kris

No longer lost

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me: "I need help."

him: "With what?"

"I'm lost. I no longer believe tomorrow is going to be better than today."

*pause*

"But isn't the day just what you make of it?"

*blink*

*blink* *blink*

(I think I started crying right about here.)

Thanks, Kris. You are the best.

Mmmmmm... delicious

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Not five minutes after we left the field yesterday, my phone rang as Chookie was driving the three of us back home. I answered, and Fatty Fat Andy (Fisher, a necessary distinction in this story) asked if I could pick him up from the airport, his roommate having just bailed on picking him up in four hours or so. Kris and I had plans with Skinny Andy (Crews, see? you needed the distinction), but figured I could sneak away as needed after dinner to pick him up.

A nice advantage to living 15 minutes door to door to the airport: picking people up from it is No Big Deal.

A couple hours later, when Kris and I arrived at Skinny Andy's house, I commented to Skinny Boy that I would need to dash away around 8 to pick up Fatty, I hoped that would be okay. Skinny Boy agreed it would be fine, and hey, if we go to the Cheesecake Factory (my current favorite dessert restaurant, trumping Cold Stone Creamery as of late), we could be even closer to the airport.

So, after dinner, the three of us, along with Blue and Shadow, piled into Andy's car and off we went to the Factory. After arriving, and realizing there were no bar seats available, we decided to order to-go, including a fourth slice for Fatty Fat. We looked at all our 1500 calorie choices, and found this one:

Low Carb Cheesecake

Yes, people, you see that correctly. Low Carb Cheesecake.

The three of us looked at that cheesecake, burst out laughing, and immediately agreed that Fatty Fat would receive the Low Carb Cheesecake Made With Splenda. After all, who else would be a better candidate for such a tasty bite?

I went to the counter, and ordered a slice of the French Silk Chocolate cheesecake, a slice of the Vanilla Bean cheesecake, a slice of the Key Lime cheesecake, and a slice of the Low Carb Cheesecake Made With Splenda.

The guy on the other side of the counter paused at the last slice, looked up at me and stated, "You don't want that."

Startled, I could only respond wittily with "I don't?"

Quite the comeback, eh?

"No, you don't want that."

"Why not?"

"Low Carb? Cheesecake? They don't go together. You don't want that."

Skinny Boy piped up next to me, "But it's for a prank."

"A cruel one at that. You don't want the Low Carb," the guy behind the counter insisted.

Okay, okay, I relented, and ordered a slice of the White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle cheesecaske, my favorite after Pumpkin cheesecake.

As we were standing there waiting for our order, Kris piped up, "So, man, how far did you get with the Low Carb?" asking the guy who took our order.

He turned to us. "I haven't. I've never tried it."

"WHAT?!" Good lord, man, you haven't tried it but you won't let us order it? Dammit, man, "I'd like to order a slice."

He looked at me, shrugged his shoulders, and rang one up for me.

The three of us waited for our order of five cheesecake slices, then wandered to the car to be greeted by two happy, cramped dogs, and managed to distribute our slices before Fatty Fat called, he had just landed, and would be walking to the pickup spot shortly. Off we went to pick him up.

After a round about the airport and a valiant attempt not to be shooed away from the curb while waiting for Fatty Fat, we found him. He piled into the car, and off we went back to Skinny Boy's house. Kris handed Fatty Fat his cheesecake, and we all waited with bated breath.

Two bites later, "MMMMMMMmmmmmmmMMMMMMMMmmmmmmMmm! Thanks guys! It's DEE-LISH-US!"

Unable to contain ourselves, the three of us burst into laughter.

Oh, sure, we eventually gave him the tasty raspberry slice, and, sure, we told him about what we had done.

And, maybe, just maybe, the second slice tasted better than the first.

But only in comparison.

Still playing!

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All righty then, let's check out how things stand here.

Left foot: strained muscle.
Right foot: bruised small toe from being stepped on.
Both calves: tight and not working very well.
Left knee: sore from the 3 points I played without a knee brace
Right knee: bruised and tender to the touch where I knocked knees with another player.
Hamstrings: too tight to function well.
Abs: too exhausted and sore to laugh.
Right elbow: sore from being jammed
Right forearm: contusion, tender to even the softest touch
Right hand: outer bones bruised from being stepped on
Upper back: bad sunburn that may take 2-3 days to heal
Lips: also tragically sunburned

Attitude: unbelievably happy for having played in a two day tournament with Kris.

