The year of marriage 

Forget the Year of the Monkey. 2016 is the year of I Do’s. 

We have exactly 4 weddings to go to this year. And we know and love exactly 3 other couples who have gone off and gotten hitched! And now, over the weekend, another lovely couple in the family has gotten engaged. I’m overwhelmed with happiness for all these people in love. 

And of course  all this love gets me thinking of my own engagement and marriage – because after all – I am human and I come back to how this impacts me. I can’t help it. 

So  I’m reminiscing and looking at my engagement and wedding rings and then I notice how dirty they are. At the same time, a Dawn commercial comes on. The one that talks about how they use Dawn to save the oil covered birds…if you watch a lot of TV like I do, you know exactly what I mean. The rest of you, put down your book and YouTube it.

Anyway it got me thinking. We have Dawn… If it can clean oil slick covered baby birds – it can clean my rings! And you know what? It did! 

Eureka!

  
Look at all the dirt coming off! 

Gross and interesting right?? 

How did I get from reminiscing about proposals and marriage to grime and dirt? I dunno. But that’s where I went. 

So this is my advice to all newly engaged/newly married members of my family. Eventually the ring gets dirty. And it’s good dirt. It’s cooking dinner dirt. It’s helping with homework projects dirt. It’s years of not caring about your ring dirt. But  it all cleans away. And you still have all the romance, the excitement and love of that ring underneath. 

Here’s wishing you years of dirt and happiness. 

Before

BEFORE

Before marriage, graduation, and jobs

Before moving into the railroad apartment on 87th Street, our first little house on Penn Street, and then suddenly to Aspen Road

Before we lost your mom and my grandparents

Before we decided to have a baby and then have another

Before we figured out how to do our hair, obviously

Before we filled out our daughter’s first college application

Before 9/11

Before we stopped drinking crappy beer and even crappier wine(coolers)

Before our Amex bill was four digits (or five…gulp)

Before our son asked what porn was and you walked out of the room

Before we celebrated 20, and 30 and 40

Before we knew there would be no one else

Before we built this little imperfectly perfect world together

There was us.

 

 

The Edith Chair

My husband Joe and I have been talking about getting a new couch for ages. Actually he’s been talking about it. I’ve been avoiding the talk. Not because I don’t want a new couch, I’ve been avoiding it because I know what one piece of new furniture means. It’s a slippery slope. It’s also not that I’m frugal and I don’t want to spend the money, it’s just that I’m fine with it all. Yeah the sofa wasn’t perfect, but wasn’t horrible. It didn’t smell. It didn’t have visable stains. Was it comfortable? No. But I got over that like 5 years ago.

In the end, we went down the slope and got a new coach and a new rug, lamps, a new recliner for him and a chair for me. And an ottoman. A small one.

Years ago, shopping with him for anything new in the house would be an experience full of all the emotions. Laughter, sadness, tears, yelling, forgiveness, and finally reconciliation. Joe’s got opinions. Lots of them. My girlfriend April and I talk about this all the time. Her husband Pat has opinions too. We dream of husbands who don’t give a shit about furniture, wall colors, curtains, etc. I know men like that exist. The kind that just show up one day and see a whole new living room and say,” nice” and then go back to their football game.

In our house, we have discussions before I pick up a new spatula. No joke.

But! (this is where I back track) He’s gotten better. Mellow(ish).

This time around it was pleasant, easy, dare I say…fun.

Or maybe we’ve just both gotten older and decided to bend. A little.

We knocked it all out in about a week. In addition to what we knew we’d have to buy – Joe found a chair for me. He calls it the Edith chair. Are you old enough to know what I’m talking about? As in Archie and Edith? As in All in the Family? Google it.

Anyway I finally have a chair of my own. But that’s not the best part. The best part is that we situated it, by chance I swear, right across from a window. Do you know what that means?

It means that on the weekends I can sit there with my coffee and watch the neighborhood go by. I can see all the dog walkers and joggers.  I can also see the teens getting off the bus with their huge backpacks slugging their way home. Seems boring to you? Not me. I love it.

Here’s a shot of my view in my chair (working from home and daydreaming out the window) and my chair. Sorry I said “my chair” like a hundred times. I’m excited. About my chair.

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Chair

Hot Date

Well not really that hot, but my husband and I did sneak out to a movie last night. On a Sunday night. Aren’t we crazy? We’ve always loved movies. When we first met we went to a movie every Friday night. This was pre-Rotten Tomatoes so you really didn’t know what you were getting. It was great. We would see whatever was out. Action. Love story. Horror. We just loved going. We saw really good movies and really bad ones too. The only governing factors were the time of the show and the theater we saw it in. Now we need all of the internet to tell us it’s good before we deem to see it.

Things slowed down when we had kids – we saw fewer and fewer movies. Babysitters were hard to get – and it just seemed easier to just stay home. As the kids got older we started taking them to the movies with us, which meant most of what we saw involved princesses, action hero’s and toys. That was fun too.

We passed on our love of movies to them – actually just to my daughter. My son is a good sport but there’s a lot of other things he’d always rather be doing (although 2 summers ago we watched the entire Harry Potter Series together and he still talks about it). Kera on the other hand, loves movies like we do. She loves a good scary movie equally as much as she likes a good indie. And because she grew up in a world with YouTube, she loves documentaries too. My husband and I were secretly delighted to hear that she may want to focus on film production in college (or music. or something else). We acted all cool like, “oh that’s nice…”, when in reality we were both more like,” omg! omg! that’s what we should have done!”. What’s wrong with us? We need to calm down.

