Snowy Sunday Sleep Demons

This weekend was an unnecessary reminder of why I don’t like snow. It’s cold and wet and leaves me stuck inside. Maybe I was a little more miserable than I really needed to be, but my Saturday was sad and lonely and I was pathetically unmotivated. Rex was extra snuggly though; we did a lot of napping, hiding under the blankets, and watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians. I had hopes of the roads being safer this morning, but I never left my house to find out. Instead, I had a sweet visitor who came bearing coffee, groceries, and hugs. Ryan must have known what I was craving, because he brought everything my little heart (and belly) desired: cookies, tomatoes, cucumbers, milk, pineapple-orange juice, colby-jack cheese, and goldfish. Now my refrigerator actually looks like someone is living here. We’ll see how long that lasts.

Despite my itches to get out of the house, we decided to stay in and be lazy – something we are both very good at – especially on Sundays. Eight hours actually went by really fast, and as the sun is setting, we are slowly fading too. Our morning started around 10:30 with spilled coffee and Google searches of sleep demons. Then we moved on to watching the movie Clue – easily in my top three favorite movies of all time. Have you seen it? I’d tell you that you should, but I’m pretty sure Ryan hated nearly every second of it, so my sense of humor and film rating criteria may be slightly off. We also played Phase 10 (can you tell this is the only game I own?) and I lost twice, but I think I was a pretty good sport about it. Ryan only gave me a redo once, and that was because he got a run of 900 (okay, maybe ten) in the hand that he was dealt. One time, at my sister’s, I went and pouted on the couch in the other room and told everyone I quit playing and never wanted to play again and almost started crying because I messed up and forgot to lay down my cards. It was the first time Ryan and I had played cards together and I’m surprised he is still dating me. Have you seen those “Keep Calm and Have a Cupcake” signs? Well Ryan had conveniently ran to Starbucks to get me a chai tea latte and brought back cupcakes, so maybe I should have thought about that saying pre-pout. I mean, how often do you really have a cupcake handy? Ashley and I are just not very good game players. I believe she did some excessive grumping during that same game too. Neither of us is particularly competitive, but something really makes us whine and cry when it comes to losing board games and cards. My mom claims that we have both been like that since we were three, and she hoped it was something we would outgrow. Now we are 24 and 27 … do you think it is too late?

I think Ryan must have brought one of his sleep demons with him when he came over, because Rex has been spooked all day. He’s been hopping backwards, jumping three feet in the air, playing war games with my slippers (moccasins from the little boy’s section at Target), and avoiding the couch at all costs. So, here is a letter to the sleep demon:

Dear Mr. Sleep Demon,

 Please leave my house. I don’t really want you here and my cat does not particularly care for you either. I think you are under the couch, and this is actually a very unsafe place for sleep demons (or so I’ve heard). Did you notice that my cat is black? Oh, well he is, which means he is a basement cat and has a little demon in him too. Also, he has a skull collar, so I think he automatically wins this battle. In conclusion, if you could please remove yourself from this location, we would greatly appreciate it. Thank you for your cooperation.



Requesting a Snow Bagel

I really hate packing. I always bring way too much and never use half of it, but I think it is better to have options than not. For example, I brought four pairs of flats, two pairs of boots, three pairs of heels, running shoes, and flip flops … just in case. If you were wondering, I brought 86 pounds of things with me to Kiawah. 86 pounds for three days. That’s 28.6 pounds per day and then I had to come home and unpack. Unpacking may be worse than packing, but I think my dislike for them is pretty equal. I was very pleased that we decided to come back home yesterday afternoon, because getting home at 7:00 left me plenty of time to unpack and catch up with my mom and my sweet friend Heather. Also, getting home at 7:00 worked out perfectly, because a neighbor was getting home at the same time and offered to carry up two of my three suitcases. I love living on the third floor – it has many perks like vaulted ceilings and nobody walking around on your head – but carrying over 80% of your body weight in giraffe printed luggage up and down the stairs is no bueno.

