Friday, March 15, 2013

On the Eve of my 35th Birthday...

Tonight is the last night that I will be thirty-four.  Thirty-four still sounds kinda young to me.  Thirty-five is starting to sound less young (apologies to those who are thirty-five and older...I have a few hours  left to savor).

I thought today would be an appropriate time to make some permanent bloggy observations about being on the verge of thirty-five.  Also, I would really like to just type 35, but a dear friend of mine (and English major) has informed me that I should spell it out.  His name starts with a "R" and ends in an "od"...

Observations on being on the verge of thirty-five:

#1 - If you frequently use facial expressions, you WILL have wrinkles in your forehead, no matter how early you started using anti-wrinkle lotion.  I am always moving my eyebrows, and as hard as I try, I can't stop!  I can't tell a story without using my eyebrows.  I'm addicted to using my eyebrows.

#2 - I celebrate my birthday now mostly because my children love cake and parties.

#3 - I'd rather eat bread than cake.

#4 - I get sad when I think about the friends that don't keep in touch, but feel so extremely loved by the ones who do.

#5 - I love my college roommates more today than I did in college.  I may have paid a bajillion dollars to go to college, but the friends that I made there were worth every penny.

#6 - My husband is the most amazing man I've ever met and continues to prove this to me all of the time.  I am dumbfounded that I was so blessed to be chosen by him so early in life.

#7 - I'm so freaking glad that we had kids early in our lives because I'm only almost 35 and am looking forward to leaving kids at home alone without having to pay for babysitters VERY SOON!!!!

#8 - Thirty-five requires more wine than twenty-five did.

#9 - Thirty-five requires more exercise than twenty-five did.

#10 - My birthdays always remind me of the fact that I don't have any grandparents that are still living.  This makes me sad.  This also makes me want to make sure I'm alive for my grandkids.

#11 - I am SO thankful for the fact that Mochie became a part of our family when we were so young and that we've walked the waters of having a high schooler, a college student, a wedding and a grandbaby.  We are the youngest, coolest, PROUDEST parents, grandparents and friends, ever.

#12 - I don't know which section to shop in at any clothing store.  I feel older than a junior and younger than a Mrs.  Good thing I LOVE grocery shopping.

#13 - Gray hairs blend in well with high-lights?

#14 - What the HECK was I thinking when I cut my hair short a handful of years ago?  TWICE.  Seriously, why didn't any of you tell me how bad it was?

#15 - There are a couple of friends that no matter how long it has been since you've been together, no matter how few emails, phone calls, text messages or letters have been passed between you, you know you are dear, close friends and connect at the heart.  Those friends currently reside in Port Orchard, Fircrest, Niger, Burien, Salinas and Manson.

#16 - I am WAY funnier now than ever before.

#17 - I make myself laugh more now, than ever before.

#18 - At thirty-four, things like a new mattress or couch excite me way more than new clothes or makeup.

#19 - Reading a book or magazine have become a luxury rather than a chore.

#20 - I still don't love having a dog.

Looking forward to what thirty-five has in store for me!

Bonus #21- The only photos I have of myself are photos I send to show my sister and husband my awesome bedhead.  (See!  I'm raising my eyebrows even in this self-photo!)

Monday, September 10, 2012


I know it has been a while.


I should really give an explanation about that, but I don't want to.  And I don't really have one.

Oh well.

Every once in a while, I learn something new about my sweet husband.  After 12.5ish years of marriage, plus 2.5ish years of dating/engagement, it is a rare treat to find out something new about him or hear a new funny story about his childhood.

Occasionally, I'll even surprise him with a new story that I hadn't yet thought to tell like that time I told him that I had learned to milk a cow as a child because my grandma kept a cow in her garage.  And then Gav will be momentarily stunned and begin laughing his head off before I've even processed the fact that it might be slightly weird that my grandma had a cow in her garage and that it maybe isn't the norm?

A few weeks ago, I got that same stunned/laughing reaction from Gavin when I blurted out what turned out to be a gem of information that I had "forgotten" to tell my husband.

It happened something like this:

Me: "Do you remember where you were when you found out Kurt Cobain had died?"

Gav: (I actually have no idea what he said to that and maybe I wasn't really listening?)

Me: "I remember exactly where I was.  I was at my aunt's house on the other side of the state.  I had gone there for the weekend because my grandma paid me twenty bucks to go with my cousin to his prom."

Gav: Stunned silence followed by "What?!  You went to the prom with your cousin?" - said while giggling.

Me: "My grandma paid me and my other girl cousin to go with two of our boy cousins who didn't have dates.  I remember that we ate Subway before the prom and I only danced with him for one song before we left and went home.  I also remember that I did a VO5 hot oil treatment on my hair that day.  Also, I wore a dress that I bought at Sears."

