In which I (re)solute myself

Dear B,

You have to stop with the sugar. Incorporate an actual fruit and a vegetable into every meal (lemon-lime is a flavor, not a fruit, pal). Stop eating when you’re full. You are not entitled to a dessert after every meal. Your thighs are tired of this dialogue: excuse me, pardon me, excuse me, pardon me… you could be in control if you really wanted to.

Along those lines, when your body figures out how to adequately fuel itself, exercise more than “whenever”. Walk daily, at least. Participate in a cardio activity and lift 3 times per week. You have a top-notch heart rate monitor?! You’re  in the season of life when people glance at your midsection and say, sooooooo? You’re running out of jokes for that one. You like exercise. You have a good bike. Running makes you proud. None of your clothes fit. Get to steppin.

Per the first two, speak kindly to yourself once we’re finished with this list. To quote your own self circa 2009: Be yourself and trust that who you are is good enough, cool enough, nice enough, honest enough, funny enough, pretty enough, smart enough and competent enough.

Maintain a schedule. Wake up and carry out your appointments and/or write your reports no matter who is on Ellen. It does not help when the end of the month rolls around and you’ve only seen so-and-so twice instead of 6 times because their time slot is at 2. Same as Ellen. Ellen does not pay your bills. Progress notes pay your bills.

 

Clean your blasted car, girlfriend.  It is your office space, and no one likes goldfish crumbs or frosty drops all over their desk. Although, if you follow #1, you shouldn’t have a problem with the frosty drips anymore. It’s annoying for all of us when you have to spend 10 minutes collecting then thousand games and art supplies off the backseat and into the trunk before anyone can sit down. Don’t even get me started on the melted crayons. Respect your space.  Clean it.

Water the plants! You are inattentive, and they will die. Do it. Every Sunday or something. Don’t even think about a dog or kids until you can manage this.

Develop a plan and do something with the front flower bed. Rip out that one last shrub, and create something spectacular there!

Become organized. Label your files. File your receipts. Archive old files. Maintain the system. It will facilitate the stress-reduction goal mentioned above. Oh, and maintain a home office. The ottoman doesn’t count.

Get more than 6 hours of sleep per night. At one time this meant limiting midnight back-to-back episodes of Chelsea Lately and Sex and the City. Now it means putting your kindle down and stepping away from book series. What is WRONG with you? Sleep is better!

Stop buying Kindle books willy-nilly. You cannot be trusted to a) buy in moderation b) stop reading before 3am.

Make some friends. Yikes. Don’t know how to help you with this one. Two words: act normal.

Pass your LCSW exam in April. (That means start studying for this, like, yesterday)

Become certified in CISM and follow-up with the opportunities and resources that have been offered to you. It will open doors.

Go to France. Jeff needs to meet Mr. Gay, and Mr. Gay needs a hug, probably. You need to hear these things again at least once in your life: Bwooookie? Happy. Bwookie resemble Karen. Thank you, Bwookie. Happy. Happy. Happy.

Stick to the budget. No exceptions.

Write daily. No matter what, about anything. Okay, maybe daily isn’t realistic. 5 times per week? Three? Done. Three times per week, you will write.

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2011: stealth deliverer of good things

Before I write anything, I would like to share that “ninja spanker” was my top search this week. Where do people come up with these things? And also, how did my space become relevant to ninja spankers? (As I type this, I recall mentioning Spanker Banker after Krewe du Vieux sometime in 2008, and also dressing up as a ninja for Halloween that year and fighting pirates on Jackson Square. The internet don’t forget, y’all).

That said, it’s been two years since I did a year in review, two years since I wrote some resolutions, and consequently, two years since I resolved some resolutions. In the two year gap, I got engaged, got married, moved to a new city, bought a house, started 3 new jobs, graduated, became licensed, acquired a couple more nieces- you know: Almost all of the most important things that can happen to a person besides being born. Now that I sit down to review last year, it seems like nothing happened.  But alas. It did.

