Saturday, August 31, 2013

Must Be 21

I can't believe I forgot to write about this.

Last Friday night, I went out with my sister and two girls who are on our soccer team.

We started out with dinner and it was great. We progressed over to our shared favorite weirdos-in-high-numbers-but-then-you-don't-care-and-its-great bar and the music was awful so we bailed out pretty early.

From there, I piled all of the girls into my car and we headed north, to a suburb with a large douchebag population and plenty of bars to support their lifestyle.

Also it draws a pretty young crowd.

Well, to be more exact: it draws girls between the ages of 21-25 and it draws guys from 21-30 and creepy dudes who are 45-55. Not everything about the place is unpleasant, but it really can be a gross place. Unless meat markets are your thing.

Anyway. We go there despite knowing better. And then we choose a bar that is certainly full of tools. Young tools at that.

We walk up to the door, my teammate Kristy and I leading the pack. Kristy -- who was born in the same year as me, I would like to point out -- hands over her license to the bouncer on the right, no problem. I hand over my license to the bouncer on the left. He holds it. He inspects it. He brings is closer. He flips it over. He looks at me. And he says "you have to be 21."

I'm just stare at him for a second. Maybe this is a joke. Maybe he's just making a general announcement about the rules. Maybe he's trying to start a conversation. I look at him, waiting, and nothing happens so I reply "so, you're not allowed if you're 30?"

Then he's like "OH! HA! I THOUGHT THAT SAID 1992!"

Because clearly he was unaccustomed to seeing identification with birth years in the 1980s.

And then I died of embarrassment and old age.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Try Again

Twice this week, Vengeful Alyson has been terribly pleased when seeing that a job she wasn't selected for is already, less than a year later, vacant again. 

I was a finalist for one job. It was local and the interviewers clearly liked me and then I was rejected. And when I was the woman who would have been my supervisor added something to her stock rejection that was along the lines of "but you have such a wonderful personality" and it just felt like she was saying that I was just so sweet and peppy and too dumb for the job.

For the other, I was asked to fly in for an interview (which would have landed me within 50 miles of The Coach and wouldn't that have been terribly interesting and I would have been moving for all of the wrong reasons so thank goodness it didn't work out) but they didn't give me anything close to reasonable notice and I had to decline the invitation.

Should have given me the chance, fools. I can all but guarantee that I would still be in either of those positions.

But things happen for a reason.

I didn't get those jobs for a reason. I turned down that other job for a reason. (Even though doing so almost killed me.) I'm in this job for a reason and I think that reason is that I needed a big chance to prove myself and this job is the big chance to prove myself.

Not those other jobs.

They didn't deserve me. They can't even figure out how to hire the best candidate.    

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Stress

I forgot what it was like to have a high-stress job.

I had it easy. For two years, I had it easy. I didn't work more than 40 hours every week. I wasn't expected to check my email when I was away from the office. I was bored more often than not, but I certainly wasn't stressed.

I'm stressed now.

I mostly definitely remember how a high-stress job feels now.

I'm out of practice.

I don't know how to do this.

On Tuesday, I forgot to eat. The entire day, I had that crushing feeling in my chest and I wanted to break a few necks and I got frustrated and more frustrated and annoyed and more annoyed. And it never occurred to me that maybe I should stop for two seconds and have a yogurt.

I didn't realize the source of the problem was until nearly 8:00 pm, when the anxiety and the bitchiness finally subsided after having dinner with my family. (I held it together at work but I was a total dick at dinner. To my family. On my mom's birthday. I suck.)

Yesterday, I kept myself properly fueled but I didn't feel much better. I still wanted to scream. I still wanted to resort to violence.

Finally, I left work for an hour and I went to the gym and I laid down three quick miles on the treadmill.

Best decision I made all week. I don't know why it took me five weeks to figure this out. My gym is just a couple of miles down the street from work. Squeezing in a run at lunch is way less painful than dragging myself to the gym after work. And it's good to get out of the building for a while. The mid-workday workouts will continue.

How do you manage your stress?

Don't even bother telling me dark chocolate because OBVIOUSLY. I recently made a dangerous Costco discovery: barkTHINS Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed snacking chocolate and it is all over. Here is what I can eliminate from my diet: everything.

But I'll take any other suggestions you may have because this absolutely cannot continue. Stressed looks bad on me.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Stripe twins

I am obsessed with this baby.


It also seems that I am obsessed with stripes. Unbeknownst to me, approximately 20% of the clothing I purchased in the last year has been striped.




