Hope in the Darkness, Neck Braces and Cosmic Love

I’ve spent the day listening to this song

Enjoying this video, by a Boston based band

And relishing in my first official snow day from school.

The snow last night put us at 60 inches for January, they say there hasn’t been this much snow since the ice storm of ’05. Where it all came at one time and shut the entire state down for two weeks. This is more of a slow death. Currently snow banks are taking the places of yards and parking spaces.

And being my father’s daughter I’ve taken to leaving notes on people’s cars who steal our shoveled and 48 hour reserved space. This has led to some amusing incidents that I will not disclose here, but I realize that my genetic potential means that I need to be aware that my ability to write notes within reason is probably skewed by my genetic make-up. I mean I am the daughter of a man who keeps a dog log, sits in on local dockets to stay abreast, and patrols the park with an air rifle. Crazy runs in my bones. On the other hand, UK and AM seem to be able to run the Condo association with civility and pink flamingos, so one would think I would be able to maintain sanity. We’ll see.

Speaking of seeing. Here’s a picture of the brace

I know. It’s incredibly attractive. Apparently the muscles in my back are revolting in spastic seizures. Something to do with unknown forces, posture, and stress. The stress is probably from people stealing my parking space. Anyway. I am wearing this brace. I am pretty. I know.

I am also really trying to figure out what the *&%$ all this guest blogging crap is. Jrad sent me like 20 links and then some lingo and some instructions and I am working through a medication induced haze to figure out how to write people and tell them I want to sell something on their blog, and that I am a really great mens fashion writer. We’ll see how this goes.

I need to lay down. I am cranky. Feeling a lot like I’ve taken on the personality of my father and the ailments of my mother which leads me to think I am in desperate need of psychiatric treatment. STAT.

Did I mention the car has to go back to the shop? No? Well I meant to.



Shooting Pain, Ordering In and ER

Sunday night Boo and I went to the ER because some back pain I had all day had elevated to a level that was threatening sleep. However, I’m pretty sure if I’d just stayed up until 3:30 when they let us leave the hospital I could have gone to sleep on my own. Monday I stayed in bed all day. Tuesday I went to class. More on that later, definitely some good stuff. Then today I woke up back to a sickening level of pain. So. Back to the Dr for me. Everyone keeps commenting on how “tense” my back is. Um. Yeah. It’s tense. That’s why I’m here. I don’t normally march to the Dr because my back is a little achey. I march to a massage. Anyway. DrC wanted some pictures because it sounded like spinal compression to him… Um no. I reject that. Then he asked about a knot somewhere else. Sent me to a specialist for that. Also sent me upstairs to PT and told me to start first thing in the morning. He said he should know by then if it was a spinal problem. He then prescribed another thing to relax my muscles. Which lead not to my back feeling better but to me sleeping for at least 5 hours. I woke up to eat and work on our taxes and now I’m going to sleep again. I have an appt at 7:30. Then class at 8:30. Eeeek.

OK. There’s your update. Thanks for the texts, calls and messages. It’s nothing serious. Just an inconvenience.

Deep Fried Pork Rinds

Oh thank God my mom doesn’t have to go buy these anymore:

Instead, if she had a computer, or knew how to use the internet, she could click on this link and make them herself. And instead of those nasty preservative filled pork rinds, she can get hers freshly made at home like these:

Yesterday I woke up on the wrong side of the world. I spent all of Tuesday writing thank you notes. I am continuing to do so. I will be doing so tonight as Boo and all his little buddies converge on our house for beer brats and old school Tron. Thank heaven we have that handy dandy DVR/VHS duo. The one that makes low level groans and moans and sometimes makes me feel like we have a ghost in our house. I do not know what a Tron is, but in my mind it looks like a transformer and when DTB and ArchitectA get here tonight I picture this debonaire trio turning into pimple faced, braces clad, snorting nerds geeking out about somthing like a transformer. I’ll probably get all 200 notes written with ease in an attempt to not have to watch one minute of this testosterone empowering movie.

