Thursday, April 29, 2010

Do You Know the Muffin Man . . . ?

Chris woke up this morning and didn't feel well, so I decided to make him muffins. Muffins, after all, can make just about anything better.

So I went about whipping up some blueberry muffins, easy little thing. Problem was, I missed one itty bitty line in the directions. The line that said "Fill Muffin Tins 2/3 Full." I filled them 3/3 full. In response, my muffins decided to puke themselves up.

They were deliscious . . . they just look revolting . . .
I can cook, I swear. Haha.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sleepy Things

Currently Reading: The Island at the End of the World by Sam Taylor

Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.
--Anthony Burgess

Last night, Chris had settled into bed beside me, enjoying his midnight snack. I had dozed off a little while before. So there he is, innocently munching away on his cheese and crackers, mesmerized by the antic of a crazed Jack Sparrow on the telly, when suddenly, his wife sits up, waving her arms in front of her blindly. Finally she opens her mouth and yells, "WHERE ARE THE BLOODY TISSUES?!? CHRISTOPHER STEVEN, YOU DRIVE ME UP THE WALL!!!" then collapsed, unconscious, the perfect vision of serenity.
Chris, on the other hand, was completely confounded. What. Had. Just. Happened? He looked around for the tissues. There they were, by the edge of the bed like always. There was only one explanation. His wife was insane. Yep, that was it. She had finally lost her mind. He sat, very still, waited a moment, hoping the insanity had passed, then poked the woman sleeping like a corpse. "Sarah? Sarah . . ."
"You just yelled at me."
"Mmwell yeah . . . I needed the tissues really bad but you hid them an . . ." I rolled over, rubbing sleep out of my eyes. "Wait . . ."
Chris was grinning.
"There weren't tissues? And I . . . oh . . . ah ha . . . hahahahaha!" And we both burst into laughter.
"You just sat up and yelled at me and I was like what the crap?" Chris said, still laughing.

I woke up again towards morning, yelling at Chris that we were going to be late . . . then realized it was Thursday, not Monday, and went back to sleep.

We're still laughing about the dream tissue incident.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lower or Higher?

The nice thing about standards is that there are so many of them to choose from.
--Andrew S. Tanenbaum

I like to tease Chris about being picky. Picky about movies, decorations, clothes, music . . . fish . . . names for future children (no, I am not pregnant . . . I just like planning) . . . future homes (again, not shopping, just planning . .. I like to plan . . . a lot). Chris is picky about just about everything, really (everything that matters, he would say, which is true). He likes to tease me about not caring about . . . well . . . most things.

"I'm not picky," he retorts. "I just have high standards. I don't settle for less than the best, which is why I married you." *insert cheek pinch*

"Well do you think you could lower just a little bit? I mean, make it easier on me? Do you have any IDEA how difficult it is to find things that you like? Our future children will all be labeled A, B, and C."

"No, Optimus Prime, Chewbacca, and Link." He smiles. Chris has several smiles--the easy, laid back "I'm happy" smile, the sentimental, snuggly smile, the "I'm tolerating this right now" smile, the "that's hysterical, I'm laughing" smile, and the "I'm bugging the crap out of you and I love it" smile. He's wearing the latter.

"You don't ALWAYS have to be so particular. I mean, why not like this AND that?"

"Because THIS is better than THAT. Why settle for less?"

At this point, I scowl, make an exasperated noise, and he laughs. Victory at last. "You know, you could raise your standards. Figure out what you like and not settle," he says.

