Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Very Long Story

Amy from "Our Happy Married Life" informed me by email the other day that I was apparently a substantial topic of conversation at her family's Christmas Eve dinner table. She also says that Crown Royal was an important guest, but I choose to believe that the two are unrelated;-). And then, her sister Meg (blogless:-)) finally came out of the shadows and commented yesterday...which I think makes me a legit Wagner Family Celebrity. I am going to consider that a pretty big honor! And, if there are any other Wagner family members reading...a big hearty hello to you all, too:-)


OK...story time. Not sure if this is a bad story, or just a kinda bad one, or maybe even kinda good. It is definitely not all good, and is kinda sad. Not real sure what the point of my telling it is, other than I just feel like writing it. And it does shed some light on someone who gets surprisingly little attention in this space.

Anyway...the key person in this story is Twin Sister's Wife (who deserves her own nickname...I should get on that). She is a sometimes-reader here, and I already told her I was going to blog this, and I will invite her to chime in if I leave anything out...she will also read your comments, so keep that in mind;-). I am a big fan of hers, as is her brother-in-law and the entire The Boy Family. Really great, sincere and caring person, and a great wife and mother [it should go without saying that this story is from her perspective].

As I mentioned earlier, her Father was here for Christmas, and is in fact semi-retiring and moving to Boston to be closer to his daughter and granddaughter. That is all good news...she was ecstatic to have her Father around for Christmas and is in love with the idea of him being closer to her permanently. The bad news is that this coincides with his splitting from her Mother after roughly 35 years of marriage.

According to her, growing up, she was extremely close to her Mother, and had a somewhat tougher relationship with her Father. She doesn't say that they fought or anything...just that she never felt super close to him, and always felt like there was sort of an awkwardness about their relationship. She was a pretty typical little girl.

As she grew through High School and college, she began to come to terms with her own sexuality, finally acknowledging to herself that she is a lesbian. Knowing that her Mother is a relatively traditional woman, she was certain that she would probably not be terribly thrilled at the news. However, she also figured her Mother probably already had some suspicions of this (like a pretty obvious disinterest in boys;-)), and she knew she could count on her to be understanding and supportive.

She was less sure about her father, though, and wanted to tell her Mom first so that they could tell her Father together. She took a long weekend to come home from school, figuring that she could talk to her Mom on Friday afternoon, and then be able to talk to her Dad when he came home from work. What she did not expect, however, was her Mother's reaction.

Her Mom was not simply upset and disappointed...she was angry. Really angry. There was some denial and some questions, but then there was just rage. Yelling and name calling and a whole lot of shit that seemed to stem from "the shame of telling her friends that she had a dyke daughter". She never got to find out how her Father would have reacted because her Mother threw her out of the house on the spot. Stunned and despondent, she drove back to her apartment at school.

Her father called her about three hours later, after her Mother told him what happened. His reaction was very different "Honey, stay there. I am driving up there now and we can talk when I get there." He was neither angry nor disappointed (at least not in his daughter...) nor ashamed or any of that. I am sure that he had all of the concerns that a normal parent would have, but his basic message to her was a desire for her to be happy, a pride in the woman she was, and a wish that she be true to herself.

She claims that it was an emotional connection to her Father that she had never felt before that.

He didn't actually stay that long. By the time they were done talking, it was pretty late, so he stayed there that night, but then he went back home after breakfast and she felt much, much better than she had the previous day. She felt like her Mother would eventually come around when the shock wore off and things would go back to normal.

Her Mother never came around. I have no idea how much of it was a philosophical issue with homosexuality, how much was her own selfish embarrassment (which is pretty stupid...), or how much might be something else. Not really my place to make that assessment. Whatever the reason, he relationship with her Mother has basically dissolved. What I do know is that her Mother barely spoke to her after that, and that she was forbidden from moving back home "as long as you are still gay."

Because this coincided with her graduating from college, that was not really that big a deal. She says that Holidays were, not surprisingly, the hardest times. Her Father tried to get her Mother to open up, but she never got past being rudimentarily polite at family functions. If she called the house and her Mother answered, she would pass the phone as quickly as possible to her Father or find some reason to end the discussion quickly. She stopped asking about jobs, friends, apartments or anything else.

