Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014

I went to Brazil.
I bought a condo.
I moved out of my cousin Liz's house.
I became addicted to a podcast.
I got a raise.
I didn't read enough.
I wrote about pie crust.
I saw Beyoncé and Jay Z in concert.
I got a new nickname.
I lost a boy who I never really had.
I threw a wedding shower.
I eHarmonized for a minute.
I went to the Kentucky Derby and didn't lose money.
I had a few scary moments with my grandpa.
I ran a half marathon.
I got a new car.
I turned 32.
I wrapped up the first year at my job. 
I blew out my knee.
I considered getting a dog.
I saw Motown the Musical.
I made some progress.
I had some setbacks.
I made it through.


Happy New Year, friends! 

Tradition

I'm just home from my traditional New Year's Eve massage.

May I suggest that you follow my lead? I am convinced that the New Year's Eve massage, which I started treating myself to 3 or 4 years ago, is one of the best things I have ever come up with. (All of that patting myself on my back gives me huge knots in my shoulders so: necessary!)

It really is a nice way to round out the year and it doesn't require coordinating with friends, a special outfit, cleaning your house or doing anything other than showing up.

The NYE massage leaves you with plenty of time for celebrating with your friends and family, wearing something fancy, hosting a party, doing your hair, drinking yourself silly. Whatever you want to do.

And if it all turns out horribly (we all know it happens), at least you can fall back on the knowledge that, earlier in the day, you had a massage.

It's basically guaranteeing that you win New Year's Eve. I highly recommend it.

Do you guys have any traditions -- New Year's Eve or otherwise -- that you highly recommend?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Hail!

This is not a college football blog but please allow me (and Sabrina) one brief celebratory moment.

It was a long and painful football season for this UM alumna. Very long. Very painful. Crushing. Humiliating. Bad.

When I was a student (2000-04), I genuinely thought the football team wasn't that great. Mostly because they didn't win a national championship. Mostly because I only had one chance to rush the field after a big win. That's how high the expectations are for UM football.

It took a few recent, painful seasons to realize how good I had it.

Today, Jim Harbaugh was hired as the new coach at UM.

Everyone connected to the University -- students, fans, alumni -- is thrilled.

Christmas came a little late this year.

And our present came wrapped in khakis. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Blogging & My Bad Attitude

I am still undecided on what to do about the current state of my blog.

My grandiose plan was to make the change (I have spent time trying to convince myself otherwise but staying completely the same is not feasible) by the new year, but I have not made a decision.

I find it terribly easy to avoid making a decision when my feet aren't being held to the fire.

My feet aren't being held to the fire. I have yet to experience any horrible fallout from the existence of this humble little blog, so I am mostly in denial.

In denial and so busy. So busy binge watching television shows* and feeling mildly blue and not going to the gym and sleeping really poorly. (I am certain all of these things and also my diet of 93% chocolate are not related.)

I need to get back to the gym, you guys. And stop this mild television addiction. And make a decision about my future as a blogger.

So many places in my life where I need to improve. Just in time for new year's resolutions. How terribly convenient!

Which reminds me that, in the ruckus that surrounded my sister finding out about my blog from a stranger on Thanksgiving morning, I never wrote a gratitude post. Here's what I was grateful for in November: the 10 years that my sibling didn't know about the blog that I didn't want her to know about.

Yep. Still a little bitter.

Anyway.

I promise plenty of warning before I vacate this space or lock it up behind a password.

And I promise a new attitude in the new year, too. I can't be the only one sick of Crabby Aly.



*Have I watched the entire series of Scandal, a season of The Americans and a season of Homeland since Thanksgiving? I have.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas: a poem

No
Not dead
Or missing
Haven't quit blogging
Yet

Busy
Busy
Busy busy busy

Celebrating,
Family time
And
Celebrating the end of family time

(I'm kidding
Mostly)

(I was irritable
A little
But I think I hid it
Fairly well)

As far as presents go
I did well
Giving
And receiving

I look forward to
Showing off
My new phone case
Very soon

Overall
The holiday was lovely
I'm still full
And just about
Ready
To leave for a party

My cousin Liz's

I don't really like her friends
They don't really like me

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Life Lesson

I'm good about not checking my work email when I'm at home. I only do it if I have a good reason. And usually that good reason is that I remember that I forgot to send something. It happens.

But my personal email is generally nothing but notes from my cousins, important communication with my blog friend/life adviser AM, the occasional recipe from Lucy, reminders of soccer games and dozens upon dozens of advertisements. I don't get emails that will ruffle my feathers so I don't avoid my inbox.

Except last night.

Last night, the last thing I did before I went to bed was check my email. In my inbox was an email from my Uncle Ed. My intense but well-meaning Uncle Ed. And in his email he bludgeoned me and my mother with suggestions about how to care for my grandfather. 

Basically, he wants to hire someone to come to Grandpa's house and force him to take his medication. Someone who my grandpa (and grandma) wouldn't let into the house anyway. Supposedly this will make us less of the "bad guy" when it comes to making Grandpa take his meds but, really, it just shifts the fight from being about medicine to being about the worker who administers the medicine.

Also, his refusal to take medicine is annoying, yes, (he implies that he's too good to take medicine which is extra insulting because he has two daughters who have had to take insulin shots for the majority of their lives) but not the biggest issue. It's really all just a matter of keeping him safe and relatively happy. 

I immediately forwarded the email to my sister, Meg, and to my best friend, Lucy, and then wished that I was a person who didn't check her generally innocuous email just before bedtime.

I slept horribly. 

My aunt and uncle mean well but they are so intense and so controlling. They push and push and push and push -- because they think they're pushing the right thing -- and it is exhausting. That's going to be one of the many hard parts as my grandparents continue to age: my aunt and uncle's involvement. 

The email was still bothering me this morning. (Which is something that I need to get over. Their intense brand of involvement is something that I just need to accept. I can't change them.) When I got in to work this morning, I called my mom. 

By 9:30 am, my uncle had already called my mom three times. Three times. She finally took his call on his third attempt and tried to talk him down. It sounds like she was mostly successful. She was in good spirits about it. I was already exhausted.

Just thinking about it -- what my grandpa will need, what my aunt and uncle will expect, what will be required of my mother -- it exhausts me.

Tossing and turning all night didn't help.

But now I've learned not to check my personal email at bedtime. Life lessons, my friends. Life is always full of lessons.  

Monday, December 22, 2014

I've been handled

I would tell you that I am not a television person but somehow I managed to start, and catch up on, the entirety of Scandal between Thanksgiving and this weekend (3.5 seasons) so perhaps I am mistaken. Maybe I really am a television person.

Or I am just a little obsessive. (I think you could make that case.)

Or I've just been a little blue. (I think you could make that case, too.)

I have read exactly zero books during that period of time. The amount of gym time that I have logged has been equally pathetic. I haven't had much going in terms of projects or the ridiculous business that sometimes invades my life.

I just haven't been much into anything since Thanksgiving. (Remember what happened on Thanksgiving?) I had a minute where I was pretty excited about Christmas, but that has passed, and now I'm sort of just looking forward to turning the calendar to January.

A fresh start.

And more episodes of Scandal.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Productivity Bus has stalled

It is a damn good thing that I spent last Sunday preparing for Christmas like I was the jolliest of Santa's elves because I have not done anything, not one thing, this week.

Unless you count eating all of the Christmas cookies that I made on Sunday. Because I totally did that. Or watching 92 episodes of Scandal because I did that, too.

My holiday steam? Lost it. Other than one gift that I must pick up (shopping this weekend should be enjoyable, no?), I am done. Not done as in finished with what I need to do so much as done, like, really over it.

I think maybe I hit my holiday quota and it just happened a little bit early this year, instead of at 2:00 pm on Christmas when I'm just sort of ready to go to bed until New Year's Day.

I'm ready to go to bed until New Year's Day now. 

The holiday will be lovely. And I will busy myself with other Christmas-y activities because it's expected of me and because my mother will need my help. I will wear my red wool Christmas coat. I will turn on my Christmas lights and wrap a few remaining presents and stop for a peppermint mocha at Starbucks.

I will go through the motions because that's what you do but I am kind of just done.

With the exception of making Hanukkah donuts with Lucy's boys tonight because: fried dough.

