Friday, February 22, 2013

Thankful for Sneaky Peaks

Make life one long thanksgiving.
-Hannah Whithall Smith

A lot of times people will say, "I don't know what God's will is for me." I know I at least think about this a lot. Well, recently, I was struck by a well-known verse from 1 Thessalonians where it says "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 

Oh hello, little nugget of truth. 

For this is GOD'S WILL FOR you. So there it is. God's will for you and for me is to just rejoice always (I like doing this), pray continually (I sometimes like doing this... but continually? Ummm let's define 'continually'), and give thanks in all circumstances. Oh shoot, there's the rub. I don't think I have thought about being thankful since....wait for it....Thanksgiving. Which is so lame since everyone thinks about being thankful at Thanksgiving (not that the holiday in itself is lame... it's my favorite holiday, well that and the 4th of July). But, according to the aforementioned nugget of truth, we should be thankful all the time for every little thing. 

Let's do this.

Here are a couple of things I am thankful for:
  • a Georgetown neighbor who has the most beautiful landscaping in her tiny front yard, and always has the BEST wreathes up. I think come spring I will introduce myself to her and ask for some gardening advice.
  • Being sick this week. It has slowed me down a bit and allowed me to just rest. Truly rest this time, not just actively resting, which is like: "I am choosing to rest now! Huzzah!" It's been more like "he makes me lie down in green pastures" kind of rest. Like I have no choice. 
  • Music that my dad mailed to me this week. It is Rachmaninoff's Vespers: All-Night Vigil, by Robert Shaw Festival Singers. This music has been the background music of my week. And it makes me want to wander through cathedrals in Europe. Give it a listen.
  • Girlfriends. We need them. Marriage is certainly sweet, but sometimes we just need our girls.
  • Harry Potter (hah). The movies are a far cry from how amazing the books are. I am nearly done re-reading the series and can't for the life of me remember what happens in the end. I am enthralled. 
  • Taking sneaky peaks at your spouse. The sermon from church last week was on lust (lookout!) and one of my favorite little lines Glenn mentioned was about taking sneak-peaks at your crush from across the room when at parties or events. And how this doesn't have to end when you are married to your crush. How intimately special is that -- taking sneaky peaks at your spouse. 
And I am thankful for you, if you are reading this. I don't typically like to address you (the reader) in my blog because I don't like to presume that people actually read anything I write. But for those who do read these ramblings, I am thankful for you! I won't say it that often on here, but please know that I truly am. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Written in the Stars

Traditionnnn! Tradition! ...... Tra-di-tion! 

Well, we apparently have one now. Or maybe we have two. We've had two birthdays each and now two Valentine's Days in our short time of "til death do us part." Oh gaaaaaaaa I just mentioned death in a post on Valentine's Day. Who does that? Probably only me because we accidentally carbo-loaded tonight and I feel like death. 

JK. Geez louise. I really don't. I feel elated and perhaps just a tad full. 

So apparently we now have a Valentine's Day tradition of making pizza. I know what you are thinking:

"Ummmm hellooo. Earth to CB, you married an Italian. Pizza is now like your middle name." 

Yes I know! But the thing is, Michael has very little time anymore to devote to making pizza dough -- which is a rather laborious process.  Med school gets in the way. Baaaaaaaa. So it's a real labor of love that he made pizza for me tonight. And also, on Valentine's Day, I get to actually call the pizza shots in the kitchen. I get to make my fig jam/goat cheese/prosciutto pizza that has wowed the audiences for years. (Audience of one, Years = two.) The basic recipe in photo form is posted here from last year. And here is the grand prize winner from tonight:

Honey/Fig jam base. Lordy. Some kind of good. 

I wish I could tell you that we only made one pizza. But that would be a lie.

Pizza. The gift that keeps on giving.

Now here is the big surprise. It really was written in the stars that Michael and I were meant to be together. Let me tell you a little story. 

