Saturday, December 31, 2011

It's all okay

Today is just another day. Tonight is just another night.

I won't be with The Coach. It's okay.

* * *

I spent time with him yesterday. I was all set to go to yoga and get my head on straight and find my breath and just be. But if I'm just going to be, I'd rather just be when I am with him. Foolish or not.

And I woke up this morning with a sore hip so it's all the same.

"This is going to be the last time I see you before you go, isn't it?" I murmured into his chest, safely tucked beneath his arm.

No, no. He told me.

He doesn't leave until Tuesday.

In my head, I ticked off the complications. Bowl games, Lions games, hangovers, family time.

And I told him that I didn't believe him.

I think that he'll get busy. And he'll realize that it's easier not to see me one last time. To avoid that formal goodbye.

He won't make the time.

* * *

I won't be with The Coach tonight and it's okay. I'll be with people who love me more than he does. I'll be with friends who know me better than he ever will. I'll kiss Chet's best friend at midnight and maybe that's for the better. Just doing it because that's what you do. No emotion. No expectation.

2011 was the year of The Coach.

I am not banking on that being the case for 2012.

Friday, December 30, 2011


January is nearly here. The Coach is nearly gone. Back to his coaching position, thousands of miles away. Back to the life that I have no part of.

I can't believe that I have to do this again. I can't believe that I have to say goodbye. Again.

I kept avoiding plugging my January work schedule into my calendar. I didn't want anything to do with January. With the end of his trip home. With day after day after day where I won't see him. Where we won't be in the same time zone.

And that first week. I'm already loathing that first week. I already want to spend it in bed, instead of getting up for work every morning and putting on makeup and a smile and generous layers of clothing. I'm always cold when I'm sad.

The inevitable end of The Coach's visit home is making it hard. Hard to be in the moment when I'm already halfway into next week. Hard to want to be around him when he's almost gone. Hard to flip the calendar to January.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Not a fashion blogger

On my way home from work last night, I brainstormed about what dress I could wear on New Year's Eve*.

And somehow, on the 10 minute drive between work and home, I mistake myself for a fashion blogger. A fashion blogger who doesn't have a full-length mirror, among other things. Like fashion sense.

What I also am lacking is any shame.

But I do have a self-timer on my camera. What could possibly go wrong?


So here is my attempt at a legitimate picture of the dress. I suppose you get a general idea of the shape.

And here is an unintentional (I swear) badonkadonk shot. Things you can see: zipper detail, the fabric (black wool, with metallic thread thingies) and a lot of ass.

And the front. If you're not too blinded by the white of my legs, check out my bracelet made of Aunt Marie's pearls. It is the only redeeming detail of this photo. (I cannot believe I am putting it on the internet.)

After a dozen pictures of this very, very high quality, I gave up.

What would have made sense: walking downstairs and asking Liz to take two quick pictures.

What I would have had trouble explaining: why I needed pictures of myself in a dress to post on the internet.

So, I did the next best thing. I grabbed my iPhone, marched into the bathroom and took more bad pictures.

Have I mentioned that I'm wearing my hair straight these days?

I had it blown out, actually, so it doesn't look exactly like that on a normal day. But close.

And there is a picture of the back of the dress in which you can see...nothing, really. Except those creme towels (which match the shower curtain) (both of which belong to Liz) that I really don't care for.

Back to the dress.

The point of this post was:
a. to prove what I nerd I really am. (Success? Success.)
b. to assure you all that I will not be morphing this into a fashion blog at any point in the near future
c. to gather your opinions on the dress.

So, the dress: too stuffy for New Year's Eve? (It's not like we're going to a hotel party where everyone else will be in sequins and I'll be in wool. And the length and the sparkles make it okay? Please confirm or deny.) What do I wear on my legs? (Black tights? Nylons? Bare legs that I generously slather in self-tanner for the next few days while hoping for a miracle?) Jewelry? Hair? A magical pop of color somewhere that isn't my legs? (I just can't do colored tights.)

I feel like it is possible to make this dress cute and New Year's Eve appropriate. And I am totally afraid that I'm going to do it wrong and look like I just left the library.