Fried dough forever. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

About Serial

Um, you guys? I need to tell you something important.

My Serial addiction has not lessened.

Here is an incomplete list of the people in my life who I have more or less forced to listen to Serial: my sister (who has turned two of her best friends into listeners), my mother, Lucy, our good friend Alon in Israel and my cousin Mara. Also my grandparents listened to the first seven or eight episodes on our trip to Chicago but I still need to get them caught up.

So, anyway. I remain addicted to a podcast*

A podcast that I know many of you are also addicted to. (Strength in numbers, my friends.)

A podcast that ends ON THURSDAY.

A podcast about a crime that I am still so undecided about. My opinion on Adnan's guilt/innocence changes every episode. Shit, it changes multiple times during every episode. AND WE WILL NEVER KNOW THE TRUTH.

Fellow listeners, please share your thoughts and your feelings.

Feed my addiction.




*Speaking of podcasts, Dear Sugar (easily one of my favorite things in all the world) has transformed into a podcast and I haven't listened yet but just knowing that it exists makes my heart so full. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Skating lesson

The highlight of my weekend was taking my friend Heather's daughter skating. She's a tiny little elf of a not-quite three year-old and she's been hellbent on learning how to skate since seeing the ice skating episode of Peppa Pig.

Heather deferred to me because she's pregnant and I'm a former skating coach. We've been planning the outing for a few weeks.

My protégé was quite the little trooper. I expected her to last 20 minutes. We skated for an hour and a half. I got her marching around a bit on her own -- she insisted that I yell "yaaaaaaaaay!" when she did -- but she loved when I pushed her around fast or carried her as I skated, too.

I am not in coaching shape, you guys. While in college, I was on the ice for 20 hours a week. 90 minutes of picking up and pushing around Heather's daughter nearly killed me. Back knots on knots on knots.

But totally worth it.

While preparing to get ready for Sunday's skating lesson, I discovered that my skates are missing. My ridiculously expensive, custom figure skates. I suspect that they didn't make it off of the moving truck in July and I am devastated.

They weren't my only figure skates (not to mention the two pair of hockey skates that I also own); the pair I wore were perfectly fine for coaching and tooling around in a circle but they were never quite the right pair for jumping and spinning. I retired them down to coaching skates pretty quickly. I'm glad I kept them around.

I didn't have any plans to get back into competitive figure skating anytime soon but this all but guarantees that I won't be getting back into competitive figure skating ever again.

I keep hoping that the duffel bag that they were stored in will turn up but I've all but dismantled my condo and my bedroom at my mom and dad's house with no luck. Liz couldn't find them at her house and, ugh, I hope they turn up eventually.

Even if I never skate again, I hope I find those damn skates. I hope it's soon. I am driving myself insane looking for them.

And I promised Heather's daughter that I'd take her skating again after Christmas. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Impulsively unsentimental

I am sentimental. About things. I am sentimental and my memory is sharp so I can look at something and recall a moment or a feeling or an event or an accomplish so clearly that I never want to get rid of it because of how easily that thing jogs my memory.

Ticket stubs. Clothes. Cards. Jewelry.

I am not a hoarder. Thankfully. I put meaning on few things. And none of those things are, like, my empty water bottles or every catalog I have ever received. My house isn't overtaken by things. But they're there. In a box. In a drawer. The things exist.

A few weeks ago -- the Sunday before Thanksgiving -- I was impulsively unsentimental.

It was late on Sunday night. It was cold and dreary and ugly. I was putting away laundry and, at the bottom of a drawer, were a few pieces of clothing that I had tucked away when I should have given them away.

My feelings on all of it had changed.

What was in the bottom of that drawer wasn't memories, it was clutter. It was taking up valuable space in my house and in my mind and in my heart and it needed to go. It needed to go right away.

Instead of being tossed amongst other things in my pile of things to donate, I got in my car, I drove to one of those not-actually-a-charity-but-posing-as-one donation bins that is a few blocks from my house and I dumped it. Gone. Out of sight. Out of mind. Out of my heart. Out of my life.

And I've done it a few times since then. I'll remember something as I'm getting ready for work in the morning and I'll run to wherever I've squirreled it away and it goes straight out to the garbage. I tear pages out of journals and destroy them.

I have no room. I have no space for it anymore. In my house. In my head. In my heart. 

I must be making room for something.

Or someone.

I wonder what.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Long week

I am restless this week. It is close enough to the holidays that I am not 100% present but far enough away that I really have no excuse for getting nothing done.

Yet I am getting nothing done.

It is Tuesday afternoon and my head is already halfway though Saturday. I am shopping for Christmas gifts and cleaning my bathroom. I am not at work.

But I am at work.

Making up for all of the time I spend thinking about work when I am at home.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Options

As I told you all last week, I have decided to keep my blog up and open through December 31. I still haven't decided anything beyond that.

I have options. It's nice to have options.

1. Turn my blog private. It's the easiest option. If you want to keep reading, you send me your email address and I forward you an invitation to read and we continue on as if nothing ever happened. Except that I lose that element where someone spontaneously stumbles across the blog and leaves a comment and then I start reading her blog and leaving comments and that's at least half of the fun of keeping a blog. Possibly 65%.   

2. Migrate over to WordPress. This would give me the option of making certain posts password protected without keeping the whole damn blog under lock and key. It would be open to new random readers while I could password protect important posts, restricting them to trusted, longtime readers. Important stuff, pictures, polls about the dress I should wear to the Kentucky Derby. (Again.) It would be a lot of upfront work but it probably wouldn't kill me.    

3. Start over. Brand new blog, brand new name, brand new appreciation for keeping certain things (like where I live and what I do and what my face looks like) quiet. Pro: I shed 10 years of history. Con: I shed 10 years of history. 

4. Quit entirely. I thought that was the only option that I wouldn't truly consider but it isn't. Not really blogging over the last 10 days has come easier than I thought it would. Maybe it's time to move on.

5. Give no fucks and stay the course. This is tempting, as it would require the least amount (read: no) work and I am generally a lazy person. But, considering that I'm working in a moderately public position that, if I stay in this industry, would likely become more public as I advance, I should do something. Having a stranger out my blog to my sister was one thing, getting called out in a public meeting about it would be something else entirely.

So, that's where I am. Lost in indecision.

I do plan on resuming somewhat normal* blogging shortly, but Christmas shopping and watching countless episodes of Scandal does not an interesting blog make.

*Normal for me. Not normal normal. 

Thursday, December 04, 2014

How about a list?

Alternate title for this entry: I Need a Break From Writing About Last Thursday

1. Serial: still obsessed
2. Scandal: were you wondering where I was and what I was up to in the blogless stretch of days following Thanksgiving? Watching Scandal. In my bed. I started the series just last week (I've been meaning to for months) and it has basically become a full-time job.
3. Christmas shopping: always a struggle.
4. Christmas everything else: I have decked the halls. I am feeling exceptionally merry. Smiling's my favorite.
5. Work: I am either killing it or I am a lazy slug and must force myself to work and there is nothing between these two extremes. Right now I'm killing it. Killing it always feels better.
6. Snacks: all the snacks, all the time.
7. My hair: looks exceptionally good today.
8. Remind me: to write about my recent, unusual lack of sentimentality.
9. Finally: read that F'book message from my mom's friend's son. As I had feared, he asked me out. As he probably expected on account of my not opening his message for three weeks, I politely declined. 
10. Curious: about what's happening in your lives. Any news to report, friends?

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

An Open Letter to My Sister

Hey, man.

If you haven't gone looking for my blog again after what happened on Thanksgiving, then we might not even be related. Or you got all of the self-restraint genes and I got all of the nosy ones.

But I expect that you're curious and I understand why.

I owe you an explanation. I got blindsided on Thursday morning and I handled it poorly and I'm really sorry.

I've been blogging for just short of an eternity. I started writing when I was just out of college and confused about being a grownup. I'm still confused about being a grownup and it turns out that I quite enjoy writing on a regular basis, so I've kept it up.

I call you Meg here. (You know why.)

I have written things that would piss you off. And make you laugh. I have written about little things that you would never remember and big stuff that you couldn't forget.

It's all here.

This blog was never meant to be read by you, our family, my friends. It was private. And public. (I recognize that is a massive contradiction.) You weren't supposed to find out from a stranger. You weren't supposed to find out at all. 

