E-Bay

My best friend made me do it. I’m putting all of the Colorful Cute inventory on eBay. Most likely, the store will never reopen. I’m kinda depressed but kinda excited because you know that money is necessary. Hopefully, I’ll make enough to cover the fees but whatever I don’t care anymore as long as that stuff gets out of here. So if you know someone who likes the cuteness, pass it on. My ebay user name is lavanotes.

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Don’t want to think

But I can't help it.

The same model as my townhouse two blocks away is asking $215K. Just a few houses down my street, with waterfront, they're asking $236K. We paid $250K. This is the part where the room spins, I feel like vomiting, and I want to just pass out.

Sometimes, you just can't win. No matter what you do, what you don't do, things are stacked way too high against you.

I can't for the life of me fathom what the future will be like. How will J and I survive as a couple under the stress we've been through for the past four years?

This is the myth of the man rolling the boulder up the mountain. I feel like I'm on the complete defensive with no way of staging a successful attack. Progress is just not in the cards.

I feel like I've done an injustice bringing two children into these circumstances so I try my best to make it up to them by playing with them and loving them and swearing to myself things will improve and I try so hard for them not to see the cracks in the foundation.

But of course there are cracks. And I've made some completely stupid decisions. I have to wonder if J has too and yet I think I know the answer is yes.

I can't decide if I'm too young for this kind of stress or just too old for this bullshit. Am I supposed to have my shit together yet? Did I rush things? Is the answer somewhere in the middle and if so that's just not comforting really.

I think I've officially reached the point where the two emotions I feel most often are anxiety and guilt, not necessarily in that order. I think I remember a time where I was content.

I don't do anything I love anymore. I don't have time. I don't have dreams. I don't bother with wishful thinking.

Colorful Cute is pretty much extinct. It's just a pile of stuff in the corner of my garage that I have to get the time to list on E-bay. Knitting has completely evaporated into a box of yarn that sits quietly in a corner. I have a great package of things for Andrea waiting for me to put it in a box, and to take it to the post office for her. I have lots of blank stationery waiting for words of greeting to be written across it. I have photos in envelopes and boxes. Empty scrapbooks. Empty baby books. A one year old without a single professional portrait. A humiliating bank account.

Guilt. Anxiety. Anxiety. Guilt.

Also numbness.

It's so easy to just not care at some point. Ever see Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood? Read the diary of Sylvia Plath? Seen the Pursuit of Happyness? For the first time, I am finding myself slightly understanding those women. The ones who abandon, who leave, who exit. The ones who resign. The ones who used to piss me off.

Ridiculous. Frustrating.

Time for a cocktail and bed.

Input and Other Things

So ok I don't know what's gotten into me but I've been cooking lately. Cooking for real and not just baking! Last night I made what is called picadillo. Picadillo is a Cuban cuisine staple. I mean it's just as essential to the cuban diet as Cuban Bread and flan and arroz con frijoles. So it's kinda nuts that growing up I didn't like it! Everyone else I know though pretty much loves it including my husband whose Dominican mother also makes picadillo. Well I was searching for crockpot recipes that used ground beef cause that's all we had and I found one for ground beef and rice that I cannot find anywhere now. Anyways, I looked at it and thought- that's fine I guess. J will like it at least. I have never liked ground beef. I have very few exceptions to this rule like SOME tacos, but for the most part ground beef is a no no for me even in things like lasagna and meat sauce. But I know J likes so whatever. And as I started the recipe I said, this sounds like American picadillo— i.e. picadillo but a lot plainer. So I reached into my genetic coding and did it my way and it came out amazing. Even I liked it! And my husband swooned. He listed it as the top picadillo he's had tied with his own (which I disagree with– mine is MUCH better). So anyways, here's what I did. If any of you get adventurous and want a Cuban night I'll add at the end what else I made for sides. And for the benefit of my fellow LiveJournal girls, everything is behind the cut! Also please click through because I need some opinions for a logo for my store!

