Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013: A Good Year

Someone said this on Twitter the other day, that everyone seems to have had a shitty 2013, but hers was not all that bad. Mine wasn't either! Now we are waiting for the inevitable bad shit to happen. Let's hope 2014 doesn't bring me one of those years. I haven't done a yearly wrap up before, but 2013 was a big year, so let's start now!

Warning: Lots of wedding and pregnancy talk ahead. It was what dominated my year, sorry! 

What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
  • I got married.
  • I went on a honeymoon.
  • I got in a shark cage under water.
  • I got pregnant.
  • I was told to gain weight. (That has TOTALLY never happened before!)
Lightning the candle while the harpist played "Can't Help Falling in Love"

In Hawaii

Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't make a resolution last year, but I usually don't anyway. This year, I'd like to work on eating out less, therefore saving money. Money that will then be spent on a baby. I'd also like to work on making/maintaining less clutter in my house. If I can just keep flat surfaces semi-clear, I think that will be a big step.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
My cousin had a baby in January and some lovely Internet Ladies had babies. 


Did anyone close to you die?
Lots of people died that I know, or know of, but nobody super close to me. That's what happens when you work at the funeral home in your home town. I "know" a lot of the people that die, or I know the family. The only funeral I attended as a guest and not an employee, though, was for my mom's cousin.


What countries did you visit?
I didn't visit any foreign countries in 2013. The longest distance traveled was to Hawaii for our honeymoon. I haven't traveled outside the U.S. since 2005. I think my passport expired and I need to change my name on it anyway.

What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
I would like to have a baby in 2014, and if all goes according to plan, I will. There wasn't much I felt was lacking in 2013.


What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
February dates of PJs at TJs because it was just so much more fun this year than last year, ONLY because I was so scared the first year. I had never met anyone from the internet and this year was so much more relaxed (me) and I felt like I already knew most of the people. I was much more comfortable. I can't wait until February when I will meet even more fabulous ladies and I can only assume my third trip will be even better.
May 31 was the day Steve and I got married (even though it says May 30 on our marriage license; that's what you get for having an elderly minister marry you.)
October 8 was the day I got my positive pregnancy test.
November 1 we heard the baby's heartbeat.


What was your biggest achievement of the year?
See references to fetus above.
Tiny fetus waving.



What was your biggest failure?
 I didn't do a good job of paying off my credit cards. I don't even have a lot of debt on them, I just had this quasi-goal of paying them off before we got pregnant. I was SO close early in the year, but then the honeymoon and wedding expenses popped up and yeah, that didn't work. I have stuck to my plan for not using them, so that's helping.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Not much illness except a cold and the regular migraines that I've had every year since I was in elementary school. The first trimester of pregnancy had me feeling run down and queasy for a few months, but never horrible and only once did I vomit. So yay!


What was the best thing you bought?
Sure, I could say ultrasounds, wedding rings, or Hawaii plane tickets, but really: my new washer and dryer. I love them.


Whose behavior merited celebration?
Steve's. He has just embraced this married, father-to-be role. Not once when I have asked for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at 11pm has he told me no. He also kisses my belly every night (even if I have to remind him and say when you come kiss the baby bring me a snack) and he has just been so excited. When we were lying in bed on his birthday in October, he said "if you would have told me 15 years ago that on my 38th birthday, I'd be married, living in the suburbs, working in management, with a dog and a baby on the way, I would have laughed in your face. But I'm the happiest I've ever been." I mean, you guys. He's just the best. He totally had to make fun of me for crying at the first ultrasound because HE was about to get emotional.
He really is the best.


Scuba Steve!


Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
I could answer with the same answer for the last 8 years or so. My brother. He has chosen a path that has taken him away from his son and our family. We have given him every opportunity to get help for his addictions and actions, yet he chooses to act the way he does. It's easier to just not think about it because it will bum me out. The best thing he ever did was accidentally give me my nephew. I don't see him as much as I used to or I would like, but we have always had a special relationship. I will always be his Mimi. His new thing is texting me from his Kindle and it's hilarious.

