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Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

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Watching Good Morning America over the brim of my coffee cup yesterday, I listened while Joe Manganiello discussed the history of his romance with then-girlfriend now-wife Sofia Vergara. Sofia, for those of you who have lived on a desert island with no media access since 2009, portrays the curvaceous hot younger wife of Ed O’Neill on Modern Family on prime time ABC.

Manganiello was asked if there was any truth to the rumor he’d written a forty page book dedicated to his lovely lady. He acknowledged in fact he had created such a book to mark the occasion of the anniversary of their first date. Really? No, I mean it, really? First, amazingly he knew what date they first met, and secondly he’d conceived such a personal and lovely way to show his love for her. Insert awwwww right here ladies. Go ahead, I’m right behind you. During that first year he created a photo journal documenting their travels, where they ate, evenings they shared, events they attended and included all these moments in her gift. Wow. I’m seeing a gold star in his future and much, much more.

Women, at least those who populate my life, love a little romance. A continual diet would be delightful but historically, at least in my world, a whiff here and there can get one by. I have found quite often the overtly romantic overtures get tossed out with the wilted flowers following the exchange of wedding vows or linger on in a paler shade until the first diaper is purchased at Walmart. After that day-to-day life tends to insinuate itself and romance often takes a back seat to bills, work, school, rearing children, taking the dog to the vet and generally everything else that fills the average person’s day.

Romance does not have to come with a high price. Surely in the tax bracket Joe Manganiello’s income falls under the man could afford to give his bride an extravagant vehicle or an obscenely large diamond. Instead, he chose to present her with a gift that took time, thought, and creativity. To me, this is a far richer gift to receive. However, if you’ve put a down payment on my metallic silver Porsche I’ll still accept delivery. Who am I to hurt anyone’s feelings.

I consider myself a low maintenance girl. Rick might tell a different tale, but I don’t think so. Many times while writing this blog I’ve talked about missing the princess line when coming into this world. Some women get handed a tiara before heading down the chute. In my case it was a Hoover and a can of furniture spray. Once after I had surgery I took a picture of my ex-husband vacuuming. When on my feet again I had the picture blown up and framed thinking this to be the only way I was ever going to see him doing it again. Turns out my intuition I was spot on.

There are many ways to show your love not involving a trip to the mall or a shopping spree on-line. A happily married neighbor recently commented on weekends her husband brings her coffee and her paper and on Sunday serves her brunch. Small concessions perhaps, but speaking of them made her smile.

After you’ve cohabited for a while the rules of the game tend to loosen a bit. Once you’re not working anymore these rules become downright loosey goosey. When we first met Rick would show up at my door in a crisply pressed shirt and pants for a night out. In turn, I would open the door wearing perhaps a dress and heels or an outfit appropriate for the occasion and off we would go. Living together day in and day out makes continuing this “dressing up” unless you are going to work every day a bit impractical. No way am I whisking eggs in a silk blouse nor am I chasing dust bunnies from behind the toilet in heels and hose. Not going to happen today, and tomorrow isn’t looking good either.

Don’t misunderstand me I don’t show up at the breakfast table looking as if I have recently been dragged behind a speeding vehicle either. Each morning, unless I’m ill, I put on makeup, do my hair, take a shower, and pull on a clean pair of jeans or shorts and a nice top. Every several weeks we also make a point to go out together and do something fun away from the persistently ringing phone and the household day-to-day. Always when we come home I feel refreshed and our relationship feels refreshed as well.

It’s easy to sink into a rut. Takes some work to keep the bloom on the rose and time to keep a relationship thriving and happy.

When you think about it stopping to pick up on a card when it isn’t a holiday (even better making one yourself), throwing together an unexpected brunch on a weekend, or simply acknowledging how much your appreciate your partner really isn’t asking much.

This fish is moist and delicious.

Baked Tilapia with Cherry Tomatoes

4 Tilapia filets
1/2-1 Tbsp. Cajun seasoning
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Kosher salt
2 Tbsp. butter cut into 12 squares
1 container of heirloom cherry tomatoes, sliced thick or in half
2 zucchini cut lengthwise in thin spears
1 lemon sliced thin
2 tsp. chives
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Lay out four squares of tin foil large enough to make a taco shaped pocket. Pat filets dry with paper towel. Generously season on both sides with Cajun seasoning (more or less depending on preference), pepper, and sprinkle with Kosher salt. Place one filet in center of each foil square. Place 3 butter squares on top of each filet. Top this with one-quarter of the tomatoes and the zucchini. Place a slice or two of lemon on each pile and sprinkle each with 1/2 tsp. of chopped chives. Drizzle a little olive oil on top of each.

Seal the foil bringing up the edges like a taco making sure to seal edges firmly. Bake in oven for 20 mins. Open carefully and plate.

