Friday, February 29, 2008

Our Poor Plant

You wouldn’t know it to look at it, but this was once a vibrant poinsettia with broad red leaves. That is, until me and my black thumb got a hold of it.

It was a surprise from Husband around Christmas time. I thought it was such a nice gesture that I was determined to keep it alive for a long time. (Perhaps I decided to conveniently forget the unfortunate fate of the last 10 plants that were under my care.)

For a while, it looked like it was doing ok. I thought I saw some green shoots and the potential for life. But, then it started to look like the scraggly mess that it is now. Husband was ready to write out the death certificate, but I thought somehow I could nurse it back to life, alternating between frequent waterings and total neglect. (I don’t recommend the “neglect” part of the recipe.)

I’d hope for the best, but I suppose it’s too late for a Christmas miracle. We might be better off starting a new tradition next year, by skipping the poinsettia and getting a Christmas cactus instead.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Not funny enough for a travel magazine

I love entering contests. Maybe I have just an optimistic (or naïve?) view that I just might win.

I blame it on my parents. They started it with sending in what we thought were some funny family stories to Reader’s Digest when I was a kid. We would check the mailbox in anticipation of getting the letter that would proudly proclaim our submission as a winner. Well, let’s just say that we’re still waiting for that letter. (It must have gotten lost in the mail when we moved.)

Fast forward a couple decades later to last month. I sent in a picture and a story about our honeymoon to a travel magazine for their “real-life stories” section. I checked the next issue with excitement, only to find that our submission did not make it. (By the way, I’m not listing the magazine’s name to protect them from what clearly was a huge mistake they made in overlooking such a funny submission.)

Though our story, I suppose, was not magazine-worthy, I’m hoping it’s at least blog-worthy.

So, enjoy the not-good-enough-for-a-travel-magazine-but-still-hopefully-funny story and picture below!

My husband and I went on a cruise of the Mediterranean for our honeymoon. At many of the ports, various vendors tried to sell us brand-name items that they swore were 100% authentic. But, at a stop at Ephesus in Turkey, we saw this sign, which shamelessly (and humorously) promoted their fake wares. While it didn’t get us to buy their “genuine” fakes, it did give us some real laughs!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Do you want paper or plastic with your compliment?

I went to the commissary this morning directly after my yoga class. I got in line to check out, and the cashier (that will be known from this point forward as The Man That Made My Morning) said to me, “You look great in black.” I first looked behind me to see if he was talking to someone else, and then said, “Oh thanks!” He continued, “Just a compliment, but really, you look great in black.” I smiled and thanked him again. And why shouldn’t I have gotten complimented (twice!) this morning? After all, I was wearing my finest zip-up black fleece (that no longer “zips-up” after losing the zipper months ago in a dryer incident), a shirt that might have a hole in it somewhere (and I’m afraid to know exactly where), yoga pants, tennis shoes, and a ponytail that sat atop my greasy, unwashed hair. And, though I can’t confirm it, I probably smelled from not showering and yoga-ing. Clearly, I was a sight this morning, and deserved such kind praise from The Man That Made My Morning. Either way, I’m grateful for the compliment. He inspired me to want to compliment someone else. (Who doesn’t love getting a compliment?) He also might have inadvertently inspired me to forgo showering again on my next trip to the store. I guess maybe instead of extending compliments, I should just start extending my apologies in advance to the rest of the shoppers.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Welcome Home, Testosterone!

I’ll be glad to have Husband back home soon. He left this weekend for a military trip. I did miss him. Although I admit, I might have let out a small grin when I first realized that the remote control and the TV were mine, all mine. [evil laugh time: Mwahahaha!] Without the influence of his testosterone in our place, I nearly worked myself up in a feminine frenzy. Though I’m not a girlie girl, I still managed to: 1) paint my toe nails pink 2) watch shows that did not include explosions, science, or scientific explosions 3) do a little shopping 4) watch a show about brides wearing large poufy dresses 5) consume large amounts of chocolate And, to top it off, as if I didn’t already sound like a walking stereotype for all things estrogen: 6) catch the end of When Harry Met Sally, the ultimate chick flick and one of my favorite movies I enjoyed my weekend, but I’ll be glad to have the dose of testosterone back. It’ll be the perfect cure for my hangover from chocolate and What Not to Wear episodes.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

