Generally speaking, I am not a particularly sentimental person. Not really. (Ok, maybe sometimes.) I also hate "PDA." No public displays of affection! And I feel like a blog is just about as public as one can get, but you know....it was Valentine's Day AND my anniversary on the SAME day, so how could I NOT blog about it?
This past Saturday was Valentine's Day as most of you know. We woke up to big, fluffy, white snowflakes and a fresh inch or two on the ground. It was absolutely gorgeous! I'd been wishing for more snow (don't be mad, but I love it) and what is a more perfect day to get that wish than on Valentine's Day/our anniversary?
For the record, we did not want to get married on Valentine's Day. We are not hopeless romantics or overly-sappy. This just happened to be the only day that our reception site had available for the year, and my mother was REALLY gung-ho about this reception site. So, we were married on February 14th, 2004.
But back to the snow.......it was so pretty. I had to take a picture. I wish you could see just how big the snowflakes were. This was one of those light and fluffy snows. The Cupids are pointing to all of the things in my backyard that you are NOT SUPPOSED TO NOTICE OR LOOK AT, OK! It's shameful. We've never quite known what to do with our patio furniture in the winter. We could tarp them, maybe we should have.... This spring the old back deck must be re-built, so hopefully we can make a storage space underneath. In the meantime, please ignore the frozen table and all of the garden fence attempting to keep the puppy ON the beaten path.
(Don't look there, there or there.)
Noah likes Valentine's Day a lot. For some reason though, he didn't want to give out Valentines in class this year. He wanted to hand out little Valentine treats, bubbles and erasers, which he did, but when it came to giving classmates the puppy and kitten Valentine cards that he earlier chose, it was a no-go. I can't quite figure out if it's because every year he laments having to write on each card, or if he was somehow starting to feel embarrassed at the thought of giving a girl a Valentine?
Jon and I gave Noah his ultimate, Valentine dream: A giant Hershey Kiss! Noah saw this at Target a couple of weeks ago and begged for one. And even though it says: "#1 Teacher," he still loved it. Maybe even more than if it said: "#1 Kid."
Perhaps you are wondering about Noah's latest "hair style." I know that I am! The mullet-esq-ness of the whole thing is purposeful. I choose my battles. Haircuts are just not at the top of my chosen list. Noah wants his hair long. He doesn't want it short. For the past several months he's been absolutely obsessed with the 1980's show "Full House" and has had the goal of growing "Uncle Jessie" hair.
For Jon, my gift was this
I also gave Jon a pair of gloves that people use when they lift weights. He exercises every other night so I thought he could use a pair of gloves. I also gave him a box of Little Debbie "Nutty Bars." Hmm....that's like dueling gifts. I felt badly that my presents weren't anything spectacular this year. The thing is, Jon really dislikes receiving presents. He just doesn't. He always asks that I don't get him anything or buy anything expensive that he doesn't really need, and he genuinely means that. So, in recent years I've tried to honor his request by only giving things I KNOW he could use or by making homemade gifts.
Last month, I told Jon not to get me anything this year for our anniversary. My new car in January was more than enough of a gift for a long time to come, I said. Unlike his preference to not receive gifts, my husband loved to give them!
And this is what he gave me (I'm sharing with his permission.) The sweetest, homemade card. At some point, Jon got into my craft paper and made a card with butterflies. There are butterflies on the inside too, and when you unfold the card and open it all up there are even more butterflies! Isn't that nice!? Awwwww. :)
There was a gift too, which I'll tell you about later on in the post.....
I wanted to get into the Valentine's spirit, so I decided to wear pink on this day and to wear pink make-up too. I know it might be a little corny, but come on, you need to live a little and be goofy sometimes! (Or always.)
I have this pink faux-wrap dress from a few years ago that I found at Lands' End and some berry colored tights.
But...it was FREEZING on Saturday, so I spent the rest of the time that I wore the dress in a crocheted hat and purple snow boots.
Truth be told though, within three hours, I was sadly back into my winter "uniform." Black leggings, a long tank top and cotton Henley shirt. For those of you who have read How Bourgeois for a while, you know that I used to really care about my outfits. I wore dresses all the time and I put thought and effort into what I wore. Since Josie though, when I had to start hurrying to get ready and found myself outside everyday on walks and in the grass and on the ground and carrying a dog around, my dresses and tights went to the back of the closet. Jon decided to wear a "uniform" this year to just make his work mornings more streamlined, so I decided that I needed a uniform too. The problem is, I tried leggings because they were much warmer than tights and you can easily tuck them into warm snow boots. And once you go leggings, you never go back. I'm serious, they are SO comfortable that WHO CARES that you are wearing leggings and "might" look all slovenly. (Some people look spiffy, but compared to my old dresses, I definitely look a little lazy). Leggings and layers of cotton tops. It's like wearing pajamas all day. I feel shame. Hey though, at least on Valentine's Day I wore a tank top and shirt in complimentary pink tones! That's good for something, right?