Back to yesterday. Awaken, wrong side of the world. Email from favorite family I interviewed with explaining they were going to keep searching for the perfect nanny for their family. Deep feeling of rejection ensues. I start compulsively applying to all monster and craigslist part time jobs. Including a suggested one for a Spiritual After-school Counselor at a Jewish school in Brookline, I am pretty sure I’ll get an email any minute about that one. I shake it off with a shower which for some sick reason got cold WAY faster than it’s already too fast pace and then rush out to my recently very expensively repaired car with wet hair to take CoCo to school so that she doesn’t die on black ice, only to find it totally and completely dead. Boo proceeded to be totall unreachable. I start panicking because I have another interview with another family that afternoon. Did I mention the freezing rain? Well I did now. Then Boo says to ring my landlords door and ask him if we can use his magic jumper. This is apparently a machine which prevents having to wave people down in the street, ask them if they have jumper cables because yours are in your husbands car twenty minutes away in the parking garage at his office which is holding him captive, only to find they don’t speak English, have never heard of jumper cables or are driving a stolen car and don’t feel comfortable stopping at a house so close to the Brighton Police Dept. Needless to say I was thrilled about the magic machine. So eventually Mr K comes back and tell me that he does not have the magic machine it’s in his son’s car who will be home at 11:30 p.m. Mmmm, thanks magic machine. I’ll go back to freezing rain flagging. I call the family I’m interviewing with. She suggests I take a walk to the closest gas station (at least a mile in any direction) and see if they have a magic machine. I tell her there is not one close, she suggests a cab. Obviously I am going to need to make this interview.

Thankfully, worried about my emotional stability Boo came home and jumped the car. Both of us thankful that it was just the battery and nothing that would return in to the money pit, AKA anonymous and really terrific Auto Repair place that was the recipient of a lot of our money this month. Then, to charge the battery, Boo took me to McD’s for a DC.

I made it to my interview. I will refrain from commenting on it.

Came home, cooked a terrific butter chicken recipe. I know everyone loved the Pioneer Woman’s but I did not love it as much. I thought it was delicious. I overdid it on the honey, but nothing a few very non-traditional ingredients couldn’t almost totally repair. We did it with sweet potatoes. Added a fantastic flavor. We’re trying to ease back into our uber healthy diet. Not with the beer brats tonight, but with the cost effectiveness of using the remaining brats from AL&UM’s party.

Sweet Boo, at dinner, he said, “I am thankful such a hard day could end with such a delicious meal.” I love that man. He watched basketball while I continued to search the internet fearlessly and endlessly for job, encouraging me not to submit an application to a Craigslist post by “freckleface75” for a personal assistant. Hmmm. Wonder why?

So, back to thank you notes and part-time job searches. Maybe some pork rind making too. Sick. You guys know me better than that.

When We Are Old… For Commander Occhiverdi

She waltzed into my life at a wedding. I’d heard of her, but never known her. It was instant. In the kind of way that can never be reproduced. We forged our friendship laying by the pool, her hiding from the sun and studying for a Biology test she would get a 100 on and me trying to hoard vitamin D for the coming Berlin winter. They say that Vitamin D is a good thing to fight depression. You know what else is? A friend whom you’ve known for only one week that books a two week trip to visit you in said city, three short months later. So we celebrated our first New Year’s Eve together. As Berlin light up (as if it was “on fire”) we brought in a New Year and confirmed what we had suspected those three short months earlier. This was a friendship that would last a lifetime.

I moved to Boston under an Eyore style dark cloud, with fleeting hope for spring. In waltzed Occhi bringing, hope, courage, laughter and dancing. She met Boo. She loved him. Which gave me courage to be brave and hope for something good. Even while she was watching her own energy slip through her fingers. We talked, cried and made some brave decisions. She left, and I cried.

She came back though, with her parents and that time… Boo and I were engaged and Occhi brought with her fun, excitement, and a list of delicious restaurants. That’s the way she is. No matter what’s happening with your or with her she is a breath of fresh air. She brings sunshine, and laughter and love and warmth. Seriously. She’s honest and deep and real without being HEAVY. You know what I mean? There are some friends you have who are intense and wonderful, but it’s heavy, OCCHI is NEVER heavy!

She was a dream in my wedding. After our honeymoon and in the first days of her med school career, we met her for burgers and presents. We forsook a day of our trop for the sake of just getting to see her one more time. I cried again saying goodbye. By this point she was used to it.

She had a difficult fall. She lost Ted. She was sick forever. And still. 4.0. She met someone. He’s Darling. Seriously. He’s Darling. She knew that we couldn’t go anywhere, so she came to us, one more time. She brought the Darling with her. And for the second time we rang in the New Year together. She’s like my favorite Barefoot Dreams robe. She is the softest, snuggliest place. She is wonderful. I love her more than she could ever know. In a time of life when I am terrible at keeping up she has been patient and understanding and willing to participate in the best kind of friendship, one that is mutual. Sometimes and some years one friend has to give more, even when they feel like they don’t have it to give, and sometimes the other has to do the same. To be honest Occhi has given more than she’s gotten, but show doesn’t seem to mind…

So here’s to Occhi’s 28th. It was yesterday. She had school. And burgers. And we were far away from her. But she, and the life that she brings to our lives were on our minds all say. And today, the day after, I dedicate this post to her. I hope that when we are old (I am older than her) we travel on busses like these ladies, drinking, cheering and causing a ruckus.

