28 June 2013

When We Got Engaged

 Minutes before the proposal
Our engagement was no surprise.
We were basically planning on getting married from the first week we started courting. Angel and I had said to each other, "When we get married..." dozens of times, and my Mom already referred to him as her son-in-law, but still, nothing's official till there's an actual proposal, right? My parents were convinced that he was going to propose as soon as he arrived, but I wasn't so sure. I was nervous that he might arrive, meet my family and friends, and change his mind, and decide not to get engaged after all. (That's the way my mind works.)

So, here's what happened when we did make it official. Angel arrived in Malaysia to visit my family on June 30th, 2010. This was his first time meeting my family, and this was the first time we'd seen each other in over three months. As is usual for my family, we didn't let him rest for a minute, but started showing him around town immediately.

That same evening that he arrived, Angel asked my parents if the two of us could go for a walk on the beach, without the other kids tagging along. (My baby sisters had decided that he was their new best friend and practically refused to let go of him the entire two weeks he was there). Mom and Dad restrained the little girls, and we walked down to the beautiful, garbage-covered beach that is outside my home, and wandered around for a bit. Fifteen minutes later, we headed back into the house, and as I opened the door, I could tell by the looks on the faces of my parents and my siblings that they were convinced that Angel had asked me to walk on the beach because he was going to propose. They were all ready to burst out with "Congratulations!! Can we see the ring?" I immediately started drawing my finger across my neck in an urgent message of "Abort! Abort! No proposal has been made."

The family was highly disappointed, and I have to admit, I also wondered about Angel's intentions. I'm usually a very direct person, but if he had some sort of proposal plan, I didn't want to ruin it with questions, so I didn't ask anything.

As I found out much later, he had a plan all along. Angel had decided that he didn't want to propose to me until two days after he'd been in Malaysia, to allow the worst of the jet lag to be over with, so that he would know for sure that he didn't propose under the influence of jet lag. Seems reasonable, but honestly, the wait was almost unendurable.

On July 2nd, Angel spoke to my Dad about his plan, and we all went out for breakfast. Only, Mom and Dad dropped Angel and I off at an Indian restaurant, and took the rest of the family to McDonald's for breakfast. I can still remember their leering, grinning faces as they knowingly waved to us through the car windows as Dad drove away.

We had a delicious breakfast of roti canai and curry--to this day, that restaurant is Angel's favorite restaurant in the whole world. Then I suggested that we walk over to an acupressure path that was nearby. If you've never had the experience of walking on an acupressure path--it's a path made out of pointy rocks that you are supposed to walk on barefoot. It is thought by some to be healthy for you. My siblings and I liked to challenge each other to races around the path--which led to bruised feet. I challenged Angel to a race around it so that he could feel how painful it was.

Afterwards, he wanted to call his parents who he hadn't spoken to since arriving, so I lent him my cell phone. I didn't speak any Spanish at that time, so I have no idea what he said. Then we used my camera to take some self-timer pictures. After that, he got a box out of my little brother's backpack that he'd been mysteriously carrying around with us, got down on one knee and said, "I do love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you, so will you marry me, Honey?" I said "Yes" before he finished asking the question, and we walked back to my house in a glow--already talking about when we should get married (at this point, the plan was for June 2011--this was before we discovered that being engaged is not fun).

We arrived back home, and my family had already returned from McDonald's. Once again, I could tell that they were waiting to spring upon us with "Congratulations!" but this time, there was no "Abort!!" signal.
27 June 2013

Planning a Vacation

I bought an obnoxiously colorful suitcase last night, and now I've got vacation on the brain.

I have a habit that tends to make Angel kind of nervous. So, Honey, don't read this post. Or else, if you do, know that I'm not actually planning for all of this travel to occur in the near future. I'm not crazy.

You see, I like to plan vacations. Pick out destinations and look up local hotel prices and touristy things to do in different locations, just out of curiosity.

Here are a couple of the places that I'm planning on visiting:

1. DisneyWorld. I actually wanted to go there for our honeymoon, but it was too expensive. I'm pretty sure it will always be expensive, but maybe someday we'll make it there. Dara's posts about planning their Disney trip have been getting me all excited about it again. I actually don't really know what DisneyWorld is like....I just know that it sounds cool.

2. San Antonio. Only a few hours from my in-laws, this seems pretty doable one of these days. SeaWorld, the Alamo, interesting shopping--sounds like my type of place!

