The Green Fan

One apartment. Five roommates. Countless stories.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

BAM!! Cooking With Sheila

More excerpts from letters from Sheila (newly married) to Sherry (engaged and living in Papua New Guinea):

I'll have to give you all my good recepies. Recepies--ha! More like TRICKS in the kitchen. Here's a few--so you can practice, ya know.

RICE--of course, you must get a rice cooker. It's essential. Makes perfect rice and all you do is plug the thing in. Then you serve it with any meat thing for a "cooked" meal.

No mention of fruits or vegetables here. I'm hoping your idea of a balanced meal has evolved a little over the years.

CHICKEN--always keep some in the old freezer. I buy those quart freezer bags, and freeze them in two-serving portions. Then you pop those in the oven and leave 'em til they are cooked! Dunk it in egg and breadcrumbs for crunchy breaded chicken. Cover it with some BBQ sauce. Put some potatoes and carrots in there. You can do almost anything with chicken!

The enthusiasm is really running high here.

Here's a good thing--CASSEROLES! Put some uncooked rice and raw chicken in a dish. Cover it with cream of anything soup and a bunch of water. Cover and cook at 350 for about 1/2 hour or until the rice is all tender. Serve! (Perfect for those "I didn't think you could cook" comebacks)

I'm loving your simplicity here.

And now, two more essential tips to close us out:

BARBEQUE--so you don't have to cook! Guys love the fact that girls can't do charcoal (and if you can, LIE!).

And finally, always keep a box of instant chocolate pudding on hand. Makes up in five minutes, and IT MAKES FOUR SERVINGS!!! Dessert for two nights--yes!

Believe it or not, Sheila, I actually needed to hear some of these tips again. Sometimes cooking for my family seems like such a daunting task, and it was good to be reminded again of just how easy it can be, if some basic supplies are on hand.

You were totally ahead of your time here, when you wrote this. You sound like a transcript of a cooking for dummies show on the Food Network. How many exclamation points did you manage to work in there? I'm thinking at least two per paragraph--and the funniest thing is, I formatted the paragraphs myself here. The way you wrote it, it was all one big paragraph, no formatting, just a huge jumble of run-on thoughts about cooking. The original letter reads about a hundred miles an hour.

I love it.

Thanks for writing to me while I was overseas, Sheila. Those letters went a long way for a lonely, completely overwhelmed girl, adjusting to a new and incredibly dangerous environment (give me inner city L.A. any day) and a new language (which we were given two weeks to learn), in addition to student teaching (fortunately, I could teach in English), working under three different master teachers from three different countries (none from the U.S.), no textbooks and a very small library, teaching subjects I'd never even studied (Modern Chinese History??), and brooding with the insecurity of not knowing if the ring on my finger would still mean anything when I got home. Yes, it was a great experience, and I am grateful to have had it, but it was very difficult, too. These letters were a welcome diversion.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Letters From Sheila

Both of us had just graduated from Biola. Sheila moved out and got married. I moved out and flew to Papaua New Guinea to student teach for a term at an international school there. So technically, this post doesn't come from within the apartment, but it's close enough.

Here are some excerpts from letters I received in PNG from my former roomie, Sheila.

"Stuart and I are doing just fine. Marriage is fun, takes a little adjusting but on the whole greatly pleasureable. Sex is --CENSORED!!! CANNOT REVEAL SEXUAL INFORMATION UNTIL PRE-NUPTUAL SEX TALK!!!-- I'm working at the post office still, and it's ok..."

My poor mother. She so wanted to be the one to give that talk, I think.

"Don't worry about this until you get back, K? But I wanted to let you know it's out there.
Sherry's Amount = $4.45
Charged for phone call to Washington DC 202-745-3680 - May 20 - 9:28 am
(I figured this was you about your passport)"

I don't recall ever paying this. Should I still send you that check, She? I love that you specified first and last name of who I should make the check out to. I think you just liked seeing your married name in print.

"I'm glad you like the K-Y Jelly ad and are putting it to memory. I can personally recommend the product. (Although I must admit we haven't had a need for it in a while!) (No, not because we aren't having sex. Because we don't need to...well, I'll explain later.)..."

I think I'm clear on this topic now.

I can't believe you clipped that ad from a magazine and mailed it to me. Getting mail was a rare and special event for all of us over there, and people would actually swarm around the person who received a personal letter at the post office. I learned quickly not to open your letters until I had walked the long mile to my flat, however, because I never knew what might fall out of the envelope--LIKE AN ADVERTISEMENT FOR K-Y JELLY!

"Marriage is so much fun. For the first few weeks, Stuart kept telling people, "It's fun; you should try it." The only bummer is that life really slows down, and you realize that you have been spending all your energy to be with this person that you are now with without any effort at all. Let me clarify: we were watching TV, and I kept thinking, Gee (thoughts are in italix [sic]) it seems I don't do very much anymore. I am finally getting all my sleep! Hmm, what did I do before marriage that took so much time? Oh, I know. Calling Stu, driving to see Stu, planning what to do with Stu, driving home from seeing Stu. Now I just am with him all the time. Kinda neat...So I figured it out. THIS is why women do crafts. It's because they have all this energy that they used to exert on getting a man, dating a man, etc. Now, you just have to keep your man, and while it takes much more patience than I can muster, it takes less energy..."

