Friday, December 31, 2010

Last Day of 2010!

It's the last day of 2010! It makes you look back on your year and wonder where the time has gone. I think especially when you're happy, time flies faster. I know there were years when I wasn't so happy that the days seemed to tick by agonizingly.

I think about how I've spent my last year and the people I've surrounded myself with--I feel extremely lucky to have them all in my life. I think for a long time I've taken them for granted. Things were just handed to me, and my life continued as it were. I began to expect things, and I think I lost sight of how they can be taken away from you in the blink of an eye.

I'm so lucky to have such an amazing family, as dysfunctional as we all are. This past year I've seen a reconciliation between my family over a 13-year-long feud. I can end this year saying that I have a lot of people back in my life that I truly missed, and I plan on working on the relationships to keep it that way. I am lucky enough to have two sets of parents that love me; a sister who is my best friend, an awesome stepbrother, a boyfriend who has absolutely changed my life and the way I look at it. I have an aunt and uncle who have taken me in as one of their own; cousins who have adopted me as their sister, and a few amazing friends who I consider actual family.

I think it's been easy for me to focus on those things that have gone wrong this year. And trust me, there have been some. But the truth of the matter is that I am incredibly lucky to have all of these people in my life, to have a job that I enjoy, to live in a happy home, and to wake up every morning knowing that I have everything I need to survive and be happy in life.

I love you all like family, thank you for being there for me and making my life richer with your sass and awesomeness. I can't wait to see what next year brings for us.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Save the Drama Fo Yo Mama

Drama seems to follow me like a dryer sheet stuck to a Snuggie. And I have a confession to make, dear readers. I have spent the majority of 2010 caught up in other people's business. I have been so busy worrying about what other people are doing, saying, feeling and thinking that I have lost focus on my own goals. I'll tell you this, though--I find myself much happier when I'm able to separate from it.

Much like an unwanted STD, drama manifests itself in one person and makes its way around a group of friends leaving everyone itchy and a little uncomfortable. It's entertaining though, isn't it? Finding out who is divorcing who, who is knocked up, and who is cheating with the dude they met on And with the integration of facebook as the ultimate pot-stirring, paparazzi stalking tool, creating and maintaining drama is as easy as ever.

I have been thinking a lot about what I want for next year. I think what I'd like the most, aside from health, happiness, and safety for my family, is freedom from the stress that drama brings me. I've been making a concerted effort to rid my life of the negativity that drama carries. I've been trying to find some peace, surround myself with positive, loving people, and roll myself in bubble wrap to protect from the stress (or bounce down the stairs if I so choose.)

So my goal for next year is to stop worrying about other people's business, enjoy the people around me, and focus on bettering myself. I think it's time for me to grow up a little, make a solid effort to keep a positive attitude, and switch to liquid fabric softener.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cold Turkey (and Mashed Potatoes)

At a BBQ this summer, solo cup of keg beer in one hand, cheeseburger in the other, I was talking to someone at the party who stopped mid-conversation and said: (get this) "'s that going?", pointing to my stomach. Looking down, I cheerfully replied: "my beer? it's good!" and gave him a look of poignant confusion. Red faced, we both realized what he meant at the same time. And while this hilariously humiliating experience is good for an LOL, I'm hoping it is the motivating factor I need to kick myself into gear.

Normally, I don't go with the stereotypical New Years resolutions; they seem doomed to failure. But with New Years and my 27th birthday right around the corner, it makes me think about my goals. Last year, right before my 26th birthday, I quit smoking cold turkey. I haven't bragged about it, the biggest reason being I didn't want to set myself up for failure if I caved and had a smoke or two while out with friends. But somehow, (and I'm not saying it isn't without its urges!) I have managed to make it almost a year and haven't touched one. And since that was so successful, I feel like I should do something else big.

Why is losing weight so hard? I think it's because of my undying affection for food. Food and I have a love-hate relationship. I can always count on a McDonald's #1 meal to cheer me up when I'm feeling blue. You will almost always find me with some kind of food article in my purse, just in case I need a little "nom". In fact, when I met K out at the bar, we went to get food at the end of the night, and after I stuffed his face with my twice baked potato, I stuffed the other half in my purse... for breakfast the next morning.

Crash diets have never worked for me. Typically, I just eat whatever I want and go to the gym to counterbalance. But with the holidays, and the way I've been stuffing my face these past 6 months, I think I have to change some things around in addition to the working out. My stepdad successfully lost a ton of weight with his new eating habits, and he's an inspiration to my new ambition.

So come January 1st, I'm going to join all of the newly motivated people who got gym memberships in their stockings as a (thoughtful?) present, and wobble myself into that gym. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Poop Eye

For the past several weeks, I've been waking up feeling like I slept face down in a sand box. My eyes have been red, itchy, watery, and they burn even when I get in the shower. I've been consistently punishing the culprit--Gwen, our tiny feline matriarch who has made her nest atop my squishy down pillow.

