Wednesday, May 30, 2012

And now, I count down summer (again)

Yesterday, I woke up with a nervous stomach. Anxious.
This was perplexing because I didn’t have anything to be anxious about.

Except that, yesterday morning – the first Tuesday after Memorial Day, it felt like summer.

I usually don’t mourn the end of summer until the beginning of July. This year, I’m starting five weeks early. I am morning the end of summer at the beginning of summer. Because I know how quickly it is going to go. And because I know what the end of summer is going to mean.

It means The Coach packs up his things and gets in his car and drives a few thousand miles away.

* * *

This week, even though it is the offseason, coming off of the holiday, working just a few hours per day from from home – The Coach is having a shitty workweek. An epically shitty workweek. He had a feeling that it was going to be shitty, but he didn't know that it was going to be this shitty.

He leaned on me. He leaned on me a lot. I was glad to be there. I was glad to be that person. Because I know him. I know the face he was putting on for every other person. Laughing it all off. Taking each inquiring phone call with a laugh. Pretending like it doesn't bother him.

He leaned on me and I reminded him of how much he loves his job and how rare that is.

He leaned on me and I reminded him of how happy his job makes him.

I couldn't ask him to give that up.

 * * *

I haven’t done what I need to do. I know that. It’s hard, starting that conversation when things between us – the way that they are right now, without having that talk that I’m fearful will end badly – are pretty damn good.

We’re moving at a snail’s pace. But we’re moving. That’s why I haven’t had The Talk with him.

(I also haven’t had The Talk with him because I am chickenshit. But that is a topic for another day. Feel free to submit inspirational quotes in the meantime.)

As much as I want to grab him by the shoulders and beg him for a little definition to what is, honestly, a pretty great thing – I look at what we were last year at this time. And I look at where we are this year. And they’re drastically different stories featuring the same characters.

Last summer, it was all on the surface. New and shallow and fun. This year, there is substance. Library tours and post-soccer meals and car rides and politics and plans and I will always want more but what I have is not a defined role and it is not a perfect situation and it is still quite nice.

What isn't nice is the deadline. What makes me have a problem with the slow moving nature of our undefined relationship is the deadline. It is the only thing that makes me have a problem with the slow moving nature of our undefined relationship. I am not in any hurry. I would happily plod along at this rate – unreeling myself at an exquisitely slow pace – if not for August.

It all comes down to August.

And the six months that follow.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I don't wanna work today

Fact: today is the worst day of the year to be at work.

I don’t want to be wearing clothes. I want to be in my swimsuit.

I don’t want to be stuck inside, doing work. I want to be reading in the sunshine.

I don’t want a lameass bowl of fruit and sandwich. I want fresh strawberry rhubarb pie. I want iced tea. I want margaritas. I want to smell like sunscreen. I want to wear my sunglasses. I want to nap when I feel like napping. I want to not be working because it took me three days to get used to not working and I am very used to it now.

I love not working.

I also love making pies.

I especially love making pies while not working.

Strawberry rhubarb is my personal favorite. Strawberry rhubarb is what I made yesterday, throwing it into the oven and practically sprinting out onto the deck and into the sunshine. (Thankfully, the deck is just off of the kitchen.) I really have no excuse for the polka dotted crust that looks like random biscuits plopped on the top. It seemed like fun at the time.


As did the random glamour shot with a pie.

(Note the UM flag on the right of the picture. Go Blue.)

I can’t help being this ridiculous.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Holiday: hurray

Everyone (really, absolutely everyone) is travelling this weekend and I stayed home with very low expectations.

It was bound to be pretty lame.

Low expectations always help. I've actually had quite a nice time. It's been quiet, indeed, but relaxing and fun and even a little bit productive.

I also got a massage that was so bloody fantastic that I could have spent the rest of the weekend locked in a damp basement and the weekend still would have tipped to the positive side. Getting that massage was the best decision I've made all year. No joke.

Saturday afternoon was spent with The Coach. Without swooning to much or writing too many gushing details that will make you all want to strangle me because I have failed to have The Talk with The Coach: we definitely have a different dynamic than we did last summer. It's a good different even though it is still an undefined different. It is going to be very interesting to see how this all turns out in the end.

My cousin/roommate Liz is in Argentina for work. Watching her dog means that I haven't been able to be out of the house for 16 hour stretches of time, which is actually quite good for me. It's made me chill out a little more than I otherwise would, spend the mornings at home, walking the dog and watering the flowers and reading in bed.

And running. If I can ever get myself out the door, there will be some running, too.

I had the entire weekend off of work, which means that I will have to work the whole weekend of Labor Day. I can't even bring myself to care. The Coach will be freshly departed. The distraction will probably be a good thing.

