Seven Things

One of my favorite bloggers, Faith from Life, Love & Marriage tagged me last week for a seven things post.  She came up with all kinds of fun and witty things to say about herself but it's always a struggle for me.  At least it's given me something to write about!  I wracked my brain and this is what I came up with.
  1. I purposefully avoid getting interested in new TV shows during the Fall TV premiere week because I'm afraid I might find something I actually like.  I don't have to worry about wanting to watch them every week.  I stick to a few old faithfuls (mostly short term reality shows) and have ditched a bunch to cut down on TV time.  I don't want catching up on TV shows in my DVR to feel like a job.
  2. My favorite color is Pink.  I even had to use it as one of my wedding colors.  It reminds me of all things beautiful like ballet and dainty pink flowers.  So delicate and perfect.  Maybe it's cliche for a girly girl like myself but oh well!!
  3.  I started kindergarten when I was 4 so I was always a year younger then all of my classmates.
  4.  I have two great sisters but always wondered what it would be like to have a brother.
  5. Ive only been eating Strawberries for about the last five years.  I was too afraid to try them because of the way they look.  Boy was I missing out!  I've always been sort of a picky eater but have greatly increased the foods that I'll eat as I've gotten older.
  6. I had a detached retina when I was in college.  This is something that often results from a blow to the eye but mine just happened.  I had to have eye surgery to repair it or else I could have gone blind.  My vision in that eye worsened (as if it wasn't bad enough) but I haven't had any problems with it ever since.  
  7. I am a cheese junkie.  I love all kinds.  I love it by itself and it's the main ingredient of some of my favorite foods which include Pizza, lasagna, and Quesadilla.
I have almost fully recovered from my crash on the ice rink last weekend.  My knees are still bruised and tender but getting better.  I seriously can't believe how banged up I got.  I must have hit that ice HARD!  Have you heard that B of A is going to start charging $5 per month for debit card usage?  I don't bank with them but if I did I'd be closing my accounts faster then that $5 could post to my account.  How ridiculous is that?  We have USAA (love them!) and I'm pretty sure they would never even consider doing such a thing but I hope other banks don't jump on the bandwagon and follow suit.  What a week this has been!  Work, school, gym, errands.  Life can be so exhausting.  It's gone by fast AND slow at the same time.  I'm not even sure how that is possible but I'm just really glad it's finally Friday.  I'm meeting my wonderful husband for a lunch date and then after work I'll be off to happy hour with friends.  

Happy Friday!!

Groupon Date

I love saving money so I'm a major fan of Groupon (if you use this link to sign up I get $10 Groupon bucks if you buy one).  They have deals on so many things we want to do around town.  They even have Groupon Travel now.  We both downloaded the app to our i phones and it keeps them all organized so we can keep track of what we used, what we have and when they expire.  You can even redeem them from your phone without having to worry about printing them out.  By the time you get around to using them it almost feels like a free outing because it's already paid for.
He's concentrating
Mj has never been ice skating nor ever had any inclination to.  I've done it before but it's been a while.  Enter Groupon and off to Ice Town we go.   The first time I got on the ice I was really wobbly.  Once I got my bearings and after I tightened up my boots I did much better.  I'm no wall hugger.  Before long I was zooming around the ice rink.  I can go three times around to Mj's one.  I can't help but notice this because it's probably one of the rare moments that I can actually do something better then him.  It probably won't happen again any time soon so I savored the moment.  I'm loving the feel of the wind in my hair and the icy cold air against my face as I race around the rink.  And then it happened.  Toe Pick.  Anyone who has seen The Cutting Edge knows what that means.  One minute I'm sliding across the ice on my feet and the next I'm sliding across the ice on my stomach instead.  The rough edge on the front end of my blade caught the ice and tripped me up.  I literally caught air and hit the ice hard taking most of the weight on my right knee.  Usually when you fall your first instinct is to get up as fast as you can but I could not move.  I lay there on the cold ice like a broken rag doll until one of the instructors helps me up.  Then she hands me my camera which has fallen out of my pocket.  Covered in ice chips I gingerly cling to the wall until I make it around to an exit and sit down.  Too bad because I was just getting ready to practice my jumps and spins.  Not quite!  My knee hurt so bad but I didn't let that spoil my fun.  I rested and was back on the ice and skating circles around Mj again in no time.  I didn't skate as fast because I couldn't take another fall.  Mj said that with every move he basically felt like he was about to fall over but he got more confident as he went along.  He never went very fast but he stayed on his feet and didn't fall unlike me.

