Sunday, November 21, 2010

Not quite the city anymore.

This holiday season, Patrick, King, and I are trading in our lives as city-dwelling scoundrels for the earthy simplicity of countryside folks. We left the L.A. homestead in search of family on the east coast but we're discovering much more along the way as well. Like deer.

I'll keep you posted this week on our trip. Happy Monday!

babesnov006

Friday, November 19, 2010

My butt's gone a missing.

When losing too much weight after pregnancy backfires. Literally.

You may have seen HERE and HERE a glimpse of my on/off relationship with food. Some days I am completely smitten and obsessed with its deliciously nurturing qualities and other days I curse its tempting ways when I start getting that arm jiggle again from over-indulging. Like many people, I’ve lived most of my life following the “calories in/calories out” equation to stay slim and just silently held my breath for a magic pill that could one day give me the best of both gastronomy and vanity worlds. And then I found it: Childbirth.

You may have read HERE how I lost all the baby weight. Now, six months later, not only have I shed the belly flab and puffiness, I’m ten pounds skinnier than what I was before I got pregnant. HUH?!?

Some friends gush, “Wow you must have worked out sooo hard!” Um, if you count carrying around my 25-pound baby a workout, then sure! My family balks, “You don’t look healthy—eat more!” If I’m not eating, then how am I still producing gallons of breast milk? Breast milk…yes, that could be the holy grail of weight loss secrets. Perhaps in breastfeeding my son I’ve found the Mecca where gluttony peacefully co-exists with finally being able to slip into my skinny jeans. And boy does that happy place feel good.

But, and there is a butt in this story, I’ve lost my butt. Somewhat restricted by my Asian genes, I’ve never had much of a booty but at least it was there. At least it said “hi” to me each morning in the mirror and at least it cushioned my bones as I typed away in my office chair. These days, my body symmetry is so unbalanced as I’ve gained the two breast friends I’ve ever had and then it all sort of whittles down to nothing until you see my size 7 feet. My butt’s gone a missing.

Patrick hasn’t said anything about it—bless his heart—but if I were a guy, I’d totally be a butt guy. I’d take a nice apple bottom over the milk jugs any day. When other women walk into a bar, my eyes dart across the room faster than the men’s as I just unabashedly stare in awe when I see a solid behind. I can’t help it because I want THAT.

I’ve openly proclaimed if I could buy a butt, I would. But seeing as I don’t have much money, I guess I have to resort to the old-fashioned way to put some hottie into my patottie. This Thanksgiving, I’m committed to downing some serious eats because enough’s enough and I need my butt back. I hope things will start looking pretty rotund assuming the newly acquired fat cells know to go straight to the butt and nowhere else. It’s a gamble I’m willing to take.

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King just thinks Mommy is silly.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Making of King Ch. 14

Missed the last chapter? Read it HERE.

I wonder how on earth we got from being dysfunctional strangers a year ago to where we are today, a mostly functional couple.

“Do you remember how we first met?” I, now more than 12 weeks pregnant with Patrick’s child, asked him.

“Of course I do. We met in the company kitchen and Kristine was there,” he replied as we were cuddled up in his bed together after work. The October air outside was a misty cool and it felt nice to be tangled up in Patrick’s warmth.

“And what did you think when you first saw me?” I asked in between bites of macaroni and cheese.

“Baby, do we have to get into this again?” Patrick said exasperatedly. “We’ve talked about this many times before and the story never changes.”

“But I want to hear you tell me again, since it makes me feel all romantic inside,” I embellished my giddiness.

“When I got to know you better, I really liked how we were able to talk to each other. About things,” Patrick reluctantly replied. “What did you think of me?”

“I thought you were so strange at first. Like the weirdest person I have ever met. But then, after that one time we truly hung out together, I realized you were a really loyal friend,” I told him as I placed my hand on top of his. Holding onto his strong hand gently, I wondered how on earth we got from being dysfunctional strangers a year ago to where we were today, a mostly functional couple.  And now, Patrick and I were on the brink of experiencing some of the most intimate life passages together: Baby and marriage.

“Do you think we would still be together now if I weren’t pregnant?” I interrupted the quiet between us suddenly.