We played three games today, keeping pace with the number one seed in the chump division for the first half of the game. We seem to be able to do that pretty well: hang until sixes, scaring the other team sufficiently before they realize, holy crap, we better start playing for real. That, and the wind is the game's great equalizer. I had a good time putting on a hard mark in the cup, managing to chest thump a number of guys before they realized, hey, this chick is fouling me! I commented to Kris that I was probably being overaggressive on the mark, to which he replied, nah, I was putting on a Nationals Mark™: go over the line to find it, then come back to be in front of it. If you don't know how aggressive the other player is going to be, be overly aggressive, then rein it back in.

We lost the first game, 8-12, to the eventual winner of the chump division, so dropped into the 5-8 bracket. Our next game was against a team that I'd seen practice in the East Bay when the Women's Master's team I was on was practicing before Nationals. I recognized a couple women on the team who had tried out for Mischief, too, so my intimidation factor was low. Our two teams traded points until 3s, when Kris said stop playing zone defense, since it's clearly not working. Switching to man defense enabled us to spread out their players better, forcing longer throws, which resulted in more turnovers. We took half 8-3 and pretty much shutdown.

Yeah, we let our guard down and could not seem to reengage it. The cap went on at 13-10, with their scoring 4 points in a row to bring the score even close. We did win 15-11, but only because our top line went in to finish the game. That type of sloppy play, while understandable, is completely frustrating.

Because we won our second game, we were in the 5-6 position (yay, breaking seed by 6-7 places!), but were going to have to play against a team that we'd already played yesterday. I wasn't interested in that, and was actually interested in just forfeiting the next game and going home. Everyone else SEEMED interested in playing another game, so I found the other team to play. Except that we didn't really want to play that game. It was torturous. We threw away more discs and dropped enough more that the final score of 6-13 doesn't begin to describe just how poorly we played.

Still, I had a great time playing with Kris. Oh, my seeing him out there again was AWESOME.

Hopes and expectations

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Kris bounded out of bed this morning after sleeping through a good three minutes of the alarm and enduring an insistent nudge from me to start his day. The sky was still dark, the dogs still snoring away in their beds. On his way to the bathroom, Kris called out "Ul-ti-mate!" in the jingle we use to sing the word, and might have done a small jig.

For the first time in just under two years, Kris was going to an ultimate tournament, and we were going together. Sure, he's been at practice for the last comple months, and talking about various ways to improve the team, but this is the first tournament he's signed up for, and the first one with the Cows.

Seems so weird to be playing with the Cows, almost as if I've come full circle. On one of my first visits to the Bay Area to spend time with Guy, I wandered into the Cows practice at Stanford. When I asked if the game was a pickup game, I was swift rebuked: no, it was a closed practice with the implication of don't bother us. And the rest was history. Without that rebuke, I would most likely never have met Kris in circumstances that allowed us to become close. And how much sadder would my life have been?

"Why do I get up a hour earlier for ultimate than I do for work?" Kris asked me as he pawed through his clothes to find his ultimate clothes. Though I really have no idea why ultimate players do it, we do. And we do it for free. Must be about the love of the game.

As we were piling our bags into the car, I commented to Kris about just how excited I was to be playing in this tournament. Heading off to the tournament was invigorating: I was going off to Do Something with Kris, we were playing ultimate together, we were on a team seeded 12 out of 13 having only up to go, we were going to hang out with a cool group of people all day, we were playing ultimate together, the team had no expectations of winning even half its games, much less the whole tournament.

That last one was key. We had no expectations.

Ultimate was fun again. It wasn't a win or die of shame situation. It wasn't a high pressure situation. I wasn't going to have people on the sidelines asking, "Why is she on this team again?" I could play, run hard, or not, and that was OKAY. Fun! Fun! No pressure! No expectations.

Only hope.

We left 20 minutes late, with Kris driving, so really we would be 20 + driving-like-an-old-man-delay late, which was before Chookie left his house. He passed us around SFO, to my incredible delight, as Kris had commented a half hour before "We should have carpooled with Chookie." and I had asked him, "You want to call him at 7:00am?" "No."

