Thursday, March 20, 2008

The only constant in life is change. And Bon Jovi.

I am officially old. Aaron and I went to Bon Jovi last night & had a great time. Jon Bon Jovi jumped around more than a hyperactive 5-year-old, energizing the crowd and belting out classics like "Bad Medicine," "It's My Life," and "Livin' on a Prayer." I'm not a huge fan, but he looks—and sounds—damn good for 46. Richie Sambora also did not disappoint. He not only rocked the guitar (and a long purple jacket) but sang solo on one of my favorites: "I'll be there for you, these five words I swear to you ..." Even the opening act, Daughtry, was decent. One of the highlights for me (besides watching a wasted woman go from obnoxious dancing drunk to passed out cold in her chair) was when Chris Daughtry asked that the sound & light crew temporarily "kill the lights" and instructed everyone who had a camera to take a picture on the count of three. At "three," hundreds (thousands?) of flashes popped off at once. The special effect was really, really cool. For a minute or two it was like watching popcorn lightbursts in all areas & corners of the X. Pop, pop, pop.

In other news, two of my close friends are facing uncertainties in life (a serious break up & job insecurity) - and while they're both strong women and I know things will work out eventually, my heart breaks a little to know that they're hurting. Time heals all wounds, but getting to the healing part isn't always easy. So, in the spirit of a big fat "F YOU!"to those who made them hurt, here's a little rockin' anthem of hope (courtesy of the 2007 second place winner of American Idol):

"Over You"

Well I never saw it coming
I should've started running
A long, long time ago.
And I never thought I'd doubt you,
but I'm better off without you
More than you, more than you know.
I'm slowly getting closure.
I guess it's finally over.
I'm finally getting better,
The day I thought I'd never get through

