Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Holy Cow

first up, an apology that this blog has gone from its former bitter sarcastic humor to talking about wedding crap half the time and scrabble the other half, but I'm happier now and in the middle of a 6 week vacation, so I don't have much to complain about. Today I ran across something called a wedding cost estimator and plugged in my zip code:
"On average, couples that live in University Park, TX 75205 spend between $58,134 and $96,891 for their wedding. This does not include cost for a honeymoon or engagement ring."
I'm guessing that's like one standard deviation. Which means that there are people out there spending as much/more on their weddings as I'm incurring in debt to not work and go to medical school for four years. They're spending my tuition and living expenses for four freaking years on a wedding! My mind is boggled. I'm not sure I believe this stat. After all, I live in UP, not Highland Park. Everyone knows that UP is the poorer of the park cities. The streets are paved with silver instead of with gold.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Meet the new apartment, same as the old apartment

Awesomeness has happened; When my landlords found out that the main reason why E and I were moving out was because of our sweet dog Reagan, they decided that they didn't want to lose us and offered to let us bring him here! This means we don't have to move! I have moved every year for the past seven years... sometimes twice. And I have ridiculous amounts of stuff. Now we don't have to worry about packing and moving while I'm still recovering from surgery (which would really mean E packing and moving everything as I stood by and directed). It also means that when we get married in the fall at the park a mile away, it will still be a mile away, which will make that event easier. And we'll still be able to take the walk up to Aston's bakery and Drip coffee on Saturdays. Such a relief! All we have to do now is doggy-proof, which will be sooo much less effort than moving everything. hooray.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Lazy Saturday

Even though I'm on my month-long vacation, I still get a kick out of weekends because they mean that I get to spend all day long with E, which is pretty great. Saturday morning I made blueberry muffins from scratch which turned out deliciously:
-preheat oven to 375
-Cream 1 stick of butter until it's light.
-add 1 cup of sugar.
-add 2 eggs, one at a time, and mix in.
-add in 1 tsp vanilla, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt and mix
-add in 2 cups of flour and 1/2 cup of milk in halves, mixing just until moistened.
-fold in 2 1/2 cups of blueberries
-spoon into greased or papered muffin tins
-bake 20-30 minutes
-eat hot.
I really can't eat store-bought baked goods anymore since I got into the habit of baking at home... I also rarely use mixes (sometimes I'll use a cake mix but frosting must be from scratch). It's really not that hard to just do all of it yourself and the taste is infinitely better. And I don't have mysterious bits of soy in my muffins. And if I don't have time to make the things myself, I just don't eat that kind of food, which ends up being better for me anyways.

After the muffins, E and I went for a walk down to a park that's about a mile from the house. We're 95% sure that this park is where we're going to get married.

It's kind of cool because rather than getting married somewhere random that we'd never see again, we're going with a place that we can go back to, and that we can eventually take our kids to. It's also cool because we're planning on making all the food ourselves (with the help of our lovely families of course... if they agree!) I'm currently scouring the web for picnic food ideas. Right now I'm thinking about baked ribs, cucumber salad, caprese salad, fresh fruits, and lots of baked goods. And maybe a giant ham. If all else fails, we'll go with turkey legs.
In the afternoon My mom gave me a surprise call and came by the house to shower us with gifts from costco. Then we went out to dinner with my mom and her boyfriend to an awesome restaurant called Eden Cafe. It's in an old house and they have a menu that includes PB&J as well as prime rib. It's pretty much like they took a look at my favorite foods and then put together a restaurant just to suit me. I think it's especially awesome because you can go and spend $10 on a more casual dinner like a sandwich, or go and spend $30 on an entree if you're feeling ritzy. I got the best meatloaf I've ever had. We'll definitely be going back!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Not so bad after all...