I wish I had recognized my weakness for looking like a prison inmate prior to my recent fall wardrobe replenishment, which most definitely included a striped sweater, a striped scarf and a striped dress.

In taking a closer look into my closet, it seems that I also have a disproportionally large number of items in The Coach's team colors.

I never claimed to be cool, you guys. And rightfully so.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Things that sting

I stopped by Lucy and Chet's house for an hour or so last night. The foreign exchange students left today; I wanted to say goodbye.

I was standing with Lucy in the kitchen and my phone was in my hand and I wasn't even thinking as I checked Facebook. It's muscle memory at this point. Seriously gross muscle memory that makes me want to chop off my own hand.

Anyway. This is, like, the third or fourth time I've written about Facebook in the last couple of months so this technology is clearly a problem for me.

And now that we have established that checking Facebook is as automatic for me as taking a breath, I can tell you about what I found out on Facebook.

That Colleen is pregnant.

My ex-friend Colleen.

It been a year and a half since it all went down and I'm still sad that I had to end our friendship. She was a really close friend for a long time. She was a bad friend and cutting her out of my life was for the best but, much like when I saw her wedding pictures, finding out she is pregnant stings. Because it's a big life event. I can picture how different it would have been if she could have held up her end of our friendship. I would have been so excited. I would be planning a baby shower.

I still miss her.

I intentionally remained friends with her mom on Facebook so that I would find out all of the good gossip like when Colleen got pregnant. Healthy, right? I wish that I hadn't.

Seeing Lucy's face when I thrust my phone in her face so she could read the news? Realizing that it hurt her, too? I wish we didn't know.

And speaking of things on Facebook that I wish I hadn't seen: The Coach changed his profile picture this morning and a random girl commented "yum" and I am feeling just a little murderous.

I really should quit Facebook.    

Monday, August 26, 2013

SleepyPost 2013

Hi. Hi, friend. Hi, stranger. (Don't be a stranger! Say hi! Please say hi!) How was your weekend?

I'm tired.

Not really so much a good tired as a tired that is standing on my neck and suffocating me.

I am really tired.

It's my own fault.

No regrets.

It's my own fault because I tacked a busy week after a busy vacation.

It's my own fault because, on Thursday night, I stayed up too late Skyping with The Coach.

It's my own fault because, on Friday night, I went out with my soccer teammates on Friday night. And then, instead of going home and crawling right into bed, I was talk-talk-talking to The Coach and then I was still talking to The Coach while eating a grilled cheese sandwich at 4:00 am. I went to bed at 5:00 am.

It's my own fault because, on Saturday, I got up early because I had a baby shower to attend. Instead of napping, I went shopping with my mom and Meg and my cousins. I went to dinner with Lucy where we happily slurped bowls of pho at what might be our new favorite restaurant. And then I was up too late again because The Coach lives in a different time zone and it's just what happens. I'm not mad about it.

Sunday was spent slowly cooking to death at a work fundraising event. That wasn't my own fault except I'm the boss so everything is my fault and it was really hot and the little I had left in my tank evaporated and I melted away and all that remained of me was my skeleton and a J.Crew dress.

There are not enough hours to sleep. There is not enough caffeine to consume.

I am really tired.

It's my own fault.

It was a great weekend. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

America's Favorite Pastime

I thought Lucy and Chet could use a little break from playing host, so on Wednesday night I took the foreigners down to Comerica Park for a little baseball.

The Tigers were playing the Twins. We sat along the first baseline at my dad's fabulous suggestion. Great seats and the thrill that is potentially catching/being beaned in the face of foul balls.

A rule that I wasn't aware of because I had never had to think about it: you can bring food into the ballpark. This was clutch, as it allowed us to bring in a few single-serve bags of kosher friendly chips.

Neither of the guys had ever been to a baseball game before; it was fun to introduce them to the game. They were amazed at how much faster the game moves in person rather than on television (and I completely agree) and, after the game, Chet's little brother bought a souvenir baseball and he was shocked at how hard the ball was. Isn't that crazy to think about? Not knowing what a baseball feels like in your hands? 

Admittedly, I would have rather it been hockey but it isn't the season. The weather was perfect and the Tigers pulled off an exciting win and that made up for the lack of ice and slapshots.

Maybe next time.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Confusing people

I try to not overthink The Facebook. It doesn't matter and in 10 years we'll all be embarrassed about how much time we invested in it and how much we cared about it.  

But it has occasionally occurred to me that my Facebook account could potentially confuse you if you don't know me very well, or if we haven't kept up over the years. Mostly because 80% of my Facebook is pictures of something I'm doing with Lucy or Lucy's babies.

