Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Yay

This is what baby fever looks like.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Aly Poppins and the baby snuggles

Two nights per week, I work from the early afternoon until the ‘brary closes. There are awesome things about this arrangement and there are not awesome things about this arrangement.

Awesome: I am not at work when most people are at work.
Not awesome: I am at work when most people aren’t at work.

I could bitch about how I can’t play on a Monday night soccer team or how I miss Modern Family every week but I try not to focus on the inconveniences of the schedule. I never have to take time off of work to go to a dentist appointment! I don’t have to fight for a treadmill on a weekday morning! If I’m especially exhausted, I can sleep late!

I can help out my best friend. I am so thankful for the opportunity.

Lucy started back at work last week. She’s working almost exclusively from home and, so far, the arrangement seems to be working out fairly well. Chet has a flexible work schedule, Lucy’s mom is going to watch Baby A once a week and – and – AND Baby A is going to have some special bonding time with Aly Poppins.

When Lucy was told me about her childcare plan, there was no way I wasn’t going to offer.

It just makes sense. During the two mornings a week that I’m not working, Lucy can get out of the house (or hide in the basement or sit on the porch or whatever) and get a few hours of work done. And I get quality time with my baby.

Everyone wins.

But mostly me. I am the winner: I get to snuggle that baby. Lucy has to work. Working sucks.

Lucy is not great at accepting help. But she was less weird about the babysitting offer than I thought that she would be. After “oh, no, you don’t have to do that!” and “you’re the nicest person ever” and “you’re the best for even offering,” I think I got through to her. I think I made it clear.

I’m not that altruistic.

I’m not that perfect.

I am not an angel of childcare.

I just want to spend time with that baby.

And if I can spend quality time with Baby A in a way that also allows Lucy a little time to get her work done, I’m even happier to do it. Sign me up.

It’s so fortunate to have a schedule that allows me to hang out with Baby A a morning or two per week. I’m so happy to do it. And I am so, so fired up about the baby snuggles.

Baby snuggles all around!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Bad decision, good result

I got stupid and got with Alexander and I wasn't proud of myself. But it didn't completely ruin my life.

I rarely allow myself to make poor choices, so please excuse my surprise. I made a bad decision. And it didn't ruin my life.

Not yet.

(I'll keep my fingers crossed for a little bit longer.)

And I will admit that good things sprouted from that bad choice, too. It broke the spell that The Coach had on me. It broke the spell and it has been awesome. Refreshing. Liberating.

It isn't that I don't care about The Coach. I do. I wouldn't even say that I care about him less. I care less acutely. And more realistically.

I needed that.

I needed to knock him down a few pegs.

I needed for things to feel like they did when we first started - when it didn't seem like such a big deal, when I could just let things happen. I needed to get back to that place. I didn't realize how badly I needed to get back to that place. But now that I'm here, I'm happier. I can breathe.

Isn't it just precious -- isn't it just so me -- for it to have taken so long to get here? He left in August. He'll be back in six weeks.

And then what?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I made pie crust

Some people can make pie crust, some people cannot.

Aunt Louise - who is as close to the ideal corporate lawyer/Martha Stewart hybrid as you can get - cannot make pie crust. I cannot make pie crust. My sister, Meg, is good at everything and pie crust is included. My mother - who is as close to the ideal college professor/Martha Stewart hybrid as you can get - can make a mean pie crust.

Pie crust pisses me off. Pie crust intimidates me. My pie crusts are crumbly. They break up when I try to get them from the counter and into the pie pan. Pie crust makes me want to scream.

On our annual pie night, I defer the pie crust making duties to my sister (and to any other sucker willing to give it a try). I'll concentrate on making the innards, thank you very much.

Avoiding conquering the pie crust has suited me just fine. I only make pies with my mom and my sister, anyway. Why bother?

Here's why bother: on Friday, I needed to make a pie. I needed to make a pie for Chet's best friend's going away party and my mom was on a plane to California and Meg was at a hockey tournament.

And I had to make a pie crust.

Oh, the stress.

I was making caramel apple pie, per the request of the guest of honor. I went with the Pioneer Woman's recipe because she, well, she is awesome. Although I wish she would have told me to slice my apples a little smaller.

Anyway. So, I decided on the Pioneer Woman's Scrumptious Apple Pie. And, on a whim, I decided to give her Perfect Pie Crust a try because, seriously, I have legitimate problems with my mom's pie crust recipe and what if maybe this one is a little bit easier for me and I don't end up crying?