Kind of a funny thing happened, though...that cold, awkward relationship she had with her Father? Gone, and replaced with a really healthy, happy Father-Daughter relationship. They talked regularly (which they never did before), discovered that they had more in common than they ever acknowledged and just basically appreciated each other more. As awkward as it seems...they all settled into an equilibrium whereby Mother and Daughter pretty much ignored each other, and Father maintained separate relationships with each.

That went on for years...Twin Sister reports that, while she saw her father-in-law all the time when they were dating, she met her mother-in-law exactly twice before they were married, and never had a conversation beyond "Nice to meet you". Not surprisingly, that sort of an equilibrium turned out to be unsustainable.

At first, her Mother refused to come to her daughter's wedding...she only came because her Father gave her an ultimatum. She didn't make any sort of a scene at the wedding, but she clearly didn't have a good time or make any effort to look like she was enjoying herself. While her Father has come here to visit her maybe 50 times since I have known them, her Mother has come exactly twice...once for the aforementioned wedding, and once right after they had their baby.

I am fairly certain that I saw her smile when she held her granddaughter for the first (and I think maybe the only) time...but that faded quickly. When The Boy and I got married last summer, her Father came to watch the baby and her Mother stayed home. In that case, she theoretically could have come for the weekend and never even had to see her daughter...she could have just played with the baby for two days and enjoyed the beach.

Since the baby was born, it has been pretty clear that something was going to have to give. Her Father has become less tolerant of her Mother's unwillingness to be involved in her daughter's life, which conflicts directly with his own desire to be around both his daughter and his granddaughter. He spent his entire professional career as an engineer at a very large phone company that offered older managers a really generous early retirement package earlier this year.

Since he was pretty close to retiring anyway, this seemed the perfect opportunity to call it a career. In doing so, he expressed to his wife his desire (and I am pretty sure that their relationship was on its last legs anyway...I can't see how all of this could not have been devastating to their marriage) that they sell their house and move a couple hours eastward so that they can be closer to their daughter and granddaughter. Her Mother responded that she had no interest in moving, and no interest in being closer to her daughter or granddaughter. In fact, she already felt like he spent too much time with them and the he was choosing them over her.

He told her not to make him choose between his wife or his daughter because he would choose his daughter. She told him that maybe that was just a choice he would have to make.

So he did.

I think that Twin Sister's Wife is a little bit emotionally confused about all of this. Obviously she is ecstatic about having her Father closer, and about being able to see him without always feel like she is doing something wrong or making him do something wrong. And life will be easier for her to never have to deal with her Mother at all.

But at the same time...she certainly doesn't feel good about her parents' marriage collapsing. And I think she recognizes that this likely means that whatever slim hope she may have had for a relationship with her Mother is gone forever. And that has to be sad.

So, for was both a really good Christmas and a really sad one at the same time.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Catching Up on Christmas

I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do for you. I had intended to blog more while on my break, and have found myself being even less productive, if that is possible.

Christmas was lovely, and didn't seem nearly as hectic as it has in year's past. We had dinner at Twin Sister's place on Christmas Eve and it was awesome. She was a little nervous about having her first big holiday family meal, but she pulled it off beautifully!!! The Boy's older siblings were both with their in-laws, so it was just his parents, Twin Sister and her wife and their daughter, and me, The Boy and Munchkin. And there was present-swapping:-)

The pretend family came over to our place on Christmas morning for breakfast and more present-swapping. Really, that can be classified as "Munchkin's Haul" since 90% of the presents are for her. And, as usual, she totally cleaned up...for someone who wears a uniform to school, she has enough clothes for about a dozen people...

I didn't ask for much, and Munchkin took care of the little things I wanted...waterproof mittens:-), a body pillow and ear muffs were pretty much it...SHR and Big Sis each bought me some cute maternity clothes. Along with Papa Bear, they gave us (really the babies) an extraordinarily generous and thoughtful gift that was quite unexpected.

The Boy gave me a Kindle, which was the only present I asked him for. awesome. It does as good a job of replicating the feel of having a book in your hand as possible, and is super easy to use and has tons of neat features. Also, the e-ink is really cool...not at all like staring at a computer screen.

We had Christmas Day with the extended pretend family, which I always love, if only because it gives me a chance to go and hang out at Papa Bear's old house for an afternoon. (That was where they lived until around the time we graduated from college, and where I lived for the summer I spent out here. When he moved into the city, he sold the house to his nephew, SHR's cousin...hence the Christmas Day invite).

