Friday, March 30, 2012


I really don't like coming up with titles for posts...nothing ever seems to really say what I want, but I don't want to spend an hour thinking of the perfect title. This post is specifically about my relationship with Ivan, which is an intimate one. I want to cover three aspects of a relationship, intimate or not: communication, closeness, and compromise.

Communication is a key aspect in any relationship. You need to talk about things that make you happy, sad, angry, confused....everything. This doesn't mean you have to be a chatterbox and never shut your mouth, but it does mean that you need to be open with your spouse (or partner, brother, aunt, mom, whoever). Often you don't have to say anything to communicate what you think or feel. A look can say so much. Sometimes silence, when sitting together or on a long road trip, can show that you are content with the don't need to talk. This is obviously different than the silent treatment, so don't take what I'm saying the wrong way. Ivan and I try to discuss everything. Sometimes we don't talk about something because we think it will  upset the other person, but I've learned that this can end up backfiring in the end. Ivan is better at discussing things than I am. I'm the one who tries not to hurt feelings and waits to talk about stuff, usually bringing it up at the wrong time. Or, like this morning, when I'm running out the door for work and we don't have time to actually talk about anything. All in all, though, Ivan and I are pretty good at communicating and it has helped our relationship tremendously.

Closeness is another part of an intimate relationship. Yes, this can mean what you think it means, but I'm not going to get into that. I just know that as soon as I do someone in my family will see it - like my dad. So I'm skipping that aspect and moving on to another. Friendship is a big part of the relationship and being best friends is even better. I know a lot of people, more guys than girls, that think it's gross to be best friends with their wife, girlfriend, whatever. They say, "I would never do what I do with my wife with my best friend." I think that's a silly way of thinking about it, but that's just me. It's more the mental relationship you have with your best friend that you should have with your wife. If you aren't that close with your wife or husband, then it can make difficult times even worse. Ivan is most definitely my best friend and my soul mate. I am so lucky to have him and, yes, he's lucky to have me. Closeness also concerns love and, if you don't love who you're with, then why are you with them? I don't really know how to expound on love in an intimate relationship; it should just be there. And for people who have intimate relations with someone they don't love, well that just blows my mind. I don't think I'll ever understand that, but I doubt some people understand why I do the things I do.At times I still get butterflies when I'm around Ivan. I would think that those would have stopped with us having been together for a while, but they haven't and I'm glad.

The last part I want to talk about is compromise. Ivan and I have had to compromise a few times in our relationship. I have to get over my OCD tendencies for things to get perfectly clean and he has to get over the fact that I am going to spend money on things like music and unique shirts. Those sound like stupid things, but when something is important to you it can be a big deal (this is where communication comes in handy). More than just compromise goes into this way of thinking. You also have to be understanding, considerate, and honest. Maybe honesty goes more with communication, but I've written that part, so I'm moving on and not looking back. Just know that honesty should be there just like love. Understanding is like compromise. You need to understand your spouse's odd tendencies and semi-embrace them. Love that they are a part of the other person, but don't necessarily let it mean they can do whatever they want. It's not an excuse to get away with things. Like having an obsessive personality isn't an excuse to drink, gamble, or even eat your life away. Understand the personality, but don't let it rule their lives or yours. Consideration is something that can bring a spark back into things or just make your day perfect. Ivan makes sure I start my day great every morning. He always gets up before I do and usually gets Alexander ready for the day. He then brings Alexander into our room and has him wake me up. It's the sweetest way to wake up...with my son's face right in mine making him look like a cyclops. Ivan also makes an English muffin for me and has it ready just as I'm leaving so it's still warm and crunchy. These kinds of things sound small, but they make such a big difference on how my day begins.

