Tuesday, December 27, 2011

How I Spent My Christmas "Vacation"

 How I Spent My Christmas "Vacation"
an essay for Jamie

(The scene opens, and Libby is standing before a classroom full of her peers. She holds her handwritten essay before her and starts her reading aloud in a shaky stammery voice but after about three sentences she catches her flow and suddenly you're watching a feature film play out before you and you don't remember that this is a kid telling a story until the middle when they cut-to a kid in the class asking if he can be excused to go to the bathroom.)

I don't know if it's just a part of getting older or if it's my absolute obsession with gratitude this past year--but 2011 was the year of excellent gifts. Let us not forget the incredible birthday haul I made. And then only a few months later, Christmas! Any time someone asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I was totally honest. I am a woman in want of naught. And it didn't seem fair since birthday was so recent. I am really too overwhelmed with love to expect/ want/ fully appreciate presents on top of it all. But in true Christmas form--it happened anyway.

Santa Libby hands out lens wipes
and candy canes. Everyone takes
the candy canes.
Mostly I didn't want to share what I got for Christmas because it seemed self-involved and show-offy but then I thought to myself, what could possibly be more self-involved and show-offy than mine own blog where I talk endlessly about myself? Plus, my favorite part of gift-giving traditions is seeing what other people get for one another. Why would I keep you from such a treat? I like hearing the little inside stories or seeing how much someone really understands their friend or family member. Or, better yet, seeing the look on one person's face while another, erroneously believes that they did such a great job. No one will let my older brother live down the time, ten years ago, when our friend Tish gave him something for his birthday and his immediate response was, "Hey! Do you still have the receipt?" Classic Brother.

For me, Christmassy season began the Saturday before when we were preparing to attend the annual I Heard a Lion Christmas party. I made various almond barks and these cheese straws that I keep seeing on Pinterest. I tell you, they could not possibly be any easier (that is--if you pay attention to the instructions on the box of puff pastry dough that say, "let thaw for 40 minutes". Just because you think it can't hurt to thaw for three hours doesn't mean you're right. Trust me. (Side note: what do I love about Pinterest? Finding new crafty/ foodie blogs. Shutterbean is precious.)
The party was totally fun even if 1/2 of the guests were flu-infested. I can respect the dedication enough to not care that I'm about to get sick. We had the party at Doug and Staci's house. Their house, if you haven't seen it, is freaking brilliant. Check out Staci's blog a little bit and you'll realize that you want to chill out there, too. I didn't expect to get presents at all but I really didn't expect to get such great presents. Jamie, I'm posting this photo because I know you're going to love everything about this scarf that Rusty and Kellory (and probably Abbey, too) picked out for me. I found out that Adam reads my blog when I opened up a huge box containing three boxes of Quaker Oat Squares. I laughed a whole lot. And then Doug and Staci gave Ryan and I a gift certificate to eat lunch at Amic's (which is where I take all of my friends who come to visit/ would love hummus).  The El Greco, she is a simple sandwich but she is my favorite.
Ryan and I used another recipe from Shutterbean to make homemade Amaretto for everyone. It was really fun to make and it's such a shame that there's so much leftover. We have a New Year's Party coming up. I'll be sipping African Queens all night. It'll get used. It'll get used. If I do say so, myself, it's delicious.

We had family time on Monday night! Adam and Arryn were taking the kids (via Amtrak) to New Mexico up into the mountains for a memorable week of holidays with Arryn's side of the family. The pictures are always incredible. I'll bet they had the best time.
Monday night, I got off work at 8 and rushed home to open gifts with them before they took off (at 1:00 am that night). When I got there, Amos greeted me with, "we can open presents, now!?!" But Arryn was still in the shower so we had to sit around and wait a little bit longer. Genesis, you could tell, tried so hard to keep herself contained. Walking around like she was cool with everything like she wasn't a six-year-old about to open presents after waiting all day long. Amos was this little jittery ball of energy not running around a lot but sort of vibrating all over the place. And he did everything you told him to--ensuring that nothing would get in the way of opening presents. Arryn told the kids to have a seat while she handed out gifts and I snapped this picture. I think it's perfect. Amos' eyes focused. His body quiet but not calm.