I honestly don't care, but are non-friend Facebook friends looking at my Facebook wall and asking "why do these bitches spend so much time together?"

Or "who do these babies belong to?"

Lucy and I joke about it all the time. Not only about our Facebook presence, but about the confused looks people exchange as they attempt to determine which baby belongs to which lady and who is married to the guy with the olive complexion.

It's been a running joke of ours, but I received confirmation of the confusion via Facebook message. Apparently a former coworker couldn't contain his curiosity.


Lucy and I got a good laugh out of it, anyway.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Vacation: Second Half

On Friday, we got up early and made the drive to Tahquamenon Falls.


It was kind of the perfect trip for us because it was only an hour away, because we got to see something beautiful, because we got a little bit of exercise and because it was unstructured enough that the idiot boys didn't reject it.


Baby A thought it was a jolly little hike and Baby L slept through the entire journey.

We had a picnic lunch and then we sent the boys off in search of another classic Michigan tourist destination, Pictured Rocks, where they failed to take in any of the various ways you could see the gorgeous multicolored sandstone cliffs (boat tours, kayaking, etc.) and just went swimming. Why drive an extra two hours to go swimming when you could go swimming in the lake that is 10 feet from the cabin?

But anyway.

Lucy and I took the babies and went back to the cabin and chilled for the remainder of the afternoon.

I played with Baby A and looked like a lunatic.


(Nothing about that picture is flattering.)

And we made a vegetarian, kosher-dairy-heavy dinner. Then the boys came home and we found out that Eyal had eaten the leftover sandwiches -- and therefore meat -- on their drive home and couldn't eat most of what we had made. Thankfully, we had fish and a salad that was okay for him to eat.

We felt pretty rough about that. We were obsessed with accommodating his kosher eating because we didn't want him to feel left out and then: we left him out. It sucked. But he was very cool about it.

Chet wasn't cool about it and he wasn't cool with an innocuous interaction with Lucy when we got back and that started a little spat that didn't get resolved until Sunday morning. Lucy and Chet hardly ever fight, so I felt awful about it. But if you're going to fight, it's going to be when you take friends, a toddler and your newborn on vacation, right? It was bound to happen.

On Saturday, we were somewhat stuck because Eyal also observes the sabbath. No turning on/off lights. No riding in a car. Lucy, Alon and I broke free and headed for town. Lucy and I had back-to-back massage appointments and brought Alon along to entertain us. Our massages were great. When we were through, we stopped at the store for a few items we thought would cheer Chet up (coffee, beer, worms for fishing) but he was still being a crab so I drank the coffee because I am always willing to make those sacrifices.

We spend the rest of the day at the house, hanging out at the lake. I did my best to show Baby A how to be a lake kid. We collected rocks and plopped them into the water and picked them back up and dropped them in again. I put a bucket on the shade in the deck and we poured water into cups and splashed around for hours. He was happy. I was happy.

We cleaned up the house and the sabbath ended and we ate dinner. We went to bed relatively early with plans to get up early again, so we could wash our sheets and pack up the cars and get on the road first thing in the morning.

In reality, I was up an hour before everyone else and I made breakfast and put sheets in the wash and I enjoyed this sunrise.


Eventually, everyone else got up and going and Lucy and Chet worked out their argument (in a nutshell: Lucy needs to get better at saying no; Chet needs to get better about hearing Lucy when she says no) and we wrapped up our vacation and headed back home.

It's always hard to get back to real life but it felt like it was time to go home.


Vacation makes you tired.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Vacation: First Half

We didn't get the water working until early on Wednesday afternoon. I won't bore you with the story. It involved calling my aunt, calling my uncle, calling the homeowner, discussing with Chet, discussing with Alon, discussing with Lucy and finally putting in a service call with the local plumber.

Chet insisted that we could manage without water because he is like that but he didn't put up a fight when we called the plumber and the cost of a service call was terribly minimal and, honestly, we would have paid ten times the amount for the luxury of having running water.

With the water situation under control, we spent the rest of the day relaxing around the house. (Which is what we had attempted to do for the first half of the day but it's impossible to relax when you're sticking your head in a closet every five minutes to check on the water.)

Late in the afternoon, we drove into town and walked around for a while. It was on that drive that I realized that Chet vacations exactly how my father vacations: by wandering. No plan. Which is fine, if your wandering materializes into something but, like my father, Chet's wanderings generally just lead you back to your car without much to show for it. His little brother bought a few postcards. Lucy and I picked out a pair of moccasins for Baby A. We headed back to the house for dinner. The boys were all exhausted from the night before. We were all in bed quite early that night.