Friday, March 14, 2008

Professional Party Planner

Last night I hosted a baby shower for a co-worker/friend, Jenny, who is due at the end of April. There were 17 of us in attendance and it was a great success. My only complaint is the lack of help from her department and others who consider her a close friend. I don’t know if people think we can expense work baby showers (we can’t), if they’re simply na├»ve about the amount of work and expense involved (I don’t think you truly “get this” until you’ve co-hosted a shower of some sort) , or if they’re simply as cheap as dirt. It would’ve been so nice to spread out the costs. Even with Kirsten helping out, I spent $15 on plates, napkins, forks, and decorations; nearly $20 on prizes; and about $35 on groceries (lil smokies in BBQ sauce, a cheese and artichoke dip with two loaves of artisan baguettes, and carrots and ranch dip, purchased at Byerly’s). That’s $70 out of my pocket. And trust me, I am not exactly made of money.
I know I should stop bitching about it, since I volunteered to host the shower, but with so many coworkers in attendance, you’d think more than just Amanda and Tabitha would have offered to help out. It was discouraging.
On the plus side, Courtney & Rachel stayed late to help clean up/do dishes, and I thought that was really sweet.
I was thinking about it last night, and I should start a side business as a bridal shower/bachelorette party/baby shower hostess. In the past five years, I have co-hosted five bridal showers, eight baby showers (four for co-workers), and three bachelorette parties. They have all been fun in their own way. And as wonderful as it is to acknowledge an upcoming wedding with an elegant bridal shower, or celebrate an upcoming birth through a baby shower, my favorite parties are the bachelorettes.
At AJ’s bachelorette party, we golfed during the day (my first time on the links and I had a blast. Of course, I didn’t keep score—and I was drinking—so that helped), shared a bland dinner together at the Hilton Garden Inn in Shoreview (where we stayed), played some obnoxious/funny games involving paper bags, dressed up in old bridesmaid dresses (some more outrageous than others), took a party bus to see male dancers at Sharx Night Club in Fridley (hilarious), almost got beat up at a hole-in-the-wall bar off Highway 10 (a combo of liquid courage, our out-of-the-ordinary attire, and “townie” girls jealous of the competition), and then finished off the night at a dance club hosted by 93X DJs. At this point we didn’t care that we were wearing ugly satin gowns and we danced, danced, danced until bar close.
We traveled to Las Vegas for Karla’s bachelorette, where we had a swanky dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago; drinks at JC Wooloughans Irish Pub (Meg, Money and I enjoyed some authentic Irish-brewed beers while venting about one of our travel companions), on the balcony of the Ghost Bar (55 feet above the Palms Casino), Rumjungle at Mandalay Bay (Studio 54 was closed), and Hard Rock (I think each one of us met a strange dude here). We shopped the strip, sipped foo-foo cocktails by the pool, and divided into three camps: Karla, Sara, pregnant Deb; Lisa & Rem; and me, Meg, and Money. When Becky arrived from San Diego, Sara & Deb flew home, so it was me, Karla, Becky, Meg, and Money. Lisa & Rem did their own thing most of the time (mostly consisting of relaxing by the pool and wandering into the casino to play the slots.)
For Megan’s bachelorette, Money and I put together a “memory book” and presented it to Megan at Zelo, where we had dinner with a big group of friends. The book was Money’s idea and design-work. I edited the entries (and harassed everyone to send in photos and memories.) We then moved the party to the Crown Plaza Hotel, where we had drinks and appetizers in our room before going to the Local and Lyon’s Pub. I was pregnant with Adam and so felt a bit left out as I watched my best friends have the time of their lives on the dance floor, all buzzed up and carefree in their alcohol-induced “happy place,” but I was one damn good purse and coat holder/drink watcher/seat warmer.
I have been to small, intimate bachelorette parties and wild rowdy bashes (my own was no exception, there were 24 of us up in Duluth. Some of us snowboarded one day while others toured the area; at night we got crazy and—eventually—got kicked out of Grandma’s Saloon). I have partied on a boat on Lake Pepin, rocked out on party buses that bar-hopped along St. Anthony Main, downtown Minneapolis, Stillwater, and Wittenburg, Wis. (talk about small town!), and one time puked in a McDonald’s cup on the way home from the bar. I went to a b-party on a Wednesday night, when the nightlife downtown was less-than-exciting, and could hardly control my excitement when I traveled to La Quinta, California with three of my best friends (Karla, Meg, and Money) to celebrate Becky’s bachelorette while staying at the second home of the Phillips vodka heirs. That was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I still can’t wrap my head around how the “other half” lives in such extravagant wealth.
So, anyhow, to make a short story really long, I must enjoy the planning, or I wouldn’t volunteer. And with at least nine close friends either newly engaged or unattached, it looks like I’ll have plenty of showers to keep me busy throughout the next decade!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Waiting in the snow

I should have known today was going to be one of THOSE days when I fell on the ice while taking out the recycling. A light dusting of snow covered the sidewalk, covering a slick layer of ice underneath, and instead of treading with caution, I walked too fast and fell—extra hard—on my butt. After I got up and brushed off the snow, I looked around to see if anyone else had witnessed my humiliation. Lucky for me the coast was clear. I was glad I wasn’t carrying Adam in his 500-pound car seat, and relieved that only my pride was bruised.
My day continued to improve at the bus stop while I waited … and waited … and waited for my bus. An hour later, my bus finally came. It was a long, cold wait, and I was glad I was wearing not only a hat, but two pairs of socks.
While on the bus, I had the privilege of sitting next to a woman with breath so bad it could kill a moose! (Seriously, what did she have for breakfast? Raw minnows, Limburger, and garlic? And why oh why did she have to keep breathing through her mouth? Why couldn’t she breathe through her nose like the rest of us? I was never so glad to be wearing a scarf, so I could pull it up over my face without being too obvious that I was simply trying to survive the stench.)
My only other complaint today (why stop when I’m on a roll?) is that my lunch was freezer-burnt. On the bright side, this terrible, horrible, no-good issue is out the door. Thank God.

