Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lake Day!

Worked until noon.

In my swimsuit by 1:00 pm.

Lake days are the best.

Kudos to my parents for buying a house on a lake so that my general population doesn't have to see my pasty white skin.


(See Elle in the bottom corner?!)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fresh ink, fresh start

You all read it. (And if you didn't, read my archives from the end of August, 2010 until around December. You'll understand soon enough.) You know how hard it was for me. You left me sweet comments and sent me kind emails and held me up. Virtually, anyway.

My dad was cheating on my mom and I was the one who put the pieces together and it devastated me.

But it broke Meg.

While I put on a brave face and maintained a cautious relationship with my father throughout those long, long months when everything I'd ever known seemed to be falling apart, Meg was icy. And mean. And stubborn. And unforgiving. Every one of those emotions was understandable; our dad, her idol, hadn't only cheated on our mom. He lied to Meg. He was cruel to Meg. He was a man who was stuck in a corner and was fighting his way out and, in the process, he maimed Meg's heart.

And she hasn't been the same.

Their relationship has been civil, but it is not close. It is not the relationship that it was before this all happened. Meg is distant. Meg is still pissed off.

She's working on it. She's in therapy. And I just keep hoping that she can get past this because this is not the Meg I know. My Meg doesn't hold grudges and doesn't pass judgement. My Meg isn't pissed off all of the time.

Meg turns 25 on Saturday. To commemorate the occasion, she got a tattoo. Her fourth. I thought she was just going in for a consultation and to make an appointment, but she called me last night and broke the news: my tattooed little sister is now a little bit more inked.

She described the tattoo to me - written backwards so that she can read it in the mirror - and then she explained why she got it.

"I just feel like...with all of the things that happened with Dad and...oh, basically since I started graduate school, life has sucked and I haven't been myself. This is me getting back to myself."

25 is Meg's favorite number and, as it is the age that she is turning, she feels like it is a sign that she needs to start fresh. To get back to the basics of who she is (bold and loud and smart and funny and awesome) and who she wants to be. Her timing couldn't be more perfect: the next year will be her last year of graduate school and, on her birthday, she'll take her licensure exam.

It's going to be a big year. And if she needs a new tattoo to start it off on the right foot, then she needs a new tattoo.

She needed the tattoo.

And she probably needed the tattoo artist to give her a substantial discount for being so tough, too.

She went through hell and came out on the other side, but it never hurts to be reminded of how tough you can be.

A $50 discount never hurts, either.

Monday, June 27, 2011

So Midwestern, So in the Kitchen: June

I am in favor of eating dessert before a meal.

I am also in favor of eating dessert before and after a meal.

Today, I am in favor of blogging my desserts before I blog my meals. Even though the desserts don't have anything to do with my resolution.

Left: Chocolate Caramel Coconut Cupcake
Right: Oatmeal Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

I made the cupcakes for Lucy's birthday and they were a tremendous hit. Totally rich, a fun surprise in the middle and they're a little like a Girl Scout cookie. Fabulous.

Just last Monday night, I made the dough for the Oatmeal Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies, decided that I was too tired to stay up to bake them, and baked up a sheet of them the next morning, instead. The Coach was over that night and he demolished what was left of them. I think it's safe to assume that these cookies will always remind me of him. So this better end up okay, because I'm going to be especially pissed if he ruins these cookies for me.


Left: Quinoa Salad
Right: Mexican Quinoa with Black Beans and Avocado
I'm obsessed with the Quinoa Salad. Like, I made it for myself, and then I made it when I went to Mom and Dad's for dinner. And then I made it the next week for a work potluck. My first work potluck! The work potluck that I was nervous about because I didn't want to bring something that was out of place (quinoa was a risky choice, right?) or not absolutely awesome. My new coworkers needed to know that I know my way around a kitchen and this salad did not disappoint.

I made the Mexican Quinoa recipe the next week and, honestly, it was just too much quinoa and black beans in a short period of time. It was a fine recipe; I need to make it again when I've had a bit more variety to my diet.


Left: Monday Night Stir Fry
Middle: Cilantro Rice
Right: Brown Rice Bowl with Shrimp, Snow Peas and Avocado


I learned something about myself in June: I don't love soy sauce. Or maybe I just like it in smaller quantities than most recipes call for, because the soy sauce in the stir fry and the rice bowl were a little much for me.

I also learned that the Cilantro Rice recipe did not live up to my high expectations. It was passed along from a coworker at my old 'brary well over a year ago and I meant to make it and meant to make it and finally got around to it this month and - surprise, surprise - it was disappointing. It just sort of tasted like mushy green rice soaked in a lot of chicken broth. Which was pretty much exactly what it was.

I have no idea what cookbook this recipe came from and I feel guilty about not having the proper source. If the recipe was good, I would totally type it up and share anyway.

The Brown Rice Bowl came from an old issue of Everyday Food that I dug up. I thought it was pretty decent. Avocados make anything pretty decent. Shrimp makes everything pretty decent, too. I had to substitute snap peas for snow peas because the snow peas at the store looked terribly pathetic. This recipe uses a lot of staples from my pantry, so it will undoubtedly be revisited in the future.