You'll need:
Ground Beef (I used just under a pound and a half)
Minced Garlic (the more the merrier, I think I may have used at least a tablespoon)
One Onion Chopped
One Green Pepper Chopped
Potato Chopped (Optional)
Cooking Oil
Garlic Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper
One Can Diced Tomatoes (the ones I used had Garlic and Onion as well)
One Can Tomato Sauce
Raisins
Pimiento Stuffed Olives
Lime
Hot Sauce (Optional- my husband yes me no)

What You Do:
Ok let's get a frying pan on the oven, throw in your garlic, and heat them both. I've read this is the best way to heat garlic so it won't burn. I did this on medium high heat. When the garlic starts hissing ever so lightly, throw in the cooking oil (enough to coat the pan), your onions, and your green pepper. If you want to do the potato, this is when you do it too. I had no potato so I didn't bother. Get everything nice and going and then toss in your meat. Since this was a crockpot meal, my meat was frozen. So what I did was brown one side, flipped, scraped off the browned side and as much else off the top as I could while the bottom browned, flipped, repeat. I did this over and over until the brick was completely broken up into tiny pieces. This actually worked out great because picadillo is usually NOT chunky but really tiny little pieces. Of course thawed meat makes this process a lot easier on the arms and goes a lot faster. Once all the meat was browned so it wasn't pink, I threw everything into the crockpot right out of the pan. Whoosh! Then I liberally sprinkled garlic salt and ground some black pepper on there. Next, I dumped the can of tomatoes and tomato sauce on top. And then we added the ingredients that make picadillo Cuban- raisins and olives. How much you throw in is up to you. We love olives and raisins here so I threw in good thick handfuls. Also, a lot of recipes tell you to slice the olives. I don't think this works well. I like my olives whole. What I do though is I take my big wooden spoon and smash the crap out of a few olives while in the pot to really get the olive flavor out of them. Then you cover it all up and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.

If you can't tell by now, you can make picadillo in the pan just as well. As a matter of fact, I am pretty sure that of the three generations (grandma, mom, and me) I am the only one who has attempted picadillo in the crock pot. But if you ask me, something cooking in really flavorful juices for 4 to 6 hours is going to really taste amazing and I think that's why my picadillo came out so yum. So if you're in a time crunch, forget the crockpot and just cook it in a pan. Maybe cover it and let it sit while you make your rice.

Rice? Of course. I served this meal with a heaping pile of white rice and black beans (arroz con frijoles). I also served it with platanos maduros (ripe plantains) out of the box. And of course, thick chunks of Cuban Bread. And some slices of lime to sprinkle on the meat when served. By the way, picadillo makes EXCELLENT party food because it's so inexpensive. A pound goes a really long way, especially if you make a salad and sides. And of course the rice always helps. Some people just eat picadillo with plain white rice and others, my family included, some times eats it all mixed up with white and rice and an over easy egg scooped up with Cuban bread, Cuban Crackers, or Saltines. I was too excited about surprising Jay with dinner to take a picture. But I did take a picture of Cuban bread this morning while I made tostada out of it. Unfortunately the camera died before my tostada was finished. 😦 And while we're on it tostada is basically a giant piece of Cuban bread, that is placed in a frying pan that is coated in butter and flattened to death. The butter gets into the middle part because of you constantly flattening it. This works really well in a um plancha. What do you call that in English? A sandwich maker? Not sure. Anyhow, it's a traditional Cuban breakfast food and goes great with a cafe con leche (coffee and milk). You can do this with French Bread and get excellent results.

So there you go. But wait! There's more! Not food though, sorry! I was at my friends' house last night and was talking with one of them and next thing you know he threw together a logo for Colorful Cute for me! YAY!! I wanted your opinions. It's not perfect (the eyes for instance, are a little off) but I want to know what you guys think. I had the idea for a house because I want to sell mainly zakka goods and those are housewares. And by the way, if any of you fab artists out there want to try a logo for me, I have NO qualms about it. Go ahead! It'll be fun! My only requirement is that it's a house. It doesn't have to have a face either- that's just an option. So talk to me people! What do you think? Also, color ideas? Fonts? I'm really redesigning everything and you guys are amazing at this stuff.