I gave my sisters my favorite gifts. For Arryn, one night when I was babysitting the kids, we took profile photos. It's not easy to get a fifteen month old to stand still. I printed their photos, traced them onto some canvas and painted in the lines. It was terribly easy for as adorable as they turned out. I took this photo with my phone and didn't style it at all so--big whoop. You get the idea. I left them unframed because I knew Arryn would come up with a creative way to display them.
I took to Etsy for Sarah. I got her something to remind her of home while she and her husband adventure down to Texas--courtesy of the U.S. Army. Sarah's from Kansas, obviously. Scott is from Minnesota. They are a good team. I got them these vintage-dictionary screen prints and framed them. Then I threw in a bunch of chocolate--complete with a Terry's orange. Turns out that when I framed them, I did not choose the type with mounting hardware--doy. So they're going to need new frames. Oh well, you can't win them all.

Oh yeah! And a few months ago I commissioned a family of Cyclops hats from the lovely and talented Katie Hurl! Look at all of these guys that she made for Sarah's kids!

Arryn actually got me a very similar gift from a different seller on etsy. A vintage dictionary page--but this one has a color print of two ticket stubs. From another etsy seller, she got me a pair of darling earrings constructed of hardware and buttons. Genesis helped pick them out. Listen to this--Arryn said that she knows I like owls but that I might be getting over it a little bit (she's not wrong). Genesis, who is six, mentioned that these earrings are sort of like owls in certain ways and not like owls in other ways and also because they are ivory and brass, I can wear them with lots of different outfits. She all but said, "it's a neutral homage to owls--befitting your collection and the majority of your wardrobe." She has also helped me in deciding which purse to buy, "well, you already wear a lot of yellow--do you really need a yellow purse? Get a blue one." The rationality you'd expect from at least an eight year old. The rationality that had not so much occurred to me. That girl is an artist--a stylist in the making. She's also learning to play the piano. I've got high, artistic hopes for the girl. But I will keep them to myself so as not to push her... I'm just letting you know.

December 23 (the day of Festivus), Ed and Ange had a party at their place, too. It was super low-key and fun. We ate homemade chicken and noodles and also chili and Rhode's cinnamon rolls. So delicious. We sat around talking and hanging out. Angie gave me a bottle of lotion (I'd borrowed hers once and raved about how it didn't react with my extra-sensitive, wintertime skin) that smells like lemon cookies and a bottle of homemade vanilla extract. I can't wait to make use of this in the spring time when the flavor has totally infused. My mind is already racing with ways to highlight the vanilla flavor itself. I'm feeling maybe a simple vanilla cake? Oh well, there's time to think about it. She packaged it so gorgeously, too. I got her a gift but I ordered it from Etsy. I definitely ordered it in enough time--if it was being shipped in the United States and I'm just ethnocentric enough to assume that it was. But it wasn't. Woops. I'm learning to check that.

