The excitement has set in. At random times throughout the day, my heart will decide to trampoline off my diaphragm and leap into my throat. I am giddy, yes, unapologetically, ridiculously, unequivocally, giddy for Bestest Bests nuptials on Saturday!
I think much of this excitement was siphoned off my very own "wedding giddiness reserve" since much of my own emotion was spent on last minute to-dos and panic over my own wedding. It's been almost a year since Shug and I jumped into a life together and, while I thought it impossible, things have gotten even better. I'm not trying to say life is full of cartoon birdies helping fold the laundry...life still happens. We get grumpy, tired, sick, aggravated, and impatient. But the gift of having a partner in crime who knows the whole crazy backstory of WHY you may be grumpy or impatient is priceless.
Before I got married, I thought I understood what loving another person meant. I realize now you learn how to love each day a little differently. Burrowing out new spaces in my heart for Shug to reside hasn't been easy. I didn't think I could fit anymore places to love in there. I really love him THAT much. No. I've always been right. Like never-ever-wrong-right. Well, he taught me, because I eschewed the married life for years, arguing I didn't want to fix something that wasn't broken. But I was wrong, I admit it, that a healthy relationship needn't be "fixed," because it's not a machine or a toaster. A relationship is a living growing organism, needing constant care and room to grow and change. This flux needs attention. This plasticity demands a willingness to learn. Every. Single. Day.
I'm not saying marriage is the "magic ingredient." Hell, no. I am lucky enough to know people who are committed and still in love and in their 80th year that didn't need no stinkin' marriage license. I realize that I needed marriage to kick me into really "working" at my relationship. This is why I am so happy for Bestest Best. I am excited she'll get the kick in the pants, too. It's not that she needs it, I'm just excited for her to start this new chapter. We're lucky, just so lucky.
So as I search for that perfect wedding gift, I'm just going to give Luck. The fact that we made it this far is lucky, but you can always use a little more here and there in the future.
I think I'm probably just one of millions of people in search of the perfect lip balm. It sounds like a relatively simple quest, seeing as there are zillions of lip balms for us to choose from. But being me, with all sorts of needs and wants, finding the perfect lip balm was much like finding my husband - a happy accident that changed my life for the better. (Now for all of you who just read that and realized I compared my husband to lip balm, be not alarmed, because this is a-ma-zing lip balm!!!)
Said lip balm has to moisturize, but not create an application addiction (see: Carmex). It has to be paraben and petrochemical free. It has to glide on and stay put. It has to not be super-fragranced. It also can't form those weird little mouth boogers that some lip balms do after awhile...See the list gets pretty long.
Tilvee Hydrating Lip Balm was a gift from my mom for Christmas. She lives in Denver, where the gluten-free, organic, health food business is going OFF. In her holiday spirit, she picked up a few natural lip balms as a stocking stuffer for me. Since I had a surplus of lip balms at the time, the Tilvee languished in a drawer for a few months until I had to crack it open and put it into primary lip balm rotation.
I was horrified that I had let this balm wait around for me! It was ALL of the things I could ever want in a lip balm. It was shiny without being obnoxious and moisturizing without being lip schellac. Seriously. Best. Lip balm. Evar.
BUT. I went to purchase some of this elixir of the gods myself and found that it's $6.99 a tube...! SO I'm waiting until next Christmas for my replacement. Until then, I've found a less expensive substitute - eos smooth spheres. While they're no Tilvee, they are available at Walgreens for $2 and they are paraben and petrochemical free. Sigh.
This weekend is a most auspicious holiday in Utah:
It means that we save all the good fireworks for the 24th of July, talk about how great the pioneers were for working together, omit all of the less than stellar stories about massacres and polygamy, and grumble about having to work on a "holiday."
I AM excited about:
Bestest Best is having a wedding shower
I get to hang out with my sis. Twice in one weekend!
Getting part of our kitchen cabinets installed (!!!)
My last Saturday getting up at the ass-crack of dawn for work
I've always had other women take liberties when talking to me about my body.
It started when I was young, 6 or 7, I was painfully aware that I had the knobbiest knees and twig-like arms. Teachers would grab my upper arm, close to the armpit and squeeeeze, like the witch in Hansel and Gretl, testing JUST how bony I was. In junior high, when my classmates were busy cultivating curves and honing their skills at brassiere buying, they also made it a point to regularly pull my baggy uniform tight to check and see if any breasts had budded over the weekend. In high school, classmates, male and female, just couldn't help commenting on my lack of makeup and unflattering outfit choices and comparing them to my much better-dressed cohort.
I was kidding myself that these comments would cease as an adult. I feel they have gotten worse, to be honest. The straightforwardness of checking my wing to see if I'm done has morphed into a passive-aggressive comment-question-smirk routine. Yes, I understand that women's bodies are scrutinized, analyzed, and snarked about on a constant basis in our culture. I have the unfortunate knowledge of who has the BEST bikini body of 2010...and who should have just stayed home in their period-stained jogging pants with the elastic waistband. And all of this information from just trying to check out at the grocery store and glancing at the covers of magazines.
