While in the private bathroom stalls at our office (so, no worries, no one even knew I was in there) a lady was telling another lady that Easter this year is the earliest it will ever be in our lifetime. I dont know the math or science behind it but I know lent has to do with the lunar calendar and so for some reason the moon has detrmined that Easter is especially early this year. It is really early though...dont you think? My mom always like to put out Easter egg trees and decorations and I love those little cadberry milk chocolate eggs - not the ones with goo in the middle but the milk chocolate ones. Neither of these desires can really be acted on too soon this year because of the unusual early date. That's all I got. Thought it was neat. The things you over hear in a bathroom stall........profound.
And they are producing the opposite effects, simultaneously.
*First, I have unzipped the back of my cute brown-Audrey Hepburn type dress to allow my rib cage to expand. I have gotten out of my chair every ten minutes to stand up and let my diaphragm lengthen. I have counted to ten. I have thought or attempted to think the loveliest of thougts. I've tried to forget about the trauma my lungs have began experiencing over the last 24 hours because I hear if you don't focus on whatever is afflicting you - it will go away. I would steal your inhaler from you if I knew it were in your purse. I dont know where else to turn. I can not seem to catch my breath today. For any of the Terrace girls or my mother you know this predicament frequents my breathing patterns about twice a year. You know, too, why it happens. Supposedly I do too but every single time without fail I explain to yall my complicataions and ask for you to go along with my self-diagnosed growing asthma problems. But in the back of my mind the real diagnosis at hand lurks. It is this terrible, nasty little booger of a word - ANXIETY. And usually it comes about right when I would tell you I am least anxious. And like normal, I couldnt even begin to tell you what I am anxious over. I actually really believe that I am immune to anxiety. For real. ***Disclaimer: Brad, when you read this remember you have a ring on your finger and you are stuck.
Anyway, I can't tell you exactly the culprit for this current bout of anxiety. I could lead you in some gerneral direction but I surely thought I had those (anxiety drinving)thoughts in check. But....Just when things seem to be at peace my body freaks out on me and reminds me that nothing is ever truly at peace. My head is always churning little ideas or a sweet note to write to someone or a dream that I would like to start dreaming about one day or a way to be a better wife or find joy in my career.... Always churning....never stopping. Here is a post from about this time two years ago. In a way I am comforted because I don't feel crazy....yhis has happened before. Truly there are two times a year - Usually September and March that my airways become obstructed and I go into maintnance mode meaning I just have to try to get the air I can and hold on to it with all my life because as soon as it starts to go I have to do all these silly things to just try to breathe normal again. Someone out there has to have some expertise on this. Maybe I am allergic to the change of seasons. Or maybe that's just it - I am allergic to change altogether and when my body knows it's coming or it knows change is vitally needed...it starts to do weird, abnormal, obstructive things. Things I dont like. I'm going to leave it there. I am allergic to change and change is coming. I hope...
*On other notes, I received the grandest surprise in my mailbox yesterday. Except I dont actually have a mailbox anymore thanks to condo-living. I only say this because you know how much I love mail and love personal mail in my mailbox. I love even the act of going to the mailbox. I wont lie - I like to get the mail first. And yes, sometimes I stole the toy out of the cereal box before my brothers got to it. Call it oldest-child syndrome or whatever you wish but personally I think it is a grand thing (egocentricity probably is right there under the syndrome description as well.) I also used to love greeting Millie, the mail lady, when I lived at the Terrace. She was annoyed by us because we always had a car parked right in front of the mailbox but I think she loved to hate us...you know? Secretly she admired the fun house that we seemed to live in and she sort of liked that she had to remind us to move our cars....gave her purpose and authoirty and we all like that. Anyway, we got home from small group lastnight and we had a hard square shaped envelope addressed to both of us. I wasnt expecting any hard-square shaped letter that I recall so naturally, I was giddy just to know what the mail-stork had left us. I certainly didnt expect what I was about to open either.
Digress to the wedding 4 months prior. Intimately planned ceremony....a few of my favorite friends playing the music that was very personal to both of us. Day goes by quickly. I barely remember the flavor of my cake and much less what the ceremony sounded like. Foward 4 months. Yes, it took more than 4 months to get the video from our videographer. That's a whole nother story. Needless, we watch it to try for once to really get a feel for that day. We get to the communion part of the ceremony and the audio was muted!!!!!!!!! For real. I have been so sad over this the last few weeks. The song we chose is very dear to me and more so, my roommate and sweet friend, Kat, and two of my other friends worked so hard to make everything sound perfect. All I remember about the 4 minutes is that there was a bee near Brad's ear and I couldnt hear a thing because we were both sobbing at the warmth and comfort we felt in that moment. Nonetheless, it is not there. Not any part of the video. I had concluded that I would never be able to relive those precious moments ever again (note: drama added for effect. PS - affect or effect? I need help!) Rewind to lastnight where I discover that our videographer )who we were sort of at odds with) had sent a cd of the 4 plus minutes of audio during communion. You have no idea.....I listened to this maybe 7 times lastnight and had to make myself stop so I wouldnt tire of it before I got to blare it in my car on the way to work this morning. Then throughout the day today I have snuck out to listen to it in my car. It makes me breathe normal again. No drama added here, this surprise has truly changed my attitude today. It is so powerful to hear the slightly muffled song in the background and the whisper of Brad's sincere voice piping through the mic. The original problem is that the 3 mics all interfered with eachother and the song wasnt clear. But it couldnt be more perfect. Now I have the faint sound of my friends harmonizing perfectly in the background of such thoughtful and touching words by both Brad and Gary, the pastor. Exhale.........I haven't experienced anything more soothing in a long time. How sweet, too, to be reminded in the midst of the turmoil in my head that God saught us out and we are living right in the middle of His good and perfect will...no matter how much anxiety I may be feeling. I am humbled to know that somehow Brad and I are part of a bigger story together now. Any anxiety I am feeling, I trust, is just His spirit within me trying to guide me against my stubbornness and selfishness. Hence any tension within.
