Saturday, July 31, 2010

What not to say...

...in your internet dating profile.

I recently 'put my toes in the water' of online dating.  As I scan the online dating profiles of prospective suitors, I can't help but wonder what in the world people are thinking.  So, I thought I'd write my own little "What Not to Post."

Let's start with pictures.  All of the following are bad:
  1. You in the mirror holding your iPhone:  it might mean you have no friends to take pictures for you and/or don't know how to work a self-time
  2. You in the mirror holding your iPhone without your shirt on and flexing your muscles:  it not only might mean you have no friends, but also that you have no time for a girl because you spend all your time at the gym...and staring at yourself
  3. You and all your buddies pounding beers at a dive bar.  You're over 30, I think it's time for a new hobby!
  4. You and another girl, even with the caption "She's my sister," because she's probably not.
  5. You anytime before 2008.  A lot of hair can be lost in 2 years. 
 Now, what not to write about yourself.
  1. Starting your introduction with "I just got out of a serious relationship that ended badly" is definitely not the way to win over prospective gals.
  2. "My friends would describe me as intelligent, good looking, hard-working, and family oriented."  Really?  You sound like a great guy.  What's the catch?  (okay, maybe I'm a cynic.)
  3. "I'd love to find a running partner."  At least half of the guys on Match.com are looking for a running partner.  Maybe all their previous partners have run away?
  4. Saying things like "I treat my woman..."  Chances are if you were to refer to your girlfriend as "my woman," you are not as respectful as you might think you are.
  5. Discussing your love for world travel, the theater, and wine tasting...while many of your pictures are of the previously mentioned "beer pounding in a dive bar" nature.
  6. Requesting that your "match" have a certain BMI.  Yes, this is something I actually read in a profile - "I have a BMI in the normal range and I'd prefer if you do too.  If you don't know what BMI is, Google it."
Grammar deserves a paragraph of its own.  I am astounded at the number of people who write an entire "About Me" section without one single capital letter or period.  The best by far was the guy who wrote his entire intro using commas instead of dots, so it looked like this "i'm a really great guy,,,and i am funny,,,my friends think i be cool". 

And so begins the next chapter of my life.  These guys have no idea the shoes they have to fill (size 9 Adidas Sambas, to be exact).  In the words of Gavin DeGraw "I have you to thank for making me so, so hard to please because you treated me so good."  :-)


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Thursday, July 29, 2010

And when you let go...

Awhile ago, I wrote a post on my other blog about how knowing Isaac had cancer before I even became friends with him did not make it easier to lose him.  And that remains true, but as I watch other women grieve the losses of their partners, I think maybe it wasn't any easier to lose him...but maybe it is a little "easier" to move forward with my life.  Easier is not really the word I'm looking for, but I think you know what I mean.  This post has been brewing in my mind since the beginning of June, but it's taken awhile to process it and be ready to share.  So my apologies in advance if it doesn't make sense!!

When I look at pictures of those other women and their husbands/boyfriends, I think of how different the beginnings of their relationships were from mine.  They didn't have their first real conversation in a hospital.  They didn't start dating in a hospital.  The timing of their first date didn't depend on a hospital discharge.  Their first long car ride with their significant other wasn't a trip home from pelvic surgery.  Their husbands weren't loaded with oxycodone and wearing pain patches at their weddings.  When they started their lives together, they had dreams of starting families, watching their kids grow up, retiring, and growing old together.  Not me though.  When Isaac and I started dating, we didn't dream about growing old together.  We talked very openly about the fact that we probably wouldn't grow old together.  He knew that even if a miracle occurred, and the cancer was healed in his body, he would always be limited. 

Maybe it is easier for me to go forward, because life was never easy for us.  Plans always revolved around doctor's visits.  Things constantly got cancelled at the last minute because Isaac needed blood, ended up in the hospital, or didn't feel well.  Most of the trips we took together involved hospitals and doctors.  Isaac was often frustrated because he couldn't do the things "normal" guys could do easily.  It exhausted him to mow the lawn, he couldn't drive on long trips because the pain in his hip was too intense, he couldn't carry my bags through the airport because he didn't have the strength. 