The week of Christmas, I worked a lot so that the guys in my department could spend time with their families. As a result (and thanks to a lovely Walmart policy that closes the stores on Christmas Day), my only day off was the day of Christmas itself. It wasn't so bad at all. Ryan's family celebrates the Saturday after Christmas so he was around. I was around. We just hung out all day. I made biscuits and gravy for breakfast and we opened presents. I had decided, maybe a month ago to make him a quilt. A few weeks ago it was becoming apparent that I was in over my head. I got the top finished in time for Christmas. All it needs now is a backing and to be tacked down. I was really upset that it wouldn't be done in time but after a good, old-fashioned panic attack, I got myself together. The holidays wouldn't be complete without one, you know? He doesn't mind. I think he likes it. So far. I also got him a copy of Bridesmaids, also, so there was at least one gift fit for immediate use. He really won at Christmas this year, though, when I opened up an espresso maker and all the trimmings along with the Adele Live at Royal Hall CD/DVD combo (the last big was something for which I shamelessly begged). We spent the entire day in pajamas, watching movies and Christmas episodes of Seinfeld and The Office and figuring out how to work my new toy machine. Favorite latte so far? Two ounces espresso, 1/2 ounce amaretto, steamed milk and 1/2 a hand-full of white chocolate chips. Usually, though, I just put a little maple syrup in the bottom of my cup and throw in the espresso and milk. I'm getting better at frothing. It's been a while since I got paid to do it.
For dinner, we made meatloaf (following a legitimate recipe, this time--makes all the difference) and mashed potatoes and watched Home Alone while Little Sister and Little Brother came over for a chit-chat.

I know it's December 27th but the Holiday Season isn't over, yet. There's still all the fun on Saturday--Christmas with Ryan's family and after that, the Happy New Year/ Bon Voyage, Kasey party!! I was going to clean my house in preparation for that... Fine. I'll get started.

All in all I think I'm learning that, for me, hand-made things are totally the way to go. It forces me to really consider things rather than just running out and grabbing something. Etsy counts. Commissioning a fleet of hats from a friend counts.

What was your favorite gift to give/ receive this year? #firstworldquestions

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sugar, Shoes, Desert Island

You guys, it's 5:30 am in the morning (...is my least favorite way that people choose to emphasize just how early it really is, "it's so early that redundancy doesn't apply to me!") and my brain woke me up. I've become quite the light sleeper these days. I kept trying to fall asleep but then all I could think about were different candies that I can make for Christmas.

The other day, there was a fiasco with the creation of some caramels. So, The Internet kept telling me "do not attempt this without a candy thermometer!" But I didn't listen to her. I said, "Internet, grandmas have been making caramels for centuries before thermometers were even invented!" (Correction: I just learned that the thermometer was developed in the 1500's) So I just went with it, believing that I could trust my instincts about the matter. For the record, that's not the case. The Internet kept saying, "the sugar will go from perfect to burned in a matter of seconds, so watch it closely and take it off the heat when it's golden brown!" So I was very, very cautious to stare at the sugar and not let it burn and to take it off the heat when it's golden brown.
But I was premature. The sugar wasn't hot enough to eventually turn into soft, chewy candy. Science, you bastard! The good news is that I didn't get close to burning it at all, though, so it was still tasty. It was just a liquid. A liquid that's so good on pancakes or in my coffee or warmed up and poured over Stephen Colbert's Americone Dream. It wasn't a complete wash. I just didn't have a huge bowl of perfectly wrapped candies to give to my friends. I was going to sprinkle apple cider mix into them. So, yeah. Now, I can't get candy out of my brain. I want to find a way to turn my favorite drinks into treats.

I made a gingerbread almond bark that kind of reminds me of gingersnaps and milk. Now, I have an idea to make a Mexican hot chocolate bark and a peppermint mocha one. By now, it's not so much that I want to eat all the candy. I just, I wrote to Katie, "want to make molten sugar my b----."

My favorite shoes are a light yellow canvas and the other day they got stained with mud. I'm thinking about painting them. I've wanted a pair of red shoes. Maybe I'll paint them red, today. Maybe now. Maybe I'll wear a pair of red shoes to the Christmas party, tonight. It's so early in the morning. I've had coffee going for an hour. I will need to schedule a nap or keep the coffee going all day.