This is the beautifully humbling post from a friend of mine's mother who has been writing over the last year to keep us updated on her daughter's dimishing mental and physical health. Her daughter is my age or slightly younger. Too young to experience such a loss but all the more hopeful than anyone I have ever known. I am reminded of the fraility and beauty that this life on earth offers me everytime I get to read her update. Let this touch you.
30 February 22, 2008 at 04:18 PM EST It has been a quiet week. I read to Megan quite a bit. I love to read out loud and Megan is my captive audience - I think she loves it even if dozing. Sometimes she laughs and I read on - sometimes she cries and I get the message and quit. We see a slow steady decline of abilities, but do believe she is more beautiful than ever!
About this time last year, Megan wrote in her journal “Oooh Lord, to have the confidence to be able to serve and love you with no hesitation and few worries – oh, I long for that! Oh, Lord, I pray at this very moment that you would be growing me into who you would have me to be - at this very moment you would prepare me for that and I would be amazed at your perfect plan for my life – and thankful. God, I so wish I knew how you worked but since I don’t, help me to love and trust you like never before. Thank you for the blessings in my life – help me to see them as blessings.”
And then Megan’s forgetfulness began to increase. Her handwriting began to falter, her frustrations increased with her own ability to function at her normal speed. As a teacher, she kept her sense of humor and allowed her kindergartners to sign the lunch count as she realized some days she could not form the letters. She said, “You should see their eyes light up when they realize they are writers!” She took it upon her herself to get to her doctor and have a check-up. Normal and healthy, just stressed, said the doctor. So she ratcheted back her schedule. But the symptoms increased and she became more and more frustrated, but still trusting and thankful. Being young and healthy kept us all from being overly concerned. Looking back one year, her positive spirit and seemingly good physical health was one of those disguised blessings that probably masked the invisible culprit of deadly activity building momentum, hidden in her bright and beautiful mind, starting it’s march to destruction. It was a blessing that kept her spirits up as she tried to get well. Her journaling gave her strength. She talked to the Lord throughout - while she could write – trusting and loving the One who cared for her. She was in fact as I look back “able to serve and love God with no hesitation and few worries” as her journal read.
I believe that God protected Megan from knowing that her life was about to take a major turn – a turn that would alter her plans for 2007 - a major blessing. Every doctor gave her hope through the progression of stages. Each one fell in love with the joy and enthusiasm she was able to bring to every appointment, always smiling, trusting, and thanking them for their help, always hoping they would find the answer to her mysterious troubles.
And they did….and here we are…..one year later…..trying to be brave like Megan, trying to trust and “love and serve with no hesitation and few worries”. God in his mercy protected Megan from the pain of knowing her disease or its prognosis. He has allowed us that knowledge and watches to see what we do with it. In our shock and hurt, we do not suffer alone. That is what the cross of Christ teaches us – and I am learning as I go.
Henri Nouwen writes “When John beheld the broken Christ on the cross, he saw blood and water coming from Christ’s side (John 19:34). And we too perceive a gift flowing that gave life and that will give life to us. We will suffer, and suffer with one another, but in doing so we will uncover nothing less that the presence of a God whose consolation keeps us going.” He goes on to say “Pain suffered alone feels very different from pain suffered alongside another. Even when the pain stays, we know how great the difference if another draws close, if another shares with us in it. This kind of comfort comes most fully and powerfully visible in the Incarnation, wherein God comes into our midst – into our lives – to remind us “I am with you at all times and in all places.” Thank you for drawing close - God is with us.
My toes are screaming because of what my belly just tasted. Oh-my-delish-a-yummy-ness! This early morning I awoke to the hard rain and the dark dark...the kind that you know is going to stay around longer than usual. But much to my bodies dismay - I bolted out of bed and headed for 'el gimnasio' (gym - in English, chica). I din't even have to teach a class...well, I thought I did so that is what got me there but when I got there - I learned it wasn't my Friday to teach. Now normally I may have comvinced myself that I should go home because the dark dark was calling, my bed was oh-so-warm, and I have a long weekend with highschoolers ahead so rest in needed. Not this morning. No-siree. I started hopping back and forth to get my blood flowing and decided to make the most of my pre-morning time. So, the only downside to this whole scenario is that early-a.m. workouts do something amazing to my self confidence. And this is a bad thing. I begin to think that I will never have to work out another day in my life and that anything I eat will burn off before it enters my mouth. Enter (Stage Left) The Most Amazing Brownie I Have Ever Tasted. Ever. I am a HUGE fan of brownies and chocolate chip cookies. I dont need cake or breads or muffins or cupcakes or fondue or creme things or puffs or trifles or mousse or icecream. Just a brownie or a chocolate chip cookie. But I am a natzi (is that PC to say on the internet? I dont know) about my chocolate based favorite treats. I need perfect texture...slightly crisp on the edges but super gooey in the middle - the way Kat taught me to make them years ago at the Terrace. This lesson may be the most valuable lesson to date and now that I think of it...I have never fully aknowledged that dear-Kat was the dear-teacher (and she is a real teacher now which is just suiting. So selfless.) When I lived at the Terrace we always had cookie dough in the fridge. I thought that the other 3 roommates helped me stock the fridge with our favorite - Pillsbury Family sized roll cookie dough but come to learn the truth - it was all my doing. I am the butterball for sure. Anyway, it was always our favorite thing to make up some perfect cookies for any occasion...new episode of Grey's, a pretty Saturday morning, Catie finishing one of her never-ending projects, our yard being cut, Kat making an A on a project (she always did), a birthday, an anniversary of an old relationship (yes, girls always remember those days (until you get married, no worries B-rad)), an expected visitor or just because. I think this trick has something to do with the pursuit of Mr. Brad for Misses-me. He loved my cookies! And other things but he certainly never turned down a cookie or four. And I love him for that. No one should ever insult someone who offers them a homemade (or Pillsbury-perfectly-baked) cookie. Rude. Fortunately, Brad never resisted.
