Monday, December 31, 2012

Brain Dump: NYE Edition

I will take a bit of time to reflect in 2012. Just not right now. Right now I should be getting ready to leave to go to Lucy and Chet's house to ring 2013.

But I can't resist sitting down with my laptop for a few minutes and dumping out my head.

* * *

Here's how my day has gone so far: I went to Mom and Dad's and ate pancakes. I went with my mom, my grandma and Emma to see Silver Linings Playbook and it was excellent. I got a massage. I cooked for Lucy and Chet's party while having a dance party in the kitchen. I successfully unclogged the garbage disposal.

After I blog, I'll make a quick attempt at being presentable. Then it is off to Lucy and Chet's house, where we have big plans. And by big plans, I mean we've made nine different types of dips (seriously) and have a TV series to start and some sugar cookies to decorate. Also possibly another super-secret project that I will write about at another time.

* * *

The Coach is gone.

It is easier, all of this. The here and gone and here and gone. I think it is easier on him, too. He's usually pretty weird and annoying about saying goodbye, doing everything in his power to avoid it.

I got the goodbye that I didn't get in July. I appreciate it. I returned the favor by not crying, whining or being otherwise difficult or annoying.

Everyone wins.

* * *

Liz is gone for the next week. Where is Liz? Oh, she just went to Paris for New Year's Eve.

Yeah, I know.

* * *

I should feel weirder about spending New Year's Eve with my best friend and her husband (who happens to be one of my best friends, too),  shouldn't I? Oh well.

* * *

If you're watching college football tomorrow, I highly suggest you root for my Wolverines. Start your year off being awesome.

* * *

Oh! Get this. Hockey team dinner on Friday night and who shows up? ALEXANDER. Who sits right next to me? ALEXANDER. Who didn't care? ME. It was half awkward and half amusing and my hair looked really great so whatever. I'm not certain that I was ever interested in anything but the attention but even the attention isn't exciting anymore.


Next cute boy who wants to distract me from The Coach, step right up.

* * *

Happy New Year, everyone. Let's talk resolutions and what you did tonight soon, okay? I want to hear about everything you're up to and everything you have planned.

* * *

2013. Bring it.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

30 for 30: #11

Way back when (October) I decided to answer 30 questions to celebrate my 30th birthday. Now that I'm nearly 30 years and three months old, I thought I'd get back to it. And, if you do so desire, there's still time to ask a question, too!

#11/30 -- from p2

What were your 30 most memorable moments in the last 30 years?

I'm not quite sure I answered your question, p2. The following list is more a list of the 30 most defining moments in my last 30 years, not the 30 most memorable. This list is a list of events that were critical in shaping me, but not necessarily what I would qualify as memorable. (I feel like a memorable event has a good story that is attached to it and that's not always the case.)

1. Meg being born I would not be the same person if I did not have Meg. I would not be the same person if I wasn't the oldest sibling. I would not be the same person if I did not have a sister.

2. Acceptance into UM Good but not great student, a legacy, is the first in her class to be accepted into the best school in the state. I thought a lot more of myself after receiving that acceptance letter.

3. South Africa A monstrosity of a trip to plan. And I planned it successfully. Experiencing South Africa changed my worldview. I learned a lot about myself executing the planning for that trip and I learned a lot about myself when I was on that trip, too.

4. Being named captain of high school soccer team Everything I had and everything I was in high school revolved around the soccer team. I was a soccer player. I was nothing else. Being named captain of the team was very, very validating. But knowing that my coach thought of me as a leader - even though I was quiet, even though I wasn't terribly popular like some of my teammates - was what really stuck with me.

5. Starting a blog I've written it before, I will write it again: I do not know who I would be if not for this blog as a place to sort it all out. And I am so grateful that I have this place to chronicle my 20s and beyond.

6. Meeting Lucy My best friend is the best best friend.

7. Travelling overseas for the first time It was for a soccer tournament. I was 14. And I still can remember standing in the streets of Amsterdam, looking around myself and realizing how big the world really is.

8. The lengthy debacle that was Colin While that relationship was a complete, lengthy, complicated gong show, it needed to happen. I needed those experiences. I needed that heartbreak.