My buddy



Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage, car payment, food, the usual boring adult stuff.


What did you get really excited about?
See above answers re: baby. Sorry, I warned you. Specifically, telling our families. This will be the first grandchild for Steve's parents and I just can't wait. When we told them, which was by giving his dad a birthday gift of "World's Greatest Grandpa" hat, his dad had to excuse himself because he was getting so emotional. I also got really excited about my wedding and finally making it official! We have been together forever, and man it is so nice to say he is my HUSBAND. I feel like such a grown up.


What song will always remind you of 2013?
Oh geez I don't know. I don't even listen to new music anymore.

Compared to this time last year, are you:
  • Happier or sadder? Happier. I wasn't sad last year, but I just have a lot more to look forward to this year.
  • Thinner or fatter? Thinner, but working on fattening up!
  • Richer or poorer? About the same. Trying to change what we spend our money on.
What do you wish you’d done more of?
Interacting with my Internet friends. I feel like I missed out on a lot this year but most of that is because there are a lot more restrictions on my internet action at work. Also, I am so much busier at work, so I don't have as much down time to chat. And Steve gets annoyed when I am on my phone a lot, so I try to be good when we are watching tv or hanging out at night and ignore my phone.

What do you wish you’d done less of?
Complaining and whining. I think Steve would be happier if I stopped doing that.

How did you spend Christmas?
On the 23rd, we went to my dad's house and had pizza and exchanged gifts. On Christmas Eve morning, I took my nephew to my mom's house and we had breakfast and exchanged gifts there. After relaxing for a bit, we all went to my cousin's house where we celebrated with my mom's side of the family. We had good food and fun times with all of the kids. Then we went home and Steve's parents and sister arrived at our house. They spent the night and we enjoyed a Christmas Day of hanging out in our sweatpants, cooking a good Christmas dinner, and exchanging gifts. It was a nice way to get in time with all parts of the family in a relaxing way.


Did you fall in love in 2013?
Not with anyone I didn't already love.


What was your favorite TV program?
I'm trying to remember what we watched this year. Masters of Sex, Orange is the New Black, Modern Family, and Big Bang Theory. Those are the shows we regularly watch together. 


Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Nope


What was the best book you read?
This year was a bad year in book reading. I just didn't do enough at all. I used to just motor through books at an alarming rate, but I had trouble even finding the time to read this year.


What was your greatest musical discovery?
Nerd Alert! The new Garth Brooks box set thingy has him singing Motown and classic rock songs. I kind of love it.


What did you want and get?
A lovely wedding where all of the guests had a great time; an enjoyable, relaxing honeymoon; and pregnant.


What did you want and not get?
Lottery winnings? I don't know.

What was your favorite film of this year?
I can't even tell you what movies I saw this year.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 28. Shit, I can't even remember what we did. I know Steve got me diamond earrings.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
 A cleaning crew that would just keep my house free of dog hair and clutter. One of these days, I will have a cleaning crew or lady. I WILL.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
For work: Black and white
For non work: jeans, canvas sneakers and striped shirts


What kept you sane?
My husband. He says I don't brag about him enough like he does me. But really, I should. I am so lucky that I have someone who likes to do what I do, who is content ordering a pizza and watching the Rockets game on the couch in our sweatpants. Rarely does he put up a fight for anything, unless it's yet ANOTHER social gathering he is obligated to attend for my huge family. Also, I have discovered the joy of hot baths.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I need to reevaluate my List. I haven't updated it. I greatly enjoy Zac Brown, though.


What political issue stirred you the most?
Nope.

Who did you miss?
I miss my sister. I don't get to see her as much as I'd like. I can talk to her about anything and I miss that. We go too long without talking, too. She is just so busy running a business and it's hard to get time off to go visit.
She's the hippo, I'm the caterpillar.



