An Elderly Woman of 34…

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So yesterday was my birthday. It was a good day. I woke up (after going to bed at 10:15 on the 21st) at 11:57 pm and stayed awake just long enough to wish myself a happy birthday. And then I woke up again every couple hours just for grins. I worked until only 6:15 (ie, only 15 minutes late! a record for a Tuesday!) and then Gene and I went out for dinner (sushi, at the restaurant practically next to our house) where we ate like crazy people and watched the Purdue women’s basketball team get their asses handed to them by Connecticut.

Today’s birthday fun – spoke with my grandpa (I may be coming to Indianapolis around the 4th of July to spend some time with my assembled family) and Mom and Dad’s birthday present arrived (a very cute pair of Ray Bans – perhaps this year I will try contact lenses again so I can wear them this summer!*).

Tomorrow’s my Friday (yay!) because I am off from work on the real Friday (I know, I’m giving up my free lunch!). Gene and I are taking the day off and we don’t have any plans, at least none that I will admit to. Oh, and cake! Cake! Cake! CAAAAAAAKE.

Saturday is the conclusion to the birthday festival – Denise and I are getting our toes done at the salon I used to visit for all of my beautifying needs. And we’re having lunch.

All of this is exactly what I wanted for my birthday (assuming that huge personal wealth is not an option) so I am happy (assuming that the topic is not my 2011 March Madness bracket because I just noticed that my picks for Sweet 16 are a disaster and my Elite 8 is wrecked as well, WTF Notre Dame?)

* I can’t believe I just hit upon the idea of contact lenses. I’ve been dreaming about cute sunglasses (darn you, The Kids Are All Right – the sunglasses Annette Bening is wearing in that picture is what started this, except the pair she has on cost a bazillion dollars) and sad because I wear regular glasses already and how will I ever pull that off? Completely forgetting that contacts are a viable option (egad, I was considering Lasik, all for the chance to wear sunglasses…) (Loser).


Dad

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So, my dad’s birthday was Thursday. Let’s all agree that he turned 29. He’s the strong silent type.

He was never the type of Dad who could help us fix stuff (although, I take that back…there’s a bookcase that I bought unassembled that he helped me with after I stripped the original screws), but he is the kind of dad who would drive into downtown Indianapolis in the pouring rain because his daughter needed something to be picked up from the Indianapolis Star’s office for an urgent school news paper deadline (because I never, ever managed to remember to request these things early).

He was never the kind of Dad who surprised you with a New! Car! on your 16th birthday (and wouldn’t THAT have been silly, since I didn’t get licensed until I was 21?) but he is the kind of Dad who, while waiting with me at the Department of Motor Vehicles, turned to a staring toddler next to him and told her “Can you believe she’s (points to me) my daughter?!?” (and he’s also the kind of dad who wasn’t upset when I got into a big accident while driving his car five years later).

He’s the kind of Dad who made me the person I am today, and I thought about that every day this week when I poured a bowl of cereal to eat, because that’s what you do before you get to eat the donuts. You have to eat the “good for you” stuff (in this example, Frosted Shredded Mini Wheats) before the “yummy” stuff (although, Mini Wheats followed up by Entemann’s is just a case of win-win).

Happy Birthday (a little late), Dad.


Sorry about that…

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So, I was talking to my mother recently. She gently reminded me that I was incorrect in my Year in Review post for 2010. The question about “Did anyone close to (me) die in 2010?”, I’d answered no and unfortunately I was wrong. The younger of my mother’s two older brothers passed away right before my mother’s birthday in late December.

There were a number of reasons I missed this:

1) I started the Year in Review post in November

2) I thought Uncle F. died in 2011

3) New job has led me to forget everything important so I can remember if Joe’s Tanning Salon & Taco Bar got a call back about their Urgent Tax Matter.

