Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Sometimes when I feel sick and I don't know why, I worry that I am Patient Zero for some new and horrible disease.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Troy Brouwer Is Now A Washington Capital, Or, Why I Hate Summer

Hockey trades are made in the off season. They're made during the regular season too, but the off season is the time for reenvisioning a franchise, recalculating who you can afford under the salary cap, signing players to long contracts and locking down pending free agents. And inevitably teams change, sometimes dramatically, sometimes subtly. Sometimes to the delight of fans and sometimes to our chagrin.

And I hate it.

Seriously, it's like when they change facebook, or, when I was a kid, when my dance teacher used to rechoreograph our recital pieces. Even though I know from experience that I will accept and even like the changes within weeks, days, or sometimes hours, I still can't shake the feeling of betrayal. Even though I know I'll look back on the old version with nothing more than faint regret (if that), I still feel if something has been irrevocably lost. I guess I just don't deal well with change.

Reliving College

In counterpoint to the classy party of Tuesday night, we spent Friday in an apartment empty but for a single  sphere chair, a flat screen tv, and the internet (lacking only a bong and a guitar to truly be a College Apartment) drinking rum and cokes out of Solo cups. Then we ate mac and cheese while sitting on the kitchen floor at one am. It was refreshing.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Midsummer's Night Cocktail Party

Obviously, the most important part.

Lots of pretty glasses, and shaker all ready to go. (It's really hard to take a picture in my sun porch without either the ugly a/c unit or the ugly radiator in it.)

Fresh squeezed lemon, lime, and grapefruit juice.

Lime and berry garnishes for drinks. 


The living room.

The living room from a different angle.

Candles in the fireplace and fresh flowers.


 The food table!

The menu: humus (Mandy's unconventional recipe with lots of rosemary and oregano) and baked pita wedges with olive oil, salt, and oregano. 

Strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries with whipped cream (with a touch of vanilla and sugar). 

Trader Joe's multigrain crackers with cheddar cheese and grape tomatos or Usinger's garlic summer sausage with dijon mustard. 

Vanilla sour cream cupcakes with buttercream frosting and gold dust and silver ball decorations (illegal in California).

Fancy cupcake picture.

The orchid that lives in my shower decorated the bathroom for the night.

What time is it? Cocktail time! 

Sadly though, I have very few pictures of the party itself. I think someone else took some, and if I get ahold of them, I will post them. Although it was hot (appropriately for Midsummer), we had a lovely time. Everyone dressed very well. We drank lots of cocktails (champagne with berry garnishes, White Ladies (gin, Contreau, and lemon or lime juice with a lime garnish) and Manhattans (whiskey, sweet red and dry white vermouth, with a dash of bitters and a cherry)), ate food, and had sparkling conversation. All in all, a success!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

News and Notes

1. In an unprecedented fit of spontaneity (note: this is a really hard word to spell) the Merwins have booked a five day visit to Chicago in late July. Highlights from the family Skype conference preceding the booking included an argument about the noise level of mouse clicks as heard over skype, a discussion of country music lyrics, and the following conversation:

Larry: There are going to be some rules when we all meet up.
Jack: Like what? We're only allowed to talk about hockey 50% of the time?
Larry: Yes, but reduce that by an order of magnitude.
Laura: 5%? That's not very much! What are the other rules?
Larry: That's it. That's the only one.
Laura: So when you said 'there are some rules' you meant 'there is one rule'?
Larry: Yes.

2. Do you always wait for the longest day of the year and then miss it? I always wait for the longest day of the year and then miss it. But not this year! This year I am having a super fancy Midsummer's Night Cocktail Party, and if I remember to take pictures, I will post them.

3. Only 104 days until the beginning of the new NHL season! And even fewer until the first preseason game, which, for the Blackhawks, will be against the Edmonton Oilers in Saskatoon. Why is it in Saskatoon, you ask? I really cannot say. Perhaps it is because 'Saskatoon' is such a funny name that they just could not resist.

4. I really only have three news and notes things, so here are some adorable pictures of a Winnie-the-Pooh/Star Wars mashup that my brother found at

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Sample Of Texts With My Brother During Game Six Of The Stanley Cup Final

Jack 7:08 You watching?
Me: 7:12 It hasn't even started yet.

Me 7:18 Why do the canadians have so much better of an anthem than we do?
Jack 7:19 [something derogetory about the canadian national anthem]

Jack 7:36 This is intense.

[Boston scores twice]

Me 7:38 Bodes ill for van that they are already showing rxn shots of cory schneider [Vancouver's backup goalie] on the bench
Jack 7:39 Bodes ill for van that they are down two at Boston

[Boston scores twice more bringing their total to four unanswered goals in four minutes in the first half of the first period, and breaking some playoff records]

Jack 7:46 Are they allowed to surrender do you think?

[The game proceeds. Van can't claw their way back. There is a lot of shoving. Our comments on the game are not very funny.]

Jack 10:04 Suggestion for new US anthem: Don't Stop Believing
Me 10:05 Whose attention do I call to that do you think? Do I write my congressman?
Jack 10:06 Well you live in Chicago. I think you just pay him
Me 10:07 Who do I make the check out to? Never mind, I'm just going to stick some cash in an envelope

[The game ends 5-2 to absolutely no one's surprise. The announcers have been talking almost exclusively about game seven since the second period.]

Jack 10:08 Holy shit Chara [Boston captain with 106 mph slap shot] is big. He hugged Tim Thomas [Boston goalie, rocks a lucky porn star stache] and he's like a head over him.
Me 10:09 He's huge. And when he doesn't have a beard he looks a little like voldemort. [This is objectively true. Google image search him if you don't believe me]

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Heat Wave

I totally understand why crime waves go with heat waves. I am not the most patient person in the world, and when it's hot, the marginal amount of patience I am capable of shrinks to nearly nothing. When it's 95 degrees with 80% humidity, I can see being in a position where a violent crime spree just seems like the logical thing to do.

In case it's not clear, it's really fucking hot here. It upsets my stomach and I can't sleep properly. Chicago, at least this year, seems not to be capable of moderate weather. It's either freezing or boiling. Seriously, who thought it would be a good idea to build a city on a marsh where the weather always sucks?

This weekend, family fun:

It's never too early to acquire that taste. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Weekend To Don't List For Visit To Extended Family

1. Don't swear.
2. Don't talk about evolution.
3. Don't wear shorts to church.
4. Don't talk about politics.
5. Don't mention church-going habits (or lack thereof, or the fact that when I do go it's with the *gasp* Catholics).
6. Don't mention anything that has ever been followed by the comment "DTG." (Yes, we have an aconym for "Don't Tell Grandma," draw your own conclusions.) (Shit, it's a long list of anythings.)
7. Really, seriously, don't swear.