Friday, July 30, 2010


I realize I already posted once today. But surprise! I'm posting again!

People keep asking me how Mr. San Antonio is celebrating his first day of freedom...

And I thought I'd let you know that he's at the shooting range, testing out the hunting rifle I bought him as his graduation present.

It's beautiful.

Did I just describe a rifle as "beautiful"? I've been out of California too long...

One year ago

Phew. I have finally exhaled. The BAR is over! I almost threw up yesterday when I was waiting for Mr. San Antonio to call and say he was done!

No. I'm not kidding. My friend Jen can vouch for my turbulent stomach. She road up the windy mountain to camp with me many a summer...

Now there are just two days, and a big ocean, separating us from a vacation that we don't deserve but are blessed to be able to take. While we are there I won't be posting. I'll be preoccupied. Because my hands will be covered in chocolate croissant crumbs. And I'm assuming that will make typing nearly impossible.

Also while we are gone we will be celebrating our one year anniversary! It has been an incredible year full of learning, adapting, apologizing, forgiving, laughing, crying, and karate chopping. To reminisce for a minute, here are some of my favorite pictures from our wedding:

I loved giving each bridesmaid a unique bouquet...

This picture, and the silliness of it all, makes me smile every time... 

We had two pastors perform our wedding. I love their two different reactions to our first kiss. One looked away embarrassed, the other cracked up...

I love this photo. And how our photographer ( captured the traditions of the day...

This photo makes me laugh every time I see it. Right before this picture was taken, I had "discretely" spit my gum into Mr. San Antonio's hand after I realized I was not going to be able to chew gum and swallow cake at the same time. I thought I had been really clever, until our friend posted a video on Facebook that had captured my embarrassing moment...

These were my bridesmaids. These girls have been with me through thick and thin. I love each of them dearly...

And last, here is my absolute favorite wedding picture (at least today). There is so much hope and expectation captured in this photo. It's the beginning of our story.

And I'm smiling because I haven't yet had to battle the smoke detector, or try to clean the fire breathing dragon, or stub my toe on the back door step, or have to choose between having the lamp on to read, or the fan on to breathe. Oh, life. What will you bring us this coming year?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mental Issues

This morning I received an email from a co-worker that said:

"You're from California, right?"

And then posted a link to this article: "One in five Californians say they need mental health care."

Very funny Mr. Co-Worker.

But he's probably right.

All that sea air. Giant Red Wood trees. Fresh sea food. Organic veggies. Farmer's markets. Perfect weather year round so you can always be outside. Wineries. And ski resorts.

Those are the things that drive Californians batty. I'm sure of it.

On the other hand I'm convinced their supposed insanity has nothing to do with:

The lack of oxygen getting to the brain because of all the smog sitting over LA. Or the constant nervous twitches you endure when you spend your days hiding green leafy plants from prying eyes. Or the high blood pressure that comes from encountering hippie liberal protesters that live in trees or insist on being naked in public.

Ugh. I did it again. I know I shouldn't say things like that out here in the country of Texas. When I focus on the three things that are wrong with The Golden State, I only end up adding fuel to the fire of twisted thoughts that Texans already have about Californians.

I really should try harder to focus more on the positives, and smooth over our cultural differences. I should hold workshops, or panel discussions, or peace talks.

But it's just so hard to resist the temptation when the first thing people ask me is, "did you used to grow pot?" I always say yes. I don't blink or smile. I just let them wonder....

And then I get emails that imply that I have mental issues.

I know I have mental issues. But I am pretty sure they're totally unrelated to where I was born and raised. I think they're from the fumes that are coming off our fire breathing dragon. And the 95 degree temperature in our bathroom.

A girl with flat hair in Texas is bound to go crazy.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Birth Story

I'm not really sure how this happened, but for some reason I ended up being friends with some of the most awesome people in the world.

I am not friends with any presidents... Or pro-athletes.... Or movie stars...

But I am friends with people who are doing extraordinary things in the little worlds they inhabit.

Here is a story of one of those sets of friends - For their privacy, I will refer to them as Mr. and Mrs. Faithful.

Now, I realize that many people might see their story as coincidence or luck. But those things don't exist. Those are just terms we use when we don't want to acknowledge God's hand in the details of our lives.

Back in September of 2009 Mr. and Mrs. Faithful had recently moved out of Texas and were in the process of setting up a new life for themselves in a quaint southern town. Mr. Faithful was setting up his practice, and Mrs. Faithful was going back to school, gardening, and setting up their new home.