On Thursday, we decided to head to Mackinac Island, which is a resort/island/touristy paradise not far from where we were staying. It is the classic Michigan vacation destination.

Lucy wanted Baby A to get in a nap before we left, so we sent the boys off in search of an adventure and made plans to meet them on the island early in the afternoon.

We took the ferry over to the island. It's a short ride and we had a gorgeous view of the Mackinac Bridge.

Baby A thought the ride over was pretty awesome. His Auntie Aly did, too. 


We had a picnic lunch when we met up with the big boys on the island. Then we headed off to do...something. Lucy and I thought the big boys should rent bikes and take a ride around the island. Neither of the Israelis know how to ride a bike.

Foiled, we went for a walk around the island, instead.


After unsuccessfully inspiring the boys to do anything but walk, Lucy got frustrated and Chet stepped up and volunteered to take the babies so we could go for a drink. We made our escape in short order and ducked into the first bar we saw.


Approximately 30 seconds after we took our first and only shot of the day, Chet walked in to get a table outside. The look on Lucy's face was the look of pure horror that only a mom who cannot escape could wear. In the interest of being nice, we took our drinks outside and sat with them.

I'm not sure if we were buzzed from the shots or our eight minutes of freedom.

We didn't stay on the island all that much longer. Lucy and I insisted that we maintain the Mackinac Island tradition and buy fudge from one of the dozens of shops on the island.

I picked out a few slices for myself and had a few more shipped to The Coach -- mostly because if I were the one living out of state I would appreciate a little taste of home. (He probably just thinks that I'm nuts.)

And then we ditched the dudes (who had taken a different boat over) and headed back to the ferry. The ferries run every half-hour and we had 20 minutes and we were both a little wound up from dealing with the guys so why not have another drink?


Classy. Also delicious.

And then we boarded the boat back to the mainland and I snuggled with Baby L and chatted with the nice Canadian family sitting behind me because that is what aunties do.

The nice Canadian mother of the nice Canadian family asked me if I had babies of my own because I was so good with Baby L and it made me want to cry a little but was also very sweet. 

When we got home, we played UNO and made Chet cook dinner and hung out and felt happy.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Vacation: Weird Group

Before I tell you about our strange little trip to the Upper Peninsula, I should tell you about who went on this strange little trip to the Upper Peninsula.

Chet: Lucy's husband, sweet and stubborn and unable/unwilling to sit still. Israeli.

Alon: Chet's best friend from when they served together in the Israeli army. Alon, who is visiting for two weeks, is Chet's opposite in every way. He traveled with us on our miniature vacation last summer, too.

Eyal
: Chet's little brother, also visiting from Israel. 15 and very much still a boy, Eyal is a nice kid and quite religious. He keeps kosher and observes the sabbath; accommodating for each took an extra layer of planning but worked out okay. This is his first trip to the United States.

Lucy: Quite possibly the most laid back person on earth, somehow Lucy permitted Chet to invite his brother and his best friend for extended visits within a month of giving birth. She's a better sport than I would be in the same situation.

Baby A: Lucy and Chet's oldest. 18 months. Hilarious.

Baby L: Lucy and Chet's youngest. One month old and very chill. 

Me: You guys know just about everything about me at this point. In case you forgot: I am the heroine of this story.

On Tuesday after work, Lucy and I drove up with Baby L. While the boys were supposed to leave at the same time, Alon's flight from New York (where he had spent a week visiting with his brother) was delayed.

It was a 4.5 hour drive and fairly painless. We stopped once to walk the dog and feed Baby L. We ate apple fritters and drank coffee and talked and I exchanged text messages with The Coach and twisted around in my seat to plop Baby L's pacifier back into his mouth or stroke my thumb over his forehead to calm him down.

We got to the cabin a little bit after 11:00 pm and there was no water.

I should have known that there would be no water but the family friend who was letting us use the cabin never mentioned it. It was too late to make phone calls about the water situation, so Lucy and I took matters into our own hands and turned knobs and flipped switches and generally gave it the old college try. No dice.

So we drank wine and reassured ourselves that Chet would know how to get the water on and, eventually, retreated to our rooms. I Skyped with The Coach, she cared for an infant. We went to bed around 2:00 am.

The boys car didn't get in until closer to 4:00 am. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Try not to be too jealous

Sweet baby with a monster butt! Are you green with envy?



