A glass of liquid courage, please!

Dang, I really am awful at this whole “blogging” thing, aren’t I?

That’s what happens when you pick up a second job while the first job starts getting extremely busy six days a week all the while preparing for your best friend’s wedding day with parties and speeches, etc.

This is the big week! If I’m this anxious and my status is merely “maid of honor” I can only imagine how the bride is doing.  She’s always so laid back and calm, so I hope her natural tendencies are kicking in these next few days.

She says she’s nervous for my speech.  I’ll let you know what she thinks of it when it’s all said and done, but I’m pretty positive she thinks I’ll drink too much beforehand and go on a rambling spree and probably drop the “f bomb” and thoroughly mortify and embarass her and make the wedding guests feel extremely awkward.

What she doesn’t know is that my speech is neat, clean, and even typed out.  So now I just have to try hard not to spill champagne all over it. (winky face!)

But seriously, this could be a nightmare.

Just kidding, gosh!

….

But seriuosly…

 

I’ll be saying it a lot this week,

Cheers!

 

 

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Define “Normal”

I’m often told, in one way or another, that I am not normal.

I never take it as an insult, even if it’s intended to be, because what does “normal” even mean?

To me, “normal” is boring, inside the box, scared, bland.

I’ve been called strange, quirky, interesting, loud, “out there” (sometimes to my face!) and I am so happy to report that I love each and every one of these descriptions.

The next time I wish upon a star, I’ll wish everyone can take a step away from normal, to see how freeing and exciting the other side is.  I hope you put on an outfit and think “I think this looks rad, even though I know it’s super bizarre,” and then I hope you wear it for the entire day, even in public. I hope when people ask you what you believe, you tell them without worrying what they may think, and when someone asks you your dreams, I hope you don’t edit them in any way, even if it is finding a cure for cancer or raising a family on the moon, or becoming a really great gardener.  I hope you don’t hold back with the people you love because you don’t like the mushy stuff or maybe they don’t like the mushy stuff.  I hope you hug and kiss and shout “I love you” in their face and make them feel so awkward with all the mushy stuff.

I hope you say what’s on your mind, even if it might surprise someone.  I hope you work to change the mold on what society expects of you.  I hope you terrify people with how daring your decisions are, and make them wish they were that brave. I hope you sing really loudly even if your voice sounds like shit, and I hope you remain positive, even when you have no money because every dime goes to student loans and dog food.  I hope no one calls you normal. Ever.

I seriously like you all a lot.

Cheers!

ohhhh hello there, woman after my own heart

Broadside

It’s becoming a serious question, at least here in the United States where student debt is totally out of control, with graduates carrying $30,000 or $60,000 or even $100,000 in debt they’ll be re-paying (or not) for decades.

And that’s not even the bill for medical, law, dental, vet or MBA degrees, or computer science or engineering, each of which can probably net you $100,000 a year or much more, which is at least a decent ROI.

But digging into $85K worth of debt, as this young woman has for an English degree?

Nope.

I was very lucky. My entire year’s tuition — no, that’s not missing a zero — was $660 in 1975. Today it’s not much more than $5,000 for most undergrad classes at my alma mater, University of Toronto, consistently ranked as one of Canada’s top three. I studied English and read Chaucer aloud in Middle…

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Hello, Cuties.

If you were in West Michigan this past week/weekend, I hope your heart soaked up every bit of that amazing weather.

I had the priveledge of throwing a bachelorette party for two of my amazing friends.

Another friend, Anna (the other bride’s maid-of-honor), was my partner in planning this event, and holy cuss, I could not have done it without her.  She’s the organized,  level-headed, responsible one. Praise the Lord for Anna.

We rented a wonderful house in one of my favorite spots on the Lakeshore, Saugatuck.  Oh, my sweet and sunny Saugatuck.  So in love with that place.  We arrived before noon and started the day off with mimosas and sangria and time to chat and catch up with close friends, friends we haven’t seen in a while, and people we didn’t even know.

We enjoyed a fantastic lunch with, what were they called? Shit, I forget. Help me out, Rachel!  P.S. You are hysterical.  She made these sandwiches and I wanted to eat 17 pieces.  Deli meat and, (here’s the crazy part!) black olives and green pepper.  I hate both of those things, but damn, it was tasty.

