Wedding Photos

Wedding Photos

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Shamed in to action...

My husband fully disclosed early on that he isn't much of a "handyman" when it comes to doing things around the house.  It totally shattered my dream to one day buy an older home and restore/remodel it on our own...

I learned how to do a few things around the house.  Not from my father, he passed when I was just a little girl, but from my mother.

When I was a little girl my family lived in Mexico.  We didn't move back to the states until I was 10 years old.  In Mexico labor is cheap.  All types of labor.  It is a joke, but common knowledge that one does not need to be rich in order to have a maid.  They say "Asta la criada tiene criada".  Even the maid has a maid.

In Mexico it was rare for someone to do their own home maintenance (I don't know how things are now) , but what was totally unheard of was for a woman to do repairs around the house.  If you needed your lawn mowed or wanted to landscape your yard, you hired a gardener.  If you needed a room painted, you hired a painter.  If you had a leaky faucet, you hired a plumber.  There was no "doing it yourself"!!  You called a professional PERIOD. One couldn't go to a Home Depot and get advice or be taught how to do a repair.  Oh... just remembered.  Home Depot has now branched in to Mexico so perhaps the "do it yourself" is not unheard of any more though the store may be there as a supplier to construction companies. (Will have to inquire on that.)

Anyways it was a marvel for my relatives visiting from Mexico to know that my mother leaned how to paint, put up wallpaper, patch up a whole on the wall, knew the difference between primer and paint and mowed her own lawn.  At first I think they felt sorry for us.  Thought we had fallen on hard times and could not afford to hire help.  My mom explained how much more expensive labor is here in the States and that "everybody" did their own home maintenance.  Unless you were super rich it was shameful to hire someone to do basic tasks. I don't think they believed her at first.

Well, back to my husband.  He had been hiding behind the "I don't do repairs" disclosure for a while but this weekend I shamed him in to agreeing to do some "maintenance" to the house.  HIS WORDS...  "Shamed him"

When I voiced for the fifth time how I wanted something replaced around the house and he responded "I don't know how to do that".  I responded back..  "Well, I saw on a website (Home Depot or Lowe's) a video on how to do it and it looks easy."  To which he responded "you have shamed me in to doing it". Now, I was prepared to do the task myself!!  I have been doing simple repairs at every place I've lived.  My only reason for voicing AGAIN that I wanted something replaced was my way of giving my husband notice that I would be making an "out of budget" purchase at the hardware store.

Hmm  now he's done it.  If he thought he had a free pass on home repairs, I've got him now!!  If I can do it, and am willing to give a go (no bluffing) he must certainly help with/do it.  Perhaps the dream of restoring/remodeling an older home is still gone, but at least I can breath easy knowing that my pocket book won't suffer and the house won't fall on top of us out of lack of upkeep. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Battle in the kitchen...

There are a few things my husband and I just  can't seem to agree on.  The first battle we encountered when we moved in together that we are still arguing about now (and will probably disagree on for a while) is the dishwasher.

I am totally against using it!  I have yet to "meet" a dishwasher that performs properly.  The amount of work that goes in to rinsing, loading (strategically), unloading and most times rinsing again after a full cycle is much more trouble than doing dishes by hand.

We usually go round and around on this issue and for the most part I DO the dishes in our home.  It may sound unfair, but we split the rest of the kitchen chores. My honey usually picks up the table, puts away the leftovers and dishes after they are washed. In the end cleaning the kitchen is still a team effort.

Despite both agreeing to disagree every now and then my husband insists on bringing up the issue.  It is usually when I ask him to wash the dishes generated (by him only) while I am out of town or he is at home alone on a day off.  Like most, he hates to wash dishes and wants to load them on the dishwasher.  I don't see the point of wasting so much energy to run the washer when the number of dirty dishes created by one or two people are so little.  The argument then moves to waiting until we have a full dishwasher?

I can go on and on about this mundane house chore, but I must confess.  Every dishwasher that I've had either at an apartment or at home now I have not purchased myself and has usually been an "affordable" model that performs "moderately".  Also, the fact that our pots and pans aren't dish washer safe and need to be hand washed anyway gives some weight to my side of the debate.  What usually ends our argument is agreeing to one day splurge on a top of the line dishwasher.  I just hope that it performs well and it doesn't end up being a waste of money. Until then I am sure this argument will come up again..