(Trying to) Hitchhike While Running

Last week I was running on our military base where we’re temporarily staying, and I happened to run by the building where Husband works. Coincidentally, he was leaving work around the same time I was running, and he drove right by me. He might have intended to embarrass me with his incessant honking and waving, but I was actually happy and encouraged to see it. I wasn’t having my best run, and I wanted so badly to stop running. When he drove up in his white car, it seemed like a golden chariot beside me - my ticket on wheels to take me home. I probably would have sold my soul to go home with him right then. In fact, when he rolled down his window, I actually shouted, only half-joking, “Take me home!” “What?” he said, unable to hear me. “Never mind. See you at home!” The run was tough. Had I shouted “take me home” a little louder (or maybe if Husband had slightly better hearing), the story might have ended with me sitting comfortably in the passenger seat, a little sweaty and a little defeated from the start of a tough run. But, instead, it ended with me running 3 more miles, finishing my 4-mile run, and arriving back on our doorstep. I was sweaty, exhausted, and discouraged. Husband gave me a hug, and I shed a few tears, starting a monologue of: “Why am I doing this?” “Am I nuts?” “Maybe I’m not cut out for this.” He then encouraged me, responding with: “Because you want a challenge.” “Probably, a little.” “Not true.” I immediately felt much better. So, I realized I didn’t need a chariot to pick me up because I had the encouragement of the chariot driver. And that was just the pick-me-up I needed!

Friday, February 22, 2008

"Spirit of the Marathon"

Husband and I went to see the “Sprit of the Marathon” movie last night at the theater. We made an evening out of it, and we ate a cute little Italian restaurant before the movie. Husband had a dish of garlic that might have had some pasta in it, and I had a bowl full of penne pasta with tomato sauce. (We randomly chose to eat Italian, but we realized later that we had “carbed up” much like the people in the movie!) The movie was incredible. It was inspiring, motivating, interesting, and honest. In case you haven’t heard about the movie, it’s a documentary that tracked six different runners who are training for a marathon. I especially liked that they picked a few “non-runners” (like me!) because I could relate to them the most. One, in particular, was a mom that had never really run before. The other was a man in his 60s! In one of the funny points of the movie, he says that the only runner’s high he’s ever had is when he stops running. (Glad I’m not the only one!) I won’t spoil any more, so I’ll just say that I loved the movie. Husband enjoyed it, too, and he has no aspirations of ever running a marathon. So, I think it appeals to runners and non-runners alike. If anything, it reaffirms that any goal is possible, despite how insurmountable it seems at first. I would tell everyone I know to rush out and see it, but, unfortunately, there were only two showings of the movie and last night was the last one. However, I’m sure it will come out on DVD, and if so, you’ll have to check it out then. In short, I laughed. I cried. I smelled the pungent odor of garlic (coming from Husband’s direction). I hope your “Spirit of the Marathon” experience will be as great as mine – minus the garlic. :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

It's official

I signed up for the marathon last night. It only took a few minutes on the computer, and now I’m officially running a marathon. I’m also officially out $80. (And yes, that was the early discounted rate.) Who knew you’d have to fork over so much money to willingly put your body through 26 miles of near-torture? Am I officially crazy for doing this? I’m not sure yet. But, I do know that I’m a little terrified, very excited, and almost exhausted at just the thought of it all. I also know that I have a lot more running to do!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

macaroni kids

I went to the grocery store today, and I sheepishly bought a case (yes, a case!) of Easy Mac.

I had been buying it just by the single box, which was easier to justify. One box seems harmless. An entire case seems excessive and borderline obsessive. (Not to mention probably unhealthy,
but I’m going to ignore that fact for now.)

I couldn’t pass up the case because it was on sale. And, sadly, I knew that we would eat it all. So, I took the coupon for $1 off, and put the case in the cart, hoping that no one would suspect that we’re closet macaroni (more specifically, instant macaroni) junkies.

But, I couldn’t escape from the store without an older man in front of me in line noticing my macaroni purchase of extreme proportions.

He said, “Wow, your kids must love macaroni!”

