Wash Day

I know I’ve been pretty quiet, but I’ve been really sick since Red left.  I caught bronchitis and an ear infection from somewhere–I’m blaming DH since he had it right before he left.  Oh man, it is no fun at all.  I have been so incredibly tired, and the household chores have just not gotten done.  This house is filthy, and  I must be getting better because it’s starting to disgust me now.  (It was helpful to gain some perspective though.)

In my brief spurt of energy this afternoon, I tried to tackle the laundry that’s been stacking up for awhile.  I was motivated a few days ago, but only got far enough to make about six piles of dirty clothes in front of the basement door before I had to take a nap.  I’ve been stepping over them ever since.  I threw a load in today, and it contained the last piece of DH’s dirty clothes.  How incredibly sad.  I wanted to sit and cry afterward.  I can’t explain it very well, but seeing his stuff laying on the floor was so comforting.  I don’t want to have to go into his closet (yes, we’re lucky enough to get separate closets even if they are tiny!) and hang it up.  It’s easier to ignore it’s even over there than see all his shirts hanging up neatly.  When he gets home, I’m going to be so happy to be able to wrap myself in one of his old t-shirts that smells of his aftershave that I’m going to boycott washing away that smell ever again.

Stuffed Spinach Shells And One Happy Dog

This is coming a little late because Red was here and we were going all hog wild without our husbands for the past few days.  Maybe I’ll say more about that later.  Or maybe what happens on vacation, stays on vacation…

I’ve been dying to try this recipe for weeks and bought all the stuff to cook it for Red, but then we got so busy that I ended up making it for just myself after she’d left.  It was super yummy but not overly heavy as most Italian can get.  I’m sensitive to dairy as well, but I didn’t find the cheese quantity to bother me a whole lot.

12 jumbo macaroni shells

10 ounces of frozen spinach, thawed, or 1 bag of fresh spinach

2 eggs

2 cups of shredded Italian cheese blend

1 cup ricotta cheese

1 jar of pasta sauce

1/2 package of turkey sausage

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse in cold water, and drain again.  Drain excess water out of frozen spinach or slightly wilt fresh spinach in a skillet.  I added a tad bit of garlic to my spinach during this step.  Beat the eggs in a bowl and add the spinach, 1 1/2 cups of the Italian cheese, and the ricotta cheese.  Fill the pasta shells with the mixture and place in a casserole dish.  Pour sauce and chopped turkey sausage over top.  Bake covered for 40 minutes on 350.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of Italian cheese on top before serving.

It was not very difficult to make even though there were several steps.  I split the recipe in half and put 6 shells in a foil pan to freeze for later, which gave me two servings of 3 shells left for supper.  Here’s my end result:

It was super yummy!  Even my battle buddy, M, thought so.

Another tip is to use Oscar Meyer turkey sausage.  It’s my favorite.  It has great flavor, and those picky people who think there’s something fundamentally wrong with turkey over pork or beef can’t even taste the difference.  It comes in two segments, so it’s easy to use one and save the other for something else like chili dogs.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

The Value Of Unpaid Work

I don’t know if I’ve said anything about it yet, but I started volunteering at two different places in town.  Before we  moved down here, I started looking at the job market.  Since I’m my career interest lie in historical preservation, that meant museums and archives.  No jobs have come up yet, at least that I am qualified for, but as always, they needed good, reliable volunteers.  I remain adamant that the best way to make contacts in this field and showcase your abilities is by volunteering.  Sometimes it’s tedious, and most often you don’t get to do exciting work that’s at your experience level.  On the positive side though, it shows that you’re remaining active in the field even if you don’t have a paying job and sometimes, especially with smaller organizations who desperately need help, you can get great mentorship and training that will help you later on.  Plus your name is at the top of their list if someone needs contract work quickly or a position becomes available.  All that aside, I just love doing this stuff and it keeps me busy while I’m hunting for that perfect job.

The first volunteer opportunity is like a historical society but it focuses on maintaining the historical buildings and landmarks in the local area.  Their archives are woefully under-kept.  They have stuff that needs filing, and their past volunteers have not had the experience to make judgement calls on what’s relevant and what’s out of scope.  They have files like “Smith Historical District–and others,” “Mount Vernon” (we’re not even bordering Virginia), and “Restaurants.”  It’s a mess.  I’ve been making new files, weeding and re-processing existing files, and overall making sense of lots of newspaper clippings that have been stacking up around them.  As a way to meet people, it’s not very helpful.  I’m suck in a back closet all alone, but I very much enjoy what I’m doing.