But I don't want to think about that -- about him leaving. I've done a pretty good job of simply enjoying that he's here instead of freaking out about how soon that he'll be gone. Which certainly isn't helping push me to have The Talk but, damn, it's a lot easier to be happy.

Friday, May 25, 2012

So Midwestern, So in the Kitchen: dessert for breakfast

I am sure you have all been wondering how I counteracted my grilled peanut butter/Nutella sandwich of Wednesday night.

I hit the treadmill last night, pounding out six miles in my new running shoes. And then I went home and ate this:

And then I read and talked to The Coach and went to sleep and when I got up this morning, I ate this:


Can we talk about this lemon curd? Let’s talk about this lemon curd. I am for serious in love with it. I found the recipe maybe a week ago and I have been thinking about it obsessively ever since. Yesterday, I finally took the plunge and made it. Totally simple. Tangy. And it has eggs in it so, yes, totally acceptable for breakfast. Hurray.
I have been cooking and baking quite a bit lately, but I’m mostly sticking to my old favorites. Lots of quinoa salads for lunch, donuts for Mother’s Day brunch, a strawberry rhubarb pie with Lucy, my own spin on this chicken salad from Iowa Girl Eats.

While I haven't been terribly dedicated to trying new recipes, it's been a bit of a relief to realize that, from all of this cooking that I've been trying to do for the last year and a half, I have established a base of recipes that I can make with little thought and effort and that I also happen to really, really love.

I still eat random crap (see: cereal for dinner) and all of that, but lunchtime is so much more enjoyable and packing for lunch is drastically less painful. That alone is worth every ounce of energy I sunk into trying to be better about cooking for myself and trying new recipes.

I brought this baked brie dip over for Anna's birthday party and it was a huge hit. It's definitely a recipe that I'll make again. Brie is possibly the most delicious food on the planet. And this recipe was stupid easy. And stupid delicious. Winner.


 
Oh, and apparently I took a shot of the Bruschetta Chicken Pasta that I made a few weeks ago. So, here, take a look. More poor iPhone photography!

That's what's been going on in my kitchen lately. Anybody else recently try any winning recipes that you want to share with your favorite blogger?

Hint: your favorite blogger is me.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Healthy meal choices

On my drive home from work last night, as often happens on my drive home from work, I started thinking about what I was going to eat for dinner.

Dinner is a challenge on the nights that I work late. It's usually cereal.

Last night, I was craving a grilled cheese sandwich.

But I couldn't have a grilled cheese sandwich. I had a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch!

(I'm not sure why I decided that there is a limit of one grilled cheese meal per day, but it made sense at the time.)

Peanut butter sounded good. Chocolate sounded good. Carbs sounded good.

Grilling a peanut butter and Nutella sandwich and sprinkling it with powdered sugar sounded good.

Random. I don't eat like that. I almost never eat like that. When I do go a little crazy with Nutella or peanut butter (it happens), it is generally after I have spent three days stalking potential recipes and stocking up on baking supplies. Not jumping on a random idea that I got while listening to the new John Mayer album on my drive home from work.  

I suspected that the source of my inspiration was divine intervention from the sandwich gods. It would be rude to ignore their suggestion. It would be improper to ignore the gift. So I did it.

I am a little horrified.

And a little proud.

It was really delicious. It was also melty and great. You should all make one this weekend.
Don't forget the powdered sugar.

Books on the Brain, part 5

Fiction
In One Person
John Irving

From the publisher: A compelling novel of desire, secrecy, and sexual identity, In One Person is a story of unfulfilled love—tormented, funny, and affecting—and an impassioned embrace of our sexual differences. Billy, the bisexual narrator and main character of In One Person, tells the tragicomic story (lasting more than half a century) of his life as a “sexual suspect,” a phrase first used by John Irving in 1978 in his landmark novel of “terminal cases,” The World According to Garp.


His most political novel since The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving's In One Person is a poignant tribute to Billy's friends and lovers—a theatrical cast of characters who defy category and convention. Not least, In One Person is an intimate and unforgettable portrait of the solitariness of a bisexual man who is dedicated to making himself “worthwhile.”

Why it caught my eye: John Irving is absolutely one of my very, very favorite authors. You know who else loves John Irving? My mom. Lucy. It makes me love his books even more. While his recent works haven't captured me quite like some of his earlier novels, I always enjoy his writing and his characters (oh, the characters!) and seeing all of the common threads that he weaves through all of his books.



Non-Fiction

Le Road Trip: A Traveler's Journal of Love and France

Vivian Swift

From the publisher: Road trip: those are still the two most inspiring words to vagabonds and couch potatoes alike; after all, the great American spirit was forged by road trippers from the Pilgrims to Lewis and Clark to the Dharma Bums. Le Road Trip combines the appeal of the iconic American quest with France's irresistible allure, offering readers a totally new perspective of life on the road.

