Monday, March 29, 2010

Too Many Puppies Jumping on the Bed

With Tanner gone last weekend, I decided to replace him with some new bed mates. Don't worry, these bed mates were furry, four-legged, and wet-nosed. (If that's not specific enough for you, they were our DOGS. OK?)

Just like humans, some dogs are better bed buddies than others. My dog, Happy, (who is only called my dog when he's being good; when he's bad, he's our dog), is used to sleeping in a human bed. Back when I was single, and Happy was young and small-ish (for a Lab,) he slept in bed with me almost every night. As he got older and larger, I let him up a little less frequently. But that dog knows not to let go of a good thing, and the nights I put him to sleep (yes, I put him to sleep, like a baby) on his own doggie bed, he usually ended up crawling onto my bed in the middle of the night, somehow without waking me. Sneaky. I didn't really mind though (except for that brief period of my life when I had a white bed spread), because Happy is a sweet bed buddy. He curls up at bottom of the bed OR lays on his side, stretched out with his head on the pillow. When he does the latter, it's no different than sharing your bed with another person. Except the spooning is hairier.

Yes, I'm creepy.

Digger, on the other hand, has little experience sleeping in a human bed. He only got to hop
(well, more like pitifully crawl with assistance) in bed with Tanner when the planets aligned: meaning Digger had received a bath that day, and Tanner planned on laundering the sheets and taking a shower the next morning. Remember, this is the guy who has a whole ritual of pillow-case flipping. He doesn't like dirty sheets.

Because of his lack of experience, Digger registered an ultimate FAIL this past weekend, when I graciously invited the dogs onto the bed in Tanner's absence. (To be respectful to Tanner, I bathed them both, and laundered the sheets the next day.) Happy assumed his snuggly spot on my right. Digger, on the other hand, in his ignorance, seemed to mistakenly understand that "sharing the bed" means you have to share the EXACT same spot on the bed. After pretending he couldn't make the jump, I hauled his pitiful butt up onto the bed. He circled a few times, curled up, and plopped down on the comfy spot know as my left hip bone.

He weighs 78 lbs.

I scooted over. He scooted over. I turned on my side, he wedged himself against my back. I burrowed underneath the covers and hid out at the bottom of the bed, he tunneled in after me with a head lamp. He was everywhere. I'm talking about MAJOR bed hogging. Clingy, suffocating, manic bed hogging. Finally, I gave up my diversion tactics, and straight-up tried to SHOVE him off of me. Then, I remembered another thing about Digger. Instead of moving away from pressure, he leans into it like his very survival depends on it. Try to push him off you, and he pushes back with a crushing force, bracing his legs and digging in with his claws, doing whatever it takes to move in the opposite direction you are trying to nudge him in.

Finally, at 2 AM, after fits of epic shoving fights and a relentless battle of the wills, Digger gave into fatigue and probably bruised ego, and retreated back to his dog bed.


OK, so maybe I laid on my stomach, put my hands on the wall and my feet on Digger's bottom, and pushed and grunted with all my might until Digger awkwardly tumbled off the bed, landed with a thump on his rear, and sulked in rejection to his bed.

I felt bad.

But then I fell asleep.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Truth Lies Somewhere in the Middle

The Story of My Birthday, Version 1
In the yellow tint of the bathroom light, she leaned familiarly toward the mirror and drew a steady line of charcoal black along the soft edge of her eyelid, pausing only to take additional care while navigating over the small, wrinkly bump of a chicken pock scar.

"You look beautiful," he said, cupping a warm hand on each side of her hips while leaning on her back and over her shoulder to look at their joined reflection in the mirror. "Imperfections and all," she read in his eyes.

The warm hum of conversation and the bubble of laughter welcomed them in from the cool and quiet of the small town square. She loved them both--the cafe and its patrons like a group of old friends, a shared joke, a heartfelt toast at the end of a night warm with too many beers; and the empty town square lit with street lamps, sweet and simple like a quiet, anointed moment of solitude and peace.

over the worn wood floors to their table, his hand on her back guiding her and her upper body leaning slightly into the solidness of his side, she closed her eyes for just a moment and breathed deep. She felt as if she were floating over those soft, scuffed, love-worn floors.

He turned his head to her and smiled, "Happy birthday."

The Story of My Birthday, Version 2
"Why the heck won't my eyeliner EVER go oooon straaaaight," she complained, dragging out the last two works as she pressed her hands to her cheeks and dragged them down to her jaw in exasperation.