In 4th grade, I participated in "Invention Convention." It's exactly what it sounds like: every 4th grader invents something, we present our beautiful tri-fold project to an assortment of judges, and then the winners are announced over the loudspeaker at school the next day, followed by a school wide assembly where the winners get to talk about what they invented. There are different categories like business inventions, household inventions, things-you-can-wear inventions, sports inventions, etc. Well, lo and behold, it came time for the winners to be announced on the loudspeaker, and my name was called! Ok - truthfully, what really happened is that they didn't pronounce my name correctly so I had no idea I was a winner. It sounded like Casey Rhines, not Carey Ryan.... can't you read, people?!? So when I filed into the auditorium with my class, I had no idea that I was supposed to be backstage getting super nervous about speaking in front of the whole school about my winning invention. Therefore, right in the middle of the awards ceremony, some lady on stage asks my teacher if "Carey Ryan is here today??" to which I (no clue what was going on in my head) immediately jump out of my seat as if stuck by lightening and say, "me?? Carey Ryan? That's me!" And then I realized that I was standing up and acting royally uncool for a 4th grader and was so completely mortified that I could barely hold the microphone once I finally made it onstage to talk about my project (I had won the 'household goods' category of the competition). I couldn't even hide behind my trifold like all the other kids since I didn't have time to go get it -- I just had to talk cold turkey about my invention smack dab in the middle of the stage in a packed auditorium.

I'm surprised I lived to tell the story. 

So where am I going with this?? This is where I'm going:

I invented a pizza holder. 

Umm, yea. 

I'll let you have a minute to marvel at my brilliance. 

Heaven knows how I ended up winning that one. I mean, I literally strung a bungee cord (a bungee cord??) on a wire rack in the refrigerator to hold a pizza box. What the heck??! Definitely don't miss the picture on the lower left panel of my trifold as I am masterfully demonstrating how a bungee cord works. "You stretch it out real good, and then you hook it on the rack of your fridge, and YEA uhhh that's about it." WINNER! It must have been real slim pickings that year for the household goods category. 

But the point (finally, I will get to it) is that I invented a PIZZA HOLDER! And 15 years later I would marry my Italian stallion who looks mighty cute covered in flour and throwing some pizza dough around the house. And making way, way, way too much pizza so you there is bound to be a ton of leftovers and they will have to be stored somehow.... and this is where I come in.

Somehow, even at 10 years old, all signs were steering me towards Michael.

My sun, my moon, and all my stars. More to come on this homemade Valentine, but 10 points to anyone who knows where that quote comes from.

Happy Valentine's Day to all and to all a good night! May you always have someone to hold your pizza.

And don't forget -- I'm nuts about you!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Oh rats!

The downside of DC living:

Mmmmmm and this is an example of a wife freaking out and a husband thinking "ain't no thing."

Nothing new here, folks.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Our House

I have mentioned quite a few times that we live in a tiny English basement apartment in a Georgetown row house. I have also thought quite a few times about doing a post on "how to live in small spaces" which I think I will still do, but for now, here she blows!

This is where we live. This is all one big shot but reallllly, if you look closely, we have a 7-room mansion!

Here, I will help you see this:

Wish I could make this picture bigger but I don't know how. Anyway, like I said, a 7-room chateau. We have survived quite well for 19 months in our little palace, despite the occasional frequent run-ins, elbow bumps,  and stepped-on-toes -- these things do happen when in close quarters. Lucky for us, Michael and I can actually tolerate each other fairly well, so it's not that bad running into each other. (That is the understatement of the year. The truth is I really LOVE bumping into Michael. He is so cute and funny and I just can't help it.)**

Not sure if you noticed it, but I am actually on the floor in the above pic. Weird...I know. See the thing is, we just got a new rug! It has been a continual dilemma of knowing how much time and energy and money we should invest into our little home. "Sprucing" is not really my thing. I think it could be, well....maybe, once we live where we will probably live for a long time. But for now, I am not sure if it is worth it to buy pillows and furniture and rugs and sprucey things because let's face it: there is no way in the world we are going to be living in this little money hole forever. I say that lovingly... it's a good money hole, but I know it isn't permanent. And one day I will pick out some pillows for a home that is ours and that I will want to totally spruce up. Oh to have rooms and a yard and and a white picket fence and a golden retriever and a porch swing where we can sit barefoot and drink lemonade!

