Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A resort, a wedding, and a bear

Normally, at the end of a vacation, I don't want to come home. But this time, I was very happy to be returning.

It was a long week. I missed my husband (and his mom). It was good to see my family again, but I'm not used to the noise and bustle of small children. The high school reunion was a little surreal. My best friend's wedding was beautiful, but I ended up stage-managing a lot of it at the last minute, so it wasn't exactly relaxing. Also, she and the friend I was staying with were on the outs; so there was that to deal with.

Pluses: The resort was beautiful. I got to drive part of the Blue Ridge Parkway, which I hadn't done in years (and saw a bear cub!). When the kids weren't being a handful, they were super-cute. I discovered I'm a fairly competent emergency florist. I paid off another credit card. I'm glad to be home, and ready to work all the time and make a lot of money between now and the holidays.

In blog news, I know it's been a bit boring, and recipe-free, lately. I'm going to take a bit of a break for the time being and do a retool; I want to redesign this thing, and take it in a slightly different direction. (I also feel guilty when I'm not posting all the time; if I remove that expectation, I won't be quite so stressed about it.) So stay tuned!

Monday, September 16, 2013

In memoriam, for my mother-in-law

It's been an eventful few days. I had a great time seeing my friends and old coworkers in Boston--and now I feel no need to ever go back to Boston. I flew into Raleigh, having gotten an hour of sleep the night before, and discovered almost immediately that my mother-in-law had passed away after a long battle with cancer.

I put my husband on a plane and sent him out to Missouri to deal with family stuff. She was cremated quickly, and there will be a memorial service at some point, but no one's sure when or where yet. So I'm awaiting further instruction.

Then, of course, my twentieth high school reunion, which was ultimately fun if a bit surreal. I didn't recognize at least half the people. I did win a $50 gift card for having traveled the farthest to be there.

After that, my family went to Primland, in the wilds of southern Virginia, to celebrate my parents' fortieth wedding anniversary. We're currently in a big house on the side of the mountain, getting ready to go to the spa later in the day for massages. The restaurant here has a drool-worthy wine list, and the views from everywhere are just incredible. I'm sorry my husband has to miss it.

For a lot of reasons, of course. I'll miss my mother-in-law. She was really awesome.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A trip down memory lane

The backyard I grew up in

Tonight, I will be visiting old friends and co-workers at Craigie on Main in Boston, where I used to work. Tomorrow, I'll be in Raleigh visiting my sister. Saturday, I'll be in Virginia at my twentieth high school reunion.

Needless to say, it'll be a trippy few days.

I'll update from the road as best I can...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Because it's that day

As I go into my annual full media hibernation on this day, I think it's only fair to repost my 9/11 story, originally published after Bin Laden's death.

I say it again: I can't believe it's been twelve years.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A high school reunion

It's been an unusually lucrative couple of weeks at work. Add that to the credit cards that have just been paid off, and I'm starting to think I might actually one day be debt free, even with losing ten days of income this month.

Next week I'm off to the East Coast--I'll see my old friends and coworkers in Boston for a night, then spend the rest of my time in Virginia, dealing with my best friend's wedding, my parents' fortieth wedding anniversary, and my twentieth high school reunion.

Naturally all I've been able to think about is the reunion.

20 years. TWENTY.

High school was the longest four years of my life, and I wasn't even there for one of those years, and yet it seems like 20 years have gone by like nothing.

I had a great time at the ten-year reunion, though I wasn't expecting to (largely because I was single and got laid, but that's another story). Most likely I'll have fun at this one, too; people are bound to have changed in 20 years. And even if not, there'll be booze and it'll be a Saturday night off work.

Nevertheless, I'm still thinking about it all the time.

High school was, hands down, the single worst experience of my life. (Second worst? Middle school.) Death, divorce, and car accidents pale in comparison. Getting hospitalized for three days for excruciating stomach pain no one could diagnose? Not as bad as high school. Being stood up, and fired, on my birthday? Not as bad as high school. Dating a guy who wanted to pimp me out on Craigslist? Still, not as bad as high school.

I was teased, bullied, and made to feel unwelcome by pretty much everyone. You name it, it happened at some point--tripped in the hallway, spit on, laughed about in the locker room, pelted with food in the cafeteria, pelted with volleyballs in gym class. If I said anything in class, someone in the back snickered. If I said hello, I usually got, "Why are you talking to me? I'm not your friend." If I didn't say hello, I got, "Why are you such a stuck-up bitch?" I was told that boys would never ask me out because I was a frigid lesbian, and they would rather get AIDS than be seen with me in public. It was a relentless campaign of ostracism; even some of the teachers were in on it. ("You'd make more friends if you just tried a little harder.")

Eventually I stopped trying. I made friends outside the school, starting dating older boys, got involved with theater so that I could hang out with other social pariahs. Midway through my junior year, I realized that if I had to put up with another year, I'd probably become a tower killer, so I exploited some loopholes and left home at 16 to start college a year early. Which was awesome--if high school was the worst four years of my life, college was definitely one of the best four.

And then 20 years went by. There are still some psychic scars--I have dreams about being forced to go back to high school to finish that missing year. I can't walk into a room full of people without mentally cringing, waiting for someone in the back to snicker. I avoid gyms, and locker rooms, like the plague. I see those people on Facebook now, living perfectly normal lives, and part of me wonders, "Do they remember?"

Will this be like walking into the lion's den, again?

No, of course not. We've all changed since then, and it'll be a fun evening of talking to people I never really got to know back then. With booze. Possibly also cool music. I hope.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I paid off some credit cards!

Sorry for the radio silence the last couple of days. My stepson went home on Tuesday, so it's been pretty quiet around here. Just eating leftovers and working. In a week, I'll be back on the East Coast for ten days, so I'm just trying to empty out the fridge and not buy anything new.

In other news, we've paid off some credit cards, which is very exciting. I'm not stressing so much about being the primary breadwinner, because we'll have several fewer bills every month. This ten-day vacation is ten days of earning no money, across two weekends, so that's essentially a third of the monthly income lost. Nevertheless, we'll be okay this month. It felt good, looking at those zero balances.

The next week will be one of omelets, baked pasta, and bean soup--all pantry staples. I won't be cooking anything exciting, but I'll endeavor to find some recipes for you.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Vancouver redux

The last of the day trips with the boy this summer!

The last time hubs and I went to Vancouver, it was rainy and foggy and we didn't do much other than walk around a bit and eat. This time, it was bright and sunny and you could actually see Vancouver's spectacular scenery. It made me want to hop right back in the car and drive to the Canadian Rockies.

Instead, we walked around Granville Island and Stanley Park. We took in the aquarium (expensive, but they had beluga whales), ate at Salt Tasting Room again, and wandered around downtown.

It was a magnificent day, and I think the next order of business, vacation-wise, will be to head up the British Columbian coast to see what else we can find.