So. Much. Excitement.

So, I’ve had a random couple of days on day shift, which has been wonderful because I get to spend time with this lady.

photo 1

Wedding planning! We’re so organized!

We are currently on day 14 of Whole30. It’s going pretty well, though my Instagram followers are probably tired of seeing pictures of breakfast foods, no matter how awesome they are. Breakfast is the only meal I make by myself regularly, since Chris is usually at work, so I feel the need to share my pride.

photo 2

Frank’s Red Hot is my breakfast friend. So is the Marauder’s Map. Also, you should probably follow me on Instragram.

I feel pretty good, and we’re eating some good recipes, both new favorites and old standards. And a lot of salad. Canned chicken has been my spirit animal of late.

This weekend, Winter Storm Linus was supposed to blanket us (get it?!) with snow, but instead we only got a little, almost like someone pulled the football away before we got the chance to kick it. “Yeah! Snow! Oh…” Good grief.

After some friend and baby time…

photo 3

“I can put my whole fist in my mouth. Want to see?”

…we had planned a cozy weekend in, and it hasn’t failed us. Movie and TV watching, cooking, and wedding planning have been our life, and it’s been pretty great.

And today…we booked our honeymoon.

Wait, that feels kind of tame.

Today, we booked our…

[ As Oprah Winfrey ] HONEYMOON!

Well, the flights, but still.

I’m super excited, and it’s the best thing to beat this winter chill. Twelve days in sunny California with this lady.

photo4

From our first California outing together, at sunset at Matador Beach.

All in all, a great weekend. A great week. I’m very happy, and life is good. You know, all that happy jazz.

Also, my aunt texted me this picture, because…I’m adorable.

photo 5

Happy February, friends.

Fathers’ Day

I’ve been on a bit of an accidental blog hiatus. There’s something that’s been rattling around in my brain that I’ve been wanting to write about, and I can’t seem to get past that roadblock. Also, I’ve been pretty busy with work, food prep, party prep, and the new season of “Orange is the New Black.” I can’t quit you, Alex Vause.

Some random info:

  • Whole30 is over. Thursday was the last day of reintroduction (day 42, for those of you counting). Chris and I were both afraid we’d go on some sort of binge yesterday. I pictured myself rolling in to work with doughnuts for a necklace and a Frappuccino as big as my head. Instead, I went to Chipotle and got my pre-Whole30 healthy-ish go-to (plus guac) and an iced coffee from Starbucks. The giant basket of chocolate on my desk was only reduced by three four pieces by yours truly. And it was Sarris chocolate, so that explains it. All in all, I’m doing okay without the training wheels.
  • Last night, my post-work treat — my favorite German beer (a grapefruit radler). Hooray!
  • I’ve been walking on my break every day for the past few weeks. Well, except for Friday, because I wrote this blog instead. It’s because I care. You’re welcome.
  • Today is the last big day of preparations for the engagement party. We’ll do other random stuff next week, but it’s the big push. I do love a good to-do list.
  • Sunday – Pride and Arts Fest! It’s an especially exciting Pride this year, what with having that giant “we can get married” thing to celebrate. Universe, let’s not ruin it by making me run into any exes, friend-wise or romantic-wise.
  • Just kidding about that one above. I know I’ll run into someone. It’s not that big of a city. I just hope it’s civil and not awkward.
  • Oh, yeah, and one other thing. It’s Fathers’ Day weekend, and I hate Fathers’ Day. Because it makes me miss my dad.

me dad

Yeah, that last one – that’s the thing that’s been rattling around in my head.

For those of you who don’t know, my father passed away 11 years ago in July. I was 26 at the time. Not super young, but…young enough. I think about him a lot. I can’t say it’s every day, because who keeps track of that kind of stuff? “Well, that’s the third time today, I thought about him. Only once yesterday. Better try for four tomorrow.”

I’ll try to keep this brief because not everyone needs to ugly snot-cry about my dad, but I do want to talk about him a little. Since it’s Fathers’ Day, let’s celebrate him a bit, shall we?

I played basketball for seven years and volleyball for four, and he never missed a game…until I could drive myself. He would sit in the stands and (embarrassingly, at the time) have his head buried in a programming book, but he was there, damn it. And I will always remember that. Oh, and I wasn’t any good at any sport ever. I’m a non-lesbian-stereotype there. And yet…he was always there.

He is the reason I was able to get a B in Calculus my first semester in college. In high school, a B would have mortified me, but I was happy to get it in that class. He had graduated with a minor in math 20-plus years before and was still able to teach me more effectively than the PhD who taught the class.

The man had zero fashion sense. Like, zero. So embarrassed when he would roll up in his steel-toed-dress-shoes-white-undershirt-and-sweatpants combination to pick me up at school. (I guess that one isn’t very celebratory. But very true.) For a big work trip to Germany, my mom had to color-code his shirts, pants, and ties so he knew what would go with what.