We made a new rule for the big bed: no kitties on the pillows. They can sleep anywhere in the range from chest to feet, but nowhere north of there. And I've been pretty diligent in enforcing the new regulations. Each night, I awake at least twice, and though I hate to do it--I have to move Gwen in the middle of her furry slumber. She squaks, I apologize... it's a regular round table of nightly arguing.

Gradually, the pillow nesting wore down a bit, and though K's eyes have cleared up, mine continued to burn. I got so used to it that I stopped noticing. When I went to the mitten for Christmas, I stopped into my eye doctor to get a new prescription for my contacts. And that's when I found out... that I had the poop eye. Okay, it's not really poop eye, just a "cold" really, but that's what K is calling it.

It wasn't just allergies to the kitties; in fact, I may have been punishing Gwen for no reason, though I'm sure her sleeping on or near my face didn't help the situation. My doctor asked how long I've been dealing with it. I told him for quite some time, and that it was because my cat slept on my pillow a lot. He shook his head, telling me that it was quite something else, and prescribed two sets of eyedrops for my condition. Two sets? That sounds pretty serious.

So for the entire week I spent in the mitten, I had to pull out the old goggles. I was on a strict no contact lens diet. This means all Christmas photos were in my glasses, every time I saw old friends, I had to do it in my glasses, and I won't even mention trying to drive at night with these damn things.

Now, I'm back home and Gwen seems to have forgotten the rules. I had to relocate her twice last night, and my eyes are starting to burn again. I'm starting to think that she's sleeping with her butt right on my eyeballs. I'm going to give it a few days of reminding her of the rules, and (STILL) wearing these glasses... then we'll see how the poop eye develops.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Hangover

Well we made it home alive. We JUST missed the crazy snowstorm that has ravaged the northeast, and I woke up this morning to a winter wonderland. It has been a long week of Christmas events and activities, visiting and catching up with everyone. It's an exhausting week every year, but I'll tell you this--when I get home, I find myself thinking about how lucky I am to have such wonderful family and friends.

Every year is a bit of a cluster-F, I'll be honest. It started the night before we left, with a bit more than a slow panic when I realized I had not finished my shopping. (I actually still went home with less than I anticipated, but wound up finding even better gifts there.) K and I trekked out into the wilderness that is the Friday night before Christmas shopping, elbowed our way through the crowds and made it out with minor cuts and scratches. When we returned home, I realized that I hadn't packed my bags yet, and even though I desperately needed sleep, I had to get that done first. I am SO crazy about flying that I NEED to be prepared hours (or days) in advance so that I don't have a full-on breakdown when we get up in the morning. K knows this, and though he is a bit of a procrastinator normally, he eagerly packs his bags no matter how crazy early it is, just so that he doesn't have to deal with the aftermath of my panic in the morning. (It usually involves screaming, sometimes crying, and him consoling me.)

The next day went fine, we made it to the airport and home to the mitten in plenty of time. We had my Dad's party the first night, and we got to see many friends and family members that we hadn't spent time with in quite awhile. It was really wonderful. We wound up staying until around 4am, talking with my cousin who we hadn't spoken to in many years because of the family rift. And I will tell you that it was one of the most wonderful Christmas gifts I think we could have given my Dad. He sat in the chair listening to my sister, my cousin, K and I talking, and positively glowed watching us catch up.

After spending time with my Dad's side of the family, we spent the next few days with my stepbrother, stepdad and Mom. We got to see my brother's new apartment and oogle his new TV (he just moved back to the mitten from TX). It was great to see he and his girlfriend, who is such a sweetheart. We laughed, karate-chopped and punched each other, with the occasional hug slipped in. He's a total goof, and we always have a good time when he's around. We spent the night laughing and talking with our parents and enjoying all being in the same state, it was awesome.

We did lunch with my aunt and uncle, a night at the bar with some of our best friends, and ended the week with a wonderful Christmas dinner with family and friends. It was so great to see everyone, and though we were ready to collapse when we got home yesterday, I look back and think how lucky we are to have been able to spend the week with so many wonderful people. I hope you all had a wonderful time with your families too!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Santa Paper Chain

It's time. I have one more night to accomplish the rest of my shopping, and we leave tomorrow. No more links left on my Santa paper chain. No more squares to cross off the cat calendar. No more time to make to-do lists or brainstorm. It is go time, and I am officially freaking out.

I have to pack, buy (then wrap) Christmas presents, try to relax long enough to sleep tonight, then get us to the airport tomorrow. I just hope they allow me to bring a paper bag onto the plane, so I'm prepared when I can't decide if I'm going to hyperventilate or throw up.

I have been contemplating all day whether I want to pay an extra $23 to check a bag on the plane, rather than try to carry on all of my belongings like I normally do. I think it might be fruitful this trip, because we'll be coming home with whatever Santa decides to drop by the mitten state for us good boys and girls. If it's coal, I hope it passes through the metal detector.