*Yep, I bitch about New Year's Eve and pick out a dress to wear all in the same day.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Most Annoying Night of the Year

Oh, New Year’s Eve. What a pain in the ass you are. What high expectations you bring. What a disappointing reality you never fail to become.

Why I never learn, I cannot quite describe. Every year, it is the same. We need to do something. What should we do? How special should it be? Does it require a new dress? A manicure? My flat iron, an hour in front of the mirror and a miracle?

Last year, Lucy and I were on the ball. I researched locations, restaurants, bars within close proximity of restaurants. We made a reservation. We were all set. And then one of the couples who were going out with us suddenly decided that they were no longer interested in going out where we had decided to go out. And for some reason unbeknownst to me, Lucy and I were considerate enough to completely redo our entire plans to accommodate their bullshit.

So, obviously this same couple is coming out with us again this year and obviously planning the night has fallen on me and Lucy and we haven’t done anything yet and it’s going to be a miracle if we can get a reservation for a largeish party so late in the game; we’ll probably end up at Taco Bell for dinner. Or maybe I’ll pull off a miracle and get us a reservation and then the Picky Twins won’t want to go there anyway.

I’m already annoyed.

I’d just rather go somewhere with The Coach.

Ideally, dinner with me, Lucy, The Coach and Chet. And then Lucy and Chet can go home (I cannot expect Lucy in her very, very pregnant state to stay out very late) and The Coach and I can go somewhere and do something or not go anywhere and not do anything.

That is a complete pipe dream.

I won’t be seeing The Coach on New Year’s Eve. I mean, it’s just not realistic. I don’t know his friends. His friends (I suspect) don’t know about me. He doesn’t know my friends. And he’s going to want to celebrate with his. I am 97% certain that I will be unable to convince him to do dinner with me and my friends – so that I can at least see him at some point that evening – and I think I just have to be cool with that. Will I invite him along anyway? I will. It doesn’t hurt to ask even though I will be disappointed.

That’s what New Year’s Eve is all about, anyway. Disappointment. Disappointment and overpriced drinks.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The bigger picture

I remember what I was wearing.

I remember where I was standing.

One year ago tonight, The Coach sent me a text message.

One year later, we're here.

* * *

I haven't seen The Coach in the last handful of days and it's frustrating because I want to spend every second of every day with him while he's still here.

But that's just not how it is and I am trying - trying so damn hard - to look at the bigger picture. I haven't seen him because he has been with his family. Because he adores his family. Because he cherishes spending the holiday season with his family.

How could I possibly dog him for spending time with his family?

It is one of the many things that makes him so awesome. I wish I had a picture of his face when he talks about Christmas with his family. I wish I could bottle up his enthusiasm for my Christmas sugar cookies.

Despite not seeing him over the course of the holiday weekend, I heard from him. I heard from him at all the right times -- while he was watching his beloved Lions play on Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning. Just before he (and I) collapsed into bed after a long day of Christmas celebrations with our respective families. He was thinking about me. Letting me know that he was thinking about me. I'll take it.

* * *

I haven't bothered him about New Years Eve yet.

I just need to put it out there.

He doesn't do subtle. Every step forward we've made in the last week has been a result of me putting aside my natural inclinations to be sweet and agreeable and undemanding and nonconfrontational. It's been a result of me voicing what I want.

And what I want is to see him on New Years Eve.

And also to find out the great mystery of last week.

And also for my heart to not be absolutely broken when he leaves again. (I cried in my car today, just thinking about how hard it is going to be when he goes.)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

First gift... gift?

I don't know how another Christmas present is going to top this.

Meg and I opened these matching bracelets yesterday -- a super, secret gift from Anna and Emma's dad.

(He didn't wannt to give them to us at Christmas, in front of our other cousins.)

He took Aunt Marie's pearls and had the necklace restrung into three bracelets: one for me, one for Meg and one for Emma. Anna has the orignal bracelet from the set.

I can't remember receiving a gift that made me cry. Until this one, of course. Happy tears and sad tears. Such a sweet, sweet gesture.