3. Smoky Mountains. Personally, I like these mountains better than the Rockies. I think their warmer climate agrees with me a little better. And Angel's never been there, so we must go!

4.The Badlands. Probably as part of a grand "Out West" road trip someday. Angel's never been to the Badlands and they're exactly the kind of natural wonder he loves best. Personally, I'm partial to tropical islands and waterfalls.

5. Anaheim, California. Possibly, we'll go on a trip to the land of Angel's birth, and he'll be able to show me where he lived and where he went to school and survived all manner of mischievous escapades (the 4 inch scar on his arm didn't come from doing his chores, of that, I'm sure). Besides, I heard that Southern California is a fairly interesting spot of the country, I'm sure we could find a few things to do.


Those are the top five stateside vacations that I have planned in the deep recesses of my mind. Of course, I'd love to travel overseas too, but I never tend to think too much about it, probably because I know that when I save up enough for a ticket to fly across the world, pretty much the only place I can think about going is home. In fact, these days, home is really all I can think of.

p.s. Mom, don't be mad. I know it looks like my hair is short, but actually it was pinned up in the back because it was so hot

Where do you think we should travel to?? Make your case! While I'm planning imaginary vacations, I might as well add a few more destinations!
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26 June 2013

What I Will Never Eat Again

 I might, however, in the future, be persuaded to eat a mini frozen chocolate pie again. We'll see.

 I  think I may have become cranky and stubborn in my 'old age,' otherwise, I don't know what else to blame this on. But recently, I've been reflecting on all the things that I've been bullied into eating in the past which I vow that next time, I will, by some manner of wits, either find a way to politely refuse the dish or else find an unsuspecting baby to feed my portion to.

1. Durian
I don't care if it's the king of fruits, I will not eat it. I've tried it just a few times in it's natural form, and once had ice cream in durian flavor. Trust me, if you ever smell rotting garbage, and someone says, "Oh, that's not garbage, it's durian! Try it, it doesn't taste anything like it smells!" Do not believe them.

2. Dried Seaweed
I don't even like fish all that much, let alone the plants of the sea. Actually, the last time I had seaweed I wasn't a willing participant, either. I seem to remember being restrained by several friends and having my mouth pried open and some sushi, with a generous amount of dried seaweed, stuffed into it. But no fear, I will work out, and I will be so strong that no one will ever force-feed me seaweed ever again.

3. Pickled Nutmeg
To be honest, I don't think I even actually ate this in the first place. I took only enough of a nibble to discover that picked nutmeg is not yummy, and then started hiding it inside napkins.

4. Red Bean OR Green Bean Ice Cream
It's so sad when you get yourself a frozen treat, guessing that, since it's red, it will be some sort of red fruity flavor, like strawberry or cherry. Then, upon biting into it, you find that, nope, it's kidney bean ice cream.

5. Jellyfish
When you're invited to a wedding reception that takes place in the kind of ballroom that you thought only existed in the lavish imaginations of Hollywood film set designers--you experience a little peer pressure to eat everything that the waiters place before you. But next time, I'll find someone else who appreciates jellyfish a little more than I do.

6. Ceviche
I have never tried this one, either. But Angel has quite persistently tried to convince me to. However, I learned about ceviche in A Series of Unfortunate Events, and what I learned is that it does not sound like my kind of dish. 

7. Hot Cheetos
I can eat spicy food. I have no idea what this stuff is made out of (probably poisonous chemicals) but it doesn't taste like any other spicy food I've ever tasted. It's something else. If I eat one my mouth will burn for hours. So, never again.

All of this doesn't mean I only eat boring food. I'll eat odd things upon occasions. Let's see, what do I love to eat that's a little out of the normal....starfruit juice. I love starfruit juice. It tastes like the juice of a green banana, if a green banana had juice. It's delicious. 

So, do any of you happen to enjoy some of these foods that I won't be trying ever again? What's the oddest food you've ever tried?

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25 June 2013

Stereotypical Couple's Photography

In what universe do people who love each other habitually lie on the floor with heads meeting and feet pointing in opposite directions?

Only in the universe of couple's photography, I'd imagine. 

I find this pose to be hilarious and highly improbable, so of course we had to do a Bear version. Aren't we cute?
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24 June 2013

Sparkly Cat Ears

 Morphine doesn't look happy, but I had to show off his ears too.

