So I’ve got a gazillion pictures on my cell phone of food with no place to go. Yes, I am one of those people.
I tend to not post these pics on social media because, well…they are not necessarily well received. People find it silly. Annoying. Pointless.
Truth be told, they are probably right.
But the thing is, I have a blog. And I am a foodie. And I love to cook. Well, most days anyway. When I’m not feeling the cooking mojo, I like to eat out. Try new foods, new places. And on top of it all, a large chunk of my job is running a food bank.
Thankfully, my dear Hubs is also a foodie (though he isn’t necessarily a fan of this particular term-don’t ask me why). He and I quite enjoy partnering up in our cozy (aka small) townhome kitchen and whipping up tasty meals on a pretty regular basis.
What makes it, um..interesting, is that I have a tendency to want to follow recipes to a “T” and he is a little more free-wheeling. He tells me that cooking this way indulges his creative side, which as an IT professional during the daylight hours, is a beneficial exercise. So, for the most part, I go with it. We decide which tasks each of us will do and we carry on with it.
Now for my food pictures.
I would be remiss if I didn’t include this pic of the nachos we made, which were loosely based on Chrissy Tiegen’s recipe in her new “Hungry for More” cookbook.
Pay no mind to my naked foot and focus on this beautiful plate of nachos. I never said that I was particularly skilled at taking pictures of food, people. They were scrumptious! Fresh mushrooms on nachos was a revelation for us. As I recall, the primary difference in our version of this recipe was we added chunks of pre-cooked chicken breasts. It was a meal unto itself.
Below I present you with Food pic #2. It’s a chicken breast sauteed in olive oil, slathered with homemade pesto sauce and mozzarella cheese with brown rice and succulent mushrooms on the side. Super simple to make, healthy, and delicious! This is actually on the menu for tonight.
Then there’s this gorgeous plate of authentic hummus I enjoyed with warm, fresh pita bread at a middle eastern restaurant in Kansas City when we visited friends there in February.
I recently made a pineapple upside down cake and brought it to work. I couldn’t resist snapping this pic below of the jar of maraschino cherries used in this recipe. “Real Cherries * May Contain Pits”. Quite the metaphor for life, don’t ya think?
Come on, fellow foodies-share your food pics in the comments!
It’s Valentine’s Day this week people! Are you psyched? Do you have plans with your beloved? Or is this just another day for you?
While our plans have not exactly been fleshed out yet, Hubs and I will most certainly take the time to celebrate this holiday in one way or another. It’s tradition for us. At the very least, Valentine cards will be exchanged, and a dinner not made by us will be enjoyed. Nothing too fancy or exciting, but it certainly isn’t going to be just another, regular, uneventful day for us.
I can safely say that I’ve got some experience when it comes to romantic love. Hubs and I will be celebrating 29 years of marriage this coming May. I’d say that qualifies me for sharing the best long term romantic relationship advice I can shell out, correct?
Me and Hubs in beautiful Colorado, 2018
I could say things like “Never go to bed angry” (yes, solid advice but we have all heard it before). Or “Have weekly date nights” (easier said than done, am I right?).
But I’m not going to do that. I’m simply going to share with you what I have found works for Hubs and I. The things we’ve discovered along the way that keep us together. Keep us satisfied. Keep us interested in staying married.
Celebrate every chance you get. Revel in the mundane. This might mean an impromptu dinner date with your beloved just because it’s Friday and you both made it through the week unscathed. Or maybe a meeting got canceled for one of you, leaving you unexpected time and space to spend together, so you decide to uncork that bottle of wine you bought on vacation two years ago that has only been serving as a dust collector that whole time.
Engage in activities together which you both enjoy in equal measure. I think it’s safe to say that every long term couple out there has got at least one activity they both enjoy doing. Do it together! Maybe it’s cooking. Or hiking. Or antiquing. Or collecting bobble-head dolls. Whatever it is, enjoy it together as often as you possibly can. Some serious bonding and great memories are to be had if you do.