So I bid you all adieu, and wish you a most wonderful holiday season with your families. I hope you all make it through alive, and don't end up in a straight jacket with all that you have to accomplish. And just remember--Santa makes that list and checks it twice, so let's just hope he wasn't paying attention that time I threw a tantrum that US Weekly was a few days late.

Merry Christmas, everyone! :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cheating is Sucky.

Joey Greco has his work cut out for him. With Perez Hilton reporting that Michael C. Hall has cheated on his wife with Julia Stiles, it begs the question: who is immune to infidelity these days? Eva Longoria, one of the most beautiful women on earth, is rumored to have been cheated on by husband Tony Parker. Is any relationship safe anymore? What are these people missing in their lives that they feel they have to outsource to ladies (or gents) of the night? I don't know about you guys, but if I'm Tony Parker, a tall, gumpy dude who, let's face it, is just NOT that cute, and I score a lady as gorgeous as Eva, I think I'm pretty much set. I guess you could pull a Weird Science and digitally create your perfect woman, but let's be honest: she just won't have the sass that human ladies do.

I don't know any person that hasn't been affected by cheating in some way at this point in our lives. I've been cheated on. So have many of my friends. Sure, it sucks, but can you really be that mad about fate intervening in this divine way? Is it really meant to be if the person you love is snookin' for love in a dumpy townie bar? I think not.

People are mad about gay marriage. I have to be honest, I just don't get it. So two men want to officially declare their love for each other. You're more upset about that than Larry King having his pick of the litter and continuing to pluck wives for his collection? I hope somewhere in his creepy lair he has a wax museum filled with life-sized figures dedicated to each of his former wives. A gaggle of ladies to stare him in the face the next time he visits Jakob the jeweler and decides he might want to pop the question and add another to the flock.

Cheating is sucky, there's no doubt about it. And with all the negativity around, it's easy to get caught up and get down on the sanctity of marriage. But I think the most inspirational thing to see are the couples who stand by each other when times get tough, support each other and stay loyal. They're out there, I've seen it. My aunt and uncle have been married for decades, and stand by each other. And I'm not saying that life doesn't grenade launch lemons at you now and again, but I think it's the people who put those lemons in the Jack LaLanne juicer and make lemonade that inspire me the most. Stay strong, Eva. If Hilary, Sandra Bullock and Elin can do it, you can too.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Reality TV Addiction

I am addicted to bad reality TV. Housewives, pregnant teens, fist pumping guidos... I love it all. I just watched the trailer for Teen Mom 2, and let me tell you... my excitement level rivals waking up on Christmas morning to presents under the tree.

I tried to hide it for awhile, my closeted affection for trash shielded from the outside world. I'd spend hours in front of the TV, engrossed in the drama of hair pulling and slapping. I know it's terrible, a negative influence on our society and promotes an unrealistic portrayal and glamorization of people's lives. But I just can't help myself.

My current favorites include the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Married to Rock, and 16 & Pregnant. Lisa is my second favorite reality star of all time, the housewife with the British accent who sasses strangers in the lobby of the DMV. She can say anything she wants and it comes out hilarious and classy. I'd love to sit down with her and just yell swear words back and forth so I can learn that accent. Maybe then when I'm standing in line at Walmart and I want to cuss someone out for cutting the line, I'll be able to avoid getting a fist to the face with my new fancy accent.

But my all time favorite reality star is a dad on the show 16 & Pregnant. His name is James, he was Markai's boyfriend. You may recall that James got a verbal beatdown from his friends for being the only white dude with dreads. They said he was like Billy Ray Cyrus with a mullet. James spoke English so poorly that they had to use subtitles at the bottom of the screen so the audience would be able to decipher the new language he created. My sister and I laughed so hard that we saved it on the DVR for weeks, and repeatedly fast forwarded to the parts where James had an extended monologue. At one point during the episode, we find out that James has cheated on the mother of his child with a past girlfriend. It came as a devastating shock to us viewers; James seemed like SUCH a standup guy. They couple stand outside the car screaming at each other, and James proceeds to defend himself against her accusations. He yells incoherent ramblings at her while his dreads bounce back and forth against his jacket.

This episode alone explains why reality TV feeds my soul, and if you haven't seen it, it's definitely worth checking out on Hulu. And as for the other reality TV, I hope you all don't judge me for my little self-indulgent vice. And if you do, you don't know what you're missing.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Blowfish Terrorist

T minus four days, and I'm preparing myself. I am terrified of flying. Just the thought of packing my bag makes me start sweating. On the car ride to the airport, I am a joking machine, using sarcasm as my weapon against fear. By the time I get on that plane, I am clutching my HP like it's my job (my childhood pink gingham pillow that I can't be without), and mentally preparing my will.