Where was I? We love movies. Now that the kids are older we have lots of opportunities to sneak out on our own, and we do. We love Oscar season and try to see everything nominated that we can get our hands on. We love the summer fluff movies and the fall serious moves (ok I love the fluff, my husband takes a nice nap). Our local theater just installed all recliner seats. If they start serving wine I’m moving in.

We come from a long line of movie lovers. My mother-in-law used to take my husband and his sister to the movies all the time. My family loved the movies too – hooray for Bollywood! When we meet people who don’t like the movies we are immediately suspect. Not like movies? Do you hate America too?

Long story long – we went, we ate popcorn, we had fun. Happy Monday!

(forgot to mention that we saw the The Gift. We give it two thumbs up and a very red ripe tomato)

He/We

Today is my husband’s birthday.

 I met him when he was 21. We got married when he was 26. We had our first baby when he was 28. We bought our first house when he was 31. We had our second baby when he was 33. We bought our second house when he was 36. We celebrated at Ocktoberfest in Munich when he was 40. We happily leaped into his new career as an entrepreneur when he was 44. 

This year he will see his first born graduate high school, his second born start middle school, his business hit the one year mark and our marriage hit the 20 year mark. 

All those numbers add up to my happy life.

Love you Joe. You haven’t changed a bit and yet you’re even better. How’d you do that?

   
  
 

2015 day 2

So far so good. Aside from my incredibly powerful desire to put away all the Christmas decorations and take down the tree, I’m feeling pretty chill and relaxed.

I haven’t had this much time off in almost a year. It was so needed and appreciated. I’m back at work today – although the rest of the world isn’t quite there yet, which is fine by me. I’ll take it nice and slow.

The kids are back to school on Monday, and although both would deny it, I think they are excited to get back. Enough with the family already. Just kiddin’.

One of my favorite moments from the past few days was Christmas morning. The kids have always bought each other little gifts, but they’ve been tokens. This year they both took time and money and bought each other the perfect gifts. And when they woke up they weren’t tearing open the things with their name on it. They wanted us to open our presents from them and they wanted to give each other gifts first. It was as gooey and corny as it sounds. It was awesome. These are good kids. You’re welcome world.

My husband and I don’t exchange, that’s our special gift to each other. Aren’t we romantic?

Here’s what else went down in the past few days:

  • My little baby girl went to a winter camp for 4 days and has decided to go to a 5 week session in the summer. Let me repeat what I’ve said before. I do not like this growing up thing.
  • I became addicted to the app Trivia Crack – which is aptly named. But Trivia Crack is so not whack, so I’ll keep playing.
  • My son got a FitBit for Christmas and now tracks over 20,000 steps daily. Without even trying. Instead of motivating me, this makes me want to take a nap. This makes him want to do one handstands.
  • I’ve cooked and cleaned almost nothing and we’ve done laundry only in case of emergency. It’s been amazing.
  • I didn’t bake cookies this year and no holiday police came to arrest me. I’m going to try not decorating next year and see what else I can get away with.

2014 has been quite a ride. Can’t wait to see what 2015 brings. Happy New Year everyone!

Here’s some random shots from the past few days…

fitbit jack joyeux wintercamp

Oh No You Didn’t!

I was a bit distracted today. Last night, as I was falling into a deep deep sleep at 8:45pm, my husband dropped a bomb. A major announcement. Something he knew would send me reeling, so he waited until I was only half concious. He told me my Thanksgiving stuffing “needs work”. Excuse me? I’m sorry what? I felt like someone dumped cold water on me. It needs work? The stuffing I’ve been making for almost two decades? The one that we never have leftovers for?? Really? Then he kept talking. “It’s not clumpy enough.” “The sausage bits are too big.” “Maybe try a new recipe.”

I pretended to continue falling asleep, when in reality I was really seething for almost 10 minutes before actually falling asleep. How dare you sir!!! 

This morning I woke up and decided to ignore everything he said. This is the dude that has been licking his plate clean every Thanksgiving for the past 18 years. All of a sudden he’s on Chopped judging my technique?? Well I would not let him derail me. I mean, really, what am I supposed to do? Test run the stuffing? What am I a newlywed? But I was tortured. Obsessed. Fine! You win husband! I’ll do a trial run.

So I went through my work calls, work emails, work work – and then at 5pm…or maybe 4:59…I went out and bought all the stuff to make test stuffing. AKA dinner.

Here’s how it went down…buy this

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Then grab the entire 8 oz of butter. Yes. All of it. Do it. I also add in some fresh sage.

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Then add in the pre-chopped onions and celery or chop it all yourself if you’re a better person than me.

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Take whatever bread you are using, cut it up into rough pieces while thinking of your husband smack talking your hard work when all he does to prep for major holidays is take a shower. Ahem. Then bake at 200 degrees for an hour to dry out.

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Start another pan and cook the sausage. Here’s a before and after of what it should look like.

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I forget to add an egg to the ingredient photo – but you need an egg. At this point you’ll mix about a 1/3 of the stock with the egg and set it aside. Then generously butter a dish because…well, you know. Because butter.

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By now the onion, celery, sage mix is golden brown and swimming in butter.

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Time to combine the bread, sausage, onion/celery/butter mix and add a generous dose of fresh parsley and sage.

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You’ll note that I don’t add any salt because the butter I use is salted and, although I’ve never actually tasted it, I imagine the sausage to be salty. The only thing you have to add is the egg/turkey stock mixture and about a cup of just the stock.

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Then, for shits and giggles, add more butter.

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Bake for about an hour and done.

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When your husband says,”Sorry I doubted you, you are the best stuffing maker on the planet.” Drop the oven mitt on the floor and walk out of the kitchen.

P.S. – Don’t forget that your family can’t have food until Sunday because of all the calories they’ve consumed on Friday night and you should give your husband a small aspirin because of all the butter intake.

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