Let me tell you about this girl I knew…

So, there was this girl I used to know.  The kind of girl who was so out of my league, y’all don’t even know, like  beyond ridiculous.  Gorgeous, sexy, funny, smart and devoted.  She listened to me ramble on and on about whatever nonsense I was on about in that moment, and not just to humor me either!  This is how out of my league she was…my OWN friends couldn’t understand it.  We were at a party and I was introducing her to friends of mine from high school for the first time.  She went inside, i forget why, and as she left one of my friends turned to me and said, “Now tell us.  How did YOU end up with THAT?”, and not in a disparaging why toward her, more of a, “you know she’s TOTALLY out of your league, right?”  

And yet…there she was…with me.

That I would ultimately ask this girl to marry me was a no brainer.  I mean…come on?  Someone this fun, cool, smart and drop dead gorgeous?  Like, when was that gonna happen again?  

You think, “that’s that”, right?

You just have a few kids, settle down, and ride off into the sunset.  Only, life is never that easy.  There are struggles, hard times, lean times, disagreements, ups and downs.  Then I wake up one day and that girl is gone, the girl I married has vanished.  There’s this woman who replaced her.  I don’t know when it happened, but it did.  In some respects, I had to meet a different person, become reacquainted with someone I had chosen to spend the rest of my life with.  I laugh at my own naivete.  

Because, as the 11th Doctor put it, we’re all different people throughout our lives.  And it has been the greatest honor of my life to get to know this woman.

She’s an incredible mother to our children who does not give herself enough credit for all that she does.  Brilliant in only the way a nerd for math can be.  Her artistic talents are mind boggling, what she is able to create always blows my mind.  Strong and true to her principles.  I can go on and on about this amazing woman.  

Above all of this, she’s my partner in crime, my best friend (even to the point that the prospects of a guy’s night out seems diminished because she is not there).

It is us verses the world.  

Also…still stupid hot.

Today, 9 years ago on the hebrew calendar, the 5th of Tammuz, she became Mekudeshet Li.  Often translated as “sanctified to me” it is better understood as “seperated”.  We are seperate, from all other peoples, to each other.  And just as with the girl who preceded her, I consider it amazing that such a woman would walk this lifetime with me.  The love I had for that girl is not diminished, but rather with this woman has only become more enriched as time goes on.  

We have, please G-d, a long journey ahead of us, and I have no doubt that in another decade I will love this woman even more deeply and richly than I do now.

It is my greatest prayer for anyone out there still searching, that you should find the other half of your Nishama, soul, and it should be a true partnership and friendship that brings out the best of you in all things.  I know I count myself blessed in that regard.

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Food diary 1

Tonight I did up some teriyaki chicken with stir fry veggies and cauliflower rice.

I started with cutting up about a pound of boneless chicken thighs.  Breast probably would have been better but then the thighs were on mark down (and to be fair I have a thing for legs *giggity*)

So we let that marinate in the Soy Vey Teriyaki sauce for a bit while I prepare the cauliflower.  I cut one head up, cutting off the green parts, and putting the rest in the food processor using the grating blade.

Sorry, fuzzy picture.  Oh, also, I’m never in the kitchen without some tunes on.  Had my “Gangstalicious” mix on…(i am so white, haha!)

Once I’ve got the cauliflower all shredded up I put it on a pan with some paper towels to soak up the excess moisture.  This way when I cook it the “rice” won’t get so mushy.

Then I toss the chicken in the pan and get to cookin’.

I cook it on med-high, using extra virgin olive oil, until it’s cooked fully.  Then I transfer the chicken to a seperate dish as I cook the vegetables.  I just use Wegmans brand frozen asian stir fry mix, it’s cheaper and tastes just as good as anything fresh IMPO.  Once the veggies are soft and cooked I put the chicken back in with the veggies.

While that is going, I take the “rice” and toss it into a pot for about 5-10 minutes on med-high.

Then we’re ready to serve!

Yum!  And everyone had seconds!

The last week or so has seen me falling HARD off the wagon.  I haven’t put any weight on but I can feel the difference in my body.  Eating sugary treats and not exercising, I can feel it in my body, my muscles and joints.  I just have to carve out time everyday to get that burn in and stop making excuses.

But in the meantime, we are one day removed from our 9th Hebrew wedding anniversary (5th of Tammuz) and about a week an a half from the english date, 8th of July.  I think I’ll have to write something special for that one….