I recently came home from school to find a pink envelope in the mailbox. It was addressed to Angel, but he hadn't told me that I couldn't open stuff that came in the mail, and it was pink, so I figured it wasn't for him, and I opened it.
The package contained this awesome headband. Of course, I decided that a cat-ears headband requires an extremely exciting polka-dotted and checked outfit to wear with it. I proudly wore my headband to school, and surprisingly, none of my clients commented on it. I guess that's the kind of crazy hair stuff they've learned to expect from young cosmetologists.

Of course, I can't wear a headband like this without considering it a reference to the Kitty Ears blog. I know Carolynn loves her knit kitty ears hat--these metallic, rhinestone-covered kitty ears are precisely my version of her style!


By the way, if you're here, I know you love me. And you don't want to miss out on my posts. So, if you're following only on the doomed Google Reader, you might want to switch your allegiance to a different method. One option that many people favor is Bloglovin'. I haven't completely figured it out myself, but, after six months of inaccuracy, I finally managed to hook up that Bloglovin' button on my sidebar to my current blog URL. Baby steps, people, baby steps. So now you can follow if you so desire!
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21 June 2013

Search Engine Queries

Ahh, the things we search the internet to discover.

Purple Cat
 I can't remember if I ever showed you the purple cat. If I didn't, here is purple Narcan. And now, people can find my blog when they search "purple cat."

Here are a few of the more amusing searches that have led to my blog recently. Some are understandable, some, not so much.

all about shabby apples accessories
I'm not going to lie, I've mentioned Shabby Apple on multiple occasions, and even shown off my dress collection, but accessories? If I ever have money to spend at Shabby Apple, I guarantee it's not going for accessories.

leather glove stories
This is consistently a very common search term that leads to my blog. When I first wrote about my red leather gloves, I had no idea that people were so interested in stories about gloves.

clean bathrooms while in cosmetology school
Sorry, I don't think these exist. Not in my experience, anyways.

marrying a man 8 years older
Get it right, Google, he's only 7 years and 4 days older. I also get a lot of variations on this theme, and all queries about the pros and cons of marrying an older man are directed to this post.

men wearing short shorts
Poor, poor Angel. I don't even pretend not to laugh when I see his running shorts. (Is it a problem if your husband wears shorter shorts than you do?)

grow out purple hair
There are different ways to approach this challenge. My bangs had about two inches of roots when I decided to cover up my purple hair with permanent haircolor.

fake curls look ridiculous
I beg your pardon? My curls are natural, thank you very much.

i want to wear glasses
Trust me, you don't. 

yoga pants under sweat pants
Eww. As I sit here in 85 degrees, that sounds miserably hot. I don't wear either yoga pants or sweat pants, either. 

funny blog post ideas
I was very flattered by this one. Thank you, in all sincerity.
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20 June 2013

Talk About Boys

 *Warning* After reading this post, you might think I am crazy.
The only crush that matters.

Ever since my very first introduction to the idea of boys as "boys" rather than fellow humans, I've had an interesting philosophy of men. When I was very young, I heard all sorts of confessions from my friends who would admit that they 'liked' a boy--and then chaos would ensue. The whole process looked completely miserable to me. The teasing, the "asking someone out," the hoping that the other girls wouldn't tell your crush that you liked just never seemed like having a crush on someone was a pleasant experience.

So, I, in my little preteen mind, decided that if I were ever going to like a boy, he would be a fictional character. After all, you can choose where to direct your affections. Real, live boys were far too annoying and caused complicated relationships. Not worth it. "Liking" celebrities? Eww. Besides, most celebrities were married at one time or another. But what could be wrong with liking a fictional character? Then, any time I was being pressed by friends to tell them which boy I was fondest of, I could coyly blush and tell them the name of my chosen fictional character, and they could hardly tease me about him or threaten to tell him about my feelings, because he didn't exist.

It was a genius plan.

#1 fictional crush: The Professor from Gilligan's Island.
I'm pretty sure that some of my friends till this day will remember The Professor phase of my life. It was a little intense. He was the only guy for me. He had so many books and he was so clever, inventing so many tools to make life on the island perfectly wonderful. I appreciate brains in a man.
#2 fictional crush: Captain Jack Sparrow
I'm not sure there is any good explanation why, as a young teenager, I decided that Captain Jack Sparrow was my hero. He doesn't model very good morals, that's for sure. But he's so very funny, and besides the personal hygiene thing, we tend to share some similarities as far as choices of personal fashion, so I always thought I could get along with him. I cried when he was eaten by the Kraken. For probably an hour after the movie ended. Because of me, the desktop background of our family computer was always a picture of Captain Jack.

