I miss those wet stockings you used to have hanging around the bathroom. And I miss my razor being dull because you used it to shave your legs with. And I miss the hairpins mixed up with the fishhooks in my tackle box.
My dearest sweetheart, Klara, I can’t stand it any longer. Take your key and open post office box 237 and take me out of my envelope… and kiss me…
After choosing these, I realized the most appealing thing to me in a love story is sacrifice, whether it’s through waiting or giving without expecting anything in return. I hope you’ve had a lovely February! Expect another post tomorrow because I plan to update my blog Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in March.
This is my last Monday post about the blogs I love on WordPress. (Did you catch on to my master plan there?) These last few are pretty special because they are not about what I necessarily have a knack for or what I enjoy but can’t do. They have to do with how I tick.
I’m a Wife and a Mom. Yes, those words need to be capitalized. Wife-wise, getting married was the easy part. I don’t know why weddings get all the attention. It’s that first year that needs a coordinator, lots of cake, and sincere promises and pacts. Just simple things, like how to fold the towels and if the toothpaste should be rolled from the bottom or squeezed in the middle, become issues that get all blown out of proportion. Oh, and don’t get me started on which way the toilet paper roll goes on! (He won that one, by the way.)
And then we had kids.
I was concerned about what kind of mother I would be. In my second year of married life, I tried caring for an Aloe Vera plant. I brought it home, talked sweetly to it, and named it Ernie. I was sure we were good friends, and then Ernie died two weeks later. Many plants have perished under my care since then, but I don’t remember them. They didn’t have names. It’s okay to mess up like that with a plant but not with a pet. So I don’t have pets. Maybe you can understand why I hesitated about having a child that would be dependent on me for nourishment and attention and…for everything! And then I had a baby boy and realized he would never, ever, ever let me forget him.
Wives and Moms need lots of encouragement and support. They are the oil that keeps the gears turning. They perform daily–hour by hour, minute by minute, breath by shuddering breath–the tasks that no one notices most of the time. That’s why I need Wife and Mommy blogs. They comfort me and sometimes make me laugh at myself.
Mrs. & the Misc. is a blog put together by four wives with interests in all sorts of things, like crafts, food, clothing, and, lately, fitness. It has a homey atmosphere. On Valentines Day, Mrs. Kristin Fincher posted a cute little trick for fruit kabobs, complete with pictures of her yummy shade of nail polish. These women also plug their businesses, like Mrs. Susanna Christensen’s lovemeapparel post, Drumroll please. (Isn’t her model absolutely adorable? Yes. Yes, he is.)
Last month I started following Smartter Each Day because I thought the name of the blog had a cheesy appeal. (Jessica’s last name is Smartt. Heh, heh.) Since then, a few posts have caught my attention. One last week was all about a simple budget she uses. I intend to try two tips she mentioned. First, I’m going to tally miscellaneous expenses on a weekly basis, instead of doing that monthly…or never. I’m not telling you the other suggestion I’m going to try. You’ll have to read the post. 🙂
At my core, I’m a Christian. Honestly, I find it incredibly challenging to blog my thoughts on spiritual matters. Just the name “Christian” means different things to different people. Writing a few lines in a blog post gives me little room to consider the perspective of my reader. It’s very frustrating, but I still talk about what God says and how He blesses me. I say it in the best way I know how. So, when I see bloggers communicating their beliefs in God, I admire their courage and openness. I want to read what they write.
At first, I placed Robintessier on my list of writer blogs from last Thursday, because she’s definitely a wonderful writer. Robin has frustrations in her life, and in every one of her thorns, it seems, she finds vibrant, blooming roses of wisdom. I have a sneaking suspicion she’s an optimist that just needs time to take in a trying situation to see something beautiful. One of my favorite posts of hers is My Sisters’ Feet, and What in the Name of God? got me thinking about what comes out of my mouth. I also have to mention her poem, Spam Fan I Am (Not), just because it’s a funny piece written in Seuss-style.
