Goodbye Life of a Spinster Aunt

I never imagined my wedding as a little girl.

My sister and I had bunkbeds as kids and it wasn’t rare that I’d fall asleep listening to her describe in painstaking detail every minute aspect of her shockingly purple wedding-to-be.

But that’s just it, I fell asleep. I wasn’t into wedding planning as an eight year old, even then I think they may have been some doubt because I don’t think I ever really thought I would get married. I just kind of assumed I’d grow too old and become a cat lady with no cats (cause I’m allergic) and just be a spinster aunt. I wasn’t even really disturbed by this reality, it just seemed like it was bound to be reality, it seemed natural.

I never really got particularly lonely as a child, I liked to read and play alone, and I was a little odd. We all know looking back we were a little odd but some people grow out of that. I don’t think I ever did, in fact I think I grew into it. I just kind of assumed that no one would want to put up with my weird and drama and pickiness and silly and I was okay with that, I didn’t think anyone had to. I’m a rather logical person; it seemed a rather logical conclusion.

And yet here I am, wedding planning. I’m still a little shocked sometimes that Ryan loves me, goodness, even likes me! I don’t even like me very much of the time! But then I wake up to a text, “Good morning beautiful” and I go to sleep to “I love you” and it’s this happy little surprise every time because somewhere inside I feel I can never expect it. I never expect to be loved and am often surprised to find that I’m liked. I am still not very good at being in touch with my emotions but I’m trying and the fact that someone could be so in touch with theirs as to consciously choose to spend some liking me, am I really worth it?

And please don’t think I say this so people can assure me that I am (in fact assurance has yet to have much affect and I’m 23) I simply say it because what I never expected, and assumed would never happen, has, and I picked out “The” white dress today and we’re picking venues and choosing colours and building up our wedding party squad and sometimes it’s like I’m in someone else’s dream because how could it possibly actually be mine? Where are the cats? Where is the spinster life? What is this love and acceptance and friendship and future?

It’s mine.

Advertisements

Twenty-Three

And so twenty-two is done. I am twenty-three.

Some people have asked me, what’s so bad about 23? Why the fuss? And I know, I know, I was drama queening a little bit, gotta make a fuss around birthdays you know! Adds to the fun! But 23 does feel different for some reason. Usually ages don’t feel like a big deal, at least I don’t find them a big deal, but this one felt different.

I always wanted to be twenty-two. I think I romanticized the age a bit. I was born on the twenty-second, 22 was my jersey number in basketball, twenty-two was my mum’s age when she got married. It seemed like it would be a big year, a special year! It was my champagne birthday after all! #22onthe22 (and I’ve realized I had no champagne all year, this is what happens when you don’t really like alcohol all that much…)

And it was a great year! I finally hit a rhythm and completed my second year of my degree instead of changing my degree again, a wonderful boyfriend came into the picture, I made new friends and had great times with old friends, there was a road trip to BC, adventures in Seattle… Twenty-two was a good year, I enjoyed it!

But see, seven year old Becky would disagree. Seven year old Becky would have graduated by now and would be a teacher. Seven year old Becky would have gotten married this year. Seven year old Becky would be very pleased that I actually have dyed my hair red. (six year old Becky would be quite pleased with that fact too…) So I’m sorry seven year old Becky, red hair is the only part of your plan that will ever come to pass because I’m no longer twenty-two, the goal age has passed. I cannot fulfill your dreams in the time you gave me, but no, no I won’t say sorry for that seven year old Becky, because sometimes some things need a bit more time. You see life isn’t all as quick and easy as dying your hair. Life is messy and doesn’t fit into molds very neatly. The future is unknown, it’s unplanned, and it’s very unlikely to be uneventful.

Now I get to be twenty-three.

Failure, the Monster of Fear

I want to design things.

I keep seeing videos or projects or posters or fonts that make me want to make stuff. I listen to songs that make me want to make things and everything is just beautiful and so well done and I want to be able to do that too, but I can’t.

I hate the learning process. Let me unpack that a bit… I like learning new things, but I like to learn them and be able to be good at them right away. Maybe I like to discover things. Discovering things usually means they’re ready to go, like discovering a talent for something! Learning things means having to not be very good at them at first. It means being able to see something I want to be able to make so perfectly in my minds eye, and not being able to recreate it.