Love you Occhi. The best is yet to come…

Snow Globe Central

When I was little all I wanted was snow. I was born in Texas. All Christmas songs were about snow. There’s that one, “Walking in a winter wonderland.” Lies. Lies. Lies. No one tells you the truth. It’s not a wonderland. It’s cold. It’s wet. When they plow they don’t magically remove the snow, they push it on top of the car that your husband just shoveled. So he shovels it again, you run to the store for rations and the punk ass kid up the road throws your parking space saver on the sidewalk and helps himself to your spot. He’s lucky Boo didn’t help himself to the dozen eggs in our fridge. He definitely thought about it. And now, instead of these big beautiful snow globe snow flakes it’s hammering frozen rain. I don’t know what this means. But I can tell you this. The already insane, as in it’s likely they qualify for commitment, Boston drivers will take to their cars like sleds and use the streets as their hills gleefully plowing over anyone in their way as they drive home. Oh joy. What a freaking wonderland. I am just thankful I don’t live in Canada, or Russia.

MLK, Civil Rights and Pots de Creme

I love this day. I know that MLK Jr probably wouldn’t, but it is always good to return to the struggle this nation exists in. Obviously, we are still a nation that battles giving equal treatment to all individuals no matter their color or creed. Years ago Bono was speaking to a man that is HYPER famous in Evangelical circles (I know, it’s an oxymoron of values) and he reminded him that the church is NOTORIOUSLY late showing up on civil rights issues. I will not re-state what the article says, but I will say that gay rights is another place that I think the church will soon realize they have been holding on to biblical interpretation that will later be considered as when they held on to scripture for slavery, or oppression women. I hope. I hope. I hope.

My favorite MLK “thing” is actually not the I have a dream speech, though it makes me cry and it reminiscent to me of Obama’s tribute to the victims of the Tucson shootings. If you’ve never read them, go here. The crux of the letters, to me, is “injustice for one man is injustice against all men…”

UK recently sent me a link to this NYT article. Obviously, this is a very fatherly thing to send, but I think it is wildly apropos to the current times and the current day. We are who makes a difference and the difference starts with us internally and overflows from there. Not with finger pointing and expecting other people to change… Like that’s going to happen. We have little control in this world, but our attitude is one thing that we have all sorts of control over. Like running, it’s hard for me to stay on a steady course of discipline in this area, but if I have any hope for the world that I live in, I know it is important that I treat humanity with respect, that I own up to my flaws, and I speak out boldly for what I believe in my heart is right or wrong no matter what the consequence is to my popularity, even among the ecumenical church that I love.

That being said, some friends of ours got engaged and I am cooking a lovely celebratory dinner for them tonight. I am going to make Pots de Creme. I have never done this, alas I have decided that tonight is the night to get this party started. Why in the world do I demand to try new things when people are coming over? It’s inappropriate and I shouldn’t put people in this position. However, armed with Occhi’s parents wedding gift (Cooks Illustrated) I am going to do it and it’s going to be delicious.

Fashion Blogs, 4.0, and Unexpected Free Time

When I finished my first marathon Return of the Jordi’s Mom, who is yet unnamed on my blog, I need to think on it, she needs a good one, something involving animal print I think. Anyway, she gave me this beautiful gift which has the Confucius quote, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” That is, in fact, how I began running. One step at a time. Same way I’ve gone back to school. One step at a time. It’s been as difficult. Maybe more so. Especially thinking about leaving the safety of community college and heading to big girl school. However, I got my grades back. Let me tell you the last time I got straight As was definitely Mrs. Wallace’s class in second grade. I could not be more proud. I have to honestly say that I was not sure I was well suited for the academic setting. I thought maybe I was good at reading the New York Times most read and trying to feign intelligent conversation… I am not saying a four point from BHCC makes me an academic, but it does now make me capable of completing a second semester not on academic probation, which will be a first for me. Now that’s worth celebrating!

I am currently testing the waters as a guest blog writer. A friend asked me if I was up for doing some posts for a men’s fashion theme. Ummmm… OK? I am not saying that I don’t love fashion, I am just saying that it’s a bit harder than I thought and I am not sure that I am much of an expert. I mean, I stalk the Satorialist, and his book is one of my favorite gifts Boo ever gave me. I did cry when I watched this video that he just posted on his blog!