I don’t know any of these bloggers personally. I’ve just met them through their blogs on WordPress. You never know who is reading and getting something out of your message! I hope you guys have a great Monday!
Before Realm and I married, we sat down and talked about our expectations for married life. We used a workbook to help direct our discussions and jotted down our answers in it. I still have that workbook. When we came to the his tasks/her tasks section, it went pretty smoothly. It was simple to say, “Yeah, I can take the trash out every week. No biggie.”
“Sure, I can handle paying the bills.”
“Mow the lawn? No problem.”
“Can I wash a toilet? Like a pro.”
One of the things I signed up for was making breakfast. Easy, right? I certainly thought it would be easy. Married bliss began with Little Rilla Homemaker in the kitchen overcooking scrambled eggs and burning bacon. Plus, the orange juice was watered down. He was disappointed; I was disappointed. But I would not be so easily dissuaded! I couldn’t make eggs and bacon…so what? I could make muffins from a package and turkey bacon! We were still good, right?
Realm is an eggs, bacon, toast and o.j. man. Some people need their morning coffee. My husband needs his morning breakfast. No deviations. (Well, maybe biscuits instead of toast, and maybe sausage instead of bacon, but absolutely no turkey bacon. Blech.)
I, on the other hand, can’t eat when I first get up. Hunger does not hit me at 6:30-ish, but nausea from the aroma of eggs cooking on the stove does. I love my husband. I love to cook. Making eggs in the morning for him was pure torture for me. Go figure.
Gradually, I began to quit cooking breakfast. Okay, it wasn’t that gradual. It happened in that first year. Now here we are, fifteen years later, and I haven’t made breakfast for my husband in…um…fifteen years. Do I feel bad about this? Yes. I feel like I’ve defaulted on our original agreement. Realm has long past forgiven me. He’s over it, so why can’t I just let it go?
So guess what I found this week? A recipe for Egg and Sausage Muffins. I think I found it on some gluten-free website—or maybe it was a low-carb recipes website. I can’t remember. Anyway, I touched up the recipe a bit, and here it is:
It makes 18 regular-sized muffins. And it’s so simple!
I pre-heated the oven to 350 degrees, greased the muffin pans, and browned the sausage and onion in the skillet. I whisked the eggs, heavy cream, and pepper while the sausage mixture was cooling in a bowl, then poured the egg mixture over it. I added the cheese, mixed it all up nice n’ cozy, and spooned it into each muffin cup. 18 minutes in the oven, and they were done.
Realm tried one.
His eyes lit up.
It was love.
And the darling muffins can be packed away in the fridge to be warmed up in just a few seconds in the microwave.
For the first time in fifteen years, I’ve made breakfast for my husband. And I don’t feel sick to my stomach from the smell of eggs! Go, Little Rilla Homemaker! Don’t you love life’s tiny triumphs?
There are two things I have a knack for. One is cooking, as long as there’s no serious pastry work involved. (Pastry and I stare at each other and circle distrustfully.) I enjoy trying out new recipes with ingredients I can incorporate in other recipes. I want to use up what I buy, not use it once and have it taking up space in my fridge until it curls up and dies, rots, and stinks. For example, there is an almost full bottle of Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce in my fridge leftover from an Asian dish I tried during our China unit study. It’s a niggling reminder every time I open the fridge. (The spiciness is not getting the thumbs-up from my kids. Someone please give me some mild-tasting ways to make it palatable, else I have a feeling I’m going to become all thrifty and try to add it to a homemade shampoo or facial toner. Save me!)
I follow some kindred spirit food blogs—those are blogs that promote recipes with comforting staple ingredients—like Maggiesonebuttkitchen. Yes, the word “butt” is in the title of a food blog, and it happens to be a good food blog. Many of Maggie’s recipes require simple, everyday ingredients, like her Peach Snack Cake. She also showed me how to roast garlic, and her Dolma is on my “gotta try this” list. Okay, so grape leaves in brine aren’t hanging out in my pantry, but Maggie persuades me not to listen to myself about leftover ingredients. Mmm.