9. Speaking at Grandma’s funeral I don't consider myself an extrovert. I certainly don't hog the spotlight. It's not something I would normally do (or even consider). But when Grandma died in 2003, I was compelled to speak on behalf of her grandchildren. I did it eloquently and in my own words. I still remember looking up and seeing my cousin Danielle smiling at me. I still remember what my uncle said to me later that day.

10. Lucy’s wedding When Lucy got married, I learned that I could step up. I could throw her a wedding shower, I could make favors, I could set up the venue. I was so afraid that I would lose her to Chet and to married life and I could have withdrawn from our friendship. I didn't. I'm glad.

11. The Coach He started out as a coworker and became a pretty big deal in my life. He's challenged me, he's challenged my assumptions and my expectations and what I believed to be true. Whatever happens between us and however this ultimately ends up, The Coach has left an impression on me.

12. Aunt Marie’s amputation Cutting off part to save the whole. It isn't a metaphor.

13. Studying in Denver I lived and studied in Denver for a spell after finishing up at UM. Having attended college so close to home, Denver was my first real opportunity to do it all on my own. My parents didn't visit. I didn't make a lot of close friends. And somehow I figured it out.

14. Puking in Liz’s shoe on my birthday Always cautious, always doing the right thing, the birthday when I got trashed and barfed in my cousin Liz's shoe marked the long overdue beginning of giving myself a damn break instead of having to be so perfect and so in control.

15. Learning to love fitness In college, I didn't work out. I didn't know how to work out. I was still figure skating and I walked everywhere and that was enough. When I finished college, Meg and I joined a kickboxing gym and that's when I learned what it was like to be in shape and how much better it feels than being out of shape.

16. Uncle Rich's death My dad's older brother died when I was a freshman in high school. It was the first time I saw my dad cry. It was the first time I had been to a funeral. It was a scary, confusing time that solidified my closeness to my cousins. We have so many stories -- funny stories -- from that weekend we were in Cincinnati for Uncle Rich's funeral. We needed one another. We still do.

17. Moving in 5th grade When my family moved, we moved back to my mom and dad's hometown. Because we moved, I was closer (physically and emotionally) to my grandparents. Because we moved, I got to grow up on a lake. At the time, I hated my parents for relocating us and for making me go to a new school and meet new friends; it was the best choice they've ever made.

18. The very intense friendship and subsequent breakup with a friend, Jessica Our friendship sort of tainted my entire college experience and that I’ve never quite found the words (or the insight) to write about it. One day.

19. Aunt Marie’s death It was so hard. It is still so hard.

20. Returning to soccer after a four-year absence I didn't play soccer for four years. And one day I decided to go up to the local indoor soccer facility and sign myself up for a team. Can you even imagine me not playing soccer? Can you?

21. Working at summer camp In the summer of 2002 -- between my sophomore and junior years of college -- I worked at a really traditional summer camp in Pennsylvania. I don't know why I thought I wanted to do that. I cried when my mom dropped me off at camp. I missed Meg's 16th birthday. I was miserable.

22. Tackling graduate school as a legitimate adult who works full time Granted, it wasn't a terribly challenging program, but I still managed to work 40+ hours of week, go to class, get my work done, never sleep and come out on the other side with a degree. More proof that I am tougher than I give myself credit for.

23. The birth of Lucy and Chet’s son, Baby A Much like Lucy's wedding, I thought Baby A would change things. He did. For the better. I didn't know that I had the capacity to instantly love someone like I instantly loved Baby A.

24. Figuring out that Dad was cheating on Mom and everything that followed They were some of the worst months of my life. Within those months, learned that I will do just about anything for my family. I learned the power of forgiveness. I learned that nothing is perfect.

25. Gaining a lot of empathy and a lot of understanding of mental illness through my cousins Emma and Danielle Having two very close, very dear family members struggle with mental illness really colors the way that I look at other people's problems.