The second opportunity is at a local museum, one of the biggest in the whole state, and although it is a history  museum, it’s emphasis is in art.  They need a library reference person to help patrons, re-shelve books, and file away magazines as they come in.  I’m also creating a searchable database for their magazine collection.  They also have a separate library of educational materials that needs maintaining, so I’m keeping up with checking in materials as they come and inputting new items into the database.  It’s also a fairly solitary activity because they don’t get a lot of visitors, but library experience is so hard to get.

It’s paid off already.  The art museum also offers internships, which of course I applied for right away.  The Educational Director got my materials and said he’d look for a project for me way before the June start date of most internships.  Yay!  The only down side is I don’t think I’ll get one of those coveted paid internships because I’m already volunteering there, but you can’t put a price on great training.  Plus it’s an art museum, which tends to segregate itself from the rest of the museum world since it requires specialized knowledge.  This is my last chance for a student internship and I could get experience with art.  Bonus!

The only problem I’m facing is that the Educational Director is pretty flaky and unorganized.  This process is taking forever because he can’t get his poop in a group.  I’ll gladly deal with it though because I’m loving what I’m doing, and it looks like I’m going to be getting great nuggets for my resume.

Are My Unemployed Days Coming To An End?

I had an interview this morning.  It went alright.  My interview got hijacked.  I got there on time, but the interviewer was already busy with the candidate that was scheduled after me.  She had gotten there over 30 minutes early to her interview.  Who does that?  I waited and took the next slot, but how bad does that look for me?  It made it seem like I was late, which I wasn’t.  I did a ton of research for interview, which paid off.  I knew so much about the program, and I could see that she wasn’t expecting that.  I had also spend a lot of time thinking of questions to ask beforehand, and she liked that I had good, substantial questions once I was there.  Hopefully she got the impression that I had ideas to make the program work and could be proactive in the position.  My education isn’t directly in the field in question, but maybe I sounded brilliant and capable anyway.  My interview went way longer than that stupid interview hijacker’s–less laughing but more serious discussion about the job.  Hmm…I don’t know.  At my last job I was told that I interviewed very badly, so my confidence was shaken before I even went in today.  I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

I’m torn.  On one hand, this job would double our household income.  My mind goes to all the stuff we could do with that extra money.  DH and I have been thinking about maybe making some big changes in the next few years, and although we’re doing just fine on just one income, a couple years of padding our savings and paying down student loans would be amazingly beneficial.  It’s hard to justify to myself just sitting here doing nothing too.  If I had a good reason like finishing school or raising kids I could believe that my job at home was important.  But I’m not doing those things.  I’m volunteering to stay busy, but too big of a chunk of my days are spent in front of the tv doing nothing productive.

On the other hand, I could wait for a job that might be closer to my career goals.  Not knowing that I was going to be given an interview, I sent in my application for a curatorial internship with a local art museum a few days ago.  I won’t know about it for awhile, and it might be paid.  This is my last chance for an internship since I’m ending my educational career for now.  Plus even if it wasn’t paid, it would give me experience as a curator and in the art world.  BIG pluses for the career path.  But do I wait to find out about it?

There might be a happy medium.  At the interview this morning it came out that the job would be a lot to mostly evening hours.  My gut said “yuck!” but it might work out.  I could juggle an internship a few mornings a week over the summer while working full time in the evenings.  I would be totally burnt out at the end of the summer,  but I could make some serious money and get the museum experience I want.  At least it would be all while DH is gone, so I wouldn’t be missing out on any cuddle time at home.

I don’t know if I even want this job.  I was on the fence at the beginning, but I learned some details about it that sort of turned me off to the job.  They need someone to completely start a program, and the job description in no way indicated that it wasn’t an established position.  Yuck.  Talk about an uphill battle and a lot of extra hours.  Thinking positively, I might be able to tailor my work schedule and flow since there aren’t preexisting expectations.  Thinking negatively, I have to completely carve out my own space among everyone else’s preexisting work flows.  That’s not always easy because people hate change.

This is a job.  A decent paying job for my education level.  It’s sort of in the education field, so I could twist it to help my museum goals but it would support education rather than research and curating in museums.  It would expand and grow my abilities as an employee.  But is it the job for me?  Would I like this job?  I’m not so sure.  Could I do it and do it well?  Maybe.  I don’t want to jump at it simply because it pays.  Is it horrible to wish just a little bit that they don’t offer me the position so I don’t have to make this decision myself?  I wish I could talk to DH and bounce these ideas off him.

