Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Moving Day

Drumroll, please....

In honor of this new year, I'm happy to introduce you to my new blog: KaKe Life

I'm a little ashamed to tell you that it took me 35 1/2 years of life to realize that my own name contained the phonetic makings of "cake." Better late than never. 

I hope you will follow me over to this new blog. I'm not totally sure what it will be yet, but I think it will be fun. See you there!


Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Blog in Review

Did you know that I've been writing this blog since 2008? That is a long time. This blog has been with me through a very challenging part of my life (read: teenager) and also a lot of amazing experiences.

So to celebrate the end of an era and the beginning a new one, I thought I'd post the Top 10 Posts of ALL TIME (all time being the last 4 years) - this is a combo of my favorite posts and the most popular posts, as determined by my handy Blogger stats. Think of like when your favorite sitcom just does flashbacks to other episodes...

10. The Invitation is Open Jan 11, 2011
This post is special to me because I'm pretty sure that the Wheel of Fortune/microwave lasagna line helped cement a friendship with my then-coworker, Jodi. Also, it's just so me in its neurotic half-assed resolutions way.

9. The Incrediblest Ediblest Egg Apr 24, 2011
This is really a nothing post, but I'm including it to illustrate the wonders of Google search. This post has been viewed 446 times...and yet, my blog stats say that "egg" has only been the keyword used 32 times. What does this mean? I have no idea. 

8. Getting Oriented Sept. 2, 2008
Aw, back when my boys were just starting kindergarten and I had yet to understand the politics of elementary school. Religion remains a pretty ambiguous concept over here.

7. The Dealins Done Dec. 4, 2008
No list of my blog posts would be complete without at least one mention of Las Vegas. I have blogged about it 25 times and visited it at least 8 times during the life of this blog (yes, that's crazy and awesome!). This was a weird trip. I got sick. My husband had to work. We saw Robin Leach. Good times.

6. I Won't Worry My Life Away Jul 23, 2008
This is another one that made the list because of the number of views. Had it not received 111 hits, I probably would have forgotten about it, but I like it because it's like a little postcard from one of the many gut-wrenching periods with the teenager. Also, that song could be my ironic soundtrack.

5. Making a Pake Feb 6, 2011
Remember when I put a pie inside a cake on Super Bowl Sunday? It was so fun and exciting! And lots of other people apparently thought so too, because it's been viewed nearly 500 times! But my favorite baking adventure comes further down the list...

4. A Drive from Seattle to LA Aug 20, 2011
Although this one blog post doesn't do it justice, this roadtrip was more than a 40 by 40 accomplishment, it was something that I will remember forever and I hope my kids will, too.  So much fun!

3. 40 by 40 Jun 3, 2009
It was the day before my 32nd birthday when I decided to write my own 40 by 40 list. I didn't come up with the idea, but I like to think that I've spread its joy even further. I am so grateful for this idea and so happy that I've kept up with it and so excited to be able to look back, on my 40th birthday, at all that I've accomplished! If you haven't already done so, I hope this post will get you inspired to make your own...the new year is great time to start!

2. Potlucks R (Not) Us Nov 9, 2008
This is probably my favorite post of all time mostly because it still makes me laugh when I read it, but also because it so nicely captures the insanity of my life back then. It would have been #1 on this list, were it not for the crazy amount of attention that the post in the number 1 slot got. Still, I sometimes wonder if I could maybe just make a living by having baking disasters. (and no, I've never volunteered to bake another thing at school)

1. My Thoughts on Jenny McCarthy Sept. 25, 2008
This post has been viewed by more than 1100 people, making it my most popular by far, but it's also one of my favorites. I'm happy to say that Ms. McCarthy doesn't make as many headlines these days, yet, weirdly, this post still gets multiple hits per week. If I could find a way to hit that sweet spot where my maternal instincts, passion and fury all collide more often...well, I might have written a (very angry) book by now.

Do you have a favorite that I didn't post? Let me know.

As always, thank you for reading. My new blog (with an improved 40 by 40 list) is not quite ready, but I'll be back Jan. 1 with a link.

Have a happy and safe New Year's Eve!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Your Troubles will be Out of Sight

Merry Christmas, blogosphere! I hope that you are all feeling merry and bright.

Even after being in the Christmas spirit for the past month or so, our actual celebration still felt like a whirlwind of family and wrapping paper. I suppose every Christmas has its own personality to it...this one felt very thoughtful to me on the receiving end and yet on the giving end, it felt a little flaky on my part. I just feel like I wasn't as thoughtful as I would have liked to be. I was proud of a few gifts that I gave because I knew the recipients would feel very loved when they opened them, but then I dropped the ball on a couple. Most notably in the video are department for the boys.

