Adventures of a Midwest Transplant

Romance

So About This Bucket List

I mentioned this bucket list about a year ago. My friends and I had grand plans to get all this cool stuff done before our 30th birthdays. Well, I’m happy to report I got most of it done. I did a post about the first things I did, but now I’m just going to do a round-up of everything.

That’s what happens when you miss 100+ days of blogging. You gotta summarize.

Just to remind you, my best friend and I made a list of different categories. Each of us then had to choose something within that category and attempt to complete it by our 30th birthdays (give or take as everyone didn’t have a full year to make it happen).

Let’s just say that out of the 10 or so people who liked the idea, not many people actually worked on crossing items off their list.

But a few of us really tried. My best friend did the most, she even completed her task of skydviving! Her mom, who is amazing, scheduled it and went with her.

This is what I came up with when we first settled on the idea. The left column holds the categories, and the right column are my chosen activities. Each thing I chose had to be approved by someone else doing the bucket list.

“All the kids are doing it” Watch one whole season of Bad Girls Club
Culinary Exploration Find soy/tofu dish to love
Dating Five unique dates with husband
Free Spirit Table-top dance at bar
Friendships Make 2 new NYC friendships
Hobby/Lessons Horseback riding lessons
Physical Appearance Tattoo
Thrill-Seeking Activity Bungee Jumping
Unconventional Travel Backpacking train ride to ME B&B
Wildcard

I did make some changes over the year. Since I didn’t choose a wildcard, I decided to use my nose piercing to count as that one. It felt quite wild and spontaneous when I did it, plus it was something I ordinarily wouldn’t have done. I decided on a whim to get it done while a friend was visiting from out of town.

I also changed the hobby. I changed from horseback riding lessons to Wine School. Following along with the New York Times’s Eric Asimov and learning a lot about an existing passion (wine), made sense for a good replacement because I simply didn’t have the funds or time to pursue horseback riding right now.

That being said, here’s how I did on the updated categories:

Category Activity Completion
“All the kids are doing it” Watch one whole season of Bad Girls Club Binge watched all of Season 11. The girls were in Miami. I didn’t enjoy it. At least I confirmed for myself that I really don’t like that type of reality show. ANTM and DWTS, plus a smidge of Chopped and Iron Chef is all I need.
Culinary Exploration Find soy/tofu dish to love Tofu just wasn’t gonna happen. I really tried. But a great suggestion from an online friend led me to chocolate soy milk. I genuinely enjoyed it and it’s currently the only store bought chocolate milk I like to drink.
Dating Five unique dates with husband I had so many rules for this one, I was setup for failure! The date couldn’t include one of Chris’s gigs, couldn’t be a group date, and couldn’t happen at home. We only did one date that was outside of those three categories. Life gets busy and all that… Major Fail.
Free Spirit Table-top dance at bar This one I did. When some friends came to town to celebrate a med school graduation, I went out with them. We danced all night, and some of my dancing included a table top at a bar. Good times.
Friendships Make 2 new NYC friendships Done and done. I’ve made more than 2 friends. I think if I’m being honest, there are 3 total friendships I made that I would continue to pursue even if I (or they) moved away from NYC tomorrow. I had such a hard time making friends when I first moved here, so I’m glad this one worked out.
Hobby/Lessons Wine School I’m months behind, but I’ve done every month up until July. And I have all the bottle up until November, just waiting to try them. This counts as a win for me!
Physical Appearance Tattoo I got the tattoo. I watched the World Cup final, literally watching the second tick away. Probably the tiniest tattoo ever, but I love it so much!
Thrill-Seeking Activity Bungee Jumping Nope. Didn’t even schedule it. Still a punk. I need to get my life.
Unconventional Travel Backpacking train ride to ME B&B Nope. I even took off a weekend from work to make it happen. But travel costs, and pricing, and trying to find the perfect place on airbnb. Excuses, excuses.
Wildcard Pierce Something Other Than your Ears Yes sir! Because I kinda rolled this one in at the end, it counts! I got my nose pierced. It’s almost healed, and I’m currently shopping for a great nose ring.
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This is my favorite new friend here. Corey is a musician, he plays trombone, and he’s amazing!