Last month I was introduced to at350degrees. Warning! This one’s pretty much all about sweets. Just going to the blog homepage will make you drool. At least, it makes me drool. Carissa finds recipes, tries them, and provides links for the recipe. My next guilt trip will be the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge. And then I will be dead of sweets overdose and become an example to food bloggerdom of what not to tempt your readers to try. But until then, let’s be optimistic and pretend I can get away with eating things that pair cookie dough and fudge together, shall we?
I also have a knack for writing. Surprised? Yeah, I’m full of surprises. My forte is character-driven fiction, and I have a ton to learn. I receive a lot of encouragement in my craft from the thoughts, questions, and discoveries of other WordPress writer-bloggers. Here are the ones on my instant email list, the ones who often speak to my writer’s soul: (They are in chronological order, the first being the one I’ve followed the longest.)
Twisting Threads: There’s a rhythm to Twithre’s thoughts. I can relate to her frustrations. She talks about floundering at times. She’s not afraid to admit defeat. In fact, she gains ground as she think-writes her way through situations. Her post Home Sweet Park is a glimpse into her interesting childhood experiences.
Joseph M Kurtenbach likes to entertain with his posts, and he is super imaginative. I think we share a dread of posting something we’ll regret, but I’m not certain about that one. Maybe that’s just me. 😳 One of his adventures that makes me laugh is My Run In with a Ninja Ant.
It’s Valentine’s Day! My Valentine is pretty fabulous. When I met him, I couldn’t help but like him. He swept me up into his world—his realm—and that’s where I’ve been for sixteen years.
I call my husband, Realm. Actually, there’s a longer name, but Realm is easier to type out. I love him, quite simply, because he has qualities I don’t. I admire his easy-going personality, his straightforwardness, and his sincerity. He will tell me exactly what he thinks—sometimes without any tact at all. I admire his ‘water off a duck’s back’ mentality; he doesn’t hold grudges. He’s good at seeing the whole picture more than the details, which I often find myself drowning in.
The way he thinks intrigues me. He’s all about efficiency. He likes to have a system in place for everything. He even formulates plans for how to keep on my team. For example, he’ll call me before he comes home from work to determine whether he needs to come bearing chocolate, a sort of peace-offering for my tough day with the kids.
We don’t have the same sense of humor. Sometimes it bugs me that he doesn’t laugh at my weird, out-there ideas. He’ll look at me with a bemused expression instead. I’ve learned that look means he’s trying to figure me out. There are so many things he tries to get about me, and that’s how I know I’m important to him. I get to be the challenge he can’t fully find an algorithm for. I also get to be the haven he can’t do without.
He’s my Realm. He’s where I want to be.
To make up for making you read those sappy lines, I’m posting a chapter of a story I started writing just for laughs. You don’t need the rest of the story to enjoy it. It’s romantic in a goofy, comedic sort of way. It’s also a first draft. And I love critiques. Feel free to sic your internal editor on it.
I Didn’t Throw Up, So It Must Be Love
“Are you okay?” Cara asked me as we walked down the ramp from the swings.
I couldn’t answer. I was afraid my breakfast of a whole elephant ear and breaded sausage on a stick would follow my response. I stepped off the shuddering planks—obviously of the most durable design and construction that the Longs & Oakwood Amusement Park could offer—and concentrated on a prayer that I would not lose the contents of my stomach right there in public. It was a horrifying few seconds. You see, it doesn’t matter if you’re almost going to throw up. It’s if you do that decides things. If you can hold it down, you’re like a hero; but it’s that moment when you really have no control over whether ‘conqueror’ or ‘conquered’ will be your lasting legacy that you realize the insanity of having eaten anything for the past two years—muchless fried, ‘mystery’ ingredients twenty minutes beforehand—before getting on a ride where the intention is to go against park rules by twisting and swaying high above the park grounds, solely trusting in four rather rusty chains and a cracked kiddie chair. It seemed cool at the time but not so much in retrospect.