But you did.

Read if you want. I would prefer that don't but I will not stop you.

Because, as you're well aware, I have never been any good at telling you no. 



Team Fantastic forever. xoxo

Monday, December 01, 2014

It Finally Happened

It was after running our annual Thanksgiving race. I was tired, sweaty, hungry, 25 hours since my last cup of coffee, walking to my car, in the middle of a conversation with my sister, carrying a bag of coney dogs and completely unprepared.

And then an unfamiliar man comes up to me and says "YOU'RE SO MIDWESTERN!"

You guys: I have never said So Midwestern aloud. I have never heard it said aloud to me.

I do not have the ability to explain, after blogging for 10 years, how shocking it was to hear that. To be in that situation. To be sweaty and exhausted and caught completely off guard.

I couldn't have handled it any less eloquently.

The entire interaction essentially consisted of me standing in the middle of the sidewalk with my mouth hanging wide open and saying "wait? What? No."

What do you do? What do you say?

Because, if you weren't aware (and apparently some weren't because otherwise I wouldn't be in this situation), my sister didn't know about my blog.

It all happened really fast and I'm not sure I really even comprehended what was happening until we were walking away (it all went down in passing) and I was still shaking my head and, I don't know, maybe I thought that I would get a "oh, sorry, wrong person" but, no. No. I am not that lucky. "YOU'RE SO MIDWESTERN!" was followed up with "I read your blog! It's awesome!" (or something like that). So, instead of being able to pass it off as mistaken identity it was...right out there.

Thanks for the compliment, though.

We kept walking to the car and my sister is saying "So Midwestern! That's a good name for a blog. Do you have a blog? You must look like someone who has a blog called So Midwestern. We should look it up. I think we should make a cooking blog, with all of our cousins..." And I am shocked to the point that I can't even speak.  

It wasn't long into our drive home that my sister is on her phone, googling my blog. I could see it out of the corner of my eye and all I could do was ask her "can you just...not read that?" She asked why and I said it was because I didn't want her to and it was old (it's seriously good that I don't have a job that requires me to think/perform on my feet because it is obvious that it is not my #1 skill) and then babbled a bunch of other shit that didn't make sense.

Upon arriving home, I made the blog private and spent the weekend trying to figure out what to do.

I still don't know.

The damage is done. What happened changed everything. This space isn't what it was and it never will be. I don't know what's next.

I do know that I have spent enough time blogging that I don't want to disappear without any notice.

I'm going to give it until the end of the year. I will make a decision. I will make changes. I will write an epic poem about my retirement from blogging. I will do something.

In the meantime, I am just going to leave it all out here in the open.

I am not ashamed. This blog was never meant to be read by certain people but I am not ashamed.
   
But something has to change. I don't have a choice. This isn't optional, even if it's breaking my heart a little bit.

I probably have no right -- I knew the risks of writing a public blog -- but I feel like something was taken from me.

It's the end of an era, my friends. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Graduation Day

I finished physical therapy today.

I first injured my knee 133 days ago and, if I had known then that I would be rehabbing my knee well into November, I would have spontaneously combusted.

There's something to be said for not knowing the future.

Tomorrow, on my first day as a physical therapy graduate, I will run a 10k with my sister. Who is a physical therapist and will probably ask me how my knee is but that's beyond the point.

I was strangely sad as I dropped into my PT clinic one last time this afternoon. I was dropping off a gift for my physical therapist and another for the clinic's staff to share because that's what I do and, as I drove away, it felt like the end of something and it made me sad. Physical therapy has gotten to be quite the routine the last 10 weeks. (Do anything three times a week, 10 weeks at a time and it will start to feel familiar no matter how much you loathe it.)

If I'm being perfectly honest: I'm nervous about life after physical therapy. I'm nervous about landing right back in physical therapy. What if I slip during the race tomorrow and I tear that ligament again? What if it happens next week at my soccer game? Or on a patch of ice in my driveway? I don't know that I have it in me to start over again.

But, then again, I don't know that I'll have to.

And constantly worrying about an injury helps ward it off, I'm pretty sure.

So I'm all set.

More than all set. Hyper-paranoid all set.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thankful

This is one of my favorite weeks of the entire year. I'm not even pretending to be productive. I took two hours off of work this afternoon to get my hair cut and colored. Tomorrow is a normal workday; I'm going to make an appearance for just a few hours on Wednesday and I am taking Friday off.

I need ample time to be thankful. 

I love Thanksgiving. I love the food, I love the premise of the holiday, I love that it only requires a few days of preparation rather than a whole month of running around and shopping and decorating and madness.

And I love Pie Night.

Pie Night is also the biggest bar night of the year. Or that's what I hear. I've never been to the bar on the night before Thanksgiving because I'm too busy baking pies. 

On the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, my mom and dad's house turns into a loud pie factory. 

The process of making pies isn't so loud, but our pie makers are. 

The pie makers include: my sister, Meg, and me and our mom and several of our cousins (the attendees vary from year to year but my cousins Emma and Liz never miss) and whatever friends decide to drop by. We always eat nachos for dinner. There's usually a dance party in the kitchen. We always stay up too late. And we never really care that we do.

Meg and I run a 10k on Thanksgiving morning every year that starts far too early. She complains every year. She suggests that we run it every year. 

When we're done running, we order up a true Detroit delicacy to take home for breakfast: coney dogs. 

So much tradition before we even get to the meal and the family and the thankfulness. 

It's a good week. 

If you celebrate, what's your favorite part of Thanksgiving?

If you don't celebrate: you should have a piece of pie on Thursday anyway. 

You can never go wrong with pie. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Quickly...

...because that's how this week is going. Fast.

It was one of those workweeks where you're juggling and juggling and drinking coffee and checking your schedule every 20 minutes because you're probably forgetting something and juggling and more juggling.

Also the week has been crazy because I made it crazy. I can't help myself sometimes. Sure, I'll sub for your team's 11:15 pm Thursday night soccer game after playing hockey on Tuesday night and two soccer games on Wednesday night. What else would I be doing? Sleeping? Please. (I would totally be sleeping.)

I finally bought a kitchen table.

I also got a Christmas tree. Which I am strangely excited about. Is that what happens when you're a homeowner? Or is this a symptom of your 30s? Because I have never had a desire to decorate for Christmas before.

I brought dinner to Lucy and Chet's house on Wednesday night. Their boys are so sweet and wild.

Listened to Serial. Thought it was the saddest episode yet.

Continued to ignore the Facebook message from Mom's friend's son.

Still thinking about that dog. Or another dog, if that one has found a home.

Finished a book. Made chili. Meant to paint my nails but never got around to it. Invited a friend to our annual Pie Night. Scheduled an appointment to get my hair cut.

And now: I am off to Chicago for the weekend. Mom, Meg and I are taking Grandma and Grandpa for a quick visit to see family and attend my cousin's daughter's first birthday party. I expect that I will return home with many stories. About Grandpa. About Aunt Louise and Uncle Ed. And, if I'm lucky, about how the weekend went much better than I expected.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tempted

My sister, Meg, got a dog 18 months ago. He is sweet and cute and well behaved and her best friend. She is obsessed with him.

A few weeks ago, she agreed to foster a dog from the same rescue. She is cute and sweet and a little less well behaved.


That sweet and cute but mischievous dog got me thinking about getting a dog of my own. I have always insisted that I'm not home enough for a dog. Now that I live two miles from work, I am out of excuses.

Meg's sweet and cute but mischievous dog found a new family.

And then Lucy sends me the information for a sweet and cute and old dog.


Every time I look at her picture, I want to cry a little. She's 10 and her owner has to give her up because he's moving into a nursing home. Senior dogs have a hard time getting adopted because, well, they're old and that brings me to the real reason that I keep holding off on getting a dog.

Because dogs die.

(This is where my mother would remind me that people die, too. And we wonder about my relationship issues!)

I barely survived when my childhood pets died. Let alone my own dog. One that I would potentially only have for a couple of years. And going through it all by myself.   

Maybe when you cry just thinking about getting a dog it's a sign that you're not ready to get a dog.

Monday, November 17, 2014

November 16

Both of my mom's sisters are Type 1 diabetics.

