October 31, 2005


Definitely not the most attractive photograph of a pair of pumpkins I've ever seen, rather blurry, but there they are, the dueling MLB logos. To the young ones in my life who will be adorning festive disguises and holding bags wide open in the doorways of strangers for candy and sugar to be dropped inside, Happy Halloween!*I just sent my girl AB a note saying I had an uneventful weekend, then went on to detail the things that I did do, which then seemed more eventful than I gave them due credit for being initially. Friday Craig called me on his drive home from work. This is an everyday occurrence: the courtesy call, the "I'm on my way" call. I look forward to it habitually, I like to hear his voice sound excited at the prospect of leaving the office, I like to banter with him about dinner plans and potential evening plans and so forth. Anyway, this particular call began with an inquiry: How would I feel about trying a new recipe from one of our cookbooks, drinking some wine, renting some movies? I would (and did) feel absolutely delighted to do that. I like the kitchen. It doesn't always agree with me, but I'm entertained by chopping things (though me doing so drives the living daylights out of Craig because I do it methodically, pausing to admire each slit through a vegetable, occasionally throwing piled pepper veins away, or onion paper, or bean ends, making grand attempts at slicing so evenly that the recipe will ideally yield a photo opportunity). Regardless, he devised an interactive and partnered project for us for our Friday night. Craig and I used to go to bars. We did a lot, actually. On visits to see him out East we even went to bars. Now, living together, that's a rarity. Whether or not I care is a different issue altogether; I do genuinely believe he'd give the world and half his life up to live near his friends from college so he could go to bars regularly, any given Tuesday, every Sunday for football, Friday and Saturday nights to prowl around. But not with me. So, here we were with our sights on chicken cacciatore, the chicken bone-in (something we declare our mothers are perfect at doing but can't seem to gather the courage to do more often ourselves). The partnering actually worked very well for this recipe. He battled the chicken skin, I happily chopped a pepper and onion. And overall, the meal was decent, although Craig did not hesitate to constructively criticize our efforts, or, the recipe, he clarified. I suspect the flavor was weighted heavily by the rosemary. But not one to judge, I would have kept that to myself. I told Craig so. He countered, What's wrong with having an opinion? And I tried in vain to express that it's perfectly sound and normal to have an opinion, it just isn't as common that the "opinion" is regularly pessimistic, if an opinion can be such a thing. Craig's standards are set so high you'd have to be unearthly to meet them, and this causes anxiety in me often. I feel that my tendencies tap more into the easy-going end of the spectrum. But the bottom line drawn by Craig was that I would make a terrible food critic, because I would "love" everything. That may just be the case.*So Saturday we got lost briefly in Atlanta. The question was, Is our exit Boulevard or Memorial? Again, this is where I fall short. I get lost in a shoe box. But this time I felt positive that Memorial seemed right. Craig, for once having not looked up the address to our favorite Atlanta breakfast spot, wasn't certain. So we drove the shape of a square for about 15 minutes until figuring out where we were. Ria's Bluebird is this funky artsy restaurant located in somewhat of a junky part of town. The decor seems arbitrary, for instance the wire mesh dragon hanging from the ceiling with a winding orange string of light through its gut like the fire the dragon would breathe. I noticed it for the first time Saturday because we sat inside Saturday for the first time versus out on the covered patio, the latter which is has a bamboo garden along one wall and has hand-sewn cushions for seats that look like breakfasts: eggs over easy on one cushion with a side of bacon, a stack of pancakes on another, for example. Ria's would receive a glowing review from this amateur food critic. Their omelets of the day are quirky: tomatoes, asparagus and goat cheese last time we were there, avocado and brie this past weekend. They serve tofu on their breakfast menu, and Saturday grouper was on the specials menu. Anyway, its setting is intimate. While you wait, you stand outside and sip a mug of coffee you paid cash for at their coffee bar. (The place is too small to contain a waiting list's guests inside.) This past Saturday I fell in love with their coffee. I've noticed it was good before, but for some reason I couldn't get enough this past visit. Craig ordered banana pancakes and pointedly stated These are the best banana pancakes I've ever had. And he calls me a brat?*After Ria's we drove to Atlantic Station, the new Live!Work!Play! community adjacent to Midtown. Interesting and chic, but wandering along a strip of homes selling for 500,000 +, I had a hard time swallowing the price tags on these things. They are identical, all in a row, and not built so impeccably that I can imagine shelling out such a large sum of money! But, for many, location is everything, and I won't deny the swelling envy I felt walking through the Station. Very urban.*And we washed cars. Craig influences me in positive directions sometimes. He actually very nicely washed mine for me, and we both tackled the "loose" wax jobs. I haven't seen my vehicle that sparkly since off the lot two Decembers ago.*All weekend I had dreams, terrible ones, the kind that leave me unrested the next morning. I dreamed of plastic dolls, working on a Saturday, pens falling out of a pencil cup. I dreamed of holding infants incorrectly. Much of what happened in my dreams was right there when I woke but I didn't like any of it so I forcibly got rid of it. Last night I dreamed that I was sitting at a bar next to my friend EL, who is so very pregnant and is about to give birth any day now (for real). She was to my left and I haven't seen her in years, literally years (in real life) and in my dream I kept caressing her fat pouch coaxing the thing inside to kick my gentle hand. To my right sat a gentleman who wanted to be more than friends. Must be the moon, or the weird end of October holiday. It's funny, I even started this at 10:31 on 10/31! Sheer coincidence. I don't know if we will see trick-or-treaters tonight. But Craig bought candy, just in case. And he sprinkled a couple of pieces in my lunch bag this morning before we left for work. Cute.

