Friday, November 30, 2012

Yay + woah

I had a dream this week that Lucy was pregnant again.

Apparently I have a career as a psychic to fall back on.

Because Lucy is pregnant again.

I am thrilled for her and Chet and Baby A. Lucy is an awesome mom and Chet is an awesome dad; this is nothing but good news.

Personally, I can't imagine being pregnant again already but that's why I'm the aunt and not the mom. I would be overwhelmed with having babies 18 months apart, but not spoiling two babies 18 months apart? Please. That will come easy. What do I know about having one baby, let alone multiple babies, anyway? Less than nothing. I'll focus on being excited.

I would be lying if I didn't say that it still feels weird. I am so far behind. Not even close.

I know that probably sounds selfish but at least it's honest. Big life events bring it on. If Ashley got engaged tomorrow or if Liz got a huge promotion or if Meg bought a house, I would feel the same way. Mostly happy. Slightly selfish.

This being my second time at auntiehood, I know that this feeling wears off quickly.

And then I'll be left with nothing but joy. Overwhelming joy.

What a lucky baby. What a lucky family.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Relaxing and me don't mix

"I have things I need to be doing," I told Liz from the comfort of the couch tonight. "I had all of these things I was going to do and I was going to skip going to the gym in order to get them done."

I wanted to apply for a few jobs. I wanted to make a serious dent in the book I am reading.

"Stay there. You never relax," Liz said.

I guess she's right. I don't. Not pointless relaxation. I might take a day off so that I don't get sick. I might take it easy because I want to make it through an upcoming stretch of busy days. I generally don't relax just to relax. I am not sure I know how. Like, you just sit there and don't really do anything and that's sort of a hobby in and of itself?

I am not good at that. I don't know how.

Which is probably for the best. When I do things, I really like to do them well and really often (see: blogging for 8+ years, turning into an obsessive runner, wasting 15 months of my life on The Coach, etc.).

I could get good at relaxing. I know I could.

I'm just not quite sure how it would benefit me. Besides giving me a legitimate reason to add more pairs of yoga pants to my wardrobe, I mean.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

11 months of awesome

This morning, all business casual in my dress and my tights, I spent 15 minutes dancing in the coffee shop. Baby A was demanding attention. I stood him up on the ottoman and we did the twist. He thought this was hysterical. We danced. He giggled. Lucy laughed and shook Baby A's maracas in time to our frantic, spastic dance moves.

I looked like a damn fool.

We were probably annoying every customer sitting alone, hunched over their laptops. Doing important, non-dancing things without a chubby baby as their sidekick.

And I was so happy.

Baby A will be 11 months old next week. But it feels a little like he has always been here. Like he has always been the third in our group of friends. I suppose he came just in time: filling the role left empty by Colleen, who decided that she would no longer be our friend shortly after he was born.

There was a minute when I was afraid that my friendship with Lucy wouldn't survive her becoming a parent. I had no reasoning for the fear. Change just scared me.

Had I known that it would be like this:

That we would be better friends (much better friends, at that) 11 months after Baby A was born.
That I would see her as much, if not more.
That I would love her son so fiercely.
That she and Chet and the baby would become part of my extended family.

Had I known, I would have encouraged her to start reproducing years ago.

I have dozens of reasons for wanting to have a baby of my own one day. But one of the reasons is so that Lucy can see her best friend become a mother, too. It's been such a pleasure, these last 11 months. I am a very lucky auntie. With some pretty sweet dance moves.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Productivity explosion

One of the aspects of my job that I struggle with is the nature of my responsibilities. Unlike my last job, where my work would build up to a big event - that I could clearly measure my success on - several times a year, in this job my work is very methodical. The pace is very consistent. There isn't that big reveal that is waiting just around the corner, poised to show how good (or not) you are at your job.

It hasn't been an easy transition. Because I lack the showcase events, I feel less productive than I really am. I don't often have blockbuster days. The kind of days that are so productive that you want to do a song and dance about your mastery of your responsibilities.

Today, though, today was one of those days. Those very, very rare days here in libraryland.

It. Felt. Awesome.

I knocked every task I touched right of the park. My to-do list was cowering at the sight of me. There wasn't anything that I couldn't finish quickly, effectively, brilliantly.

I needed today.

It's been months since I felt truly awesome at my job.

Just for fun, I packed up the productivity and brought it home. Frames that I have been meaning to hang for the last year? Hung. Ceiling fan in dire need of a dusting? Dusted. Clean sheets? Sure. 6 mile run? Of course.

I'm rewarding myself by not setting my alarm to go off until 8 tomorrow morning.

And maybe with an extra shot of espresso in my usual Wednesday-morning-with-Lucy-and-Baby-A latte. Because I have a feeling that I'm going to need it.

Monday, November 26, 2012

I know the color of my parachute

Yesterday, when I went Christmas shopping with my mother, I could not help but notice all of the party dresses.

Christmastime at the mall is just ripe for party dress shopping, isn't it? So many dresses. So many sparkles. So many dresses that I would look absolutely adorable in.