Learning is frustrating, it’s hard, it’s discouraging, it’s frightening. What if what I desire to create is something I will never achieve? What if no matter how hard I work and study and learn, I’ll never develop the ability to truly do to the extent I desire?

This week I feel like I’ve seen so many things that spark that desire to create, but I haven’t created a thing because I’m scared to try and sure I’ll fail. People tell me otherwise and they say I’ll be great, or they say, that’s part of learning! but that doesn’t actually lessen the sting of failure. I’ve built up failure as a monster of a fear in my mind’s eye, I might only be looking at the shadow, failure could be a mouse in front of a candle’s flame, but that shadow on the wall is big and scary and I’m not sure I can face it just yet. I begin to wonder if I’ll ever be ready to face it.

 

These are some things that I loved the look and sound and feel of lately:

Tessa’s music video for her song “Dream”

Dodie’s song “Sick of Losing Soulmates” (heads up, contains swear words)

Episode 1 of Emily’s webseries “Cold” (everything Emily touches is so beautifully made, her Letters to July series are amazing)

 

I turn 23 at the end of this week. It sounds too grown up.

-B

A Beginner is Cooking: E is for Easy

Yesterday was not my favourite work day so today when I woke up I decided I needed comfort food. Typically that means soup and sandwiches, or perogies, one of my easy fix meals, but today I had to adapt it to involve cooking. I found a recipe for Chicken Caesar Pasta salad and chicken caesar salad is basically one of my favourite foods so adding in pasta just seemed destined to make it better!

Now I realize there’s minimal cooking involve in this recipe, I cook up some pasta which I then don’t even have to try to keep warm while I time the rest of the recipe, cook the chicken, which again doesn’t have to be cooked in time with the rest of the food as it too can cool, and make a salad. Now I may be speaking too soon but this seems like it should be a cake walk.

(This leads me to wonder where the phrase “cake walk” comes from? A google search has informed me that, “the American English term “cakewalk” was used as early as 1863 to indicate something that is very easy or effortless, although this metaphor may refer to the carnival game of the same name in referring to the fact that the latter’s winners obtain their prize by doing no more than walking around in a circle.” x)

This time when making a recipe involving parmesan cheese I checked to make sure we had it first, which we did, phew! In fact we had all the ingredients except baby tomatoes and I don’t even like tomatoes (I’m a picky eater about strange things, okay) so it worked out perfectly!

Once more I bravely strayed from the recipe (this is becoming a habit, my goodness!) I remembered that one of the commenters on the original recipe of last weeks Lemon Herb Chicken said that they liked to use leftovers on salad, a good idea! So I threw in some lemon juice while cooking the chicken like the recipe called for last time. Caesar salad is often served with a lemon slice on the side, it must be a thing!

IMG_1283

They say pride cometh before a fall (“they” originally being the Bible) and due to the clear simplicity of this recipe, I was bound to make a mistake. I didn’t read the recipe carefully enough and began sautéing the chicken, like was needed last week. Now I’m sure in the long run this wouldn’t have been a big deal, cooked is cooked, doesn’t really matter how, but the recipe said to grill and grilled chicken is definitely better looking on a salad! So I saved the chicken from the pan and threw together a grilling set up for it in the oven. This, however, meant I hadn’t preheated the oven, so it was a good thing that timing is all higgledy-piggledy for this recipe!

IMG_1281

In the meantime, I couldn’t screw up cutting lettuce and getting salad stuff ready so I did that, yo, at last, a task I can handle!

IMG_1282

IMG_1284

The chicken survived, I discovered that I don’t know how to make grill/char lines using an oven and was too hungry to bother figuring it out, and made mah salad. Comfort food to the max. I love this salad. This, this is a good salad.

IMG_1286

A Beginner is Cooking: D is for Definitely mostly Defrosted…

Today I decided to be bold. I am not making a one serve meal, there will be leftovers (intentional ones that is, as opposed to last time when I just got too full!). There could be waste. THERE IS MORE PRESSURE! No one but me has to eat these leftovers though so at least theres that. I don’t have to disappoint people!

No cooking happened last week, apologies, situation at work, had to pick up a shift on my day off, ran out of time etc, we move on!

There was meat in the house today, a good start! And I planned ahead enough to defrost said meat, so far things are going very well! I even found a recipe with the word simple in the name which bodes quite well for me overall. Today the mission is Simple Lemon Herb Chicken with couscous and some kind of frozen vegetable that I will choose at a later time… There! I’m incorporating vegetables even if I’m not reaaaaaaaally cooking them!