I admitted to him that my husband and I do not have kids, although we might actually qualify as kids ourselves.

He was right, though. A case of instant macaroni seems appropriate for a large – a very large – family with multiple kids. Or, perhaps for a dorm full of broke college students.

Instead, the entire case of cheesy dinners is just for my husband and me. I wish I could say that the saddest part of the tale. But, the worst part is that I actually bought a case last week, and it’s already almost gone!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Christmas in February

The movers brought our stuff to our new house today. In a way, it’s kind of like Christmas. Except that the loot is all of our old stuff (with slightly new scratches and/or smells) and Santa is a young tattooed man wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. All of our stuff had been in storage for the last 3 months. And quite honestly, I didn’t really miss it. Until I saw our comfy couches that just begged me to sit down and sprawl out, and I willingly obliged. We haven’t unpacked the boxes yet, so I’m sure that more surprises await us. But for now, we’re celebrating our February Christmas. Oh, and in case you didn’t know, Santa will gladly accept a McDonald’s lunch in lieu of cookies and milk.

Friday, February 15, 2008

I think my perfume must be defective

I hardly ever wear perfume. But I figured yesterday that since it was Valentine’s Day, I might as well wear it. Husband walked in the door, and smiled at me, saying: “Something smells good in here!” I grinned, pleased that he noticed my perfume. “I know what it is,” he said. He pauses, and I smile, waiting for his answer. “You made Texas toast!” Nope, I sure didn’t. I frown, and then he sniffs the air again. He smiled again, looking at me, and said, “Wait…it’s not that. It’s microwave popcorn!” Wrong again. I think Husband should get his money back on the perfume he bought me for Christmas. Or maybe I should switch from Ralph Lauren to Orville Redenbacher. It would be much cheaper - and tastier, too!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope you celebrate with someone you love. Or, at the very least, I hope you celebrate that today is the last day that we’ll be seeing those sappy jewelry store commercials…until at least the Christmas season. This is my third Valentine’s Day with my lovable goof, but the first Valentine’s with him as my husband. Our first Valentine’s was actually in Hawaii (for our friends’ wedding), and he took me as a surprise to a really nice restaurant at the top of a tower that overlooked the beach. He might have been trying to impress me, and if so, it worked. Everything was SO nice that I actually felt nervous that I was going to klutz it all up, by spilling my water or tripping on the way to the bathroom. (I didn’t spill my water, nor did I trip, which made the night a victory.) Last year I didn’t want him to spend a small fortune or a long time looking for a gift. So I told him exactly what I wanted: take-out from Pizza Hut and a small plant (since flowers are ridiculously expensive on Valentine’s). He didn’t disappoint. I got my mushroom pizza and a beautiful tulip plant. And the night was a lot of fun. I have a sneaking suspicion I’ll be celebrating with Husband by watching Lost (one of our favorite shows) tonight, while getting my feet massaged. (Hooray!) And, if I happen to eat some Thin Mints at the same time – then I just might self-destruct from pure bliss. This just might be the best Valentine’s of all.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Games We Play

Husband and I are playing an on-going game. The game doesn’t really have a name, although I suppose it could be called “my wife hides everything I need,” “grown-up hide and seek,” or simply “cleaning up.” The beauty of the game is that Husband doesn’t seem to be aware he’s playing, and the genius of the game is that it’s engineered so I always win. Here’s how you play: 1) Clean the house. Take things that are not in their proper locations (on the floor, on a chair, etc) and put them in their rightful spot. 2) Then, pretend not to notice (hee hee) as your spouse hunts around the house for the item that he/she needs. All the while, the item is “hidden” in its true spot! (He never thinks to look there.) Here are some sample dialogues to use while playing the game. Notice that Husband’s part usually starts with “Where is….?” or a declaration like “my [missing item] has grown legs!” Husband: “Where is my belt?” Me: “In your closet.” Husband: “My glasses have grown legs!” Me: “They’re in your glasses case.” Husband: “Where is my glass of soda?” Me: “In the fridge.” Husband: “My favorite pants have grown legs!” Me: “They’re hanging in your closet.” We are in at least the hundredth round of the game. And, if no one says anything about this to Husband, the game could go on for months - or maybe even years! Think of the endless hours of entertainment. But, there is one downside. Though I’m the winner, by default, the only prize I’ve ever gotten was another opportunity to clean the house. On second thought, maybe we need to rethink this game.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