#3 fictional crush: Prince Caspian
I think this one was primarily because of his Inigo Montoya-inspired accent. I'm not usually a big fan of accents, but I loved that he sounded like Inigo Montoya. Plus, that entire movie was a very emotional one for me to watch, because it came out the week before I had to move away from my home, and the whole "Goodbye, you can never go back to Narnia and you can never see Prince Caspian again." thing at the end wrung my heart severely. Captain Jack's picture on the desktop was replaced for a time by the picture of Prince Caspian.

#4 fictional crush: Angel
Sometimes I can't remember if I actually am married or if Angel is a figment of my imagination.  Either way, he replaced Prince Caspian in my heart and on my computer desktop. He's neither a genius of invention nor a hilarious but evil pirate, and he doesn't have a pseudo-Spanish accent, but for a fictional character, he's pretty awesome.

 Do you know these characters I'm talking about? Seriously, what do you think of the scheme that I came up with? Brilliant, or simply odd?
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19 June 2013

A Cheap Gallery Wall

Let's get a few things straight to begin with:
1) My preferred method of decorating is with personal family photos. On the whole, I have no use for knick knacks and artwork in my home.

2) I'm extremely cheap when it comes to decorating. When I have money, I either want to eat it, wear it, or buy a vacation with it. I do not want to hang it on my wall. Photo frames can be expensive. I know there are thrift stores and clearance sales, but still, that's money.

3) I don't own my home, therefore, I try to avoid putting holes in its walls.

All of that explains why, about a year and a half ago, I made this:
It was inspired by some idea from A Beautiful Mess. It took me a good number of hours--chopping all of my 4x6 prints into squares, matting them with scrapbook paper, and carefully calculating how to create the perfect grid.
I didn't buy anything new to accomplish the original project. This was shortly after I had painted three rooms in the house, so I had some painter's tape left over, and I figured that that would be the perfect way to stick my pictures to the wall. After all, that tape is both designed to stick to walls and to come off without ripping the paint off, too.

I loved my picture wall. The pictures were totally random. Leftover copies of family photos, wedding pictures that hadn't made it into the wedding album, snapshots that I thought I would use in my scrapbook but changed my mind about, and photos that friends and family had given me were all included.

People who came over for our parties liked studying the picture wall, and spotting themselves in a few pictures. It was as if we had a scrapbook on our dining room wall.

Plus, I discovered that after a year and a half, the painter's tape was still holding up and none of the corners were peeling.

However, I wanted more. I'd seen these pictures for so long that I wanted new ones. Angel didn't want me to take any of the old ones down. And when I remembered how headache-inducing creating that grid was, I decided that the perfectly orderly, organized look wasn't for me. And that's how our new, messier, larger, and more overpowering picture wall came to be:

This time I included different sizes of pictures, as well as different sizes and colors of mats. I didn't measure and I didn't calculate. I just stuck pictures up, mixed things around till I liked the look of it. I know it doesn't look all that much bigger in the pictures, but in person, the change is quite noticeable.

I liked my grid of photos, but the messy look is kind of cool, too! I didn't spend anything for this newer version of my picture wall, either, because I still had leftover photo prints that I'd never gotten around to using, and that roll of painter's tape is still holding up.

Call it picture wallpaper, call it a cheapskate's gallery wall, but whatever it is, it's my version of interior decorating.
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18 June 2013


I loved my college. Which is something I'm sure that anyone who knew me during my freshman year would be extremely shocked to hear. I'll be honest, I hated it that entire year. But after that, it got a lot better. And then when I met my Bear, it was the best. So, I'm pretty sure no one in my family would ever have expected me to say this, but we're proud to be Calvin alumni.

Besides, my college actually did turn out to be pretty awesome. I'll prove it by one story. I had this very young professor, I think it was his first year teaching during my Senior year. He was extremely energetic and extremely distractable and talked very fast.  One time he performed an entire rap in class that he wrote himself and choreographed. But that's not the funny part.

One day, when he was well into his lecture, he walked past my seat in the very front row, and interrupted himself to ask, in front of the entire class, "Rachel, I'm just wondering, are you white?"