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Things to celebrate…

There are things I remember that are trivial and there are important things I can’t recall if my life depended on it.  Some of the things I tend to forget are a few “anniversary” dates.  I never was the type to celebrate what to me were insignificant dates, but to many (especially women) are so meaningful.  Don’t get me wrong, I remember the biggies but I have found ridiculous the people who would make a big deal over monthly anniversaries and expect a big celebration each month. I celebrated that way when I was a teen, but a month in teen years is equivalent to dog years.

Anyway, I admit that every now and then it dawns on me how time has passed.  On Monday, for example I mentioned to my husband that this weekend would be four years that we’ve known each other. I didn’t remember, I read it on a calendar that was close to being two months behind.   We met online, but our first real meeting was on this date. 
We celebrated our first year. I honestly can’t remember if he gave me flowers or not, but the thing I do remember of that first year was the gift he gave me that melted my heart. He printed every email we wrote to each other prior to our meeting (two, maybe three weeks—I can’t remember that either), and you know what??  Every single thing he said about himself was true.  I asked him then if the same was for what I had shared about myself and he said it was.
I don’t recall what we did to celebrate the other years.  Other dates became more important and took the honor of being remembered & celebrated.  The date we met to the day we moved in together, and later to the date we married…  It isn’t lack of romance, but when you celebrate every day in some small way how lucky you feel to have found that person who understands you, your “language” and the way things process in your brain life becomes one big celebration. It could be because I found my match so late in life that I appreciate him so much, or it could be because he is so perfect: Not a perfect man, just perfect FOR ME that I don’t wait around for dates to come around! It makes the not remembering thing easier to live with.
Today I will celebrate somehow having met my husband.  Probably by smiling back at those first awkward moments and thanking him again for not being scared of the jibber jabber woman who was so nervous she could not stop talking!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Weight and marriage...

It is assumed (still in the Hispanic culture) that a man will gain weight with marriage.  The assumption is that husbands will be getting better meals at home much different than the “take out” they would eat as bachelors.  My fist issue with this cultural thought is that men are believed to be incapable of doing their own cooking.  I know a large number of men that are far better cooks than their wives!  Another thing is that the men that I know who like good food have no problem paying for a good meal at a restaurant and would turn their nose at the usual definition of "take out".

My other issues are: What if the wife they marry doesn’t cook?   What if the wife they marry has a demanding job that doesn’t allow for elaborate meals? What if husbands are eating healthier meals after marriage?  I personally haven’t met a newly married man who has gained weight because he was getting better meals at home. Most of the married men I know have two income households so their wives aren't waiting at home with dinner on the table.

What about women?  I for one have gained a few pounds as opposed to my husband.  Besides the not buckling down and fitting time for regular exercise between my long hours at work, my long commute and my rush to come home to cook dinner so we can eat before 8 p.m. I am actually eating full meals and have gained weight.
When I was single cooking happened only when I had guests.  I would host family dinners (Easter, or some other holiday) and gatherings with friends. Those were the only times I would cook.  On the average day my meals at home consisted of salads, PB & J sandwiches, steamed white rice and canned tuna. My meals were simple, quick/painless and would keep me from actually turning on the stove.  The thought of not wanting to generate more heat in the already hot South Texas was understandable. It wasn't that I didn't like to cook, I enjoy it very much but I associate good food with having others around to share the meal.

Now dinner is part of the little time during the week I get to spend (awake) at home with my husband. HE has lost weight ! Not because of bad cooking but because I try my best to cook more healthy meals (than he was used to) and fight him on the junk food that enters our house. I have gained!  I am eating more than before!  It's kind of hard to just have salad when there is a yummy main dish waiting to be savored.

We cook most weeknights and even have left overs for lunch.  Before marriage, leftovers were what I took home after eating at a restaurant! I have to admit that I really like having a reason to cook.  I have always enjoyed it, but cooking for one felt the effort that goes in to it was wasted if it could not be shared. I am glad my husband doesn't expect dinner on the table when he arrives from work.  Whoever arrives first usually gets dinner started and for the most part, we enjoy being in the kitchen together.