January  Co-piloted a tiny plane from Belize City to PG. Swam in a blue creek. Climbed into a cave. Met some fun UWisc Physical Therapy peeps. Watched the Rose Bowl on a rigged up TV, under a thatch roof outside, sitting on benches removed from a mini-van. Spent nights in tiny cabins above water. Ate seafood caught on a kayak with a spear. Took a 6 hour bus to Cayo. Shed tears over this discussion with my former supervisor: “Your work is being used here, Brooke. Every day.” Discovered God doesn’t need a person to use a person. Understood that sometimes we don’t even know we’ve been used. Said goodbye to the BZ. Again.

More pics: here

February  Worked a 16-hour shift during Snowpocolypse 2011 and felt like a Lamb in a Bow Tie. Discovered, via Jeff, that cross-country skiing on the Monon during an ice storm is possible, and acceptable. Went to New Orleans and spent time with my good ole friends and co-workers. Got my Haydels King Cake. Got my Abita. Got my Steins, my Surreys, my house party with a nice brownie spread, my 2 days of 65/sunny, got my washboard band, got my Kim, got my Mandy. Could not have been happier until Tator Tachos appeared. Realized (besides the availability of junk food & supportive social worker friends) why the NOLA feels like home: it’s where I fell in love! J and my’s entire do-I-like-you-do-I-love-you-I-totally-love-you-let’s-get-a-daiquiri-let’s-get-married happened here. Sigh :)

March Went to Cuba Belize Mexico Belize Cuba Belize. Cuba with some good friends. (If you’re an immigration officer, I would like to state for the record I oppose the embargo.)  Had many rooftop mojitos. I neither confirm nor deny the Cuban cigar or the night dancing in Old Havana. Listened to old men argue about baseball in the center of the park. Watched a Cuban baseball game. Became entranced by and forever drawn to Cuba and its music. Thanks friends!

More pics: here

April  Unveiled Brooke 3.0 to the public. Not so bad, 30. Received breakfast in bed from a dude I thank God for by the minute, and a tent. Promptly camped in the backyard. Celebrated Lil’s 3rd birthday (where does time go?) Took down the Christmas tree… and put it in the Monon. Can you find it? Spent Easter with the Hartmans in WI, and got the Easter flu, which everyone mistook for morning sickness. If that had been the case, I’d be 9 months pregnant today. Told you guys.

May Started a new job! Waved goodbye to the hospital (although I still pick up ER shifts here and there when they need help) and joined a private practice in Carmel. Hosted the Kaminski Fam for Memorial Day and ran around Lucas Oil. Celebrated J’s birthday. He continues to be in his 30s. That’s all he would want you to know, I think.

June Celebrated our first anniversary with a romantic evening alone the Hartmans, Kaminiskis, Sellers, Sharon, Pat and 2500 others for the 18th annual Indy Nite Ride. Jeff and I enjoyed a burger at Bub’s after everyone left. The event has facilitated use of the following statement all year to justify anything we’ve wanted ever since: Well, this can be our anniversary meal/gift/trip since we didn’t really have one? Celebrated Maycie’s 2nd Birthday. Love her.

July Breckenridge! This was our anniversary trip, since we didn’t really have one. Also, it was truly the anniversary and location of our honeymoon! Hiked some hikes. Snapped some pics. Ate some good food. Drank with friends. Hot-tubbed with family. Surfed on snowfields. Biked down Vail pass. Garden of the Gods. Pike’s Peak. Celebrated a Hartman (the original Hartman- well, not the original original, but the Ron & Kathy Hartman ) Anniversary. This one gets 2 rows of pics, because I’m the boss of this space, and it’s what I want to do.

  More pics: here

August Hosted the Sellers/Wilsons for Labor Day. Shucked some corn. Grilled some food. Played with some noopy nieces. Dad’s family reunion in Brown County. Spent some time in Nashville and a good night at a Brewery. Hosted Elaine & Doug, also Sprinky. Cut into a sex cake. Found out E&D are having a boy! Can’t wait to meet brand new Baby Luke.

