Friday, October 29, 2010

praying for friends, pt1

That sounds lame, doesn't it? I promise it's not that pitiful.

When I went to college, I was the only person there from my high school. I knew no one. No one. Luckily, I hit it off with my roommate and had someone to walk around with the first night. Except for when she left me near Frat Court at 11pm. (Daddy, stop reading. Trust me.) I had to walk back to my dorm, alone, having no idea how to get there. I was skeeeered. I knew I couldn't call my parents to do the whole if-I'm-the-phone-I-won't-get-jumped thing because then they would know that I was walking around alone and that would be BAD. That was like the first thing my dad told me before I left. Break that rule, and I was in trouble. So I prayed, prayed, prayed that God would get me home safely and vowed to never walk alone again.

A few days later, the roomie and I went to Fall Fest, which is where all of the clubs and organizations set up tables to get the newbies to sign up. It's after 9pm on the main street through campus, which they close off. It was great until she left me for some of her high school friends. Wait, did that just happen again? She really wasn't that bad. I was being clingy, I'm sure.

So I walked over to the Student Union (I will never forget this night as long as I live) and sat down on the brick wall outside the door and prayed that God would give me a friend. Just one friend. "Just one friend for me to get to know this place with." And then I got up and wandered back into the crowd.

Not 5 minutes later, I noticed a guy that was in my orientation group over the summer. Armed with the courage that comes only from God and the power of prayer, I approached him. Not in a flirty way, but in a "Oh, hey. I think I know you?" kind of way. He introduced me to his friends and there it was - the answer to my prayer. I would eat lunch with them, go to different freshman meetings with them, explore campus with them. We went to the freshman picnic with Campus Crusade together, where I met Meredith and KL. They were my bible study leaders that year, who took me in and introduced me to their friends. And that's how I met Martha, my bff. And Seth. Who lived with Andrew. Who I married 4 years later. Do you see how this prayer thing worked out?

I didn't really stay close to the original friends, my first friends, after freshman year. But we always had the inside joke that our friendship anniversary was the night of Fall Fest, when I wasn't afraid to pray a pleading prayer out of desperation and fear and shyness and loneliness. It was one of the clearest answers to a prayer that I've ever gotten. And I'm so glad that I prayed it in the first place.

Stayed tuned for part 2, and the point, of this story. Because there is one :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

a french pressed morning is a good morning

On days like today, when it's a little bit overcast and misty and blah, the last thing I want to do is sit in my office. DEPRESSING. I'm drawn to the living room, the brightest room in the house, with all the blinds open. The light makes me happy. And productive. Productive is good.

This morning, I warmed up a pumpkin muffin (the result of my baking capades last night) and brewed some coffee in my french press. Which I got for a steal at IKEA earlier this year. It makes me feel so sophisticated and french when I use it. So fancy. Where's my beret?

I live for mornings like this - where it's quiet and relaxing and calm. Something about feeling this way in the morning feels more...peaceful. Does that make sense? It makes me want to go back to college when I'd keep my journal and my Bible in my bag for mornings like this. When I would grab a coffee from the Daily Grind and go sit at a table outside of the student union (or on the bench under the stairs in the library, if it was raining) and write about that day or week and what I was learning. Those were happy moments.

In other news, Kathy Lee and Hoda are talking about fingerless gloves, which I think are the most pointless accessory ever. How are my hands warm if my fingers are exposed? They're not.

Oh dear. Happy Monday :)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

navy days

I'm making that a new label for my posts - anything that has to do with random days in the life will get that label. After all, it seems as if most of the days are dictated by what the Navy has laid out for us at the time. I'm not complaining, just stating the facts.

Friday night, Andrew and I had a perfect date. I was craving steak and he was sweet enough to take me downtown to get my fix. And he let us throw caution to the wind and not worry so much about the price, for the sake of having a fancy evening out. It's nice to do that every once in a while, no?

We ended up at Cypress which, on the inside, made us feel more like we were in some swanky NYC restaurant (can't wait for that, by the way!) than the lowcountry. The ceiling had lights that faded from green to blue to purple to red to orange. One wall was a giant winerack. Like, four floors and 50ft across, with a spiral staircase leading up to each level. Impressive, I know. We enjoyed butternut squash soup, steak for me/salmon for Andrew and wine. We finished it off with a molten chocolate cake, which is never a bad idea. All of the ingredients were local (be still my beating heart) and the waiter was funny. He made the most out of his Y chromosome by being just charming enough at the girls-weekend-out-woo-hoo tables to get what I'm sure was a pretty decent tip. He's a genius, really.

I say it was perfect, because we leisurely enjoyed a meal and Andrew drank coffee so he wasn't falling asleep at 8:30. We caught up with each other. We laughed. We made fun of the Chicago accents at the table next to us. Perfect.

Saturday he spent the day studying and I shopped. It felt a lot like the days of yore when he was at OCS and I was desperate for distraction. I picked up an iced coffee at Starbucks (where I'm trying to work part time, by the way. Operation: Be Around People Again is underway) and talked to my mom for the first time all week from a bench in the sunshine. Also perfect. Then I found a pair of Lucky jeans for $40 and I don't have to tell you how that made me feel.

Today, the day of rest, we went to church where I was backup in the Sunday School class and helped keep little boys from beating each other with cardboard swords (the armor of God) and tried to keep my heart from melting at the curls on one little 5-year-old girl with pink socks and black shoes. Her name was Emma, of course, because the cute ones always have names like Emma. We went to lunch with some new friends, which is always good for the soul. Andrew watched a football game and I napped. He played with my hair the entire time I slept, because he's the sweetest man God ever put on this earth. The Panthers won and he went back to school for a few hours. It's a two-test week, which is sure to be a doozy.