Look at Kris' warm up stretch

Our first game at 8:00am was against Classy, the first seed in our pool. First point of the game, as we were in our endzone and I turned to cut, the woman defending me elbowed me in the boob, grabbed my shirt, then tripped me. When I called foul, she contested the foul. So when the thrower asked what happened that stopped play, I announced very loudly, "She punched me in the boob, then contested the foul."

We scored that point.

With no expectations and more experience than Classy had any reason to expect, we went up 4-2 before they woke up. Of course, "waking up" meant playing an open game on a mixed field, and their course of action was to put in four male handlers, none under 6' tall, and skip throwing to their women. I am way past the point where this bothers me any more. If the women want to both hamper their own skills development and fail to be an integral part of their team's offense, then they can just suck it on a team that will rarely rise above Sectionals.

We kept the game close at 5s and 6s, then lost momentum, losing the first half 6-8. The second half we kept the score fairly close, but still lost 11-13. We hadn't really expected to win the game, but really, if one or two key drops in the endzone hadn't been dropped, the game could have easily gone the other way. I threw a couple scores, one of which several Mischief folk saw and totally cheered me on. It felt so good to know they still have my back!

Kris in a pow-wow, everyone listening carefully

Our second game was against That's What She Said, another perennial suck team that rarely makes it beyond Sectionals. The extent of my awareness of this team is a vague recollection of their winning Spring Fling 3 or 4 years ago against one of the two split Mischief rosters full of tryouts, then using that result 5+ months later to argue their way to a higher seeding at Sectionals that year, only to be beat down by the teams that rightly deserved the higher seedings. I can't honestly say my opinion of the team as a whole has changed, but, hoo-boy, has my position on the team ladder changed.

Yeah.

We lost that game 15-8. We lost the first half 2-8, but kept the second half reasonable, losing 6-7, matching point for point and losing only on the end of the game, not the strength of our fight. Funny how when you give up a 6 point lead at the beginning of the game how much harder it is to overcome.

Happily, not all was doom and gloom with the game. I played strong defense, laying out for a defensive bid on an overthrown disc. I came down hard on my right arm, not realizing the injury I incurred there until the end of the day when I noticed my wrist was incredibly sore. In a defensive zone point when we were on office, Jason Gische threw a no-look throw, breaking the cup, to me. I hadn't anticipated the throw, also having been thrown off by the no-look, and laid out to catch it THUNK in my left hand as I slid in what felt like good form. Hey! I caught it! was my happy thought! Even the other team was giving me high-fives when I commented it's one of the few layouts I've ever had, and one of the first I've caught.

In another point in the game, Kris received a throw out to a swing to the open side. I knew where he was going, and cut to the giant open side, where he put the disc to space. I was cutting hard, and caught the claw catch to the sound of my defender grunting. "I was so close!" I heard her cry on the sideline after the point was over, to which both Kris and I rolled our eyes at. Not only was she boxed out by my body placement, and Kris' fabulous disc placement, the only way she could have gotten the disc was to grow 2' and run through me. Riiiiiiiiiight. So "close."

Our third game was against the Cal Berkeley team, which I think might have been the B team, not sure. We played okay against them, figuring how to arrange our zone to allow a weaker player receive the disc so that we could aggressively mark against her (and it was always a "her"). The score was something like 15-8.

Well, that was funny!

I was expecting to play three games today, so when someone mentioned there was a crossover, I internally groaned a bit. My feet hurt. I was tired. I was sleepy. I was sore (already). I was cold. I didn't really want to play another game. I did, however, want to win the next game.

We started the game down the first point, as we pretty much had the whole day (the first point of the second game to a Callahan, no less), then went on a scoring streak. I was able to name who scored the goals in the downwind endzone, and so tallied the score at 6-1, but someone on the opposing team insisted it was 4-1, and we relented. We shouldn't have, though, as we let our guard down around 11-5, and they started scoring like mad. At 11-9 the cap went on, with the final score close to 13-11.

I wanted to stay after our last game to see how Mischief was doing, but the fog had rolled in the rain was starting. Cold, tired, hungry and THEN wet, and I just wanted to leave.

Phew.

Okay, so, I handled all day. Only on a handful of points, did I pop, and I was never called deep. A couple of times I was called cutter in the flemish offense, which I thought was entertaining, as I had neither played the offense before, nor heard of it. The mismatches with Linda and I against our opponents were too big to ignore, so we were iso with a big amount of space to cut into. Fortunately for my clueless self, strings that set up the offense worked well enough that I didn't need to worry too much about my flemish cutting.