Who was the best new person you met?
I met my mom's boyfriend, finally! I'm going to say he is the best new one because he has been SO good for my mom. Yes, it was weird (very) to see my mom being all flirty with someone. She actually was MARRIED to this man for a very short time in the late 70s before I was even a glimmer in her eye. She has said he was the love of her life. (Let's ignore the fact that it is weird to hear your mom say that about someone who is not your father.) He has the means to spoil her and she so deserves that. He has gotten her to break out of her comfort zone, literally. She used to hang out in her robe and pjs at night and now he takes her out to dinner, they drink wine, he takes her for rides on his Harley, and she is just happier. It's so great to see that. His big coming out was at Christmas (I had only met him a few weeks prior) and it was great. Our extended family was happy to welcome him back to the family. She even has been spending more time hanging out with her sister and her husband, they double date and everything. It's so cute! He is planning on taking her to his house in Costa Rica for her 60th birthday in February and man if that's just not the best thing to hear. He also said we need to come vacation at his house, which ok, fine, I'll go to your beautiful home on the beach in Costa Rica, TWIST MY ARM.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
 This is something my mom always says and I have had to start embracing it. Your time is worth something! Basically, killing yourself mowing and edging your yard for four hours is crazy when you can pay someone $30 to do it and have it done in 20 minutes. I just need to embrace that mentality and hire someone to clean the house. Maybe once the baby is born we can do that

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Nope.



My hopes for 2014 are for a happy, healthy family and no drama and little stress. Surely that's not asking too much, right? I don't know if I'll get that lucky again, but I can hope. Happy New Year, friends!






Thursday, July 18, 2013

Wedding...

So, marriage. It's a trip huh? I have been married for almost two months. Man, it's great. Steve and I were together 5 1/2 years before we got married, and we always felt like a team. But now it's different. It's a comforting feeling to know that he's now in my corner for the rest of my life (that's the plan anyway) and it's now us against the world. It's just a different, more permanent feeling, and it's nice. I feel like a part of a special team. I don't know, weird, but in a good way.

The wedding was delightful, beautiful, just the best. Everything seemed to go off without a hitch and everyone was raving about how beautiful everything was, the food was great, it was a lot of fun, etc. My step-mom was in fine form as well. Apparently, when my mom and one of my bridesmaids was getting dressed, my step-mom was having her daughter (16 year old stepsister) taking photos of her in her RED dress. Now, yes, dress code rules have changed for weddings and black isn't a big deal, nor are things like red, whatever. Whenever I would ask her what her dress looked like, what color, she would tell me it was "coral." Hm, ok well that's fine. It was BRIGHT RED, with a slit practically up to her hip. It upset my mom just because it was disrespectful and she was acting that way. Also, she got so drunk she fell on the dance floor twice and had to be helped up by my cousin. I, luckily, didn't see any of this happening, so I didn't know until later. It has been too long to say something, and what would I say anyway? My coworkers and Steve's coworkers were talking ALL about her later on though. "Did you see the drunk lady in the red dress?? Who was that??" So that's good. Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of her, because I know you all want to see. I won't have all of the photos back for a couple more weeks. The photographer edits and does stuff to almost every picture, and I know they took a ton. That was really the only drama that I know of. My dad was mad that the bartender wouldn't serve my 22 year old brother, but he didn't have an ID with him, so tough shit. Should have brought his license.

PICTURES! That's what you all want to see, isn't it? Here are a few that I've stolen from people.
We're married!
Bridesmaids
Me and stepsister
Steve's groomsmen
Blurry first dance
Me and my flower girl, Alex
He was DONE with the pictures.

After we departed in a tunnel of sparklers, we took off for a hotel in Houston and sat in our robes eating cold green beans, potatoes and ham that the venue sent with us. It was glorious. We were STARVING. We got to sleep in and then headed back to Katy so we could pick up the dog and take her to my friend's house, where she was going to keep her the week we were on our honeymoon. We also had to go to my dad's house because he was hosting a graduation party for my little brother who just graduated from Texas Tech University. That was low key and relaxing, and we left as soon as it was socially acceptable.

