Saturday, May 24, 2014

What They Don't Tell You

Name Change

When people hear you are going to be married, they suddenly are filled with all sorts of advice, warnings and words of questionable wisdom (including that guy from work that’s on marriage #4…. um, thanks?)  In this mountain of truly unsolicited advice, however; not a single word is uttered on the peculiarity that is the bridal name change.  The moment that wedding ring hits your finger, you are the new “Mrs.” and you instantaneously find yourself (after 20+ years of your life) with a brand new name.

Inevitably, awkwardness ensues.  Suddenly, signing your name takes the sort of thought and concentration not needed since 3rd grade cursive writing.  The letters feel gawky under your pen as your brain struggles to remember just how to scrawl a cursive F.  And the clumsiness is not limited to paper alone.  You sound unintelligent as you introduce yourself and stumble while trying to get your new last name out of your mouth.  It doesn't flow right, doesn't sound right, doesn't quite fit right (at least not yet).  Regardless of what the ring on your finger and countless wedding pictures tell you, you still feel like your old self and this "Mrs. New Last Name" person is an unwelcome visitor.

Don’t get me wrong – I was the same girl that every other female was in 7th grade, scribbling all versions of “Mrs. Liz Kuner” over binders, homework assignments and origami notes passed to friends in the hallway. (Mr. Kuner, by the way, was my first real romance, the first boy who wanted to meet me at my locker so he could walk me to my next class.  Alas, romance was easier in the 2001).  But in practice, the whole bridal name change thing has revealed itself to be ungainly and has, at times, almost felt like betrayal.

I am overreacting?  More than likely.  Will I eventually stop having to mentally repress Ruiz from automatically following Liz every time I introduce myself?  Hopefully soon.  Will I still sign my initials EMR as opposed to EMF as the littlest act of pure rebellion?  Only on occasion.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sick Day

I am home sick today with ridiculous stomach cramps.  I'm not really even sure what it is, but we have ruled out both appendicitis and pregnancy, so that's good news.  Anyways, sick or not, you can only nap so long and watch so much Netflix before your brain needs a little more simulation.  Which is exactly why I have you guys, right?

I racked my sick brain for thoughts about what to write, looked at pictures for inspiration and moaned about my stomach hurting a little bit.  After all of that, I finally settled on an idea: The Top 5 Movies to Watch when you are Sick.  A whole world of internet readers and its best that I can come up with, but hell, give me a break, my tummy hurts, remember?

So, here we are, from my couch to yours, the best movies to watch to take your mind off whatever is ailing your body.

#5 - UP

When you are sick, a Disney classic is a must.  When I was 7 or 8, I would have opted for a more traditional Little Mermaid or the Great Mouse Detective, but as we grow, our taste grow with us (or so I have been told).  Anyways, these days, I am reaching for Up, a box of tissues and my tea.

#4 - Juno

Pregnant, sarcastic teenage girl, with a cheerleader best friend and the runner up for best Dad in America.  Basically all the support you need when  you are feeling like crap.

#3 - You've Got Mail, or, When Harry Met Sally

A rom-com is another necessity when you are feeling poopy.  Even better, a romantic comedy featuring none other than Meg Ryan, because when she cries, we all feel it.  And when she loves, we feel that too.  Plus, if she looks that good when she is sick, than obviously we do too, right??

#2 - American's Next Top Model

Ok, obviously not a movie, but if you are lucky enough to have a marathon of ANTM going while you are sick and confined to the couch, you have hit the day time TV jackpot.  Nothing will help you feel better faster than whiny skinny girls taking beautiful pictures.  And then being picked apart mercilessly for the same photos that moments before you thought were awesome.  Bonus points if it's season 2.

#1 - Stranger Than Fiction
This one never fails me.  A movie to restore your faith in humanity, literature and Will Ferrell's acting career.  On top of that, it provides such a juxtaposition of real, raw emotion with subtle everyday comedy.  It is simply brilliant.  And easy enough to tackle while stuck in your jammies on the couch.

There we go.  The 5 movies guaranteed to at least take your mind off of how much your tummy hurts, at least for 20 minutes at a time.  And if that still fails, go with a nap.  You can never go wrong with a nap.

Here's to feeling better soon!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

To My Mother

Dear Mom – With Mother's Day tomorrow, on top of the traditional coffee gift, I wanted to also let you know how wonderful you are.  And, seeing as I have a public forum in which to do it, I thought I would officially publish it for all the internet to see, a thank you for all the things that I probably never said thank you for before.  There is so much that I am thankful for, essentially a million thank you's for the your infinite love and support.  Here's my attempt to start saying them all.
young 3
Thank you for not giving up on me when I didn’t understand how to tie my shoes as a child.  You had your doubts, I know, but you kept trying.  Who knew that all we needed was a left-handed person to show me?

Thank you for buying me left-handed scissors and for trying me to show me how to do baking things left-handed.
Thanks for letting me borrow your jewelry.  I am still really sorry I lost that one clip-on earring in the sandbox at school.  Seriously, I still feel bad about it.