26. My college job, coaching skating I will never have a job that I love as much as I loved that job.

27. A bad concussion It takes being sick for a long time to understand what it's like to be sick for a long time.

28. Finally, finally, finally quitting the job that I got right out of college It was as hard to leave as it was hard to go to work there every day. There's something about that first job, right? You care way, way too much and then you outgrow your position and then you're stuck figuring out who and what you are and need. I grew up a lot when I held that job. I learned a lot about business, a lot about myself as an employee and a lot about how much schoolwork I could squeeze in when I'm on the clock.

29. Uncle Alan quitting the family It's been -- I don't know -- maybe 15 years since Uncle Alan stopped coming to family events and cut his sisters and my grandparents out of his life for reasons they were never told. Witnessing what one decision by one person can do (which, at some points, nearly destroyed the family) influenced how I make my life choices. Maybe I would be more willing to take a risk and do what is right for me at the expense of others if it wasn't for Uncle Alan. But I just can't stand the thought of hurting my family. I can't stand it. 

30. Saturday, October 2, 1982 I was born on a sunny fall day. You can't have a story without a beginning.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Duplicate Gift

My dad's family has this thing for chips and dip.

Just regular ol' potato chips and a sour cream based dip. Put them out at a family gathering and we're all instantly drawn to it. Regardless of what other delicacies may be offered up, we're all huddled around the chips and dip, throwing elbows to get the last handful.

It's classy.

When my original Christmas exchange gift fell through, I decided to find a chip/dip bowl set and wrap it up with a couple of bags of potato chips and some French onion soup mix for easy dip creation. I was proud of myself for being clever. Who in the family would not be thrilled to get two bags of chips, let alone the soup mix and the bowl set, too? It was the ultimate generic gift for my dad's side of the family.

On Christmas day, I was scoping out the other exchange gifts when I spotted two gifts that looked like two puffy, wrapped pillows. Or two bags of chips. And there was a third gift - a box - that went with them.

That's when I knew that I was not the only member of my family with The Best Idea.

But there was no turning back. (Because OpenSky didn't ship my first present, as you may recall.) (Still bitter!)

My gift was opened first and, when it was, my cousin/roommate Liz sends me a look across the room.

This is what her look said: yep, me too.

We never discussed our gifts. We hadn't recently had a conversation about chips and dip. Until the night before when we feasted together on our favorite delicacy, we hadn't shared a bowl of chips and dip since the summertime.

And yet we bought the exact same present.

Is this what happens when you live with someone else? Your good ideas are transferred to your roommate through bedroom walls or perhaps via a shared carton of milk? 

I was totally prepared for our periods to sync up. I was not prepared to subconsciously share my thoughts.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

My favorite picture from Christmas

My dad took this picture of Meg and me on Christmas morning.

Please note our matching pajamas.

(I am 30 years old. Meg is 26.)

Please note that I am reading Meg Bialosky's Christmas, a picture book we loved when we were kids.

Please note the snow outside. We had a white Christmas.

Please note my complete lack of shame in posting this photo.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Christmas Memory

It was Christmas Eve and I was talking to The Coach.

I was going to my aunt's Christmas Eve party; he was spending a quiet night at home with his parents. His siblings (and their spouses and their babies) weren't to arrive until the next day.

I made the offhanded suggestion that he read Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory" that night. It's my favorite Christmas story. Perhaps even my favorite short story. The ending always makes me cry, I warned him. But, really, I told him, you should read it.

Making the suggestion felt a little silly. The Coach loves Christmastime and everything surrounding the holiday: he's an aficionado of the movie adaptations of A Christmas Carol, he likes all of the classic recordings of Christmas songs the best. He is a Christmas nerd in the most endearing ways. I was certain that he would like "A Christmas Memory" and I was equally certain that he wouldn't actually read it.

I made the suggestion anyway.

Then I read it myself. In the car en route to my aunt's house, I read "A Christmas Memory." And I cried at the end just like I knew that I would.

"A Christmas Memory" left me happy and sad and I read it again on the drive home.

After making preparations for brunch the next morning, after opening one gift at my mother's insistence, after the house was finally quiet and I was the only one who was still awake, The Coach called to tell me how much he loved "A Christmas Memory."

Like I knew that he would.

That's The Coach who I adore. Smart, funny, thoughtful. So much more than the job he allows to define him. So much more than the job he allows to overtake him. So much more than the pretty face and the flashy career.  