October 28, 2005


Happy Birthday, Gateway symbol! 40 years and still standing, my my. Undeniably St. Louis is made that much more interesting by this monument. And I realize the Mississippi River is notorious for its muddy waters, but I felt inclined to indicate a fair sky reflection instead.*I just returned from a pretty serious run of errands over my lunch hour. To begin with, my former banking center on Peachtree Dunwoody Road has closed its doors. Previously unaware of this fact, I inched along P-D Road with the breath of gas left in my tank I've been coasting on for days, pulled into the plaza sprawl, rolled into a parking spot, jumped from my car clutching a check I really wanted with a lot of my bones to deposit, and stopped in my tracks to see a piece of plywood where an automated teller machine used to be. To the right of that, an 8.5x11 piece of paper telling me that that location no longer operates. So, I'm thinking, this is fine, I will sniff out another nearby location. Not entirely familiar with the area, other than the 4 streets I take to get to and from my jobsite, I traveled to Roswell Road, pumped a little fuel into the vehicle, and headed (fingers crossed, hopefully) toward a banking center. Traffic around here never ceases. Not never ceases to amaze me, simply, never ceases. It can be an hour or two past lunch rush and cars still flood streets, main thoroughfares, side roads, parking lots, and the like. Searching for something you need in an unfamiliar area adds an extra element of danger to an already-hazardous adventure, the latter being, just, driving in Atlanta. Anyway, as luck would have it, my intuition led me correctly and I found a banking center. Stopped, took care of the deposit. Meanwhile, back on Roswell Road, traffic still buzzed all around. I re-entered the instability of it, minding my own, feeling accomplished for having deposited that money, speedometer reading in the 40-45 range, and ahead, spied one of those ghastly huge vehicles, one of the ones just too big to fully absorb in one's whole line of vision, veering to its left across my forthcoming path into a gas station on my right. Considering myself fine at my speed, I proceeded forward. Seconds later, the tail end of the large monster vehicle disappeared to reveal a smaller compact car's rear larger than life exactly in my windshield! Alas, my foot smashed the brake pedal into the floor (other foot pushed against the clutch, seeing as, like an idiot I drive a manual transmission in this apocalyptic traffic) and with all the sounds you might imagine, the grinding, the screeching, the groan of locked tires gliding across the pavement, I near-missed slamming my front headlong into this car's back. For someone as myself as lucky as I've been all the years I've driven, you'd think I'd drive with a little more caution, a little more consideration for others. Yet, I can't seem to locate that pocket in my brain which contains all the patience one must possess to drive calmly in Atlanta. Anyway, I'm fortunate today. The remainder of my errands were run in silence: radio off, brain waves shut down to a minimal level needed to finish driving myself back to work. I just finished eating a sandwich and barely tasted a moment of it because my head is still reeling from the thought of my face crushed in the depths of my driver's side airbag. I barely remember stopping at the Post Office, pumping dimes into the stamp machine, stamping the Halloween cards Craig and I lovingly prepared last night for his nieces and my nephew. I'm just beginning to feel normal again.*Speaking of Halloween, loosely, anyway, last night Craig and I branched out from our regular seasonal tv-viewing and carved pumpkins for our patio. Craig carved the Chicago White Sox symbol, this year's World Champions, duly note, and I opted, obviously, for the Cards' STL logo. Initially we had talked of IU and Purdue pumpkins, however, the Boilermakers are not making Craig proud this year in their college football efforts. So, we went with the you can't script October baseball theme. Now, I only recently began this on line approach to journaling, so it doesn't come as a surprise that I've yet to mention Craig's artistic abilities. Last night presented me with the perfect opportunity to quietly be in awe of Craig and his hidden talents. It kicked off with the pumpkin carving; his wound up looking really excellent with the candle lit in its belly--my STL logo, however, fairly well failed seeing as I didn't leave enough support here, or I sliced the pumpkin too thin there, or whatever. Not only did Craig salvage my pumpkin in all of his latent artistic glory, but he then went on to create, in black pen, a whole world of Halloween characters in the blank spaces of his oldest niece's greeting card. In this respect Craig reminds me of my father. When I was in church as a little girl, my dad used to sketch little objects in the church bulletin margins to keep me still and behaved. And he was quite the sketch artist, my dad! I note this about people who sketch from their minds: these people are not only skilled with the pen, but they are also inventive and imaginative in their heads. Last night Craig sat concentrating hunched over this card, and periodically would look up and proudly display to me his latest Halloween creation. Granted, drawing bats and full moons and ghosts and silhouettes of witches riding through the sky on brooms might not seem amazing to some, but to me, coming from the heart and mind and pen of a boy who calculates construction dimensions for a living, et al., it's awfully special. It's adorable that his ghost had puppy paws to inadvertently lessen the blow of ghosts being spooky things, and it is in the interest of attention to detail to point out that he even drew stitched patches on the jacket of his Frankenstein.*So to attempt to regain any artistic composure I may have lost last night in my inabilities to carve pumpkins, I constructed the above simplistic St. Louis skyline, note: not to scale. It also represents the next pumpkin project Craig will allow me, he told me last night: I will be sticking to "common shapes."