The honeymoon was pretty low key. Basically, lots of eating (food was meh in Hawaii), sleeping, and Steve puking on the boats. Good times all around! Here are some fun photos..

At the luau


The best food we had and it came from a hut on Waikiki Beach
We went snorkeling down there, Hanauma Bay
Speaking of snorkeling.. (underwater cameras messed up, hence the lines)
Oh, we also went snorkeling with snarks. NO BIG.
Lookit my handsome husband.
He was really excited about the snorkeling.
Yeah alright it was beautiful too. 


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Hey Stranger!


Oh hello. It's been a while, no? I actually have a bit of a free evening. I am prone, in bed, and enjoying food Steve has served me in bed (chicken, pasta, and broccoli followed by a dessert course of a mini cup of chocolate ice cream and two Thin Mints.) I am warning you now, this should probably be broken down into multiple posts, but we all know how good at updating I am!

Work has been INSANE lately. Not only do I have newer responsibilities, I am still doing the work I always did in the past, and on top of that we are BUSY. What the hell, people? Stop dying for a bit and let me get a breather. I am now responsible for paying the funeral home bills as well as writing all of the checks for services (ministers, musicians, newspapers for obits) and I always have a bit of a panic when we get really busy. I am scared I'm going to get so caught up in my other, funeral-related work that I will forget to pay bills and we will get the power turned off and the gas cut. I will have a MOUND of paperwork on my desk that I am trying to weed through and my manager says "oh here Megan, more bills!" and HAHA OH MY GOD STOP. It's not cool. So! You know, a really long way to say I'm busy as shit at work.

Hey, did you hear? I'M GETTING MARRIED IN 54 DAYS. Holy crap. We have so! much! already done, but man, it still feels like we are behind on some stuff. Invitations have been sent out, we are getting responses in the mail daily. One shower is under my belt, with a party Steve's bosses are throwing us coming up on the 13th. They have been so nice to him and to us.

I have so much to talk about (still) so we're going to list form:
  • We still haven't met with the preacher who is marrying us. We have to meet with him 3 times and our schedules are just giving us a bunch of difficulties. Hopefully we can get together with him for the first time this week. Apparently there is a questionnaire we have to fill out. Steve is already looking for ways to cheat. 
  • I have my third dress fitting this week! I had to get it taken in quite a bit, then hemmed, and this one will be to check the hem and then do the bustle. Here, want to see me in it? Shhh! Don't tell Steve.
    I have a weird non smile on my face because I was trying not to move my head. My hair was being held in a half up do with one measly bobby pin and was threatening to fall down. I do have them making a lace jacket thingy just in case I want to wear it to give myself a little arm coverage. I am having a hard time accepting the loose skin/wobbly upper arms. I mean, sure, I'm glad I lost 185 pounds, but I wish that came with firm upper arms. 
  • I had a shower on the 23rd of March and it was lovely. If we are Facebook friends, you might have seen some of these pictures. Let me share!

My twin sister, Bevin, my mom, and me.

So in the above photo, let's just ignore my mother's weird eye. She had a facelift in February and is recovering.

I think we are starting to look more like twins as we get older.


I got some good stuff.

And more stuff..
and OMG where am I going to put all of this stuff??

Things that are done for the wedding: booze (!!), food, cake, chocolate fountain, photographer, photo booth, favors, sparklers for getaway, bridesmaid gifts, groomsmen gifts, bridesmaid dresses/shoes/jewelry, tuxes picked out, rehearsal dinner location booked, rehearsal dinner dress purchased, honeymoon tickets purchased/hotel booked/rental car booked, flowers, hair/makeup appointments booked, wedding rings purchased

Things that are NOT done for the wedding: parents gifts, rehearsal dinner menu, ceremony harp music selected (the harpist is booked, though!), meeting with minster, hotel for wedding night, getaway car, ceremony program, first dance song picked

This is kind of what the cake is going to look like. Simple, white, every other tier quilted and then the scroll work, but our scroll work will be closer together and a little more detailed.

