Tuesday, December 25, 2012

oh, Christmas tree!

Every year, my crafty sister-in-law m, (not to be confused with Madelyn or A, my other sisters in law) makes advent calendars. I have no idea how she has time to do this, but they are always gorgeous and thoughtful and really lovely to receive. Last year, she sent us an over-the-door shoe rack, decorated with glittery snowflakes and pretty numbers for the 25 days before Christmas. Each pocket had three gifts, one for Jon, Madelyn and myself, each wrapped in a certain paper. She did this for everyone in the family! Now I use the rack to wrangle all my yarn.

This year, m changed it up. We received a big box in the mail.

It had a pretty white tree in a pot.

The stripedy red box had a handmade ornament and corresponding tag for each day.

We hung all the tags and the ornaments on the bulletin board. Way nicer to look at than expired coupons.

Some of the ornaments were personalized--like this ball of yarn and knitting needles, for me.

This one was just really pretty.


On the 24th, there was a star for the top, made out of sheet music-paper.

And because Madelyn has been slacking, here is a gratuitous shot of everyone's favorite nephew:
Merry Christmas, everyone!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, December 21, 2012

the world didn't end after all

I'm in California for the holidays, my first H Christmas! We got in Wednesday, and settled into Jon's childhood bedroom. Then it was family and fun--including Sarah Silverman and Friends (including one of my faves, Aziz Ansari!)--until I went for a walk with my sisters in law.

My oversize wallet was half hanging out of my pocket, and while I took a moment to say, "Self, just watch, you are going to lose your wallet this way," I walked on out the door, around the block, through the park and to the coffee shop. The trip was about 20 minutes, total.

And then I noticed my wallet was gone.

In the following hours I ransacked the entire house, driveway, street, park, coffee shop enlisting help from the family. I even bothered Madelyn when she was out with friends to ask about it. There weren't that many people out, it was the middle of the day, and I couldn't understand where the heck it had gone.

Right before I got to the dirty business of canceling credit cards and completely flipping out about how I was going to get on a plane without my Drivers' License, Jon suggested we check the post office. He thought he had seen a mail carrier around when we were frantically checking every lawn on the sidewalk. News to me, but people who find wallets sometimes drop them off to the old P.O.

We went to the nearest post office looking for the mail carrier for his block, but they didn't have it. The sweet girl behind the counter apologized and said they didn't have it, but we could try the bigger post office in town.

Jon drove me down to the bigger post office, where the line was out the door with people trying to get their holiday cards in the post. I rang the buzzer at the post-office box window. A mail carrier came to help and then called the boss.

When the boss walked up to the window and said they have my wallet, I about did a cartwheel. I had been ready to give up--apparently the nice lady at the first post office called and said a couple would be coming by and to send them back to the first place. Someone had put my wallet in their mailbox!

All the cash was gone, but my credit cards, ID and gift cards were all there.

IT'S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!


And the best part? I didn't have to have my parents express-mail my passport to get home. I hope whoever took my money does something good with it. I'm just thankful they put my stuff in a mailbox and not a trashcan.

Friday, December 07, 2012

but it is pretty accurate

"You know what I want to do during Christmas vacation?"

"What's that?"

"I want to watch lots and lots of movies."

"Okay."

"But only if I can snuggle up next to you."

"Well, you've gotta have someone to sleep on."

"That's just not right, Jon."


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, December 02, 2012

i left with a bag of hair

I was in the mood for a change. For months I was contemplating chopping off my hair again, and decided to make it happen. Of course, I am lazy, so I never *do* it--generally I walk out the door with wet hair and that is fine by me. But I have been trying to make an effort (makeup at least once a week!) lately. I thought I'd take it to the next level.

 A few weeks ago, my friend Claudia was sweet enough to show me how to straighten my hair. My mom bought me a flatiron, but it is still in the box. My hair was long enough to tuck into the back of my pants; especially when straight.

I went to pp's stylist and coordinated my appointment with hers (so she could stop me from doing something insane that I'd regret).   

The stylist straightened my hair with the blowdryer and took off 10" as if it were nothing. I still had a good amount to work with, so she started doing her thing. There was a good amount of hair on the floor at the end. 

 CC was concerned about me making the cut in winter (even though it's December 2 and 63 degrees in Chicago), so it's nice that I could keep so much length and still have enough to donate. But it's not long enough for a ponytail, so going to the gym is going to be interesting.


Of course, this is how it looks out of the salon. We will see what "style" my kindergarten-level skills will produce on Monday. Let's just pretend this is what I look like all the time, shall we? 

Now pp and I are on the same trim cycle (apparently I have to start getting haircuts every eight weeks...). Making a date out of getting my hair did with one of my favorite people is probably the best way to make sure I actually do it. 
 
I sort of like linking to old posts, so I'll still throw that in there once in awhile.

In which the word gets out that my husband likes lesbians. 


Friday, November 30, 2012

Jab We Met

Woohoo! Another NaBloPoMo comes to a close. I didn't think I was going to make it.

Some of you may have come over from Ale's blog, The Sunny Orangery. Hi! Speaking of happy endings, here's the story of how I met my husband.

the big reveal
In which everyone finds out that H, the man I've fallen in love with, and Jon, a faithful commenter, are the very same man. 

Thanks for reading, everyone!




*Jab We Met is a Bollywood movie



Thursday, November 29, 2012

coffee is crack

I had a medium-sized coffee this morning at 7:30. It's 10:15 pm and I'm still twitching. My coworker thinks it's a placebo effect, but my hands are literally shaking. Caffeine sensitivity is a real thing. There is a reason I rarely drink it--only on those days when I really need the boost. Or need to be awake for two days.

But here's the thing: When I'm on coffee, I'm more confident, I have more pep in my step and doggone it, people like me!

Is this what drugs are like?


time to cut off the supply
In which I admit I may need an intervention.



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

joey's favorite food

Sandwiches.

The first sandwiches we had after that crazy diet. OH MY GOD were they good.

I've always believed that my college roommate, pp, makes the best sandwiches in the entire universe. Even if I were to use the same ingredients, stack them in the same order and present them the same way, her sammies always taste just so much better. Must be magic. 

But I think Jon has it too! Recently, his turkey leftover sandwiches have been to die for. So good that I have been thinking about relishing in their deliciousness for the entirety of three-hour, after-lunch meetings in the office.

I would have taken a picture, but sandwiches just don't last very long around here.

In which I am impressed with the service at a sandwich shop but somehow manage to put a black lining on the situation.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

kiss the rings

When I woke up, it was 16 degrees outside. I got ready, pulled on my thickest sweater and dragged myself to work, where I've been spending a lot of time lately. Things were going nuts; we had to practically fight another team for a conference room and we were carrying around all our papers, books, laptops and coffee from room to room.

Suddenly my coworker started freaking out--she was missing her engagement ring. Apparently, the cold made her rings very loose and she must have dropped it somewhere. Luckily, another person found it in on the floor and she got it back before being distracted about it all day.

On Thanksgiving, I took my rings off and handed them to Jon while I was helping in the kitchen. He put them on his pinkie. Jon was unpacking the raclette and surrounded by a pile of bubble wrap. And then his finger felt lighter. After some frantic searching, we found his great-grandmother's ring from 1920 before it went in the recycling. Thank goodness. That puppy is truly irreplaceable.

ring hunt
In which I thought Jon had a camera on me while I tried to solve the riddles and get my ring. It would have made a hilarious video.


Monday, November 26, 2012

wish in a bottle



I believe this was originally a bottle of heparin, a medication sometimes used to flush central lines for patients. In 1999 this woman started covering them with clay and handing them out for cancer patients to write down a wish and keep it inside.

