Thursday, May 31, 2007

School's Out

Today is the first day of summer vacation for Munchkin. Who is jealous? I know I am...that is by far the worst part about working. School always ended. Bad class? Bad teacher? Just getting sick of something? Every couple of months it ended you got some time off, and then it started up again. Work, on the other hand...goes on forever.

I know that this is rich coming from a girl who went well over her allotted 21 days off last year (a week in Mexico, a week in Florida, a week at the beach, a week in the hospital and a week in Chicago for my cousins random days here and there.) But you all get the was made up of a series of finite periods of time surrounded by vacations, while work goes on for 40 straight years.

Anyway, I am sure all of the parents out there can identify with one minor inconvenience of children: what the fuck do you do with them when they don't have school to go to? It is a real pain in the ass. And I am used to her being at school until it's not like I even have regular day care arrangements beyond school that I can just scale up during the summer.

Fortunately, she is at an age where she can do lots of things. She has a couple of weeks of camp, and some school-related stuff. And she is going to Chicago for a week to visit her brother, and she is going to the beach for a week with me (and my father's family), a week with Big Sis and a week with her brother. And one of her friends' Moms (who happens to be SHR and Big Sis' cousin:-)) has a daughter in her class, and they hang out at their house a lot. They live in a town and a neighborhood with tons of kids, and can roam about more unsupervised there than they could in the city.

So it all gets patched together, but keeping them busy all summer is a task. Incidentally, I talked with Tinkerbelle for a bit last night (I was almost in the middle of having sex when the phone rang:-) I didn't relay that information, though...I had been waiting for the call, so I did answer the phone, which I would normally not do) and she is insanely jealous of Munchkin's school schedule. Her school runs another couple of weeks, and I believe she requested to transfer...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Seeing things through a new lense

I have kind of a sappy post today, one that I alluded to yesterday. This sort of stems form this weekend, from being around Big Sis and Smoking Hot Roommate as they kind of revisited a past life. All of Big Sis' London friends always knew SHR as the kid sister who came to visit, not necessarily as an adult.

I need to back up and cover some old ground. They are about 7 years apart in age...just far enough that they have always been at really different stages of their lives, but near enough to have been extremely close. They are sisters, but they are also best friends. I never remember a day when they didn't talk at length at least once, even when Big Sis was in London and SHR was in Arizona.

When SHR was about 7, their Mom got extremely sick, and about five years later, she died of Ovarian cancer. It was a long and very painful battle and left them both (Big Sis was 19, SHR was 12) without a mother. They had an adoring and loving Father (this is also part of the reason that they are both so incredibly close to him), but Big Sis did a lot of "Mom" things for SHR... (In this sense, there are parts of their relationship that are similar to mine and Munchkin's.)

When Big Sis got out of college, she took a job in London and moved. SHR went to visit almost every month throughout High School and then pretty regularly in college, too. So, to all of Big Sis' London friends, SHR was the kid sister that visited and tagged along with them. They knew them both when Big Sis was more "Mom" than she is now. I never knew them together until they were about 18 and which point the dynamic had changed.

So for me, this weekend was like seeing then 10 years ago, when both were struggling to adjust to a life without Mom, and they were settling into their roles as sisters. I just love the is sort of hard to describe, but they are just so in tune with each other. It seems like they are always in each other's thoughts...Big Sis has an old habit of looking out for her little sister, and SHR has a natural tendency to want to ask permission and win the approval of Big Sis. There is an entire lifetime of love there, and it is a really beautiful thing to see.

They are both older now, both on the verge of being married and having their own families. And both have found it in their hearts to welcome two more pretend sisters into their lives:-) But they still have a very special bond, and nothing is going to break that.

They are still best friends.

They may not even know that they do this, and they may yell at me for telling...but sometimes they hold hands when they walk next to each other:-)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Kicking it with my orb

Back home safely, and the trip was AWESOME! London is such a cool place, even though the weather was kinda junky the whole time. I guess that is pretty standard fare over there. Despite that, I just love the vibe that the city gives is a similar feel to New York (with shorter buildings:-))

We made great time on Friday, we all slept on the plane, and by the time we landed and got to the hotel we were rested and ready to go! We had time for a quick drink before we took off to meet Big Sis' friends for dinner. One quick observation...London is absurdly expensive. I think it is even worse than seems like everything has almost the same price that it has in the US, only it is priced in pounds instead of dollars (the exchange rate is about $2/pound.)

One more observation: the food really is not very good. It amazes me that a massive, International city with that many travelers and visitors doesn't have better food. In four days, we didn't exactly get to every restaurant in the city, but I feel like there was an alarmingly mediocre consistency to it (and had heard this before we went.)

We didn't stay out terribly late on Friday because we were a little tired, as were most of her friends. Also, the people at dinner were a little older (a couple of her friends' parents that she knows well, etc.) so everyone was kind of tame. We went out for a little bit after dinner, but were back at the hotel at a pretty reasonable hour. (Oh...and I could write about four posts just about the hotel...)

Because we were in bed kinda early, we were up early, too. Big Sis and her friend went out to meet some other friends (it is hard to catch up with seven years worth of relationships in four days) and me and Smoking Hot Roommate did the tourist thing...which was awesome! They have so many cool things there! Westminster Abbey is gorgeous...I would be much more religious if I could go to church there:-P

The Tower of London was really cool, too. I would like to put in a word for the Crown Jewels as is good to be Queen! If I was ever Queen, I would just sit around and kick it with my orb:-) The Tower Bridge is super cool, almost looks fake because of the funky colors. Buckingham Palace...not so cool. Really it was pretty boring, and the changing of the guard is tedious and time-wasting;-)

This post is getting too long, and I don't want to bore you with silly details, so I will just highlight one funny thing. In Parliament Square, there are a bunch of statues. Oliver Cromwell, some other random British guys and...Abraham Lincoln. I sort of walked past it, then had to stop and go back and look. But yes, definitely honest Abe. I guess he is worthy of statues outside of his own country, which once again proves my point: Illinois rules!!!