Back to the subject at hand. The brownie I just inhaled in the office. Soft, chewy, a few scatterd nuts, a few crums that fall into my hand to make the experience last longer, just enough sweet and tart to make your tastebuds go nuts....mmmmmm....my tummy shakes just thinking about it and anticipating the next time I might treat it again. So this little contraption of cocoa and nuts has truly made my Friday. And like I said, what is even better than milk with the brownie is that fact that before I even ate the prized-brownie, I had already worked it off. I love early morning workouts! TGIF.....
(Funny....now that I look back at the title of the post it looks like I am saying "You-Me". No no no. Yuuuuuuuuu-mmmmmmmy!)
And it is really all I can think about today. Maybe it's just a cold with a nasty sore throat but there is just something that gets me whenever mama is sick. Mama is like Superman or the Braves or the Berlin wall or something. She is usually always good and always tough. Whether its her physical health, mental health or spiritual health - she never has much to complain about. I admire her for this. Truly selfless I tell you because you know me, everyone knows when something has me even slightly off my rocker. Anyway, I talked to mama last night and she sounded terrible. On top of that my dad is out of town and I think my younger sister may be too busy being a teenager. So last night mama went and got herself some soup and went to bed. I should have not listened to her and come to her rescue. It just really shakes me when the one person who is the strongest person I know isn't feeling normal. More so, I dont want her to be alone. Mama was always the best nurse for us. I am one of four kids so there was a weekly ailment around the house and I would say 48 of 52 weeks the ailment had to do with me. I am wimp when it all comes down to it. Brad is just lucky that he hasnt had to be a nurse to me yet because unlike the rest of my 'non-high maintenance' personality (ha!) - I am extremely high maintnance when it comes to being sick. So usually mam's cure for our perpetual sicknesses or bumbs and bruises was the perfect combo. I mean the perfect combo. A coke and a reeces peanut butter cup. Nothing has ever made me feel so healthy and so 'fixed' as a reeces and a coke from the can. You may laugh at this true home remedy but something about the combo was magical or maybe it was just the sincerity in which my mama believed the two could cure. So that's all I wanna do....hop over to mama's house and bringher her very own co-cola and reeces peanut butter cup. I just want to make her better like she always makes me better no matter the mood or the ailment.
Many stories are ricochetting (yikes....the spelling on that!) through my mind that desperately need to be captured on this little site. Unfortunately, I have no real excuse. I just cant today. My mind is going in 47 directions like it does when you land at the Atlanta airport and have to go through customs all to try and make it to a dinner in the next hour. "Should I tell the truth about the international food hiding in my luggage. It's just cookies - or 'Galletas' as they call them. Is Marta really going to be 'smarta'? What if it is freezing outside and my coat is at the bottom of the bag? What row did I park in again? Where did I write the note to myself to remind myself of my row? Did anyone even miss me? Will I ever go to Bora Bora? Where is the nearest Starbucks (D-terminal for future reference....so, not very close!)".....
That's what my head feels like or more specically, ....."What do I want for dinner? When did I buy the boots on my feet? What do I want to be when I grow up? Where is my dad travelling to today? How much does it cost to go to the zoo? Has my friend Julia had her baby? When will I have a baby? (AGGGHHHH...I made this one up. Kidding!)Will Brad and I ever quit our jobs and travel the world for a year? Maybe I should grow my hair back out. I miss my mama.
So, as you can see...too much stuff today to filter through it all. It's just one of those days where you feel like you are looking at things from an outside perspective and all the while having conversations with yourself about what you see. I like to call it perplexive. Many just call it confused. Good thing I can start over tomorrow.
My coconut cupcakes that I made for Brad. Yes, they have flamingos sticking out of them and the message was about all I could fit on 12 cupcakes.
We love scrabble.
These are the flowers and homemade card from the below post. What a fun surprise! I wish I had a picture of Brad standing outside my window.
I'm not sure how to rotate this on here but here is Chef-Brad adding the perfect ingredients to the perfect sangria...my favorite drink. Now, that is thoughtful! And to think, he hadnt even read my post from yesterday morning. Boy, did I speak to soon!
I mean......of all more irnoic but beautiful things.....I literally hit the POST button on the blog to post the ramblings below then my phone rings and hubby tells me to look outside my office window. Hubby is standing there with TULIPS, not roses, and a homemade card with cut out letters and all.