In his absence, I morphed into the whole wheat version of Betty Crocker: vidalia onion-honey dijon dressing to go on a salad with my leftover steak, homemade granola, pumpkin muffins and apple turnovers. Andrew may be the sweetest man God ever put on this earth, but he met his match in the ladies department. Am I allowed to say that without sounding vain? And Michael Buble was on Pandora - because how can you listen to this song and not be in a good mood - and the windows were open. It was a good evening and I made sure of it.

Weekends like this, with the good and the bad, remind me of how unbelievably good God is. Good for keeping me sane when my husband is gone, good for keeping us together when I'm not sane, good for giving us friends and church that understands. Good, good, good.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

freshen up

I couldn't sleep last night and as I was staring into the ceiling fan I decided that I wanted to redesign the ol' blog. It's been fresh and summery for a few months and I'm not feeling so summery right now. I'm feeling brown and cozy and cider-ish. And I do think this new design is beautiful.

If we're being honest, I'm feeling a little cooped up. I wake up, work, wait for Andrew to get home, eat dinner, go to bed and do it all again. Nowhere in there does it say "go outside" or "go to the store" or "go get in the car" and so Friday rolls around and I practically attack Andrew the minute he gets in the door, begging him to take me dinner. Or to Target. Or somewhere that is not inside this house. Love it here, so glad we live here, NOT happy about staying inside 120 hours a week. I'm trying to be a little more intentional about getting out, even if it's just to sit on the front porch. Or walk around the neighborhood. But now that it's getting dark earlier, it's not as easy. Wah, wah, wah. I know. Let me get my violin.

I'm just sayin'.

So I'm brainstorming ways to spice things up and get some face-to-face time in my life. I'm afraid I don't know how to be around people anymore. I'm becoming more socially awkward by the minute, I just know it. So far, I've come up with these ideas:
  • Get a "seasonal" job in retail
  • Sign on for some part-time evening babysitting jobs
  • Take some classes at the community college
  • Complete all of my Christmas shopping
Okay. What else? Someone please move to Charleston and be my friend. I need a coffee date or something.

Stupid Navy.

Just kidding :) Smooches, Uncle Sam.

Friday, October 15, 2010

all because I wanted biscuits

Thursdays around these parts are for leftovers. Somewhere around the second or third week of marriage, when we were both working, I realized that I dreaded cooking more the later it was in the week. And so Leftover Thursday was born.

But on some Thursdays, the leftovers just don't cut it for me. Like this past week, when I really wanted to sit down with a hot biscuit and some strawberry jam, maybe a piece of leftover ham, and let that be my dinner. That's all I wanted. That's all I really, really wanted. So I set out to make some.

I got out my White Lily flour, because according to Nanny the Great Biscuit-Maker, there is no other brand when it comes to making biscuits. The recipe is on the bag. Just a few ingredients. Short. Sweet. Simple.

Let it be known, from here on out, that making biscuits is NOT simple. I like to consider myself a good cook, but these were a big fat FAIL. I no longer feel entitled to make fun of Mir for her attempt at biscuits, which were later shellacked and turned into Christmas ornaments for the family to laugh at year after year after year. I'm sorry, Mir. You didn't stand a chance.

I didn't take a picture, because I was too sad. But they were neither light nor fluffy, like the recipe title suggested. They were crunchy. And dry. And flat. If the distance wasn't so great between us, I would have driven to Bojangles to eat my weight in their biscuits. Which are truly light and fluffy. But alas, I did not.

The good news is, Nanny is coming to visit in a few weeks and we're going to make biscuits. And I'm going to make batch after batch, with her standing right there, until they're perfect. She says they're a "cinch" but I think she's lying to me. Nannies like to hold all of the biscuit power, so you have to come visit them. And then you beg for them to make biscuits and gravy and it makes them feel all good inside. A cinch, my left foot.

My OTHER Nanny, Nanny the Great Sugar Cookie Maker, said the same thing about her coveted Christmas sugar cookies. The cookies that my mom hides in the crawl space under the stairs to keep her husband and offspring from eating them all. [She's selfless, but not with those cookies or the honey from my dad's bees. She'll cut you over those two things.] So do you see the pattern? The Nannies who are all, "Oh, sweetie! All you have to do is this and this and this and then you'll have the most beautiful biscuits/cookies the world has ever seen!" And you're like, "NO, Nanny. You must have written the recipe wrong because my biscuits were crunchy and my sugar cookies looked like peanut brittle. And not in a good way."

Oh, but it's a cinch! Yeah? Well, here's what I have to say to that:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

merry christmas to us

Guess what we're gifting each other for Christmas?? :)

We just booked the hotel last night and every time I think about it, I get all "aaaaahhhh! I'm so excited!!" We're staying at The Warwick and thanks to Priceline and a few moments of nail-biting anticipation, we're getting it for a steal. Like, saving $400 over what we originally budgeted. Yesssss.
In my head, NYC at Christmas is like a dream, with lots of ice skating and snow and red peacoats with great scarves. That, combined with all the sweet memories I have from our honeymoon there, I'm going to have it all built up by the time our plane takes off. Dear Lord, please don't let me get sick again or I will be SAD.
On our list [and feel free to add if you have any suggestions!]:
  • Rockefeller plaza
  • Wall Street
  • Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island
  • FAO Schwartz
  • Wicked
  • Hot chocolate

Did I tell you how excited I am?

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