None of which excuses forgetting. But nonetheless, my mother’s younger older brother passed away. Two of my cousins had to bury their father. My aunt had to bury her husband. My uncle was less than a year older than my mother. It is all very scary to me. I don’t like this death stuff. All that pablum about “being in a better place” is baloney to me. I want my Grandmas, my Grandpa, my Mother-in-law back. I want my cousins to have their dad back and my aunt to have her husband back. (And I also need my parents to be immortal).


95

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So, when I was a little girl (I would refer to myself as Lil Elaine, but the word “Lil” makes me want to puke), I had a Grandma. Well, of course I had two Grandmas, both of whom were splendid in their own (and very, very, verrrrry different) ways. I have only the best memories of both of them and I miss them both intensely.

But this is a tale of Grandma A, my Dad’s mom. She was…one hell of a lady. The thing is, she passed away when I was in the 6th grade so many of my memories of her are a little fuzzy. Both because they happened when I was no older than 11 years old and because I do have some pictures from that era, which of course makes me wonder if I remember or if I am just thinking of the picture.

When Grandma was alive, she and Grandpa lived in Illinois. A few times she took me to Chicago on the train. I don’t remember a thing about those trips other than the times she took me to lunch (dinner? snack?) at the restaurant on the 95th floor of…well, some big building in Chicago. It was where I was introduced to the greatness that is chocolate mousse (thanks Grandma…).

And as the years passed, I would think of the restaurant and the mousse and the fact that it was located nearly 100 floors above the ground and as always, the memory seemed kind of murky. Did I get it confused with a children’s book? Did I dream this happening? Really, 95 floors up? No way.

And then, one day I was reading the comments to a blog post on another blog and someone referenced the restaurant on the 95th floor of the John Hancock building in Chicago as a great place to eat. Thanks to Google (which I’d never thought to try before for this), I found the site for what is now called the “Signature Room at the 95th” and for once I had my memories vindicated. The dim recesses of my memory recognized it. It existed, I had eaten there (even though the mousse is MIA on the current menu), and a little piece of my childhood (and with it, Grandma A) came back to me.


Thanksgiving, so far…

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Last night, I got home from work around 6:30 (how does a 10 minute drive TO work end up a 20+ minute drive FROM work?) and helped with a couple last minute things before Gene’s brother and his family arrived. And then I took White Dog and put my feet up on the sofa and geeked until the pizza arrived. And then I geeked until the family arrived. It felt soooo good to relax; yesterday had been a day full of chills and thrills (when Boss Man called me into his office, the last thing I expected was a promotion) and honestly, I should have had Gene chill some wine.

Inlaws arrived around 8, we ate dinner (yummm, Donatos Pizza I love you!) and then hung out in our awesome living room to play Forza on XBox (it’s a driving game, although mostly the nephews drove cars into walls). My job was to make sure the dogs and children were gentle with one another (Scooby lasted about 45 seconds before making a beeline to his kennel, only emerging when he heard the word ‘treat’ and Betty was braver but mostly sat in my lap).

Inlaws left around 10 and then I started making apple pie. Yes, I did double check the oven to make sure nothing was left in there accidentally. By about 11:30, the pie was done (and looks delicious!) and I was back on the couch, geeking, watching The Mentalist on DVD and getting an extremely well deserved foot rub. (Seriously, I wonder if I can get a massage on Black Friday?).

Today, Gene has made the bean dip, started the mulled wine and in a few minutes (or when my chair stops being so darned comfy) I’m going to make Pumpkin Crunch. I promise. But right now, the fireplace is going (hooray for gas logs!), the dogs are curled up in front of it (and so damned cute!) and I kinda wish I’d just bought a pie.


20 Years Ago Today…

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Twenty years ago today Mom took me to see Fleetwood Mac. I wore (going from head to toe): the worst perm of my life, a black and white checked ‘boyfriend jacket’ (with some sort of tshirt underneath), a hilariously short skirt and….well, I don’t remember the shoes.