Sometimes, it's hard to raise your standards when you don't care THAT much. It's even harder to lower them once you do care. So I settle for not caring as much as I can--disappointment is less painful when you don't have expectations. So it's a good thing my husband cares a lot, or else I would live a pretty boring, careless existance.
Though I do wish he would hurry up and like a few more kid names and house layouts. ;)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hunting and the War on Vermin

Over the years your bodies become walking autobiographies, telling friends and strangers alike of the minor and major stresses of your lives.--Marilyn Ferguson
It's funny how true that quote is: how you can look at someone, and, though you can't know everything, you can judge a book by it's cover. Working at my library, I've learned how to tell which people are smokers, drinkers, mechanics, yard workers, or from an office. You also learn very, very, VERY quickly who bathes and brushes their teeth. Faces and eyes tell you who's intelligent and joyful, who wants to learn, who is too tired, angry, or frightened to bother. It's not that our assessments are always correct, but appearances tell you a little something. I wonder what my appearance says . . . hmmmmm

I ask that because Chris and I have been trying to find our church fit, and, so far, people either don't see or don't fully know how to connect with us. Or maybe we have no idea how to connect. Probably a combination. Church hunting is so hard. It was hard for me in college, but once you found THE church, it was an ah-ha! moment. Still, in college, I knew it was a temporary set-up, so there was no need or pressure to really get to know people, to settle in. Chris has been church-hopping most of his life; before college, my family had a home church. Now, Chris and I are married, and finding our own home base is a struggle.

So far, we have attended three very different churches: Summit, Orlando Grace, and Grace Fellowship.
We attended Summit Sunday evenings after I graduated college (I would go Sunday mornings to Westwood with my family, then Summit with Chris) and for maybe a month after the wedding. We stopped attending because it was so large we didn't know how to meet people, no one seemed interested in meeting us, and because something about it just didn't feel quite right. I left a service one night in tears because of the service, not good tears, angry tears. Nothing was unBiblical, and we loved the pastor, there were just too many things that bothered us for personal reasons to justify staying.
Next we tried Orlando Grace. People were really friendly--it was nice to feel wanted and recognized. I joined a Bible study, and I liked all the women there, but I didn't feel any true conenction. They were all very nice, but I was so nervous everytime I spoke up that I felt my face turn bright, bright red, and I started stammering. So I didn't talk much, I watched and listened. I've become a very good silent observer. They wanted me to talk, so they would direct a question at me, now and again, I guess to make sure I was still alive. I forced myself to talk, and, like I said, burning and verbal bumbling. I began to realize that there were some big doctrinal beliefs we didn't share--I'm not a stickler for doctrine, and I don't care if we disagree. I feel like, sometimes, doctrine causes unnecessary division. I didn't want to cause division, but I realized that, if people discovered that I didn't completely doctrinally agree, there would be issues. We still like the church, and we may end up going back, I don't know. We only left because we received an invitation to another church.
Ryan and Julie, Chris's brother-in-law and sister, invited us to try their church, Grace Fellowship. We didn't intend to keep visiting. We really didn't expect to like it. We knew the worship would be too loud for Chris's hyper sensitive ears, but, at the same time, that's an issue with every church we've ever been to. We liked our first week there so much, and it was so nice to have someone to sit with, someone looking for you, that we went back for Easter. This was our third week there. So far, we like it, but we really like every church the first few times we visit. We may end up staying. We may end up leaving. I don't know. The pastor is really likeable, and passionate. It's not about how cool their church is--it's about what Jesus does through the church. He's doing a "Question and Answer" series, now, where you anonymously text him questions, and he answers them on the spot. Today, he asnwered questions on baptism, homosexuality, aliens, poetic vs literal, all sorts of things. Chris and I talked about it over lunch, and we both agreed with what he had to say--that it was in line with Scripture and our personal beliefs. He definitely had doctrine, but, at the same time, he left some things open, like infant baptism vs adult baptism. He basically said that there are some things the Bible is not clear on, and, in those cases, it's left up to the individual and the leading of the Spirit. He also admited to being a mix between Calvinism and Free Will, which is such a relief. What was nice is he openly told the congregation, "I don't know all the answers, I'm sorry, but I'll try my best."
I'm so ready for a church community that I get excited about every environment. Still, every place is filled with strangers, and strangers are scary. Chris and I aren't very good minglers. I'm working on it, but marching into a place where everyone knows someone but you is intimidating and awkward. At least at GF we have Ryan and Julie to fall back on. There's safety in numbers. We know God will bring the right church with the right church family at the right time. We just have to open, willing, and brave. Oh bravery, that thou would rear your lovely head . . .
So that's the update on the church hunt. Prayers would be appreciated :) Any tips?