I love that it matches my sister and I love that it matches my couins-who-are-basically-my-sisters. I love that I will be able to carry a little of Aunt Marie around with me.

I hope you all have a wonderful day tomorrow - whether it is spent celebrating Christmas or not. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful group of people who read this silly little blog. You're all a pretty sweet gift, too.

Friday, December 23, 2011

So Midwestern, So in the Kitchen: the rest of 2011


Not in the kitchen, actually.

Just the blogging.

Well, the blogging and the picture taking. You'll see.

First off, I would like to make an announcement: yesterday, I made doughnuts.

Lucy wanted doughnuts for her and Chet's Hanukkah party. She was all "well, I will find a recipe tonight, I guess, and make them when I get home from work. If you could just borrow your aunt's deep fryer..."

Oh hell no, Lucy. You are 412 weeks pregnant, working all day and having people to your house. There's no way in hell I was letting her make the doughnuts.

"How about I make the doughnuts? I mean, unless you're really attached to the idea of making them. I don't work on Thursday and, really, I wouldn't mind at all."

She acquiesced. As I knew that she would.

And then I had to figure out how to make doughnuts. Featuring hot oil (which scares the shit out of me) and yeast and rising and temperatures and other chemistry-like components (which also scares the shit out of me).

But, look! Look what I did, you guys!

Half of them I glazed, half of them I sprinkled with lavender vanilla sugar.

They tasted really good.

The recipe was from The Pioneer Woman.

And then there were the sugar cookies from last week:

So good.

Even though they weren't my mom's recipe and, yes, I still feel guilty for cheating on my mom's recipe.

Here is the recipe if you'd like to cheat on your mom's sugar cookie recipe, too.

Before I moved, I made this Tortellini Spinach Bake from a recipe I found on Pinterest.

Loved it. I find tortellini to be a delightful food. (Pasta. Cheese. You can't go wrong.) But I get bored with eating my tortellini with just marinara sauce, so this was a lovely alternative.

And that's the end of the food pictures I took. Three pictures in three months. I know you're impressed.

I did, however, continue to cook on a pretty regular basis and that's fancy enough of me that I'll share a bit of what I made.

Pantry Pasta for Two from The Pioneer Woman which was so easy and so yummy and so perfect for a cold weeknight in November.

Sugared Pecans in the crockpot, from a recipe I found on Pinterest. Seriously tasty, satisfying my sweet tooth and giving me a jolt of protein -- a critical component to my snacking habits.

Baked Pears with Raspberry Sauce for dessert at Lucy's house a few weeks ago. I'm usually not a big fan of pears, but she specifically asked me to bring fruit for dessert and I couldn't bring myself to chop up a pineapple and call it a day.

I made a few adjustments to this recipe - margarine instead of butter, leaving the cream out of the raspberry sauce - because we had meat with dinner and her husband keeps kinda-sorta kosher. But the chances made do difference. Well, I don't think that they did. I haven't made it any other way. But it still tasted good to me. The girl who doesn't like pears.

And then there was baked pumpkin pie oatmeal. Also found via Pinterest, also delicious. I made this recipe at least four times this fall. I love and adore oatmeal. I love and adore pumpkin. Such a magical, magical breakfast treat. Best straight out of the oven, but it reheats fairly well (I toss it in the microwave and pour a bit of milk on the top once it's been warmed up), too.

That is it, friends. Kitchen time was had but the reports are lacking.

Always room for improvement.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Yesterday's Mystery

The Great Mystery of Wednesday is now The Great Mystery of Thursday and Beyond.

Saw him after work last night.

Had such a lovely time that I completely forgot to ask about the question he randomly texted me.

Was too busy in the moment. Too busy to be nosey about that afternoon's text messages. Too busy to fuss over every insecurity I have been marinating in for the last week.

Not so busy that I failed to observe his behavior. More tender. More spontaneous. More of that person that we all let out when we're really comfortable. Fearless -quirks and faults and opinions.

I am almost afraid that I am seeing exactly what I want to see. I hate to get my hopes up. It seems that he genuinely heard that sliver of conversation that I initiated. That something made sense. That something rang true. That we knocked down a wall.