But we were in love.  So all of that crappy stuff was secondary to the fact that he could make me laugh at any time, would do absolutely anything he could to see me happy, loved my cooking even when it didn't turn out well, sent me email love letters, and supported me through anything.  I know without a doubt that I was called to be his wife.  I knew I probably wouldn't get to be his wife for very long, but that God still wanted me to be Mrs. Isaac Smith.  And I'm glad I am.

Now though, I feel myself moving forward.  Not "moving on", because I think moving on means you kind of forget what happened in the past.  I'm moving forward.  I remember sitting in our den discussing the need to call hospice, and talking about me going on with life. Isaac said he wanted to write me a letter, but he decided he wasn't going to do that because he didn't want me to feel like I had to hang on to anything.  So, I'm taking everything Isaac taught me, all the hope and joy and peace he left me with, and I am going forward.


we said vows and meant them
till death do us part
and you died
and we are no longer
and i am just me

i don't know how to be a widow
i can be single
a girlfriend
or a fiance
or a wife
but not a widow

i choose not to be defined
as someone's widow
someone's left behind
or former
used to be

i know you loved me
crazy, unabandoned
amazing
loved me
and you would have moved heaven and earth
if it meant i'd be happy

and so i choose joy
i choose to let go
it doesn't mean i love you any less
it doesn't mean i don't still miss you every day
it means i choose to move forward
i choose not to dwell on the sadness
it means that i loved you enough to be happy again

because of you, i...
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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Artsy Craftsy

Some people are "artsy".  Some are "craftsy".  Some are both.  I am not both.  I can craft a lot of things, but I can't draw to save my life.  So, I had this vision of a tree art piece in my bedroom.  However, it involved some actual "art" along with my craftiness.  Here's how it turned out!

First, I painted a canvas with my lighter wall color.  Then, I just lightly brushed the canvas with my trim paint to give it a little more depth.

Next, I painted a tree branch on the canvas.  I'm not thrilled with the middle branch, but the rest came out okay.


I picked up some cut out flowers and pearls at AC Moore and glued them onto my branches.


And, voila!  Wall art!



Woohoo!
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tuesdays Unwrapped - Firepit

These are some fellow youth leaders and a few of our students from the Class of 2009. These are some of the most amazing people I know. These are people who sat at Isaac's bedside while he lay dying. They prayed for us and with us. They had their dorms and prayer groups praying for us. They sent me text messages, hand written letters, cards, and emails reminding me that they were there. They wore white t-shirts and jeans to Isaac's funeral, a quiet tribute to the everyday attire worn by a man who inspired many. And now, as they have gone from teens to adults, it is their turn. They are making their way out in the world, doing great things for God! I can't wait to watch their futures unfold...it's going to be awesome!






These people help me remember to always,
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Check out more moments at Tuesdays Unwrapped.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Let's Get Cooking - How'd I Do?

At the beginning of the week, I shared with you my menu plan for the week and told you I'd report back! 

The plan was:
Monday - Rachael Ray's Fish Tacos

Tuesday - Greek Turkey Burgers
Wednesday - Baked Fish w/ a side of fresh tomato/basil pasta
Thursday - having some dinner with friends
Friday - Rachael Ray's "You Won't Be Single For Long Penne w/ Vodka Sauce"

So how'd I do?

Great!!  And, I even threw in a bonus meal just this evening. 

Here are the results -

Monday - Rachael Ray Fish Soft Tacos (I loosely followed this recipe)

The verdict:  YUM-O!  I will definitely make this again.  It was delicious, healthy, and easy.  I served it with a side of Rachael's "green rice" (brown rice tossed with a puree of spinach, cilantro and EVOO) and a big dollop of sour cream!  Yum!

Tuesday:  Greek Turkey Burgers

The verdict:  Good!  A great variation on a plain turkey burger.  I didn't follow a recipe for this one.  I just added some fresh chopped mint and parsley, a little lime juice, an egg, and some feta cheese to my ground turkey).  I served it in a pita with some spinach, a side of baked sweet potato rounds, and fresh green beans! 