The man who spent his Christmas Eve reading my favorite short story is The Coach who I have adored for two years.

Two years.

It's December 26, again. It's been two years from the beginning. Exactly. I still have no idea what I'm doing. And I still have a hard time coming to terms with the fact that, most likely, it won't be with him.

I know that I need to end this entirely. For good. Forever.

Then he goes and reads "A Christmas Memory."

And I have to start all over.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Halfway through

Hello from halfway through my Christmas!

So far, so good. Brunch with my dad's side of the family is always fun. As the instigator of our breaking from tradition and playing an exchange game instead of our standard gift giving, I was a little nervous. But it all worked out. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, too.

Remind me to tell you all the story of the rather amusing duplicate gift.

And remind me to tell you about what The Coach did yesterday to make my small heart grow three sizes that day.

My mom's family is on their way over for dinner. The guest of honor is my cousin Mara's daughter -- her second Christmas but her first with us. I can't wait to see my grandma with her. And maybe today is the day she'll meet her betrothed, too -- Lucy, Chet and Baby A might stop in for dessert.

This Christmas is not the loud, extravagant Christmas that we have had in the past, but that suits me just fine. I have loved every second.

Monday, December 24, 2012


Silly Brown Dog likes to sleep by the tree. She's trying to catch a glimpse of Santa, I know it.
Cookies, fudge, applesauce, cranberries, apple torte, grocery store, wrapping, shopping, visiting. It's a hard, busy life for a Christmas elf.
Almost done. Almost there. Almost Christmas.
If you celebrate Christmas, have a wonderful one. If you don't, have a fabulous Monday and Tuesday.
And if you have a second to tell me about what you're doing and who you're doing it with, I am nosey and like to know these things so that I can potentially invite myself to your holiday celebrations in the future.
Just be warned that I will eat all of your Christmas cookies.
Like for serious all of them.
It's how I get into the holiday spirit. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

December 12 was a long time ago

I am a very bitter Christmas elf.
We're doing a full-family Christmas exchange game thingie this year, instead of permitting our aunts and uncles to buy us gifts. (It's a little silly. We're all old.)
I'm organizing this, as well as everything else, so it's a bit of a gong show so all I've really done is tell my parents, sister, aunts, uncles and cousins to show up on Christmas morning with a $30 generic type gift to use as a pawn in my yet-to-be-determined game.
I was so, so excited when I found this colorful knife set on OpenSky. It was generic enough to be an acceptable gift for a guy or for a girl. The colors are really fun. Everyone needs knives. And it was on sale for a mere $25 which meant I could run up to Ikea and get a couple of cheap cutting boards to go with and I would look like a shopping genius.
So, I placed the order on December 12. And I waited and waited and waited. The website indicated that it could be up to a week to ship, so I waited a little bit more. And also their website indicated that all orders placed by December 18 would arrive by Christmas and I was 6 days ahead of the deadline so no worries.
Until last Thursday. I tweeted and emailed OpenSky about my order. WTF is going on? I asked, sweetly. Oh, one customer service rep answered, it should ship within 24 hours. You'll get notification when it's been sent. Oh, the other replied, we'll overnight it in 24-48 hours. You will receive an email when it is sent.
I waited and waited and yesterday just before 5:00 pm, I called and the girl was like "hasn't been shipped. Won't be until after Christmas."
Actually I was quite nice to the customer service lady and when I got off the phone with her I sent an email about how disappointed I was because, yes, disappointed for sure. Not only would I not be giving the perfect gift at my family exchange, but now I had to go out and find a perfect replacement gift for the damn exchange and it was 5:00 pm on December 22. Rude.
I went shopping -- with Emma -- last night. I bought a replacement. I kind of like it. (I kind of liked the knives more.) The whole thing took approximately 6 weeks off of my life. And I don't even have a set of colorful knives to show for it.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Ho, ho, hold on

A tradition that started long before I began working here, everyone in my department exchanges little gifts.

I bought my coworkers a box of Frango chocolates. Another coworker got us Ghirardelli bars. Another bought little plates from a local artist. My boss got us all gift cards.

And, today, I came in to this gift on my desk.

My very own portion control plate.