I've had some pretty traumatic airport experiences. In May, I flew home to see my sister get her master's degree. It was Mother's Day, and the airport was nearly empty. It sounds like that would be a good thing, little traffic and shorter lines. Quite the contrary. Instead, it provides the security people more time to rifle through your belongings and examine your tampons. Don't get me wrong, I think it's necessary to have extensive and careful security checks. But it feels pretty invasive to strip in front of them and watch the feverish dissection of your suitcase.

I took off my shoes, placed all of my items in the bins as instructed, and walked through the metal detector... undetected. I came out on the other side after the security agent fondled my aura with the magic wand, and began to collect my belongings from the bins. I saw the woman operating the conveyor belt send my purse through twice, frown, and motion for another security agent to join her. I stood patiently, wondering what the fuss was all about. I just KNOW I left my crackpipe at home, what could the problem be?

I bent awkwardly to put my shoes back on, trying not to knock anyone over in the process. A third security agent asked me to stand where I was. I complied, and other passengers filtered around me with their stupid happy, non-criminal families while I stood sheepishly with my dunce cap on. I assumed I was the lucky winner of a random search, and stood patiently while they pulled my purse off of the belt and notified me that they wanted to rifle through it. I watched as the contents of my lady bag were strewn about the table, like being shook upside down by a school bully. I wondered if the swirly was next.

The woman pulled out of my bag a gift I had purchased for my mom: a glass blowfish decoration, wrapped in bubble wrap so it wouldn't break in my bag. She looked at me and frowned, examining the fish. I smirked a bit, knowing what was in the package, waiting for her to join in my laughter. The feeling wasn't mutual. She asked me to go sit down while they rifled through the rest of my bag, and I sat and watched as the items scattered on the table one by one. To top it off, I was seated in the middle of the security station, forced to face all oncoming passengers with their smug, disapproving expressions coming through the line.

They held me at the security desk for over a half hour while they unwrapped my carefully packaged present. Like a group of gorillas over a wounded animal, they squaked and squeaked, frowned and wrinkled their brows, until they realized what they were looking at. As I suspected, they wrapped the present back up (not NEARLY as nicely as I had it packaged in the first place), and informed me that I could reassemble my bag. Seriously, do they have ANY idea how long we spend packing those bags? Stuffing and sitting and squishing the bag until you can JUST pull the zipper shut? I guess not. I reassembled my bag and was on my way, feeling slightly traumatized and a bit vulnerable as I made my way to the gate. I just hope that four days from now, the TSA agents are a little nicer to my purse when they send it through that x-ray machine.

Monday, December 13, 2010

I'm a Pure Michigan Guest Blogger!

So exciting! My blog post about Michigan was chosen for the Pure Michigan blog! Read it here:

Surprise Christmas Tree!

I had (sortof) come to terms with the fact that we weren't going to get a real tree this year. I figured it only made sense, since we will only be able to enjoy it for another week before we travel to the mitten. The logical side of me recognized that it was the most practical move, yet I still couldn't help but want one, especially since this is our first Christmas living together.

But with one week left, I had accepted it. We have been caught up in the Christmas stress of shopping and packing and cleaning... it is a Santa whirlwind around here. Saturday, we spent all day shopping (complete with an unpleasant witnessing of a not-so-nice hillbilly couple who jumped the line at Walmart. You can imagine how that panned out.)

Yesterday we had a million things on our to-do list, including a trip to Advance Auto Parts. I hate Advance Auto Parts almost as much as I hate Home Depot, so when my sister's boyfriend offered to go with K instead of me, I was more than thrilled.

The boys came back home with a few bags in tow, and started to survey the living room. I sensed something was awry. K addressed my sister and I and suggested we go cut down a tree from a nearby forest. It sounded very Paul Bunyan (not to mention illegal) to me. I was also wearing my pajamas since it was Sunday, so although I wanted a real tree, the thought of laying in pine needles sweating my butt off, saw in hand didn't sound too appealing. But the boys convinced us we should go, so we put our boots on and trudged out into the front yard, only to see a beautiful green bushy tree leaning up against the front porch railing, wrapped in netting. I couldn't believe it, I looked at K and immediately started crying. It was what I had wanted so badly but thought we weren't going to get this year, and they had made it happen.

We spent the rest of the night decorating the tree and watching the Santa Clause (one of my faves), and I couldn't help but think that they say that in relationships what holds you together is your compatibility. That you are a one in a million for being a match together. And we have those times when we bicker about stupid things, it's bound to happen. But I will tell you what I have learned in this relationship: it's those little things that K does for me that make me smile and know that I will be the happiest girl for the rest of my life.

The decorated tree!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Price Chopper Rage

Have you ever woken up just feeling blah? I'm not even going to lie, that's how I felt this morning. I can't even explain why. Maybe it was because I woke up with toesicles outside of the warm fleece blankets, in a battle royale for cover from the cold. Or maybe it was the surprise cat vomit I found on the floor when I came downstairs. Or very possibly it could have been the fact that I am realizing how much I have to get accomplished in one week before we leave for the Mitten.

