Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Does Caring Really Have to Equal Sharing?

This past weekend, Mr. W and I went to Fresno, Santa Ynez, and Santa Barbara, and on the drive north he realized he forgot something extremely important. No, not the corkscrew or his gold bikini briefs—his wallet. In addition to potentially posing some problems if he got pulled over, the oversight had us interacting in a way we hadn't really done before. See...we don't share a bank account.


We pretty much split everything financial (although I think he treats me to dinner WAY more often than I treat him), so having one person settle every bill for four days was a funny feeling for us both. Generally when we take trips, we also take turns, loosely tracking who got the last one and who'll get the next.

When I tell people this, they freak out. It's as thought our separate finances mean we're not actually married. I think they immediately assume that Mr. W was the instigator of this because he has quite a few more precious assets to his name.

But I'm the one who drew the dividing line.

I was a financially independent person for such a long time, I just couldn't make peace with the idea of combining our money. I don't want to think I'm dipping into his earnings. I don't want to have to worry about spending too much on a new dress or a baby shower gift. I don't want to hide things or ask permission. So instead I keep my moolah to myself and let him do the same.  

That's not real commitment, some would say. And who knows—maybe they're right. Maybe my single-girl holdout is a detriment to our matrimonial bliss or success. But man I enjoy keeping my checkbook (Yes! I've admitted it before and will say it again!) balanced to the penny and knowing I'm responsible for my end of things.

That said, I was more than happy to file my taxes with Mr. W this year. Marriage does have its financial perks!

What are your thoughts on this? Does monetary sharing equal caring—or can keeping things separate still mean you're in love?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

That One Time Mr. W Wet His Pants in the Backyard

Okay fine, Mr. W didn't actually pee his pants. I tricked you into reading this with my title, didn't I?

Here's what really happened...

Last night we decided to make chicken shish kabobs for dinner. Oh and some veggie ones too that included zucchini from our very own plant below. Cute isn't it? So charming and phallic.

I was in the house, about ready to go keep Mr. W company at the barbecue, when I heard him yell a sort of scared, helpless-sounding, "Aaahhhahhh!" Through the sliding glass door I could see that he was standing on the second tier of our yard, a dinner plate in hand, getting pelted by the garden hose sprayer.

He didn't run away for a good several seconds—just stood there dumbfounded and yelling. Apparently he had dropped the hose after watering and it landed square on the little gun handle and shot up a geyser of hose water that covered everything in a 3 foot radius. Mr. W included.

Of course I started laughing hysterically at him and laughed even harder when I got outside and saw his mist-covered hair and soaking wet shorts up close.

Thankfully, he still cooked me dinner.

The backyard is looking better and better every day as more of our summer crops pop up. Last time I counted, we had 11 artichokes coming in.

The cucumber plant is still pretty small, but the blossoms are so pretty!

Not quite as high as an elephant's eye, the corn is still impressive considering how tiny it was to begin with.

I don't actually know if this is a pumpkin or butternut squash plant, but I'm mighty excited to find out.

Mr. W bought this little olive tree recently and even it seems to be joining in the summer fruiting process.

And then there are of course these guys. No idea whether they'll turn out well—but they're nice to look at.

But by far Mr. W and my favorite thing growing in the backyard are the teeny baby avocados. They are really taking their time bulking up. The biggest is only about the size of my thumbnail right now. But we are so excited by the thought of making homegrown guacamole!

I think Mr. W is also really excited about the new garden hose sprayer he picked up. Hopefully this one has some sort of safety mechanism built in so he won't have to worry about wetting his pants again anytime soon...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Me First, You Second

I was reading a magazine article over the weekend wherein Jilian Michaels, ex-trainer from The Biggest Loser, used the old "put your oxygen mask on first before helping your child put it on" analogy to describe her approach to parenting.

It got me thinking about how much I've been doing that recently.

When you care so much for friends and family members, it really can feel unnatural to not help them first. You want to be able to meet them for coffee and listen to their latest triumphs and trials. You want to be available to have a girls' night or make jewelry for your niece's upcoming prom. You want to get the download on how new motherhood is treating them. You want to religiously read their blogs (!).

But then life happens.

Unexpected tragedies strike and turn everything upside down. You can only tend to those in your very immediate vicinity. And then work piles up and tries to swallow you whole. And long ago planned vacations (which can sometimes be more taxing than relaxing) dominate your time. And you're left gasping for air, fumbling to release the oxygen mask from the panel above your seat.

I have learned over the years that as much as I want to deliver on being a good friend and a loyal family member, I literally start to shut down when there's too much going on and I physically cannot deliver on my duties until I've given myself time to breathe.

Knowing this makes it easier to manage.

Although I have been terrible about my blog reading lately and have had to postpone and cancel more than one social event with a friend who I know could use a good venting session, and have ignored emails from my family because I feel too overwhelmed to respond, I've been scheduling little pockets of downtime for myself to try to maintain the sanity. Thank goodness for books, episodes of Modern Family and cats who like being pet.

I am hoping to soon feel caught up enough to reach over and unhook the mask next to me for someone else who needs it. And maybe the person on the other side of them, too.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Las Vegas: The Long and Short of It

Anyone who has ever been to Vegas more than once probably has a scandalous story about how Sin City took hold of them or someone they were vacationing with and all hell broke loose. I think maybe your first trip to LV can turn out okay, but there's no way you can walk away from that place clean every time. At least once or twice after a visit you'll be regaling your friends about how your college boyfriend got drunk and yelled across a casino, "I have five words for you: I Will Never Marry You!" or how your childhood bff infiltrated a bachelor party and disappeared for the rest of the night.