For my makeup I used some my Origins "Quick! Hide." concealer in light and "All-And-Nothing", translucent, talc-free pressed powder. They don't use parabens in their cosmetics, yay! My blush was Vapour Organic Cosmetics "Aura Multi-Use blush in Courtesan 213." On my eyes I used Vapour's "Mesmerze Eye Shimmer in Provoke" as a pink base and then I used a light shell pink color over that. It was from an old, Lancome eye shadow-quad that came as a gift with purchase. The shadow was similar to THIS ONE in "Pink Pearls." Next, I lined my lids with my Origin's "Automagically eyeliner pencil" in Jet and put on a few coats of Physician's Formula's "Organic Wear Natural Jumbo Lash mascara" in Ultimate Black. My eyebrows, which I think are the wrong color for my hair really, were just done in an old pencil I have from Target and some brown eyebrow shadow. I need to find a new eyebrow color... I highlighted my cheeks with Vapour's "Trick Stick Highlighter" in Star and highlighted underneath my brow bone with Origin's" Eye Brightening Color Stick" and Phsycians' Formulas' "Shimmer Strip" in the lightest color. Finally, on my lips I used Burt's Bees "Lip Crayon" in Carolina Coast with Burt's Bees Lip Gloss, which I LOVE, in Rosy Dawn. And that is that!
Since it was our anniversary, I must admit that I was feeling a tiny bit nostalgic. So, I pulled out a scrapbook that I made for Jon for our anniversary quite a few years ago. It might have been our 5th or 6th? I thought I might share some of it with you. (That is if you want to see....)
This is the opening page. Here we are getting married. (You might have figured that out yourself.)
This next page is from our early days of dating. Jon and I met 18 years ago in college! I spied him in our dormitory's cafeteria and the rest is HISTORY! Actually though, we were good friends for seven years until we dated. (My gosh, we're like that new Bravo Channel show: "Friends to Lovers.") I always had a long-term boyfriend during college, so we just never had dated until I asked Jon out to dinner a couple of years after school. He said "yes" but then changed his mind and called the date off because he was worried it would ruin our friendship. Legend has it that I then "fake cried" and asked him to reconsider. I'm so
I'm not sure how I saved all of this ephemera for such a long time, but the ticket stub in the upper right hand corner is from the first play that we went to see in Toronto. And the photo in the upper left corner is Jon zonked out after work. In the early days I would meet him after work at his apartment before we'd go out to dinner. He worked in downtown Detroit at PriceWaterhouse and would often come home and fall asleep in his chair. That's our cat Priya. I miss her all the time. The dirty looking photo on the right is Jon's view of the Detroit skyline from his office. And there is a movie advertisement from a movie that we saw in the early days. Our first movie together was Amelie'. Oh! And in the middle, I kid you not, is part of my first Valentine's Day gift from Jon...some old New Kids on the Block trading cards??? Why? Neither of us have any idea why he had them and why he felt compelled to give them to me. But thanks?
Oh gosh, this page is embarrassingly sappy. I swear, I'm not a sappy person, REALLY. Not usually....
A coffee sleeve from the bagel shop where we'd often walk to for bagels and coffee. Some weird picture of the two of us in my Mom's house that says: *CRINGE* "Once apon a time." *CRINGE* SPELLED INCORRECTLY! O.M.G. The black and white photo is the little house where Jon had his apartment. It was 450 sq. feet, like an Ikea apartment, but totally not an Ikea apartment ! Are those LOVE LETTERS!? *BLUSH* Moving on!!!...................
Then one day, after we had been dating for a year and a half, Jon was transferred to Price Waterhouse's San Francisco office. We went back and forth as to whether or not I should go with him and move to California. I didn't want to move to California (I always wanted to live on the East Coast and never saw myself in the West). At the same time though, I didn't want our relationship to end. Some people said that the best idea was for Jon to move out first, see how he liked it and then decide if I should move, but I knew that I didn't want to be in a long distance relationship. It was just too far. So, after a while, we decided that I'd tag along. I didn't have a ton going on back in Detroit. I was working at our library while investigating grad-school programs, trying to figure out what to do next. I could do all of that and more in San Francisco (I thought.)
