The beginning of all things birthday.

April 24, 2014

Gracie’s tenth birthday (TENTH! 10th!!) isn’t until Saturday, and she doesn’t know it, but the festivities are about to start. Auntie Kim boards her plane in a few hours to start her trip down here to Tejas to surprise Gracie-girl. I know! A secret birthday trip! We’re the coolest!

Okay, really Auntie Kim is flying down for the weekend to start landscaping my yard – something that is way past hella too hot to do in August when she’s usually here. Specifically, we’ll be building a firepit and surrounding lounge area. Something we’ve been thinking about for awhile, but I like to look at it as a gift for making it through a decade of raising kids without losing one of them. (For long. Heh.) When we started planning which weekend Kim would venture down here, we looked at Easter weekend – extra day off +  no kids = more accomplished – but it was a great deal more expensive. Then we thought about how my rotten, spoiled child had complained that no one is ever here for her birthday; Auntie Rhi is here for Bee’s birthday at the end of June, and Auntie Kim is here for my birthday when she comes back with us in August, but no one is here for her birthday in April. Ever. (You know – because we’re mean and we do that on purpose.) The wheels started turning and the stars all lined up in pretty patterns.

Now we just gotta hope that Bee-girl can hold out for a few more hours. Because we told her. Bee can’t keep a secret to save her life, but we keep trying. Hey, we figure she’s gotta learn sometime, right? And middle-kidhood is good for that. In any case, she found out and I’ve been reminding her ever since not to give Gracie any clues, or say anything about it, or tell her she’ll like what’s at home, or anything. She can’t react at all. Because as bad as Bee is at giving REALLY OBVIOUS CLUES, Gracie is that good about thinking around corners. In other words, we’re doomed and I can’t believe no one has figured this out yet.

So tonight I’ll leave work a lil early, grab Kim from the airport, race over to the store to look at rock and stone and grab a few supplies, and then scramble back home before the kiddos. If all goes well, Gracie will walk in and Auntie Kim will just be there.

Man, not knowing might be the way to go with this one – I have ants in my pants already!

Just a small panic, nothing to see here.

April 22, 2014

I walked into their room this morning and she was gone. This threw me; their light was on before I walked in there, Gracie had gotten up with their alarm and started getting dressed like she was supposed to, so where was Bee? She wasn’t getting dressed. She wasn’t in her bed. My brain, not very awake, was having trouble understanding. For a minute I thought she must be hiding – jumping out, screaming “BOO!” and trying to scare the everlovin’ bejeezus outta someone is very in right now – and I knew it was too early for me to handle that. I was pretty sure it was too early for my Bee to even attempt that, but…she was gone. And then, Oh no. What if she was right? A ridiculous thought, but there it was.

Last night Bee-girl had a hard time falling asleep. She was tired and crying and tossing and turning and making everyone else just as miserable as she obviously was. So I convinced her to come snuggle with me on the couch. I turned on a lamp, shut off all the overhead lights, and snuggled her in my lap. I just held her while she quieted, and then listened to tales of woe, one after the other. It’s tough being a second-grader. And then, at the end of the litany of injustices, she told me she was worried burglars were going to break into our house. I reminded her that our house is strong and made out of bricks (a holdover from when she was small and worried about the Big Bad Wolf); I reminded her that we have a dog that the burglars are afraid of and who would bark and let us all know to call the cops; I reminded her that we have a security alarm that would call the cops for us and wake us up if anyone broke in; and I reminded her that burglars want an easy house to break into – they don’t want a house with obstacles like locks and dogs and neighbors and security alarms. She was soothed by the time we finished the list and went back to bed after a few more minutes of snuggles.

But she was gone, and I thought of her fears about the burglars.

Gracie had just finished telling me she had already searched the room (before shrugging it off and getting dressed, natch), and I had turned to search the rest of the house when I heard the suspicious sound of the couch springs squeaking. There was Bee, sitting up in, I must say, a rather tidily made little bed on the couch. She looked rather confused, though.

“Why did you move to the couch?” I asked her. It hadn’t stormed last night, or rained, and it wasn’t windy.

“I don’t remember,” she answered. And the look on her face corroborated her story.