Thanks for volunteering at school stuff.  Looking back now, that was really cool.  Plus, it meant that sometimes I got to roam the halls at school on Saturday when it was almost empty.  That was the coolest thing to a 4th grader. 

Thanks for not throwing away my memories… (for the rest of the internet, that’s an inside joke).

Thank you for taking me to the Clinque counter on my 13th birthday and buying me makeup.

Thank you for teaching me how to shop the clearance racks like a pro.

Thank you for teaching me how to ride the bus and trusting me with a summer bus pass.

Thank you for later, when I had my license, taking the bus yourself to work so that I could have a car.

Thank you for always making me milk rice whenever I wasn't feeling well or just had really terrible cramps or just a truly terrible day.  It made the bad things instantly better. 

Thank you for coming to all my volleyball games, basketball games and track meets.  Especially the track meets.  Those were terribly long, boring and hot.  But you sat through them all.

And, while we’re at it, all the orchestra concerts between 5th and 8th grade.  Let’s be honest, we weren’t deserving of an audience till at least freshman year.

Thank you for teaching me to be cautious and ever aware of the ankle-slasher and other scary threats hanging out in dark parking lots.

Thank you for always thinking to take pictures of me in my most adorable, and questionable, fashion-forward moments.

happy young 11
Thank you for making a crap-ton of paper tissue balls for my wedding.
And thank you for not complaining that I didn't help to make any of them.

Thanks for sharing your crossword puzzles with me.

Thank you for understanding exactly why I felt guilty about Grandma Tilly's funeral and visiting Grandma Laura and Grandma Esther.

Thank you for making me go visit anyways.

Thank you for lying so well about the chances of Ben proposing to me.  It was a complete surprise because of you when he finally did (and who knew you could lie so well!?!)

Thank you for going skydiving on your 50th birthday and showing me that age is simply just a number.
Most of all, thank you for being my mother, my support, my shoulder to cry on.  Over the years, I know I was difficult and annoying, but never once did I question your love for me.  I wish more than anything that I could be there tomorrow with a big hug and a bottle of wine to share while you tell me the story (once more) about my "memories".  I love you mom, Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

How Notre Dame Stole Our Wedding

Ben and I are both Notre Dame grads.

When we talked about where we actually wanted to get married, Notre Dame never really even came up.  As grads, we could have been married at the Notre Dame basilica and it would have basically looked like this:
Insanely beautiful and breathtaking
While a solid part of us is Notre Dame (hell, it’s where we met, dated, we’re just friends, dated again, all the while going to lots of football games and the occasional engineering class), we’re a lot of other things as well.  I’m a proud Arizonan, regardless if I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon or not.  Ben was born in California, grew up in Seattle and has the majority of his extended family in Chicago.  We didn’t want the typical cookie cutter, albeit outrageously gorgeous, overly enthusiastic Notre Dame alumni wedding at the basilica.  We wanted our wedding, unique as we are (ahhhh…).  That was a plan anyways, until Notre Dame came in and stole our wedding anyways.

We had planned it out to be innocent enough.  Our nod to our alma mater would be to play the alma mater during our presentation of flowers to the Blessed Virgin.  With two bridesmaids and two groomsmen who are also alums, I believed a Captain Planet type picture with all of our class rings was totally in order as well.  I had convinced myself that it would be an epic picture.
I was totally right.
But that would be it.  We’d have our awesome picture (check) and a sweet sentimental memory (check).  What I didn’t account for was that Ben and I were not the only Notre Dame grads at the wedding who wanted to make a nod to ND.  A fact made well known during our rehearsal dinner when the beautiful men and women of our bridal party presented us with this little gem: 

Our very own Play Like a Champion Today sign.  Only, they made it say Marry Like a Champion Today, those clever, wonderful fools.  This of course led to a photo of me slapping the sign on the way out of the bridal room in full dress and veil.  

And this photo, which I’m not quite sure of, but our best man is definitely channeling some serious Frank Underwood.

Not sure what my husband is doing though...
Then there were the push-ups during pictures with the bridal party.  The Notre Dame Victory proudly playing right dab in the middle of our post-dinner dance fest.  Even during the speeches, my maid of honor had me in tears telling me how it broke her heart when I left Arizona to go all the way to Indiana for school, but how she realized it was all part of the plan, for without Notre Dame there would not be the hunky man sitting to my right that I now get to call my husband.  (As I tear up again simply writing about that speech.  Biggest ugly cry I have ever had in my life…)

The final cherry on the cake came just a few days ago in the mail.  It was time we faced the Victory March music – Notre Dame is, and always will be, a huge part of us.

In conclusion, and in partial apology to all the wonderful, non-ND people that came to our wedding, I hope it wasn’t too gag-inducing for you.  For me?  I’m cool with the fact that Ben stole my heart and Notre Dame stole our wedding.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Our Sitcom Moment

Ben likes to make fun of my love of married couple sitcoms – Everybody Loves Raymond and Rules of Engagement being my top favorites.  I’m not sure what it is about them, the marital spats, the witty repartee, the inevitable happy kiss and make up (all within a tidy 24 minutes); I just love them and my Netflix account would agree.  Ben on the other hand, while he doesn’t dislike them, does not share my enthusiasm.  He even goes as far sometimes as to chastise me occasionally that our lives are not syndicated and that the back and forth between Audrey and Jeff, or the ridiculous situations of Ray and Debra are not an accurate representation of real life couples.  I may have actually agreed with him too, up until yesterday that is.