Aunt Marie, my mom's youngest sister, died of complications from diabetes five years ago yesterday. I visited my mom and my grandparents. My mom seemed quietly sad about the anniversary of her sister's death. My grandma came right out and said "this is the day our Marie died."

My mom gently reminded her that it was also the day that Aunt Marie just showed up at my mom and dad's house. Meg and Mom and I were there. Aunt Marie brought her dog. We went shopping. Grandma came over and we had dinner together. My aunt teased my grandmother about apple dumplings, chiefly that my grandma had made a batch just for my dad when she really wanted a batch of her own.

I am often thankful for that day. That I know that Aunt Marie spent her last day with her mom and her sister and happy. She was happy that day.

It's hard, pulling up all of those memories. It's hard, sometimes, remembering.

It gets a little easier every year. We talk about the good parts about that day. The trail mix we ate as we drove home from shopping, maybe. The way Aunt Marie teased grandma.

I got through the day. We all got through the day.

I checked Facebook just before getting to bed. I found out that a high school classmate had died. I immediately knew why. She has been sick since we were in elementary school. Type 1 diabetes.

Of all of the days in a year to die.

Fuck November 16.

Fuck diabetes. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A decade

10 years ago, I was drowning.

I remember that feeling so clearly. 10 years ago, I was fresh out of college. 10 years ago, I was lost.

10 years ago, I balanced my laptop on my knees – it was one of those cold, rainy November days that seep under your skin, one of those days where you can’t get warm – and I sat in the office at my mom and dad's house and I started this blog.

10 years ago.

I didn't know where I was going. I didn't know what I was doing. I was lost. I was trying to write my way out of the woods.

I still don't know where I'm going. I still don't know what I'm doing. I'm still lost. I'm still trying to write my way out of the woods.

I'm still writing.

I'm still writing.

I don't plan on stopping.

This is who I am.

This is what I do.

Nearly a year ago, I read Ann Patchett's This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage; I have been saving this passage from it ever since.


I saved it because I knew.

I knew that I was on the verge of blogging for a decade.

2,848 posts.

10 years.

And I knew that I wouldn't have the proper words to express what that means to me.

My apologies to Ann Patchett.

This blog is the way I've learned to see my life.

Friday, November 14, 2014

My feet are cold

Look at these pants.


If I am at work and I'm not in a dress or a skirt, I am wearing some variation of these pants.

They are flattering on me. And they're comfortable. And they're washable. (I can get quite dirty at work.) And I don't have to get them tailored.
  
I wear my pants with heels or with flats, depending on what I'm doing or who I'm meeting with or what else I'm wearing or the current status of whatever soccer injury I'm nursing.

But now it's November. I live in Michigan. My feet are cold.

Buying a pair of booties makes the most sense. They're trendy but not ridiculous and my feet could be cozy and warm this winter.

Except this is how I look in booties.


Like a dumbbell.

Okay, so pretend that I don't have a top half for a minute. Because we're just talking waist down. 

I have a booty. And, wearing a pair of booties, makes me really big at the top and really big at the bottom.

Trust me when I say it isn't cute. I tried. I honestly tried. I tried hard to make the booties work because my feet are cold. Booties look ridiculous on me.

I don't know what to wear on my feet. (Do I just go with boots? I feel like every outfit with boots looks so similar because it's An Outfit With Boots.)

My feet are cold. It's only November.

Maybe I just need to give up and buy different pants.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Still not amused

I told my mom that I wasn't interested in her friend's son.

And then, somehow, the message didn't quite get passed along to him and then he requested my friendship on Facebook. Such a bold and romantic gesture. I changed my mind about him immediately.

Lie.

That is a lie.

I pretended that I didn't see the friend request and ignored it for several days.

Until my mom dropped some hint like "Tess said that her son texted her, freaking out because he friended you four days ago and you haven't responded."

I told her that I forgot and then I contemplated the middle school weirdness that was discussing Facebook friend requests with my mother (who doesn't even have a Facebook account, mostly because that's what my dad used to find himself a girlfriend four years ago) in relation to a grown man who was texting his mom -- at work, she was at work -- about a Facebook friend request that had yet to be confirmed.

For fuck's sake. This is the stupidest thing I have ever been involved in and that's saying a lot for a girl who was, uh, whatever for years with a guy who didn't even like her and lived halfway across the country for 80% of the year.

I confirmed the friend request even though I am not his friend (yes, I do realize that this is not a requirement of Facebook friends) nor am I certain that I have ever actually met him (ditto). I confirmed the friend request to be nice. A pity click. Creep through my pictures and leave me alone.

Being left alone was obviously too much to ask for because, 24 hours ago, he sent me a message.

I couldn't tell you what it says because I haven't read it. Because then I will have to respond.

I don't want to go out with him. I don't want to be mean. I don't want to go on a pity date. I don't want to lead him on. I don't want my mom to look bad. I don't want his mom to think poorly of me thinking poorly of her son. I don't want to do what I don't want to do.

It's so very hard being such a mature and evolved grown ass lady.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Dude Food

It could probably be argued that I spend too much time with my parents. It's rare that I don't see them over the weekend and, lately, I've been having dinner with them during the week.

On Tuesday nights, I make dinner at their house. I play hockey late on Tuesday nights, so making dinner and visiting with my parents is a good activity between leaving work and going out for hockey. Otherwise, I am tempted to get in bed and read. And fall asleep and miss hockey.

I also do it to give Mom and Dad a bit of a break. They do a lot for me, so the least I can do is make a regular meal.

Bonus for my dad: it gets him out of making dinner on Tuesdays, which he's assigned to during the school year.

Bonus for my mom: it gets her out of eating my father's notoriously bland, half-assed meat and potato meals.

The hardest part about Tuesday night dinners is picking out something that my father will genuinely like. Now, my father is not an idiot. He won't say a word but he'll push his food around on his plate and take a few nibbles and make some excuse about having a late lunch.

But I would rather he actually like what I make so, I look at recipes and toss out anything that has fish or beets or too many vegetables or is related to any type of Asian cuisine or is otherwise good. (The rule of thumb is basically this: if it's something that my mom and I would reallyreallyreally love, he wont.)

So I'm careful with rice. He doesn't really love pasta. Mostly he just wants to gnaw on a large hunk of beef. Which is exactly what I never want to do. (And never want to eat.)  

Hockey season runs between now and the end of March; there is plenty of time to try out new recipes while we suffer through the winter. And my hockey season. (MY TEAM IS SO BAD.)

If you have a recipe that is not fancy and therefore something my father would appreciate, I am taking suggestions.

I am also begging for suggestions.

I will repay you by recapping all of the recipes I tested out on my father so that, together, we can overcome the challenge of cooking for the picky adult in our lives.

Yes we can.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Awkward

One hundred years ago (three years ago?), I made a series of questionable decisions that resulted in this one day where I was naked with my coach.

Who is also the son of someone on my team.

Who is also a guy who I had initially tried to set up with my sister, Meg.

Like I said: questionable decisions.

Alexander moved away and then he moved back and so he's coaching my team again.

Earlier in the fall, I got the standard flirty texts. He tested the water once or twice. I brushed him off. He invited both me and Meg to his Halloween party. (I presumed it was just to up the female count on the guest list.) We didn't go.

I called Meg late on Friday night to recap what had happened with Grandpa. She had a game so she left as soon as she dropped my mom off to drive Grandpa home; we didn't have a chance to debrief. When I called, it was loud and I could hear a dude in the background and it was clear that she was at a bar. I hung up.

She sent me a text message a few minutes later.

"I am having a drink with Alexander because he came to my game. So there's that. He was who answered your call."

Yeah.

Shit is about to get awkward.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Grandpa's wild ride

Friday night. Meg and I were having dinner with Mom.

Grandma calls. She thinks Grandpa is lost.

Last year, when Grandpa started exhibiting signs of dementia and Grandma started having a lot of anxiety about not knowing when and where he was, my dad installed a GPS tracker in his car. It's been helpful (my grandma can look online and know when he's driving home from his boat, for example) but, on Friday night, that damn GPS tracker and its $20/month subscription fee really proved its worth.

So, Grandpa was driving home from his boat, which he stores somewhere an hour away. He got all the way home -- like, within a mile -- and he got lost. He drove past his subdivision and got very turned around.