If that doesn't make you jealous, certainly the cabin chic bathroom decor has you searching the dark corners of the interwebs for a brown toilet and sepia-toned outdoorsy wallpaper so you can craft your own hunting-themed restroom.

Sorry to brag.

We got back home yesterday afternoon and, while I have lots to write about, I absolutely must admit that one of the very best parts of vacation was nearly five entire days to snuggle on Baby L.


You know, I never fancied myself a baby person and certainly not a newborn person but, honestly, I could not get enough of that precious little muffin.

When I am at Lucy and Chet's house, Baby A wants to play and I am more than happy to play with him. I just hadn't had a lot of time with the little guy (okay, he is only a month old) and it was good for us to catch up. We make a pretty good team with the bottle and we're not so bad on the diaper front but nothing compares to our tag-team cuddling. Professional quality.

Lucy and Chet make awesome babies.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Just looking

I'm house hunting.

Not terribly seriously, as I haven't bothered to get pre-approved for a mortgage, but seriously enough that I'm keeping an eye on what's on the market while getting my shit together so that I can get pre-approved for a mortgage sometime in the near future.

Apparently it is time for me to grow up.

My dad's been on me to buy a house for years now, but this is the first time that it really makes sense.

I am feeling more settled.

While this isn't the job that I will be in for 48 years like my predecessor (seriously), I do feel like I actually have a direction to my career that I haven't had in, well, ever. I have a decent idea of where I go from here and that's likely somewhere bigger and better and in the tri-county area.

One of the reasons I've avoiding a house to this point is because I've been afraid that buying a house could potentially keep me from pursuing career opportunities. That I would buy a house and then I would find out that the perfect job is 90 minutes away. 

Where I work now, conveniently, is close to my family and also blissfully central in its location. As long as I find a house that isn't too terribly far from the major thoroughfares, I should be okay. I will have room to grow in my career without being forced to submit to a major commute.

It's impossible to tell, of course. Maybe I'll buy a house and get a job offer out of state that I just can't refuse. Maybe I'll move for an opportunity that isn't my own. The best-laid plans, right?

Maybe I'll buy a house and live in it for my entire adult life. Who's to know?

But there is no question that I am more settled. That I have more direction. That it makes more sense to look.

So that's what I'm doing. Looking.

We'll see what materializes.      

Thursday, August 15, 2013

In my kitchen, lately

I used to be much better with writing about what I've been cooking and the new recipes that I have recently tried. While I'm fairly certain that my lack of updates isn't keeping any of you up at night, I thought it was time for a quick update on what's been going on in my kitchen over the last few months.

I am no expert in the kitchen and my iPhone food photography is even worse, but I like sharing anyway. Thanks for indulging me.

First, the dessert that I made for my recent lake day with Lucy and our moms: Berry Fruit Tart with Lemon Curd.


There are many reasons why I'll make this recipe over and over again. But mostly this: it's delicious and it's SO EASY. I had a jar of lemon curd in my pantry so I didn't even bother making fresh lemon curd. (If I did, I would probably use this slightly healthier lemon curd that I made last year).

The puff pastry I used is pareve -- it can be eaten with either meat or dairy dishes per kosher rules -- so I could easily make a non-dairy lemon curd (the above recipe with kosher margarine instead of butter). It isn't easy to make a dessert to bring over to Lucy and Chet's when there is meat on the menu, so I'm really grateful to have found a standby.  


I tried these vegetarian tacos earlier this summer, hoping it would be a good option for a meal to bring over to Lucy and Chet's house after the baby was born. It was good. And at the same time I'm not sure I would make it again because I was pretty sick of it after a few days.  


So, I got this pasta recipe from an actual cookbook. ...I think. (This is why I shouldn't wait so long to blog about food.) Because I made a resolution to try recipes from legit cookbooks. And now I can't tell you what cookbook the recipe is from. So that's pretty lame. Farfalle pasta, snap peas, ricotta. Maybe some pepper. It was pretty simple.


I brought stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer for a family party. It was a Pioneer Woman recipe and obviously fantastic but also terribly easy. I'll make these again.


I know I've mentioned my favorite ricotta spread, like, 80 times over but have I ever told you guys how to make it? Basically, it's ricotta with diced up rosemary, fresh ground black pepper and honey. Stir it together. Slather it on just about anything. I especially like it on any sort of cinnamon raisin bread/English muffin/bagel. And straight off of the spoon.