Backseat Driver

BLEARGH. I have a really hard time getting started with these posts. So many things are going on in my head and heart and they all need to be sorted through. But where do you start and what is too much and how do I get through all of it without ending up with a carefully written analytical essay (an expertise with me, the English major) versus an honest flowing journal entry? I guess a good place would be with the current problem and by current I mean the one that has been poking at my poor conscious mind for the past few hours but has probably been making a meal out of my subconscious mind.

I remember when I was younger sitting in my father’s lap while he drove down a slow residential block. My hands would some times be on the steering well, strongly gripping it and supposedly going where I wanted to go. Other times, they’d be in my lap content with letting Dad do all the driving. And it was fine, even fun. But seriously, if I think about this situation now as an adult… things get weird. If I picture myself sitting in an adult’s lap and we both have access to the steering well I’m not sure I would feel completely content– especially if that person were much stronger than me for instance and so even though it would appear from the outside that I was driving the car, it would really be the very strong individual whose lap I’m on. I guess the fact that this would make me completely and totally uncomfortable and anxious shoves me into the Control Freak Compartment of your closest Personality Filing System.

I officially closed my store today. It’s not a permanent thing I promise you. I adore my store. My dream is so crystal clear in my head that it is impossible for me to not make it happen. I completely and totally understand my dream and my plans and what needs to happen. But there are other forces at play in this universe– those strong hands handling the steering wheel for instance. You see, not only do I have quite an issue with relinquishing Control of the things in my life I love, I also am quite the Perfectionist as well. I’m not sure if this is the result of me being an incredibly Proud person or if I am perhaps a Proud person because I have been a Perfectionist all of my life– chicken or the egg you see. Because I can’t get the dream even slightly close to perfect right now, it needs to go on pause.

Right now, those “other hands” seem quite intent on seeing two things happen to me. The first of these, chronologically at least, if for me to return to the world of the full-time working class most probably in some administrative position in some sort of highly professional office. As a way of minor explanation, the only thing in this world that would bring me back to the workforce while my children are not of school age is a dire financial situation. No I haven’t found anything yet, but I haven’t applied either. Yes, there seems to be several opportunities that would completely benefit from my skill set and are offering the financial compensation I am looking for. Yes, childcare has been taken into consideration and I am actually mostly confident that we have found a very good remedy for that. No, I haven’t discussed this with my boss yet. Yes, this has all happened very rapidly and very recently. No, my husband is not at all upset or disappointed but actually expressed a lot of excitement about the idea. So, there’s that.

The second thing is that these hands are also determined to drive me out of the city I grew up in, the city that holds my very large and wonderful support group, and the city I always thought I would want to leave but would never have to leave (for those of you who insist on believing otherwise, that is further proof that I am often quite wrong).  At the same time, these hands seem to not be in a mad rush to do this and seem more focused on making this sort of thing very slow. Every week, I am slapped with another reason that we simply must leave this city. The most recent of these has been facing the educational opportunites for my children dead-on and the outlook is very bleak indeed. And then I get the hand coming at me with a reason we can’t leave tomorrow. The most recent of these has been discovering houses for sale in my master planned community that are asking less than what we paid for ours.

