In defense of Ben Affleck

Ben AffleckIn case you live under a rock or off the grid or are anti-indulgent celebrations, you might have missed the Academy Awards this past weekend. If you missed the Academy Awards you might not have heard the speech Ben Affleck gave after Argo won Best Picture (spoilers!) and the crazy insane stuff he said to his wife, Jennifer Garner.

 “I want to thank you for working on marriage for 10 Christmases. It’s good, it is work, but it’s the best kind of work, and there’s no one I’d rather work with.”

 ZOMG. Cue internet outrage. Can you believe this guy?

According to The World, Ben Affleck should only have said a variety of very common, very public-approved phrases. He should have told her he loved her and called her his muse or told her she was perfect. He should have said he couldn’t have done anything without her. He should have told her she looked beautiful that night. He should have said any of these things but only these things.

Call me crazy but I just can’t get behind the outrage. Listening to Ben’s speech I smiled and thought, “That’s refreshing.” What Ben said to his wife was honest and sincere and I respect that. I thought it was kind and sweet. I’m certainly not the only one though because – pan to wife – Jennifer Garner had a huge smile the entire time he spoke to her from the podium.

Why do we spend so much time lying about relationships in our society? Why do we push fairy tale dreams on little girls and hide all the bad parts of relationships? Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Disney princess movie as much as the next overgrown child, but I think we need to start being honest with ourselves and our children too. Romance and love aren’t all rainbows and butterflies and warm fuzzy feelings. Marriage isn’t just one long, lovely gondola ride through smooth waters.

Maybe my opinion doesn’t matter to anyone because I’m not married yet (t-minus 74 days!) but I would like to think that my opinion crosses the boundary of marriage and is applicable to long-term relationships in general. When I marry David, our every day relationship won’t change. I’ll still be leaving dishes in the sink and he’ll still be forgetting to pick up toilet paper at the grocery store. My opinion? Ben Affleck is on to something here.

I love David. He is awesome. He is charismatic, intelligent, and really, really, ridiculously good-looking. I am glad to have him in my life but our relationship wouldn’t exist without a lot of hard work. Sometimes we are crazy. Sometimes we are irrational. Sometimes we are insecure.

And that’s on a good day.

Life together isn’t always easy and it definitely isn’t always fun but we stay together because it’s worth it. We work at it.

*gasp*

I know. I said our relationship is work. That idea that goes unsaid because we all want to pretend our relationships exist in a vacuum of perfection. Do you want to know what the single greatest thing being with David has taught me? Relationships aren’t perfect; and they don’t need to be. I spent so much time before meeting him convinced that I was in messes of relationships because they weren’t perfect. Fighting, lying, even the smallest of transgressions was a sign that my relationship was doomed. I was supposed to find my prince charming and we would go through some hardship to be together, then we would live happily ever after. People would write books about our love story. Friends would wilt with jealousy at the sight of us together, swooning 24/7.

Ben Affleck gave his wife a tremendous compliment; he admitted that marriage was work (shhh) and then he told his wife it was the “best kind of work” and “there’s no one I’d rather work with.”

Why do we associate work with unhappiness? When I want to get stronger I have to kick my ass in the gym. Sometimes it hurts and it is always tiring but I feel good and powerful when I am pushing myself to my limits and when I reach that goal – when I’m stronger than I was a month ago – I feel so good. I feel good because I achieved my goal, because I worked for what I wanted, and because I put every piece of me into the process. Ben never said he hated the work, he just said the word “work.”

He talked about teamwork.

He works with his wife to have a marriage that has managed to last over a decade. In an era with a 50/50 divorce rate, I think we can all admit this gives them a leg to stand on.

credit: Tori Szczesniak

David is selfish. I am selfish. Humans are selfish. It’s who we are. It’s what we do. Committing to spending your life trying to rise above that deeply ingrained character trait is a hefty task to take on; but I’m ready for the challenge.

There are going to be days when – although we love each other – we don’t like each other very much. There are going to be days we need to be there for each other when all we want to do is focus on ourselves. These are the days that we will go to work. We will work to be better people and better partners. We will work because it is what is important to us and because we know it will be worth it. We will work to stay connected to each other rather than take each other’s presence for granted. We will work to make each other feel as loved and important as they deserve to feel.

For the rest of our time together, we are going to work at our relationship. We are not perfect and we are not going to pretend to be. We are not going to be that couple that pretends they don’t fight and they always get along and everything is absolutely fantastic. Everything isn’t fantastic every single day but on a whole? We’re pretty damn great. Because we work for it. We’ve earned this.

I admire Ben Affleck for his honesty. When the day comes that David is finally honored in the film industry with some award, I hope that he can have such pure and heartfelt things to say to me during his thank you speech instead of the same tired lines. I hope that he can see me as more than just the pretty face sitting next to him, along for the ride, and instead as his partner and teammate in life, against all odds.