Or two.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

All over a pair of sweats

Meg is hard to shop for in the sense that, far more often than not, the minute that she decides that she wants something – be it flashcards for her licensure exam or a new pair of heels – she buys it.

There is not a person in this world who I know better than I know Meg, so shopping for her is still fairly easy. All I have to do is come up with something that she’ll like and want before she knows that she likes and wants it.

On her last birthday, for example, I had a thought that went something like this: she likes soccer, she plays soccer, her soccer cleats are at least 4 years old, she likes Puma, she thoroughly enjoys bright and unexpected color combinations (especially on her shoes). And then I bought her a pair of teal and hot pink Puma cleats. And she thought they were fabulous.

My brainstorming for this Christmas went something like this: she likes sweats, she wears sweats to school, she is going into a profession in which sweats are acceptable, she likes hockey, she plays hockey, she coaches hockey. And then I went online and bought her the perfect pair of sweats from a hockey company. They cost way more than I would ever want to pay for a pair of sweats, but they were absolutely perfect for Meg. They even use skate laces as the ties. Love them.

Loved them.

Loved the idea of them, anyway, because I never received them.

Because yesterday, 10 days after placing the order, I get an email saying “oh, sorry. We’re actually out of stock?”

10 days? What? It took your company 10 days to get someone to look at your inventory and determine that, actually, there aren’t any mediums left.

I was so angry.

Because, at this point, Meg’s lengthy Christmas list has been stripped bare and I really didn’t want to go to the nearest sporting goods store and buy her a generic, lame and also somewhat overpriced pair of Under Armour sweats – which she would love, yes, but is completely lacking in originality.

And, as I have been a touch sensitive (read: batshit crazy) these last few weeks, I was a total mess. Completely without even the slightest decent idea. Too nervous to trust another online retailer. Makeup. Shoes. A fabulous dress that she doesn’t need but would really like. So many possibilities and I hated every single one of them.

In order to solve the problem, I pouted the rest of the afternoon. And then I called and ranted to my mom. And then I bitched to Lucy, who I had called for an entirely different reason.

And then I sucked it up, took a risk and went to the running store. Where I found what I believe is an acceptable alternative.

Then I picked up the last of my cousin Danielle’s gift, a few stocking stuffers for Mom and a package of hair ties.

And by the time I got home the world didn’t seem so bad.

What holiday stress?

I even turned on the Christmas tree.

Jumping to conclusions

Nothing like a random exchange of text messages to make a girl very suspicious and nervous and weird and worried.

Him: Do you have a friend who lives (where The Coach coaches)?

Me: A friend from college.

Me: Are you just taking a poll?

Him: I don’t know. I’ll call you later.

Me: Ooooooookay.

Him: Hahahaha. No big deal.

Me: Fantastic.

Conclusions immediately jumped to as a result of 34 words exchanged over 2 minutes:

Who has a guess? Is it good? Is it bad? It is nothing?

*I assume/freak out about this regularly, with him and everyone else in my life. Start a conversation with “hey, I wanted to ask you about something” and I immediately mentally jump ahead in the conversation to “I found your blog on the vast interwebs.”

It’s going to happen eventually. (Maybe it already did.) Everything here is true and genuine and me. I might not be advertising it, I’m not embarrassed by it, either.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

And it's hard to dance with the devil on your back

I danced it out.

I was nearly ready for work. I was in the kitchen, making a very, very late breakfast of oatmeal while packing up a lunch to drag along to the office.

Feeling more than a little sick about how fast and unceremoniously things had fallen apart with The Coach, there wasn't a crumb of food in the house that looked appealing.

The television was on; I needed the company of the background noise.

And I needed - although I didn't know it at the time - some Florence + the Machine in my life.

Which is what I got. Florence + the Machine performing "Shake It Out" on The View.

I danced in the kitchen. I shook it out. I danced it out. I brushed away the tears as they dropped on my cheeks.

I ruined my makeup. My sore back screamed at me. The builders working across the street owe me several dollars in tips. But at the end of that song, I could breathe. I had air in my lungs.