So, it looks like I'll be taking an entire month of enforced vacation! Although I was dreading it a little bit because I'm a huge compulsive planner and taking a month off when I didn't know I was going to freaked me out a bit, It's actually rather pleasant. I've been taking medium length walks (totaling maybe 2 miles a day) and long naps. I have somehow lost weight in the last few days since surgery, maybe from using extra calories for healing? muscle atrophy? or maybe because I tried to make an effort not to have easily snackable foods in the house, only things that can be made into actual meals. I did, however, make a pan of brownies yesterday night. Over half the pan is gone somehow even though E has only eaten one single brownie. I guess that leaves me as the guilty party for like half a pan of brownies in less than 24 hours. But they're delicious!

brownie recipe:
preheat oven to 350
combine 1 stick melted butter with 1/2 cup cocoa powder
add in 1 cup of sugar and stir
add in 2 eggs and stir again
add in 2 tsp vanilla and stir again
add in 1/2 cup of flour and stir until just mixed, do not overstir.
if desired, add in a cup of chocolate chips or marshmallows or both.
if desired, Bake in a greased square brownie pan for 25 minutes; Batter is also excellent eaten straight out of the bowl :)

In the end, the month off means that I'll have to take neurology next year, but we have extra months built in with which to cushion our schedules anyways so it's not too big of a deal. For now I'll just enjoy laying around all day perusing random blogs, reading Harry Potter 7 again, and watching every movie I own (an impressive collection if I say so myself). If I start feeling motivated I'll probably begin studying for step 2 in a few weeks. I also designed the wedding invites, which took me half an hour. at least. But they're going to be pretty kick-ass as soon as we figure out exactly where we're having it. The original idea was a picnic in a park where we had one of our first dates, but apparently picnicking is illegal in that park (which I think defeats the purpose of having a park at all! like, "please enjoy our park... no fun activities allowed") which means that when we had our date we were breaking the law... didn't know I was such a rule-breaker, did you? but we may be able to still have the ceremony there if we ask nicely and appear rich enough to the right people (it's a very ritzy park). If not, we'll come up with plan B: probably a different, slightly less ritzy, park.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


I'm doing fairly well after surgery. My mom and E fought to see who could take better care of me, fighting to stuff me with goodies and do my laundry. I've been getting up to walk a bit but I'm not supposed to ride in a car yet. Saturday morning my mom, E and I walked down to Drip Coffee on Lovers to meet up with E's parents (the first time that my mom has met his parents). That night they brought over pizza and we had a rousing game of scrabble. I was unable to finish, probably because I was falling behind because the opiates are clouding my vocabulary flexibility. In the past two days I've watched about ten movies, read a couple of stupid books, done a papercutting:

and napped often. I'm beginning to get cabin fever. I think the only solution is to go back to bed again.
I'm trying to get my schedule rearranged so I can do something that will require little to no physical work for the next month. If not, I may have a whole extra month of forced vacation :(

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I'm having surgery on Friday. Quick turn around is awesome because my insurance runs out at the end of the month, but sheesh it's kind of shocking. Guess I won't be going to Austin for Easter after all.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

STFU wedding industry.