“I don’t know,” Patrick replied with a sigh as he looked straight ahead at his blank TV screen. “I honestly don’t know. But we’ll figure it all out in due time.” I felt an unexpected tickle in my stomach and for a moment, I thought it was our baby tumbling around.  But the baby books I have been scrupulously reading at night said it was still a bit too early in the pregnancy to feel movement from my baby. So what was it?

My stomach turned again and this time, I recognized the feeling: I was viscerally disappointed and letdown Patrick wasn’t sure about us either. That even though he’d always been the one fighting harder for us in our relationship, he was just as—if not more—scared and uncertain than I was this time about our pending futures together.

But now with a baby on the way, Patrick held onto me tighter than ever, and I—super clingy and needy from those darn baby hormones—kept him extremely close, too. At a time when our lives were collapsing and transforming helplessly in front of us, oftentimes the only comfort we could find was in each other.

“Plus, are you really pregnant, Missy?” Patrick joked as he lifted up my shirt to examine my still-flat stomach. “I don’t see our baby in there, where is our baby??”

“Patrick, stop it!” I squealed as I pulled the covers over my head. “I swear, I’m growing a baby inside! I saw it on that screen thingy and heard a real heartbeat!”

“Yeah, that still sucks how I missed the first ultrasound,” Patrick said seriously.

“Well, we’ll definitely go to the next one together and you will see it. And it’s the most surreal feeling in the world.” I looked over at him and was overcome with such sadness. I’ve let Patrick down before in our past as I’ve always pushed him away when we needed each other the most. And here we are—having a baby together!—and I have to once and for all let go of my defenses and just trust Patrick. Trust him when he said we’d get through this together. Trust him when he said he’d hope to marry me one day anyway. Trust him when he promised he would step things up, be a better man, take care of me, take care of our baby.

I looked at Patrick and he looked back at me with his signature smile stretched from cheek to cheek, his face glowing with happiness and excitement. Patrick didn’t tell me this outright but I knew deep down past all the uncertainty, he was looking forward to being a father even if the timing wasn’t ours. Patrick had been extremely lonely during his two years in California away from his family and friends and I suspected having our future baby and me will provide him the togetherness and love he so desperately lacked on the west coast.

Patrick, I wished I could tell him as he looked back at me some more. I hope this moment will last forever. When you and I are both okay and everything is fine, even if it is just for this moment. Patrick, my future husband, could be so sweet and gentle when he wants to be and during these tender moments I remember why I picked him in the first place.


Buzz buzz my phone went off like a haunting alarm clock and I perked up in a terrifying panic. It was a close family friend of mine and she never called me unless someone died so I immediately picked up.

 “Missy!” she exclaimed, almost out of breath. “I’m so glad you answered. I have to tell you. You are making a huge mistake.”


To be continued.

sleep
Everyone just needs some peace and love. Isn't that what we're all searching for anyway?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dating Twins: Not nearly as sexy as it sounds.

The “Other Boyfriend” offers practical advice for anyone who has ever considered going after the 2-for-1 deal.

Something I really haven’t talked much about on my blog is my very close relationship with my twin sister, Carly. Being a twin is a huge part of my identity and we fall into the category of twins that have ESP and can finish each other’s sentences. I don’t expect singletons to understand—heck, our boyfriends don’t even understand—but the rule of thumb with twins is you can’t just date one of us. We’re sort of a packaged deal.

speed
Dennis skim boarding on a summer day.


Guys, don’t get your hopes up. We will never fulfill your twin fantasy (you know what I’m talking about); rather, dating one of us means you automatically have the other twin in your life whether you like it or not. And usually you won’t like it.

Carly has been dating her boyfriend, Dennis, for three and a half years now. I actually introduced them (long story for another time) because I had a feeling my sister would really like him. And she did, and still does. As for Dennis and me? We’ve had our challenges from the get-go, constantly fighting for Carly's attention and time, but over the years we’ve settled into a peacefully co-existing relationship we dub as being “frenemies.”

So let’s welcome Dennis, a mid-20s aerospace engineer, as he gives the gritty truth about dating twins. Again, not nearly as sexy as it sounds.


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When I first got into photography, Carly and Dennis were my best models.