Could I have jumped the gun anymore? I walked outside to be greeted by my Valentine and my knees were literally shaking. I dont remember the last time that happened. Well, I do, it was on our wedding day but that was more from anxiety rather than shock. So, cupid did a number on me this morning and I guess as much as I like to say that Valentines is a silly day and I would rather be too cool than participate - this year I am proven wrong and I love it! You continually amaze me, B-rad. Thank you for reminding me that no day is too silly to celebrate.
As you told me last year on this day....I,too, "love wasting my life with you."
And I will admit it was out of a festive heart. Though I've never been one to wear orange the day before Halloween or green so no one will pinch me on the 17th day of March. I dont have a Christmas sweater or snowman earrings that I used to adorn. But today I was feeling loved so I wore pink. It's not so obvious that you would stop and think, "hmmmm....she wore pink on Valentine's day," but just enough to make me feel festive. This spirit began lastnight when I got out all of my new kitchen tools and started baking V-day treats for Brad. You see, I had asked many weeks ago in light of trying to stick to a budget - that he really, I mean really do not spend any money on this Hallmark-Holiday. Really. I meant it, B-rad, really. But as it would go Brad did make a few reservations somewhere tonight, just so I could have a choice. Now, I agree...he probably thought he couldnt have won either way because he thought that if he really planned nothing I would be secrelty disappointed. But then if he does plan something I can blatantly say that I was hoping not to spend the money. Girls are difficult I tell you. And to be honest...had he not made any dinner reservations I would really be happy....as long as he did thoughtfully think of some unique way to ask me to be his Valentine. (As of now he hasnt asked so my vote is up in the air....and right now, Sarah at work is winning with the surprise "mailbox with mail" on my desk this morning.)They were talking about this on the radio how men will drop by a jewlery store on the way home tonight and spend a few hundred on some silly diamond earrings. Not that diamonds are silly at all but I guess on Valentines day they are. How bout the day before or after? How bout some creativity boys? While I was making my treats lastnight I began to ponder all the ways I could be surprised. Easy! It just takes a little more thought than red roses. (Brad just threw away the roses he bought on the way to work I bet...ha ha.) Anyway, so on the radio the women were calling in saying that really what does it for them is something thoughtful. And that is where the problem lies. This is not meant to be a rant about how many are incompetent in expressing their feelings or thinking outside the box, really, the opposite. This is to convince men (the one that reads this) that they have it in them! I know it. The dilemma is that women sit and day dream all day while at work or doing motherly type things and men....well they work when they are at work and thus, don't have as much thought time. Sidenote: my Valentine lastyear (B-rad...but he hasnt asked me yet this year, remember) took me to see what we thought was a play but turned out to be a ballet (and I'm a poet and didn;t know it!). Now that was something to endure even for a dance-fanatic like myself. We had a great time and enjoyed ourselves. This year we are claiming to have a budget for everything (though I dont know exactly what it is so I wonder if it is effective???) so a play or ballet or $200 dinner really wouldnt be wise nor enjoyed as much. Therefore, I have comprised this "cheat sheet" for any male reading this post. You can refer at any point in the future. Disclaimer: Though these are truly my ideas from years of day dreaming...they are only a short list so as to spurn your own brilliant displays of affection. And, starting today for one year - you will receive ALL credit if you choose to implement any of these ideas. As of right now, it will all be forgotten by me so surprise away! *Wife LOVES to dance. www.hotlantasalsa.com Has salsa class packages for a Thursday night one hour lesson. $104 for 8 classes, that means 4 each. *Ewww....adding on to that....Wife LOVES salsa! Like the red hot stuff. It is certainly her favorite food and she likes to eat it until she cries. How about a Mexiacan fiesta at home topped with a homeamade salsa (www.recipes.com) and then we shuffle over to Hotlanta Salsa for an hour class. Nice. *Wife has been wanting Dora the Explora to get a bath lately but with the drought she feels guilty going to the carwash (yes, I know they say they "recycle" but my point to that is that they are still using the water in the first place....)So how about sneaking her car out on a Saturday and running it through the $6 car wash at the gas station. Money in the bank! *Wifey LOVES to write. Email her and somehow ask her for the password to the blog and then you can sneak in and write her a blog. Simple. Remember, Men (or man), YOU get all the credit (for the next year at least.) *Okay, here is a B-rad trick that I love. This Monday I came into my office to find a sign on my computer screen from hubby. He wished me a happy week. The piece of art is hanging in my office for all to see. I was such a proud girl that day! *Here is another one Brad has already mastered. Chores! Brad is great about doing small things around the house that are such a treat. And guys if you need a little more persuading about this one, read here. (Just a warning: material is R-rated) Bottom line is that men helping around the house is more beneficial than roses today. B-rad is good at this one so I'll let him give you the best pointers. Boys, you could really make this one work for you, too. ANd get more recognition. You know how in grade school when you had about $4 to spend on mom on Mother's day you would write a "coupon" for a backrub or something. Well, that was brilliant! The women love the coupon and you get credit for even the daily things you probably do anyway.
Okay, I need to do some work but I have a feeling these thoughts will be invading my head all morning so stay tuned. In the meantime, put back the flowers and the $4 card and steal the magazine that you read at work during when you are...you know..being a man in the bathroom. Cut out some letters and tape them onto even just a white sheet of computer paper. Fold the paper in half and write a simple note on the inside. I will go ahead and tell you that, Yes, I would LOVE to be your Valentine.