And the stir fry was a winner, too. The soy sauce was a little much for me, yes, but that can be adjusted in the future. I substituted tofu for chicken because I do things like that sometimes. And maybe I had tofu sitting around that needed to be used? I can't remember. It was the first recipe I made in June.

So, if you've been wondering more about what I've been eating the last month than you've been wondering about what's going on with me and The Coach, your question has been answered. And if you're still wondering about The Coach, scroll down and feast your eyes on my boy talk babblefest.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Q & A: The Coach

You have questions about The Coach. As promised, I have answers.

(And plenty of questions of my own, but that is neither here nor there. Not today.)

I just want to know:...did you...or didn't you?
Did. Do. Yes. For sure.

Can you give some deets on the Coach's looks?
Oh, he's so cute. I know I've written that exact phrase describing his looks a dozen and a half times. It's because he is. So cute. I've never asked, but I imagine that he's been told that his whole life. I know a lot of girls who know The Coach: they all think that he's cute. His friends tease him and call him vain. I don't think that he's vain, but he cannot be ignorant to how very, very handsome he is.

He's attractive in a very all-American way. Over 6' tall. Broad shoulders. A mischievous smile. His hair is a sandy brown; his eyes are brown, too. And his nose reminds me a little bit of my sister's nose. He's in fantastic shape, but not intimidating, Greek God, 1% body fat, unattainably good shape and I like that about him.

The Coach is the best looking guy I've ever been with. It's actually a little bit intimidating, more so when this all started than it is now, but I'm still very aware of it. I'm simply not as effortlessly and classically attractive as he is. And it feels like an odd imbalance. (Although I don't feel cute enough for him, I do know what his ex-girlfriend looks like, I definitely fit into his "type," which is undoubtedly tiny blonde girls.)

Is he an "older" gent?
Yes. He's older than I am. He recently turned 33, so he's four years and some change older than me.

Does he blow Colin and The Groomsman out of the water?
That's a hard comparison to make. But, in every way that you can compare The Coach to Colin and to The Groomsman: yes. Absolutely.

It wasn't something that I thought about until now, actually, but The Coach has that confident, fun personality that attracted me to The Groomsman and he has that athlete's demeanor like Colin. But he actually likes me, unlike The Groomsman. And he doesn't have the issues or the excuses or the fondness for professional wrestling or the drinking problem that Colin always had.

Where he really, really blows Colin and The Groomsman out of the water is my comfort with him. With Colin and The Groomsman, I never took my guard down. I was never totally myself and totally comfortable. Ever. But with The Coach? I'm just myself. Not a panicked, uptight, trying-too-hard-to-be-perfect, afraid-to-make-a-mistake, terrified version of myself.

And also he's way more fun to make out with. So he is obviously the best.

Are you just having fun or do you think it could be something more?
We're just having fun.

If he were game for trying for something more, I would wholeheartedly support giving it a go. I think that our temperaments and intellect and personalities and interests are very complimentary. I think that he is a legitimately awesome, kind, fun, good guy. I like him a lot. And I'm really not sure he's ready to grow up and be accountable and let go of the bachelor lifestyle.

In terms of me being the one in the relationship (totally using that term loosely) who is calling the shots, yes, I think I'm doing more of that with The Coach than I have with any other guy. It's a combination of my growing up a bit from the days of Colin and The Groomsman and Luke, I think, and the fact that The Coach has made his interest in me very clear from the very beginning. It's a lot easier to set the direction of the ship when you know the the other party is securely on board.

Why is there an expiration date on this?
This whole business of an expiration date is related to his job. Because he is climbing up the ladder in coaching, he's pretty much obligated to go wherever he gets his best offer. And, simply due to the number of collegiate programs in the state, it isn't likely that he'll end up somewhere terribly close to where I live. I've always assumed that, when his season starts and he makes his move, we will be done.

That's not to say that we will be - I actually probably heard from him more when he was on campus (and lonely) in the winter than I hear from him now (in terms of text messages and phone calls, I mean) - but I'm compelled to remind myself of that reality on a regular basis.

Where do you think his head is with all of this? Do you KNOW he doesn't want more than just fun?
I have a hard time with this. Mostly, I think he's in it for the fun. Sometimes, he'll do or say something that strikes me as a little too sweet or a little too tender to be coming from a guy who is in it only for the fun. It makes my head spin.

We haven't had The Talk or any variation in which we discuss our status. Therefore, I don't know with certainty that he doesn't want more than just fun and, truthfully, I dislike entertaining that idea because it gets my hopes up.

And with that, friends, our humble little Q & A is a wrap!

Thanks for your questions. Attempting to put together a coherent answer to each of them was good for me, actually, in terms of thinking about this whole thing with The Coach in a way that isn't as raw and as immediate and as emotional as I normally approach thinking about what we have. This little exercise has cleared up a few things for me and, hopefully I've cleared up a bit for you, too.