I believe the exact quote when Aidan opened his gift from Santa this year (following a look of confusion) was: "This is the first time I've ever gotten a present that I didn't want." He felt free to say this, of course, because stupid Santa wasn't there. I quickly remembered that while he HAD, in fact, been crazy for this game at one point a few months ago, we had rented it one night and it was total disaster and he decided that he hated said game. Maybe I blocked it all out...maybe I just had a lot on my mind. Oh well...I doubt this traumatized him any more than Gremlins did. (Friendly tip: if your kids still believe in Santa and also have never seen anything resembling a horror movie, do not let them watch Gremlins...especially not on Christmas Eve...big oops.)

On a related note, if you ever decide to put together a 25 Movies of Christmas list, I also suggest you leave off Love, Actually (naked people everywhere!), Edward Scissorhands (not really a Xmas movie), and honestly, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, because it's just not very good.

But whatever. All is calm, all is bright. We are still having a lovely, lovely holiday. My husband gave me guitar lessons for Christmas. This is possibly the most thoughtful gift I have ever received. "Learn to play guitar" is on my 40 by 40 list, as I've harbored a longing to be able to play since I was maybe 14, but it's one of those things I didn't think I'd ever get around to doing...even though I really, really want to do it. A seriously awesome gift. Plus that's one less revision I'll need to make to my 40 by 40 list when I move to my new blog, which I will be doing in the new year. Details to come!

I hope you all have ribs in your slow cookers like I do right now, because they smell amazing. Hope you have the merriest!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

33 is Off the List

I've returned to the blog to say that I crossed another 40 by 40 item off the list! I gave up dairy for a week, and honestly, it was so uneventful that it's taken me two weeks to blog about it.

Here's what I can tell you: Dairy isn't as hard to avoid as I thought, but I didn't feel any better from not eating it. In fact, I was just crabby about all the things I couldn't eat. Although coconut yogurt is quite good. I've been told I have to give it up for at least 2 weeks to notice a difference, but I think I'll pass.

So here we are, deep into the most wonderful time of the year. We've been doing the 25 Movies of Christmas, which was really fun to conceptualize and much harder to execute. Turns out that there isn't always time to sit down and watch a movie with the kids every single day, which means we've got a backlog...which means we'll be watching at least four movies this weekend, which is pretty much ok with me.

As we approach the new year, I'm trying to get motivated to start a new blog. I tried to get back together with this one, but it's not working out. I'm so not in the mommy blogger space anymore...I need a new focus. Travel, food, neuroses...Las Vegas, dessert, party planning for those with social anxiety? So many possibilities.

My big hangup about closing this blog down is my 40 by 40 list, so I think I'll have to give it a facelift and move it. I've got 4.5 years left to cross everything off and there are still a few things I want to take off the list, so I'll have to come up with some new stuff. Cheating? Well, sort of. Except it would be sillier to do things I don't really care about doing anymore just because they are on the list, than it is to just update the list.

If I really wanted to get crazy I would just have my blog be a list for each year...12 things in 12 months? I definitely couldn't keep up with my age, like 36 by 36. Hmmmm...well, I've still got more than 2 weeks to think about it.

May your days be merry and bright!

Sunday, October 28, 2012


October is almost over. I'm torn between whether to feel more guilty about not blogging or not eating enough pumpkin...I think I technically still have the whole Thanksgiving season and maybe even the full holiday season to eat pumpkin, so I suppose I should feel guilty about the blog. Sorry, blog.

I'm about to enter week 4 at my new job. I'm happy to report that it's going well. I'm still adjusting to the commute and the extra hour that it adds to my work days, but the job itself is great.

I'm holding off on getting into the Christmas spirit until Halloween has passed, but 'tis the season for vacation planning! Yes, it's always vacation planning season in my mind, but right now is when I begin obsessively researching beach vacations, as I see the approaching winter. Every year I declare that we must take a beach vacation every February, as that is the cold, hard center of our brutal winters.

But most years we don't really do that. Sometimes I get over-excited and we take a trip in December or January (too early) and other years, we wait until March or April (torture). And sometimes we don't go anywhere. Or rather, we take the boys to the waterpark and pretend it's a vacation (which works for them, but not so much for me).

We decided against the Top Chef cruise, so this year my sights are set on Florida - not for Disney, but because I want to take the kids to Kennedy Space Center and also, Owen got really excited when he learned you could take canoe tours through the Everglades (add that to the list of things I would only do for my kids). Also, sitting on a beach in Miami while it's below zero here sounds pretty nice...and it's way cheaper than Hawaii.

But I also want to go to LA, where we have several friends I'd like to visit. It's just not very hot there in February. More importantly, we were just there last summer.