What? I have a good body for dresses. (As long as I can have a seamstress sew in some boobage a really generously padded bra.) Dresses and coats. I basically look like a little boy in everything else.

Anyway. There were a plethora of gorgeous dresses and, you guys, I wanted them all. The short lace dresses. The long chiffon dresses. Long sleeved. Strapless. Vaguely trampy. Classic. Didn't matter. If it was a dress, I probably wanted it.

But the problem is that I am a librarian and I do not need an endless supply of party dresses. As a matter of fact, one may suggest that the number of party dresses that I currently own (it's a healthy number that I will keep to myself) is absurd considering how often I wear them. And, fine. Haters gonna hate.

I cannot stop thinking about all of the pretty dresses. I have been searching for a solution.

First potential solution: wear pretty party dresses to work. First potential problem: the creepers are already bad enough in my boring librarian clothes.

Second potential solution: become charming socialite/professional party date. Buy many dresses to wear to many parties. I can smile and nod and be blond and cute and wear all of the adorable dresses.

This may or may not mean that it's my goal in life to become a professional escort.

I'll worry about the details later.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Goalie for the last place team

Hockey is more or less the most annoying thing in my life at the moment.

No. That's not true. Emma and work are more annoying than hockey.

But hockey is right up there. Not my favorite activity at the moment. Far from it.

We didn't win a single game in November. Not one game. I think we won once in October.

Not that I play to win. I don't. I play because it's fun but fishing the puck out of the back of the net all the time isn't very fun. And neither is being in a locker room with a bunch of disappointed teammates because most of them do play to win.

It's just downer after downer after downer. I hate when I show up to games and my teammates are just assuming that we're going to lose. You can't do that. You can't go into a game thinking you're going to lose. Because you will. Every damn time.

Morale is not so great.

We're also missing Alexander something fierce. The rest of the team is missing the coaching. I'm just missing the entertainment of someone inappropriate to flirt with. (Not that my life isn't better and less complicated with him on the other side of the country. It is. Trust me.)

We have four months of this left. Four months of getting our asses kicked (unless my team decides to learn how to score some goals) on a regular basis.

It's a damn shame. I had so much fun playing last year. This year, going to the rink feels like a chore.

This is going to be a long season.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Dodging a Bullet

Meg's boyfriend, Drew, was supposed to move back to Michigan by the end of this year.

And then Drew was supposed to move back next spring.

And apparently, sometime this weekend, Drew told Meg that maybe he didn't want to move back after all.

I spent a lot of time looking at Meg and Drew as the couple that The Coach and I could have been. It was impossible not to compare: they got together just as The Coach left last summer. They jumped into a long distance relationship. The Coach and I did not.

It took me a long time to be okay with that. I am, now. I have been, for a while.

What's happening with Meg and Drew makes me think of The Coach and me; it makes me think that maybe it was always better off happening the way that it did. He runs off to chase his dreams. Cutting off ties in the process. No promises. No expectations.

Had we tried for a legitimate relationship, it would all be different now. I would be resentful of a very big, very awesome opportunity that is going to keep him in his job for at least another year. I would be in a constant state of distress. I would, quite frankly, be psychotic. Most likely, the relationship would be over.

I am not strong enough for a long distance relationship. And The Coach never liked me enough, anyway.

Sometimes I wish that it had turned out differently.

Despite knowing -- and I do...now, after hanging on far too long -- that it was for the best.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Just Mad

I sacrificed my entire day to being angry with Emma. And sad about Emma. And eating leftovers.

I expertly spaced out the leftovers throughout the day. I had a dish every 90 minutes. Stuffing followed by sweet potatoes followed by turkey followed by cranberries followed by mashed potatoes followed by pecan pie. I highly recommend this method.

The rest of the day, I tiptoes around the house and tried to be there for my mom in the least invasive way possible. I helped her with a few things, watched a few wedding shows on television, read and endlessly scrolled through Pinterest.

Endless scrolling through Pinterest is an excellent coping mechanism when you're feeling heartsick.

My cousin Anna (Emma's older sister) called at one point. Crying, scared, upset. She thinks Emma needs to be hospitalized. My mom thinks Emma needs to be hospitalized. I assume that it is just a matter of time. She is rapidly heading towards hitting rock bottom.

Nothing can ever be calm and normal and okay.

I just want quiet. Can't we ever have quiet?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Update to Question 6

I was full of questions in this post.

Here's one of the answers. To question #6. Devil Emma? Angel Emma?

She was awful.

Came over to make pies on Wednesday night. Lasted all of 8 minutes into actual pie making. The anxiety was pouring out of her. I want to make my pie right now. There's no room at the counter to make my pie. My pie crust isn't working. I don't want help with my pie. ALL YOU DO IS YELL AT ME.

Leave the room in a huff.

I don't exactly know what happened when my mom and my grandma went to talk to her. I know she said mean things. About how she'll never be me and Meg. Particularly venomous when reminding my mom that "you are not my mother."

Left.

My uncle called this morning. He and Emma wouldn't be at Thanksgiving dinner.

My mom cried.

She sent me a text message a few minutes later. "I wish that you and Meg could think about treating me better."