They had always known they would adopt, and now that they had transitioned to a permanent home they wanted to formally start on all the paperwork. Then one day in early fall, it occurred to them that the birth-mother of their future child was already out there somewhere and may or may not already be pregnant. So as they began the long and tedious paperwork process, they also began to pray. They prayed for their future child, and for his/her birth-mother.

In another place, not too far away, there was a girl who realized she was pregnant. She came home to her mom and said she was going to get an abortion. Earlier that week a brochure had been left on their door step that said, "Are you pregnant? Please consider all your options." The mom showed her newly pregnant daughter the brochure and begged her to wait a couple days before making a decision. After some serious thinking the girl decided to keep the child alive and look into the option of adoption.

Fast forward nine months to June 2010- and the Faithfuls were in a room with a young woman, her mom and a case worker. The young girl was going to give birth soon. She had chosen the Faithfuls to adopt her daughter. As they sat there, the young girl's mom told the Faithfuls about how back in early fall, she had encouraged her daughter to not abort the baby. With a few probing questions the Faithfuls heard the whole story and discovered that the week the girl made that crucial decision was the very week they had begun praying for the birth-mother and their future child.

Now the Faithfuls have a beautiful little girl. This is not coincidence. This is not luck. This is a true story of a baby who has an important life ahead of her. And this is a story of two faithful people who through their prayers have changed many lives. How awesome is that?!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Second most exciting week

This is maybe the most exciting week yet in my life.

Minus last year around this time when I was counting down the days until our wedding. That was the number one most exciting. But this week is pretty darn close.

We are reaching an end of an era. The entire time I've known Mr. San Antonio - which is just over two years now - he has lived, breathed, and reeked of law school. Our conversations have been full of "habeas corpus this" and "jurisprudence that". (Don't make me define those things, please. I just throw them in conversation every once in awhile so Mr. SA thinks I've been listening. I mean, I have been listening babe. It's fascinating!)

But now, law school is over, and the BAR exam is here. As in, this very minute my handsome husband is sitting at a desk with my laptop (which I pray isn't acting up), in a room full of other nerds with their laptops, and they are tick-tick-ticking away.

And come Thursday afternoon, around 4:00pm, Mr. San Antonio will stumble back into the light and will be a free man. Free I say!!

We will do a jig, and high five, and laugh because life is good and the burden of the test, the weight of the waiting will be over, and we will feel light and airy and giddy to no end.

And then on Friday, we'll do it all over again.

But on Saturday, I'm putting Mr. San Antonio to work. We have bags to pack. A plane to catch. People to see. Food to eat. Sites to explore.

Sunday will be here before we know it. Our 12noon flight will be waiting at the gate. Dramamine will be flowing through my system so I don't lose my insides on the poor souls who have been randomly assigned to sit next to me.

We'll drink over priced airport waters, and I'll munch on saltines, and double, triple, quadruple check that I have that innocuous little white bag in the seat back in front of me.

We'll get sucked in to the horrible plot lines of the B rated movies, that went directly to DVD and now live inside airline TVs where us poor souls are willing to watch them, because we're bored out of our minds.

And we will fly across the ocean to the land of macaroons, quiche, baguettes, and almond croissants. France is less than a week away! My insides are getting a little funky on me already. But I think that's just the excitement. Because this is the second most exciting week yet of my life!

Monday, July 26, 2010

IT is here.

Play the Rocky theme music. If you can’t conjure up the song in your own head, then click this youtube link and listen to the music and let your heart pound to the rhythm.

I want you to play the music, because IT is here. The week of weeks. The test of tests. IT has arrived.

Da da daaaaa. Da da daaaaa. (That’s how the song sounds in my head – no one ever accused me of having a good ear for music...)

For the last three years Mr. San Antonio has dreaded it, cursed it, and prepared to conquer it. For the last two years I have slandered it, talked about it behind its back, and made ugly faces at it.

Mickey Goldmill to Rocky: You’ll be able to spit nails, kid. Like the guy says, you’re gonna eat lightning and you’re gonna crap thunder. You’re gonna become a very dangerous person.

IT. The test, in honor of which we will NOT name our children, has arrived in full force and in a whirlwind of fury. It is knocking on the door. It demands a confrontation.

But it doesn’t realize that it should be the one quaking.

Because for the last three years Mr. San Antonio has been pumping iron, throwing left jabs, doing pull-ups in the snow, punching raw meat, and sprinting through the neighborhoods. But now, he has reached the steps. THE steps. The music has reached a stirring point, and tomorrow morning he will begin his assent to the top.

