefore if husbands helped out with housework they would get more sex.” Or “If you want to find your ideal mate, go off birth control pills because they interfere with your ability to sniff out the correct pheromones and you may end up with someone less than ideal (in evolutionary terms). 


I don’t know if I can continue on.  Although I was interested to see if it gets any better.  It hasn’t yet.  But, on a more positive note, it has made me think about our little marriage (almost a year old now) and I think we are doing fine and will be fine into the future, although according to the book we may have a shaky road for the following reasons; a) we didn’t ‘date’ b) I was on birth control the whole time c) we moved in together following a very long distance relationship d) we are of differing educational levels e) we are of different cultural backgrounds and f) we expect affection and some level of equality (which will inevitably lead to disappointment). 
I call bullsh*t.
I also think I am going to stop reading these books and analysing our baby marriage.  I mean it hasn’t even been a year yet.  We are best friends, we are very aware of the hurdles ahead, we are different in a way that it awesome (like peanut butter and chocolate) and more importantly, we took vows that we take very seriously.  This may be a wildly-optimistic statement, but if we can weather international moves, advanced degrees, unemployment, visa applications, (not to mention that crazy four week international wedding whirlwind) etc. basically without a support system other than ourselves (OK parents, calm yourselves, we know you support us from afar), I think we can handle quite a lot. 
That being said, I’m still heading to the book club meeting tomorrow.  We’re wearing fascinators!!!  I will do almost anything to wear a fascinator.  Plus there will be wine and cakes.  Need I say more?

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Hello Sunshine!

I had somewhere to be this morning (shocker, I know) so I was up and dressing relatively early.  I had an idea in mind for an outfit, but when I tried on the skirt, it was way too big, as was the next one.  (So another trip to the tailor is necessary.)  Then I grabbed a new skirt to try out and it immediately created a fun outfit that I was excited to wear.  This doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it is great.  When you get it right and the weather is working and the outfit is ‘appropriate’ for the day’s activities and it’s comfortable, it makes the day that much easier to take on.  I walked out the door, the sun was shining and the wind more breezy than gusty.  I picked up a banana at the offie (shared a familiar smile with the owner) and waved down the bus, and even managed a ‘cute’ little run and possible hair flick.  It was almost like a movie montage when the plucky heroine is heading out into the world to take on a new job or outlook.  Then, on the bus, Dave Matthews came up in the shuffle on the iphone.  Judge me if you will, but I do love me some Dave.  I caused me to smile and I realize that I have stopped listening to Dave for some reason.  I’ve stopped listening to a lot of music I really loved.  A lot of it is from my University days and it makes me remember when I thought I could take on the world.  I was a little too cocky back then, but a little of that cockiness tempered with age and experience might do me some good.
I was working on yet another application yesterday and I noticed something about my CVs.  I rework it slightly with each go around and yesterday I looked back over the numerous versions.  I noticed that they have slowly started to actually reflect who I am, as opposed to who I think HR want.  My ‘personal statements’ have gone from very professional concise statements with lots of buzz words to a much more honest blurb about who I am and what I have to offer (I mean, I used the word ‘flair’ in my last one.  Am I a TGI Friday’s waitress?).  I have also started to add back in all my jobs (like waitressing) and am currently working on a ‘other interests and activities’ section.  I don’t know if it is strategically prudent, but I started to feel like leaving out all my jobs and experience based on what I thought an HR person might be looking for was being unfair to myself.  All of these experiences make up the person I am and the ‘skills’ I can bring to the table.  It felt like I was ashamed.  The same thing with the cover letters.  They have gone from matching ‘duty specs’ to my own skills to concentrating more on my interest and enthusiasm for the job as well as my suitability on paper.  Again, I don’t know if this is good idea strategically, but there it is.  I am going with a reckless (some-what) abandon strategy. I’m mean, at this point, what do I have to lose?
On the subject of denying parts of myself, I have a confession to make.  I have been denying parts of myself here as well.  I have been reluctant to post photos or write about topics that might seem frivolous, or that I don’t have a lot to say about, but I think I am going to go for it.  And so, in the spirit of putting more of myself out there, I have added a photo of myself on the sidebar and also added some contact info on the ‘About’ page (just in case).  And today, in honour of the feel good outfit (that I have since changed out of because I felt it was going to waste while I sat here writing and working on applications) I am sharing it with you.  (please excuse the questionable quality)

Behold, the fun and flirty

So go, put on a fun outfit, listen to some ‘Dave’ (or your equivalent) and be a little cocky.  Let’s see where it takes us.