That hurt. All I have done -- all I have ever done -- is try to make Emma's life easier and better. All I have done is tried to include her. All I have done is regularly dropped my plans to spend time with her when she comes to visit. All I have done is tried to make her feel loved.

And she thinks that I treat her poorly.

It hurt.

I know that the reason that she says that is because she isn't taking her medications.
I know that the reason that she was to mean so my mom is because she isn't taking her medications.

But I'm human, too. I'm not a robot. I can't deal with Emma in an emotionless vacuum. My head knows that I shouldn't take offense. But it still hurts.

Her behavior ruined the holiday. My mom is so, so sad and hurt. My grandma, too.

I hate her.

I don't know what to do.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

You should have Pie Night, too

If you are looking for a new tradition for the holidays, I would like to humbly suggest the addition of Pie Night to your Thanksgiving festivities.

It is my favorite night of the year.

It could be your favorite night of the year, too. It should be your favorite night of the year. That's why I have created you this step-by-step guide to hosting your own Pie Night. Try it in 2013, okay?

First: start with your favorite group of people. Our Pie Night group is all females, mostly family, but Pie Night is not limited to one gender or only to relatives.

Second: invite Pie Night attendees via group email or Facebook event. Make the invite clever, fun and awesome. Include a promise of alcohol. Throw in a few embarrassing pictures. (This step is optional but highly recommended, allowing you to spend several days before Pie Night hyping up Pie Night via the interwebs.) 

Third: craft a menu. You can't have a proper Pie Night without adequate sustenance. In my family, we rely heavily on nachos and margaritas. Some years, we have made an enormous batch of crockpot macaroni and cheese. Pizza would be good. To make a good menu, pick something easy and pick something with melted cheese.

Fourth: have a vague idea of how many pies you're going to make. (If you're insane, follow my mom's formula.)

Fifth: Get the proper ingredients (plus some extra - somebody is going to screw up something) and start soliciting your friends and family for their pie pans. Don't use foil ones. Those are shit. Trust me.

Sixth: Everyone had work or school or something to do during the day. They are all going to show up at least 30 minutes late. Accept this.

Seventh: You're not going to get to making pies until at least a hour into your planned start time. Because you have to stuff your face and get your drink on before you can even think of starting on your pies. Accept this.

Eighth: Play good music. Dancing is non-negotiable on Pie Night.

Ninth: Let the people who are good at making pie crust make the pie crust. Pie crust is hard.

Tenth: Stagger your pie making so that you get the maximum number of pies in the oven at once but don't have raw pies sitting on the counter getting soggy.

Eleventh: Be sure that all Pie Night attendees who won't be joining you on Thanksgiving are sent home with a pie or three to share with their own families. Check in later to assure that, yes, their families were significantly impressed by the quality of their pies.

Twelfth: Try (keyword: try) to get to bed at a reasonable hour. You have a 10k to run early the next morning, remember?

Okay. Maybe not a 10k. You're not that crazy? Fine. But pie making is exhausting enough and you'll totally need the extra energy for digesting on Thanksgiving.

Thirteenth: Chances are, you went overboard on pie creation on Pie Night. Sacrifice one in the name of a taste test. Have a slice of pie for breakfast. It makes for a really good start to a really great holiday.    

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I have questions

1. Does anyone have a flat iron recommendation? I am in the market for a new one. I don't know where to start. I just want one that makes my hair straight and doesn't fry it. And maybe is a fun color because I am 14.

2. Read anything good lately?

3. Pumpkin pie? Pecan pie? Apple pie? Other?

4. Who has a good idea on how I can trick myself into drinking more water? I was so good for a year or so, but I have fallen off of the wagon and spend my days as a wrinkled, dehydrated prune.

5. Is anyone else running a race on Thanksgiving morning?

6. Will Emma be on her best behavior this weekend or her worst?

7. Could it actually be possible that I am looking forward to the Christmas season?

8. What's the rule on losing a friend to a boyfriend? How much effort do you make? Because I just don't hear from Ashley these days. It makes me sad. It makes me angry. And I'm just not sure I want to be the one who is always exerting the energy to keep up our friendship.

9. What are your Thanksgiving plans? Friends? Family? All of the above? Regular Thursday because you aren't American?

Monday, November 19, 2012

So, that's over

Turned down the job this morning.

Can’t believe that I did it, really.

I could have done a lot with the substantial increase in salary. Like go to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. I doubt that will be happening now. Disappointing.

I am going to trust that my gut was right on this one and I am going to move on. It was a good experience. Gives me a little confidence. Makes me realize that I’m ready for a new job but it has to be the right new job. Not just any new job. I didn’t know that I could be picky. Seriously. I haven’t had the opportunity.

So, now I’m picky.

And officially ready for a new job.

And moving on from the interviewing trauma/drama of last week.

Maybe this is the start of something.  

(Something other than the start of regret that I didn't take the job. Because that is just not allowed.)  

(If I start moaning about not taking that job, you guys, please punch me.)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pumpkin Magic

I didn't know quite what to do with myself on Friday afternoon. Scary job offer. Scary free time.