Now for the vermin . . . Our ninja has fleas. Two days after we brought her home, we found her infested with squirming brown specks. We tried bathing her on a regular basis. Nope. Vaccuuming . . . no, not the cat -_- The girl at Petsmart thought we meant we vaccuumed the cat, not the carpet. So, finally, Chris broke down and decided we should treat her with Advantage. When we described the situation to the girl at the vet clinic, she said, "Well it sounds like you have an infestation."
Wait . . . WHAT?!
Doesn't an infestation mean they rule the roost? They're invading all aspects of our lives and privacy? Shouldn't the carpet be black with squirming vermin??? We never even see fleas. I have found a couple of bites on myself (literally no more than four in six months) but they're spots where the cat has been sitting in my lap or on my chest. Chris has never been bitten. I blame my bites only on the fact that fleas must find me as irresistable as mosquitoes (i.e. on one of our early dates, Chris and I sat outside for three hours at night--he was heading back to Idaho the next morning--and the next morning, he had no bites . . . I had 60 . . . no lie, I counted). I have no doubts that there are fleas out and about because we keep killing them, they make babies, and the babies hatch and keep travelling back to our tiny cat. But an infestation??? REALLY?!?!? So we bought five months worth of Advantage for the cat and organic pest-killing powder for the carpet. The flea medicine has been on Navi for an hour, and I have seen a couple of fleas leap to their doom, writhing on the bathroom tile like cockroaches in poison. DIE VILE BLOODSUCKERS!!! DIE!!!! Hopefully this ends the epidemic ones and for all. Poor kitty.
Tomorrow we get to treat her for worms.
Oh the joys of pet ownership. . .

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Old Dog, New Tricks

Currently watching: "Criminal Minds: The First Season"

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.--Mark Twain

I think the above quote would sum up Chris's views on school completely. He's finishing up his degree in seven more online classes . . . oh that those seven classes would just fly by, haha. These are the interesting things he learned from his marketing class:
  • French men wear twice the cosmetics as French women
  • In Germany, Vicks cold medicine is called "Wicks" because Vicks is a slang term for sex.
  • In Japan, the closest name to Kit-Kat bars is "kitto katsu" which roughly translates to "I hope you win," making them a token of good luck and heavily consumed over exam time.