All the while writing that last post I pondered over the spelling of "katsup." My rendition was completely wrong but I am not even going to change it. I will provide, though, some answers as to how to spell this integral condiment. Enjoy!
From Suzanne: “Why is ketchup also called catsup?”
[A] Ketchup was one of the earliest names given to this condiment, so spelled in Charles Lockyer’s book of 1711, An Account of the Trade in India: “Soy comes in Tubbs from Jappan, and the best Ketchup from Tonquin; yet good of both sorts are made and sold very cheap in China”. Nobody seems quite sure where it comes from, and I won’t bore you with a long disquisition concerning the scholarly debate on the matter, which is reflected in the varied origins given in major dictionaries. It’s likely to be from a Chinese dialect, imported into English through Malay. The original was a kind of fish sauce, though the modern Malay and Indonesian version, with the closely related name kecap, is a sweet soy sauce.
Like their Eastern forerunners, Western ketchups were dipping sauces. I’m told the first ketchup recipe appeared in Elizabeth Smith’s book The Compleat Housewife of 1727 and that it included anchovies, shallots, vinegar, white wine, sweet spices (cloves, ginger, mace, nutmeg), pepper and lemon peel. Not a tomato in sight, you will note — tomato ketchup was not introduced until about a century later, in the US, and caught on only slowly. It was more usual to base the condiment on mushrooms, or sometimes walnuts.
The confusion about names started even before Charles Lockyer wrote about it, since there is an entry dated 1690 in the Dictionary of the Canting Crew which gives it as catchup, which is another Anglicisation of the original Eastern term. Catchup was used much more in North America than in Britain: it was still common in the middle years of the nineteenth century, as in a story in Scribner’s Magazine in 1859: “I do not object to take a few slices of cold boiled ham ... with a little mushroom catchup, some Worcester sauce, and a pickle or so”. Indeed, catchup continued to appear in American works for some decades and is still to be found on occasion.
There were lots of other spellings, too, of which catsup is the best known, a modification of catchup. You can blame Jonathan Swift for it if you like, since he used it first in 1730: “And, for our home-bred British cheer, Botargo, catsup, and caveer”. [Caveer is caviar; botargo is a fish-based relish made of the roe of the mullet or tunny.] That form was also once common in the US but is much less so these days, at least on bottle labels: all the big US manufacturers now call their product ketchup.
I just want to tell you how easy it is to make a red-haired boy smile. So easy. You need these few things. -ground beef (I even used 92% fat free ground beef and he was still a fan) -katsup -yellow mustard -brown sugar -garlic powder
Cook the meat and mix those things together to your liking and you have one happy boy. As a matter of fact, he will lick the "sloppy" off his fingers the rest of the night just to keep savoring the joy. For real. Brad and I have had two experiences with the Joes they call Sloppy. Many of you have heard the first instance and I can talk all about it and exaggerate as much as I want because we were engaged. What did we know? The setting was a sunny fall day before the time had changed and before we said I do. The wife-to-be and unemployed soon to be mistress of the house liked at the time to experiment with dinners that her soon to be hubby might like. When I was growing up mama used to make Sloppy Joes when dad was out of town on a rare occassion. It was either eat out at the Publix deli - one of our favorite options or breakfsat for dinner because dad would never want that or the rare treat of Sloppy Joes. So, one afternoon around 4pm I thought it would be fun to play with kitchen things and make something for Brad and I for dinner. I made them good adn sloppy and even threw some cheese on top because cheese seems to be the lone-ingredient to top of a gourmet meal and turn it right back into something from the school cafeteria. And I figured Brad was more willing to eat familiar -school looking foods than anything that included goat cheese or capers! After the 3 sloppy joes - 2 for Brad and 1 for me - were done I placed them in the microwave and covered them with syran wrap. I went out around 4:30 to enjoy the afternoon for a long workout at the gym. THe whole time I was salivating at the mere thought of my beautiful buger-type concoction I had constructed. I was imagining the joy on my fiance's face as he dove into his two perfectly created sandwiches. I worked out faster and raced home. I wanted to get home in time to reheat and you know...act like it had taken no work or no thought. You know, I'm a natural domestic goddess, right Brad? Anyway, the sun is starting to peel behind the west side of the city and I think surely Brad is just pulling in to the condo but as I round the corner nearest our building I see Brad standing out front. This is not common but very cute. He seems giddy just to see me home and I think to myself that he should just hold all that excitement in because I have the treat of all treats on the 3rd floor - waiting to greet us. But as I get close enough to really decipher anything I see this yellowey mustard stain on his vlue t-shirt. Oh, how I remember the details so vividly. Then as I roll down the window I see that there is an orange colored mustache around his lips. Not the orange of Tang or anything but the orange of mustard mixed with katsup. Interesting. Brad leans in to greet me with a kiss and the whole story unfolds with one whiff of his breath. SLOPPY JOE! You smell like Sloppy Joes! Brad, why do you smell like sloppy joes? Suddenly a look of shame that I have yet to see again crossed Brad's face. "Because I ate the sloppy joes you made for me. They were for me, right?" I wasnt sure what to feel. The gut feeling was sheer dissappointment that it didnt cross his mind to wait for me or even save me one. There was also hidden joy and a sense of accomplishment that he had literally devoured my concotion with no thought as to the repurcussion. They were that good! Needless to say, this was one of those "this is how boys are different and marriage is a learning opportunity" type stories that I often like to tell other young women that are hopeful that they, too, can please their man with a little cooking in the kitchen.