I made pumpkin bread.

My favorite pumpkin bread recipe. Which is easy and also great.


I would eat two loafs of pumpkin bread no problem, so I brought them to work. Since it's all the way in the lunch room, it keeps me to, like, 7 pieces a day.

Here's the recipe if you also need pumpkin bread in your life.

Also here is my handwriting if you need to analyze it for any reason.


Bake at 350. Muffins take 20-25 minutes. If you're putting it in a loaf pan, it's more like 70-75 minutes.

I should warn you (if the 5 cups of flour didn't already): it makes a ton. Two loafs. 90zillion muffins. Once I made mini muffins. Biggest mistake.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

90%

I spilled my guts to my coworker B today. It's one of the smartest decisions I have made lately.

He saw red flags where I see red flags.

And he said to me one of the nicest things that has ever been said to me.

"You can do better."

It hadn't occurred to me that I could do better. In turning down this opportunity, I assumed that I was settling for worse. Or maybe, if I am really fortunate, I would find an equivalent opportunity in an environment where I was more comfortable.

But not better. I never once thought that I could wait for something better.

To hear B say that meant a lot.

Right now, I am 90% sure that I will be turning this job down on Monday morning. I want it to be different. I want a better gut feeling. I want information -- reasonable, standard information -- so that I can make a good decision. And I don't want to beg for it and I don't want it to seem like it is odd that I would like to know how much time I would get for vacation and how much I would be paying out of pocket for healthcare.

I can't leave for an unknown. And I don't think I can work for someone who doesn't understand that.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Changes, Anxiety

I interviewed for a new job this week. Today, I received an offer.

It's really exciting and it's really scary. I'm having a hard time with it, truthfully. I want to be so sure and so ready, but this is different from when I last switched jobs. I'm leaving a known for a unknown not because the unknown is what I went to school for but because...because...

I don't know.

I guess that's why this is hard.

There's nothing wrong with the job that I have now. I know that I like it enough. I know that I can do it. Maybe I'm a little bit bored, but I know my boss and my coworkers and I know what to expect.

At this new job, I just feel like it's all such a huge unknown. What my coworkers will be like. If I will get along with my supervisor. I can't even get a good comparison of my current benefits to my potential benefits because their union contact (as I am now, I would be part of a union) is up and they're in the midst of renegotiating.

I know this: I would be making almost 30% more. I would have to work 5 of every 6 Saturdays. I would be in a supervisory position, which would is experience that I'm currently lacking -- at least in the 'brary word. I would double my commute to work. I would get a lot more experience working with kids and teens, which is another area where my résumé is lacking. And sometimes -- and I'm so stuck on this -- I would be the only staff member in the building. A public building. And I can't shake off the bad feeling about this. 

For every good, there's a bad. Or at least an unknown.

I am literally crying about this because I seriously don't know what to do. It all looks good on the service but I have this bad feeling that I can't shake. I can't figure out if I'm just scared or if this is a gut feeling that I should listen to.

This is the absolute most awful feeling. Honestly. The worst. I wanted this to feel better. I wanted this to be easier. I wanted to be sure. And I'm so far from sure.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

8 years

Today marks the anniversary of the cold, rainy, miserable November afternoon when I balanced my (enormous) laptop on my knees and decided that – lost, confused, living at home, restlessly burning my first year out of college as an intern – I should become a blogger.

And now I have been blogging for 8 years.

How could I have known? How could I have known that, 8 years later – age: 30! – I would be still blogging?

I didn’t.

And, if I had, I probably would have never started.

8 years? That’s a big commitment.

I never would have guessed that I could do anything 2395 times. Let alone write 2395 blog posts.

Maybe it just goes to show you that, when you’re truly enjoying yourself, you’re not keeping track. You’re not counting. You’re just doing it because it’s what you love and once every year, November 15 comes along and you have to calculate how many years it has been.

I am so lucky to have fallen into blogging. I am so lucky to have the blogging friends that I do. I am so lucky to have the time and the means to chronicle my life for the last 8 years. I am so lucky to have 8 years – 2395 posts – of writing to remember who I was and how I felt and what was important.

Maybe I'll blog for 8 more years. Maybe I'll stop after 8 more posts.

Whatever it is, however this ends: I have been very lucky. I am very grateful.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My kind of workday

Ideally, my three-day weekend would have stretched into a five-day weekend. I would have been perfectly happy with not working yesterday or today.

Okay, and also the rest of my life. If I could be independently wealthy and find ample satisfaction in charitable work while simultaneously dabbling in the life of a professional student.

None of these scenarios panned out, however.

So, I will take what I can get. And what I can get, today, is a lazy morning at home. I rescheduled a coffee date with Lucy so that I could stay in my pajamas for an extra few hours and watch the USA/Russia soccer match. The American team was largely awful. I didn’t care. I got to watch live international soccer from my couch on a random Wednesday morning. All US Soccer matches should be played in the southwest corner of Russia.

What I also got was an afternoon at my desk, balancing doing actual work with the Netherlands/Germany game that happened to be playing on the Watch ESPN app on my iPad. I listened – I am not such a horrible employee as to sit there and watch – but having it on made my day so much more pleasant.


