By MBPDLPayday Loans

Dec 29

{2011}

I can honestly say that I will always be in love with 2010.

I’m getting married in 2011, and going back to school and hopefully starting to forge a career path that is fulfilling and engaging and satisfying… and I still think 2011 is going to have a hard time topping 2010. 2010 was the year I started to take my writing seriously enough for others to take it seriously, too. And I got engaged, and James and I took the first big steps toward being more than a couple… toward being a family.

And I successfully hosted my first “Crew Christmas”, made my first Christmas Dinner with only small injuries, and I survived a suburban snow-in in the last yawning week of the year. So there’s that. And here are photos!

Crew Christmas:

{The Crew’s All Here}
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{Rich & Kallie being adorable!}
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{Rich & Kallie’s Hands, also being adorable.}
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{Drew & Ally. We have really adorable friends.}
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Christmas Christmas:

{The Whole Family! Please excuse how exhausted I clearly look.}
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{The Fingertip Casualty – taken by the evil Mandolin. I did you the favor of replacing the skin flap before snapping the photo.}
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{Moose: “OMG crazy lady, no more photos!”}
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{Sleepy, after the long day.} I don’t know why I love this photo so much. I just really, really do.
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Snow Day!:

{Elephant snuggles in as the snow keeps falling.}
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{Moose also burrows down for a long winter’s nap.}
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{It snowed for 14 hours, and we woke up to this…}
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{That’s James’ car in the front. That’s Jen’s car in the back. That’s 3-4 feet all around them both.}
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{Please forgive my bathrobe. And my face. Look! 2.5 FEET at the garage door! FEET!}
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And now, for my next trick, I shall keep quiet until 2011. :) Try not to miss me too much until then, OK?

-MM.

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Dec 23

{Happy Holidays!}

I had a long phone conversation with my father this morning because the cats and I can’t seem to snuggle without someone electrocuting someone else. I’m not sure what the specific issue is – the contenders are Their Blanket, The Basement, The Carpet and Being Pet In General.

The issue is that, for the past couple weeks, every time I’d touch the cats, I’d get shocked, or they’d get shocked, or we’d both get shocked, and it left everyone feeling a little unsettled. Both our cats are still snuggly little furballs, and that’s something we try to encourage as much as possible. Even when Elephant doesn’t particularly want to be held, she’ll tolerate a good long snuggle because she’s a sweet little cat.

But the other day, things got ugly. Ellie was sitting on my stomach, and her little paw touched my little belly and we both felt the electricity flow from her to me. Neither of us were too pleased {it actually really hurts}.Then I was petting Moose, who was less averse to the light crackles of static than Elephant had been, and I reached in to pet his belly and it was like someone had dropped a live wire between the two of us. There was a loud POP! and he yowled and I yelled and he flipped over and sat bolt upright and looked right at me, as if to say, “You foul woman! I know you don’t really like me but that was just mean!

I tried to reach out to make amends and give his little nose a little scratch and I must have still been carrying a charge on me, because there was a small line of electricity that arced from my finger tip into his little pink nose with a nastly little crrrcccchhh! noise.

He wouldn’t speak to me for hours.

I shot my father an e-mail this morning, because he works for National Grid and knows things about electricity and how not to electrocute yourself or your cats. He is an incredibly useful guy to know in situations like this. He and I trouble-shot the whole situation, and he sympathetically agreed that, short of wrapping the cats in rubber for the rest of the winter, the best thing anyone can do before petting The Monsters is touch something metal so the excess static that we carry around does not flow directly into or out of the cats.

He also reminded me that static is a product of friction, so the rough rubs that Moose loves so much are bound to be the source of all his electrical woes from here until we figure out where this sudden surge of static is coming from, and how to thwart it in its endeavors. Dad’s biggest concern was, if the charges had something to do with a new magnetic field, that the cats’ microchips would end up being erased. {I was convinced that the chips were probably the reason that they were getting shocked in the first place, because chips are metal and Jasper, the upstairs cat, is completely unaffected by static.}

Never a dull moment in this household, I can tell you that.

At any rate– from everyone here in my family to everyone out there in yours, we want to wish you a happy and peaceful holiday season, full of love, and laughter, and the occasional light shock. Just to keep things interesting.

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-MM.

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Dec 18

{A True Moment of PANIC.}

I’ve all but stopped doing this, and now I’m doing it twice in one week. But. Seriously.

You’ll never believe what happened to me on Friday.

-MM.

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Dec 16

{The Big Announcement!}

There’s a huge, life-changing announcement over on 11Eleven11 today.

If you’d like your world rocked, you can find it {here}.

-MM.

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Dec 14

{The Suspension of Disbelief}

There is a phenomenon in Film Theory that is called The Suspension of Disbelief. It’s what you, as the viewer, bring to the table when you watch a movie. It’s a simple, tacit agreement that you will, for the duration of the film, surrender your tendencies to say, “Oh, that’s ridiculous!” Movies – and your ability to enjoy them – heavily depend on your willingness as the audience member to set aside the facts {like that the guy with the machine gun could probably land a single shot without Indiana Jones and his lone revolver taking him out}.