Interesting. Maybe we’ll find out later once Bee-girl wakes up a bit, and maybe it’s just one of those one-offs that we’ll never think of again. Either way – I am wide awake still! What a way to start the morning!

Enough chocolate to last until the apocalypse.

April 21, 2014

Except for the fact that I was looking forward to a lovely three-day weekend, I kept forgetting about the fact that Easter was this past weekend. That’s what happens when you haven’t had your kids on Easter weekend in years, I suppose. But! It’s all good! Because the Easter Bunny leaves their Easter baskets stuffed to brim on the kitchen table, waiting for them.

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Having figured out How Things Work with the man (er…woman) behind the curtain, Gracie was a little upset that she wasn’t going to be here to help fill the baskets. I let her pick out her own book to soothe ruffled feathers. (The Easter Bunny always brings the book you wanted anyway, but I didn’t remind her of that fact.) She did take full advantage of the “any book” bit, though – the twerp went straight for the $20 weird fact books that she’s so big on right now, and that mama usually says no to buying because you can learn that stuff online, ya know? Luckily, the Easter Bunny is a lot nicer than I am. Bee got a really cute Ramona-themed all-about-me guided journal. And I got Lauren Oliver’s new book Panic. Yes, even I got a basket from the bunny this year!

I wasn’t kidding about everything working out this year: the girls spent the night on Friday night, even though it was their dad’s weekend, because he had shoulder surgery and I offered to keep them so he and Stepmom wouldn’t be worried about discharge times or how his first night went. It wasn’t entirely selfish – that meant we could take our time coloring eggs! The weather was gorgeous – 80° and sunny – so we spent the night out on the patio. It’s amazing how much more laid back coloring eggs can be when I’m not worried about a mugful of egg dye ended up on the carpet!

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Just before the girls got home, I snuck into the front room and hid a dozen eggs, color-coded for each girlie. I told them that the Easter Bunny had left a basket full of eggs on the table so that Fen wouldn’t eat them, but I decided to hide them. And you know what? Watching two older kids look for those really well-hidden eggs is just as fun as watching two wee little ones who are at the height of still believing!

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It only had to give a good hint or two, and the girls were tickled about finding each and every one. I love that my girls know how not to grow up. Who needs Never-Never Land when you have Casa de Katie, right? What a great night!

As the girls chowed down on some chocolate and jelly beans, I read another chapter of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and then we watched a bit of E.T. We maybe stayed up a bit late, and maybe I ended up paying for it in tears and tantrums this morning, but it was worth it.

Hope everyone’s Easter was as chocolatey and wonderful as ours!

 

Cousins (and uncles) are the best.

April 16, 2014

We had a pretty awesome weekend at Casa de Katie. Sure it was a bit windy (we had a wind advisory five days in a row, I’m pretty sure), but instead of the tornadoes we were supposed to get Sunday, it downpoured, then cleared off and was sunshiney and gorgeous and perfectly warm outside. Even better than the near-perfect weather was the company. My cousin Kene was visiting friends in San Antonio and drove up Sunday to spend the day with us. I know! First my besties came up for the weekend, then my cousin, and then in two weeks Kim in coming to surprise Gracie for her birthday (and to build me a firepit). So many fun visits from home! (I almost wonder if there was a mini-conference with the fam and they decided some well-checks on Katie were in order.)

Kene might only have been in town for the one day, but we crammed an awful lot of fun – and talking, have I mentioned my entire family likes to talk? – into our time together. The girls were shy at first (of course), but as Kene and I sat chatting and catching up, the girls soon crawled out of their shells. It probably helped that I let them get filthy dirty as they experimented with the soaking wet chalk outside on the patio. They made chalk-paint and it was everywhere. But they were happy and talking, so it’s all good.

After the girls cleaned off (a hose probably would have been helpful there), we went inside and Uncle Kene played Mr. Wizard. He taught the girls how to make superballs with borax, corn starch, warm water and glue.

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I was surprised that Gracie didn’t grill him down about the science, or ask him the hundreds of questions she thought of during the past week, but I didn’t press her.