It was worth a shot. Even though I regularly feel awful and guilty about deviating from my mother's recipes. Forget loyalty: a successful pie crust trumps a crumbly crust via the family pie crust recipe.

I followed the recipe closely. I took a lot of deep breaths. I took my time.

AND THEN THERE WAS A PIE CRUST MIRACLE.



Technically, there were three (3!) pie crust miracles because the recipe makes three pie crusts. Did you know that you can freeze pie crusts? You can freeze pie crusts, unbaked.

...which my mother verified for me via text message when I sent her photographic evidence of the good news.



Meg was also very supportive of my pie crust skills.



With two crusts in the freezer, I see the creation of a couple of pies in my future. (Suggestions, anyone?)



After tackling the big, scary pie crust, the rest of the pie was no big thing.



Like peeling up a couple of apples and chopping up some pecans is any big deal. Hell no. Combining flour and shortening: that's a big deal.

Or it was until Friday morning, anyway.

Now I'm practically a professional.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dragging

I’m sorry, but there must be a mistake.

It’s Wednesday? It cannot only be Wednesday. You don’t feel this rough on a Wednesday. You feel this rough on a Friday. After closing the bar on a Thursday night bender, followed by eating an entire box of macaroni and cheese while watching Grey’s Anatomy on your DVR even though you should just stumble straight to bed.

I am dragging.

Here’s how I know that I’m dragging: every morning, I make a cup of tea in my favorite travel mugs. I make one a bit warmer than the other, as one cup is to drink on my way to work and the other is to have once I’m at my desk and settled in.

This morning, I heated up the water. I put it in my mugs. I splashed in a tiny bit of skim milk and sprinkle of sugar.

And did not realize, until I took a sip on my way to work, that I neglected to include a tea bag.

Hot water with trace amounts of milk and sugar. Yum.

Side note: these travel mugs are from Starbucks and they are the absolute best. I’ve had them for years. (I bet you can’t tell!) They don’t leak. They’ve lived through some horrific falls. And on days that start off really busy, I might not get to my second mug of tea until practically noon and the tea is still hot. Three cheers for effective insulation!

Another side note: the wooden zebra and panther live on my desk and they wanted to stay hi. Meg and I bought them at a flea market in South Africa. They make me happy.

I’m not entirely shocked that this week is kicking my ass in such a dominating way. I’m a little shocked that it resulted in a failed attempt at tea but, yeah. It happens, I suppose.

I know what I want to accomplish this week and if I don’t assign certain tasks to certain days, I’m going to try to get it all done in one day and fail miserably. So I threw together a list of things I wanted/needed to accomplish on Tuesday morning and, well, I just keep on dragging until I hit the weekend.

The major reason that I am dragging isn’t a busy week (honestly, it’s not that bad) – it is that I worked both Saturday and Sunday this weekend; my only day off in the last 10 days was Friday. And It wasn’t exactly a day off.

Here is what I did: got up at 5:40 am, drove Liz to the airport. (She’s in China for work.) Went back to our house for a shower. Drove to Mom and Dad’s house, where I met Meg. Took Meg to breakfast (coffee and a vegetarian omelette). Drove Meg downtown for a doctor’s appointment.

We get to her appointment and the office is so busy that there aren’t any seats in the waiting room. They tell us to wait in the hall. For real. Needless to say, we waited. And waited. But did have the entertainment of good people watching, it being at a very busy urban hospital and all.

My sister is a classy lady. She works in healthcare. And she's had this injection before, so she knows the drill. At one point, Meg was yelling down the hall for someone - anyone - to come and draw her blood.

It was a really long appointment.

Meg got her special injection/treatment from a doctor with way too much charm for his own good. (Seriously. He was adorable.) (So was his resident.) (So was another resident I saw in the hallway.) And then I took Meg home and made her popcorn and set her in front of the TV – this particular injection leaves her feeling shitty and sore. I talked to The Coach for a bit, left Meg to fend for herself and went off on my merry way.

To the grocery store. Back to my house, where I made dinner to bring to Lucy and Chet’s house. To Lucy and Chet’s house, where we ate the dinner that I made and where I snuggled with Baby A and made plans to steal him in my big red purse but did not.

I got home and it was late and I was tired. I watched the last half of The Coach’s game via internet broadcast even though I was exhausted.

And it was actually my perfect day, last Friday. Full of people I love.

If I had slept until noon and got a pedicure and brought a tray of frozen lasagna over to Lucy and Chet’s house, I probably wouldn’t be so exhausted today. I probably wouldn’t have missed an essential component to a successful cup of tea. And my toes would look good. And the kitchen would definitely be cleaner.