These suckers were like torture devices! My ankles were pretty sore

A delicious dinner
After that it was time for part two of our Groupon date.  Burgers & Fries at Paradise Bar & Grill!!  That morning Mj biked 40 miles and I went to the gym.  Then we did ice skating for two hours and I busted my butt.  We'd earned it!  The last time I indulged on a burger and fries was a year ago on our honeymoon so I was really looking forward to this part.  Their burgers did not disappoint.  They were jumbo sized and full of flavor.  As the evening went on my knee got stiffer and I found that other body parts were hurting as well.  My other knee, my hip and my elbow.  I limped home on a majorly swollen knee but it was still a fantastic date in my book.

Early AM Work Out

I've always said I'd love to be one of those super human beings that goes to the gym at the crack of dawn before work.  I'm a little bit envious of that iron will determination that draws them out of their warm cozy beds and off to the gym to sweat it out so early.  I like the idea of it but it's something I've emphatically claimed that I would never in a million years ever do.  I tend to take a long time getting to sleep and then have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning.  I love my sleep way more then I love the gym so even though I hate how long going to the gym after work makes my day feel I've never once considered weekday mornings an option.  I just didn't think I could do it.  Not even once.  Mj decides he wants to give AM workouts a try and that he would really love my support to help him kick start this effort.  I sighed, smirked, rolled my eyes upwards, told him NO WAY....and then reluctantly agreed.  Just this once with the disclaimer that he better not ever expect it to happen again.  If he wants to continue after this he's on his own.  So this morning I drag myself out of bed at 5:10am so we can arrive at the gym by 5:30am where there are several other nut jobs already huffing and puffing away.  Oh goodness.  What am I doing here?  Time is of the essence so I head straight to the Elliptical to get started on my hour so we can get back home and get ready for work.  As I'm working out the wake up alarm on my i phone goes off.  It's 6:22am (not that I ever actually get out of bed at that time). 

I got about 1 hr and 35 minutes less sleep then usual.  Might not seem like a lot but every minute counts when I'm hitting that snooze button.  Walking into work I feel accomplished.  It's only 8:00 am and I've already burned 500 calories when normally I've just barely gotten out of bed.  As I sit at my desk I'm trying to gauge if I'm more, less or equally tired then I usually am.  I conclude that I'm equally tired as I normally would be and actually a little bit worse off.  My eyes feel glazed over and I'm waiting for all those endorphins that everyone talks about to kick in and energize my day but it never happens.  So was it as awful as I expected it to be?  Not really.  Getting up early sucks for me no matter what the time and I'm pretty much tired all the time during the work week these days anyways.  I do like it that I got it over with in the morning instead of having to tag it on to the end of a work day.  In fact, I got a work out in that I otherwise might not have gotten in at all.   I haven't quite made up my mind yet if it's worth the loss of sleep or if I'll ever do it again.  I may not have it in me to become one of those super human early AM gym goers myself but I'm at least glad I finally gave it a shot.

Dear Diary

Even after you get the kids out you are still stuck with their stuff.  Thank goodness mom hasn't been charging storage all of these years.  Thirteen years later I have finally been reunited with many precious mementos that I just didn't have space for until now.  How crazy is it that so many childhood memories fit into two plastic bins?  It's like my own personal time capsule.
My first two Diaries
Among the treasures, most prized are my journals.  All 16 of 'em dating back to 1986 when I was in elementary school.  The Cabbage Patch Kids Diary was my first and the last spiral bound ends in 2003.  That's 17 years.  Half of my life is documented between those pages.  As I skimmed a journal from 1990 my Freshman year high school schedule fell out.  It's all there.  Every dream, every hope and every fear.  The tears I shed and the joys I felt are all documented in my bubbly cursive writing which actually hasn't change all that much.  I lived for Pizza, slumber parties, reading books, cheerleading, and gymnastics.  I believed that having a boyfriend and getting asked to homecoming would somehow change my life.  There are so many things I'd forgotten about.  I had a pen pal from Michigan and I used to sleep with my little sister when she was two years old to make sure she got to sleep.  We had Pizza for dinner a lot, I went to a million slumber parties, and there always seemed to be some big to do between my parents about if I would be allowed to go camping again with Beth or go to Chelsea's house. 