Now for weight and MY MARRIAGE.  I could also blame it to being a little older and having a harder time keeping extra weight off.  I could, but who I am kidding?  I am a foodie, I like to eat and being married has given me a reason to try out new recipes.  Thank goodness my husband doesn't mind being my ginnie pig.  As long as he is fed HE is happy.

Monday, August 22, 2011

My dysfunctions…

When you are young and about to marry, people usually warn you about getting used to your mate’s habits.  Does he put the cap back on the tooth paste? Will he remember to put the toilet seat down?  Things like that, but when you are older..  No one warns you on it.  It is assumed you are old enough to know these things. 

I wished the good meaning people who advise the young would also take time to advice the “not so young”. The advice I would give an “older newlywed” would be: Speak out!  If there are things that bug you from the beginning they will bug you more later on when you aren’t seeing life thru pink colored glass.  (This piece of advice is very popular)

The other piece of advice I would give (and most important) is..  Some of the things that may bug you may be YOUR DYSFUCTION and not something your poor mate should be fussed over.

After living alone for so long a person develops his/her own system or way of doing things.  Having a mate come in who does things a bit different may bother you but if it drives you insane, then “baby THAT is your DYSFUNCTION”.  If the end result is the same and you are still irritated YOU have the problem and shouldn’t freak out on your mate!

Folding laundry IS my dysfunction.  I fold socks and underwear differently than my husband.  At first it bugged me a lot, but I realized (big light bulb moment) that he was a forty something with his own quirks.  I could not expect him to change because of my ridiculous habits!  It also dawned on me that I should be happy he even folds laundry (but mostly when asked) when friends are complaining about doing it all ALWAYS!! 

I had to come to terms that if I AM folding laundry that week it will get done MY WAY, if he is... Well, he can have his drawers however he wants!  I just have to be thankful he participates in doing our house chores as I am REFOLDING my garments.

Friday, August 19, 2011

My husband thinks I’m a Ninja…

You know how some people play softball, basketball, or some other sport on a league?  Well my sport of choice was Karate.  I started taking lessons in my mid-twenties and off and on I practiced the sport for about 13 years.  It was the best thing I've ever done for myself.  It kept me active, I learned self-defense and met amazing people with strong character, drive and perseverance.

My husband met me a short time before the Dojo where I was a student closed.  He never saw me work out, he never saw me spar, he never saw how talented or not I was.  He thinks because I practiced Martial Arts I am some type of Ninja.  I am not, never was.  I am only part of a group who dared to try something out of their comfort zone, something scary, totally out of character and found more than could have ever dreamed.  A way of life!

I was lucky to have been instructed by a talented, energetic, and respected Martial Artist, who with experience, passion for the sport and a big heart brought out the best in the students.  This instructor also happened to be female, and a wonderful role model!  I am proud to call my instructor (Master Palmer) a close friend.

I have missed being active in the sport.  Some have asked why I haven’t joined another school/Dojo.  Well, it is very difficult to find a place to call home when the style of Martial Arts you practiced is “non-traditional”, not to mention a back injury that has limited me a bit. Besides, what made Karate for me so enjoyable were the friends I made thru the years. 

Having a female head instructor was pretty amazing.  It attracted strong women to the Dojo who ended up shaping my character and helped me shed some “traditional” cultural ways.  I was raised by a mother who was submissive in her marriages but who stood strong on her own.  I truly believe that I would have married sooner had the lessons I learned thru Martial Arts not made me feel more independent and secure.  Hey, when you can stand to come home black and blue on a regular basis and not care what people think you tend to care little about others opinions of your life in general and not rush to settle. 

Why didn’t you marry such and so? Because my life mate should make me feel safe, not threatened!  Why did you break up with (choose a name)?  Because I have discovered my own strength and won’t settle for a man who will drown in a glass of water! What happened to (choose a name again)? He lacked focus and discipline in his life and thought things would come to him by simply wishing!