But I'm not really much interested in doing things the easy way.

So this is what I get. Travel mugs of hot water with milk and sugar. And rambling blog posts.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Happy Birthday?

Colleen’s birthday is this week.

I wish that it wasn’t on my radar but it is. It’s on Lucy’s radar, too. I mentioned it to Lucy at dinner on Friday and she sort of shrugged. Like what can you do?

I can ignore it.

I can send her a text message. (That’s what I got on my birthday.)

I can wish her happy birthday via The Facebook.

I can call her.

I can mail a card.

I can suggest we meet for brunch.

I can send flowers.

That part of me that exists that I don’t really want to admit exists – the part of me so good at holding grudges and feeling slighted – that part of me wants to ignore Colleen and her birthday entirely. Or maybe send her a text message since that’s all she could manage on my birthday.

And the part of me that’s the bigger person – and maybe a little bit of a glutton for punishment – wants to acknowledge it. It’s her 30th birthday. You only turn 30 once.

On my way home from Lucy’s house on Friday night, I emailed Colleen’s mom for her address. If I heard back from her mom, I would send a card. And if I didn’t hear back from her, I wouldn’t sweat it.

I got the address. And I forwarded it to Lucy who responded to my proclamation that I would be sending a card because I am a sucker with the following: “We are both suckers. It's kind of endearing. Some might say it's one of our best qualities!”

After work, I went to Target and at Target I found The Most Appropriate Birthday Card Ever.

Who knew that they made birthday cards to send to former friends?!



Ultimately, I chose another card that was pink, cupcakes, generic – a card you could give to a coworker or your hair stylist – instead of a card that was so blatantly true.

And I’ll call Colleen on her birthday. Praying that I get her voicemail. Because, other than happy birthday, I don’t really have a whole lot to say.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hypothetically

Let’s say that you have this dude’s business card.

And you did not obtain this dude’s business card.

One of your mother’s cronies obtained this dude’s business card because maybe your mother is concerned because you’re almost 30 and have no marriage prospects and she tells her crony this – possibly frequently – and then the crony, never being the type to shy away from a challenge, delivers. Delivers this dude’s business card. To your mother. Who delivers it to you.

Except that she doesn’t really deliver it to you. Mom shows it to you and the two of you look him up on Facebook (he looks nice and also not like he kills people or abuses animals) but she fails to actually give you the card.

But you remember his name because you’re really smart. So, you could Facebook him this week. (After polling the readers of your blog about what, exactly, you could say that would be both witty and charming and not awkward.)

Or you could wait until next week when you, serving in your role as Best Daughter Ever, are dogsitting and could scour the house until you find that damn business card. And then you’d have the option of calling him (you’re totally awkward on the phone, by the way) or you could email him (again with the help of your brilliant and awesome community of blog readers). All assuming you can find the business card. Which you probably can.

And, if not, your mother’s crony did make a backup copy because when she delivers, she really delivers.

But it kind of seems like you have a window of opportunity between when this card was obtained (approximately 10 days ago) and when you must contact him even though you’d maybe like to wait another couple of weeks so that you could forget about your indiscretions of the previous week and maybe get your hair done. Just in case.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A little chat

We had words.

Alexander and I. We had words before my game on Thursday night.

I didn’t want to be the grownup. I didn’t want to initiate the conversation. I wanted to stare him down in the lobby and pout in the locker room.

With the words of an email pep talk from my favorite blogger/life counselor ringing in my ears and my hockey bag hanging over my shoulder, I started the conversation.

I told Alexander that I was feeling weird about what happened. That I didn’t think it was a good idea. That we could talk about it more, later, but that I just needed to tell him as much before we were around other people. Before it went from weird to really, really weird. Before the anxiety made my head explode.

He’s respectful of my worries. He gets credit for that. But it was nothing to him – last Sunday night, I mean – and he probably laughed at me as soon as I walked away. Laughed at me for making it a big deal. Laughing at me for being anything but breezy and cool. He can’t understand my apprehension. Likewise, I can’t wrap my (anxious) mind around how he can be so mellow. We have remarkably different temperaments.

But I don’t care. I don’t care that he thinks that I’m high strung. I am. I don’t care if it was nothing to him. It was something to me.

What I care about was that I put my words out there. And that he heard them. And that I got on the ice and turned away every shot from the other team.

I was fantastic.

