Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Love Day, Benjamin.

Dear Ben,

My mom called to wish me Happy Birthday this morning, and she reminded me of my birthday a year ago. Yes, I remember.  In detail.

A year ago I had been home for a week from a head-spinning 3-month cross-country trip to visit family and friends trying to distract myself from the typical bad luck of coming home from my mission. I was completely depressed, and left on that trip just a day after meeting you. You stayed calm and patient, though, building up a friendship and understanding of me while at my most vulnerable over the phone during those three months.

Eventually we talked on the phone every day, and had our first "real" date the day I came home-- a Monday. We went to the single's branch FHE together. Kind of boring for a first date, but it was something we both loved and wanted to do.

We celebrated my birthday on Monday a week later.  After knowing me over the phone for three months, and in person for 1 week, you already knew you loved me. I thought I knew I loved you.  But I believe I fell in love with you for real... or just all over again... that day.

You surprised me with a special birthday playlist on my iPod I was to discover later that day complete with some of my favorite songs (which you had to know about and take the time to download earlier), and some of yours.  I love music, and believe it is a wonderful way to express your emotions. Thank you for opening yourself up to me in such an intimate way after such a short amount of time!

That night we went to FHE, as expected, where they spontaneously announced my birthday and sang.  I had been home from a long trip preceded by a mission for only a week-- most of the people in that room had never even met me, yet here they were singing me happy birthday! I had never been to an FHE where they sang!

You tipped off the Activities Committee that it was my birthday, and they also surprised me with a cake-- white on white, my favorite. You even arranged to have the cake thrown in my face, reminiscent of the birthday I'd spent with my kids in Cambodia, where it is tradition to food fight with birthday cake.  I'd been thinking a lot about my birthday celebrated in Cambodia that day, and was so touched-- repeatedly-- that you thought to honor that special memory.

After FHE we got a small group of wonderful new friends together for sushi at a nearby Japanese Steakhouse. We were on top of the world sitting at that sushi bar, and the person on my right offered to help you pick out the "perfect diamond engagement ring", stunned to hear that we had only been officially dating for a week.

When they sang to me at the restaurant (which you made me dance along to.. .I'll never forgive you for that!) and gave me a cupcake and took my picture, you were in the picture. You had known since July (according to my mom) that you loved me, but that night I figured it out, too, and knew we would be spending eternity together.

Thank you for all your thought, sweetness, kindness, understanding, and love on that day a year ago, for someone you barely knew and who was very vulnerable. This year we are married, and it's because of that day.

Knowing I don't like the attention of celebrating my birthday, this morning mom suggested we celebrate our "Love Day" instead. I think that sounds like a fabulous idea. Will you go to dinner with me to celebrate the day I fell in love with you?

I love you!

This is one of the songs on my birthday playlist, and describes that day perfectly!

Jay Sean - Down
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Monday, November 22, 2010

New Toys

Ben discovered a new use for the vinyl-ized shower door in our hallway:

He also had some fun on Amazon.com.... 

Suz: "Hey look! There's a bar in the doorway!"
Ben: "Yeah. Do a pullup." 
Suz: "Ok, I'm up. Now what do I do?"
Ben: "Come down."
Suz: "OKKKkkkkkk......"

Now we each do 3 pullups if we're entering that room, or just passing by it 
(often... it's beside the bathroom.) Tons of fun! 

And he got me a Bagel Guillotine! How awesome is that?!?!?!?!?! 
I love bagels, and fun quirky things, so it was the perfect gift. 

Suz: "A bagel guillotine... that is so cool!" 
Ben: "Yep. This marks a new landmark in our relationship." 
Suz: "What are you talking about? "
Ben: "The first time you get a kitchen tool from your husband." 
Suz: "I really wish you hadn't put it that way......" 


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Katz's Deli-- no other intro needed.

Katz's Deli in the Lower East Side of Manhattan has been known as the best deli since they opened in 1888. It has literally been dubbed "The Best Deli" by Food Network, as well as being featured on numerous Food TV shows for various reasons.

We went there Tuesday afternoon!

Oooooooooooooooooooooooh yeah, Baby.

The classic Katz's meal: Pastrami on rye with mustard, Dr. Brown's soda (celery is surprisingly good), and pickles-- store cured both fresh and old. 

OOOOooooh yeah. 

Ben totally belongs here. 

This place gets so much traffic that a policeman gives out tickets to each customer.  They take the ticket to the long deli counter (sectioned by food type) order, and the deli counter guy writes on the ticket what it was worth. After the meal you take the tickets to the cash register and pay. EVERY person gets a ticket, and EVERY ticket gets turned back in to the original policeman to make sure they all paid.
How organized is that?!
SO impressed.

So worth giving up vegetarianism for the afternoon!

Let's hear it for NEW YORK...

Ben's latest business trip took him to Orangeburg, just outside of NYC, so I begged along. Couldn't resist! I spent my mission in Queens and Manhattan, so we flew in a day early to JFK and spent all day Monday going around my old stompin' ground!

stop1: jamaica ave

We walked for miles all around Jamaica Ave visiting the church, library, street stores, 
and tracking down old members.  We found tons of cars with these 
anti-theft clubs on the steering wheels. Very Queens-y!