    More pics: here

September visited some good (fun!) friends in NYC. This was our anniversary trip, since we didn’t really have one. These friends appreciate my knowledge of pop culture, which is sometimes a foreign language to J (although he is the one who first informed me of the Kim/Chris split and insisted I see Bridesmaids. He heard both on sports radio). Observed 9/11. Held the Statue of Liberty in our palms. Went to the Catskills. Ate some good food. Played with an adorable baby. Participated in the first bonfire of Fall. Played in a kickball tournament, concussed myself on the pavement. Celebrated Callie’s first birthday. Love her. Joined a small group at church. Made some friends.

   More pics: here

October Destin! I know I’ve said this before, but this was our anniversary trip, since we didn’t really have one. Plus it was the location of our other honeymoon, between the ceremony and actual honeymoon in Breck. Spent some time with the Grampies. Spent some time at the Blossfolly (ceremony beachouse) beach, for nostalgia’s sake. Ate dinner at Henderson Park Inn, where God gave us the most amazing anniversary sunset ever imagined.

More pics: here and here

November Hosted the fam(s) for Thanksgiving: Hartmans, Sellers, the Grampies, Wilsons, Kaminskis, Sharon, & Grams. Got rear ended. Saw THREE rainbows in one day. Spent a noopy weekend with Callie.

December Watched the Badgers win the Big Ten Championships. For reasons unexplained, my nieces started calling me Uncle Brooklyn. Dressed up in snowflake placemats & battery operated lights for a party. Celebrated our engageaversary in Chicago on the 96th floor. Celebrated Christmas in Iowa, Wisconsin, Indy, and Sprinky (not a place, but a BFF). Celebrated the last moments of 2011 with good old friends and good new friends.

          More pics: here

The End! Cheers to all for such a great year, and thanks for the friends who hosted us.

My blog brings all the Raccoons to the yard

A few years ago I found this little thing on my blog that keeps track of page referrals.  I was thrilled/disturbed to discover my words were a resource for immunization-seeking, parasitic, shingly or scabie ridden people who have blood in their stool but want it to turn out okay, for those seeking life-changing moments in either Paris or unemployment, for pregnant women in 19th week, and also for the Jewish. Go ahead. Google “stirrups doctor Indonesia me, there I am. Top of the page.

Tonight I logged on to see which health issues I might be inadvertently talking people through this year. Parasites? MRSA? It turns out, I have become quite influential in the field of… raccoons. Over 200 searches with 3-5 hits each, on the following (actual) searched topics:

Sleepy raccoon
Happy Thanksgiving raccoon
Raccoon driving a car
Smiling raccoon photos
Grilled raccoon
Raccoon climbing wall
Raccoon in red truck
A raccoon having sex
Raccoon crap
Raccoon homes
Raccoon wine
Raccoon fighting
Raccoon diet
Funny raccoon
Broke raccoon
Raccoon dancing
Mean raccoon pictures
Raccoon phone
World record raccoon
Raccoon ninja
Raccoon stare
Raccoon in school
Violent raccoon
Hilarious raccoon
Running raccoon
Raccoon thief
Caribbean raccoon
Funny raccoons driving
Birthday raccoon
Strange raccoon behavior
Raccoon house
Cute outfits for raccoon
Raccoon man
Raccoon jokes
Raccoon street in Belize City
Raccoon at bus stop
Raccoon in car
Wet raccoon
Raccoon toast

What?! I would deny any association to this raccoon business, except for that one time when I actually did post a picture of a raccoon chained up in the back of a truck in Belize linked with the following sentence: The minute I caught that first campfire and coconut smell and saw my first raccoon on a chain in the back of a truck, I knew I was home in BZ.

Just like that, my blog-fluence was hijacked by this raccoon. Although, honestly, he looks very sad. Maybe it’s not his fault? Just his other dancing, mean, sleepy, smiling, world-record breaking, ninja ones driving cars, and on the phone in cute outfits, or else the wet and thieving ones in the Caribbean. It was probably those guys.

Raccoon searchers, you’re the best. Thanks for keeping this space active.