17 years worth of written journals
Oddly enough, as much as I've changed over the years I also haven't.  I can see plenty of thoughts of today reflected in my childhood musings of yesterday.  I'm still terrified of spiders, always my own worst critic, and enjoy being physically active.  I have however, discovered there are other things aside from Burger and Fries on restaurant menus, and acquired a greater sense of confidence and love for myself, that I didn't have as a child.  It's almost painful to read how harshly I berated myself for not being skinny enough, popular enough or pretty enough.  Having documented everything all of these years has really allowed me to recover long forgotten memories and keep them forever.  It's like reading a book except it's the story of my life written with my own hand.  I've had so much fun getting re acquainted with my adolescent self.  Here are some word for word quotes taken from my journals. 

May 19, 1986 
Dear Diary, Today was ok.  I got in trouble because I didn't want Jennifer to ride my bike.  My mom made me go to my room and I went upstairs and listened to music and I felt like running away.  Bye.

April 5, 1987 
Dear Diary, For my birthday I got a pound puppy, doll, Cabbage Patch clothes, Uno game, school kit, barbie clothes, two pencils, a ball and perfume.  My party was fun.  We played games.

January 2, 1990
In Family Life we're studying Human Sexuality.  It's kind of embarrassing.

January 13, 1990
Mommy and Daddy got doughnuts when they went grocery shopping.  Yum!  I want to have a slumber party for my birthday.  I worked the whole thing out on paper.

November 25, 1990
The things I want most for Christmas is a bedspread set for my day bed, head phones, overnight bag, Caboodle, Gymnast series books and my own room.  

May 20th 1991 
I MADE IT!! I'M A CHEERLEADER.  I have been waiting all year for this.  I'm a JV Cheerleader!  I'm so happy.  

September 19, 1992 
We had to pull over at a gas station so that Ryan could finish throwing up.  I'm never getting drunk.  NO WAY!! It is not worth it.

September 24, 1992
I want him to ask me to dance sooooooo bad.  Then maybe he'll like me.

April 21, 1993 
I'm a major teacher's pet in History.  It's embarrassing.  Today he said everyone had to put away their news paper but me because I could do whatever I want.

April 26, 1993
It's probably going to be too scary for me to ever kiss a boy.    

March 9, 1994
What's the point of me having my license if mom's too afraid to let me drive anywhere?

May 22, 1994 
My body was hurting so much.  It was an awesome gymnastics meet though.   It was sad when they called all the Seniors walk out.  I almost cried.  This was my last meet.  It felt so good to go up there and get medals.  Then to be CIF Champ is amazing.  I can't believe it really happened.  I worked so hard for this.

I never stopped writing.  I just stopped doing it on paper and started doing it online because it has always been something I wanted and needed to do.  In 2003 where the paper journals end I started a private online Diary.  I skipped over to My Space in 2005 and started blogging there before it was even called blogging.  In 2009 I discovered Blogger and have been happily settled over here ever since.  I migrated all of my old Diaryland and My Space entries into a private blog over here so all of my thoughts are now in one place.  I have my public blog that is open to the public, but I still have a private blog for my eyes only where I continue to record my thoughts.  It's amazing to read how far I've come and almost scary that there are so many things that I simply would have forgotten about had I not written it all down. 

I think I missed my calling.  I should've been a writer.  Or, maybe I already am.

Power Outage & Another 3 Day weekend

Thursday at around 3:40pm the power went out at work.  We all came out of our offices and started chatting and speculating as to what was going on and how long it would last.  Turns out it was a total power outage throughout the entire county.  They called it historic because apparently this has never happened before.  Around 4:20pm we were told we could go home which was great but it took me over an hour to get home because everyone else was doing the same thing at the same time and all the traffic lights were out.   I was below E that morning.  Luckily I'd gotten gas on the way to work or else I don't even know if I'd have made it home.  A lot of the gas pumps were out.  I couldn't complain too much.  This wasn't the result of a natural disaster and while an inconvenience we were safe and we still had running water. It was actually kind of fun.  My biggest worry was that my precious Dreyer's Light Coffee flavored ice cream would melt.  I seriously considered eating almost a whole gallon of ice cream just to save it!  Mj used the car radio to check for outage updates which was a reminder to me that we should have a battery operated radio (and a lot of other things for that matter) because of situations like these.  We ate sandwiches for dinner and watched a movie on my lap top draining that battery then played scrabble outside next to our fire pit until the cell phone died.  I remembered what the point of a land line is, then it was time for bed.