Le Road Trip tells the story of one idyllic French honeymoon trip, but it is also a witty handbook of tips and advice on how to thrive as a traveler, a captivating visual record with hundreds of watercolor illustrations, and a chronicle depicting the incomparable charms of being footloose in France. Armchair travelers, die-hard vagabonds, art journalists, and red wine drinkers will all find something to savor in this story.

Why it caught my eye: It's such a gorgeous book, you guys. It came in at the library and I immediately checked it out, even though I have two other books that I absolutely must read. It is written in this fun, short, chatty style. I know that, once I get around to reading it, I'm going to zoom right through it. I am quite certain that it is the perfect book to read during an afternoon in the sunshine. I am quite certain that I will be bit with the travel bug as soon as I start it. It's going to be a good read.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The best morning

I don’t babysit Baby A on Wednesday mornings, now that Lucy has quit her job to be a stay-at-home mom.

Instead, we meet for coffee, which is just as delightful.

There is an awesome little independent coffee shop that is conveniently located halfway between our houses. It’s all eccentric and fun, with mismatched furniture and quirky regulars and fantastic lattes. Sometimes we sit on the patio, sometimes we sit inside. Baby A babbles and pulls my hair and charms every person in the place. Lucy and I talk about everything and anything and a fair amount that probably horrifies the people around us. It’s what we do.

Most of the time that I spend with Lucy is also spent with her husband, Chet. Who I love and adore, don’t get me wrong. It’s just nice to have time with just the two of us.

Our Wednesday morning coffee dates make my week. They slow me down. If I wasn’t meeting Lucy for coffee, I would be at the gym and doing laundry and squeezing every second out of my morning off of work. Instead, I get up lateish and eat breakfast while driving to the coffee shop and spend an hour or two with my best friend and my favorite baby and it’s a little bit perfect.

Today, when we were through with our coffee, I had plenty of time to spare before I needed to head to work and nothing that I absolutely needed to accomplish. I stopped at Marshalls to wander aimlessly because I felt like hunting for a bargain. No luck. No problem. I went home and made the perfect grilled cheese sandwich, which I brought to the back porch along with a book that I tucked under my arm and I stretched out in the sun and I read and I ate and I pretended like I didn’t have minutes until I needed to leave for work.

Speaking of work: my desk is severly lacking in sunshine, lattes, chubby babies, best friends and grilled cheese sandwiches. Coming to work on the heels of the best morning? Not so easy.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

30 weeks of awkwardness

Alexander is back.

Sort of. I haven’t seen him. I’ve heard from him.

He does this thing where he drops off of my radar and, without warning, he pops back up again. Generally within a few hours of any picture of me being posted on Facebook. Like he forgets how adorable and fun I am until an image of me flashes across his screen and oh! Must. Text. Aly.

I would rather not hear from him.

I feel awful admitting that.

And then I think about all of the dudes who never worked out and who have seen a text message from me on their phone and winced just like I’m wincing when Alexander reaches out to me and then I feel both awful and pathetic.

It was easier, before, when things with The Coach were a little less steady. My feet are under me now and I am not so anxious (that’s not to say that I’ve had The Talk with him because, alas, I have not and, yes, I do deserve to be smacked) and I am not quite so unsure.

Alexander is just so bold. Maybe that’s just because he is young. Less jaded than The Coach or me. He just puts it out there. Exactly what he’s thinking. Exactly what he wants. Or what he thinks that he should be thinking. Or what he thinks that what he wants. I haven’t quite figured that much out yet – if he’s genuine or if he’s manipulative or if this is just a fun game to engage in.

I don’t intend to figure it out. Whatever he’s doing and whatever reason he’s doing it. I don’t want to know.

And I have to figure out a nice way to tell him as much.

Because hockey season is 30 weeks long. 30 weeks of awkwardness is 30 weeks too many.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Hazard of the job

I am so sick of getting hit on, you guys.

Yes, I have evolved into one of those girls. One of those girls who bitches about how many men hit on her and how much it pisses her off. Now I understand. Because it sucks. It sucks a lot.

Here is where I am hit on: work.

Only work. Never anywhere that is not work, such as the gym or Target or the bar or the reception area of my dentist’s office. Only at work.

Here is who hits on me: creepy dudes.

Almost exclusively creepy dudes. There have been a few (this guy comes to mind) who aren’t complete creepers and maybe they just tell me that I’m pretty to be nice but, as a whole, that’s who I get. Old men who come here every day, leer at me, find a reason to talk to me and don’t get the hint when I refuse to even make eye contact with them.

I hate it so much.