My mom got them at a cancer fair. This bottle is going to Jon and Madelyn's teacher, who got some bad news last week.

bottle of hope
In which my mom first showed me one of these bottles




Sunday, November 25, 2012

like crazy

Yesterday I should have been working. But instead, to quote my husband, I was "relaxing." Except now I'm in a frenzy because I didn't work, so whatever relaxation benefits I got from yesterday have been taken down in a belly-to-belly suplex by the paranoia about what all I have to get done for work by 11/30 and how I wasted a full day yesterday lying around the house watching television.

Oh television, you are my evilest vice.

One of the things we watched yesterday was this independent film, with Anton Yelchin and some girl from the U.K. that I swear I have seen before, called Like Crazy. SPOILERS AHEAD:

To sum up, this movie is about two people who love spending time together, but don't care about Visa laws and end up sort of sad and regretful but stuck together because all they went through and all they hurt in order to be together even though they really didn't think things through and both are just a little bit selfish. I thought the girl was selfish and Jon thought the boy was stupid for not just moving his damn independent furniture business to the U.K. He kept saying, "Sack up and move, you idiot!" to the tv.

Madelyn had recommended it as a really good movie, because it made you feel something.

I spent the rest of the day trying to sit as close to Jon as possible. I probably hugged him more yesterday than I had in the last week. The long-distance scenes were sad.

Jon spent the rest of the day angry. He hates films in which the character very clearly doesn't do what the right thing to do is (tell the truth, just break up with the girl already or move to be with the one he loves.) and spends the rest of the movie suffering for apparently no good reason. Additionally, he ABHORS movies in which the main character is with a perfectly nice and lovely person and then just happens to meet *the one* and dumps that perfectly nice person.

So we had to watch the rest of Season 3 Sons of Anarchy to get him back in good spirits. Then poof, the day was over.


yippie-kai-yay, mf
In which I finally make the time to watch Die Hard.



Saturday, November 24, 2012

i'd rather be working

I skipped shopping to work on Black Friday. I feel like I got just about the same amount of work done as I did that night my brother and I stayed outside Best Buy in the cold for a tv that we ended up returning.

a long, cold post about a long, cold night


Black Friday shopping is pretty much dead to me, now.

Friday, November 23, 2012

I made sure not to say anything until his show was over

Tonight was the last of Jon's five-show run. And it was SOLD OUT! It was great. I know I'm biased, but it really was very good.

I'm very proud of him.

Unrelated, I have magical powers:

curse of the spotted tongue
In which I wonder if the old wive's tale about being able to curse people applies to me and my freckled tongue. (For you, Ale).



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, November 22, 2012

thanksgiving with a side of cheese

Happy Thanksgiving! We celebrated with my mom's famous spicy turkey and all kinds of other sides, and finished the meal with Jon's famous pie.

In the middle, we enjoyed a little snack on this:

 
 It's called a Raclette, a grill from Switzerland/France where you can grill up some veggies on top, and there are these little drawers that slide in underneath, in which you can melt cheese to top them with.

Apparently the word Raclette comes from the French word "to scrape," because you scrape the melted cheese off onto your plate.

A big plus is that I was able to find actual Raclette-brand cheese when I was up in Wisconsin for training. It melts like a dream; as though it was made for this kind of thing. 

 And it was delicious!

Too bad we were so stuffed from all the other delights to discover what else this bad boy could do. I'm thankful to have opportunities to try new things, enjoy the company of family and good friends and for overall health and happiness. Also, a shout out to cc, who gave us this thing more than a year ago--we love it!




Wednesday, November 21, 2012

keep 'em close

It's the day before Thanksgiving and I know my mom and Jon will have cooked scrumptious food tomorrow and I do NOT have to work (a miracle!), which warms the Dr. Pepper-flavored Icee center of my heart. My brother is not coming home, but will be in St. Louis. Incidentally, his teddy bear is also in St. Louis, probably stuffed in the back of his closet behind his golf clubs. You'd think he'd give someone who's been around since the very beginning a little more respect.

old friend
In which comfort really does come in the form of a raggedy old bear.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

perspective

I've been wallowing in the sadness that I'm not naturally inclined to perform the tasks required for my job and how it feels like one long torturous neverending semester of calculus, during which all the other students grasp the concepts immediately and I'm furiously trying to keep up (Ale, remember the nightmare that was Enriched Physics in high school?) or at least fake like I understand until the test, but in this case there is no test because it is Real Life.

Then Jon tells me his instructor (who beat breast cancer) found out that her cancer is back.


Now I feel like a selfish jerk for whining about my stupid problems. Because, jeeze, shut up, Cadiz.

sometimes prayers trump privacy, mom
In which my mom gets cancer cut out. And it has stayed out, thank God.

Monday, November 19, 2012

reindeer in the night

This weekend, My brother was in town to stand up in a wedding. Only by coincidence was I able to catch up with him for about half an hour last night over Portillo's hot dogs and cheesy fries. He drove back to St. Louis today while I was at work.

Jon and I are going to spend Christmas and New Year's with his family on the West Coast. My brother and his girlfriend, M, will be coming up here to be with my parents. So I probably won't get to enjoy my brother rolling his eyes at me until sometime in 2013.

But at least we can start getting into the mood for the season, as the Christmas music is already all over the radio! While I love holiday songs as much as the next girl, even I can admit that before Thanksgiving is a bit premature.

the most wonderful time of the year
In which my college roommate, pp, confiscated my carefully recorded Christmas tapes while we were moving in, "to preserve her sanity."

Sunday, November 18, 2012

unsupervised

A few weeks ago, everyone at work got a bag full of candy for halloween (team-building stuff that means well but really, no one has time for). All these weeks I have been so well-behaved and only ate one or two pieces, even though it was calling to me from the drawer every time I needed a Post-It.

I've been in the office today and it's a ghost town. As usual when I am alone with access to my phone and the Internet, it's been tough to focus. So the siren song of that dang bag of candy kept cooing me to open the drawer. No one would have been the wiser, but I feel guilty, so I must confess: I ate the candy. ALL of it. In practically one sitting.

I wish I could say the sugar rush made me more productive, but sadly it made me just want to go home. 

when your boss dreams about your boyfriend
In which my old boss had a dream about trick-or-treating with Jon dressed like Aquabats before Jon moved here (they have similar taste in music). 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Yep, still hate shopping

I spent the day shopping. By myself. What a nightmare. By store number three, I completely stopped even going near the pants. None of them seemed worth the effort of removing my clothes to try on.

I feel like "Some things never change" should be the tagline of this blog.

brought to you by the letter P
In which I list the ridiculous requirements needed for me to buy a pair of pants. Here are some highlights:

a really good pair of pants:

* isn't peek-a-boo from the back of the waist
* isn't too loose in the back end
* isn't too thin where you have to worry too much about your choice of undergarment
* has a smooth zipper or reliable button fly (won't pop open at all times)
* doesn't create a 'p-pocket' in the crotch when you sit down -- insinuating there is something inside standing at attention
* doesn't climb up anywhere near places it shouldn't
* doesn't make noise during walking
* doesn't get shiny after being ironed even at a low setting
* isn't a lint magnet
* doesn't look too short when you cross your legs
* doesn't look raggedy after one washing
* will make you look svelte
* will make you look taller
* will enhance or detract from whatever you have that is lacking or abundant
* will not be useless if your body weight changes 6 ounces one way or the other
* will not be out of style tomorrow
* can not be found on the 13-year-olds standing at the bus stop
* does not have something written across the booty
* does not cost three times its value because of the name on the tag
* makes you feel like a million bucks.


Friday, November 16, 2012

you'll see what you want to see

Workflows.....or Work Blows? You make the call.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

my yoga instructor is a mind reader


My yoga instructor looks a lot to me like my brother-in-law Joe, who is married to Sister-in-law M (not to be confused with Madelyn). Mostly because of the features on his face and the way he moves his mouth and tilts his head when he's thinking about what he's going to say next and the color of his hair and the way he gestures with his hands. Granted, people often do not agree with me when I say a person looks like somebody else, but it doesn't matter because that is how I see it. And that is why, in my head, I call him "Faux-Joe" even though I know his name is Paul.

