I miss you, really

I know I’ve been lax about updating, believe me when I say it’s been mad crazy. I thought that after the holidays I would have more time. I am so foolish. These are the things currently taking up a lot of time…
New York
I go to New York at the end of February to speak at a conference about permanent placement policy for foster kids. Not a big deal, I can do this in my sleep, except this is big. Bigger conference, bigger expectations, more to give. I’m getting more jittery than expected. If this were the only thing on my plate, it would be a cakewalk. I have so many other things going on though.
Tazo Wild Sweet Orange Tea
Okay, I’ll admit it doesn’t consume much thought, but it is tasty and I’ve been drinking it a lot. It’s probably better for me that the Tazo Chai tea bag that i steep in my espresso every morning. Now that’s unhealthy.
Kitchen Remodel
We’re remodeling the kitchen, yay! Okay, mostly yay and a bit of stress. I’ll be writing more about this over the weeks. I’m picking out floors and countertops and lights and handles and paint and secret compartments to hide the bodies. I got my new fridge already which is just HUGE and shiny and stainless steel, sigh. Now we have to put the rest of it together. I want everything to be perfect and withing budget and not require painful effort and also be perfect while coming in on budget. Also, perfect. Along with the kitchen stuff we are doing a few things in the bathroom (new faucets, painting) and hopefully some landscaping in the yard.
I know this is so ‘1987 San Francisco’, but i live in the midwest where we feed the wheatberries to the cows and eat the cows later. My new favorite recipe is:
Wheatberry Salad
1/4 cup chopped smoked chicken breast
1 julienned carrot
1/4 cup grapes
1/4 cup tamari roasted almonds from Whole Foods
1/2 cup prepped wheatberries (i used soft)
Mix together and toss with raspberry vinaigrette:
1 tbl raspberry vinegar
2 tbl walnut oil
1 tsp grated ginger
Salt, pepper
Try it sometime, maybe add some spinach.
The Deep South Road Trip
Like 8 or 9 days of getting in the car and driving across the south. Crazy. In March/April so it won’t be so hot. Not as much ocean as my last vacation, though.
Two weeks in Europe for our birthdays, culminating in 3 days of hedonism in Amsterdam. We are currently debating how much planning should go into this trip. On one hand, it would be nice to have two weeks untethered to a schedule, just whipping around Europe, eating pastries and flirting with men who think American girls are easy. On the other hand, I have nightmares about being stuck in some weird city where no one is willing to speak English and there are no hotel rooms and American girls had better learn to be easy if they want to sleep in a bed and take a warm shower.
Yeah, PMS is ha ha funny. Woo. Until you have killer PMS for 2 weeks solid, and you don’t realize it’s PMS at first because it’s so early and it’s worse than PMS. So much worse. Makes you hide in bed and cry and you get so depressed and you begin thinking about driving your car into an abuttment (okay not really, but sort of). PMS so bad that you are convinced that your girlfriend of 9 years is going to leave you because you cry all the time and you are stupid. Yeah it was that bad, and it was that bad for two solid weeks. It didn’t work up to being that bad, it just started there (although yesterday was the definite nadir of the situation). If I was mean to you (and, inexplicably, you are still reading this) I apologize, it totally sucks to know me sometimes. To be fair, I do warn all my friends pretty early on that I can be a real asshole sometimes. I’m feeling better, i have new hair (thank you, Owen), I’m ready to go back to the gym and I almost have all the bodies hidden.
This is a little like therapy. I need to do this more often. Okay, wish me luck.

Now don;t take this the wrong way

Okay, I wanted to write a little post about my issues with St. Paul, but instead I am forced to go on the offensive and just say that St Paul sucks, specifically, downtown St Paul. Tonight, the girl and I were going to go on a date, dinner and a movie and coffee (could we not be more prime time television?). I picked a restaurant that I had heard good things about.
We left early and headed over there. It was closed. Closed. On a Sunday evening this restaurant was not open. In the middle of a major metropolitan area, this restaurant was not open. So we hopped in the car to head to a nearby restaurant. Closed. And so were the other eateries in the vicinity.
Closed on a Sunday night.
We’ve always known that downtown St Paul is kind of weird in the way it always feels a little deserted but this was absolutely crazy.
No, not crazy, pathetic. Yeah, you over there in St Paul, you heard me, PATHETIC. I mean it. I can not think of a street level restaurant in downtown Minneapolis that would be closed on a Sunday night, or if there was one, there are 15 others near by to take your business.
Sure, St Paul has that quaint feel to it, but they can keep their creep quaintness to themselves, I’m not going back.

The new year

Last year started horribly. Just like that. From a few hours before the countdown, things went to hell. The year started with the biggest shakeup of our relationship. It started on New Years Eve, and was not the way you want to ring in the new year. Still, in the midst of this personal turmoil I found myself with the first of many bladder infections I would pick up this year.
Early in the year, Jen had to have a major operation and the stress prior to and the effort in the recovery afterward left me dazed and useless to my friends.
I did not get pregnant as planned.
I met a number of assholes over the year.
But things got better.
We took a long hard look at our relationship. Evaluated it and made necessary changes. We celebrated our 9th anniversary this September and I have no doubt that we will be celebrating many more. Many thanks go out to my closest friends who helped share the burden of this trying time.
I’ve come to the conclusion that my bladder infections are psychosomatic as they only show up during stressful times. Of course, once I realized that, I went and lost my voice. You can’t have it all, I guess.
The surgery was a tough time for both of us, but Jen is now 300% healthier than she was before. I have to tell you, though, nothing in the world prepares you for either the sight of the one person you love completely being rolled away into the operating room, or seeing her in obvious post-op pain. I am glad to close the book on this chapter.
This newfound health brought us more travel. We became more impulsive and found ourselves in Colorado at 3am watching the stars in the velvet sky as a tow truck driver hoisted my car onto his truck. I saw the desert and the ocean and faces carved into mountains.
No baby this year. This was the hardest decision to make. Harder even than the decision to have a baby in the first place. We realized we weren’t ready. I turn 30 in June and I live in fear of my biological clock. It doesn’t get quieter just because you’ve decided to wait. In place of a baby, we purchased furniture and filled up the photo albums with pictures of the cats. This may sound like I regret the decision to not have a baby, but that isn’t the case. I still have a few more years and as I posted before, Amsterdam is calling my name.
I met a lot of assholes this year and if you are reading this and wondering if you are one of them, perhaps you were. In addition to the assholes I also met some very good friends. Ethan, Nate and Jason are among those I’ve met in person. I’ve cut some dead weight and become more selective about those I keep close by and I’m happier for it.
This last year taught me to try harder, be patient, and stick to my guns when necessary. It started out terribly, but it turned out to be one of the best years ever.
2003 started out with PMS and tears, but nothing terrible. I look forward to this year and I wish you all (yes, all 18 of you) the best of luck!