Somewhere Ever After

traversing the road to the rest of my life

And again…

As I have been writing blog posts in my head for the last year (despite the lack of actual posting) I shall make no apology and instead, let my actions speak for me. Time to pour the words (and pictures!) from my head a spoonful at a time.


Let’s try this again

It’s been 4 years since I wandered away from blogging but I have been meaning to return to it! So… I shall. Part of me wants to delete the old posts and start fresh, but for the sake of memory, they shall remain. Moving on!


Where Have I Been?

Lately, it feels like “Where haven’t I been?”

Since the last post, I’ve been back and forth from Temecula about a billion times between family gatherings and a very mushy date for the end of work. I’ve been back and forth from the old apartment and the new apartment about 10 times as often, moving box after box (mostly filled with books). No photos yet. Trust me, you don’t want photos right now. I’ve been back and forth from the 15th century about a dozen times, and in and out of tents. I’ve been in and out of the doctor’s office both for scheduled check-ups and unexpected snafus (things are good though, so no worries.) I’ve been to Texas for a post-wedding reception and a visit with his family. I’ve been to the DMV to play what my mother and I have affectionately termed “bingo”–  G127 takes forever. I’ve been to and from CVS just about daily. I’ve been up and down stairs so much that I probably have my Pepperdine calves back (if I ever really lost them).

Things have finally slowed down a bit. I’ve finished with my old job, and though I will miss some of the clients and fellow tutors, I’m glad not to have to make the commute. I’m hoping to find something even better here. I’m taking it slow though– at least until I get the apartment looking… um… habitable. Thankfully, Koby just started a new job that more than makes up for what I’m not earning in the interim, so I don’t feel nearly so stressed about it.

I’ve also finished up the this year’s faire season. I’ll miss it, off course, but I’m definitely ready for a break, and I’m excited to plan for the next one.

With everything going on, I didn’t get much done in the apartment, but now I am chipping away at it bit by bit– unboxing and getting rid of unneeded things (including the empty boxes threatening to take over), finding homes for kitchen gadgets and bakeware, organizing haphazard piles of foodstuffs in the pantry, etc. When it gets to a “company ready” state, I’ll share pictures. Right now, it’s definitely NOT company ready.

I have also discovered a new hobby of sorts– coupon/bargain shopping. Although I’ve done a bit over the years,I’ve recently learned all the ins and outs and have saved quite a bit. Since I most definitely will not be posting photos just yet, I figure I’ll share some of my favorite discoveries in the upcoming weeks.

Until then, I’m off to take an epic journey through my to-do list. Sounds exciting, right?

P.S. I just remembered where I haven’t been: the Hyundai dealership. I’m about 3,000 miles overdue for an oil change. Guess what I get to do tomorrow?

Ineptitude, Thy Name is Cassandra (a.k.a. Valentines Fail)

I suppose I should start by saying that major gift giving holidays (birthdays, Christmas, and so forth) make me nervous. I am not good at giving gifts. The thought of giving someone a disappointing, duplicate, less-than-useful, or otherwise not-up-to-standard gift makes me squirm. Oh, to be sure, so far, I’ve always done amazingly. But there’s a little catch to that– it’s because I avoid gift-giving if at all possible, and when it’s not, I put a lot of effort into it, because, of course, I’m a perfectionist. That, and I’ve gotten really lucky where my husband is concerned. Eventually that luck is going to run out.

Valentines Day meant A LOT to me this year. In the four years we were dating, we’ve never had a real Valentines. I know it doesn’t seem like a couple could manage to skip it four times without trying, but it’s true.

Year 1: The relationship was a bit of a whirlwind at first, and neither of us were expecting it. We ended up stepping back into “just friends.” We weren’t very good at being “just friends” and were back together permanently a month or so later. However, in that period, we missed Valentines. Technically though, it was one of my favorite Valentines Days,  just because we spent the evening together– no candy or cards or candlelit dinners, because we weren’t actually dating, but it was a pleasant evening. Nonetheless, doesn’t count!

Year 2: He was in Thailand. That alone should suffice. However, I might add that he sent me roses, chocolates, and a small gift— WHILE IN THAILAND. Isn’t he amazing? Because he wasn’t 100% sure where he’d be at all points of the semester, I made a box of  letters, quotes, cards, song lyrics, comics, etc. for him to open daily. It was supposed to be a Christmas present, but I couldn’t finish it in time and had to mail it to him in Thailand. (Good thing he knew where he was starting at least). See? Bad at gifts. Anyhow, there were fun Valentines cards in there for him. No gift from me, because I fail. And most importantly– we definitely weren’t able to celebrate together that year.