Give each other a break. Be kind always. If your partner comes home cranky and bone-tired at the end of the day, give them a hug. Have a plan B if the original plan was to go out and socialize with others. Be okay with that. Trust me on this one, it took me years to get to the point where I could do this without any resentment. And it’s given me much peace.
Make your relationship a priority. If you have kids, don’t hyper focus on them. Don’t let your entire world revolve around them all of the time. They will only be in your day to day lives for so long. Remember that the time will come, and quicker than you think, where it’s just the two of you again, like it was in the beginning.
Make time on a regular basis to talk about your future together. The hopes and dreams you have. The perceived obstacles to achieving your dreams. Problem solve together. Put it all out there. This gives you a path. Things to look forward to, a north star for your relationship. Don’t allow yourselves to simply slug through every day like bots, focusing solely on the present.
Encourage each other’s personal hobbies. I think we have more to bring to the table in our relationships when we take time to do things on our own. For instance, Hubs decided when he turned 48 last year that he wanted to teach himself a musical instrument. He told me that he wanted to engage the left (or is it the right?) side of his brain, since so much of his work time as an IT project leader relies heavily on the right (or is it the left?) side. So he bought himself a ukulele. He practices it regularly, with my encouragement and blessing. I’ve noticed a change in his life outlook and that his sense of playfulness has increased since taking up this fun hobby. For his part, he is highly supportive of me and my blogging. So much so, that (as I mentioned here), he bought me my very own Chromebook specifically for blogging. I think by encouraging each other’s individual hobbies we are showing respect for each other’s autonomy. If we each have pursuits that provide enjoyment to us, it’s only natural that those good vibes will affect our relationships in a positive way.
One thing I can’t stress enough when it comes to long term couplings such as ours is the importance of being a good roommate. Peace and harmony become the norm as opposed to the exception in the day to day when both partners choose to share their living space thoughtfully. Little things go a long way. Such as taking care of the laundry before the pile gets too big and without having to be asked. Cleaning up the dishes you dirtied while playing your video game in the home office. Asking your partner if they would mind if you turn on your music, before turning on said music. I’m not talking about catering to your partner and constantly putting their needs and preferences first; I’m talking about giving the consideration to your partner that you want to receive from them.
And since I’m giving long term romantic relationship advice here, I would be remiss to not mention a key element in any successful long term pairing: Sex. I mean, when you think about it, it’s what brought you together in the first place. Not that you and your beloved hopped in the sack the minute you first locked eyes (not that there would necessarily be anything wrong with that), but honestly, would one really make the choice to embark on a long term relationship without being sexually attracted to their partner? I think not. So make time for it. Keep your expectations realistic. It’s not always going to be knock-your-socks-off orgasmic bliss. And that is ok. It is normal, in fact. Enjoy the skin to skin contact. The eye to eye contact. The intimate pillow talk, expressing how you feel about each other and the life you’ve created together. Plan for this on a regular basis. Savor this time together.
My “Kindness Jar”, which I wrote about here, ended up being a bust in 2018. Don’t ask me why. It’s not because I stopped noticing the kindness of others around me, or because I did nothing kind for anyone at all this past year. I guess I just lost interest in documenting all the kindnesses. It started to feel like I was just repeating what I had done the previous year with my “Happiness Jar” (same jar).
So in mid 2018, I just stopped doing it. And truthfully, I hadn’t given my old jar much thought since then.
However, on New Year’s Eve, as Hubs and I were sprawled out on the couch binge-watching Netflix (OMG-you must watch Black Mirror), feeling a little buzzed on craft beer, we began talking about what could be lying ahead for us in 2019. Hubs declared that the word for 2019, the word that would be mantra for the year as we plunge into our 29th year of marriage would be this: Adventure.
Now, that got me excited. So excited that I was prompted to come up with a new use for my old jar. In 2019, it’s going to be referred to as the “Adventure Jar”.
