Sticky Notes (on an anniversary)

Misty arroyo, near Abiquiu New Mexico
Mist on the mesa- toward Abiquiu.

Sticky Notes (on an anniversary)


We choose our partners with a secret eye seeking the twin. Not the twin in the mirror, but the lost twin in shadow. The discarded, smothered twin we poked and twisted and kicked under the bed of childhood. The Other. The Everything We Are Not. The Abandoned One.

Forgotten in order to please.

If the stars are kind and align just right, you choose well. And The Chosen shimmers with your own potential, reflecting not what you have found but what you seek. And basking in their soul mate glow you grow- just a little. You stretch and you risk- just a little. With time and fledgling self awareness you notice a glint sparking back at you and you reach to claim it, knowing, This belongs to me. I am this, too.

And you take it back.

This unburdens your partner, piece by shining piece- who is, by design, if you have not done the work of reclaiming, either bored or chafing beneath the yoke of your golden-hued projection. Or worse- wandering off in search of eyes that see something new, or more authentic.

When people ask, What is the secret of a good marriage? I usually answer, Chemistry. And good manners. Especially when it comes to the toilet seat. And then I laugh. Because it's true. But only a slice of the truth. The more complicated truth (and one you don't share at dinner parties) is a messy, juggling, wrestling wrangle with the aspects of two separate selves discovering two mysterious twins in the marriage bed.

You see, it's not always safe to integrate.

The squelched and sore parts of you can knock apart your coupled equilibrium. Don't kid yourself. It's not ever easy to bid for wholeness. To grow. Growth means change. And change is challenging. Even in the best of circumstances. So some days it's frighteningly tempting to believe that the dust balled fragments skulking in the shadows are not worth the effort of excavation.

Denial and distraction can smell pretty good at first.

But one cloudy day when your mending hip is aching and your desert skin is itching, you glance up from the kitchen counter cluttered with sticky spoons and banana peels, and you meet a clear gaze that sees you for who you really are- not some projected angel in the house, not some idealized muse, or nurturing mother stand-in. But who you really are in all your unadorned, quirky, burnished glory.

And you thank not the stars, or luck, or even fate. You know better. You've done your homework. So has he. So you smile a slow smile and crack, What are you looking at?

The love of my life, he says.

xox Karina


beastmomma said...

What a lovely story! It is so inpsiring to me. Happy Anniversary and may you have many more!!!!

Kalyn said...

You were so lucky to find someone like him! I loved this post.

Jess said...

Congrats and Happy Anniversary!!!

Roseoftx said...

Being happy together is a gift,..and enduring love is the key.

Congrats and Happy Anniversary!!!

jamie.bart said...

May you be blessed the way you have blessed all of us, not only with great help in the kitchen but food for the soul.

Tiffany said...

Karina, what a beautiful posting! Aint love grand?!

I have linked my new GF blog to's still a baby, but soon to be growing!

Happy Anniversary!!

momcan'tdance said...

I'm new to your website and loving it more each time I "stop in". Such a touching and real look at marriage! My husband and I just celebrated our 26th anniversary together. Here's to another 13 for ya!

jacobithegreat said...

Little bit of psychology in there, or at least sounded familiar to me, from some course I've taken somewhere.

I have to say, good for you. It does take work, even if you're lucky enough to have the chemistry-- and good manners. :o)

Anonymous said...

Karina, I am so happy you had such a wonderful and heartfelt anniversary, merry meet, merry part,merry meet again. Thanks oh so much for what you give to this rapidly growing food challenged community! LOL, Dawn

Kristen said...

What a beautiful post!

The Good Eatah said...

Beautiful, Karina.

Happy Anniversary!

GFN Richard said...

Happy Anniversary!
13 years is only the beginning.....

Simply...Gluten-free said...

Happy anniversary! I've been married 31 years and I whole heartedly agree!

Anonymous said...

Wow! What an amazing post!

My spouse and I have just celebrated our 3rd anniversary, and your post was tearfully beautiful. It has been a day since we read it, and we are still reflecting on it and discussing it.

You are a gem.

While we don't have any food allergies, I regularly send your recipes to a neighbour who has an allergy set almost identical to yours. Your recipes are the greatest help to her and her family of all the sources I search for recipes to make her life easier.

Thank you ... for your food, and for being you.

Lucas & Matt

Klay said...

Happy #13 - Here's to love!

Slacker Mom (aka Mrs. GF) said...

Happy Anniversary!!

Slacker Mom

Glutenfree2 said...

Happy Anniversary Karina, my hubby and I just celebrated 18yrs. on the 24th. Is the 24th your Anniversary too??

Cheers to many more years!

Lynn Barry said...


just wanted to let you know that I dumped my free to eat blog during a menopausal moment...BUT I started anew...HUGS and LOVE

Karina said...

Thank you, Everyone! You rock.

And roll. ;)



bridgette said...

what a beautiful post. Happy anniversary!

Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

Karina, that made me teary-eyed.

Angelina said...

Thank you so much for your beautiful blog and inspiring post. I discovered your post on a search for gluten-free recipes. I visit again and again peeking into your life and beautiful kitchen. Thank you for your art and passion!

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Lovely. In May, we celebrate our 19th. All through your post, I was thinking and then the "twins" have children. At least that's what we did. Sometimes it is good. Sometimes spectacular. Other times, the children drive you nuts.~~Dee

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your very well written thoughts. Your words inspire!