OK, maybe a little more tomorrow, but for now I have work to do. And, I have a post to write about Big Sis and Smoking Hot Roommate, too, so we all have that to look forward to:-)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

God Save the Queen

I'm super excited for the London trip. It will be a short trip and the real purpose is to hang out with Big Sis' friends and not to go sightseeing, but I would like to see some thing. I am hoping that on Saturday I can see Buckingham Palace, Big Ben (look kids...), Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London. I think I can get all that into one day, so long as I have my super special, Smoking Hot Tourguide:-)

Munchkin is a little bit irritated that she is not invited...:-). She said "I dunno what the big deal is. You take me to bars here all the time, what is the problem with going to bars there?" I have to admit, she brings up a pretty good point. Well, too bad, you're still not invited:-P Next month's US version of the same party has a built in Friday night event that Munchkin can attend so that she can feel like she is part of it. You can't leave the bridesmaids out of the party, after all...

We are leaving the house at...gulp...3:45am tomorrow. Yikes. Hopefully I can get right to bed after dinner tonight (chicken finger Thursday...yay!!!) and get a decent nights sleep. Munchkin has to get herself ready for school tomorrow morning and one of her friend's (and her Mom) is coming by to get her on the way. Papa Bear is picking her up after school and has her all weekend... I am not totally sure what they have planned, but they always have fun together. There is a summer-beginning pool party for adults and kids at one of her friends' houses Saturday (the friends father is actually someone we do some work with, so Papa Bear was already invited on his own. Now they can be dates:-))

On a similar note, that lucky little bitch only has four days of school left. After next Wednesday, she is off until Labor Day. Man, I miss summer vacation...

Anyway, that is about it:-) Unless I post later on today, I will be gone until Monday. I will try and publish comments if I get a chance, but I can't promise they may sit for a few days. Hope everyone enjoys the long weekend!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Do they test for steroids in Little League?

I have that stupid fucking Amy Winehouse song in my head about not going to rehab. It's driving me crazy and I need to get it out. This is worse than when I had Pink's "I'm coming out" stuck in my head for like a month...

Anyway...on to much more important things. Smoking Hot Roommate and I went over to watch Munchkin's baseball game last night. It was a really nice night...a touch on the chilly side, but perfect to sit there in a sweatshirt and watch the game. And Munchkin hit a home run! Right over the fence!

She's awesome:-) My cute little slugger:-) She was SOOOO excited about it...only two of the boys on her team have hit balls over the fence this year, and she was completely stoked to join the Home Run Club.

After that we met up with The Boy for ice cream, and then he came back to our place and stayed over. Who watched Idol? Do we have any thoughts? I am pissed that Melinda lost...both finalists are good, and both are deserving of being where they are...but neither deserved to make it over Melinda. I guess I am rooting for Blake because he is kinda weird...but I lost a lot of interest last week.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

London calling

No one picked up on the obscure song reference in yesterday's post title. That's OK, I didn't really expect that anyone would. Truth be told, I put a lot of random references like that into post titles, and no one ever gets them...I guess that speaks to my weirdness:-) Today's reference is quite a bit more (but still a song title!).

Big Sis, Smoking Hot Roommate, Big Sis's best friend and I are headed to London for the long weekend, and I am super excited! We are leaving at some absurd hour on Friday morning, getting to London sometime around dinner time, and returning Monday evening. Papa Bear is babysitting...thanks Papa Bear:-)...they are going to the beach for the weekend with some of SHR and Big Sis' family:-). It is a lot to squeeze into a weekend, and there is a good chance that the time change and over-extension will make me sick. only live once!

I have never been to the UK, and my only trip to Europe was for work and I saw very little other than some random office parks and government buildings. So this is just a plain old fun trip and I am really looking forward to it!

This is the first of (at least) two bachelorette parties for Big Sis. She is getting married in July, and we are doing our best to send her off the ledge in style;-) She lived in London for almost 7 years after college, and has lots of really close friends there. Since there was no time that all of her closest friends could make it to the States, we decided that a trip over there was in order!

I am not real sure exactly what we are gonna do. I assume the plan is to drink too much and make asses of ourselves;-). Honestly, I would like to take a little bit of time to look around at touristy things. I am sure I can convince SHR to take a day either Saturday or Sunday (or both!) and putz around with me. She knows the city really well, so she can show me around...

And that's about it:-) I am open to suggestions on what to do while there...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Never catch your daughter past sunset.

I actually started this last night because I was the only one awake, and it was really quiet and I was watching the news, listening to a light rain and just basically being content. Smoking Hot Roommate was a little under the weather all day, which caused her to do something she never, ever does: go to bed early. She sleeps about four hours a night, every night and always is a rare day that she goes to bed before I do.

Anyway, being content is a segway into what I wanted to write about. I had a fantastic weekend, and was all set to write about that. That, however, is now only half of what I will cover. This will make sense in a minute, I promise.

I write all the time about how much I love getting emails from strangers. Whether it is a comment that you don't want public, or something else, I love getting notes and reply to just about every one. As a special incentive, I am much more open in emails than I am in blog form...

Anyway, every once in a while I get a really bizarre email. I have been propositioned a bunch of times...(I think there are some search engines that light up every time a blog says "blow job" and alert the weirdos to send emails)...and I have been scolded a couple of times, too. Someone told me I was going to hell, and if I wasn't careful, I would be damning the little one, too.

But yesterday I got a email accusing me of being in need of psychiatric help. The email came from a sort-of regular reader who said he was catching up and thinks I am overly happy about things. He seems offended that I like my job, don't have anything bad to say about my boyfriend, and rarely complain about things. His basic premise is that no one should be that happy, and that I should probably look into why I am sugar-coating everything to fool myself into it.