October 24, 2005


It's been quite a few days since I've written...although I didn't make it back here to wish Craig an actual Happy Birthday on the 18th, I think he fairly well gathered that the wishes were gushing from me given that I bought him 3 distinct greeting cards, leaving one as a surprise on his dash, awww. That happened to be the one with the guy with the rippling abs on the front, the inside paralleling having a 6-pack versus drinking a 6-pack, a card which I thought was really hilarious...however, the photo of the greasy muscled male bod alarmed more than amused him. Anyway, we delighted in a most normal birthday celebration, one unlike any we've spent with each other before, for instance there were no expensive flights involved, there were no groups of friends force-feeding him shots: it was just a quiet night in. I made stir-fry upon his request but must have drowned it in the Szechuan sauce because as Craig and I sat across the candle-lit dinner table from each other fumbling the food with our chop sticks, we breathed gradually-increasing spicy fire at each other. I definitely overdid it on the sauce. And this was after poor Craig came home from work reeking of lethal amounts of garlic, too, still potent hours later from a birthday lunch with a co-worker. Anyway, after dinner we polished off the birthday wine, settled into the couch to watch Nicole Kidman's new thriller The Interpreter, but must have just been entirely too exhausted compounded by the fact that we're getting old, because we didn't so much as begin the thing before we were both fast asleep. Well, I think I didn't make it beyond the couch--he didn't make it much longer than that, either. It was just so perfect to have his birthday with him without the flooding dread of having to leave him.*Speaking of The Interpreter, we did wind up watching it in pieces through the remainder of last week. Here I admit guilt-free to being inexplicably annoyed with Nicole's breathy seductive accented whisper. At first I was totally into the film--it's definitely intriguing, intelligent, and Sean Penn amazes me in this I'm type-cast into every role I play but I'm really good at playing that guy kind of way...while it may not be necessarily difficult for him to play that strained, over-worked and underpaid middle-aged weathered sex symbol who has suffered a loss of someone he loved, he continues to impress me (it's not like his character in The Interpreter differed so greatly from his role in Mystic River, but both satisfied my expectations of him). But Nicole and that voice, the way she delivered her monologues with carefully pieced strands of blonde hair wanting to seem messy framing her pointy face, the sound of that overly sensual hushed rasp filling too many moments of the film really turned me off. In fact, the night we finished it I fell asleep, and never bothered to find out the film's actual conclusion. Craig loved it, of course. Which is fine...often I am reminded that our differences are what match us so well.*Batman Begins, however, stunned me in its infinite excitable and dramatic wonder! We watched that yesterday morning after coffee and eggs and were really pleased.*Although I am buying Craig a digital camera for his birthday, a joint gift we have needed in our household for months now and have neglected to purchase, I also ordered for him the above image in poster format from Snapfish. Here I praise the service of Snapfish...its ease, its convenience, its excellent print quality. I positively adore the service. The poster turned out perfectly (well, considering our actual image isn't the best--it was overcast in Brooklyn that afternoon, resulting in an overcast shot of the bridge...) The poster will still be nice framed.*Friday Craig flew to Scottsdale for a business meeting so AB came to Smyrna for "girls' night". She brought over two Southern Living dips, one tomato paste-based (say that 5 times fast)that was my favorite, and another with fresh dill. She pulled out her bag of vegetables and I watched her arranging raw asparagus on the tray. This seemed strange: Do we need to steam that or anything? I asked stupidly, and she defended, No, they showed this in the photo of the recipe! Made enough sense when she said so, so later, after wine and conversation with one of my impeccable iMixes rolling in the background (yes, I am arrogant when it comes to my ability to make music mixes) we broke out the appetizers--her dips, my taco one, nacho chips, French bread, and the vegetables, and I shrugged off my inhibitions and bit right into a raw asparagus spear. It...was...awesome. Again with my inability to express myself, I say in all seriousness that I was completely grooving on the raw asparagus. It finally became comedic, even, how I could not stop bumbling over it. Anyway, AB and I had a wonderful time, all Friday and well into Saturday, the latter which found us sprawled on separate couches moaning and holding our heads. Or, at times, falling off the couches laughing at one another for the fact that we are just so damn funny. I rank her really highly in the wit and charm category. Between her and my girlfriend JZ from college, and my friend ST from Detroit, I bet the 4 of us have more than our share of women beat for being so funny. I'm lucky to be alive in it.*Finally, to conclude this segment, I proudly announce I have thrown myself into the vast number of individuals participating in this year's National Novel Writing Month. I have made feeble attempts to download the "icon" to this page, but my knowledge is so limited when it comes to these things. No matter, that is irrelevant to this: beginning November 1st I will launch myself into the project headlong, quite probably creating a 50K word piece of garbage and discontent, if I manage to make it that far along by the end of the month. But the website is right: if you participate, at least you have a deadline to meet, versus the unending sometimes forefront more often latent desire to "someday produce". We'll see what excitement ensues with the beginning of next month. I even went so far as to order a t-shirt.