It feels good to be unpacked, and now I have the whole day to spend as I please. Here is what I please:

1) Go to Panera for a bagel and coffee.
2) Spend some time and maybe some money in Target.
3) Call my sister.
4) Take a nap with Rex. (Oh, I have left Target at this point. Although I love it, I do not wish to nap there. And do you bring your cat to Target?)
5) Visit Ryan, order Pita Pit, play Phase 10, and watch US of Tara.

Did you know it is snowing here? It is. So, what I please and what I am actually going to do are going to be quite different. I’m pretty sure I’ll be stuck inside all day, which makes me really sad. I love relaxing, but I think I’ve had enough of that and I am ready to get out and be productive. I also have no food in my house, and I’m going to have to survive this blizzard on water, plain pasta, and cat snuggles. Speaking of, Rex has his first snow experience this morning. He took about five steps out the back door and decided that sitting inside and watching Penguins of Madagascar was a much better option. We were really watching that this morning – he only watches cartoons, and he is two, and a cat, so I really don’t think it is nice of you to be judging him. Does anyone want to come visit us? We can read story books and play games and drink tea and build a baby snowman with the centimeter of snow that has landed on my balcony.  Also, could you bring me a snow bagel?


Super Hero Senses

Ryan tells me that I have super hero hearing. Maybe he just tells me that I have super hearing abilities, but I like to think that he thinks of me as a super hero – or at least a super girlfriend with super hero senses. (Sometimes, when I repeat a word too many times … like the word “super” … it starts to sound completely wrong and makes me feel like my throat is closing up. Does this happen to you?) As super as it may sound, life with super hero hearing is actually not so super. In fact, I hate it. I can hear everything, and there is just no ignoring what the super ears hear. This usually results in a lack of sleep, which makes for a grumpy-ish Tessa. My best friend from Kindergarten, Katie, has a super hero nose and can name any smell in the world.  It is really entertaining to see what she’ll come up with – like “It smells like the dog food aisle at Harris Teeter with a splash of Tide laundry detergent and my brother’s skateboard wheel.” Really. Have you met her? She’s wonderful and sweet and incredibly beautiful with super model limbs and the hair of a goddess. My parents used to get a kick out of her and her super hero nose.

Now that you hate your hair after seeing Katie's, here are some of my thoughts on super hero vision:

I do not have it. And I do not want it. Do you want to know how I know that I do not want it? Okay. So, in our hotel room, we have one of those mirrors that magnify your face like a jillion times. Do you know these mirrors? They are round and on a stand and can flip over and usually have a light. I think people with super hero vision can probably see the entire world magnified a jillion times like what we can see in these mirrors. But they see this way all the time. It isn’t something they can turn on and off, or choose to use only when it is needed, but it is something they are just stuck with (kind of like my super hero hearing). Do I need to tell you that the world magnified a jillion times isn’t going to be pretty? Hmm, well … it isn’t. Terrible things happen when you can see your face a jillion times bigger than it really is. I mean, my pores – they’re the size of moon craters, and there are many other strange and unpleasant things that I wish not to discuss. Although they are great for putting on mascara (I love mascara), I think I would probably pick my face off if I owned one of these mirrors. So, if you have one in your house – even if it is tucked away in the back corner of your bathroom closet shelf – I suggest you throw it away immediately. Right now. Go!

Today we will be leaving the super hero vision mirror and the Island of Kiawah behind. Ryan and I played with the idea of staying the night in Charleston, but I think we have vetoed it and settled for a quick drive through and maybe some lunch and shopping instead. We hear there is supposed to be a ferocious snow storm (like maybe 2 centimeters and one gust of wind?) back in Charlotte, so I think we are just going to extend our vacation back home and stay safe uptown.

Do you know how much I miss Rex? A lot. I had dreams about him and woke up happy. I think he is part super hero cat though, and he knows when I am thinking about him. I hope I’m right.