So yesterday when I chose to re-do the one-hit-wonder from our engagement days I did it selfishly sort of. I wanted to feel like a good, cooking, domestic, thoughtful wife. And I did! Brad ate himself sick but still rubbed my bck and scratched my head as we enjoyed a night together. I tell you, ladies.....messy food with cheese on top is the secret to a man's heart. Anything to make a man feel younger or remind him of his more youthful days - that's the trick! We even drank Koolaid and ate Mac and cheese as a side. And we wonder why marriage has added some pounds on us????
Who ever said that was right on the money. I have now lived within the same 1 mile radius for the past 4 years and I am addicted to even the noise and the fast cars and the cranes and the construction, the exhaust...you name it - it is a part of me. Brad and I comment often that we have a bias towards our area of town. We are close to all the interstates, there are plenty of backroads to make you feel like you are far away from buildings and skyscrapers and we live near the oldest planned country club in Atlanta which may mean nothing but the area is now highly trafficed (sp?) by budding young roller bladers like ourselves and other bikers and runners. One thing is for certain - there are always people outdoors and I love that! Lastnight after what I am sure was one of Brad's most amzing dinners I have cooked him (pizza on English muffins because the 3 ingredients to make this contraption are all that were in the fridge) - we went out for a nightly stroll. Confession: this used to be nightly but since we said 'we do' and we got a cool new television - it has become more of a once monthly thing. We love it when we do get out, though, and I find we have the best conversation. We strolled over to Lenox this time to entertain a latte. A latte for me and a bold coffee with a splash of our own kahlua (no lie) for Brad -just to be exact. Where Santa used to reside in the mall there are now these ugly plush black sofa like lounge chair things. They could fit maybe 6 people. So Brad and I lay on these things, literally, just drinking our coffee and eating our free cookie the Starbucks man gave us because I am cute (or because it was 4 minutes til close and he didnt want to waste them). We agree that people were looking at us enviously because we had the nerve to make the hallways of Lenox our very own living room. We love to watch people, though, and what a better place to do it. Many of the mall-walkers at this time are solo and seemingly dont own belots because there were more baggy-jeaned boys with panties showing than I had ever seen. Isnt there a law against that?
Anyway, lastnight is yet another example of mine and Brad's problem. We are location snobs. Last weekend we went to Newnan and our host friends have a georgeous 5 bedroom house with a real yard. Now, Brad and I have no need for 4 extra bedrooms (we can hardly keep 2 clean) but we did love the yard and the space. On the way home I think we were both silently wondering if we would ever make that move? I dont blame anyone that does. What a smarter thing to do especially around some of the surrounding suburbs that have seen so much growth as Atlanta grows. Luckily, I think both Brad and I are too addicted to our fabulous location. Chances are we wont be able to stay here forever especially if when we ever decide to add names to our Christmas card. But....I can see us much more sharing our queen sized bed and tiny closets before we head OTP. I know...some of you may say I told you so when we actually have to start looking to buy but for now - walking to S'bucks and Publix and the movie theatre and having the best 3 mile excercise loop in the city right across the street is all we need. Personally, I dont know how I could sleep now at night if I didnt hear the rush of 18-wheelers. How peaceful.
When Brad really laughs...like, really laughs from deep down in his belly it does miracles to any stinky mood that may be hanging around our condo. Lately this kind of gut laugh happens during our twice weekly viewing of American Idol. Once there was a time in even our seperate lives that neither of us really watched that much tv. And even though we still refuse to have a tv in our bedroom now - we do like some quality mid-week television...aka American Idol. What has marriage done to me?
Once the season actually begins and the tour is over - I am not sure what kind of fans we will be because let's be honest - we like to watch people make fools of themselves.... just like you do. One of the best was when the girl a few weeks ago actually got the golden ticket to Hollywood and then as she was being interviewed by the cameras on her way out she says, "I'm going to Hollywood to be America's Next top Model!" What? Poor lady. I have a funny feeling the excitement will be too much for her in Hollywood.
Or what about the girl lastnight that brought her dog, "Panda", to the audition. The judges were much more intrigued by the teacup sized puppy than this blonde-Southern-peanut of a girl. The dog was cute. Or how about the fact that Paula seems to be intoxicated on the show these days. Now - I dont usually give into rumors but I think for certain there is a little more than just Coke in her red Coca-cola glass. The bottmo line is Brad laughs. I just love it when he laughs the kind of unplanned, unstructured, take you by surprise type laugh that seems only to come at the expense of these desperate auditioners. Sometimes he laughs at me, too, like this and I dont even mind it because it is so stinkin refreshing! Dont you love it when just hearing someone else laugh makes you laugh. Those are the good ones and we tend to do alot of that around our house. One of my favorite songs growing up was by the Indigo Girls called Least Complicated and at the beginning of the live version they are talking and Amy says "You have to laugh at yourself or you'd cry yours eyes out...." So true. Laughter has certainly proven to be the perfect medicine in marriage. Now if I could just laugh about my job or the taxes we might owe or gaining a few l-b's.....