After seeing that he had been driving around for more than an hour, my grandma called my mom. Crying.

And Mom and I got in the car to find him.

Meg was at home, logged in to the GPS program, updating us on where he was. Go north. Turn right. He's at this intersection.

I drove. Mom looked for his car. We live in the suburbs. There aren't many streetlights. It was dark.

At one point, after almost an hour, we finally caught up with him. Oddly, it was at the intersection where my mom and dad's house is. As soon as I stopped at the light, my mom jumped out of my car to knock on his window.

He turned right (away from her house, away from his house) and drove away before she could get to his car.

Determined not to lose Grandpa again, I abandoned my mother on the side of the road. (200 yards from her house, if that makes you feel and better.)

(Meg immediately left her post at the computer and went to pick Mom up and follow me, following Grandpa.)

I tailgated Grandpa. It probably made him nervous. I was just trying not to lose him.

He finally pulled onto a side street. I followed him. I threw my car into park and jumped out and knocked on his window.

"Grandpa! Hey! I saw you driving!" I pretended like it was just a coincidence. I didn't mention the GPS. He doesn't know the GPS.

"I'm just trying to find the house," Grandpa said.

"It's so dark outside," I told him. "Why don't you turn your car around? My mom will be here soon."

Meg and Mom heard everything. I had them on speaker. The phone was still in my hand. I didn't even realize it.

Grandpa turned around and Meg dropped off Mom. She got in the car with Grandpa. They followed me to Grandma and Grandpa's house. Mom said he didn't have any idea where he was. She kept pointing out landmarks. He was still confused. He missed his subdivision. (Again.) Drove right past (again), even though my mom told him to turn left. Even though he's been living there for 55 years.

We got him back home. Grandma was crying. He really needed to pee.

The whole thing was awful.

He was lost for 2.5 hours.

We can't tell my aunt.

I'm absolutely sick about the whole thing.

Friday, November 07, 2014

No excuse November

I didn't intend to set a November goal for getting my act together but, as luck would have it, as I turned my calendar to November, I finally turned over a new leaf.

It has been a long four months. When I hurt my knee in July, it never occurred to me that I would still be dealing with the injury in November. But here I am, well into November, still going to physical therapy.

It isn't ideal.

But I'm getting there.

My knee is now at the point where I can tolerate activity. A good deal of activity. (And my toes, thankfully, are less painful than they are bruised and hideous.) So, rather than take another rest day, skip another trip to the gym, baby that knee a little more, I'm moving. 

I've been to the gym more times in the last week than I did over entire months since my knee injury. I joined a new soccer team. I'm ready to register for my annual Thanksgiving race. 

I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to do this. I was scared that I had lost my motivation entirely. 

But I didn't. I healed enough that getting back on track was just, naturally, the next step. Food: better. Exercise: routine. Laziness: at a minimum. 

There's hope for me. 

I have moments when I'm still frustrated and hurting and limited but I am mostly healed. This is the maintenance phase. This is where I keep going to physical therapy even though I am so over physical therapy (so over physical therapy that I tried to break up with my therapist again yesterday). This is where I get my knee to 110% so that I don't end up re-injuring it in a few months. 

This is where things start looking up.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

My Serial problem

I was totally going to blog yesterday, you guys, (I think I might finally be busting out of my writing funk) but then: Serial.

I am not a podcast listener. And I love NPR but I love NPR for the news. News news. Not entertainment news or any of the crap. Give me the real stuff. I love it. Morning Edition, every morning, thankyouverymuch.

But then I heard the rumblings about Serial on the interwebs. And I do appreciate a good crime drama. And I would like a little bit of variety in my treadmill listening. And I did need something to fill the silence while I cleaned the living room before my soccer game.

So I turned on the first episode.
And the second.
And the third.
I listened to the fourth on my way to and from my soccer game.
And the fifth while I got ready for physical therapy this morning.
I listened to the sixth episode after PT, while I got ready for work.
And I took in the seventh episode when I got to the office. (While I did some filing that I've been putting off for six months.)

Oh, and I should confess: I was definitely planning on saving the seventh episode to listen to at the gym tonight.     

I am obsessed.

It's only a matter of time until this turns into a Serial blog. I would hate to lose any readers so probably you guys should start listening, too.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Gratitude: October

Are you new here? Let's get you caught up: it was my resolution to be more grateful in 2014. I'm still at it. 
  • Sleeping late on the weekends
  • Getting the okay to finish up the outdoor soccer season with my coed team
  • Birthday surprises
  • Nail polish
  • Everyday necklaces
  • Special treatment at physical therapy
  • Starbucks runs
  • Revelations
  • Realizations
  • Epiphanies 
  • Belief in the future
  • Soup
  • Living and working close to so many people who I love so much
  • Realizing that I'd forgotten to renew my license plate before a police officer realized that I'd forgotten to renew my license plate
  • Health insurance
  • Standby, go to, never fail recipes
  • Having bad days, bad weeks, bad months but still knowing that it's all going to turn out

Monday, November 03, 2014

Weekend

After breaking a couple of toes on Friday afternoon, I gave up on life, ate some ravioli, grabbed the book that I was reading and went to bed. Sometimes it's best to know when to quit. 

On Saturday morning, I decided that I was going to cut back my coffee intake to one cup per day. Cue headache.

I also finally, finally, finally bought a dining room rug.


Which means that I need to finally, finally, finally buy dining room furniture next. And then I'll be reasonably done with my house. (As much as you can be DONE done, which will last me all of two weeks before I decide I want to paint something.)

On Saturday night, Meg and I took Mom to the Fischer to see a show. We bought her tickets for her birthday -- in August -- so we've been waiting a long time for this one.  

I looked over at my mom multiple times during the show to see her with the biggest smile on her face so many pats on the back to me, who bought the tickets and made the dinner reservations. (Like my sister would ever.)


On Sunday, I made ginger snaps to bring to dinner at Lucy and Chet's house. They were delightful. I made them from an old recipe I found in my mom's recipe box. She had no idea who the recipe is from (other than someone who doesn't spell particularly well) or if she has even ever made them but, it worked out.


I generally prefer to bake with butter but the shortening in this recipe makes it dairy-free, which means it's a dessert that I can bring to Lucy and Chet's on a night when they cook meat. (Chet and their boys keep kosher; they don't mix meat and dairy.) So it was a very good find.

And a very good weekend. Simple. Productive. Fun. I hope yours was much the same.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?

It was Friday afternoon. Halloween. 4:30 pm.

I was desperately over my workweek. It was slow. I was looking for something to do that didn't require me to be in my office or interact with the public. Or my employees. Or anyone.

It seemed like a good time to tackle a few tasks that I had been putting off for months. It also seemed like a good time to stop by Tim Horton's for a coffee. That was how I decided to take a bunch of computer equipment to be recycled.

(I don't know if my predecessor had people save everything or what but, like, we have three keyboards for every one computer in the place. It's insane.)

I'm in the storage unit, which is on the City's property and where a lot of computer equipment has gone to die. I found a huge box with a printer inside, decided that it was garbage, picked it up, turned to leave, knocked over a very heavy shelving unit in the process.

Onto my foot. Right onto my foot.

And obviously I wear some flimsy ass ballet flats to work because that's what I do.

I drop the box.

I say every foul word that's ever been said, plus a few that I made up.

And I break two toes.

Of COURSE I break two toes.

Okay, actually, I'm not 100% certain of my broken toe status because I really didn't want to spend my Halloween at an occupational urgent care clinic and what's to be done with a broken toe, anyway? (I promise I will go if I continue to have pain/problems.)

But I'm pretty sure that those toes are, indeed broken. They look like this.

If you don't quite understand my artistic rendering, here is a legend to my pain.

Lovely timing, really. I'm finally getting to the end of physical therapy for my knee. I joined another soccer team 20 hours before. I was making plans to register for the annual Thanksgiving run that I do with my sister and my cousins. I was looking forward to getting back into a gym routine. I was looking even more forward to stopping feeling sorry for myself.  

Then I go and knock a damn bookcase onto my foot.

Which nicely sums up the fall of 2014.

I can't catch a break.  

Friday, October 31, 2014

About my lack of amusement

I kind of half-assed that last post, writing out only part of the story. Making me out to be more of a lunatic than I actually am. Typical. Were you confused? Sorry. I am a bit confused myself.