After facing Alexander, having pucks shot at me just didn’t seem like that big of a deal.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

So Midwestern, So in the Kitchen: starting strong

I didn't realize it until I started pulling together all of the recipes I've tried since the beginning of the year, but it is pretty apparent: I'm a cooking maniac.

I officially don't understand why I've lost weight, not gained it. I mean, I've made so much food that I can't even fit it in one blog post. But my ass no longer fits in my jeans? Someone explain this to me.

While we're waiting for an explanation, here's a sampling of how I have been stuffing my face.

My January in the kitchen started out filling Lucy and Chet's refrigerator after the birth of Baby A.

You may recall that I went a little bit overboard. I made three recipes that I've made in the past: Spinach Manicotti, Brown Sugar Fruit Dip and Buttermilk Pecan Chip Brownies.

The Buttermilk Pecan Chip Brownies, I will admit, are a cheater recipe that starts with a boxed brownie mix but turn out so delightful that I don't even feel all that guilty. One day, I'll pretend to be a proper food blogger and post the recipe.

I also made them tortilla soup with black beans, which was good but maybe a little bit bland. I know this because I doubled the recipe and kept some at home for me and Liz.

At some point I made Gnutmeg Gnocchi and I wasn't crazy about it. The flavor was good, just maybe not for me.

Last week, Lucy and I made Penne alla Norma for dinner. Friday night dinners at her house are a bit of a tradition; we usually have Chet cook for us but last week we stepped up and made this recipe, hoping to recreate the Penne alla Norma that we had on my birthday. It wasn't the same. But it was decent. I think I'd put more eggplant in next time.

I had all of the ingredients for this Quinoa Salad with Toasted Almonds on hand so I made it one morning before work. Not
bad. I like making a quinoa based salad for lunch. It's easy. And I have all that protein to keep me kickin' ass and taking names.

A few weeks ago, I had the urge to bake something. And that something was these Mississippi Mud Brownies. When I saw this recipe I reacted something
like OMG I HAVE TO MAKE THOSE BROWNIES RIGHT NOW. Problem: everyone in my life is on a diet, with the exception of Meg, and Meg was in South Carolina visiting her Drew. So I made them for my hockey team and I was not disappointed. We renamed them the Fat Kid's Delight.

Here's where I confessed that I cheated. Instead of making the brownie on the bottom, I used the doctored up mix brownie from the Buttermilk Pecan Chip Brownies and, yeah, I really don't think that it mattered. Pile on pecans and marshmallows and peanut butter and COME ON. I'm all about a quality brownie but in this situation? Screw it. Save yourself 8 minutes and cheat a little bit.

And the next day I made Pear Crisp. I made it to bring to dinner at Lucy and Chet's house a few weeks after the baby was born. Chet's mom and sister were still in town and Chet's mom made this ridiculously huge traditional Israeli meal and we ate ourselves absolutely sick. We didn't touch the crisp. I left it at Lucy's house. I've been told that it was good. That's all I know.

That's enough for now, I think. Stay tuned. I also managed to consume massive amounts of hummus, smoothies, more quinoa and, oh, name it. I probably made it. I probably ate it. No shame.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The decision to make a bad decision

I went home with Alexander on Sunday and -- breaking news! -- I feel like crap.

In addition to feeling like crap, I also feel like this fantastic combination of reckless/naive/whore/stupid/tramp.

Not surprising.

What does surprise me is that I allowed whole thing to happen in the first place. That I made that decision. That after 29 years of making the right choices and doing the right thing, I threw up my hands and decided not to care about what was right or what I would feel like the next day or the repercussions of my actions. I made the decision to make a bad decision. And it wasn't really all that liberating. Or all that great. Or all that anything, really, except horribly awkward and, ugh, I can't believe that I did what I did. I cannot believe that I made that choice.

Awkward, horrible and regrettable as it may be, it wasn't a complete loss. I've had two days to think it over. Two days to hate myself for doing what I did. And, as much as I wish that I could undo Sunday night, that series of awful choices did serve to put what I have with The Coach in an entirely new light. He's complicated. We're complicated. Our situation is complicated. But it couldn't be this hard and this complicated if it didn't have substance and maybe I needed to make that mistake with Alexander to realize it. That The Coach and I do have something. Something hard and something complicated but it's something. Something other than a series of bad decisions on a Sunday night.

And I wasn't sure of that. Until I made bad decisions with someone else, I suspected that was all The Coach and I were, too. Bad choices and fun.