Despite all these things, I am not sure that I am qualified to guest blog… We’ll see how it goes.

So, since my trip to Atlanta was abruptly cancelled due to poor organization on the part of AirTran, and suffocating snow I am trying to use this extra week to do productive things. That includes, long long overdue thank you notes, blogging, guest blogging, and catching up on movies while I am doing it. I am also listening to my landlord sneeze in an inappropriately loud manner, freezing in my own home, eating Sugar Cookie dough, avoiding cleaning and laundry, and craving chick-fil-a. So there you have it. Don’t be jealous. Interviewed for a nanny position yesterday with a family that I adored. Should know late this weekend if it’s going to work out, as the German’s would say, “Press your thumbs for me.”

Cancelled Flights, Nor’Easters, and Tucson

It’s snowy in 70% of the US. As a result the trip I was going to make with LadyA to Atlanta has been cancelled. Thankfully she will still make the trip and be able to sell her beautiful Olaria jewelry at the wholesale show, unfortunately, she got the last seat available before Saturday. So I’m not going. I’m pretty unbelievably bummed. As in waterfalls of tears. Luckily LadyA is going to let me take her to the airport to rub it in extra hard…

We got snowed in yesterday. Boo worked from home which is about as lame as going to work. Checked the car into the hospital this morning. Hoping to get it all better… Since we thought I was going to be gone it was less of an inconvenience. Alas. I’m not actually gone am I? Damn you NATIONWIDE SNOWSTORM 2011. This is worse than El NiƱo.

Yesterday while we were trapped I made Food52’s recipe for Heavenly Molasses Rolls. They were in fact, heavenly. I also made a pot of Guinness Beef Stew. It was very delicious. I also made a Chocolate Stout Cake, but we were so full we didn’t even taste it. I would recommend all of them if you are trapped under snow. Just google them. You’re all capable of googling them I’m not linking them. As I am typing in my phone.

So. I have to say this. I was left puddles by Obama’s speech yesterday. Right, left or center his words were sympathetic, appropriate, moving, inspiring and exhortating. My friend Evan said it best on Twitter, civility isn’t centrist. It should not be too much to ask our politicians to treat each other with honesty and respect. I too hope that we can live up to 9 year old Christina Green’s expectations. In case you missed it here is what Obama said,
“She saw this all through the eyes of a child, undimmed by the cynicism or vitriol that we adults all too often take for granted. I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it. All of us – we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations.”

She was born Sep 11. In a book of wishes for the 50 children born that day, one wish was that she would splash through rain puddles. This instantly reminded me of my dear friend Reeve who had a special affinity for rain puddles. When he was three he was like a magnet to them. Unhindered by the consequences of his decision he drove toward them with sheer delight. May we all be so single minded about our joyful pursuits. May we all be so wishful for the children in our lives. Let us not hinder them, or even ourselves with a spirit of naysaying, but instead remember that these days and this world are full of struggle, in a moment of warm sunshine or appealing puddles let us like children move joyfully toward simplicity and delight.

Love to the victims of Tucson. And hope for the coming dawn. I pray that though in this moment of darkness and storm your hearts must feel no sense of bearing, it would be well with your soul.