I guess I have this habit that has resulted from my Control Freak/Perfectionist Personality which causes me to completely and totally avoid that which I cannot master. This system hardly ever works at all– except for when dealing with people (then it becomes highly effective). Things just rot and rot and rot and then I really have my work cut out for me. You name it, I’ve avoided it to the point of rot– debt, messes, mail, laundry, projects, my hair (ok not ROT for that one, more like straw), etc. I am always perfectly aware that ignoring it will just not make it go away no matter how incredibly hard I try, but I am forced to try anyways. I can’t help myself! So I am putting on my Tunnel Vision Glasses and slimming down on distractions. This way, I have no choice but to deal with the real issue(s). Really I think this is why I am two different people as far as personal vs professional. When I am working, you will simply not stop me from achieving my ends. There is entirely too much at stake in my mind every time. For some completely psychotic reason, I cannot attach this levity to my personal life. Work is work is work is work. That’s all there is too it. Get me in an office, give me a thousand different things that absolutely positively NEED to get done (in the next two hours even) and I will blow your socks off. Sit me at a desk and tell me to just you know, answer phones and whatever else or something and I just… yeah.

I guess it’s coming down to determining whether or not this whole thing is something that I do indeed need to wrestle control of or if this is the sort of thing that I need to just drop my hands into my lap and enjoy the ride for. I’ve done that before, I can do it again, it is just quite possibly one of the absolute hardest things for me to do.

Swap Swap Swap Swap

I’m back in the swapping swing of things! Really I think I’m getting back into the swing of things in general but it might be too soon to say really. So we’ll just talk about swaps! I have quite a few swaps I’d like to send out soon. Maybe Friday. There’s a private group Valentine’s Day swap which I’m pretty much all shopped for– I just need a couple of odds and ends. Then there’s a one on one swap with tvstar1that’s a kawaii pink and red swap. I’ve only gotten a couple of things for her but I’m really doing the shopping for that tonight. There’s also the Sweetpea swap for which I’ve been paired with Em  whose package I received in the mail TODAY! EEK! (I took pictures and will post soon!) I’m finishing that one up this week. And then there’s all the little mail I have that will be going out. For instance, a valentine for Theresa’s little one from my little one. Plus, a slew of storebought Valentines I’m sending out. Yes storebought. But wait until you SEE them. SO CUTE! I also have a birthday card to send and some thank you cards and a note. And I’ve just caught a glance of my sheet of stamps. That will simply not do! I need more stamps! I have this odd feeling that I’ve forgotten something. But just because I haven’t made a note of it here doesn’t mean I haven’t shopped for it. I just have to get my head sorted out. I have missed signing up for Coloriffic for the second month in a row! Shame on me!

In other completely unrelated news, I think I might close Colorful Cute for a little bit while I revamp it. I have a LOT to do and I keep getting sidetracked on orders and stuff. Plus it’s not busy enough to warrant staying open while I sort things out. I’m not closing forever, just until I get set up on Zen Cart (inventory has been a MAJOR issue for me) and I also really need to focus on wholesale. But I’m still stocking up and am planning a major grand re-opening. I haven’t officially closed yet but I will do that this week. Ok the kids are gone and so am I! Catch you all later.

Computer Day

I've spent a huge chunk of today with my buttcheeks firmly smooshed against this chair. And in a way I have learned that I am actually getting used to NOT being on here and that's nice. I wanted to get up and leave the computer so many times today. I usually want the opposite you know? But I couldn't. I had so much stuff for the store to take care of. The holiday rush ravaged my poor little store and I'm trying to pick up the pieces. My inventory is a disaster. I am trying to look into getting Zen Cart but I'm clueless about these things. Ooooh real time inventory how I NEED you so. My inventory is so bare it's embarrassing. So I'm checking stock on some new stuff. Yay new stuff. Lots of berries and apples and mushies. ^_^

I figured while working I'd also play around so I've put in a new layout and a new avatar and they mesh well together. J rented the first season of Weeds for us to watch after nearly a million or so people told us it was a must-see. We loved it. They are getting really good at television let me tell you. I only have two cons. One is easy one not so much. Let's do the easy one first and get it out of the way. Every man the main character (played by Mary Louise Parker) meets falls in love with her in a big way. It's laughable but also annoying.