Me: Tell us how you met Carly.
Dennis: Uh...well I went to a pool party.

Why did you choose Carly and not Artemis?
Well, I liked Carly better. Artemis seemed like a train wreck at the time. And she and Charles (her on/off ex-boyfriend) were more of a thing.

Expand on what you mean by train wreck?
Um…I think I just liked Carly better and you were off and on again with Charles.

Ok...that's fair. So what is it like dating twins?
Like having twice the drama with no added benefits. But Carly is worth it. It’s like the twins can collaborate and justify the most ridiculous thoughts. They think similarly and will agree with each other on things that only make sense to them.

Like what specifically?
Just arguments for day-to-day things only they can see eye-to-eye on.

Would you recommend dating twins?
Umm…I wouldn’t go after twins for the sake of going after twins. It is not glamorous in the least bit. But it's gotten to the point where Artemis is not annoying anymore. There was a lot of drama in the beginning because we used to fight over Carly a lot. So my advice is only go out with a twin if the other twin has a boyfriend. If you attack the situation alone, you will get overwhelmed.


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Carly and Dennis at my baby shower.

What is the best thing about dating twins?
On party nights, you always have another couple to go out with. Assuming she has a boyfriend. Just more friends to help with parties.

What is the worst thing about dating twins?
If you date a twin and the other twin has no boyfriend.

What was so wrong when I was single?
You fight with the other twin for attention. The other twin is usually very needy because she either just broke up with a boyfriend or is going through some sort of drama. Instead of seeing the other twin occasionally, the other twin kind of tags along all of the time.

What a nightmare! Does it ever feel like you are in a crowded relationship?
No. I’d say it's more of a tug-of-war relationship. Both tugging at Carly.

You make it sound like I am very needy.
It depends. After you break up with a boyfriend or are in a rough spot with one, you are. And then it's this droning and ongoing issue with a guy. So preferably, you would have a boyfriend. Then 80% of the time you are with the boyfriend and 20% of the time you are with Carly. The percentages switch when you don't have a boyfriend.

So just make sure I'm always in a relationship.
Pretty much.

canlane
Carly and Dennis trying out King for size.

Do you ever read this blog?
Yea.

How often?
I don’t keep track. Primarily when Carly tells me to read something. Or I read over her shoulder.

Describe Artemis in three words.
Kind, caring mother, fun to hang out with.

OMG thank you!
But before the baby: Fun to hang out with, drama-inducing, always fighting over Carly.

Define drama:
Well, we were just wrestling over Carly’s time.

How has Artemis changed since having her baby?
Since you had your baby, the crazy has disappeared.

Okay, you've made your point clear. I'm a crazy drama queen. So what advice do you give other guys on dating twins?
Make sure the juice is worth the squeeze.

What is your relationship with Patrick like?
He understands what happens in the twin dynamic. We support each other. We can sympathize with each other. He's good to hang out with and there's the shared common experience.

How is your relationship with Artemis these days?
Questionable after doing this interview but before I thought it was just fine.

I think we're still good. And is King the cutest or is he the cutest?
He’s pretty damn cute. And he gets all the ladies. I don’t understand how he just spits up or poops and all the women go crazy over him. I don’t think I will ever get that.

Well, thank you for the interview Dennis. It's been real.
Likewise.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Send Money. Thanks.

I called my parents yesterday to let them know it was King's 6 month birthday.

"Send money. Thanks," I said to my dad.

"Um, just curious...is it customary for people to celebrate birthdays every month?" he asked over the phone.

I guess I'm under the impression I have to celebrate a baby's birthday like I would for anniversaries in a new relationship: Every month until we hit the one-year mark.

Maybe I am somewhat bewildered, perhaps even a little proud, that Patrick and I have somehow managed to keep a baby alive for 6 months.

Or maybe I'm just a bored housewife with too much time on her hands.  *blink blink*

And then I called my mom. "Send money. Thanks," I repeated to her.

"How are you guys celebrating?" my mom wondered.

"I bought some Ben & Jerry's for Patrick and me."

"I'm sure King appreciates it. Just make sure you take a picture of him today to document his milestones," my mom reminded me.