Sugar Cookies, Rotten Trees and Cellulite

I read a friends blog today and it was so serious I had to
stop reading. IT’S FRIDAY! Come on friends. Lighten up, laugh a
little, introspective self-aware evaluation is only fun for a
maximum of three posts, and really, even then it’s so people can
read it and think to themselves, “Man, at least I am not as
depressed as that poor sack.” Anyway, all that to say, this blog is
for the sake of laughter. First, I am reading a book called
“Mennonite in a Little Black Dress.” It’s so funny. I laugh out
loud a lot. So much so that I take to read while the baby that I
nanny for is sleeping, only I can’t read it because I laugh to
loud. Second. Snow is coming. I am currently walking around the
house with my pet space heater. The only pet Boo will let me have.
Third. My car has
been making this squeaky squeely sound like waka waka weeeeek a
waka. Boo says it’s the fan belt. I say it’s annoying. I’ve already
taken it in once. Today, which I set aside to work on applications,
I am going to take it back. Punk ass fan belt. Stop whining about
the cold, that’s my job. I also need to take my tree down. I am
pretty sure it’s close to rotting. I keep thinking, “Out of sight,
out of mind.” You are probably asking, “If you don’t take it down,
how can it be out of sight?” Ummm, hello. Pretending it’s not there
is practically the same. Fourth. Today as I was eating left over
Taco Salad (I know those who know and love me – GASP) I was
thinking about my life long hatred for Tacos. And to this day I
will not eat tacos in a hard taco shell. There is no reason and I
hate them. There is a reason. Learned Food Aversion. I am always a
little hesitant to post about my family on here, because I usually
hear about it later, but I feel like this one is safe. My mother
cooked 7 meals. I have always claimed this. She also cooked them on
the same night of the week most of the time. I am not sure that
this was intentional, but my mom has a learned aversion to manual
labor so cooking was included. As I have learned with my personal
aversions, structure can help. So as I was trying to recall my
mother’s 7 meals this is what I came up with: salmon croquettes
pork chops (shake and bake) fajitas tacos chicken (shake and bake)
occassionally enchiladas but these were my dad’s recipe so she had
an aversion I do not remember ever eating vegetables For snacks she
loved to eat the following: Pork rinds fillet o fish and the
crispies from Long John Silver (And you guys wonder why mustard
chicken and scallops were so offensive to me when I moved in with
AM&UK) You are probably saying to yourself, ummmm Steph,
that’s only 5 meals. Yeah. I was puzzled as well. But guess what? I
realized that the other two days were left overs. Fajita left overs
on Monday (fajitas were sunday’s meal) and we would use the cut up
veggies/cheese/etc for the leftovers and then the tacos. But to
make sure that I didn’t get sick of tacos… She would mix it up
and make cornbread casserole with the leftover taco meat. If you
cannot understand why I don’t love tacos now then you are a sick
and heartless mench. Even as we prepared the tacos on Wednesday
night my skin felt balmy and I had deep and irrational fears that I
was becoming my mother. However thus far I have not started
drinking Pepsi in the morning, watching Nascar or playing duck hunt
with blinds drawn through the day. So, I am thinking, thus far I am
safe. However. After eating two repeat taco meals, I think that we
are done with tacos for a while. I need another 15 year break. I
also remembered another antidote from my life recently. I don’t
know if I’ve mentioned enough how, ahem, bigger I used to be. I am
not just talking big boned, I am talking bigger. Like Star Jones,
Rosie, Big Bertha kind of big. Anyway, I was still pretty. What? I
was. I was the only over 200 pounder I knew with a fantastic
hourglass figure. An unnamed Aunt once told me that I was pretty
enough to be a plus size model. I think this is actually at least
three rungs below being told you could be a part time model.
I digress. So
I was so pretty that there were four types of men found me
irresistible; Truck Drivers Anybody not born in the United States
or Canada Members of AARP and black men who liked to use the pick
up line, which unfortunately for them did not translate… “Say
baby you know I like thick women.” to which I would respond,
“Calling a girl fat is probably not a very good way to get a date.”
Truck drivers would often give me a little extra toot toot on the
highway, like I was going to MacGyver it and quick like write a
sign, “Meet me at exit 352, my cell number is 555.5555.” Dumb
asses. But the worst was the UPS guy. My friend Laura claimed for
years that the UPS guy had it bad for me and reminded me that he
was in fact, a truck driver. I poopooed her. I did not think he
qualified. Well three years in, he came in my office, asked me to
sign for a package and then offered, “you could add your number if
you want to.” Ummmm excuse me? “You deliver packages for three
years, I don’t know your name and you wear all brown, I think I’ll
keep my number thanks.” The worst was the time that Jasper died, my
beloved, albeit slightly retarded, anorexic lab. I was pretty
bummed. He died prematurely and unnecessarily (I’ll save the Jasper
stories for another time) and I was down. Finally, on about the
fourth day post-loss the aforementioned UPS guy comes in, asks for
just a straight signature and then says, comically, “What’s wrong,
you’ve been walking around like your dog died.” to which I replied,
“He did.” I am pretty sure that’s when UPS dude knew, I wasn’t
going to “let brown do it.” OK. I am going to eat some sugar cookie
dough. I am too lazy to roll the cookies out and actually make
them, so I think a ball of dough will do. I hope that Lance
Armstrong doesn’t have sugar cookie dough entered in MyPlate, if
it’s not listed and I don’t know how many calories it is I like to
pretend like the calories don’t count. Perhaps that’s the cause of
my cellulite collection, or maybe I am just a cellulite hoarder and
refuse to get rid of mine, as I am emotionally attached to all the
hot guys it used to bring me.

Friday, by Public School – Austin, TX

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