Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I Hate Facebook

I just would like to take a moment to announce that I hate Facebook.

Okay, so obviously I'm not the only one who hates Facebook. I am not unique. Who doesn't hate Facebook, actually? Does such a species exist?

I hate Facebook for many reasons.

I hate Facebook because I am never more than an hour or two removed from the shackles of the newsfeed and, Facebook, don't we need a little space?

I hate Facebook because I get the shakes whenever I am more than an hour or two removed from the previously mentioned newsfeed. I am missing so many pictures of babies and rants about traffic!

I hate Facebook because it appeals to all of my lowest personality traits and habits. Stalking and obsessing, clearly. And it's so easy.

I hate Facebook because: unflattering pictures. I am vain.

I hate Facebook because it connects me with people who I no longer want to be connected to (see: Bridezilla, the not-even-my-friend girl whose wedding I was in a few years ago) except that I don't want to be not-connected to them via Facebook. If that makes any sense.

I hate Facebook because it makes it way, way, way too easy to compare my life with everyone else's life.

I hate Facebook because I can't use it like a normal person who updates her status and posts an article or two on occasion and updates their profile picture more than once every two years: I just post pictures and they're really only pictures of fun things (the Derby or cute babies or heavy drinking while baking) (who takes pictures of not fun things?) (I guess a lot of people post pictures of their car after an accident or their shoe after their dog destroyed it.) and so probably people think that my life is way better than it really is, too, and therefore I'm just as misleading as every high school classmate out there.

I hate Facebook because my friend Ashley who used to be a good friend and who moved away and got a boyfriend and doesn't call anymore (which makes me sad) updated her profile picture to one of her and the boyfriend who I hardly know a thing about and it just reminded me that she used to be one of my best friends and she isn't anymore and that made me more sad than it does regularly.

I hate Facebook because I care enough about Facebook and I think enough about Facebook to hate it.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I'm boring myself

If I've learned anything from the past eight years of blogging, it is that I either have everything to blog about or nothing to blog about and, you guys, we are currently thick in the sludge of nothing to blog about.

I can't be the only one who is bored.

Is it arrogant to proclaim that it will get better? Even if I'm quite sure that it will?

Blogging just gets like this sometimes. Painfully boring but then I try to muddle through it (and not lose all of my readers in the process) and then life will pick up again and I won't have to tell you about my methods for matching up socks after I've washed them because I'm too busy writing about the boy who I have my eye on and the drunken debacle that was my weekend.

Let's hope that's how this turns out. It's is the way it has gone every other time my life has fallen into a horrible monotonous rut over the last eight years. I hope I haven't drained the fun well. (I am 30, after all. Maybe this is just how reality looks this side of 30.) Because life right now? It's not bad. It's mostly good. Just quiet.

Things will pick up eventually. I have faith that my life, and therefore your blog reading, will get more interesting.*

And if nothing else, Lucy is popping out a kid in another month or so. I'll definitely have that new little dude as my muse for emotional, flowery poetry about the smell of a infant and my own barren uterus.

If that isn't something to look forward to, I don't know what is.

So Midwestern, summer 2013: prominently featuring sonnets about my womb.

Hurry back!



*The Coach is home, so there's that.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Next!

I'm doing it again.

Wishing by days. Wishing by whole weeks. Wishing by entire weekends that aren't going quite my way.

Instead of appreciating every perfect moment, I judge the days and the weeks and the weekends by the whole. I'm not deliriously happy? Let's just skip ahead. Everything isn't going my way? Pass.

There is optimism in my thinking. I will give myself that. There isn't any logic in wishing away the present if you don't believe that the future will be better.

I always believe that it will be better.

But it will never just be better. My boss may be more palateable in a week, but maybe my back will hurt. My back will heal in a few days, but my heart might be broken. My broken heart will heal eventually, but work might get annoying just as my tears dry up.

All or nothing isn't a thing.

Life isn't all. It will never be all.

And you can't wish it away.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Holiday Weekend: Google Image Search Style

Anybody have big plans for the holiday weekend?