October 17, 2005


Oddly enough, near a year into our Georgia apartment, Craig is still driving his New York State-plated car around. I don't know what exactly persuaded him to change the plates on his car in Syracuse in the first place, primarily because if memory serves me correctly, he didn't get those plates until he already had one foot out of the state of New York. When I first moved to St. Louis my jalopy gave me its notice of resignation in the form of a retired clutch which would have cost more to replace than the worth of the whole car, therefore I purchased my first-ever self-owned vehicle; what other to do than get a MO-issued plate and driver's license? Craig, however, prefers to play with proverbial fire: once, traveling through Central New York, we were pulled over and he possessed, at that point, his Michigan driver's license, Connecticut plates, and a New York State residence. As luck would have it, the confused officer wound up scratching his head and shrugging it off, not motivated enough to inquire further into Craig's sheepish explanation: "I work in construction and move around a lot." The officer unfortunately did not neglect to give Craig a speeding ticket.*Craig's 28th birthday was, for the record, the single and only 18th of October that I did not get to spend with him since I've known him. We were back together; it wasn't that. The timing of his casino project compounded by the cost of plane tickets to Syracuse from St. Louis and vice versa dictated which weekends we would have together. And it just so happened, much to Craig's delight, that his very favorite band in the whole history of bands, Pearl Jam, had announced a short-lived tour on behalf of the Election...one of the venues just so happened to be located not only in St. Louis, but on the same block where my apartment building stood just inside the city limits. What better birthday present for the boyfriend I had just gotten back than 2 tickets to see Pearl Jam at the Fabulous Fox, an intimate elaborate theater that we could walk to within one minute of leaving my apartment? And as if that were just not enough, my boss manipulated two tickets for us to the first Cardinals playoffs game, a day game, at Busch Stadium, maybe 10 rows off the field along 3rd base line. I got to take Craig to PaddyO's, the fantastic Cardinals bar just off old 7th street south of the stadium, and we went to the game, and we went to the Pearl Jam show later that evening. All of this happened the weekend of the 5th instead of on or nearer his actual birthday. But it was so memorable, the whole chain of events, that it made it worthwhile.*I still called my mom on his birthday sobbing how unfair it was that I did not get to give him his real birthday hug, a real hug on the real day. She cynically explained to me, It happens to all of us eventually, we eventually miss an important day or two at some point.*When Craig was 28, we decided to move in together. I don't remember specifics of how it fell into place; I didn't cling to the idea for fear it would self-destruct if my grip were too tight. Even when Craig announced it to his family that we had decided it, I let my heart linger in neutral territory, just in case Craig changed his mind.*But he didn't. He traveled to Atlanta mid to late November, I believe? Possibly early December he flew down to Georgia to scope it out. We even spent Thanksgiving apart, but it couldn't matter: we were moving to Atlanta, me and Craig, my longest time dream come true having to do with another human being ever. We spent Christmas with our respective families, I in Indianapolis, Craig in Whiting, and he packed a couple of pieces of childhood furniture from his parents' house on a Monday, the Monday following Christmas, drove down to St. Louis, where I checked the window every ten minutes within the hour he was to arrive. I had driven that same morning from Indy, but had beat him to the Lou by about that one hour. The whole thing was too emotional for this Craig tribute to do justice. It happened so quickly, my heart was pumping at such rapid rates! And the rest is where I've come with him to date.*At 28, Craig moved in with his girlfriend. At 28, Craig saw a Van Gogh exhibit in Atlanta. He spent some time at Turner Field, including his first whole baseball series between two teams, when the Cardinals came to town. He spent a weekend in Nashville, TN. He spent a weekend in a cabin in North Carolina. He learned about pesto stuffed pork chops. He saw an entire weekend of music downtown, which included but certainly was not limited to the White Stripes, the Features, the Killers, the Lemonheads, Tegan & Sara, Tom Petty in the pouring rain!, Def Leppard!!...and more. He experienced other incredible Atlanta venues: Dave Attell at the Tabernacle, Billy Corgan at Earthlink Live, Sleater-Kinney at Variety Playhouse, Liz Phair at the Roxy. He saw Pauly Shore at the Punchline. He met his second niece in New Mexico, he saw Purdue football in Arizona. He watched his little sister get married. He entered the world of project management at work. He cheered his long loved Chicago White Sox right into the World Series. So much...and to think, I've left out so much as well. He's unbelievable, he's this amazing thing. Tomorrow begins his 29th year...we'll kick it off together with home-made stir-fry that he loves, maybe some wine, a rented movie...and so much more to come. Regardless of what may happen in our futures, nearer than we think, with his job and a potential transfer sooner than we expected, we're together now. We're home.