But seriously. SO WHAT if my pants are a little tight today? I DON'T CARE what you think about my hair color choices. It's NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS what I had for lunch, ok?
How do you deal with other women talking crap about your body to your face? Karate. Chop.
Shug and I have finally been able to get a few cabinets to replace our old creaky creepers.
After having our hearts set on natural wood cabinets we realized that with our wood floors, our decision to go with butcher block counter-tops, and the fact that solid wood cabinets cost a million dollars more than our budgets will allow,
A tiny part of me is sad about this, but then I look at our remaining KitchenQuest 2010 budget I forget all that particle board and laminate distaste I've been raised with and settle into a contented haze dreaming of the rest of my bright, white kitchen in its glorious completion. I've been lurking on Design*Sponge for inspiration and mental fortification.
Mind you, this project is far from completed, and seeing as we started this project in March, I'm guessing we may have a completed kitchen by Thanksgiving. *Fingers crossed!*
I'm in school. And lawd knows there is little disposable income left to spend on filet mignon or tenderloin cuts of meat. To save money and have less of a carbon foot print, we eat vegetarian or vegan most of the time...but every once in awhile, momma needs some STEAK. No, that is not a euphemism.
But since prime cuts of meat are usually spendy, we've been finding ways to make the tougher (and cheaper) cuts of beef downright appetizing. What makes meat so stinking chewy is the fibrous connective tissues that bind the muscle together. If you attack these "bindings" with a few different weapons, you'll be enjoying some tender fajitas in no time!
Skirt Steak Fajitas
1 pound skirt steak, brought to room temperature
1 Vidalia onion, thickly sliced
1 bell pepper, cleaned and thickly sliced
Salt and pepper
Juice of two limes
Extra virgin olive oil
2 or 3 tablespoons of adobo
Warmed corn tortillas
Shredded pepper jack cheese
You are going to need two saute pans for this concoction, so if you have just one big one and one medium sized pan like I do, start the onions sauteing in the large pan over medium-high heat. While those are working, heat the medium saucepan with a little olive oil in it until the oil starts to smoke a little, season both sides of the steak with salt and pepper and place in pan. Don't move it around! You want to sear the juices in and caramelize each side, so the meat will release when it's ready!
Add the peppers to your large pan and flip your skirt steak. Let this side sear and when it's ready flip it one more time and reduce heat to medium. Let it cook for 2-3 more minutes and then remove from pan and let it rest on a plate. Squeeze the lime juice in both sides if the steak and tent with aluminum foil. Add the adobo to the onion pepper mixture. After the steak has rested for 5-10 minutes, using a sharp knife cut it thinly across the grain, if you cut with the grain the pieces will be chewy.
Add the slices of meat to the pan and give it a quick toss to coat in adobo and warm through. Serve immediately on the tortillas garnished with cheese and crema mexicana if you want! Enjoy!
I'm not proud of this. I'm rather embarrassed about this, actually. I've tried to hatehatehate quirky love stories for a looooooong time. It was relatively easy until Amélie came along. Then it was over. Like super over.
Since my resolve was obliterated my Mme. Amélie Poulain, now just about any old movie can come along and, if it has a great soundtrack and the characters are lovably flawed, I'll love it. Hook. Line. Sinker.
Dedication was a random Netflix pick and I was ridiculously surprised at how much I looooooved it. And there was that Mandy Moore thing.
Ok, let's get this straight: I think the music she has made and probably will make in the future is VILE. Have I ever heard more than a few seconds of one of her songs and fight the physical need to shiver like when you pee sometimes? NO. But. I DO think she's a pretty alright actress. Case in point: Saved!. She's that weird mix of hot girl next door and approachable girlfriend, guys LOVE her and girls aren't threatened by her. And I think she's a pretty alright actress. There. I said it again.
Go watch Dedication and let me know how guilty I should feel about these issues I have!
I've always been a pleaser. Blame my birth order as the eldest child or my propensity to try to fix everything I see as "broken," but I just want to make people happy. In many ways this is a blessing, since I am going into a helping profession that demands lending an ear sans judgment on a ridiculously regular basis. But I've started, yes, just barely started, to realize I need to start policing my resources.
This realization came after a particularly arduous day at work, followed by another "crisis" that demanded my attention into the wee hours of the morning. Do you know who I didn't get to ask how their day was, after talking about how everyone else's day was ad nauseam? Shug. Do you know who had to eat dinner by himself as I attended to the rest of the world's issues? Shug. Do you know who pulled the covers over me and turned out the light when I had crumpled into bed after I had exhausted every last resource of energy I had for the day? Shug.
So, lines in the sand have been drawn. I am now set to protect the modicum of safety and sanity we've built together. This is hard for me. I'm practically unwinding my own DNA every time I tell a person "no" now. It's hard because I do care about these people that ask and ask and ask, but I also need to start caring a little more about me. I'm not talking about being selfish, just reserving enough for myself so I am capable enough to attend to my own relationships and priorities. Typing that just gave me a migraine.