After our experiment, we took Kene out for Irish Nachos and did a little sight-seeing in Arlington, showing him how massive Cowboys’ Stadium looks up close and the Rangers’ ballpark.

After dinner, it was back to the patio, to enjoy the warm weather. Kene had to induct Fenway into the brew crew. There may or may not have been pics of Kene teaching his sister’s puppy, Lucy, to drink beer. It may or may not have been so much of a family hit that I demanded a similar pic of him and Fenway. I can neither confirm nor deny. But I will say that Gracie was mortified when I mentioned the possibility. She thought I was going to turn her dog into an alkie. heh.

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While we were talking about everything under the sun, the girls were busy entertaining themselves. They jumped rope and competed against each other and kept whacking themselves in the face, and pulled out their glow-in-the-dark chalk kits, which I let them make. Then there was a limbo competition, during which Fenway kept trying to help. And by helping, I mean turn it into a tug-of-war competition.

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After the sun went down and the air cooled off, we moved the gathering back into the house and the girls eventually went to bed. Kene and I talked about family news, how everyone was doing, how his mom was recovering from her lung transplant surgery, marriages, divorces, how many things change and how much stays the same, my ten-year-plan to move home, and of course we talked about his dad. I told him about all of the awkward conversations I’ve been having with those near and dear to me, letting them know how much they mean to me, because I don’t think Uncle Teddy knew that he was like another dad to me. A lot of my uncles are, but we spent so much time with Auntie Cheryl and Uncle Teddy growing up. And Kene said the most wonderful thing, not  to be too sure that his dad didn’t know. And even though I do know that deep down, hearing Kene say that was like a benediction; I felt the boulder of grief that’s been sitting on my chest shift a little. The relief was – is – overwhelming.

So yes, it was a wonderful visit, filled with laughter and good things. After Kene left, Bee said in the car, “I wish we could keep Uncle Kene as our brother.” I started to tell the girls that uncles are even better than brothers because there’s less torture and hijinks involved…but then I remembered all the fun and pranks and craziness my uncles visited on me and stopped myself. Family, in all its crazy capacities, is the best.

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The girls called me out to the patio Monday night as I was cooking dinner. They had made a sign and wanted me to post it to Facebook. “We Miss You, Uncle Kene!” it read. Family is the best – pretty sure the girls agree.

Boston Stronger.

April 15, 2014

One year ago today, I sat dazed, staring at the news feeds and tweets, pictures and information scrolling across my computer screen, thinking over and over again, All I did was go to lunch. Two misguided individuals fueled by hate, two pressure cookers, and a plan to terrorize our city.

They failed.

These past few weeks as articles and advertisements have ramped up the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, I’ve spent a lot of time dabbing tissues at my eyes – silly things kept leaking. I’ve been so inspired by the resilience of the victims and our community. No one is shying away from marathon #118. There have been record registrations. More people than ever are hitting the treadmills, the running paths, the sidewalks to show solidarity. We run because our story hasn’t ended. Those kids’ terror plan has absolutely failed to terrorize us.

Look at Boston: do we seem like a city terrorized to you? Our community rallied; our city spent the past year supporting survivors of the tragedy in so many different ways. The nations’ best medical care – right here in Boston – helped rebuild victims’ bodies and strength. Newspapers and magazines wrote endlessly about events, spotlighting good deeds and incredible recoveries, stories of love and miracles that refuted any idea that bad guys get to win. So many heartwarming stories that it was dazzling, allowing us to process and shape our own story, the one where we win. Our sports’ teams dedicated their seasons to the families affected, often hosting survivors as special guests. Countless players spent time meeting one-on-one with survivors, each inspiring the other throughout the year. And it worked – this leaning on each other made such an impression. Who could forget Big Papi rallying the troops, yelling that “This is our [farking] city!!”

I know it hasn’t always been up, there have been some downs, of course there have. But you know what strikes me? Not once have I seen evidence of a city, a community terrorized. I see countless stories of inspiration. I see resilience. I see people drawn together. Determination. Victory. Pride. No one stayed home from the 4th of July concert at the Esplanade. No one avoided Gillette or Fenway. The T was as jam-packed as ever.