And if he forgets to thank me at all, he’s sleeping on the couch indefinitely.

Recipe: easy peasy slow cooker pulled chicken

pulledchicken2As I’ve mentioned in recipe posts before, I’m not too keen on exacts so you’ll have to forgive me for my estimations in the world of seasonings and the like. I season to taste. David and I like things with oodles of flavor so what tastes fabulous to us might be overwhelming to you. We also love things spicy so peppers are a recurring theme in our home.

Not a fan of spicy? Skip the peppers.

Season at your own discretion.

Ingredients

1 whole organic chicken (it was around 6lbs)

1 green pepper diced

1 red pepper diced

1 bushel of scallions – just as they came rubber banded together at the market – diced

2 cups of cilantro chopped

2 jalapenos diced

2 habanero peppers (I ended up having to make due with 1 because 1 was all black on the inside – ugh) diced

1-2 limes (I used 1 but I think I could have used 2) quartered

A smidge of extra virgin olive oil (I used less than a cup)

Whatever you season your chicken with – to taste

 

What to Do

1. Rinse the chicken and take all of the chicken bits out of the inside. Do what you wish with the bits – I don’t use them.

2. Season the chicken as you would normally. My concoction: just a bit of extra virgin olive oil, crushed red pepper, black pepper, sea salt, onion flakes, garlic powder, Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, McCormick Cajun Seasoning,  parsley flakes. I put the olive oil on the chicken and inside the chicken then I put the seasonings on and inside.

*As you can tell from here that there’s 3 different instances of salt which might be a bit much for some people. I used all in small amounts because David tries to stay on a fairly low-sodium diet but I’m sure you can cut out any or all of them.*

3. Put the chicken in the slow cooker (yes – without water!), and place on highWalk away from the chicken for at least 8 hours – be sure to do something really really fun and delightful. Or, if you’re like me, just do the opposite of that and go to bed.

*You make wake up in the middle of the night to the dog barking at the bedroom door trying to get out to find the source of the chicken smell taking over your home. Disregard. He will go back to sleep eventually.*

4. Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and pull. The meat should really fall off the bone at this point so this job should be fairly easy. Since I was making this during the week I woke up early to pull the chicken (hehe). I wore gloves so I didn’t smell like chicken for the rest of the day. Not sure how to pull chicken? It’s pretty self-explanatory, just start ripping it to pieces.

5. Optional – drain the chicken grease in the slow cooker.

6. Toss all of the pulled chicken back into the slow cooker. Add optional extra virgin olive oil and stir. I put in maaaaybe a teaspoon for the whole batch of chicken.

7. Squeeze all of the lime quarters over the chicken and stir. I chose to do this before adding vegetables because I wanted the lime to saturate the chicken more than the veggies. I also tossed the lime quarters into the slow cooker after I was done squeezing for extra oomph but not necessary.

8. Mix in all of the chopped/diced vegetables and cilantro. Since this was a weekday project I chopped all of this the night before, put them in a bowl, and poured the bowl into the slow cooker in the morning. Made my morning go a little bit smoother so it’s definitely something to consider. I mean heck, you’ve got 8 hours between putting the chicken in the slow cooker and putting the vegetables in so you might as well save yourself about 20 minutes and chop away.

9. Turn the slow cooker on low, walk away and do something spectacular for at least 6 hours. Or, be like me and just go to work instead. Because of my schedule, this sat in the slow cooker for at least 12 hours before anyone ate it and it wasn’t burned by any stretch of the imagination.

10. Eat it in whatever manner you are so inclined. I decided on tacos. Whole grain hard shells, red leaf lettuce, shredded Mexican blend cheese, hot salsa, and Cholula Sauce. It took all of my willpower not to eat twenty of these tacos. The next day, I add just the chicken with cheese, lettuce, and salsa for lunch. The options for the pulled chicken are neverending.

 

**Please note that this makes a large hefty serving (remember when I said it was a whole chicken?) because I am incapable of cooking for just two people at a time – so be prepared to cut this recipe down if needed or freeze some of it. We were having taco night with friends two days later so I made good use of the leftovers. If I’m estimating, this would have made about 20 tacos. Maybe more.** 

This was my first time making pulled anything – have you ever made pulled chicken/pork/etc? If so, do you have any cooking recommendations or suggestions?

Please tell me if you decide to try this recipe out – I’d love to know what you think of it!

 

NOAA just out science-d and out logic-ed you

I don’t know about you, but this clears up the forecast for me. Better put those Batman socks away for tomorrow, they’re better suited for a blustery day and definitely not appropriate for breezy.

weather

On their handy definitions page, NOAA offers this incredibly helpful explanation that isn’t at all exemplary of any completely unnecessary and confusing redundancy whatsoever. At all.

Blustery: Same as Breezy; 15 to 25 mph winds”

Also, I’m pretty sure I’ve never said the words “It’s feeling kind of blustery out today.” Ever.