I do not want your comments on my hair, my legs, my teeth, my jewelry, healthcare in America, Facebook or the weather. I do not want you to hang around my desk. I do not want you to suggest that we do anything or go anywhere. I do not want you to make me uncomfortable when I am at work and I do not want to tell you that you’re making me uncomfortable at work. LEAVE ME ALONE. LET ME DO MY JOB.

I’m getting to the point with a few where I’m just going to have to say it.

That’s inappropriate.

Please do not speak to me in that way.

I had no idea that the creepers would bother me this much. I have a good sense of humor. I have pretty thick skin. I thought that I would just laugh them off for all of eternity but it’s only been a year and I have a physical reaction when I see some of the biggest offenders. I am that uncomfortable. And that’s just not right.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I needed this weekend

I needed Friday night dinner with Lucy and Chet.

I needed that time in the kitchen with Lucy -- I made our pasta, she made a salad, we combined on a pie for dessert (thank you, pie crust from my freezer) while we caught up. What's it about having busy hands that makes talking so easy?

I needed cuddle time with Baby A.  

I needed bad VH1 countdown television -- complete with editorials provided by Chet -- on the couch with two of my very best friends.

I needed that strawberry rhubarb pie.

I needed to talk to The Coach late that night. And first thing the next morning.

I needed a quiet Saturday morning.

I needed an extra 90 minutes in bed, finishing up Mockingjay.

I needed the easy run through the neighborhood.

I needed the Tim Horton's coffee.

I needed an afternoon where I had Meg all to myself.

I needed the sangria.

I needed the thrilling soccer match that we watched at the bar while drinking the sangria.

I needed a few hours to sit quietly in the stands, watching Meg coach.

I needed a night at Mom and Dad's.

I needed pancakes.

I needed a quick visit with Grandma.

I needed to play in a soccer game.

I needed to play well in a soccer game.

I needed to smell like sunscreen.

I needed lunch with The Coach after my game.

I needed the sunny afternoon on the lake that followed.

I needed to sit on the patio and chat with Liz and Fluff.

I needed to get something accomplished, so I did laundry.

I needed to have The Coach ask me for advice.

I needed a long shower.

I needed a quiet night.

I needed to get out of my funk.

I needed this weekend.

Friday, May 18, 2012

They kept me this long

Today is my one year anniversary at my job.


I’ve been telling my coworkers that I’m going to turn into a completely new person at the completion of my first year. That I would immediately begin sharing all of my long-oppressed thoughts. That I would no longer be sweet or fun or funny. That I would dye my hair black and grow devil horns and spit fire.

Unsurprisingly, I came in this morning to find this in my email:


Oh, coworkers. They can make it or break it, can’t they? I work with good people. I don’t fit in with them – our relationships are nothing like the relationships I had in my old job (in ways that are both good and bad) – but they’re good people.

If my first day of work was one year ago, my return from Europe was one year ago yesterday.

I kind of love that I flew in from Europe on Tuesday night and started a new job on Wednesday morning.

I kind of loved that trip, too.

Maybe that’s why I’ve been a crabby bitch all week. Because, one year ago, I was in Italy and Switzerland and, this week, I’m frustrated and angry and in neither Switzerland nor Italy.

GIVE ME LIMONCELLO AND AUTHENTIC FONDUE.

(It’s therapeutic.)



I thought that, after a year here, I would feel more settled.


I wanted this job with everything that I had and, when I landed it, I expected to be a year in and feel like I was on the right track and doing the right thing and making the right moves and doing what I wanted to do and I feel absolutely none of that.

What I do feel is this: as though I’m never going to hit my stride. Like it’s always going to be this way.

As someone who always excelled at everything that was truly important to me – in school, with friendships, on the soccer field, with my family – I am astounded at how much I truly suck at being an adult.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

All whine, no cheese

I am feeling whiny.

Actually, what I’m feeling is a little bit queasy. Which is interesting to me, because immediately after I had lunch yesterday, I also felt queasy. (Lunch, when I work until closing as I do tonight, is usually just before 5:00 pm.) I had yogurt both days. And I wonder if I’m lactose intolerant.

That would be unfortunate.

I also wonder if I have just had too much caffeine today, because in addition to feeling a little queasy, I feel a little shaky.

Maybe I’m actually getting sick.

My knees hurt. Both of them. I am not a fan. It’s time for new running shoes. I am usually good about having a spare pair of running shoes tucked away in my closet but my shopping has not kept up with my elevated running habits.

I cannot be too angry about a reason to go shopping.

Speaking of shopping: I bought an adorable white dress at J.Crew this weekend. So pretty and simple and flattering. Emma dubbed it my courthouse wedding dress. Which I sort of love.

I also sort of love the idea of a courthouse wedding.

Don’t read more into that than you should.

Actually, don’t read into that at all.

(I guess I’m feeling a little bossy, too, in addition to whiny.)