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These are a good number of my NYC friends and co-workers. This is the surprise 30th birthday party Chris threw me.

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This is the almost-finished glass of chocolate soy milk when I first tried it. Trader Joe’s is the only brand I’ve tried. It’s so yummy!

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The is the best shot I have of me dancing on a table top. There were about 4 of us crammed onto this not very strong table, but we made it work. The girl was shocked that I wanted pictures, which is why she’s making that face. Too bad the random stranger I enlisted to take the photo wasn’t a better cameraman.

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Me right after my nose ring piercing. Hopefully you can see it well. I didn’t get great shots of it that night. Too much darkness, too much alcohol.

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And the tattoo, last but not least. Libra scales on my ring finger. Love it so much!

 

So I didn’t finish them all, but 7 out of 10 ain’t bad.

There’s good news here. My friend and I decided to extend the list until the end of the year. I don’t know that I’ll get to Maine, but I can at least try to finish the dates with Chris and maybe, maybe, think about possibly looking into the chance of seeking out a schedule for bungee jumping.

At that point, I’ll have 9 out of 10. Not all accomplished by my 30th birthday, but damn close.

We were also talking about doing this again next year. Fewer categories of course. We were just far too ambitious this time around.

We haven’t decided on the categories yet, but they will definitely have the same intention of pushing us outside of our comfort levels.

The only category we’ve decided on so far is “Creative Project”. That’s a working title for now. But the idea is to take something we like to do, and to commit to taking it to the next level creatively.

For me that would be continuing with the video posts. I’ve made more test videos, but I don’t like them enough to post them. I need to just get over myself and go with it. I don’t really have issues with avoiding attention or anything like that. But I do have some hesitancy when it comes to public attention, especially seeking out public attention. But I’m trying to get over that, and I think the video blogs will help.

I had some other ideas for other categories. I was thinking something like “Grown-Up Skill Building”. The idea of this category is to learn something that a fully functioning adult should know, but perhaps you don’t. For me, that might be learning to change my own oil or something. It’s not a very exciting category, so it probably won’t make the cut.

Another idea was to try on someone else’s hobby. I don’t have a title for that yet, but it would be something like picking an interesting friend, finding out their favorite hobby, and then trying it out with them or alone.

And one more is to focus on health/fitness. Really pushing ourselves into something fitness-related that’s outside our normal bounds. For me that might be like committing to do some sort of workout 5 days a week. For my friend, maybe training for a bike marathon maybe?

These are all just ideas. We have another month and a half to sort it out. But I’m loving this bucket list idea because it gives you focus for the year. Having specific fun-or-self-improving-or-meaningful goals gives you a sense of purpose. At least it feels that way to me.

Wish me luck on getting those dates planned an executed. Did I mention Chris is heading to Poland in two days? The life of a musician’s wife.

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Doldrums and Listening

I’m starting to notice a trend. When I am not publishing new blog posts, it’s not because I don’t have anything to say. It’s because I don’t like what I have to say.

When I’m writing blog posts, I like them to have an overall positive feel. Even if I fussing about something, there’s still a good-natured me behind it.

But man, I’m feeling something like the winter blues.

Last week, I posted a weather forecast that forecasted weather in the 50s today. Did that happen? Hell no, it didn’t happen.

And now, they are predicting another polar vortex this time next week. Ugh, I can’t take it anymore. Just like the last time I went to visit Chicago, they are predicting temperatures in the single digits. Spring can’t come soon enough.

Beyond the winter blues, For Valentine’s Day, it was up and down. I sent Easy and my best friend Valentine’s Day cards in the mail. And I sent the husband a big ass box of Crunch bars (his favorite) in the mail.