“Trying hard now
it's so hard now
trying hard now

Getting strong now
won't be long now
getting strong now

Gonna fly now
flying high now
gonna fly, fly, fly...”

And for the next three days while Mr. San Antonio sprints up those stairs – flies up those steps, I will be holding my breath, turning blue, receiving CPR, and starting all over again.

And on Thursday afternoon, the music will reach a crescendo, Mr. San Antonio will fist pump the air, a montage of children and stray dogs will pour out from all the corners of the city to run up the steps and get a taste of his victory. And I will collapse on the sofa, and drink champagne, or beer, or tequila, or whatever is closest to my outstretched hand.

Please start praying. Like, now. Thanks.

Friday, July 23, 2010

If only they knew...

This morning I received an email from the children's coordinator at our church. She said that our pastor had recommended Mr. San Antonio and I for the role of Sunday School teachers.

If only they knew....

If only they knew that during our first time on nursery duty, Mr. SA tried to have a theological discussion with the two year old class. In response the toddlers stood on their chairs and demanded more goldfish.

If only they knew that my arts and crafts skills can be summed up by the fact that it took me four months to crochet half of a baby blanket. Little nephew Charlie.... I wouldn't hold your breath on getting it for Christmas either.

If only they knew that Mr. San Antonio one time took a three year old to the corner (because he had been hitting the other kids in the class), sat him down and said, "we're going to sit here in time out, but if you were my kid... your consequence would look a lot different."

If only they knew that I get squeamish when i change diapers.

If only they knew that during nursery duty, when they give us a minute by minute schedule, we always rebelliously ignore it - and serve snack before the Bible lesson.

If only they knew about the time we thought that two year olds were potty trained and took 10 of them on a field trip to the bathroom. The kiddos immediately dipped their hands in the toilets, crawled on the floor and pulled all the TP off the rollers. We had to scoop up five kids each and run them back to the classroom. We covered up our mistake by playing a game we called "who can cover themselves with the most hand sanitizer?"

If they only knew all these things about us, would they still have asked? I think not. And now it's up to us to either tackle this challenge (and learn how to work a felt board), or get out of it graciously by claiming to be allergic to play dough.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monumental Weekend

It was a monumental weekend. The push-up challenge was completed - with an 800 push-up finale yesterday! I actually didn't do any yesterday... I slept on the couch (who wants perfectly toned arms anyway?). But Mr. San Antonio did finish! And I clapped and cheered when his 800th of the day, and 10,000th in 30 days was complete! Congratulations babe!

Other reasons the weekend was monumental:
- I watched my first movie on an HD TV. It was wild. I think if we had one, I'd stare at it all day.

- I took up 6 washing machines at the local wash and dry. It was a record for me, and I can't really say that I'm proud, but I am glad we have clean undergarments again.

- A friend helped me make the most incredible apricot bars ever!! And I had completely good intentions of sharing them at the church wide event on Sunday, but somehow they just didn't want to leave the cool comfort of my fridge....

- We made BBQ chicken, corn and asparagus for the one-millionth time this summer! Gold prize goes to us!

- We had a spontaneous picnic in Boerne (pronounced: bur-knee), where we listened to a band attempt to play while being attacked by hundreds of crickets (literally there were hundreds. I know I'm prone to exaggeration, but I promise I'm being truthful here).

- We had lunch with a wonderful family who always shows us hospitality beyond measure. This is monumental because they keep inviting us back, even when we ditch out on prayer time.

- I got a phone call from a very dear friend who played a crucial role in my college years and now lives in Australia with her awesome husband, three incredible girls, and her very large dog who is a glutton for affection and doesn't understand the idea of personal space.

- And, the final reason the weekend was monumental is because I managed to eat ice cream four times in just two and a half days. Congratulations to me!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Say no to flab!

Since I started yesterday's post with "last night", I'll start this one with:

Yesterday during the evening hours I left Mr. San Antonio to drown in his studying sorrows while I met up with a friend and heard all about her recent trip to Ukraine. She showed me the photos she took - including a whole series of doors and door handles which were really artsy and awesome! When we had both sweat (sweated?) through our clothes, we decided it was time to part ways. As we stood up I said, "I promise not to stare at your sweat stains if you won't stare at mine." I think she thought I was a little weird. But we're friends, so it's ok.