This winter seems to be dragging on FOREVER. I live in Minnesota and I’m usually all about embracing winter (this winter I went snowboarding at Trollhaugen, snowtubing at Eko Bachen, and sledding in Forest Lake), but right about now—after three solid months of cold and ice and white-knuckled driving and road salt eating my car and cycling through a wardrobe consisting of pants, sweaters, and turtlenecks—I’m ready to break up with Winter (and maybe even let the door hit him on his way out) and welcome Spring with open arms.
Enough is enough.
Even if I can’t break out my sandals, capris, and sunscreen quite yet, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. In a few weeks, the average temps will be in the 40s and low 50s, in May, we’ll be hitting the high 50s and low 60s, and by June—a mere 12 weeks away—we’ll be sitting pretty in the 70s. I cannot wait.
In addition to warm weather, we have so much to look forward to this spring/summer (some people might grumble about a full social calendar this early on, but I absolutely LOVE it!):

Aaron and I celebrate three years of wedded bliss April 16. I fall a little deeper in love with him every day. He is good, kind, generous, smart, reliable, loyal, thoughtful, funny, sensitive, and always, always true to himself. He’s a loving husband and daddy, and even when we’re fighting about tacos vs. burritos, I know how lucky I am. (Can you tell I'm his biggest fan?) * Four friends (a co-worker, one of the college crew, a member of the “group,” and my sweet sister-in-law April) are due in either April or May. Bring on the bambinos! * Two friends are getting married in May (one is a friend from volleyball—second marriage, this time to a wonderful guy—and the other is a friend—and one of the nicest guys I know—from Aaron’s softball team). I love, love, love a good wedding. * A dear friend is celebrating her wedding reception in June following a destination wedding (another Lillian ties the knot! Long live the friendship of C.A.K.E!) *Adam’s adopted cousin Max turns one in June * July = annual Fourth of July party on the lake (bocce, beer, and boating, not necessarily in that order) *We’re going to Bozeman, Montana for BP’s wedding in July (yes, he’s my ex-boyfriend, and yes, his mom does daycare for us, and no, it’s not weird at all!) *One of my very best friends, one of my “girls,” Megan, is due in July and I can’t wait to meet her little one, see her as a mom (she’ll be a natural) and experience the crazy adventures of parenthood along with her and her hubby. It seems like only yesterday we were in 6th grade guitar class together, and now we’ll be discussing kids instead of chords?! In the words of Blink 182, “Well I guess this is growing up” *Our niece Morgan turns one July 20 *If all goes as planned, my soul sister, T (my maid of honor) will fly home from Idaho for a much-anticipated bridal shower/bachelorette party before her wedding this fall. It will be crazy, and I’m ready for some crazy. *My baby, Adam, turns one in August!!! *My immediate family is vacationing at Lutsen Resort for a week, sea kayaks and all. I am fortunate to consider my family some of my closest friends and look forward to this getaway with much anticipation. *September is shaping up to be a fun month, too, with a trip to Coeur d’Alene for Tonya & Sam’s wedding (my closest friends will be traveling to the wedding as well), and Aaron’s cousin getting married in Wisconsin.

In Adam news, he’s teething or something, because he’s up anywhere from two to four times a night, crying and fussing. It makes for a very long day at work. Somehow, though, his teething hasn't affected his regular daytime activities. He’s a happy, smiley baby with a very sunny disposition.
On my bus ride home from work, just about when we get to the turn that signals how close we are to the park & ride, I start anticipating my time with him and I start feeling really excited. When I pick him up from dayare, my heart swells as his little face lights up with joy and recognition. “Hi baby!” I say. “Mama’s here!” and his smile just about melts me. Aaron and I have fun reading to him (“Big A, little A, what begins with A? Aunt Annie’s Alligator, A, A, A”), playing with him (he’s into grabbing, and toys that make obnoxious noises, and anything with bright colorful lights), encouraging him (sometimes we sound like we’re talking to a dog: “Roll over! Come on, you can do it! Good boy!”), laughing at his hilarious sounds and expressions (I call him Darth Vader), doing whatever it takes to make him dissolve into those best-sound-in-the-world uncontrollable giggles, kissing (and kissing, and kissing) his fuzzy head, watching him splash (and pee) in the tub, and cuddling with him at the end of the night.

This quote makes me smile:

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

This one makes me laugh:

“My friend has a baby. I'm recording all the noises he makes so later I can ask him what he meant.”

This one makes me nod in agreement:

“People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one.”