(Update: This took about 20 minutes)

(End Update)

500 Days of Summer is what I do when I can't sleep. I've blogged about it at least once, before. Probably many more times. The first time that I watched it, it had a major effect on me. Maybe I'll go find that old blog-post and link to it. I like watching it at different points in my life when my brain changes. So I decided to watch it for, probably, the dozenth time. I bought my copy from the video store in town and so there are no special features because it's a particular copy that was intended to be rented out. I wish I could watch it with the commentary.
I'm not the kind of person who can readily think of favorites. I don't have a favorite band or a favorite song or a favorite color, candy, movie, book, section of the newspaper or breakfast cereal. Okay, that's not entirely true--Quaker oatmeal squares is my favorite but I never buy it because it's expensive and there's maybe 3 bowls worth in there. I don't have a lot of favorites but I do have answers for the desert island question. If I was stranded on a desert island and only had one movie, it could easily be 500 Days of Summer. And if I only had one novel, it would be Anne Lamott's Rosie. That doesn't mean that they're the best movies or books--you can't have the most delicious thing for the rest of your life can you? Maybe some people could but it's more important to me to have that comfort zone thing available to me. I don't have a security blanket but I have certain books and movies and songs.

What are your desert island items?

And if I only had one candy it would be the Mexican hot chocolate bark that's in my brain and has yet to be materialized.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Directionless Blog Post is Lacking Direction

Once I said to Ryan, "I'm going to draw you a picture." I got a line way off, so I stopped drawing and laid it down. He photographed it and sent it to his brother who then responded with, "Libby is bad at drawing." That story notwithstanding (I'm still not entirely sure if I ever use "notwithstanding" appropriately but I'm going to just breeze through like it's right and make you wonder if maybe you're the one who doesn't use it properly), I drew some pictures for this blog. I'm not as cool as Katie so I don't have fancy space pens that draw into your computer or, you know, talent. Seriously, just look at Katie's drawie blogs. I just have a pencil and a camera phone. Just like in the olden days.

On Friday, I sat down to dinner with Joshua, Lynnette and Ryan when someone asked, "So, how was everyone's day?" And I said that mine was awesome. And they all looked at me like they were waiting for me to tell them all of the horrible things that happened. I don't know if I just sounded sarcastic or if it's so unusual to hear someone not gripe about their day but Friday really was great. So great, in fact, that I carried around note cards and kept a running list of "Things That Have Made Today Awesome". I really did. I anticipated it early. I will share it with you.