We are probably going to throw on a couple of orange flowers.
We got simple bands for our rings right now. Steve got a Tungsten one because he is certain he is going to lose at least one band. He is not used to wearing a ring, so he needs one to break him in. I am having a hard time finding a wedding band that goes with my engagement ring. I am going to have to get something custom made when I have enough time to find someone to do it AND when we have the money to drop on that. Plus it'll be nice to have one I can wear to the beach or pool and not worry about losing any diamonds.




So, really, it's not THAT much left, huh? I feel good about it. I feel like I can handle it...with the help of my mom.

Some other things I have been doing:
  • Making the three hour round trip drive to see my nephew play baseball. He's so good! I also got a new camera from Steve's sisters and I have been practicing with him. 

That was a homerun! (Steve says not really because there was an error, but Logan made it all the way home, that's what counts!)


He is so TALL and skinny.
Also, the new camera? The first 20 photos on the memory card look like this..

Dinner of champions..Happy Meal, Girl Scout cookies, Diet DP
I need to be on the alert at all times thanks to the stupid huge lens they got us. Steve is going to capture my nose hair if I'm not careful.

  • Trying to spend as much quality time with Steve as I can. We went to the Houston Rockets game not too long ago with my family. We went to seven games last year and only one this year. Our lives have gotten too busy to be good fans.

Logan is not being a good fan. My dad (on Steve's right) looks really bored.

  • Steve's mom has been cleaning out a lot of his junk as they try to streamline their lives and home.When she does that, I get gems like these:
I get my very own Steve button!
  • Hey! I won my family's NCAA March Madness bracket pool. Steve won second! So not only does my dad get to help pay for an expensive wedding, he owes me $200 and Steve $100. I mean, he can't just NOT pay. That wouldn't be cool, DAD. So I'm waiting on that check. It's always nice to get some random cash when you least expect it! We did our brackets with 20 minutes left after my dad sent me a text saying "You and Steve haven't submitted your brackets. You have until 11." AHH panic and pick at random, and imagine that! We won!
Well that about wraps it up. In a nutshell: busy at work, wedding planning coming along nicely, I still love Steve. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Let me bum you out..

SO! How was your Thanksgiving? It's been a while, eh? I've been buuuuuusy. Work, trying not to let our house go to shit because we both are working a lot, that kind of thing. This is the busy season at Steve's work, so he's home late a lot too. Anyway, enough about that nonsense. I really wanted to talk about something I tweeted a couple of days ago (was it yesterday only? geez.)

Steve and I were on our way to his company Christmas party dinner and I asked him "if I died and you had to describe my body, what identifying marks would you say I had?" This is a risky game, y'all. We've been together 5 years, we are getting married in 6 months, and the man failed. He FAILED. Well, I'm sure he could have given them a good enough description. But no, nothing definitive where the investigators could say "oh man, yep, that's her, that is EXACTLY what we found!"

Let me give you a little tidbit of info you might not know. The medical examiner in the very large county I live in (I don't want it to be able to be searched for on the google, but yeah, you guys know what big city I live near) has a procedure to identify every single body that comes through. They take your fingerprints and send them electronically to the Department of Public Safety and compare them to your driver's license. You don't have a driver's license? Maybe you have an ID card. Not that? Maybe you have a license in another state? They will contact that state. Maybe you are from Canada and they will get with the horse riding Mounties up there. They will find a way. I could show up in their building with my name, social security number, date of birth, and mother's maiden name tattooed on my ass and they would still wait until they had confirmation of positive ID from the state agencies.