October 16, 2005


Unfortunately, Craig's 27th birthday celebration consisted only of a Purdue football game on his 27" television in Syracuse, NY. Nothing noteworthy happened during the game, aside from the fact Purdue won, which I am hoping is a reality as I type it because I don't remember if that actually happened (that they won). I flew to Syracuse to spend his birthday with him, but we weren't exactly on incredible terms at this point. I know for sure we ate his birthday dinner at a piano lounge type joint called Daniel Jack's in Armory Square, Daniel Jack's which Craig likened to "an alley with a restaurant in it". Craig wasn't positive he was happy in Syracuse. He teased about me moving there, but in the very next breath he would insinuate that we were confidently breaking up, 100 per cent. The annual blizzards of central New York had already been forecasted, if had not already begun. And Craig was in for a long rude-awakening of a winter.*I headed back to Detroit from Syracuse to learn that my work transfer would be to St. Louis, MO. Were I to accept, I would be working on the Cardinals' new Major League Baseball park, receiving a cost of living adjustment check, which was shiny and new to me, and exposed to a city I had only seen once at 14 or so, and again at 18 alongside my new college friend whose parents lived in Ladue, the old money neighborhood of the Lou. So Craig received all of this as a late birthday present, while he battled winding snow-blazened unlit backroads, while he searched for my replacement at local neighborhood bars, while he worked enough hours to positively choke a work horse. Basically, at 27, Craig broke up with his girlfriend. Not that he hadn't tried to before, but it had never stuck, possibly because she kept knocking on his door, ever-the-nuisance, or potentially because he never did find that replacement he was hoping to find and continued to return to her seeking solace. (Again, see Aimee Bender's story titled "The Meeting" for additional characterization of our relationship). But he really did break up with her, when he was 27. He stopped calling her. He stopped thinking of her--or so she believed, while wandering the streets of St. Louis with wide and curious eyes, scared. For 3 months they weren't together.*I hope I never learn what took place during that time. I hope I can convince myself that Craig spent those months missing the girl he had brought this far. Regardless, in hindsight, Craig's 27th was likely not his best of the twenty-somethings. He worked too much. He drove through too much snow. Too many times he stumbled in and out of his neighborhood bar in Manlius on any given night of the week. But maybe I claim 27 wasn't his best because it wasn't my best of his. Being broken up was painful, and lonely.*In April of his 27th year I flew to Syracuse, anyway. I didn't ask permission, there again knocking on his door, the nuisance. But he took me back, and the rest of his 27th year we spent here and there, several times in St. Louis where I lived, several times in Syracuse, once on a return trip to NYC. In his 27th year he added a couple, or one? Big Ten football stadiums to his repertoire that I'm sure he'd love I mention, but I didn't jot those down in memory. He saw Major League baseball St. Louis style. He went to the Thousand Islands, saw Boldt Castle. He built a casino in Verona, NY. He spent a lot of time without me, so it's difficult for me to pin everything down from 27. He was only 27 for one year, and I did lose a lot of it. But I'm glad he's back in my life. Hopefully for good.

October 15, 2005


To celebrate Craig's 26th birthday I flew to Hartford from Detroit and we drove the 8 hour road trip to Bar Harbor, ME. Since youth I'd had this terrific fantasy of Maine, the crashing ocean, the cliffs, the dense air. I had never, however, dreamed of living thousands of miles away from the person I most adored and borrowing a handful of days once a month to remind ourselves how to experience happiness with each other. This being said, the 8 hours in the car proved to be an ideal and much needed segue into our beautiful birthday getaway.*Our bed and breakfast perfectly suited the area: small, quaint, lovely. Our room was in a newly renovated house in the back yard of the main house. Our host and hostess provided us with information about sight seeing, as well as interesting breakfasts both mornings we were present (I seem to recall one morning deli ham spread with cream cheese and wrapped around golden raisins, which, since raisins are steadfast my least favorite thing ever, were difficult for me to digest but Craig whispered across the breakfast table It Was Only Polite that I Eat Them). Acadia National Park was breathtaking: the ocean indeed crashes there, the cliffs jut like defiant jaws. We indulged in unbelievable sea food, which included but was not limited to an eye-opening whole lobster experience illustrating precisely why neither of us eat lobster often (if only I could exactly describe the frozen stunned repulsion in his expression the moment he removed the tail from his lobster and the green organs flowed like an unappetizing river onto his plate!) His "birthday" dinner was complimented by a traditional Caesar salad constructed before us on a food cart, complete with an anchovy in its dressing, and was followed by blueberry souffle. During this trip to Maine we also made the mistake of ordering "popovers": light puffy muffin things that cost too much money and taste like nothing (Craig was mad!) We managed to become instant "regulars" at a local bar called Route 66, where we met various colorful people, including a gentleman wandering the country writing a book and a couple with their giant dog named Zeus. We spent afternoons hiking in Acadia, taking it all in. Our last morning in Maine we woke before the sun and drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain to see the sun rise. If there were words to explain the waves of simultaneous pleasure and pain I felt experiencing such an amazing several days with Craig while knowing the whole while it would be coming to an end which would find me settled into the plane leaving Hartford for Detroit, this would be the time to paint that emotion. Nonetheless, I don't regret a thing about the way we handled things.*At 26, Craig saw his second Broadway show on Broadway, this time starring Anne Heche! He made his first Thanksgiving turkey away from home. He ice skated in Central Park, saw the Rolling Stones at Madison Square Garden. He took the train from New Haven into the City. He saw Judy Chicago's installation piece, "The Dinner Party," at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. He took a subway from Manhattan to a friend's party in Brooklyn. He drove a convertible from Phoenix to Las Vegas while it hailed. He stood up in his cousin's wedding that same weekend out west. He spent a weekend in a cabin in New Hampshire, saw the White Mountains' esteemed Man of the Mountain weeks before the famed profile fell off the mountain! When Craig was 26, he opened his first sports venue: University of Connecticut's football stadium. He was subsequently transferred to Syracuse, NY.*26 was another busy year for Craig, filled with travel, work, family, friends and parts of me, all for which I am eternally grateful.