It’s the little things.

And those little things have been on my mind this week (for reasons that I will explain later). Maybe this just makes me the worst slacker and a terrible employee but being able to have soccer playing on my iPad, having the ability to send a few text messages or skim through Facebook or return an email (or 20): it keeps me sane. I don’t know if I could do a job where I was completely locked down and couldn’t waste time -- and not waste time; I get my work done -- as I see fit. After benefits and salary, that would be a serious consideration in taking a new job.

Which probably doesn’t say much about my work ethic.

But it does keep my blog updated regularly.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Liz and Fluff Show: cancelled

Over the weekend, Liz and Fluff officially broke up.

I am sad for Liz because these things are sad. I am happy for Liz because I genuinely believe that she is dodging a bullet.

I am concerned for Liz because she doesn’t do single very well. On Friday night, she said to me “I need a hobby.” I wholeheartedly agree. Read a book, girl. Get started on that MBA. Learn to knit. Take the dog to obedience school. Do something.

Do anything.

But do something.

Before this breakup came along, I thought that Liz had more close friends than she actually does. Denise – who she considers to be her best friend – has been absent throughout this breakup. (What’s complicated, you see, is that Fluff’s best friend is Denise’s husband.) Liz’s other best friend lives in California.

She clearly needs some people in her corner. I have tried to be as supportive as possible – we’ve spent more time sitting together on the couch (talking, watching reality television) in the last two weeks than we did in the last 9 months – but I still have my life. I still have my soccer games. I still have plans to go shopping with my mom. And, honestly? From the time that Liz and Fluff got together, she didn’t have time for me. I’m sorry, but, I can’t just turn that quickly. I’m not saying that to be mean. I’m not mad at her. It’s just the truth.

I’m just finding it harder to throw myself into our friendship (we’re cousins, of course, but we’re certainly also very good friends) knowing that this will happen again. We might see movies and go to dinner and make trips to Target together now. But that will end when she gets a new boyfriend.

It didn’t hurt me, when I (along with her other friends) was put on the back burner when Fluff came into the picture. I understood then. I understand now.

But it does make me hesitant. Less willing to really invest the time.

Until she says things like “I googled ‘how to get over a breakup’ today.”

And then I’m making dinner plans for the weekend and flopping down by her on the couch, even though I’d rather be reading.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday awesome

My dentist appointment this morning? Awesome. A good report and the hygienist never asked if I have a boyfriend and I got the kind, gentle, soft spoken dentist for my exam instead of the nagging one with the shrill voice.
My super-secret mission with Lucy? Awesome. Kentucky Derby tickets went on sale today. We fired up out iPads and our laptops and we bought ourselves a hell of a pair of tickets. This excursion suddenly became very, very real.

My lunch with Lucy and Baby A? Awesome. Really great server, fantastic food. Baby A was so sweet. And hungry. Some scone. A little butternut squash soup. A bit of chicken and dumplings. And a taste of crème brûlée. That kid sure can eat.

My trip to the grocery store? Awesome. As awesome as trips to the grocery store go. Meaning I didn't forget anything. That I know of. Yet.

My first run since last weekend's race? Awesome. Four miles, easy breezy.

My head going into tomorrow: the start of my week and possibly the start of something else? Awesome. I feel good. I feel grounded. I feel happy and rested and confident.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

More like this, please

Such a delightful, simple weekend.

Completely lacking in That One Big Event (a race, a soccer tournament, a party) that exhausts me. Sure, we went to the bar on Friday night but I had low expectations. Sure, my cousin Emma was in town but she surprised all of us and was moderately pleasant to be around. Sure, I had two hockey games today but they were spread out and I play goalie so I totally don't sweat and mostly I just have fun and enjoy breathing in the smell of ice arena.

That's one of my favorite smells, by the way. Ice arena. If you don't know what it smells like, you're missing out.

On Saturday night, I convinced Lucy and Chet to go out without the baby. I had plans to spend my night watching The Coach's team's game and I could certainly do that on their couch as easily as I could do it on my own. They saw a movie and had a taste of life that doesn't include lugging around a 25 pound baby; I watched The Coach's team win and sneaked into the baby's room on a regular basis to make sure he was breathing.

Or just to admire how bloody cute he is.

Goodness, I love that kid. I always knew that I would love Lucy and Chet's children, but I had no idea. No idea I could love Baby A as much as I do.

Today was a good day -- even though my hockey team is absolutely brutal (we lost both games) -- an especially good Sunday because it isn't followed by a Monday.

Well, of course it is followed by a Monday. Just not by a MONDAY. I have tomorrow off for Veteran's Day. And I am delighted.

All weekends should be three-day weekends. And many should be just like this one. I like having That One Big Event. But feeling rested is pretty damn awesome, too.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Paybacks

I don't know if I even wrote about it at the time but, almost two years ago, Lucy and I went to a dive bar with her cousin Laurie and a few of her friends to see their other cousin's band.

Not intending it to be a wild night at all, Lucy and I ended up totally trashed. Chet had to pick us up from Laurie's house.