Well, Mom, no need to worry. Have I taken pictures! Here's a photo essay of some of King's memorable "firsts."

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King, at 6 months old, has finally decided to start wearing clothes on a semi-regular basis.

baby4
King's first breath.
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King's first handshake with Daddy.

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First time in Daddy's arms.

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First bath!

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First nap time with Daddy!

firstpic
This was the first picture I leaked of King to my family and friends.

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First time in the garden!

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First time napping with a dog! A vicious one at that! (No babies were harmed in the taking of this photo.)

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King's first wave hello.

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King's first Hollywood star.

giggles
King's first giggle. EVER.

mamaluv
King's first trip to Downtown L.A.

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King's first time with both his aunts!

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King's first magazine spread. Sort of.

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First roller coaster. It blew his hair off.


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King's first trip to an observatory.

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First time at the beach!

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King's first TV appearance (we were extras in a TV pilot).

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King's first baseball game (Daddy's idea).

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His first trip to Hawaii (Mommy's idea).

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King's first wedding. He didn't cry one bit!

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Three's A Crowd

My brave story on how I finally gave the other woman the boot. For good.

King turns 6 months old tomorrow but this post isn’t about him and his cuddly goodness. Rather, I’d like to celebrate the almost 5 months of pure marital bliss around the Frank household. No, Patrick and I are not quite married yet but we’ve come a long way since what I’d like to refer to as the Dark Ages.

The Dark Ages started around my third trimester of pregnancy. I was round, wobbly, emotional, needy, and just about the farthest thing from sexy a woman can get. Don’t have the glossy pages of a tabloid magazine fool you—there is absolutely nothing cute or sexy about being pregnant—and the final stretch of my baby making days were filled with unrecognizably plump Artemis gorging on fat-laden foods while accidentally letting one many rip in bed. Ugh. Damn you Dark Ages. At least with a baby now we always have someone to blame when the sheets get stinky and start feeling moist. And it works quite awesomely so when said baby can’t talk yet to defend himself.

But I digress. Despite all the unbearably icky and sticky parts of being pregnant, Patrick and I were doing okay until he met The Other Woman. I don’t know exactly when or how it happened but things started to change pretty quickly for us as soon as he caught wind of her tantalizing spell. Sure, I was fat but I never thought I would be in a relationship where I ended up being the old and nagging wife stuck at home while the husband pranced around town romancing the young and free.

Her name was Evony and I’ll never forget the day I walked in on them in the bedroom. It was just an ordinary day after work and when I turned on the lights in our bedroom, Patrick jumped up as I dissolved into the ground screaming, “How could you do this to me??!?” He swore again and again it was a one-time fling and because I was too pregnant to completely lose my marbles over a fleeting affair, I forgave Patrick and chose to believe he would forever be faithful to me from there on out.

Alas, history is known to repeat itself and Patrick could’t let go of Evony so quickly. He spent hours each evening enchanted by her mysterious ways and after a while, there was no fight left in me to take my man back from the other woman. After work each day, Patrick hardly bid me a hello before disappearing in his room with her, leaving me in the cold and lonely kitchen to fend for my ravenous self. There was no relationship between us during the Dark Ages. Evony had all of Patrick and as much as it bothered me, I didn’t have the energy to be the psycho-jealous-crazy girlfriend I once was so good at being. Evony, you win. For now.

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The Other Woman: Can you blame him?

After we had King, however, I was certain Patrick would change his old ways and devote himself fully to taking care of his family. He promised me Evony was a thing of his past and was willing to be the faithful and wholesome man I needed him to be. Life with baby got hectic the moment the baby gracefully slid into this world and Evony had no place in Patrick’s life anymore. Or mine.

But her sickly sweet scent lingered around for a month longer until I finally gave Patrick an ultimatum: Her or me. Enough’s enough and I can’t afford to have my man sneaking around with some Evony woman while our baby relentlessly cries for milk and daddy love. Our relationship only has room for two people and Evony, YOU’RE OUT OF HERE!

Leaving her was long and painful for Patrick, involving almost a 12-step program to rid her of his life for good. She sure is addictive, that temptress, but with my unwavering support, Patrick is a transformed family man and has yet to relapse. We now spend nights together as a family and do really fun and exciting things. Like watch Netflix movies. Or talk. About politics.