"What are you even talking about?" he asked, poking his head in the doorway. "It looks nice."

"This stupid chicken pock scar, it makes the line all wobbly and it looks dumb."

"No it doesn't. It looks good. I'm going to start the truck."

In a final act of frustration, she contorted her face in the mirror, mocking herself, and went into the bedroom to change.

The outfit was so much more "to-die-for" in her mind. Standing before the mirror, she realized the dress was lower cut than she had remembered, two sizes too small, and clingy in all the WRONG areas. She swapped her granny panties for underwear covering less acreage, but even the skimpy number left tell-tale signs of too many evenings with a spoon and a pint carton of pistachio ice cream. The strings on the underwear cut into the blubber on her hips, dividing each one into a jiggly mountain separated by a deep chasm. She decided to ditch the dress.

He walked in to find her standing in her underwear and socks in the middle of the room with her mind blanked by deep thought.

"You're not ready?" he asked.

"Just gimme a second."

He retreated to the living room, and she, defeated, squirmed back into the dress. She considered ditching the underwear all together, but grabbed a long cardigan instead. "That'd just be weird," she murmured.

"Do these boots look strange?" she asked as she met him in the living room. "Should I push them down or pull them up? Do they look too clunky? Or maybe they're too casual? Is it hot in here? What's the heater set on? I'm burning up."

"I think they look good both ways," he answered, getting up, kissing her, and putting his arm around her as he guided her toward the door. "You really do look really nice."

The restaurant was full of people talking and laughing, and the atmosphere was bright and cheerful. As they waited for the the hostess to gather their menus, she began anticipating the rich, satisfying food she'd soon be eating. "I'm going to get an appetizer AND desert," she thought. "And wine. Lots of wine."

They started through the bar toward the back section of the restaurant. She walked in front of her husband, the chunky wooden heels of her boots softly thunking on the wood floors of the restaurant. The bar and restaurant were separated by a stone wall with a wood framed opening as a walk-through. From the bar into the restaurant, the wood floors sloped slightly downward. And apparently, some one had polished the $*!# out 'em. Because, as she walked through the opening and took a sharp left toward their table, her polished wooden heels slid across the polished wood floors like a greased whale on a Slip 'N' Slide.

It happened fast and hard. Her legs flew out and up to the right, and the entire surface area of her massive left thigh slammed into the ground with an ugly, reverberating THUD. Tables rattled, ice clinked in glasses, and pictures trembled on the wall as if a freight train bearing straight for hell had flown by just feet from thin walls of the quaint, unsuspecting cafe. Quicker than she could ever have imagined possible, propelled by the powerful and inspiring force of shame and humiliation, she sprang back to her feet in an awkward, tactless, and unladylike convulsion of splayed legs, grunting, and sheer panic.

"Don't say anything, please. Let this moment pass," she whispered in denial as she jerked away from her husband and the hostess and attempted to elegantly resume her original course to their table.

"Oh my GAWWWD, are you oKAY?????????" the waifer-esque hostess screeched, pressing her bony hand against her chest.

"Umm, yes. I'm fine. Just a little embarrassed," she answered, the pain shooting through her quivering thigh. A colossal, knotty, eggplant of a bruise was already rising.

"Oh don't WORRY. No one saw you FALL like that," the hostess blurted loudly as the party wound its way through the tables packed with gawking patrons.

"Thanks," she replied curtly. She grabbed her menu and plopped in her seat, wincing.

The bobble-head smiled and bounced away, leaving them at their table. She looked at him for the first time since her Richter-scale rocking collision with the earth. His eyes were warm and understanding. "Are you OK?" he asked softly and with a smile.

"Yeah," she replied with closed eyes and a succinct nod of her head. "Thank God I wore underwear."

He smiled, "Happy birthday."

Erin Haynes. Twenty-six on March 6, 2010, and still a fool.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I'm Not Rich, Thin, or Blonde. But I am Semi-Homemade.

I've been pretty proud of myself in the kitchen lately. Not because I've been crafting from-scratch artisan meals in my kitchen hearth. I don't have a hearth. I have a space heater. It doesn't make anything edible. I guess I could make beef jerky with it.

No, I'm proud because I've been resourceful. I've been tired lately, mentally and physically. I've been getting home later than usual. I have a lot on my mind. At times, I have sinned: I've bought "food" that comes in a box, because it's quick and easy. You add water, and sometimes some variety of meat, and cook it in a skillet. You can do it with your eyes closed. Which is handy for me because of the whole tired thing. But that stuff ain't good for ya. Just ask my belly jelly.