Serves 4

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The royal wedding looming on the horizon, has brought my mind to weddings in general. I was just a few months short of nineteen when I first took the plunge.  My fiance proposed eleven days after we met.  As I was my mother’s “only chick” she was duly traumatized, and, probably if I hadn’t been of age, would have handed me over to the nuns at a local convent. However, my mind was set so we began to plan a wedding. 

I often think of those times.  It seemed all my friends were getting engaged (we got married younger back in the day) and I found myself either hosting a shower for one of them or going to one hosted for me.  A good deal of my free time was spent making wedding dresses out of toilet paper and ladling punch into a cup. Being incredibly young and idealistic, I don’t think I allowed a thought to enter my head about whether or not I was making a wise decision.  For the brides-to-be in my little group it was all about finding the perfect dress, chosing the flowers, selecting the attendants, wedding invitations, guest lists, and, oh yes, the grooms, in that order.  Smile.  Poor guys, you had to feel bad for them, basically they were there to create balance at the altar and provide a dance partner to their new wives at the reception. In their defense, I would hazard a guess that the majority of men could care less whether a dinner plate has fleur-de-lis or caterpillars doing the two-step on the edge as long as dinner was to be found somewhere in the middle of it. Most men I’ve associated would indeed prefer paper plates because that eliminates the additional “washing step”.

There’s a difference, I believe, in getting married at a tender age and moving directly from your parent’s home to one of your own as opposed to getting married later down the road when you’ve already tasted some independence.  Perhaps the latter of the two groups might find themselves more prepared  for what married life brings to the table after the “I do’s” have been exchanged and the rice has been swept up.  I don’t know.  What I do know, is that I had no idea.

Up until the time I got married, and only a year prior, my mother ironed my gym clothes and made all my meals, the meals which continued until the night of the rehearsal dinner.  Nowhere in the program did I factor in laundry, dishes, cooking, or paying bills.  Sometimes I wonder if this has changed much over the years.  Young couples with more hormones in play that the crew of a submarine, and blinded by love’s glow, sometimes forget to ask pertinent questions, like if your partner to be in life wants children, likes animals, prefers pineapple and ham on their pizza to the meatlovers special, or what their dreams and goals are.  The important things.  I had a job, which paid a whopping $300.00 a month, and a small checking account, really, really, small.  Living at home my bills consisted mainly of gas, lunches, clothes, and nylons. I had never paid rent, or made a car payment.  My car was an embarrassing white 1961 Plymouth Valiant that my parents had purchased for $100.00 when I graduated.  When something broke down on it, which was often daily, my step-father fixed it.  Whoa.  Was I prepared or what?  My money’s on the what.

If asked at the time what I’d accomplished in my eighteen years on the earth I would have said, “made the tennis team, went to most of the dances during my four years in school, and managed to graduate with a good enough GPA as to not totally humiliate my parents”. Not exactly a flushed out resume.  I was like a partially completed portrait of a person with only the cheeks and the forehead painted in.  The rest of me was still be determined as strokes were added along the way.

Following the ceremony we celebrated at the reception, then spent seven days of glorious freedom in Carmel, California, where we sealed the deal.  All good.  On our return home we continued the honeymoon to the point that three months later I discovered we were to add a new member to our little family.  Whoops.  This was definitely not in our five-year program which included work and finishing school, and most certainly not in our budget which had about as much wiggle room as a girdle on a well padded behind.

Now, if I had no idea about what married life was to be like, I had, if possible, even less information on what being a parent might entail.  Exit, stage right.  Jeez.  During those months, between trying to come to grips with what being an adult meant, working a full-time job, being a newlywed, and anticipating the birth of my first child all simultaneously was a challenge. In retrospect, I spent most of my time sitting at the drive-thru window at In ‘n Out, placing an order.  A woman has her cravings.

It’s funny how being thrown in the deep end of the pool when you can’t swim, instinctively makes your arms and legs move.  I survived.  I found that having a small baby in my care was far more challenging than caring for the man who helped to place her there.  I learned to cook, not without a series of burnt offerings and what appeared to be experimental lab projects gone horribly wrong, but I managed to keep my head above the water line.  Still, I learn every day, and continue to make mistakes in the kitchen and elsewhere in my life, it’s just that I have a little more meat in my resume these days.

I think with all the mess going on in the world we should be thankful to have food in the cupboard and a pot to cook it in. Life is a dance, sometimes we’re in step, and other times we just listen to the music.

Spicy Crockpot Short Ribs

4 lbs. beef short ribs
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes with juice
1 1/2 Tbsp, red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. light-brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
Egg noodles

In large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Brown short ribs on both sides. Place in bottom of 6 quart crockpot.

In bowl combine onion, green pepper, garlic, cinnamon, tomato sauce, tomatoes, 1 Tbsp. of brown sugar, 1 Tbsp. vinegar, and salt and pepper. Pour over short ribs. Cover and cook on low heat for 9 hours.

Transfer ribs to serving plate. Skim fat from sauce. Stir in remaining vinegar and brown sugar. Pour sauce over meat.

Good served over cooked egg noodles or white rice.

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