First of all...I complain about stuff all the time...where the fuck have you been? And second, what is wrong with being happy? What on earth do I really have to be unhappy about? There are certainly things I wish were different (like, I wish I had a normal relationship with a parent. Or that I had any parents, for that matter). But on balance, I feel like I have been extraordinarily fortunate, and I am in a really good place, and I don't mind enjoying it.

I don't feel guilty about being happy. I don't think life is more exciting if there is misery involved. I don't feel the need to create unnecessary drama. I don't feel the need to apologize for being happy. My life isn't perfect, but I am awfully happy about it. I like where I am and I like who I am. I am not sure what possessed me to respond to this email, but whatever, that's what I felt like...

Oh, and I have a therapist, just in case.

Friday, May 18, 2007

A Kept Woman

Interesting comments from everyone yesterday. I intentionally did not approve any of them until really late in the day because I didn't want people's opinions to sway each other. Opinions were all over the place, and focused on totally different things...which was sort of expected, there is a lot going on.

First, there is the question of moving in after 9 months, which some people have an issue with (GLB, Double-A, Ally), and some think is plenty of time (Povosgirl, Kate, Brookem, Ruby). Really, I think it depends on how big a deal you think moving in together is. I don't really think it's a huge, earth-shattering thing, so I feel like 9 months is enough for the right people. If it doesn't work out, just move.

And then there is the age difference. A couple of people felt like it might be a real issue (Scott, GLB), most felt like it is a factor, but not a deal-breaker (k.d., Brookem, Ruby). I am in the latter is hard to be that far apart, but it is not something that can't be overcome. He is something of a young 40, and she is an old 24, so I really don't think that the age difference, on its own, is something to be overly concerned with.

And I don't question their affection for each other. I don't think she likes him only because he makes a lot of money, and I don't think he likes her just because she looks great in a sun dress. They genuinely have a great time together. And some people speculated that maybe deep down I didn't like him or question his motives (ella, Trixie, Scott, GLB) or hers (Jordan)...but that is not the case, I like him very much, and I like them together.

So what's the issue? truth it is a combination of the above. My problem, the more I think about it, is that they are at completely different life stages, and she is really "exposing" herself by moving in. What do I mean by this? Well, I don't think she is in it for the great apartment, the beach house and the Lexus SUV, but it is also impossible to separate those things out.

She is really adapting her life to his much more than the other way around. The only problem is that if things don't work out...she immediately has to "leave" that world. A break-up would be compounded for her because she lives in his house(s), drives his car, etc. (Part of this is her personality...which I can't really explain for some reason...)

So, I don't think this is a dysfunctional or ill-conceived relationship. I feel like it is fundamentally sound and is built for the long haul. But...we all know that shit happens, and she is putting herself in the position of being a "kept" woman. Now, if things start to sour, how much would she be willing to suffer before she totally tore up her life and moved on?

Anyway, that is my two cents worth...the next question I say anything? I think it is basically none of my business, so I will likely keep my mouth shut...

[And yes, I get the irony of this entire post, no need to point it out]

Other than that, not much going on. Thursday Chicken Fingers were delicious as always:-) I may be going away this weekend, so I may not be blogging...kind of up in the air...Enjoy!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Let's Gossip:-)

I have this friend...I am going to call her "Sally" for absolutely no reason at all, other than I need a name for her. Sally is 24, works as a Financial Advisor for an insurance company, and is overall a pretty a regular girl. Last fall, Sally met and started dating "Doug". Again, no significance to the name.

I like Doug a lot. He is nice and smart and funny and adores her and treats her really well. He is also 40 and divorced (no kids.) Doug works in real estate (I don't know exactly what he does...I think he is a commercial broker, but don't quote me on that) and makes a pretty good living. He has a really nice apartment in the North End and a house on Cape Cod...I don't mean to imply that she is "after him for his money", because she isn't, but I know that Sally likes that he buys her nice things.

Well, last night, Sally informed me and Smoking Hot Roommate that she is moving in with Doug and she expects to be engaged by the end of the summer. I have to be honest, I think this is a bad idea...although I am not sure that I could put my finger on the reason right away. I don't necessarily think it is a bad idea for people to move in after dating for nine months. And I don't think that an age difference like that is insurmountable. I think they are genuinely in love, and id I had to guess, I would say that I think they will get married pretty soon.

But still, there is something about it that doesn't sit right. She mentioned that her father was really upset by it, and I think I kind of agree with him. But...before I ramble on about this, I wanted to get a random sampling of opinions from the peanut gallery;-)

Just on the facts, does it seem strange to you guys? If so, why? I actually think I have figured out what it is that bothers me, but I wanna get some unbiased opinions first. For the record, Smoking Hot Roommate is not at all bothered by their moving in together...

So, don't be shy...make with the opinions...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

7th Grade Plans

Sorry to be late in the day with this...I know how so many people wait anxiously every morning for me to post:-P Truth be told I have been super busy all morning and yada, yada, yada...

Anyway, I have my last story from last weekend for you. Why does it seem that every time I go back home I end up with like a week's worth of stuff to post? Probably a good idea that I moved...

As I mentioned, Munchkin stayed with her brother this time. Those of you who have been with me for a while know that her brother and I have a decent, but somewhat complex, relationship. I have gotten past the part where he sued me, but I haven't totally forgotten it;-) But Munchkin loves him, and I don't really have any reason to doubt that he has only the best intentions with her. He wants to be a part of her life and goes out of his way to do so. In that sense, I guess I am sort of stuck with him.

A ways back, he had raised the prospect of her coming out to stay with him and his fiance for a couple of weeks. I wasn't totally comfortable with that, but we settled on her going there for a week, and then her brother, future sister-in-law and maybe a cousin of theirs coming out here to go to the beach for a week after that. That seemed to work out real well for everyone.