But lately, instead of falling for the idea that dinner has to be either an elaborate recipe or, the other extreme, straight from a box, I've been combining the two concepts to meet somewhere in the middle. (Not like this is a new idea. Her name is Sandra Lee. Her show is called Semi-Homemade Cooking. And she is rich. And thin. And blonde. Ugh.) The longer you've cooked, the more recipes you've tried, the more techniques you've mastered, and the better you get at coming up with stuff on your own and adapting things your remember.

Here's an dinner example of this philosophy from our kitchen from the night before last:

1. Italian Chicken breast: I had thawed 2 chicken breasts, the kind that come frozen in a big bag. I simply seasoned them and cooked 'em in my FABULOUS non-stick Calphalon non-stick pans (thank you, Nevues). For seasoning, I used a bread-dipping seasoning we received in an Italian-themed Christmas gift basket (thank you, Berrys). It comes in a tin, and you're supposed to mix it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and dip your bread in it. It'a yumyums that way, but it was awesome as a seasoning too. It has all kinds of crushed herbs and dried garlic and onions. I heated the skillet to high to get a nice golden sear on the chicken and a crust of sorts from the herb rub, then cooked in on low with the lid on.

2. Fake Risotto: This was left over from the weekend, but it is another great semi-homemade concoction. My mom simply cooked regular white rice in chicken broth with chopped onion (and maybe garlic? Mom?). Then she topped it with flakes of fresh parmesan. You could also add toasted pine nuts or almonds if you wanted to. Or whatever nut you have on hand. The idea is for you NOT to run to the store for special ingredients.

3. Artichoke Gratin: I had half a can of artichoke hearts left over from a fish dish from the other night. So, I pulled out my handy Better Homes and Garden Cookbook and looked up 'artichokes' in the index. There was a gratin recipe that I didn't quite have all the ingredients for, so I improvised. I sauteed some canned mushrooms (I love fresh, but ALWAYS keep canned on hand because the're so handy) and turkey bacon, and made a white sauce with butter, flour, and milk in the pan. I put the chopped artichokes in a mini casserole dish, poured the sauce over top, and topped the whole thing with breadcrumbs and cheese. Then, I baked it.

The whole dinner only took about a half an hour to make, and was so much better than box food. And while it wasn't nuts and granola, I felt it was healthy. I also felt proud, cuz I made it up allll my by self. I've come along way since the beginning.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Rub a Dub Dub

I just had to re-post this Natalie Dee comic, because it reminds me of Tanner so much that it's scary! My hubs is by no way psychotic in his cleanliness (well, most of the time), but he is very big on personal hygiene and has all these fascinating cleaning rituals that are ingrained into his daily routine.

Honestly, it made me a little self-conscious, especially at the beginning of our marriage, as we discovered each others habits and it was revealed that I only wash my hair (and occasionally, gasp, only shower) ever other day; I don't sleep on my pillow case, then flip it, then turn it inside out, then flip it again, and then launder it; and I don't care if my spouse uses my bath towel. But obviously it didn't make me feel that bad about myself, as evidenced by the second-day hair I'm sporting as I type.

If you're the less-clean spouse who enjoys poking fun at your OCD spouse (because it makes you feel less ashamed about your own filth) you'll enjoy this:

"do you want conditioner flowing all over your face like some animal?"

(warning if you plan to click through to see more comics, contains some comics with "adult language.")

Monday, March 15, 2010

What is Love?

What is love?

If your first response isn't to bob your head and sing to yourself, "Baby don't hurt me," then you obviously weren't a teenager during the late nineties munching on Twizzlers and Sour Patch Kids while slurping a Diet Dr. Pepper and watching Night at the Roxbury.

Love is, however, something more than a bad club song immortalized in an equally bad Saturday Night Live skit movie spinoff.

Love is this:

I, Tanner, choose you, Erin, to be my wife.
I promise to treasure you and take care of you,
to remain faithful to you no matter the circumstances,
to guide and protect you,
to be trustworthy and honest,
and to show you unwavering love and patient forgiveness as Christ has shown me.
All that I am and all that I have is yours, because in God’s eyes we are one until death.