Yummy Cookies

This is my first week doing the recipe self-challenge that I proposed a few weeks ago.  Every week I want to try a new recipe to keep me interested in cooking for one while DH is gone.  I feel that one a week is doable and won’t cost me an arm and a leg at the commissary getting the needed supplies.  This week I made chocolate cherry oatmeal cookies for a neighborhood block meeting.

They turned out fine.  Cookies aren’t exactly challenging.  The cherries are a nice substitute for plain raisins, and it gives it an extra little punch to the cookies.  I find that the cookies are pretty rich, which works out since the recipe only makes about 30 decent-sized cookies.  That amount won’t last long in my house, so something needs to slow people down.  And like most oatmeal cookies, they don’t puddle out as they cook.  How you drop them is how they look when they’re done, so I formed mine more than I normally do.

Here’s the recipe for anyone who’s interested:

1/2 cup softened butter

2/3 cup light brown sugar

1/3 cup white sugar

1 egg and 1 egg yolk

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 1/4 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1 3/4 cup old fashioned oats

1/2 bag of dried cherries, chopped

1/3 bag of chocolate chips

Beat the butter until soft.  Gradually add sugar and mix until well combined.  Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla while mixing on low speed.  Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a separate bowl.  Gradually add dry ingredients while mixing on low speed.  Be careful not to over mix.  Stir in oats, cherry bits, and chocolate chips.  Bake for 9-11 minutes at 375 on a ungreased cookie sheet.

Like I said, not an interesting start to the recipe self-challenge.  They are super yummy cookies though, and it’s always good to start off with a success in your back pocket.

My Rant For Today

I catch the Daily Show fairly regularly because, well, Jon Stewart is effin’ brillant and it’s darn funny.  Last night he tackled the weighty subject of gays in the military, and I believe he did an outstanding job of showing just had ridiculous this nation’s attitude is.

And since I’ve messed around for over an hour and can’t get the video embedded correctly, here’s the link.

Then this morning I get this news article waiting for me in my email.  How incredibly refreshing and hopeful.

When I worked at Target last year, I worked with a man in his sixties who did over twenty years in the Air Force.  He was also gay.  He and his partner had been together over thirty years, but it wasn’t until he started working for Target that they could openly be together and get health insurance for each other.  First off, kudos to Target.  They have an awesome, equal benefits package and really care about every single employee regardless of how many hours you work.  They work very hard to encourage diversity at their stores and in the communities the work in, promote education and community service, and they even help adopting parents with funding the legal process.  You don’t often find companies so willing to do the right thing.  Secondly and more on topic, the very nice, hard working man had to wait until he was retired and working part-time at a  store’s jewelry counter to get health insurance for his partner.  What’s wrong with our government if they can’t give the same courtesy to men who are willing to die to protect the nation?

Even as a spouse of a person in the military, I don’t feel comfortable being openly bi-sexual for fear that my spouse’s career with suffer.  When the government asks people to join the military, they are asking them to put the safety of the nation above everything else in their lives including their own well being.  Gays and lesbians are just as capable of that as heterosexual people.  If the nation wants to rely on an all volunteer force, they shouldn’t be turning away willing men and women who want to serve.

And that’s how I feel about that.

It’s Going To Be That Kind Of Deployment

I have heard of this elusive Murphy’s Law of deployment.  I may have even giggled a few times at other people’s misfortune when they speak it’s awful name.  Today I realized that some things you just don’t get until it’s your turn.  Yes, it feels like some things wait to go wrong until your husband is half a world away.  When it wasn’t me, I rationalized it away.  Of course over the span of a year, stuff goes wrong.  It just feels a little worse when you don’t have a teammate helping out to fix the problem.

I was wrong.  I am sincerely sorry.  I will never doubt Murphy ever again.

My husband has been deployed for three days.  Our one and only car is dead.  The tow truck from the post auto shop is broken and they don’t know when it will be fixed.  I hate you, Deployment Murphy.

I hadn’t had my break down yet.  I hadn’t sat and blubbered like a baby that I was all alone.  I’d come close, but I hadn’t officially broken that seal and cried my eyes out.  Murphy gave me just the little push I needed.  I cried and cried.  DH called right in the middle of everything, and I got to yell and scream.  I feel amazingly better now.  Don’t get me wrong, I still want to punch Murphy in the face, but now I can get on with being the strong, independent mil spouse that I was born to be.

Even though I’m going to take care of it this time, Murphy, DO NOT come back any time soon.  I will put on my big girl panties and kick your ass.