Honorable Mention Searches

lipglosses that are exotic colors
(Guilty as charged)

denise sex fort wayne video
What kind of space do you think this is? (And Denise who?)

ninja shoes
Of course

“peed her pants”  
Yep. Google knows me.

hallmark card “thinks I’m funny” 
Punchline: they didn’t

sweatpants bulge
(Seriously, Google? I’m working on it)

friends are just parasites
Aren’t they?

sprinky lobster
I’m sorry. Did you say Sprinky Lobster?

kickball angry pirates
Yeah I got all those things

Are you going back to the room, babe?

I know! Let’s go to the quarter.
We don’t live in New Orleans.
Oh.

Want to go to the lake?
But we don’t have a boat.
Oh.

We could call our friends- maybe they have a boat?
But we don’t have any friends.
Yeah we do. We have those one friends.
They’re in Ohio.
Oh.

Let’s go to Taste of Madison!
We don’t live in Wisconsin.
Daggers.

How about a hike.
Where? It’s 96 degrees.
Ugh.

Let’s take the kids to the pool.
We don’t have any kids.
Crap.

We could ride our bikes to B. Ripp for lunch and–?
Nope.
Fine.

Having already covered this in other cities, I immediately knew what we had to do:

Get iced coffees and sneak into the Sheraton Rooftop Pool downtown, duh.

In which we pretend to be staying here: Are you going back to the room, babe?

Resolved. 13 to 3.

Goodbye, 2009. You were Awesome.  Let’s look at the list of things I promised you:

Wear less sweatpants. This is the beauty of a tropical climate. You own a thousand cute outfits that are perfectly wearable year round. Hello? After writing this last year, I immediately went to the outlets and bought 2 pears of comfy warm sweatpants from J. Crew- including the infamous “yellow sweatpants” from Vegas. However, after Mardi Gras, I did go organic and accidentally lose a bunch of weight which allowed me to wear pants without elastic waistbands more often. I even got new jeans. Resolved.

Do not wait until the last minute to read an entire semester’s worth of articles. You are paying a trillion dollars for this education, so you might as well learn actual theories and not just Marva Lewis’s notes on attachment via overhead (read: iChat). I never took Marva Lewis again. Resolved.

Get more than 6 hours of sleep per night. This will likely mean limiting midnight back-to-back episodes of Chelsea Lately and Sex and the City. You will manage. Ummm. Mostly resolved. It resolved itself when I went to Belize.

Remember the athletic center you are forced to pay $900 a semester to use? Go to it. Your friends used to have to come pick you up because you rode your bike too long and too far. Figure out where that bike riding joy went and reinstate it. Except, don’t ride yourself silly in New Orleans. You will get kidnapped. I never bought a bike. Unresolved. But I joined the ABT class at the Athletic center and started swimming when the weather got warm. I also took up running again for about 2 weeks. Resolved.

Do not drink Diet Coke for breakfast. Start each morning with a giant glass of water. End each day with a giant glass of water. If you must have the Diet Coke, at least buy it from the machine where Molly won $1.25 and haunted house tickets. Unresolved. End of Story.

Stop writing emails on Ambien. If you send an email after 10 pm, there’s a good chance it was written under the influence (cough, Judy Lewis). You are not more hilarious on Ambien. You simply have no filter. Find the tool on gmail that screens for irresponsible emailing and enable it.  I’m 5 months off the Ambien! Resolved!

Stop being so afraid of new things the first time around. They always turn out just fine. Unresolved. I’m always afraid of new things. I just don’t like change.

Be patient. Timing is everything. Patience is not really my thing, but in this particular circumstance (and I remember what it was when I wrote this) I was. And it paid off. Resolved!

Clean your apartment so you can begin hosting the over-promised, under-delivered hot tub reading parties and Sex and the City Sundays. Your home should be your place. That means you should be able to walk through it without having to scale piles of clothes. Cleaning- Unresolved. Hot tub parties- Resolved!

Purchase cleaning supplies and hangers. Resolved.

