My Solo Thanksgiving

Friends, I spent Thanksgiving alone this year.

Ok, the dog was here with me, but otherwise Fancy Pants Ranch was deserted.

Spouse – who is such a wonderful person – took the kids to his parent’s to celebrate and spend a few days with them.

Was I sad that we weren’t together? Yes and no.

Yes, because I felt like I was missing out when Spouse texted me a picture of the kids.

No, because I spend almost all my time overextending myself, and having a day alone to exhale was heaven.

I stayed behind because I’m leaving bright and early Friday morning for a weekend in Las Vegas with my dear friends J. and B.

The three of us have a history of epic girls’ weekends. We haven’t done one since 2017, and we were all feeling overdue.

When we compared schedules earlier this year, we were out of luck until B. suggested Thanksgiving weekend, and we were all able to make it work.

How I spent my Thanksgiving:

  • Exercising at the gym
  • Coffee, coffee, coffee
  • Perusing the Black Friday ads in the newspaper
  • Watching the Macy’s parade on TV
  • Packing, under Penny’s watchful eye
  • Watching one of the best “Friends” episodes ever, the one where Rachel makes an English trifle with a layer of meat and sautéed onions
  • Folding a mountain of laundry (Before and After, below)
  • Catching up on “Below Deck” and various other Bravo mind escapes
  • Overall feeling beyond grateful for a day like this.

Happy Halloween, 2019

Confession: I’m not a big Halloween person.

I haven’t worn a costume since my freshman year of college, and that was only to be able to use a fake I.D. to get into a bar.

But others around here do not share my indifference to October 31.

Even the dog gets into the game:

And a wig on a pumpkin, why not?

Spouse still swears by his regimen of offering Fireball shots to weary parents.

And this flashback is just ALL THE FEELS. Sniff.

The Fabulousity Roundup: October 26th Edition

A few things I think are just great.

When a female neuroscientist gets mansplained about her own research. I won’t spoil it for you. It’s brilliant.

I probably need this shirt.

Image via Evereve

The Notorious R.B.G. wins the $1M Berggruen prize for philosophy and culture and donates the money to charity. Class.

Speaking of R.B.G., Trixie’s Halloween costume from three years ago remains a favorite:

I could not make these mine fast enough:

Many other colors available at Nordstrom.

What an amazing, inspirational athlete. Jess Zaiss completed back-to-back Ironman competitions. That’s 281.2 miles in one weekend.

The lasting trauma of infertility. A well-written piece from the NY Times.

And finally, a quote from My Forever President about former Rep. Elijah Cummings:

Have a fabulous weekend.

2018 *Must* Be Better

Last night – a few hours before the calendar turned – I posted the following on Facebook:

2017 was a shitshow. 2018 *must* be better.

Over 40 people instantly agreed. 

2017 was such a hard, hard year.

In the end, I am here and so are the people I love, and that is the most important thing.

But it took a lot to make it so.

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 8.55.51 AM

I don’t think I handled 2017 with particular grace, but there were some wins, particularly professionally. Personally, I have a long way to go.

My goals for 2018, in no particular order:

  • Train for and successfully complete races. I’m leaving the exact races and distances vague, but I want 2018 to be a better running year. I only did one race in 2017 (a half marathon) and while it turned out ok in the end, I was woefully undertrained and the whole thing did not feel good. I also set a goal to get a PR in a fall marathon and dropped out of training two months before the planned race. That felt like a failure. By “successfully complete races” I mean that I want to confidently step up to the starting line and finish strong.
  • Appreciate and encourage the unique qualities of MGM (10) and Trixie (8).
  • Be well. Eat healthy food. Exercise. Spend time outdoors. Take some time off.
  • Get taxes done prior to April 15th.
  • Find a suitable new home for all of us. Move. 
  • Celebrate 20th anniversary with Spouse. I tend to downplay birthdays and anniversaries, sometimes nearly forgetting them. I know. Bad. Our 20th anniversary is in early June, and I plan to celebrate all summer long. I already have two trips planned (one for just the two of us, one for our whole family) to bookend the summer. Considering that my wedding ring took an accidental spin in the garbage disposal over a year ago, a new ring would also be icing on the cake.
  • Continue to grow our medical practice. Practice medicine to the best of my ability.
  • Cultivate friendships, old and new.