Stopping Hunger and Un-Chopping Pillows

Today we spent two hours stopping hunger. I played the important role of the dried vegetable scooper, which was the third step at our assembly table. Most tables consisted of four or five workers, but ours had seven, so basically, we were badass. The steps in the Stop Hunger Now project are as follows:

1) Place a bag under a funnel.
2) Add a cup of dried soy.
3) Add a chicken favored vitamin.
4) Add a scoop of dried vegetables.
5) Add a cup of rice.
6) Put the bag in a box to be weighed and sealed.
7) Repeat 50,400 times.

For real. 50,400 meals were made today; each meal only costs $0.25 to make, and it feeds seven people. That’s a lot of people, people. The meals are going to Haiti, which is wonderful. But the dried veggies smelled like the soup mix that my mom makes spinach dip with, so I’m not really sure I’ll ever be able to eat that again.

Now we are back in our room, and I think if I took a bath I would make soup from all of the soy dust and vegetable aromas that are embedded in my skin. Oh, and since you were wondering, the answer is yes, we can step off of the bed into an opening in the wall and crawl through the other side and end up in the bath tub. It’s actually pretty neat; Ryan has done it once and I have probably done it about seven times. The bath tub is empty, of course. I like to think of it as an obstacle and a shortcut. Also, here at The Sanctuary, they karate chop their pillows. Have you heard of such a thing? There are probably close to a zillion pillows in this place, and it has been done to every single one of them (except for the ones in our room, which I have un-chopped). It’s so bizarre and obviously done very purposefully, but it makes all of the pillows look terribly sad. I will have to gather some photos, but they basically fluff up three pillows, put them into place, then say “Kiawah! Kiawah! Kiawah!” while they karate chop the top-center of each one. I haven’t exactly seen this happen, but I know it is true. I kind of feel like I am at Hogwarts – you know, the castle school from Harry Potter – and tonight, I’m going to wear my invisibility cloak and un-chop all of the pillows. Do you think I will get caught? I think it would be really hard to catch someone wearing an invisibility cloak. In fact, this morning I was in the shower and lost the cap to my razor, which is clear, and I thought: “Wow, it is really hard to find things that are invisible.” And I don’t think anyone can really argue with that.


Kiawah Island

Kiawah, Kiawah, Kiawah. If you say it three times fast, and with the correct enthusiasm and emphasis, you will feel like you are making the appropriate noises to star in an action packed kung-fu movie. Ryan and I are at The Sanctuary on Kiawah Island – near Charleston, SC. Today is the first day of his work’s leadership conference, and so far we have had a pretty relaxing time … not too much leadership or conferencing going on quite yet.

After being pulled over and given a warning by a 13 year old police officer, we arrived at the Sanctuary around midnight and set up shop in our room – fully equipped with handmade furniture and an ocean view. We did a little exploring and checked out the stars and the sand and the sea. This morning, we rose and attended breakfast – a yummy whole grain bagel and a fresh fruit salad, pineapple juice, water, and coffee. After breakfast, we revisited the sand and the sea – to see what it looked like in the daylight – and found bunches of starfish that had washed up with the last change of the tide. I love starfish, and it made me sad that they didn’t make it to eat and breathe from their bellies and crawl their five legged crawls around the ocean floor. Also, did they go through an official name change in the past twenty years? I feel like they are maybe called seastars now and will get offended if I call them starfish. Kind of like the Indian and Native American situation, but not so much?

Do you love the ocean? I do. It feels and smells like home to me.