I met Lucy and Baby A for coffee this morning. I had loaned Luce my mother’s copy of Mockingjay to me and, when she handed it to me, I announced that I would under no circumstances be reading it before I read the next selection for the book club that I lead.

That was at 9:30 this morning. I’m on page 120. Of Mockingjay.

Oops.

I introduced The Coach to exactly one of my coworkers during last Friday’s ‘brary tour. She has been cute about it. “He is just, well, I saw a picture of him in that article last fall and I thought that, from the picture, he would be just a little more, ah, processed cute? But he is just handsome. He is very handsome.”

I laughed and told her that, yes, I agree. He is just very handsome. “Too good looking for me,” I said, still laughing as I headed back to my desk.

When she brought it up again – just how nice looking The Coach is – she added “and he’s not too good looking for you, by the way. You two look cute together.”

Which was a nice thing to hear. And a pleasant thing to think about. Lately, all I have been doing is filling my head with anxiety and doubt about The Coach and not much else. It was sort of nice just to mull over his general cuteness for a few minutes.

Before returning to the anxiety. And the doubt.

I have the chills. It’s either cold in the ‘brary or I really am getting sick.

I hope I’m not getting sick.

If I do get sick, I hope I’ve left enough germs around the house to infect Liz’s boyfriend, too. I’m kind of over him, you guys. I decided that yesterday when I returned home from work – a good two hours before Liz got home from work – and found him sitting on the couch, watching golf.

Be over every second that Liz is home, fine. It’s her house, I won’t complain. (Even though I want to.) But I don’t need to hang out with you when she’s not home. I find you somewhat boring, bro. And the limited amount of topics that we can chat about? Not enough to sustain us through extra special cousin/roommate-boyfriend bonding time. So that’s going to have to stop. Immediately.

Have I mentioned that I don’t feel so great?

Or that I’m feeling a little whiny today?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Books on the Brain, part 4

I'm a little behind on this.

I know you're not surprised.

I've just been a in a little funk (okay, I've been in several little funks, but I'm refering to one specific funk here) when it comes to non-fiction books: nothing looks good. So I keep looking and looking for something to really capture my attention. No dice. So, for my non-fiction selection, I'll go for something a little older that has been hanging out on my list of books to read for a while. And we'll call that good.

Fiction
These Girls: A Novel
Sarah Pekkanen

From the publisher: Cate, Renee, and Abby have come to New York for very different reasons, and in a bustling city of millions, they are linked together through circumstance and chance.

Cate has just been named the features editor of Gloss, a high-end lifestyle magazine. It’s a professional coup, but her new job comes with more complications than Cate ever anticipated.

Her roommate Renee will do anything to nab the plum job of beauty editor at Gloss. But snide comments about Renee’s weight send her into an emotional tailspin. Soon she is taking black market diet pills—despite the racing heartbeat and trembling hands that signal she’s heading for real danger.

Then there’s Abby, whom they take in as a third roommate. Once a joyful graduate student working as a nanny part time, she abruptly fled a seemingly happy life in the D.C. suburbs. No one knows what shattered Abby—or why she left everything she once loved behind.

Pekkanen’s most compelling, true-to-life novel yet tells the story of three very different women as they navigate the complications of careers and love—and find the lifeline they need in each other.
 
Why it caught my eye: I'm a sucker for books about female friendship. When the time is right, I'm also a sucker for a fast read. This is the type of book that will fit both requirements quite nicely. Plus, I have this feeling that it would be an excellent accessory to compliment a bikini and sunglasses. Summer days on the deck with a good book? Bring it on.
 
Non-Fiction
'Tis: a Memoir
Frank McCourt

From the publisher: Frank McCourt's glorious childhood memoir, Angela's Ashes, has been loved and celebrated by readers everywhere for its spirit, its wit and its profound humanity. A tale of redemption, in which storytelling itself is the source of salvation, it won the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Rarely has a book so swiftly found its place on the literary landscape.


And now we have 'Tis, the story of Frank's American journey from impoverished immigrant to brilliant teacher and raconteur. Frank lands in New York at age nineteen, in the company of a priest he meets on the boat. He gets a job at the Biltmore Hotel, where he immediately encounters the vivid hierarchies of this "classless country," and then is drafted into the army and is sent to Germany to train dogs and type reports. It is Frank's incomparable voice, his uncanny humor and his astonishing ear for dialogue that renders these experiences spellbinding.

When Frank returns to America in 1953, he works on the docks, always resisting what everyone tells him, that men and women who have dreamed and toiled for years to get to America should "stick to their own kind" once they arrive. Somehow, Frank knows that he should be getting an education, and though he left school at fourteen, he talks his way into New York University. There, he falls in love with the quintessential Yankee, long-legged and blonde, and tries to live his dream. But it is not until he starts to teach, and to write, that Frank finds his place in the world. The same vulnerable but invincible spirit that captured the hearts of readers in Angela's Ashes comes of age.