But when I tried on what I thought that I had with The Coach with someone else, I realized that wasn't what we were. Complicated and hard? Yes. Nothing more than a series of bad decisions? No.

And then yesterday was Valentine's Day and who did I hear from? The Coach. And who did I not hear from? Alexander. Other than a pair of text messages exchanged early on Monday afternoon, I haven't talked to Alexander since I left his house. Pretty sure that makes me less his valentine and more his one night stand. Awesome. I am so awesome. And my self-esteem is skyrocketing higher and higher by the minute.

I have to see Alexander tomorrow at my hockey game and I am dreading it. Just absolutely fucking dreading it, you guys. I don't want to be in the same place as him. I don't want to pretend like it was okay and I'm over it because I'm not over it. What happened happened, yes, and it is far from the end of the world. I just really don't feel like smiling and pretending like nothing happened. And I don't want to talk to him.

And I don't want to look at him because my eyes will give it all away: I'm embarrassed and I am ashamed and I am remorseful. I am mad that we haven't talked. I am relieved that we haven't talked. I'm confused. I feel stupid. I am pissed at him and I am way, way more pissed at myself.

My secret valentines



I found a Valentine’s Day present on my front porch.

A Valentine’s Day present for me!

A Valentine’s Day present from my secret admirers. Who happen to be my favorite family. From Lucy and Chet and Baby A. And Wolf, the dog.

A CD and chocolate, a flower that I will attempt to keep alive and granola. I’ve been eating a lot of granola lately. And that’s what best friends do: they remember you telling them that you’ve been gorging on granola like it is going out of style and they replenish your supply.

I wasn’t feeling so great about myself yesterday – boy related but ultimately my own fault – and I came home and I found a Valentine’s Day present on my front porch.

Lucy is amazing. I am so lucky to have her.

And the chocolate. I really needed that chocolate.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Awesome points for me

Meg is a bridesmaid in the early June wedding of one of her high school friends. The wedding is in Colorado. My parents and I are invited to the wedding, too.

I’m definitely not going. I’ve known the bride for a long time and she’s one of Meg’s good friends but we are by no means close; it is nice to be invited but I am taking a pass.

I told my mother as much, just the other day. We were standing in the kitchen and my mother was lamenting about whether her and my father would make the trip to Colorado for the wedding. She felt like she should go. But the wedding is right at the end of the semester, when she’s consumed with giving final exams and posting grades.

“You know what you should do,” I start, without much thought to what I was about to suggest, “you should buy Drew [Drew is Meg’s Wedding Date/boyfriend] a ticket to Colorado. Meg will have him there to keep her company and then you guys don’t have to go, either.”

My mother’s eyes lit up and she was like YOU ARE BRILLIANT. BEST IDEA EVER.

And so Meg and Drew are going to Colorado.

Meg owes me big time.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Here’s a good way to annoy me

Liz’s birthday was this weekend. She decided that she wanted to have people over to the house rather than going out after dinner. Okay. If that’s what the birthday girl wants, that’s what the birthday girl gets.

So, as the roommate and as the consummate party planner, I volunteered to make snacks. Not that I anticipated any of us being terribly hungry after a decadent dinner. But all good drinking is paired with snacking.

On Saturday morning, Liz passed me the baton on the snacks and I was off and running. Baked brie. A hummus dip. Caramel corn.

I planned to make the caramel corn at my mom and dad’s house that afternoon. I prefer my mother’s baking setup. And this one giant bowl that's perfect for caramel corn. I drove to their house, completing my shopping on the way.

A trip to Trader Joe’s.

A trip to the grocery store.

Another trip to another grocery store.

I had the distinct privilege of going to two grocery stores because my parents don’t know how to answer their cell phones. I needed to know if they had corn syrup. Did they wait until I left the first grocery store – without corn syrup – to call me back and tell me, yes, I would need to pick some up? Of course.

So that was irritating.

As was walking into their house (corn syrup in hand) only to see that my mom had started on the caramel corn. Which was very nice of her. But she couldn’t have started on the caramel corn without the corn syrup and THEY HAD CORN SYRUP.

I was a little confused as to why I made an extra trip to the store. Like, really, two trips to the grocery store on a Saturday afternoon is totally enough for me. No lie. That was annoying but I was smart enough to keep my mouth shut. My mom would have no problem kicking my ass for sassing her about making me caramel corn.

And then Liz sends me a text message that says “oh, hey! Don’t worry about food! Denise is bringing snacks.”

I WENT TO THREE GROCERY STORES FOR NO REASON.

I’m still bitter about it.