Yes, it was nothing. Nothing really worth being offended, nothing worth a second thought. 

But I am currently super sensitive about all of things relating to guys/dating/weddings/relationships/couple Halloween costumes/tandem bicycles. So I hated it.

Here's why I hated it.

I hated that my mom was suggesting that particular guy. I won't get into the long list of reasons that wasn't ever going to work but I know a good deal about the dude. It wasn't ever going to work. And it isn't like my mom doesn't know his history. She does. And it felt like a suggestion that I finally just settle.

And I hated that it reminded me of a truth that sits just beneath the surface every damn day: which is that my mom has always wanted certain things for me (an education, a career, a husband, a baby or two) and I have always been good about accomplishing those things my mom wanted for me. Except for this. I suck at this.

I need to write more about why I suck at this. About the eHarmony experiment. About why I'm so hard on myself. About why this all just makes me cry. 

But I thought I should clear up that that last post first. I took a shortcut and blamed my mother when, really, the problem is me.

So, there. The background I should have given on Wednesday.

More about this later. Eventually. When I can drum up the energy. Don't hold your breath.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Not amused

I generally stop by Mom and Dad's house on Tuesdays before I go to hockey. It's a nice little routine, which we started last year when I was living far away and killing time before I go to hockey. Now I live close and I am killing time before I go to hockey.

Yesterday, when I got to the house, my mom was on the phone talking shop with her good friend/coworker, Tess.

Mom was grinning like an idiot when she got off of the phone with Tess. "I had nothing to do with this," she said before launching into her story.

Earlier in the day, Tess's son randomly says to her, "I was thinking maybe I should date Meg."

Which is kind of funny because Meg and his sister, Catherine, are really good friends and essentially the same person. Same personality. Same strong personality. After years and years of marveling at how similar their youngest children were, Mom and Tess introduced Meg and Catherine and they became fast friends.

Tess must have thought that was a bad idea or that the sister similarity was a little too creepy because, instead, she told him "well, her sister Alyson is your age."

Which progressed into Tess's son creeping on me via (I assume) the Facebook. Then admitting to his mother (HIS MOTHER!) that he was creeping on me via the Facebook and telling his mother (HIS MOTHER) that I am "very beautiful" and then his mother (HIS MOTHER) telling this to my mother (MY MOTHER!) who enthusiastically relayed the whole story as though it was something that I wanted to hear.

It wasn't something I wanted to hear.


It was a story that I definitely could have done without hearing and, after I did, tempted me to crawl under the kitchen table and cry.

It was humiliating.

I'm extra sensitive about this right now, no doubt, but it just deflated me.

It was harmless.

It hurt.

With as single as I have been for, oh, basically forever, I always felt lucky that my mom was on my team. She was never a "where's my grandbabies?" mom or a "I want to set you up with the nice butcher at my grocery store" mom. She has never (outwardly) cared about weddings or grandchildren or boyfriends or engagements or timelines or anything, I thought, except my happiness.

I walk around with this open wound every day but at least my own mother doesn't poke at it, you know?

Until she does.

Which, it turns out, hurts double. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Things I'm Worrying About, a list

  • My mom.
  • The bottom line on the doctor/hospital/physical therapy bills for my knee.
  • Thanksgiving.
  • How much I love to sleep lately.
  • My friend Heather, who is apparently back with her husband.
  • Kentucky Derby tickets.
  • My weight.
  • Whether or not my scale works.
  • My coffee consumption.
  • Whether or not Colleen is going to call. 
  • How I'm going to act if Colleen does call.
  • Christmas.
  • My skin.
  • My hair.
  • My eyebrows.
  • Why I give so much thought to my skin, my hair and my eyebrows.
  • The hockey game I'm playing in tonight.
  • The hockey game I'm playing in on Saturday.
  • The hockey game I'm potentially playing in on Sunday.
  • Telling Alexander that I won't be attending his Halloween party. 
  • Coordinating my grandmother's Christmas present.
  • Whether or not my stand mixer is dead. 
  • Laundry and when I'm going to have time to do it.
  • The lack of the color green in my wardrobe. 
  • Why blogging is so damn difficult lately.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Behold...

...my fabulous(ly bad) Halloween costume.


Lucy's parents throw a Halloween party every year and I am always tempted to skip out on the costume but I always pull something together.

Usually something weird. Usually something that I drag Lucy in on. Because that's what best friends are for.


Can you tell what we are?

(Hint: Kentucky Derby.)

We're jockeys! A little duct tape. White leggings. Riding boots. Costume. Boom. Done.


Half of the attendees didn't even realize that we were in costume so, needless to say, we didn't win the costume contest. Again.


But so it goes.

I ate my weight in sweets, played a mean round of cakewalk (an annual tradition) and Baby A even let me take his cement mixer for a spin underneath the table.

Not a bad night.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Books, Lately

Here is an essential truth about me: I cannot be both a reader and a television viewer. I can do one or I can do another. I'm really not great about doing both simultaneously.

I really don't watch any shows weekly anymore, so when I'm watching television I'm feasting on an entire season and I can't balance that with a book. Can't, won't, don't.

I guess I'm like that with a lot of things. All in or not at all.

Now that I'm all settled in at home, I'm chewing up books and spittin' 'em out like it's my job.

Actually, it sort of is my job. The romanticized version of my job where I sit around and read all day in a cardigan and a bun. But not really.

(I never get to read at work.)

I feel like I have read some good ones lately. Plus: books are a topic other than my knee injury and the subsequent physical therapy that I've been boring you all (and myself) to death with, so I thought I would share.
 
All The Light We Cannot See: is the best novel I've read in a few years. Not everyone I know who has read it has fallen quite so hard for it but something about that book makes me want to read it 11 times over and keep a copy in my purse and force it on all of my friends.

Not That Kind of Girl: I actually thought I would like a little more than I did. I enjoyed it and it did not change my life. Not every book can.

The Girl You Left Behind: I was on a big Jojo Moyes streak in the spring and into the summer. This was not Me Before You (which I loved) but it was relatively satisfying. Again, not a book that changed my life.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry: I'm in the middle of right now and it's just adorable and charming and it's such a fast read. This might be one I buy for my mom or for my grandma so that it's adorableness and charmingness is spread throughout the family.

I spend my workdays surrounded by more books than I will ever have time to read but I do take suggestions, girls and boys. Anything I need to move to the top of my reading list?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Lazy

I was going to go to the gym last night for a little run on the treadmill but then I got home and, well, I didn't. I didn't go to the gym for a little run on the treadmill or a little of anything else. I made pasta. I took a shower. I read.

I have been using physical therapy as an excuse, but my knee wasn't really that sore. I was just lazy.

Lazy is hard to break.

My knee injury came shortly after I moved into my condo and, before that, I had a long vacation and, before that, I dedicated far too many evenings to trudging through house after house with my real estate agent.

I can't even remember when I last had a good gym routine.

My gym membership was just bumped up from $TooMuch to $TooMuch + $5, so it's time to finish physical therapy (I'm thinking I will be done as of next week), find my inner yogi (I've taken a few classes), break out my running shoes for something more than a sluggish two miles and get back to it.

I need the routine. I need the exercise.

But what I need most is to start feeling like myself.

I haven't, lately.  

The lazy is just a fraction of the problem.

But it's somewhere to start.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Choices

Over the weekend, I finally had time to catch up with Lucy and get all of the gritty details on her meeting with Colleen.

Overall: it was about what Lucy expected, maybe a tiny bit better. 

I will admit that it was nice to hear about Colleen's life. She still struggles -- with her history of depression and anxiety, I think she will always struggle some -- but some things in her life seem like they're really okay. That makes me happy for her. I genuinely wish her well. 

One of the things Lucy and Colleen talked about was Colleen's reaction to Lucy becoming a mom. Colleen didn't know what to do/how to act/what to think about Lucy's impending motherhood, so she bailed (the friendship didn't really come to an end until Lucy called her out on it a few months later). Colleen couldn't make the transition. "I don't know how Aly did that," she told Lucy. 

That meaning, I guess, continuing to be Lucy's friend. Realizing that Lucy's life was changing in a big way and that I had a choice: accept the change, help her transition to her new reality, BE A TRUE FRIEND, have the absolute privilege of getting to know her two little guys or I could lose our friendship. 