Our slightly tipsy group scampered off to stroll the much more sober streets of downtown Saugatuck.  Four of us walked into a shop where there were tons of “bachelorette-y” type games, gag gifts, costumes.  The lady clerk there was trying so hard to sell us on all of it.

Instead, we bought these teeth and wore them around, because we want people to think we are just bizarre, without any celebrations to excuse our nonsensical behavior.

(The blushing bride is on the right.)

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Naturally, after a few shops, we realized our buzz was fading a little too quickly, and everyone decided a beer was necessary.

Ashley decided that 37 beers and 14 shots was necessary…

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And then Gerou proposed to Annette (When in Rome!)

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This is their cake. Courtesy of Anna

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We try to stay as classy as possible with decorations

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We went wine tasting in town at 5 and swerved our way back to the house for dinner and, yup, more cocktails. But also for Apples to Apples.  Have you played that game before?  You should.

Shannon‘s gift to the two brides included footy pajamas.  Around what I’m going to guess 11pm (I really have no clue at all) the brides decided they wanted to check out Saugatuck’s nightlife.  We were all in pajamas! What to do?  You go to the bars in your pajamas.  Or in their case, animal print footy pajamas.  Hilarious doesn’t quite say it.  They stood on a stage and danced in them. We sang karaoke in them (Celine Dion, we were “those girls” screaming into the microphone…I think I was sitting on the ground). You can bet your ass we made a ton of friends.

 

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I have other pictures, but we can’t give everything away, can we?

Perhaps I’ll post more, as more stories come back to me.  For now, It’s 10pm on Sunday evening and even after 6 ibuprofen, 2 naps, pizza and so much water, I’m still pretty wrecked.

On the bright side, my cheeks hurt so badly from all of the laughter and smiles.  It’s worth every throb in my head.

Without a cocktail,

Cheers!

Self-intervention time of year

About twice a year I realize that my love-handles are once again getting slightly out of control and reactively start eating healthier and get back on some sort of exercise routine.

Except when I was in Jackson.  In Jackson I would go for a hike or go to the gym and then treat myself with beer, or a lot of times with screwdrivers, because that has orange juice in it. (Funny since OJ isn’t actually healthy…at all! Thanks sugar, you OJ ruiner!)

Pick an exercise program and I’ve done it.

Here’s my problem and the reason why I quit, thus being mediocre in health for a majority of the time and have to face this “wake up call” twice a year: I become obsessed and start to deprive myself of food and drinks that I really love.

(Uh, isn’t she literally in love with food? Why would she do that?)

Yes! See my problem? When I get obsessed I tend to set myself up for failure.  I need that occasional plate of chips and cheese! And pasta with insanely creamy sauce! I mean, cheese alone is the killer. Oh boy, I’m salivating.

What better time to get back on a regime (I think she means regimen) than entering into a season where we cover up every inch of our bodies?  I can’t think of any better time…except for summer.  Summer would probably be a much better time.  To no fault but my own, I decided to eat a lot, drink a lot, and not be extremely active this summer, so fall it is.

Objective: To not deprive myself (especially of cheese) while being active and eating better and therefore, be able to officially end all necessary twice-a-year self interventions.

Goal: To look great in that baggy sweater…

To feel great and not sleep in until noon because at nine I should be getting up to do some stretching and a bit of a work out.

(uh, aren’t objectives and goals the same thing?)

Uh, yes.

Also on the news board:

My cousin got married! This congratulatory blog is far over due, but necessary.

Congratulations!

She did things right.  They had a small ceremony with immediate family and grandparents only. (She looked bangin’ hot). Then a week or so later they had a great party with friends and family, anyone who could make it. I ofcourse, couldn’t go (night job, takes away all social aspects of life), but I heard it was beautiful and light and airy and everyone laughed and had great conversation, and they made sure there were enough adult beverages for it to stay that way throughout the night.  I really, really wish I could have been there.

I have no doubt in my mind that their life together will be warm and beautiful, with far more ups than downs, and so many memories that their hearts may overflow.

To my thighs not rubbing together, but far moreso to Jamie and Jared,

Cheers!

Dude, super serious.

“All the emptiness inside you is hard enough to fill

Without a sense of purpose,

We’re setting up to fail

You don’t have to make it right,

Just hold your head up high.”

-Imagine Dragons

Right?