Why it caught my eye: It has been three years since I read Angela's Ashes. It sat on my bookshelf for years before I finally decided to give it a try and, when I did, I adored it. I loved it. I loved everything about it. I should read it again. But, first, I should read the other books my Frank McCourt and this, of course, is one of them.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Mom Lottery

We like to tell Blue and Ellie – my mom and dad’s dogs – that they won the dog lottery.


One day, they were living in a shelter. And the next day, they were living in a house on a lake and snuggling with a human and swimming and taking trips to the dog park and sleeping on the bed.

Dog lottery. Winners: spoiled and loved.

This weekend – a weekend where I went home just because I was feeling sad. A weekend where I spent Saturday afternoon with my mom, Meg and two of my cousins and had so much fun that my cheeks ached from all of the smiling. A weekend where I hosted a Mother’s Day brunch for 20. – I felt especially lucky.

So lucky. So randomly fortunate.

Like I had won the lottery. The mom lottery.

Our mom is the best mom and I don’t understand how I could be so fortunate to be her daughter. I don’t deserve her. But she is my mom. And Meg’s mom. And a hell of a lot of things to a hell of a lot of people.

She is everyone’s aunt.

She is everyone’s surrogate mom.

She is everyone’s nurse.

She is everyone’s teammate.

She is everyone’s brainstormer.

She is everyone’s marriage counselor.

She is everyone’s shoulder to cry on.

She is everyone’s stylist.

She is everyone’s teacher.

She is everyone’s party planner.

She is everyone’s mentor.

She is everyone’s honest opinion.

She is everyone’s source of tough love.

She is everyone’s baking consultant.

She is everyone’s cheerleader.

She is everyone’s rock.

She is my mom.


I won the mom lottery.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

On Friday

On Friday, The Coach drove over an hour to visit me at work.

On Friday, The Coach grabbed my ass in the stacks.

On Friday, The Coach told me a story about our friend Darren. A story that Darren had told me a few years ago. A story that I didn't even remember that I remembered.

On Friday, The Coach's eyes seemed incredibly green.

On Friday, The Coach and I went to lunch at a restaurant that I picked out -- the type of restaurant that I was sure was his type of restaurant. And it was.

On Friday, The Coach finished one of my sentences.

On Friday, The Coach admitted that he is horrible at making plans.

On Friday, The Coach asked about my job interview. I told him a little about it. But more about how, if I were to get the job, I wasn't so sure that I would take it.

On Friday, The Coach proclaimed that he had a "million dollar idea," hesitated for a second, and told me. (It wasn't that great of an idea.) (I think he realized it, too.)

On Friday, The Coach came to my house and I hesitated.

On Friday, The Coach and I did not have The Talk that we need to have.

On Thursday, The Coach said something that spooked the resolve to have The Talk right out of me.

On Friday, I couldn't switch gears fast enough to have The Talk once I realized that Thursday's comment was a false alarm.

On Saturday, The Coach was in a wedding.

On Saturday, I hated me for my cowardice.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Update about lack of updates

I’m not holding out on you guys.

I am well aware that The Coach is more interesting to read about* than my ramblings about my soccer team’s jerseys, my Mother’s Day plans and the current color of my nail polish.

There just isn’t anything to report.

I could fill pages and pages with speculation. I have filled pages with speculation. ...which I email to Accidentally Me because she is thoughtful and patient and brilliant and accustomed to my unique brand of crazy in addition to being awesome in every other way a girl can be awesome.

I haven’t written an update because I don’t have anything substantial to update. I could write five or 10 or 20 little stories – snippets about me and The Coach that could add up to something but maybe they don’t.

If there is happy news to share, I will share it. If he disappoints me, I will write about that, too.

In the meantime, I am certainly not at all opposed to crossed fingers and good vibes.

I will take all of the good juju I can get.

Not so much blind hopes and wishes that The Coach falls to his knees and proposes the minute I start to ask the tough questions. Because if that's not right, that's not what I want to happen. (Also, that's totally not what's going to happen. But we all know that much.)

Just the right thing. If you feel like cheering, cheer for the right thing.

Whatever that may be.


*Am I wrong? He is, right? Comments seem to suggest as much. Did you want to read about something else entirely? Let's hear it!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

The Brunch Crunch

I love my cousins. I love the whole lot of them.

This week, I really don’t like any of them.

For the last several years, I have organized Mother’s Day. We’re not kids anymore; letting our mothers continue to plan and organize Mother’s Day was getting to be embarrassing. I took the lead and we threw together a few really nice dinners over the last couple of years.

This year, we’re mixing it up and having Mother’s Day brunch.