Year 3: Koby was back in school, and I was at home. Valentines Day was on a weekend at least. However, my best friend’s birthday is on Valentines, and this year, she wanted a big Mario themed party, complete with crazy decor DIYed by us both for about a month in advance, and costumes (of course, I sewed hers and Koby’s). It was awesome. That was our Saturday. Fun, but not terribly romantic. And Sunday, February 14th? Well, Koby had to be back to school in time to get ready for class. We went to the really tiny Church of Christ congregation that’s a bit closer (35 minute drive rather than an hour) and ends earlier so he could get home right after.

Funny story– I attended there every summer for four years. That day, the elderly gentleman who was leading services announced, “We’re so happy to have Koby here, and his… bride-to-be.” He said the same thing three more times through the service. I ducked my head and covered my mouth, trying not to laugh. Obviously, he’d forgotten my name. Koby however, went bright red, and on top of that, thought I was crying. And (best part) one family is late every week, so here they scurry in on VALENTINES DAY to hear me announced as a “bride-to-be”– obviously some assumptions were made. They come up asking “When’s the big day?” and Koby can only reply “I didn’t know we were engaged!” Thankfully, everyone quickly figured out that Fred just made a mistake, but it tops the cake for funniest Valentines.

Year 4: I’m going to be honest guys– I don’t even remember this one very clearly. I was going through a rough time. I believe I went up to Pepperdine for the weekend, and we had a nice dinner and just enjoyed each other’s company. I also was probably vaguely hoping for a proposal, given a recent statement of “You’ll be mine sooner than you think.” No proposal though. (Turns out all the plans were in motion, just  not finalized yet. He proposed two months later). What I do know is that Valentines was officially during the week, so we didn’t spend it together.

Now we come to this year. This year I was really looking forward to celebrating because we would be able to spend it together, and because it would be our first Valentines as a married couple. And, just for added significance, it would be exactly one month after our wedding. I really wanted to plan a great Valentines Day. Unfortunately, reality set in. For one, I feel like things still haven’t slowed down. Therefore, it kinda snuck up on me. Next thing I knew, it was less than a week away, and I hadn’t done anything but buy a card– which I had hidden I knew not where. No gift ordered or even chosen. No plans. On top of that, a crazy busy weekend, followed by my long work day on monday. Not good.

By monday evening, I had a plan. While he was working, I’d try to get more of the apartment clean. I would cook him lunch and surprise him with it at work. I would buy him a new card, because I STILL couldn’t find the other one, and pick up some nice bath stuff we both liked. I would be waiting for him to get home, wearing something nice. And I would cook his favorite pork chops (in part because I was going to cook them the other day and schedule change prevented it. So… slightly less romantic than it sounds). I would make Chocolate Molten Cake for dessert. We could enjoy it while watching a romantic movie, perhaps Amelie? Not great, but at least it’s something.

So how did it go, you ask? Well, I overslept. Thus, I started lunch too late– the food processor sped things up, but just a little, because it was the first time I’d used it. I had to call and request that he delay lunch (there goes the surprise). AND I realized we had no tomatoes, so I had to stop and pick up some up. Except I didn’t bring a knife, so… I had to get grape tomatoes, which are not the same as diced tomatoes. As such, we had a few tomato mishaps, which were less than romantic. I picked up some of the puffy sugar cookies he liked at least. He claimed it turned out perfect because he’d started a test running just before I arrived and it wouldn’t be done for a long time. Still… surprise ruined, and lunch was an hour late. Fail. Cleaning fail too.

I had to get groceries too, so right after the late lunch I tried to accomplish that. First I wanted to pick up the bath goodies (because, obviously, groceries should never sit in the car during other errands.) I drove past two high schools at 2:30– never a good plan– to get to the quasi-mall area in our neighborhood. I checked the map and found that there was no Bath and Body Works. For awhile, I wandered about, bewildered. Then I remembered– Bath and Body Works is just across from the grocery store. So… I drove back (past one of the high schools again). By this point it was 2:50. Koby finishes work at 3:00. Waiting for him at home seemed unlikely. I tried to rush groceries, but that NEVER works. Between the coupon scavenger hunts and the general confusion of trying to find specific items when your brain is recalling other grocery store layouts, it took just as long as usual. I did manage to find some bath supplies though, and I ended up buying two cards for Koby because I couldn’t decide.