Spot on, guys, spot on.  I think this is why my quest for “what am I here for? what am I supposed to be doing?” has been causing me so much agony.  Without a sense of purpose we feel empty, we’re setting ourselves up for failure.

…”just hold your head up high”…

and so I shall.

On this gorgeous day, September 11, it’d be a travesty not to mention what happened on that day eleven years ago.  My prayer is that we always combat evil with love, and although we may call our declaration of war a retaliation against those who initiated this tragedy, I choose to also see it as a necessity in our pursuit for Peace.

For there are far too many people in this world that are entirely blind to the truth of Peace and Love, because Love knows no boundaries.  Love does not see Race or Religion.  It doesn’t vote Republican or Democrat.  It doesn’t hurt, It never casts judgement.

These two things I believe wholly in, and that I know for damn sure.  How do we bring about peace, though, when people are so confused about love? They’re so intimately intertwined, that I see no way for one to not include the other.

I hope we can figure it out.  I hope we can stop hating and I hope bullying ends, and that every war serves a hugely more important purpose, and I hope we stop thinking that the political party that isn’t yours is evil, and I hope that we choose to be nice rather than mean, and I really hope we start striving for betterness.  All over Betterness.

(I hope she stops being so serious soon)

ok. Fine. You win.

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Excuse me, ma’am? You have a creepy baby in your purse…

Aaaahhh the Adventures of Baby Layhe…stay tuned.

If you’re in my boat, keep holding your head up high!

Cheers!

Mare See Bow Coo

Happy Sunday!

I’m happy today, I promise.  I solemnly swear I shall not rant about angry things.

No, today is sunny, the air is crisp, the breeze is magnificent, the windows are open, my dog is behaving, and I am so, so happy.

I’ve started studying wine.  I don’t think it’s any secret that I really….really enjoy wine, but I’ve never had much motivation to study it.  Well, we are having a wine competition at work to see who can sell a certain amount from specific regions, and the winner(s) get a pretty legit reward.  I finally purchased this book (below) in hopes of 1. Not being such a dimwit about wine 2. Therefore being able to sell wine better and more knowledgeably 3. I’ll be wine tasting…a lot.

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Today I read up on white French wines and decided I should probably venture off to see if I could find one worthy of trying.  Plus, Cooper really needed a visit to the dog park to ensure he wasn’t becoming anti-doggy-social. These people ahead of me were doing this, except more side by side, for a very long time.  So long that I had time to make the decision to pull my phone out, turn on the camera, aim, and shoot.  Can we say “Pet peeve!”?

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Inspired after my wine purchase, I called up my Papa Bear and said, “Dad, don’t plan anything for dinner, I’m making it tonight!” (My mother is off in Wisconsin for the week to take care of grandkids…so my dad and I are to, what, fend for ourselves???)

I’m not an awful cook, but I don’t.  Cook, that is, often or super well.  The wine, though, it brings out this side of me that is like, “You need great food, and probably an eff load of cheese!” (did you know that in Spain, it’s an insult to serve wine and cheese together.  It’s like saying, “This wine tastes like shit, so here’s some sour dairy to cover up the taste!”?)

Well, we don’t think like that here, so cheese and bread it is.  I went with fresh french bread, brie, and goat cheese, with a side dish of Michigan-made honey called Z’s Bees. (super delicious, a family friend is the maker.  If you want amazing, local honey, contact me…I’ll hook you up)

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I know, what a charcuterous spread! (did she just make up that word?) Yes! More than likely!

While I was at the store, I also picked up some seasonal beer that was more than appropriate for such a fall day.  A strong sipper, hello.

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Voila! She can cook! I didn’t even use a recipe!

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We even had French Cafe music playing on Pandora to celebrate the French theme we had going on.

Awww look how nice he is, pretending to love it! My dad is seriously, the best man ever.

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Phoebe stared at me throughout the entire meal.  Helloooo I just fed you nine seconds ago…go away!

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Pinot Blanc was the wine of choice.  I don’t think I’ve nailed down making great picks, but it was tasty enough for us to finish the bottle!  As I walked up to the counter at the spirits shop, the kid looked at me and said, “You look confused.”

“Oh, yeah that’s natural, don’t worry.”

“Ha, okay, this all today?”

