Taking a quick vacation away from the bitter cold. See you guys early next week!
Thursday, February 27, 2014
I see daylight...at least I mean there is hope for the bug that has knocked us down this week. It started last Friday when I woke up with a sore throat. We've already been coughing and blowing noses for the whole winter but this throat thing quickly escalated into a really bad cold both Edward and I caught. And now Steve has it too so we've been moseying around like zombies. Grr.
Where to begin?
|We sometimes had two classes a day plus I still needed to fit in my writing time so we spent a few full-days at the YMCA. For lunch, I took Edward to a yummy burger place nearby called Tom Wahl's instead of driving the 12 miles home.|
|After a few days in bed, I stumbled downstairs to find my ikat stencil for our master bedroom has arrived.|
|Awesome, I can't wait to get started on it. Now if only I had enough energy to finish painting my room first...|
Posted by Christine Wang at 6:05 AM
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
In the throes of February and we are just taking things little by little, day by day. I wrote a page today? Great! Got my son out of the house? Win! I go to the YMCA pretty much every day right now because if I don't get out of the house, I pay for it all day. It is hard having Steve working from home and a preschooler dying to be active. This type of weather can really do you in if you live in isolation (yep!) and don't make an effort to carry on with your daily routines. Here is a a peek at what we've been up to this week...
|I found these ikat curtains at Home Goods last week. I didn't buy it at first because I wasn't sure they were what I wanted in my room but then I thought about them all night long and bought them the next day. Thank goodness they were still there!|
|Edward baking brownies to bring to a Valentine's play date.|
|I invited Steve's mom over for VDay so we could do, you know, a "family" thing. I found some flowers at Trader Joe's that day and bought them for myself "from Steve."|
|I pulled out some red candles and created a chocolate tasting plate. Just trying to make the most out of the special day.|
|I fried up some scallion appetizers from Trader Joe's.|
|What winter driving on country roads is like.|
|One day I can look back and say, "Never again!"|
|On a sunny day, winter is quite pretty. Here is a view from my Pilates class after a month of not going.|
|Edward calls icicles "heels."|
|Did you know you can bake bacon? So much easier than pan frying!|
|My son eats a very limited diet but he does eat bacon!|
|Have I already mentioned how much I love Devonshire Green from Benjamin Moore? It looks green in the late afternoon light, brown in the early mornings.|
|I bought this art from CB2 a few years ago. It totally didn't work downstairs but it is perfect in the master bedroom. Things are slowly coming together.|
Posted by Christine Wang at 3:55 PM
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
So...I just turned 27. I must say, I finally feel like a full-fledged adult. I went into this birthday totally happy, cool, and panic-free because I am starting to find out who I am. It's been an interesting process; I never could have believed how much people can change from 21 to 27 until I went through it myself. I don't think most people I knew in my college years (even for a few years after) would recognize me now. I've lost much of the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Christine...I used to be so trusting, such an open book, so easily amazed by the smallest things. I've hardened but I am still hopeful. I'm much more focused and but still find segues to things that delight me. 27 is for learning to wear and embrace my new skin; growth comes in such unexpected and uneven ways.
|Steve's dad's gf made these birthday cupcakes for me.|
|Beautiful winter days. We don't have many nice days like this!|
Because we've been house-bound for much of the winter, I am throwing myself into house projects so we can enjoy the warm weather when it comes. I've done so much work to our house already but there is more unfinished stuff than I can count on two hands and two feet. I have a penchant for being super inspired about a project one month and then losing steam the next; hence lots of loose ends I want/need to tie up when I have this time on my hands. My motivation is to have most of the rooms painted before my sister, niece, and BIL visit us to April...I can't have Baby Lake living in a construction zone!