“Does she need a drink? I’ve got a Sprite,” someone offered as I sat down on a bench.
“No, thanks,” I said between gritted teeth. It was all I could muster.
Just as the feeling began to subside, the persistent Sprite Samaritan, added, “I haven’t opened it. Are you sure?”
The moment had passed. I was victorious. I looked up at the kind stranger. I’m sure the feelings of elation from my narrow escape were printed on my face. “S’a’right, I—” I choked.
So you probably think I lost it right then, but I didn’t. I really was a conqueror, but I choked for the simple reason that I do not possess the faculty of conversing with strangers who looked like this guy. I mean, he was of the ‘kill-me-now, I’ve-just-set-eyes-on-the-most-incredibly-amazing-looking-man-on-earth’ sort. I say sort, but I don’t mean it because I’m sure there is only one of him.
I don’t know what fell out of my mouth, but Cara started giggling. I was not even aware I’d accepted the can of pop because I was only thinking of his fantastic smile when he handed it to me. I’m about 8,000% sure my fingertips touched his as I took it. That’s an estimated statistic because—like I said—I was not aware of what happened, what I did, or whether I remembered how to breathe. Then he took the drink back with a “here,” opened it, and put it back in my hand again. My only thought throughout the whole process was, “Don’t go away. Don’t ever go away. You are gorgeous.”
I didn’t actually speak that, I’m happy to say. Cara told me later that I was blubbering pathetically, mostly syllables like, “Yeah. Uh. Huh-huh.”
That wasn’t the end of my conversation with Gorgeous. Oh, no. Add ‘nice’ and ‘friendly’ to his list of traits because he sat down while I was taking a sip and said, “You’re okay now. Your color’s coming back.”
Again, I don’t know what I said, but Cara told him, “It’s a good thing you had the drink to give her.”
“Yeah, well, I thought I was going to need it earlier.”
“Did you get on the swings, too?” Cara asked as I kept the can to my mouth, my eyes glued to Gorgeous’ face. I think I knew subconsciously that my answers were nonsense and was instinctively trying to hide my social ineptitude.
“No, the pirate ship.”
“Oh, yeah. I’ve seen people puke on that while the ride is still going. Not pleasant.”
I distinctly remember thinking how much I envied Cara’s ability to speak normally—even if the conversation topic was vomit. I guess that’s when my sense started to return. I set the drink down.
“Feel better?” he asked. Conscientious of others? Check.
“No problem. Oh, and you owe me three bucks for the drink.” He laughed at my expression. “I’m kidding.”
“No, I’ll pay you back.”
“Seriously, it was a joke.”
He stood up. He was leaving! No! My eyes went to Cara, pleading with her to find some excuse to keep him from going. I don’t know if she caught my look or just wanted to make things even, but she told him, “Well, at least let us pay for a game for you. They’re, like, three bucks, right?”
Actually, they started at five bucks, but I was nodding my head.
He shrugged and put his hands in his pockets. “Okay. Where?”
Generally, I hate the park games—the booth workers are annoying, and I don’t like to encourage them—but this was an emergency situation.
“Depends on whether you plan to win a blow-up pencil or a stuffed panda bear,” Cara told him.
“With five bucks?” He laughed. He knew it was more than three, yet he had accepted.
“Well, how about the race cars over there. See? It says a prize for every player.”
He agreed, and we walked over. He sat down on one of the stools.
“You pretty girls aren’t gonna just stand back and watch him play? Come on! You know you want to,” the man at the booth persuaded over the loud speaker.
Inwardly, I rolled my eyes in irritation. This employee was invariably Longs and Oakwood’s top salesperson of the month. The mic had probably grown to his mouth.
Cara and I made our excuses. “She wants to pay for him,” Cara added as I handed over the five crinkled ones.