October 14, 2005


...rather, excerpts quilted together, by him for me, and written into the front cover of the book of Bukowski poetry he bought me

I decided that, with only anti-climactic things to write after my hectic September, I'd shift gears a bit and pen accolades to Craig's twenty-something birthdays and years...at least, the ones I've known him through. I've got 5 days to beat his 29th birthday. Ideally I will write a daily narrative for each twenty-something year of his I have shared with him approaching this new one, which, sadly, will mark the beginning of the final 12 months of our twenties that we will share. I keep being promised by Vogue and Cosmo and other miscellaneous contemporaries that our 30's will be more memorable. We'll be the collective judges of that.*We weren't exactly dating the October he became 25. We didn't name it dating, anyway. We drove places together, or met there, and drove away together, crashed at each other's places like slumber parties (yeah!) and took each other out for dinners. This particular night I deemed it appropriate to take both Craig and TW out for their birthdays (TW's is near), so that paying for just Craig's dinner wouldn't seem so date-ish. After our dinner at Local Color Brewery, a feature of either Novi or Livonia, Michigan (to this day I confuse the two) we went to a fine establishment called the Library Pub, down the street from Local Color. Other co-workers would be meeting us there to celebrate Craig's quarter-life birthday. Permit me to sum the evening up quickly in saying we were at that bar for a matter of an hour or two and Craig was beyond intoxicated. Friends were taking "Irish car bombs" with him, TW played protagonist with the purchase of a "Texas Prairie Fire," which left Craig smelling of tobasco sauce through the night and into the next morning. I remember it well. Craig wound up drunk enough that he tried to convince one of our co-worker's wives to give him a kiss: "You know you want to!" he shouted in an octave several pitches higher than usual, huffing his booze breath all over her hair as he leaned toward her. Luckily, we were all sports about his quick obliteration and loved the show. As our friends JW and BG arrived in post-softball sweat to buy Craig a birthday beer, Craig made grand attempts to be affectionate with JW: "Give me a hug, asshole!" he instructed JW. The birthday celebration, needless to say, sped by and it became time for me to drive him back to Ann Arbor. After rounds of hugs and "I Love You"'s to the crowd of well-wishers, and after TW buckled Craig safely into my car, I began the trip home which was accompanied by the following: passed out cold Craig, his head heavy and lolling to a side, or to his chest, plus an exaggeratedly heavy knee which targeted my gearshift while I painstakingly shoved it away so that the car would not be thrown out of gear. When we arrived in Ann Arbor at his apartment, I forcibly pulled him from the car, which jolted him from his drunken slumber and I think I recall several slurred innuendoes, none of which are appropriate nor relevant to the remainder of the story. In fact, I will leave his 25th celebration at this: I fed him water, Advil, and tucked him in, and he wondered before he passed out for the night Why Was I Treating Him So Nice When I Wasn't Even His Girlfriend?*When Craig was 25, he went to see Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf in Stratford, Canada. He saw Jane's Addiction and Live in Auburn Hills, Michigan. He saw Disturbed in downtown Detroit. He saw Living Color in Royal Oak. He became an uncle for the first time when he was 25! IU won the Old Oaken Bucket from Purdue that year (he witnessed it from the torrentially rain-felled stands at Memorial Stadium before going to an IU alum's brother's apartment to watch the remainder of the game). Craig ice skated on Joe Louis Arena's ice, when he was 25. He posed for a photo in the penalty box there. He went to Toronto, Canada for a weekend.*Craig moved to Hartford, Connecticut when he was 25. Not to haul myself into the year, but 4 days after I turned 25, Craig left Detroit for Hartford. He went to Montreal for the first time at 25. And to NYC. I cannot do justice our respective first trips to NYC, but I can say he was 25 when he first went to NYC. He saw his first Broadway musical on Broadway at 25. Craig had an incredible 25. I feel unbelievably lucky that I was there for so much of that.*

