Sunday, February 21, 2016

My Love Story: Part 4

I know, I know - I promised that part 4 would be posted by Valentine's Day. I broke that promise. Both of my boys were sick, so this has been my first opportunity to catch-up on my writing. Now, where were we? Oh yeah! My first memory of Kyle was him screaming off the back end of a clown car style golf cart. Right.
Years go by after that initial meeting before we have our first date, but all these "hints" of Kyle pop up along the way.
Hint #1: David - tour guide and awesome human - refer to part 1
Hint #2: Golf Cart. 'Nuff said.
Hint #3: Chapman University Office of Admission
Look, Chapman Admissions is probably the reason I'm married to who I'm married to. Not only did my tour guide turn out to be a close friend of my future husband, my first semester at Chapman I get a work study job in admissions office where I get to know David better and where Kyle works after graduation as an admissions counselor. 
Hint #4: Disciples on Campus
Disciples on Campus, or DOC as is commonly abbreviated, is a protestant Christian demoniation that I was raised in. I held a leadership role in on the youth council in Kansas City that affording me a wonderful scholarship to attend Chapman. As such, I was pretty involved with DOC at Chapman. Kyle wasn't involved with DOC, but several of his friends were. The fact that I didn't see him or get to know him more this way is literally ridiculous and borderline insanity. How did we miss each other?!
Hint #5: Theatre Kids
Not only does Kyle have a background in theatre himself, but his friends did/do, too. I got to know Adam, one of Kyle's closest friends, during one-act rehearsals.
Hint #6: Greek Life
I see Kyle a lot at fraternity and sorority events on campus.
Hint #7: Associated Students
Kyle was the VP of student house the same year that I represented DOC, so I saw him at every monthly meeting.
Hint #8: Admissions - again - I'll explain this one in a minute
I believe love is a choice. Of course, there are feelings and all the lovey-dovey that goes into that, but at the end of the day, love is an act that comes from a choice to love someone. Not all choices of love are the right ones. I could have dated others and married someone else, but I know in my heart all along that God had a better choice in mind. I'm just thankful Kyle and I had the patience to wait for it.
Love has tricky timing. I'm not sure if I had noticed Kyle during all of those hints that it would have worked out. I was young, stupid, and totally unaware. I think back to those years and I can hardly remember being truly present for any of it. I have delicious college memories, but if I had advice for my past self it would be to live more in the moment. 
During my senior year. I was asked to give an information session for new DOC students alongside Kyle. We found ourselves in an empty conference room in Argyros Forum about 20-30 minutes before it was scheduled to start. I can't remember what we talked about, but I remember feeling strange. I felt drawn to this person. He was genuinely kind, compassionate, loved life - everything about him was incredibly attractive. It was also the way I came alive around him. I remember thinking that I wished I had dated him. I quickly pushed the thought out of my mind - I was moving in a month back to KC and then onto Washington DC for graduate school.
The summer and fall that followed graduation was probably the most tumultuous of my life. I wanted so desperately for another person to be as excited about a relationship with me as I was with them. I kept swinging for the "home run" and always striking out, but strangely I didn't care and it didn't deter me. God gave me dating grit. Haha! He really did. I just kept taking punches and running back into the ring. I honestly thought that each time I dated someone new that he could be "the one". This openness and willingness to get beat-up a little (metaphorically of course) prepared me for Kyle.
He had been through similar experiences, though slightly different. I'd never attempt to tell his side of the story, but I'll say that he had recently been "friend zoned" prior to our first date. He showed up to that first date determined to establish it as just that: a date. I showed up ready to jump head first. It was the perfect timing and combination of intentions that led to a very successful first date.
To make a long story a little shorter, I went home after our date and informed my sister "I'm going to marry him." To which she replied, "Yay! I'm so excited for you! Just never repeat that again and especially not to him."

It's true. I knew it from the first date. He was (and still is) my match.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

DIY: chalkboard sign for large mantle

I've been in love with chalkboard signs for awhile now and had been plotting a way to purchase a large chalkboard with cool frame for our mantle until I saw the price tag: approx. $40-100 bucks for one I really liked.

Then one day around Thanksgiving, I was browsing Big Lots and saw this:

The dimensions of the exact framed artwork I found were a bit taller in height than this, but I snagged it for $30, took it home, and painted two coats of black chalkboard paint over the artwork (I used a very small bottle of paint and a craft sponge - CHEAP!), and this is what my DIY chalkboard frame looked like at Christmas:

After Christmas, I moved it to the entryway and now it looks like this:

Words to live by, right? That Jane Austen...