Things That Have Made Today Friday Awesome: A Running List by Libby Parker

  1. Successfully executing a hairstyle that I found on Pinterest
  2. Riding to work with Katie. Participating in the blessed adventure that is being allowed to listen to her speak. That wit! That vernacular! The combination is exceptional, indeed.
  3. Seeing Kasey (link to his website since I'm feelin' linky, today) at the self-check out purchasing anti-freeze. Standing there in his cool guy jacket and glasses. Katie was just standing there, staring at him. Kasey, I should add, is not from very close to here and when he shows up it is usually a highly anticipated event. So seeing him without notice is a treat for all of the senses.
  4. I was doing my paperwork when Justin walked by (yes, I am lucky enough to work in the same building as both Justin and Katie and a lot of other very cool friends). I was already just having a lovely day so I guess I was smiling. I looked up and Justin was staring at me and said, "I don't know what you're looking at on your computer but your eyes are all lit up like you're looking at... Christmas magic." 
    "I just love my job, man!"
  5. Writing my to-do-list for the day in various colors of magic marker. (And, subsequently, crossing off everything on that list before 2:30)
  6. My nieces and nephew as the bell ringers for the Salvation Army between 10:00-11:00 am. I dumped all of my pennies into their bucket and snapped a few photos. So many people came into my area and said, "have you seen those adorable bell ringers?" And I'd say, "they're mine!!"
  7. The way that really old people look at babies in the store. I don't know what the difference is. Lots of people stop and look at babies. A lot of them say, "Oh! She's so cute! How old is she? What's your name??" But really, really old people will look at babies and not say much at all. Just looking and basking, I would imagine, in the newness of it all. I like getting to see it. 
  8. I repaired a woman's glasses and when she left I told her to have a good weekend. Her response, "Honey, when you're retired, every day's a weekend."
  9. Due to impending overtime, I have to go home an hour early, today. 
  10. I added more things to my Christmas tree last night and it made me happy this morning.
  11. Walking into the break-room and sitting down as Justin is telling a story that is very clearly close to his heart. I'm hearing him tell this story and his eyes are tearing up and I start to recognize it. I interrupt, "I'm sorry, but are you retelling the plot line of Up?" Everyone nodded, solemnly. Then he told us about District 9.
  12. Going home early with Katie (who also got off early) and talking about boys.
  13. Eating at Wood Fashion Cafe with Josh, Lynnette, and Ryan before going to watch Melancholia at the Salina Art Center Cinema. I will tell you that my quesadilla at dinner was just delicious and full of so many vegetables (yams??) and goat cheese and that my tea was piping hot and that the prices were perfectly manageable. I will not tell you much about Melancholia, though. Because everyone hates that person who says, "it was amazing" for lack of anything better to say. It was a visceral experience that I'm sure you won't be able to feel if you see it in your own living room. I'm glad that I got to watch it in the theater with the volume at a level that makes the floor rumble. (Yesterday, I said, "It's like Lars von Trier shrunk down and crawled into the mind of Justin Powers and lived there for about four months and then came out and made an end-of-the-world film specifically as a Christmas gift to Justin." I mean the main character's name is Justine.)
  14. Riding home in Ryan's car as he pretends to fall asleep while driving. I'm singing The Smiths songs to him and thinking about how my dad once told me to never get into a car with someone unless you trust them with your life. And I'm singing, "and if a ten-ton truck kills the both of us--to die by your side, such a heavenly way to die." Ryan does not find this song as comforting as I do.
  15. Goodnight smooches and falling asleep in my warm, soft bed and waking up and finding that the world is still here.
Friday was nice.

Today, though, is my day off and since I haven't had one in a really long time, I have a lot to do today. So I will make a to-do-list and update it throughout. Live blogging, you guys.
  • Finish part 1/3 of a top-secret Christmas gift.
  • Clean the litter pan.
  • Walk to The Cook's Nook/ Save and Share and look for bottles for another top-secret Christmas gift.
  • Wrap Genesis and Amos' gifts so that I have something shiny beneath my tree.
  • Wash the dishes.
  • Find and watch an episode of The Virgin Diaries online so I am in the loop.
  • Take out the garbage.
  • Watch a lot of Rick Perry parodies on Youtube.
  • Post a talking-chin video on my blog:

Sunday, December 4, 2011

This is for you, Pat.

Dear Friend,

It's the Sunday before a seven-day work week which means that if anything is ever going to get done, today's the day to do it.
So I'll make something to go into little rubbermaid containers that I will take with me for lunch every day this week. It gets a little monotonous--eating the same thing every day, but it's not so bad. It beats a $5.00 salad slathered in mexi-ranch.
I've been craving macaroni and cheese ever since Pat Robertson said he's never heard of it. Which was way before Thanksgiving. So I'll make some grown up mac and cheese. I do not have a recipe, yet. But I'm sure there will be one by the time I've finished.

First things first, as we all know, begin by streaming This American Life (this is one of my most favorite episodes) while wiping down the kitchen counters. This is the one that I listened to. I picked it from the archives because there's a story about Hoisington, KS. And because it's about prom and teenagery things are always appealing. I predict that things will mosey along pretty quickly.