This is not to say that we are going to write down an adventure we had each and every day. That would be ridiculous. And likely disappointing.
Instead, we are going to individually jot down, when the moment strikes, one small (or big) “adventure” to pursue in 2019. As I told Hubs, the “adventure” need not be anything huge. Or costly. Or terribly time-consuming. It could be anything from “let’s go for a hike somewhere we haven’t been before”, “let’s try that new restaurant”,”let’s write a blog post together”, or “let’s visit the Sand Dunes in Moab”. Simple, doable, new-to-us experiences.
The only real requirement of this plan, as I told Hubs, is that whatever the chosen “adventure” is, it has to be something that we have not yet done as a couple. Something new.
Then, on perhaps a weekly or at least monthly basis, we will pluck one of our little notes out of the jar, then proceed towards the chosen adventure.
We started living out our “adventure” mantra this past weekend, in fact. As we did nothing of any real interest during the Christmas holidays, and on account of Hubs being furloughed (because of a stupid wall no one really wants besides that big dummy in the White House) and him being stuck at home every day essentially since 12/22, we decided to go on an overnight adventure.
In the spirit of being adventurous, I approved Hubs’ suggestion that he could do all the packing. That way, he could simply pick me up from work promptly at 2 p.m. on Friday (have I mentioned how much I love my part time hours??) and we could be merrily on our way.
This was indeed an exercise in trust.
Now, this blog is called “Pollyanna’s Path” and I do endeavor to exhibit as well as inspire a positive outlook, so all I’m going to say about the whole packing thing is on a scale of 1-100, Hubs got a solid 80. I’m not entirely certain that in the future I would be quite as willing to trust his ability to remember every essential thing (essential according to me that is) I need to go from looking like a troll doll when I wake up to looking like a reasonably decent member of polite society. But we’ll see.
Okay, so we drove 1 hour away to Idaho Springs, Colorado. The primary point of us going to this specific locale was to enjoy some time soaking here. We did that on Saturday. It was soooo relaxing. And serene. And comforting. And romantic (despite the 50 + people of all ages, genders and nationalities frolicking in the warm, soothing water all around us).
On Friday night, we stayed at this sweet little B&B. It was cozy, the bed was comfortable and breakfast on Saturday morning was quite a treat. An unexpected added bonus was the chit-chat we had with the other two married couples over this breakfast of quiche, hashbrowns, ham, and toast with homemade jam. They were all close in age to Hubs and I. They all had grown children. They were also seemingly hungry for adventure, just like us. We chatted about places in Colorado the couple from California could see before they had to fly home on Sunday. We chatted about having grown ass adult “kids” and how things are different for today’s millennials than back when we were in our 20’s. We talked about the legalization of weed (general consensus: alcohol is far more dangerous in our society than weed ever could be).
During our convo with these other couples, I was told that I look like Jamie Lee Curtis. Hubs was told he bears a striking resemblance to this guy:
The ironic thing is, Hubs and I recently caught the movie “Vice” (I give it mixed reviews) and started getting into “Black Mirror” (mentioned above) and this particular actor, Jesse Plemmons, was in both of them (and of course in the movie “Game Night”-pictured above-which we really enjoyed). Upon seeing the first episode of “Black Mirror” I told Hubs that this guy looks like he could be his younger brother. His less-good-looking-than him younger brother, of course.
We also enjoyed a nice, “neat”, glass of whiskey at a local bar in Idaho Springs. And we couldn’t leave the place without scarfing down some awesome “Colorado style” pizza at the original Beaujou’s. They have a bottle of honey on each table to dip your crust into to enjoy as a little dessert.
This little getaway was very refreshing and re-energizing for both of us. I’m looking forward to more adventures with Hubs as this year goes on.
What’s in your “jar” for 2019? Or maybe you have a special word, as Hubs and I now do, to guide you through this new year? Please share in the comments!