“Actually, I’m just confused, because the vintage is really old for a Pinot Blanc from Alsace, France, and I’m just worried it might taste like shit.”

“oh…(silence)…well, if it is really bad, just bring it back and we’ll replace it.  Call us if it’s bad, though, we’ll take that vintage off the shelves if it is.”

MUAHAHAHA, it was a quick fact I read about in my book of wine magic today, and I had that kid ready to clear off a shelf.  Oh! the power of knowledge.

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Anyway, it was a splendid father/daughter evening.  This man is so special to me.  My mom’s best decision of her life.  That and going for kid #5, because let’s be honest, I  think I just barely made the cut.

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I hope that today you all said at least once “this life is awesome.”

Cheers!

That night when Politics drove me to drink

If you follow this on any sort of regular basis, you probably have picked up that when it comes to politics, I hate it. Politicians (get ready for a generalization!) are schemers, and their hypocrisy makes me want to barf my brains out.

Last night our beautiful, respectable, fine dining restaurant was overflowing with politicians. 

I don’t even know if I want to say which party they were with, but I will say that most of West Michigan would be ashamed and appalled with their behavior last night. 

We’re talking an invasion of the downstairs, upstairs, in the hallways, they were basically all but in the kitchen trying to cook the food.  I think last night was one of the only nights I’ve witnessed the servers stomp around in worse moods than the cooks.

I worked with two others on one party in particular.  It started out being 20 people, quickly went up to 30, but with the “possibility of it snowballing.”  They also all wanted separate checks. 

If you haven’t worked in a restaurant before, this sucks.  This sucks more because our computer system does not make this an easy task.  Add this to people switching seats, wandering around, some, but not all, ordering food; some with two courses, others with appetizers as entrees, and what you have is an eff-ing shit show, and yes, it snowballed.

At one point my two coworkers and I had a moment to breathe and I said,

“Does anyone else feel like they are living out one of their server nightmares tonight?”

Both feverishly agreed before charging off for more politician abuse.

Server nightmares? If you don’t know, you don’t need to.  But it’s pretty self-explanatory.
I can’t even tell you how many times I proclaimed, “I want to punch a baby.”

Near the end of the night, when things were winding down and my heart and head had taken in as much ignorance and political talk as it could handle, I noticed two men had left without paying their bill.  My sweet little coworker “Megan” immediately took off after them.  Good thing, because between the two of them, they left us a penny.  I can’t even feed that to the parking meter.

Shortly after that I had four others sit down at what was quickly becoming a beautifully politician-free room, and start shouting for menus. Before they sat down, however, they managed to find our water pitcher and throw ice cubes and ice cold water into our very delicate Bordeaux glass stemware.  So right off the bat, they didn’t have my vote.

Dinner was served.  As I walked over to make sure everything was delicious, one of the women started flailing her arms about and knocked me square in the crotch.  She was unabashed, I felt slightly awkward.  Then I noticed what she was saying through her snorts of laughter.  She had her sweatshirt on her head with only her eyes showing, and was mocking, what I will just say, a culture of women.

I have never been so appalled by such a public display of disrespect.  So blatant, so ignorant. I spat in her face and then knocked her off her chair.

HAHA, no I didn’t. C’mon. I didn’t want to lose my job.

Then she didn’t leave a tip either, and I really wished I had. 

To end the night, I had to listen to two male dorks have a serious grown-up conversation on the Hunger Games series, and when one guy started saying, “..and they poison the Game master, it’s so contradictory…” was when I threw in the towel and called it a night.  The night had to be over. 

We walked away with the worst money I have ever made.

At 1:30am I was able to leave the establishment and drove straight to the nearest Meijer for a bottle of wine and pizza.  I am still so, incredibly, beyond disturbed.

Your party has super shitty people in it.  No matter who you are.  But what really breaks my heart is that in a time when each side should be asking, hoping, beseeching for each and every vote they can, that a whole group would invade a really nice restaurant, get drunk, shout their opinions, order people around as if  they’re God, not tip, and basically do everything they can to get people to hate them.  And this was all in one night!

I could go on, and on, and on with stories of last night, but I’m getting really worked up again.

I wish Abraham Lincoln was running for president again.  I’m still more likely to vote for him this time around than either candidate we have right now.  I’m so mad at everyone.  I won’t even let my dog sit on my lap.

Screw it, I’m going shoe shopping.

