Conclusion of Week Three of Empty Nest Syndrome

cheers

Cheers to you, little man. Miss you!

The end of our third week of Empty Nest happens to coincide with my birthday — so happy birthday to me?!

Seriously, I think I can talk about the situation now. It’s not as raw and I have some perspective. So here it is:

My kid is smart. Super whip smart. Certified smart in test after test. I mean, so smart it created problems from second grade through graduation because he didn’t fit in any school district box (and children shouldn’t have to! another post…).

He is also a serious dumbass. I think it’s safe to say he suffers from Teen-Lack-of-Frontal-Lobes Syndrome (if I suffer from a syndrome, so shall he). Continue reading

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Life Adjustment #1: Grocery Shopping

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No more stocking the frig with this sugary stuff.

Without going into too much detail of the hows, whys, and whens of suddenly being empty nesters (saw it coming but not that fast), I am comfortable enough to share with all of you, Gentle Readers, that I went grocery shopping Sunday afternoon and had a pickle of a time. The last time I went to the grocery store to shop for just the two of us — no expectations of anyone else coming into the house to partake of any groceries or various sundries — we were 27 and 24. The Husband could eat wheat products (well, it turns out he really couldn’t… we just didn’t know for another 14 years). We ate grown-up food exactly as we liked. We bought household items appropriate for grown-ups. We bought beer. A lot of beer. Continue reading

A Tale of Super Bowl Jello Shots

My post last week about the activity of my late cousin’s Facebook page got a lot of visits, but it really was somber. Let’s lighten the mood a little and talk about something more fun — JELLO SHOTS! I’ve never been a fan of these little turkeys (if you can’t even handle vodka straight, you shouldn’t drink) until I came across Jelly Shot Test Kitchen via the wonders of Pinterest a few years ago. The recipes all looked magnificent, but I zeroed in on one that I knew would suit my (low) skill set: the “Super Bowl” jello shots. The first time I made them was for a Mardi Gras dinner we hosted a few years ago, using yellow and green jello and dying the white part purple with food coloring. They were easy and GORGEOUS.

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2014 Super Bowl Jello Shots. Nice work, Jen and Russell.

Then something miraculous happened January 2014 — the Seattle Seahawks went to the Super Bowl! Wha??? Never in my life did I imagine THAT happening! So I looked up the recipe for the Super Bowl Jello Shots again because I needed to actually make them for a Super Bowl party. Blow me away! The jello turned out beautiful again and everyone loved them. Huge hit and we crushed the Broncos. Nice.

It was a foregone conclusion that I was making these jello shots again for Super Bowl 2015, when we were also confident that the Hawks would crush the cheating Deflategate Patriots. The game was in the bag, as were the jello shots. Continue reading

In Memoriam in the age of Facebook

The infamous Spaghetti Factory birthday dinner.

The infamous Spaghetti Factory birthday dinner.

Today would have been my cousin Tami‘s 43rd birthday. I try not to dwell on the what-could-have-beens, or the sad realization that her longest-running and goofiest retort in any argument (“I’m two months older than you so there”) was no longer true as of my birthday last year. I have been thinking about her a LOT lately… but not reminiscing much with others. I was hoping to go to her favorite restaurant Spaghetti Factory to at least relive her through a plate of myzithra pasta, but the kid had a date tonight and the (gluten-intolerant) husband worked very late. Alas and alack. I only got to replay in my mind the last time she and I went there, for her 39th birthday, and she made the waitress cry by insisting she was going to be dead within a month and that was her very last birthday dinner. Oooh, thank you for the double spumoni ice cream! (For the record, Tami loved to tell people this to see their reactions, and she celebrated birthdays #40 and 41, too. Poor waitress. My kid just sat there rolling his eyes.) Continue reading

Super Bowl Coffee-Infused Vodka — Procrastinator Experiments

The Seattle Seahawks’ win over Green Bay last week stunned the nation — but probably no group more than the 12th Man Nation. We have been in this crazy, “pinch me” daze for over a week now. And now we are down to TWO DAYS before we face off with Deflate-gate Patriots in Arizona. GO HAWKS!