It’s Tuesday morning as I begin writing this post. This is typically my favorite part of the week, for purely self-serving reasons. It’s the one time of the week when I have the house entirely to myself and I don’t have to leave for work until 9:45 a.m.
So I usually write like crazy until I absolutely must get dressed and out the door to head to work.
Up until yesterday morning, I was all geared up to write a post potentially titled “Christmas on the Brain”, because, well, I was mentally 100% focused on all the fun Christmas activities head of me in the next few weeks.
But, a phone call changed my plans.
Yesterday morning, my dear Hubs received a phone call from his mother. She told him that his brother, her oldest son, had suffered a massive heart attack and was not expected to live. I cannot imagine the emotions she felt making this call.
Shortly after Hubs and I left our respective offices and arrived home, he received another call. This was from his nephew. He informed Hubs that his dad, Hubs’ only brother, had passed from this earth.
There are no words that can capture how we are all feeling at this point in time. Shock is the best I can come up with. Helplessness. Confusion. Uncertainty. Anxiety. Deep, deep sadness.
I want to figure out how exactly I can be useful here. How exactly I can be supportive of my heartbroken soulmate. How I can make things even just a little bit better, easier. How I can cushion this blow to his heart.
I will not be publishing a post tomorrow as I usually do on Wednesdays. It would feel icky. I am not the one here in need of sympathy and prayers. Hubs is. My mother in law and father in law are. My sisters in law, nieces, nephews, grand nieces and nephews are. The man they loved and looked up to was ripped out of their lives in an instant. No goodbyes got to be said. They will all no doubt spend the rest of their lives wondering “Why?”
I know a parent who often told her adult children, in reference to the parental relationship, to “Love us while we are still here”. Now, this may be a phrase that this particular parent uses to elicit feelings of guilt in her children, but no matter.
After the untimely death of Tom Petty not to mention Prince, David Bowie, and Glenn Frey, I see that this phrase has an alternate meaning for me. As in, I want to enjoy the great musical artists that are still among the living. As in, let’s hear it for those senior citizens who are still rocking.
To celebrate our 28th wedding anniversary next month, Hubs and I will be attending a James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt concert at Fiddler’s Green in Denver. I’ve created a playlist of my favorite tunes from both of these artists to enjoy in the meantime.
Funny thing about James Taylor, for me, is that while I was certainly familiar with tunes such as “Fire and Rain” and “You’ve Got a Friend”, from my growing up years, I didn’t fully appreciate his music until I dated the biggest jerk in the world (for clarification, this is not Hubs) back when I was in college. In spite of his squirrely demeanor, unreliability, and general lack of couth, this dude had great taste in music. He introduced me to JT’s songs “Mexico”, “Sweet Baby James”, and “Walking Man”. Fortunately, I no longer picture his stupid face when I listen to the music of James Taylor, as these songs have been featured on my playlists for so many years now. Time is indeed a wonderful thing.
I endeavored to switch off between these two artists with my playlist, though towards the end it ended up leaning more heavily in JT’s favor. While there are a total of 21 songs on this playlist, I won’t bore you with anecdotes about each and every one of them. Just the ones that I am most looking forward to hearing them perform live.
James’ “Your Smiling Face”. This is one of those songs that has an opening that you remember. It’s an upbeat and endearing tune. I always like how the first line gets right to the point of the song, don’t you?
Bonnie’s “Something to Talk About”. Such a fun, flirty ditty. Love the story and the bluesiness of this tune. This woman is in a league of her own when it comes to quality blues music.
James’ “Fire and Rain”. Great metaphor for life. Bittersweet in that he “always thought I’d see you again”.
Bonnie’s “Thing Called Love”. She ain’t no queen of Sheba. And we ain’t no amoebas.
James’ “You’ve Got a Friend”. Originally written by the one and only Carole King, another one of my favorites. A special, sweet, simple song that everyone knows. Hard to beat that.
Bonnie’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me”. Heart-wrenching, raw, tender, personal. I seem to recall a time or two back before I met Hubs of course when circumstances existed to make this song very relatable to me.