Gotta love the subway! 
stop 2: flushing meadows corona park

I was so psyched to show Ben one of my favorite places in the whole world: Flushing Meadows Corona Park! Hmmm... most of my favorite places are parks... But how can you resist this one which is home to the Steel Unisphere, 1964 World's Fair, Shea Stadium, U.S. Open tennis center, and the weird spaceship statues from MIB? 

Sometimes I get a little embarrassed to have my picture taken...

stop 3: graffitti park and hunter's point

An annoying subway ride away is 5 pointz, also known as Graffiti Park, an out-of-the-way alcove of building walls that are covered in professional graffiti.  Yes, professional graffiti. Artists are put on a waiting list to tag these walls, their work is reviewed and painted-over if it is too bad, and all the walls are re-painted every few weeks so there is always something new. May not sound a lot like me, but this is truly one of my favorite places in Queens!

Uncanny resemblance...

I am so impressed with how life-like (or at least photo-like) graffiti can be! Check out this shading!

How AMAZING is this place?!?!?!?!?!

We went back to jamaica ave after that and went to the missionary-run FHE at their branch. I got some amazing news that their minuscule branch has grown so much that they have a satellite group watch church in another room! I used to have to bus to each member's house to personally pick them up! The ward has grown so much the space they have reserved for a new, REAL building is finally being built! I was on cloud nine. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Funny Stuff :P

Last night while deciding on any health insurance changes for 2011:

Ben: "What is a beneficiary?"
Suz: "Me. The person who receives your life insurance policy."
Ben: "Is this much money enough for you to get over my accidental death?"
Suz: "Nothing could help me get over you. But that would be a start."
Ben: "So what do I get if you die?"
Suz: "All my clothes. Except for the ones Brett wants."

Click here for some BS fun :)

This next video has nothing to do with anything, but it is HILARIOUS!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween O'Brien style! Part 2

Saturday we went to historic Winston-Salem, about an hour away from us. It was a great day to visit  another century! Fun being Halloween weekend, It wasn't very crowded, and the sun was shining.

It was such a beautiful drive because all the trees are changing color!

Love autum!

Ben found something he enjoys...

I found something I like!

And it was goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood.

We also spent a long time at the local church's graveyard.  

This particular church has a tradition of seperating their members into men, boys, women, and girls. They do this to illustrate that God sees us all as who we are, and to address the needs of each individual group. 
They bury their members in the same fashion, so the graveyard is serparated into quadrants for each group.
I thought that was really sad... we found a lot of gravestones for children who had died close to birth, and they weren't buried with their families! I know what to expect for the next life, but something about that seemed so terrible to me... 

That's just creepy.

Yes... that says 1777! How cool is it that we saw gravestones as old as our country?!?!

We got back into town just in time to decorate our car and meet some friends for our ward's Trunk-or-Treat!

We were the tortoise and the hare, and decorated the car to be our pet cage!
I wore white with bunny ears and a cotton-ball tail, Ben wore all green with a cut-out shell.
We put the back seats down in our car, and filled it with shredded newspaper and put our candy in tupperware that looked like pet food containers. It was super easy, very very inexpensive, and I think it turned out pretty well!

I was trying to show off my tail, but it still didn't work!

Our competition: The car next door

Every time kids would come to our car and say "Trick or treat!" Ben would say, "Trick!" It took most of them coming by for their second or third turns to figure it out.  

Happy Halloween, world! We had fun. 

Halloween O'Brien style! Part 1

I've never been the hugest fan of Halloween (just ask the friends who took me to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios), but something about marriage makes me excited for everything! It's like a new opportunity to start over in life, and have as much fun as possible with someone you can actually build lasting memories with. I love that about being married! Also, something about having a house make me want to decorate and celebrate, too.

Last Tuesday we met our friends Stephen and Janet (how stoked are you that we have friends over here?!?!?!) to carve pumpkins at our house.

It took us a while to pick out the perfect pumpkin among all the truly gnarly ones.

Janet and Stephen

Ben wanted to carve Bert on our pumpkin, so I pulled up a pic on the iPhone and started drawing! 

They decided to go with a traditonal scary jack-o-lantern

We spent Friday night going out to a Haunted Woods nearby, where cameras weren't allowed. But it was decent, for Bethlehem, NC! I was appropriately spooked without being overwhelmingly terrified.

My strategy to survive haunted houses:

  1.  Be in the group with children. Actors always go for the kids. 
  2. Look the actors in the eye and laugh when you want to scream.  They mostly go for the ones they can see are scared. 
  3. Stay on the heels of the person in front of you.  That way you're prepared for what's coming up after you hear them scream.
  4. Have someone behind you. Then the actors can't sneak up from behind you (that's the worst.)
  5. Go with someone who doesn't mind you squeezing their hand. Just squeeze when you feel scared, and use them as a shield! 
That night we continued the celebration by watching A Haunting in Conneticut. It was scary.  Afterward Ben and I looked at each other and said, "WHY DID WE DO THAT?!?!"