No? Okay fine those two are my stories.

But I do know plenty of other people who have gotten into fist fights, had male strippers steal their wallets (no joke— photographic evidence showed the snatching in progress at a bachelorette party) and misplaced friends only to find out they'd passed out in a bathroom stall somewhere.

There is a reason the movie The Hangover was written. 

Mr. W and I had no such stories whatsoever after spending 3 days in Vegas this week. The wildest thing he did was wear his flip flops for an entire day (he has short toe cleavage and generally doesn't find sandals to be the most comfortable option) and I got crazy by buying a pair of shorts at the Banana Republic outlet. (I've been wearing long cargo shorts only for the past several years—haven't owned an actual short pair of shorts in who knows how long.) We are wildly out of control like that, and in addition to hitting up the outlets we also drove to Lake Mead and toured around the Hoover Dam.

Off the hook, yo. Well, actually it was a little crazy because this was the temperature while we were taking in the sights:

Despite our tame visit (which included dinner at Cut and Mesa—both of which were delicious) we did end up with a picture we cannot share with anyone ever. No, it's not Mr. W in his leopard skin loincloth again, it's one of me...appearing to be sans panties.

After dinner last night, as we were strolling back through Caesar's Palace, I goofily told Mr. W to take my picture sitting between a horse statue's hooves. Crazy Vegas behavior. When I looked at the camera, I realized you could see right up my dress, and worse yet, the shadow and angle of my thighs came together just so, forming a sort of v-shape and looks like a naked crotch shot. Horrifying, really.

Here's a special version of it just for context:

Of course we laughed hysterically for a good 5 minutes. But I'm starting to rethink the Banana Republic outlet shorts lest they lead to another accidental scary thigh configuration...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Thank Goodness That Parental Instincts Kick In Even When You Don't Have Kids

If you were a regular reader of my old blog, you may remember that in 2008 I shared a story of family holiday mayhem wherein my cousin's 2-year-old choked a little on pumpkin pie and when he started to barf it up, she expertly reached out and caught the vomit on her own dessert plate. Total varsity mom move.

Horror, laughter, and my mom wetting her special velvet Christmastime pants ensued.

Well, I'm proud to say that last week, Mr. Wonderful displayed cat parenting skills akin to my cousin's.

As you may remember, we just purchased a new couch last month. We are very protective of it because it is pristine and microsuedy and lovely. So when my cat started doing her accordion-like throw-up maneuver on it while Mr. W and I were eating breakfast, I panicked. We absolutely did not want a spitty hairball on our new baby. Thankfully, Mr. W coached me through the whole thing.

As Zoe started her gag dance, Mr. W yelled, "Get the plate! Get the plate! GET THE PLATE!"

(Looking back, it kind of reminds me of the final air scene from Top Gun when Maverick and Iceman keep repeating everything multiple times—"There's a mig on your tail! THERE'S A MIG ON YOUR TAIL! Break left! Break left! BREAK LEFT!")

Like a good copilot, I followed his instructions and grabbed my empty breakfast plate, catching the tube of congealed, regurgitated hair before it hit the couch or the floor.

Apparently even childless people can have wicked awesome parental instincts.

However, my lovely Kate Spade everydayware will never be quite the same.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Coldplay concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Photo from

I've been watching Oprah's Lifeclass on OWN and this Monday night's episode was all about gratitude—how even in difficult times, it's good to find things to be grateful for.

Listing our fortunes can help us heal faster, I think.

Although I used to keep a gratitude journal, I've fallen behind on it. And even though things have been rough around here lately, when I stop and think, I'm thankful for so much.

Tuesday, Mr. W and I got to go to the Coldplay concert at the Hollywood Bowl.
I had multiple moments throughout the show where I just felt my heart swell. They did a great job with audience interaction—handing out these cool light-up wristbands that blinked different colors throughout the concert, shooting confetti everywhere, launching beach balls from who knows where. Everything was choreographed like we were all at one big party together. And then there was the music. Gorgeous. Wonderful. Echoing off the Hollywood Hills. I love being around other fans and feeling like you're all there together, just completely in love with the performers on stage.

Last week I dropped a knife on my foot and stabbed myself in the toe.
But I didn't cut the toe off! That's lucky, right? And it was a smaller knife—not a big ole meat cleaver. And at least it was my foot and not one of the cats.

Multiple days over the past two weeks, Mr. W and I haven't gotten out of our pajamas. 
It's pretty nice to have that luxury, especially when you've been feeling blue or have a cold like I have for the last week and a half. Sure, if anyone had stopped by our house they would've thought we were staging some sort of hygienic rebellion, but at least we were happy and comfy.

We planned another trip to our beloved Solvang and Santa Barbara County.
We're heading up Memorial Day weekend and plan to start exploring neighborhoods and property. Life is short. We want to move as soon as we can.

My niece got into Georgetown, but ultimately decided to go to University of San Diego.
As an auntie who has already shed a few tears over the thought of her oldest niece growing up and moving away, I'm beyond delighted that she's staying closer. And very excited that now I have a new reason to take weekend trips down to SD!

Can you find things to be thankful for even when you're feeling down? What are your top gratitude drivers right now?