Finally, here is a life tip for all of you: have a s'more this summer. You know the drill. Toasted marshmallows, graham crackers, chocolate. ALSO ADD NUTELLA.

You're welcome for changing your life.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Vacation: little but mighty

Who is going: me, Lucy, Chet, Baby A and Baby A, Chet's best friend, Chet's little brother and Wolf the dog.

Where we're going: Michigan's gorgeous Upper Peninsula.

Where we're staying: the lakefront cottage owned by a family friend.

Why we're going: we had a really awesome trip last year.

What I'm in charge of cooking: macaroni and cheese, quiche and nachos, plus dessert every night.
  
When I'll blog: once or twice, short and sweet, from my phone.

What we're doing: a lot of nothing, eating frequently, watching Downton Abbey, outdoor things, napping, playing UNO, getting massages, getting away from real life, not showering, whatever the hell we want whenever the hell we want to.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Weekend Bad, Weekend Good

Weekend Bad
-I pulled the trigger on some rough, necessary changes at work and then broke the news to my staff on Friday. Being the boss is not fun.

-I stocked up on groceries for the little trip I'm taking with Lucy and Chet and the groceries included a lot of kosher cheese and basically gold is less expensive than kosher cheese. At some point this week, I will be making a lunch that consists of the world's priciest macaroni and cheese.

-Pre-vacation madness. Lists, packing, grocery shopping, maintaining a constant dialogue with Lucy about what I'm bringing and what she's bringing and where we're going to pack it all. I've been to the grocery store four different times in the last three days and I still need to bake up a batch of cookies and roll out a few pie crusts and pick up the key to the house we're renting and, yes, leaving town for a few days with a couple of babies and a couple of guys who keep a kosher diet just requires a lot of work up front. 

-I didn't have time to paint my nails and I wanted to paint my nails.

-My cousin Emma chose the worst time -- when her sister, her sister's boyfriend and her sister's boyfriend's family were visiting -- to throw an epic temper tantrum. Basically, she feels like nobody is "doing anything" about her father drifting away from the family to spend more time with his girlfriend and her family. What is there to do, really? She wants everybody to scream at him. Everybody else is disinterested in attempting to control a grown man who is fully capable of making his own decisions even if they're shitty decisions. The whole thing culminated in Emma screaming for more than an hour. Aggressive, maniacal screaming and out of control to the point where I thought we were going to have to call the police. She is so mean. She is especially cruel to my mother. I hate her sometimes, you guys. I don't want to be around her. I have felt sick about that whole incident since it happened. I don't know what to do. I don't think cutting her out of my life is the solution (and I think that doing so would hurt my mother) but I don't want anything to do with her. I'm so sick of her doing this. I'm so done with her hurting my family.   

Weekend Good
-Copious amounts of really good online shopping. Purchases included a new phone case, an accessory or two, and updating a lot of my wardrobe basics in time for fall.

-The Coach. Fun. Present. Hilarious. Awesome. When he is away for the season, we have our ups and our downs. (The ebb and flow often matches up with his game schedule, to be perfectly honest.) This weekend was an up. The distance didn't seem so hard this weekend. He made me smile a thousand times over. And I got to see him smile, too. (An assist goes to Skype on that one. Technology is the jam.) 

-A really great run 'round the lake on Saturday morning that left me feeling accomplished, just a little bit sore and so much more confident about my ability to properly prepare for this next half marathon.

-The weather was so blissfully perfect that it caused me physical pain to be indoors during the three hours that I worked on Saturday and, other than that, I was outside and not-too-hot and not-too-cold for almost the entire weekend.

-My cousin Anna was in town! While her sister's meltdown was 100% connected to her visit, it was so great to see Anna for the first time in nearly a year. I miss her. 

-I am finally getting my Sunday soccer legs back. After a season of nothing but absolutely awful play, it was terribly refreshing to have a Sunday morning soccer game where I didn't leave the field feeling completely embarrassed by how I played.   

-The simple knowledge that all I need to do is make it through two workdays and then: miniature vacation with my favorite miniature humans and also my best friend and the massage appointments we made for Friday morning.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

About a trip that's 10 months away

If you've been reading a while, you might remember that Meg and I went to the World Cup in 2010. From the minute we got back from South Africa, the plan has been to go to the next World Cup. It's next June in Brazil.

Planning for our trip to South Africa was terribly fun.

Planning for Brazil has been like pulling teeth.

I kind of don't want to go anymore.