“And I’m paying for both of them,” Gorgeous told the carny, giving him a ten-dollar bill.
Cara and I both looked at each other. Generous? Check.
Cara sat down beside him, and I took the stool beside her. While Mr. Conductor of the Colossal Speedway of Finest Plastic rattled off his spiel about the rules, Cara whispered to me out of the corner of her mouth, “I wonder if he’s rich.”
“Nyah. He’d get his teeth fixed, and he wouldn’t be working at an amusement park,” I responded, though we both knew she’d been talking about Gorgeous.
“What’d you say?” Gorgeous asked.
“Nothing,” we both answered as Cara shook her head at my remark.
“On your mark! Get set…” The bells and whistles at the booth were pealing maniacally. I knew we had to look really stupid. I took a quick peek at Gorgeous as our emcee announced, “Go!”
I paid for the glance by coming in last. Gorgeous won, while Cara almost caught up with his car at the last minute. It was riveting. Heh.
The booth worker handed Cara and me stamp-sized tattoos and gave the winner…a whistle. No, I’m not kidding. It was a cheap, plastic whistle.
Gorgeous took it, told the worker, “Thanks,” and lifted his eyebrows at us, like, “See?”
It was funny. He was funny. Check.
And then he put the whistle in his pocket and said, “See ya.”
Cara and I are quite the actresses. We immediately exclaimed, “Aw,” in unison—which is so embarrassing to recount now, but that’s what happened.
“What?” he said. “I’m here with friends. I need to find them.”
“It was nice meeting you,” I quickly told him, grabbing Cara’s arm and turning the other way. He waved as he walked off.
“What are you doing?” she asked, trying to untangle her arm. I was gripping it pretty tightly because I knew she’d resist me.
“I’m walking away, and you’re walking with me.”
“Don’t, Cara. It’s embarrassing. Just keep walking.”
“Why? Let’s just go meet his friends.”
“He didn’t invite us.”
Cara tried to remove her arm again, but I wouldn’t let her. “So? I’m sure he would if we just—will you let go of my arm? You’re hurting me!”
“Sorry.” I let go. Reluctantly. “Please don’t. I feel like it will ruin everything.”
“Ruin what? What are you talking about?”
“I think I just met the guy of my dreams, and I don’t want to mess it up by following him like a puppy around the park.”
She stopped, and so did I. “You are so weird, ‘Kin. You think he’s the guy of your dreams, so you just walk off?”
“No. I want to think he’s the guy of my dreams, and I don’t want to ruin that by following him.”
“Nope, you’re still not making any sense. Look; do you see him now? He’s gone. You just lost the guy of your dreams. You don’t know his name—”
“His name is Gorgeous.”
“Yeah, and your name’s Completely Mental.”
“I know, I know. I can’t explain it, but I don’t want to know about him because right now I think he’s perfect; and I just want to keep on thinking that. One day I’ll look back on this moment and say, ‘Yeah, that’s when I met the perfect guy.’ I know that’s crazy…”
“That too, but just let me do this.”
“What about me?”
“What if I wanted to know about him?”
I paused, astonished that I had been so oblivious. “Oh. I’m sorry, Cara! I didn’t even think about that. He is gorgeous, isn’t he?”
“So-so? Are you crazy?”
Cara started to laugh, “No, you are; and if we see him again, I’m going to get his number for you.”
“Larkin, you’re too much of a romantic. You should be grateful for a sensible friend like me to help you.”
“I’m not being funny. You need to stop thinking you’re going to meet Mr. Darcy in the grocery store among the avocados and actually open your mouth and talk to a real guy.”
I shrugged and gave a small sigh. My eyes wandered to the place I’d seen him last and we began to walk again.
“Wanna go on the anti-gravity rocket or the spinning tops?” she asked, getting back to business.
“Spinning tops, then the rocket.”
Once we were buckled in, I admitted, “You’re right.” Cara nodded before I continued, “If I did meet Darcy in the grocery store, it would have to be in Produce.