Follow up questions? Leave 'em in the comments.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Circle of Friends

Lucy and I are having dinner at a fun Mediterranean restaurant in the funky city where I used to live and I am just so excited about it that I could just burst. Yes, it is only dinner and, no, it unfortunately won’t involve a trip to our favorite dive bar (for two reasons: one being that Luce isn’t drinking, the other being that the dive bar upgraded to a not-dive location and is no longer the dive bar we once loved with all our drunken hearts) but I’m hoping for a good post-dinner walk in mild weather and perhaps a trip for a little bit of ice cream and some good, quality time with my best friend.

When I think about how soon these simple Friday nights out won’t be so simple, it makes me a little bit sad and insanely excited for what is to come.
Weather permitting, we’re going to take our gaggle of puppies to the dog park tomorrow, too. Maybe that’s why I’m not freaking out about Lucy’s forthcoming offspring: it’s not like we were ever all that wild and crazy to begin with. We like going to the dog park, for heaven’s sake.

Having such a close friendship with Lucy has really allowed me to keep my group of close friends very, very small. And when Ashley moved to North Carolina and Colleen fell off the face of the earth, my circle of friends shrunk even smaller and now that Lucy is knocked up, I’ve become more aware of how few close friends I have.
It is not that I value quantity over quality, but there is something to be said for have a group of girlfriends who are your age or are at the same place in their lives. And I totally don’t have that. I have coupled friends who are settled down and happy.

That’s just not my life. That isn’t where I am.

Now that I no longer work 60 hours a week, I have time to be social and it is probably time that I put myself out there and do it. Make some new friends. Meet some new people. Expand my world a bit beyond my comfortable existence as the single girl amidst the married couples.

Or I could just stop brushing my hair, draw my shades and become a hermit. That shit would be so much easier. And bright sunlight hurts my eyes, anyway.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Time for a fun game

We are going to play a fun game, boys and girls. This fun game is called: Ask Me Questions About The Coach & I Will Probably* Answer Them

I have had one or two or 93 requests for details. Details that I am willing to spill. If I knew what, exactly, you were dying to know about me and The Coach and this precarious situation.

Leave me a comment with your questions. I will answer them - or attempt to (picture me blushing furiously and giggling nervously, as that is what I am good at) - on Sunday night.

*Like I'm even going to put all of my business out on the interwebs. Some things are just meant for email and direct messages and giddy whispers over strong alcohol and inappropriately loud announcements following the consumption of the aforementioned strong alcohol

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Writing about last night

I’m sorry, you guys.

This is so irritating.

I want to write about The Coach. I want to get last night out of my memory and off of my chest and officially on record and I can’t do it. Not like I want it to. Not in any way that makes sense. Not so that I can look back on my words one day and be brought right back to where I am at this very second. In my purple shirt. Wearing my favorite ring. Hair in a ponytail, courtesy of the unrelenting humidity. And giddy about last night.

And I can’t do it. I can’t get the words from my head through my keyboard. They come out all jumbled and nonsensical and as a creepy hybrid of a corny romance novel, an especially dirty issue of Cosmopolitan and a self-help book.

I want to tell you about where I am right now and where I was yesterday.

I want to write paragraph after paragraph after paragraph. Like I’ve written about other boys. Nauseating detail. Exhausting detail. Details that we could all mull over together like it was a thousand piece jigsaw puzzle.

I want to write about his slight stubble and how, laughing, I held his flip flop for him when it put it on. About how he ate the cookies that I gave him – cookies that I had baked just that morning, almost as though I knew that he would be over right after work even though I didn’t. About the missed call on my phone and the perfect timing that, for once, worked on our favor.

I want to write every detail.

And if I can’t write every detail, I want to write my favorite detail. I want to write about how he pulled me in for a kiss, whispering “come 'ere” to me in a voice that was soft and hoarse and perfect and how, in that second, what we had wasn’t just for fun. It was the only thing in the world that I wanted. And I wanted it to last forever.

And how I’ve spent my entire day trying to wring out that feeling.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Stuffing My Face: Switzerland

I returned from my Switzerland/Italy trip five weeks ago; I need to write my recaps.

I thought I would ease my way in with a photo post.

Featuring my favorite subject matter: food.


I had a variation of this breakfast every morning that I was in Switzerland. Except multiply that amount of cheese by, oh, four or six.


This was my bread plate on the second night of the trip. I could have taken the same shot on the first night and the third night and the fifth night and, um, yesterday.


Spinach lasagna at the Lausanne Palace hotel. I ate every bite.


It was late one afternoon and I was hungry and a little sleepy and my feet hurt. I found a tiny cafe and I ordered a quiche and an espresso and I sat under the awning and watched Lausanne pass by.

I would say that it was perfect, except there was this little asshole bird who kept dive bombing me because he wanted a piece of quiche. Birds freak me out.


On my third night in Switzerland, my cousin Liz and I went to dinner with one of her coworkers. Liz and her coworker decided that we were going to get Chinese for dinner. Luckily, that request was lost in translation and we ended up at a Vietnamese restaurant. Even luckier, I had a Lausanne app on my iPhone that lead us less than a block to an authentic Swiss restaurant. Where I had fondue that will never, never be topped.


The dessert that came with our traditional dinner was BANANAS. Meringue, dipped in that dish of double creme. Simple and awesome.