HOW did I save these MUNI tickets!? Here are some tickets and a pass to San Francisco Municipal Railway. The N-Judah line of the light rail stopped right at our corner. We lived two blocks from Golden Gate Park. We had the ocean to our left and downtown to our right.
That photo in the middle is of Jon and I minutes after arriving in SF at our new flat. We had been driving for five days in a little, red coupe filled with luggage, a cat and a guinea pig. (What a great boyfriend to be willing to tote my guinea pig cross-country). The picture in the bottom left, I took from the top of a nearby park. Isn't it gorgeous!? And in the lower-right hand corner....that's me with my engagement ring. I mean engagement donut. It is a long story, but Jon proposed to me by putting a donut on my finger that said: "Will you marry me?" It was very Homer Simpson-esq. I don't know if I should laugh or cry. (It's ok, you can laugh. My beautiful ring was being made. It was just taking a while). By the way, do you know that we kept that donut frozen and with us for nearly TEN YEARS! Yes, that is so sick, but I swear. I guess it must have thawed when we moved back to Michigan (we had to drive the guinea pig again), but then we re-froze it until our poor donut basically disintegrated around 2012. :(
Ok, I think this is the MOST AMAZING thing about the whole sappy book.....somehow.....for some reason, not only did I keep the pizza receipt from our first night, first meal in San Francisco, but I saved it for years! We rolled into town, drove straight to our new flat, had NO IDEA where to get something for dinner or what to get. We ended up looking in a phonebook and just ordering from the closest pizza place, "Round Table." I remember, it was dark and we walked for the pizza, not even really knowing how safe the neighborhood was or not (it was safe), and then we ate it in our apartment that was totally empty except for a blow-up mattress, some suitcases and the dim over-head light. The moving truck was a couple of days away. I remember being so homesick and sitting on that floor and thinking "WHAT have I done!?" And this was just as the WHOLE HOUSE STARTED TO SHAKE as the N-Judah light rail train came by AGAIN! (It wasn't easy to sleep those first few weeks).
Honestly, I think I saved the receipt because back in 2003, or still now, I couldn't believe that a little pizza could cost $18!
On the next page there are some business cards... Paul K., the lovely restaurant that Jon's boss took us out to a few weeks before when we made a whirlwind trip to San Francisco in search of a new apartment. And then there is Alvin's of San Francisco! Oh my gosh, Alvin and his wife were always so so sweet to us. We even took Noah back to meet them several years later. They have their own roasting facility and also sell tea, but the way we met is by going to their now closed coffee shop on Irving Street. We've ordered Alvin's roasted coffee beans and had them shipped to Michigan before. He'll even make you a custom blend. I highly recommend it. One of my best memories....I can't remember the name of the drink, but sometimes Alvin would make me a cup with espresso and chocolate gelato....AMAZING!
I see doodles on this page and the last page that I did on the plane to or from SF once. Jon and I were laughing about how any object could have eyes and a mouth put on it, turned into a cartoon, and sold at one of the gift shops in our beloved Japantown. So I made "Off Road Beverage" (on the last page) and his friend "Irony." Get it?
And there is a postcard from City Lights Bookshop that Jon wrote and mailed to me a year or so earlier when on a trip with his family talking about moving to San Francisco one day. Oh, and there we are by the ocean at Stinson Beach!
San Francisco was really wonderful. Well, it was wonderful, but also hard. We had unknowingly chosen the foggiest place in SF to live. Most days were foggy, it was depressing. Jon worked a lot, and he was soon sent on repeated projects that ran weeks or longer. Each with exhausting, daily commutes in insane traffic to the south bay. The original job description was to work in the SF office, not for hours in gridlock traffic on a Californian freeway. Meanwhile, this was just post-tech bubble burst. All of the companies that I would have applied for with my design degree where on a hiring freeze. I spent my days exploring the city, trying to figure out where to work and investigating school programs. It was a nice time, but extremely lonely. I remember how difficult it was to get used to having to take two different buses to get to the nearest Safeway Super Market, and the vaguely unsettling feeling that the super market had to have a security guard at the door. I think the most difficult thing for me was the mixed feelings of sadness and wariness that I felt about having to pass multiple multiple pan handlers each day on my block. I first and foremost felt sad for them. I truly did. I especially remember a young man with a nice smile who always asked me for money. I wondered so many times what difficult things in his life must have happened to land him on the streets and what could I do to help him. It was incredibly sad. Some people were aggressive though, and so I also felt a little fearful once in a while. There was one woman who was there almost every day. She had a devastating mental illness. She'd scream, literally scream like she was on a pulpit about the devil. She'd yell at anyone walking by. I just remember being afraid of her and seeing that she had sores all over her face. It still makes me sad twelve years later. I have to ashamedly admit that sometimes I felt down that I could not leave my door without being asked for money or having to sometimes feel intimidated. Is it ok to say all of this? I think I was just naive and sheltered and I had lived an easy life, so I wasn't used to things like this.