So, I guess that's it. Remember to have communication, consideration, and compromise in your relationship. Appreciate the little things, laugh off other things, and work together on the things you need to fix. Life is a carnival - it's crazy, scary, fun, and exciting - and it's made better by sharing it with someone. Make sure that you make sure that someone is there for the long haul by making your relationship a better one.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Food, Food, Food - Chicken Gyros

I have had so much good food this week! Pan-seared steak with butter sauce, asparagus, and a sweet potato; chicken gyros; beef and Guinness pie; Irish soft tacos; and chocolate Guinness cake. Obviously, parts of this weeks menu were for Saint Patrick's celebrations. My favorite item of the week, though, was the chicken gyro. I have never had a gyro and, quite frankly, can't stand the thought of lamb. I have really weird food issues when it comes to things like that. haha Nothing that was a baby (lamb, veal), nothing uncooked or rare (caviar, sushi), and nothing with bones (ribs, most fried chicken). I embrace my oddities.

I didn't have a recipe for the gyros, but went along with what I thought might be good. Below is my supposed recipe for chicken gyros. I say supposed because I didn't measure anything, which usually makes remaking my recipes a little difficult. At any rate, I hope you enjoy it as much as my family did (yes, even Alexander).

Chicken Gyros (4-6 servings)

1 cucumber, seeded and diced
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
3 teaspoons minced garlic (approx. 6 cloves), divided
4 teaspoons chopped parsley, divided
1/4 cup each of Kalamata olives and Greek black olives, chopped
1 tomato, seeded and diced
2 teaspoons of minced shallots
1/2 cup feta
3 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
olive oil
4-6 pieces of naan or flatbread

To make the tzatziki combine diced cucumber, sour cream, Greek yogurt, half the chopped parsley, and half of the minced garlic in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for an hour (longer if you want) for the best flavor.
To make the tapenade combine chopped Kalamata and Greek black olives, the remaining minced garlic, and the remaining chopped parsley in a bowl. Refrigerate if desired.
Combine the diced tomato and minced shallot and season with salt and pepper in a bowl. Refrigerate if desired.
Crumble the feta or, if, just pop the lid off of your favorite pre-crumbled feta.
Warm skillet on medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt, pepper, and paprika. When the skillet it hot add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Add chicken and cook until done, about 7-10 minutes. If you want to be sure then use a meat thermometer and call it done when it reaches 165 degrees.
Warm naan or flatbread in the oven. My recommendation is to brush a little olive oil on the top before heating. If you're at work and eating as leftovers the microwave, minus the olive oil, will suffice.
When all is done lay the flatbread on some aluminium foil, layer the chicken, tzatziki, tapenade, tomato, and feta. Wrap/fold the naan or flatbread in the foil to make eating it a little less messy.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

25 Things I Love About Me

This post was inspired by the brilliant and lovely Alana Mokma. A few months ago she made a similar post and I finally got off my butt and made my own list. To me, the list is more than a way to expound on the awesomeness of you. I think a list of 10 things would be relatively easy, but 25 will force you to look harder at yourself and realize that there are so many reasons to love yourself. It also makes you realize that you are worth loving. So here are the 25 things I love about me, in no particular order.

25. Tiny nose and big teeth (Ivan has the opposite hehe)
24. Odd, almost non-existent pinky toes
23. Organization skills (which most people don't understand)
22. Cocked eyebrow (it's always cocked a little...I've no clue why)
21. Stay calm, in most cases
20. Loyalty to and trust in others
19. Flexibility when it comes to changing plans
18. Along the same lines, a vision for the future
17. Neek (Nerd/Geek - I'm not one or the other, I'm both)
16. My signature happy dance (that I even do at work)
15. My love of food
14. The fact that I take forever to say goodbye
13. That I giggle at middle school jokes
12. I try to always find the good in others
11. My name
10. Freckles!!
09. Ability to see patterns (it makes finding 4 leaf clovers so easy)
08. My butt
07. Childlike curiosity
06. Unintentional goofy faces (especially when I think someone's being silly/dumb)
05. I make life a musical
04. I'm not afraid to change up my hairstyle (even when it makes me look like a French poodle lol)
03.My smile
02. My eye color
01. I can always find something to love about myself (which is one reason it took so long to lose weight)

So there they are! What's your list? I'd like to see what you love about yourself. Link back if you make a post or leave a few examples in the comments. Peace!