Wednesday:  Baked Fish w/ a side of fresh pasta

The verdict:  Well, I didn't use fish!  Since I had some chicken in the fridge, I grilled that instead!  I smothered pasta in my favorite summer sauce:  fresh chopped tomatoes sauteed with garlic, onion, and olive oil and tossed with fresh basil.  I added some fresh cheese and voila - a delicious, easy summer meal!  One of my all-time favorites!


The verdict:  Eh.  It was good, but I think it lacked a little bit of "zip" in the flavor.   I did get a little zip while I was cooking though - when I added the vodka to the pan (which contained slightly spattering olive oil), I just about lit my kitchen on fire.  Oops. 

The best part of this meal was that my pals Herb and Michelle came over.  I made a salad (tomatoes from MY backyard!), set out the fancy stuff on the table, and shared the meal with my friends! 


Bonus Meal:  Easy Frittata

The verdict:  This was amazing!  It was so easy, full of veggies and protein, low in calories and absolutely delicious!  I saw it in Bethenny Frankel's Health magazine column.  I have a huge over abundance of yellow squash, so I sauteed that and a fresh tomato.  One egg + 2 whites + a dash of garlic salt poured over the veggies, baked in the oven for 15 minutes and topped off with some feta cheese...how easy is that??  A side of fresh green beans completed the meal!  I will definitely be making this again!


This week's challenge was really fun for me!  It reminded me how much easier it is to have my meals planned ahead of time, and how much healthier!  Plus I found some new and easy recipes!


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Friday, July 23, 2010

Bedroom Bliss

Finally - every last wall in my house has been painted!  (Well, with the exception of the bathroom and the basement!)

Here is the bedroom when we moved in:


Yep, it looked exactly like that.  Now, I love me some pink...but this was extreme!  So, we moved in our furniture, replaced the curtains and got some new carpet.  (Which, by the way, is the absolute most amazing carpet EVER.  It is Mohawk SmartStrand.  It's the softest carpet I've ever had the pleasure to walk on.  Plus it's eco-friendly!  I promise, once you feel this stuff you will never go back!)



Then, finally I picked a paint color - it only took about 10 sample colors to decide - and got to painting!  My dad helped me change out the ceiling fan to make it a little more modern.  Plus, thanks to my parents' retirement and move to their RV, I got a fabulous house full of free furniture!  So, here is the finished product:




There's still one more curtain to hang, plus some wall art to put up.  I did add this collection of frames to one wall.  I just took a bunch of old picture frames, removed the glass, and put fabric inside.  I painted a few the same color blue as my accent wall.  Easy and pretty much free!

The accent wall is Martha Stewart "Geyser", the other 3 walls are Martha Stewart "River Mist" (both color matched to Olympic Premium Paint), and the trim is Olympic "Heirloom Lace". 

I love this room!  It might be my favorite so far.


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Farm Fresh Friday - A Trip to the Farm!

Since I've had a few folks ask about it, I wanted to take you on a little "tour" of the CSA farm Michelle and I belong to! 

So, welcome to....





When you arrive at the farm, Beth Weaver-Kreider is usually sitting outside of her garage with her adorable kiddos running around enjoying their beautiful farm!  You sign in, and check out what there is for this week!  It's set up similar to a market, with the produce in bins and signs telling how much each share gets.


This week we got:
4 lbs. of tomatoes (about 6 tomatoes each! YUM!)

1 tomatillo (which I haven't figured out what to do with yet - suggestions?)

1 eggplant

1 summer squash

1 box of cherry tomatoes
...and not pictured, 1 green pepper, 1 jalepeno, blue potatoes, lettuce, and basil.

Plus, there is always the table of "extras" - the veggies that are bruised, too small, or have other blemishes making them not fit for a share.  I like to grab from this table for different recipes when it doesn't matter what the vegetable looks like!