By the time we woke up Friday morning the power was back on and I was happy to find that none of our food got ruined.  Just as I was getting ready for work I got a text from my boss that the district had shut down.  A free paid day off?  My weekend had begun!!!  I'd say the power outage worked out pretty well for me.  For a minute I felt like I didn't know what to do with myself.  I was already up so I went to the gym.  Later on that night Mj and I met some of his co workers for drinks.  Saturday I got some errands done and hung out with a friend of mine while Mj was out biking.  Then we went to a early dinner and did more errands.  I found a great vase for the living room.  Sunday we both stayed home all day which was really nice.  I had a great surprise 3 day weekend.


Thanks to everyone who commented on this post.  Clearly I'm not alone!  It helped me gain some perspective on the age old pesky hot button topic of neat vs messy and relationships.  It was very helpful for me to blog about it.  I'll continue to work on patience and trying not to let any of it be a bigger deal then it needs to be.  And by the way my little refrigerator labeling joke actually worked.  Mj did complain about having to open 3 drawers just to make a sandwich but he actually put everything back where he got it from.  We're having sandwiches again tonight for dinner so we'll see what happens.  I'm hoping it sticks!

Where were you on 9/11?

A pic I took of the towers years before 9/11 on a trip to NYC
I had just gotten to work.   An unusually large number of people were gathered in the break room staring at the TV in silence.  I walked in and could hardly believe what I was seeing and hearing.  Airplanes crashed into high rise buildings in New York City?  That sounds like the climax of an action movie, not something that could ever happen in real life.  As I watch I am sickened by the knowledge that even as these buildings are burning and tumbling down right before my eyes there are people inside who cannot get out.  I was in disbelief but it was true.  Airplanes crashed into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.  Thousands of people were killed. 

Mj was actually at an Army base in D.C. when it happened.  He heard the crash of the planes and then someone told them that a plane had crashed into the Pentagon so he went outside and saw smoke coming out from the building.  His unit was actually one of many assigned to go in and recover the deceased and their belongings. 

Such a horrible act of violence and evil is almost inconceivable, but it happened.  I can't believe that those massive buildings are just gone.  And all of those innocent people who lost their lives.  It changed everything.  It makes me sad angry that someone would purposefully mastermind something so terrible.  I can't believe it's been 10 years.  I don't know anyone who died in the 9/11 attacks or even anyone that knows someone who did but my heart goes out to them and I will never forget.

....and Everything in it's Place

My poor sweet husband.  He has to put up with me nagging bugging him about all kinds of things. Please don't leave your shoes in the walk way so I don't have to step or trip over them.  Why won't you put anything back where you found it?  Can you please put your stuff away?  Why are your clothes on the floor?  Can you put your dirty clothes in the hamper not on it?  Is there a reason those dishes still sitting there?  You get the point.  I must admit I am not without fault.  My main indiscretions are misplacing the lotion bottle, leaving the pantry door open, not matching the knives into the right slots on the butcher block, squeezing the toothpaste from the middle and .....well that's about it.  Oh, and all that nagging reminding.  So sorry baby (I know he's reading this).   

In his pre wifey days his routine was to throw clothes on the floor, let messes and dishes pile up throughout the week, clean it all up Saturday then start it up all over again.  So, you mean to tell me that your house was a mess about 5 out of 7 days?  That's about 20 days out of a 28 day month.  Totally not acceptable to this lady.  You see, I have an illness.  I'm a neat freak, I have OCD, call it whatever you like but I believe there is a place for everything and everything in it's place.  I didn't have that luxury for a very long time.  I used to have no place for anything and nothing in it's place because I simply didn't have the space.  Now we do.  Why spend thousands of dollars on a closet and not put your stuff in it?  My home is my sanctuary and when my home is mired in the chaos of clutter I cannot be at peace. 