I love Valentine's Day. (I told you I had some back-blogging to do, and I meant it, dern it.) It will forever be a reminder of the love I share with my husband. It will be a day that small gifts, like


foot cream (and foot rubs), chocolates, cards,

and quiet nights cozied on the couch with a glass of wine,

will remind me of BIG gifts like

the night I was told that I was a one-and-only, a treasure, a woman to be desired; and all the days and nights that came and are to come as a result of a declaration, a question, a ring, and a promise.

Valentine's Day gets a bad wrap: "It's a ploy by greeting card companies and chocolate manufacturers to suck the ever-living daylight out of your emaciated pocket book." Yeah, they (the Man) have found ways to capitalize off of Valentine's Day, but the holiday has its roots in something beautiful and pure: L-O-V-E. Not the cheap kind of mass-produced love that you can buy, but real love. One popular explanation behind the origin of Valentine's is that a third-century priest gave his life to protect and honor the covenant of marriage. That's beautiful. And while we're supposed to show love all year round, I treasure the chance to spend a day purposefully being reminded of all the ways I've been loved, and all the opportunities I have to love others.

Even if you didn't get engaged on Valentine's Day like I did, why not make it a day to remind you and your spouse of how great it is to be given the gift of love. You can do this in many ways: gifts, a romantic night out, or simply a kind word of appreciation. Whatever gives you a moment of shared joy, laughter, appreciation, and happiness.

For Tanner and I, what makes us happy and romantic is apparently breaking the tails off of mud-sucking shellfish, eating their tail flesh, and then sucking their heads.

Like I said, whatever floats your boat.

I'm linking up with Tuesday's Unwrapped @ Chatting at the Sky (a place for your soul to breath).

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Bein' Soggy Ain't Too Shabby

Oh, how I've missed my ol' blog. The good news is, life is still a peach. The bad news, I haven't been able to find/make the time to share about it in the recent weeks.

Our little family has been going through some changes. NO, I'm not pregnant. Which was the question my good friend asked when I called her out of the blue to chat. She's been displaced to Georgia where she works with horses. So, I just assumed she'd been kicked upside the head that day.

Anyway, the changes are not baby-related. But still, Tanner and I have had lots of thinking and discussing and those sort of things to do lately, and we'll be experiencing some changes in out little life soon, which I'll be sure to blog about. My mind has been elsewhere, and I've been staying later at work lately (that full-time office job + the 73-mile one-way commute kind of gets in the way some times), so I let my blog go unattended. It has grown some weeds. But, I'm back! Ready to dig in and resume sharing. Because, like I said, I've really missed it!

But, during the last few weeks, our lives have gone on. We've grown, thrived, experienced, laughed, and sometimes, fallen flat on our ass. I meant that last one literally. It was really embarrassing. When my pride heals, I'll revisit that moment. So, while I've been living life away from cyberspace, I've also been wielding my trusty point-and-shoot camera and making notes about things I want to share with my family, friends, and fellow bloggers through my humble little blog. So, I'll be doing some back-blogging. It's my blog, I can be tardy if I want to. I've been tardy to the blog, BUT, I'm never tardy for the party.

This is the proclamation I'm shouting into the Internet stratosphere: I will blog again! I have returned triumphant.

Here's a little something from my day, something small, easy and unimposing to ease myself back into the blog routine (unlike the epic recaps of the last few weeks I have looming in my noggin). I'd like to share something my husband taught me. He taught me this before we were married. When he was still my boooooyyyyfriend.

He taught me that bein' soggy can be good. Very good.

You see, growing up, I would never put syrup on my pancakes. Really, I didn't. I would only top them with butter or powered sugar. One or the other. Syrup, I was convinced, would make them too mushy. Syrup was OK for waffles, because waffles were more sturdy, more crispy. They could hold their own against soggy woggy syrup.

But Tanner, he puts syrup on his flap jaks. Lots of it. AND he puts butter. With the syrup. I was certain I would not like it. "Look how soggy his pancakes are. They practically fall apart. My pancakes are sturdy. I can pick them up and eat them."

Then, I tried it. And it was delicious. And I learned my lesson.

Today I was reminded of that simple, life-changing lesson. Tanner made me pancakes for my 26th birthday breakfast yesterday. And because I'm a new woman, so much older and wiser, I joined him in slathering them with butter and syrup. They were yummy. Today, there was one lone pancake left, so I sprinkled it with powered sugar, just to test things out and make sure I had walked down the right path years ago. It was good. But, not that good. Not as good as my new soggy friends. But don't worry powered sugar, you still have a place in my world. See: funnel cake, donuts, french toast, homemade marshmallows, etc.

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