    So, these are the things I've learned this week . . .
  • When you feed ducks, sometimes they get happy. REALLY happy. Wednesday morning, I found a nest with a mama duck outside the apartment stairs. When I came home that evening, the nest was gone. So I went looking for it, found hungry ducks, fed them some leftover flatbread from my lunch. They really enjoyed it, so much so that . . . well . . . I thought it was a wrestling match but . . . umm . . . Have you ever seem male duck genitalia? Yeah, it ain't pretty.
  • Cleaning makes a happy house. Thursday, I had had enough of mess. So I went nuts. It's lovely, and I want to keep it lovely.
  • In line with that last lesson, it's amazing how much hair a small cat can shed. I vacuumed my couch, and it is now a completely different color. Wow.
  • Express used to make the perfect pair of jeans. The perfect dress pants. The only jeans and only pants that fit me. Now, suddenly, they don't make my size. I cannot find my size online or on the shelves in jeans. I can't find business pants in the right size or style, yet. I will keep the hope . . . I hope . . . I hate pants shopping. You have no idea.
  • "Retail Therapy" does exist . . . if you can actually find things without a spending ton of money.
  • If your library materials go missing, it's either evil spirits or the system plotting against you because you used a friend's library card (big no no). Today, a woman came in to ask if we had found her DVD, one she swears she turned in, one she swears we have and aren't checking in because we have it in for her, that we're stealing her money and are out to get her. "Harrassment" she called it. "I will not be harrassed anymore! I did not live to be sixty-two to be harrassed! It's just wicked to harrass innocent people! Making me look irresponsible. I have grown children and grandchildren, all with Masters and PhDs. Don't try to make me look like an idiot!" She went on to describe how people have been chasing her down to rearend her car to force her to ride a bike in the Florida heat. How people are turning off her water and electricity to make her look bad. "You need to find someone else to harrass. I know you're lying. I know you have that movie. You find it, you hear me?" Then she stepped back, looked away and said, solemnly, "You know what I'm doin? I'm renouncing the evil spirits here. The evil spirits that took my movie from me, that are harrassing me, making all this trouble. I'm renouncing them. You will find that DVD. Stop playing these games with me, and find it." I was completely speechless.
  • Bright pink or red lipstick brings out a woman's facial hair. As awestruck as I was by this woman's thought process, I was mesmerized by her mustache.
  • According to "Criminal Minds," all serial killers are puny, impotent, extremely intelligent, over-arrogant, abused, OCD white guys recently put under traumatic high stress . . . who may also be photographers. I think I can totally go tracking killers now. Thank goodness for prime time television.
  • Chris says he could use this knowledge to successfully mix and match multiple profiles to royally confuse the FBI if he is ever driven to murder . . . only in defense of the innocent, of course. Hmm, good job, honey.
  • Reconnecting with old friends is lots of fun. Julie, my sister-in-law and high school best buddy, and I spent a girl day out for the first time in over a year, maybe two. It was great.
  • It doesn't matter what other people think. God created us, knows us inside and out, and He loves us anyways. He's behind us all the way, so those other mortals we're so concerned with . . . we shouldn't be. Jeremiah 1:8, 17-19.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Thing of Beauty

There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.
--Sir Francis Bacon

Getting ready this morning, I wsa struck with the sudden realization that my physique has come to resemble those of the Renaissance goddesses, you know, the ones with pronounced rolls at every angle. Once upon a time, a great artist may have glanced and gone, "Ah-ha!" but now people take a glance and think that maybe someone should cut back on the Reese Pieces. When did this transition of thought happen?

I remember in middle school when my derrier suddenly became the most prominent part of my physique. I didn't notice until I could never find pants that fit right--everything was either too tight on my bum or was too large at the waist. "Bubble butt" I was called, and for the next eight years I hated it. Hated that I had curves where other girls were twigs. Hated that I couldn't wear shorts without my legs looking like Miss Piggy's. Hate that I couldn't wear those tiny string bikinis because half my rear would hang out. I wore boy board shorts instead, covering every inch of flesh that I could. I stopped wearing shorts all together, eventually, nothing that fell above the knee. I tried running (hated it . . . that didn't last very long) and all sorts of work out routines to try to shrink it. My waist line would diminish and my arms would earn a little more tone, but my butt never faded.
In college, things took a slight turn. People started noticing my figure--as if the giant ghetto white booty could be missed . . . and they complimented me. Girls said they were jealous; boys actually looked at me for the first time. My husband--then boyfriend--told me I was the most stunning girl he'd ever seen, that he wouldn't change my figure for the world (granted he was supposed to say that . . . but he meant it--he still says it multiple times a day).
Still, some people would say I was heavier than I should have been. They would say it even more, now. I'm somewhere in-between. If my pants fit, I'm good to go (I hate shopping for pants . . . still the same issue of too little butt room and too much waist room). Now, I just want to have a healthy life style, as best I can. Losing weight, eh take it or leave it. Keeping my body fit so I have a long life and bounce back after having kids? Definitely. Chris encourages this . . . then offers me a heaping dessert. Thanks, honey. ;)
What about you? What do you define as beautiful? What would you change about yourself, if anything?