Caramel ice cream. Much like everything else that was dairy-based: f'ing fantastic. I picked this up at the grocery store when I was out wandering around on my own one day. Best choice ever.


I picked up this sandwich at the airport in Zurich. I forget that I like sandwiches until I eat one like this one. It tasted awfully good to me. So good that I had to write a post about it.

I'll write a whole post on what I ate over our weekend in Milan, too. And then you'll really know why I came home feeling like a chunky monkey.

Or just scroll up once more. It sort of says it all.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Am old, have a sister

I have an abusive relationship with summer soccer Sundays. They make up my favorite few months of the year. And then they beat the hell out of me.

I played in two games yesterday and I can barely function. My toes hurt from the constant pounding. I have a mysterious bruise on the top of my right foot. My left shoulder is sore. My quads burn. I have a headache. And my eyelids are really, really heavy.

These maladies can all easily be blamed on age. Because I am officially old. One of the teams we played yesterday consisted entirely of girls born in 1992 and 1993. Girls with names like Zoe and McKenna who are a cool 10 years younger than I am. It was shocking. (It is an over 18 league, but the youngest on our team is my sister, at 24.)

Speaking of my sister:
1. She received her marching orders this weekend from a friend whose wedding she is in next June. The bride chose a designer and a color and wants each of her bridesmaids in a different dress. The color? Hot pink. The designer? Alfred Angelo. The really handy result of this? Meg can wear the dress that I wore in Bridezilla’s wedding two summers ago. (As long as our seamstress can let the dress out to the original size.) How lucky is that?

2. As soon as I got home from soccer last night, I texted Meg to let her know that the Miss USA pageant was on television. That is why having a sister is awesome, you guys. Because it gives you someone to notify when there is truly trashy television on who won’t judge you. And who may even respond to your text message with “aww hell yeah.”

Friday, June 17, 2011

Finding my religion

I am not religious.

I wasn’t raised in a religious household. I have not been baptized. I don’t have my own bible, Koran or torah. I stammer when I’m asked what religion I am, because I do not have an answer and I do not have a religion and there is no proper term for my beliefs. If I have beliefs. And I’m not even sure that I do.

While I was a kid and through college and my earliest adult years, I was aware that I didn’t have a religion but I never truly noticed. It was a non issue. I didn’t think about it, just like I didn’t think about the shape of my nose or the color of the sky. It was what it was and always has been and wasn’t changing. It was a fact.

But then I got old. Or maybe just wise and thoughtful. And I have found myself, in recent years, thinking about religion more and more frequently. Wondering if I want one. Wondering how I’d find one. Trying to picture myself in different religious settings – whether I would be comfortable, if it would feel real and genuine, if I would feel like I was in a place where I belonged.

It cannot possibly be an easy process. There is so much out there. So much possibility. I don’t know where I would start or what I would want to try or how, honestly, I could ever decide. Would I ever know? Is there an organized religion that aligns with who I am and what I believe? I have my doubts. And fears. And reluctance to even try.

Maybe. Maybe one day. I’m getting there, I think. On my own terms, I hope. I want to do it because I’m ready. Not so I can get married in a certain church that happens to have really amazing architecture that would look awesome in our wedding photos. Or because something so awful happens that I need to find solace somewhere. Not for a guy. Not because it is the religion that my cousins practice. Not because I’m a certain age. Only because I want to and I’m ready and it fits. And not a second before.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Feel the burn

There are times when I sit down at my computer, intending to blog, and I am stuck for something to write about or something to say or something interesting from my past to reveal and, when it doesn’t come to me instantly, I get panicked and convince myself that I have exhausted myself as a subject. Blogged all there is to blog. Typed all there is to type.

Then something happens – a boy comes into my life, my mom pisses me off, I am particularly moved by a book that I have read – and I am temporarily relieved of the fear that I am all blogged out.

And then there are the other times, when blogging is effortless and the words come rushing out so quickly that my fingers can’t type quite fast enough.

This is one of those times. I just got all flushed, blushed, stammering embarrassed in front of one of my new coworkers and, oh my goodness, I can’t wait. I’ve never blogged about that before. About how ridiculously easy it is to embarrass me.

You wouldn’t know this because you read my words. The words that I proofread (uh, sometimes) and add and delete and rearrange. Not the words that come out of my mouth. The ones that you probably wouldn’t even be able to pay attention to because you would be looking at me, pretending to listen, all the while wondering why I am turning so red and if I am having a medical emergency.

So, in case we ever have the chance to meet (which would be so fun! Let’s do it! Bloggers weekend in the D?) I just wanted to let you know: I’m turning so red because that’s just what I do. And no need to call an ambulance. The fire on my face will put itself out.

If you look at me the wrong way, I will blush.

If you bring us something that I have done wrong or imperfectly or if you start a conversation on a topic that I am not confident in (but maybe should be), I will blush.

Stand me in front of a group, I will blush.

Get me in any situation in which my senses are heightened – a close call in the car, for example – and I will blush.

It isn’t a cute blush.