I walked out with all my groceries in reusable bags (for once) and as I was packing them in the car, I thought “Ok, now just for Bath and Body Works, and I can go home.” And then I realized I bought bath stuff from the grocery store already. Why? I don’t know. So… no Bath and Body Works.

When I got home, he was taking a nap. I managed to get all the groceries up the stairs and inside without disturbing him. I put each one in its place. I got a little cleaning done. I signed his cards, staged the bath supplies, and then gave up. I crawled in for a nap, at which point he finally did wake up. Since he was awake, we exchanged gifts. As mentioned, I got him the two cards (three, if you count the silly kids Valentine, four if you count the as yet still missing card I bought a few weeks ago) and grocery store bath supplies.

Real snazzy, huh? Here’s what he got me. This should look familiar to anyone who has browsed my “Kitchen of my Dreams” Pinterest board. Due to price, I wasn’t sure I’d EVER get this one.

Yes, it wasn’t wrapped, but that’s because it didn’t arrive until today. Are you seeing a little disparity here? A few folded pieces of paper and some flowery grocery store  bath stuff, versus a gorgeous teapot to match my kitchen. More fail.

After a relaxing few hours, I commenced to cook dinner. Now, I had learned from his birthday to keep it simple. Crispy Pork-Chops with Honey Garlic Sauce (the most difficult, but I’d done this before), grilled asparagus (pretty easy), and one other side– Rice Pilaf from a box (can’t get easier than that, right?) Surely I couldn’t mess up dinner? Ah, but you thought wrong. The kitchen was a royal mess when I finished, the asparagus was cold, and I had burned the rice. I messed up Rice-a-Roni guys. That puts my cooking skills about on par with Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Super fail. AND I forgot to put the orange cream sodas in the refrigerator, so those weren’t cold. (Apparently I put all the groceries away except those?) Dinner was not the romantic affair I envisioned.

As soon as I finished eating I rushed into the kitchen to make the Chocolate Molten Cake. I misread the “1/2 a stick of butter” and had to quickly drain some melted butter from the bowl before it mixed with the chocolate, but at least it wasn’t ruined. I tried to invert it onto a plate like it’s supposed to be served, but of all the times I made it, today it would not. He got to eat his out of the glass cup thingy (what is that called?) and I got to scrape the gooey part of mine back into the cup thing and eat it as such.  The plan was to eat it while watching a movie, but  as it was already 10:45 (definitely bedtime) that plan was not going to happen. We sat long enough to finish, and crawled into bed. Fail again.

After all that, as you can imagine, I felt like the scum of the earth. Here’s the amazing part: somehow, he was thrilled with it all. He’s been extra affectionate all week, and telling me how loved he feels. Go figure.

Boxes Here, Boxes There…

Boxes, boxes everywhere!

Let me clarify, though. This time, I was expecting a package. My family graciously bequeathed Koby with the old vacuum when they got a new one. It’s not great (by not great, I mean it will fall on your head if ever you try to use the hose features or stoop down for any reason, and the suction power is negligible at best) but “not  great” is better than nothing. We did appreciate it, certainly.

However, it was time to put those wedding funds to work. I even managed to find one rated fairly highly on consumer reports and yet super cheap. I could handle it looking vaguely like a Fisher-Price product if it works well and doesn’t cost much. Also, cheap means we can upgrade in a year or two if needed. Since Walmart lies, and doesn’t actually have it in stock, I had to order online. Thus, when I heard those distinctive thumps, I knew exactly what it was.

I didn’t rush to the door because A: I was washing dishes, B: I don’t actually like  interactions with strangers, and C: rushing to the door before he rang the doorbell would make it exceedingly awkward. So, I did what any rational person would do– I kept washing dishes, humming songs of feigned ignorance in my head. “Hum de dum de dum. I don’t hear anyone at my door…” When I heard his footsteps leading down the stairs, I frowned. He left my package there on the doorstep? A whole vacuum, and no courtesy doorbell? How rude! But I kept washing, because, hey, my hands are already wet and soapy, may as well finish, right? Not like anyone could come upstairs without me hearing anyhow.