James’ “Up on the Roof”. Beautiful lyrics and piano music. It evokes that feeling one has upon arriving home after a long, hectic day at work where you just emit an “Ahhh”, take your bra off, and sit down with your favorite adult beverage. Except I’m too scared of heights to actually go up on the roof for real. Unless Hubs was up there with his ukulele. I’d have to make an exception for that.
Bonnie’s “Love Sneaking Up on You”. Such a fun, sexy song. One of the best lines: “Do you light up at the mention of my name?”
James’ “Something in the Way She Moves”. Wowser, what a love song! It’s on par with Billy Joel’s “Always a Woman to Me”. Soooo romantic.
Bonnie’s “Right Down the Line”. Gerry Rafferty wrote and originally performed this song. I love how Bonnie put her own, slightly reggae twist on this version. It’s a slinky, sultry, cool ass song. Like so many of her songs.
James’ “Mexico”. I love the tropical, laid back feel of this song and the pretty guitar opening. I hope some day Hubs will say “Oh, Mexico, sounds so simple I’ve just got to go” with passion. Because he’s never been. I have, but likely would enjoy it much more as a grown adult woman with my Hubs than I did as a 7 year old searching for a pinatas and ponchos with my family.
James’ “How Sweet it is (to be loved by you)”. What a positively positive song, right? I just want to stop and thank you, sweet baby James, for this special song.
Bonnie’s “I Will Not Be Broken”. This song really speaks to me. I mentioned in a recent post that I had discovered a new self help book, “Soul Song Playlist”. Let’s just say this song is at the top of my soul song playlist.
James’ “Shower the People”. I ADORE this song. It should be everyone’s mantra because it would make the world a much happier place: “Shower the People you love with love, show them the way that you feel, things are going to be much better if you only will”. Truer words may never have been written in a song.
James’ “Steamroller”: This is the song that made me realize how much I love the blues. And to see it performed live would be simply amazing.
For most of our married life, Hubs and I aspired to take a dream vacation to a tropical locale. I think the seed was planted in our romantic brains when we were newlyweds and adopted the Beach Boys song “Kokomo” as our anthem.
When times got tough like when our two spawn were expressing their teenage angst by slamming bedroom doors or reminding us how many days till they turned 18 when they could fly out of our godforsaken coop, or when the demands of work and keeping our home functioning in good order amped up our stress levels, we would often partake of sharing our daydreams of the perfect beachy vacation for two.
Funnily enough, and despite the lyrics of this song clearly commanding us to visit the Florida Keys, this was not actually our first choice. We first considered a trip to Hawaii (still very much on my travel bucket list). That was determined a “no go” once we saw how long the flight would be and how freaking expensive it would also be. I mean, we had surely saved up ample money over the years for this vacay, but we were most certainly not willing to spend the bulk of it on a flight to get to and fro.
That’s when we did a little search on the Internet and found Islamorada. We booked 4 nights at Ocean House, a small but beautiful resort with great amenities, the best of which was the close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico.
Their couldn’t have been a better location for us to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. For reals.
This vacation was beyond wonderful. The staff greeted us upon our arrival with a cold adult beverage and chatted with us about where we were from and what types of experiences we wished to have while in Islamorada. The cabin we stayed in was spic and span and featured a sliding glass door that led to a covered patio, complete with two oversized lounging chairs overlooking the property and the Gulf just beyond it. We seriously enjoyed our personally delivered breakfasts of fresh fruit cups, freshly made pastries, and hot coffee each morning while lounging in these chairs, pondering that day’s itinerary.
During the day, we spent time lollygagging on the beach at the Ocean House and swimming in their spacious pool. At night we would sit around the fire pit on the property and chat with other couples vacationing there from places like New York state and the U.K. Or we’d take a soak in the hot tub, which was next to that beautiful pool.
