making myself at home

Ladies and gentlemen… I have cooked dinner three times this week.

Technically, I should have cooked dinner every night, but I gave myself a few passes along the way:

  • the night I worked all the way up until we went to see The Presidents of the United States of America at the Crystal Ballroom;
  • the night I took my monthly giant dose of prednisone;
  • the two nights I went to meetings after work and didn’t get home until bedtime.

Regardless of these excused absences, however, I’ve been cooking. You should be properly impressed.

You see, I don’t cook. I know how to follow a recipe, but I have very little confidence that a meal I prepare will a) be edible, b) be ready at some certain time, or c) not burn to a crisp. (I think everyone I know in real life has been treated to the spectacle of me burning tortillas by forgetting they are in the oven.)

Needless to say, this past state of affairs was not good for me or for my family. I believe in healthy eating. I believe in having dinner together as a family. Heck, I even believe in cooking: I subscribe to cooking magazines, purchase cooking implements, and buy food for meals I am ostensibly going to prepare. Instead, the food either goes to waste or gets put to use in my default meal-preparation mode: assembly.

I can definitely assemble a meal when I need to. Assembled meals are those where you prepare individual ingredients and then put them together on the plate or in layers. Easy-peasy lemon squeezy stuff: Tacos. Burritos. Spaghetti.

I can also make single dishes. I can wrap salmon in a foil packet with lemon and herbs and bake it. I can grill or steam vegetables. I can make noodles or rice or potatoes. But as I said, they are never ready at the same time, and I am never sure they will turn out well.

For Lent, I have decided to cook dinner every night most nights. I know, I know – one is supposed to give something up for Lent. Don’t worry; I am. I am giving up my fear of cooking failure. I’ll go into the kitchen every night and cook a meal.  If it turns out well, I’ll be thrilled. If not… well, I will still be facing my fear and slowly making myself more at home in the kitchen.

Heck, I may feel comfortable cooking by the time I’m 50! Good job, me!

we painted the house!

house colorMost of our neighborhood probably thought we were Peeping Toms as we cruised slowly by, peering at their homes, over the course of months. We simply could not decide on a paint color for our house, and we needed to check out every house we found attractive and analyze what we liked about it.

This was no easy feat. David liked houses with dark trim; I did not. Quinland was angling for some shade of blue; I’d always sworn I wouldn’t live in a blue house. (There really weren’t any blue houses where I grew up.) I wanted green, but I didn’t know what shade of green I liked.

Our painter was a saint through this indecision. He would send me addresses of houses to go see that he thought I might like. (I never did like them.) He encouraged me to get paint samples and try them on the house. (I never did get them.) Finally, when he saw a dry week on the horizon, he let me know that he’d be sending his crew over to get started on prep, so could I please let him know what I’d decided so he could order the paint?

At this point, my lovely daughter stepped in. She knew we all liked the color of a house on our cul-de-sac, so on our way home from an unsuccessful scouting mission, she pointed to it and said, “Why don’t we just paint it that color?” I parked the car, knocked on the door, and was greeted by my lovely neighbor, Michelle, who not only knew what color her house was, but had saved an extra paint chip or two in a neatly-labeled file.

Pinedale. Our house is now painted a lovely shade called Pinedale, with white trim and a black door. We love it. We can’t believe we lived in a bland beige house for eight years. Best of all, because of the curve of our street and the large trees outside, you can’t even tell that there is another Pinedale house just four houses down.

How about you? Have you painted anything lately? Is there a house color you just can’t see, or one you absolutely love? Do you have a family member who is a bit better at decision making than you? (Love you, Q!)

Get Started… Go!

Lighten Up!  is now Get Started… Go!

The new blog will reflect what I hope to see more of in my life: a little less introspection and a little more action; a little less philosophy and a little more whimsy; a little less beating myself up and a little more celebrating my successes. I also hope that I’ll be a little less long-winded and a little more succinct!

Want to know more? I give a longer backstory of the whole name-change extravaganza over here.

Welcome to everyone who journeyed over here from the old blog, and welcome to anyone who joins us here!