The closer it gets to buying game tickets, the more I have been worrying about it. Worrying that I won't have enough time to plan our trip. Worrying that it will be too expensive. Worrying about being away from work for two weeks. Worrying about travel between cities and accommodations and about having one of Meg's friends on the trip with us, too. Worrying that maybe the real reason I don't want to go is because it falls in that precious time when The Coach is home for the summer. Worrying that the decision I make is going to be the wrong decision.

And I kind of have to decide, like, soon. Before tickets go on sale. Before every hotel in the country is sold out. I don't have the luxury of waiting until the winter to see how I feel. I have to decide now.

It would be okay if I backed out. Meg and her friend can still go. I can help them with a little bit of planning.

But I would regret it, wouldn't I? Meg already bought my plane ticket. I was hired with the understanding that I would be taking this trip.

Such a first world problem, isn't it? I just need to make a decision and go with it. I'm so sick of thinking about it. I'm so sick of worrying about it.

Being inside my head is just exhausting sometimes.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

JT is my boyfriend

Tuesday nights are normally for going to the gym.

If it's an especially exciting Tuesday, I'll visit Lucy, Chet and the boys after work and maybe we'll watch TV. (We're working our way through the third season of The Killing.)

Yesterday was not a normal Tuesday.


I didn't go to the gym but I got my workout dancing to Justin Timberlake and Jay Z for three hours.


Liz, Meg and I had been looking forward to this concert for a long time. We bought our tickets way back in January.


I worked until 5:30 pm and left straight from work to pick up Liz and Meg, who were pregaming at a bar halfway to the D.

From there, we went to dinner. I had made us reservations at Small Plates, a restaurant fairly close to Ford Field that is exactly what it sounds like. Plus also delicious.


We ate like maniacs and had a few drinks, too.


We ordered their signature fries because fries are Liz's one true passion. We ordered cornbread because Meg feels about cornbread as Liz feels about fries.


We ordered the mac and cheese at my suggestion. You can never go wrong with mac and cheese.

We had the shrimp and garlic pizza. And a mushroom and tomato bruschetta that I would probably have loved more had it not come at the end of the meal. (We definitely ordered one dish too many.)

And then there was the chicken and waffles. We loved the chicken and waffles. Meg especially.


From there, we headed over to Ford Field for the concert.

I don't have pictures from our walk to the venue, but what I do have is a picture of us in our hip hop pose.


As you can tell, I am incredibly uncool.

But they even let uncool people attend the Legends of the Summer tour! 

Thank goodness because it was incredible. I've been to a lot of great concerts and last night's may very well be the best. Our seats were great. The atmosphere was chill. Justin and Jay Z have so much chemistry. I danced for three hours and I could have danced for three more.


So good. Tickets were stupid expensive and it was worth every penny.

David Beckham really needs to watch himself. Now that Becks is retired from soccer and JT is killing it at Ford Field with all of his swoony singing and his sexual dancing and general aura of sizzling perfection, Mr. Beckham is at serious risk of being replaced.

At least until he does another skimpy underwear campaign. 

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Sunday

I would rather not have to set an alarm for Sunday mornings but I have to set an alarm for Sunday mornings. I have soccer and I don't want to miss soccer.

On Sunday, I woke up before my alarm.

I haven't been playing good soccer on my Sunday morning team. Actually, I've been playing very poor soccer on my Sunday morning team.

On Sunday, it went better.

On Sunday, when I was done with soccer, I went over to Mom and Dad's house. Sundays are for being on the lake and being with my sister and being with my cousins.

And this Sunday was for drinking champagne on the deck. The weather was cool but the sun was bright and the company was cheerful. We dissected Liz's latest date. We pulled apart Emma's most recent job interview, too. We made dinner reservations and s'mores and blueberry muffins. We watched television on the deck TV and I made a bit of progress in the book that I'm slogging through and there were quite a few naps.

I have occasionally wondered if it is healthy for me to spend so much time at my mom and dad's house. Worried that it means I am too dependent. Suspected that it makes me abnormal.

I don't know.

I do know that I'm not the only one. That Meg flocks there as often as I do. That our cousin Liz is a fixture on Sundays in the summertime. That our cousin Emma is as comfortable there as she is anywhere (a few weeks ago I arrived to find that Emma was the only one home, and she was in bed, eating and watching Homeland).

Maybe we're all weird.

Maybe I was just lucky to raised in a really special place.

Monday, August 05, 2013

One little thing

Lucy's husband, Chet, stopped by during Friday's lovely, relaxing, perfect lake day. Chet is self-employed and so he's able to be around at times when a guy who works 9-5 wouldn't and, while he still works a lot, the flexibility is a serious perk.