When I got home, Mr. San Antonio was sprawled out on the couch reviewing some notes. Since he was trying so hard to focus I crawled up next to him and tugged his ear lobes, made snoring noises, asked unnecessary questions, and made profound statements about life - like, "it's soooooo hot in here."

Mr. San Antonio soon hit his limit (with studying, not with me silly!), and as he put his papers away his face fell. "I haven't done any push ups today", he said. "I have to do 450 every day from now until the end if I'm going to make my goal. If I skip today, then I'll have to do 600 every day to catch up." Well, being the extremely supportive wife that I am I said, "well, hop to it, I sure can't have your muscles getting flabby on me!"

Then I decided it would probably be more encouraging if I offered to do them with him. So we got into push up position and began, "1, 10, 23, 42, 58, 139". I decided if I counted like that, then I could trick him into thinking I had done as many push ups as him, only waaaaay faster because I also miraculously finished first! I'm so smart.

But really, in the spirit of honesty I did 60 push ups. And he did 450. Only a few more days to go! I know some of our friends have joined in on the challenge, so feel free to post a comment with what number you are on in the push up challenge! And keep it up!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Last Night

Last night we had dinner with my parents and one of my brothers and my sister (the other brother ditched us for a cool internship in California. Loser.). Last night’s impromptu dinner was scheduled so we could send my sister off to her hip new job in Tennessee. Double loser.

I’ve already belabored the fact that all my friends have left me this summer. And now my sister just had to become an awesome marketing/sales/PR chic who is too fabulous for this small Texas city and got recruited by a marketing company far far far away from me.

But I’m not bitter. And I didn’t cry my eyes out when I hugged her goodbye last night. And I didn’t promise her that she could live on my couch (with cockroach bait under it) and eat ice cream and pizza the rest of her life.

On our way home, as I wiped snot off my nose and tried really hard not to feel sorry for myself, I consoled my heart with the fact that the electrician had spent the day at our apartment getting things prepped so our landlady can install….. drum roll please…. central air conditioning!!!

We walked up the precarious flight of stairs (the steps aren’t even close to meeting safety regulations, and the last step is unusually high… and perfect for tripping and landing on your face, or stubbing your toe, or dropping whatever you’re carrying and spilling it across the floor – but I digress). So, we walked up the stairs to our back door and started getting ready for bed when we discovered that we had accidentally left our bedroom door open while we were gone. This meant that the tiny-little-window-unit-that-could had been desperately trying to cool down the whole apartment, and as a result had not cooled down our room at all.

Well, we’re flexible, so we decided we’d watch an episode of Lost in the living room, and point all the fans on us, and turn the volume up so the neighbors can listen too (hey, we just like to be friendly), and wait while the bedroom cooled down to a sleepable temperature (I realize sleepable isn’t a word and my computer has it highlighted menacingly in red to remind me of that fact). Well, what-d’-ya-know, but when we flipped the switch in the living room there was no power. None. Zilch. Nadda. No window unit, no light, no Lost.

This sent Mr. San Antonio on a hunt for the cause, and me on a verbal rampage against the electrician. But, even though we weren’t able to fix it last night (or this morning), we did discover that our refrigerator and freezer were also off. Great. Now the 12 lb turkey that my office gave out as a Christmas bonus six months ago was finally going to thaw!

I really wish I could end this story saying something like, “but I didn’t pout or whine or fuss or stamp my foot because I know how to count my blessing and be thankful for all the wonderful things in my life”, but then I wouldn’t be telling the truth, and I’m all about honesty here people.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Theory on Life #132

Marissa’s Theory on Life #132 = there are many differences between the oldest children and youngest children.

I know you’re thinking, “Wow Marissa. That is deep, profound. Almost as revolutionary as saying ‘why don’t people build more stalls in womens' public restrooms?'”

And I’m here responding with a humble head nod, “Yes. I know. I’m a very deep thinker.”

But this is a serious topic that has come to an emotional head in our home. More than arguing over who takes out the trash, or who’s going to scrub the toilet, or who is going to birth our children (I’m pretty sure I’m going to lose that one) – more than any of these insignificant scruffs, the biggest, most life altering battle we endure is over which water glass is whose.

And I am convinced that it comes down to oldest child vs. youngest child differences – on a very primal level.

Here is my proof:

Mr. San Antonio = youngest child

Marissa = oldest child

Mr. San Antonio believes that everything is everyone’s. That it is perfectly acceptable for him to take my cup and drink the rest of my water.