Then I had to watch all of New York figuratively and literally embrace the holiday. People everywhere had teddy bears, flowers, candy, balloons, etc. They were holding hands and sticking their tongues down each other’s throat. It was just all so much.

Then for the next few days, at the soup kitchen and at work, everyone kept asking everyone else how their VDay was. Here’s how my typical conversation went:

Them: Hey CeCe, how was your Valentine’s Day?

Me: Oh, it was uneventful. The husband is in Chicago, so, you know…

Them: Oh, that’s too bad! Well, at least he sent you flowers, right?

[He didn’t do that]

Me: Oh, um… no, well he didn’t do that, but you know…

Them: Ohhhh, um, well… At least he called you, right?

Me: Yes, he did. He called me in the afternoon to wish me happy vday.

Them [looking visibly relieved and eager to move on]: Oh, good! Well, there you go.

So you see, I had to field that question and answer that Easy didn’t send me flowers. I honestly didn’t think anything about the lack of a Valentine’s Day gift until it they pointed it out to me over and over again. At least when I recounted this to him, we got a nice chuckle from the story.

I had all these plans with my maybe new New York friends while Easy is away. And they’ve been cancelling on me left and right.

I still haven’t gone rock climbing. That’s been re-scheduled for–I kid you not– “let’s aim for mid-March-ish.”

I haven’t gone out for drinks to Smalls without Easy. That gets pushed to the next weekend every Friday night.

I haven’t gone to a single restaurant for NYC Restaurant Week. I know we’re only 5 days in, but I already had plans to go to Delmonico’s, which I would never be able to afford under any other circumstances. My friend cancelled those plants and did not reschedule them.

I haven’t gone to kickboxing yet because snow and more snow, and I didn’t want to travel to break a sweat with a ton of snow and ice on the ground.

And the straw that finally broke the camel’s back was yesterday. I was locking my house door behind me when I got a call from my doctor’s office. He stayed at the hospital and they were cancelling my appointment.

They rescheduled it for me. For 28 days from now. It is his first available appointment that allows me to get to work on time and isn’t while I’m already scheduled out-of-town.

After settling on the couch to finally watch this week’s episodes of American Idol (it’s so good this season!), Easy called me. He made a very… culturally insensitive comment that led to a conversation about it that led to a conversation about how difficult it is for us to talk to each other.

Our marriage foundation was setup on three pillars: Love, Trust, and Communication. Without even realizing it, we went a bit off with the communication.

There are things he doesn’t share with me because he doesn’t want to hear my reaction or he knows I’m going to want further explanation that he feels like giving or a number of other reasons that basically means talking to me sucks.

This is the part I’m really feeling conflicted about blogging about. Easy and I never really discuss our problems except for with our closest of friends. The ones who we know love us so much that they aren’t going to turn on our spouse because of one problem, no matter how big. And here I am discussing this on the blog.

I feel a bit better about talking about this because it’s not me complaining about him, it’s his problem with me. I have acknowledged my tendency toward hypercriticism (is that a word?). I just didn’t realize it was affecting Easy’s ability to even have a conversation with me.

Luckily, as he says, we’re solutions people. Just like I was able to get over my hesitancy to talk to him when he wasn’t retaining anything I was saying, he’s going to give me a chance to stop being so critical.

It’s such a fine line to walk. The origin of the criticism is from a lack of understanding.

Half the time he says something to me, I don’t understand. He can say the same phrase twice in a week or even twice in the same conversation, and it will have completely different and unrelated meanings.

Other times, he’ll say something vague and then I’ll ask for an explanation, and he won’t have one. Trying to think of a way to clarify or explain frustrates him, then I get frustrated, and then we’re both just irritated with each other.

None of this is so terrible until we zoom in on the was I convey my frustration or my lack of understanding or my request for an explanation. When I am feeling cognitive dissonance, the gloves come off.

So I’ve got to find a way to make this better. I don’t know if I should just accept the information he gives me with no clarification. I don’t know how that would work. I remember it, for one thing. Or maybe I just think I won’t remember it. Seeing as how it’s the only idea I’ve got, I have to try it.