But I brought caramel corn to the fiesta anyway and it was obviously a huge hit. (Homemade caramel corn is the jam.) There was a tiny bit left on Sunday morning and Liz and I sat on the couch and drank coffee and ate what was left of the caramel corn.

And then on Sunday night we both made out with random dudes.

Behavior that we’re blaming the caramel corn.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Set Me Up

Aunt Lynn has been itching to set me up on a date with one of her coworkers since the fall. At first I was like, “um, no. The Coach.” And then I was like “eh, whatever. Can’t hurt.” And now I am at the mercy of Aunt Lynn, who would say anything to anyone but is apparently too afraid to tell her coworker that she wants to set him up with her niece.

Last Friday, she calls my mother to say that she wants to invite her coworker to her Super Bowl party if I can attend her Super Bowl party. My mom tells Aunt Lynn that she’ll talk to me. And then Aunt Lynn called me as soon as she got off the phone with my mom because she obviously didn't think that my mom was going to follow through.

I told Aunt Lynn to let me know if he was coming and, if he was, I would be sure to stop by. (Obviously he did not because, as you know, I did my Super Bowl viewing with Alexander.) And then on Saturday, Aunt Lynn forced Meg to send her pictures of me so that she could show them to her coworker? Awkward. I need to give Meg a hard time about that.

I called home last night and my mom was like “uh, I have, um, to tell you something?”

“Does this have anything to do with Aunt Lynn?” I could hear it in her voice. I could just hear it.

“No, but it’s something along those lines.”

And then my mother proceeds to tell me about her coworker/close friend Cathy who absolutely adores this social worker on the oncology unit where she teaches. According to my mother, Cathy has been raving about this gentleman for a couple of years now. Apparently he’s very good at his job and kind of awesome. Early thirties. Has a twin brother. Reportedly very cute. And single.

Cathy asks him if he would be interested in dating. (That’s how she put it. Interested in dating.) Gets his business card and his number. Makes a copy of it for her own records. And then passes it along to my mother. So that I can call him.

Is this what happens when you’re on the edge of 30 and still single? Everyone jumps in to fix the problem?

The timing is interesting. I’ve spent 7 months missing The Coach. Alexander swoops in and distracts me for a weekend and my Only The Coach Super Strong Tunnel Vision has been distorted. (Assisted by The Coach himself, who has been a bit MIA for the last couple of days. Big blunder, buddy.) And all of a sudden there are all of these random potential dates floating around in the universe.

I'm going to spend my spring dating four guys at once.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Not all about boys

My cousin/roommate/life partner, the lovely and talented Liz, turns 30 on Saturday. A bunch of her friends - and me, Meg and her sister, Danielle - are taking her out for a fantastic dinner. And maybe some fantastic drinks at a fantastic bar if she's feeling up for the task. A perfect opportunity to wear the dress I didn’t wear on NYE? Why, yes, I do believe that it is.

I want to do something fun and special and silly for Liz to celebrate the milestone. Besides make her breakfast and concoct a signature cocktail to serve to our guests (everyone is meeting at our house and driving together) and perhaps a baked good even though she's on a diet and has been so, so, so good at sticking to it. I am officially soliciting ideas for adorable celebratory birthday fun. And also present suggestions while you’re at it. Liz does this thing where she buys anything she wants immediately after she wants it and it makes buying for her very difficult. Very, very difficult.

***

I am wearing the cutest headband today. I just thought you should know.

***

In my other two posts about this weekend, I was far too busy going on and on and on about Alexander to mention the grilled cheese sandwich that I had for dinner on Saturday night. The same grilled cheese sandwich that I had for dinner on Saturday night when I played in the same tournament last February: lobster and brie. Hell yes, friends. I’ve been thinking about it for one entire year and it wasn’t quite how I remembered it. It was better.

And then, because I am awesome, I directed a group of my teammates to eat there after our game on Sunday morning and then received multiple text messages and emails indicating just how awesome I am for insisting that they eat this special dish at this special restaurant and you know what? They’re right. I am brilliant. And awesome.

***

Who wants to see a picture of me and Lucy and Baby A?

Oh, good. Here you go:


***

You know when you have something that you need to do but you’re just not doing it and it’s ridiculous that you’re not doing it and you have no reason to not do it because it will only take 5 minutes but you just go on not doing it for days and days and months?

I’ve been meaning to make an appointment with La Doctora – a new La Doctora – for a couple of months now. Finally did it. Pretty sure constantly reminding myself to make the appointment was worse than actually calling to make the appointment. And probably the appointment itself.