It is a fiery red, impossible to ignore, full body, humiliating, top-of-my-head-to-tips-of-my-toes blush. I am teetering on the edge of 30 and I have yet to outgrow it. Damnit.

One of my new coworkers – who is seriously nice and meant absolutely nothing by it – just came up to me and was like “hey, when you use the staff bathroom up here, do you turn off the light when you leave? Because we leave it on and I’ve been trying to figure out who turns if off and I mentioned it to Karen and she said it started when you started so I thought that maybe it was you?”

And I died a little on the inside. And admitted that, yes, I am the energy conserving fool who turns off the staff bathroom light which is apparently not what we do and – OMG, my face is so hot and I suspect that it is the same color as my hot pink shirt and GAH. Pile the embarrassed on top of the already embarrassed and I think I need to stick my face in a bowl of ice.

So, if you all would just keep that in mind when we meet, that would be great, because I guarantee that meeting a blog friend would be an occasion to make me flushed.

I promise not to wear red or pink so that you won’t be tempted to make comparisons if you’ll be so kind as to bring a spray bottle to spritz me with.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Coach

The Coach is tall and I appreciate that about him. He's always quick to laugh and I adore that trait, too. His laugh is infectious and, when I think about him, I can hear that laugh so clearly. It's a good laugh.

His hair is sandy brown. The color that makes it apparent that he was a blond baby. He is the oldest of three. The only sibling who is not married. The only sibling who has no kids.

His birthday is in a few weeks.

He is adorable. When we still worked together, whenever my work nemesis mentioned The Coach in conversation he would always tack on "oh, he is just so cute," in a girlie voice because that is what he always heard females saying about The Coach. He is just so cute. He totally is.

Whatever it is that is going on with us - I hesitate to label it - has always had an expiration date. He was always supposed to leave at the end of the summer to go back to coaching. Location unknown; he only knew he was not returning to the college where he worked last year.

This is late. He should already know where he'll be living and coaching next year but he does not.

He thought he would be coaching in Alaska - ALASKA - but the position went to someone else late last month. When he told me about it he admitted that he was rattled. I was sympathetic, but I wish that I had been more so. All I could think about was the distance between here and Alaska.

He has mentioned the possibility of not having a coaching job at all. Which would complicate a lot of things. His career, for one. Us and our unspoken expiration date, for another. But it seems that fear has passed; he told me last night that he expects to know by the end of the week where he'll be coaching next year. I did not ask where. I was afraid that I would spend my night calculating time zones and distances.

And I shouldn't be calculating time zones and distances. This fun has an expiration date. And I am not his girlfriend.

He has a lengthy, ugly, albatross of a relationship hanging around his neck. One of those explosive, volatile relationships where the couple just shouldn't be together but neither of them are smart enough to realize it. This girl who has been around forever and they just break up and get back together and break up and get back together and break up and get back together. I don't ask him about it because I don't want to know. I especially don't want to know their on-off status over the last nine weeks. Does that make me awful or does that just make me stupid?

If my past history is any indicator, this whole thing should make me a mess. And I should be checking my phone every five minutes and I should be running out to buy a new outfit every time I think that I will see him and I should definitely be writing about minute events in excruciating detail and begging for analysis.

But I'm not a mess. I adore him plenty. And ideally, it would be more than what it is. But I don't want to get caught up in that. I don't want to wish too hard. I don't want to hope too hard. I don't want to forget the expiration date.

I am taking this one day at a time and washing it down with a healthy dose of realism and hoping that, at the end of this, my heart hasn't been completely broken.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Three bedroom fun distractions

I may have found my latest project.

House hunting.

Followed by house buying.

Followed by house owning.

Not quite sure if I’m ready to take this step into adulthood. Not quite sure if my finances are ready, either. I suppose that determining the viability of these critical factors is part of the process.

My dad’s been beating this drum for a while. It made absolutely no sense before, when I was furiously searching for a new job and had no idea where I would end up. It is a bit more logical now that I’m hired in at a job that I will likely have for quite some time. (Eeeee! That feels so good to type. It seems that I am finally, finally getting settled into my adult life. Finally.)

For the moment, I am content with browsing the interwebs for houses that I find to be adorable and seemingly within reach while contemplating where, exactly, I would like to live. I have a handful of cities in mind, but I keep returning to two: the city Lucy and Chet where live (creepy? weird? codependent?) and the city where I currently live. Which is next to the city Lucy and Chet live in.

Both cities are sort of situated halfway between home (mom and dad’s house, that is, but also Aunt Lynn and Grandma and Grandpa) and work. I like the idea of that. Remember when I moved way to the east side of the city to be closer to my job and I ended up feeling so damn isolated that I eventually moved? I don’t want to live somewhere just because it is close to work. I think that I would rather live near the fun.

My commute isn’t horrible, but it isn’t great – 40 minutes – and in the ideal situation my drive would be more along the lines of 25 minutes, the reality is that there just aren’t a lot of places:
a. where I would like to live
b. that are slightly closer to my job than where I currently live
c. located within a reasonable proximity of my fun

And that is why I’m looking at staying where I am (I would love to be closer to the very adorable, quaint, sweet little downtown area) or following Lucy and Chet a few miles south (where I would shave off a bit of commute by being closer to the expressway).