He dropped by the lake as we were eating dessert. Perfect timing, as he has a major sweet tooth, and he got to feed Baby L and play with Baby A and hang out a little bit before heading back to work.

I was cleaning up our dessert plates while everyone else was out on the deck. The kitchen at Mom and Dad's house has a window that overlooks the deck and, as we've had mild weather lately, the windows were open. I could hear Chet chatting with my mom in his funny accent that I barely even notice anymore.

They were talking about the babies and how caring for two is harder than Lucy and Chet had expected for it to be. Chet insisted that he loves it, though. And I believe it. He really loves those kids. He's a good dad.

"When Alyson has a baby," he told my mom, "we will watch the baby whenever she wants."

Lucy chimed in, too. "We owe her two straight years of babysitting!"

Those two think I'm more helpful than I really am.

It was my mom's response that caught my attention.

"By the time Aly has a baby, Baby A will be old enough to babysit."

Baby A is 18 months old.

I wish I hadn't heard that. Or I wish that I didn't care because I shouldn't care and it doesn't matter and I'll have babies (or not have babies) when I have babies. 

Some things just hurt more when they come from your mom. 

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Best Friday

One of the biggest perks about living on a lake is that everything you need is right there.

Hungry? Your whole kitchen is right there.

Sleepy? Your bedroom is right there.

Sick of doing lake things? The couch and the iPad are just at the top of the hill.

It makes it really easy for Lucy to bring the babies over for an afternoon. Getting the kids out of the sun doesn't require packing up and going home for the day. Warming up a bottle doesn't require any planning. She has so much less to pack up and remember and we've done the beach thing but invading Mom and Dad's house is just so, so much easier.

I didn't work yesterday. While I could probably get out of working on the weekends at my new job, I think it's important for the boss to step up and work the not-so-desirable shifts, too, so I haven't eliminated Saturdays from my schedule entirely.

Plus, having the occasional Friday off is pure heaven. 

I invited Lucy to come over with the babies. She delightedly agreed. We did a lot of lovely lake days last summer but hadn't fit in a proper lake day yet this summer.

Baby L is just under three weeks old, so just getting out of the house was a terribly appealing prospect for Lucy.

It was just a special bonus that the field trip included lunch and a little time in the sunshine and an extra set of hands to help with a very active Baby A. 

Three extra sets of hands, actually. My mom was home so I told Lucy to invite her mom over, too. Hurray for another date with our awesome mothers!

I picked up salads from one of our favorite restaurants for lunch. I baked up a terribly easy brie recipe I discovered (and blogged about) last year. I made us a seriously delicious and seriously simple dessert that I promise to tell you all about soon. Fresh and perfect.

Baby A and I looked at swans and waded in the water and played with bubbles. We adults indulged in a glass of champagne and chatted about this and that and enjoyed every damn minute because every damn minute was one to enjoy.

It was the perfect day. The best Friday.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

What's Different

I feel like I owe you guys a neat little wrap up of what's gone on between me and The Coach.

He asked me if he was marriage material earlier this summer. We all enjoyed decoding that random and loaded question.

Then he asked me if I was okay with where we were at.

I botched the conversation and spent the next few days alternating between kicking myself and crying.

The following weekend, I made my best attempt at explaining, no, I wasn't okay with where we were but that the place where I wanted for us to be was one small and reasonable step forward.

And he was cool with that.

He met my cousin/roommate, Liz, that day instead of me hiding him away like he was some sort of a dirty secret. Maybe they exchanged two dozen words. It was not monumental. What was monumental -- what was different -- is when I saw her later that day and I felt like I could bring him up in conversation. Like I could say his name and not feel weird about it.

"He is so cute!" Liz exclaimed when I mentioned him. "Why doesn't he move back to Michigan and marry you? Wait...no. Why doesn't he move back to Michigan and marry me?!"

Later that day, I told Meg a coaching-related story that he had told me. It was a story that I knew she would like but before I never would have mentioned it because I didn't want to -- I didn't know how to -- explain that, yes, The Coach was still in my life all of these years after we worked for the same company. (Meg and The Coach have met each other on various occasions due to the business of my former employer.)

I haven't come completely clean, but I don't know that I will.

But I feel like I can going forward. That's different. And good.

And, of course, he moved 2,000+ miles away since we had our little talk. That's different. Different in the sense that, 10 days ago, we were separated by 20 miles.

But I always knew that this part, the distance, was coming.

I always knew that it was part of the story.

This part isn't all that different at all.  
 
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