I believe that everyone should get equal portions of the same thing in their own individual containers. That means we each have our own water glass with equal amounts of water and ice.

He’s a youngest child, used to be catered to and petted over, and taking whatever beverage he wants from whosever glass is nearest his outstretched hand.

I’m an oldest child. I’m used to regulating in order to prevent hurt feelings, jealousy, fighting or chaos. And there is nothing more chaotic than reaching for your own water glass to find it empty!

He thinks I’m crazy.

I think he’s spoiled.

He loves me even when I karate chop him for drinking the rest of my water.

I love him even when he purposefully finishes my water just so I’ll karate chop him and he can laugh.

But I’ve been doing pushups. He won’t laugh for long!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Miss Independent

What’s so great about being independent?

I started as a toddler, by throwing tantrums when my mom would try to put cute bonnets on my head.

In elementary school I demanded to pack my own lunch.

In junior high, I asked my parents to pick me up from school around the corner where no one could see.

In high school I would take the car out for drives, by myself.

In college I wanted to have my own ideas about life and wanted to question what my parents had taught me.

After college I wanted to live alone and/or go far away for graduate school.

And last night I found myself scrubbing the bathroom, trying to prove that I could do it even when I felt sick and light headed.

But looking back…

I didn’t gain anything from rejecting the bonnets – but I hurt my mom’s feelings.

I didn’t gain anything from packing my own lunch – but I sent the message to my mom that her lunches weren’t good enough.

I didn’t gain anything from being embarrassed by my parents – but I made them feel rejected.

I didn’t gain anything from going on drives by myself – but I missed out on opportunities to build friendships and serve my family.

I didn’t gain anything from rebelling against my parent’s ideas on life – but I endured several tearful arguments and later discovered they were right all along.

I didn’t gain anything from longing to live alone or far away – and now I’m so thankful for the time I spent living with my parents as an adult, and staying in town to meet my husband.

And I didn’t gain anything last night from scrubbing the bathroom – but I took away a chance for my husband to be blessed by serving me in need.

So why do I continue to think that I can live joyfully by going my own way, with my own ideas of right and wrong, my own explanations for my selfish behavior, living as an independent being, and separating myself from others and from God?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Back Home

This is totally unrelated to the post today, but I want to give an update on the Push up Challenge. We are on day 22 (out of 30) and Mr. San Antonio has done 7,150 Push ups (goal is to reach 10,000)! For myself, I have only recorded 350 push ups (goal is to reach 1,000). But I'm pretty sure it's because I do soooo many each day that I lose count.

OK, changing gears....

When I got home last night, I was in for quite a shock. While I was spending three fun-filled days doing as many girly things as I could with Mary in New York City, Mr. San Antonio was having a decidedly different experience. 

While we walked through Times Square:

explored Central Park:

visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET):

And ate sushi, then sipped a cocktail on the roof of The Strand while overlooking the sky line (the fuzzy stuff in the background is the Empire State Building):

Mr. San Antonio was being fed BBQ ribs, baked potatoes and peanut butter pretzels by my mother who had read my post from last Thursday. I got this text from her explaining her actions, "I can't let the future of my lineage be hampered by starvation."

I don't know why she thought a bag of lettuce wasn't going to suffice!

Back in New York - Mary and I visited Chelsea Market and stared open mouthed at all the kitchen gadgets:

Walked through High Line Park and stared at all the adorable babies:

And we stared (again) in awe as they set up for a wedding ceremony at a beautiful seminary: 

While we did those things, back home in the far away land of Texas my mother-in-law was creating cockroach bait for us to use around our castle. (Not that any real castles have cockroach problems, but no real castle has a fire breathing dragon on the inside either.)

And then, on Saturday night, while Mary and I ended our evening at Sweet Revenge sipping raspberry Bellini's and eating chocolate cupcakes, Mr. San Antonio was watching the movie Predators with our friend Justin.

I'm sensing a pattern...

On Sunday, before I left, we did the ultimate girly activity and made reservations for Noon Tea at Lady Mendl's:

While we were sipping rose tea and coveting the floral wallpaper, Mr. San Antonio was growing out a 3-day beard, writing practice bar exam essays, getting my car inspected, strategically placing cockroach bait where I won't be tempted to think "boy, those mashed potatoes look good!", and gleefully leaving the toilet seat up.

I was sad to leave the girly-ness of New York and the deep and wonderful conversations with Mary.

But I was also glad to be home, in Texas, with cockroaches and dragons, and my wonderful husband who has nothing girly about him.