God Bless the Girl Scouts

I love the Girl Scouts. I wish I could say it was because of something important like their values or their commitment to community service (although those things are quite admirable). But really, I’m just a sucker for their Thin Mint cookies. I make sure I stalk, I mean, visit any of their cookie-selling stands. Today was no exception. I had almost forgotten it was the glorious Girl Scout cookie season, until I saw the precious stand in front of the grocery store. Husband had dropped me off, so I could run into the store to pick up something for our lunch. And, of course, I couldn’t resist buying a box of Thin Mints on the way in. When I was walking around the store, I remembered the time I gave Husband a box of Thin Mints. We had just started dating, and I had bought 2 boxes from a co-worker’s daughter. I decided to part with one of my dear boxes, and I generously gave it to Husband. I thought that he would treasure the cookies as dearly as I did. A few months later, we drove into his garage, and I saw a familiar green box lying on the floor. A box of Thin Mints. I ran over to the box, expecting it to be empty. But the box was full! I opened it quickly, hoping to rescue the vital contents. But it was no hope. The cookies were one stale chocolatey, minty mess. I’m surprised that things didn’t end right there between me and Husband. (Could I really commit to someone that killed a box of precious Thin Mints?) But, after a line of harsh questioning, I let it go. And I didn’t think of it again until today, when I was in the grocery store. Then I started to wonder if he remembered anything of the Thin Mint Incident. Husband picked me up from my brief shopping errand, and I noticed he had something with him in the car. A green box of newly-purchased Thin Mints. For me. If this was his way of saying “sorry” for the desecrated Thin Mints of the past, then he should consider himself completely forgiven. What can I say? I’m a lucky girl - for both the cookies, and of course, the Husband.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Learning through Lent

Lent just started on Wednesday, and I feel like I’m learning a lot already. I decided not to give up anything this Lent. Not because I can’t do it, but because it makes living with me that much more difficult. If you don’t believe me, ask Husband about the time I gave up sweets. He nearly died from the death glare I gave him when he ate a piece of chocolate cake in front of me, at my insisting. [It was a learning experience for both of us. Husband learned that a woman doesn’t always means what she says, especially if she can’t eat desserts and she says, “Please, go ahead and eat that piece of chocolate cake.” And I learned that I turn into a grump when I forgo all sweets for 40 days.] So, my goal this Lent is to read just a little bit of the Bible every night. I’ve been a Christian my whole life, yet I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never really read the bible, except for excerpts here and there. Maybe I’ve never read it because it seems so important and intimidating. (And no surprise at why it’s intimidating, since it’s a hefty 1500+ page read!) Regardless, I started with just a page the first couple nights. And now I’m reading 3 or 4 pages a night because I want to - not because I feel like I have to. I’m learning that the bible is sometimes confusing, but always interesting and inspiring. I’m learning that working towards completing any large task seems intimidating at first. Just like my marathon training. It seemed so impossible at first (and still does sometimes), yet it starts with taking that first bold step. I’m learning that, sadly, I’ve constrained myself at times because of my own labels I’ve given myself. “I’m not a runner.” Or, “I’m not a bible reader.” And, “I’m a klutz.” (Ok, well I’m at least right on the last one.) I’m learning also that my Lent will be sweet, and not just because I can indulge in desserts. (Although, I’m secretly thankful that I can. And Husband is perhaps the most thankful of all.) This Lent I’ll be tackling goals I never thought I could, and I’ll be growing in the process. And that is just as sweet as the chocolate cake I’m suddenly craving…