|Here is our master bedroom on a typical day. BLAH! I want to make it my favorite room of the house, a zen and chic place to relax, hangout, and chase dreams.|
|I am starting to paint the whole room. It is huge and has become a larger project than I had hoped. But aren't they all like that?|
|I free-hand the edges--so much faster than blue tape.|
|I'd like to think I can cut a pretty clean line.|
|I have to step on the top of the ladder to reach to peak of the wall. Totally not safe but what's a short gal like me to do?|
|The edges of one wall are done. This is definitely the most time-consuming part of painting...and I have to do a second layer! Btw can you spot Edward? I am a good mom, yep.|
|He always wants to help me. He tells me "Please give me a chance!" so I give in and let him remove outlet plates.|
|More edges in the nook area of the master bedroom.|
|Unfortunately, this west-facing window casts such an unflattering light on these walls so I will need three coats to make them look smooth.|
|Little by little, I will get the walls done. Stay tuned for a progress reveal in the next few weeks!|
Posted by Christine Wang at 6:57 PM
Friday, January 31, 2014
Last night, I went on my first blind date! Well, sort of. Let's start from the beginning. When I became a mom almost four years ago (!!) I was lonely at home so I joined meetup.com to find mommy groups in the area. It was semi-successful for me when I was in Los Angeles and worked even better in NY where all the suburban stay at home moms lurk. Over time, though, I noticed one huge problem: just because I am a stay at home mom doesn't mean I have anything else in common with other moms. Sure, it was fun to talk about teeth breaking gums, food allergies, and pre-school choices (heck even to just talk to another grown human being was a nice change of pace!) but now that Edward is older, I am finding less and less motivation to seek out moms groups just because I have a son.
So I'm always complaining to Steve how I haven't met people here I feel connected to, no one here understands me...yada yada. And he, in his "wise" 30-ish years, said: Maybe you just haven't met the right people. Since you are so "artsy" (I put that in quotes because he doesn't completely accept the artsy side to me because he hates the demons that come along with this disposition), you should find people like you.
Aha! Ok! So the trick is to narrow my search. I love my son but I don't particularly love parenthood so nix the whole mommy groups thing (if I have to hear about the fruit sock one more time!!). I am creative and "artsy" but I feel my passion is writing so I searched for writing groups on meetup.com. There was only one that seemed legit and I signed up in November, never to hear from them again until a month ago when a "Meet & Critique" on my side of town popped up. I quickly said OK.
The group was meeting at a Panera a few towns away. 7 PM. I left extra early from my house because I wanted to give myself ample time to get there (I hate being late to anything). I got there 20 minutes too early so I sat in my car until the song I was listening to ended on the radio. Then I had no more excuses to hang around in my car (in the freezing snow). It was time to go in and find my group. I had a serious case of first date jitters as if I were meeting a blind date for the first time after connecting on eHarmony.
I walked in and everyone with papers in hand or a backpack could have been a group member. Finally, a man at the counter orders and I hear his accent, British, and sneak what he is wearing, a black hat. That's him! The organizer of the group. I introduced myself to him after he got his drink and we found a table to set up. He told me he moved from England to Rochester 7 years ago to follow a failing relationship but he never found a reason to move back after the relationship ended. I asked him a few questions (because I ALWAYS ask questions): What do you do for a living (I get by on various jobs), what are you working on (several sci-fi novels, a fantasy book, some short stories, and a poem), and are you published (only in a few journals). His answers made me giddy...I understand him and he understands me.
Then a younger girl comes in. She puts on a pink wig and informs us of her writer alias. I can't stop smiling. I just feel so happy around people who are on the same wave-length. She over-shares immediately and tells us all the prescription meds she is on (I must say, compared to some of the writers, I am remarkably normal, heh heh). Then a retired woman comes in, a man who just got his PhD in cognitive science, and a few gals like me. Some people have been to a Meet & Critique before; most of us are new to the group. The girl with pink hair volunteered to read an except from her fantasy book. It had a lot of dialogue and I cringed. When she is done reading, she is proud and eager for us to tell her how much potential it has. I lamented...do I tell the truth or does this just become a session where we lavishly praise and give each writer an ego boost?