Macaroni and Cheese (or This is For You, Pat)
  1. Half a box of whole wheat pene (I don't know if there's any truth to it or not but I feel like it's a lot easier to gorge yourself on elbow macaroni, so I always use pene). I knew from the get-go that I wanted to make this fairly healthy-ish. I mean, it's macaroni and cheese after all but I'm going to be eating it for a few days, I have to get my fiber and vitamins in somehow.  
  2. I have a bag of frozen tri-colored bell peppers and onions and a bag of spinach. So, on the back burner I decided to cook them all together to get as much water out of them as possible.
  3. When the noodles were mostly done, I drained them and rinsed them with water to make them stop cooking and to wash the starch off because otherwise they'll get sticky and unappealing.
  4. The sauce part, this is where I start making stuff up. I only really have one pan, so I had to wait until the noodles were cooked before I started on my sauce. I decided to start with the premise of a bechamel. But, like, the most 2011, Midwestern bechamel that ever existed. Butter, flour, skim milk that will be expired in exactly 24 hours. I put three tablespoons of butter in the pan over medium heat. Once it was melted, I whisked in three tablespoons of flour. Whisk it around and it gets pretty thick pretty fast. This, by the way, is where sauce gets saucy. I started with skim milk, I poured that in about 1/3 cup at a time and kept whisking. You don't ever want to stop whisking because it'll burn and be ruined and repulsive. Also, if you keep adding milk and keep adding heat, it seems to always get thicker and thicker. So when I was ready for it to start thinning out just a smidge, I dumped in some white whine
  5. Normally, I would use chicken stock for this portion but I don't have any of that but I do have some wine which has past the point of being drinkable but not past the point of being able to cook with. So, we're putting those hands together. I can not tell you how much liquid to add to this, honestly. Just keep adding and keep stirring until it comes to a texture that you rather like. Then turn off the heat. And start adding your spices. I used garlic salt and black pepper and tumeric (to make it yellow). Also red-pepper flakes. Then I melted in maybe... 3/4 of a cup of shredded cheese? I buy sharp cheddar because you don't have to use a lot to get a big cheese flavor. There's a trick for you.
  6. Anyway, at this point I just dumped in the vegetables and the noodles and stirred them all up together.
  7. I sprayed a glass baking dish, dumped it all in, and sprinkled bread crumbs and parley on top. I haven't baked it, yet. I'll probably do it tomorrow.
I'm debating about whether or not to even post this because it's such a non-recipe and not really that helpful, probably.
In a world where I think things through before I do them, I probably would have used broccoli and cauliflower instead of bell peppers. That was an odd choice.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It Is December, Today.

You know, if you scroll back through time in this here blog you'd probably notice an overwhelming recent theme. Gratitude: it is strong lately. I can't say for sure but some of the earliest posts here were probably pretty tongue-in-cheek gripe sessions. There was a time when I fancied myself a bit of a sharp, quick-witted, sarcastic soul. Now, it's hard for me to be that way. Don't get me wrong, I love to read sharp sarcasm. But what was once my most natural disposition has become a chore to maintain.
I realize that might make me a bit boring at times. But it's nice. Cynicism is... hilarious when executed properly. But it is exhausting to live that way day-to-day. I'm not a teenager, anymore--I am washing my hair with $7.00 shampoo, now. I am waking up hours before I need to be at work. I am not drinking coffee after 5:00 pm. And I am allowed to love things, now--I'm doing it.

"I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear." Martin Luther King Jr

Gratitude begot a weepy woman in me. In the past seven days, I have cried at least six times. And only once was because I was frustrated. Last week, I learned that a friend of mine will be moving away for a fun, new, life-adventure. A few nights ago, I learned that another friend of mine is going to have a baby and I teared up a little. On Tuesday, I watched a preview of Adele's Live at The Royal Albert Hall (which is no longer on Vevo--sorry that I can't link it) and I cried a little bit at the end when she sang "Rolling in the Deep" and the glitter fell from the ceiling and you could tell that she was just living out a dream. Not just a bucket list type of thing, either. A far-fetched, big-deal, die-happy kind of dream. And I was really happy for her. By the end of 2012, I'm going to be the lady who cries at Folgers commercials. I'm not trying to make it happen--but I'm not interested in stopping it.