Then I heard more steps. And more thumps. Still no doorbell. Hmm. Maybe one of the other things we ordered came early. And then more steps again, more thumps. By the time the doorbell rang, I was a bit confused. And by the time I dried my hands and opened the door, this is what I saw:

And shortly after, the delivery man came up the stairs with another box.

“Is this the last one?” I asked, a bit bewildered.

“Nope, there’s more.”


I started shoveling them in as quickly as possible, which was difficult, because, as you might remember, our apartment is still a complete shambles  a work in progress. After depositing the last one on the doorstep, he  turned to leave, saying “See you monday!”

“What, there’s more?”

“I don’t know,” he laughed* and left me to wrestle the remaining boxes inside.

I piled them all up near the couch, which was thankfully clear of debris due to the photos from the last post. Grand total: eight boxes. Apparently, EVERYTHING we ordered from JC Penny arrived earlier than we’d expected.

As you might imagine, it was entertaining waiting for Koby to notice the elephant giant pile of boxes in the room when he arrived home. “I left the unboxing for you.” (See, folks, I waited this time). His response was that I just wanted him to put everything together. No comment on that one.

Funny thing is, the three largest boxes were nested with smaller boxes within, so my earlier total was then updated to 17 (plus 3 empty boxes). SEVENTEEN boxes.

What was in those boxes? Well, for one, a vacuum, as expected. Also, a knife set with a wooden block. And… everything else from the corvella set (minus those things sadly out of stock that I WILL get later.) So… two sets of dishes, plus enough chargers for all of them, two serving trays, two treat stands, a cake stand, a baker (translation: fancy ceramic 9×13 pan) with stand, and a set of canisters. Most of it is staying in it’s box  because, as mentioned, we are moving in two months,** but it’s here!

Three things were opened however: vacuum, knives, and canisters. Vacuum was opened because the old one threatens to crack open our skulls, and because there are STILL pine needles in our carpet– in the flurry of wedding we just didn’t have time to clean up Christmas until just after the wedding when my mother and sister volunteered to help with that before borrowing my car (my mother’s decided to explode while we were up in the mountains, but me leaving for the honeymoon was convenient timing.) The tree was already fairly… crunchy at that point, and left a distinct trail. Sweeping the needles off the front landing was easy enough, but the old vacuum just pushed them around, and the dirt devil just sucked up the surface ones. As soon as I finish cleaning, we can vacuum. Yay! Look, here’s Koby putting it together.

The knives were opened because up until now, cutting has been a bit of a challenge with our current cutlery. I won them at a raffle/white elephant thingy that I don’t quite remember clearly– some party with my dad’s work– before I started college. Might have even been my father’s previous job. So… eight or nine years ago, and though they weren’t in use all that time, I used them a few years, then Koby used them a year or two, then they’ve been used here for the last year. And of course, they were cheap to begin with. See the difference? See the yucky rust spots on the old ones? So ready to be done with those!

Canisters were opened because we have been waiting a YEAR for these. I wouldn’t let Koby get ugly canisters when he moved into the apartment. I did some research and found a few I liked (but due to reviews, decided against) and one set I LOVED but couldn’t afford– these. There began my current obsession with the Corvella line (and all things similar.) For awhile, we were okay without– flour and sugar just stayed in the bags in the refrigerator. Koby and his roommate used them… approximately never. This last month though, I’ve used them frequently. I didn’t even have to ask if those could come out of the package. He started taking them out himself.

As for the rest, the boxes live in our living room for right now, much as they appeared in the photo. I will find (large) nooks and crannies in which to hide them until we move. Expect a post showing off my pretty kitchen post-move.

*I found out that night that Koby was expecting a package monday. (Further update since I wasn’t able to finish posting before work: Said package did not arrive, so the poor delivery-man was spared.)

**I know I just moved in, but Koby moved here last spring. The lease ends in April, so our search for a new home will commence soon. Our intention is to move closer to church. Yay!

Two Surprise Boxes and One Very Important Piece of Paper!

Tuesday, as I was cleaning the still very messy apartment, I heard the unmistakable thump of male feet on the stairs. The unit next to us is still vacant, it wasn’t lunchtime, and Koby had brought his lunch to work anyhow. That meant only one thing*– a package! Sure enough, another thump followed, and I opened the door to find a rather large box on our doormat and a uniformed figure retreating down the stairs with a wave.