I told her: You could have said all of that in one paragraph. I chose the truth. I thought I was being kind but I could hear a pin drop. People seemed surprised I came out with a zinger. Then the retired woman read chapter one of her fiction novel. I really liked her page two. Then my turn and I also read my chapter one. I ask people to indulge me because it is longer than the allotted three pages. After I finished, someone commented how he didn't know my protagonist was an old man until page three. He said the voice and actions were feminine. Some people argued it was because I was a female reading the story. Then the doctor tells me the holes I may have in my story if I am writing about lucid dreaming. He gives me all sorts of good ideas and I am thankful for my good luck in sitting right next to him.
More people go: some of the girls just wanted to run story ideas by us, a lady had a cook book, the guys read their excepts. A few of them really stood out as good writers with compelling stories. I hope they complete what they set out to do. The rest I doubt will ever be published but it is still fun to compare notes with people who share the same passion.
I called my sister and dad right after the meeting. They wanted to know if I was the best or people thought this book will finally be the one I publish. I told them those things never came up, that the meeting wasn't about those things at all. The meeting was about sharing a bit of whatever we are working on with other people who find writing and story-telling interesting. This was just like the moms' groups I used to attend but instead of babies, we had our projects. But in way our projects are our babies and we still gushed and swapped advice; just no tantrums and breaking up fights. At least not yet. ;)
So will I go back? Definitely. The only downside is most of the writers are sci-fi or fantasy writers (sadly my least favorite genre). But I shall leave no stone unturned. If once a month I can dwell in stories and make-believe for a few hours with people who find it equally fascinating, then it is a win. Writers are a special breed; like I said, Girl with Pink Wig...I couldn't stop smiling.
Posted by Christine Wang at 3:42 PM
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
We're going to focus on food for a little bit because everything else is at a standstill here. Not much is going on in upstate NY except for lots of snow and more snow. I spend my days quietly at home being a good girl, taking care of my son, and writing a book that is taking forever to write. So here is a recipe for the only pasta sauce you will ever need. I am serious about this one. Learn to make the perfect red sauce and there will never be a reason to buy it from the jar again.
I am a sauce girl through and through. The more the merrier. Ever since my cross-country running days in high school (pasta feeds, anyone?), I've been making sauce from scratch. My red sauce back then was good but a few years ago I realized what I was missing to take this bad boy from good to great. Here we go!
|Chop up an onion and as many garlic cloves as you have patience for. Saute in lots of olive oil.|
|After the onion and garlic soften up (about five minutes), sprinkle some red pepper flakes into the pan.|
|Here is one of the secret ingredients: red wine.|
|I added upwards of half a cup into the pan. I let the alcohol cook off for a few minutes and then added the 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes.|
|I prepared a side of roasted squash and onions (this pic is pre-oven, of course).|
|This is what the finished sauce looks like. It is thick and slightly chunky. It is saucy. It is mmmmm.|
|And this is what the rest of my life is like right now. It's been quite an adventure, I tell ya!|
Posted by Christine Wang at 3:27 PM
Friday, January 17, 2014
I am the type of person that can eat the same food every day of the week. And I do: I cook a lot but in my household of three, we all have different taste buds so usually there are tons of leftovers for me to polish off in the next few days. Many years ago, when I was super obsessed with "perfect health" and really "clean" eating, I found a recipe for a raw oatmeal. Basically it is a chopped salad with hard fruit like apples, lots of nuts, and dried fruit like raisins. I am not sure if the recipe called for coconut milk or not (that may have been my addition) but after I tried this salad, I was totally hooked. I would prepare it every night so I could eat this first thing when I wake up. I went to bed early during those times just so I could wake up and eat my salad. I had/have problems.
Anyway, I forgot about my salad until last fall when we had an abundance of apples from apple picking. I made it and fell in love all over again. This is sort of like a Waldorf salad (which I don't like as much because I don't like the mayo in it--even though I usually like mayo) and I've been eating it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner this week. I can't get enough--try it!
My Favorite Salad
Chop up one large apple (organic!), two stalks of celery (organic!), and half a cup of walnuts. Add lots of raisins and mix together with 3-4 heaping tablespoons of coconut milk (from a can, the kind you would use to make curries). That's it! This makes a really large bowl but I can always finish it in one sitting. Enjoy and tell me this is not the best salad ever!
Posted by Christine Wang at 8:02 AM