And, on the drive home from the bar, I puked in Laurie's car. Laurie's friend puked at the same time. Lucy was sandwiched between us.

Not my proudest moment. It was seriously only the second time in my life that I have consumed alcohol to the point of vomiting. And I hope that it is the last. That was humiliating.

But funny. It's funny. Now. Sort of.

Okay, I cringe every time that it's mentioned.

So, anyway, last night Lucy and Laurie's cousin was back in town with his band. They were playing at the same bar. Chet stayed home with the baby and we ventured out to the scene of the crime.

I had a couple of (strong) shots as soon as we arrived. I rejected a few dudes at the bar. I was gently molested by the lead singer. And I failed to notice that Laurie's friends were getting really, really drunk.

(Seriously, I think it's the bar. Something in the air there. Or in the drinks. Such as roofies.)

We hung around for a while after the show was over. Laurie gave us the 10 minute warning 10 minutes too late. As soon as her friend -- while making out with a random dude at the bar -- fell over, we made a quick exit.

This time, I took the middle seat. I also took the empty plastic cup that Lucy and I smuggled out of the bar. (It was a very useful tool in mess control.)

I've telegraphed where this is going, right? We're halfway home, the friend is puking and I am the nurse to the drunken.

And I am awesome at it. Awesome in ways that I won't detail because I have clearly gone into enough detail about vomit in this post.

It was obviously all disgusting. And I am too old for these shenanigans.

But I consider the night a success. It was a night of karmic payback. We are even. It's over. Cancelled out. Basically didn't happen.

I'll never again be so happy to be stuck in the back seat of a car with a puking drunk girl.

And, hopefully, the next time I need to put an embarrassing incident behind me doing so doesn't require vomit exposure therapy.

Friday, November 09, 2012

I ran for chocolate

While we were in Chicago last weekend, Meg and I ran the Hot Chocolate 15k.


It was just good luck that I happened to find a run that was in town the same weekend that we were. Plus. The chocolate theme? C’mon.

Meg and I are pretty willing to try out any run once. Especially if it’s convenient. Being just a couple of weekends after our half marathon, we were trained up for a 15k. And running in Chicago – instead of Detroit or Ann Arbor – would be a nice change from the norm.

We haven’t had a ton of luck with most of the popular, gimmicky race series: they’re generally overpriced and far less awesome than we anticipate that they will be. (See: Warrior Dash, Color Run.) But still we sign up. Once.

On Friday, I saw tons of complaints on the race’s Facebook page about the wait to pick up race packets. Two hours in line. Yikes. Thankfully, it was sorted out by Saturday. It took us a half-hour to pick up our packets, which we did on our way to Aunt Louise’s house.

The goody bag was decent. It was nice to get a hoodie instead of yet another t-shirt or tech shirt. And it came in a cute pink drawstring bag. I like things that are cute and pink.



We stayed in a hotel just a couple of blocks from the race start. The time changed in our favor, so it didn’t seem all that early that we rolled out of bed and into our race clothes.

There were tons of runners. Tons. 40,000, I think. It must have been the biggest race I’ve ever run. We were in one of the first corrals – E, I think – but we still didn’t start until well after 7:00. (They spaced the corrals out at 3.5 minutes, which seemed lengthy.)

The race itself was good. I finished exactly when I expected to finish.

It’s been a while since I’ve run in a race that I haven’t participated in before. I forgot about that unknown factor. Not knowing where the hills are or how far you’ve gone. That gets in your head. Truthfully, the 9.3 miles seemed longer than the 13.2 that I ran a few weeks before.

Brace yourself for the best part of the race. This is what the post-race party consisted of and it was delicious:


Okay, so if I’m going to participate in a gimmicky, for-profit race, the gimmicks can start and stop at chocolate fondue. It was delicious. I didn’t get muddy and I wasn’t choking on colored cornstarch.

We stopped for a self-portrait at Cloud Gate (you know, the bean) before heading back to the hotel.

The weekend was a little high on family drama. Emma was awful and her awfulness permeated every second of family time. The race pretty much saved the weekend. And the chocolate.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Ho Ho Help

I’m starting my Christmas anxiety early this year.

My anxiety started on October 25 – at the mention of the two-months-until-the-big-day mark on the radio. It was at that moment that I realized that I don’t know what I’m going to buy Meg. That I don’t have any ideas for my mom. And that this clearly means that I will not have good presents for them and Christmas will be a disaster and everyone will cry.

I know that this isn’t logical or normal but, seriously, I have thought about Christmas presents every single day since October 25.

I just really, really like giving The Perfect Present.

It bothers me to give anything less. Even if it’s a really, really good gift that is just short of perfect.

I clearly manufacture a great deal of my own stress.

But I would like to minimize the holiday stress for others.

More specifically, my mother. (Who generally hosts Christmas brunch with my dad's family and, a few hours later, Christmas dinner with her family. It is insanity.)