Anyway, Faux-Joe has this creepy way of saying things that mirror my thoughts--in real time--such as "Even if you have an itch, try your best to stay still" just as I was contemplating scratching my neck, or "don't get distracted by adjusting your clothing. That is not important" as I'm about to pull down the back of my shirt before everyone behind me gets a look at the waistband of my undies. One time I was in final relaxation (where you lie on your back and are not supposed to move at all), but I was absolutely fuming about something from earlier. Everyone was silent, and I know I wasn't making any noise except screaming in my head what I *should* have said to the person who made me mad. Faux-Joe comes to stand over me, picks up one arm at a time, shakes it around, replaces it on the floor, then adjusts my neck and pushes on my shoulders, leans down and whispers kind of sternly, "RELAX!"

That freaked me out a bit.

See, I have this thing where sometimes I'm in a crowded elevator or a train having a judge-y or nasty thought about someone and think to myself, "Self, just watch, that is the one person in the world who can read your mind, and she just heard you think she has the ugliest haircut you've ever seen. Don't you feel bad?" Maybe it's some kind of self-policing to keep my thoughts in check.

So of course I've decided Faux-Joe can hear what I'm thinking. I've been in his class for almost a year now, and I am used to his routine, so I don't have to concentrate as hard to keep up with what's next. But he still calls me out on mind-wandering and hair fixing. You know, generally, to the whole class. This is going to sound bizarre, but sometimes I think things like, "Faux-Joe, what is wrong with you? You have been losing a lot of weight. You are disappearing. I hope you don't have a serious illness." Or "Faux-Joe, where were you last week? That replacement lady was way too New-Agey and she wore a headset."

Faux-Joe never lets on that he can read my thoughts. He is that good. But sending telepathic messages helps distract me from calculating how little a cushion my yoga mat will be when I fall down on my face if we don't come out of this pose soon.

As you can see, poses I can pull off. It's the quieting of the mind that has always been tricky.

speaking of instructors,
more than conjugation
In which I learned more than just grammar from my continuing education Spanish teacher.










Wednesday, November 14, 2012

my hair is down to my waist and i don't own a hair dryer

So I'm considering doing this again:

shorn
In which I chopped off 21 inches so someone could enjoy a sometimes frizzy, sometimes pretty wig. In "Mexican Girl" brown (according to my friend Jackie, who is a Mexican girl).

Is it bad that the only thing holding me back from making the cut is the worry that I won't be able to keep my hair wrangled at the gym?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

right-brain spy undercover in the land of the left

In my seventh-grade English class, we took a brain hemisphere test. It was pretty comprehensive and had more than 100 questions. I distinctly remember this because Mrs. Johnson (Johnston? I don't remember her being nice) called my score out as being odd because of all the questions, my answer correlated to either "Right Brain" or "Both." I did not answer a single question with a "Left Brain" answer.

Telling.

I only applied to one college--I couldn't decide what I wanted to do with my life and I saw a book with a grid for the amount of different majors different schools offered, and that school offered the most options. I hadn't even looked at a brochure, let alone visited campus. Those years were amazing and I have never regretted that decision.

I finally decided on a career, got a pretty cool internship and spent 10 years doing what I set out to do. And then suddenly I was laid off. And again. And again. And again. The industry was tanking. I had worked very hard to get where I was, and it was extremely difficult to walk away. But someone had to pay the mortgage.

I got a job in healthcare. Nobody cared about my previous accomplishments or what it took me to get them. I had to start at the bottom.

Slowly, I moved up, and now I find myself in an opportunity for a job that doesn't come very naturally to me. I look to my left and I see someone who majored in Math. I look to my right and see someone who majored in Statistics. I go to training and breeze through the lessons because I learn best by reading. The rest of the class barely looks at the books but jumps into the system and *figures* it out by playing around with trial and error. I write everything down and clutch onto my notebook like a safety blanket. It's like being a Snufalupagus at a princess party.

I have to figure out how to make this work for me. And things are getting better. Maybe I'm even learning to think like a Left-brainer. Thinking about this, I took another Right Brain/Left brain quiz:

Right Brain/ Left Brain Quiz
The higher of these two numbers below indicates which side of your brain has dominance in your life. Realising your right brain/left brain tendancy will help you interact with and to understand others.
Left Brain Dominance: 8(8)
Right Brain Dominance: 14(14)
Right Brain/ Left Brain Quiz


Some things just never change.


oh, what a feeling! toyota
In which I just knew about some things--and made a major life decision--based on a "feeling." I think that was even one of the left/right-brain questions.


Monday, November 12, 2012

the problem with parking: reprise!

So in seven years of NaBloPoMo, I don't recall missing a day. Until yesterday. This post will be post-dated till 11:59 just so my OCD self will not go nuts looking at the list later, but we all know the truth: I dropped the ball. It happens.

So here is my collection of parking woes from back when I had to drive downtown, park for two hours, sneak out of the big 5p.m. meeting, wait in line for 40 min to get into the lot, not get an official lunch break but eat whenever and stay in the dungeon till all hours. If you can believe it, I truly was thankful for that job.

2005: a review
In which I complain about parking. Here is a taste:

the problem with parking -- vol 3 (july 9, 2005)

the problem with parking is that, when you're in a hurry and you've been trolling for a spot for 10 minutes and finally find one that's dangerously close to an intersection and you accidentally move up too far, another driver can *claim* to think that you were signaling to turn, not park, and then pull a fried-green-tomatoes move on your ass.

then he'll just shrug his shoulders as you contemplate giving him the finger, wasting the entire appropriate finger-giving window, and you end up having to park down the street six blocks. that spot had been right in front.

you just come away wondering where the hell Tawanda is when you need her.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veterans' Day

Yesterday, Jon and I were driving past this lovely area in the town where I grew up. We passed a tremendous hill that I've only ever known as "Sled Hill." My mom never allowed us to sled there because of all the kids she'd see come into the hospital with broken bones from bouncing down Sled Hill each winter. We were so jealous of all the fun people without paranoid mothers had flying down that hill in their snowpants when we had to make do with the wimpy retention-pond ditch near our house.

Of course it's hardly time for sledding--the temperature was 68 degrees here with no snow in sight. But as Sled Hill came into sight, instead of grass we saw an army of crisp United States flags flapping in the wind. There was a small path in the center, and people were walking up the hill into the sea of red, white and blue. It was amazing, 2012 flags in all. Beautiful and majestic.

It's amazing how an image can stay with you forever and bring on such emotion. Thank you, service people of our military. For all that you have given and all that your families have sacrificed and all that you continue to do to to protect our freedom.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Madison

This week I was in Wisconsin for further training. My head did not explode as much as it usually does when I go to these intense classes. I chalk that up to some of the knowledge being absorbed in my bones. I hope that is the case.

We went out to downtown Madison one night, and I have to say, I enjoyed Nepali food. I don't have pics of the meal, but I do have one of the Capitol.



If you look closely, there's some political commentary chalked onto the sidewalk. I love college towns.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, November 09, 2012

beginnings

Hey, remember seven (!) years ago when I started this blog and I worked in a dungeon doing reports? Sometimes that feels like a long long LONG time ago, and sometimes it feels like it just a couple of summers back.

When I get frustrated and overwhelmed and have too much on my plate that hurts my brain, I just find more stuff to do. I guess the busier I am, the less time I have to think about how busy I am. But that is tiring, so I am going to bed early.

I leave you with this, my paranoid nightmare about being murdered and my dismembered parts being left in a janitor closet to rot by a one-eyed psycho. No one would even hear me scream.