All of this is contingent on a 109 factors. Down payments and getting through my 90 day probationary period and interest rates and mileage on my lease and the sudden appearance of a very wealthy, very kind and very awesome man in my life who would like to purchase a mansion for us to share in bliss for the rest of our lives.

So, while being incredibly far from a sure thing, it certainly is proving to be a fun distraction.

A fun distraction from my fun distraction. (Who you may know as The Coach).

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Happy birthday to my very best friend

I will never have another friend like Lucy.

I cannot imagine ever being in the position to cultivate a friendship like this. A friendship of this length, a friendship of this depth, a friendship having continued so seamlessly through so much change, a friendship that has the strength of this friendship, a friendship that has this ease. A friendship that spans half of my life.

Lucy became my friend in chemistry class when we were sophomores in high school – the fall of 1997 – and we haven’t looked back. And we’ve never been anything less than the closest of friends. No major fights. No periods of silence. Just a voice on the other end of the line. The person on the other side of the table. The girl with the map in the passenger seat. The owner of the other enormous set of teeth in what would otherwise be a cute photo. The sender of the text message that makes me laugh.

Our friendship has weathered her service in AmeriCorps, my summer studying in Denver, her wedding, my discovering that my dad was cheating on my mom, her studying abroad in Thailand, way more moves than either of us would ever care to remember, the death of my Aunt Marie (and my grandma, and her grandma, and her cousin), countless road trips, a litany of asinine ideas that we both thought would make us famous/rich/more awesome, our undergraduate years and our time in grad school.

These days, it feels like our lives are progressing at completely different rates. Married. House. Dog. She’s checking items off of the list of the Great American Dream and I am not and it doesn’t matter. I can’t even get a steady boyfriend so that we can socialize as couples like normal people and she doesn’t care. She is still my tea drinking, car karaoke singing, motivated, hilarious, directionally challenged, slightly perverse best friend. She is my very best friend and she hasn’t left me behind.

Today Lucy turns 29. I bought her a fancy water bottle that she has been coveting and a wallet because she’s been complaining about the one that she has. I baked cupcakes – a chocolate, caramel, coconut concoction – and a bunch of us are piling into a few cars and going to the drive in. It should be a fun, simple night -- just what she wants even though she deserves so much more.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

I just feel so guilty!

Confession from a horrible, horrible, awful, no good, slightly pathetic blogger: I am so behind. So, so behind. A month behind. Maybe six weeks? I don’t even know because I am that bad and, seriously, I know that this is a hobby and all and I’m not obligated to do a thing but I do not like this. I do not like being this behind with reading and commenting on your blogs, you guys. I don’t like it at all.

At least I’m good at continuing to write. What I write might be crap, but at least I’m not abandoning my own blog, too. That has always been important to me: consistency in my writing. More important than writing anything of quality. Ha!

I don’t ever want to be one of those bloggers who just trails off and dies out and doesn’t give her blog the proper end that it deserves.

But I also don’t want to be one of those bloggers who doesn’t contribute to the community. Because, I might write all about myself and my life, but this isn’t all about me.

Catching up on all of my blogs is one of my projects for the weekend. Brace yourselves and your inboxes for a barrage of commentary, girls and boys.

Unless I don't already read your blog. In which case: send me the link! Despite what the previous five paragraphs would lead you to believe, I absolutely love reading blogs and I am always looking for new blogs to bulk up my reader. Even when I’m six weeks behind on the blogs that I’m already reading. And will catch up on. Soon.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Simple, perfect, good

I am quietly having a really, really good stretch of days. Not the blockbuster days of lottery winnings and marriage proposals – just a handful of days that have been simultaneously ordinary and wonderful.

On Saturday, I went to dinner with Lucy and Chet and Chet’s best friend and we picked the perfect restaurant and had a fantastic server. The sundress that I wore was the just the right weight and the wrap that I ordered hit the spot and I was informed of something really, really wonderful that will change my life (but not as much as it will change the lives of Lucy and Chet) and you can probably guess exactly what that is.

On Monday night, Lucy and I saw a concert. It was mellow and the crowd around us wasn’t obnoxious and the weather was just hot enough so that we didn’t have goosebumps when the sun went down. I love going to concerts with Lucy; concerts are what we built our friendship around when we were 15 and had little more in common than the books that we liked to read, the musicians that we liked to listen to and the advanced chemistry class that we both struggled to pass. Being at a concert with Lucy makes me feel like I am 19 and have the whole word at my fingertips. Except now I’m 28 and maybe the whole world isn’t at my fingertips – but sometimes it still feels that way.

Last night, Meg and I went to see the American men’s soccer team play here in Detroit. They had their first match in a tournament called the Gold Cup (you’re welcome for not subjecting you to a tedious explanation of the tournament and its history) and they beat Canada in what turned out to be a really, really fun match to watch. It wasn’t the World Cup – I need to realize that nothing will be the World Cup unless it IS the World Cup – but putting on our silly USA party beads and tying patriotic ribbons in our hair and making the 30 minute trip downtown sure was easier than flying around the world. Cheaper, too.