Startled, I looked up at him and said, "Yes."

And he went on with his lecture. It was probably one of the most bizarre and hilarious in-class experiences I had in college. Most college professors probably wouldn't consider it appropriate to inquire as to their student's ethnicity during a lecture, but apparently he did.

The next week, in class again, he asked me, "Are you Italian?"

I said "No," and grinned.

I wasn't going make it easy on him and just tell him that in spite of my hometown in Asia, my obviously Hispanic last name, my brunette hair and my short stature--I'm 50% Dutch, just like he was. I just hid it a lot better than my tall, skinny, blond professor who was born and raised in the heart of Michigan's Dutch community.

Probably professors shouldn't wonder that much about their students' ethnicity, but I can forgive him for any indiscretion in that regard--because he was hilarious. Funny people can be forgiven much.

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17 June 2013

Aunty Rachel?

Wait a minute, did you read what my shirt says?
 Angel's brother and his wife, Nestor and Brittany, had a gender reveal party for their baby. We were invited, but unfortunately we weren't able to attend due to the 18 hour road trip between our house and theirs. So, they came up with a plan to send us a package that we would open while we were Skyping with them during the party.

The problem was, the party was on a Sunday, which meant that the package had to arrive on a Saturday, meaning that I had possession of the package for a full 24 hours before I was allowed to open it. Nobody really trusted me that I would be able to restrain myself from opening the package, but in an epic feat of self-restraint, I waited, and didn't even peek into the box until we were on Skype.

And as soon I I opened the package and read the shirts, I started yelling "I won! I won!" in triumph, because minutes before the Skype call, Angel and I had made a bet. I was betting on a boy, he was betting on a girl. Whoever won got to pick the restaurant we went to on our next date. Angel was going to pick an Indian place. Too bad for him, we'll be having nachos al carbon instead!

Angel got a matching shirt, except, of course, his says tío. I thought this was quite a clever idea--we were so happy that we still got to be involved in the surprise even from far away.

And I'm just saying right now, I'm going to be the favorite tía. I already decided.
16 June 2013

A Message

 My parents currently have children living in three different countries. My four youngest sisters still live with my parents, but since us 3 big kids are no longer around to celebrate Father's Day with our Dad, I decided to get us together virtually: The Blogger, The World-Traveling Nanny, and The Guy Who Calls Calculus "Easy".

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14 June 2013

I Would Like a Birthday Present.

I've always considered one of my good traits as a wife is that I am very clear about communicating my expectations. I've seen other women disappointed when their husbands don't do something that they hoped he would...and then I wonder if they really gave their husband a chance...if they  made sure that he knew what they wanted in the first place.

 In my marriage, I've found that the best way to make sure that we're both on the same page is to tell Angel what I'm thinking, instead of just staying quiet about it and then pouting if he omits to fulfill some feminine wish of mine.

I learned this lesson at the beginning of our relationship. We got engaged three weeks before my 19th birthday. I waited eagerly for my first-ever birthday present from a special guy...and none came. Not even a birthday card. In my mind, being engaged to Angel clearly qualified me for special birthday recognition. But there was none, and, honestly, I was disappointed. I found out much later that he had decided all on his own that the engagement ring he'd given me three weeks previously counted as a birthday present.

To this day I would argue that no, an engagement ring is an engagement ring. A birthday present is a birthday present. And ne'er the two shall meet. I understood that he was poor and paying off student loans, and that's why in his mind, our engagement and my birthday might as well be lumped together, but because I didn't communicate, "Hey, I really want a birthday present from you"--he didn't understand how much even a birthday card and a big box of Sweet-Tarts would have meant to me.

Most of the time, when I'm thinking that I want him to do something, I let him know. Of course, this system is not all-encompassing. I found that out last week when a bouquet of a dozen pink roses were delivered to me at school--with an accompanying card saying that he just wanted to send me flowers for no reason.
I was completely astonished. Shocked. I didn't even know that Angel knew it was possible to order flowers from a real flower shop and have them delivered. We didn't even have flowers in our wedding, and in the last few years, he's bought me a bouquet from the grocery store every once in a while, which I love. But I never would have dreamed that he'd have flowers delivered to me at school! I felt like I was walking on clouds for the rest of the day; I couldn't stop smiling.

So yeah, while I still believe that my system of direct, clear communication of expectations works--there's nothing quite like the feeling when your husband surprises you with something he knows you'll enjoy--not because you already told him what you wanted, but simply because he knows you.