IMG_1259

So cooking! Mostly this involved putting herbs and lemon juice on the chicken (based on a similar, yet different recipe, I also put minced garlic in the pan with the oil at the beginning and added in rosemary along with the oregano. I am adding things in that are not on the recipe?! Whaaaaat? Getting bold…)

IMG_1260

At this point the amount of sizzling happening was starting to freak me out a little. I mean I know that means its actually cooking but in my mind it sets off sirens screaming BURNING! SPLATTERING OIL! NEAR EXPLOSIONS! etc, so it’s really a thrilling process allowing myself to nibble nervously on my nails and not interfere long enough for things to actually cook through! I flipped the chicken and we hit the time when ideally they should have been cooked through…

IMG_1261

Some of you seasoned chefs (bumdumtss) may have noticed I used the words “ideally” and “should have been” there… That’s right. I do thankfully know enough to cut the chicken through at its thickest point to see if its cooked through before serving up so when I did that this time round I was a little bummed to find that they were noooooooooooot cooked through. Thus I was faced with a conundrum. I didn’t know how long they’d take to cook through or if the outside would burn if I just continued to cook them as they were, so I took the other idea that presented itself and cut ’em in half (and then mauled ’em a bit more to make sure as much pink as possible was touching the pan).

IMG_1257

I had forgotten that in a review of the meal the cook mentioned pounding the meat to even the width or something, which is something I love doing! and I forgot it! So sad… I also maaay not have been patient enough to let it all fuuuuuully defrost (but I think it was definitely mostly defrosted). Anyway, at this point I had made couscous and green beans so they were ready to go and after being fully confident that the chicken was thoroughly cooked (don’t worry, it may have ultimately been overcooked but I was taking no chances!) I plated up a full meal for mahself.

FullSizeRender (1)

It looked good, it smelt good, and dang it, it tasted good! It was quite lemony but the couscous balanced it out nicely or something and I was one happy camper! What with this and tuna casserole I can now provide meals for two days in succession, I’m basically building up a repertoire! (Warning: high levels of sarcasm have been found in this use of the word “repertoire”)

So there we go, I am no longer a useless college-aged student living for free in my parents’ basement. Now, I can cook two decent tasting meals.

A Beginner is Cooking: C is for Casserole

I may have to start buying my own meat. Relying on what is in the house is proving to be a severe handicap in learning to cook unless I want to go vegetarian in which case we need some tofu or squashes or avocado (I greatly dislike avocado by the way, why is it in every recipe these days?) The issue this provides is that I’m not really sure that I’m willing to invest money into this hobby that I’m not particularly enjoying. I mean I understand that eating isn’t a hobby, but cooking my own menu of things is when I could just eat soup of sandwiches. Once living away from home I do the shopping and choose the ingredients, I don’t really have that freedom at home for the most part unless I want to super clearly label all my stuff and hide it in the fridge.

After struggling to find a recipe that we had ingredients for I managed to dig up a recipe for a tuna casserole for one. Now I rather like “for one” recipes because it means less math for me! Some things are surprisingly difficult to half or quarter! Ingredients present, I cook. Today we shall use both the stove top and the oven, I venture further into the world of the kitchen…

They say the third time is the charm. Now maybe it was getting more comfortable in the kitchen, maybe it’s because at last I found a beginner recipe that actually even had seasonings as a part of the recipe, or maybe it was sheer dumb luck, but folks, this tasted good. My only critique is that it was actually quite large for a single serving but that’s part of what this cooking experience is about, learning to eat proper amounts, still wasn’t able to finish it though, but eh! Leftovers are also a part of cooking right?

When they say "lightly golden" I take it very seriously. Browning is not golden...

When they say “lightly golden” I take it very seriously. Browning is not golden…

This was surprisingly easy to make, I even chopped and cooked onions without crying! (thank you to who ever taught me the mint gum trick!) It had multiple parts to be combined at the end but unlike the last recipe they weren’t all being made at the same time, they happened one at a time and sat and waited once they were finished until the others were done, it was just the way a recipe should be. Next time (and there will be a next time for this one) I would mix up more bread crumbs, in my opinion there weren’t enough but that’s probably more of a personal thing that a recipe critique 😛

IMG_1224

I have discovered however that most of the food I’ve made has been rather monochrome, perhaps its time to venture to multi part dishes, to sides, to, dare I say it? Vegetables…