So three months ago—bored and thin again—I was itching for a way out. It didn’t take long before I found myself fully involved with Mr. Real Love, his charming and dark good looks sweeping me off my reluctant-housewife and no-longer-swollen feet. But I couldn’t hide Real Love from Patrick and a few weeks ago he finally threw an ultimatum back at me demanding, “Blog or our family.”

“Okay, I choose family!” I promised since he did sacrifice his relationship with Evony, an online game, for me after all.

So today, as King turns 6 months old, I'm proud to say things between Patrick and me are fairly monogamous. Except for the odd tryst here and there with Real Love so shhhh....

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Making of King Ch. 13

Missed the last chapter? Read it HERE.

 I was transitioning from college life to corporate world madness and it played out like an episode of reality TV: ungraceful, tactless, and totally undignified.

I managed to avoid crossing paths with Patrick for the next couple of weeks since we worked at opposite ends of the office. I had already completely forgotten about him when I yelled for someone to hold the elevator downstairs in the lobby so I could catch a lift to the seventh floor. I scrambled in past the closing doors, looked up at the only other person inside, and “Oh…hi. It’s Patrick…right?”

Patrick looked at me with his dark piercing eyes and plastered an exaggerated smile on his face. “Hi,” he replied back, holding his smile. Awkwardness filled the space between us and the ride up to the seventh floor couldn’t have gone any slower. 2nd floor…3rd floor…

“So, um, how do you like working in sales?” I finally broke the silence because it was either that or not breathe for the rest of the elevator ride.

“It’s very hard. The hardest job in sales I’ve ever had,” Patrick answered politely but not terribly friendly. “See ya,” he said quickly as the doors opened for him to escape.

“Bye…” I tried to say back just as curtly as he had. Wow, what a weird guy, I thought to myself. He acts like he is allergic to me or something.

His utter disinterest in me—not even as a girl but just as a human being—was somewhat perplexing since the rumor around the office was Patrick was almost too friendly a guy. As an outspoken salesman, I often heard him down the hall making small talk with his clients or shooting the breeze with coworkers over lunch. His booming laugh that would resonate obnoxiously so throughout the walls of my office was not congruent with the standoffish behavior he had toward me. Patrick was a very confusing guy but what I knew for sure was his ignoring my presence was not a shy way of flirting with me; he truly couldn’t have cared less if I’d existed.

In fact, most people at my company didn’t care much for me that summer. I was transitioning from college life to corporate world madness and it played out like an episode of reality TV: ungraceful, tactless, and totally undignified. I had no real idea what I was doing and didn’t quite jive with corporate protocol yet; poor Kristine was desperately trying to shape me into the corporate climber she believed I could be while I just spent most days miserable and indifferent with my schlep work in a back office. Let’s just say, my damsel-in-distress appeal did not make much of an impression with the white-collared crowd.

I occasionally maintained contact with the ex-boyfriend I ran away from, complaining on the phone how no one at work liked me or wanted to be friends even though most of the time I was specifically referring to Patrick. My ex tried to be sympathetic but he was so lost in La La Land that he at best provided an ear to cushion my rant. And then there was Charles, a guy I dated for the better part of my high school years, and he would spend the rest of his summer convincing me why we were meant to be together. Forever.

But that was kind of how Charles and I always were, spectacularly perfect for one another when the weather was warm and the living easy and as soon as the reality of autumn rolled around, we would be back to our separate ways, in separate cities, leading separate lives. That summer was the last summer I let my seasonal boyfriend interrupt my life and just as I did to my last college guy, I had to let this one go, too.

Carly, completely tickled by my dating woes, then offered to set me up on a blind date with an acquaintance of hers she was sure would strike my fancy. Oh how she talked Daniel up with his engineering degree, stable job, and dark and chiseled good looks. Because of the incessant rave reviews spewing from her mouth, I built him up in my head too, likening him to some long-lost brother of James Franco. The more Carly and I giggled about Daniel over the phone together at night, the more excited and giddy I became over our upcoming double date.

Daniel, of course, arrived to said date with his ex-girlfriend in tow, unaware he was actually called upon to be my date, and spent the rest of the evening playing footsie under the table with her. Ugh, really?!