Be intentional with keep-in-touch-Sunday even when other things try to crowd it out. Relationships are most important. Don’t forget.  You tell me?

Ski. You know you want to. Un. Re. Solved.

You are about to become an intern again. Be yourself and trust that who you are is good enough, cool enough, nice enough, honest enough, funny enough, pretty enough, smart enough and competent enough.  Resolved. Right, Mia? Riiiight?

Embrace the next eight months and try everything. You’ll never get this season back. Resolved. Mostly- with a few grass is greener… moments.

Graduate! It’s sort of the point. Re-to-the-solved!

Allow God to lead your heart. He did a fantastic job in 2008, and if you pay attention, your whole life could be as amazing. Resolved :)

Lets get this party started.

IMG_3209_2

Dear B,

Wear less sweatpants. This is the beauty of a tropical climate. You own a thousand cute outfits that are perfectly wearable year round. Hello?

Do not wait until the last minute to read an entire semester’s worth of articles. You are paying a trillion dollars for this education, so you might as well learn actual theories and not just Marva Lewis’s notes on attachment via overhead (read: iChat).

Get more than 6 hours of sleep per night. This will likely mean limiting midnight back-to-back episodes of Chelsea Lately and Sex and the City. You will manage.

Remember the athletic center you are forced to pay $900 a semester to use? Go to it. Your friends used to have to come pick you up because you rode your bike too long and too far. Figure out where that bike riding joy went and reinstate it. Except, don’t ride yourself silly in New Orleans. You will get kidnapped.

Do not drink Diet Coke for breakfast. Start each morning with a giant glass of water. End each day with a giant glass of water. If you must have the Diet Coke, at least buy it from the machine where Molly won $1.25 and haunted house tickets.

Stop writing emails on Ambien. If you send an email after 10 pm, there’s a good chance it was written under the influence (cough, Judy Lewis). You are not more hilarious on Ambien. You simply have no filter. Find the tool on gmail that screens for irresponsible emailing and enable it.

Stop being so afraid of new things the first time around. They always turn out just fine.

Be patient. Timing is everything.

Clean your apartment so you can begin hosting the over-promised, under-delivered hot tub reading parties and Sex and the City Sundays. Your home should be your place. That means you should be able to walk through it without having to scale piles of clothes.

Purchase cleaning supplies and hangers.

Be intentional with keep-in-touch-Sunday even when other things try to crowd it out. Relationships are most important. Don’t forget.

Ski. You know you want to.

You are about to become an intern again. Be yourself and trust that who you are is good enough, cool enough, nice enough, honest enough, funny enough, pretty enough, smart enough and competent enough.

Embrace the next eight months and try everything. You’ll never get this season back.

Graduate! It’s sort of the point.

Allow God to lead your heart. He did a fantastic job in 2008, and if you pay attention, your whole life could be as amazing.

Love,
B.

Dear TUFW: don’t go!

I can’t believe TUFW is closing.

In the back of my mind—this is how painfully hopeful the world inside my brain is—as long as the school was there, we were all still somehow connected. At least there was a building and a lot to prove we ever were, and a dorm over by the woods off Lexington hanging onto a hopeless panicky eighteen year-old version of me, and a dorm next to the old cafeteria that always feels like a giant hug when I picture it inside. Two windows to the right of the door, on the second floor, is where I realized there was a chance I might be smart and capable and not crazy at all, but loved, actually. It changed my trajectory.

I feel like part of our history is disappearing. It’s the only place that ever felt like home; a place I can walk into even 5 years later and take a hopeful breath. One time someone loved me here, is what I think when I walk inside.

I’m so sorry for the staff and faculty being uprooted and displaced. I just can’t imagine:
A- how shocked and sad and uncertain everyone must feel
B- not being able to stop in and say hey to Dr. Cook or James or Tami whenever I secretly need to touch down on home base for a sec.

It’s heartbreaking on all accounts.

When I don’t feel so strange, I’ll do some kind of hilarious best memories post. But for now I just want to go home and hug people, and then pee on the library for old times’ sake.

(kidding)

Dear TUFW: don’t go!