Thursday, February 26, 2009

Surprise! Birthday Week Recap

Last week I had a Birthday, my 27th to be exact. While I don't particularly like to draw attention to that sort of thing (move along people, nothing to see here), this birthday was a special one. That morning I woke up and slid out of bed onto my knees to thank God for every good and wonderful thing that has ever happened to me. And then I left it at that, decided not to bother Him with my usual pleas and rants.I've had a tremendous week filled with heart felt phone calls and text messages from family and friends, beautiful birthday cards in my mailbox, and lovely presents that I'm still swooning over. BD was out of town and I was totally bummed out thinking that I would be alone on my birthday. However, my mom wasn't about to let that happen and she took me shopping and treated me to dinner. She gave me the greatest present...a book of all my writing projects from Elementary, Jr. High, and beyond. I was moved to tears and have had fun looking through the hundreds of pages of gibberish. I'll have to post some funny examples from when I was barley learning to read and write. Then, the next night my mom and sisters took me to dinner and we all pulled a late night movie marathon to get caught up on the Oscar noms. I loved spending an entire night with the most important women in my life. Then, BD finally came home and my birthday was celebrated yet again. Then, the next night we went out for a quiet evening with a few friends to my favorite little Thai restaurant.
Oh wait... NO WE DIDN'T because those same friends threw me a SURPRISE party instead. And I can honestly say that I have never been so surprised in my entire life. That kind of speechless, blubbering, utterly embarrassing kind of surprised. I was literally blown away that 1) my friends who are busy being moms and super heroes would plan a party on behalf of little 'ol me, 2) they could get away with the surprise element when normally I am so UP in their business, 3) other people actually showed up, and 4) that BD could keep a secret. Hello! I must say that I have hands down and unequivocally the best friends in the whole world.The party was perfect in every way. Lisa and Liz did a knock-out job on the all purple decorations and the most outrageous chocolaty desserts that made me blush. They completely out did themselves and I'll never be able to say thank you enough. But just in case, THANK YOU. I felt so loved and it meant the world. And the best part was...I showed up in a purple shirt and matched my own party. It was too good to be true, only that it was. I love you guys so much!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Grin 'n Bare it; Recession Humor

Getting a kick out of these Retro Recession humor cards from Rock Scissor Paper. Check out the whole collection here.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Cottage Cheese Burritos: How To

Before you scrunch your nose up and think ewwwww, just hear me out. I've been making cottage cheese burritos ever since college when I could only afford 4 cheap ingredients at once. Every person who has seen me make and eat one of these has been skeptical at first, but ends up loving them after they've actually tasted one. Exhibit A: while vacationing in Hawaii last year I made one of these for BD one night and others in our party were all "that looks sooooo gross" and I was like "why don't you try one" and they did and they loved it. So there.Step one: melt cheese on tortilla. Today I'm using a combo of shredded sharp cheddar and mozzarella, and a fancy cook-your-own tortilla because that's what I had in my fridge. Oh, and this one is for BD so I'm adding lots of extra cheese. For him.
And if you believed that, then you'll also believe that I'm a mega millions powerball jackpot winner. Step 2: load with cottage cheese and salsa. Again, just use what you have available. I happen to be partial to the texture of non-fat cottage cheese. Note: I have only invested about 49.2 seconds into this meal so far. Which translates into 10.8 seconds until total hunger satisfaction.Step 3: fold into a burrito. You know, tuck in two sides and roll like a dirty diaper. Sorry to mention "diaper" while talking about food, but nonetheless we are talking about burritos and it's all relative isn't it? Step 4: Consume. If you're BD it takes only 3 bites to disappear. It's ridiculously simple. And dirt cheap too. So give it a try and let me know what you think. Or don't. It's fine, my feelings won't be hurt either way. But I'm confident enough to say in advance...

You're welcome.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Lub Dub, a short story

I never wanted to marry until I was at least 25. Because when you're anything younger than that, 25 seems so debonair. Not to mention, very far away. I used to fantasize that by the time I reached my mid-twenties I would be highly educated, highly successful, and only then would I be ready to commit myself to another. But life had other plans for me and so I adapted. One summer night while at dinner the waiter presented me with a diamond ring when I was expecting creme brulee. It was then that my best friend and high-school sweetheart dropped to his knee and changed my life forever.

So I had caved. But in my defense, I couldn't resist him.

The wedding plans fell together piece by piece and I was rapidly checking things off my list one by one. Outside pressures mounted as he was struggling with the recent death of his mother while trying to keep his grades afloat, his family together, and his new fiance happy. I was entrenched with wedding plans, a ridiculous full load of school, and feet so cold at times I thought they would amputate themselves. Born a chronic worrier, I had created a cesspool of doubt in my head of everything that could go wrong. Would go wrong. But every time we were together, he managed to pull the plug on my convoluted fears replacing them with relentless optimism about our future together. I bought it. And like any good bride-to-be I continued checking things off my wedding to-do.

One of the big ticket items was of course the dreaded pre-marital doctor exam. I expected nothing short of a perfect combination off all the OB horror stories I'd ever heard at slumber parties since 5th grade. Regardless, I begrudgingly made the appointment with the doctor who coincidentally had delivered me from my mother's womb 21 years prior. After all, he was the first person to ever see me naked and screaming in this life, how fitting that he should have the honor yet again. I was almost disappointed when the examination went rather smoothly. Except for one minor hiccup.

"Can you tell me about your heart murmur?" Dr. B. asked.

The stupefied look that flashed upon my face must have given him the answer he was searching for. Cocking one eyebrow, he continued to move his stethoscope up and down my back instructing me when to breathe in and out, in and hold.

"Has anyone ever told you that you have a heart murmur?" He asked smoothly, trying very hard not to give away any sense of concern unnecessarily.