Before the concert, we went to dinner at the restaurant attached to Market Square Arena. They had the windows covered so we couldn’t see the stage, but we did get to hear the roadies check all the instruments.

The concert was magical and wonderful and awesome. The iteration of Fleetwood Mac playing that night was the band after Lindsey Buckingham left but before he rejoined, but it was still 1000000% awesome. Music means so much to me. I walked out of there with a t-shirt that I adored so much that I never wore it so it would never get worn out.

Sidebar: Apparently we bought dad a tshirt at that show. He unearthed it sometime early this year and sent it with Mom when she came down for my birthday this year. I should wear that shirt today! (My shirt from that show would never, ever fit me now…might be too snug on Betty the corgle!)


Auntie

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So, I am here in Indianapolis, partying with my niece G-Dawg and her entourage (doting parents and grandparents). It is SO awesome to be the aunt, especially the childless aunt of the out of town variety. It means that if for some reason Gwen needs something, I can pass her to her entourage (usually Turtle*) because I’m just Auntie Lainey. At one point yesterday she needed a diaper change. “Wanna change her?” my SIL asked. “Oh, no thank you!” I replied, relating my “what the hell?” tale from when Gene and I babysat for his best friend’s kids and I changed the little girl’s diaper.

(And yes, if I’d been the adult in charge I would have done it, of course…but I am merely a guest star in this episode of A Baby Story so, huzzah!)

G-Dawg is completely my favorite niece. (Yes, she’s also my only niece. But I’m my Auntie Lyn’s only niece so I’m HER favorite, too!). I hope to add her to my collection of Godchildren. Yes, I know. Godchildren, in this instance, really just means that Gene and I are legally responsible for children (other than the Boy) if something happens to Gene’s best friend and his wife. And while it makes a mockery of the religious use of the word “godparent” (I could go on from there but I know at least two of you take the whole Godparent thing seriously so I will stfu out of respect), I just look at it as building my Army of Children Not My Own. Like Angelina Jolie.

* I don’t know who equates to Turtle in this math problem but the concept amused me Thursday night when I started this post and it still amuses me now so it stays.


Things that happened yesterday…

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Someday I’m going to start a category here called “Things I would have blogged if I had a smart phone”. I imagine that I’ll do this the day before I acquire a phone that will get me to the internet.

Yesterday’s annoyances:

1) Got to work early, but later than I’d planned since I was making an early exit and Boss Gwen wasn’t aware of it

2) Car service I’d scheduled for ride to airport did not materialize. Took hoopty cab to airport, cost more than car service, driven by cabbie who had to be coerced to pick up my suitcase. Tipped said cabbie for absolutely no good reason.

3) At Cheesecake Airport, sat next to older lady who would not shut up! Ugh, go buy a copy of People and let me enjoy my laptop (and free Wifi) in peace!

4) Flight from Cheesecake left late, got to Atlanta late (due to weather), 45 minute layover turned into two hours of pacing airport waiting for it to reopen (closed due to weather). Made it to Indiana about 11:30 instead of before 10:00. Mother Nature, phhhhhfffffffttttt.

5) Seatmate on flight from Atlanta stole my cookies! And was not respectful of the “Keep your damn self on your side of the arm rest!” rule. ┬áIsn’t that a universal rule? If I don’t know you, I don’t want to be touched by you. (Oh and!! when she brushed off the crumbs of MY COOKIES she brushed them onto me! Rude!) (And she took any unclaimed packages of cookies she saw as we exited the plane). (Ahem)

Good Things That Happened Yesterday (in order of happening):

1) Dad met me at the airport. It is so nice to be met at the airport.

2) WHITE CASTLE WHITE CASTLE WHITE CASTLE (I think this is the cheeseburger the LOLcats are after)

3) Met GWEN my adorable tiny tiny niece. She is SO cute and I will pester the heck out of her with the camera. Once I wake up.


Aunty

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So I’m an aunt again – my first niece! Macauley/Bill and his wife Michelle had their daughter on Sunday evening. 7 lbs, 3 oz, 20 1/4 inches. Brown hair, eyes are TBD.