My other con has to do with something that didn't even bother me until someone else mentioned it and it's not so much with the show just in general. I read the reviews on the DVD on Amazon and was shocked to find some people upset because Nancy (Mary Louise's character) buys her pot from what they call the stereotype which is in this show a black woman and her pregnant daughter. Now other than the fact they're black I thought it was really stupid to call it a stereotype. If it was a sleazy hustler type yes. A stupid gangsta type yes. But the fact is it's another single woman doing what she's doing. I actually thought it was kinda neat to have the parallels run like that. Whatever. What REALLY got me is how these different reviews all yapped on and on about the black stereotype and yet no one mentioned the Hispanic stereotypes that are in the show that are truly really stereotypes. Nancy's housekeeper is Hispanic, Lupita. And a rival dealer who later falls in love with her after a good hot romp in an alley and becomes her muscle is also Hispanic. Perfect. The (nosy) Hispanic housekeeper and the Latin Lover Dealer. Those are original. Completely. Really. *eyeroll* I haven't seen Season Two so I don't know if these characters develop at all but I highly doubt it. At least the black characters have interesting angles. I think so at least. I'm just sayin' if you're gonna knock one, knock all of them ok? I have to say that's one of the reasons I love the Gabrielle and Carlos partnership on Desperate Housewives. It's just not often Hispanics get cast in those roles– not on American TV at least. They get those roles on Univision and Telemundo ALL the time though =P

I'm off my box now. Just wanted to lay that out there. The show's great. Watch it. My favorite character, Celia (played by Elizabeth Perkins) knits at soccer games. Oh and in case you were wondering, this is absolutely positively not for children unless you're totally ok with them seeing softcore sex scenes and much consumption of drugs in which case, have fun.

I'd like to say thanks some more for the comments and emails you've all taken the time to write to me. You guys are so sweet. I got a lovely letterset from a swap and I have lots of stationery and I'm in a letter writing mood again so I think I might send some letters to some of you. I'm pretty much sure that this is definitely some form of mild depression and my guess is that it has to do with the hormones from nursing. I sort of went through this with Eldest but it was more when I weaned him off nursing at five months (I was on honeymoon and lost my milk). I guess since in that case the hormones went away it didn't last as long. I have lots of support from my family my friends and my husband most of all. So I think all will be well in the end.

Oh one last thing. I am leaving to Texas for vacation this Saturday. We will be in San Antonio for a couple of days and then we will be in Houston. We keep going back and forth on Houston but my gut tells me to just check it out. If anyone lives in either area and would like to tell me some places worth checking out, hit me up. Maybe you know some nice neighborhoods with good schools for instance. I actually have a family friend in San Antonio who's going to take us around but we're on our own in Houston. I hear Moshi Moshi Imports is in Houston so I might have to see if I can pop in. That'd be fun 🙂 Alright guys I'm going to get some rest. I'm exhausted. I'll talk to you soon ^_^

Let it be known

I have been up since 9 in the morning today. I have spent about 85% of the day working on the store's new shipment of stuff. I stopped to care for the children so my husband could shower. I paused to eat leftovers. I even took a bath. And this morning I wound up a ball of the yarn I'd dyed. Unfortunately I am only about 85% done. Which means I am incredibly frustrated because I just cannot go on any further. I had no idea it would take this long for some reason. I'd meant to share pictures with you of our Thanksgiving holiday, my Black Friday night at a CLUB, and the delights that made their way to Daughter's baptism. But alas, this has not been possible. Have I shown you the yarn I dyed yet? I can't remember but somehow I doubt it. And honestly? Don't count on it tomorrow either. See I'd really wanted everything done today because I have a gazillion things to do for my OTHER job since the December events are around the corner. I have a list of things to do and I'm starting to ITCH thinking about all of this chaos.

So I'm calling it quits. I REALLY want to finish but seriously I can't. My butt hurts, my fingers hurt, my eyes hurts, everything hurts. I'm just thinking of my bed which is being occupied by my husband who has a tendency to warm up to a really toasty temperature that's great for cuddling against. So I'll just throw up a couple of pictures to make you smile and I promise I will return. Hopefully soon and sane.