Thicker than Water

Currently Reading: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Graham-Greene
Current Playlist:
"Across the Universe" Motion Picture Soundtrack

If you ever start feeling like you have the goofiest, craziest, most dysfunctional family in the world, all you have to do is go to a state fair. Because five minutes at the fair, you'll be going, 'You know, we're alright. We are dang near royalty.'--Jeff Foxworthy

Remember Navi, my ninja kitty? Well if you find any major typos, I blame her. She's hiding behind my laptop monitor and swiping at my fingers when she thinks I'm not looking. Smooth, Navs, real smooth.

Having holidays when you're married is nothing like having holidays when you're single. Holidays double. Your cooking skills double. The presents double. The busy-ness doubles. Maybe even triples. Quadruples. Because suddenly, you're not just dealing with one family or even two sets of grandparents. You're dealing with two sets of parents, two sets of siblings, and four sets of grandparents (or, in our case, mostly just two). All of them live within driving distance. They all want you to come over. And, because you're now a contributing adult, you want to bring food to the familial buffet . . . or at least I do--Chris could sort of care less, haha. Don't get me started on the present budget -.^ People ask us how our first married holidays are. We say, "Good" because they are. "Busy" because they REALLY are. You never realize how much work holidays are until Mommy and Daddy aren't around. Because, as a kid or a single adult, you just sort of show up. That's your only duty. You get married, and now you have to make the time, rework your schedule, bring food, bring presents . . . Presents are the worst. You have to learn what everyone likes, most of them you're just starting to get to know. I've been buying presents for Chris's sisters for years. Chris's parents?? Oh dear. Chris's GRANDPARENTS?? Oh d-d-dear dear! I barely knew how to buy for MY grandparents, let alone anyone else's.

It's not that in-laws are horrible like all the sitcoms say. I actually really love my in-laws. Chris loves my family. We love being with our families period. I don't think I could have used "loved" any more in a paragraph, haha.
So this weekend was family weekend. Easter lunch with my family and the Dunwells, Easter evening with the Bocchinos to celebrate Mel's birthday (we celebrated Easter last weekend with the extended Bocchino/Duda clan). Loved it, lots of fun.

Today, was a funeral with my Mom's extended family, followed by another birthday dinner at Chris's family's for his brother-in-law.

This is the last picture my family with my great-grandmother on her 93rd birthday in February. She died Friday evening peacefully in her sleep. I didn't know Nana very well. I only have two very distinct memories of her really. The others get blurry because, honestly, Nana mumbled and I've never, ever been good at deciphering. She was a sweet woman, though, and she and my mom grew much closer throughout the last few years. Nana had poor health for a long time. She would get sick, go to the hospital, the doctors would say "Any time now" and the woman would bounce right back. She did it enough that we were pretty certain, in the beginning, that she'd come out of this last sickness just like all the others. For a little while, it looked like she would, but then they had to place her in a nursing home because she needed 24 hour care. She was never without family, though. Her daughters and their children came faithfully every day. My mom made weekly trips up to Deland, twice, sometimes if she could. Nana would ask Mom to read the Bible while her roommate glared from across the room. Mom actually performed the service, today, and she did a wonderful job. I hope she understands just how well she did.
Funerals are always such interesting things. You get all dressed up to meet all these people you don't know. Maybe you should know them, but honest to goodness you have no idea who they are or why they're here. So you say "So sorry" "Wasn't he wonderful?" "Won't she be missed?" "How are you holding up?" to each other. The worst is when the other person knows you but you don't know them . . . or when they expect you to be crying and you aren't. People tell me sorry about my Nana, but really, I'm ok. She was sick, and she's not now. She's in heaven, free from all of the pain, dancing with Jesus. She can see and hear again, breathe without those tubes in her nose. She's a free bird. I don't feel a loss, and I feel like a heartless piece of meat admitting that.