It is a great big old classic New England house, and I just love it! It is also remarkably close to the city for being in what is really a pretty quiet area (for the locals, it is in Brookline). It is probably less than three miles from where I live, yet it sits on a pretty quiet two acres or so. As much as I generally disdain suburbs, I could totally live there...well, except for one tiny little fiscal complication;-)

Anyway, I am off-track... The day after Christmas was my annual child-swap, so we got Munchkin packed up and shipped out early in the morning, and then headed to the airport in the afternoon to pick up Tinkerbelle. She is as cute as ever, and we have had a great visit! It is nice to not have any work or school or anything to worry about, and to just be able to bum around with her. We have done some shopping, and drove over so I could show her my school, and gone to the movies...and yesterday we tried to go ice skating in the snow, but there was a lot more rain than snow, which kinda ruins the mood:-).

She is coming to a New Year's party with with us on Thursday, but I don't know how long we will stay. She is not quite as outgoing as Munchkin, so I have a feeling that she may get overwhelmed by the noise and excitement and all of the new people. Also, if there are too many drunkards, I may pull the plug early;-). I hope she makes it until midnight, but I am prepared to bail early if needed...I will just have to make out with The Boy early:-D

I guess that about does it for now...I have a lunch date:-)

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Message from Everyone's Favorite Canadian Josh Lyman Fan

Munchkin is safely in St. Thomas, likely drawing the attention of dashing foreign boys again;-), and Tinkerbelle is safely here, keeping Munchkin's bed warm while she is gone. I have a whole week to spend with her and very little else on the agenda. Lovely!

Kind of a change of plan today on the blog front...granting a favor to one of my long-time favoritest bloggers. Brandy sent this out and asked a whole bunch of people if they would be kind enough to post this to their blogs. She is, and has always been, one of the funniest and most thoughtful people in my Google Reader, And since this will automatically improve the quality of writing on this blog, how could I possibly refuse?


My name is brandy. And I have a blog.

And a plea.

I use my blog to showcase the crazy I meet everyday, share the stories of the kids I teach and document my love for tequila, dairy products and the abdominal muscles of Ryan Reynolds. Rarely do I talk about personal issues on my blog- as personal as the dude that I adore (who I actually met through my blog- single ladies, let that be a very good reason to blog, the possibility of meeting someone as wonderful as my man), but I need your help. And it involves my dude.

He's a guy who made math comics for my class, so they would love learning about addition. He's the kinda guy who sends my friends gift cards when they are having hard times, who remembers every story I ever told him, who was the first person I celebrated with when I got a teaching job. He's the guy who sent flowers to me at school- dozens of my favourite pink roses just because he loves me. He's a guy who has spent a year patiently explaining (and re-explaining) everything there is to know about football during the important games when silence is preferred. He's made me word puzzles and comics and stayed up late playing Scrabble with me (even though I beat him almost every time). He's listened to me cry about school and family and jobs. He is everything I never knew I needed and everything I always knew I wanted.

The holidays have hit us hard. He's recently been told he may have something called multiple myeloma- an incurable cancer, that gives a person an average of five years of continued life. Though this news has came as a shock, he continues to be exactly who has always been- spending his time worrying about me, rather than worrying about himself. He's the most selfless individual I know- (he stayed late on Christmas Eve to work, so his co-workers could leave early) and a post like this would never be something that he would promote or encourage but when I'm overwhelmed and feeling helpless, the blogging community has always given me tremendous support and comfort, two things I desperately need at this time.

As I write this, the future is uncertain and we aren't sure what's happening. He'll need to see an oncologist soon, to verify what's going on in his body. My hope is that everyone who reads this think positive thoughts and if you are a person who prays, could you add him to your list? (You can refer to him as 'brandy's hot awesome dude'). If you don't pray, please keep him in your heart. This cancer is only a possibility and I believe that the prayers and positive thoughts of people can make sure it never becomes a reality.

I want to give a big thank you to the blog owner who scraped their original blog plans and graciously put this up. My goal is to get as many people as possible to see and read this post. If you are reading this and want to help, copy and paste my plea into your blog or send a link through twitter, so more people can keep him in their thoughts. I would be so very grateful (even more grateful than I am to my friend who first showed me the picture of Ryan Reynolds on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. If you haven't seen it, google it. You. Are. Welcome).