After our walk on the beach, we got spa treatments, which were absolutely amazing. I was nervous about separating from Ryan to go to the girls’ side of the spa, but once I had my snazzy robe and plastic sandals, I was okay. Did you know I get really bad anxiety about being in new places and situations? Especially when there is the possibility of getting lost. Which I did. Lots of times. Who knew there were so many doors in a spa? We got there about 45 minutes early to use the saunas and steamrooms and pools, but I’m not very experienced in the spa setting, so I didn’t really know what to do with myself. (Maybe I just need more experience and practice? Okay!) Thus, I stepped into the sauna and had flash backs to Vegas in August, so I got out, sat on a chair, and drank two glasses of water. Thus, I had to pee a zillion times, and even had to get up in the middle of my massage to pee and almost fell down because my feet were so slippery from the lotion. Embarrassing. And then I got the giggles because I walk like a duck and she kept trying to straighten out my legs and feet, but I was so relaxed that they just kept flopping over and out. During the giggles, I had what felt like a sack of tea scented sand and rice covering my face, so I couldn’t even make eye contact to tell her I had the giggles, which made me giggle even more and tried to think of not funny things – like naming all 50 states (which I’ve been thinking about a lot lately). But the massage was wonderful – thank you, Ryan’s company – and we got to listen to Citizen Cope, which made my heart happy. Do you love Citizen Cope? You should. We listen to them every Sunday, so every Sunday we have happy hearts, which is good, because our hearts might be sad on Monday when we have to go back to work.

After the spa, we ordered room service, which was disappointing. Ryan said room service is always disappointing, which is even more disappointing, because I think you should be able to get the finest of fines in your room. I think we should play Phase 10 to get over the disappointment, and then begin to get ready for dinner. I might quiz him on the 50 states. Can you name them all? I only know half of the “50 Nifty United States” song, so that only gets me through the N states. But I think I forget some. And I forget some other letters too … there are just way too many. I think we should downsize.


Crafting Hearts and Alphas

This Sunday, my mom, sister, and I attended Michael’s 40% off everything sale. Well, that was too good to be true, so what we really attended was a 25% off everything sale that you had to have a coupon for. We love Michael’s and we love Michael’s coupons even more, but we arrived to this event sans coupon. Michael’s is not very pleased with you if you tell them you forgot your coupon, but we sent my sister up to talk to the sales associates because she just had a baby, and well, she should get whatever she wants. So they unhappily handed over one of their precious coupons (which Ashley claims came out of the trash can or was already used). Nevertheless, we all found some items to make our crafting hearts happy and purchased them for 25% off (mine were all 25% off of the clearance price – which was half of the original price!). Don’t you love a good deal? We do.

I found:
- A mouse pad for work ($0.75)
- Over 3800 punch out alphas in a variety of shapes and sizes ($7.50)
- A 60 sheet pack of 12x12 paper in metropolitan prints ($7.50)

Are you wondering what a punch out alpha is and why I thought I would need over 3800 of them? Ashley was too. She told me they would get old really fast. She is wrong. And she will want some, or want me to make to make her something, and I will not.

Here are some little postcards that I’ve come up with so far. The possibilities are endless – do you want me to make you something? I will if your name isn’t Ashley Swistak. What do you want it to say? What size do you want it? Colors? Do you want it to match your baby’s room or your office so you can put it in a 5x7 frame? Or maybe you just want a Valentine's Day card?  Okay!

(If you think I made one of these for you, then you are probably right, and I’m sorry for ruining the surprise. It is in the mail as we speak!)


Mento Memories

I have a theory about childhood memories: basically, after my parents’ generation, kids just stopped remembering. I am certain I had a lovely and loving childhood, filled with days of french fries, ballet, and imaginary play, but quite frankly, I don’t remember much.

My dad is a man of few words, but the stories he does tell are fully equipped with first and last names – like Stan Pulanowski and Frankie Kasalankovitz from his first grade class with Ms. Smith – and when they got on that fight on the playground and Stan punched Frankie over a purple crayon that little Jane wanted to color with. Yeah, exactly.