I have been to three funerals that I remember, and I only almost cried at one. I'm pretty emotionally shut down with those kinds of things. I cried when my grandpa died. It was a short, outburst of emotion. He was just gone. There was never a chance to get closer, to try, and I felt that loss. I almost cried at the funeral because they played a slideslow that showed me all these sides of my grandfather I didn't know and, now, I never would. Not in this life.
When my Papa died, I was eleven. The most emotional I became was when everyone in my fifth grade class signed a sympathy card. I was touched. I didn't think any of them liked me. Maybe they didn't, but I saved the card for a long time. Papa's funeral was the last place I saw my Uncle Jimmy. He was wearing cowboy boots with a church suit, and, the wee fashion consultant that I was, couldn't quite justify that match in my mind. He had a blonde mustance. "Hey Sarah! Boy, you've gotten big! I bet you don't remember who I am."
"Yes, I do. You're my Uncle Jimmy."
He just smiled.
I saw my cousin Josh sobbing at the end of the funeral, and my Uncle Johnny holding him tight. I asked my parents why on earth Josh was crying so bad when I wasn't. "Papa was his buddy," they told me. "They were really close." I couldn't even begin to imagine. Papa was a man in a recliner with black socks and a deep voice, scratchy from years of smoking. I was scared of Papa. I was sad that my mommy was sad, but I wasn't sad for me.
Then there was today. They had set up a green tent at the grave site. Nana had already been placed in a closed casket. It was the first time I noticed a casket--it was pretty. Family gathered around. Some dressed up in pretty pant suits. My mom wore her pretty blue Easter dress. Others were in jeans and t-shirts. My Oma sat with her husband at her side, scowling. My cousin Tabby was there--I hadn't seen her since Nana's birthday the year before, and, this time, Tabby had her baby girl with her. I hadn't even seen pictures of the little girl, nearly a year old, positively beautiful and sweet. My Uncle Jeff was with her, and he's started to look a lot like Papa, but without the socks or scratchy voice. Uncle Jeff has always been warm and friendly, talks to you like you're one of his buddies and not some twerpy neice or nephew. I couldn't see my great aunt's faces, but they kept nodding their heads as my mom spoke, so you could imagine those bitter sweet smiles, the kind that choke on tears. Ellie held my hand and yawned loudly several times. I tried hard not to laugh, but it squeaked out once. I hope it sounded like a sob. I'd hate for people to think I was laughing. Oh dear. We didn't stay to visit with family. We had to get home so Chris could finish homework and so we could be at Ryan's birthday dinner we had just found out about. There was a part of me that was relieved--I didn't know these people, and I don't know how to mourn with them, but, at the same time, I wish I had gone. I want to get to know them. I want to be able to mourn.
I hope that, one day, my kids can be sad a funeral when a family member passes. It's a weird thing, wishing sadness on someone. I just want them to know, to have a relationship, to be able to feel the hole that person leaves behind, and the hope that they'll be found again in the end.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bikinis and Asanas

The prospect of a long day at the beach makes me panic. There is no harder work I can think of than taking myself off to somewhere pleasant, where I am forced to stay for hours and 'have fun'.
--Phillip Lopate
It's that time of year every woman dreads . . . The sun has come back, and the cool, sweet waters of the swimming pool are calling. The sands of the ocean shore are singing . . . and we refuse to come out of our locker. That yellow polka dot bikini has reared its adorable head. Doom to us all. Or maybe not. It's a near miracle my old bikini fits--shopping for another is such a pain. Designers only seem to make clothes for sticks or girls who don't like to keep even teeny tiny secrets from onlookers, but oh well.

I can't wait for a beach trip, for laying out by the pool. Summertime is the season of water, and I love it. Chris had better have his sun screen, ready, because his wife's begging for the ocean :)

So here we are, swimsuit season. What do you do to get ready for it? Work out? Buy a new suit? Tan? (I kind of look like a vampire right now, myself haha).

I started using this workout DVD this week just for fun, and it's amazing.
I love that you can create a custom workout based on your needs and time, plus I feel fantastic after I finish.