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.  
 
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