Cheers, 2018.

My Worlds Collide: NPR + Hallmark Christmas Movies

NPR’s “Weekend Edition” ran a funny story over the weekend about Hallmark Christmas movies, one of my guilty holiday pleasures.

Apparently I’m not alone.

Screen Shot 2017-12-18 at 2.53.13 AM.png

My favorite part was where guest Linda Holmes – who hosts a pop culture podcast – describes the general plot lines of the Hallmark movies to Weekend Edition host Lulu Garcia Navarro. Here’s an excerpt of the interview:

Screen Shot 2017-12-18 at 2.47.42 AM

Nailed it!

School Break

Last week the kids had two days off of school, the famous MEA weekend in Minnesota, where public schools ostensibly give teachers two days off to attend an educational conference.

But basically this is a Mini Spring Break in the Fall, and many families take copious advantage of this to escape town for a long weekend.

Per my usual state, I didn’t prepare well in advance and for Day 1 of break, both MGM and Trixie found themselves back at school for an all-day Kids’ Club session.

Miraculously, I’d had foresight back in the summer to take off work for Day 2 of the break, so we had a whole day to spend together. It was a perfect fall day – warm and sunny – and we decided to do something fall-y, which was to go to a corn maze.

Everyone else in the Metro Area had the same idea. This place was a zoo, figuratively and literally since there was a petting zoo area. 

After paying for entrance fees, face painting, some strange food for the animals at the petting zoo, overpriced drinks and for camel (!) rides, I was suddenly $100 poorer for the effort.

IMG_2332

But the kids had a blast, especially in an area that was like a ball or sand pit, except completely filled with corn.

IMG_2336

On the con side, I’ve been digging corn kernels out of the washing machine for a week.

The weekend held one more perfect day and this time, I decided we were going to get some culture. Off the the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden!

If you’ve ever seen pictures of Minneapolis, there’s a fair chance you’ve seen the most iconic work in the garden, Spoonbridge and Cherry.

images-1

The kids appreciated the art about as much as I predicted, which was approximately a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10.

IMG_2369

This “snowman” sculpture was a hit with the late afternoon sun providing a perfect angle for the shadows:

IMG_2365 2

The giant blue chicken also did not disappoint:

IMG_2359

In the end we spent about an hour and a half enjoying the sculptures and running up and down the hill behind the Walker Art Center (them, not me).

Perfect way to cap off fall break!

Summer Camp

Last week, Spouse and I took a leap of faith and sent Trixie off to camp.

For three weeks, one of which is spent doing a canoe trip that involves setting up tents, portaging and crossing the U.S. border into Canada.

She’s eight years old.

One more thing about that canoe trip: the guides purposefully steer the girls into headwinds and cheer when it rains under the premise that adversity builds character.

Screen Shot 2017-07-15 at 10.24.46 PM.png

I already love this camp.

“This American Life” recently replayed a 1998 episode (it’s held up remarkably well) entitled “Notes on Camp,”which explains the rituals, memories and strong emotions of kids who’ve grown up attending the same camp every summer. I highly recommend a listen; it would make almost anyone yearn for a type of childhood that most of us don’t get to experience.

The thing I love most about Trixie’s camp is that it’s an all female environment, from the campers to the counselors to the cooks to the camp director. The emphasis is on building strength, confidence and character, something I am 100% behind and I think is best accomplished in this exact setting.

Screen Shot 2017-07-15 at 10.26.09 PM

Trixie is already strong and confident, but the world can be tough on girls and even the strongest wings will have to fly through some storms.

Screen Shot 2017-07-15 at 10.26.32 PM

My friend M’s daughter is also attending this session. This is her second year at camp (she’s older than Trixie) and M. described last year’s experience as transformative for her daughter. I am hoping for the same.

My biggest wish: Trixie attends every summer and ultimately builds memories, friendships and qualities that last a lifetime.

I have so many dreams and hopes for This Girl.

Screen Shot 2017-07-15 at 10.27.22 PM