No, no one ever had. And then very matter-of-factly he suggested I have it checked out immediately, and by that, he meant before the wedding. I got dressed and met him again in his office where he reviewed the basics of the birds and the bees. You know, just in case the public school system and years of slumber parties had failed me. Indeed they had not. Again, he reassured me that the heart murmur was likely nothing to be overly concerned about.

Right. I took it as a literal sign. My heart was murmuring against me, against my decision to get married. I considered not telling Brad, then decided against that, fearing that if something were to go terribly wrong after the wedding he could sue me and demand a refund for having purchased damaged goods. Not an option.

As expected, Brad was customarily relaxed about the whole thing. If he was worried, he never let on. It's one of his best, or worst, qualities; staying even keeled especially when I expect the worst from him. He even made my cardiologist appointments for me and waited patiently in the lobby while I was poked and prodded and tested and monitored. The prognosis was clear, as far as heart murmurs were concerned I had the best possible combination. A leaky tricuspid valve that shouldn't interfere with my life or health or overall well being. However, in true form I internalized my skepticism.

I seemed more nervous for the ultra sound on my heart than I was for the EKG. Pre-wedding jitters I explained. Pre-heart attack jitters I thought. The technician doing the ultra sound could sense my nervousness and attempted to make friendly small talk. After only a few seconds we discovered that I went to high school with her younger brother and a few other random connections. It drew quiet again and I worried to myself. As she maneuvered the wand over my chest I could hear the steady lub dub, lub dub, lub dub of my heart beat. She took the time to explain that my heart beat was special and actually went la-lub dub, la-lub dub, la-lub dub. The variation was ever so slight and only a trained professional could even tell the difference. To keep me distracted, she began asking questions once more, this time inquiring about the shiny engagement ring on my left hand. Oh, right. That.

"What's his name?" she prodded, lightly fluctuating her voice higher at the end as if to insinuate I should begin blushing in three, two, one...

My mind flickered to Brad waiting patiently in the lobby, probably reading a bicycling magazine or chewing his fingers like he does when bored or anxious. He was bored, for sure, bored and waiting for me. And then it hit, he was waiting for me. The mere thought broadened my lips into a subtle grin. It was true, I really couldn't resist him.

"Brad. Brad Duncan," I stuttered proudly looking down at my ring, adjusting it back and forth from the underside with my thumb.

Just then the steady beat of the la-lub dub suddenly quickened and grew astonishingly louder and faster. I heard it. I even felt it in my chest. And much to my embarrassment, so did the technician. My heart was pounding. I looked away as if I hadn't noticed. But a smirk appeared on the lips of the technician and out of the corner of my eye I could tell she was on to me. As if to test her theory, she prodded further.

"How long have you known him, where did you meet?" She was speaking slightly louder than before as if it were necessary to talk above the increased sound of the beating.

"Since Kindergarten," I managed to eek out, hesitating before I divulged anything further. I was concentrating more on the sound of my heart beat which was growing faster and faster, louder and louder still, despite my smooth deep breaths. Keep talking I suggested to myself, finding it the only diversion available.

"We've been friends since way back then," I continued. "But we dated later in high school, I chased him rather, until eventually, we are." I keenly raised my left hand and waved my ring finger up and down as if catching her up with our entire love story only required one short sentence. I was smiling rather openly now. A joyful, happy smile. By this time my chest was heaving and I gasped a little for air. What was happening?

"Wow," she said in a daze still clutching the wand to my chest. The bewildered look on her face told me that either one of us was perhaps seconds from spontaneous combustion. I didn't take the bait. She pretended to concentrate on the monitor now. "Are you hearing what I'm hearing?" She was nearly shouting at me with enthusiasm. "This is totally great. You really are in love with him!" Right then I thought my heart might leap right out of my chest. I almost couldn't bear the humiliation. It wouldn't have taken a specialist to explain the situation, but she felt inclined to spell it out for me anyway.

"The second you said his name your heart rate nearly doubled. Look." She pointed to some random number blinking on the bottom of the screen. She was grinning so widely, you'd have thought she was the one on the table having her very raw emotions explained via sonogram to a complete stranger. I giggled unexpectedly but caught myself before it got out of hand. "Your heart is strong. Real strong. Just stick with him, and you'll be just fine" she suggested warmly acting more like cupid than doctor. Was this the proof I needed? Did this really mean that I loved him?

We were finished with the exam, and I could tell the technician was extremely pleased with herself, myself, and what had just happened. Before instructing me to get dressed and meet her in the lobby, she winked and asked if she might have a word with Brad. I shrugged in accord but caught a glimpse of my face in the mirror, brighter than the first sunburn of summer. I felt the embarrassment fluttering around in my stomach, but at least my heart rate was seemingly back to normal.

I found the two of them in the lobby chuckling together like old friends. I flushed again and we both kindly thanked her on our way out. A few months later Brad and I were married and I can say with all sincerity that it was the greatest day of my life. Brad takes great pleasure in knowing that my heart beats for him and rarely does he miss an opportunity to remind me of that. But today, I wanted to remind him.

Happy Valentine's to my lub dub.


Sunday, February 08, 2009

Picture Tag

Jessie picture tagged me! Lo and behold the 4th picture in the 4th folder was this archived treasure from May 2005. This picture was taken by BD while we were awaiting departure from the Frankfurt hauptbahnhof, excitedly on our way to Prague. I'm avoiding eye contact with the camera, which would make sense, because BD is typically wielding a lens 3 inches from my face especially when he has nothing to do but aggravate me on a 7 hour train ride.
But... if you're anything like me, you've zoned right in on the perfect treasure trail of moles down my neck. I think it's my best feature, really. Don't be jealous.

Lost Generation

My s.i.l Ali sent this to me tonight and I loved it.