Liz and I were talking about our family Christmas just this morning. About how it is so hectic and exhausting and, yes, it’s wonderful and it's our tradition but maybe it is too much. Maybe it’s time to scale down the Christmas celebration into something a little bit more manageable. Where our aunts and uncles aren’t buying us “kids” gifts (minus our two youngest cousins, we range in age from 25-34) (yes, it is ridiculous and it has been for quite some time) and maybe we just focus on spending time together and eating a ton of really good food, instead.

It might take a bit of convincing. The big, extravagant Christmas is a product of our grandmother. She loved it. And, while we’ve scaled it back in the past, we have always gone back to Christmas like Grandma would have wanted Christmas. Big. Huge. Wrapping paper tossed everywhere. Two days of pure, exhausting insanity.

It’s awesome. In a lot of ways, it’s really awesome. But it’s too much.

If you celebrate Christmas, I would be interested in hearing how your family does it. I think we’re in the market for a new tradition or two.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The Biggest Nerd

Okay, so yesterday was my attempt at an unbiased series of dorky photos. Like, look at me, I smile at this Romney bumper sticker. Oh, but also look at me frowning at this Romney bumper sticker. HOW EVER WILL I VOTE?

Except maybe that wasn't clear and I promise to spend the next four years perfecting my mean/angry/scowl face. I won't screw it up in 2016.

I don't know why I bothered with the neutrality. I suspect that anyone who has read more than three or four posts here can guess how I voted.

Which is cool.

I'm not trying to force my political beliefs on anyone else. But I’m proud of what I believe in, too. And I totally write about way, way more intimate and embarrassing details of my life on a regular basis. So, here’s the thing: I voted for Obama.

And now I will share humiliating election night photos to illustrate, in detail, my extreme nerd behavior and the extreme nerd behavior of my very best friend.

Lucy hadn't put away her face paint from Halloween, which is how we both ended up with a big blue O on our cheeks.


I bought us special election night cupcakes from the local bakery. Lucy and I generally don't even care for their cupcakes, but I couldn't resist. They ended up being excellent props. And maybe the alcohol helped dull our taste buds or something because, when we got around to eating them, they actually tasted pretty good.


On the subject of food: Chet picked up sushi. Probably enough sushi for 6 adults. We are disgusting and we ate it all.


Lucy made tiramisu. We each had a healthy serving.

In addition to the championship levels of food consumption, we were playing an election return drinking game, because we're classy ladies. We drank at the mention of Ohio (as well as a few others: enthusiasm, ground game, youth vote, voter ID, etc.). We drank a lot. We pre-mixed a pitcher of shots that ended up being sort of a strong margarita. No straight liquor, thankyouverymuch. Okay, one straight shot.


Our shot choice kept us from getting bombed. Unfortunately, it didn't keep us from dancing in the living room at multiple points in the evening. (Chet was horrified.)

But the shots were quite sweet.

And the sweet to salty ratio was just way, way off. Which resulted in us eating pickles. Pickles that Chet salted. And chips.

Before doing more shots.

And, finally -- when the election was called -- cupcakes.



There's really nothing that I can write here that will convince any of you to retain the smallest belief that I am anything but the biggest nerd.

The biggest nerd who will eat anything in any combination. 

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Happy Election Day!

Voting is an awesome privilege.

If you are eligible to vote, I hope that you do. I hope that you do your research (pro tip: your local public library is a great place to go for information on local, state and national elections -- even today!) and I hope that you use that information to vote for the candidates and for the propsals that you believe in.

And I hope that you always do. Every election. They all matter. Not just once every four years.




And I also hope that you have an election return party with your terribly fantastic best friend, too.

There's no really no better reason to drink and gorge yourself on takeout and wear your grubbiest yoga pants than in celebration of the end of election season.  

Monday, November 05, 2012

Nerdfest 2012: the Election Return Edition

One of the very first things Lucy and I bonded over – other than our mutual love for one Mr. David J. Matthews – was politics.

Our political views were – and are – very similar. I suppose that isn’t entirely shocking. We grew up in the same upper middle class community, both to a mother who worked in public education and a father who worked in the automotive industry, we idolized the same government teacher, we have achieved the same level of education.

And we’re both huge nerds.

Therefore, it is only appropriate that, we spend tomorrow night camped out in her living room. Acting like the huge nerds that we are.

Carryout sushi. Tequila. An election night drinking game. Yoga pants are our uniform. Chet is going to tease us mercilessly. There may or may not be election-themed desserts from the local cupcake bakery. I’m bringing pajamas and Lucy’s making up the bed in the guest room. I’m in charge of buying coffee and breakfast on Wednesday morning.

Tequila and democracy!

Regardless of who is elected, this might get ugly.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

When? What? Why?

Detroit to Chicago means Eastern Standard Time to Central Standard Time.

November 4 marks the end of daylight saving time.

A 7:00 am 15k in Chicago means a 5:45 am alarm that feels like a 7:45 am alarm.

A 6:30 pm hockey game in Detroit means a 12:30 pm departure from Chicago.

Driving far more than my fair share home means a little bit too much coffee.

A day that consists of one legitimate meal (a sandwich and salad at the birthday party), chocolate fondue and hot chocolate (at the run), half of a bagel with cream cheese (in the hotel lobby after the run) cheese popcorn (from a gas station) and 6 saltines smeared in peanut butter (on the way to hockey) means a stomach ache.