Because I want to grow into a better wife.

Because I feel awful that it snuck up on us that things had gotten this bad.

And because I love my husband, and he deserves to have a marriage with someone he actually wants to talk to.

And maybe if he can talk to me, he won’t cancel our anniversary next year.


Celebrating A Cross-Country Anniversary

As I mentioned in my last post, the husband is in Chicago, so we weren’t together for our anniversary. But in honor of our anniversary, I’m giving him a request he probably doesn’t even know I paid attention to. The husband doesn’t want the name “the husband” anymore on this blog.

I previously called him Easy (which was a random ass reference to a book by the author of Gossip Girl), and he wants to go back to that. I apologize for the future confusion, but he is now Easy.

You’re welcome Easy.

We couldn’t do dinner or sex or a carriage ride or anything else celebratory for our anniversary, but we could exchange gifts. Seeing as how gift giving is my love language, I was all for this cross-country gift exchange.

Our anniversaries are Feb 8th and Feb 11th (married one day, wedding the other day). I wanted to do something for Easy for both, but I also wanted to get gifts that are the traditional 2nd anniversary gift category.

There just aren’t a lot of options for cotton anniversary gifts.

I settled on getting him a pair of jeans and something else that I can’t reveal yet because for some reason, it has yet to arrive in the mail. But the jeans were a good purchase if I do say so myself. I got the size wrong because I suck.

Easy was nice enough to tell me the jeans weren’t that far off and he even wore them out to his gigs last night. All we’ll have to do is get them shortened when he gets back. I have a pair of pants bought for me as a birthday gift by my mother last year that still need to go to the tailor.

This is a perfect opportunity to finally get a tailor!

Easy says my gift is in the mail. But he said that days ago, so I assume he meant it and I will just have to get a lovely delivery soon. I don’t think he meant, “the gift is in the mail” like an overdue bill. We’ll see.

Just kidding, if he says he sent me something, I know it’s coming.

But enough about yesterday. Let’s back up to Saturday, as that was our first second anniversary.

Originally I wasn’t going to get him anything because like I said, there aren’t a lot of great cotton gift options.

But we spoke on the phone Saturday afternoon and I felt a surge of gift-giving love towards Easy, and I wanted to make it happen.

Plus, when I was at the soup kitchen earlier, my friends told me I should send him something like flowers to one of his gigs for Valentine’s Day. I’m certainly not going to do that, but it did plant the seed for sending something for our anniversary.

After we got off the phone, I checked with Google (who knows my life and loves me) and found a couple of bakeries near where his gig was that were still open.

I picked the one with the best yelp reviews and called them up. They don’t take same day orders and it was past their delivery window, but the girl on the phone worked with me once I told her what I wanted.

They had cupcakes in-house already prepared fresh that day. She said if I could get someone to their location in the next 70 minutes, she would let me pay over the phone and they could pickup the cupcakes of my choice.

I made some calls to some of the hundreds of members of our wedding party. I finally found a friend who came the closest to what I needed (doing nothing, in the city, has a car, wearing pants), and asked if she would do me this huge favor.

She didn’t have on pants, but she quickly rectified that and hopped in her car to race against the clock and the snow to make it to the bakery before closing.

I called back to the bakery, placed my order, paid over the phone and crossed my fingers.

In the meantime, I called our friend who works at the place where the gig was, pleaded her help to get in the outside surprise anniversary food, and secured her assistance.

The whole thing felt like a covert op that could fall apart if you pulled on errant string.

My friend managed to make it to the bakery right on time, and got the cupcakes delivered before Easy arrived for his gig. If she wasn’t already (which I suspect she was), she is now Easy’s favorite of all my friends.

But it worked out!

chris eat cupcakes chris with cupcakes

As Easy was making some sort of speech near the end of the night about how awesome the club was and how happy he was that he was back at a place that always felt like home, our friend brought out the cupcakes.