It’s your unspoken contract that, for the length of the movie, you are willing to let yourself be wonder-struck once more.

That’s how I felt this weekend when I hung out with Kristin and Jonas. {Ryan, too, of course – if you’re lucky enough to know Ryan you know how wonderstruck-capable he is, what with his dry humor and his way-too-tall-ness. :) } James made a joke on the way home that my mother’s hair style changes each time he sees her. {He didn’t say it in a mean way; he said it in a “I didn’t realize mothers could do that, as my mother has had the same hair for as long as I can remember,” sort of way.} It made me smile because… well, he’s right. My mother is one of those exceptionally lucky women who is beautiful no matter if she’s blonde or brunette or red-head. She can wear her hair short or she can wear it long, with loose curls or a tight perm, and it always looks quite lovely on her. {She will tell you that none of this is true, especially because of All The Weight She’s Gained, but it needs to be said – my mother is a dirty liar when it comes to stuff like that. I am telling you the truth. I promise.}

I took it for granted that my mother changes her look so often. I assumed all mothers were so lucky and fortunate. Mothers have superpowers, right? Chameleon-ity seemed like a standard trait for a woman expected to handle so much all at once without sucking any of the limelight from her kids. As we get older, I told myself, it’s just what we do. We change. And it’s OK.

But I found myself completely wonderstuck when I saw Kristin, who is now around 6 months pregnant. I kept staring at her little belly {which sits in a neat little bump on her little waist} and apologizing. “I’ve never seen you this pregnant before,” I finally told her.

She laughed, because to her, it feels like she’s been in one of the stages of pregnancy {trying, succeeding, vomiting, growing, laboring, nursing} for the past decade. But when she was pregnant with Jonas, I found out Christmas Eve (6-8 weeks along), saw her once in early March (2ish? months along) and then wasn’t able to come home again until after the little man had joined us. I have a cardboard cutout of her at 5 months pregnant, in a leopard print dress doing a flamenco pose… and it’s life-size… but that doesn’t count.

I kept staring, because there it was before my very eyes… My best friend is changed.

There are a lot of things you feel strangely out of touch with if time and distance separate you from people you love dearly. You miss the little things in each others’ lives, even if you e-mail between 7-24 times a day, like Kristin and I do. Jonas has turned into a full-blown rough-and-tumble but sweet-and-giggly little boy! Kristin is a real, live Mommy, complete with phrases like, “Please don’t put that in your mouth!” and “No, you go get your sippy cup.” and “Oop! Oop!… You’re OK.” if somebody takes a tumble.

It’s easy, if you’re far away and not in the same stage of your life, like me, to ignore these things. When I hear those phrases on the phone, I know she’s talking to Jonas, but she could just as easily be sippy-cup-training the cats. Or Ryan. But yesterday I sat in her living room, snapping photos of her and her son, and the disbelief that I have felt since she told me she was going to have her first baby two Christmases ago – the disbelief that this is it, that we are, full-blown, adults and in this new and exciting and terrifying stage of our lives – that feeling just washed away.

And in its place slipped Wonderstruck, the feeling that I knew I’d find sooner or later. Like it had been waiting in the wings all along, simply biding its time while I worked through all the resisting and the heel-digging and the “I’m not ready for this yet!”-ing.

We’re here. And this is really happening. And it’s so much better than anyone promised us it would be, in a completely different way than we expected. See? See my friend and her beautiful little boy?

Suspend your disbelief. Just let the wonderment of it all wash over you. Hold close to your heart the words Kristin tells me every time I call her with a new 20-something crisis: “We’re all in this together, and not in the scary way.” And soak it all in.

Kristin Laughing

{For this one, please note the drool hanging from his chin. Apparently, babies do this until they get all their teeth. ALL. THEIR. TEETH. Don’t we get our last teeth around age 12?}
Jonas Close Up

Jonas Floor

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looking up laughing

-MM.

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Dec 11

{25}

Tomorrow… I turn 25.

Before I break up with 24 and trade up permanently, I thought I’d take a moment to give credit where credit is due as far as 24 is concerned.

So, 24, together you and I…

Got engaged, to the love of my life.
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Quit my awful job, even though it was absolutely terrifying.
Started my own company, which was equally terrifying.
Successfully completed National Novel Writing Month {I’m counting that as writing my first novel, because I cheat}.
Was hired, as a writer, to write things, for other people to read with their eyes {I’m counting that as success, because that’s legit}.
Realized that school is where I belong, and technology and storytelling is what interests me, and that I have to shop new programs for my MS/MFA.

So, 25… That’s where we stand. And you and I… are totally going to take 2011 to the cleaners. :) Excited to meet you.

-MM.

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Dec 09

{The Birthdays}

Right, OK. So.