(I have a really nicely intentioned grandma who obviously wasn't your "run of the mill" old lady.)

Gav: "How have I never heard that story before?" - said in awe and amazement with a hint of disgust.

Me: "Really?  That was the same cousin who got totally drunk and wouldn't stop hitting on me at my aunt's funeral and then passed-out under the tree."

Gav:  "When are you gonna write that book?"

12.5ish years of marriage and we can still surprise each other.  Keepin' the magic alive, baby.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Other Love Languages

Many years ago, I skimmed through a pretty popular book (back then) called "The Five Love Languages." This book talked about how people have a "love tank" that gets filled-up by specific things and each person has certain love languages that cause their personal tank to get full.

The love languages that it listed were:
Physical Touch
Acts of Service
Quality Time
Words of Affirmation

Although I would say that I do enjoy a smattering of the five of these, none of these specifically have ever "filled my love tank."  I've recently identified a few other love languages that Gary Chapman (the author of the book) forgot to mention in his book.

Here are my additions to the list and the things that truly make me swoon...

1. You let me shower and get dressed all by myself while YOU cooked breakfast and made sure the kids got dressed?
Be still my heart.  You might say that this falls into the "acts of service" department, but I disagree.  My husband could clean the house for me and it would not fill my tank, but let me get dressed AND showered in the morning?  A dream come true.

2.  You mowed the lawn without me asking?
Hubba hubba.  Again, you might want to categorize this into "acts of service," but I must disagree once again.  It is not the actual act of the lawn mowing that makes my heart skip a beat, but it is the fact that I didn't have to nag.  Nobody likes a nag and nobody likes to be a nag.

3.  You brought wine?
Bring me some wine and I will love you forever.  You might want to slide this into the "gifts" section, but I think it deserves a category all its own.

4.  You built something with your bare hands or chopped some wood or fought off a bad guy or dug a trench or some other super manly thing?
Nothing better than knowing your man is a manly man, in my opinion.

5.  You deviated from the grocery list and brought home a whole bunch of stuff we've never tried before and a bit of candy?
I love being surprised with food.  I love food.  I love trying new food.  I love eating food.  And cooking food.  And grocery shopping.  But I don't love taking little people to the grocery store that have to touch/grab/pick-up/rub something every second of their lives.  Husband who comes home from the grocery store with new foods to try AND I didn't have to chase anyone around the store?  That's what I call "winning."

*My husband wanted me to add this part:
For the record, my husband does all of these things all of the time.

My husband does all of these things, some of the time.

So there you have it, the real 5 love languages.  Maybe I should write a book?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Petrified Poo

Let me preface this post with two things:
1.  If you have a weak stomach, you may want to pass on reading this one.
2.  I like having a clean house.  A LOT.  I clean every day and I am one of those ridiculous people that enjoys it.

Glad I got that off of my chest.

We live in a really great neighborhood, with fantastic neighbors, a quiet street and where I feel mostly comfortable with my kids playing in the front yard and riding their bikes on the road.  We do not live in an awesome house right now.  It is MUY expensive-o to live in California, folks.  Even if you live in a city surrounded by lettuce.

It's not that the house we are renting is crappy, it's just that our landlords (and probably all previous renters) haven't spent a whole lotta time and effort to properly care for a home.  Our landlords are very nice and aren't psycho like our previous landlord was, so that's a plus.  And our rent is amazing for the area that we live in - which I guess are fair trade-offs for the weird and sometimes disgusting quirks that we've encountered while living here.

By the way, I can't wait for the day that we are no longer living here.

Remember this?

They now match.

We've also installed light fixtures in both of the kids' rooms to replace the bare bulbs that graced their ceilings, painted a couple of doors, planted the flower beds, cleaned the carpets and fixed many other little odds and ends around this place.  If it were my own house, there are a million other things I would do to it, but since it is just a rental, it is difficult to justify the money and effort for something we don't own, right?

And it's mostly not gross.

Except for the tiny master bathroom.

When we first moved in, the toilet in our tiny bathroom donned a pink seashell toilet seat.  Ever seen one of those?  You haven't lived if you haven't.  The thing is, the toilet itself is beige, but the seashell seat was pastel pink.  If the lid was closed, the seashell shined in all of it's glory.  If the lid was opened...well, you would pray that the lid was closed.  On the actual seat part, there was a mark (or painchip?) that EVERY SINGLE TIME that I caught a glimpse of it out of the corner of my eye I would think that someone got poop on the seat.  Every.  Single.  Time.  And then I would gasp and remind myself to close the lid - except for that short time when there was no lid because the plumber who came to unclog the drain in the shower broke it.  Then we went to Wal-mart and bought a new, beautiful, not fake poop marked, not pink toilet seat and lid for 9 dollars.  Now, THAT was a great day.