I could blame it on my childhood.  I grew up in a messy house and there was nothing I could do about it.  The minute you straightened anything up it was messy again.  My dad was a walking tornado who wouldn't lift a finger around the house and expected everyone else to clean up after him.  He wouldn't even put his plate in the sink.  I hated it, so excuse me if I'm a little sensitive about this subject.  I just don't want that for my home.  My mom may have been willing to double as a servant but even as a child I vowed I never would.  Thankfully, MJ is not even close to that.  In fact, I'm pretty lucky to have a modern man such as himself who cooks and makes an effort to consider my feelings.  If I make the effort to clean the house I just don't think it's too much to ask to pick up after yourself.  I know it can be a pain in the butt and sometimes life gets busy.  It doesn't even bother me if it's not done right away as long I know you the near future...soon...please.  Believe me, I wish I were not like this and I certainly don't wanna be the house police.  I WANT to happily toss my belongings willy nilly without regard to where they land, ignore crusty dishes stinking in the sink and care not about the ring of dirt accumulating in the toilet.  Sounds kinda nice actually.  We could enjoy a content often dirty clutter filled life together-no nagging involved.  But the laws of nature have ensured that a messy person always marries a neat freak so that is not to be. 

We've been living together for about two years now and he really has made some major improvements.  He no longer stores his jammies on the floor, shoes are getting put away and dishes aren't getting left for days.  It means a lot to know that he is listening and trying.  I've got to give him props for that...and for putting up with me.  Messiness makes me irritable and eventually I must speak up.  If I don't say anything how will he know it bothers me?  It's called communication.  He's sure to let me know if I do something that bugs him too; it just doesn't seem to happen as often.  I can't help it that I need order and that messes put me on edge.  And I suppose he can't help it either.  He literally doesn't see things that are sitting there all messy in plain sight and/or it simply doesn't bother him too much.  I do bite my tongue and I have loosened up some.  It's his house too and there are way more important things to worry about right?  I try to ask nicely and I make sure that I show my appreciation of his efforts to neaten up.  I mean, I don't want him to hate me...or divorce me for that matter.  This is just one of those things that we have to accept about each other and try to compromise on so that we can both be happy together and in our home.  Give and take.  We all have our strengths and weaknesses.  This part of him tries my patience but does not diminish the many things I love about him in any way.  
Fruit, Meat, Vegetables, Cheese.  Not too complicated.   
We spend all this money on a beautiful refrigerator with a lovely LED light and plenty of space and roomy drawers to organize our food.  Mj never puts anything back in those drawers where he got them from.  I've explained to him where everything goes many times but just as recently as last week he says "Well, I didn't know that the meat goes in that drawer."  So, I labeled them right quick before I left for work in the morning and left it for him to find when he got home.  Now, I'll pose this question to you.  Am I a B-I-T-C-H or just a wife who wants the meat to go in the meat drawer?  Lucky for me my husband has a sense of humor.  He had a good laugh, took this picture and posted it on Facebook.

Labor Day Weekend

We had a three day weekend for Labor Day.  Oh, how I needed it!  I say that every time because every time one comes around I'm just desperate for it.  It might be a three day weekend but that doesn't necessarily mean it's all about relaxation.  I wish.  It just means you have an extra day to take care of business so that you actually have time to fit in some relaxing too.  Friday night we went to Lowe's and got our garage shelves, went for groceries and yogurt, ate a late dinner, watched a movie, then got really wild and crazy and played a round of Yahtzee.  I did my house cleaning on Saturday morning while Mj went road biking with his friends then we went up to my parents house. We spent a nice day hanging out with them and then went on a double date out to dinner.  I finally got some stuff that my mom has been keeping at the house for me.  Never mind that I moved out thirteen years ago.  Sunday I got up and did my homework and then we put our garage shelving together.  I did laundry and we stayed up really late watching movies. 
Hot dogs roasting on an open fire......
An All American dinner.  Hot dogs and Miller Lite. 
Except the Corona. 
By the time Monday rolled around my only chores were some dishes that had accumulated and some left over homework.  In the morning I went to the gym while Mj went mountain biking.  The weather was gloomy and it even started sprinkling.  Not good if you actually had Labor Day plans but just perfect for taking a nap.  We took an awesome 2 hour nap just because.  We definitely don't do that often enough.  Then it was time for dinner.  Our fire pit has many uses including roasting hot dogs.  Fire roasted hot dogs taste even better then grilled.  Roasting them let's you get them perfectly charred to your liking so that the edges are nice and crispy.  It was a easy yet delicious meal.   Then, we watched a movie, ate ice cream and had the rest of the night to chill out.  We spent some good quality time together and the weekend was a perfect mix of being productive AND being lazy.  If only every weekend had three days. 