Must see movies to make you a little more awesome

This topic came to mind when I was watching some clips of one of my favorite underrated films, “The Majestic” starring Jim Carrey.  So here are a few films, IMPO, which are underrated but will make your movie tastes a little more awesome.

“The Majestic”.  Released in 2001 it is Carrey’s first major non-comedic role in a film (you could count “The Truman Show”, but seeing as that had comedic elements and this is a true drama, I’m not).  Set against the backdrop of the Red Scare of the 1950s, the black listing of Hollywood writers and directors, Carrey plays a writer who has been accused of being a communist and has to testify in order to clear his name.  But not before a car crash gives him amnesia, and he spends the rest of the film mistaken for a soldier who went MIA during WWII.  The speech he finally does give at the climax of the film always gives me chills.  It’s one of those types that fill you with the best parts of patriotism.  Carrey is amazing but made all the more so with an all star cast of giants like Martin Landau, Jeffery Demunn, and James Whitmore.  They help elevate Carrey and help him break from the funny man image he had built up until now.  I feel like this is part of Carrey’s filmography that gets missed and it really shouldn’t.

“12 Angry Men” starring Henry Fonda.  Ok, it’s not an underrated movie, it’s actually a classic in every sense of the word.  However, since it was released in 1957, I feel like it is less known by people in my generation or younger, unless you came across it in a film history class or you are a huge cinephile.  Based on a play, it depicts a jury who is charged with deciding the guilt or innocence of a young man accused of murdering his father.  The whole movie takes place in one room, for the most part, and the acting is nothing less than phenomenal.  The dynamics between the actors, the debates, and the moral and ethical issues that ring true today as much as they did in the 1950s.  If you have never seen this gem, take a moment and enrich your life.

“Dark City” starring Rufus Sewell is as mind bending as they come for pre-Matrix era films.  Sewell plays John Murdoch, a man who wakes up in a strange hotel, without his memories, but being accused of multiple murders.  In his journey to find the truth he discovers an even darker and surreal one.  This film has got so much wrapped into it, film noir, mystery, sci fi, and horror.  This film was the Matrix in it’s weirdness and mind blowing reveals a full year before The Matrix was released.  Some of the effects haven’t aged quite as well but it is still soooo good.

“Constantine” starring Keanu Reeves.  With the golden age of comic book movies in full swing this is one from the early days that has slipped into the background, I think, especially with the fan love of the short lived NBC series based on the same character.  Reeves plays John Constantine, a cynical, chain smoking exorcist with mystical abilities who tries to help a detective, played by Rachel Weisz, uncover the truth behind her sister’s suicide.  Yes there are fan boy gripes about the movie, but I thought it was a great adaptation of the character. Reeves needs to play more assholes, he’s got a knack for it.  Also Peter Stormare is one of the best Lucifers to ever grace the screen.

Those are just a few to get you started.  If you have any of your own you want to suggest, let me know!  I’ll do another list in the future.

Happy father’s day everyone!

How did I not have this before?  

We’re almost out of the dirt cheap kosher stew meat we had stocked up on so I’m thinking tonight we’ll do beef and broccoli with cauliflower rice, which is amazing by the way.  You can get it preshredded at Wegmans for like $4 but I just buy a head for $1.75 at Aldis and shred it myself in our food processor, it takes about 3 minutes to do and about 5 more to let it sit in a tray of paper towels to soak up the excess moisture.  I also replace ginger in the recipe with tandoori powder, which adds the ginger but gives it a bit of a kick.  It has become a favorite of me and the wife.  Of course we did late lunches so I don’t know when I’ll whip up this delicious dish.

My grandmother is currently in the hospital, she has a fractured femur, which isn’t great.  At 94 the trauma of the surgery she is going to have to have will most likely kill her.  Doctors say if everything goes well she’ll have, at best a year, due to her health and diabetes she won’t heal properly.  If she is unable to have the surgery for whatever reason, a month…maybe two.  It’ll be a miracle if she makes it to the end of the year.  I’m a little sad over it but, to be honest, she’s 94, she’s buried ALL 4 of her sons, and she’s been suffering for the last two years.  Her quality of life isn’t good and it’s not going to get any better.  She held my hand and told me she loved me, which I can’t remember the last time we said that to one another, and she said it like it was the last time she would ever get the chance to.  