But, one of my favorite parts of this farm is the flower fields where you can pick a bouquet of beautiful flowers to bring home!


So, there you have it - a quick tour of my favorite Friday venue!



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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thursday Thoughts: Eating Organic

I've been doing some reading and research this summer on eating more organics.  It started while reading "Master Your Metabolism" by Jillian Michaels.  While there are definitely some extremes in this book, and it does get awfully scientific at times, it was a well-researched book that got me thinking.  I also watched the documentary "Food, Inc." and I'm currently reading Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma".  

The thing that has stuck with me the most from Jillian's book is one eating rule:  If it didn't have a mother or grow from the ground, don't eat it.  This works well with what you've probably heard before:  when grocery shopping, stick to the perimeter of the store.  That's where you'll find the foods that grow from the ground (fresh fruits and veggies) and had a mother (meats and dairy).  The only things I venture to the inside aisles of the grocery store for are pasta, coffee, canned goods (beans, tomatoes, etc), paper products, and cat stuff. 

I know eating more organically is expensive.  So, here are some tips I've picked up to make going organic a little easier on the wallet.
1.  Check out lists like "The Dirty Dozen", which shares the top 12 most pesticide covered items.  These tend to be items where you eat the whole fruit/veggie even the skin.

2.  Buy frozen.  Some fresh organic produce is just way too pricey for me.  So, I buy frozen for some things like raspberries and blueberries that I use in smoothies. 

3.  Visit a farmer's market.  You can often ask the folks running the stand how their produce is grown.  Many small farms do follow organic standards, but can't afford the USDA certification.  Check out Local Harvest to find markets in your area.  If you find food like organic raspberries for a good price, buy a bunch, put them on cookie sheets and freeze them!

4.  Join a CSA.  I love getting my fresh veggies every Friday from Goldfinch Farms.  My friend Michelle and I split a share this year since it was our first year.  We each paid $205 and get to pick up fresh stuff every Friday from June-October.  The folks at Goldfinch grow everything organically, and it's fun figuring out how to use all the veggies!

5.  If you choose to go organic with your beauty products, check out stores like TJ Maxx.  I actually found a great organic body lotion for $4 and an organic body wash for $3 at TJ Maxx this week! 

6.  Plan ahead.  Sit down on Sundays and plan your food for the week.  If you go to the store armed with a specific list, you'll buy less and actually use it all. 

7.  Consider your grocery cart a cart full of votes!  Ok, this doesn't actually lower your price.  However, it makes it a little easier for me to pay more for organics.  It's all about supply and demand.  If we demand quality food, we'll get quality food.  Everytime you pick the organically grown tomato instead of the pesticide sprayed, chemically ripened tomato, you are telling your supermarket you want organic food!

I haven't gone radically organic.  I didn't throw out every item of non-organic stuff in my house.  I'm instead choosing to slowly replace everything.  When I run out of ketchup, I'll buy organic.  When I bought pasta for a dinner this week, I bought organic.  And sometimes, I just decide I can't spend the money on organic.  I just can't spend almost $5 on a bag of organic shredded cheese yet, so I buy regular.  But, since I drink milk every day, I do buy organic milk.

Just some thoughts I've been thinking about.  Do with it what you will!

As always, 
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Abundance!


See that huge green monster on the right?  That sucker is ONE squash plant!!!  It is HUGE!  I've gotten 8 squash out of it already, and there are at least 5 more started, and a ton of blooms.  How's that for abundance?

Abundantly deciding to,
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Monday, July 19, 2010

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Today at Chatting at the Sky, Emily wrote about baseball for Tuesdays Unwrapped.  She said she loves a good baseball game.  Allow me to tell you how I feel about baseball games...

If there are fireworks at the end, I will complain less.


If there are good friends, I might even have fun.


But if you really want to keep me (and Michelle) entertained at a baseball game...

BRING MAGAZINES.

(Oh yes, yes we did read People magazines at a baseball game.  Don't judge.)

Even during the most boring sport on earth, 
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P.S. Photo credits to Michelle and her hubby, Herb!