Either way, I was in an absolutely crap mood today. To make matters worse, K and I went to the Price Chopper on my lunch break to get some food for tonight, and I swear I could have punched a patron or two in the jugular. I mean, I'm talking people walking RIGHT in front of the car as we are trying to park, shopping carts scattered about like bowling pins, and people with their hazards on just stopped in the middle of the parking lot. And this was all before we even went IN. I can honestly see how people go postal during the holiday season, I really can.

Upon entering the Price Chopper, we elbowed our way to the food we needed, weaving and bobbing, sometimes bumping as we piled items high on our (hand) basket (singular.) We really should have gotten a rolling cart; we highly underestimated the amount of things we were going to be purchasing. So we found ourselves basically running through the PC, items bundled high in our arms, until we made it to the U-Scan with FAR more than 15 items, (I hate to be that guy, but today I just didn't care.) After a few mishaps with barcodes not scanning, we made it out of there alive.

I've had a few hours to process and digest this disaster of a day, and I've decided to reframe it. I am very much looking forward to the dinner party tonight with our good friends M&M, and I am going to just pretend like the first part of my day never happened. I can't wait to relax, have some good food, and catch up with everyone. These are the things I truly love about the holidays, and I'm not about to let cold toes and a few Price Chopper battle wounds hinder my weekend.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hair cuts are terrifying.

Hair cuts are terrifying. If you are anything like me, when you are sitting in that chair watching the woman behind you approach your carefully preserved locks with that sharp pair of scissors and a black comb, you start sweating. Because of this, I always choose my haircut outfits accordingly. No shirts too short, because it will inevitably ride up on my back, leaving skin exposed through that open section of the chair. No hoods, no shorts, (otherwise you're never getting OUT of that leather chair) and long sleeves so I have something to clutch onto when I see her cut those initial inches off and I get scared.

Now you would THINK that I've got the haircut thing down. In high school, I had a pixie cut. That's right kids... a bonafied pixie cut. Hey, it was cool back in the day, okay? But now, I've started to grow it out pretty long (meaning I slam it in the car door and get it caught in my armpit.) I like it long, but the other day when I trapped myself in bed by pinning my hair to the pillow with my elbow and couldn't get up, I decided it was a safety hazard.

It doesn't matter how long I go between haircuts, I always get nervous. I can't tell you why, I haven't had a traumatizing hair experience of any kind, but I suppose it really is the first thing people notice about you. And part of me is terrified that the stylist is going to get caught up in her chatter about how loud the Christmas music is, and accidentally lop my locks into a mohawk.

My other fear was this: I live in a small town. Now, I know I'm judging here, but I've grown accustomed to fancy salons (since I only go once in a blue moon), and I was a little scared to try a new place (next to the PriceChopper in a plaza, no less.) My sister and I went in beforehand to scope it out and determined it was less Fantastic Sams and more salon than we originally thought. But let me tell you, she did an awesome job. She totally blew me and my prejudgments about small town hair stylists away. Right off the bat, she knew my blonde streak was natural (the last stylist in my "fancy salon" thought I dyed it. Come on people.) She walked me through each step in the process, and cut each layer with precision. I was impressed, and I will definitely go back there. The other thing I liked is that she didn't try to sell me the products. Now I know this is part of any stylist's job, but let's be honest here, I'm not about to spend $50 on hair products that I could get at Walmart. So I appreciated that she was honest with me and didn't try to push. And because the place was a smaller salon in a small town, the prices were totally reasonable, and I didn't have to pay an arm and a leg for my new cut.

So I woke up this morning with a great (and inexpensive) haircut, and all prenotions I had about small town salons pushed aside. My advice to anyone is to check out those small salons, they do a great job. And also don't forget to wear your Mom jeans and a long hoodless sweatshirt so your plumber doesn't show through that hole in the leather chair.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Water Cooler Wednesday

I work from home full-time, so the most interaction I have with living beings on any given day is with my cats. Go ahead and judge, it's okay. Now, you might think that working from home is the best gig in the world. And I'll be honest with you, it does have its positive sides: (i.e: not having to commute, not having to drive in bad weather, being able to do some laundry on my lunch break, and being able to watch both the 11am and 5pm episodes of Gilmore Girls every day), but I do miss humans.

I like to think of the cats as my coworkers, and today we gathered around the water cooler (yes, they do have one) for the most fascinating event that has happened all week: ice cubes in the water dish. Now, as I briefly mentioned before, we actually have 4 cats in the house as of late since my sister and her boyfriend are staying with us. So that has spiced things up quite a bit with more cat fights, biting, some inappropriate mounting, and strange noises that I'm not sure I've ever heard come out of a cat before.

