Northern Drawl

2014

I like making resolutions. I tend to write down goals, or pick things to work on, on a continual basis. Sometimes I feel a little overwhelmed by all the things I want to improve on or experience, which may or may not be a good thing. I think it’s good practice to do this throughout the year – not just at New Years…BUT, it does always feel a little extra special on January 1st.

Last year I had a whole page filled with ideas about how great I was going to be in 2013. I had big plans. Like becoming perfectly patient and kind. Heh. This year, I’m just going to focus on one thing: giving. I have so much, and am so blessed, and yet I find myself wishing for more too often. It’s pretty sad. I have a warm place to call home, a loving husband, a sweet little family, a good job, a working car, good friends, and so much more. And yet, I spend time a lot of time thinking about things I want but don’t have…and I take everything for granted.

I think there are a few remedies for this problem, but the most productive and helpful solution seems to be giving. Focusing on others. I want to stop worrying about the small things and help someone who doesn’t even have a place to live..or food to eat. It seems a little ironic that the way to stop wanting more is to give more. But I have no doubt that it will work – it has in the past.

I’m not going to put any limits on it, or specifications. And I absolutely do not want it to be “I’ll just give X amount of money each month and then I’ll feel really good about myself.” Money is helpful, and it’s good to give if you’re able (and it is in my plan) – but honestly, my time and attention is a lot more valuable to me…so if I’m going to really try to stretch then I have to give some of that away, too.

I don’t plan on blogging about this venture at all this year. I’m not doing it to get attention or a pat on the back, so writing about specific things I do for other people would feel pretty cheap. But I did want to get the main idea down, so that I can hold myself accountable. It’s hard to make changes but I’m really looking forward to 2014. Happy New Year!

4 Simple Goals

I always find myself talking about things I’d like to do, things I’d like to accomplish, and yet I rarely find time to do them. Just little things. I decided to make a list of 4 simple goals to accomplish before the new year as a way to hold myself accountable. (Inspired by another blogger’s post). They all seem equally important to me (number 1 is due to some dr. results I received recently that were less than stellar), but I’m especially excited about creating a new holiday tradition with my family. Brent and I will be celebrating our one year wedding anniversary on December 21st so it seems like the perfect time to start something new that we can enjoy doing for years to come. ❤

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Promotions, Peppers, and Bad Parenting

I found out I got a promotion at work yesterday, and because we didn’t feel like cooking/cleaning we decided that it was cause enough to go out to eat and celebrate. I picked a Mexican restaurant called Serrano’s, and right after I got home from work we piled in the car and headed out.

Brent, Ashen, and I talked for a while and then ordered food. When Brent’s food came out he had a perfect little raw serrano pepper on his plate. He picked it up, looked at it, and told Ashen he would give him 15 bucks if he ate the whole thing. Now, this is when I got excited.

Ashen asked if he had to eat the whole thing. Of course we said yes. Brent told him he could eat it throughout the course of the meal – but I thought this would be too easy and told him he had to eat the whole thing without eating any of his other food in between. I mean, 15 dollars was on the line.

Important side note: My dad is basically an oversized kid – and my family has an odd/dark sense of humor about stuff. My dad never went easy on us as kids. And although I don’t remember him ever daring me to eat a pepper – I do remember similar scenarios. Once, as a small child, I was complaining about a canker sore that was hurting. He recommended I put some ketchup on it.

He literally told me to rub salt in a wound. I also caught him cheating in a game of crazy eights once against my niece who was 6 years old at the time. We’re a competitive bunch. I’ve had a yahtzee cup thrown at my head by that same 6-year-old niece. Anyway, I digress. This is all just to show that we appreciate giving each other a hard time.