And then, when I got home, I got to see The Coach. Who I still don’t have the words to write about. Whose number I am still afraid to program into my phone. Who I have this really easy, really natural comfort with that I have absolutely never had with another guy and that, honestly, perplexes the hell out of me.

This morning, I got out of bed before my alarm clock went off. I had a cup of tea. I went to yoga class. I ate a grilled cheese sandwich and put a braid in my hair and left for work right on time. The weather is stiflingly hot and I barely noticed. I paid too much for gas and I didn’t really care. I am so content that I don’t feel like myself. My heart is so full that I’m afraid that it might burst.

I want to capture this. I want to store away and open it up on days that are heavy and hard. I want to preserve this feeling. I want every week to be like this week: simultaneously ordinary and wonderful. Simple, perfect and good.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Anchors

I am beginning to realize that this is the first time in my adult life that I haven’t felt completely anchored down by the stress of jobs and work and employment.

In college – the byproduct majoring in English and communication studies – there was always a little whisper reminding me of how hard finding a job would be. In the internship that I held for the first year after I graduated, I constantly counted down to the time when my internship would be over and I would be forced to find an honest to goodness real job. And when I got that real job, it didn’t take long for me to realize that it wasn’t the right one. Enrollment in grad school was accompanied by the knowledge that I would finish and need to find a job in my field. And then I graduated and I applied and interviewed and applied and interviewed and applied and interviewed and, while I had the part-time job (and the full-time job), it wasn’t enough so I continued to apply and interview and apply and interview.

On May 1, 2004, I stood at the Big House in my cap and gown (wearing my soccer sandals and my yoga pants underneath). On April 18, 2011, I accepted this job.

2543 days.

6 years, 11 months, 17 days.

And now – finally – I’m here. I reached my destination. I have the job.

I am anchorless.

It is intimidating. For nearly 7 years, my job search was my North Star.

I don't know what do do with myself. Go to work and settle in and be happy? Start plotting my professional advancement? Begin work towards a second master's degree? Is this the time when I'm supposed to become consumed with finding a husband and having babies? Should I attempt to write a book?

I accomplish goals. It's what I do. Sometimes my goals take 6 years, 11 months and 17 days to achieve. But they are achieved nonetheless.

I need a goal. I need a next step. I need a box to check or a status to achieve or a hurdle to jump.

And I need to figure out what the hell I'm supposed to do next.

Monday, June 06, 2011

I've done this once or twice

My friend from my old job and the bride who I will be bridesmaiding for this summer, Maria, had her wedding shower yesterday.

The day before, while I was at work, Maria called me and left me a voicemail while crying hysterically. Her mom had fallen late the night before and broke her wrist. She was in the hospital, waiting to have rather extensive surgery (plates and rods and all of that ugly stuff) to repair her wrist and they didn’t even know if she would be out of the hospital in time to go to the shower.

I called Maria back and put on my Polly Positive voice, insisting that everything would be okay. We could get it all done. Even if it takes all night and the morning leading up to the shower. It would get done. Her shower would be beautiful. Her mom would be there. And, one day, the events of the weekend would be nothing but a funny story.

And I felt like I could tell her all of that with relative certainty because what happened to her mom? Tell me, longtime readers, that it doesn’t sound exactly like something that would happen to my family. (Probably because it has. See: Aunt Maria breaking her ankle just before Emma’s birthday. See: Grandma getting bit by a cat and having a massive infection that blew apart a few tendons in her hand on the eve of Anna’s high school graduation party. I can come up with more examples.)

Not that I wouldn’t have been under the best of circumstances, but knowing that Maria was having such a rough time of it really put me on the top of my game.

I was in my bridesmaid prime, you guys. Early to help. Late to leave. Cute dress. Official prize giver-outer. Creator of the most divine ribbon bouquet in the history of mankind.

It’s really easy to do the right thing (while wearing a fierce pair of heels. Even though I had a soccer game later that night.) when you know how it feels to be in almost exactly the same situation.

It’s also really easy to be a good bridesmaid when you’ve been one 97 times before.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Sunday night slump

Sunday nights like tonight kill me.

I get home well after 9:00, because I had a soccer game and because I had to stop at the grocery store on the way home because I have no milk and also I just needed some avocados.

And then I needed dinner. And I needed to have my dinner in front of my laptop because I also needed to upload pictures to The Facebook because I have priorities in life, damnit.

As I am sortakinda turning into a crazy food junkie who is not okay with throwing a frozen brick of food into my bag in the morning and calling it lunch, I spent a little time in the kitchen pulling together a few things for tomorrow.

And I checked Facebook again.

And had a piece of pie.

Then I drank some water and decided that it was time for a quick shower to wash off the soccer (and also the bridal shower that I was at all afternoon).

And all of a sudden it is 11:15 and I need to get to bed but I also want to blog. I am also having a hard time ignoring my soccer bag (which I need to unpack) and the clothes that need to be put away and I'm really awake and there is so much to do.

But, somehow, I'm just supposed to instantly unwind and fall asleep instantly and, ugh, I hate Sunday nights because I'm on my weekend sleep schedule and in my workweek preparation routine and there is no sleep to be had.