What works for you? When you want your spouse to do something, are you direct about it, or not really?
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13 June 2013

The Danger of Buying Black Pepper in Bulk

 No picture of either my sliced finger or the peppery sea, for both were rather gruesome sights, and I like to keep this a family-friendly blog. So instead, you only get to see the end result of this tragic history. Looks kinda innocent, doesn't it?

It was 6:32 pm on a Saturday night when I realized my parents raised me right. I accidentally opened the wrong side of my extra-large black pepper container and dumped a heaping pile of pepper into the mixture of eggs, milk, and other spices that I was intending to use in a casserole.

And I said, "Oh no."

There were no tears, and no swear word crossed my lips. Bear in mind, this occurred just minutes after I accidentally sliced my fingertip while attempting to chop spinach (Umm, don't tell Angel that part). This was also one of those Saturday evenings when I had come home to an empty house and an almost empty refrigerator after an eight hour shift at school, and I had seriously wondered whether eating were truly worth the trouble of cooking.

Also, if you read this post from a few months ago, you know that in life I tend to err on the side of drama. Particularly when food disasters are involved.

But all I said was, "Oh no."

The mixture was hopeless--too peppery for any mere human being's digestive system to handle with grace. However, I hadn't yet stirred up the mixture, so the eggs could possibly be saved. There was no way I was going to lose 8 whole eggs, and thereby, the entire casserole, just because of a little pepper mishap.

I wrapped my right index finger in a paper towel, for now it had begun bleeding with a vengeance, got out a slotted spoon, and rescued the eight eggs from the sea of peppery milk they were floating in. We still had some milk left in the refrigerator, so the casserole was not lost, after all.

The second time I made it, I didn't add pepper.
12 June 2013

Letter to a Litterer

Last week, two days in a row, someone left a package that looked like this at the end of our driveway.

Both days, the package was a plastic bag containing the remains of a lunch at Arby's. Angel went through the bags (that's the kind of person he is, I wouldn't have touched them) and discovered by the receipt that in both cases, the lunch had been purchased mere hours before it ended up at the end our driveway, and that both orders had been paid for with cash. Also, one of the bags contained an empty pill container for a weight-loss drug. Ironic.

We live out on a country road, surrounded by corn fields and pastureland. It's rather frequent that we find beer bottles in our front yard, accompanied by other random trash. Recently, Angel found a can full of tobacco spit.

But this is a little different. Two times on two consecutive days--receiving the gift of a bag of Arby's garbage placed carefully in the exact same corner of our driveway? It feels a little bit intentional, somehow. But I know it's silly to perceive littering as a personal crime.

I am pretty sure that the two Arby's bags are the work of one man (or woman. I don't stereotype. Women can do rude things just as well as men can). I do have to wonder what drives such a person to littering? What is the story behind it? 

Are they trying to hide their Arby's habit from their family? Were they on their way to pick up a first (and second) date, and wanted to leave a good impression by having a clean and garbage-free car? Are they currently struggling so severely with finances that they've had to get rid of their garbage service? Do they not know that when they fill up their car at the gas station, it wouldn't be a crime to throw their bag of fast-food remains into the garbage cans situated prominently between every pair of gas pumps?

Don't litter, folks. Or else a mystified but not entirely cruel world-famous blogger will take a photo of your garbage and lament whatever life situation drove you to commit such an act of property defilement. Next time, feel free to ask us if we have any more appropriate location for you to dispose of your trash.
11 June 2013

Riding Bearback

I'm not the biggest fan of puns, but every once in a while, they're irresistible.
And by far the creepiest thing about Angel's costume is that the head can turn in any direction.
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10 June 2013

Roadtrip Dress

Do you have traditions when it comes to your clothing?

I have a few. This dress, for example, is my traveling dress. I always wear it on road trips. It's the most perfect road trip dress. It's loose and comfortable. It's made of jersey material, so if I spend the entire road trip curled up into a little ball of sleepy-ness, it does not wrinkle. When it's chilly out, this dress looks great worn with leggings, but when it's too warm for leggings, this dress isn't so short that I feel naked without them.

On this occasion, I didn't wear the dress for a road trip, exactly, but it kind of felt like one. We went on an outing to a drive-in theater about 40 minutes away, so we were spending a lot of time in the car. The movies don't start showing until after the sun goes down, so we didn't make it home till 1:30 in the morning. (Who says married people don't party all night?)