I think my husband is more impressed by the things I tell him I used to do.  I used to spar every chance I had to improve speed and technique (got spanked half of the time but showed off a few tricks of my own) as well as to hang out with friends/peers at the Dojo.  I participated in tournaments either by competing or judging supporting other schools as well as my own.  I was once an extra in a B movie when my instructor was invited to bring females to play members of a girl gang.  Also, the quirky things of my every day life: I used to lay on the floor reading, butt against the wall with legs apart letting gravity help me stretch to improve flexibility.  (People do the strangest things when no one is watching!)  I used to snap a side kick as a way of "play fighting" when most people pretend to smack someone on the head, or close doors and drawers with a kick. Now that my back is feeling better I have found old habits coming back.

He's also heard "war stories" from my Karate friends he's met.  All or the majority have tested (for their next belt rank) or kept working out with a number of injuries ranging from pulled muscles to broken bones. I think what impresses him the most is my tolerance for pain and a lack of neediness for attention when injured.  This has taught him to know that when I say I am aching I am not complaining about just a hang nail.  I guess the women in his past were more fragile or liked to call attention to them with mere discomfort. 

I am equally impressed with my husband.  The qualities I needed to practice such a physically demanding sport were the same that he used in his life.  He dared to switch careers, went back to school and got another degree all while he was dealing with the end of a marriage.  The emotional roller coaster of going back to school in his late 30's while having additional drama did not make him loose his focus. That is what I learned thru Martial Arts.  I learned to focus and keep going no matter what comes my way.

I think my husband also gets a kick (no punt intended) at how excited I get watching a movie with a good fight scene.  I've broken down the steps for him to show what it is I like or what impresses me about a scene!  (I am a geek that way!) Not much different than any other amateur being impressed watching a professional on the screen.

We are truly made for each other.  Just because I can be tough he has never once forgotten to treat me like a woman and not like one of the guys.  I think he found out he likes strong women.  He jokes and says he knew when he was in love with me. We were in an antique shop. I picked up an owl figurine and almost fainted at the cost but bounced back with interest by commenting on the weight of it.  I said "Cool; you can kill someone with it".  I lean more towards both sharing a dark sense humor.

I won't underplay the goals I achieved in Martial Arts.  I am so very proud of them, and if my husband is impressed by them then it's good to have married someone who admires you.  After all, I did as well!  I am impressed every day of the man I married for a long list of reasons and I often tell him he was definitely worth the wait!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A modern blessing...

It is very common for Latin children to ask their parents (mainly mothers) for a blessing before walking out the door.  If it's not the children asking, the parents (again, mostly mothers) are chasing their offspring to the door to stop them and have them "take their blessings".

I was not brought up that way, but I remember visiting my great aunt Margarita and having her go thru the ritual of making several signs of the cross on to each person before walking out of her home. -- She was a devout Catholic who crucified my mom for changing religions but had no problem rubbing a Buda's belly for luck.  That thought still makes me laugh.

What I did grow up with is saying a prayer before taking a trip.  My grandmother taught us to recite one of two psalms (#23 or #121).  I still continue to do it; thought I just now realized I don't do it when I travel with my husband.  Hmm...

The one thing I do is send my husband off to work, not with a blessing or signs of the cross but with an affirmation.  I say "COME HOME TO ME SAFELY".  It has been my way to voice out to the universe/ask God to give him a safe trip.  We both commute to a different city for work and it is a long drive!

My husband and I are of different religions.  I don't particularly claim any one religion at the time.  I was born in to a non-practicing Catholic home, converted to Seventh Day Adventist in my teens and have been without religion since my mid 20's.  I have peeked in to a few religions over the years and the one that fulfills my needs and gives me the most meaningful connection has to be the Native American church.  (To each its own I say, just be good at heart!)

I don't know why I don't pray when I travel with my husband, though I recall us visiting my grandmother and standing still with her in prayer for a safe journey home.  Perhaps it's because I pray in Spanish that I don't go thru my "ritual" of reciting a "traveler's" psalm.  I don't know, but it's something I will have to think about. 

In the mean time I will continue to send my husband off to work with my own version of a blessing.  "Come home to me safely".

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Frida meets Diego

I have been a longtime fan of Mexican art, but it wasn’t until the late 90’s that a friend was my link to who is now my favorite artist.   During one of my visits to Dallas my friend Rodolfo took me to an exhibit of Diego Rivera (a private collection).  Him (Rivera) I knew and recognized from my love of Mexican art, but his wife… The equally talented Frida Kahlo I had never seen or heard of before!