In the previous months, packages had been coming right and left– first wedding decor/supplies, then Christmas gifts, then more wedding supplies, and even a few early wedding presents. Now though, we are almost a month past, and I hadn’t ordered anything. For a moment, I worried it was supposed to be a Valentines gift from Koby, but it had my maiden name on it– a sure sign of a wedding registry purchase. It also said “cheese tray.” NOW I was excited. It’s the CHEESE TRAY!!!!

Ok, I know, I’m a dork, getting all excited about the cheese tray, but have you seen my newest Pinterest board? (What, you thought I had forgotten about Pinterest? Yeah right!) “Kitchen of my Dreams!” It features many items from my registry, as well as  items newly added (post-wedding) because I can– we have some belated wedding party things in the works (thankfully, planned by people not us, because I am SOOOOO done with the planning thing. Like… forever.)

Initially, my kitchen was planned around the Corvella collection by Chris Madden, and from there, I found items that matched and filled in holes. Gorgeous cream colored ceramic-ware with scrolling cast aluminum detailing… all very pretty. Apparently, not so many of my guests even peeked at that particular list though. We had salt shakers, and one dinner set , and a couple gift cards. Everything else pertained to the other list.** That said, can you see why I was so excited? Also, it has a dome top. It’s essentially a small cake plate! Not only is it pretty, it’s my first purely decorative kitchen/dining item. This is a big deal.

Before I proceed, I have to tell you about one of the more interesting “get to know you” questions Koby has asked recently (he periodically comes up with these) He asked “Is the unboxing  important for you?” I had to have him explain what he meant– taking a gift out of it’s packaging– but it sparked an interesting discussion. Essentially, “unboxing” does little for me. In fact, with all those stupid twist-ties and clam shell plastic packages and styrofoam, it’s probably the worst part of a gift for me. (I do like unwrapping, but that’s a story for another day).

Despite my usual dislike of the aforementioned “unboxing,” I tore at that box like a 6 year old at Christmas. I could NOT wait until he got home. There it was, in all it’s glory, cast aluminum decorative piece, pretty ceramic tray (even prettier in person than in the picture) and a glass dome with a cast aluminum decorative knob thingy to match. And of course, styrofoam flecks clinging to it, because styrofoam is evil. But I didn’t even mind that, because it was MY cheese tray. Of course, it had to go back in it’s box, with it’s evil styrofoam, because we’re moving in mere months, but I took it out one more time today for a picture. I’ll get to that in a moment.

Another box came while I was gone. A little less dramatic, as I’d been at work the whole day. Koby and I decided we’d splurge on Chick-Fil-A rather than rush a less than satisfying meal after such a long day . I quickly sat down to rearrange my purse (which was full of work stuff that didn’t need to come with) and get ready to go. Since the table and both chairs had boxes, lamps, lunch bag, etc. occupying all available space, I just sat on the floor  in front of the accumulation of boxes, bags, books and such near the door (also yet to be cleaned– it’s been a long process.) I noticed an Amazon note, and then noticed it was one I hadn’t seen yet, then noticed the box it was on. Food processor! “Oh yeah, I meant to tell you about that.” Yet another very belated wedding present– and a good thing! I was getting ready to order it myself, as it would make one of our new favorite recipes MUCH easier.

So… yay!

Also, we FINALLY got our marriage certificate! More yay!! I can “officially” be rid of my maiden name, which sounds vaguely like I got something stuck in my throat– not very maidenly at all. My married name is much nicer. Not am I glad to have the certificate for it’s sentimental value. As much as I enjoyed seeing the signatures of all the people we care about verifying their presence at our wedding, I look forward to the doors this paper opens. It means we can start handling things like health insurance, bank account merging, new drivers licenses, etc. One more piece in it’s place.

Also– guess what? I’m holding it upside down. Because by the time I got the lighting right and was dashing around and such, I wasn’t paying attention. And now the lighting won’t cooperate. So… no one saw nothin,’ right?


*Technically, it could also mean maintenance, guests to look at the still vacant apartment, salespeople, or someone up to no good, but we’ll just ignore that.