Which might have been a statement about all of the office gifts of chocolate. It is honestly the funniest, most random gift I have ever received. And totally getting re-gifted to some poor sucker in our family Christmas gift exchange. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

On Christmas

I'm looking forward to Christmas. And it's been a long time since I have looked forward to Christmas.

Christmas 2009 was just after Aunt Marie died.
Christmas 2010 was in the midst of the mess my father made when he cheated on my mom.
Christmas 2011 was in the middle of The Coach's first visit home after taking a job 2,000+ miles away and I didn't quite know how to handle it, it was just after I had moved in with Liz and I was feeling like a loser and a failure for being 29 and having a roommate, and I felt poor.

Christmas 2012 feels like a holiday worth anticipating. Money doesn't feel so tight. The situation with The Coach doesn't feel so confusing. Shopping doesn't feel so stressful. Time doesn't feel so binding.

Emma is spending Christmas in New York with her sister and that helps immensely. Avoiding having to spend my entire holiday running interference between her rude behavior and the rest of our relatives feels like the difference, my friends. It feels like all the difference.

Having four days off for the holiday feels like the difference.

The Coach feels like the difference. His intense love for Christmas is one of his nerdiest and most endearing qualities. He sang me Christmas carols on Friday. He watched A Charlie Brown Christmas tonight. He told me all about his favorite versions of A Christmas Carol. He straightened the star on our tree. His enthusiasm for Christmas is catching and feels like all the difference.

I see Christmas on the calendar and I don't feel dread. I'm even letting myself get a little excited. It's a lot of things, but it's my attitude. I know in my heart that Christmas is going to be good this year and that feels like all the difference.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Better when I'm busy

I baked up 60 Rolo cookies before work this morning. I started on a double batch of macaroni and cheese, too. I always do better when I'm busy.

I did a load of laundry and I lugged my hockey bag in from my car. I made my bed and I listened to NPR. I do love NPR.

I had one cup of coffee even though I wanted three or four. I had a bowl of soup because soup is warm and I was cold and oatmeal didn't sound appealing. I had planned to fix a chip in my nail polish but I never got around to it.

I took a shower and I did my hair. I used a new curling iron. My old curling iron fried on Friday morning. And fried off a chunk of hair with it. Hair curling this morning was much less traumatic.

I kept busy. I always do better when I'm busy.

Work is hectic. My wrist is either sore or numb, I cannot quite tell. I wish that I could fix that chip in my nail polish at my desk. I brought soup for lunch, too. Turkey noodle. My mom made it.

I wish that I were a little more busy. Busy in a demanding way that encompasses my workday. It's quiet here now and I can't throw myself into a project that will occupy my every thought and now I am thinking, thinking, thinking.

I don't do good when I am stuck in my own head.

I always do better when I'm busy.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

All in one day

I saw The Coach on Friday.

I spent a spontaneous afternoon with The Coach on Friday and it was, honestly, it was wonderful. He and I: we're all sorts of dysfunctional -- I know -- and it doesn't make sense that he's still a part of my life -- I know -- but there is something there that I can't describe and I can't articulate.

If Friday had been a normal day, I would have written out every detail. Every sweet thing he said. Each time we laughed. I would have written it so that maybe you could start to understand what I cannot describe.

But Friday wasn't a normal day. As content as I was in my own little world, the world beyond the stretch of my arms was horrific. Beyond horrific. There needs to be a word that is reserved for only the truly worst. A word that we can pull out on a day like Friday but only on a day like Friday. We can't use it to describe a hard test or a frustrating day or a bad game. Only on a day like Friday.

(And may we never again have a need to use that special word that describes a day like Friday.)

What a horrible, ugly, exquisite, beautiful world we all live in. What a contradiction it all is.

I had the best day on Friday.

I had the worst day on Friday.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


I mentioned this yesterday. I'm still thinking about it.

I'm really sick of doing everything.

Example: we went to Chicago in November. I booked the hotel. I figured out where we picked up our race packets. I mapped out how to get to the race start.

Example: we decide to host Mother's Day brunch. I nag my cousins until they commit to what they're bringing. I make sure the house is ready for guests.