First of all, BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my mother, who is a very young-looking 52 today:
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And my little baby sister, who is holy shit! 23:
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Now. We all know that I tend to march dance pliĆ© to the beat of a different drum. And, though I’ve doubt you’ve paused to wonder where my weird tendencies come from, I’ve decided to volunteer a little information. {James has wondered about my tendency to freeze bananas, and why I get so excited the first time it snows that I drag him outside and laugh until I cry.}

Here’s the truth: It’s genetic.

My grandmother {Mimi} and my mother {Mom} keep bananas in the freezer, because you never know when you’ll need to make Banana Bread. And I get so excited that I cry when it snows for the first time because if it sticks, I get to make The Special Snow Cookies, which my mother and I make, normally together, only after the first time it snows and sticks.

They’re our traditions. And we women guard them preciously, because they’re what tie us together.

And, as great as frozen bananas and Special Snow cookies happen to be, there is one tradition that has been observed successfully for the past 25 years: The Birthdays.

My mother, sister and I make up The Girls, and together each year, we celebrate The Birthdays. Mom and Karlene share the same birthday, December 9th. And I dawdle along after them, December 12th. Mom and I have successfully spent each of The Birthdays together every year since my debut, only missing Karlene twice: Once before she was born, and when I turned 21 and my mom came down to visit me in New York City.

For Mom’s 50th, I stayed up for almost 72 straight hours and took an early-morning flight home, and slept for an hour on Kristin’s couch, all so I could surprise her at her fancy Surprise Party. This was after three weeks of Mom reminding me each time we spoke how disappointed she was that “finals” were more important than “The Birthdays.”

Finals were not, as it were, more important, and I proved that by moving heaven and earth to be there.

That was two years ago, when James and I had just gotten together, and it was hard to explain to him why it was so important for met to live in the Silent Reading Room for two days so that I could be ready in time to go home.This year, it’s a lot easier, as James now understands that The Birthdays are better than Christmas and Easter and a Single Birthday combined.

I get really homesick around The Holidays, and getting excited for The Birthdays always helps me get through Thanksgiving and get through Christmas. Needless to say, I therefore get really excited for The Birthdays – with all that happiness riding on them. And, also needless to say, something therefore always happens 24-36 hours before I head home to remind me that coupled with The Tradition of Togetherness comes The Tradition of Driving Each Other Nuts.

This year’s earmarker: The Conversation My Mother, Sister and Grandmother Had This Morning, as Stolen From My Sister’s Facebook Profile.

Gma: Oh My God Karlene, what are you wearing?!
Kar: What? They’re leggings.
Gma: No… No, those are for skinny skinny models.
Kar: Grandma! That was kind of mean!
Mom: Yeah Mom, that was pretty mean.
Gma: {Pause} Don’t misunderstand, I was just saying only skinny skinny girls can wear those.
Mom: … And you’re saying Karlene can’t?
Gma: Oh no, she can’t wear them. She better get used to it.

…104.5 hours… until it’s all over. And we can ignore what happened until June 2011, and then get excited for next year. As is our normal pattern.

-MM.

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Dec 07

{Dance it Out}

Over the weekend, James and I were invited to an anniversary party, where most of the Viscardi half of his family got together for dancing and storytelling. {I am horribly awkward on the dance floor, but I do so love the stories.}

Toward the tail end of the evening, James’ cousin Mike asked Grandma Viscardi to dance. Now, she’s a spry one for 85 years old, but I didn’t think she’d be showing us her moves once the song changed to Usher. Boy, was I ever incorrect. ;)

It’s a little blurry because it’s from James’ iPhone, but! You get the point.

-MM.

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Dec 04

{Conversation with Mom}

I miss my mother.

I miss her in that sort of constant-dull-achey sort of way, especially now that it’s Christmastime, and The Birthdays are coming up, and I’m still breathing. {I miss my father, too, for the record. I think girls in their mid 20s just miss their mothers in really unique ways.}

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But I miss her the most when we’re having a perfectly normal conversation, and it ends up going a little something like this:

Me: James might get a tattoo with Dad and I!
Mom: For the birthdays?
Me: No, on vacation. {We were talking about vacation. I don’t know how she made that leap}
Mom: OoOoOoO … Wait. Your father is getting a tattoo?
Me: He said he might get a hook through his scar.
Mom: … The scar on his forehead?
Me: … Yes, Mom. The scar on his forehead.

Going home, for my 25th Birthday. One more week. I think I can, I think I can.

-MM.

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Dec 02

{Pie!}

This past Thanksgiving {last week}… I was given the honor of making the Pumpkin Pie. There are few things in life I get more excited about than Pumpkin Pie. It’s a little inappropriate, if we want to get very honest about it.

The problem with Pumpkin Pie {other than it being sadly missing 11 months out of the year} – is that there are times when there just simply is not enough crust. When I found these adorable pie-crust leaf-punches from Williams Sonoma, my heart swooned and I fell in love. What a classy solution to the pie vs. filling ratio!

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They’re simple to use and look at that! They’re on sale! This is what my pie turned out lookin’ like. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

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-MM.

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