I do not. I have plans. I have lots of little plans but nothing terribly remarkable. No travel. Nothing that cannot change at a moment's notice. Nothing I absolutely have to do and nothing I cannot miss. Nothing that fills me with so much excitement and anticipation that I feel like I'm going to burst, unfortunately. But not every weekend can be Kentucky Derby weekend, I suppose.

And I have three days off work.

This will do.   


The watching of hockey.
It's playoff time here in Detroit. I'm planning on catching tonight's game on the treadmill. We'll watch some of Saturday's game at the bar. And, if there's a game on Monday, I wouldn't mind a couple of tickets and someone fun to to join me in supporting the hometown team at the Joe.


An hour of kickboxing.
Meg really wants cousin/roommate Liz and I to join her for a class at her kickboxing gym. I could pass on this activity but, whatever, it won't be that bad and it will also shut her up. 


A bit of shopping.
Meg also wants us to go shopping. I have fewer complaints about that. 


The watching of futbol.
The local team has a game on Saturday night; we'll catch their match before heading to the bar to partake in the watching of the hockey.


A yoga class with Grandma.
I'm feeling a little worked up a the moment. I could really use an hour on the mat.


Hat crafting with Lucy.
We've got a plan up our sleeves and it involves hot glue and ribbons.


Lots of reading.
I hope. I recently started this book and I would like to make a significant dent.


My cousin Max's birthday party.
Scheduled to be held at Aunt Annette's house on Monday afternoon. I might be a horrible big cousin, but I wouldn't mind missing this in order to make a trip downtown to watch hockey, as I previously mentioned. Preferably with a cute boy.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Back in the Saddle

While I am convinced that we won't be able to top our trip to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup, Meg and I are planning on going to Brazil next summer for the 2014 World Cup.

I am the travel agent in our partnership and, when it comes to planning our trip, I've really been dragging. Basically, I haven't done a thing and I haven't had the motivation to do so.

Until yesterday. I started poking around to find us accommodations and it's official: I'm back.

And ridiculously excited.

The World Cup aspect of the trip will be largely the same (buy tickets, watch soccer, feel happy) but there are other dynamics that are so different than South Africa. Like, the relative size of Brazil in relation to the size of South Africa. Among other things.

Such as the inclusion of at least one of Meg's friends.

You know how you plan something awesome and then everyone you know is is like "oh hell yes, I want to come with you to Brazil! Count me in!" until they have to make a committment and put down money? Well, Meg has invited everyone and their brother to join us in Brazil. She is certain that one friend will be coming with us. (Last week I gave her sisterly advice and told her that she needs to get money from whomever is supposedly joining us before I book a single thing for them.)  

I think that it will be fine but, I don't know, it just sort of changes things. With Meg: she's my sibling. I couldn't know more of what to expect when it comes to traveling with her and living in close quarters with her and putting up with her shit. With someone else: that changes. Like I said: I am sure that it will be fine (she seems more than willing to let me take the planning reigns and go with the flow) but I am also sure that it will be a little different.  

But different can be good. It will be good. It's Brazil. It's the World Cup. There will be more awesome than I know what to do with.

Yesterday was just the start of what will be 13 months of planning. Apologies in advance for being regularly annoying about this trip. It's just so fun. I'm just so excited. I FEEL SO ALIVE.

I really hope our hotel doesn't burn down this time.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Dads

My friend Maria's dad died unexpectedly this morning. Her mother-in-law passed away just a few months ago. I hate that she has had to deal with so much in such a short time. Maria has the biggest heart -- she just loves so much and cares so much and feels so much -- so I cannot even begin to imagine how broken it is today. I am so sad for her.

And, selfishly, I am scared, too.

My dad hasn't quite been the same since his big concussion last October. A couple of weeks ago, my mom finally dragged him back to his neurologist, who ordered a sleep study. There is really no question that my father has sleep apnea (which the sleep study confirmed) and the (unsurprising, when you think about it) research shows that the apnea interferes with the brain's ability to heal. Or something like that.

I am not a medical professional.

Not long after his appointment with a neurologist, he had a physical. His physician found that his heart is in atrial fibrillation, which meant a trip to the cardiologist, which means an appointment to have it shocked back into normal rhythm.