The sum of the many parts of this weekend means I am exhausted, unable to identify what city I am in and have absolutely no idea what time it is. I'm not sure I could tell you my name.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Koala Bear

Road trip Saturday! I'm off to Chicago with Mom and Meg -- a quick trip for a first birthday party and a 15k race.

Conveniently, the first birthday party (for my cousin Mara's daughter) means that there is a substantial number of family members in town which means that we can't stay at Aunt Louise's house. Freedom!

I love Aunt Louise and Uncle Ed. They are just ...intense. Incredibly intense.

The freedom of a hotel stay, however, also comes with a steep price: somebody is going to have to share a bed with my mom.

The koala bear.

Meg and I coined the nickname after some trip in which one of us was forced to share a bed with her and it resulted in near-smothering and a running joke.

Which my mother does not think is funny.

Because she is obviously a cuddler. No matter who is in the bed with her.

Mom is called the koala bear in these situations because she grabs on to you like she's a koala bear and you're the tree. There's no avoiding it, really. One second you're sleeping and the next you're being held in a (koala) bear hug.

It isn't the most awesome.


And obviously my mother is offended if (when) we insinuate that we would rather she sleep alone.

I guess maybe if you got married at 19, you wouldn't ever want to sleep by yourself?

Not that her age at marriage explains her koala bear nature. It does not. I do not know the origins. I do not want to know the origins. I just channel all of my energy into hoping and wishing and praying that Meg takes one for the team.

Meg totally isn't going to take one for the team. We're going to have to arm wrestle or flip a coin or draw straws.

Ugh.

I hope I don't lose.

I hope that I don't draw the short straw.

Or should I say the short bamboo stalk?

Friday, November 02, 2012

The Liz and Fluff Show: on hiatus

Liz and her boyfriend – you’ll remember him by his nickname, Fluff – broke up earlier this week.

I guess, technically, they didn’t break up. They’re on a break. Whenever Liz mentions that they’re on a break, she follows it up with “whatever the fuck that means.”

It was his idea.

He’s an idiot.

With Liz, he had it made. Liz makes really, really good money. Liz owns her own house. Liz is funny and smart and beautiful and awesome. Fluff lived with his parents until 6 months ago. Fluff’s mom balances his checkbook. Seriously. Fluff has a couple of associate degrees and no career direction. He is a good person – I do honestly believe that – but he is an idiot.

He won’t get a girl better than Liz.

I hate watching Liz go through this.

I hate watching Liz go through this because I hate when the people who I love are hurting.

But I hate watching this even more because I know what comes after this. I know the Liz who comes out when she isn’t in a relationship. The Liz who spends an entire afternoon on the couch. The Liz who doesn’t go to the gym. The Liz who goes to bed every night at 9:30 pm. Liz doesn’t try when there isn’t anyone to try for.

And when there is, she’s a completely different person.

When Liz and Fluff started dating in February, it was a huge adjustment for me. I was used to joining Liz on the couch for a few minutes every night. (Never for long. I can’t quite stand her choice in reality television, I’m sorry to say.) I was used to catching up with her when I got back from a soccer game or from dinner at Lucy’s house. I was used to inviting her along for a shopping trip or to a movie – mostly just to get her out of the house. She seemed lonely.

When Fluff came into the picture, we completely stopped hanging out. Immediately. Other than having dinner to celebrate my birthday last month, I cannot recall doing one thing together since they started dating.

I understood. It was new. She fell hard. They were inseparable almost immediately.

She’s much happier when she’s in a relationship. I want to see her happy, obviously. But it was impossible to notice that that happiness didn’t include me. I wasn’t upset. I was never upset. But I noticed. Living in that house amidst a relationship was not the most fun. Certainly tolerable. A little weird for me, yes. Worth it to see Liz happy.

If this break (whatever the fuck that means) turns permanent, my life gets a little easier. Less awkward to be in the house, anyway. Less feeling like I shouldn’t be there. Less feeling like my time living there is limited.

Easier but not better.

I don’t like seeing Liz sad. I don’t like not being able to fix it.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

November, be gentle

November.

November!

Already November.

November makes me nervous. I turned my calendar when I got to work this morning. I turned it with a bit of dread. In recent years, November has not been kind to me. Aunt Marie died in November. As did my friend Darren. My mom and dad's marriage was on the rocks in a November. I wrecked my car. I navigated through countless little inconveniences and heartaches that wouldn't have hurt so badly had they not come in November. November is hard. November is tears and a sad, heavy heart.

Perhaps this November could be different. 2012 could be the year to break the streak.

I am not asking for a perfect month. Perhaps just an uneventful one.

A trip to Chicago that is low on family drama. Pie Night with my cousins. Hockey games that aren't too good and aren't too bad. Thanksgiving with people I love. Consistency. Reliability. Bravery. Wednesday morning coffee dates with Lucy and Baby A. One decent book, minimum. Pumpkin bread.

Flipping my calendar to December without feeling as though I have been through battle. 
 
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