We are Boston Strong. Our heroes will stand up to bad guys regardless of their own personal safety, and we will honor them (the heroes, not the  yahoos) for time out of mind. We will no-kidding shut down our city (except for Dunkin’ Donuts – that stays open) and hunt you down if you try to destroy what we hold dear. And then we will go about our business. We will run marathons. Win World Series. Win Pulitzer Prizes for our coverage of your attack on our city. And go about our daily business.

We run on.

Because we cannot be terrorized. We were Boston Strong. And now, not thanks to you, but thanks to ourselves, we are even stronger.

At a loss (in more ways than one).

April 11, 2014

Last night did not turn things around the way I’d hoped. Yesterday, I talked about what a crummy few days it’s been at Casa de Katie, between the arguing and fighting and tuning out everything mom told them to do, and generally ignoring the rules. My kids aren’t generally like that. I mean, sure, they’re kids! They do annoying things kids do, like not pick up after themselves and pitch fits and drive me bonkers. They’re (almost) 10 and (almost) 8. I get that.

So I went into last night hoping things were going to turn around, just like the girls promised. Because they are truly good and adorable girls – when they do get into trouble, they’ll apologize and promise that they’ll have a better day the next day (or turn that day around if it’s still early). Teaching them that one bad day or poor choice doesn’t doom an entire day is one good thing I’ve done right, if I do say so myself.

Only our day didn’t turn around. I thought it might have – Bee stayed home by herself while I ran to get her sister. She listed off all the rules, chanted out the emergency numbers I made her memorize, and didn’t seem to get into any mischief while I was gone. Dinner was a piece of cake. Bee even started in on her homework without complaining. But when I went to show Gracie how to do something on the computer, I noticed someone had turned it off. No big deal, normally, except our computer has been dying a slow death and was slower than molasses. Turning it back on would be a 20-minute ordeal. I asked who had shut it off so I could explain why we don’t do that without making sure everyone else was finished with it. And a chorus of NOT-MEs smacked me in the face.

You guys, I know I should have chilled out, but I lost it. The girls knew it as soon as the NOT-MEs left their mouths – it’s a pet peeve of mine. They can say “I don’t think I did,” or they can keep quiet, but I hate hearing “Not me!” You know why? Because it’s confrontational and it makes it hard for them to change their story when they realize they did do it, and I am stuck either not believing them and not doing anything about it, or accusing them of not telling the truth. Two of my least favorite mom-tivities. And guess what happened? Neither kid changed her story, even after I explained that I wasn’t mad, but they couldn’t just tank the computer like that right now, and still no one owned up. So I said no one got to use it.

Of course, that went over really well. Gracie wanted to use it to find pictures for her craft project, which started another round of arguments. Which made me irritated. And Bee started crying over her spelling. It was just as delightful as it sounds.

That was just about the time that I stormed into the kitchen to tell them to stop arguing or else they were going to lose talking privileges. (Quite an effective way to get the bickering to stop for a bit.) And I noticed the $5 I left on the counter for Gracie’s pictures the next day – today – was missing. I looked on the island, the side counters, the table, and then asked if they had seen it. I checked my bureau, my pockets, and everywhere else I could think of. I told them why I needed it, and asked if someone had mistakenly thought it was theirs and taken it. It’s important to give kids (and people in general, really) an easy way out. Bee and Gracie swore they hadn’t touched it.

Great. Now we had the computer incident AND the missing money. I suppose the computer could have just shut itself off. I didn’t get a “Windows didn’t shut down properly” blah blah warning when I turned it back on, so I didn’t think that had happened, but it was dying a slow death. But the computer shutting itself off and the money blowing onto the floor and getting eaten by the dog or spontaneously combusting? Yeah, highly improbable.

I lost a bit more of my sanity.

I don’t know what I hate more – the idea of one or both of the girls could be entering that stage where they appropriate any money lying around and swear they didn’t do it (because don’t all kids go through that stage?), or the fact that I seriously wondered if I was going mad. I know the taking-money thing is a normal(ish) stage, and so is the lying thing, but I am so not ready for it. I hate having to mete out consequences for it. I hate not knowing who’s lying. I hate having to punish both girls – no desserts and no television until someone confesses – but I really have no idea what else to do. Really – send me how you deal with it or how your parents dealt with it. Or, you know, send wine and chocolate.