No, I do not ever think about the future. Not at all. Why do you ask?

Anyway, it was a BIG DEAL that we got a new rug! Michael's sweet mother was here for the weekend, and she is a go-getter. She makes shopping fun because she gets into it. Which is what I need. Better to be into it than be avoiding all stores except the grocery. (Does the grocery even count as shopping? Doubt it.)

So there's the new rug. We are happy with it. Happy to my eyes and happy to Michael's feet. The truth is, I don't like to walk around barefoot. I like the idea of it, but not really the reality of it. So the 'barefoot on the porch' comment above is more just what feels like would fit that scene best. Make no mistake, I will most likely have shoes on. But for Michael, a man who could probably live without shoes and survive quite well, a soft rug was a must. So there you have it. The end.

**I just finished reading Gone Girl and wow. I can't figure out if this would be a book I would recommend reading or not. If anything though, it has reminded me of how marriages can often and easily become stale or regular, and not enduring and always loving. But your marriage should always come first -- it's a big deal. It's not just a legal contract, it's a covenant. So I think it's good that I want to talk about how I think my husband is cute and funny and bump-worthy in our little apartment. It's more important that he knows how I feel about him more so than anyone who would be reading this blog, but I think it's good for other people to know that I love my husband. And that I can be gushy about him sometimes....or all the time... I don't know! I love him so.  

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Soul Food

Sometimes you need a friend...

And sometimes you need cookies.

Let's take a closer look.

See that shine? One word: Butter

And sometimes you need friends and cookies. It's a cosmic explosion of love.

That about sums up my elation at seeing not one but THREE non-DC friends in the past couple of days: a cosmic explosion of love. The cookies are honestly optional, but since it is freeeeezing out and since... wait... nevermind.... You never need a reason to make cookies.

Forget the cookies. (Don't listen to me. This post isn't really about cookies but you should never forget them.) This post is about friends.

First of all, I was taken on a tour of the Ferry Building in San Francisco by a local expert, none other then Teeny herself.

Followed by margaritas and little succulents.

Triple joy: Teen, margs, and little plants.

Then, the next day, I took the train (feeling very much like my brother who used to take this train a lot) to Palo Alto to visit a friend who I haven't seen in at least 3 years. So much can happen in 3 years. Like having a baby who is no longer a baby but a mini-human being!

Amazing how that works.

And last but certainly not least, and it's saying a lot about our friendship that I am even posting this picture of myself, but dear Abigail is in town!
She's on the right

She is like my soul mate in female form.

Friendships are so sweet for the soul. And so restorative after some rather tumultuous days of travel and feeling weary and missing Michael. It is such a relief when you can just sit with a friend who knows you well enough to ask the right questions, and also knows you well enough to sometimes just let you be. It's like a big exhale. It's to move with finesse I think, but it doesn't take too much thought. An interchangeable understanding of when to talk, when to laugh, when to smile, when to cry, when to listen, when to speak, when to breathe, when to advise, when to laugh again. There is no script and no rule book. There is just you and your friend who means so much to you for any number of thousands of reasons why. It is a sweet thing to realize that your experience and memories and time shared with that person are yours alone. Of course, other friends can know the sweet and endearing and quirky things about that person, but your own experience is unique to just you and your friend. I love that! In a world where everything seems cyclical (as in, it's all been done before), each and every moment with a friend can be brand new and unique and special to you. Huzzah!

I said the word "sweet" three times in the above paragraph. Clearly I have something sweet on my mind. Ok? Ok. Don't forget the cookies.

Cookies: optional but highly suggested.

Laughter: mandatory.