I realize this all sounds dramatic, a Lifetime movie in the making- but this is life. Right now. And I'm throwing away any hint of ego and am humbly asking for you to pray or think kind thoughts. If you are able to pass this on, thank you and if you know anything regarding MM- please email me (my email is on my blog). This isn't a call for sympathy or a plea for pity. It's just one girl hoping you can think positive thoughts for the person she adores. If my current heartache provides you with anything, let it be with the reminder that life is short, love is unbending and no one knows what could happen next. Maybe it is silly, but I really do believe that positive thoughts can make a huge difference. Thank you for reading this and if you haven't already? Please tell someone you love them today.

I did.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I have sent a bunch of emails to blog-friends, and have also conversed with some of you over the last couple of days on other things...but if I missed you, please have a wonderful Christmas (or day off, for my non-Christian readers)!

The Boy and I, and Munchkin, are headed over to Twin Sister's place for dinner tonight...which is something of a landmark family event for them: first big Christmas meal at Twin Sister's house, and she is adorably nervous about it. She told me yesterday "AM, this is a big responsibility...I could totally ruin Christmas!" She'll do great, though!

[By the a day or two, can someone remind me to write a little thing about her Mother-in-Law? She really, really rubs me the wrong way, but now is not the time].

Speaking of Munchkin...she is holding up OK, but she is definitely kinda bummed. She did pretty well at the airport (it was a super-sweet kiss good-bye and it broke my heart just a little bit) but she really broke down in the car. She kinda started out alright, but as she talked about it, she really melted...just basically over the unfairness of it all. Not a whole lot of reason that you can impart to an emotional 14 year old girl that just said good-bye to the love of her life for probably at least six months or so:-(

She definitely perked up for Big Sis' birthday party, and being around a lot of people was helpful. As she promised yesterday, Big Sis did indeed bring her flowers and an early Christmas present (a super cute scarf...she is a big scarf wearer;-)) to cheer her up. And all of that worked, but when we got home, she got really bummed out again. She had a little bit more crying to do, so I slept in her bed with her just so she didn't feel lonely. Definitely woke up to find her sleeping with her hand on my tummy...kicking babies makes everyone happy:-)

She talked to Frenchie this morning to make sure he got home OK, and just because she missed him. So, now I have to get her out of the house so she stops sulking;-). Not real sure what we are gonna do...maybe just walk around, look at decorations, have lunch somewhere and do some window shopping. Just something to keep her busy.

With that, I am out! Here's wishing you a happy, healthy Holiday full of family and good Cheer!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Happy Birthday!

I spent yesterday afternoon and a lot of this morning doing most of my Christmas shopping...which was actually a pretty good way to do it. Stores are a lot less crowded during weekdays, so I didn't feel at all rushed or stressed. Because I didn't really have good ideas on what to get people, I sort of had to go browse around...I couldn't just do it all online. Now, I have a couple hours to get it all wrapped. Have I ever mentioned that I hate wrapping presents? Well, I do.

Then we have to bring Frenchie to the airport, which will be tough on Munchkin:-(. They have had a really great visit, and he has been a lot of fun to have around. I think it is wonderful for her to have someone that she gets along with this well, and I also think it is going to be good for her in the long run to have discovered what a positive, healthy relationship can look like at such a young age. Unfortunately, it all comes with a really big "but" and one giant impediment.

So, on the one hand, I am incredibly sad for her that the two of them can only be together on such a limited basis. On the other, I am happy for her that she has found such a good friend that she enjoys so have to care for each other a lot to go through what they do to see each other even as often as they do. And, if I am being really honest, if they were in the same class at school, this likely would have come and gone like most 14 year old romances...I think the distance makes it all just a little bit more fairy-tale for them, and maybe that much more interesting.

Bottom line, she will cry a lot tonight, and that always breaks me up:-(

However, it is not all doom and gloom around here, because today is a super, special day...and a very big day for the other pregnant lady over here in AM-land:-) It's Big Sis' birthday!