Right? Can't anyone do anything for 40 days? Isn't that how long lent is? Terrible if I am wrong but I think that is right. Needless, today I was surprised by the little words at the bottom of my calendar - ASH WEDNESDAY. I guess amid a spiraling economy and news that Hilary may be the face we have to look at for the next 4 years I had completely forgotten about the season upon us. Usually I feel like you hear some hype about Madi Gras and then are reminded about the day that most good Catholics or former Catholics remember every year probably with growing guilt or fear. I guess that explains why people were discussing the "king cake' they munched on during halftime. Needless to say, I say "needless to say alot." But, needless, today is Ash Wednesday and by the time I realized it - I had already partaken in most of my worst daily habits. Diet coke? Check. Actually at 9:18 this morning. I'm getting worse. Chocolate? No way, not at 9:30am. Oh...but yes, on the way out the condo this morning I grabbed a handful of the M&M's by the door that I swear only Brad eats. Chewing gum? Never, I'd chew my arm instead and that is gross. Okay, coffee? Well, technically, no. No coffee. But plans to indulge this afternoon with a friend and surely for her sake I shouldnt refuse coffee? One year I tried snacks but let's face it - I am an eternal snack machine. As I write this I am biting the little heads off the cute animal crackers that I brought to work "just in case." So maybe I should deny myself music or tv or Wall Street Journal online every morning? I considered all of these things this morning. I really considered. But lets just be honest- I am in a funky time of life right now. Not that anything is really disturbing me but I am just having a real slow time adjusting to the tsunami of change that happened last year. So I dont think a doctor would say it would be wise to take away that which is most normal and customary to me. Hence, I am left giving up something that is maybe more intrinsic?.... Fear of dissappointing people? Guilt for not being able to be everything to everyone? Selfishness that causes my heart to harden at even the things that could usually bring me to my knees? I dont know the answer but I do know these are all 'things' that could much better inhibit my path to peace and to God then giving up my chocolate. And here is my whole take on lent anyway...I grew up in the Catholic church and every year after usually a glutenous holiday season I always think it really brilliant to give up like 5 terrible habits. The funny thing is animal crackers have been on the list since highschool because they, oddly enough, are the habit that plagues me. Anyway, I had to give up 5 to make sure one stuck. Occassionally I did ask myself how my object of denial might bring me closer to experiencing God and peace. But then I never really felt right asking this. I wont lie - I wasnt a good Catholic scholar and, therefore, do not know the full history of lent aside from maybe the obvious that lent is to cause us to focus not on ourselves but on our Savior during the time which we remember His seath? Im not being disrespectful - I just dont really know. So as it would go, these 40 days became another opportunity to prove my self-motivation since I never really understood the true meaning. I like to believe that if I had to stop eating chocoalte or die that I could, you know? THis is a topic of pure self control. Every year now even if I try to aknowledge that because I do not know the proper meaning of my self-denial of 'said thing' then I will not burden myself with the feeling that I should participate in lent. But every year without fail - about half way through the day on Ash Wednesday I have created at least a shot at a list of things that maybe just maybe I could do without. Denying anytype of food seems that this is more of a punishment on friends and dinner parties than anyone else. Last year my dearest friends Ashley and Fran (the Bohemians) came into town to visit. Appropriatly this was during the lenten season. Both sweethearts chose to give up coffee. Very sweet of them. So all during their visit I sip on deliscious gourmet coffees at the most perfect of coffee-times....during a thunderstorm, early on a Saturday morning with a side of heartfelt conversation. All the while neither of my thougtful, God-seeking friends joined me. And of course I wasnt respectful enough to just not drink coffee myself. So, point taken. Food isnt the best choice.
So as mama usually does I am going to add something to my life on a daily basis, thus taking away the excuses that I give myself everyday to not give myself a particular something. Here are the two things. Folic Acid. Enough said. And, B)compliments. I will compliment myself on the good things I am doing daily rather than beat myself up over the things that didnt get done and the friends I didnt get to call. I am enough because God gives me enough each day for what I need. And I need to know that and tell myself that more often. In fact, daily for at least 40 days and hopefully it will catch.
What do you need to add to your day? They (whoever "they" is) say 21 days of anything becomes a habit. Now for some chocolate.
And it is not because of the lb of peanut butter M&M's Brad and I ate lastnight. But I do feel as light as a feather today. And even for feeling so light and aloof I also feel empowered and enabled. This euphoria is all a result of lastnight. Brad and I hosted our small group at our house. There were only 6 of us there lastnight but it was intimate and perfect. I am so grateful for these group of friends and the time that is set aside each week to meet with them and develop community. It's really an unheard of thing in today's world to specifically carve out time during the week to work on what is most important when it is all said and done....our hearts. And as one of my more wiser friends put it lastnight - "no one is going to pay me for my heart but it still needs protected." For so long I think I have been waiting for just that - a career that would recognize the bigness of my heart and want to employ me to change the world with them. Often, I get easily dissappointed then when I am in situations where my heart seems to be left out of whatever is at stake...I am naive, I know. But this is my point today. GOOD! I am glad that I am naive and slightly sheltered. More so, I am glad that Brad is willing to protect this bubble I have lived in for quite some time.
This is my bubble and I like it. Brad and I roller skate. We get giddy over Reeces Pieces. I like to watch hokey tv shows with a postivie message like Friday Night Lights and even 7th Heaven. And, yes, I even cried a little last week when the American Idol contestant described her relationship with her father. I value my relationship with my dad and I am willing to fight for it. I think church is a fine place to make friends and meet husbands and even hang out. I deeply believe that there is good in everyone and that everyone has the same basic needs and usually that revolves around love and acceptance. I like George W. Bush. I like that he truly puts God and his family before all things even as the leader of the most powerful country in the world. He understands what matters and Who really is in control. I like to go home to May'retta to highschool basketball games with my family. I like traditions. I like sitting around the kitchen table in Plains just to talk and giggle. Brad and I like to put together puzzles in our free time and play board games.
