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Happy New Year :)

Sean and I didn’t do anything special tonight, although I did begin my new cooking schedule today. I’m using Leanne Ely’s Saving Dinner, which I learned about through FlyLady and which Mom bought for me for Christmas. Today’s dinner: skillet chicken with spinach. Since all the recipes in the book are intended to make six servings, I had to improvise a little. Mostly I divided the ingredients by three, but in some cases I added extra. It turned out very tasty. I also tried cooking a butternut squash, since Leanne is so keen on them, but it seemed like a lot of trouble for something that was only marginally special. I probably won’t make it again. (I didn’t let it cook long enough, but I’m not sure that would have made a significant difference.)

Shopping today for all the supplies was a little draining, both physically and financially. A lot of the stuff I bought I won’t need to buy again for awhile, so I’m hoping that the weekly costs will be significantly less than they were this time. Supposedly using this system will help us save money; we’ll have to see how it works out. For now, I’m just happy that I don’t have to stress out about what to make for dinner, and that I know what I’m making is fresh and healthy. The sheer amount of box, bag, and can dinners I’ve made this past year has been somewhat worrisome; I would buy produce and just leave it in the fridge until it rotted because I never had an intended purpose for it. Now I will be buying what I need for this week’s menu, which is great.

My lack of experience in menu-planning had interesting effects in the grocery store, too; I wasn’t quite sure where to find everything! I managed to stumble across most of the items through logic and luck, but I ended up calling Mom in Kentucky to ask her where she thought a jar of roasted peppers would be. She suggested that I look in the Mexican food, and sure enough, there it was. At least, I think what I bought was what I was supposed to buy. I suppose I’ll find out when I make the enchiladas!

So I finally finished my shopping, cart filled to the brim (my arm muscles were getting a mild workout just pushing the thing), packed up the car, headed home, and lugged the refrigerator/freezer items up immediately and put them away. Then I promptly fell into bed for a nap.

My boss had called me while I was in the store, and he called me again before the nap, so that I could update the restaurants on 2go-Box with their holiday hours for this week. I wouldn’t have to do this if the programmer had had more foresight, but them’s the breaks in a new business. You don’t know what you need until you’re in the thick of things, and then there’s no time to do the overhaul, so you just patch it here and there and hope it holds until you finally do have time.

I personally hope that they have time soon. There are many improvements that could be had that would streamline the process, not to mention make my life easier. It probably seems odd that I’m essentially annoyed that they have work for me to do, but that’s just how I am. When I see problems in a system in which I’m involved, I immediately start thinking of ways to fix them. It’s why my tenure at the AMRN has seen so many changes (with mixed results, I suppose, though I like to think that overall I improved the place…even if it does seem to be dying now).

So after I did part of the job he needed me to do because he hadn’t had time before he had to drive to Tallahassee, I konked out for a few hours. I finally got up after Sean got home from work and finished the rest of it, then brought in most of the rest of the groceries and made dinner. I am proud to say that the kitchen is now clean, even though it looked terrible several hours ago.

I’ve been reading the blog of an American who now lives with his Japanese wife near Tokyo. Over the nearly four years that he’s been there, his photography has improved immensely. He is thinking about making photography his livelihood; I really think he has the talent to do it, if he can find a large enough audience to buy his prints. (I may buy one myself, although I am sort of hesitant, as I’d like to hang prints of my own photography in the house, and I wouldn’t want people to think I had taken his pictures…maybe I could find a way to label them…but then, of course, my photos would be in competition with his…damned ego :>)

It really has me itching to go back to Japan, and not as a tourist. I want to settle in and get comfortable there again. My honeymoon was nice, but too short…by the time we were falling into a routine of sorts, it was time to leave. (Sean would argue that it was too long, and he’s right too. We let it get to the point of making the transition from visitor to inhabitant, then left before we could fully establish ourselves. It was a great trip, but I wouldn’t do it that way again.)

Of course, the next item on our agenda is not Japan, but Boston. Maybe. Sean is going to finalize his resume tomorrow and send it in the next day, and then we’ll see what happens. It’s too late for me to apply to Harvard for the 2004 school year, so I will have to wait and apply for 2005.

Harvard! Can you imagine?

I really think I can do it, though. And I want to. I want to teach myself how to succeed, and start doing it. Sooner rather than later.