Yay!!! Streamers and balloons and noisemakers and confetti all around!!! I have written a whole lot over the years about how awesome I think she is, and how great she has been to me and to Munchkin...and all of that still stands. Now, I will add that she is gonna be a great Mom, and a great Auntie to my two little ones. Should her baby-of-unknown-gender turn out to be a boy, I would totally let either of my girls date him:-)

The Brain Surgeon is throwing her a sort-of birthday party tonight...really we are having dinner and then a whole bunch of her friends are coming to meet us and hang out afterwards. Should be lots of fun, and will also serve to alleviate my major concern for the day: it will keep Munchkin busy and keep her mind maybe a little bit distracted.

And if that doesn't work...her forthcoming trip to St. John will certainly do the trick!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Let's make fun of the fat chick!

In light of the big snow storm we got yesterday (and Munchkin having school cancelled), I took the lovebirds and two other friends of Munchkin's sledding! OK, that is maybe a little bit misleading...I drove them to a popular sledding spot, and then I went to a little soup and sandwich place up the street to read and enjoy the warmth while they stayed outside in the cold. had a pumpkin bisque for lunch that was absolutely out of this world. A super hearty, comfort-food kind of hot meal in a bowl. Really, really awesome...I gotta go back for more soon:-).

So, I went back to get them and they were not quite ready to go yet, so I decided to hang out for a bit and they talked me into one sledding run. Not sure if that is kosher for the pregnant girl, but I had dressed for it just in case:-).

So, I did one run...and then realized that I couldn't get back up the hill!!!

Seriously, it was too steep and slick and I just couldn't get my legs and feet to work like they normally do...carrying too much extra body weight.

So, yes, my one effort at sledding today ended with me laughing uncontrollably at my own sorry ass while I walked to the stairs at the end of the hill.


Saturday, December 19, 2009


Holy shit...this is my 800th post...that seems like a whole fucking lot. I still remember vividly sitting down to write my very first post three years (plus) ago on a Friday night...and that seems like a really, really long time ago. I guess I never really thought about the idea of sticking with it for this long. And I definitely never thought that I would get nearly as much out of it as I have. Beyond just having a really good diary of what I was doing and thinking for all of this time, I have "met" a whole ton of people that make me laugh and cry and do all sorts of other things. I have also found that there are a lot more people that I have things in common with than I ever thought...I have found no fewer that a half dozen people who spent some time raising a sibling, which I could have never anticipated.

And a quick inventory shows that I have moved twice, gotten married, gotten knocked up - twice at once, started graduate school, bought a condo and found a new little sister. Pretty busy couple of years! I have also taken a Trans-Atlantic voyage with little sister #1 to visit her dashing foreign boyfriend....

Which brings me to the initial point of this post...our French visitor. And yes, this is the second post that I have written in about an hour, but it seemed too long for just one entry. Frenchie's plane was about a half hour late on Thursday, which actually gave Munchkin and I a good chance to talk a bit before he arrived. OK, so an airport Starbucks isn't really where we usually have in-depth conversations, but it will do when necessary;-).

He seems to have grown about a foot since we last saw him four months ago...and he remains supremely adorable;-). And they are super cute together...they hold hands when they walk sometimes, but they aren't at all annoying and clingy. And they talk in French sometimes, which really just means that he talks really slow and uses simple words and helps her, since she has one semester's worth of French...still, it is really cute. Her Spanish is better than her French, but she doesn't have any Spanish or Latin boyfriends;-)

His parents sent him with some gifts, including a few baby things, some chocolate...and two bottles of wine. Not sure they thought that one through know, sending a 15 year old on an airplane to America with Please don't tell customs!

I was a little worried about having the two of them without his parents around, but so far there are no worries. He is very respectful of her (and therefore of me:-)), and they haven't been trying to sneak around to make out too much;-). We had dinner with the entire extended pretend family last night, and they are going to the movies this afternoon (can you make out during Avatar? I will have to ask her). The Boy and I have a Christmas party to go to tonight, and the two lovebirds are going to their own party at one of Munchkin's friend's houses.

Tomorrow, he is going along with Smoking Hot Roommate and Munchkin to their weekly Fantasy Football watching date...I doubt that he knows what he is in for. That is roughly equivalent to meeting a girl's father for the first time, only instead of a father it is half a dozen probably-overprotective 27 year old guys with a bottomless cooler of Miller Lite...;-)

(That reminds me of a really funny story...she got in trouble at school one day because she forgot to turn her phone off and it rang during class. I asked her who could possibly be calling her on a Tuesday afternoon..."Oh, it was (guy in her fantasy football league) asking if I would trade him a running back".)