Slackin’ ain’t easy.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Things are weird

So, I kissed a boy who wasn’t The Coach yesterday.

It was pretty weird. And I feel pretty weird about it. The circumstances are weird. I’m sort of weird. Weirdness all around.

Of course this all happens now. The Coach is going to be back soon. I sucked it up and suffered through his whole damn season and I finally get a (very young) distraction and The Coach is going to be back in a hot flash. Not that I’m not excited for him to be home. Not that I’m saying that nothing is going to happen with Alexander in the meantime. Not that I know anything.

Here is what I do know: I don’t feel bad about this. I don’t feel guilty about this. Not about it in relation to The Coach. He left without a commitment. He left twice without a commitment. I’m not his girlfriend.

That isn’t to say that my wishy-washy status with The Coach means that this is not without complications. We have complications. Those being his brief involvement with Meg, that I am friends with his mother, his role on my hockey team, his age, my insanity, etc.

I’m just confused as to how this all came about. Where did this come from? How did this happen? I was expecting a touch of inappropriateness. I was expecting a small dose of flirtation. I didn’t expect this. A two-day marathon of togetherness? Nope. Didn’t cross my mind. I thought we would drive to Canada together on Saturday morning and that would be it. Alexander would spend the rest of the day with his mom. I would kill time drinking coffee and reading a book and watching Meg’s team play. Not doing tequila shots. I definitely did not anticipate any tequila shots.

Or the kiss. I was not expecting to kiss anyone this weekend.

I have no idea what’s going on in his head. It’s disconcerting. I don’t know if I’m just a fun conquest or if he’s just really used to getting the girl he wants exactly when he wants her or what, but Alexander is suddenly ALL ABOUT ME. Like, sent me a text this afternoon and wanted to come and see me at work this evening all about me. (For the record: I declined.) He didn’t even have my phone number until Friday. It’s all so fast and unexpected and, truthfully, I had so much fun with him this weekend but I don’t know that I can do this. I don’t know if I’m ready for this. I don’t know if I’m okay with this. I don’t know where the hell this is going or what the hell that I’m doing.

(He seems so cool and so sure about pursuing me and I am just a panicked mess, which is funny to me. Shouldn't I be the confident older woman and he be the insecure younger man?)

But at least it’s something different. Something to distract me. A feeling to feel that isn’t the standard: missing The Coach, which I do so regularly and so automatically that it feels like breathing.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Cradle robbing

Those of you who have been reading the blog for a short eternity may remember Alexander. He's the coach of my hockey team and the son of one of my teammates; I tried to hook him up with Meg a few years ago.

It didn't work out. But it didn't end horribly - thank goodness, because I have to see him on a regular basis - and I found Meg another guy.

My hockey team played in a tournament in Canada this weekend. We had an early game on Saturday morning; most of the team stayed in a hotel on Friday night. I didn't. Neither did Alexander.

Somehow, his mom thought I volunteered to drive to Canada with him. (I can't remember volunteering this but, whatever. I'm cool with it.)

And that rolled into 14 hours with Alexander. From our commute to Canada to our game to team breakfast. To the two of us getting really drunk in the middle of the afternoon as we killed time between our games. To watching Meg's team play. To our second game. To dinner with my parents. And back to America.

And then today. We drove together again.

He's a nice kid. I've never spent any time alone with him, but I like his personality. We had a pretty decent time.

And there were times - a lot of times - when I was like "OMG, he's going to kiss me. Shit. Oh fuck. He's going to kiss me."

But it was just a few ass slaps and leg grabs and an almost hug.

I like the kid. I do. But he's a coach but he's not The Coach. He's a distraction. Someone to flirt with. A potential friend.

And here's the part when I mention that he's 24.

Yeah. You read that right. 24.

And also I just agreed to show up at the bar and watch the Super Bowl with him.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Soccer Star

My soccer team added a few new players at the first of the year. It’s pretty typical. We have a rotating cast of characters. Some girls only play in the summer, others only play in the winter, girls go on pregnancy hiatus or they break their ankle or whatever.

I show up at our first game in this current season and we’re all sitting around, putting on our gear and bitching about this ridiculous chick on the other team. And I’m checking out the new girls. You can tell a lot about a soccer player by what they’re wearing and how they’re wearing it. Braid your ponytail? You’re probably pretty good. Same for if you wear your socks a certain way – pulled up right below your kneecap. (If you’re crappy, you’re more likely to wear your socks much shorter.) The length of your shorts is a huge indicator. If you’ve been playing soccer all of your life, you wouldn’t be caught dead in a pair of short shorts. Or a pair of shorts that aren’t soccer shorts. Those jogging shorts that you bought at Target that sort of look like soccer shorts? They’re not soccer shorts. Champion doesn’t make soccer shorts.