When we were feeling more adventurous, we went out exploring the Keys, like the day we swam with the dolphins or the day we visited Key West and got our picture taken next to the southern most point in America. Or the day we went on a charter boat for some deep sea fishing.
Since this vacation, Hubs and I have often talked about going back there someday. We aren’t necessarily the type of people who vacation at the same places we’ve been to before. Because we like exploring places that are brand new to us, together. We think it makes life much more interesting. However, Islamorada is one of two places (the other being Washington D.C. but it almost doesn’t count because Hubs has to go there twice a year for work and I’m a really good “tagalonger”) we both would happily visit again.
Except it wouldn’t be as magical or special as it was the first time. It just wouldn’t. Especially now.
I love how certain songs evoke specific memories, don’t you? Like you turn on the radio and a song comes on that just pulls you in. For me, sometimes I don’t even understand what the connection is that allows a particular song to invade my brain and heart with long forgotten memories. Like the song “Dance With Me” by Orleans, which came out in 1970 something when I was probably 6 years old. When I hear this song, I instantly recall my mom’s friend Bev. She loved me and I loved her. She had two daughters of her own, who were much older than me, in high school actually. My mom has told me that when I was little, I was actually the only baby amongst her group of friends, many of whom had children older than me. So I got a lot of attention back then. Especially from Bev. I remember spending afternoons at her house, just me and her, making craft projects using juicy fruit wrappers. Bev died of cancer when I was about 9. I knew she was sick for a while, and it made me so sad. I remember being in the hallway of the hospital, waiting for my parents and being angry at them because they wouldn’t let me see Bev. Of course, they were trying to protect me from emotional pain. I so wanted to see her again but never got the chance. My best guess is that “Dance with Me” must have been playing on the radio at some point on the way to Bev’s, on the way home, or when I was hanging out with this lovely woman making weird crafts. Dance with me
And then there’s the song Sister Christian by Night Ranger. Sister Christian
This one evokes memories of being a newly licensed driver at 16. I relished the independence of driving all by myself in my dad’s dark brown Ford Thunderbird through our small town in Minnesota. This song would come on which would prompt me to crank it up and sing along at the top of my lungs. If it was still on when I got to wherever it was I was headed, I parked and kept the car running so that I could listen/sing until the very end. This activity made me feel cooler than cool (though admittedly, I was by all accounts the opposite of cool at that point in my life).
Nowadays, when I happen to hear Little River Band’s Reminiscing, I feel a sense of light and playfulness. It vividly brings back scenes from a summer when I was probably 10 or 11, and my parents and I went tubing on the Apple River. We were part of a caravan of my parent’s friends, cousins, and their kids, who were mostly older than me. The sun was shining, the water was crisp and cold, and the beer was flowing for the adults as was the pop (Orange Crush and Dad’s Root Beer come to mind) for those of us under the legal drinking age. What a sweet childhood memory!
When Hubs and I got hitched back in 1990, I was adamant that the song “Evergreen”, originally performed by Barbra Streisand, be sung at our wedding. It is a dramatically beautiful and romantic song and I felt it captured the love I felt for my soon to be husband. I remember I had to actually put up a bit of a fight to get the minister’s approval for my cousin’s wife to sing this song. The line “you and I will make each night a first” for some reason apparently offended his Lutheran sensibilities. But in the end the song was sung. And it made me bawl like a baby during the ceremony. I was overcome with emotion and could hardly choke out the words “I do”, largely because of the sheer beauty and lyrics of this song. Evergreen
Back around the time Hubs and I were engaged, I declared that “Kokomo” was “our song”. Kokomo
It is a sweetly romantic song that created in me a strong desire to whisk ourselves away to a tropical island where we could lay on the beach sipping fruity cocktails all day long. Just Hubs and I. No one else, no distractions. Just me and him and peace and quiet. We had to work hard for many years, but thankfully were able to take a splendid vacation by ourselves to Islamorada in the Florida Keys to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Kokomo was the theme song of course.