I was alive. And I felt alive. Drama with The Coach had buried me, again. The Coach consumes me. When his actions make me feel sad, I become the personification of sad. But I danced out of it. I wrung out my heart.

I danced.

I let it go.

In the evening, I initiated the start of a hard conversation. A conversation that we needed to have. A conversation that is not complete.

He responded appropriately to the beginnings of that long overdue talk. It could get better. It could stay bad.

Whatever happens won't consume me. Not this time. Not anymore.

I'll shake it off. I'll dance it off.

It’s always darkest before the dawn.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Thinking, Deciding

There are many, many good things that come from maintaining a blog for 7+ years.

The blogging benefit that I practice the most frequently is using my blog as my auxiliary memory. "When did I run that race?" Search the archives. "How long ago did I get in that huge fight with April?" Archives.

But the best thing about having this blog - and having it for so many years - is that I have somehow managed to get a lot of really great, really smart, really sweet, really honest, really genuine, really, really, really awesome people on Team Alyson.

Thank you all for your comments and your good thoughts and your emails and your honest opinions. Thanks for thinking of me. Thanks for caring.

This weekend with The Coach was as bad as it was at the end of last week. I am disoriented and I am frustrated and I am hurt. I have to do something - and that something may be a swift parting of the ways - because I can't keep this up. I cannot continue to feel this way. I'm exhausted. I don't want this hanging over my head at Christmas. I want to enjoy the holiday. I want this to be over. I want it not to hurt. I've made no decisions. I've formulated no plans. I'm tired and sad and maybe a little bit pathetic. I'm undecided on a plan of action and decided that there must be one. I'm sick of crying in my car. I'm done with hanging on to threads.

Something is going to change.

Something is going to change very soon.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Not possible, not realistic

I am such a jackass.

What fantasy world was I living in when I was dreaming up what it would be like during The Coach’s visit? And why didn’t I get struck down by lightning for entertaining such stupidity? I am dumb.

This is not easy. I thought that it would be easy. I thought that this visit would be nothing but rainbows and unicorns and cotton candy. I was wrong.

I should have realized that upon The Coach’s arrival that I would immediately begin counting down to his departure. I should have known that every hour would feel critical. That every evening would mark the end of another day. That spending as much time as I wanted to spend with The Coach – enough time to make the last four months seem palatable in hindsight – was virtually impossible.

I have a job that I need to go to. He has work that needs to be done while he’s here. He has other commitments. I have other commitments. My house is 40 minutes away from where he’s staying. And we only have three weeks. And I want to spend every second of those three weeks with him. But it isn’t possible. It isn’t realistic.

I’m not his girlfriend. I’m not tagging along to his family outing to see The Christmas Carol. I’m not going to the bar to sit at his side and drink with a bunch of dudes he went to high school with. I am not his girlfriend. And as much as I want to drag him to the Hanukkah party I’m attending next week or to this weekend’s cookie baking extravaganza, that’s not what you do. That isn’t how it works. I’m not going to trick him into a relationship.

And please don’t get me started on New Year's Eve. Which is always a disappointment. But I would like to be disappointed with him. I would like to make out with him at midnight. I would like to include him in my (yet to be determined) plans. I would like him to include me in his (currently unknown) plans. But that’s an awkward dance. Should we? Shouldn’t we? Are we? Aren’t we?

I hate asking. Even if it is only in my head, I hate asking. I hate feeling needy and clingy. I hate reminding myself that not asking is guaranteeing that the answer is no. I hate leaving my comfort zone. I hate stirring up the courage. I hate the vulnerability. I hate knowing that it’s the only way.

Nothing is going to change in three weeks. He will leave and we will have the same blurry status that we had when he left in August. I’m really going to miss you and I’m making no promises. Because distance makes it hard to promise. If I’m being honest, I don’t think he likes me enough to even give it a try. So be it. It’s okay. It sucks, but it is okay. It’s real life.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Asking, Getting

I am absolutely horrible at asking for what I want.

I am equally bad at going after what I want.