So yes, I keep extra busy to distract my mind, because this is the kind of stuff it comes up with when left unattended.

show this to the police when you don't hear from me

<br>
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Thursday, November 08, 2012

When I was in elementary school, they had this contest called "Odyssey of the Mind."*

In fourth grade, the challenge was to build something that you put into motion and, as far as I can remember, set off a mousetrap, have a raw egg drop like ten feet without breaking and put out a candle. I remember racking my brain to try and figure this out and then having my dad hovering over me working with the candle while I made a mess and slapped together some contraption. My thing totally didn't work; it'd do the candle, but then the egg would break. Or the mousetrap would go off and then candle would stay bright. It was a mess. I don't have to tell you that I did not win.

This girl named Sarah F. won, and her stuff totally worked. I think she had a wooden board with a curvy groove in it that the egg rolled down, triggering the mousetrap and somehow putting out the candle. Not to be a hater--kids totally accused me of having help from my mom in first grade when we had to make a hat and I totally did that all by myself--but that matte-black paintjob looked awfully professional for a 9-year-old. I'm just saying.

In fifth grade, I was determined to at least place. As soon as I heard what the challenge was, I started trying to figure out the best way I could build a contraption that would be powered by a brick, travel 25 (or more?) feet and pop a balloon. I had all kinds of ideas, but none seemed good enough to beat Sarah F. I worried about this all week.

So the night before the competition, I still had nothing. And the hourglass was emptying fast. By 8 p.m. I had even frittered away any opportunity for my mom to take me to a hardware store. I was shaking in my boots.

I threw about 12 hissyfits, stomping up and down the stairs and whining about having no ideas. My parents tried to help, but that would just make me more frustrated. Finally I gave up. Sarah was going to win it again that year, I guessed. But I couldn't show up empty handed.

I started rummaging around the house. I found a brick in the backyard that was used to prop up the gutter drain. I took the blue skateboard that I begged and begged to get from Santa and would ride approximately six times throughout my entire life. I dismantled an old window-insulation frame in the basement and took two metal sides. And I got a fat but sharp needle from my nani's old sewing box.

It was really late at this point, but I took some duct tape, made a V with the window frame pieces, attached the needle to the front of the skateboard where the V came together, and I covered that muddy brick with some tinfoil. Honestly, I can't remember whether I even tested the contraption before taking it to school the next day.

I got there and everyone had their projects ready. Sarah's was so crazy! It was this big wooden thing with wheels and a pulley thing attached to the brick--she pushed down on the brick and it made the wheels go. And I think it was painted all kinds of red-white-and-blue stars and stripes or something. Some other people had elaborate stuff, too, but of course I can't remember them because I was so hell bent on beating Sarah and pretty sheepish about my own pathetic entry.

We lined all our contraptions behind the line (some way farther back because they needed momentum) and one by one, we gave them a go.

I went toward the end; I remember being in a panic that morning because everyone else's was so much more elaborate than what I had. So I drew on my tinfoil-wrapped brick to make it look like an chubby square astronaut. And when it was my turn, I made up a silly story about how the astronaut had to jump in his duct-tape ship and take off into the galaxy and defeat the balloon aliens. Or something. I stood about 5 feet behind my skateboard and tossed that brick onto the skateboard--it landed up in the V and propelled the whole thing across the line.

Wouldn't you know it, the duct-tape spaceship sailed across the room and popped a balloon. It was the only entry that actually completed the required tasks. Sarah's stars and stripes didn't even make it halfway.

My halfassed, slapped-together, madeup contraption won first place! They even said my name over the P.A. to the entire school!

It was so awesome, I remember it clearly 23 years later.

To tell you the truth, the only times in my life when I felt like I was doing well at my job have been when I have been put in a seemingly impossible situation with a limited amount of resources and I had to make the best of it to get the job done. It happened with deadlines in my main career and it happened with the insanity of a busy hospital in my last position. Having too much time to think seems to fog up my brain, I guess.

Maybe that's why I'm so frustrated these days. It seems like the logical, mathematical side of my brain has gone from hibernation to marathon running. There are days when I stare at my burgeoning to-do list and don't even know how to go about starting any of those tasks, which were all due last week. And then I waste time worrying about all that I have yet to do. It is a very big project, with thousands of tiny puzzle pieces that have to fit perfectly or big chunks won't work. But because the buzzer doesn't go off till next April, I haven't worked up enough frenetic energy to kick my brain into gear.

Or maybe I am just overwhelmed and having a bad week.


Speaking of fourth grade:
you just can't square dance on the beach
In which I realize that apparently NOT everyone has to learn square-dancing in school!





*Apparently this is a big thing with a lot of different categories. I never realized it was so complicated until I started researching it just now.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

vote


11.6.2012



I posted this elsewhere earlier, but seriously: Watching election returns makes me wonder if this is what my brother and Jon feel like when their teams are competing for a championship.



This morning I went to the good old elementary-school gymnasium and, as expected, they couldn't find my name (dang apostrophe--they alphabetize it somewhere else every year). But I waited it out and they finally located my ticket. This always happens.
primary punch
In which I was ticked they changed my polling location and then couldn't find my name; I left without voting.

show a little humanity. oh and VOTE
and
"nothing like watching CNN with 125,000 of my best friends"
In which Jon, Jasmine and I stood around Grant Park for hours during the last election. And it was worth it--the energy of so many people happy all at the same time was absolutely amazing.
So many things have changed since that night in 2008. We'll have to see how it shakes out, but perhaps one thing will remain the same.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

you only have a few seconds to decide what to save

A few months ago where we live, they replaced the smoke detectors in each unit and the alarms in the public areas. This building is old; I'd guess it was built in the '60s. But these are some fancy-pants alarms, the kind that can cause headaches at best and hearing loss at worst. And the other night while Jon was watching the Lakers wipe the floor with Detroit, that alarm went off. It was so loud my ear canals began to throb after just 30 seconds.

Full disclosure: I burnt some toast or something awhile back and set off the alarm, but Jon was able to disarm it after a few seconds. This time, it kept blaring and blaring. Jon didn't budge from the couch.

I started pacing. I'm superstitious and paranoid, and my mind began to swirl with visions of the apartment below being engulfed in flames and how we were about to fall through the floor to our deaths. After a few minutes of my worrying, Jon agreed to go outside with me and sit in the car until the drama was over. I would have kept at it, because there was no way I would have left him to burn alone.

We had on our coats and our hats, grabbed our phones and our wallets, and were headed to the door when I took a glace back into the apartment. So much stuff that I love: Books and cherished cards, gadgets. My beloved couch. And the photographs, oh the photographs! If the place truly was burning to the ground, what would I be able to save?

In the end I made sure I had on my engagement (a family heirloom) and wedding rings and took a shoebox full of old black-and-white photos from the Motherland that I've been meaning to scan. But I had a sick feeling about potentially leaving the rest of my life to burn.

There was no fire. Three trucks full of professionals showed up to say that someone had triggered the alarm near the outside entrance--we're willing to bet it was a smoker who didn't want to go stand in the cold. People were clutching their animals, huddled in blankets taken from their sofas and covering their ears to block out that insane alarm. And then it stopped. We all trudged back to our apartments. I ran my hand over the cool leather of the couch, thankful it hadn't been reduced to a charred pile of ash.

For a second, I had to imagine losing everything. Unfortunately, it happens to people all the time. And thanks to Hurricane Sandy, some on the Eastern Seaboard actually have lost everything recently. It must be so horrible to see places you love decimated or simply swept away. I had really been hoping it would turn out to be closer to Irene than Katrina. And now they are bracing themselves for another storm.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all who have been affected by this storm.
How we can help

Monday, November 05, 2012

clase de cocinar

Several years ago, Jon gave me a gift certificate to a cooking school in the city, hoping we could take a class together. It was so sweet and we have been meaning to schedule a class...

This year, I decided to flip it around and give it back to him (kicking in the extra cost because obviously the prices had gone up in all this time) for his birthday. He was happy that I used a gift certificate for a change.