SO! The instance where Steve would have to identify my body would be SUCH a rare one, but c'mon, it's fun to think about, right? (I know!) Here's what I did. I started ticking off a list of things he could tell the cops should I become unidentifiable in other ways (what if my fingers get cut off? what if I am so badly decomposed only my frog tattoo on my foot is visible?) Oh, if that's the case, he would totally fail because he had to think way too long to GUESS which foot the tattoo was on (and he had a 50% chance of getting it right anyway! It's the left, if you were curious.)

So here is my list and I wanted to see what YOUR list looks like.  If something happens to me, just print this list off and send it to the local authorities. Don't rely on Steve. For real, I won't ever get identified.
  • small frog tattoo on the top of my left foot
  • very light birthmark on the left side of my mouth/cheek area (I asked Steve where my birthmark was and he said I didn't have one. I will let him have a pass on this because even my dad used to try to clean it off of my face thinking it was dirt. It's very light.)
  • scar across the top of my right hand (flew over the handlebars of my bike and skidded across sidewalk..continued to pick at it for a week straight. 
  • 4 scars on my belly from laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery (one is in the belly button, ew, and the others are just thrown about)
  • one scar in the middle of my back from a questionable mole, one scar on each upper arm from questionable moles (go get your moles checked!)
  • 2 piercing holes in each ear but only one that goes all the way through per ear
  • very small toenails on my pinky toes..like almost nonexistent
  • greenish blue eyes (though if my body were so badly decomposed they needed this list, my eyes would be LONG GONE)
So really, my list is pretty pitiful. Aside from the frog tattoo, I think I could be mistaken for a lot of tallish, average sized girls with brown hair. (Side note: do you know how hard it was for me to not put CHUBBY? My mind is not catching up to my body. I am AVERAGE, especially in this country.)

I am curious if you have ever played this morbid yet fun game with your partner? Could you identify them based on unique characteristics? I like to think this is all fun and games because NOBODY should have to do that. But, you know, horrible shit happens and people have to do this type of stuff everyday.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Brain Dump

I realize I could probably spread a lot of this nonsense out over a couple of posts, but let's get real here, I don't post often enough and I would forget about it.

Several things of note:

1. The company I work for has been sold and I will be employed by a new company. There are still a lot of unknowns, but my understanding is that we will all still have our jobs, but we will get the added bonus of actually having benefits! Insurance! Retirement! Sick days! I'm excited to see how things turn out, but man is it stressful right now. Things should all be transferred over within the next couple of weeks, and we were only told a couple of weeks ago, so it's all happening very fast. The good news in this is that if they DO decide they need to cut people, I have an advantage because I'm young and I'm cheap. There's not a lot I can do at this point, so I'm just going about my daily work as usual and taking the changes all in stride. But that doesn't mean I'm not STRESSING out a little.

2. Steve and I bought a car yesterday! It was pretty exciting for us because it was the first time for each of us to buy a car and not have help from or a parent there guiding us in the process. His car was 10 years old and mine is 6 years old (mine is a Honda Accord, his was a Cadillac Seville) so we used his car as a down payment.  We just started out going to test drive a GMC Terrain and a Lincoln MKX because we didn't know which one would have the most room. We actually both loved the Terrain much more than the Lincoln. My requirements were seat heaters (which required leather seats), at least satellite radio ready, and it needed to have enough room for a baby, baby's shit the dog, the dog's shit. The car we test drove had all of that, plus back-up cameras, bluetooth hands-free calling, sunroof, etc. AND, those crazy people approved us and let us drive it home! We were both actually kinda surprised at how good our credit scores were (we hadn't checked yet this year) and they gave Steve what he wanted for his trade-in, which made it kind of a no-brainer.

It looks big, but it is actually shorter than my Accord. Weird.
So this was our first big together purchase. It feels pretty good. We just have to figure out who gets to drive it. I guess if I leave for work first I get to steal it and drive it and leave him the Accord.