If you dared to peer into the depths of this particular throne, you would encounter what you would possibly think was what someone had accidentally forgotten to flush.  No matter what I would do, for the last 1.5 years, it has always looked as if someone had gone #1 and forgotten to flush.

I scrubbed.

I Comet-ed.

I bleached.

I CLR'd.

I Magic Erasered.

I Clorox deep stain removered.  6 times in a 48 hour period AND left it to soak overnight.

I desperately paid WAY too much money to a door to door salesman who wooed me with an environmentally safe cleaner and promises of a clean toilet.

I poured a 2 liter of coca-cola into my toilet after reading an email forwarded from Gavin's grandma, let it sit for an hour and prayed for the email fairy-tale to be true.

I even roped my mom into helping me and we spent a glorious afternoon on my bathroom floor.

My husband told me to throw in the towel.

But the petrified poo that clung to the insides of the bowl that I'm renting and I had an imminent war brewing - and I wasn't gonna go down without a fight.

Today, I became the victor.

Armed with my holster of cleaning products, rubber gloves and a butter knife, I slowly chipped away at what I can only imagine is the DNA of every person who has ever lived in this house since 1974.  

I may have dry heaved a few times. 

I will no longer be horrified in the middle of the night by the sight (and smells) that would greet me when I would arise to pee and there are now scratch marks in my gloriously clean toilet, but I will regard them as battle wounds and pray that the landlords won't deduct from our deposit because of them when we move someday.  

Forever and ever, amen.

Butter knife in hand a half-way through the battle...

Desperation makes you do ridiculous things.
Or, just me.

SO freaking disgusting with the Coke in it.
And without the Coke in it.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Gut Check: Empanadas & Buns

My wife has been asking me to blog on a weekly basis ever since this blog began. She finally convinced me that it would be fun, especially if I write "food blogs". So, without further ado, brem bloggy blog brings you "Gut Check".

I travel for work about one night per week in which I find myself in Sacramento, Reno, or Santa Rosa. If I'm really going for it, I will make it to Portland, OR and the Seattle/Tacoma area. I really do not like being away from my family. I just like them too much to find ways to avoid them. But work-related trips are unavoidable so I try to make the most of it. Since my mind doesn't immediately race to going on a solo adventures like hiking or base jumping, I tend to channel all of my maverick energies into eating. I'm not talking about competitive eating - I'd rather live to see 40. No, the eating adventures I pursue are more of the "what can I eat that I've never had before?" persuasion. Or, to be really honest, "what sounds good to me that my wife and kids would put the kibosh on instantly"? Going with this conventional wisdom, I frequently visit, which usually lands me in a strip mall where I get sucked into the Asian food tractor beam. Tonight was different, though. Tonight I'm in Roseville, which should be called "Wewantyoutostayhereforeverville" because it literally has every kind of store and restaurant. If I lived here I may only leave to go see a SF Giants game. And tonight's culinary adventure is another reason to keep me here...if I did actually live here.

I went to "Empanadas & Buns". The name alone should spike your curiosity, as it did mine. I read a few yelp reviews in my hotel room and said, out loud, "I'm goin' for it." You see, that's really the only fun thing about traveling alone is that I have all the freedom in the world to declare aloud that I'm going to eat dinner at a place called "Empanadas & Buns" and no one can stop me. Before I take you on a wordsmithed voyage to my gastro-destination, I should mention that in order to be successful and efficient at eating adventures, one needs a few necessary tools:
1. - it will uncover food empires of untold riches for you in a fraction of the time it would take you to drive all over town looking for something
2. GPS - taking the address found on said "yelp", letting the Garmin guide you is the next best thing to having a chauffeur drive you around
3. car - that's because you don't have a chauffeur

I took the elevator down three flights, said "peace out" to the dude working the front desk, and jumped into my car, Dave. Trekking through the hustle and bustle of folks making their way home, who never realized the gem laid just off their beaten paths, I found "Empanadas and Buns". I walked in and was one of two patrons. The other was a woman named Alicia who, without knowing, really showed me the ropes on the casual and friendly atmosphere of E&B. The owner, Joe, was in mid-conversation with Alicia when he welcomed me to his establishment. I said loudly (probably because I was still in my "declaring aloud stuff" mindset), "I hear this is the place to eat! I read about it on yelp." Joe was glad to have, yet another, piece of business led to him by the internet. I stood in front of the cash register like a stumped spelling bee contestant staring at the chalkboard of choices while muttering things like "Uh..." and "Hmm..." and finally asking Joe, "What do you recommend?" (As a word of advice, when you are researching restaurants on yelp, try to have an idea what you want to order before you get there in order to avoid looking like an idiot.)

