Friday, November 15, 2013


Over the years, I have written quite a bit about traditions and rituals and how important it is to me to have things that mark time and signify special relationships with people. Just last night, for example, I had my regular weekly dinner with Munchkin, which we have done basically every week since she moved here, and have continued despite her now living across the river in The People's Republic. Our dining companions may change from week to week, but you can be sure that we'll be together for dinner on Thursday nights if we're both around.

Tomorrow night is another one of my favorite traditions: Practice Thanksgiving! I believe this is the 8th annual (although maybe my fourth?), and it consists mostly of The Boy's softball team and their spouses/boyfriends/girlfriends. Only one of two of them are really what I would call "close friends", but they are a really fun group and it is always a great time. And it is a co-ed team, which saves some of the awkward "Oh, the guys all know each other and the girls know no one..."

It's exactly what it sounds like: a practice run for the big Thanksgiving dinner. As one of the guys explained to me a couple of years ago (also, there is a LOT of booze), "Thanksgiving is simply too important to go into without warming up and working out the kinks. You need a practice run to get your plan in order...don't overdo the appetizers, avoid the garbage like green beans and cranberry sauce, and make sure you allow the appropriate plate and stomach space for stuffing. If you just showed up on Thanksgiving unprepared, you would be tempted to eat too much cocktail shrimp and crab dip, and by the time the bird shows up, you're all tapped out." It's pretty sound reasoning.

So, it is usually 25-30 people, and everyone gets dressed up (which in itself is kinda funny, since these people basically know each other in dirty, sweaty of them got married a couple of years ago and a bunch of us were at the wedding, at which one girl on the team exclaimed to another girl on the team "Jenna, you're...pretty!!!") The captain of the team and his wife are the hosts, and they do a turkey and stuffing, and everyone else is in charge of bringing something, including a second turkey.

It's just really, really fun, and I look forward to it every year. We're on mashed potato duty this year (and by "we", I mean "The Boy") and there will be oodles of other food as well. Frankly, for reasons that many of you know, this is probably going to be sort of a tough Thanksgiving, and some of the regular traditions will have to change...but this is a purely fun one that should get the whole Holiday season kicked off right!

Monday, November 04, 2013

The Sad Hopefully-Not-End of the Great Trans-Atlantic Romance of 2008...

Sadly, the love story of the century has run into some complications...

College, as you are all likely aware, is a tough place to maintain a relationship. Especially a long-distance relationship, and especially when you are both super hot and very social. There are just too many attractive people around, too much flirting, too much fun to be had and too much judgment-impairing activities going on.

Not surprising, then, that Munchkin and Frenchie have hit a bit of a rough patch. They are not "broken up", but they are less together than they were two months ago. I would describe it as "struggling to find a balance."

Their original plan was to try and enjoy school without being super-clingy (from 400 miles apart). That sounded great in theory, but it is much harder in practice...which, sparing you the details (which aren't that scandalous, but I will keep them offline...You can email if you are that interested) led to some hurt feelings in both directions. No one did anything terribly regretful, and there was no kind of major blow-up, it has just been harder than they imagined.

I remain amazed at their maturity level...neither of them really blames the other one, or thinks that they did something "wrong" (well, at least she doesn't...I can't speak for him), but neither of them is really happy with the way things are. It seems to me like the options were to double down and basically declare a strict and deep devotion to each other, or to kind of step back and take a bit of a breather. They chose the second one.

I didn't really have any input in that decision, but I am glad that they decided to go that way. I think it gives them the best chance at remaining together in the long run, and I think it will give them both a better idea of how lucky they are to have each other. Nothing gives you an appreciation for a low-drama relationship like starting some high-drama ones:-).

They still have some work to do to figure out where they are now...I think we will see him at Thanksgiving, and she is still tentatively planning on going to Paris over her winter break. And she is not totally 100% happy...she's worried, and for good reason, that they will just not be able to find a happy balance. But she's at peace with their decision, and I am, as always, happy with her thought process and her approach.

So, fingers crossed, I guess. Whatever happens, she will be fine on the other end, but I hope that the other end somehow involves him. She loves him deeply, and he has been very good for her. And I would sort of miss having him around:-)