Example: we want to change up Christmas. I make a proposal. I contact everyone with my idea. I confirm with everyone that it is a go. And, on Christmas, I will execute the plan.

Example: we like to make my grandma a photo book every year. I send out an email with a theme and beg for photographic contributions. I put the book together. I order the book. I wrap the book. I put everyone's name on it.

It exhausts me. I like planning. I am good at it. But I am much less good at it and I enjoy it a great deal less when I don't get any help. And when it is just assumed that I will take care of it.

Which I will.

But I don't want to. I truly don't want to. Somebody else initiate something for Grandma. Somebody else make an effort.

Nobody is, though. They're all just looking at me. Waiting for me to start. And finish.

Which I do. Resentfully. Because somebody has to. I'm just really tired of that somebody always being me.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Other Important Topics

I did not work from 1:30 pm on Friday through 12:30 pm today. I really like not working. I am really good at not working. I got things done. I took showers every day. (I think.) I helped Lucy bake 10 dozen cookies. I bought Christmas presents. I painted my nails. I ran.

And I felt like there were not enough hours in the day. Just like I feel on the days when I do go to work.

Based on this experiment, I can now draw the conclusion that, yes, there really are too few hours in every day.

It's good to have a definitive answer to that question. It's opened up my intellectual real estate to think about other important topics, including:

Right to Work legislation in Michigan: I have a lot of thoughts on this topic. I don't think I will write about Right to Work, however. There's a reason I don't blog about politics. It's because my political beliefs seem so personal.

My 30 for 30 Project: I did not finish this and I am ashamed but I am going to finish it and I will feel joy. And you will all be so proud of me.

Boys: including, but not limited to, The Coach. He's coming home for Christmas and I sort of hope he never suggests we get together.*

Coffee: I have been drinking too much coffee lately and my stomach just got the memo and it is very mad at me. I knew that this was coming. But I am still so sad. Coffee is basically the liquid equivalent of The Coach in my life. So bad. So good. Damnit!

I Always Have To Do Everything and It Is Exhausting: My cousins, my sister and I decide we want to change up Christmas a little bit and not have our aunts and uncles buy us presents because we're old and that's silly. Who has to come up with an alternative? Me. Who needs to contact everyone about the alternative? Me. Who has to double-check that everyone is cool with the alternative? Me. Who needs to make all of the arrangements for our alternative? Me. I used to thrive on being the ringleader for everything. But seriously? Someone else needs to do something. I am exhausted.

EMMA IS GOING TO NEW YORK FOR CHRISTMAS: I'm sorry for being thrilled about this because I should want the whole family to be together for Christmas, but I am thrilled about this. 

My Father Has No Hobbies and Doesn't Like Anything: Makes shopping for him a slight challenge.

*Like, in any way. Not just the naked way. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Today could have been very different

If I had made another choice, today would have been very different.

I wouldn't have spent the day in yoga pants. My alarm clock would have been set much earlier than 8:00 am. I wouldn't have spent four hours in Lucy's kitchen, chatting and baking three batches of cookies. Today would have been very different if I had made another choice.

Today was the day I was supposed to start that new job. If I had taken that new job.

I wouldn't have slept last night. And I wouldn't have let myself stay up to watch the Lions game, either. I would have spent far too much time picking out an outfit. If today was my first day at a new job, my nails would be polished.

Instead I sipped a latte and made Rolo cookies. Tickled Baby A. Stopped in to have my hairdresser fix the random chunk of dark hair that came out of my last appointment. I crashed on the couch, fully intending to take a nap and never quite getting there. I went to the gym. I did laundry.

I didn't spend the day filling out paperwork and learning procedures and being paraded around to my new coworkers.

I didn't get a new desk and a new title.

I wore yoga pants and I didn't bother with any makeup. Because I made a choice. That choice was to go with my gut.

I didn't take the job that I would have started today.

That's because there's a better job out there for me.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Is there something in the air?

It feels like everyone has the sads, the angrys or the frustrateds. Like everyone is a little anxious and a little bit on edge.

Maybe I'm just projecting.

I am most certainly sad, angry, frustrated, anxious and on edge. I am also drinking far too much coffee and I do not think that is is helping.