Or pretty much anything during the day. During the day, I threw away two discs and missed receiving one, managing a couple blocks. Nothing too spectacular, except that I WAS HANDLING. More surprisingly, someone commented that I was good at it. I couldn't help but laugh hysterically inside, because I feel such the opposite. I don't know where to cut in the handler position. I don't know where to clear effectively from the handler positions. I don't always continue the disc effectively, stalling it. I don't always throw upfield, even on throws that I could make, but hestitate to try.

I had some beautiful throws, like a bending forehand to Holly that curved away from her defender as she cut upline for me, and right into her hands. Or another up the line throw to Alex who hucked to Chookie for a score. Or the score I threw with my Mischief cheering squad watching. But I also had a turf when the wind dropped a longer forehand than I should have thrown. And I was handblocked in the last game. Shudder.

But, still.

I played well, but don't know if it was the release of internal pressure on myself that allowed me to play well, or if it was the lack of pressure from my teammates to be perfect. With Mischief, there are so few drops that every one STANDS OUT. On the Cows, hell, there are so many, how do you remember them all? Not that turnovers are acceptable, they're just not mentally punishing as they are on a higher level team.

I mentioned this to Kris on the drive home, about how excited I was that the pressure was gone. The expectations of a perfect game were gone. The team had hopes, and those hopes translated into my playing better, I wanted to be better for these people.

I didn't care that we "should" beat this team, or that we "should" play better. Playing was no longer about shoulds, or even the score. Instead, it was about how well I was playing at THAT EXACT MOMENT in this point. Could I run harder? Could I be in a better place? Could I throw a better throw? Was I playing as well as I could RIGHT NOW? If the answer was "yes," I was happy. If the answer was "no," I changed what I was doing so that the answer was yes.

So, for the first time, I think ever, I was happy with the record of 2-2.

It's all about hopes and expectations and not letting either overwhelm you.

One of these hands is not like the others, one of these just isn't the same!

Ramblings on a Thursday

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Today was a day of car and San Mateo. Kris had a doctor appointment in San Mateo at too-early o'clock, and needed me to drive him to the appointment and pick him up from the appointment. We've done this deal before, so I knew what to expect with the two to three hour wait. What I wasn't expecting, though, was having fewer than four hours of sleep the night before and needing to sleep.

After waiting with Kris in the doctor's office's waiting room until he was called in for his appointment, I went out to the car, crawled into the back seat, and passed out. I didn't manage a deep sleep of any sort, but I did manage to doze well enough that only the combination of many doors slamming in the car next to me and the screaming of a full bladder could wake me up. And wake me up they did.

I am, for the record, still amazed at how many people think that standing next to your car means you're leaving, and that they have the right to honk at you to enourage you to hurry up, even when you're not leaving. I succeeded in having two cars wait in the lot behind me, turn signal on, waiting for my parking spot, as I crawled into the back seat to pass out again after going to the bathroom. Because, you know, I must be leaving my parking spot, right?

After Kris was done with his appointment, and the two of us back home, I managed to work. That I managed to work among the cacophany of life happening in the house is a testament to my ability to focus. Between Heather's cooking and cleaning (did I mention bestest-roomie-evar? Thought so.), and the dogs' confusion that both Kris and I were home AGAIN oh-boy-this-means-food-and-walkies-and-lots-of-petting, the house was teeming in movement. Of course, my concentration actually meant putting up a gate and closing the door to the doggen, but, hey, sometimes we need a crutch, right?

Tomorrow, the Emerald City Classic starts, a three day ultimate tournament in Seattle. It used to be Spawnfest, I think, for the Mixed Division, but the division has become large enough to catch the attention of the Open and Women's tournament director, and the two merged. I could be wrong about that, but I think that's what happened.

Originally I had planned to go to the tournament and take stats. I don't really know why I keep torturing myself in this way. I enjoy playing with the team. I feel so lucky to be a part of such and amazing group of people. Standing on the sidelines, however, knowing that you won't go in and run run run, feel the grounds as you push off, the thunk of the disc as it stops spinning in your palm, the clench of the stomach as you pour everything into your legs getting them to move fast enough under you to keep from falling over forward, gosh, that's torture, even if the numbers that you get from the stats are fun and entertaining and quite enjoyable.