Tomorrow morning will suck.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Summer, finally

We had a rainy, rainy, ugly, yucky spring. Finally – just in the last couple of days – the weather has started to feel like summertime. All I want to do is wear my sunglasses and a sundress and soak up the sunshine like I depend on it. Like I’m solar powered, damnit.

Now that I’m finally wearing my sunglasses and my sandals and my sundress and my sunscreen, all I can do is dream about what the summer will bring. It will be busy, like they always are, but I’m not excited about the big events. I’m excited about the little stuff. The things that I do every summer without fail. All of the stuff that I dream about in January as I clod around in my Uggs and scarves and hooded sweatshirts.

I’ve been dreaming about this.

About playing a lot of soccer
About spending many an afternoon in my bikini, book in hand, a healthy dose of sunscreen slathered on my blindingly fair skin, lounging in the sunshine
About freckles
About taking a cruise or two on Grandma and Grandpa’s boat
About summertime crushes on cute boys with great tans
About messy buns and headbands
About weeknight socialization that goes too late on account of the fabulous weather and the awesome company
About changing into my flip flops when I get to my car after work
About post-soccer Dairy Queen stops with Meg
About catching unexpected sight of a fireworks display
About dining on many patios, decks, docks, porches and other outdoor living spaces
About having my fair share of drinks on patios (or decks or docks or porches or other outdoor living spaces)
About open windows on mild mornings
About a rainbow of polish colors on my toenails
About taking trips to the dog park with Lucy and the pooches (but only when the heat isn’t too oppressive)
About weekend mornings on the deck at Mom and Dad’s with coffee and fruit and pancakes and the newspaper
About the occasional outdoor run
About sun-bleached hair
About blogging about how I am excited for it to finally be summer.

Finally.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Going casual

It did not take me long at all to realize that there are many, many things about my new job that are different from my old job. From library to library, there are certainly differences. But sports business and library are about as alike as

In the position that I held up until last month, I worked in an extremely, extremely conservative environment. For a place run by a bunch of ex-jocks, they were a conservative bunch. Hearing me swear would often make my boss’s head explode (less for the swear word and more because the swear word was coming from the mouth of a female). And when a woman at my office was unwed and pregnant, it went unacknowledged. Unlike the pregnancies of all of the married gals. (That actually happened when I was working at another building, but it is the stuff of legend.)

They’re a buttoned-up group and I was (minus the swearing) very acclimated to that environment.

The culture at this new job is blowing my mind.

Some of it is because I’m working in a community that is pretty liberal, pretty free to be you and me, hippie, casual and accepting. Some of it is just because I’m no longer working for crazy people who find capri pants to be offensive.

I am absolutely certain that my coworkers look at my cardigans and slacks and my closed-toe shoes (open-toed shoes were forbidden in my past professional life) and think that I am overdressed. And that is fine by me. I know that I look cute and appropriate and, sorry, I can’t just immediately go all casual when I am so accustomed to my skirts and my heels and my blouses.

That’s not to say that I am not completely fired up to break out my dressy sandals and my not-quite-kocher-at-my-last-job tops and my capris. I’m pretty sure that my work wardrobe practically doubled when I switched jobs. And I’m pretty sure nobody here would blink an eye if I ended up pregnant and unmarried, either.

I feel so free! I just want to burn some incense and braid my hair.

And not end up pregnant and unmarried. Just so we’re clear.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Travel Thursday: South Africa Wrap Up

I rushed through the completion of my South Africa recaps because I was leaving for Switzerland and because I didn’t know any better. I thought – foolishly, perhaps – that I would have an equivalent experience in Switzerland. But I didn’t. Not even close.

South Africa captured my heart.



I loved South Africa in part because it felt so much like home. South Africa is like Detroit in some respects: gritty and misunderstood and full of proud people who face enormous obstacles.

On the faces of so many South Africans, you could see how genuinely happy they were to have you there and how proud they were of their country and their enthusiasm was undoubtedly contagious. I caught the enthusiasm. And now I catch myself daydreaming about when I will return. So that I can see Cape Town. So that I can go on a proper safari at Kruger National Park. So that I can get goosebumps at the Apartheid Museum once again.

Whenever I attempt to tell someone about South Africa, I fail. I fail epically, with a smile and a lot of hand gestures and the overuse of awesome.

But it was. Oh, it was. Awesome and perfect and life-changing and heartbreaking and absolutely divine.

Go there. Go to South Africa.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Tongue tied

I feel like I should be writing about The Coach. Obsessing about The Coach via blog post after blog post after blog post, because that is what I do when there is a boy in my life. But, for the first time in the nearly seven years that I’ve been blogging, I’m struggling to find the words.

I’ve always been able to write the words that I haven’t been able to say. Of which there have been many. I’ve never been good at talking about this sort of thing – boy things (hi, I totally sound like a middle schooler) and feelings and fears and hopes and rainbows and butterflies – but I’ve always been able to write it out. But now I can’t even do that. And that is strangely okay with me. Because I’m not quite ready to share him with the world.
 
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