Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Be Mine (I Whispered to the Cake)

Yesterday was one of the trickiest days of the year. Regardless of whether you're married, dating, or single, Valentine's Day is an obstacle course of emotional danger, full of pitfalls and possibilities. This year was a success for us and I woke up this morning giddy with a spring in my step because we sidestepped any kind of Valentine catastrophe. Whew. That has not always been the case.

Many of you know the history of romantic gifts--or lack thereof--that have been given to me by my adoring husband over the years. I'm not going to reopen old wounds, and heaven knows he has heard more than enough about these less-than-perfect presents, but let me just summarize by saying I have opened sports bras, designer knock-off sandals (with genuine man made uppers, no less), and even a Myers Park High School Mustangs long sleeve t-shirt which was rescued from a clearance bin at our neighborhood Walgreens. Oh yes, we have had much room for improvement.

For my gift to Clint this year, I went practical and stocked him up on some things he can use for Crossfit. Burpees be damned, he has been so faithful getting up at zero dark thirty each morning and going to work out, and he had mentioned some things he could really use with his workouts.

Every well-dressed workout needs Evel Knievel and Ric Flair shirts, I think we can all agree on that much. I also added some Valentine underwear (not pictured), a fun pair of Georgia Tech socks, some sore muscle relief balm (recommended by the editor at Shape magazine, no less), and some yucky gummy candy that I would never touch, but that my husband loves. Naturally, because this is me we're talking about, I got him a funny, sarcastic card to finish off the sentiment.

After 15 years of marital bliss, there is much truth to this. And since having a decent sense of humor is key to putting up with me on a daily basis, I knew he would be fine with the card. As always, he gave me a sweet card with a lovely message that also happened to have rhinestones on it. The man knows me well.

His gifts were thoughtful, practical, and comfortable. I not-so-accidentally opened part of my present last week and was delighted to find this funky pair of striped leopard print socks which will undoubtedly be great for Clemson football games. Hopefully, they will become my lucky socks.

My big gift was a no-brainer for someone who has been walking with a limp for the last few months. I have been dying for a pair of Ugg slippers, but the cheapskate in me wasn't quite ready to pay for a pair. As I recovered from my broken ankle, the thought of those fur-lined, fuzzy wonders possessed me.

If you don't think these slippers are romantic, slip your feet into a pair and then talk to me. I dare you not to fall in love with the heavenly comfort these babies provide. They will make you swoon.

Of course, we aren't just about gifts around is life in our book, so we used the holiday as a good excuse to ditch our diet and have an amazing meal at Miro, a Spanish restaurant nearby. We love sharing a big skillet of their seafood paella, and it usually takes a special occasion for us to splurge and enjoy it.

It's a big serving of shrimp, scallops, calamari, clams, mussells, rice, chorizo, and all that is good and hearty and tasty. Also, there are peas, so I'm also counting it as a serving of veggies. HA.

As you can see, we hated it. And no, we did not need any containers for leftovers. I personally think we exercised a little restraint by leaving as much rice behind as we did. But that's because we were ready to move on to dessert.

This is it. I'm tempted to lick the screen. The restaurant's specialty is their tres leches cake; not one leche, not two leches, but three wonderful leches (that's actually milk, and I'm told it's a combination of evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream). The buttery cake is soaked in that amazing mixture, and it might be the best thing I've ever tasted. I graciously let Clint have the the strawberry garnish because I don't like fruit getting in the way of my dessert, but we basically licked the plate clean. If you are in Charlotte, go directly to Miro and get this cake. It never disappoints.

So here we are, enjoying another Valentine's Day together. If my math is correct, I believe it was our 17th one. Some have been better than others, some have involved burned pizza and sleeping on the couch, and some are as sweet and happy as that cake. Until next year, Clint, pat yourself on the back. You survived, and it was a success!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Moment of 'Weekness'

My mom has a saying, "Some days you're the bug, some days you're the windshield." Those of you who know me undoubtedly realize that my luck tends to run toward the bug part of that equation, meaning that luck doesn't typically favor me. It builds character, though, right?

The good news is that (and I hope I'm not jinxing myself here), this week seems to have been exceptionally kind; there hasn't been any one phenomenal moment, but just a series of things that are pretty great in my book. It's almost like the universe finally reviewed the game footage of my October and decided to try and make up for it. I accept your apology, universe, and revel in the little bits of awesome you sent my way this week.

First, and maybe most importantly, after waiting for a nervous week for some lab results, I found out that our 14-year old dog does not have oral cancer. He had some excess gum tissue removed and tested, and happily, it turns out he just has gingival hyperplasia. The vet said it's more common in bigger dogs like boxers, but my little bichon has it, too, and it's harmless. Basically, my dog has the heart of a lion and the smile of a boxer. What a relief.

This next bit of news may not seem earth-shattering to you, but as someone who is seemingly doomed to mediocre birthday celebrations, it would seem the tide is turning. Clint suggested we browse travel guides and come up with a not-too-far-flung place to spend a long weekend in April to celebrate the anniversary of my birth. After considering several options, we chose (drum roll, please): New Orleans! Hurricanes and beignets and gumbo, here we come. I've already started planning my visit to the Mardis Gras World Museum, y'all.

Next, after three planned-but-cancelled-at-the-last-minute attempts, my mom came for a visit and imparted her interior design skills on my house. We worked the poor woman (who was recovering from that terrible cough/cold/feel like death syndrome that has been going around) into the ground picking out fabrics and finishes, and she accomplished more in 24 hours that we have been able to do in six months. We found two paintings, two rugs, a pair of lamps, some succulents to spruce up my kitchen counter, and even a new shower curtain for my bathroom. There are some bar stools and dining chairs that will arrive in about three weeks, and then we will be well on our way to being a real, furnished home.

I cruised toward the end of the week with yet another checkup at the orthopedist. As everyone is painfully aware, I broke my ankle October 1 and it has been extremely slow to heal. I am ecstatic to report that I am now a graduate of Ortho Carolina's Foot and Ankle Institute! This patient has been given her walking papers and can, ever-so-carefully resume normal activities again. Well, after I finish a week of strong antibiotics and Epsom salt soaks for the raging infection in my toe. Apparently, trauma can cause these type of things of flare up, so of course as my ankle has healed, my big toe has gotten red, swollen, and angry. But still, my fibula is almost completely mended (still a little more healing to do, amazingly) and I am ready to be footloose and able-bodied again. I was told to use caution and common sense, and these are not nouns normally associated with me, but I will do my very best. Thank you all again for the love and prayers. Let's hope that the only foot talk that ever happens on this blog again involves new shoes.

Finally, I came in from my doctor's appointment to find a large package had been delivered. Getting any sort of mail is a thrill of mine, and the bigger the better, so this was a treat indeed. My friend Rebecca sent me some of her plates she used to celebrate Inauguration Day, and an entire case of my favorite sugar free Peeps! These babies are a rarity and so hard to find, I usually hoard them and then ration like someone stranded on a desert island. Now I have 24 delicious packs to enjoy to my little heart's content. It's almost enough to make me want to jump for joy, except I'm still overly protective of my ankle.

You'll have to excuse me for bragging, but my week was better than I could have hoped for, and I wanted to document these happenings while the tide was going my way. I hope I haven't jinxed myself by broadcasting it all...just chalk it up to what I consider a moment of 'weekness.' Today I'm the windshield!