October 10, 2005


It's one of those Mondays when I have brought too much lunch, but don't want to waste any food. I've been reading and writing a great deal today--nothing overly impressive, emails, several posts by other blog personalities, etc., and additionally have managed to get a good deal of work-related tasks accomplished. I'm nearing that hazy fog of wanting an afternoon nap so I figured what better to do than keep my head upright by writing more. The weekend was mostly nice; Friday I pounced on Craig the moment he entered the door and slid his tired body to the couch: "Craig, can we invite AB and MB to dinner here tonight??" His head rolled to the side in a sort of wary, "I just got home after one whole month of traveling every weekend and now this?" fashion, but he was accomodating and permitted me to have our friends to Smyrna. AB had left a voicemail wondering if Craig and I would like to go out to dinner in Smyrna, but seeing as we love hosting things (I love hosting things) and it would be more cost efficient on Craig's and my weakened bank books (still sweating from a whole month of traveling) to have them over, we had them over. AB got a new do, which is adorable (AB, I am not just saying that!) and she brought us a book she found while on business in Cali of Napoleon Dynamite quotes! Gosh, gosh, gosh! I pointed out that it would only be a matter of minutes and Craig would have that thing open reciting his favorites. That happened, yes, but not in full force until Saturday morning. Anyway, back to Friday...before the B's arrived, I went to our nearby Publix grocery and buzzed through to get the essentials for pesto stuffed porkchops. Craig calls them "our famous". We've made them for the R's before, as well as for TW and A in North Carolina, although that particular night they were grilled, which didn't yield as smart of results. But I digress. Walking through the grocery, my phone rang, and it was MP, inviting us over to grill & drink! I said, M, we just invited the B's over for dinner ten minutes ago! And he said, Damn, I should have called fifteen ago! But I assured him I would let Craig know of the invite, and when I got home and told Craig, his face lit up like Christmas and he was like, We're GOING! Craig and MP have special soft spots for each other, after meeting at a party Craig and I threw months back. The B's arrived, we ate a fairly decent version of "our famous" chops, though MB's tastes do not embrace the pesto, feta and pine nut filling in the chops so we allowed him BBQ'ed chops instead...and we drank some wine, some beer, then headed out to find MP's Post property somewhere in the neighborhood of Windy Hill Parkway. Not far from mine and Craig's in Smyrna. Vinings, I tell people. I live in Vinings. How lovely that sounds over Smyrna. Anyway, we drank a lot once we found MP's apartment, and we met his fiance, and her friends, and his roommate. AB and I give MP rather glowing reviews when people ask. He's a really fun time.*Saturday, after I made red pepper, mushroom, ham & cheese omelets, began all-the-rest-of-weekend: football, baseball playoffs, football, college football, NFL football, baseball playoffs, and I think once Craig switched to golf to see if Tiger Woods was winning. Craig has discovered "split screen" on our tv and it’s like having two 25"ers side by side, it’s pretty hilarious. Or you can make one 32" and the other 18"…and so on. Trust me, that was what we did nearly the whole weekend…with the exception, of course, of Friday’s adventures. Tonight we’re going to see Liz Phair in Buckhead—you can’t get much cooler than having a boyfriend who will go to estrogen fueled concerts with you, so I consider myself lucky. But he likes Liz Phair, too…she’s playing at this dusty little theater called the Roxy, an Atlanta venue we've not yet been to, right in the throbbing heart of Buckhead.*I started a new project yesterday on the computer: the beginnings of recollecting my twenties beginning in Michigan and moving forward. I kept journals nearly that entire time, starting with my move into my swinging single apartment in Ypsilanti, all the way through the dreadful years I spent without Craig while he lived on the East Coast, but somewhere in there I lost my ambition, I believe around the time I moved to St. Louis. That's where the books trail off, anyway. So I started this project yesterday with vague albeit noble intentions, and we'll see how far along I make it. I am not referencing the old journals unless need be; I want to see how impressionistic my memory can paint those years before comparing new writing to old. If dates need to be checked, perhaps I will permit myself that much. This is an effort to leisurely rummage through the mental treasure chest of stories, to see if any hold merit this much later. Even just launching the project last night flooded me with such a rush of how lucky I've been, how many places I've lived, how many people I've loved and met. I'm also making a valiant effort not to ramble, something I have yet to attempt in this particular sphere...