That's about all for now...this is a whole lot of blogging for one Saturday morning for me. But it has kept me from wanting to go outside is this brutally cold weather!

Babies Update

It seems like I haven't given much of an update on the babies of late...I have been so busy with other shit that I haven't blogged much, and when I have, it's been about other things.

I am about 20 weeks now, and my next doctor's appointment is Tuesday. So far, all of the tests and screenings have been normal...blood pressure is good, sickness has passed, sleeping well, weight gain is good (I have put on about 20 pounds, at least, and feel big as a house!) No distortion of my stomach tattoo yet;-). If the ultrasound pictures on Tuesday are good, I will post them. And I will try and get a belly picture in here at some point as well;-)

The biggest thing is that they have started kicking a lot. I have been able to feel them for about a week and a half now, and within the last couple of days it has really picked up so that other people can feel the kicking if they are touching my stomach. Sometimes they kick me hard enough to surprise me and make me jump and squeal a little bit:-)

I can still wear some non-maternity shirts and sweaters if they are long enough and not super tight. Pants are pretty much all maternity, although if I got one of those belly bands, I could still wear a lot of my old pants. Mostly, though, I just don't have the need to dress up very often! I can totally get away with wearing sweat pants to school, and can also wear my fantastic array of hippie skirts that I wear all summer, provided that I wear some warm tights or thermal leggings of one sort or another;-). Shoes are tough to match with those, too, but I feel like a lot of boots work fine.

We also have also settled on a definitive plan regarding school, et al. I may in fact be completely crazy to try, but I am enrolled for the second semester, and planning on going full speed ahead. I am taking something of a big chance that I am not put on bed rest for any lengthy period of time, which would sorta blow this whole thing up. While I won't be able to spend entire days at school right away, I shouldn't miss more than a week of classes (I know that sounds ridiculous, but it will really only mean being at school for a couple of hours each morning). A big part of this semester will be another semester-long project, which means I will be able to work a ton on that while everyone else is on spring break, and then not feel real guilty about the rest of the group not having me around as much after the babies are born.

What makes all of this possible? Why, that would be the Saint-In-Waiting that I generally refer to as The Boy's Mom. As we had talked about before, she is going to move in with us from the time the babies are born until the end of my school year to play Nanny (at least on Weekdays, she will probably wanna go home on weekends!). She is gonna stay in Munchkin's room, and Munchkin is gonna re-locate to Smoking Hot Roommate's place for the time being.

Obviously, it is beyond an ideal situation for me, since it will allow me to not miss the semester, and not feel like a bad parent for leaving the babies with a Nanny right away. C''s their grandmother, right? Also, I would be kind of hesitant to accept this kid of arrangement from most people for fear that they would be overwhelmed...but she had twins, so she knows what she is in for!!! She has her own reasons for wanting to do it as well, beyond just being super nice, and I know that she is actually really looking forward to it. I will definitely owe her one;-)

And then we can worry about next fall later;-)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The final final

One last final in 20 minutes, and then I am DONE with semester #1 of graduate school! A couple of my classmates are coming over for lunch before some of then take off for the break, and then I plan on not thinking about supply curves, cost of capital, operational bottlenecks, 7 M's, five forces, four p's (or three french hens, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree for that matter;-)).

The big news after that is that Munchkin is leaving school early today so that we can go to the airport and pick up Frenchie (and to drop off my friend and her husband so that they can get back to Venezuela for the holiday). I haven't actually had a chance to talk with her much about this visit, but we should have about 45 minutes to sit and chat at the airport.

I know that she is super excited, which is to be expected. And, not that she needs a lot of guidance, but I do want to just make sure that we are on the same page on a couple of ground rules. I don't think it will be an issue...the two of them were very respectful when we stayed with them this summer, and I expect the same...but I just want to set the expectations explicitly.

And yes, this is partially influenced by an incredibly awkward conversation that I had with her a few weeks ago...I will keep that offline, though (definitely in the category of "Things I am glad she asks me and that I want her to talk to me about, but that I would much rather she simply not thought about at all"). Basically, he is not coming to visit so that they can make out for a week;-).

OK...exam time...wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Today's Girl Crush

So, I have documented a couple of my girl-crushes in the past...Kate Beckinsale is like the Queen of them all. Salma Hayek is another. Allesandra Ambrosio, of course. And Katie Bell and Jessicas Alba & Biel. Oh, and Charlize Theron.