Which is even easier than dinner, if you ask me. Plus, it’s an excellent opportunity for me to make donuts.

I sent out an email to my cousins a month or so back. “Mother’s Day brunch? Let me know if you’re in.” They’re all in. Fantastic. Simple. Game on.

I send out another email last week. “Let me know what you want to bring!”

Radio silence.

More radio silence.

Email from Emma: “I’m really busy with finals. I’ll bring dessert.”

Good thing you’ll be done with finals by the time Mother’s Day rolls along, Em.

Email from Danielle: “I’ll let you know what I’m going to bring.” (She has not let me know what she’s going to bring.)

Email from Liz: “I’ll bring stuff for mimosas.”

Oh, gee. Thanks. Buying orange juice and champagne would have been really taxing. Your effort will be noted.

And nothing from my cousin Paul. As expected. He’s 24 and lives in his mom’s basement.

I don't know why this is so difficult.

All I want is a general idea. Not the recipe. I am not approving brunch dishes, fools. I would just like the meal to consist of something other than four plates of bacon. Our moms (and grandma) deserve something other than four plates of bacon.

Meg and I are making the eggs. We’re making adorable little individual-sized portions of macaroni and cheese in ramekins that are obviously going to steal the show. Oh, and the donuts. All hail the homemade donuts.

Danielle is totally going to bring something that’s weird. And causes her to be late to the party. Because that’s what she always does. Finds a random recipe on the internet, a recipe that requires her to go to 4 grocery stores – the day of the party.

Paul has been assigned a fruit salad by Meg, one of the very few people in the world he will listen to.

Emma’s totally going to make a red velvet cake that will be beautiful yet dry. (She’s made it for multiple parties this year.) (I appreciate the effort.) (I sort of want to make an alternate dessert.)

I mentioned a French toast casserole to Liz enough times that she got the hint and will be bringing that along with the goods for the mimosas.

And that is how I annoyed my cousins into participating in hosting Mother’s Day brunch. With a lot of whining. Incessant emailing. Various other tactics of being irritating. Because that’s what it takes.

I’m not even going to say that I’m not going to make the same mistake again next year. I totally will. Because I don’t learn. And they don’t learn. And Mother's Day comes once per year, whether we like it or not.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Spell check

I spend so much of my time helping people on the computers.

Having basic computer skills – and I mean BASIC computer skills (like knowing how/where to type in a website address or how to double-click a mouse) – is definitely something that I take for granted.

Every day, there’s something.

A woman who types her email address into the browser’s address field and starts screaming at me when it doesn’t log her into her email. A man who is convinced that the person on the computer next to him has stolen his identity because “SHE HAS AN iPHONE!”

Some people are really nice.

Some people are really grateful for my help.

Some people just want me to do it for them.

Some people don’t even try to learn.

Some people just yell.

Some people repay me in hugs.

Today, a man waved me over to his computer. “I was applying for a job and I lost the website!” He had found the company’s recruiting website, but he couldn’t find the specific job he was looking for. “I don’t know the job number!”

I tell him that it’s okay. Check out that keyword search feature, sir! We’ll plug in the job title and it will spit out that job you were looking for.

He tells me it’s some warehouse position. I point out the field and tell him to type it in.

He’s a slow typist. (That’s something that always kills me, exercising patience while someone types at a snail’s pace.)

He pecked it right out on the keyboard.

W-H-O-R-E-H-O-U-S-E.

“I think you, ah, um – that might be spelled wrong?” I reached around and typed in the correction.

Anything to speed this process along. Anything to get me back to my desk so that I can burst into unrestrained laughter.

Monday, May 07, 2012

I like having a sister

There are many reasons having a sister is a good thing. This weekend was full of reasons.
Having a sister means you have someone who you can drink margaritas and go shopping with. (Looking like that sister means that the server switched our orders. EVERY TIME.) And having a sister means that she knows to be excited about that front-row parking space. Because that means you’re destined for a really great shopping trip.
Having a sister means that you might innocently suggest “waffles would be really great for breakfast” while you’re lounging around in your pajamas, playing with your dogs and watching Friends and then she will actually MAKE THE WAFFLES. (Having a sister who makes the waffles means that you’re the sister who does the dishes.)
Having a sister means that you have someone who can talk you into attempting to fit with her inside of a pair of XXL scrub pants. And take pictures.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

The horrible joke

In addition to following a lot of cool people, a handful of celebrities, my alma mater, various news organizations and the like: I follow a handful of professional organizations. (It helps me feel less guilty for tweeting from work.) Including a few accounts that post jobs.

One of these job posting organizations – or wherever their job postings are aggregated from – has had a glitch for the past few weeks.

It repeatedly tweets out the same job opening. At the height of this glitch, I’m pretty sure that job landed in my Twitter feed 30 times in a single day.