October 05, 2005


It hit me the other day that I'm extremely blessed that I'm not in love with a writer. Honestly, it relieves me that I got over that fantasy in college and came into the truth in my mid-most twenties: words hurt. I have read about me before. Not the good me...the ugly underbelly, the tear streaked face. I don't want to know that girl any better than I already know her by being her--why would I want to read a cryptic piece of fiction/a poem that tells what an emotional nightmare it is to know me, or worse, to love me, when I can instead figuratively and dutifully nod at myself in the mirror and excuse last night's behavior for a new morning? Why do I want to read what a mess I am when I already know? This thought developed, honestly, before I found out (just last night, to be specific) that an old ghost lives in Atlanta. It isn't likely I will bump into this person at any point, and that's a positive. I don't need a run-in to complicate any matters that are not presently complicated. I am happy again, seriously happy, fond of my Craig, elated to have my new friend AB to confide in along with all the other people in my life that I love. No unsolicited reunions for me, thank you!*Before I go on, I need to describe, in brief, a dream I had while passed out at the Spring Hill Marriot in Carmel, IN last weekend. AB and I were at a wedding, the setting was a pool deck, and for some reason a gentleman kept sipping white wine and spitting it involuntarily. Like, he would sip, someone would make a comment, apparently comical, and he'd spit the wine straight from his mouth. AB and I delighted in this, and as a wait person swung past to fill AB's mostly empty Merlot, she flung the glass to the pool deck, shattering it to pieces. This was funny somehow-- I recall waking up laughing, and I bet AB will find it amusing that she could only appear in a dream with me where comedy is the genre!*I've been out of the blog spot for a few days longer than anticipated because of work, and being sick. My voice has been feeble at best, and last night I kept coughing all over Craig (sorry babe!) I'm in the throes of recovery, which feels better, like a gradual ascent from a dark place. I definitely had a fever last week, which always amazes me (fevers do) based on their ability to generate both heat rushes and cold chills combined. I become overly obsessed with fever and spend hours with a thermometer shoved in my mouth. I think in fact before Craig came home from work last Thursday I had potentially checked my temperature 6 to 8 times. As if I could get the heat to cool in the lone hour I spent doing this. Anyway, we suited up Friday morning for our adventure to Indianapolis. The plane ride was quick, after a brief fuming tantrum thrown by Craig in line at Hartsfield for security check (it took longer than usual, possibly because we were behind a string of Russian visitors who didn't seem to understand phrases such as "you cannot bring Zippos on the plane" and "please remove your belt and place it in the bin before stepping through [the X-ray device].") Once in Indy, we waited for Craig's parents to pick us up to go to the hotel. Skipping to better parts for the sake of transition through this story, we made it to the rehearsal at the church a few minutes late, which remained a theme throughout the weekend (running late). I helped Craig's brother-in-law with the girls, L and H, H being the sweetest little 3 y.o. girl I have met to date. She wondered of me ever-so-innocently, "Where are YOU getting married?" which prompted the bro-in-law to reply to her, "That's a good question for you to ask Craig!" making me laugh as well. I told Craig about it later, of course! Following the rehearsal, we drove to Bucca de Beppo in Castleton for the dinner. KB and BB were adorable, excited, energetic...their rehearsal dinner was a pleasure. Far too much food for any of us to handle! And wine, and gifts for the groomsmen: Fossil watches, heavy, nice! (Craig needed a new watch, actually!) and gifts for the bridesmaids: Pottery Barn jewelry boxes with bracelets inside. Very impressive for them to have gone to that length, but surely they wanted to express their appreciation. Following the dinner, Craig wanted us to be dropped off at a bar down the street to meet his friends (we did not rent a car for the weekend, rather relied on family transportation). That was a lot of fun, with the exception of the brief incident where a woman that I did not recognize as one of his friend's wives swept upon Craig to greet him, whereupon Craig turned to me and said, of her, "Look who's here!" I looked blankly at D and back to Craig and said, "Who is this?" Craig was mortified but D got over it really quickly when I admitted that having only met her at her wedding in June, with her hair pulled back and in a white gown, it was difficult to recognize her in street clothes with hair down (compounded by red wine at dinner and one beer at the bar before she approached the table to say hello.) Then, of course, I wound up befriending her and liking her tons. She's an awesome girl. I made one other small mistake with the girls, which was gushing about Craig's slumber party statement. I don't exactly remember how it happened, but one of the girls said "Aww" to Craig or something, and he was like, "KB, that was only for us to know about!" But he was good-natured about it nonetheless.*Saturday we woke up and went downstairs for the Continental buffet breakfast, spoke with Craig's dad at length, returned to the room, showered, changed, and left for the ceremony. Here we were reunited with a welcome old ghost: the photographer for KB's wedding who also has served as photographer for Craig's company's annual meetings (my ex-company). So we knew him already! That was very small worldish. The ceremony proceeded without a hitch--KB looked gorgeous, and BB dressed up alright himself, as did the other boys, and all the girls looked lovely. I spent an unfortunate amount of time (preventing me from paying as close attention to the ceremony part) tending again to H, who was, needless to say, a little restless, extracting dangerous items from my purse such as lipstick and clear mascara, receiving menacing looks from her dad who watched on, etc. The ceremony was Catholic but no mass, therefore abbreviated. And nice. Everyone glowed. Following that, the reception was held across the street from the Spring Hill Marriot at the Ritz Charles, in a dimly lit banquet room with delicate table settings and a dj stand plus dance floor against one wall. Instead of a long head table, KB and BB assigned seats around the room, granting those in the wedding party the opportunity to sit with their guests, which I found to be really excellent. It can go either way, but it's a relief sometimes to be able to sit with the person who brought you--in my case, I would be much more comfortable sitting with any of Craig's family now than I were, say, 4 years ago, so it wouldn't have been an issue, however it was very nice to sit with him for dinner. We sat with his cousins, all of whom it was great to see again. Dinner was good, dancing even better! Craig and I love dancing at weddings, regardless of how foolish we may appear to others...we think we've got rhythm, that's what counts! Craig requested Miss Jackson, which might be his new thing at weddings (he requested it at ST's, also!) The whole night was a great time. After the reception Craig's two cousins, one of the wives and I decided we needed to pick up beer and host an "after hours" event in one of the rooms at the hotel. That bombed, because the only guy that showed up wound up excusing himself to "drop off his jacket" when in fact it was shortly discovered that he must have had A Little Too Much to Drink at the reception, or at least the Throw Up Spots stringing along the hotel hallway suggested such! Yuck! Anyway, Sunday Craig and I were able to have lunch with my parents, brother and nephew. That was really nice...my parents and bro were great, my nephew adorable. And my roast beef and brie sandwich with baby spinach and horse radish kicked ass! Traveling back home for the last time for a while, we hope!, settling back into the apartment, and me getting over this suspicious bug have been the latest tasks. And cheering on the Cardinals (and the White Sox) as they freshly entered post-season play yesterday is of utmost priority! Last night Chi-Sox beat Bo-Sox 14-2! We'll hope for more of the same this eve.