I'm not sure what's up with the weather.  It's muggy and the East Coast weather has come for a visit.  All the kids went back to school today so the days of light summer traffic are officially over.  I have a super long day today since I have school after work.  Back to the grind...but at least there will only be four days of it.  

Maintaining the Magic

On our wedding day
There are so many unhappy marriages in this world.  I don't have statistics but I venture to guess that for every happy and loving marriage there are at least five pairs of miserable dysfunctional marriages that are on the verge of collapse or already have.  I should know.  I used to be in one of them.  I am glad to say that my newly minted marriage is alive and well.  We love and respect each other.  The lines of communication are open and we have fun.  But for everyone of those marriages that are falling apart many of them started out just like us.  Happy, loving, affectionate.  Madly in love.  It is a huge reminder to me that although I know that Mj is the right person for me we are not just going to magically stay as in love as we are now forever without effort.  I think it's so important to put forth the effort and be conscious of that now when things are good to avoid having to try to do it later in a relationship that has been allowed to unravel into disrepair.

Dating Mj was such fun.  Our first date was dinner and even though it was also my first time meeting him I felt comfortable right away.  He planned our second one which was an all day date that included lunch, go cart racing and kite flying.  After the third date I was hooked.  I fed off of his energy and he showered me with gifts, love and all kinds of fun outings.  Learning new things about each other all the time was thrilling especially because the more I found out the more perfect he seemed for me.  Every time we were together was like a new adventure.  Issues and problems that we'd had with previous partners were a thing of the past.  Everything was different now that we'd found each other and it felt wonderful.  Every kiss, every touch, every time I got to see him was magic.

That was 3 1/2 years ago and we are 1 year into marriage.  We are no longer in that euphoric exciting fun filled newly dating and falling in love phase anymore.  That phase only happens when you are newly dating and falling in love and seeing as how we are no longer newly dating and have already fallen in love that phase of our relationships is over.  We still have fun but now our relationship has a whole new dimension to it.  We live together.  We have bills to pay.  I get to wash his dirty gym clothes and he gets to listen to me complain about him not putting his keys and sunglasses in the brown basket.  While we might not know everything there is to know about one another we know quite a bit and so that discovery process has slowed down.  Still, when he kisses me or says "I love you" just because my heart melts.  I'm still excited to see him.  We love spending time together and I love coming home to him every day.  I am as in love with him now as I was in those exhilarating days of dating and I want it to stay that way.

We are newlyweds just beginning our marriage journey.  Those early days of dating are in the past but I don't ever want to loose that wonder and attraction that made us fall in love with each other.  Therein lies the challenge.  We are no longer newly dating and freshly falling in love but we are in love and we need to keep that magic alive. It's so easy to communicate when everything is perfectly uncomplicated but what about when it's not?  The hardest decision we make isn't where we should go for dinner anymore, it's whether or not we should have kids, how much we should put into savings and who gets to clean the bathroom.  Communication is more important now then it ever was and having the courtesy and respect for each other that we started out with will only make it easier to maintain a healthy happy relationship.

The bottom line is that as a couple you should never stop doing the things that made you fall in love in the first place and add in new things that will keep you there.  Continue to be kind to each other.  Listen to each other and have fun together.  Think about the words you said on your wedding day.  Relationships, like people are constantly evolving.  As easy as it is in these early days of our relationship it might get more difficult as the years go on especially if we don't nurture and value what we have.  When I see those happy couples married for 20 + years with gray hair still out there slow dancing, holding hands and going on dates it makes me smile.  I know without a doubt that I want that to be us some day and it's up to us to make sure that it is.