Monday, June 29, 2015

This Weekend

The Good:
--A baby shower for one of my soccer friends. I don't hang out with many of my teammates off the field and we're in the middle of a team baby boom, so many of them are skipping the season because they're pregnant; it was nice to catch up over brunch and also I won bingo because I am so skilled at the art of the shower.
--Lucy and I made impressive progress towards completing the third season of Orange is the New Black.
--My younger cousin, Paige, graduated from high school. (This is insane to me because she was born when I was in high school.) My parents, with the help of my aunts and uncles, hosted a generous and beautiful graduation party at the beach on Sunday. 
--Brady stayed at Lucy's house during the graduation party and he was a champion. Not only does he get along famously with Lucy's dog, wolf, but Brady was also very good with her boys. 
--While I'm bragging about Brady's good behavior, I should also mention that he is killing it at his new obedience class. I will have to write a whole post about it because this class has been so good for him and he just loves it and I am so pleased.

The Bad:
--My grand return to summer soccer after last year's injury has been dismal. I keep trying to come out of it but, you guys: it's bad. I am sluggish and slow and basically useless. It's not even fun.


The Humiliating: 
--My uncle brought over his new girlfriend to help get ready for Paige's graduation party, right? Well, this girlfriend is new and we all learned about her, like, 30 minutes before her arrival via text message. Awwwwwwwkward. Anyway. She seemed nice and whatever and, as I am a team player, I took a secret picture of her to send to my aunts and my cousins. What? We're curious people. So, I spent an entire day crowing about how I am the ultimate secret picture taker. EXCEPT SHE SAW ME AND TOLD MY UNCLE LATER. I've already started brainstorming how I can improve my game for the next girlfriend he brings around but, um, yeah. I am the creepy niece. Awesome.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Toddler's Revenge

Lucy's oldest son, A, is pissed at me.

They stopped by my work last week on the way to the beach. The intention was to scoop me up and bring me along, but it was a day where it was impossible to sneak out early. It killed me to say no.

"I have to go back to work," I told him.

"No."

"But I need to help some kids find books."

"No."

"I promise I will come over to your house soon and we can play."

"No."

I clearly lost that round. And then I didn't make it over to their house last weekend, because of this and that, only further cementing my place in A's dog house.

He's used to seeing me at least once a week and, in the month since they've been back from vacation, it's been far less. Lucy's sister-in-law has been in town, Lucy hosted a bridal shower and is in the process of changing jobs and I have been in the midst of the June from Hell

Last night, while Lucy was getting her boys to bed, A came up with a plan. Apparently this plan was devised while A was on his last-time-before-bed potty time, so he probably had a long time to think about it.

When he was done, A told Lucy "I wanna write Auntie a thank you card and send it in the mail. It will have Lightning McQueen and Mater and MISSILES. She can only have it if she comes here. That's the deal."

It's pretty awesome that he wants to see me but I do think he's confusing a random note with a thank you card.  

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Oh, June

What happened to June, you guys?

I have a foggy memory of someone mentioning the beginning of June but I was in the middle of helping my mom after her knee replacement operation that I barely noticed.

And now...it's almost over? Really?

I didn't even notice that it started.

June was my mom, post-op, and my mom, post-op, dealing with my dad who didn't deal well with my mom being post-op. Basically: one month of running interference.

June was episode after episode of Downton Abbey with my patient. Ice packs, coffee and Lady Grantham.

June was the beginning of my soccer season. It was when I found out how out of shape I really am.

June was celebrations galore (with more this weekend!) Baby showers and graduation parties. It's that time of year.

June was one year since I was in Brazil for the World Cup, which I can hardly fathom.

June was no nail polish and a lot of ponytails.

June was Lucy's birthday and barely any time, for either of us, to celebrate properly. (We're going to squeeze in some belated cheer this weekend, too, before we officially hit July.)

June was Judy Blume's In The Unlikely Event.

June was rainstorm after rainstorm. Yet I could never remember to roll up the windows in my car.

June was a blur.

And I have a feeling that July will be much better.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Trouble Brewing

Once upon a time I had a Keurig coffee maker and I loved it.

Actually, I still have my Keurig coffee maker that I got in, like, 2005. I just love it very cautiously.

First, there's the whole environment thing. But I only drink a cup per day at home so I just feel a little guilty about it. (And then I feel guilty that I don't feel guilty enough.)

Secondly, I know that one day it will die on me and I will be unable to purchase another Keurig machine. So I keep my love at a distance.

This is why I will never buy another Keurig machine.

My parents had a Keurig and worked okay and eventually (after a reasonable amount of time) it died and they got another one. The Troublemaker.

The Troublemaker never worked quite right and they were always on the phone with the company, getting replacement parts and having the operator walk them through how to do this to fix it or that to fix it. These troubleshooting sessions did not occur once or twice a year, you guys. It was fairly constant.