But maybe everyone else is feeling the same way, too. I swear that I wasn't the only one exhaling anxiety at Macy's today. Is this just what the holiday season feels like for adults? Like you're in a chokehold?

I took the next two days off of work. The timing is great. I need the next two days. I have a few things that I should get done - just errands - but nothing absolutely critical. I might just bake cookies with Lucy tomorrow morning and blow the rest of the day off. I might not get dressed on Tuesday. Maybe I'll accomplish a touch of online shopping. I don't think I can handle the mall.

It seems silly to feel wound so tightly. I had a good weekend. I only worked a half day on Friday. Saturday was Christmas tree chopping and Hanukkah. All I did today was watch a healthy amount of soccer on television, scan pictures for my Grandma's Christmas present, make a quick trip to the mall with Meg, eat cheese and chocolate fondue for dinner and lose another hockey game with my lethargic team. (I swear that list makes the day seem more busy than it was.)

I don't feel like I need more sleep. I don't feel like I'm too busy. It just feels like my heart is beating hard and like I'm breathing through a straw. And that it isn't going to get any better until January.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

A fun day

It is family tradition to cut down our Christmas tree.

We've never had a fake tree. We've never just picked one off of the lot. It always has to be cut down. My dad insists on it.

We met this morning. All four of us. Maybe I'm 30. Maybe Meg's 26. Neither of us have made our own traditions. Not yet.

Not just yet.

So, for now we continue our family traditions. The ones that we grew up with. Pie Night. Cutting down the Christmas tree.

My dad, ever morbid, insisted that Meg cut down the trees this year. "You have to learn. One day I'll be dead."

(We all knew that crawling on the ground to cut down the tree would make him dizzy. Almost two months later and he's still having symptoms from his concussion.)

We cut down a tree for Grandma, too. Because that's always tradition. Grandma likes a small, skinny tree. A tree just like her.

And we brought Ellie because she likes an adventure.

Two trees later -- I'm always amazed at how little time it actually takes to pick out a tree and get it packed up on the roof of the car -- we were back on the road.

We had hamburgers at our favorite college-town hangout. And we split up. Meg to Canada for a hockey game. Mom and Dad needed to deliver Grandma's tree. And I had Hanukkah gifts to wrap up for Lucy, Chet and Baby A.

The first night of Hanukkah is tonight. And I might have spent half of the day getting a Christmas tree, but I'll spend tonight celebrating the Festival of Lights.

Life is so deliciously diverse.

Happy Hanukkah.

Happy Saturday.

Happy everything.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

What I'm currently loving on

My coworker, B: I have always really liked B, but lately he’s catapulted right up to the top of my list. B and I are eerily similar, so part of the reason I love him is because he thinks exactly the same way I do so I can count on him to agree on me in almost every circumstance and also be funny while he’s reaffirming my brilliance. B was a fantastic sounding board when I was mulling over that job offer; I still think about what he told me that day – “you can do better” – and smile. Management recently got the idea that we need to work in different departments and different locations, so today, I worked in another building while a staff person from that building (a known flake and general pain in the ass) worked in my place. B emailed me halfway through the day: in no universe is this a fair trade – not that one is even attempted/suggested. just sayin. He is just a dependable, honest, good guy. And he looks out for me.

Taylor Swift’s "I Knew You Were Trouble": This is my jam. It is so gloriously poppy and catchy. Is it about Taylor Swift and John Mayer? Or is it about me and The Coach? It is so spot on applicable to what I went through with The Coach that I am pretty sure that she is a blog reader. (HEY, TSWIFT!)

Ellie Goulding’s "Anything Could Happen": More catchy pop. It’s like white bread for the ears. I can’t stop myself. I first heard it when a little giddy because a streak of shitty days was finally over. And then when I saw that it was used in the Girls season 2 trailer, I was totally done. Want to invite me to a dance party? Turn it up.

Tights: I love tights because tights allow me to wear skirts in the wintertime without freezing my ass off. And tights are more comfortable than pants. And tights come in fun, subtle prints. And if I am wearing tights, I can wear a skirt that is too short and not feel like a harlot. (Fact: I’m consistently a little overdressed at work, compared to my coworkers, so wearing a skirt – let alone a short one – sometimes feels like a ploy for attention. Even though it isn’t. I just like to look nice. I wore heels on Sunday and one of the department heads labeled them my “hussy shoes.”)