I have a feeling it’s going to be a long weekend and I’m going to need it. Even if I promise to have a better day tomorrow.

Pancakes. They’re just pancakes.

April 10, 2014

We’ve been having a few rough mornings over at Casa de Katie. Come to think of it, the past few nights haven’t been too awesome, either. Usually our evenings will start out just fine. Last night was great, in fact. We had hot wings, did homework and showers, and then had an impromptu dance party. Then the girls filtered into the TV room to watch 30 minutes of TV before bedtime while I…well let’s just say I won’t deny continuing the dance party all by myself. Ahem.

All’s good, right? Dance parties! Laughing! Arts and crafts in front of the TV! And then it was almost time for bed and I walked into the living room. There were papers and markers and pieces of tape every where. “Pick up,” I intoned, not exactly happy because “Why Can’t You Pick Up?” has been a theme this week. I swear, I feel like I’m the only one who knows where the trash can is. Bee-girl was pretty good about it – she started picking up her mess, at least. Of course, she forgot her dirty, inside-out socks, and some scraps of paper, and a few other things, but at least she was moving. Gracie was glued to her spot on the floor.

“Gracie,” I warned, a little louder. Ignoring mama has been an even bigger theme.

“But it’ll be over in five minutes!” she pleaded. And it’s true – the show she was watching did end at 8:55 p.m. rather reliably.

“Okay,” I relented, “but then you’ve got to move it. You need to clean up and brush your teeth and get in bed. Nine o’clock bedtime is supposed to mean that you’re in bed at nine.” I have a feeling my mini-speech fell on deaf ears. Because that’s how it goes lately.

Her show ended and of course Gracie took her time. Which irritated me. Which led to warnings and raised voices and grumbly kiddos. And then once they were actually in bed, no one could stop arguing or leave their lights off. So much so, that they might have lost bed time tonight.

Which brings us back to this morning. I had hoped that we could start fresh…but Gracie pitched a toddler-worthy meltdown when I told her she had already eaten her mini-pancakes earlier in the week. She swore she had eaten bagels all week. And she had – except for Monday, when she ate her last packet of pancakes. But nooooo, she argued. She hadn’t. And she kept mouthing off about it. Crying. Pitching fits. OVER PANCAKES.

I have a lot of hope that tomorrow is going to be a lot better. Because I know a couple girls who are going to bed rather early tonight and all that sleep will help sunnify their outlooks. It better help!

Ain’t no thing when you’re a rock star.

April 8, 2014

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but the Ex is out of town on a business trip this weekend. Which means I have the littles all to myself. Mwa ha ha. No, really, it’s good that I get to catch up on some time with them – they were only away for five days, but it felt like so much longer – and it really doesn’t shake up the schedule too much.

Except I don’t get to run.

My running program got a big giant kickstart into high gear last week when Juls and Corrie were here. I had been doing so well in the months leading up to their trip, on pace to hit six miles per run by the time they arrived. Corrie is also a runner, sort of newish to the obsession, and she has her first big race coming up. So we planned on running in the mornings when they were here.

Of course, then I had my sinus infection and my kidneys acted up and my training sort of fell by the wayside for a little bit. I was only up to two miles running, plus some walking at the end of the workouts. Also? A confession – I don’t run so well with other people. My friend Crisanna and I tried it back when she forced me to start running. (Yes, she is to blame and I owe her my next born child or some really good chocolate or something.) We tried running together at the park and realized that we threw off each others’ pace, running way too fast, and couldn’t ever get through a mile before we winded each other. I love her to death, but she was a much faster runner than I ever will be, and that one experience sort of threw me off the idea.

Plus, I like running alone. I like the solitude that I get, quiet time to think my own thoughts, sort through problems, or just think crazy, adreneline-fueled thoughts. Solitary time to think is a very rare quality when you’re a single mom. Hell, it’s rare even if you’re a married mom. Running is my “me” time. Not that I couldn’t give that up for four mornings – I was just worried about how the mechanics were going to work, exactly.