Such glaring personality traits, now that The Coach is home. When my heart is like “OMG, come over come over please please please come over and stay for a while and then come back over tomorrow and I want to bake you many cookies to show my affection” and my head is like “girl, you will sit here quietly until he is ready to see you because you know you’ll hear from him the minute he wants to see you and you will NOT go begging for his attention.”

I do not know how to find the balance between my head and my heart. So my head wins. Because it’s safer that way, you know? Even though I’m pretty sure nobody ever gained all that much by regularly refusing to put themselves out there for fear of pain and rejection. This ship likes the safety of the harbor. It’s comfortable here. And I'm so good at being lame.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sharing and Sugar Cookies

Whenever my friends who are fabulous and have moved far, far away from home come back for a visit, I'm always sympathetic to their crazy busy schedules. "Um, maybe we can meet for a super quick coffee after I'm done shopping with my mom and just before I go to my brother's surprise birthday party?"

I get it. You're only home for so long. Everyone wants to see you. I totally get it.

But I sort of forgot to take that into account when I was envisioning The Coach's three weeks at home. And never did I think for a second that he would have work to do, too. He does. He spent today recruiting.

And I spent my day -- oh, what the hell didn't I do? I might not have worked the last two days, but I wasn't just sitting around. Because, as you all know, it is physically impossible for me to sit down.

Today it was yoga. Christmas shopping. Some very serious experimentation with my freshly cut hair. The baking of a stupid huge quantity of sugar cookies for Saturday night's cookie decorating fiesta. (Which - without any further dicussion between us - Liz invited Emma to, saving me from drama/guilt/grief that I really, really didn't feel like dealing with.) In Liz's charming kitchen that has very poor lighting. (Truth: I feel like my mother when I bitch about a dim room.)

On the subject of sugar cookies: I used a recipe from Pinterest instead of using my mom's sugar cookie recipe and I feel SO GUILTY.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Guess who's back, back again

It was what I expected. It was what I needed.

Except a little bit better than what I expected. And a little more than what I needed.

The Coach is home. For three weeks, he'll be here.

I don't feel like my heart is going to explode.

It isn't like my world has just started to turn again - it was revolving quite nicely when he was gone.

But he's here; I feel content. Quietly happy. Not overjoyed. Not as though a light was just turned on in a dim room. Just happy. Happy he's here. Happy for the next three weeks.

One day at a time.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Emma is exhausting. I will be the first to admit that. She is loud, she's prone to being mean and harsh, she says the first thing that comes to her head no matter how offensive it is.

It's exhausting.

But I have come to expect it from her. And her mean words and her loud voice don't cut at me like they probably should. "Emma being Emma" is what I repeat to myself, regularly, when we're together. When her mean words catch me.

But Emma is my cousin and more like my sister. She may be in college, but my mother is still raising her. And she has been for quite some time.

Liz wants to have a cookie baking party this weekend. She and Meg came up with the idea. I rolled with it, offering to pre-bake our sugar cookies, inviting Lucy.

"That's the party Emma's going to?" My mom asked me this afternoon. Liz had asked Emma to teach her how to bake some of Aunt Marie's cookies a few weeks ago.

But I knew that Liz wasn't planning on inviting Emma.

And sort of said to my mom that Emma wasn't invited to this cookie party and my mom was wondering why because obviously Liz wanted to know how to bake those cookies (otherwise she wouldn't have asked) and I just played so dumb.

When I get home, I mention the whole thing to Liz and she's like "um, no" about Emma coming over. And then she's like "well, she can come but I have no problem telling her to leave my house if she gets drunk and obnoxious." Translation: I don't want her to come.

And Liz knows what Emma has been through. And, fuck, I thought she realized that Emma was essentially my sister and there are times when my mom calls and says "Emma's here" and I go over there. Because that's what I need to do. I need to be there for Emma.

And I'm sorry if she's annoying and I'm sorry if she's exhausting but she is sort of part of the package. She comes along with me and Meg. Even if sometimes we don't want her to.

It's not a big deal. It shouldn't be a big deal. But my feelings are hurt because I know that Emma's feelings would be hurt. And I don't want to turn this into an argument with Liz and, oh, it's just petty nonsense.