So, the subject came up over the weekend. Additionally, we talked about the fact that they are pretty close to buying a house. And then, out of nowhere came this bombshell from her brother "The new house is in a great school district. Munchkin could even move out here for an entire school year in a few years if she wants."

Say what?

I he fucking serious?!? Well, yes, he is serious, which is the problem. And, he is just being an asshole, because if he seriously wanted to do that and thought he was relieving me of some burden, he would have asked me and not mentioned it with Munchkin around. But that is not what the weasel wanted...he was hoping that Munchkin would think it such a great idea that I would either have to acquiesce or be the total bitch who told her no.

But it is just basically a stupid idea. She had to switch schools last year, and doing it again for a year just for shits and giggles is just a really stupid idea. Not that she would have any trouble adjusting, but there is no reason for her to do so. None of this even gets to the quality of the respective schools. Anyway, I don't even know why I am wasting finger-energy to type out a rational response.

Fortunately, Munchkin wasn't a huge fan of the idea anyway. I think should would enjoy it and would like the chance to see her brother more often, but she likes where she is, loves her school and wouldn't want to be away from her friends just to do it.

Still, the whole my words from Monday...made me want to "drive a wooden stake through his skull".

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Attack of the Obtuse

Kind of a silly story that serves no real purpose other than to highlight the stupidity of one random person who's name I don't even remember (Bobby? Benny? Something like that).

This happened last Friday night when I was out in Chicago with the BFF's and some old friends. Yesterday's post was too long, so I didn't include this, but I wanted to because it is funny. I have another part of the weekend to include tomorrow which is less funny, but in the interest of keeping posts to one mood...I will hold that out for a day.

Anyway, after dinner we went to a little bar to hang out. Kind of a dive...not too loud, cheap beer, everyone was in a pretty good mood. Somehow, I met Blockhead, a cute, nice, charming guy who had trouble picking up obvious messages. I think that maybe one of his friends knew one of my friends or something along those lines, I am not real sure how it came about.

But we got to talking...I seem to make lots of friends in bars...and he was really nice. However, it was pretty clear that he was trying to pick me up. He laughed a little too loud at my jokes, found excuses to touch my arm, seemed a little overly interested in anything I had to say... So I did what I feel like is the responsible social thing to do, which is to say the word "Boyfriend" a lot.

I am certain that I mentioned having a boyfriend at least five times... he said he liked my shirt and I said "Oh thanks, my boyfriend bought it for me," or "Oh, I don't really follow basketball. My boyfriend took me to a game this winter, but that is the only one I have been to." I will talk to anyone that I think is interesting, but I don't want anyone getting any mistaken ideas if I can help it.

Anyway, it was kinda weird. I just kinda felt all night like he was still actively trying to pick me up. I dunno...maybe he heard I was a slut:-), maybe he figured there was a chance I would lose the inhibitions since I was on vacation, or maybe he was just dumb. But he kept trying to buy me drinks (seriously...if you ask "Do you need a drink?" more than twice, you are overdoing it...25 times is just awkward) and he spent like three straight hours sitting or standing right next to me.

Again, I didn't really mind it...he was funny and interesting and not at all a bad person to hang out with. He just really didn't seem to be picking up the messages that I wasn't looking to take someone home. [For the record...if I am interested in taking someone home with me, there will be very little room for misinterpretation of intentions]. Heck, I called The Boy from the bar while he was sitting right next to me! And, I went maybe a little overboard on the "I love you and I miss you" part, just for show.

He did get a little overly flirtatious to where it started to become uncomfortable, but that was kind of right when we were getting ready to leave. And then...he totally had a tantrum! He was honestly, seriously pissed that I was leaving and not staying to hang out with him. And he tried to get my number, made some veiled accusations that I was leading him on and yada, yada, yada.

At first I was just trying to be nice, and went with "Well, the BFF's are leaving and they are my ride home," and then when he offered to drive me later on, I added "I have to get up early anyway, I have a breakfast date with my sister." And he was still giving me some weird attitude about it, so I was maybe a little more forceful about it (:-D).

And...well, I don't really even know how to describe it because it was all so very weird. But he was definitely having some bizarre tantrum over it. Weird enough that when we left the bar, BFFb was wondering if he had missed something I said, because all he heard all night were the oh-too-obvious boyfriend hints.

So, that is my story. I guess the upside is that BFFb didn't go back in and throw the kid over the bar...he must be maturing;-)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Bowling with Tinkerbelle:-)

Someone found me the other day by searching "massage + happy ending + longwood florida". I am result #2 in a Google search of that...hmmm...interesting.

We had a great weekend!!! (Although, it looks like it was less eventful than GreenLineBoy's) We had great timing on Friday and got in to Chicago at about 7:30 local time. I had the horrible urge to eat McDonald's for dinner, so we stopped to get dinner there before we got on the plane...hee hee. The BFF's were waiting for us when we landed, and BFFg was no longer pretending to be mad at me for not calling her all week.

We got Munchkin to her brother's house in no time and then met up with a bunch of friends for drinks. It was really nice to see them all and I was all tucked in to bed by midnight:-) BFFb was making fun of me because I couldn't sleep like a little kid the night before Christmas. I woke up at like 6:45 and went to Starbuck's and showered really early before anyone else even woke up. I was just really excited to see my little sister that I couldn't sleep (and the time change, too, I guess...)

Breakfast was really fun, and she showed me a lot of stuff she had done at school recently. And then I took her bowling, although we only bowled a little bit and played some other games for a while and then had pizza for lunch:-D We went back to get her Mom and then we went to our Aunt's house because they were having a barbecue so I could see everyone. And because they look for excuses to hang out and eat and drink a lot:-)

That ran all afternoon, and Tinkerbelle was absolutely exhausted by about 7:00, so I took her and her Mom back home and said good-bye. Which is still kinda sad for me...I really wish I got to see her more often. They are all coming out to visit me in a couple months, though, which should be a boatload of fun!