3. My wedding planning has stalled. I have bought the wedding dress, picked out bridesmaids' dresses, booked the venue thing, booked officiant, booked honeymoon tickets and hotel (condo), and set up registries. I still have to do stuff about flowers, invitations, cake, menswear, children's clothing, favors, and other assorted little shit. I figure I pretty much got the main stuff out of the way and the other stuff doesn't need as much time. Plus I think we just needed a break from wedding stuff every day we had off. We ARE going to Austin on Thursday this week to get our engagement pictures taken. I need help figuring out what to wear. Times like these make me wish my sister lived closer. I think we will just do two outfits. For one, I am thinking my new skinny jeans (!!), boots, and a sweater, and then for the other outfit, maybe a maxi skirt and sandals? or a maxi dress? what do you think? Do you think I can do a more casual outfit with more casual jeans and sandals instead of a dress/skirt? I need to pick out what I'm going to wear so I can get Steve coordinated. We will be bringing Penny and she will be in a couple of the pictures, so she got a new collar, of course.

4. I am signed up to do the Crappy Day Present Exchange! I'm very excited about it and who I have been assigned. I have already started accumulating stuff! I need to do a little "about me" question/answer thing for that person, so I am gonna do it right here. Sorry for everyone else who was not assigned to me. You can skip this part.

  • What is your favorite color? I like green.
  • What is your favorite season? Fall, which we don't really have in Houston, but I like it when it's cool enough to wear sweaters and jackets.
  • What is your favorite treat? I will eat almost anything chocolate, but I only like milk chocolate, not dark or white. I like chocolate/peanut butter things, chocolate/caramel things.
  • What is your favorite scent? Eucalyptus and spearmint
  • What is your favorite ice cream coping mechanism? If I'm feeling particularly bad, I like to get into bed with my heating pad (whatever, it makes me feel cozy) and read a book or a magazine, or I'll get a massage or a pedicure.
  • What do you like to do in your free time moments? See above question. I like to cook and bake, shop (I need to stop that), take my dog to the dog park, and lay in the hammock (when it's not 100 degrees).
  • What do you not enjoy doing, and why, but have to do anyway? I don't like cleaning bathrooms, but if I don't do it, Steve will do it and it won't be done right or well. I don't like putting clothes away. I will do all of the laundry, but I won't put clothes away. I usually make Steve do it, but then he puts my clothes in the wrong drawer and it frustrates me. 
  • If someone gave you money with the instruction that you had to spend it on something frivolous for yourself, what would you buy? Maybe a facial (I've never had one) or new pajamas
  • Do you have any decorating themes in your home/office? Cocks and Clocks. HEHE.  No, really. My grandmother gave me a small collection from her LARGE collection of chickens before she died. So I have chickens in my kitchen spilling over into my dining room (paintings, pitcher, small ceramic one on my windowsill, nothing crazy) and in my living room and other areas of the house, I have a multitude of clocks of all sizes. Steve has embraced my collections. I think I have around 10 clocks in the entryway/living room area. I love them.
  • Is there something that you REALLY, REALLY like?  (Burt's Bees, horses, cats, fairies, unicorns, birds, patriotic stuff, babies, chocolate, Diet Coke, etc....) hmmmm. I really don't know. I can't think of something (except for the chickens and the clocks above) that I REALLY like. I like to eat (bread is my favorite), I like to watch tv, sports (football and basketball.)
  • What is the VERY! BEST! present you have ever received and why was it the best?  (The purpose of this question is to give people another idea of the sorts of things that make you happy.)Oh maaaan these questions are hard! Last Christmas was the year of keeping Megan warm. I got awesome warm pajamas (that I happen to be wearing right this minute), long underwear (I live in Texas, I am just always cold), and this seat cushion for my car that plugs into the charger outlet that makes it into a seat heater, AND an electric blanket. This was all from like 3 different people. Everyone must have gotten together and said "ok Megan is always cold, let's fix that!"

Monday, August 20, 2012

Magical Meatloaf

I mentioned on Twitter that I should have taken photos of the meatloaf process.  That way, I could turn this post into this pathetic Pioneer Woman rip off post with poor quality cell phone photos of raw meat and my dirty kitchen. But I'm nicer than that. I'll only give you the recipe (with my commentary) and one finished product photo. You're welcome.