But, today, I have an official Blog-Girl-Crush, which is a first for me. The lucky lady? That would be my sorta-neighbor in two places, the divine and inspiring JenniferAlaine at You'll Grow to Love Me.

The reason for the girl-crush? It's not that she is tall and foxy, although that would totally justify it. Nor is it that she is from Chicago, or that she goes to a smart-kid school a few miles from here, although either would be perfectly acceptable reasons as well.

The real reason is that she has the stones to pull this off;-) Awesome beyond words!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Fun times

So...that group final that I was cautiously optimistic about? Absolute 16 hours of Chinese water torture with a brief break to sleep and eat in the middle. And culminated with me snapping at a professor who irritates me.

The first problem is that there were two girls in my group who, for some reason, absolutely hate each other. One if Bulgarian and one is Japanese, and they just completely hate each other in a way that I can barely comprehend, and never expected to see in this sort of environment. The Japanese girl is super quiet and the Bulgarian one is kind of high-strung, but very smart and generally a very serious student. In other words, neither has a personality that generally rubs people the wrong way...except for each other...

So, right from the beginning, it was kind of a weird, tense situation. I think if I had known about their dislike, I may have talked to both of them ahead of time about burying it for a day and a half. That is the stuff that I am usually pretty good at, but I didn't really figure this out until it was too late.

The next problem is that two of the guys were kind of counter-useful. One is just kinda lazy (which, to be honest, is really unusual...there are not a whole lot of lazy people in my class), and another is really smart, but tends to take "intellectual shortcuts"...he jumps to conclusions without really thinking things through. Like, he gets an idea and that seems interesting, and then he just goes with it, rather than thinking it through or vetting alternatives. Thankfully, the sixth person was a guy that I consider to be super smart, very hardworking and a great idea where we would have ended up without him.

Basically, we were given a case and tasked with making a product strategy presentation based on the facts of the case. Friday included a lot of wasted time and frustrating starts and stops. We ended up working until almost 8:00 to not get nearly as much done as I had hoped. And by that time, the pregnant girl was cranky and tired and no longer of use to anyone (lest you think I am claiming to be the perfect group member;-))

Saturday was more of the same, but having a deadline at least lit a fire under people. I definitely felt like the work we were turning in was sub-par, but it was way too late to do anything about it. And, when we faced the professors later in the day to deliver our presentation, it was very quickly clear that the faculty agreed with my assessment...we got absolutely killed when it went to Q&A. (And when the two girls half got into a fight in front of them, that certainly didn't help).

I did, however, think that at least one of the questions was totally unfair, and I let the professor who asked it know. In the end, it worked out pretty well, because it was kind of intentional on his part and he wanted someone to stand up and defend us on it. I ended up getting a higher grade than some of the people in the group, and I think that was part of the reason. Still, I was snippier than I needed to be. But, he asked us a question in a really smarmy way as if we should have known something that we didn't...I responded that we didn't think it was safe to make that assumption, and were bound by the rules of the exercise. But I was kind of a bitch about it (fortunately, I think the other professors think he is an ass, too...)

Anyway, the whole thing was a totally miserable experience that I am glad to be done with. I ended up getting the equivalent of about a B- or so, which I can live with...I have done better on all my other finals and in pretty much everything all semester. I have two left, but they are much more traditional exams...just show up, take a test and go home.

The rest of the weekend was actually pretty nice. Christmas party at a friend's house on Saturday night, and then got some Christmas shopping done on Sunday morning before the rain came all afternoon. I have done almost none of the shopping that I need to (90% of which is for Munchkin) but I am counting on having almost a week off before Christmas to get all of that done.

A week which includes a non-chaperoned visit from Frenchie...oh I really up for this? Yikes...

Friday, December 11, 2009

The mother of all exams

Super busy today, but I wanted to check in and let you know that I am not dead:-). I have a final that starts at 10:00 and runs all day today and tomorrow morning as well, which should be super fun.