I had dinner with just the BFF's, which was really, really nice! I wasn't at all hungry, since I had been eating all day long, but it is just so nice to sit around with them and just do nothing. No new progress to report in my plan to get the two of them to move out this way...I will have to keep working on it.

Sunday morning I went over to pick up Munchkin to find that she had flowers and a card for me for Mother's Day:-) Isn't she just the cutest thing that ever lived? She had a lot of fun with her brother and their family and no one tried to kidnap her away from that's good;-) (Her brother did have a semi-serious request that made me so made I wanted to drive a wooden post through his skull, but I don't feel like writing about that now...)

We met our Mother's family for brunch, and got to see all of them, too. I don't have the greatest relationship with my Mother's family as a whole, but there are some of them that I care very deeply about, and they are all family, so it is still good to see (most of) them. The couple of them that are totally persona non grata had the sense to stay home...

We landed at about 3:30, which gave us plenty of time to get home and relax a bit before dinner. The Boy was at his parent's house for Mother's Day, but I kinda wanted to hang out with Papa Bear, Smoking Hot Roommate and Big Sis. Mother's Day is a pretty big deal for all of them, and I feel special that they invite us to share it with them. It is not really a somber or sentimental kind of thing...but both girls hold their mother in extremely high regard, and both still miss her, so they like anything that reminds them of her.

So, every Mother's Day, Big Sis and Smoking Hot Roommate meet somewhere for breakfast: just the two of them and no one else. They have done it every year since their Mother died, even when Big Sis lived in London and Smoking Hot Roommate lived in Phoenix, they always came home for Mother's Day to see their father, and to have their annual breakfast.

I think it is a very nice tradition:-)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Headed back home for the weekend

I got yelled at by BFFg last night:-) I called her to confirm plans for tonight when we get to Chicago, and she scolded me for not calling her for like a week. And it is totally my fault...she called me last weekend and I never called her back. Very unlike me, I usually have trouble going more than two days without talking to her.

I am in extra trouble because I talked to BFFb for almost an hour a couple of days ago and she is jealous:-P (for the newer readers, the two BFF's were introduced here... there are some references in that post to the High School Boyfriend story, which I wrote just after New Years if you missed it. It's looooong.)

Anyway, we are off to Chicago after work and school tonight. Hopefully we can get going quickly and get in at a reasonable hour. The itinerary is pretty similar to our usual trips there, save for one exception: Munchkin is staying with her brother this time instead of her Uncle. Despite the aforementioned protests (she is kidding, she loves me:-)) the BFF's are picking us up at the airport and I am staying with them.

We are gonna go out and meet some friends tonight if we get there in time, and goshdarnit if maybe I won't get a little bit drunk;-) Being off the leash is fun sometimes! (I am referring to the "Mom" leash, although I suppose it could also apply to the "Boyfriend" leash, since he is not coming with us.) It won't be too bad, though, since I need to be bright-eyed for my very important breakfast date with the adorable and charming Tinkerbelle.

After breakfast I am gonna take her bowling, which will be fun because it is the first time I have ever really had her alone. After that we (including her Mom) are going to my aunt's house for a barbecue. Tinkerbelle and her Mom are pretty much completely integrated into the family at this point, which is sort of weird...even though I met them first, she is definitely an insider and I am definitely a "visitor" at this point. Ahh well, I can only live in one place at once...

Munchkin is going to spend some time with her Dad's family, but I don't exactly know what they are all up to. Hopefully not brainwashing her to hate Then finally, seeing {the members of} our Mom's family {that I still speak to} for brunch on Sunday morning, and then back home.

So, that is my exciting weekend:-) Anyone got something better on tap?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

New work friends

The weather is absolutely gorgeous around here, and it is making it very hard to concentrate on...well, on anything. It has been between 75 and 85, sunny, a little breezy and just plain gorgeous all week. My work ethic is also compromised by having very, very few people in the office all week. Most of the partners and VP's are out...which makes it kinda slow around here.

The upside is that I have had lunch for two straight days with our new(est) admin. To be really honest, the word "admin" is kind of misleading, our admins are really more like half-executives. They have pretty significant responsibilities, they get paid quite a bit (ahem...measurably more than me...ahem) and they are considered integral parts of the firm.

Most of them are women in their late 40's and 50's (that is a guess) and they are very nice, really hard working and very sharp. One of my favorites gave me a map of Europe last summer when Munchkin was on vacation and a little pin that said "Munchkin is here today" that I could move around every day:-) I hung it in my cube, and I still have it.

Our new admin, though, is much younger (we will call her "around 30"). Since they do most of their work with the partners and senior VP's, I never really worked with her that much and only kind of know her in passing, even though we are two of only three women in the office under 40. But, with everyone out of the office, we had lunch the last two days and got a chance to be buddies:-) And yesterday she indulged my desire to have ice cream for lunch...hee hee.

So, I guess this is kind of a really boring blog ("I made a new friend")...but that is kind of all that happened yesterday...LOL. Well, not quite: Munchkin and I went out to watch The Boy's softball game last night...that was sort of the excitement of the day.

Today, Chicken Finger Thursday:-D

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Revisiting old topics

I know I have written about money before, but I am gonna do it again...(which feeds right into A's accusation of my blog laziness from two weeks ago...very perceptive, that boy is...but this will at least be a new post, just an old topic.)

I grew up pretty poor. Not at all destitute...we always had a place to live, and I was never hungry or cold, so I know that there are a lot of kids that have it a lot worse. Like this little fella that Brandy talked about that made me cry and want to hug him and steal him away to live in a spare bedroom... But my mother never made much money, I don't think, and she spent a lot of it on cigarettes, lottery tickets and getting herself absurdly drunk. Drunks don't maintain the best financial discipline, I always remember her scraping by until payday arrived, and there were definitely large periods of time that we were on government assistance.