So my sister Ashley and I – we don’t remember much … Except for this, which revealed itself this past weekend while shopping with our mom:

Once every summer, Mom and Dad would pack us up in the minivan and head off to Williamsburg for an exhausting day of outlet shopping. Somewhere along the way in the early to mid 90s, Ashley and I each acquired a pack of Mentos. Do you love Mentos? I do. Have you had them within the past 10 years? Me neither. Can you eat a whole pack at a time? I can. Do you want to try? I wouldn’t recommend it. So these particular Mentos were of the fruit variety: pink, orange, and yellow, I believe. The mint ones are way better, but sometimes children make bad decisions and pick the colorful options over taste. When you have a sister, everything has to be equal. If she got a glass of milk, I got a glass of milk, if she got a stuffed cat, I got a stuffed cat, and so on.

After lunch, in the middle of a grown up clothing store - probably being loud, tired, and whiney - we decided it was time to eat our Mentos. We each tear open our tube of sweet, chewy, fruity goodness and pop a pink one (the best flavor of the three) in our mouth. When this is successfully devoured, we decide to simultaneously have another. Orange is next, and then yellow, and pink again. This carries on all day, until we are both down to the last precious Mento.

And do you know … as I carefully placed my Mento in my mouth, Ashley revealed an entire pack of Mentos, minus the first pink one. She had been lying! Pretending! Faking! Scheming! Dropping invisible candy into her mouth and chewing air, all to make her little sister terribly upset. So there I sat – pouting with a pocket full of tinfoil and paper – while she slowly savored her Mentos on the ride home to Virginia Beach.



Sweet Surprises

Ryan is back from New York, his big presentation is over, and I officially have my boyfriend back. Last night we ventured over to Birkdale and saw Up in the Air, which, with the exception of the ending, was very cute. While Ryan was buying tickets, I walked over to Starbucks for a Chai Tea Latte (with skim milk – in case you ever want to bring me one), and secretly purchased an oatmeal raisin cookie to snack on.

Usually it is an incredibly painful experience for me to sit through an entire movie, especially in a theater, with my overly sensitive ears and less than perfect vision. But, alas, I was a big girl, and made it all the way through the 120 minutes. Halfway through, I leaned over and whispered, “Is that George Clooney?” Ryan laughed and shook his head yes, and I said, “Oh. I think he’s hot.”  So while I was busy falling in love with GC while my boyfriend was sitting right next to me, I’d forgotten aout the cookie that was stashed away in my purse. Needless to say, when we left, I was very pleased with myself for having a cookie to eat when we got home.

Here’s what went down post-theater:

“I have a cookie!” I announced. “ I have a cookie! What do you have?!” Obviously, I knew he had nada. Zip. Nothing. And I had zero intentions of sharing my cookie, so I began skipping off to the car. I look back, and Ryan suddenly becomes very pleased with himself, smiling all big, and confidentely says, “I have Junior Mints!”

“Junior Mints?! You’re a liar!” I excitedly exclaim, astonished that he would make such a statement. He was wearing jeans, a plaid button up shirt, and a zip-up sweater jacket that surely had no room for a movie theater sized box of candy. “Show me!” I demanded. And so … are you ready for this? … still smiling, he simply hops up and down few times. And sure enough, the sound of Junior Mints clashing to and fro amidst their cardboard home is heard.

And home we went, to share our sweet surprises.


Once upon a time, I wanted a kitten. I wanted a really unique kitten that had one or more of the following qualities:
1) Is under 5 months
2) Looks like a tiger
3) Has heart shaped spots
4) Is primarily gray or white
5) Has two different colored eyes

So, I tra-la-la-ed my way to my company’s no-kill animal shelter to find my magical kitten.  The cats were watching Animal Planet on flat screen televisions, waiting in line for snacks, and lounging in their private kitty condos (true story, by the way). There was only one kitten, and her name was Five. Five was a long-haired, tortoise shelled brat. Basically, I hated Five. So while I was sadly accepting the fact that I would leave sans kitten, I noticed that items from my purse were scattered on the cat room floor. A pack of gum, receipts, my wallet, the USB cord for my camera (what, you don’t keep yours in your purse?), and a pen. Then a curious black cat looked up at me, admitting to the mischief with a clear plastic mint wrapper under his paw. And so we met.