We signed up for "Date Night: Two to Tango" at The Chopping Block. We were going to learn how to grill steak, make our own papas fritas (French fries), chimichurri, dulce de leche flan and--the one I knew he'd be most excited about--chicken empanadas. Unfortunately, the class started at 7 and we rolled up at 7:25 thinking we were five minutes early. Whoops.

Jon was parking the car, so I ran upstairs to the kitchen area and stood by a chopping-block island that looked like it had space for two more. There was an ridiculously thin girl with a nasty disposition yelling at her dude, who was glowering over the stove. She looked like she wanted to leave. Both of them saw I was there and turned their backs. Classy.

No one approached me for nearly five minutes. Then Jon appeared, and one of the Chef's helpers took him aside and recommended against joining the antisocial couple, who had decided to stop arguing and were fumbling around trying to catch up.

We moved over to another island, where a very lovely couple close to our age were finishing up their caramel. Chef came over and used their stuff as an example. All we had missed was making the caramel flan top and mixing the pre-measured ingredients. The rest of the class was fun, and the food was yummy! The rude couple even came over to ask some questions because the instructor kept using us an example (the entire rest of the class was made up of people our parents' age who were quite obviously hammered).


I think Jon was trying to look intense. But the empanadas were delicious!

Later as we sat to eat our creations, we discovered the our cooking partners had only been married 29 days, so we showed wedding photos. We warned them that 1-year-old cake really doesn't hold a candle to the wedding-day cake, but they had been smart and ate the top layer after their reception. Apparently our new friends had originally been paired with the antisocial couple, who scrunched up their faces and said "We'd really rather do this by ourselves." Even though we were seated at benches at a table, they both managed to turn their backs to the rest of us by sitting at the corner. They ate their dinner off a single plate, got up and left. 


photos by and Jonathan Muller
 Steak! I wish the fries were crispier, but they were tasty!

We were very lucky to have been partnered with the nice couple--I think it wouldn't have been nearly a nice time with the pair of grumpy pants, who didn't speak to anyone the entire evening. If we do this again, we definitely want to bring friends! And maybe a bottle of wine. 

This is something I will definitely be making again soon!

I didn't forget about the flashback:
3!
In which I celebrate three years since Jon and I discovered each other. That number is now up to 7 (and counting). I'm so glad cooking together doesn't make us fight. Or antisocial.


Sunday, November 04, 2012

weekend off!

They were doing upgrades on the servers this weekend, so that meant we couldn't work. Can you believe that? Amazing news! I've been working a lot of weekends and will probably continue to do so until our project ends next summer. So of course I had made a LOT of plans for all that extra free time.

That was stupid. I should have had only one plan: Lie around the house watching television.

One big thing I actually did accomplish, however, was to make a bit of headway on baby gifts that I haven't had any time for--one of the babies came two weeks early, too (we went and saw the little munchkin yesterday, what a cutie). I haven't even picked up my knitting needles in more than three months. That makes me tremendously sad.

Best First Mate
In which I reveal that Jon is my secret crafting weapon.


Saturday, November 03, 2012

paying the farmer is expensive

Here's the most compelling reason why Jon and I will not be making a Whole30 diet a lifestyle change: what slimmed down the most was our bank accounts.

Once we realized we could not shop at "Whole Paycheck" grocery store for everything, we tried to make it a mix of local grocers, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.

Even then, during the month of October, Jon spent about $294.00 and I spent $646.60 (that's 940.60 for people who aren't into mental math). That is almost three times more than we normally spend a month on food and more than some people pay in RENT.

But I guess medical bills for being sick and feeling yucky from eating junk end up being more expensive than high-quality food. That's what we're telling ourselves. And maybe now--before we have a mortgage and a college fund to throw money at--we can get used to spending on healthier food so it won't be such sticker shock when we try to do that for a kid in the future.

What an eye-opener.

Here's a flashback that doesn't have much to do with groceries, but it is about shopping:

there's a reason it's called Victoria's SECRET
in which I explain how it would be so nice if I could buy underwear without the company of strangers.


Friday, November 02, 2012

Whole30: the recap

So Jon and I completed the Whole30 a few days ago.

I didn't think I was going to make it! No added sugar? No bread? NO CHEESE!?!

Jon was waiting for this *burst* of energy we were supposed to get, but he was disappointed. I listed a few benefits I got in the update post from the middle of the month (less tired, not dizzy at the gym, nicer skin, etc). Also? I lost some weight,* too.

But here's the biggest one: my mouth is not hungry 24/7.

See, I have this thing where I can have a really filling, delicious meal, but then ten minutes later--even if my belly is bulging and I can hardly move from the couch, my mouth has a taste for something else. It's bizarre! I try to drink water, or wait 20 minutes, but it's there. All the time. This leads to way overeating and ridiculous snacking. And it was getting to be a problem.

But cutting out all this stuff from my diet? Made the cravings go away.

Not sure what it was, but I do consume a lot of dairy--yogurt, milk in my tea, lots of cheese. I have a feeling that hormones in that stuff has something to do with it.  But I'm no doctor.

Last night (Jon's birthday) we went out for hibachi/sushi and dove into bowls of rice. The idea was to introduce one forbidden food first to see how our bodies would handle it. Right away, we both felt really full. My tummy was not immediately pleased and there was more um, air, in my system, but otherwise I did all right. But I realized I would have been just fine eating the veggies and the meat and just a little rice.

This afternoon I had a burrito bowl with brown rice and felt the same way--I would have been way more satisfied with double the veggies and half the rice. My stomach wasn't in pain, but felt a little weird. I was scared to eat any candy--especially with the overflowing bowls all around at this time of year--but I had a mini PayDay today and it was SCRUMPTIOUS. I'm afraid once I eat chocolate, I won't be able to stop.

Like I said on Day 18, this simply can't be a way of life for me. It's just way too hard on my friends and family--being on a weird diet not for allergy reasons makes hosts feel bad and dining out really tricky. But it really made me stop and think about what I'm putting into my body. And I will definitely be making some changes, like less pasta and rice, more cups of tea with coconut or almond milk instead of cow's milk, and way more vegetables.

As hard as it was for Jon and I, the person who suffered the most this past month was my poor mother. It was absolutely KILLING her to not be able to send over some food. She even researched the diet and made a very tantalizing homemade chicken soup, but looked crushed when I told her we couldn't have peas. I think she felt a little better when I picked them out and ate the rest in front of her. But only slightly. Because she's a graduate of the school that preaches, "Food is love," and a mommy who can't share love is a sad mommy indeed.

the ones that won't let you down
When I was stuck in the dungeon on Thanksgiving, my mom cooked up a mini-feast just for me, and the family brought it 35 miles into the city for me. My mom said, "the turkey just wouldn't go down my throat knowing that you weren't having any."


*I lost half an inch from my bust, waist and the widest part of my hips (I only had "before" measurements required for sewing). I will probably weigh myself when I get back to the gym where I had taken that particular measurement a few weeks before this experiment.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

here we are again

I'm certainly not one to break tradition, if I can help it. So for the SEVENTH(!) YEAR IN A ROW, I will be participating in the NaBloPoMo, posting every day of November.

Currently, I spend double-digit hours a day staring into a screen and looking for answers--even on the weekend--so I've decided that this month I will be doing 30 *flashback* posts. They will be new, of course, but I hope to reference, expand on, update or otherwise re-run what I like to look back on at do they read obituaries in hell? with fondness.

So it's only fitting that I go all the way back to the very first post on this blog, March 7, 2005:

pumped up 
In which I pontificate about filling air in my tires and how I'm glad I know how to do it.

I didn't really know what blogging was about. Heck, like 1% of all people had even heard of a web log in the spring of 2005. But I randomly found a blog called Tequila Mockingbird and just loved what she was doing. So I thought I'd give it a whirl.

If I had any idea it would bring me closer to a friend in NY than I was with any of my local friends at the time, introduce me to a bunch of wonderful people--including my husband--and provide a great way to win bets about when things happened over the last few years, I probably would have done a LOT more editing.