* * *

IMG_2236

I lived with Kristine that summer and most of our dinnertime conversations were about work or boys. Never the one to be impressed by my misadventures in love, she wanted to pinpoint once and for all what kind of men I find attractive. She listed guys we mutually knew, and Patrick’s name came up.

“So what about Patrick?” she asked.

“Um…no. Ewww no. Not attractive to me at all,” I replied as I tried to remember what he looked like. He did dress well, had a symmetrical face, and was a good height for me but I automatically took off major points from him because he didn’t find ME attractive.

“Ok, well, that’s good then. You don’t want to be hanging around that kid, anyway,” Kristine said as she forked a small carrot into her mouth. Even though Patrick ignored me as if I were a ghost, I still didn’t quite understand Kristine’s aversion towards him. I really wanted to ask her again what was “wrong” with Patrick but didn’t want my curiosity about him to be mistaken for romantic interest in him. Because No, Patrick, I don’t think you’re much attractive at all.

At work the next day, I found a guy, Oliver, who practically volunteered information about Patrick, feeding me any and all tidbits I wanted to know about the man behind the laugh. Oliver, an easy-going guy in his late 20s, worked at the IT helpdesk and often used any excuse he could to come see me. On that particular day, my computer was being sluggish.

“Don’t tell anyone I’m asking you this,” I whispered to him from the corner of my mouth, “but what is the deal with Patrick?”

“Oh, Patrick? Yeah, he’s bad news,” Oliver informed me as he was pounding away on my keyboard. “He gets into a lot of trouble at work and Jenna? That girl who works at the front desk? He’s been trying to date her for months now.”

“What?” I exclaimed under my breath. “Her?? Is she, like, even legal yet?” Jenna, our company’s receptionist, was just about as classless as they came. Constantly gabbing away in the hall with friends on her cell phone, chatting around-the-clock on Instant Messenger, and her lips perpetually smacking together as she chewed every flavor of gum, was not quite what I’d envisioned the guys at work going after. But then again, what did I know?

“She’s young AND she’s hot,” Oliver said with a wink in his eye. “And she has Patrick wrapped around her finger. He’s chasing her like crazy and spoiling her rotten. But she has another boyfriend so she’s just using him.”

“I don’t get it. I really don’t,” I said, hovering over Oliver as he continued to work on my computer. Maybe I was just insulted, or even a little hurt, by Patrick’s complete disregard for me even though he was friendly to everyone else at work. Especially the receptionist. And why was Patrick such bad news?

“Missy, I have to go now, but don’t worry about Patrick,” Oliver assured me as he finished up at my desk. “So…you free this weekend?”

“Ugh, Oliver, I told you. I can’t date you. There are too many moving parts in my life right now,” I refused his offer. “Talk to you later and thanks for your help.”

“For you, anything,” Oliver said with another wink in his eye before walking back to his office.

I tried to return to work that day but couldn’t. Patrick’s peculiar coldness towards me became more and more an infuriating obsession in my thoughts. I was frustrated of all the people in my company that could write me off as a prancy sorority girl, it was Patrick. Mr. “Bad Boy” himself, I had a feeling he would take notice of anything with boobs…so why not me? Patrick made no sense to me at all and my attempt at getting some answers and deciphering his actions only made him more confusing.

That night, I was so caught up in surfing the Internet he was the last thing on my mind when I saw a female coworker had “friended” me on Facebook. I took at peek at her page and noticed she was also “friends” with Patrick. Don’t do it, Missy, just don’t...I clicked on his image.

His profile popped up on my screen and his cocky but oddly inspirational status update glowed in my dark room: LIVING THE DREAM.

As I scrolled down his page—

“Oh. My. Goodness,” was all I could say.


To be continued.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The recipe that could destroy your marriage.

Sharing is caring, and Patrick and I have this part of our relationship down pat. For the most part.

We are very good about mutual bath towels, divvying out remote-control time, and can even easily forgo his-and-her toothbrushes during desperate circumstances. We are as cozy as they come but there is one thing, however, we are very tit for tat over: FOOD.