It was a choice but it was never a choice. 

I never debated what I would do. 

It pisses me off a little bit that Colleen regards me as some sort of saint for being that friend to Lucy. It wasn't extraordinary. It wasn't unusual. I was being her friend. 

Because I know that if I had my leg amputated tomorrow, Lucy would learn how to use my wheelchair. And if I get pregnant next month, Lucy will be sitting in the waiting room when I am in labor. 

All I was being was decent. All I was doing was the same that Lucy would do for me. 

I don't have the burning desire to hash things out with Lucy but I wouldn't mind telling her that. I might enjoy pointing out the simplicity of maintaining a friendship. Because it was easy. And look at all of the ways in which I have been rewarded. The blessings, Colleen, are endless. And you threw them away. 

Lucy warned me that I might hear from Colleen next. Don't be surprised if you do, she told me. And don't be surprised if you don't. 

I'm not going to worry about it until it happens. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

This is now a PT blog

"The last patient who was in here," my physical therapist says to me quietly, as he starts laughing, "when you came in she said to me 'why isn't she in school?' and, she's a physician, then she said 'I can't believe somebody referred a patient who is so young.'"

I TAKE BACK EVERYTHING BAD I SAID ABOUT PHYSICAL THERAPY.

I love physical therapy.

I love that doctor/patient who thinks that I'm in high school. I am going to write her a thank you note.

PT 4EVA.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Let's be friends

At physical therapy last week -- the same day of my failed attempt to break up with my therapist -- the clinic was empty but for one other patient.

The other patient was in PT for her shoulder. I would guess that she's in her early 60s. I've been seeing her since I started my therapy. She's always in a chipper mood, joking around with the therapist and otherwise pleasant to be around. She seems like a pretty cool lady.

I was minding my business and doing my exercises (and reciting my breakup speech in my head) and happened to catch the tail end of some self-deprecating joke. She was lamenting about the boring nature of her injury and subsequent rehab* while "you're over here training her for the Olympics."
She nodded in my direction.

I wasn't going to butt in the conversation (even though I was being discussed) so I just kept on with my workout.

But this is what I wanted to say: Olympics? I am 32 years old, lady. That ship sailed a long time ago. If anything, I'm just getting a head start on training for the Senior Olympics!

Yes, I was more than ready to match her self-deprecating humor with some of my own. But her comment basically made my morning. It was just nice to have someone imply that she thinks of me as an athlete. I haven't felt like much of one lately.


*Which is extra amusing because the physical therapist told me later that he finds shoulders much more interesting to work on than knees.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Colleen & Controlling

My best friend Lucy and I had a falling out with our third, Colleen, a few years ago. It was really weird when we first stopped being friends with her. We would talk about her all of the time. Wonder what she was doing. Contemplate when we would eventually hear from her.

Except we didn't hear from her. And then we saw pictures from her wedding on Facebook and it broke our hearts a little bit. Recognizing that we cared about Colleen but couldn't have a healthy friendship with her sucked, quite frankly. And we went through much the same emotions when we found out she was pregnant.

Lucy heard from Colleen's mom -- looking for Lucy to essentially bail her out -- when Colleen had her daughter back in March. Then, Colleen sent Lucy a text message on her birthday. She wished Lucy a happy birthday, said that she had been thinking about her a lot and had things to apologize for.

Lucy sent her a very generic "thanks, hope you're well" sort of a text message and let it go.
Then Colleen sent her a text message last week. She wanted to get together with Lucy at the suggestion of her therapist. Lucy was conflicted, claiming that refusing to do so would make her feel "hypocritical." Lucy's a therapist.

Truly, honestly, genuinely: I thought Lucy should ignore her. And, if she couldn't ignore her, suggest that they meet at Colleen's therapist's office.

I did not and would not say as much.

I made a few suggestions on how she should approach it and, in the end, Lucy and Colleen made plans for today. For this morning.

It makes me a little bit sick.

Lucy is more forgiving than I am and Lucy and Colleen have been friends much longer. Lucy is a big girl with a good heart and motherhood has made her much better at making and maintaining boundaries. She won't let Colleen do this to her again. To be such a shitty, one-sided friend.


Lucy initially indicated that their meeting would be more for closure than for the purposes of reopening their friendship. I don't know if that's true. I don't know that it's my business. I'm not really interested in being Colleen's friend again but I know that I can't make that decision for Lucy.

But it doesn't stop me from wanting to.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Goodbye, Old Friend

My dad bought me an iPhone 6 for my birthday. It arrived towards the middle of last week and I've been avoiding it ever since.

I claim that the reason I'm dragging my feet is because the case I ordered has yet to arrive but, really, I just haven't quite managed to psych myself up for the change. The good ol' iPhone 4 and I have been together for 3 years, 8 months. That's a long time. We've been through a lot together.

I'm mostly kidding but a little bit not.

Sometimes I think that I'm good at change and then I am totally neurotic about something as inconsequential as this and I realize that I am not quite as well adjusted as I pretend to be.

But I will be taking the plunge and making the changeover today and the transition will be seamless and my fears unfounded and then I must tackle the issue of a phone case.  A phone case that will last just short of forever. 

The case that I ordered is a temporary/backup case until I find something that I'm totally in love with. You see, I also don't ever swap phone cases. Because: change.

In the past, I was a loyal Kate Spade phone case girl but I haven't heard good things about the protective abilities of the resin cases and that's all that Ms. Spade is currently offering. Plus, all two of the Kate Spade silicone cases that I utilized with my last phone (don't worry: changing phone cases also causes me moderate amounts of mental distress) were the slightest bit too big and my phone would slide around just enough to annoy me/mess up pictures.

So, I'm likely moving on from Kate Spade. I am strongly considering embracing my true Detroit girl and going with this leather number from Shinola:


But if you have a phone case that you're obsessed with and it seems like it would be suitable for someone who is a little (a lot) bit crazy such as me, I wouldn't mind hearing all about it.     

Friday, October 10, 2014

Another Thing About Physical Therapy

When I was bitching to Meg about all of the reason that I should quit physical therapy, it went a little like this:
  • I'm going to have a huge bill
  • I haven't gotten any better after I got a little better
  • It's too early
  • I don't wanna
  • I'm frustrated
  • I can't even articulate where and how my knee hurts anyway
  • I'm sick of scooting around on a rolling stool
  • I hate everything
  • AND I DON'T WANT TO SHAVE MY LEGS THREE TIMES A WEEK.
Meg's response to all of this was as follows: "oh, definitely don't shave your legs. We really don't notice. At all. Seriously."

Who knew?!
 

Thursday, October 09, 2014

About Physical Therapy

I was going to quit PT today.

I talked to my sister (she's a physical therapist) about it, told her my plan to get discharged. I'm better to a point, but there's still nagging pain that hasn't improved. My insurance sucks and I don't want to spend all of my money on physical therapy. I'm sick of going. It will probably improve on its own anyway. I am definitely quitting.

She didn't tell me that I was a total idiot for wanting to quit, so I went to therapy this morning for what I thought was the last time.

Here's how I got to that point: I played hockey on Tuesday for the first time since I injured my knee in July. It didn't go anywhere near as well as I had expected it to go. (I played soccer for the first time on Sunday and that, actually, was okay.) I left the rink entirely pissed off about the whole situation. Really angry. And I decided to quit PT. Which might not seem entirely logical but if I'm putting in the time and I'm not getting better and it's costing me a shit ton of money? Fuck it. I'll deal with what still hurts and spend the money on clothes and headbands and other goods to make me feel better about having a bum knee. Logical.

Upon breaking the news to my physical therapist, he was like: um, no. Because this is how it starts, Alyson, and then eventually you quit hockey because it hurts your knee and your skip out on stuff because it bothers your knee and then all of a sudden you're sedentary and unfit.

I think he's underestimating my willingness to play through pain.

I suggested that maybe he didn't want to discharge me because I am a reliable patient who never skips appointments and does everything asked of me and also happens to be exceptionally fun. Nope. Not the case. He didn't even confirm that I was fun! Go somewhere else if you want, he said. Just don't quit.

So contrary to my plan, I am apparently staying in physical therapy and continuing to amass an enormous bill.

Awesome.