It is a group project that is sort of an integrated case study and we have to turn in a presentation tomorrow morning and then deliver the presentation to a group of faculty at noon. I don't even know exactly who is in my group yet, since I will get a room assignment at the beginning of the process, and go to that room and find out who else is in my group. Fingers crossed that I get the smart, easy-going people:-)

Yay Saturday exams!!!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Road

Total and complete change of subject...who has read The Road? It is Cormac McCarthy, and it is going to be a movie really soon starring Viggo Mortensen. I picked it up (literally...The Boy had it laying around) last week and read it last weekend.

First of all, it is an easy book to is quite short...but it is very hard, emotionally. I find myself thinking about it as much or more than virtually any novel I have ever read, and certainly more than any I have read in a very, very long time. (Next up on the agenda is A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, which Ella recommended to me like two years ago and I am just now getting around to...a little close to home for me).

Anyway, before I go rambling about my thoughts, I wanted to check and see who has read it. So...The Road...have you read it? Did you like it? What did you think?

You can shoot me an email if the comment field is not long enough;-)

Monday, December 07, 2009

And a martini...dirtier than a Mexican hooker and just as dry

I forgot this little Munchkin ditty from dinner on Saturday:

First things first, the restaurant is a steak house, and it is kind of a guy place. And it is relatively fancy and pretty pricey. So, what does your normal, 14 year old girl order for dinner? Easy...a 24 oz. Rib Eye ( is really, deep down, an Investment Banker?)

And then, when the waiter asked her how she wanted it cooked, she responded in the oh-so-cool "However the chef thinks its best".

I am not quite sure where she learned that trick from...I have several suspects, though;-)

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Is that a tree in your living room, or are you just happy to see me?

First off...I have turned on the comment validation thingy for a bit to see if I can cut down on the spam comments, which are getting super annoying. Hopefully I can take it off in a week or so and not have this problem. We'll see.

Random note: who has seen the Yoplait commercial with the woman yelling at the cake in the bakery? That makes me giggle every time I see it..."There's no such thing as a bear sheriff"

So, let's see...finals start this week, but I am feeling pretty good about them. I have stayed on top of things all semester, so I don't really feel the need to cram like mad for them, and they are spread out so that I don't have two of them in any day. I am sure that I will wig out at some point, but for the most part, it should be a manageable, if stressful, couple of weeks. And then I will have a whole bunch of time to do nothing, which will be a super treat! I will have Munchkin's boyfriend here for a bit, and then I will have Tinkerbelle here for a bit, and then I will have some time totally to myself:-). I actually thought that maybe I would go and visit The Mouth for a few days just to get away from the miserable weather...we will see...

Lovely, low key weekend...started with playing taxi-driver for Munchkin on Friday. She went to a semi-formal winter ball sorta thing with a boy that is related to The Boy (he is actually the son of The Boy's Mom's cousin...follow?). And, in true Munchkin form, she made a quick visit to Big Sis after school, "borrowed" a dress, spent a few minutes putting her hair up and putting on some lip gloss...and looked like she was ready for the red carpet. Smoking Hot Roommate coined a new phrase for her "She would put the airbrushers out of business".

It was in a town that is about 15 miles from here, and she could have stayed overnight, but I could tell that she kinda wanted to come back home (she is funny like that...likes her own bed:-)) and I didn't mind going to get her, so I did. She actually had a really great time...met a ton of new people, and I think she really liked having a date that wasn't really a date.

Saturday started with Christmas Tree hunting:-) We picked out a good one before it started raining and got it into the apartment, set up and lit. We didn't put the ornaments on yet, but that is OK...really it's the lights that make the Christmas Tree. And, please, don't bother me with those fake can't really love Jesus without a real tree, people...

On Saturday night we had dinner for Papa's Bear's birthday (which was last Tuesday...Happy Birthday, Pretend Dad) at my favorite restaurant. As always, it was outstanding, and with Smoking Hot Roommate, The Rocket Scientist, Big Sis, The Brain Surgeon, The Boy, Munchkin and three unborn children, it was quite the full crowd! We ended up spending nearly three hours eating, obviously a lot more talking than eating;-). By the time we were done, the rain had turned to snow and it was actually sort of pretty outside:-)

And today I did nothing exciting. Munchkin and I went grocery shopping earlier, and then I spent the afternoon studying while the rest of the household watched football. The snow made for a spectacular visual this morning...bright, sunny and peaceful, but very wintry-cold. And that makes me want to stay inside and drink tea, which I did:-)

And that, folks, makes for a nice weekend:-)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Survey says...

Pretty sure it's two girls:-)