The other day I was reading CNN.com and came across an article that was titled, "she had a fabulous wedding on a budget". the tiny sum that the lady spent? twenty thousand freaking dollars! that was her on a BUDGET. And she had freaking barbecue. Did you know you can get family style barbecue at the best place in Texas, UNLIMITED for $17 per person? how the hell did she spend $20k?! Because every thing that has wedding attached to it costs four times as much and is half the quality, because you're not supposed to care how much it costs because clearly the amount you spend is directly proportional to your future marital bliss. Clearly.
Since I got engaged I've gone through a few different phases of wedding planning... at first I was planning a fairly traditional affair. We were going to get married in a church, reception in a random (hopefully fabulous) space, first dance, cut the cake, color palette, wedding theme, make it yours while still fulfilling all the customary customs, but put YOUR spin on it because it's YOUR big day. Even then I shocked people by telling them that I ordered my dress on sale, online, from JCrew (because it's just a freaking dress. it's not your marriage). And my traditional-type (very expensive seeming to me) wedding would still have cost HALF OF WHAT THEY WERE QUOTING IN THE ARTICLE!!!! The second idea we had (after I started to lose weight and have ridiculous amounts of anxiety about how to plan an event that is apparently supposed to be the pinnacle of my life, highlighting my taste, creativity, and still be truly US, while making sure that everyone else we invited was having a good time, all with basically no experience in event planning and 1/3 as much money as the average American wedding costs these days) was to elope to Vegas. We were pretty seriously considering that (surprise mom!) for about a week, but ultimately decided that it was important to us to have family there with us. So now we've come to a compromise... we're getting married in a park where we had one of our first dates, with only family and a few friends present. We're getting married by a minister in our church who I've known for several years and who has been a sounding-board/unofficial therapist for me when things were rough. I'm wearing a dress I already own, which I bought on a whim from a consignment shop in DC for $50 because it's beautiful, even though I never really thought I'd have a good place to wear it. The best part is, I can wear my wedding dress again after the wedding out dancing! Hooray! And with a lot of the "required" elements cut out, I think it will end up being more fun. We're also (half-jokingly) thinking about renting a party barge for the afternoon. So the very tentative schedule is wedding in a park, brunch, then barge (including slide!) how fun would that be?
Also, E and I randomly went into Urban Outfitters today, mainly to gawk at what the hip kids are wearing these days (they want to have the thrift store/hobo look without ever actually having to go to a thrift store, I think) and I found a pretty hair band that will go with my dress! And if I'm going to have something pretty and frivolous that I'll probably only wear once, it may as well cost less than twenty bucks. Here's me with my new urban head outfit:
I went for my MRI this morning to see if I'd re-herniated the discs in my back. AND.... (drumroll)

Yes. I have a big freaking herniation at my L5-S1 level, pooching out almost to the other side of my spinal canal, and rubbing on the nerves as they exit on the left.

I've already had surgery on this level of my back, so it looks like it's just a re-injury of something that had been "fixed" once (I put the word in quotation marks because surgeons like to brag that they're the only doctors that can cure people instead of just treating them. Which is pretty much a load of bullsh*t. nothing is ever made as good as new, and surgery takes recovery and continuing to take care of the injury afterwards).

I just got back from a trip to Tampa with Ethan to visit his grandma and have some fun on the beach. If you're wondering how I had an enjoyable vacation while dealing with the aforementioned injury, the answer is a little secret I call the "vico-profen cocktail". It consists of a Vicodin and four ibuprofens, and it kicks ass. too bad I'm about to run out of the Vicodin I had left over from my first surgery in 2005.

We drove there and back (around 18 hours each way) because we're cheap and we wanted to have our own car and a flexible schedule. We went straight through and it really was not that bad... in fact we're talking about making other road trips with the sweet camry goodness!

We spent a day and a half just playing in the waves. there were storms in northern Florida which made the waves bigger than usual, and thus more fun (and possibly the reason why my back is now KILLING ME... oops).
We also went to the Dali museum in St. Petersburg, and saw some awesome art and got a melting clock Christmas tree ornament (our first couple ornament! yay!)
(us on a bench outside the Dali museum)

After the Dali Museum we went to downtown St. Petersburg to eat lunch and walk down the pier holding hands and eating ice cream... because we're all 1950's wholesome like that.

Wildlife: A heron!

At dinner on the beach. We got there at the perfect time so we were able to watch the sunset over the ocean while we ate conch fritters. yum!

It was fun and relaxing and the perfect amount of time for me to not get so fried that I'd look like my skin was made of brown bootleather (the sun was STRONG! I got a tan even though I was dutifully applying and re-applying SPF 50!)
That's it for highlights from the trip because I'm tired and this has gone on far too long. kudos if you're still reading!