** That is NOT to say that I wasn’t grateful for the things that we did receive, because I am, very much so. I am already using and enjoying many gifts, and planning uses for gift cards and such. I’m just pointing out that very little of that particular set was in my hands as of that point, and it was one of the things I most looked forward to,


And the Journey Begins…

All of you regular readers (meaning… maybe one person?) might have noticed a distinct lack of upcoming post promise fulfillment, not to mention a general deficiency in posting overall. Which is to say… yeah, I haven’t been around. Cut me some slack, people! I had a wedding to plan! (Not to mention holiday stuff taking over my life and making that whole wedding planning thing even worse.)

Long story short, we’re married, the honeymoon was great, almost everything I own is in his apartment, and at some point, we won’t live in fear of some government official declaring it unfit to live due to the unfortunate resemblance to disaster aftermath. I have at least found the carpet (in the living room, anyhow…)

Oh, and guess what! We’re even CPR and first aid certified. I know, totally romantic choice for our first free Saturday, right? But it might help me get a job, and he plans to help with Boy Scouts in the near-ish future, so he needed it too.

So NOW I am free to promise future posts! Really! (And the misadventures are already accruing, so stay tuned.) In the meantime, a little voyeurism provided by some of the Facebook paparazzi!

Birthday Dinner for Koby

Because nothing says “I love you” like making someone wait/help 5 hours to have dinner at midnight. Yeah… that didn’t go quite as I envisioned it.

This coming saturday is Koby’s birthday. However, beginning last night (wednesday) and running through sunday afternoon, our congregation is holding a meeting (for you non Church of Christ folks, that means we have a guest preacher in town, and services every evening and twice a day weekends. Good stuff). We will be busy saturday, especially as Koby has made himself invaluable as the resident techie. As such, we decided to allocate the previous saturday for birthday spoiling.

We had an excessively lazy morning (seems neither of us had gotten enough sleep during the week) followed by an excursion to a rumored tea shop in the mall a bit North. We sampled some really tasty teas, and though expensive, the tins of tea we took home will be enjoyed for awhile to come. The names are about as complicated as a Starbucks coffee order, so I will ramble on about tea another time. By the time we got home with groceries for dinner, it was 7:00. And… as mentioned, dinner took 5 hours.

Double Crispy Honey Garlic Pork

Post to come.

Oven-Fried Onion Rings

Post to come.

Sweet Potato Fries

Post to come.

Parmesian Crumbled Asparagus

Post to come.

Moroccan Carrots

Post to come.

Apple Dumplings

Post to come.

Chocolate Molten Cake

Post to come.

You see, given the opportunity to cook for him, I raided my Pinterest boards and came up with… well… a lot. One entree, two vegetables, two appetizers, and two (abandoned) desserts, to be exact. In my defense, I expected to do one of the desserts on a separate nights, and the other was just a variation on an old favorite. I know, pretty weak defense, huh?

So… immediately upon returning home, I dove into cooking. He helped quite a bit, and claimed to enjoy most of it (including the helping.) Most of the food was decent, and there were few mishaps and even a few serendipity moments. However, he did make a very wise observation as we ate our very late dinner.

“Maybe next time, only one appetizer, and one new recipe at a time.” Yeah, perhaps that would be best.

I’ll post accounts on the various recipes in the upcoming days.

Adventures in Prep of Pungent Foods.

As my current work schedule has me working a mere 3 hours a day, and that only during the prime selection for… you know… preparing dinner, doing my part to cook dinner once a week has been tricky as of late. I’ve come to the conclusion that I will be delving into crock pot meals.

Eventually I might share some favorite recipes as I find them (or fix some not-so-favorites). But that’s not what today is about. Today, I plan to share my experiences in the preparation process, with my ultimate nemisis, the onion, and his sidekick, garlic.

Oh, onions, how I loathe you.

Despite the fact that they taste (and smell) absolutely rancid when raw, I admit that they can add flavor to a dish (when cooked). I even like onion rings– granted, at that point, they consist more of “fried” than of “onion” but I’m trying to be nice here. The onion should take what compliments it can get.