YAY!!!!!

I have seen a few pictures on Michelle’s Facebook and the happy family are adorable! Can’t wait to meet her!


Where have I BEEN?

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I guess it’s been awhile since I posted, huh?

That said, my birthday weekend w/ Mom feels like it happened months ago. I think that part of why I haven’t written lately is that I am still upset that Kansas lost to Northern Iowa. I mean, Northern Iowa??? That game happened when Mom was in town and we watched the last 10 or so minutes (on the laptop), cringing the whole time. We also watched the last few minutes of the Purdue game at the restaurant we went to for my birthday dinner.

We really had a great time and I feel bad that I haven’t written about it. (Hope your feelings aren’t hurt, Mom!) Mom loved IKEA (at least the meatballs) so much that we walked through it twice. Maybe two and a half times. We also walked all around the outlet mall another day and part of a regular mall another day.

I was pretty certain that I was going to dislocate a hip, we walked so much. (Oh, and we also walked the dogs on a long route through my neighborhood, which they loved). Mom, on the other hand, did all of that walking PLUS played with our Wii Fit PLUS walked on the treadmill. Seriously. One night we all went to bed and I hear noise upstairs in the guest room. The next morning Mom announces that she made her own Mii and played with the Wii Fit. We went to bed at midnight. Mom cannot be stopped!

(Thankfully she still helped us put major dents in the cakes plus once or twice a day she’d sit down with a mini cupcake or two. She is my mother after all!)

So, that was my birthday. (Except for the huge bag of bargain books from Books-A-Million that Mom and Dad got me for my birthday, which I am still working my way through and probably will be for awhile). (And!!!! My dad sent along a birthday present for me, which was a Fleetwood Mac concert poster that he found on eBay searching for Eric Clapton. That was such a sweet gift!)

Work is work – Stefania was out of the office all of last week so I was Accounts Payable for a week. I have more respect for her than I ever thought possible – how does she not drink at her desk every day??? Two days into last week I was ready to start stabbing people and by day four I begged Gwen to not make me help accounting anymore. (She said no. Grrrr). So, between the A/P Week and being off for Good Friday (ha! I worked from 9 am until 2 pm anyway) I am so. freaking. behind. (Seriously, Gwen, all I wanted was a few freaking days where I could focus on the awesome reports you make me put together so everyone can ignore them – is that so wrong?).

In entertainment news, Couples Retreat suuuucked. So disappointed. Vince Vaughn as a family man isn’t just fiction, it’s science fiction! I am embarrassed to admit it but I love to listen to the stupid pop station on the radio in hopes that they will play Lady Gaga or Ke$ha. Oh, and we have watched all three seasons of Arrested Development. The first season was great and the other two were not bad. And did I tell you I watched the first season of Californication using Netflix Instant Queue? I hope they put the other seasons on the Instant Queue because I really liked it.

And the dogs – Scooby had his annual vet visit today and – shocker! – he’s getting old. The vet said that one of his teeth may have to be pulled eventually. Beyond that, he is fine – good ears, no fleas, etc. The vet’s office is so fraking expensive. Booper is also doing well although she is slowing down a little too and we need to talk to the vet about her legs when she has her annual visit later this year. Love the puppies, so glad we have ’em. There was a picture on the wall at the vet’s office of a whippet who was a patient there who lived for 15 years. It’s shocking to think that we adopted both dogs as puppies and now we’re almost halfway through the best case scenario, life wise.

Finally – tomorrow is Macauley/Bill and Michelle’s baby shower. (Wasn’t it like 3 weeks ago that you guys called and said “We’re pregnant! Don’t tell Mom!”). Unfortunately, I wa$ not able to attend but I sent a Chicco travel system in my place. (And a surprise dilly present, muah ha ha).

And, nothing new on the topics of Plan B or The Boy.

I am fine, hope you are too.