Unsettling, considering that his brother died of a heart attack in his 40s and his mother died of a heart attack in her 60s.

Unsettling, considering my dad thinks it is okay to say things like "it would be okay if I died." (And that my mom thinks that it's okay to tell me that he's said it.)

I was already feeling pretty tender about my dad and his health. The sad news about Maria's dad shook me up more.

Because it was already so easy to imagine that I was the one who got that awful phone call.

Nice that I'm making this all about me, isn't it?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

It's the little things

...that annoy me the most. Including:
  • Spam comments left on my blog. So many lately. What the hell? They don't all get through, but some do so I always check so I can delete and that's just irritating.
  • When my nail polish is chipped.
  • When I attempt to fix my chipped nail polish and just make the whole situation worse.
  • Using a brightly-colored soccer ball in a game. I am a traditionalist and, if you must own a hot pink ball, it should only be used in practice.
  • Being in a public place and overhearing someone drone on and on about a subject on which they are not knowledgeable (but think that they are) and I am.  
  • When girls play soccer wearing shorts that are too short. (Basically, shorts that aren't soccer shorts.)
  • Working on Saturdays when there are fun things I am missing. Today, it's watching the Preakness Stakes and meeting Meg's potential new dog and enjoying the sunshine.
  • Wanting to blog but feeling like I don't have anything interesting to blog about.
  • Blogging and feeling like what I just blogged was just a boring list of what I've been up to and not interesting to anyone but myself. And perhaps not even to myself.
  • Chicks at the gym who don't put their hair up. As long as their hair is long enough to put up, obviously.
  • When sports teams live-tweet an event. Can't you create a separate account for the play-by-play? Stop clogging up my timeline!
  • When the most recent text message in my inbox isn't from The Coach. I know.
  • Needless fussiness. If you don't have a damn good reason for being so particular, you're wasting my time and my energy.
  • Waking up before my alarm.
  • The sound of my alarm.
  • Alarm clocks in general.
  • Dealing with people who are worrying about inconsequential things. I'm talking to you, new-girl-on-my-soccer-team-who-is-worrying-about-her-jersey-number.
  • Wasting tickets of any kind. For a sporting event or for a concert, I hate wasting tickets. I don't care if I lose money, but it's such a shame for them to go to waste.
  • Not being able to find something I should be able to find. I usually have a pretty good handle on where my belongings are located; when I can't find something, I turn into a madwoman and must tear through everything until the issue is resolved or I just can't stop thinking about it.
  • My self-imposed one coffee per day limit. I WANT ALL OF THE COFFEE.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

End of an Era

David Beckham, my number 1 pretend boyfriend just retired from soccer.


AND I THOUGHT TUESDAY WAS BAD.

Seriously, though. I have such vivid memories of watching him play for England in the 1998 World Cup. I was in high school! I couldn't even drive! Our love affair has been long and passionate and has spanned half of my life.

I never even got to see him play in person! Oh, the regret!

Grand statement: I will never love another footballer the way I love David Beckham.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I am going to spend the rest of my day watching videos of Becks taking free kicks while quietly weeping into my cardigan.  

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Blue Sky, Better Outlook

While I truly believe that my head is in a better place than it has been in years and years, I don’t think that precludes me from having the occasional bad day.

Yesterday was a bad day.

I just felt off. The entire day, I felt off. Everything bored me and frustrated me and I was restless and annoyed. I spent half of my day wanting to cry and the other half of the day wanting to scream.

It was not my finest day.

It was also the first day in at least two weeks when I had no evening commitments. I wasn’t working. I wasn’t taking Grandma to yoga. I didn’t have soccer.

I had plans to go to the gym, which I felt guilty for scrubbing. I never do that but I needed to do it last night. I needed to watch too many episodes of Gossip Girl and wallow in my temporary misery and eat a lot of peanut butter and fall asleep by 10:00 pm.

Apparently I was a little exhausted. I slept until 8:00 am and could have continued snoozing had my alarm clock not rudely reminded me that it was time to tackle a new day.