I immediately became attracted to a passion I see in her paintings.  RAW is the word I use to describe her work. Her life story is impressive; the movie filmed with Salma Hayek did a half decent account of it.

So I had been a fan of Frida for years.  I call myself a “Frida Freak”!  I have even dressed up as Frida for Halloween. Not difficult to understand; little Latin girl attracted to one of Mexico’s most famous artist.  What is hard to believe is that on the day I first stepped foot in my husband’s apartment I found Diego Rivera!

My husband owned a bright red partition with a replica of Rivera’s famous “calla lilies” (embraced by an indigenous woman).  I couldn’t believe it; I also could not believe his large collection of what I call ”critters”. Wooden creatures hand painted in bright colors that are typical folk art from the Oaxaca, Mexico region. 

Wow!  I would have never thought a “white boy” from West Texas would gravitate towards such, but he does!  Our home is decorated in an “interesting” way.  Very “earthy” I like to think, and the “critters” are scattered everywhere!!

The funniest thing of all is that everyone assumes my husband acquired them when he married me, when it’s the opposite.  I joke and say that it was a sign from God/the universe (take a pick) that we were compatible even in the art we like. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Geek attracts geek

My husband and I share many interests, one of them being sci-fi. We met online and I am honest when I tell him I probably would have dismissed him had he listed as his interests gaming, Star Wars, and cult movies. Not that I could not relate to him, but the stereotype was just too embarrasisng to admit to.

In time we revealed ourselves; and we couldn't be happier. He introduced me to gaming, and though I kept declining his invitations to play with a group, he finally wore me down.  First he got me hooked  on a sort of strategy game called Heroscape, and later talked me in to joining in a game of D&D. It took a while, but two things finally pushed me to accept to try it.  One was that he gifted me a book called "Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress - A girl's guide to The Dungeons & Dragons game" by Shelly Mazzanoble.   A book I recomend to any guy who would like to have the females in their lives take an interest in playing the game. The book is half "how-to" and half addresses the myths and stereotypes of gamers. The other thing made me give D&D a try was that my husband promised I wouldn't be the only woman in  the bunch.  The DM's girlfriend (now wife) was playing in the group so I agreed to at least try it.  Well, it's been almost two years since then.  We play on a regular basis and I've even made good friends with the DM's wife who isn't what I had expected either.

One of our favorite things to do is having our private geek fests. Over long weekends we pick a series and watch it back to back.  We have watched The Lord of the Rings (about once a year since we met) and The Matrix trilogies. Every episode of Firefly (a few times), The first season of Heroes and the entire Battlestar Galactica (as soon as a season was available to rent or stream).

It's funny but I was in denial thinking that I wasn't as big of a geek, but I am.  Friends laugh at me because they've known all along and hearing of this part life with my husband they remind me how right we are for each other...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Getting my geek on...

Participating on Gothridge Manor's "Show me your dice marathon".  My husband got me in to playing D&D and this is my first set of dice.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The name game..

I have seen it; in real life and in the movies.  The women rushing with their marriage license in hand and all their identifications eager to take on their new identity.  “Mrs. (fill in the blank)”

I have to say that at my age I wasn’t one of them.  It may be that because these days women with careers and degrees that they have worked so hard for are opting to keep their maiden names.  In my case it wasn’t that I was refusing to take on my husband’s name.  It wasn’t that my biggest achievement has my maiden name written on it.  It was ...  Well, it was a sort of sadness that my identity would get lost in the name shuffle.  I had been very proud of my last name.  In fact, I used it often as an adjective: a way to describe my personality and my character.  My mother definitely used it to describe how much of a family trait I carry.  The main of all a strong will. 

As the years went by and I saw my friends and loved ones transition with ease I wondered if I’d ever be so quick to shed my name.  When we got engaged my husband and I had a few conversations over the subject.  He asked if I would take on his name.  I guess the look on my face wasn’t thrilling when I said I would; inside feeling a little sad.  He said I didn’t have to, that I would be recognized as “Mrs. (fill in the blank)” the moment we signed on the dotted line; that made me relax a bit.  Perhaps I didn’t have to do as expected, hell there has been plenty I haven’t done as expected why rush to it then?