But somehow it cut me pretty deep.

I guess it's just because I know that, in this situation, I cannot win.

Friday, December 09, 2011

What is going on here?

Weird week.

Quiet week. Busy week. Not an absurdly bad week. Not a remarkably outstanding week. Just a week.

The last quiet one before the holidays, I suspect.

I had hockey games on Tuesday and Thursday night, which decimated the only two evenings that I didn't spend at work. The two mornings I didn't work, Monday and Wednesday, were spent running seven miles and going to the dentist.

I was up until 2:30 am last night, giggling with Liz and her friend Denise. It was casual, unassuming girl time. That's what I'm going to like about living in that house. Stupidity, sweatpants and a cup of hot tea.

I'm not working today (hurray!) and so I took a new yoga class (100% chance that I'm 100% sore tomorrow) and ordered some gifts online (finally) and I'm getting my hair cut in a few hours. In the meantime, I'm scanning pictures like a fool for the photo book I'm putting together for my grandma's Christmas present.

I found this picture of me and Meg and I fell in love with it.

Because it seems to me that the photo was snapped just as I came up with a really, really great idea of something that I could talk Meg into doing. "Meg! Take off your diaper and streak naked through the house!"

I've been doing that our whole lives. Treating Meg as my personal clown. I think of the funny things for her to do, then I talk her into doing them.

I bitch about having to do all of the work for these photo books that we put together for Grandma - scanning, layout, sending email after email to my cousins begging that they email me one bloody picture - but it's actually great fun. I get such a huge kick out of the pictures: we're all so little and cute and we can drive cars and get married but nothing has changed all that much. Meg is still the clown. I am still pensive. Emma is still loud. Anna is still worrisome. Mara is still careful. Evan is still the token boy.

And I'm still the sucker who puts together a whole photo book for Grandma, wraps it and signs the card from all of us.

Like I said: not a remarkable week. Quiet. Weird in its quietness.

I don't have quiet weeks like this.

That's usually why I have something to blog about.

This week: you get nonsense. Nonsense and a picture of me at age 5.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Living with Liz

We’re just a couple of weeks in, but living with Liz has been joyfully easy. Mostly because we’re rarely at home at the same time.

She works over an hour away – so she’s out of the house by the time that I’m up every morning. (Or she’s supposed to be, anyway. No matter how late she’s running, she’s gone by the time I’m out of the shower.) And because Liz works over an hour away, and oftentimes puts in long hours at the office, on the evenings that I am home, she typically doesn’t arrive until after dinnertime.

On the days that I leave work at a normal hour, I go home and take the dog out and fix myself supper. I change and go to the gym or go about whatever it is that I need to go about (last night it was making playlists in iTunes before leaving for an annoyingly late hockey game).

On days that I work late, by the time I get home she’s usually lounging around with the dog and sometimes her sister and sometimes a friend. I plop down on the couch next to her (and the dog and maybe a guest) for a few minutes of Real Housewives of Wherever while I eat dinner. Having not been bit by the Real Housewives bug, I usually abandon the show for a book/my laptop/my phone/a shower shortly after I’m finished with dinner.

Last night – when I left work at 5:00 and had a hockey game at 9:00 – I saw Liz for 20 minutes.

Tonight – when I’ll get home around 9:30 – I’ll see Liz for an hour or so.

In terms of living with someone who isn't your life partner, it's sort of the ideal situation. Not too much time together. Assures the dog gets let out on a regular basis. Both of our cars fit in the garage.

And I'm living in a brand new house and not paying the mortgage.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011


Other than posting a list of what I’ve read at the end of a year, I don’t normally use my blog to share what I’m reading.

But since starting The New York Times series Punched Out: The Life and Death of a Hockey Enforcer on Sunday morning, I have been haunted by it. I have had nightmares. I have to share it because I haven’t been able to shake it.

John Branch of The New York Times examined the life and the death of Derek Boogaard – an NHL player who made a name for himself as one of hockey’s greatest fighters. He died this spring, at the age of 28, of an overdose.