Ashen agreed to the dare. He bit into the pepper, taking about half of it down in one bite. He started to chew and then quickly put the rest of it in his mouth. He showed us the tiny little stem, and I nodded my head in approval. He continued to chew the raw pepper, with all the seeds intact. Now, I always thought serranos were a little less spicy than jalapenos. But it turns out they are a notch above, see here. The more you know. At this point in the dare Ashen’s eyes started to water, and he looked a little scared. He chewed a few more times and then asked if he could spit it out, while turning a shade of red. Brent said “sure.” I said “not if you want that 15 bucks.”

Brent called me ruthless and Ashen started to cough a little. Once the coughing started I worried that he might actually choke – so I told him to spit it out. We like to push each other in my family, but we never mean real harm. Or, not death anyway.

Ashen spit the pepper on to his plate and that was that. The rest of the meal consisted of Brent and I casually chatting about our day, enjoying our food, and Ashen drinking three huge glasses of water and a Dr. Pepper while literally wincing and wiping tears from his eyes.

He couldn’t eat any of his food because he was in so much pain. I’ve never seen him drink so much water in my life. It was great. I did feel a little bad, but he was a trooper about it. And I caught Brent laughing some, too.

For the record, I gave Ashen $20 this afternoon for his pain and suffering. The poor guy had a stomach ache all last night, and didn’t even complain. He tried to give me the $20 back, but he deserves it. And not just for eating that pepper. He deserves it because he’s a good kid.

He also mentioned that he’d swallow the pepper next time for $100.

Yours,

M.

Missing Wisconsin // nas(FALL)gia

Whenever the fall season rolls around my homesickness seems to go into high gear. I miss Wisconsin’s fall, there really is nothing like it. And when it’s 82 and humid here (which it is), and my friends are posting pictures on Instagram of hot coffee, scarves, boots, and trees that are turning yellow-orangey-reds, my heart aches a little. 

But then I remember that they’re about to enter hibernation mode…for the next 6 months…and I don’t feel so bad. Plus, we do get a short-lived fall in Texas – it just doesn’t happen until November or December. 

So, in honor of fall – and to spite the heat and humidity in Austin – I made a fall checklist. I’m looking forward to the cooler temperatures that are supposedly on the way, and to starting some new traditions with my little family. I think I’ll make Brent and Ashen paint some pumpkins with me (because painting is just so much easier than carving; although salted pumpkin seeds might be worth the trouble).

Image^^ 1. Paint a pumpkin 2. Go camping 3. Build a campfire 4. Take a long hike on the green belt ^^

It’s a short list (because “The Mindy Project” is only 30 minutes long, and that’s when I doodled this), but I’m looking forward to checking off each item in the next month or two.

Yours,

M.

Julie and Julia – Book Review, Sort Of

I just finished reading Julie and Julia by Julie Powell. It’s a memoir about a woman who cooks her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking…in a year. I’m sure you’ve heard of it – who hasn’t? Meryl Streep played Julia Child in the movie, so…if you haven’t heard of it you might literally be living under a rock.

Anyway, it’s recent to me because I just read it, but actually the book is like 8 years old. I was thinking two or three years at the most – but I just looked at the copyright date and my copy was printed in 2005. Which was 8 years ago – which is a crazy thought unto itself. Where have the first 10 years of the 2000s gone? One moment I’m in the 6th grade picking popcorn out of my braces as I celebrate the millennium with my best friend, and the next thing I know I’m almost 25, working in a cubicle under florescent lighting, and it’s half way through 2013.

But, I digress.

This book was good. It was laced with profanities – and there were moments when I wanted to shake the author by her shoulders and tell her to take care of herself. But more than that it was kind of inspiring. She was working a dead end temp job, started a cooking project and it effectively changed the course of her life. In the meantime, she didn’t mind her job so much because she had something else bringing her joy. I guess I’m on that quest.

I realized today that even if I moved up the “corporate ladder” at my job, it would still be just that – a corporate ladder, which is almost the most repulsive thing I can think of. I like the people I work with (mostly) and the job pays well for how easy it is (mostly) – so I’m going to try to turn that into a blessing and use my extra brain space to start a new project. The possibilities are endless.

Any suggestions?