So, after a whole year of fighting with The Troublemaker, my father got annoyed and requested that they send him a whole new machine. Which they did.

We will call that machine The Final Straw.

The Final Straw was delivered early this spring and it has been a terror since its arrival. Sometimes it brews half cups of coffee. Other times, it brews your coffee with an extra special surprise: a tablespoon of grounds floating around. Delicious!

Ever since the arrival of The Final Straw, my father has been calling about this issue and about that issue. More parts. More instructions on how to fix it. More grounds at the bottom of the cup.

Now, this machine isn't at my house so I probably shouldn't be so disgruntled. However, in the four weeks since Mom's knee replacement surgery, I've gone to their house first thing every morning to help out.

I have a cup of coffee when I am there. Correction: I TRY to have a cup of coffee when I am there and I have wasted so many K-Cups in trying to make one decent, ground-free cup of coffee every day and THIS IS SO FAR PAST RIDICULOUS.

I talked my mother into buying a new coffee maker last week. Having the Keurig was supposed to be about convenience but if you can't consistently brew a cup of coffee? If you have to call for technical support on your coffee maker once a week? NOT CONVENIENT, MY FRIENDS.

My mom won't need my help in the mornings for much longer but, until then, I am fired up to be reunited with the Cuisinart Grind and Brew. It's what my cousin Liz owns and what I used every day for the two years I lived with her.

Not only will we get fresh-ground coffee, but we'll get it without any drama. What a concept.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Rhubarb makes everything better

Meg caught an episode of The Chew where they featured Buttermilk Cheesecake with a Rhubarb Glaze and she's been talking about it ever since, which is actually pretty funny because Meg isn't even a huge rhubarb fan. Or a big cheesecake fan, either.

You know who is a huge rhubarb fan? Me. But also my father. And, wouldn't you know, yesterday was Father's Day.

So I made Buttermilk Cheesecake with a Rhubarb Glaze. It was amazing and quite light. Not like one of those dense cheesecakes where you feel a little like you've just consumed a brick of cream cheese.

I have most certainly helped my mother with baking a cheesecake but I actually don't know that I have ever made one entirely on my own.

There's a first time for everything, boys and girls.


I didn't bother with baking it in a roasting pan with water, so: it cracked. I expected it to and really didn't care. Why get all worked up about a crack if you're going to put a glaze on the top?

My mom always says a cracked cheesecake "shows that it's homemade." She is not a fussy baker.

Our rhubarb wasn't particularly red so I didn't get the pretty pinkish color glaze that they showed on when they made it on The Chew. I considered a drop of food coloring before deciding that going to such lengths was entirely unnecessary. Maybe if I was hosting a fancy party? Probably not then, either. How would I explain how everyone's red tongues?
 
Sometimes you just need to go with what mother nature gives you. Even if it's not television worthy.

The taste more than made up for the color.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Routine

I have had Brady for almost five months and in those five months, I have not slept in. And I'm not talking about sleeping past 8:30 am on the weekend, my friends. Oh, no. This cute and furry little alarm clock gets me up at 6:10 every single morning.

It's like he doesn't even know what the weekend is.

(And, for the record: I don't need to get up anywhere close to that early to get to work on time.)

When he wakes up I imagine that it's because his stomach is growling because he wants his food immediately. He doesn't even want to be let outside first. No, it's food right away and step on it, lady.

Then we go outside to take care of business before I make coffee (or a cup of tea, I'm back to trying to cut back on the coffee) and we go back to bed.

Where he immediately falls asleep.

I most certainly do not.

So I spend the first half-hour or so of my day chilling in my bed, with my dog at my side and a cup of coffee in one hand and a book in the other.

And it's not so bad, easing into the day like that.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Full Steam Ahead

Since deciding to plan a trip with Meg, I feel like I have air in my lungs.

I have spent too much time -- I'm not exactly sure when it started but maybe since I returned from Brazil, or when I injured my knee or over the long winter when I did little more than watch every episode of Scandal -- feeling like I am underwater.

While I have accomplished little more than browsing the possibilities and sketching out dates for this more-than-hypothetical-but-not-a-guarantee trip, it has reinvigorated me.

I was looking ahead and all I saw was a year with more of the same. I will stay in the same job and live in the same house, I will play on the same hockey team and bake the same Christmas cookies and spend my Friday nights with the same people.

Not that there is a thing with any of that -- I like my life, honestly -- but there was nothing notable on the horizon but a half marathon this fall that, with the way things have been going, could very well be more of a struggle than a joy.

Considering the cost of another big trip makes me hyperventilate a little, but I am trying to keep things in perspective. I'm getting a raise in a few weeks. I still don't have cable television. Maybe this will be the catalyst for me to downgrade my gym membership. And it's only money.

Which I'm never going to have much of, anyway. I work in government.

Plus: what the hell, right?

I want to go to France. So I think I'm going to go.

Maybe without even overthinking it.
 
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