I asked my friends what exactly I had to do to change my name.  I even bought a “name change kit” from a website specializing in all things “Wedding”. I was warned not to waste my money on it, but did it any ways: unnecessary and a total waste of good money!  I thought it would make things easier, but it didn’t! Seeing listed all the things I had to change made me want to yawn, how tedious!  I slipped the kit on a bookshelf and every few months I would look at it.

I did eventually change my name.  It took an entire 18 months after our wedding to do it; during which I had time to figure out some things..  I figured out that; well, I didn’t figure out that I am a procrastinator.  I have known that for a long time.  I figured out that I feared losing my identity. I loved my husband but he fell in love with me and not the thought of branding me with his name like cattle.  I decided I would be keeping my last name and adding my husband’s name.  I solved the issue by moving things over.  I wasn’t given a middle name, so I made my maiden name my middle name and added on my husband’s last name. 

I did what is customary to do in Mexico.  You are given two last names at birth.  The father’s last name goes first and second and less mentioned is your mother’s maiden name.  When a woman marries they usually drop the mother’s last name and swap it for the husband’s name.   I didn’t do it because it’s customary to do it in Mexico.  I just really wanted both.  So the decision was made long before I took action.  I attribute pizza with getting things moving.   I had ordered a pizza over the phone and gave my maiden name (my legal name) for the order.  My husband was standing close by and had this sad look on his face, as if I was refusing him even to the pizza place.  He didn’t say a word, but I felt I had to justify myself.  I told him I was paying with a check and thought I should give the name that appeared on the checking account. 

The look of disappointment might have been all in my head but it got me to stop dragging my feet. I had already decided what I wanted my legal name to be and now I had just been dreading the time involved to make the change.  It took about 8 weeks to get everything squared away. It was as time consuming as I had feared.

If you are wondering if I hyphenated, I didn’t.  I joke and say I chose to keep both names separate and use my full name like Hillary Rodham Clinton just to get a rise out of a few people.  At the end I did what is fashionable here in the U.S. these days and what is customary in Mexico, but I did it for my own reasons.  I kept my name, the name I have been known by for over forty years and simply added to it to honor my husband, our relationship and the extended family I am now a part of.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Dinner tonight…

I feel lucky that my husband has participated from the very beginning in the preparation of our meals.  We are in the kitchen together about 80% of the time and it makes putting dinner on the table so much easier and faster every night.  I can’t exactly say he LIKES to cook, but I can ask him to take care of dinner every now and then when I work late.  I am not always thrilled of his choices in meals, but at least he won’t run to the nearest fast food place.

Being of Mexican descent my cooking has that spicy seasoning and though Mexican dishes aren’t all I cook, they certainly are dishes I go to when I need comfort food.  One of those dishes is “Picadillo”; a common meat and potatoes dish.  My husband came up with his own version which I call “Picadillo a la Mack” when we found ourselves suffering from postponing our grocery shopping and trying to come up with a meal with what we had left in the refrigerator.

 We had enough in the house to fix the traditional dish, but the portion was barely enough for two so my husband scanned the refrigerator for something we could use to bulk it up. He ended up adding some left over canned corn from the prior day’s lunch.  Then the next time we were preparing “Picadillo” he insisted we try adding green beans to it and over the months my comfort meal turned in to a different dish and one of my husband’s favorite meals.    

Now I have to give my husband credit for thinking like a good cook using what was on hand and taking a recipe as a base and running with it.  My only complaint is that “Picadillo a la Mack” has tuned in to a meal big enough to serve 6 to 8 and though I don’t mind having left overs for lunch the next day I do mind having left overs for days.  My husband would be happy to eat the same thing every night as long as he was fed so we negotiate on when this dish will be cooked.  On weeks I know I won’t be home for dinner one or two nights that is when this meal comes in handy.  I might eat it once or twice and my husband (who doesn’t get bored with the same meal and has a cast iron stomach) can eat it all week (or however long it lasts). This recipe may be an attractive dish that is easy to prepare and very economical for a family larger than two.  I hope you try it..