It's December, today. This year is almost over. And (I really am going to try to say all of this without crying--not that you'll ever know) God, it's been good. It's been an incredible year. I remember this time last year when I was feeling very much on-my-own. I was intentionally taking a single-lady stance on life. That is to say that I spent a lot of time pretending like I wasn't lonely. I spent a lot of time keeping myself busy in the daytime and hoping to fall asleep quickly at night so that I didn't have a lot of time to think about how I wanted things to be different. But sometimes I did. This time last year I felt very selfish when I had the secret thought, "I want 2011 to be my year. I want it to be my turn." And I really didn't think it was going to happen but it has been. In ways that I didn't see coming and I didn't think were possible for me.

I have felt my heart stretch and move and tear and break in a lot of ways that I wasn't certain it was capable of. It turns out that a heart has a good amount of elasticity in it. I've learned that a person can feel two completely different ways at once. One month ago, I felt madly, hopelessly, safely in love while at the same time, scrunched up in a ball on my bed--howling in grief. It's quite an exercise. Like any mind-bending exercise, it hurts like hell for a long time but then one day you wake up and realize that you're still here and you're going to be okay--just very different. We're still here and we're going to be okay. Just very different.

When I moved to McPherson in the summer of 2009, my life was very small. It was me and my books and my clothes. And that's what I came into this apartment with. I had one niece and one nephew and Adam and Arryn lived downstairs. And sometimes when I was feeling particularly bold, I would even talk to Ryan, who lived in the basement apartment. Except not that often because our conversations were excruciatingly awkward.

As of December 2011, I have three nieces and four nephews. Sarah lives only a few hours away and Andrew lives only a few blocks away. Adam and Arryn still live just downstairs and... oy, that guy who still lives in the basement apartment is my favorite part of most days. And friends, so many friends. Honestly, when I left college, I thought I'd never find anyone who'd ever truly get me again. But that's not the case. Sometimes you just click with people. And they're everywhere. The internet makes it easy to find them. How did adults make friends before Facebook?

I've been looking through my planner. I like writing little, one-sentence journal-type entries in with schedules. It's fun. Let me take you on a short journey of 2011.
  • Saturday, January 8: I got a little drunk tonight, and a little sad.
  • Tuesday, February 22: I made this weird sausage/ lentil thing for dinner.
  • Saturday, March 5: I went to The W, tonight. I kissed two boys.
  • Sunday, April 10: ...he touched my hands and my hair and at one point I actually considered that I could be dreaming. But I wasn't. 
  • Friday, May 13: All Schools Day! Eat a pronto-pup! ...Did not eat a pronto pup. Ryan and I went to see Bridesmaids, instead.
  • Tuesday, June 21: Mustache Night at Applebees. Make friends with Doug and Staci. I can't wait to be friends with Staci.
  • Monday, July 11: "Girl, take it easy, take it slow. You're a hazard to yourself."
  • Friday, August 12: Secret Birthday parties! Buy gasoline and beer (priorities).
  • Saturday, September 24: Royal plays in Manhattan. It's fun to overhear girls talk about how cute your boyfriend is.
  • Monday, October 10: Go to Kansas City with Alyssa! Have the time of your life.
  • November only says stuff like: Work 9-2:30 in Vision Center and 3:30-6 in layaway. November got kind of boring?
2012 is going to feature some seriously un-fun things. There will be a lot of things to change. If everything goes according to plan, half of my siblings and all of my nieces and nephews will move away to other states (not particularly close states, either). I don't want to think about it too much, because since moving here, I've grown impossibly close to my siblings. Closer than we've ever been, even in childhood. But they're going to go away and that's how life happens. It's certainly not unusual to have family all over the country. It's just a change from what I know, now. I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm going to just keep doing what I do until something presents itself. I'm much less concerned with myself for now--I've gotten the lion's share of happiness. I want to see other people take it, too.