I left the pet center with one year old black cat on an orange leash. No tiger stripes, no heart spots, two green eyes. Just your standard issue black cat with a history of rough-housing a toddler and opening doors with handles. His name … was Wookie. So I changed this immediately and called him Rex. Rex is badass and wears a skull collar and plays fetch. He also has very bad manners and is certifiably crazy with an adorable baby panther/black bear face. And I do not blame his first family for returning him for knocking down their child. I also do not blame them for naming him Wookie, because, in their defense, he does communicate via Chubaka noises.


Racing Microwaves

Yesterday I raced my microwave. I do this all the time and it is one of the few things I still do that makes me feel just a tiny bit crazy. I make up these situational prizes, like: If I can put all the dishes away before the microwave beeps, I’ll live happily ever after. Or sometimes I like to be super realistic and go for things like: If I can fold all the clothes that have been sitting in the dryer for two weeks before the washing machine stops, then I will win a million dollars. Oh, you didn’t know there was a magic laundry folding fairy that carried around millions? There is. Don’t you believe? You should.

But usually, it’s the microwave, and I think I started doing this around the time I was, oh, five. I probably couldn’t reach the microwave until I was 18, so maybe I’m exaggerating, but I do know that we had a stool. I say “had” because one day it broke when someone was standing on it. I called 911. It is the only time I’ve called 911, and I think we were all laughing by the time the paramedics left. Actually I think I was laughing a lot, but I knew I shouldn’t have been. I was probably 20. People falling down really makes me laugh. Don’t judge.

So when I was five, twelve, eighteen – racing microwaves – it was always a race to see if I could pee before it beeped. It wasn’t just that I had to pee to win, but I had to pee, flush, wash my hands, and be back in front of the microwave, all before it beeped. I did this often. Like every day. I wonder what I was making. Hopefully tea ... I really like tea. I thought I didn’t like Chamomile tea, but then I realized I just didn’t like the way the word “Chamomile” felt in my mouth. Something – perhaps the desperation of a sore throat? – made me try it, and it tastes like sweet fields and sunshine.

So when I was five, twelve, eighteen, twenty-four, my prizes were always the same. “I will be happy” and “I will fall in love” and “I will live happily ever after” and “I will win a million dollars”.

And sometimes I lose. Yesterday, I lost. But I finished putting my dishes away and enjoyed my steamed broccoli. The microwave will always be there, and so will the washing machine – there is always time for tea and there will always be clothes to fold. So, keep calm and carry on. Maybe my millions will come tomorrow.


My Basket

I have a basket. Its name is “Outgoing Mail” and it currently is empty. But today, someone will excitedly ask, “Can I put something in your basket?” – like it is an honor place their very important envelope filled with their deepest, darkest secrets (okay, so probably just bills or plats or other work documents) in my basket – instead of just leaving it in a pile on my desk. It makes me happy that the basket is held in such high regard. I think everyone should have a basket or two to fill with letters. I mean, who woudn’t want a basket of letters?



Sometimes I get really lost. I mean, really lost. And it can happen when I’m going somewhere completely regular. And by regular I mean: somewhere that I go more than once a week. By regular, what I really mean is: I get lost going to school, somewhere that I have driven at least twice a week for all of the weeks that have lead up to this one, the second one in my fourth semester of grad school. It’s not that I forget a not-so-memorable turn onto an unmarked road, but that I forget which way to go on the interstate. There are only two choices – north or south – but for some reason it is terribly hard for me to remember. Which is why I sometimes get really lost.

And sometimes I want to try new things. I’m a very picky eater – maybe the pickiest of pickies – but sometimes I just want to try something new. Like one time, I made a scrambled egg although I have never eaten an egg in my life. And then I threw it away without tasting it. Last night, I decided to make butternut squash fussili with spinach and grape tomatoes. This, I did taste. And then I threw it away. And then I had to have a bite of icecream to get the taste out of my mouth. Sometimes you should just stick with what you know. Even if what you know is frozen whole wheat bagels and broccoli.