The story is tragic and the reporting is phenomenal. So much of it hits close to home for me – the concussions, the sport that is such a part of my life and the lives of so many I love.

If you have time, read it. Or watch the corresponding videos. You don’t have to be a sports fan to appreciate the series. Just a human.

Derek Boogaard: A Boy Learns to Brawl
By John Branch | The New York Times | December 3, 2011

Derek Boogaard: Blood on the Ice
By John Branch | The New York Times | December 4, 2011

Derek Boogaard: A Brain ‘Going Bad’
By John Branch | The New York Times | December 5, 2011

A lot like Christmas

If I absolutely have to work today.

(And I absolutely have to work today.)

(But not next Monday or Tuesday! Wheeee!)

I suppose I can handle working from a desk with has a view like this.

As long as I don't have to deal with any crazies.

I'm in the mood for Christmas. Not for crazies.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Reminder: caring is not permitted

The Coach will be home soon; I am busy reminding myself not to care.

He’ll be here for three weeks and it will fuck with my head. I will do best if I maintain low expectations.

If I find myself craving more than he can give, I end up like I was a few weeks ago. Furious. Devastated. Disappointed.

I’m not going to do that again.

And because I would rather have him in my life than not, it will be this way for now. With the awareness that this will not always be enough. But is incapable of developing into more. This is the final product. What you see is what you get.

Haven’t I always said that this has an expiration date?

It’s been a few months. And a few thousand miles.

Nothing has changed.

(Even though I convinced myself differently for a while.)

Friday, December 02, 2011

I shouldn’t write about work, yet I do

I left work yesterday and nearly hit a homeless man who was riding his bike – swerving from the shoulder into the lane of traffic – alongside the road.
"What the hell, Bart?!" I shook my fist at the bicyclist. "Be careful!"
And, in that moment, I knew that I had become a true ‘brarian. I knew the name of the homeless man who I had nearly hit with my car.


My coworkers and I are all assigned different subject areas that are our responsibility. The subject areas are switched up once per year and this week we received our new assignments. Previously, I purchased computer/technology, religion, health, literary criticism, history, travel, fiction and classical CDs. Now I’m buying philosophy, language, cookbooks, sports, mysteries and the popular CDs. Yes, I will now spend my days selecting Taylor Swift’s newest release and the latest and greatest Mario Batali titles to be added to the ‘brary’s collection. It sounds cooler than it is.


I hate myself for wondering if I want to do this for the rest of my life. The environment that I am in, the coworkers that I have, my supervisor, my responsibilities, my expectations: it is all absolutely fine. I just, oh, I guess it’s just like everything in my life. I’m unsure.

Thursday, December 01, 2011


Oh, December. How I have missed you.

Or, more accurately, how I have missed it being any month but the sucktastic month that was November.

I was very ready to turn the page on my calendar this morning. Itching to turn the page on my calendar. Relieved to finally turn that page. To put November behind me and start fresh.

This month is going to be better.

This month is going to be so much better.

This month will be busy. Just how I like it. Busy with soccer games (3) and hockey games (3). With work parties. With a yet-to-be-determined New Years Eve and shopping trips to find the perfect outfit to wear to my yet-to-be-determined New Years Eve. With spending time with my Lucy, who will be in her last full month of pregnancy and taking it easy per her doctor’s orders. With my incessant bitching about my lack of skill in present buying. Followed shortly thereafter by incessant bitching about my lack of skill in present wrapping.

This month will be busy with cookies. Many cookies. The baking of cookies. The decorating of cookies. The hosting of parties in which we bake and decorate cookies. The consumption of cookies for breakfast.

The Coach will be home for half of this month.

The first half of this month will be busy with refusing to let myself get too excited about the second half of this month. (Which is when The Coach will be home, obviously.) (Low expectations!)

I am going to teach myself how to make a mean hot toddy this month. Or some other drink that will make me warm and also drunk.

This month is going to be great.

This month is going to be spectacular.

This month will be a warm-up for 2012, which will be even more great and even more spectacular.

This month is only the beginning.
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