On Sunday, I was making ribs, the kind that slowly bake all day in a 200 degree oven.  Great for dinner, not so great when you don’t like to leave the house with the oven on.  Knowing that I was stuck to the apartment all day, I took advantaged and spent the time cleaning.  I even did my most hated chore, mopping the floor (Kitchen and bathroom!  Aren’t you proud mom?).  Later, Ben went to the gym as I stayed home and used the time to finish cleaning up my kitchen.  I took the cookies I was baking out of the oven and left them to cool on a rack.  I washed all the dishes and had them sitting on the counter to air dry.  I was getting the coffee maker all ready for Monday morning when Ben got home, kissed me hello and went about making his after workout protein shake.

As he was pouring the protein powder into the old salsa jar he uses to make his shakes, I chastise him to be careful and not spill on my newly mopped floor.  He obliged and went to make the shake over the sink.  I turned to put the coffee grounds in the pot, and not even 2 seconds later, almost at the exact same moment that Ben was complimenting my clean kitchen, there came a loud “POP”.

I turned around to see Ben, shirtless and covered in chocolate protein shake half mixed with almond milk.  I surveyed the remainder of the kitchen.  The floor was covered in chocolaty speckles.  The dishes suffered a similar fate.  Everywhere I looked, the cabinets, the microwave, the oven, the fridge, covered in brown splats of gritty chocolate protein powder and almond milk.  The fresh baked cookies I had just pulled from the oven not 20 minutes ago?  Not even they were spared.

20140504_170944 20140504_170940
It hit all the way up (and down) the cupboards and covered every dish, save one.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.  So I did both, a little hysterically, pointing to all the places the explosion had managed to coat, confusing Ben to no end.  He didn’t know if I was angry or amused or if I had just lost it completely, until I started bemoaning the loss of my clean floor.  It had barely lasted 3 hours.  If it wasn’t completely covered in protein shake, I might have sagged to the floor in despondency.

20140504_170929 20140504_171004
My precious, previously so clean, floor.  Maybe even more horrifying, the fresh baked chocolate chip meringues!

Ben says that real life isn’t like the sitcoms at all.  I now have just cause (and pictorial evidence) to refute the claim once and for all.  For if it was true, the chocolaty explosion would have happened Saturday, all over my already sticky floor.

PS - My apologies for the terrible phone pictures.  My type A personality demanded that I clean up the mess as immediately as possible.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Ode to Pinterest

dear pinterest 
Dear Pinterest,

You are your own worst enemy.  Instead of tackling any number of the ridiculous pins that I have pinned since I enthusiastically become a member of the Pinterest community on November 29, 2011, I stay on Pinterest and just add to the ever growing list of DIY that I will never actually Do Myself.

12 boards, 564* pins, and the only creative thing I’ve done from my “I need time to get creative” board involved hanging up an empty tea tin on my fridge with magnets.  Which, if you exclude the time it took to drink the tea, required all of about 37 seconds.  And the truth is, I don’t need the time to get creative, I need the willpower to stop watching Rules of Engagement on Netflix.

Just how far down this rabbit hole are we?  Some simple math and we arrive at:
  • 103 DIY pins (split between 2 boards), TWO of which I have accomplished 
  • A whopping 299 pins of recipes, of which 5 have actually been made and eaten
  • 21 pins of things I basically just need an excuse to buy (Harry Potter Monopoly, I’m looking at you)
  • 14 pins of things I want to read (do you see where my priorities lie…?)
And that’s just my public boards with double digit pins.  My secret wedding Pinterest board? 238 pins.  I didn’t even have 238 details in the wedding.  And, loathe as I am to admit it now, I was that bride-to-be that said “How did people get married before Pinterest?” We used maybe 12 of the pins for the actual day.  (Best Pinterest Wedding Idea? Sparklers shot.  Followed closely by, blue and green tissue paper puff balls).

My pin-to-do ratio is incredibly small. In fact, not even my boards are redeeming.  I don’t have a secret Pinterest board of gifts I’m planning on eventually buying the people I love.  Or one where I pin volunteer opportunities.  Instead, I have a whole separate board for “Wedding Photo Inspiration” (47 pins) and one for “Honeymoon Activities” (7 pins).

Basically, what I am trying to tell you, Pinterest, is that a stronger woman would have given you up for Lent.  A stronger woman would realize Pinterest is not a hobby.  Sewing is a hobby, cooking is a hobby – Pinterest is simply supposed to be a tool, a means to the end.  And yet, I sit here with my glass of wine, feet curled beneath me, sewing machine gathering dust in the corner and I pin.  I pin.

*This number has already increased in simply writing this post.  Seriously, I went on Pinterest to research actual numbers and, well, you know.  Basically, my pin count is the national debt.