Essie polish in Chinchilly: I’ve been loving on this color lately. It’s subtle, it’s fun, it’s just different enough. I get compliments on it all the time. Except when it’s all chipped up and looks like hell. Which does happen on occasion. That occasion being every time I paint my nails. The energy to paint my nails in the first place rarely translates over to energy/desire to keep up my nails.

Coffee: I usually try to limit my coffee consumption, but lately I’ve just gone all out and I’m drinking it when I want to drink it. And it tastes so good. I’m sticking to black coffee, or maybe with a touch of skim milk, so that I’m not completely filling my body with crap. But my stomach hates coffee in mass quantities. It’s only a matter of time until I have a cup that leaves me doubled over and convinced that I have an ulcer. But, until that happens, I’m going to love it. Every cup. Every drop.

Sirius XM station 36: The best thing I ever did was wean myself off of Cosmo Radio (guilty pleasure, loved it but it totally made me an annoying, insane, insecure girl who only obsessed over a certain boy-who-will-not-be-named) and start listening to music on Sirius. My current favorite is 36, the alternative station. I would never have labeled the music that I liked as alternative but, lo and behold, I love 95% of what they play. Which makes me feel edgier and cooler than I really am.

Your turn, you guys. There’s nothing that gets me quite like recommendations from the interwebs. Turn me on to something new. What are you loving?

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Crisis Averted: compliments of the cloud

I had a bit of technology trauma monopolize my evening. Charming. I always love when my computer bites it or my phone isn't working or whatnot. I am immediately, instantly in a state of anxiety and distress that will not lift until I have reconciled the problem.

Tonight was no different.

I accidentally deleted all of my text messages to/from The Coach.

I was deleting text messages while thinking about how awful I would feel if I deleted all of my text messages from him and I DELETED ALL OF MY TEXT MESSAGES FROM HIM.

My trip to the gym was immediately aborted as I attempted to figure out how to restore the texts.

And so I spent my evening - when I should have been running and I should have been packing my lunch tomorrow and I should have been making progress in the book I need to have read by Thursday morning - in a state of panic.

When I think with my brain, I know that it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter because they're just a bunch of text messages.

When I think with my heart, those text messages are everything.

That thread of text messages dates back to February, 2011. Before he'd ever even kissed me. Before this ever got complicated. Before he moved. Before I fell. When it was nothing but flirting. When it was still just fun.

I couldn't let them go.

Not without a fight.

Fortunately, I had my phone set up to regularly backup to the cloud. Mercifully, my phone backed up this morning. It was only a matter of making sure everything on my phone was saved 10 times over, being brave enough to reset my computer back to zero and setting it back up using the magical backup file saved to the equally magical cloud that's floating out there in the virtual heavens.

Three hours of terror and only one glass of wine.

I learned two things tonight. I learned how to wipe my phone clean and restore it (and the deleted text messages!) from a backup on the cloud.

I also learned that maybe I still care about The Coach a little more than I want to admit.

Monday, December 03, 2012


A blurry, amusing photo of the coffee shop dance party that made me so deliriously happy that it inspired a whole post last week.

And enough visual proof of the sad, sad state of my hair to get me off my ass and on the phone for a hair appointment. Wednesday morning can't come soon enough. 

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Delicious trouble

During the 2011 holiday season, Liz and I came across the perfect punch recipe. It takes approximately 9 seconds to prepare, it is remarkably tasty and it's pretty, too.

It's getting to be that time of year, so I thought I would in case any of you are looking for recipes for boozy holiday deliciousness.

8 (1/4-inch-thick) frozen orange slices for garnish
2/3 cup frozen cranberries, for garnish
3 cups chilled cranberry juice
3/4 cup chilled Cointreau
2 (750-milliliter) bottles chilled brut sparkling wine or champagne

Basically, all you need to do is freeze the oranges and cranberries, chill the liquids and dump it all together. Drink slowly while watching everyone else get bombed -- it catches up with you right quick.
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