Friday, July 9, 2010

New York Observations

Arrived in New York this morning at 3am. That was not planned. But I cannot control the weather. Unfortunately.

After a few hours of sleep and some very strong coffee the exploring began!

Here are some of my first observations about New York (minus pictures because I didn't bring the correct cord with me.... typical).

First of all, two doors down from Mary's apartment is a bar, in the window of the bar is a great flashing neon Texas. I think it's a sign. Literally. Haha...

Second, it's not nearly as crowded as I thought it would be. Mary informed me that we're not in the "touristy" part of the city. But I thought all of New York was touristy, and a movie set. I was wrong.

Third, everyone has either a baby or a dog. I've been much more fascinated with the babies. Mary says it's "the fever" and so she tells me horror stories about babies so that I'll get over it. Mr. San Antonio will probably send her a thank you gift.

Fourth, a lot of people are by themselves. There was a whole park full of people sun bathing, but they were all on their own towels in their own spaces with their i-pods on. Maybe they like it, but I think I'd be lonely.

Fifth, all the prettiest buildings are Episcopal churches or seminaries or schools. Seriously. We got visitor passes and toured the seminary and they were setting up for a wedding and we "oooh-ed" and "aaah-ed" until they gave us strange looks and took away our passes.

Sixth, there are so many amazing places to eat good food that it is sometimes overwhelming. But it's ok, because our entire itinerary this weekend revolves around where we want to eat and all the places we can stop to eat at on our way there.... to eat. But you'll be proud to know that I carried a brownie in my purse all day and haven't touched it yet. Yet....

And my last observation for today is that I really like my friend Mary. This isn't so much of an observation, because I already knew it, but it's a reminder.

I also miss Mr. San Antonio. So I guess that's really my last observation.

-The Cultured Pampered Bird

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thursday Thoughts

It’s Thursday morning, the office is quiet, but my brain is a whir of activity….

Why haven’t I seen anyone else at the office this morning? Is it a vacation day?

I wonder if I’ll stand out as a foreigner when I land in New York tonight, surely they wear camo?

My toenail polish is pretty chipped… I wonder if anyone at work would notice nail polish fumes?

Since I’m the only one here, it is probably ok.

Why is everyone on LOST so overly emotional and irrational?

Are we complete social outcasts for starting to watch a TV show only after it’s no longer on the air?

Maybe I should take out my cowboy hat from my bag and exchange it for an “I <3 PETA” shirt. I think New York would be pleased.

Am I a bad wife for leaving my husband with only a bag of lettuce and some BBQ chicken for three days?

Will he survive?

Maybe I’ll pick up some milk for him at lunch.

I wonder how many pairs of shoes I would own if I didn’t have size 11 feet.

What if I quit my job and we moved to Paris?

Maybe I should test Paris before quitting my job.

I guess we should go to France!

Three weeks from today Mr. San Antonio will be finishing the Bar Exam.

Three weeks from today I’ll be doing a jig.

Three weeks from today we’ll be drinking a bottle of champagne.

I hear people moving around the office.

I guess it’s not a vacation day after all.

I should probably finish my toenails.

New York, ready or not, here I come!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Lesson in Laughter

We had been married about three months and Mr. San Antonio was studying for finals for the fall semester. He was staying at school late; studying when he got home; quizzing me on water law; remembering that I haven’t taken water law; and was generally preoccupied with trying to do succeed in school so he could provide well for our family.

I was trying really hard to be supportive, and not feel sorry for my lonely self.

Then one fatal day….

All I wanted to do was bake some brownies. Because what self-pitying girl doesn’t want to bake brownies? The problem was that every time I turned on the fire breathing dragon (from boiling water, to baking brownies) - the smoke detector would go off. There was no smoke mind you. It just liked to be ornery.

As soon as the siren began I was there - I knew the drill. I started waving away the invisible smoke with a dish towel. That worked for awhile. Then my arms started to go numb and against my wishes a few tears trickled down my face. Why was my life so hard?!

I put down the towel and started fanning the door back and forth, back and forth. With the rhythm of the door, my tears came faster and faster. Why did my husband have to be so busy?! Why did my stove hate me?!

Then the smoke detector picked up intensity. The wailing grew louder, my nerves gave way, and my tears turned into sobs.

My whole body shook from frustration, anger, and self pity. I began hurling towels at the smoke detector. Then I hurled unrepeatable names. Just at the peak of my outburst, Mr. San Antonio called to say he was on his way home from school.