You see, I have mild allergies. I say that, because it’s the only feasible explanation for why I am so affected by onions. The problem is, I can’t even cut up half an onion before I succumb to what I refer to as “onion blindness.” Because I don’t just tear up a little. That I could live with. My eyes burn and water so bad I literally cannot see and have no business handling a knife, and I have to wait 5 or 10 minutes before I can even attempt to be in the same room again. Not terribly efficient when you are trying to prepare food, and certainly not pleasant. More than once, I’ve considered getting one of these terribly awesome looking get-ups, but my wonderful husband-to-be prevented me from committing fashion suicide by promising to cut up all the onions when we are married (and this a few years back, well before he proposed. Isn’t he wonderful?)

Reality is, when we are married, I will have a food processor. If the registry gods are cruel and fate leads no one to bestow me with a food processor (if you are reading this, please, PLEASE, PLEASE buy me a food processor) I will sell my artwork on the street until I have enough nickels and quarters to buy it myself. Because onions are evil incarnate– at least, up until they are cooked, at which point, they are just tasty.

That said, this week’s recipe did indeed involve chopping an onion. Thankfully, my Pinterest obsession research led me to this: a guide on how to chop onions without wishing for an early death. They didn’t word it quite like that, but you get the gist. Some of the suggestions, such as chilling the onion, vinegar on the cutting board, and open flame nearby were more feasible than others, such as using sharper knifes (this makes me want to go find one of those cutco kids and order knives I can’t afford. Wedding gift anyone?). The author also describes her method for cutting onions.

Due to the sheer evil of onions, I wasn’t about to play around. I pulled out the big guns and tried ALL OF THE ABOVE, except of course, the sharp knife, because I’m not rich.

There’s the nasty bugger, chilling in the freezer.

There’s my open flame. This burns up the fumes, or some such like that.

Vinegar may smell bad, but not nearly as bad as onion. It’s supposed to neutralize the fumes.

Well, here it is, cut through the stem and root. Easier said than done– it was a bit of a battle, but in the end, I won. So far so good.

From here, I took the “work fast” approach and followed her methods as quickly as I could without chopping off fingers. I might need some practice getting the pieces a bit more uniform, but long story short, I got it completely chopped and my eyes were only beginning to water.  Just in case, though, I didn’t dally with photos until after it was safely contained.

My successfully chopped and bagged onion.

The verdict? I have no idea which of the four measures I took helped the most, but that doesn’t matter. From now on (until I have that food processor, anyhow) I will be using all of the above. And… realistically, even then I can still chill the onion before hand if I’m ambitious/prepared. That means the remaining days until my wedding (99 days left!!) I can cook without trembling in fear of onions.

Now what about garlic you may ask? Surely garlic is wonderful, amazing stuff, and the savior of most any savory dish? Well, yes. It IS tasty– again, when cooked. When raw, it tastes like onions. And it does affect me like onions on a smaller scale. However, that’s negligible unless I’m chopping massive amounts. The issue here is the smell left on my hands. Now, two days later, my fingers still smell like garlic. That, I don’t know how to avoid, even after the wedding when some wonderful person will have bestowed me with a garlic press and perhaps this neat little gadget. Because… I still have to peel the garlic, and just that is enough to imbue my fingertips with that *ahem* lovely fragrance.

However, my aforementioned research also turned up a little video with what seemed to be the perfect solution.

How to Peel a Head of Garlic in Less Than 10 Seconds from on Vimeo.

I watched eagerly, impressed both with his ninja-like garlic smash move and the mind-boggling simplicity of the peeling method. I armed myself with a clove of garlic and a couple of bowls, ready to tackle this thing. I smashed it onto the table, which yielded… well… nothing but a less than satisfactory thump. I tried a few times in fact, from multiple angles. Nothing. Maybe you need to be a big meaty man instead of a scrawny weakling like me to make it work?

Well, fine then. I yanked a couple cloves off (all I needed) and tossed them in the bowls, certain this part would work at least. I shook. And… I shook some more. And I shook until my little toothpick arms were tired of shaking. (You have to understand– I have no muscle in my arms, just a couple rubber bands in there to hold things together.) I don’t know if it’s because I don’t have fancy metal bowls, because I need to use more garlic for more friction, or because, again, I’m just weak, but for whatever reason, it didn’t work.

Still unpeeled. That little bit of papery skin was in there to begin with. Fail.

I rewatched the video a few times to make sure I hadn’t just missed something, and he only shakes for all of like… 8 seconds. Not sure where I went wrong. Sadly, I peeled it myself, and minced it and endured the smell in the days since.

So much for that. Anyone have a better solution for avoiding stinky garlic fingers?

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