It’s a beautiful sunny day (yes, still cold, but there’s SUN!!) here in Michigan. And what should we do?! Well, of course, go get a window seat in one of the many riverside restaurants as we watch the sun-glistening waters of the rivers, the few ships and tankers floating up along, and enjoy the sunset as we ENJOY HAPPY HOUR!!! 🙂 woot! Leisurely enjoy a cocktail or two, and many delightful appetizers and small plates as we spend a weekday evening with friends at happy hour! I love life! I love life like that!
So… Now I’m married, I’m wondering if I really have to celebrate this valentine’s day thing… since we married, doesn’t that show ultimately that we love one another? Enough to take the vow… “till DEATH do us part”?
Now I don’t mind if buying a Valentine’s Day gift for a guy means flowers and a teddy bear plus some chocolates… except not.
I walked into a major grocery store chain, biggest in the country, actually. Ok, fine, I say it… it’s Kroger. Anyway, one day I was picking up some items. After having just getting out of my car, I was still humming to the last tune in the car while listening to the Sirius XM Satellite Radio Station: The Message (a Christian radio station).
I walk int Kroger, pick up the weekly circular and start pushing my shopping cart and as I was desperately looking for White Pepper (not the millions of black pepper…), I suddenly realized that the store ambient music was the same song I was humming…. Wait, what?
Guys, I am not kidding. They were playing straight up Christian music. Not country music that would kinda mention the word “God” or rap songs that were in forms of prayer and said God. And I don’t mean the made-popular Christian bands like Switchfoot (which I love) and Creed and Reliant K or POD, who would sing about God, but not always in a direct or in-your-face super obvious way. But straight up Chris Tomlin and Desperation Band style Christian worship music, like CCM style. Whoa!
Every time I drive around, aggressively albeit, on the streets and highways of Michigan, I get really excited when I see out of state license plates, especially those from the East Coast. And I’m pretty lenient about the definition of “East Coast”. I’ll take Virginia, Maryland, all of New England of course, Pennsylvania, New York, etc… I’ll even go a bit south into the Carolinas.
There is this constant excitement that I feel when I see a New York State license. “Yes!!” I think, “Finally!! Someone who understands that the speed limit is the MINIMUM that you can drive at!”
Of course, getting all excited, I try to drive behind or close the the NY car… only to find, upon closer observation, that it’s actually a Michigan license plate…
I shake my head and blink a few times. That’s weird, I was sure it was NY!
Another day, I spot a NY car again! Excitedly, I’m right next to the car. I take a closer look, they have Michigan bumper stickers all over it… and… it turns out to be a Michigan license plate, AGAIN!
Oh goodness, how do I keep mistaking these license plates?
I do this a few times… and every time I realize it’s not a NY car, I get really disappointed…
I finally realize why I’m making this seemingly stupid (but justifiable… keep reading, I promise) mistake. The NY license plate has blue borders and the plate color behind the numbers/alphabet Continue reading
Notice that it’s singular.
But I’ve noticed one big thing is that moving here has made me realized how rude the East Coast is… i.e. how rude I used to (still can be??) to be. And since it’s for survival, you just become so toughened up and used to the rudeness. You grow a thick shell. When someone yells at you or honks or yells at another driver or screams out their window, it’s no big deal. You shrug it off, or shake your fist, or yell back, whichever it is… you keep on going about with your life.
Here… I have not seen people yelling or shouting or shaking fists (or even shaking their heads) at people.
I have noticed here… that people always talk about… Football!
NFL or College Football (University of Michigan and Michigan State are the popular ones here) are both hot topics that everyone seems to talk about.
But that’s not just it… it seems like in the Midwest… that’s ALL they talk about. That plus “What church do you go to?” (Just kidding… no sane person would immediately sak that… except in the South… or maybe here in Michigan… just saying…
I sit at the bar, and the bartender brings up some football talk. I’m standing in the elevator, and some dude brings up football. My friends meet my other friends, and after introductions, they’re not sure what to say, and suddenly they talk football.
So here we are. Newly married, and trying to figure out how to balance the holidays. Some time spent just to ourselves as a couple, and how much time to spend with his parents. (My parents are currently in another country… so I’m guessing that’s not as easy to just spend a dinner or a weekend with.)
Christmas Eve, I went over to his parents’ house to have Hot Pot (it’s where you have a hot boiling pot of soup in the middle of the table, and you cook different things in it. It’s a very Asian get-together, family style of eating.)
On Christmas Day, we invited his parents over to our apartment to have Christmas dinner. This was our menu (for 4 people):
Turkey (in a soy-sauce based marinate, play on an Asian dish)
Green Beans with Garlic
Corn and Potato Chowder
Cranberry Sauce (which happened to be the hardest thing to find and buy)
Red Bean Soup (a traditional Asian dish)
So as the food was cooking, I started cleaning. Our house isn’t messy, but I was stressed about the potential “inspection”. I’ve heard my mother-in-law previously talk about other women about being “princesses” when they don’t help clean or cook in the house.
So I start cleaning, I vacuum, I Windex every surface available to mankind in my house. The media center, the cabinet top (and doors and corners and edges), all the windows, the surface of our coffee tables (3) which all have glass surfaces, all the mirrors in both bathrooms. And the mirrors are HUGE. I kept having to switch hands because I’d cover a corner and my arm would be sore. I also windexed the faucet heads (They are metal and can get water stains, so it’s good to windex those, too.) Of course, you may think that I’m windexing with a towel or rag. BUT NO! That will definitely leave lint. Or you may assume I’m using the lint-less rags. Nope. I’m going hardcore.
NEWSPAPER! No lint, pulls off the oils, and works wonders cleaning windows and mirrors and any of those surfaces that need to be left glistening!
My place is clean, but I realized we didn’t really have festive decorations, so I tried to use the vases and ornaments the best I could, and concocted a few centerpieces. Luckily, I still had the bouquet that my husband got me for our first month anniversary (and it was still alive, despite me forgetting to feed it the “flower food” it came with). I had a few decorative items that I brought with me from Philadelphia that were used in the Philadelphia wedding. Perfect.
Times up! It’s 5pm. But they aren’t here yet. It’s 5:30pm, and they still aren’t here yet. Apparently, they wanted to give us “a few extra minutes” because they were worried we wouldn’t be ready by 5pm yet. That’s pretty thoughtful, although I’m pretty punctual when I cook, so I’m watching the food get cold as I start reheating everything in the oven and microwave.
My husband comes out and sees that I’m reheating the food and plating them and setting them on the dining table. He informs me that most dinner guests don’t immediately seat and have dinner. We usually serve a cocktail or a drink or some snacks, and then about 30 minutes after arrival, then the meal starts.
OMG. I did not know this! Now I have no idea what to do, because I just reheated everything and put it out. So I will have to reheat everything a second time… is that bad? There is probably something chemically that is happening after so many rounds of heating and reheating and nuking… Is this a suburban thing? Maybe it’s just a house thing… since I’m only emulating what I know, which is observed in restaurants, which is: Go in, sit down, order to eat.
Anyhow, that’s exactly what happened. We sat down and chatted and served some cocktails and wine. And then later got seated. Thankfully, no one got sick or food poisoning, so the reheating must have been okay… at least this time.
Whew. My first time “hosting” Christmas dinner for the in-laws. Didn’t go so bad… I think…