Things got better when she got married. Her husband didn't make a ton of money, either, but he was better with it than she was, and also made her quit drinking and smoking (which helps a hear that Still Just Me?!?! Quit because it's cheaper!!!) I think we still probably barely approached "middle class" but there was enough money for all the stuff we really needed, I guess.

But there was never any "savings". I am pretty sure that is a concept that was completely foreign to my mother and her whole family. The sum total of all of their "financial goals" was to make a paycheck last until the next one came. Part of it was that none of them made a whole lot of money, part of it was that none of them knew how to take care of it, and part of it was just that none of them ever really knew any better. Even now, I try to talk to my cousins about it (the ones that I still talk to at all...) and some of them just have no interest.

A lot of this I covered back in December (here and here...careful, they get a little bit preachy;-)) so I won't rehash too much of it. But I will reiterate that I really like saving. It makes me feel productive, and it makes me feel good about myself. Even though retirement seems like such a weird, cloudy non-tangible thing, I feel oddly mature because I have a 401k plan [I have to wrap this up soon, because I just started to think about where I will be when I am 65...]

But there are other things that are on a shorter horizon. Primarily, I guess, would be buying a house. That is kind of my primary goal, and I really like the idea of setting money aside to do that, rather than, say, buy another handbag or another pair of shoes that are just ever-so-slightly different than a pair I already have (c'mon...we have all done it:-))

For me, the key is making a game out of it. I like that I can easily measure my progress, and so easily judge how well I have done...when you look back on how much you made, and how much you have left, the numbers don't lie!

I guess I don't really know what the point of this post is...LOL. But this is what I am thinking about this morning, so this is what you get!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Love is in the air

It must be that Spring has sprung, but there seems to be a lot of romance in the air. There is office romance in GreenLineBoy's world, and in Notbubbly's, and even sort of in SoCal Sweetie's. The newly-styled Double-A has passed the parent test...and love seems to be blooming all around.

This brings me to three random stories about people I know that none of you will care about at How is that for trying to hold your attention? I am not sure what the lessons are here...I will see if I can think of one as I go along.

The first is that last night I saw two people that I introduced that have been dating for almost a year and a half now. ("Introduced" is a really funny will have to ask offline for more details on that:-P). I was at Munchkin's baseball game...they won and she got two hits...and they were out for a walk and stopped in to chat for a bit. They moved in together about six months ago and things seem to be going really well.

I get a really nice feeling about them because I feel like I kinda "own" a piece of their relationship. I root for them because I like both of them, but I also root for their relationship because I feel like I have some stake in it. Weird? There is a guy at work who is engaged to a girl that I introduced to him...and I feel kind of the same way about them. ("Introduced" has a funny meaning there, too...but not as good as the first one.)

Maybe I should be a matchmaker:-D

The second are two people that I went to college with who are getting married soon. The only reason they are notable is that their relationship is kind of backwards. You know how really, really brilliant guys in lucrative fields, even if they are kind of normal looking, end up with incredibly hot women? Well, these two work the other He is, probably, the hottest guy I have ever met. I spent four years in college watching a string of the most beautiful girls you can imagine absolutely throwing themselves at him. (He is also a really nice guy, and I always liked him.)

And she is so NOT like the girl I would have pictured him with. This is not to say she is at all unattractive...she is very pretty in a "I'm WAY to smart to stoop to spending four hours getting ready to go out every night" kind of way. She gives off sort of a bohemian, chick-lit style vibe (that makes no sense, does it?) She is also incredibly funny, with a really quick, sarcastic sense of humor. She was a Chemical Engineering major who works really hard and spends her time now creating new industrial cleaning solvents. I guess if you can't maintain a sense of humor while you are doing that...

Anyway, they met in a bar towards the end of our senior year, and he fell really hard for her. Virtually right off the bat he was completely smitten. It took her a little longer, partially I think because she didn't take him that seriously. Eventually he wore her down to the point that she committed, though (he did have the absurd hotness working for him...) and they are getting married soon. I am really happy for both of them...she is a great, great girl, and she deserves to have a hot piece of arm candy:-) And he is a super nice guy who deserves someone who makes him laugh and think all the time.

[In the interest of brevity, they each may come off as a bit stereotypical there...SHR, you wanna chime in if I got them wrong?]

And finally, an update on The Body, who just moved back to Phoenix for the summer to help out with her Dad, Step-mom and their brand new twins (and, what is 50 other children?) She is being a really great big sister and a really great daughter and I admire her a lot for it. AND...she has started dating one of our very best friends. A super cute, red-headed boy that I count as one of my very favorite people on Earth.

Right after she moved back, they went out to catch up (I would classify them as "very close friends") and there were some sparks:-) I guess the time away from seeing each other every day created something, so they have a bit of a thing! I hope it goes well for both of them, because I love them both very dearly:-)

Anyway, those are my three random stories that none of you probably care about. Whatever...I will care when I go back and read this in like six months, and THAT, my friends, is what really matters!!!

Monday, May 07, 2007


I hope everyone had a good weekend...and that the post-Cinco de Mayo hangovers weren't too bad. Tequila...ain't she a bitch. (Actually, I love tequila...more than other hard liquors, but I digress.)

The leaves are finally out:-) It started at the end of last week, and really exploded this, green everywhere and I love it! I'm sure we still have a bunch of shitty weather ahead of us this month, but the end is clearly nearby!

It dawned on me yesterday that there will really be no weekend posting from me for a while. Once summer starts, we will spend just about every weekend at the beach, and I just can't see myself posting much from there. I guess I won't know until we start going and I see if the mood strikes, but I doubt it. That is my most favorite place in the world, and I don't really like to do much typing while I am there:-)

Headed to Chicago with Munchkin next weekend to see all the families, and mostly my little Tinkerbelle:-)

I am thinking of taking up golf this summer...anyone have any thought on this? It seems like every guy I know plays, and a lot of women do, too. Smoking Hot Roommate is ridiculously good...but Big Sis never really played, and we were talking about starting together. I guess that means going to the driving range and maybe taking lessons...? I have been to the driving range a few times, and I have played mini-golf, can't be that hard, right? (Yes, I am kidding...)