Never have I seen such a gathering as I did this morning around that water cooler. As the water filled the dish with water and surrounded the ice cubes, the cats sat around it and stared like it was a nest full of birds. One by one, the cubes started to crack and each time it was like fireworks went off. The cats scattered around the room, taking shelter under chairs and any other surrounding furniture. When the dish was finally full and the cubes floated noiselessly atop the water, it was the Amazing Race for who could get water first. You would think we never give them something to drink.

Sometimes I think back to my days in a real office and remember when the topics discussed at the water cooler were mainly Gucci shoes and Fashion Week, and I wonder which I like the most. The thing is, working from home does have its advantages, but I really miss the social interaction that the office environment provides. Mainly, not having to use my Mom voice every time someone climbs on the counter. I miss hearing about people's weekends, happy hours, and even the cigarette breaks outside the back door, though I wouldn't even take those now since I've quit. But I think if I did work in an office again, I would miss the crazy kitty antics all day. Though I might re-learn not to baby talk every person I come in contact with.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Home Sweet Michigan

Every year at Christmas, as my plane descends on Detroit Metro airport and the houses and tips of the trees begin to take shape, I can feel my chest tighten and my heart well up, as warm tears spring to the corners of my eyes. I'm home.

To be honest, I don't think I fully realized how much I love Michigan until I left. With the job market as it was when I graduated from Michigan State, I was forced to take a job out of state. But it wasn't until I had been gone for a few years that I realized how much I truly love it.

I grew up in Livonia, in the Metro Detroit area, where most of my friends and family are from. As a child, my parents would take my sister and I to our cottage in Silver Lake, near Lake Michigan. We spent every summer there as far back as I can remember. There are photos of my sister and I as babies, bundled up in the boat, playing on the Sand Dunes, (even eating the sand at times, a fact that I don't like to admit.) We lived and breathed Silver Lake; it shaped who we are.

We spent our days beached at the Dunes, water skiing, playing volleyball, and making sandcastles. Once we were a bit older, a group of us even hiked over the Dunes from Silver Lake to Lake Michigan, far on the other side. I remember what an enormous adventure it felt like, making the long hike in the heat, especially when you had walked far enough away from Silver Lake that you couldn't see our parents, or even the lake. We walked in the heat, trying to avoid the sharp dune grass, making up stories along the way of how we had run away. When we ascended that final hill, you could just barely see Lake Michigan, a beautiful mirage in the distance. The sand was coarser on that side of the Dunes; I still remember the swishing sound it made between our toes as we walked carefully around the lighthouses.

After a few minutes of playing in Lake Michigan, we would make the long journey back to our parents, the adventures of the day tucked deep in our minds. They would always ask how the walk was, but they would never know the impact it really had on us.

Spending summers at Silver Lake brought us kids closer together. We weren't family, but we became as close as brothers and sisters. Now years have gone by, and we’re mostly grown. Some of us are married, some of us have children of our own, and some of us live out of state, but all of us have started our own traditions of returning to Silver Lake in one way or another. New York has taken me in as one of its own now, but Michigan will always be my home.

My sister and I at the Silver Lake Sand Dunes :)

The Three-Day Hangover

I couldn't sleep last night. Maybe it was the nightmares of zombies after watching the season finale of The Walking Dead; maybe it was the hangover I still had from this weekend. I will tell you that one thing I've learned about being in your late twenties is that I can't put 'em back like I used to. In college, we would go out Wednesday night, Thursday night for Burgerama, Friday night to a frat party, and get up at 6am on Saturday to tailgate for the football game. (You couldn't get us up at that hour for an 8am class, but a keg helps for motivation to wake that early.)

I remember waking on Sundays in college, sitting around the apartment I shared with my best girlfriends and reminiscing about the weekend's events. We would get some Pokey Stix from the nearby pizza place (Pokey Stix are basically a giant portion of cheesy bread that is the ultimate cure for a hangover, if you were wondering.) I would down a glass of water, finish my homework, and be ready to roll.

Nowadays, the situation is much different. And you know, I remember my cousin warning me about this and I never listened. Just wait, she said... the later you get into your twenties, the longer the hangovers last. And don't tell her this, but she was right. I woke yesterday after a few too many glasses of wine and two mojitos, and I was in extremely rough shape. It seems like the headaches are worse, the nausea sets in at an earlier hour, and I just can't seem to hold my head up straight. It's like mother nature's way of telling you you are not 21 anymore, so stop trying to keep up. I think I'm going to have to let her win this one; she obviously knows best.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Burning Chocolate and Gilmore Girls

It's no secret that my cooking skills leave something to be desired. If it were up to me, we'd be having Chinese food and Hot Pockets every night for dinner. I have never had a serious affection for cooking; maybe it stems from my need for instant gratification. This is also one of the areas where K and I balance each other out; he is a phenomenal cook and I am great at supervising and taste-testing.