Joe, a Spanish man, knows English, Spanish, Italian, and Filipino. Apparently, working for Pan-Am back in the day had some residual benefits. His menu has a little Filipino, a little Spanish, and a little Italian sprinkled around. But what they really are known for are their empanadas. They had quite a few to pick from. Joe recommended the beef and chicken. I said, "Whatever you say, Joe." As I sat down waiting for my food, Joe proceeded to introduce me to Alicia. Then Thor came in (not the comic book guy, an actual guy named Thor). Joe introduced me to him. Then Vanessa came in to pick up her to go order and Joe introduced me to her. I have never had that happen before. It was like the fried pastry version of Cheers and I was the out-of-towner being made to feel right at home. You can't help but learn everyone's name in a place like that. The restaurant was not heated well but the warmth coming from this kind man who took pride in his food and welcomed everyone he met heated up the place. In the back was Norma. She is a little Filipino woman who loves cooking and co-creates all the menu items with Joe. Alicia, Thor, and Vanessa left and it was just me, Joe, and Norma. Joe brought out my order which didn't look like much. However, I decided right then, to savor every bite. It wasn't because the food was delicious. It was because of the company of my new friends. They stood behind their counter talking to me as I nibbled away at my food. Oh, right...the food. Well, the empanada dough was flaky and buttery and awesome. The chicken inside was shredded and tossed with mole sauce that Norma made from scratch. I know, she's Filipino making mole. Who cares, it was amazing. But even better than that was the beef empanada. It had ground beef seasoned with Argentinian spices, green olives, and raisins. Sound weird? Not even. It was incredible and the Thai chili sauce it was served with took it over the edge. I kept wondering if my wife and kids would like it. I'm not sure, but I loved it. And I savored it. And I savored the company and conversation. And I'm really full right now. And happy.

After E&B, I think I might seek out restaurants with a different goal in mind. From now on, rather than trying to find a vacation for my taste buds, I might also try to find a place where everyone, who if they don't know your name at first, will know your name by the time you leave, and you'll be sure to know theirs too.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Bed-Head Revenge

It has taken me years and years to come to grips with my hair.  My hair and I used to be enemies and I do believe that at some point, we loathed each other.  I would do things to punish my hair, like "rat" it up to high-heaven or douse it in a chemical perm.  My hair would retaliate and turn bizarre yellowy colors and crinkle and frizz as payback.  We've come into a mutual understanding over the past handful of years and I would even dare say that most days, we even like each other.

In days past, my hair would sometimes cause me grief and frustration and on occasion, tears.  But these days, we have many good laughs together.  Especially in the mornings.

Upon waking, as I head into the bathroom to brush my teeth and neti-pot, I'm often disturbed and overcome with the hilarity my hair has become during my sleep.  It really does have a great sense of humor.  Of course, I have to take a photo and text it to my closest loved ones to help them start their day with joy and delight.  And I am certain to send the best ones to Gavin while he is away on work trips, just to make sure he knows what he's missin' at home.  I'm fairly certain none of my morning hair photos have caused much pain, sorrow or car accidents, but one can't be sure of everything...

I recently noticed my stockpile of amazing bed-head shots was quite substantial and I knew that the world would probably benefit greatly from seeing them and that keeping them all to myself would be pure selfishness.

I kinda think that my hair is still trying to pay me back for that time when I chopped it all off after a bad break-up with a boy.

Also, I would love to know if anyone can compete with the morning bed-head of a Brem...

(I honestly can't believe that I'm posting these.)

Taken April 25, 2011

Taken November 3, 2011

Taken November 4, 2011

Even Jude's bed-head is spectacular.

Taken December 5, 2011

Taken January 5, 2012

Taken December 21, 2011
Merry Christmas to you!

Taken this morning.
Hubba, hubba.

One more good one of the boy.

7th grade hair with my BFF, Maria.
I think I can see why my hair is on a mission for payback...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

You know what sucks/stinks?  Church shopping.  Seriously.  Uggh.

Churches, just FYI - If you want ME to like your church/become a member/begin tithing to you, I would love the following things:

*I want to know where my children are going and who they will be with and I will not be sending them off with strangers who don't give me any information about the whereabouts of my children EVER.  Background checks to work in kid's rooms are "duh" in my book.

*I would love to be able to see how to get to my seat and not wait for my eyes to adjust to "pitched blackness" just to find a place to sit down.

*NO FOG MACHINES, whatsoever.  No matter what.  You know what I have NEVER, ever thought?  "You know what would make this worship set better?  FOG."  Nope, never thought that.

Forever and ever, amen.