Have I mentioned that the job is in the same town where The Coach lives during the season?

Watching that job (which I’m overqualified for) appear and reappear was a little like getting punched in the face 30 times over the course of a day. And 10 times the next day. And five times the day after that.

What a horrible joke.

Eventually, the tweets died down and I felt like the universe was no longer mocking me.

But then, on Friday, that same Twitter account had the same glitch. FOR ANOTHER JOB IN THE COACH’S TOWN.

A glitch that persisted through the weekend.

I don’t know what the universe is trying to tell me, but it’s being awfully persistent.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

It's time

I am swooning, ecstatic, breathlessly happy. Or I am confused and frustrated and sad.

It’s time.

I am so afraid to lose him.

But it’s still time.

I am afraid to say the words. I don’t want to be the catalyst to the spark that ignites the fire that burns this all to the ground.

It’s time.

I can’t wait any more.

I can’t hold my breath any longer.

I need to know.

If the result is good, I need to know.

If the result is bad, I need to know.

It’s scary. I don’t have a great feeling about it.

It’s still time.

I lose him, there will be reasons that I lose him. Reasons that I should lose him. Reasons that should make me unafraid.

I shouldn’t be afraid of losing a guy if the reason that I’m losing him is that he doesn’t like me enough to begin with.

Yet I am.

More than just a little afraid. Terrified, actually.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Facebook brings up weird things

Earlier this week, I posted pictures from Meg's graduation on the Facebook.

The "congratulations!" responses I got on the album were interesting because, um, they came from people who don't know Meg.

I'm pretty sure that they thought that the pictures were of me.

Awkward.

I don't even think we look all that much alike.


Maybe I’m wrong. Every time we have eaten at a restaurant in the last month or so (at least four times), the server has given me her entrée and she mine.

Usually, it only happens about half the time.

Maybe we're looking especially similar these days.
Which makes complete sense. Since I'm wearing my hair straight and she is wearing her hair curly.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Home

I wish that he didn’t ask.

And I’m sort of glad that he does.

“What am I doing with my life, Aly?”

I don’t have an answer for him.

I don’t know how I’m supposed to answer. I don’t know what I’m supposed to say.

We were in my kitchen, eating cupcakes. I was sitting on the counter. Legs crossed. Eyes on him. He was sitting at the table.

He said that nothing feels like home. That he doesn’t know where home is anymore. “I feel like a gypsy.”

I believe that home is more a matter of people than of a physical place. I wanted to tell him as much, but I didn’t have the courage – afraid that it would be implying too much – and I didn’t have the right words.

I just listened.

When he came over to where I was sitting, I slid off of the counter and he pulled me close and, for a second, everything was okay. There was nothing to figure out. It felt safe and perfect and a little bit like home.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Crabby (doesn't fit in her) Pants

I have been in a rotten mood for days.

About, oh, pretty much anything. Last week was so busy and this week hasn’t been any better; I think that I’m a little overtired and completely prone to being too sensitive, easily frustrated and teetering on the edge of insanity.

On Saturday, I went shopping with my mom and my sister. I love shopping with my mom and my sister! (I really do.) We stopped for lunch, picked up a few wedding gifts and then we went department store crazy. Mom picked out the most gorgeous red handbag for us to give her for Mother’s Day (don’t worry, she’ll get presents that she doesn’t know about, too). Meg got a few gorgeous dresses to wear to weddings. I got frustrated.

And a couple of shirts.

But mostly frustrated.

I had just finally rebuilt my winter wardrobe when the weather changed and suddenly I am left with nothing to wear all over again. It pisses me off.

And since I’m stuck in a foul mood, it really pisses me off. Enrages me.

When our shopping trip featured my mother pulling skirts and pants and dresses off the rack in the wrong size, over and over and over again? I just wanted to scream. And I wanted to pout. And I wanted to buy absolutely nothing which would solve absolutely nothing but sometimes don’t you just want to deal with what’s pissing you off and I didn’t want to deal with it.

I was surprisingly nice about it, though. I wanted to cry but I didn’t show it. I didn’t once throw a pair of jeans at my mother when they were too big in the waist, again. Because I still don’t wear that size, lady. And I didn’t say much of anything when she frowned at the dress I had tried on because I looked positively scrawny. Which I did. But, hell. Criticism is especially stinging when it comes from your mom. Even if it’s true.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Give me just a minute

I am just going to sit here at my desk
And space out
For a little while

I am not going to dwell
On boys
On job interviews
On annoying dogs
On chipped nail polish
On mornings that don’t go as planned
On frustrating shopping trips
On aunts I need to visit
On books I need to read
On presentations I need to give
On bills I need to pay
On dinner plans I should cancel

I am just going to sit here at my desk
And drink this coffee
That tastes like Windex
And space out
For a little while
 
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