I realize that this sounds catty, but it’s absolutely true. It’s just a cultural thing. Soccer culture. If you’ve been playing soccer your whole life, you dress for soccer like a soccer player. And if you’ve been playing soccer your whole life, you’re probably pretty good.

Anyway. So I’m checking out the new players and the one looks really, really familiar. And I know immediately who she is but then I convince myself that I have to be mistaken. There’s no way that I could be recognizing a girl from middle school.

Middle school.

But then I heard her name – Willow – and, yeah, it’s obviously her.

And I just put it out there. I’m like “yo, we went to middle school together.”

It was sort of awkward but whatever.

And she didn’t play soccer in middle school. And she wasn’t dressed like a soccer player. So I wasn’t surprised when she got on the field and had no idea what she was doing.

(Side note: I told this story to another girl I went to middle school and high school with and she was like “I saw on Facebook that she was playing soccer for the very first time!”)

Whatever. It’s cool. I didn’t grow up playing hockey. People pick up new sports all the time.

After our game last week, I was walking to my car with the girl who organizes my team. We were talking soccer and she says “yeah, I’m a little disappointed with Willow. She told me before she joined the team that she had played college soccer.”

“SHE SAID SHE PLAYED COLLEGE SOCCER?!” Shocked would be a good way to describe my reaction. “SHE DIDN’T EVEN PLAY MIDDLE SCHOOL SOCCER! WHO DOES THAT?!”

Seriously. Who does do that? Like, do you think that if you buy a pair of cleats it comes with skill sewn into the leather? Do you think that nobody would notice? It makes no sense.

People are weird.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

High Standards for All!

I’m a pretty decent person. I’m a pretty decent friend. And I am far from perfect.

One of the many areas where I am less than perfect is in my standards. I hold the people in my life to very, very, very high standards. I don’t give them a break.

I hold myself to impossibly high standards – it’s why I am always trying to be in every place and do everything and be everything to everyone and run 10 miles and wear nail polish that is never chipped – and I wasn’t always like this. But somehow those high standards have leaked out and contaminated the premises and started to feel like How It Should Be Done. Everyone should live their life exactly like me! Everybody should be this tightly wound and this goal driven and this dedicated to: [their fitness/their family/their friends/their literary pursuits/David Beckham/baked goods/etc.].

So, what I’m saying is this: I’m kind of annoying. Nobody needs to be perfect. I need to find a way to chill the fuck out.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Why I Don’t Share My Business with My Family, an example

Sunday night, 7:40 pm:
Mom calls during my soccer game even though I talked to her on my way to my soccer game. I expect the worst because that’s what I do when a call succeeds another call. Assume someone is dead.

“So, Meg’s home,” my mom tells me breezily. Meg was in South Carolina last weekend, visiting her Wedding Date. “And she told Wedding Date that she loves him and Wedding Date told her that he loves her.” I think my mom meant to be casual but this news came bubbling out of her. “She sounded really calm and she wasn’t weird about it at all.”

I laughed. Told Mom that it was wonderful. That of course Wedding Date would love her. Because Meg is loveable and wonderful and generally great.

Monday night, 9:05 pm:
I call home when I leave work. I always do on Monday night. My dad answered. “Your mom is already in bed,” he reports. (This news isn’t surprising. She’s due to the hospital early on Tuesday mornings.) “Have you talked to Meg?”

“I haven’t talked to Meg today.”

“Did you talk to Meg yesterday?”

“No, Dad, I didn’t talk to Meg yesterday.”

“Your sister is in love.”

“I know, Dad. Mom told me already.”

“You girls both deserve to have someone to love.”

“Right. Exactly. That’s...yeah. Good point.”

Monday night, 9:48 pm:
Meg calls. I ask about her workday and her team. We discuss the tournament we’re playing in next weekend. I grill her about what she and Wedding Date did during her visit.

“Oh, and I have a funny story to tell you,” she says, “I am just so awkward. I asked Wedding Date, earlier in the weekend, how you know if you’re in love...”

“Um, Meggie? Not to ruin this for you, but Mom already told me. So did Dad.”

“I didn’t tell them the story, though. I’m going to tell you the whole story.”

And so she did.
 
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