Also I am such a sucker that after my appointment, where he told me a sob story about spilling his entire Starbucks coffee the minute he got to the clinic this morning, I dropped him off a new one.

Stockholm syndrome, boys and girls.

Empathy for my captor's caffeine addiction.

And I'll probably get billed for going back to the clinic. 

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Currently

  • Campaigning Lucy to get Baby A into soccer class.
  • Drinking mango tea.
  • Five days into a flat iron strike.
  • Frustrated about my knee situation.
  • Sporting a lot of sketchy bruises.
  • Not looking forward to the medical bills that will soon be clogging my mailbox.
  • Extra motivated at work.
  • Better than last week.
  • Eating a brownie. 
  • Sleepy.
  • Totally over being a physical therapy patient.
  • Looking forward to taking a yoga class tonight.
  • On the verge of embarking on phase two of my gallery wall.
  • Unable to get enough sleep.
  • Eying Lena Dunham's book for my next conquest.
  • Making plans.
  • Making wishes. 
  • Embarrassed by the current state of UM football.
  • Still without a dining room table. 
  • Relatively patient.
  • Worrying about my sister.
  • Craving sharp cheddar cheese.
  • In need of a new pair of black everyday ballet flats.
  • Irritated with one of my employees.
  • Getting better.
  • Planning out my Christmas decorations in my head.
  • Clueless about what I should get my dad for his birthday.
  • Wondering what you guys are up to today.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Turning Ahead

Every so often, I will have someone come into the 'brary and confess that she always flips ahead and reads the end of the book.

"I can't stand not knowing!" She tells me.

I have never once skipped ahead in a book. But still I understand.

I completely understand.

There is nothing more that I would like to have than the ability to turn to my last chapter and see how it all ends. Do I live a long life? Am I happy? Are there kids? Do I stay in this career? Is Lucy always my very best friend? Do I get another tattoo? Do I still drink mango tea every afternoon?

Knowing would eliminate so much anxiety.

I wouldn't need every detail. I wouldn't want every detail. I still want to live it. I still want the experience, the surprise, the living. But, if I could, I would flip ahead. To the end. To that neat little summation of my life. One paragraph. This is who I loved, this is what I did, this is what I valued, this how I lived my life. 

Because I feel like maybe I could stop and appreciate my life for what it is right now if I knew that I wasn't the single girl forever.

Maybe I would take longer showers.

Maybe I would buy more shoes. 

Monday, October 06, 2014

Reset

Whatever my problem was on Friday, it kicked my ass well into Saturday. 

After work, I went to the grocery store to pick up ingredients to make my contributions to dinner after Yom Kippur, and then I went home and almost immediately went to bed. Why continue to struggle? I watched a few episodes of New Girl, my latest television project, and went to bed. I was done.

Until about 2:00 am when I woke up with an achy knee. This is what I have been reduced to: someone who wakes up with a weather-related achy knee. Awesome. Three hours and an episode of New Girl later, I got back to sleep.

As a result, I slept ridiculously late. Then I spent the rest of my Saturday trying to be easy on myself.

Being easy on myself meant spending the day mostly alone. After stopping by Lucy's house for an hour, I made a batch of applesauce and prepped for dinner and cleaned up at home and let myself feel as blah as I felt like feeling.

I felt very blah.

But maybe there's something to just going with it. Instead of struggling against it and beating myself up for feeling so out of sorts in a week where so many had been so kind, I just gave in and, by the time the sun was setting on Saturday, I felt like I had reset my panic button. I felt better.

Not great. I still don't feel great. But I feel human, which is more that I can say for Friday and half of Saturday, where I was less human and more a mound of flesh on the verge of tears. (That sounds so dramatic. I promise I'm not on the edge of a nervous breakdown.)

I spent Saturday night, where I felt tender but no longer bruised, with Lucy and her family. We broke the Yom Kippur fast. After dinner and getting the boys in bed, Lucy and I went out for a late movie: Gone Girl. It was unexpectedly good. I loved it nearly as much as I loved escaping real life for 2 hours and 20 minutes. 

With the blessing of my physical therapist, I made my return to soccer on Sunday morning. It went okay. My knee mostly cooperated. I had lunch with my mom. I saw Lucy and the boys again. We took them to see the fire trucks at a nearby station's open house. I had dinner at their house. I considered blogging but, in preparation for blogging, I started analyzing the last week and it wasn't doing anything for my state of mind. I went to bed early instead.

I'm just riding this out.

Sleeping helps. 

Friday, October 03, 2014

32

Now I am 32.

I had a birthday filled with kind wishes and thoughtful gestures. Text messages so sweet that I was inspired to take a screen shot. Flowers and chocolate from my grandparents. Phone calls. Cards. A visit at work from Lucy and her boys. Pumpkin crème brûlée. New earrings. A teapot. Sunshine.

Now I am 32. And sad. I've never been sad about a birthday before. This one just isn't sitting right.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Gratitude: August and September

At the beginning of the year, I decided to focus on being more grateful. Despite neglecting to post at the beginning of last month (how did that happen?), I'm still at it. I'm still feeling grateful.

  • Biting the bullet.
  • My cousins. Always my cousins.
  • For the possibility that comes with going on a date, even though I admittedly hate the process.
  • Finding yoga once again.
  • Every minute I spend with Lucy's kids.
  • Health insurance. Mine isn't the best. But I have it.
  • The hard, nervous beat of my heart that comes when I am surprised, nervous or scared and reminds me that I'm alive. 
  • To have a doctor who I have seen, adored and trusted since I was 15.
  • Drybar. 
  • That Drybar does not have a Detroit location.
  • For the truth, however it comes out.
  • That I was wrong to dread Anna's wedding weekend.
  • Friends who know they can count on me.
  • Voting rights.
  • Good news.
  • Good books.
  • Good coffee.
  • Good MRI results.
  • Gummy worms.
  • Patience.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Wedding Weekend

Anna's wedding weekend was not drama free, but it was free from any drama generated from my side of the family. Therefore: not much to write about. What a good and unusual problem to have! How about some pictures instead?

 Me and my little sister Meggie at the rehearsal dinner, which was at a pizzeria in Greenwich Village.
 
Meg, me, Cousin Liz: we shared a hotel room, along with our (totally crazy) Aunt Lynn. 

 
My family. My mom started crying soon after we got to the venue (Anna, the bride, is her dead sister's oldest daughter) but she settled down and settled in. The rest of the night went pretty well.

It would have been nice to realize that my dress gave me a little pooch before taking a zillion pictures. Oh well.

 
Grandma, Grandpa, the cousins. As far as I know, my grandma only cried once, too. (When Meg danced with Grandpa.) We all did okay.

 
Me and cousin Danielle. 

 
All of the girl cousins on my mom's side of the family. One of these girls is not like the other. (Mara will always hate that she's the only one of us who isn't a blonde.)


Everyone survived. Nobody got lost, arrested or quit the family. Special shout outs go to Uber, DryBar and the five bags of gummy bears that were consumed over the course of the weekend.  

Monday, September 29, 2014

Speaking Up

I've had a couple of sessions of physical therapy and my knee is feeling pretty good.  This morning, I got the okay to try soccer next weekend. I'm already nervous and excited about it.

I'm seeing a physical therapist that works for the same place Meg does, just at a different location. Over the weekend, she was asking me what my new therapist was having me work on. I told her all about the exercises that I do, the stretch that he did that hurt more than any other stretch has ever hurt in the history of stretches (I am being completely serious) and how he used the ultrasound machine to help with the swelling.

"Well you can tell him to stop with that," Meg said. "Just tell him 'since research shows that that machine would be just as effective in reducing swelling as if you held it up to my knee with it off, I think I'll pass.'"

She said that her boss still uses ultrasound, too, but it's an old school technique.

I promised that I would bypass the ultrasound machine in the future, if that was her recommendation. Meg's good at her job. I trust Meg.

And then he plugged in the ultrasound machine this morning and I didn't say a word and let him ultrasound away for eight minutes of my life that I will never get back. Plus the $10 or so that I will be billed, since I have a 20% copay on my physical therapy visits.

I am so pathetic.

Requesting that change to my treatment was so little. So minor.

And it was also my health.

And I can't even stand up for myself in this situation.

It's really no wonder my life is as it is.
 
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