I did what I could to make Wednesday better than Tuesday. By that I mean: I stopped for a coffee at Tim Horton’s and I painted my toenails bright red.

And, when I was running errands downtown, I stopped long enough to admire the vibrant blue sky.

A little pretty goes a long way.

Today is not great, but today is better.

I'll take it.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Rest of Mother's Day

While Grandma's words hurt, they did not ruin Mother's Day. I shook them off the best that I could and saved my tears for blogging and bedtime.

My sister, my cousins and I put on a lovely little party for our mothers.

We had the party at Meg's new house, which I will have to write more about later. It really is a darling little home in a really cute area. Meg closed on it just a few weeks ago; she's been busy moving in ever since. Mother's Day was the first opportunity for her to show it off to our family.   
We made grilled pizzas because it is easy and it is fun. Meg and I bought pizza dough and all of the necessary pizza toppings -- pepperoni and mozarella and sun-dried tomatoes and pesto and everything in between. We made a little station with the grilled pizza dough and all of the toppings and let everyone create their own masterpiece. We brought their pizzas back out to the grill while they filled up their plates with sides. Such an easy meal for a party, great for the summer and a nice switch up from the traditional grilled fare.  

Our cousin Paul was in charge of bringing an enormous salad. (Paul, age 26, in response to our group email discussing Mother's Day assignments: "Can I buy it from a pizza place or do I have to, like, craft this shit?") Danielle made appetizers. Liz, our bartender for the day, fixed up French martinis. And, for dessert, Meg and I made pies.

Pizzas and pies is a random combination.

Although, any meal that finishes with a caramel apple, German chocolate, strawberry rhubarb pie trio is bound to be a damn fine meal.

* * *

Mom and I celebrated an early Mother's Day on Friday, too. Lucy wanted us to join her and her mother for an early Mother's Day tea. Who can resist such an invitation?

We made reservations at the fun little tea room where we celebrated Lucy's 30th birthday last June. I don't know why I love the tea room so much, but I just think that sipping tea and nibbling on scones and tea sandwiches and pretending to be a fancy lady is such a fun way to spend a few hours.

It would be a really adorable venue for a wedding shower or a baby shower.

I would not mind, one day, being the guest of honor at such an event. Tea room or not.

* * *

On a related subject: I want to come clean on one little embarassing incident.

After my soccer game yesterday, I stopped at Tim Horton's for a bagel. I passed a woman and a few kids while walking inside. "Happy Mother's Day!" one of the kids shouted at me.

It nearly made me cry.

And not even because the kid thought that I looked old enough to be somebody's mother.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Hurt feelings

At our Mother's Day dinner tonight, my cousin Danielle (who has had such a hard time since being hospitalized at the height of her manic episode earlier this year) and my grandma had a long conversation.

From what I overheard, it was about a lot of things. But one of the things, Danielle told me later, was about me.

My grandma suggested that Danielle and I get together and talk about how it feels to be less successful than our siblings. Because that, as she told Danielle, is "something Alyson struggles with, too."

My feelings are so hurt.

That isn't something that I struggle with. It isn't something I dwell on. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about my successes in comparison to Meg's successes. I just don't. It isn't like Meg didn't work hard for everything she has. It isn't like being jealous of Meg will do a damn thing to propel me forward.

My feelings aren't hurt because my grandma assumed that was how I feel. My feelings are hurt because that is obviously how she sees us: successful Meg and her underachieving sister.

That's what hurts.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Snapshots

For no real reason.

Breathe!

I've been trying to give myself a break lately and, for the most part, it is working. I feel a lot better a lot more of the time. The last few days have been stressful. I am anxious and frustrated. And trying to remember to breathe. And trying to remember that everything is going to work out just as it should. And trying to remember that everything happens for a reason even if I don't know the reason. 

It's mostly working. A few months ago, I would be physically sick from all of this worrying. Now I'm just a little disappointed. It's manageable. 
 

Look at my creation!

The first task I tackled on my Friday off of work was three pie crusts. You guys, I do not have a great history with pie crusts and therefore I will never be anything less than remarkably pleased when I pull off a pie crust without tears and anger.  

