Sunday, November 28, 2010

Date Night #2: Playing Pool

Thanksgiving week is over and now I'm enjoying a long weekend of resting and relaxing.  Mr. C and I had a nice time with friends up in the McDowell mountains.  There was lots of good food and super nice people to spend the day with.

I'm getting ready for some DIY projects for the wedding,and hoping that they're all as simple as they appear in my head.  My plan is to get these done by January.  Some things on my list:

Make invitations
Make soy candles (about 40 of them)
Make thank-you cards
Make more olives
Sew linen table runners

So, our next date night idea was to go out and shoot pool and play darts.  So exciting!  I'm awful at pool and haven't played in a really long time, but I was looking forward to the challenge. We started the evening by making a really good dinner of sauteed vegetables with tempeh in a curry simmer sauce.  We popped open a very cheap bottle of red wine (thank you Trader Joe's for selling wine cheaper than Two-buck Chuck!) and watched a movie on TV.  From now until Christmas the only things on TV will be sad Hallmark movies or love stories.  

So how exactly do I dress for a night of playing pool?  In my mind, this is what I would have loved to look like:

But in reality, it was cold out and I ended up wearing something a bit more modest(probably to Mr. C's relief).  Click's, the local pool hall, was hopping tonight but we found a table right away.   I don't remember halls being this fancy...not only were there pool tables, but there was also a DJ and a dance floor.  We played a couple of good games - Mr. C won them all - while people around us were dancing and having a good time.  There are some serious players in the game of pool, and we were not them.  I'll have to practice alot more before I can say I'm good at this game.  For now, it's just me and Mr. C.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Date Night #1: Drive-in Movie Night

Mr. C and I have been together for a while and we love to have "date nights."  We try to go out, just the 2 of us, at least once a week.  Dinner, at least.  Every couple weeks we get our dancing shoes on and go to the nearest Blues bar and dance to the old-school R&B cover band...they're great, and we absolutely love to dance.   

The other week I had the bright idea of changing things up a bit.  Try to come up with creative things to do on our date nights.  This is a big city and I thought it would be fun to find ways to see it all...and do it all under $30.  So, Mr. C and I each had 5 sheets of blank paper to write 5 different date night ideas on it.  We put these 10 sheets in a jar and every week we would pull a sheet from the jar and plan a night based on what was written.

So, this week we went to see a a drive-in.  There are only 2 in the city, and I haven't been to a drive-in in a few years.  So, off we went.  I made popcorn at home, put a couple of drinks in my purse and headed out to see "Unstoppable."  The movie was pretty good, but we couldn't get our cuddle time in the car because they don't make bucket seats anymore.  So, we leaned back, holding hands, with the armrest/console in between us.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dusting off the old box

So I'm seeing a counselor.  It's not a bad thing, really.  I actually like to go every month to chat.  I mean, I'm a social worker and being a counselor is what I do.  So why shouldn't I have some time to be on the receiving end of things for a change?  Lately, the conversations have been about my family (actually, they're usually about my family).  But getting married brings up lots of things that I'd like to think I've resolved, put away in a nice box wrapped snuggly in pretty tissue, never to come out again.  Normally, 6 out of 7 days, the box stays put.  My life is good, healthy, happy. But now that I'm getting married I find myself dealing with my box of old family stuff.

I never pretend or claim that I have a typical, functional family.  I think most of my friends know otherwise.  So it's no surprise that I've tried to live the last 14 years of my life in the healthiest way possible.  That means finding some distance between certain members in my family.  It's not a surprise that my dad said he won't come to the wedding and that my sister has a list of all the things I should do to make things better, or my mom calls and tells if that if only I say "I'm sorry" things will be better.  Those are all the things that I knew would come up when I told them I was getting married and I wanted them to be a part of it somehow.

This week, I had a conversation with one of my sisters that went something like this:

Sister:  "So, Thanksgiving is at our house this year."
Me:  "That's great.  We'll bring a side dish to share with everyone."
Sister:  "WE?  Who's 'we'?  You're not bringing Mr. C are you?"
Me:  "Yes, of course I am.  He's my fiance.  Why wouldn't I bring him?"

Sister:  "He hasn't met our father yet.  And he's not going to meet him at my house.  Don't expect to bring him here until you get things worked out with our father."
Me:  "??? WTF???"
Sister:  "I told you so.  If you want to see your nephew and neices I told you what you needed to do."

Not exactly the definition of a loving family, is it?

I'm invited, but he isn't.  The same thing happened years ago in another time and place.  Back then, it was awful.  I remember feeling torn, not sure what to do.  I didn't understand how to be without my family.  This time, things are different.  Mr. C and I are doing our own thing, and I don't have any second doubts, I'm not looking back wondering if we're doing the right thing. 

I was raised to love my family.  To do everything for my family and with my family.  Mr. C and I are forging our new family.  We have amazing friends that love us...they are our family.  I have distant family that love and support us...they are my family.  If we decide to have and raise children I hope to teach them that family is fluid, it's made up of all those people in our lives that love and support and cherish us.

So, when I told my counselor about this newest glitch in my family tree, she asked me if I had a good cry...then told me to get over myself and get on with my life.  Not one for empathy, that's for sure. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lots and lots of olives

So I thought it would be a nice idea to make my own olives for the wedding.  It can't be that difficult and we have tons of olive trees in Phoenix.  So, a couple of weeks ago I drove around with my step ladder and 5 gallon bucket in search for the perfect olive trees.  Los Olivos park was a good start, as I had a suspicion that they had olives there.

About an hour later I walked away with my bucket almost full of juicy, ripe olives.  It turns out there are lots of ways of making olives, so figuring out which recipe was the best was difficult.  In the end, I hope these recipes worked!

Picking olives at Los Olivos Park

A whole park full of olive trees!

Separating the green from the and slicing each one.

The finished product...4 jars of Kalamatas and 5 jars of Mediterranean

Kalamata Olives - Brine
1 Gallon water
2 cups pickling salt
4 cups red wine vinegar

Put olives in jar, cover with brining solution.
Top with 1/4 inch of virgin olive oil.

Cover tightly and keep in cool, dark place for 3 months

Mediterranean Olives - Brine
1 Gallon water
2 cups pickling salt
2 cups white wine vinegar

Put olives in jar, cover with brining solution.
Add herbs...I added lemon, sprig of Rosemary,
basil and garlic.

Cover tightly and MUST be refrigerated.  Ready in 1 month.