I don’t know what will be for her in the next few months…but for me…I will remember her as the woman with the house shaped cookie jar who always had it filled with chocolate chip cookies.  That was stop number one at grandma’s apartment.  I remember her working at the Woolworth and sitting down as a kid with the JCPenny catalog picking out Christmas presents.

Maybe it’s wrong to eulogize someone not yet dead, but it’s time for her to have peace.  Is there an expression that says that in a poetic way?

Fighting for consistency…and life in general

Hey folks,

One of the things I have been trying to work on is some consistency with my exercise and eating routines now that I’m not doing Whole 30.  I tend to do well in the beginning of the week with exercise since I typically close on Mondays and I am off on Tuesdays, this gives me the opportunity to get a run or yoga work out in the morning, which is typically the best time for me to do that.  The eating has been harder.  I’ve talked about my snacking before and it has gotten the best of me the last few weeks.  Combine that with the inconsistent nature of my exercise and it brings me to a place where I’m feeling bloated, sluggish, and generally gross.  So, I’m going to redouble my efforts on both fronts, avoiding the sweets and snacks and getting my butt out of bed in the morning 3-4 times a week and putting in a good sweat.  I’m also going to make sure I’m blogging more, I feel like when I’m putting it out there to you guys it’s a form of accountability for me.

On another front, I was having a conversation about my future…as it were…and the inevitable question is asked:

“Well, what do you want to do?”

You would think at 35 I would have an answer beyond “not be broke.”  This started another, similar, conversation with my wife.  If I didn’t have to worry about money, what would  I want to do with my time?  (And, just to be clear, apparently “day drinking” is not an acceptable answer).  I gave it some thought…and if I’m honest with myself, I would be learning, steeped in whatever academic topic I was interested in at the moment, and then talk or write about it. This led to a longer conversation about what that would mean as a career…I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself on this. First things first, I need to get the family straight income-wise, so that we’re in a good place before I begin.  

But I think this idea has reignited some amount of hope and direction for my for my future.  That’s what I realized I was missing.  Once I had that concrete goal removed I felt like I was floundering, even though I knew what the next step was…that question kept haunting me, “what do I want to do.”  G-d willing, the next year will see me taking steps to finally answer that question.

Post Holiday update

Wow, it’s been a while.  Sorry that there hasn’t been a posting in a bit, I haven’t had the time to really sit down and collect my thoughts.  I feel like coming off this second round I haven’t been as good as I was coming off round one.  It doesn’t help that I ended just before two holidays, Memorial Day and Shavu’ot, holidays jam packed with eating non-compliant foods.  Since the end of my last round I’ve put that 10 pounds back on and I can see it when I take my shirt off.  It makes me frustrated because I know the truth: If I want to reach a healthy place, permanently, I have to totally give up the things I crave.  I knew that in round one and I’m almost tempted to do another round but I don’t want to jump to that yet.  Someone asked why I couldn’t just do Whole 30 forever, I don’t know that I want to put that kind of restriction on myself indefinitely, but who knows, maybe it’s what I need.  I already know eating things in moderation is something I don’t have the discipline for, even after all this I still catch myself snacking like I always have and when I drink, drinking like I did before.  It’s frustrating and I become angry with myself when I do it.

We went down to Hatteras in North Carolina’s Outer Banks for Shavu’ot with my family which was a nice break although I could have done with another day or two especially if we could have gotten the kids out of our hair for that time.  I love them, but the wifey and I don’t get enough time to ourselves, just being us, a couple, seperate from the role of Mom and Dad.  We want to do that big “no children” vacation next year for our 10th anniversary, hopefully the finances are where they need to be to make that happen.  

We’ll have to do our monthly budget meeting today.  We haven’t been good about it in the past few months and we’re paying for it right now.  The thought of talking about money gives me a serious anxiety attack.  Mostly because I already know there’s not much there and it’s frustrating.  I want to do more so our family has more, so we can have the little extras in life and not have to worry about bills not getting paid.  And as the sole bread winner, I feel like Atlas, trying to hold the world up on my shoulders and scared that it’s never going to be enough, that I’m not strong enough.  That is not a slight to my wife mind you.  She has the serious, 24/7, job of a stay-at-home mom.  Even if she worked a job it would only ever just cover child care.  And I know these kids are more than a handful so I try to contribute at home as much as I can, and then I wonder if that’s enough as well.  

Sorry for the pity party, this was supposed to be a check-in and it turned into a long whiney rant.  In any case, I’ll check back in a few days from now, hopefully with something less serious and more upbeat and fun.