Brilliant deduction.

"Say hi to your roommate for me--she sounds like fun. Tell her to take care of you--like make sure you SLEEP at least 5 hrs. a night and EAT once or twice a day! I hope she doesn't think I'm some sort of sex-crazed maniac. Albeit true, still I hope she doesn't think of me that way..."

My roommate, Brenda, enjoyed these letters as much as I did. We shared mail, of course, so it felt like we each got more.

Still to come: Sheila's New Marriage Cooking Tips.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

New Post Ideas

Yes, we have neglected this blog badly. Sorry, fans. (Get it?) So in an effort to save The Green Fan, this is a post dedicated to ideas for more posts.

~ Letters from Sheila (ooh, is that too scary? I don't remember what I wrote!)
~ Pictures from the scary apartment
~ K - do you want to join our list? Let me know! Then you can add stuff too.
~ Engagement stories
~ Wedding planning stories
~ More about Lois (ahh, the legendary Lois!)
~ People who visited us in the scary apartment
~ The Bathroom of Despair
~ Tips for Cheap Eating
~ Top Ten Things: Tuna! (isn't it the cheapest protein you can buy?)
~ Mary Beth's Bread Machine
~ Suggestions to Poor College Girls Who Decide to Live Together

Ok, I'm out. Comments, people! More ideas! Save the fan!

Monday, October 03, 2005

A Place of Our Own

I remember when we first moved into the apartment. We had so little furniture, but we were so happy to be off campus and in an apartment that we didn't care. I can recall an odd assortment of lawn chairs--the low kind, sand chairs--in the living room at first and maybe a kitchen table with a few chrome chairs in the dining room. No beds. Before very long, someone gave us a lumpy, ugly couch and it became the coveted sleeping spot. It was first come, first served, since no one person could totally lay claim to it.

I remember being out on dates with Andy and having to make the tough call:

Should I say yes to going out for coffee, even though it is already late, or try to rush home and hope I'm in time to get the couch instead of the floor? But what if I do rush home and one of the other girls thought the same thing and beats me home? Then I'll miss out on coffee and conversation late into the night for nothing--same old hard floor as always.

Eventually, we added at least one other ugly sofa--there may have even been a total of three. Also, I rounded up a bed somewhere--I think my merciful little brother gave me one of the bunks from his bunkbed set. Sheila had the most pathetic sofa sleeper thing that she used all year--not actually a sofa--just an overstuffed chair that folded out into a sort of twin bed. Karleen must have had some sort of bed eventually. In contrast, Mary Beth had a nicely appointed bedroom with coordinating accessories and decor on the walls, I think. Brenda had...well, I have no idea. I don't know if I ever went in there when it was occupied by either her or her replacement roommate, Lois.

It never was a pretty apartment, but we invited people over just the same. I wonder what they thought of our little pit? Remember how we even had that big Christmas party and everything? What were we thinking, bringing people into that place? They were all so polite, as I recall. What we lacked in decor, we made up for in fun, perhaps.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Math Geeks

I realize that I alluded to our infamous math study sessions, but I never wrote about them. As I've mentioned before, Karleen and I were math majors. We had our last semester of coursework in the fall, and we did our student teaching in the spring. (At Artesia High, hence the link on the side) We had this particularly scary class called "Analysis: with an introduction to proof". It was an upper division math class that we only partly understood. So, Thursday nights would usually find us either catching up on homework, which was due Friday, or studying for a test, which were on Fridays. Also, Beverly Hills 90210 was on that night, so there was no use in going out, because we HAD to watch that. Although we did sometimes venture out to DQ, only fifteen minutes before the show, to make a run for some blizzards. Scary car rides, those were. Three twenty-one year olds crammed in the front seat of a large large car, taking the corners way too fast and laughing all the way. But I digress.

So Karleen and I would take over the kitchen table, and we'd invite Bill Born over to study with us. Why do I remember we made jello one night? I don't know, but we did. Must have study food, you know. We'd force poor Bill to stop working and watch our show with us, and then we'd be all seriousness. I'm sure that math this scary sent our poor roommates into the bedrooms to hide, but I don't really remember. I know they were there for the show, and for the food, and to occasionaly look over our shoulders and pity us. It was pretty sad. So we would work, we'd make notes, we'd explain stuff to each other, we'd quiz each other. Then, somewhere around 11:00 pm, I'd start to figure out how low my test score could be and still make a B in the class. This would make everyone really mad, but I knew this about me: I will do better with more sleep and less studying than the other way around. I just do. So I'd make my apologies about being a lightweight, and Bill and Karleen would work into the wee hours of the night. I'd go back to the bedroom and climb into my very uncomfortable hide-away single bed (it was pretty cool - a hide-a-bed chair - but it was open to the bed that entire year, never closed to the chair) and the loud green fan would lull me to sleep.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


Countless stories? Probably, but it seems we can't remember all of them.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Feet, swimming pools, & ice cream

Karleen and I used to go get ice cream, and then go to the swimming pool and put our feet in and eat ice cream in the moonlight. This was so much fun. I don't think we ever swam in the pool at our apartment complex, but we soaked our feet. Last night, I soaked my feet with Samuel and fed him Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey ice cream. I had a flashback - BIG TIME - and it occured to me that I was doing the same thing, but with a different roommate. Then he got me with the squirtgun, and good memory time was over.