Wait… two days? Oh no! The big game day has really snuck up on me, as I’m sure it has many of you, and I didn’t leave IMG_8806[1]myself enough time to prep a batch of coffee vodka using the “tradition method” for the Super Bowl, which takes four or five days. If you have that much time, all you need is a glass jar with a tight fitting lid, your favorite Fidalgo Bay coffee beans, sugar, and vodka.

Crack/break/smash the beans so that they are very large chunks. I use a zipper bag and a heavy saucepan.

Continue reading

A Seattle native’s thoughts on Ron Judd’s “Seattle natives” essay

Image from Seattle TimesI’m sure those of you in the Seattle area have read the Ron Judd “primer for figuring out the Northwest native,” even though probably no one reads the Seattle Times any more. I must have seen it shared on my Facebook feed at least a dozen times the day it came out. The first time I saw it, I only had time to read the first paragraph or two, thought it looked promising enough, and clicked “like” on my friend’s page.

I’m glad I didn’t share it, though, because … and I can’t believe I’m writing this considering how much of a proud daughter of Seattle I am … I disagree with you, Ron. You’re coming off sounding pompous and elitist, Ron, and I can’t get on board with you. Continue reading

Thanksgiving 2014: The FIRST real day of the rest of my life

empty nestIt’s time I started writing for this blog, and no better time than tonight. This thing has been live for months now with nary a post… barking at me, hounding me…

I started this as a creative outlet as I transition to my next phase in life: Empty Nest Syndrome Survivor 

I have been joking that I am really looking forward to suffering Empty Nest Syndrome. In fact, I want to be the poster child for Empty Nest Syndrome. But I haven’t really had much to write on this blog yet because the nest is still full for now (when he does finally move out, it will require a blowtorch to clear out the basement and remodel for the pool table and wet bar I have in mind). But tonight… tonight I had my first full taste of what is to come. Continue reading

Where to start?

I used to be a writer. I used to study writing. I used to teach writing. I used to study the teaching of writing. I used to teach how to study writing.

highway_sign_writers_block_1782975I re-booted this blog over a month ago but haven’t posted anything yet. I still have not written. I’m out of practice. I don’t know where to start.

And, ironically, I used to coach university students on how to break through their blocks. I just need to remember what I told them.

Oh geez, what did I tell them?

Thoughts on “MeowMeowBeenz” and unintended self-representations

Unfortunately, I only get to see most of my co-workers once per week. Once. One day. Usually Wednesdays. I wish I saw my colleagues a lot more often so I could build stronger relationships with them, really get to know them and let them really get to know me. Luckily, we now live in the era of MeowMeowBeenz… er, I’m sorry, the era of Facebook. We are “friends” there, we “like” each others photos and status updates, and “laugh” (or LOL) at each others jokes. It’s a nice way to attempt to bridge that gap of 60 miles between me and the home office. But are they getting to know me, the real me? Today I was reminded, in a rather shockingly embarrassing way, just how our social media activity defines us to those we rarely see in person.

I'm sorry, but that's funny!

I’m sorry, but that’s funny!

This afternoon a colleague and friend I respect greatly essentially called me a party girl. I was puzzled. Me? Boring old teen-mothering, dog-walking, grocery-shopping, coffee-guzzling, recycle bin-tamping, workaholic me? Huh?

Then it became clear that my own personal social media policy was backfiring and I was creating a persona that was very one-dimensional. I try really hard to only share things on FB that are whimsical, funny, insightful, or are marking times I’m having fun — perhaps to record for myself that, yes, I do get to have fun sometimes (I often need to remind myself of this). Sometimes the fun(ny) is just a scene that was captured. There are also a few people I may have running jokes with or who I mock mercilessly (like my husband). Often I mock myself. I sometimes “check in” to places when I’m with friends because there is that one question that always gets asked: “Did anyone check us in yet?” as if not checking in means we weren’t really there at all (I’m not sure why I do that one). When I post something commonplace or banal, I do it because I’ve seen some sort of humor in it myself; I usually go back and delete those later. Come to think of it, I go back and delete a LOT of what I post, especially when there was TOO much fun being had (you know, what happens in Vegas…). Continue reading