That is our bubble. Why would I allow the world to tell us that we shouldn't trust people and that we should do more to get ahead now. Why would I want to believe that most people's intentions are bad. I know we live in a fallen world and there is certainly a place to be cautious but I refuse to become hard to the things that move me on a daily basis. And that is what I needed to be reminded lastnight.
I was reminded about the freedom that comes in being a daughter of Christ. More so, I was reminded about what real faith is...and as much as I had clung to it in the past - lately, I had began allowing my job and the world tell me that faith wasnt going to get me where I needed to go or even protect me. Lastnight I was reminded from a few people that love me that it doesnt even matter where I need to go because as I cant attest in the past - God will get me there even if He chooses a long, unknown, adventurous path. I am thankful that there are other people, too, who want to protect this bubble I live in and remind me what matters most....my heart.
If I did I would show you pictures of the contintent-sized blisters on the insides of my feet as well as the oversized smile on my face today - one day after a blissful weekend in and around Atlanta. Brad and I had a lovely Friday evening OTP at the Marietta highschool basketball game. Yes, my sister is a cheerleader so most of all I wanted to see her stuff but yes, I, too, wanted to go... just to go. I cant tell you the memories that surround my days as a cheerleader for the 1999 State Basketball champs. In lieu of retelling you can read here. Marietta has never poured too much into the cheerleading program so as a result many of the cheers my sweet little sister shouted to the crowd Friday night are the very same ones I would practice on the weekends in highschool in front of a video camera. This is one of the only true confessions that I will make about that. I did it. I know. I was a perfectionist and to be honest, a little unbendable at the time so I would do all I could to teach my body to try to contort like the other more malleable girls on the squad. Let's face it - I could barely touch my toes but I was in my sweet spot and even a few embarrassing struggles were worth the thrill of it all to me. So Brad and I did all things Marietta Friday night. We ate Mexican at the local cheap mexican eatery where are Marietta resident friends have a "booth" just for them. I also walked at the mountain that afternoon. I wont even begin to describe the aura around this place. You can read it, too, in the old blog. And, then, like mentioned..we rubbed toes with my old highschool guidance counselor, cheerleading coach and atheletic director who are still at my alma mater doing what they do best. Brad tells me he is a baller on the court in highschool but aside from a few hoops at the gym I have seen no evidence of this. My dad and I offered him one million dollars to go down to half court at half time to try to win a hotdog bu making the shot from the line. He gave us every excuse possible. Really, he has brand new amazing cowboy boots on and I think he probably couldnt have made it on the court without falling backwards. You got to sacrifice to look good right? And boy does B-rad look hot in his new boots!
Saturday was even better. B-rad was supposed to be writing a paper all day. At 1:30 my brilliant husband phoned me to say he was done. For the weekend!!! What?? I had planned to do girl things all weekend. Clean, pilates, paint toenails, organize.. .you know...the ush' (short for usual, mama)but with this surprise phonecall that afternoon the weekend took a different spin. Brad and I went and bought me some rollerblades! For real. They are silver and blue and match many of my workout outfits so I look semi professional as long as I dont go anywhere on the things. For our first attempt at skating our neighborhood B-rad rode his bike while I skated along side. Correction. B-rad rode the pedals of his bike while I grasped fearfully to his huge bicep all the way around the neighborhood. Basically on day one I "rolled" and Brad braked. No skating involved. Lots of fun though. Talk about love connection - we looked like the biggest dorks roller-biking arm and arm around our neighborhood on a sunny and 65 kind of perfect afternoon. That evening we treated ourself to one of favorite dinners at Seasons 52 because we deserved it! Brad and I love this spot for a relaxing dinner for two. The ambiance of the piano bar id a must for anyone looking to relax and feel treated.
Okay, so fast foward to Sunday. We have a splendid idea to take a picnic to Piedmont park. We'll first skate like the professionals we are and then enjoy a little picnoc in our favorite spot where we got engaged. Sounds sappy and romantic, yes? Well, rollerbladers arent allowed in the park. So, we wolf down our picnic in the car (sweet) and head back to the neighborhood that we took by storm the day before. This time we both look hideous but have fun all the while. See, the thing is B-rad is actually a little trixter on these wheels. Believe it or not the South Georgia peanut expert I married used to skate all over town and do tricks on public property. Just what you like to hear, right. Supposedly he was a superstud on these things and I will atest - he's still got it. For the most part atleast. Anything involving hills (bc there are so few in Plains, Ga) he looks kind of like a chicken on wheels but when it comes to turns and leaps - he is a true performer. My feet were so sore from my experience the day before that I really just walked in wheels around the neighborhood. Nonetheless, we both laughed and told eachother that we were the greatest couple of rollerbladers in Brookhaven. And that's all anybody needs, right? Right. We ended our wonderful weekend in Newnan Georgia. Why you may ask? Friends, food, soon to be wedding celebrations and the Superbowl. We had burgers and caught up with several friends we hadnt seen in awhile. We felt like experts since we have been married all of a whole quarter now. Old and married...I tell you. Cheers to a relaxing weekend!