OF course, heading over to see Ben and Lisa afterward for a couple days, trying to fit into their schedule, was the real reason for heading off this weekend, and the biggest reason I'm disappointed I won't be going. Although I'm finding the 10-12 billable hours a day refreshing for the bank account, I'm finding missing out on that visit more disappointing.

Heather, however, is going to Seattle. She needed a ride to Mountain View to meet up with Warren and Steffi, who were driving up to the airport to catch their flights also to Seattle. Since I was heading back up to San Mateo to hang out briefly with Pickett, I offered to take Heather to SFO. When Mark asked for a ride, I knew I had volunteered well. Instead of a solo ride to San Mateo, I could drop both Heather and Mark off, too. Fun.

Hanging out with Pickett is awesome. I didn't stay long, my body wanting to shut down, despite my backseat nap this morning. I did manage to see his new garden, from the soil and seeds I dropped off two weeks ago as a thank you for taking care of me during my last migraine. I was sad to see the compost I gave him had lots of grass seeds in the compost, but Pickett seemed good natured about it.
Pickett and Nichole are talking about raising chickens in their small urban lot. She had selected the breeds she liked and had found a source, also. Pickett, however, was worried about the start of work for him after the summer off and the influx of family coming into town over the next few weeks.

You know, I think Pickett is the only other person with garden square footage rivalling mine. His strawberries are far more productive than mine are, though.

Oh, and 280 is so much faster that 101 at 5:30 in the evening.

Way.

I'm going to bed early tonight.

Don't call it a Dodger Dog

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A couple weeks ago, a follow Master Gardener emailed out an offer for Giants tickets. Her family owned a block of seats, and normally managed to find takers within the family to occupy all the seats in the block. However, this July 4th weekend, the family was having a reunion that everyone was going to attend, leaving the family with Giants tickets they weren't going to use. Did anyone want to buy them?

I asked Kris if he wanted to go, and he liked the July 4th times, and said yes. I suspect if he had realized just how fabulous the seats were, he might hvae said yes to all of the games.

Now, I can count all of the professional baseball games I've been to on one hand. I can also count all of the professional baseball games I've been to that I've enjoyed on one finger. Kris knew this, so offered to make today's games as painless as possible for me. Instead of a long day including a train up to the City, train back and a full game, he suggested we drive.

We drove up, found a great, very close parking structure and walked over to the ballpark. On the way over, Kris leaned over and commented, "Whatever you do, don't call it a Dodger dog."

That man spoils all of my fun.

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We arrived after the first inning had started, but not before it had ended. We managed to purchase our Dodger Dogs, er, Giant Dogs, which really weren't so giant. I also had Kris buy me a Coke, which would be my second Coca Cola of the year and my ninth of the decade. Yeah, not really a big soda fan.

When we went to look for our seats, we were pleased to discover just how wonderful the seats were. We were in the 9th row just past the third base. Holy crap, I thought, these seats are awesome. Kris' response was, "Wow, the players are big!"

And big they were. Not really the size of us mere mortals.

Given how close we were to the field, we could see each player well. To really take advantage of the event, and the opportunity to see everyone well, I made Kris talk out loud as he was watching the game. He's always told me there's a lot of drama in a game, so I wanted to hear it.

He pointed out how the pitchers stand differently based on the runners on the bases. He pointed out how differently the outfields position themselves based on the hitters. He predicted various upcoming pitches.

And speaking of pitches, to my joy, Lincecum was pitching today.

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He pitched really well. The Houston pitcher was also pitching well, pitching 5 and 2/3 innings before an error by the shortstop started the Giants run of a lot of points. Well, Kris said it was a shortstop error. The official scorekeeper didn't mark it as an error, though.

I wondered how the crowd around me would have marked it. The crowd around us was fabulous, with one guy a couple rows up quite interested and marking stats.

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He would often turn to the people behind him, in front of us, and talk to them about the game, tell them something informative that also helped me understand the game, too. The guy behind me seemed to be explaining the game to his girlfriend, who was asking even more clueless questions that I was. For the most part, I enjoyed his banter. I didn't particular enjoyed when he yelled and cheered, though.

Still.