Like rivaling college roommates, we have to Sharpie takeout boxes in the fridge, buy individual pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and keep separate drawers of snack items to keep the peace in the relationship. It’s been a good system for us so far, our only slipup being that one time Patrick decided to play dirty and drank directly out of the Horchata container to repel any future dibs from me. The act of pure selfishness is still an area of contention in our self-mediated therapy sessions.

To stay on point, things have been going pretty well for us recently until my godmother gave us a Ziploc baggy of her caramel popcorn she makes every Halloween. It’s not just any caramel popcorn, mind you, as the nuggets of gooey goodness are generously studded with mixed gourmet nuts, the occasional bite extra special because some of the pieces are—wait for it—drenched in rich semi-sweet chocolate(!!). It’s almost exactly like the Moose Munch stuff Harry & David carry in their specialty food stores year round but this recipe is yields a slightly stickier and more indulgent product…AND it’s homemade. Bliss.

So one night when I pulled the bag out of the pantry to pick at some of the caramel corn, Patrick almost leaped across the dining table when he caught me sorting out the nut pieces. I guess those are his favorite, too.

“Okay, we’re going to be fair about this,” I reasoned with him and suggested we eat only what we randomly pull from the bag, be it just the caramel pieces, with nuts, or even dunked in chocolate. No preferential treatment allowed.

But the other day, another problem came up when I found the Ziploc bag mysteriously “hiding” behind half-eaten containers of crackers in the pantry. This started a silent war on the home front as we both continued to secretly move the bag’s location out of the other person’s reach multiple times a day. And we always eat the treat alone and in stealth. The lowest point for me came when I found myself munching on a precious handful of the caramel popcorn in the bathroom so Patrick could not accuse me of taking more than my fair share. Totally gross, I know.

So if there is one recipe that could absolutely destroy your relationship, this is it. It’ll have you sneaking around, playing conniving mind games, telling lies, and hiding things from your partner. Even if what you're hiding is just caramel popcorn. Clearly, we have some serious issues at hand.

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Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com:

* cooking spray
* 4 quarts popped popcorn
* 1 cup brown sugar
* 1/2 cup Karo® Light OR Dark Corn Syrup
* 1/2 cup butter OR margarine
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* mixed gourmet nuts (if desired)
* melted semi-sweet chocolate (if desired)

Directions

1. Spray large shallow roasting pan with cooking spray. Add popcorn and place in preheated 250 degrees F oven while preparing caramel.
2. Mix brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt in a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat.
3. Boil 5 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat. Stir in baking soda and vanilla; mix well.
4. Pour syrup over warm popcorn (and nuts if desired), stirring to coat evenly.
5. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and spread on foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
6. Cool; break apart. Dunk in melted chocolate if desired. Store in tightly covered container.

Would you rather stay married? Try this recipe instead: Jalapeno Sliders.

Monday, November 1, 2010

New season.

This month, King will turn 6 months old. It's kind of a big deal since I am still so used to saying "I just had a baby" and calling him my "newborn" when he's well on his way to toddlerhood now. GAH!

I don't know where all this time went; on one hand, I feel like so much has happened and changed for me in the past few months and on the flip side, I can still remember being VERY pregnant while trying to meet deadlines at my corporate job as if it were yesterday.

The tides and seasons will keep changing, forever evolving and transforming as the people, places, and things around me lose their shapes and become something new. I woke up to this autumn day feeling sentimental and reflective because I knew we are fast-approaching the half-year mark...and what about after 1 year? 2 years? 18 years? All I know is being a mother has been the most magical experience of my life and King, without a doubt, is the best thing that ever happened to Patrick and me. And we'll figure the rest of it out along the way. Together.


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My new King resting after his first night at the hospital.


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Hi there. What are you thinking about?


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I had a bad case of the baby blues for the first week. And this was the face, the lost and innocent face, that would have me in a mess of tears as I looked at him each night wondering how on earth I made this baby.


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Changing his diaper was a production. It still can be these days.


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His Uncle Wayne bought him this Eeyore outfit we took King home in.


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His first night at home. King looks so tiny! He was 7.23 pounds when he was born.


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Where did my bitty baby go?


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And now, almost 6 months later, King is healthy, plump, and still as cute as ever!
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