Let me know if you're participating and I'll try to comment as much as I can. C'mon, we both know it: Comments are the coal in the old blogging locomotive.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

happy 35th, husband

I could wax poetic about how sweet, wonderful, loving and thoughtful you are, but anyone reading this blog for 20 minutes would have already gathered that I think you're the frosting on my cake.

What I will say is that I know you love me, and that is something I sometimes don't make easy, especially on days when I have had 2 hours and 47 minutes of sleep, neverending frustrating meetings and a very short fuse. Your ability to hold in your words and see past my stomping around and taking my bad day out on you is worth so much more than any amount of Valentine bouquets, fancy dinners or mushy cards (though your cards are pretty good).

And the fact that you put yourself on a relatively insane diet for a full 30 days and did not cheat with even the thinnest string of cheese (or anything else for that matter) JUST to support me because I was doing it? I don't have words.

I'd be making you a triple-decker peanut butter and grape-jelly sandwich at midnight if I didn't worry it'd make you sick after not having any of the ingredients for the last month. Or if I thought I could emulate your technique.

So instead I blow you 35 kisses. Happy birthday Jon.



Monday, October 29, 2012

flashback

People on the East Coast are buckling down with their supplies and their candles for the possibility of a Hurricane-ish storm called Sandy.

A little more than a year ago, Jon and I were flying into New York to have a fun pre-wedding weekend with Ri/C and Highcon at his Manhattan loft apartment. We (and the rest of the island) cleared the shelves of the local CVS and Walgreens and holed up in his place drinking and playing cards.

I didn't appreciate it at the time, but I really needed a weekend AWAY from wedding planning, and being forced to spend it with some of my favorite people, arguing over Monopoly on the iPad, trying to figure out what is so great about Jersey Shore and crowing about being crowned "President" did the trick to get me back on my game. It was a great time.

Last night--just 14 months later--Highcon was in town. So we got together again (this time Kai and her husband were able to make it). But it was a little different, because:

Ri and C have a BABY! When we were in New York, Baby RiC was about the size of a grape--and we didn't *officially* know she existed until we were leaving for the airport to go home (I suspected but didn't want to ask).

Ri, C and RiC moved, and they ended up in the subdivision across the street from us! And while we've all had condos and apartments, there really is something crazy about people so close to us (also our age) who have a house with a driveway and a patio. Wow.

Changes aside, there truly is something warm and golden about keeping in touch with people you've known longer than you didn't know them (does that make sense?). Standing around the kitchen island, washing dishes, we wondered what our 12-, 16- or 22-year-old selves might have said if they could get a glimpse of that scene.

None of us could even imagine.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

i'm pretty sure this guy knew his time was up




Chocolate cake topped with chocolate mousse, dipped in chocolate sauce, topped w icing eyes. If I could purchase and deliver this to Ri and C without giving into temptation, I have more willpower than I thought.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Whole30: Day 18

I'm getting older. And I sure am feeling it.

I don't bounce back easily anymore. I have to prop my head up with a stapler every day at 2:30 p.m. One minute of jumping rope makes me feel like falling down.  My real-people clothes (read: not scrubs) are too snug* to be sitting in them all day. Also? I have a hard time falling asleep and an excruciating time getting out of bed in the morning. My monthly ladyfriend brings the pain and at least one pimple. And I don't even want to think about what would happen if I tried to pull an all-nighter. All of those were getting me down.

So when I heard about the Whole30, I thought I'd give it a whirl. See if at the very least I could stop that vomitous, lightheaded feeling while jumping up and down for 60 seconds (for awhile I was convinced I was going to drop dead of a heart attack).

There's a ton of stuff on the Interwebs about this, so I'll just say the very basics:
  1. No grains
  2. No added sugar (fruit is ok)
  3. No dairy. Not even a pat of butter
  4. No legumes or beans
  5. No soy
  6. No peanuts 
  7. No peas
  8. No potatoes
  9. No alcohol
Way harsh, Tai, right?

Shockingly, it's been going pretty well. Despite his distaste for (so) many vegetables, Jon is doing it with me for solidarity. I have not cheated (except for when I realized the splash of Coconut milk I was putting in my tea has some cane sugar in it). As far as I know, he hasn't cheated, either. And now that we have made it 18 days, there's no reason not to go all the way to 30.

This is what I've noticed so far:
  1. I fall asleep within 10 minutes, max. 
  2. I don't feel nauseated or lightheaded during or after working out. 
  3. Jon says my skin looks better (didn't get a pimple this month). 
  4. Ladyfriend was kinder and had a shorter stay!
  5. Still hard to wake up, but that's been a problem since I was like 8. 
  6. I actually like eating more fruit (even the occasional banana**) 
  7. No 2:30 p.m. slump!
  8. Waistband is a bit loose on some of the pants (haven't tried Ring Of Fire yet).
  9. And the biggie: I have ZERO problem sitting next to my coworkers as they eat McDonald's french fries, chocolate cake or other treats that would normally make me want some. This was unfathomable to me when I started it. Passing the bakery or noodle shop is a whole different story.
Jon and I have been cooking everything from scratch, using fresh vegetables and trying to find the healthiest meats we can afford (we are completely broke this month).  Everything has been delicious so far and my coworkers are curious to see what I bring in every day. We just had dinner of pork marinara over julienned zucchini (I know how pretentious that sounds, but it was really tasty). 

I am terrified about what is going to happen as we reintroduce the banned stuff at the end of the month (which coincides with Jon's birthday). I've heard there are headaches and tummyaches and internal plumbing issues. But it's a great way to figure out what a person's body is truly sensitive to-- bring back stuff one at a time--and see where the tiredness is coming from. For me, I have a feeling it's from hormones in dairy and meat. Not sure what Jon is going to find out. We will see.

One thing is clear: I don't think we can live this way all the time. Jon not baking is just depriving the world of heaven in a cupcake wrapper. And this diet leaves zero room for grabbing something quick and easy. Even steaming up some green beans takes prep and planning. But we have no-prep stuff like boiled eggs in the fridge for a quick snack. It's been a lot of meat, though, which made me realize I was pretty much eating vegetarian before. Also, going out to eat with friends can be a little awkward and make friends feel bad. That I can most certainly live without. Not to mention all the additional dishes to wash.

Above all that, I don't want to live in a world where pizza makes me sick. Let's hope that doesn't happen. Only 11 more days until I find out.


*PP has a friend who calls looking at your belly at the end of the day and being able to see the imprint of the inside button on your office pants "the ring of fire." So apt.

**Anyone who has known me for ten minutes will be shocked because I don't eat bananas. My mom made me eat them every day when I was a kid and I was so over it. But they're not terrible. Don't tell my mother.

Monday, October 01, 2012

nope, that's just where I put away all that string cheese and doughnuts

Yesterday, my coworkers and I walked a 5K for charity. Before the race, three women from my old department told me there is a rumor circulating that I am pregnant.

Naturally, I blame my mother.

Last week one of her friends called her at work to say she was saving baby stuff for me--whenever I got around to it. Even the staplers have ears in that department, so by today everyone had already started placing bets on due dates.

Another factor could be the extra girth I've acquired since I started the new job. I've put on about two newborn babies' (or roughly one and a half non-Indian babies) worth of weight since transitioning from running around the hospital 40 hours a week to sitting in a cubicle for 50 then coming home and sitting around some more. If I have to go up another pant size I think I may kick someone.

However, along with the job I have also transitioned my exercising: I went from halfheartedly doing a yoga DVD at home to sweating down to my scalp at a yoga class that is probably too advanced for me and having my behind handed to me at boot camp four days a week. Sure, I've put on some muscle, but unfortunately my clothes are not fitting better.