Now the problem comes into play when I am home alone (I work from home full-time) and K is not around to assist me in my kitchen activities. One day, I was working from the couch instead of the kitchen table (I got tired, okay? Also, Gilmore Girls was on.) when I saw the entire room start to fill with smoke. My heart jumped into my throat, and my thoughts instantly went to our 3 kitties and what I would grab before I ran outside to safety. (If you were wondering, these were HP, my childhood pillow I can't sleep without, my MacBook, and purse--after the kitties, of course.)

I ran into the kitchen, and it instantly became clear that this was no spontaneous combustion, but a case of burning chocolate on the stove. See, what had happened was... I was attempting to melt chocolate in a water bath (see, I know some kitchen terms!) with metal cups in a saucepan. It was taking forever to melt, and I heard the sounds of Lorelai and Rory from the living room, so I went to check on what was up in Star's Hollow. I got caught up and COMPLETELY forgot that I had chocolate on the stove. When I reached the stove, I saw that all of the water had evaporated out of the saucepan, leaving the two metal cups soldered to the saucepan, and causing smoke to fill the house. Heart pounding, I turned off the stove and opened every window I could find to air the house out.

The house aired out, the kitties were fine, and Lorelai and Rory made up, so all was well. But I guess the moral of the story is, don't leave me alone in the kitchen, or I will burn the house down. Thank goodness for K and his cooking skills, or we would probably starve, and might even be homeless.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Holy hell, I haven't started Christmas shopping yet.

It hit me today like a ton of bricks, as I realized that it is December 3rd and started to slow panic. I haven't even started Christmas shopping yet. I have a list started of the people I need to buy for, complete with each person's name and a large blank space. Sure, I've jotted a few notes (I think I scored big time with the anniversary gift I got for K, a new Garmin GPS), but how do you top that? I really have no desire to get out my brass knuckles and drive the 35 minutes to the mall to beat up some moms for a prime parking spot, but I think it might be time. Otherwise I'm going to wind up pulling a Chandler and buying all of my gifts at the corner gas station. (Flashback to FRIENDS, anyone?)

Today is the day!

Well, today is the day. I feel like I'm asking someone to the prom; I'm all nervous and excited at the same time. This blog thing is a bit more nerve wracking than I originally anticipated. It's tough to ask people to become a fan of yourself, and read your innermost thoughts, like a diary on crack. But I promise to do my best to keep you entertained and try (REALLY try) to update on a regular basis. I'll try especially hard on Mondays, since I know that is the day I most need entertaining from my fellow bloggers. Thanks for becoming a fan, guys! :)

Facebook Stalking

Listen, I'm going to be honest with you. I have a secret obsession. (Ok, maybe it's not so secret, since I am online so much.) I LOVE facebook stalking people. I am non-discriminatory; I will stalk anyone and everyone. Lately, though, my interest has turned to people who have just gotten married, are engaged, or are having a baby. It's my weakness. I log on daily, and get SO excited when I see new photos, or a relationship status change. It's truly facebook gold. In fact, I think I'll check my news feed right after this post.

I stalked K the most when we first met; I went through his newsfeed with a fine-toothed comb; when did he become "single?" when did he change from being "in a relationship" to "it's complicated?" These are crucial snippets of information that a girl needs to know when she meets a guy. He came out clean, in case you were wondering. But I digress.

It's fabulous, because I'm at the age now where it seems like every time I log onto facebook another friend from high school is posting a YouTube video of their elaborately choreographed Chris Brown wedding aisle dance, or getting engaged, or having kids. It provides hours of entertainment once the photos and videos come out, so I love it.

Occasionally, someone will pop up in my "People You May Know" box that I recognize from high school. They are generally people that I knew from class or something else, but weren't exactly close with. I don't feel that friend requesting them is appropriate, but I click on their tiny thumbnail just to see what information pops up. And on the rare occasion that that person didn't get one of the million memos about facebook privacy settings, they leave their wall public. And I get more excited at this moment than I'd like to admit. Sometimes I even put my computer down and go refill my coffee for the excitement to come.

But my all time favorite people are those who spread their drama all over facebook. It's amazing the things that some deem appropriate to paste onto their status, or their ex-husband/wife/mother-in-law's wall. Sometimes even I'm shocked at the insults slung back and forth, or the information people forget the rest of the world can see. And it is these people that I truly love the most. I definitely understand that everyone needs attention now and then, and that we wouldn't post things publicly if we weren't looking for a response, but I think there are some things that really should remain private between two people, even if it provides me with hours of giggles. In the meantime, I'm going to keep looking forward to the intimate inside look at people's drama via facebook, and getting excited every time I see a relationship status change.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

They always say that you'll just know.

They always say that you'll just know. I thought they were full of it. I really did. After years of dating people who were either bad for me, or just not the right fit, I was completely burned out. And I hate to admit that everyone was right, but they were.