He could do anything. For serious. I realize there’s a lot of daddy/daughter hero worship in that sentence, but it isn’t far from the truth.

When I was a kid, he read to me before I went to sleep every night, and every night, I wanted him to read some “Sesame Street” book that almost all of the words began with L. I could tell he grew tired of it, but he always read it. I mean, obviously as a kid. He didn’t read to me in high school.

He taught me how to drive all of the places. After I got my learner’s permit at 15, he taught me how to drive in the hills (and highways) of West Virginia. Towards the end of my freshman year at college, he handed me the keys and told me I was driving home, and I had my first experience with the musterbluck of the four lanes on the Fort Pitt Bridge. He taught me how to drive a standard — well, tried to. (Insert joke of your own making.)

He grew up in a rather secluded part of West Virginia, not the most liberal or open-minded of places. He had gay friends as long as I can remember. After hearing raised voices at a family Christmas, when I asked what my mom and others were shouting about, he just told me to “close [your] ears.” He didn’t want me to hear that his mother was sending the preacher to talk to her gay nephew because “the bible said it was wrong.” When I came out to him, he said he was surprised but that he didn’t really care. I think he was mostly concerned I was going to run my mouth to the wrong person. Hasn’t happened yet, Dad, and I’m almost 40.

Sometimes I get sad because I look at other fathers – ones I judgmentally deem worse human beings than my father – and think, “Why him?” Well, because. That’s why. No one knows, and that’s just going to have to be okay. So stop being such a snotty punk, huh? I know. It’s one of the few things I let myself wallow over because, well, I miss him.

I’d be interested to hear his take on all this gay-marriage-legalization business. I wish he could help me with some home maintenance and repair stuff. I wonder if he’d like the tiny garden we planted or think it’s ridiculous. I wonder if he would have laughed at my “cutting a snake in thirds” story. Maybe not. He was a pretty quiet guy. (I take after my mom.)

And I wonder what he would think of Chris and our ridiculous life. I’m pretty sure he’d like her (he always liked my pretty friends), but I’m not sure he’d think much of her (now transferred to me) wanderlust. He liked being at home — in the house he built, the house that my mom still lives in. The house that they moved into the basement of a few weeks after my brother was born; moved upstairs when my mom was pregnant with me. Probably think it’s good that we’re getting to do something we like, but maybe not understanding why we like it. You know, like when I got that degree in Theology. (“You’re going to study what?”)

He wasn’t perfect, but he was a pretty good guy. And I miss him. Not every day, but…a lot of them.

grad

Happy Fathers’ Day, Dad. I hope wherever you are, you’re doing something awesome. And that no one is making you talk.

Hello, Dairy

On the 31st day there was dairy. And it was…pretty good.

20140603-094449-35089624.jpg
The caramel macchiato was not as good as I remembered, to be honest. But the frozen yogurt was delicious! And I bypassed my normal “let’s try all of the candy!” for some fruit. Spectacular. The yogurt kind of froze the berries and pineapple, and it was super yummy.

That was Sunday, so now two days of clean eating and then…legumes tomorrow? I don’t think we decided. I guess we should.

It’s nice to introduce things back in, but I don’t want to fall completely back into old habits.

I’d like to take a minute to wish a happy birthday to my friend Beth. She’s one of my closest friends from high school despite never attending the same one. Maybe that’s the secret?

20140603-094944-35384189.jpg
And she’s my most frequent commenter on this blog, which is greatly appreciated. Happy birthday, Beth!

Day 31

Well, we did it. 30 days of Whole30 accomplished. No cheating, no splurging — just 30 days of following the (rather strict) guidelines set out by this plan. I’m very, very proud of both of us. Personally, I feel like I’ve learned a lot about my food habits and when and how I use food as a crutch. I’m sensible enough to know that this will still happen, but I feel like I’ve got enough of a handle on it to realize when it is. I’m okay with an occasional ice cream or Rita’s or Starbucks treat, but I want it to be because I want it, not because it’s there.

Soon after I woke up this morning, even before my coffee (with coconut milk, naturally), I weighed myself, and I was happy to see that I lost 13 pounds on Whole30. Basically, I’m almost back to where we were before our friend Michelle’s wedding when we sort of stopped counting calories.

I’m mostly happy about the fact that all of my capris and shorts from last year fit, with the exception of a pair or two that are a bit too large. All around, a wonderful experience I would recommend — good learning experience with good results.

Chris and I were saying this morning that maybe we should just continue, but we aren’t. We’re beginning our reintroduction today with dairy, and we’ll see how that goes. We’re treating ourselves after a loooong weekend of yardwork to a Starbucks drink that isn’t plain iced tea or coffee and probably frozen yogurt tonight. I’d say I’m equally apprehensive and excited. But the thing is, I know I can do another reset whenever I want to. I mean, I did the first one.