(To tell the truth, I fell asleep before the end of the movie. But Angel must have been awake, after all, we both made it home alive! I do love the drive-in. It's fun to bring a whole bunch of snacks. We may not have brought quite enough though, because I'm pretty sure that the reason I fell asleep was because the snacks ran out.)

So, what are your apparel traditions? Do you have any outfits that you have a habit of wearing for certain occasions?
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07 June 2013

Missing Joy

 This photo is here because Angel takes millions of pictures of Narcan so I figure I might as well use one. 
I'm going to be blunt here. I've been a bit of an emotional basketcase lately. I've been sad. Simply, sad when I shouldn't be and when I have no good reason to be sad. I think it's related to that fact that I don't enjoy going to my school 40 hours a week, and also to the fact that I've been having some annoying health problems. However, neither of those facts are a good enough excuse to have such a bad attitude that I burst out in tears with unnecessary frequency and allow my sadness to affect my relationships with my husband and family.

I have an amazing life. I have many good things to look forward to. However, I haven't been paying as much attention to the good things because I've been too caught up in worrying about the not-so-good things. I've decided to start utilizing some new strategies to deal with this general sadness and anxiety--because this is not the way I want to live and it's not the way I should be living.

I was talking to my family on Skype and my little sister (she's 14) told me she had some good ideas for what I should do when I start to feel sad. These were the main items from her list:
1. Watch my favorite Youtube videos from NigaHiga or BoredShortsTV
2. Put a CD of my favorite songs into the stereo and play it loud.
3. Memorize the lyrics to my favorite songs and sing them when I'm at school.
4. Play a board game or a card game with Angel.

Her list made me smile. It may seem really simple, but it gets to the heart of the matter: reminding myself of what is good and true and happy about life when I start to get sucked into allowing my thoughts to dwell on the unpleasant things.

My Mom gave me another huge piece of advice when it comes to seeking joy: Serve others. A great deal of discontent comes from being too self-centered. It's when we stop being selfish and start giving to others that we are able to take joy in all the good things of life.

I'm not looking to find joy in my own person or in my own accomplishments any longer. I'm not going to look for joy in the way other people treat me--because other people will fail. I will seek joy in God. He never fails and He is the one Who has given me everything great in my life.

And smiling at a couple of really good songs and some funny Youtube videos along the way won't hurt a bit. I want to be able to relish all the goodness that is life again. I know it's a gift from God to be able to see that goodness.
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06 June 2013

I Love You

 Let me preface this by saying that Angel and I were probably the weirdest and least demonstrative couple ever when we first got together. We were friends for a long time before we were anything other than that, and I have to say, that crossing over from "friends" to "friends who are going to marry each other" was a little awkward at times. We knew we were going to get married from the very first weeks of our courtship, and we talked candidly about that. But neither one of us wanted to admit anything like "feelings" or "being in love" or anything mushy like that, probably for fear that the other would find such display of emotion unseemly.

This photo is an accurate depiction of how very awkward we were together.
Technically, he was the first one to say it. He told me "I love you," on the phone, and then I said "What?" in shock, and that scared him, so he modified it, and said, "What I mean is, I care about you."

So, yeah, he said it first, but he took it back.

He said it the second time, too. That time was on Skype. But he also managed to get scared that time, and took it back again.

So, I was the first one to say "I love you," without taking it back. It was all because of a bad dream. I was living in Malaysia, hadn't seen Angel in a few months, and I had a bad dream that he chose another girl over me. That dream was a representation of my jealousies and my insecurities, I prayed for God to give me joy and confidence in Him, instead of allowing myself to dwell upon my lack of confidence in the guy I was already planning a marriage with.

I emailed Angel about my dream and my prayer, and I signed off with "I love you, Angel."

No qualifiers, no modifications, no take backs. 

How about you? Was it you or your significant other who admitted it first?
05 June 2013

10 Reasons Why I am an Awesome Blogger

 Because that is a picture of a 3-seater outhouse that once belonged to either a church or a school (my memory is hazy on that point). Then it belonged to my great-grandpa, and for a while it reposed on my parent's property. Most recently, it was moved about a mile away and currently sits on the edge of a small forest owned by my relatives. Now that's a random writing. No false advertising here, folks!