Can't help myself.

I couldn't even keep myself from buying Lucy a little Mother's Day present. Especially after I found her the perfect card. At the Derby last weekend, we talked about how easily we could put away a little bit of gambling money on a regular basis, so I made her a silly little Derby Fund envelope out of a coupon organizer from the Target dollar bin and some fun glittery stickers. And then I found the horse dress in her (non-pregnant) size and that was just impossible to turn down so I didn't.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

A week of catching up

I would take a road trip with Lucy every weekend if I could but I can't and I suppose that isn't all bad: jumping back into real life on Monday morning was a struggle and here it is, Thursday, and I am still struggling.

A road trip followed by a busy week. This hurts, you guys.

On Monday, I couldn't get out of bed. Yet somehow managed a run and a trip to the grocery store before going to work. Minor miracle.

On Tuesday, I met my family for dinner. Emma graduated from college last weekend so we did the fancy dinner thing and that was lovely. Emma even brought a friend so that made her remarkably more tolerable than she would have been had she been surrounded by the family she loves to treat poorly and no outsider to be horrified by to her behavior.

I was also witness to the massacre of baby bunnies at the paws of Liz's dog. I am too traumatized to even write out the details of the whole bloodbath, which included the removal of the dead baby bunnies from the yard and a lot of internal angst. Now I can't even look at the dog. Who is a murderer.

Before work on Wednesday, I went to the funeral for a family friend. He's the oldest son in the family that my dad's family grew up with -- their kids are all the same ages at my aunts and uncles, my grandma and their grandma were best friends and high school classmates, we went to school with some of the grandkids. (How small town is that?!) Not technically family but about as close as you can get. So it was very sad. My dad and his siblings were all very, very upset. They just couldn't stop saying what a shame it was that our grandma was so alive, as she could have helped her friend get through the loss of her son just as she had helped Grandma when Uncle Rich died. And his daughter, who is Meg's age and whose mom died when she was just 4, is getting married this summer. She was so composed and handled it all so well and said "and now Mom will have a date to my wedding." It just broke my heart. Needless to say, my head wasn't in the game when I got to work.

Now it's Thursday and I was supposed to go to yoga with Grandma tonight but she cancelled on me. And I had been looking forward to that quiet hour of yoga! I guess I'll go for a run before attempting to finish up a ton of paperwork I need to complete for my summer soccer team and, if I'm lucky, remembering to fold the sheets that have been wrinkling in the drier since yesterday morning. Oh and also stress out about Mother's Day because THAT IS WHAT I DO.

Friday includes a pre-Mother's Day mother-daughter lunch date with my mom, Lucy and Lucy's mom. And a housewarming party at Meg's new digs. And more stressing about Mother's Day.

I have to work on Saturday. When I'm done, Meg and I are going to go on a grocery shopping extravaganza to get all of the necessary goodies for Mother's Day, which we're hosting at her house. There will also be the baking of a few pies and possibly the suggestion that she clean her house so that it is presentable for visitors.

Meg's definition of clean is different from my definition of clean.

Sunday brings with it two soccer games and the previously mentioned Mother's Day celebration and the secret drop of a little Mother's Day surprise for Lucy.

What it won't include is a nap, which is unfortunate.

Because I am already quite tired.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Kentucky 2013: part 3

A few random thoughts while it's all still fresh.

Being in Louisville so recently after the Cardinals beat my Wolverines for the NCAA Men's Basketball championship was slightly painful. I briefly considered buying Meg some Louisville swag but it was too raw I just couldn't do it.

Nor did I really have time. If we weren't at the hotel or at Churchill Downs, we were at dinner. That's all we had time for.

Speaking of dinner: oh, we ate well. We ate so well. Either I had great luck choosing restaurants or Louisville has a lot of great dining. On Thursday, we ate at Harvest. On Friday, our dinner was at Hillbilly Tea. We finished up the trifecta at Rye on Saturday night. Seriously delicious. All three.