This is probably because I come home and eat everything in sight when I exercise--mostly stuff like pasta and rice. I will finish a perfectly good meal and still feel like "my mouth is still hungry; maybe I'll have some string cheese and crackers. Or a bag of chips. Or a sleeve of Oreos. It's totally okay because I just held a 'Bird of Paradise' pose without falling on my head." Hmmm. Also? I'm tired ALL the time, no matter how early I get to bed. Or I lie down and cannot actually sleep until two hours before the alarm. I have a hard time concentrating at work, and all I want to do when I'm not there or at the gym is lounge on the couch and watch tv (ok, that's a lifestyle habit I'm not sure I'm ready to give up). I don't even have the energy for knitting!

A few days ago, while trolling around twitter, I saw that Shalini of Reading and Chickens described herself as eating like a fratboy and then said she wasn't going to do Whole30 because she doesn't like meat. I eat like a fratboy! I've never met a cheeseburger I didn't like! So I got to googling: Basically you can't eat dairy, grains, sugar or much of the other stuff that I seem to be unable to live without. It especially targets stuff with hormones in it--and without going into detail, my body does not react well to non-Cadiz-produced hormones--so maybe there's something to this? I'm going to try it this month. Jon is too, for solidarity. We will see what happens.

I'm hoping to feel better, and maybe drop the weight of at least one infant. I just hope I don't pass out in yoga. Because everyone knows I get my strength from Oreos.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

one of these things is not like the others

I got tired of guessing which shoes were in which boxes. And for that other one, well, there wasn't enough room in the pantry.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

whatever you do, don't puke on her shoes

"So I know we got the t-shirts with his face on them; what are you going to wear underneath?"

"Um, the usual, Mom. Maybe a long-sleeve t-shirt because it's going to be cold."

"No I mean pants. should I wear dress pants?"

"You know this party is in a bar, right? I'm going to wear jeans."

"What kind of shoes?"

"I'm wearing gym shoes, but you can wear sandals--I know your feet get hot sometimes."

"No way! I don't want to get vomit on my feet!"

"What?"

"That's what happens in bars! People drink too much and then they throw up on your shoes."

"Have you ever been to a bar, ma?"

"Of course I have! Remember that one time my friend's son was getting married and she dragged me to her daughter-in-law's Bachelorette party? That was in a bar!"

"Did someone puke on you?"

"No, but she threw up NEAR me. And it splashed!"

"Oh my God Mom, no one is going to throw up on you at my brother's birthday party."

"I probably used up all the paper towels in that bathroom cleaning my feet off--oh my goodness it smelled so bad, too!"

"MOM. I can almost guarantee that no one will throw up anywhere near you at his party. I promise if it looks like it might happen, I will stand in front of you and take the splash."

"Oh and the one who threw up was a grownup lady! You know she was like 50 years old? What disgusting behavior. This is why I don't approve of drinking."

"Nobody is going to make you drink, mother."

"And people weren't looking where they were walking, Cadiz, they were STEPPING in it! It was yuck."

"Ok, then you'd better wear your gym shoes, then."

"I don't care if my feet are hot. I have to protect myself."


Thursday, September 20, 2012

teetering around like a drunken flamingo

I find that it is a good idea to shave my legs immediately after a rigorous workout. Trying to do it the next day--when I can hardly move--is just a disaster.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

they're all around us

"I asked your sister about the 'server mafia.' "

"What did she say?"

"She wanted to know if they'd asked you if it was a special occasion."

"I thought about it when I made the reservation, but then I thought eh, there's no need."

"Then how the heck did he know it was our anniversary? It could have been my birthday, your birthday, the 225th anniversary of the Signing of the Constitution, anything!"

"It was a little creepy."

"Kind of like that time when the girl mailed you the card asking how dinner with my parents went."

"Yeah, that was odd, too."

"I'm telling you--the servers have spies everywhere! She just can't admit it out loud or they'll break her knees."


Monday, September 17, 2012

paper

Growing up, I never really dreamed about the man I was going to marry, but there were a few must-have qualities he'd need to seal the deal: He had to be really good at directions and mathematics (you know, for helping the kids with homework), handy at building and fixing things like my dad, and he also wouldn't mind doing the dishes. In fact, back when everyone who had a blog was writing 100 things about themselves, I basically announced it to the world.
76) my partner will be able to tutor math, enjoy doing dishes and will be good at directions and foot massage. he will also value thoughtfulness and talent and will not be fazed by excessive speeds or lane changes on the highway. when his arms are around me, i will forget my problems.
Little did I know that my life partner was reading that list, and even posted a comment.

But roughly five months after that post, I was picking him up at Midway Airport--aggressively passing and changing lanes, which didn't even make him flinch--and falling in love with him at the top of the Sears Tower. Three years after that post, he gave up balmy Southern California for hot-and-cold Chicago to be with me. Four years after that post, he gave me his great-great grandmother's ring from Germany and asked me to be his wife. And one year ago, today, he held my hands under a gazebo in front of God and everybody and promised to do the dishes for the rest of his life.

If only I had been able to sneak that bit into his vows.

We have to take turns washing the dishes, but it's a small concession given all the stuff that is wonderful about the guy:
  • He doesn't hold it against me if I fall asleep in the middle of a conversation. 
  • He patiently explains the use of any and all gadgetry, often repeating himself without being condescending. I've said it before, he should be an explainer for a living. 
  • In his youth he delivered pizza, which just honed his strong sense of direction.
  • He's loving and thoughtful and sweet to his family. And mine.
  • All the children (and cats) we know are enamored with him. I've finally come to terms with the fact that he will always be the favorite. 
  • He is the most open-minded person I know, and because of him I've realized that not everything is black and white.
  • When I drag him to the fabric store, he doesn't roll his eyes.
  • His faithfulness to athletic teams is unmatched. If he would be half as devoted to me, I'd be a happy woman for life. 
  • He fixes his own car, and the plumbing, and the remote control.
  • The man is an excellent baker. This is good because my idea of measuring ingredients is to shake a little into the pan until it looks right. He uses a kitchen scale. 
  • He loves television as much as I do. And cheese.
You get the gist: I love this man. I'm so happy to be married to him. And I'm still amazed that we were able to find something so right by randomly bumping into each other in the comments section of a blog. I love you, Jon.

Photo by SecondPrint Productions
Let's always be this happy.


 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

thirty

This summer, cc and I took a road trip to St. Louis, where my brother now resides in a cute second-floor walk-up apartment. It's his first solo place, and it was funny to watch him debating whether to get a living-room rug, attempting to caulk the window casing that was letting in ants and even showing off the fancy coffeemaker-with-the-cups that his girlfriend, M, got him as a housewarming present. Actually, it was kind of adorable.

I was in Mother Hen mode, worrying he didn't have enough towels, surveying the neighborhood suspiciously, lecturing him about how frivolous it is to sign up for pricey tv packages when he's only there on the weekends. Cc had to shoot me the "dude, he's a big boy," look at least once an hour. And I get it: The guy jet-sets around the country, drinks heartily, holds down a demanding job and still manages to feed himself and take his medicine every day. Sure, he is a big boy. But I can't help it--whenever I look at him, this is what I see.

Probably sometime in 1984 or 1985. On the lawn of the local college (which apparently has now become a University).

It was after some event, and my friends and their mom were hanging out with us on the lawn until my mother came to pick us up. My brother started getting anxious. He was a stubborn little one, and after he had his mind set there is nothing you could say to convince him to change it. Everyone was trying to soothe him, distract him with jokes or games, but he kept asking when mom was coming. I did the only thing I could think of and picked him up. My arms were sore, but I held on tight and did not put that kid down until she pulled into the parking lot.