You guys, I never should have worried. Corrie and I? We killed it. We averaged a four-mile workout every morning. Corrie uses interval training and I do my best work when I make myself run my set distance all in one go – usually if I stop, I lose my stamina. And we still worked it out. We paced ourselves well, easily falling into sync. Knowing your running buddy for 20-some-odd years helps, I think – we knew even before the other called time-out that they needed a break. We talked, gossiped, caught up on each others’ lives, we even ran in the kind of comfortable silence only real friends can enjoy. It was just…so easy!

I think part of it was because of magic. Corrie introduced me to this awesome company, Fellow Flowers. It’s a company founded by friend Tori and Mel who believed combining the magic of friendship, loyalty, and running could create wonders. In 2011, Tori asked her “tribe” of girlfriends to run with her in honor of her birthday. There was a half-marathon coming up and all she wanted in the world was to have her friends running with her. Thirteen friends answered the call, which worked out (magically) to one for each mile. To show themselves (and everyone else) that they were together, they hot-glued orange gerber daisies onto barrettes an clips and wore them as they ran. From that one experience grew a company that sells flower clips and tshirts and the like, focusing on running and friendship and inspiration. The original orange flowers stand for friendship and loyalty. Guess what Corrie surprised Julie and I with?

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I thought it was awesome that in addition to the truth of friendship and being fiercely united, orange was also our high school color. Which normally would make me vomit – we were dressed in ORANGE GRADUATION GOWNS, PEOPLE. PUMPKIN ORANGE! – but considering the new symbolism, I kind of loved. Obviously the magic of the orange flower made those morning runs one of the highlights of the trip!

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I can’t wait until I get my running buddy back. I enjoy having my quiet time still, my time to think, but I miss having someone there to hand me water when I’ve forgotten mine again, someone to goad me into running one more lap, or to distract me with a story as we try to make it to the bench, to the tree, to the next bend in the track.

Yep. No doubt about it: We are rock stars.

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The one with the reading challenge.

April 7, 2014

Sometimes I think everyone is right – I must be crazy. To wit: a member of the online book community I stalk follow hosted a reading challenge this past weekend: #24in48. She hosts these challenges at least once a year, sometimes as often as quarterly, in which a participant pledges to read 24 hours during the set 48. Literally, half the designated weekend. You can link up with her personal blog, follow along on twittler, or through her tumbler. There are many ways to participate and so many cool people do. Seeing everyone’s progress, how many books – and what kinds of – books readers are going through…well, it’s all pretty cool for someone as book obsessed as me.

So I did it. Sort of. Technically, I didn’t sign up. It’s the first weekend in three weeks that I’ve had the girls for the weekend, and we had a birthday party and a day-long shopping date set up beforehand – not exactly outings I could cancel. Squeezing in 24 hours of reading was going to be tough. So I thought I’d just play along unofficially this time around to see what it was like. Also: I sort of tweaked the rules. I don’t even care that I did because you know why? IT’S FOR FUN. It’s okay to bend the rules for fun things that have, really, no consequences. So if I started on Friday night because I knew I’d be out of the running for 8 hours on Sunday? No big deal. It’s a reading challenge for fun, not life or death!

So, Friday night, I settled in with a pile of books. I finished my designated lunchtime-read, Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, which I enjoyed but didn’t necessarily love. It was a lot like The Lovely Bones, except the sibling was the one who disappeared and the overall effect wasn’t quite as zomg-keep-reading as Lovely Bones.

Next, I finished off my nighttime book, the deliciously smutty and historical fiction novel, Blindspot, by Harvard professors Jane Kamensky and Jill Lepore. Guess what? It’s also set in revolutionary Boston. No wonder it still rings my bells after four – yes, four! – re-reads.

I read a bit of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to the girls, then made quick work of E. Annie Proulx’s novella, Brokeback Mountain. It was a bit more…abrupt?…than the movie, but just as beautiful and moving. Of course, there isn’t much you’re going to get out of it if you’ve already seen the movie, so.