He got so excited thinking they bought him cupcakes. When she clarified they were from me, he got even more excited. That’s me he’s on the phone with while he’s eating one of the cupcakes.

All I could think when I saw those pictures was how much I wanted a cupcake.

But no cupcakes for me because I’m trying to get healthier. Which is what I’ll discuss in my next post.

Easy liked his anniversary presents, so I’m feeling pretty proud of myself. Now I just have to figure out Valentine’s Day. I’m sure Google has a good idea for me.


It’s Our Anniversary

The husband has been gone since the 4th, and I’ve barely talked to him. I forgot how busy he is when he’s in Chicago. But I’m definitely going to talk to him today because it’s our anniversary!

Two years today. And two years on Tuesday too. We got married at my church on Feb 8th, then had a big ass wedding Feb 11th. It’s been an interesting two years.

We made the move to NYC and it’s been amazing here. We had this plan to spend a few years here, then maybe go overseas to Europe for a few years. Then we’d come back to the states and maybe spend some time in Honduras where the husband’s family is from.

But I’m feeling very nest-y and both the husband and I are over moving. Perhaps in a few years we can reassess. But I love New York so much, I could lay down roots here and be happy.

The only problem is the public schools here are not so great. There are charter schools and magnet programs and whatnot, but I have to say as a potential future parent, it has me worried.

The school conversation can wait though because it’s my anniversary.

The traditional US 2nd anniversary gift is cotton. What is that about?

When I searched on Amazon for gift options, they basically showed me a bunch of pillowcases and linen scented candles. Those scented candles are wrong anyway because linen is the gift for another year’s anniversary.

At least cotton is pretty affordable. I should buy him a ream of fabric. Considering the fact that the husband’s creativity is pretty music-centric, that would amount to the worst gift ever for him.

There is also the relatively easy dinner-candles-lingerie option, but he’s out-of-town for a month, so that’s a no go.

Whatever I decide to gift him, I know he’ll appreciate. We agreed no Christmas gifts, then he wrote me beautiful letter as his gift. Then he got upset at me later for not getting him a gift. I don’t know how that happened, but I won’t repeat that mistake for our anniversary.

There is also Valentine’s Day coming up, but we don’t usually make too big of a deal out of. We generally exchange cards and some candy, and maybe do dinner.

I was this person who would go all out for celebrations. Birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, didn’t matter. If there was a formal reason to celebrate, I was all over it.

The husband isn’t really like that, so my celebration tendencies have decreased a bit. We still do birthdays really well, but everything else, not so much.

One of my best friends decided she and I would be BFF Valentine’s Day buddies. That isn’t a thing, but it is now. She sent me two cards in the mail. One to the husband and me for our anniversary, and the other to me for Valentine’s Day. She also bought me a necklace on Etsy and it’s freaking adorable!

piano necklas

It’s a little tiny piano and a C mini-pendant. It’s like my version of a Carrie necklace.

Getting gifts lately reminded how much I love them. The husband and I did this quiz forever ago to determine our love languages. I am a gifts and acts person, and a bit of a quality time person. I don’t need the words and the touch so much.

Because we live in a sitcom, the husband is a words and touch person, and a bit of a quality time person.

We know we have different languages, so we have to remind ourselves to value stronger what we wouldn’t naturally value for love expressions. And occasionally, we remember to give gifts in the other person’s love language.

I know the husband reads all my blog posts (because he loves me!), so I thought I would include some wonderful loving words for him.

Hey husband, you’re awesome. When I think about our life as it stands, I wouldn’t change a thing. I love New York and I love being in New York with you. The people I’ve met and things I’ve experienced here is all because of you.

I’m proud of who you are as a person. You are someone I can depend on and someone who has helped me grow as a person too.

We’re two years in with hopefully another 50+ years to go. I can’t wait to see what’s next for us. But if stay right where we are now, I’d love that too.

I can’t wait until we see each other again. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all of that.