We found some really delicious recipes on Whole30, so that might be another whole blog post on its own. Whether we’re following the program or not, I know that some of these will be staples in our meal planning.

Onto other things non-Whole30-related…

Our long weekend of yardwork deserves its own post, but I’ll just briefly sum up here. The yard was a bit of a musterbluck when I bought the house five years ago. For multiple reasons, not much got done the first year. Then, I unexpectedly took over the mortgage and other bills by myself, so nothing in the budget for things like that when everything was going to silly luxuries like food and heat. After Chris moved in, we slowly started doing things around the house, and with our upcoming small engagement party, we decided it was time to kick the yard into shape. (Yes, the party really is small. I wish we could have invited everyone. Our house is small, and our families and close family friends are large.) The hillside has disappeared under a bed of mulch and edging, the eyesore shrubs were cut down, the ivy has been tackled, blocks have been pulled out by a truck, and the cement path to nowhere is now a nicely filling-in patch of grass. It’s almost ready to be destroyed by 50 of our closest family and friends.

I also accidentally cut a snake into thirds, but that’s another story for another time.

Between the yardwork and my actual job, I haven’t had time to do much of anything, which is why no blogging for so long. So sad. I know you’re sad, too. So sorry. Please take this picture of my cat as an apology.

20140601-102722-37642367.jpg
P.S. I feel like you can see a difference. This is at the end of April…

20140601-102930-37770776.jpg
And a couple days ago…

20140601-103003-37803737.jpg

Pins and Needles

A decision on gay marriage in Pennsylvania is expected today. I’m simultaneously nervous and excited. It’s like I felt before my first date with Chris — excited that it could be awesome but nervous that it would go poorly.

20140520-100536.jpg
Here is my obligatory Whole30 picture of today’s breakfast. So delicious.

I signed up for a text alert for the decision, so I’ll be anxiously checking my phone all day.

I have to go do something, or I’m going to drive myself crazy. Have a good day, everyone, and send positive gay thoughts toward the Keystone State.

Random Friday Thoughts

• There aren’t a whole lot of “quick” Whole30 options, but thankfully Chipotle is one of them. Granted, my lunch only vaguely resembles my normal meal (salad with carnitas, guac, and extra pico vs. chicken bowl with rice, veggies, pico, corn, and cheese), but it’s still delicious, just in a different way. Fresher and not as rich, maybe?

20140516-121127.jpg
• I have had scrambled eggs for 15 days in a row, and I’m nowhere near getting sick of them. Special thanks to co-worker Linda for homemade Whole30-compliant salsa, which is delicious on them.

20140516-121256.jpg
• I have eaten more avocados in the past 15 days than probably in my whole life combined. The one pictured above is pretty sad-looking.
• We are selling a bunch of stuff at a yard sale tomorrow. One of Chris’ aunts lives in an area that is having a community yard sale, and she kindly agreed to let us set up a table. Unfortunately, I got the dates mixed up in my head and thought it was next weekend, so I’m not as prepared as I would like. But I never am because I have impossibly high prep standards.
• I have never had a yard sale. This should be interesting.
• I had to go shopping for food to bring with us because her aunt very kindly agreed to let us spend the night. We don’t want to get caught with our Whole30 pants down.
• Therefore, I will be breaking my scrambled-egg run. Egg “muffins” with sausage from our meat CSA will stand in. They are a worthy sub.
• Gay-marriage decision any day now, PA. Any. Day.
• Got to see Chris a little bit extra last night and this morning, so that was nice.

Off to work. Ready for the end of the day! We have some pricing to do!

Come on!

Short post today. I’m on a quick break at work — because 10:15pm is the ideal time for a lunch break — and have some random thoughts.

The possibility of marriage equality for Pennsylvania is a very real and tangible thing. The thought of it makes me anxious and happy and emotional and angry all at the same time. Anxious because I want it to hurry up. Happy because marriage. Emotional because holy crap. Angry because why so long?

I’m not perfect, but I deserve the right to get married. You may think it’s a sin, and that’s fine. Let God deal with that. You live your life how you see fit, and I’ll do the same.

“You” as a general term, because I’m pretty sure most readers of this blog are Facebook friends and would have unfriended me by now if you really had a problem with me.

Today’s random Whole30 thoughts today. This was my breakfast.

20140513-223203.jpg
Delicious. And it caused Frank’s Red Hot to follow me on Twitter, so that’s pretty awesome.

I’m feeling good. Some cravings but doing okay. Much better than expected. So much so that I’m afraid I’m doing it wrong. Maybe I should have a little more faith in myself.

Anyway, say a prayer to your god/goddess of choice or just send warm thoughts toward the efforts to strike down Pennsylvania’s gay-marriage ban. I’m ready for a decision. I wonder which one will make me cry harder.

Probably the legalization, because…happy. Lots of happy. Snotty, sobbing happy.

Fingers crossed!