We ended up leaving after the seventh inning, when the Giants were up 8-1. Kris said he wanted to make sure we left early enough that I was still enjoying myself, so that I'd be willing to go to another game.

And, what do you know? I had a great time at the game. With this experience, I think we could go to another game together.

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Diplomacy

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Andy and Andy came over tonight. We talked about playing Settlers, but Skinny Andy wanted to play Diplomacy. S.Andy played Diplomacy a lot when he was in high school ("A LOT!"), and wanted to see how it played now that he was older. The game has a maximum of seven players, and is like Risk in that you conquer Europe during some giant "world" war, but is different than Risk in that you can make deals with other players, removing some of the luck of the dice from the game.

Diplomacy is played with a map of Europe, with each player controlling one or more countries, and little tiles representing armies and navies. At the beginning of each round, each player decides what a piece is going to do: stay put and defend the space it's on, move into a new space and attack any other piece that may be already occupying the space, or help another piece move to a new space which is what the navy pieces can do. In deciding these moves or non-moves, players can talk to each other. Before the discussion part of the round ends, each player writes down what he's going to do for that round, which is revealed nominally all at once to everyone.

Since I wanted chocolate souffle, I was unfortunately in the kitchen during the boys' reading of the rules. Given there are a large number of nuances in the game (one of the worst being, if you wrote it down, you can't change it), and I was absent for most of their revelations, I ended up breaking an unknown rule every round. I have to say for that reason alone, my frustration grew and grew and grew with the game (hey, you can't do that, now you're penalized; you can't do that either, go back; you can't do that either, you lose another piece; you can't do that, take it back).

We started out all of us just sitting there, trying to figure out what to do with our pieces. By the third round, we were talking a short bit, but none of us were really managing to do much with our countries and pieces. Well, except for Skinny Andy. He knew what he was doing, and was doing it well.

By the fourth round, we figured out that we could pass notes back and forth between each other. Suddenly, negotiation and, well, diplomacy were possible.

I have to say, that certain aspects of the game were entertaining. Fat Andy complaining about how everyone was attacking him, while he was leading the charge on attacking one of my two countries, was funny. That I came around from his back flanks to out manuveur him was equally funny. Skinny Andy I think would have crushed us, given enough time. Kris was, I think, overwhelmed to the point of being nearly ineffective, often forgetting to write down steps that he had agreed to during our diplomatic conversations.

We played for a couple hours, then decided to be done. I ended up both completely devastated, with Germany having only one piece, and victorious, with Turkey having the most number of pieces, the broadest number of spaces occupied, and, arguably, the best position for future conquest.

Given how much Skinny Andy loved the game as a kid, I'm willing to play again. I can't say without that motivation that I'd be willing.

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Chocolate mousse

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Last night, Kris asked me for chocolate mousse for dessert. Although I have never made any mousse dessert before that wasn't a complete cheat (think Coolwhip and chocolate pudding), I knew I had a chocolate mousse recipe next to my favorite chocolate souffle recipe. I also happened to know we had all the ingredients I'd need, including good chocolate.

I decided to give it a shot.

So... did you know that real chocolate mousse has uncooked eggs in it?

Yeah, neither did I.

Where I thought it would be mix things together and eat, the recipe turned into a melt this, cook this, whip this, oh wait, whip this, too, and when you're all done, stick it in the fridge for four hours before you eat it. I assure you if I had know this was the process, I would have answered Kris' expression of desire for mousse with a succinct, "That's nice, dear."

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Five years ago today

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Five years ago today, we were standing here.

Five years ago today, we were surrounded by over a hundred amazing, accomplished, wonderful people, who, magically, were here to see us.

Five years ago today, to the heavy shaking yes of my mother's head, I told you I would always use an argument not to win, but to understand you better.

Five years ago today, to the heavy shaking yes of your mother's head, I told you I would always be waiting outside of that cave, waiting for when you decide to come out.

Five years ago today, I promised you I would try my hardest to live up to the good I see in you.

Five years ago today, I promised you a baseball team for your 50th birthday party.

Five years ago this hour, I smooshed a cupcake up your nose.

I totally won that one.

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Finally!

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We're finally on our way to the Valley of the Moon campground where we married five years ago.

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Five years. FIVE years.

Wow.

We've been together 11. That is JUST. CRAZY.

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