Oh. And that apple fritter I mentioned in my Friday recap? It was from Nord's Bakery. The ass-kicking lattes we got on Friday morning were from Sunergos Coffee. It was such a good experience that we went back for a final round of lattes on our way home.

I did not have one mint julep during the entire Kentucky Derby weekend experience because I was an honorary member of Team Pregnant, abstaining in solidarity with Lucy, so I had no bourbon. I am definitely not a martyr; it was no big deal. Drinking is not something that I ever feel that I absolutely have to do in order to have a proper good time. Plus, skipping on the mint juleps gives me a really excellent reason to go back, drink all of the bourbon I missed out on this year, and determine if drunkenness makes me better or worse at betting on the ponies. 

Poor Lucy was feeling craptastic after dinner on Saturday night. She's been feeling nauseated a lot lately, so it wasn't a surprise. I did what any good friend would do and went to get hot water in which to steep her ginger tea. Then I ate the entire dessert we'd taken home from the restaurant because she insisted that she couldn't possibly have even a bite. That's what friends do: step up in your time of need.

The drive from Detroit to Louisville is relatively quick and painless. Lucy and I had absolutely no problem filling the six hour drive to Louisville with nonstop chatter; Lucy and I had absolutely no problem filling the six hour drive back to Detroit with nonstop chatter. But the ride home always seems longer, doesn't it? Lucy was anxious to see her boys. I was anxious to not be driving. 

All in all, it wasn't a horribly expensive weekend. That was a bonus. The tickets weren't cheap but they weren't the most outrageous tickets I've ever purchased. The biggest hit was on our hotel room. When I think about the rate in relation to the relative mediocrity of the hotel I cringe, but that's what happens at a big event.

The good and the bad is that it was an awesomely fun weekend. Wanting to be at the World Cup every four years is bad enough. Now I'm going to want to go to the Derby every year. This is why I can't have nice things.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Kentucky 2013: part 2

And then it was Derby Day.

We were up before our alarm clock again, excitedly getting ready for the day while keeping an eye on the weather report. It didn't look good. We moaned about our bad luck as our purses were repacked with extra layers and plastic bags and scarves and anything else we could think of that would possibly make the potential of sitting in the rain for eight straight hours a little less miserable. 

As soon as we arrived downstairs for breakfast, a man in his 70s told me how much he liked my hat and offered to buy it off of me.

That's how I knew it was going to be a great day.

After breakfast, we headed off to the Panera near our hotel. The food selection at Churchill Downs didn't do much for us on Friday, so we elected to bring in a boxed lunch for Saturday. Panera was close by and they were all set up to provide Derby-approved boxed lunches. It made things simple. 

From there, it was back to Churchill Downs.

Just out of the car: our last dry moments of the day!
 
It was drizzling when we arrived. By the time we got to our seats, it was fully raining. Which it would continue to do until 6:00 pm. It was a long day in the rain.

We kept with much the same routine as the day before: watching the races but walking around between, so we got out of the rain a great deal. But it wasn't awesome.

 Meh.

And after all of that obsessing over what I was going to wear to the Derby and I ended up spending half of the day with plastic over my outfit. Tragic.

By the afternoon, my hat was so wet that it started to bleed. I ended up with a very attractive blue stripe across my forehead.

 
Checking out the horses at the paddock.

We still managed to have a hell of a lot of fun. And win a little money, too!

In the Derby, I put in bets for everyone: my grandma, my mom, my dad, Meg, The Coach. Lucy put in bets for Chet, Baby A and the fetus. We each put our money on a horse and pooled our money for two.

Of all of those horses, we won money on two. The two horses that we shared: Orb and Revolution. We had decided on Revolution the week before; Lucy kept mulling over Orb until we finally decided to put our money on him. Good thing!  

When the Derby was over, we were ready to cash out and go home. Never have heated seats felt so luxurious as when we plopped our damp asses on the heated seats in my car. Never has a shower felt so warm. Never have I been so excited for a warm dinner.

Or for the dress I was wearing to my warm dinner.

 

What's that? A dress printed with little horses? YOU CANNOT TELL ME YOU DO NOT LOVE MY DRESS. I won't even believe you. I picked it up at Target on the cheap because I couldn't resist the kitchy goodness that was a dress with horses all over it at the Kentucky Derby.