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Precious Water

Surprisingly, the most difficult part of our recent home-buying experience might just be setting up our water account. It shouldn’t be that difficult, especially because the water is already working! I called to ask the company simply to transfer the account to our name. I thought that since we were just crazy enough to volunteer to give them money every month (on time, of course), they would gladly take my contact information and be done with it. But, they said I needed to supply copies of just a few things: my ID card, my social security card, the deed to the house, my 5th grade report card (will they care that I got a “B” in art?), and my high school yearbook photo (yes, the one with the braces). And, that doesn’t include the 5-page application form! They know all about us now. Our driver’s license numbers, our phone numbers, our lucky lotto numbers, the last 3 years worth of addresses (only about 5 different locations), jobs we’ve had (including my depressing summer job at a souvenir store in Florida and Husband’s boring stint as a grocery bagger), my shoe size, and the number of readers on my blog (3 - my parents; and Husband, since he can’t escape and I force him to read it). I’m not sure if this act is supposed to make them want to give us water, or a hug (mainly for my ugly braces phase and the lame jobs we once held). Regardless, Husband and I have about a dozen moves between us, and I never remember a water company being this particular. Is there something I’m missing? Is water the newest commodity on the black market? Psst…hey you. Yes you. I can get you a good deal on water. Yeah, the good stuff. Just bring a bucket and the cash to the backside of our house. Come alone. Tonight. I’ll hook you up. I’m convinced that something good will come of this. Besides running water in our home, of course. Maybe we’ll get rich selling water on the black market, or maybe I’ll just take a long hot bath in our hard-earned H2O to relax and forget the whole thing.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

26.2 miles

I recently did over 26.2 miles! It wasn’t so bad at all. Before you get too impressed, I admit that it might not count, based on a mere technicality. While I did complete those miles consecutively, I actually logged them while driving in my car. But, I can assure that I was thinking about running. And, I was also sweating (due to a malfunction with the heat in the car). So does that count for anything? I didn’t think so. Back to the treadmill…

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

the highlighter

There’s a new coveted item in our place. One that’s actually surpassed the remote control in importance. It is, believe it or not, the humble yellow highlighter. We spend most of our evenings now studying, instead of TV-watching. Husband is studying for his training, and I’m studying for my Master’s degree. Our subject matter couldn’t be more different. He’s reading about the mechanics of an airplane, and I’m reading about international law. Regardless, we both have a nose in a book, and inevitably we’re both trying to find the yellow highlighter. There should be plenty of highlighters for both of us. I know that we have dozens of them…somewhere. Yet, when we need one, they all seem to disappear, leaving a single highlighter that is wanted to highlight both airplane geek speak and international law mumbo jumbo at the same time. There was an easy fix for our problem, though. I went to the store and bought 2 more packs of highlighters. I figure that should last us at least a week. But, it still doesn’t answer the mystery of our disappearing highlighters. I’m not entirely sure, but I have a suspicion that they’re having a party somewhere with our missing lone socks and my misplaced watch.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Stevie Wonder, the Runner?

Last weekend I put on all my running gear, ready for an afternoon run. I was just about to walk out the door, and Husband says, “Are you running in that?”

I looked down, trying to figure out what was wrong. I was wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and running shoes. Not a surprising get-up for a run.

“You’re running in those Stevie Wonder sunglasses?” he asked and laughed.

I hadn’t put a lot of thought in my choice of sunglasses, but I guess I figured I would wear them because: 1) it was sunny outside, and 2) they are the only pair of sunglasses I own. Reasonable explanations, right?

“But those are regular sunglasses, not sport sunglasses,” he explained.

Jeez, now I have to start buying “sport” sunglasses? Why would I do that when these work just fine? (And, I disagree that they look like Stevie Wonder glasses, but we’ll just move on.)

And, why am I getting criticism for a running outfit from my husband? No offense, but this is the man recently wore sweatpants and sneakers out to a nice dinner, an outfit that clearly screams “I’ve given up on life and fashion!”

So I disregarded his advice (especially since I had no other sunglasses), and ran in my Stevie Wonder glasses. While I was running, I wondered if other people thought they looked like Stevie Wonder glasses. In that case, people might have been inspired by my running. (“Wow, check out that blind girl. She’s running!”) However, I know that no one mistook me for Stevie Wonder himself. (I’m just too short and I sing too terribly for anyone to make that mistake.)

Regardless, I decided to put the glasses to the test and end this debate. I concluded out that they are definitely not Stevie Wonder’s. I tried to sing “Isn’t she lovely?” while wearing them, and I still croak like a frog.