And sometimes Rex plays war games on my feet when I’m sleeping and tries to bite my socks off. But I still love him.

Sometimes you just have to look past the war games.


Top Nine of O-Nine

2009 was good to me. Here’s what happened:

1) March 7, 2009: I found my Mr. Taylor. Then I told him he had a great smile. Then we fell in love. He believes in happily ever afters, which is one of the many reasons I found him.

2) April 12, 2009: Via an Easter egg, Ashley tells us she is pregnant. We spend the day in Blowing Rock, looking at the mountains, eating chocolate, and touching her non-existent baby bump.

3) June 26, 2009: Ryan and I head to Biloxi, Mississippi to celebrate his birthday and see our favorite local band Simplified play at the Hard Rock. He gets to play the tambourine to “Something Bigger”.  (Do you know this song?  You should.)

4) July 16, 2009: My best friends from college visit me in Charlotte to celebrate my birthday. They serenade me with Celine Dion and make it the best birthday ever.

5) August 1, 2009: Ryan takes me on my first trip to Vegas. In the short forty hours we are there, we go to Crue Fest and celebrate Sunday at the Rehab party at Hard Rock. Vegas is fun, but forty hours is certainly plenty.

6) September 19, 2009: My sweet friend Stacey gets married in Newport News, Virginia. Ryan accompanies me and entertains the college friends while I do Bride Squad activities – like tying together cinnamon sticks and getting my hair did.

7) November 25, 2009: Baby Alekzander is born just minutes before Thanksgiving morning.  I'm so lucky to live just a medium sized drive away from Ashley, Andrew, and the little one.  I can't wait to see what he makes of this big big world.

8) November 27, 2009: At 4am, I head to the airport to visit Ryan and meet his family in Illinois. We stay in an amazing condo in Chicago, walk to get chai tea lattes, make a last minute decision to see Jersey Boys, go to Banana Republic three times, and watch a Bears game.

9) Christmas 2009: Christmas happens three times this year. On Christmas day, Mom and Dad are stuck in a ferocious ice storm in Blowing Rock, so Ashley, Andrew, Alekzander and I exchange presents and then rewrap them. On the 26th, Santa comes, Mom and Dad make it down to Charlotte and we open and reopen our family gifts. On the 27th, Ryan flies home from Chicago and we spend a wonderful post-Christmas first Christmas together.

So there it is. And I anticipate 2010 being even better. Is that wishful thinking? I believe in wishes ... don’t you?


Butterflies and Beginnings

One good thing about beginnings is that they always have butterflies. Well, my beginnings have butterflies. Maybe your beginnings have frogs or zebras or even octopuses – and if that is the case, then maybe your beginnings just aren’t quite like mine. But let’s begin with butterflies:

I am Tessa and simple. I am mascara, smiles, and broccoli. I am dances on furniture and drives in silence. I am baby lover. Did you know I love babies? I am aunt and best friend, sister and daughter, student and in love. I am hairspray and oceans, colorless photographs and sleeps ten hours at a time. I am cat and blankets, oatmeal, yoga pants, and all caps handwriting. I am sunglasses in the winter type of happy. I am fish faces and happily ever afters. I am skim milk, lip gloss, and twenty-four. I am independent and horrible with numbers. I am cinnamon and pumpkin, winter scents year round. I am one cup of coffee, one cup of tea, and artificial sweetener. I am not going to get cancer from Splenda. I am bookcases and flip flops, boots and sunshine. I am October, Pita-Pit, city, and sand. I am four trips to Target a week – how many are you? I am snuggles in the morning, perfectionist, and holidays. I am red wine and goldfish, Virginia and North Carolina – all at the same time. I am girl and Tessa and simple. And I do believe in butterflies.