Monday, February 8, 2016

Grapefruit Simple Syrup

When we moved to California two years ago, we were lucky enough to rent a home with an incredible garden already established: four planting boxes, one grapefruit tree, and one young peach tree. Our first year here, we did nothing with the grapefruit except eat a few and give the rest away. This year, I wanted to try and get the most out of the harvest.

I think I picked about 60 grapefruits. I'm still giving some away.  ^^ that's a lot of grapefruit.

I stumbled on the idea of making a simple syrup and loved the idea for cocktails or lemonade. Here's the recipe I used (modified from Real Simple - they add ginger peel):

1 cup grapefruit juice (turned out to be the juice of 2 grapefruits)
3 cups sugar
2 cups water
6-12 sprigs of Rosemary (depending on your taste)
Zest of grapefruit

1. Heat the water, sugar, and grapefruit juice on medium until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is somewhat clear.

2. Rub the Rosemary with a spoon to release flavor. Add it and the zest to syrup. Leave and stir on medium for a few more minutes - 5 is good.

3. Remove from heat and let cool. Store in a glass container/s overnight. It will be ready to use the next day.

I left the Rosemary sprigs in the jars:

My friend, Michelle, gave me some mint from her garden that I used in a grapefruit mint margarita a few days after this.




Monday, February 1, 2016

My Love Story: Part 3

I had met my roommate and soon-to-be best friend, Megan, while auditioning for Chapman's theatre program. We decided that day that if we both got in, we'd be roommates. So unlike many first-time college goers, I actually knew who my roomie would be. It took some of the stress off of moving to a new state where I knew absolutely no one.

When we started school in 2008, both of us had long-distance boyfriends, but both of us would break-up with them by the end of our freshmen year. Now, I wasn't as smart as Megan. I was on again, off again for four years with the same person. It's not a slight to him, please don't misunderstand me. Megan left her guy in the dust and understood she wasn't meant to be with him. I, on the other hand, needed some heavy-handed, long-term God-hitting-me-over-the-head-with-a-bat intervention.

It is insane how hard God worked to put Kyle in my life and even more disturbing how long I ignored God speaking directly to me like, "hey lady, would you just look at the man right in front of you!?" Look, it wasn't a Moses and the burning bush kind of speaking, so cut me some slack. It was subtle. Persistent. 

So here we go, let's restart the story. 

We drove cross-country with all of my stuff packed into a Ford Focus. I had purchased a new college appropriate wardrobe of Chapman t-shirts, baseball hats, sweatpants, tennis shoes, flip flops, a wide variety of bathing suits, and basically all summer clothes. I didn't pack anything nice - no dress shoes, no professional clothing, nothing fancy - at all. I was living California casual now, baby! Plus, I was a serious actor. I needed clothes that could move.

It was August 2008. Move-in day at Chapman University. We had parked in a weird spot not really near where my dorm room was (newbies). The campus, unlike the day I took my tour, was cluttered with people. It seemed like everybody knew somebody but me. And all the young women were drop dead gorgeous. And they were all wearing designer clothes and perfectly put-together outfits. Looking back, this was probably not the reality, but it was all that I could see. I was intimidated and scared. I was wearing jean shorts, a t-shirt, not a drop of make-up (seriously, not one drop), no straightened or curled hair (it was probably blown dry at least), and flip flops (no pedicure, cracked heels). Put yourself in a Kansas girl's shoes for a second: no make-up, comfort casual (aka no fashion sense whatsoever), walking onto this pristine campus with a totally different definition of beauty. I thought college would be relaxed and casual. After going to Catholic school for years, I was pretty excited to not be in uniform or dressed-up, but Chapman was NOT any more casual than Catholic school and it was a bit more on the skin-bearing side of the pendulum.

As we walked across Walnut from our odd parking spot near Argyros towards the dorms through swarms of beautiful people, a golf cart full of orientation assitants/leaders drove past. I swear it was like a clown car, but on a golf cart. And that golf cart carried a familiar face, my tour guide, David! Hey, I know him, I thought. I waved shyly. Then a bald guy hanging off the back end of the cart screamed at me, "WOOOOOOOO!!!! WELCOME TO CHAPMAAAAAAN!" Tongue out, shades on.

Oh my god, they're yelling at me, what do I do, I thought. This was my introverted nightmare. I'd made a mistake. Someone turn the car around. I stopped dead in my tracks. I had to say something. Think, Erin. Dammit! "Uhhhhhh....WOOO!" I yelled back, voice cracking, cart speeding away. Oh, boy.

Let me introduce you to my future husband. He was the bald, screaming dude hanging off the back of a clown-cart.

No wonder I wasn't able to pick-up the first hint.

(I'm going to take a little break from this story to get to some other topics that have been on my mind, but I promise part 4 will come before Valentine's Day. I'm not sure how long it's going to take to tell this story, so buckle-up!)