It's always been like that. Maybe I feel extra responsible because I prayed so hard for a brother and my mom did a good job convincing me that I summoned him and I could never give him back:
i let my mother deal with the noise and the mess, but if i do say myself, i was damn good. i even got to choose his nickname: mickey mouse, even though they shortened it to mickey. i didn't even get that upset when people fawned all over him instead of me; but if they were hogging, they'd hear it. of course he's gorgeous, you think i'd pick an ugly one? hello! dammit, i did all the work to get this kid, i wasn't about to let some auntie leave her nasty lipstick all over him.
But my brother bought into it too. When he went to the doctor and had to get shots, he often wanted me with him instead of one of the parents. My dad would playfully ask "Whose are you, mommy's or daddy's?" and the kid would say "my sister's" (he's always been very clever). And for years, every time drunk dials were to be made, I was sure to get a ring. Those are the rare times when he's chatty.

While we were in St. Louis, they took us to this place downtown called Rooster (10 different types of bloody Marys!). My brother was nursing his coffee and picking at his French toast, silent as usual. I looked over and saw a black spot on the side of his head that I hadn't seen before--was it a weird mark or some kind of mole? I reached over to touch his face. He jumped away as if my finger was a red-hot iron poker and asked me what the hell I was doing. Cc's eyeroll was practically audible. What? It's not like I licked my finger to clean off his face or something.

Later that day while he was driving the car, I saw Girlfriend M reach over and touch my brother's face in that same spot with the black mark. He turned and smiled at her in just the way that my husband smiles at me when I absently run my hand over his very soft beard. And at that moment it *finally* clicked for me. He really isn't a baby anymore. He's, like, a man. And of course he will be turning to a significant other for reassurances, not us. Which is the way it really ought to be. It just took me a long time to accept it.

Today my brother turns 30. I am so proud of the man that he is. He's intelligent, strong and under all that sarcasm, very kind. The fact that he orchestrated and attended a girls' trip to Las Vegas for my bachelorette party (he was maid of honor) last summer speaks to how much he loves me, too. And when we had that car accident in December, he calmly took charge of the situation while I fell apart like a soggy Kleenex at the thought of nearly killing him.

I may no longer be able to make him feel better by picking him up and squeezing him tight. But I hope he knows that no matter how old we both get, I will always be there for him. And he will never have to be alone.

Happy birthday, brother.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

i looked and i said, "no ma'am"

I am OBSESSED with this. What's not to love? Cute kids, head-bopping beat and after-school snacks. I am not ashamed to say I first heard it on NPR.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Exercise delinquent

I have probably missed two yoga classes since January. So of course, as soon as I went and bragged to the Internets about my dedication to working out, I skipped the gym Monday and yesterday (had to work late and thought the boot camp instructor wouldn't appreciate regurgitated egg curry and birthday cake all over his gym). I will probably have to skip yoga again today because of the dry Margaritaville party. But at least I will be dressed for the festivities.

Don't look too close at the hasty and crooked rouching. Also, let's not talk about the fact that I some seams are 1/4 inch and some are 3 inches. You can't see those from the outside anyway.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

anniversary(ish) dinner

One thing is for sure: While I may go months without posting, I will never give up this blog. It's like that restaurant where you and your husband had your favorite date--maybe you don't often have the energy to get gussied up and drive all the way out there for a night out, but you get there eventually. Because you'll never stop loving it.

So here I am. In two days I'll be 34. Which is crazy. When did it become August? When did it become 2012? Seems like just a few months ago I was sitting in the dungeon clicking "Next Blog" and trying to come up with witty emails so Jon would maybe fall in love with me, move here and let me come up with beautiful Indian names for his future children. But that was seven years, four jobs, three residences and one wedding ago. DANG.

***

Ri and C just closed on a house across the street from our subdivision. They're moving in with their four-month-old next weekend. I knew the crooked claw of suburbia would beckon them back sooner or later.

My brother moved to St. Louis. I pray that is not a permanent situation, because even though I didn't see him often when he lived here (he travels for work) I worry that I will see him even less. I can't describe to you how it feels when the planets align and the whole family is sitting down to a meal together at the old kitchen table and then a rousing game of poorly performed Rock Band. I nearly passed out from contentment. Do regular people have these thoughts? Probably not.

***

My job* is challenging in a wonderful way. But all this "strategizing," "discovering," "figuring out," "designing," "planning," "compromising" all day can really take a lot out of a person. Every night I come home with broke brain (a term I have been trying to get into the lexicon for years). Sometimes I miss being able to walk around and make smalltalk with others without feeling like I'm neglecting my spreadsheets. Then I remember how invigorating it is to be screamed at by three different unhappy people all at once, and I thank my lucky clouds for the silent and colorful comfort of spreadsheets.

I spend most of my evenings watching recorded television and making baby presents because MANY people I know are producing babies. I cannot get enough of the babies, and I am absorbing as many tips as I can for the time when I will have one of our very own (don't get any ideas, that is out on the horizon somewhere).

***

I started exercising in earnest. Granted, it's only been a week, but when all the workout gear you own gets into the hamper in fewer than six days, that is something.

Yoga on Monday and Wednesday, Tuesday and Thursday is "boot camp" (circuit training that goes by so fast you don't realize how hard you're working until you get to the car and have to take a minute before getting in because you don't want to have to clean vomit off the floormats). Friday, Saturday and Sunday are for lying on the couch and whining about how you never realized triceps were necessary for mundane tasks such as the tying of shoelaces.  

Jon is doing bootcamp, too, but he's insane and replaces the yoga with running (yuck to running).

***

In the midst of the craziness of work, I found myself on the department's party-planning committee. The powers that be want to have a "Margaritaville" party and we are supposed to get people to wear Hawaiian gear, do the limbo and a hula hooping contest--in the middle of a week when deadlines are dropping from the sky--oh and there's no alcohol allowed. I told you, it's a challenging job. I am in charge of the Hawaiianwear judging and I have no Hawaiianwear that will zip up the back anymore. So I am trying to sew a dress. Today. Even though I'm too big for this pattern from 2003 and have to figure out how to make it work. I'm nothing if not ambitious, Tim Gunn.

***

One day when my head was spinning from spreadsheets, I took a peek back at the archives of this blog. Here is a snippet from what I wrote on August 14, 2005, the year I started this blog. It was the tail end of a very rough slew of disappointments for me, and if you had told me then what I'm up to now, I never would have believed it (warning, this is back when I refused to capitalize letters while still adhering to all the other grammar rules. I know, I was living on the edge back then).

* it's possible to be in paradise and yet be completely miserable.
* always remember to eat. even if you feel like you're going to puke with every bite.
* you can only soak up so many boxes of kleenex before the pity party gets played out.
* no one but you can tell you what to feel. or think, for that matter.
* everyone has their own crap to take care of. you landed on this earth alone, you're going to leave it alone, so why not learn how to fly solo in between? think of your copilots as bonuses.
* nothing puts your troubles in perspective faster than someone you can't live without going under the knife.
* free alcohol is the most expensive drink. ever. (i saw that at postsecret.blogspot.com)
* no matter what you do to try and straighten it, at the end of the day a pig's tail is always going to be curly (okay, i stole that from my mother).
* there is a grave difference between what you want and what you need.
* your true peeps will somehow be there for you. maybe not right away, maybe not how you'd want them to, but they will stand up when you need them. and sometimes, who they end up being will surprise you.
* anything worth anything is going to be hella hard.
* once-in-a-lifetime opportunities will nearly ALWAYS come up at the worst possible moment. it is a test of your merit and you will either thank your lucky stars or have to shoulder that regret till you're 83.
* sometimes you have to suck it up and do something you're afraid of because you don't know what'll happen. and what may happen may just be what you needed after all. but chickensh*ts would never have found out.
* and most importantly, ALWAYS listen to the little duende in your gut that starts pulling on your intestines like a shirt sleeve at the first sign of trouble. that little goblin will never steer you wrong, but if your ego/heart/logic is yapping too loudly, you’ll never hear what it has to say.



*I work in healthcare. Previously, I was a "fixer," making sure things were running smoothly. Now I've been put on a team that is helping technically and theoretically re-engineer the entire system, hopefully for the better.