Meatloaf is dirty y'all. You gotta get your hands in there and not be scared of raw meat or eggs..or dijon mustard that you would never EVER eat normally. You gotta just go with it. 

I'm going to give you a secret recipe. Secret in that it is in a published cookbook that you can buy in Marble Falls, Texas at the Bluebonnet Cafe. But most of you will never ever go to Marble Falls, Texas. You really should though..Texas hill country, lakes, etc. Very nice place

So, here's the recipe...get ready.

For the meatloaf:
2 lbs. (85%) lean ground beef
1 T. butter
1 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. chicken broth
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp. unflavored powdered gelatin
1/4c. tomato juice
1 T. soy sauce
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. dried parsley
3/4 dried thyme *It doesn't say 3/4 of WHAT, it just says 3/4, so I just throw some in*
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. pepper
2/3 c. crushed saltine crackers
1 c. grated Monterey jack cheese (I use shredded, no big)

Ok, pause. I KNOW this looks like a lot. It totally is, BUT, you get into a rhythm.
Start by preheating your oven to 375. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and and place a rectangular cooling rack on top. Then place another piece of foil ont he cooling rack and poke drain holes in it. poke holes in it. For this, I just use my broiler pan, line it with foil and poke some holes in it. This pan eventually needs to go into the broiler, so if you have a gas oven like me, the broiler is on the bottom! The first time I made this, I had to transfer from a baking sheet onto the broiler pan, and that sucked. You can figure out what works best for you.

Next step, chop up the onions and celery (I use a slapchop thing by Pampered chef so they get nice and tiny because I don't want chunks) and then saute them in the tablespoon of butter in a pan, but don't brown them too much. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl (not really that large), pour in the chicken broth and beaten eggs, sprinkle the unflavored powder gelatin on top and allow to stand 5 minutes. Then add the remaining ingredients along with the sauteed onions and celery. I just mix the wet ingredients in one bowl, then add to the meat in a bigger bowl. You are going to need a big-ish bowl to really mix everything together well. Form a nice looking (not really) meatloaf, about 2 inches high, smooth the top and sides with a spatula (who cares what it looks like??) and cook for about an hour.

Here is what makes this meatloaf!!
The glaze!
Ingredients for the glaze:
1/2 c. ketchup
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce (more or less depending on how much heat you like)
1/4 c. cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
3 T. packed brown sugar

Put this all into a small saucepan on the stove when there is about 5 minutes left and cook this until it is a little thick and syrupy. It WILL stink a little, but that's because of the vinegar. Get over it, it's so worth it. When the meatloaf is done in the oven, turn your broiler on. Pour the glaze over the meatloaf and put it under the broiler for about 5-10 minutes, or until you see it all bubble and browning on the edges. Let it sit about 10 minutes before cutting it.

Now there is a "sauce" as part of the recipe, but I have never once made it. It doesn't need it! I usually serve this with mashed potatoes and a veggie. The potatoes are good because it's tasty to get the glaze on them a little.

The sauce is something you are supposed to kinda serve on the side of it, or something like that, I don't really know. It's not needed, but I'm nice so I'll include it.

Ingredients for the sauce:
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped celery
1 15 oz. can chopped stewed tomatoes
1 to 2 T. beef base
1 c. water
1 tsp. garlic powder

Saute the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan until mixture is thick and bubbly. Serve along with the meatloaf. It's so boring, right? Don't even bother!

Somebody please make this and report back. It really is so good. It's moist, it's meaty, it's delicious! We usually make at least 1 1/2 of the recipe so Steve can eat meatloaf sandwiches for awhile, plus we always take some to my mom.

Oh here's the picture of the final product, minus the sauce. Steve likes to make extra glaze so it's all over the place, but usually there isn't this much of the glaze around the edges.

The picture does not do it justice.