I love crafty things, but I’m not crafty. As I’ve told you before, I should have come with the warning label, “Don’t give scissors to this one.” Handing me scissors doesn’t mean I turn into a Gremlin or anything; I will simply destroy whatever I’m supposed to be cutting. Wait. Maybe I do turn into a Gremlin. Seriously, it’s bad.
I have a close friend, Holly, who is amazing with scissors—and anything else crafty. She shares cool ideas for what to do with paper on her blog, HS Homemade, and she just moved her blog from Blogger to WordPress! Am I excited? Honestly, when I found out, I gave a fangirl squee :o! I’ve followed her blog for over a year because I’m in awe of what she can create. It’s just paper, right? But now it’s the cutest little owl or a fancy card set to give as a gift. She shares her scrapbook layouts and easy sewing projects, and best of all are the mushy little messages she slips into her husband’s suitcase when he goes away on business. Valentines are year round at her house! And, yes, she’s just as fun in person as her writing depicts. Her enthusiasm is contagious.
I also have no talent for painting, drawing, or playing an instrument. What is in my mind doesn’t translate easily for me through any form of art but writing. I’ll compose a song in my head and set down any lyrics, but playing it on the piano is not enjoyable. I will visualize an image, and the sketch that follows only serves to frustrate me. My hands won’t carry out what my mind wants to express.
That yearning is key to why certain paintings, drawings, pictures, and musical compositions inspire me. One artist on WordPress continues to talk to me through shapes, lines, and, most of all, through color. Marina Kanavaki’s watercolor work fascinates me. I can’t rationally explain why I like the woods IV, but I really do. I know forest #3 and atom flowers #10 speak to me about serenity of color. Marina uses a ton of green, which makes me happy. Her work reminds me that beauty isn’t always definable.
Two months ago, I started following I like photo..!, where mac collects beautiful photos, many of them scenic landscapes. This blog lets me take a peek at places in the world, highlighting their most brilliant aspects. When possible, the picture includes a link to the photographer’s collection. These are photos I certainly wouldn’t have found on my own. One of my favorites is Lago Maggiore, North Italy. It’s like looking at a fairytale scene.
So, what do you enjoy that isn’t necessarily something you’re talented at doing?
I’m celebrating love and lovers on Thursdays in February. So, let your heart go pitter-patter. Schoolgirl giggling is acceptable.
I thought I’d give you a little piece I wrote in high school about the one-sided love of a young girl—because, you know, sometimes things get a little mixed up when you’re dreaming about finding that someone special. Crushes often mean you act sappy and ridiculous. Unfortunately, that can mean you embarrass yourself acting sappy and ridiculous.
The poem received honorable mention when I submitted it my freshman year in college. It’s entitled,
“Oh, I know he loves me, mother;
For he cannot disguise.”
“What makes you think so, daughter dear?”
“I saw it in his eyes.”
“What there was so perceptible?”
“Oh, mother! Can’t you see?
I know he’s looked at no one else
The way he looked at me.”
“And what makes you so certain, dear?”
“He also gave a wink.”
“But how does that make you so sure?”
“It’s more than what you think!”
“I can remember every look
And gesture made today.
When I walked in the noisy room,
I overheard him say:
‘Hey, George, now there is a treasure.’
I know he spoke of me.”
“Perhaps you are mistaken, dear.”
“No, Mother, that can’t be!”
Now maybe we, objectively,
Should look back on the scene
And take the young man’s perspective
To see what he did mean.
Truth being that the love-struck girl,
Not close enough to see,
That secret she saw in his eyes
Was but a fallacy.
Of the wink I am not doubtful.
I can give no defense;
For he had trouble earlier
With his old contact lens.
And lastly, what was that ‘treasure’
He spoke so fondly of?
‘Twas but a famous signature
On his friend’s baseball glove.
Though in her young and shining eyes,
True love made its decree;
It matters not her heart was sure,
Mistaken still was she.