To all of you who treat people with respect and not with the evil hateful kind of mockery,

Cheers.

Mail from the IRS

Hi my favorite group of little weirdos!

Where the F is fall?

I bought this book about how this woman dedicates a year of her life to the focus of purposely striving for greater happiness. I was intrigued, and have heard so many good things about it.

Well, I’m on Chapter 3 and am so not interested on how cleaning out her closet made her feel so light and fluffy.

I’m pretty sure even hoarders know deep down that their piles of moldy crap everywhere isn’t very fulfilling, or that it hasn’t been the key to their happiness.

I’m horribly messy, and have been inching my way towards changing that for years, but all I can say is thank goodness I didn’t write a book on it.  Or maybe I should have! I mean if this chick can become a best seller by writing about taking her To Do List more seriously, I guess I shouldn’t disregard that idea.

In the words of Justin Bieber, “Never say Never.”

I’ll probably still finish this book…there’s some pretty good hints in there.

On a completely unrelated note, I received a letter from the IRS.  That’s always fun to see! Immediately, I thought I had committed fraud or maybe kidnapped a baby on accident and now I had a warrant out for my arrest.  Or perhaps I had mistakenly witnessed a horrible crime without my noticing and now I have to join the Witness Protection Program and leave all my loved ones behind.

I don’t think the IRS deals with most of those situations, but any time you receive anything from the government, I guess it’s best to expect the worst.

Turns out I forgot to sign a segment of my tax documents.

I’m really happy I didn’t accidentally kidnap a baby.

There are many exciting events just around the corner! ‘Tis Wedding Season for this girl! Remember that movie 27 Dresses with Katherine Heigl?  Well, if you didn’t catch on after my Dresscapade, I have been in a fair amount of weddings. This month will be bridesmaid dress #7 and October will make it #8! Just trying to catch up, Katherine!

(Oh dear, she sounds bitter)

No no no no.  Don’t worry. The saying “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride,” does not offend me in the least.  If you said, “You’re an ugly whore, I don’t think Satan would date you!” Ehhh yeah ya might offend me just a twinge.  But that would mostly just make you look ugly, because no one says such hateful things!

Oh yeah, back to weddings. (She gets off track a lot)  I have been honored to stand beside so many of my dear friends, and could not be happier to make it to #8.  So that’s that.

Not to mention we are venturing off to visit my beloved Saugatuck next weekend for Ashley and Sarah’s Bachelorette party.  Ah the belligerent fun-ness of those wild celebrations puts me immediately at ease.

With my coffee mug raised in the air,

Cheers

Does Labor Day also mean no more leg shaving?

Oh Labor Day, the day to celebrate the end of summer and welcome the beginning of a new school year (for some) and the return of taking life a tilt more seriously for others.  No more “It might be Tuesday, but it’s summer!  So it’s okay that I’m eating this second cheeseburger and potato chips. And yes, I will absolutely have another beer, because, hey, it’s summer!”

That’s what I usually sense at this time each year.  Except in Jackson, where no one ever took anything seriously, ever, no matter what time of year (or day for that matter).

In West Michigan, however, the tides definitely turn.  Even in my own weird, off-beat, semi-loony life I find a bit more stabilization as the summer comes to a close.  As much as I adore melting in sticky humidity all summer long (and I really do, kind of!), I more than welcome fall.  In my opinion, there is nothing better than a Michigan fall.  The air is less heavy, more breathable, jeans and baggy sweaters and boots are once again acceptable.  Not to mention the colors.  I have missed Michigan falls, and I’m excited to finally be back for one.  I’m even looking forward to pretending to care about football.  Go team! (Which one, Hannah?) Whichever one is playing that you’re cheering for. 

“Go my favorite sports team, Go! They just scored a goal, unit, basket!” (name that comedian!)

 Today is still hotter than shit, and AC will be required on my travels to work this afternoon, but thanks to dear old Labor Day, I can rest assured that fall is approaching.  If fall were a man, he would be stylish, cool, sweet, and comforting.  I would date him, for sure.

Hey hey, we have to quickly throw in a little shout out to apple cider and pumpkins.  This year, throw a little Captian Morgan in your cider, and thank me later. 

Remember that time I was going to stop sleeping until noon? 11:45 today. Baby steps, y’all, baby steps.

Cheers!