Sunday, August 17, 2014

Major haircut, again

Five years ago, I grew out my hair so I could donate it. This summer, after accidentally going three months without a trim, I thought I'd try it again.

And because some organizations accept donations of 6 inches of hair, I figured I wouldn't need to go from super-long to super-short. My new look would be a just-below-chin-length 'do — cute and easy to style.

This was my thinking.

Only on the big hair day, I forgot to tell Matt that I wanted the minimum length cut off.

So he carefully arranged two pigtails and snipped 8 inches from each. (The hair is now in the mail, again to Pantene.) I look forward to the day that I can make stubby pigtails. Matt also suggested bigger earrings.

In the 15 years I've known him, this is the first I've heard him say, "Let's never do this again," even in jest. But never say never; reverse psychology is a powerful motivator. Chop-chop, as they say.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Serious hits by Phil Collins

Two years ago, during lunch at Albanese’s, Jeremy joked that the worst thing about Phil Collins songs was that they ended. Then we got our Phil for almost two more hours.

On a seemingly unrelated note, the employees at Half Price Books were recently mulling over my old sociology texts. Two years' worth of books — “because of their age and condition” — were worth $6.25. Six dollars and twenty-five cents, for real? Durkheim’s Elementary Forms of Religious Life may not be a page-turner, but it’s a hardcover, for Emile’s sake.

I was able to buy only one thing with my trade-in cash.

And because of my age and condition, I couldn't resist getting a sentimental birthday gift for Jeremy: Phil Collins’ Serious Hits… Live! (The punctuation is Phil’s, not mine, though I think the excitement is merited.)

Now you can put "Separate Lives" or "Against All Odds" on repeat. The Phil never has to end!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A musical blast from the past

When I sat down in Julie Sanford's coin-pearl ring class (which was fantastic, by the way), the woman in front of me introduced herself.

"I'm Lissa," she said. She grew up in Whitefish Bay and looked familiar.

Lissa (pronounced "Lisa") is a metalsmith, swimmer, runner, singer, dog lover, Spanish speaker, and sea kayaker. Among other things.

Turns out that she was also an oboist. And I was a violinist, and we were in Music for Youth together. 25 years ago.

What a small, great world!

Monday, June 2, 2014

S'mores season

After grilling dinner on Saturday, it was time for s'mores.

Peter went for all the hot spots and set his jumbo marshmallow on fire; Carol toasted hers with almost surgical precision. Unfortunately, these "jet puffed" monstrosities ruined the chocolate/graham cracker balance.

I have a huge bag of marshmallows left, so if you come over for dinner, plan on having s'mores for dessert. Unless you want a supersized hot cocoa or a double recipe of rice crispy treats.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Last thoughts on San Francisco

The best part of my trip was of course catching up with friends and family. But I also got a chance to see the City in so many ways — on the seedy walk to pick up our race bibs, as a jogger, and riding the post-race shuttle with guys dressed as Snoopy and Tweety. Plus I drove up California Street, past Nob Hill and Lower Pacific Heights, where I lived in my very first apartments. I even drove past streets I didn't know if only because I'd never walked or taken the bus that far. It's funny how places change — the City was as memorable as ever, yet there's always more to discover. Cheers to San Francisco!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Bay to Breakers 2014

A month before the San Francisco Bay to Breakers, I decided it would be fun to trek the 7.46 miles. (That’s 12K to those of you who are runners or love math.)

I hadn’t run or even walked 7.46 miles since the last time I did the Bay to Breakers, 20 years ago.

But this would be a chance to hang with Ruth and get back to the City. So I trained as much as I could, running and walking and adding yoga to the mix. At Highlander, Susie and Scott gave me advice and "You got this!" pep talks. Ruth, on the other hand, needed no such encouragement: She just ran seven miles the week before the race.

On race day, we went to our corral with plenty of time to check out the costumes. Fortunately none of the naked runners started in the 10–12-minute-mile group.

As SNL’s Stefon might have said, this race had everything. Tutus, capes, unicorn hats, girls in body paint, men in see-through mesh shorts. People sitting on the course and spectators wandering in.

Ruth and I lost each other about a minute after we crossed the starting line. (To her credit, she actually tried to find me.) I spent most of the race jockeying for a position among the runners and walkers, looking for those mile markers.

Thankfully the only hill was about two miles in. It doesn’t look bad, but I felt it more than I saw it.

After getting Ruth's finish-line text, I decided to run the last bit. Unfortunately I had an idealized vision of the finish line, thanks to seeing too many races in movies: I'd imagined the finish as a straight shot, but the course kept curving around and around.

I finally wound past two penguin-costumed walkers for a finish in 1 hour, 51 minutes: 17,007th out of 28,253, if you must know. But it was a 12K sans incident, with a burger and fries afterward!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Friendship and photobombers

Though Liz and I have been friends for decades, I’ve gotten to know her family in a slow and piecemeal fashion. (One day I hope to finally meet her husband, Michael!)

While I was in San Francisco, Michael was in Chicago with their daughter, Alexandra, whom I met two years ago when she was an easygoing, polenta-eating baby.

This trip, Liz and I hung out at the house with her 2-year-old twins, Hayden and Matthew.

We played with alphabet puzzles and Liz asked, “Who wants dinner?”

“No one,” said Hayden, the redheaded joker. He sometimes looks serious, but then he breaks out into a smile.

Over Mexican food and the frequent opening and closing of sippy cups, we caught up about our lives and what our college friends have been up to.

Then there was basketball and t-ball — Matthew has quite the swing and I stood farther away than was probably necessary.

I snapped some photos, but it was surprisingly hard to get everyone in focus. (I miss my digital camera.) The selfies were also challenging: Why does Hayden look like a shadowy photobomber? Why do we all look surprised? Where was Liz in that last shot, and where was Hayden going?

After the photos it was time call it a night. The boys stood at the window and waved goodbye. And stayed there waving after I left. Liz, thanks for telling me; it's nice to hear.

I hope to see all of you — together — soon. Those will be some crazy selfies.