I answered the phone and choked out my battle story. As he listened, I could sense something in his silence, so I said, “Whatever you do, do NOT laugh. This might be funny later, but right now this is NOT FUNNY!!!”

Mr. San Antonio decided he should probably get me some flowers.

So he stopped by the store and picked up some beautiful pink orchids. I “ooh-d” and “aah-d” over their color, their shape, their beauty!

Over the next week we both took very good care of the flowers, watering them, gazing upon them, showing them to friends, moving them to different parts of the apartment to get the most joy out of them.

Then one day Mr. SA called me at work and asked, “Have you noticed anything odd about the flowers?” “No”, I replied, “Why?”

“Well, I was just looking at them and I didn’t think they looked right. So, then I touched them, and they don’t feel right. I turned them over and looked closer, and I’m pretty sure they’re not real.”

He paused.

“But I’ve been watering them”, I said.

“Me too.”

I began to laugh.

So did he.

He asked permission to finally laugh about the smoke detector incident. I said that would be fine. So we laughed about that too.

When I got home I shook the water out of the flower pot and moved them to the mantle.

Then I took the batteries out of the smoke detector.

The flowers are still there, going strong and remind me that I am blessed and loved.

The smoke detector is still deactivated, and when I walk under it I’m reminded to laugh at myself.

My life really isn’t that hard at all.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Boy Named...

I was really excited about sharing a special story with you today. My all time favorite first year of marriage story!! However, when I went to post it I realized I had neglected to take some crucial photos to help with the retelling. So, you will have to wait until tomorrow.

In the mean time, here's a small glimpse into my future.

I foresee myself cradling my children in my arms and wiping away their tears while they once again tell me a tragic story of being beaten on the play ground.

They won’t be beaten because of their thick glasses' lenses (which is inevitable, so sorry children!) nor will they be tortured because of their outstanding intelligence or ravishing good looks (though those are inevitable too). Instead they will be pummeled to the ground all because of the awful names they had no say in being given. And it will be all Mr. San Antonio’s fault.

Are you familiar with that song “A Boy Named Sue” by Johnny Cash. Yeah. That will be my children’s theme song.

Here are the top 5 names Mr. San Antonio has requested for our sons:

1. Burl (or Burle?)

2. Doyle

3. Doak (rhymes with oak)

4. Ajax (yes, this is also a cleaning product)

5. King

Do you understand why I'm in a panic? Why I've already loaded up on bandages and neosporin? This is also the real reason I'm doing the pushup challenge - so I can beat up the kiddos who dare pick on my future offspring! Watch out punks!

Happy Tuesday - and 4 day work week!

Sailing Adventure

Don't let anyone tell you that guys aren't made for adventure.

They are hardwired to want to explore, get into a scrape, battle their way out of the scrape, and hope that a lady has witnessed their success.

Yesterday we went to Mr. San Antonio's uncle's lake house. During the drive, Mr. SA expressed his desire to take his uncle's sail boat out on the water. Having only been on one sail boat in my life - which had a full cabin below deck, easily fit 10 plus people, and sat in the LA (California not Louisiana) harbor, - I thought, how fun!

We arrived at the lake and to our surprise it was a beautiful July day in Texas. The temperature was 10 degrees cooler than at home and we were thrilled that we could sit outside all afternoon and not die of heat stroke.

Shortly after arrival, we took a walk down to the water. I was looking around, scanning the shore for a dock and a large sailboat waiting for us. As we got closer to the water, I started to wonder where such a large boat could be hiding. I didn't see one anywhere. The only thing I saw was a little 12 foot by 3 foot raft perched part way up a bank of rocks under a tree at the water's edge.

All of the sudden I hear, "There it is!"

I looked around confused.

Mr. San Antonio ran over to the raft and pulled out a life vest. He started asking his uncle questions about "the rudder" and "the sail". They began discussing how to push it back into the water, and how to board the raft once it was off the shore.

This would have been great, and I wouldn't have thought anything about their conversation, except that they kept referring to the raft as "the boat". The "sail boat".

My heart sank.

I watched Mr. SA drag the "boat" into the water, and saw it lurch and toss about in the mild lake waves.

I continued to watch as he raised the sail and took it several hundred yards out into the lake. My eyes never blinked as I watched him battle the wind and the waves created by passing motor boats. After several minutes my fears abated and I finally felt like I could join him on his adventure, so I raised my arms in the air and signaled for him to return to shore. In his excitement - that I trusted him enough to join him on the raft, I mean boat - he turned the boat away from the wind, and down it went. From the shore it looked like slow motion as I watched the sail tip into the water and Mr. SA go under.