Not gonna lie...much of this is related to SHR flipping on TV and me thinking that one of the girls had one of the cutest little outfits I have ever seen on, and thinking I would totally like to dress like that... (her name is Natalie Gulbis...and apparently she is quite the sex symbol. Who knew golfers could be sex symbols?)

So that is my goal for the take up golf. We'll see how it goes...

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Relationship Wisdom of the Ages

Yesterday when I said that there would be no posts this weekend, well...I lied. Boo hoo. You get one today (but none tomorrow and I doubt that I will get the chance to approve comments, so sit tight:-))

We are leaving for the weekend in a little bit, but I wanted to check in with a funny story. After work last night me and the twerp went out for Mexican food (it was the Quatro de Mayo, after all;-)) and met up with The Boy, Smoking Hot Roommate, The Rocket Scientist and then eventually a handful of other friends.

The weather was beautiful and it was clear that there were going to be a ton of people out, which means that eventually we would have trouble finding a place that would let Munchkin in. I guess maybe that is a sign that I should not take her to so many bars...whatever, you raise your kids and I will raise mine. Well, my Mother's kid, but you get the point...

So, we decided to have a little party of our own. About 15 people came over to hang out on the deck and drink a giant bucket of margaritas. It was a lot of fun, and was sort of an early night (for us at least: a bunch of our friends were going out afterwards). When The Boy has a couple of drinks, he gets super cute and gets really frisky, The sex gets a little more aggressive, and he talks a lot more, too, all of which I am a big fan of (I love dirty this TMI?)

There is a downside, though...which is that he snores He tends to snore whenever he sleeps on his back, and it is worse if he has had a couple of drinks (and also harder to get him to roll over and stay rolled over.) By about 3:00, I had been woken up for the last time, so I left him in my bed and went in to sleep with Munchkin.

She may not put out, but she also doesn't snore!!!

I climbed into her bed, and she immediately woke up entirely, leading to the following conversation:

Munchkin: Are you OK?
Me: Yea, go back to sleep.
Munchkin: You're sure everything is OK?
Me: Yup, I couldn't sleep.
Munchkin: Did you guys have a fight?
Me: No, not at all, I just couldn't sleep.
Munchkin: If you had a fight you should make up before you go to bed.
Me: We didn't have a fight, he is snoring and I can't sleep
Munchkin: Oh, OK.

And then she was sleeping again before I even finished thinking "How on earth does she know 'Never go to bed angry'?"

Friday, May 04, 2007

Routine, Ritual and Tradition

Dog is man's best friend. Diamonds are a girl's best friend. The post is the goalie's best friend (thanks to Smoking Hot Roommate for the sports analogy;-))

Routine is a parent's best friend.

This is one of the (many) lessons I have learned in my 18 months of "parenthood". Kids need structure, and they work best when they have a regular schedule with regular routines. Up at the same time, breakfast at the same time, to school at the same time, etc. When they get out of their routine and out of their comfort zone, they get cranky, irritable and annoying (well, except for my sister, who is perfect;-)).

Routines quickly turn into rituals. You do the same thing every day, and then pretty soon you don't feel right if you don't do it. If Munchkin weren't sitting on my bed and chatting while I got dressed in the morning, I would really miss her. And who would dress me everyday and help me pick out shoes?:-)

Rituals eventually turn into traditions, and become the things you look back on fondly and look forward to with great anticipation. When Munchkin first moved here, I really didn't know what to do with on a daily basis. I mean, I knew the big stuff...find her a school, look into activities, etc...but on a day to day basis, it is really hard to think of things to do all the time. On a regular Sunday when nothing else is planned and it is raining, what do you do all day? Kids get bored VERY fast...

Munchkin has loved the Chicago Cubs forever. I think she may have gotten it from her father, but to be honest, I don't really know. Regardless, I found out that any time the Cubs were on TV, if I could find a place that showed the game, I could keep her entertained for three hours. Smoking Hot Roommate suggested a sports bar in town once, and we all went over, asked them to put on the game for her and had dinner while we watched the game. And with that, a tradition was born.

To begin with, it was something to do with her, and we usually did it on weekend afternoons when I needed to keep her occupied. Chicken fingers and french fries became a central part of the experience, as did sitting at the same table, having the bartenders greet her by ringing the bell, and drinking fancy drinks out of martini glasses (like Shirley temples, or cranberry juice and 7up).

And at some point, it went from being an activity to being a routine to being a ritual to being a tradition. And it went from being a time-wasting weekend activity to being a Thursday night tradition (which means less baseball, since the games start too late to really be out and watch them for her on weekdays). Now, we have a lot of routines so I don't have any trouble keeping her busy. But there is very little that I look forward to more than chicken finger and french fry Thursdays. Almost every Thursday, I really start looking forward to dinner about mid-morning.

If she is home, Smoking Hot Roommate joins us, and Big Sis, Papa Bear, The Rocket Scientist, The Brain Surgeon, The Boy, The Boy's Sister and her wife, and some other friends come sometimes too. Boss Foxy and her son came once. Sometimes it is just me and Munchkin:-)

Last night SHR and The Boy were both with us and Munchkin was in her element. She folds her legs under her and sits in the booth and chats away about everything she can possibly think of. And she always gets ketchup on her sleeves somehow:-) The chicken fingers were as delicious as always, as were the french fries. And the beer was as cold as ever (I don't usually drink if it is just the two of us...but I do if I have drinking buddies;-)). And it was the ordinariness of it all that I liked so much. And now I can start to look forward to next Thursday.

God's in His heaven, all's right with the world.

(Special note: kind of random, last-minute weekend plans, so I don't think I will be around at all this weekend. Which means you may need to wait until Monday morning for your fill of me:-))

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Bigger is Better!