I'll tell you when I knew. It was Thursday, June 11th, 2009. It was late, and I was driving anxiously down to JFK to fly to Vegas for a long-awaited girls' weekend to catch up with El and Ash, two of my best girlfriends who I have known since elementary and high school. It was late that night, and rainy, and I was incredibly stressed. I had never flown out of JFK before, never driven to JFK in this rush hour traffic, never parked at JFK, and had never been to Vegas. It was the longest period of time I had left my newly adopted kitty Linus for, and the tension in the car was palpable, though I was alone. As I neared the airport, it got worse. I began to stress about where to park, how much it would cost, and if they'd accept credit cards, if I could get my car out when I came back on the red eye--I know it sounds crazy, but these are the kinds of things I worry about. The unknown.

Suddenly, in my panic, I realized I had not prepared for this venture, and I frantically thought of who I could reach out to. It was late, most everyone I knew was busy; I didn't want to bother them with my insanity. Then I thought of K. We had met less than a month before, we barely knew each other, and I immediately dismissed the thought of asking him for help. But as the miles went by, and I got closer to my destination, deep panic set in. Driving with one hand, I sent him a quick text message asking if he could look up a phone number to JFK so I could get my questions answered. He replied a few minutes later with "of it", and I frustratedly tossed my phone on the seat next to me, regretting my decision. What the hell was I thinking? He was clearly drunk, probably out with his friends, another one of those party guys who only cared about getting wasted--his jumbled text message reflected that. Tears welled up in my eyes, and I was overwhelmed with a mixture of panic, sadness, and disappointment that he wasn't the person I thought he was. Just another one like the rest of the guys I'd dated, I thought to myself.

I calmed myself down a bit and managed to work out the worst-case scenario in my head. It helped a little. Two cigarettes and a can of coke later, I heard my phone ring on the seat next to me. Who the hell could that be? Keeping my eyes on the road as best I could, I opened my phone. It was a two-page text from K, stating that he had been on the phone with Jet Blue for the last half hour, and here were the two best phone numbers he could find for me, one for the front desk and one for the direct line to the Jet Blue desk. Later, I would find out that he was working in a small upstate town that week, (he travels quite a bit for work) had a steak on the grill when he got my text, jumped in the car and had to drive ten minutes to even get to a place where there was enough cell service to make that call to Jet Blue for me. Also the reason for the mistyped text, which should have read "on it."

I stared at my phone in disbelief, tears in my eyes, disbelief and overwhelming happiness washing over me. And that was the moment I knew I was in love with him. It had been less than a month, a whirlwind start to our relationship. But in that moment, I suddenly realized that he was the person I had been waiting for who I could count on, someone who would always come through for me. I had never had that before.

I had a great time that weekend, it was wonderful catching up with my girlfriends. We had a blast, danced until we couldn't stand, even met Larry Fitzgerald and took some photos with the NFL star. But if you ask either one of my girlfriends, K was all I could talk about that weekend, and over a year later, he's still all I can talk about. I know he will always be there for me, always be someone I can depend on. I love him more than I ever thought I could love someone, and I honestly feel so blessed to have him in my life.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

From the Mitten State to New York

Well with everyone starting their own blog these days, I thought I'd jump on the virtual bandwagon. My story is one of growing up in the midwest, (with a pink gingham pillow shaped like a heart, hence the name of the blog.) I have a wonderfully dysfunctional family who have taught me the meaning of unconditional love. In college, I studied advertising and design, and once the time came to graduate and get a job, my Aunt and Uncle so kindly adopted me as their live-in niece so that I could work for Cosmopolitan Magazine down in Manhattan.

The story goes that I never intended to stay out here, grow roots, start a family. I came out for a summer internship down in the city, (I'll intermittently post fun adventures from that time in my life, they were pretty entertaining!) I had my plane ticket booked and paid for to return home at the end of my internship in August... and that was when I made the phone call to my Mom to tell her that I was staying out here. For good. My mom is a ball of emotions, God love her, so you can imagine how that conversation went.

I went through the trials and tribulations of finding my first jobs, making friends, dating a number of people who taught me a myriad of things about myself and people in general, until finally I met K, the man of my dreams, one night out in Saratoga at a friend's birthday party. He stood 6'6", with a large coffee stain on his short-sleeved, collared shirt, and I knew that we were a match made in Tide-to-go heaven.

So now here I am, living in upstate NY with my wonderful boyfriend and our crazy blended family of 3 cats (and also my sister, her boyfriend and her kitty too for the time being, since they are in the process of moving their lives out here as well.) I work from home full-time as an art director for an advertising agency, and I'm finding myself somewhere between the post-college years and the married-with-children years. It's a great time in my life, there are certainly ups and downs, and I thought I'd like to share some of my adventures (and rants) with you. Comments are welcome, thanks for reading my blog!

There's nothing better than kitty snuggles in the morning :)