The bigger question is really whether we should actually be taking a winter vacation at all. It certainly would not hurt our bank account to stay home all winter. (but it will hurt my brain!) The deciding factor is really whether we decide to do the big Ireland trip this summer. If we commit to that, then there's probably a waterpark in my future. A waterpark and me telling myself that planning my dream trip to Ireland makes up for being stuck in the frozen tundra for the duration.

Picture me on an inner tube with a laptop, reading reviews of Irish castles,  surrounded by one thousand screaming children. (Gee, when I put it that way it does seem like the obvious choice.)

Like the Christmas spirit, I think I'll just put this decision off a bit longer. This week is all about Halloween. Well, half the week anyway.

The boys are being Death and Luigi. Maybe will be the title of Owen's memoir.

I've already done my celebrating by running a 5K (WITHOUT dying!) and giving up sweets. Brilliant! What could possibly go wrong?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Never Say Never

I promised a post about the new job. Problem is...although there are only like 12 of you who still read this blog...I don't want to go into detail because I don't really want my employer keeping up on my latest neurosis.

But, the short story is that I am returning to the corporation that I left 7 years ago and to which I said I would never, ever return. (cue Taylor Swift)

What can I say? Things change. I don't want to say I'm an entirely different person than I was 7 years ago, but I'm definitely not the same. Back then I had twin 2.5 year olds. I was just coming off a prolonged legal battle over my deceased father's estate. I didn't realize how traumatized I had been by both my babies premature birth and my father's death.

I was actively fighting the loss of my former self...because, honestly, before I had kids I used to be kinda cool...in like an obvious way. (It's not totally gone, it's just a lot more subtle now.) And I could not reconcile my former life and my current life, with what I wanted for my life.

Not that I've got it all figured out now, of course, but at least I've come to (mostly) terms with the fact that the life I want cannot be afforded by two parents being starving artists. Also, I can admit that it's a lot easier to work places with resources and infrastructure. It's nice to accomplish things. It's nice to be able to go on vacation. And it's really fucking nice to have health insurance that actually covers things.

It should also be noted that although I'm going back to the same corporation, it's not the same job. And I'm really excited about this new job and this new team and kind of getting a chance to go back and do things differently this time. And it doesn't hurt that I still have a slew of friends who work there. Do not underestimate the importance of friendly faces at work.

I don't start for another week, but I've got that back-to-school nervous excitement vibe happening. And this song is on a loop in my head...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

All Aboard

I’m writing this from a train. (I’m hopefully posting it from the train too, but the wifi has been spotty.) I am making the trip from Manhattan to Philly in the final leg of East Coast Baby Tour 2012. Did I even tell you about the baby tour? Sigh.

You know how Ani Difranco has that lyric about wanting to be like Duke Ellington and travel around in her own railroad car? I totally agree. I’d like my own railroad car…maybe there could be a way to buy your own and then have it hooked up to a train when you want to go places? Train travel is just so pleasant in a way that air travel can never be (unless you’re flying in a private jet, but sadly, I am not on the track to becoming a billionaire).

So yes, East Coast Baby Tour 2012 was originally a trip to Philly, but it got expanded upon learning that one can fly from Minneapolis to Pittsburgh to New York, take the train to Philly and then fly back to Minneapolis for roughly 40% less than one can fly round-trip from Minneapolis to Philly. It makes no sense, but it did allow me to line up visits with all of my East Coast friends – including several who have gained children since last I saw them.

I’m not going to go into all the details of everywhere I’ve been and the babies I have kissed, but what’s been interesting to me is just getting to pass through people’s lives this way. They’ve all generously welcomed me into their homes and I get a glimpse of the way other people live and the way that couples interact with each other – it’s super interesting, I recommend it.

I think it’s easy to miss all the nuances that your particular relationship with your spouse has acquired over the years (especially when it’s been more than a decade) – things that you take for granted, ways of communicating, even just evening routines. Observing other people gives insight into them as well as yourself. And I love insight.

So anyway, I’ve been traveling all over the place for the last 5 days, with 2 to go. It’s been weird traveling alone like this, although I haven’t really been alone, of course. It’s nice. And also I miss my family. It’s a good mental health break from work and family life though. No worrying about taking care of anyone or anything but me. (On that note, I got a spontaneous midday massage in Manhattan at Bunya Citispa and it was possibly the best massage of my life.)

This trip was both well- and poorly-timed as it turns out, as I got a new job (!) pretty suddenly last week (I’ll have to write a separate post about that), so this mental respite is much needed and yet it leaves me with only one more week of doing my current job before I start the new one, which will ultimately be fine, but isn’t exactly the ideal way to hand things off…but, like I said, it will ultimately be fine. Actually, the trip is a lot more than fine – it's been pretty amazing getting to see so many people and places in such a short time…I’m already plotting a family train trip maybe for next summer.

All aboard!