1. This blog is not boring. At least in my opinion.

2. I can spell. Related: I don't use baby words. i.e. hubby, bloggy, totes, etc.

3. I can, and do, punctuate. Not to brag or anything, but I use capitalization appropriately, too.

4. I don't apologize unnecessarily. If I truly were sorry about some characteristic of myself, I would change. If I'm not sorry about anything, and I don't feel the need to change, there's also no reason to say a meaningless, "Sorry." For instance, I don't apologize about the poor quality of my photos, because I have no intention of spending lots of money on a new camera and taking the time to learn how to use it.

5. I always have real content. No hosting blog hops, giveaways only once in a blue moon, and rarely do I ever join a link up.

6. I'm not blown about by fickle trends and changing fashions. You won't see me hating on peplums one week and wearing them the next.

7. I do a fairly consistent job of responding to comments. Sure, on random occasions I can't stand email anymore and I delete every email in my inbox wholesale. But as a general rule, I do respond.

8. I actually read your blog posts. I know that I put time, effort, and emotion into my blog posts, and I know you do the same for yours, so when I read blogs, I give your blogs the respect and the time they deserve, rather than leaving a comment just to leave a comment and get my link out there.

9. I have a hilarious family. This is key, because any one human can run out of topics to write about once in a while. Then I jut ask Angel or my siblings for a little help brainstorming, and I get back on track with new blogging ideas for you.

10.  Lack of perfection. My face isn't airbrushed and my wardrobe isn't name brand. My home looks more like a somewhat dilapidated rainbow than something out of Pinterest. My husband is more likely to surprise me with a fake bat taped to the wall than with a diamond necklace. I didn't take a honeymoon to a tropical resort and I don't drive a car that has all 4 hubcaps perfectly intact. I do love studying the Word of God and dreaming of traveling to different parts of the world. I can eavesdrop on your conversations in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese with the greatest of ease and I can give you a pretty sweet haircut in 20 minutes. To me, this is important because perfection can easily become boring (unless, of course, we are speaking of perfection in spelling, in which case, perfection is completely appropriate).

Contented imperfection, on the other hand, is interesting, and that's why you should keep reading.

What makes you want to read one blog more than another?
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04 June 2013

The FAKE Bat in our Home.

This week's Bear with Me post is postponed due to breaking news of Angel's other mischievous behavior. You can watch the movie to see how my beloved husband and I interact with each other.  Just consider it the Vlog we'll never do.

Points to remember which will explain how this video came to be:
1. We have had three bats in the house in recent months, so having a bat in the house is not at all implausible.
2. I don't have good vision. I also hate wearing glasses. Angel likes to take advantage of these two characteristics.

I have to admit, you have to give him points for creativity. Who else thinks, on a restful Saturday evening, that they ought to tape a black sock to the wall in order to frighten their short-sighted wife.

Perhaps I should have warned you that Angel does not believe it's necessary to keep a video camera semi-still while shooting. I only hope that you aren't prone to motion sickness.
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03 June 2013

I'm Solar-Powered

When my cousins saw me wearing this outfit, they started laughing. My response was something like, "Hey, you wear weird clothes too, do you want me to laugh at you?" I'm so very nice. Really, when I got dressed, I thought I had a different look that what I usually go for. I consider this Rachel-ish Bohemian, inspired by people like Lizzy and Carolynn.
The day I wore this outfit was a very sunny one. As evidenced by the fact that my skirt and shoes are glowing. Dead giveaway that the sun was shining.

There's just something about sunny days. I don't think it would be accurate to say that I like them. More like--I feel most alive on sunny days. On a gloomy, rainy day, I feel the need to take frequent naps. My multiple craft projects have no appeal to me--and if I've got to cook dinner, it's going to be an easy one. To me, rainy, chilly, days are appropriate for movies and popcorn--occasionally they're appropriate to going to work. Because you have to do something to make the rainy day go by, and clocking hours may well be the way to do it.

Sunny days on the other hand--I jump out of bed bright and early, my body already sensing the sunshine filtering into my room. My mind is going a million miles a minute, planning and scheming how to accomplish the maximum amount of activities in the minimum amount of time. There is no stopping me till the sun goes down.

Safe to say, I'm solar-powered. And it's probably a good thing I don't live in one of those regions where they never get sun. Actually, between the constant switching between rain and sun where we live, I really end up being a person of average energy. Nothing to worry about.
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