I might be slightly (okay, really) too old for it. I might have bought Lucy the same dress yesterday. It might fall apart the first time I wash it. I might not even care. Because I'm still a little high on the events of Saturday. So much fun with my very favorite person.

I want to go every year.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Kentucky 2013: part 1

Oh my word, boys and girls. What fun we had! I am absolutely exhausted. But not too tired to tell you about the first half of our trip.

We drove down on Thursday night. We got to Louisville just before 10:00 pm, had a really awesome dinner, found our hotel, dragged in our luggage and tried to get to bed.

We were up early the next morning. I've been unable to sleep past 7:00 am lately; Lucy is used to getting up with the baby. Though our alarm wasn't set until 8:00 am, we got up and started getting ready.

Our hotel had breakfast so we ate a little bit there and headed off in search of a well-reviewed coffee shop nearby. The well-reviewed coffee shop is next door to an equally well-reviewed bakery. We stopped in and picked up a couple of snacks for the day. (You can bring food into the racetrack, which seems just crazy to me.)

We made a quick trip to Walgreens and bought sunscreen (for Friday) and rain ponchos (for Saturday), both items that we ended up really needing. Smart stop. Then it was off to Churchill Downs.

 
Before we entered Churchill Downs, we had to stop for a quick photo.

 
We arrived in time to catch the first race of the day. Our seats were phenomenal. There was a father/son duo from North Carolina who sat in front of us and were both friendly and happy to answer our idiotic questions about betting on the ponies. 

 
 
Apple fritters bring me joy.
 
It didn't take us long to find our groove. Watch a race. Take a trip over to the paddock to check out the horses in the next race, or make a run to the bathroom, or put in a bet, or get a bite to eat, or check out the shenanigans in the infield or do a bit of souvenir shopping.  
 
 
We spent a lot of time watching the horses come 'round the corner and into the straightaway.
 
 Lucy insisted that we buy a Daily Racing Form. We poured over it like we actually knew what was going on and, eventually, we sort of did.
 

For a good number of the races, we had a really, really great view of the starting gates. 

We stayed at the racetrack for the entire day and it passed by quite quickly. It didn't take long to realize that having money on a horse made each race a little more enjoyable. We didn't bet huge amounts of money and we didn't really care. Plus we were both ahead. It felt good to be ahead.

 
The Oaks was a hot, sunny, fun adventure.
 
After the races, we went back to the hotel for a spell before heading out for our dinner reservations. We didn't stay out late, on account of being generally exhausted and pregnant (Lucy, that is) and wanted to be rested and ready for another big day at Churchill Downs. We formulated a plan for the next day, set our alarm, bitched about the weather forecast and hit the hay.  

Saturday, May 04, 2013

The Great Hat Reveal of 2013

Post time is 6:24 p.m. ET.

You should watch it!

Be on lookout for this hat.


Be on lookout for this girl.


Hurray!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Daydreaming nightmares

I just caught myself having the ugliest thought.

What I didn’t realize before embarking on my quest to think a little more positively is exactly how often I entertained such cruel and unproductive thoughts. About myself. I was mean. Frequently.

Why? What’s the point in that? The world is hard enough as it is. Why make it harder?

That’s all I was doing. Making it harder. I would set up these scenarios in my head: this is the bad thing that would happen, this is how it would happen, this is how awful it would feel, this is how embarrassed I would be, this is how it would break me.

I selected various awful scenarios: from what it would be like if I tore my ACL, to various ways my situation with The Coach could come crashing down, to assorted work calamities, to eternal loneliness to deaths.

I daydreamed nightmares.

But I am remarkably happier when I don’t. It’s noticeable. I feel lighter.

That isn’t so say that my mind doesn’t go there.

It just went there. And, for a few seconds, it stayed there. Until I realized what I was doing and I shook it out and pushed it away.

Because that isn’t how that story is going to end.

I refuse to allow that story to end so hideously.

It won’t happen.

So there’s no use in dwelling on it.
 
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