Very soon, Jon was offered a new job opportunity back in Michigan. It was by far one of the most difficult decisions we've ever had to make.....stay in San Francisco or move back to Detroit. EVERYONE thought we were crazy to leave SF. We even thought we were crazy! The job in Detroit was promising though, and Jon's San Francisco position wasn't exactly what he thought he was signing up for. We also knew we wanted children one day, and moving closer to our families and to a place where we could have a home and a backyard made more sense.
I still remember to this day, packing up the car and crying as we left San Francisco. I asked Jon if we made the right choice and he said there is no way to know for a long time. I do in retrospect think we made the right choice. That doesn't mean we don't miss San Francisco and think about it often, but that chapter of our lives had its time and its place and I'm so glad that we went for it!
We were married on Saturday, February 14th, 2004. I honestly don't remember much, it was such a whirlwind. We were too young. Twenty-six.
I saved our wedding vows which we wrote and recited. I love public speaking...
And by the way, I learned that day from Jon,while listening to his vows, that during college he knew he would marry me one day! Wow! Who would have thought!? :)
And then one day, sweet, little Noah was born. Six pounds, one ounce of wailing baby. None of us slept through the night, I swear, I REALLY I MEAN THIS, for three YEARS after that. THREE YEARS! And then we were all crazy and completely lost our minds from sleep deprivation. The End.
Noooooo just kidding....(about the "The End" part, not the sleep deprivation part. That part is true). Eventually though, in 2007, after reading a bajillion sleep books and pediatricians shrugging their shoulders, Noah began sleeping through the night and so did we. And life got waaaaaaay better.
The rest is really history that has yet to be recorded in this scrapbook, so I'll leave it here! Thanks for reading along though.
By the way, look at sweet, baby Noah. Awwww, nighttime party-animal.
P.S. Just this morning I had to coax him out of bed at 9:00am, so things eventually even out, they all sleep eventually. :)
Ok, back to Valentine's Day/our anniversary. Well you guys, I just have to tell you that I must have one of THE sweetest husbands in the WORLD, because not only did he make me a SURPRISE three-course dinner for our anniversary, he made me a VEGAN surprise three-course dinner!
I mean, how nice is that!? I just thought that was amazing and I felt so incredibly lucky. AND, it was REALLY nice not having the pressure to get all dressed up and go out to a swanky restaurant. I highly suggest eating in on one's anniversary once in a while.
I was asked to stay out of the kitchen while Jon cooked. Here is what he made.............
An arugula salad with roasted beets, blood oranges and a light, homemade dressing. It was great! Jon used THIS recipe, but because there were no Asian Pears at the store, he substitute blood oranges . I loved this dish.
For the main course, Jon made this Mushroom Stout Pie With Potato Biscuits from the awesome vegan chef and cookbook author Isa Moskowitz. Check out her great site, The Post Punk Kitchen. YUM!
Oh my gosh, this man served me HANDMADE vegan potato biscuits, and they were delicious!!!
It is award time.
And then, as if my anniversary could not get ANY better...... Jon surprised me with VEGAN CHOCOLATE MOUSSE, which we ate in bed while watching three hours of Bravo Channel shows on demand and Saturday Night Live! (While the puppy chewed her disgusting, smelly chew stick and we bribed her with kibble to just stay there rather than eat out of the kitty litter box so we could just catch up on our episodes of Girl's Guide to Divorce). On a side-note, about two minutes after this picture was taken Jon mentioned that we were basically eating pure fat. This "vegan mousse" he made.....it was cocoa powder whipped with the solidified part of coconut milk. He put down his pure fat. I took
one four last mouthfuls and then put mine down too.
And that my friends is the love-dovey, saccharine sweet, news from the little yellow house.
Until next time, GO EAT SOME CHOCOLATE and hug a chef or whatever they say!