After that, I moved on to a YA selection, Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me, a book my sister left for me to read. You guys – you need to read it. Especially if you like books about doors and travellin’ and rabbit holes. It heavily references Wrinkle in Time and the possibility of time travel, but focuses mostly on the trials and tribulations of being eleven. Sticky friendships, bullying, what exactly to do with the opposite sex (especially if your friend is no longer talking to you), parents, being the least bit different, and other YA plot points. Only our protag gets mysterious notes from a maybe-stalker, maybe-guardian angel who leaves creepy, mysterious notes that…yeah, maybe just go read it before I give it all away.

When You Reach Me was split between Friday night (I stayed awake until 2 a.m.) and Saturday morning, and then I switched to Edwidge Danticat’s Krik? Krak!. I’m not one for short stories, but I could listen to Danticat talk about the phone book; she’d make it seem lyrical, fluid, and full of shiny magically realistic (but still hard to swallow) truths.

Finally, I moved on to a re-read of Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell. It’s another re-read for me, but my book club is reading it and it’s so frickin’ fabulous that I couldn’t not pick it up again. Sure I wanted to be able to rattle off quotes and discuss the little things right along with the big things I already remembered, but mostly I needed only the tiniest nudge to make me pick it up again. Go. Read it. Best book I read this weekend, even though I already had.

All of that and I still only hit 20 1/2 hours. 20 1/2 of 24. Close…but not quite goal. I think it’s the first reading goal I’ve ever set and failed to accomplish. But you know what? I’m okay with that. Really and truly, all-the-way-to-my-toes okay with it. I got a ton of reading – and six books – read over the course of a single weekend. It was fun! And I know that if I can plan around the next one a little better, I’ll hit goal. I loved reading right along with some of my favorite people; the shared experience was pretty awesome.

#24in48 – I don’t think I’ll ever be able to quit you.

Is it a throwback if it was just last week?

April 3, 2014

Last Thursday, I was bouncing in my seat with impatience to pick up my besties from the airport. And lo, my vacation (and my friends!) finally arrived, and it was good. Better than good – it was incredible. I mean, what can top spending a long weekend with the ladies you’ve been friends with for 30 years? Exactly.

I don’t think from the moment we met at the airport that we stopped talking for five minutes straight. (Good to know that some things never change! Heh.) We had a lot to catch up on! And in between all of the gabbing, we did a bit of eating. We went for a local favorite – Irish Nachos – before touring a local antique mall and going sight-seeing. (For some reason, having JerryWorld Cowboys’ Stadium and the Ranger’s Ballpark so close only hits me when I point them out to people.)

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We walked all of downtown Fort Worth, shopping and soaking in some sun, and stopped for some famous Riscky’s Barbeque. Lunch in the sunshine on a patio downtown while gossiping with my favorite people? Yes, please! It did not hurt that the beers Corri and I ordered were possibly the size of a small fishbowl.

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We somehow summoned the strength to fit in a few chocolates from the Schakolad Chocolate Factory…
Chocolates
Those would be dark chocolate raspberry ganache, milk chocolate espresso cabernet, and chocolate covered oreo. Then, just a few feet down the street – for we were on vacation, as we kept reminding ourselves, we stopped at The Cupcakery to pick up some desserts for after dinner. Also, because the entire reason Julie came to Texas was to seek out alllll the cupcakes. Heh.

Cupcakery
After touring miles of downtown, we headed to a popular outdoor shopping area in Arlington, where we walked some more. Hey, you can’t say we didn’t burn off most of what we shoved into our faces. After a few more miles of shopping and walking, we stopped at Pinkberry’s. Tangerine frozen yogurt with strawberries and kiwis? Yes, please!

Pinkberry
That doesn’t include all of the drinking that happened when we collapsed onto our couches or lounged on the patio, basking in the sun (or when The Walking Dead finale drove Julie to drink!). It was fun playing tourist, and even more fun spending quality time with friends who know me almost better than I know myself. The people you can pig out with, cook with, fall asleep in front of, read with, abandon in favor a cat nap, share your sushi rolls with, and spend five days talking to non-stop – those are the people who are really and truly your friends, the people you need to keep in your lives.

It was a fantastic weekend and I am already looking forward to the next one!


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