Sorry to any IM buddies who have been looking for me this has been busy as a motherfucker and I haven't had time. I was going at 100mph all day yesterday, and still had a couple of hours of work to do when I finally got home. Today should be better, though... hopefully.

Munchkin had a baseball game last night, which is always fun. The Boy came over to watch and brought me dinner at the same time:-) What a guy:-D

Note: NOT softball, and don't ever ask her if she plays softball, or she is likely to bite your head off. I don't ever remember girls playing little league when I was little, but I think about a third of the kids are girls now. Which is really super cute...they do pretty well. The very best players are still boys, but most of the girls hold their own pretty well.

There was a woman at the park that amazed me with her pet ambition. I'd say she was 28, maybe about 5'6", thinnish build...and she was walking two of the biggest dogs I have ever seen. One of them was a 140 pound Newfoundland, and that was the little one!!! The other was a 196 pound English Mastiff. Yes, that dog is almost exactly twice my size...and he was really sweet, too:-) He did drool a lot, though...

She had them both on leashes (which is the law, I think) but all I could really think was "Why?". If that Mastiff sees a squirrel and wants to go chase a leash gonna stop him? She would be lucky not to get her arm ripped off...

This is the latest in what has become and interesting phenomenon around here: giant dogs. During our Sunday morning walk a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a growing preponderance of absolutely mammoth dogs on the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. A couple Burmese Mountain Dogs, a Great Dane, a Neapolitan Mastiff and some others. How do people keep dogs like that in the city? I love big dogs as much as anyone (refer to my constant wishes for a Swiss Mountain Dog) but I can't imagine having a 150+ pound animal living with you in a tiny apartment.

Maybe these people are all absurdly wealthy and have massive apartments (and a staff to walk the dog three times a day all year long...not so much fun in February...) I dunno. Is this a local phenomenon? Has there been a rash of massive dog breeding across the whole country recently? I am not sure, but I think the Dog Whisperer is to blame...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Low heat means LOW heat...

I spent about 10 minutes at work yesterday absolutely bawling like I was watching Beaches, but I will get to that in a minute. First, my disastrous attempt at making ribs...

My Mom used to make these ribs where she would take a bunch of country style pork spare ribs and really slowly pot-roast them in ketchup, onions, peppers and a bunch of other stuff. Always seemed so put the stuff in a pot, turn the heat on super low and then you let it cook for a while and the meat gets incredibly tender. Usually you can eat them with a fork.

So, me and the little one decided that were were gonna try and make them yesterday. Turns out it is maybe a little harder than I had anticipated. I should have know something was wrong because they really seemed to be completely cooked like five minutes after I put them all in the pot. Intuitively, I felt like it should take kind of a long time, but since I had never done it before, I figured that maybe I needed to wait.

After a little while, it became clear that no...I just had the heat turned up way too high (I had it on as low as it could go without flickering out, I thought!) About a half an hour in, they were basically the texture and consistency and flavor of hockey pucks. Hmm...and I was starting to think that I had some skills in the kitchen, too...

So that's why we split a turkey sub for dinner last night:-P And it was delicious!

OK, the crying. Yesterday was kind of a stressful morning at work. I was doing something for one of the VP's, and I could tell he was getting frustrated because I just couldn't figure out what I was doing and no matter how hard he tried to explain it to me, it just wasn't working. It's not like he was at all mean or condescending, I could just tell that he was getting really frustrated. There are still a lot of times that I am reminded that I am WAY less experienced than everyone else here, and that there are lots of things where my technical skills are miles and miles and miles behind everyone else's. Generally, people are very helpful (you know, because I am so cute!) but there are still times that it gets frustrating.

So I was in kind of a bad mood and feeling a bit frazzled...and at about 11:00, one of the admins came over to my desk with a big bouquet of flowers and said "These just came for you."

My first thought was..."Aww...isn't he a sweetie? What perfect timing!" And then I read the card, and they weren't from The Boy. The card said:

"Thanks for being such a good big sister all the time. I love you! Love, Munchkin"

And that was it...I just started bawling. On Sunday night after the incident with the new boyfriend, she asked Smoking Hot Roommate if she could send me flowers at work. So they ordered them then and they got delivered yesterday. And it made me cry...A LOT!

And look, I am crying again...what a sap:-)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

When the cat's away

I had this discussion with Ella W yesterday...about how much fun it is when the boss (or bosses) are away from work. It has nothing to do with my job...I literally love my job and all of the people I work with, and don't believe there is any job that I would (realistically) trade this one for.

I even like my bosses. And not just as bosses...they are good friends. There are five partners here, so there are five "big bosses". The biggest of the big bosses is Papa Bear, one of my very favorite people on Earth. (Sometimes I forget that I have people who just started reading recently...Papa Bear is NOT actually my Father, we just kinda pretend that he is:-) is all spelled out in this post.) Another of the big bosses is Boss Foxy, who is a mentor and a very close friend.

So, I like my bosses so much that I choose to spend time with them outside of work. is still really nice when they are out of the office! Yesterday there were a handful of related meetings in the afternoon, so we were busy as all get out in the morning, but then everyone that mattered was gone after lunch. Just me, the admins (yes, Billy...THAT admin...) and two other people on the investment staff were in the office.

So what did we do? Well...kinda nothing:-D I did a lot of IM'ing, and some shopping (well, browsing) and some chatting on the phone. And I think that is true of every office, no matter how dedicated people are and how hard they work. I work with a ton of people who qualify as "achievers" and extremely hard workers, but we still get excited when the bosses leave the office!

I think it is just a natural reaction...even if your boss is nice and fair, you still feel a certain sense of freedom when they are gone. If I had anything that really needed to get done, I would have happily done it...but it is just a really liberating feeling to be boss-free.

They are, however, all back this morning, which means I need to get to work...phooey!