We all stood on the shore with our hands up to our eyes to shield the bright sun so we could see Mr. SA get out of his scrape. We saw the boat tip up and then go back down. We saw Mr. SA climb the side a couple times before getting a good grip on the slippery surface. And finally (really it was only a few minutes), we saw Mr. SA grab the side of the boat and slowly use his body weight to tip it back upright. The sail bounced in the wind and we cheered!

When Mr. SA got back to shore (with a big grin on his face), I had already donned a life vest and was wading into the water.

He sailed us out all the way to the dam, talking in a pirate voice and occasionally letting out a Texan "yeehaw". When the wind tipped the boat far on one side, we would lean together and balance it back. We were on an adventure together, conquering the lake together, and even if we went under - I knew Mr. SA was more than capable of getting us out of the scrape.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Therapeutic Weekend

I just went to take a sip of coffee and realized it was all gone! Just like…

Our dear friends who are moving to North Dakota this weekend. Here's a picture of them:

They’re coming over tonight and I’m going to make a blueberry pie. Not that blueberry pie has anything to do with moving or North Dakota, it just sounds really yummy.

These particular friends are the third in a series of four couples who have moved or are moving far far away from us this summer.

This is a common pattern where we live. Everyone is in the military, or in grad school, so they move, and don’t even ask my input first!

Now you understand why our pet is a deer head on the wall. He’s not going anywhere without my permission.

And on top of all my friends leaving - my husband spends his days in a library reading books and taking practice tests and using big words that I don’t understand.

The result is that I feel sad, and read the dictionary more than is healthy.

The other day I overheard Mr. San Antonio tell a friend, “There’s pretty much nothing that plane tickets to France won’t fix.”

You can see that I’m a pampered bird.

Maybe friends should leave every summer? And Mr. San Antonio should spend every summer studying in a library and using big words that confuse me?

I’m just kidding! Please don’t leave me!!

So to cope with my sadness of feeling abandoned and to prepare for my sympathy trip to France, I’m embarking on a therapeutic weekend:

1. I’m getting my hair cut at this place that massages your hands after they wash your hair. It's blissful.

2. Then I’m going to buy out the entire mini travel size toiletry section at the store.

3. Next I’m going to watch fireworks and celebrate our Independence while holding my two month old nephew (pictured left) and whispering in his ear over and over, “Auntie Rissa is my favorite and I’ll never ever leave her.”

4. After that I’ll buy a French dictionary and memorize all the words for my favorite foods.

5. And last, I’m going to draw up a contract that all my future friends have to sign promising to never abandon me.

I’m pretty sure I’m going to feel much better come Monday.

Have a great weekend and a Happy 4th of July!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fun-ness Overload!!!

A week from today I’m going to New York to visit one of my best friends in the whole world! She sent me an email with a list of things we can do while I’m there. I went on fun-ness overload. So I ate a piece of cake. Then I went on sugar overload. And did a jig! YeeHaw!

Focus, Marissa, focus!!

I planned this trip a couple months ago for two reasons. 1) Mr. SA is studying and occasionally (definitely not as often as me) becomes a little kooky in the head, so it’s good for him to have his space. And 2) I have not yet seen Mary in her “element”.

Let me explain. Certain people have “elements”. Places where it just makes sense that they be present. When they are removed from the said “element”, you can sense the void. For Mary, her element is New York - New York, New York that is.

In New York she can be far far far away from deer heads on the wall.

And rifles and pistols lying around (not loaded of course! That just wouldn’t be safe.).

And people who eat meat.

(Note: This photo was taken under duress. I claim full responsibility.)

In New York she gets to run by the river and stare at the beautiful statue of liberty. She gets to juggle all her groceries on the subway and still keep her sanity. She gets to live in quaint apartments with doormen. I can’t think of anything that is “more Mary” than doormen. She gets to work at cool places like RestoreNYC, and change the world, and see real life actresses who promote their cause! Mary on the red carpet = complete sense.

So, I’m going to New York. But more than that, I’m going to Mary’s element - her little corner of the world, where she is making a difference. Where she is loving people, and living her life to the fullest, and finding joy and meaning in all sorts of difficult and wonderful things.

I can’t wait to get there!

I'm sure we'll do a jig.

And drink tea.

And laugh.

And cry.

Then start all over again!



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