Stiff, Things That Are

My wrist is F$&*@ed. Beginning and ending with an incident in which I tripped on my own two feet, I am going to the doctor Thursday to find out why exactly my right wrist has a bump the left one does not, and why I can’t bend it back without wincing.

Although I fear surgery the way most fear flying, the hypochondriac in me has been waiting for this type of validation for YEARS. I am almost gleeful to think how the orthopedist will react, because for once I will have visible, irrefutable proof something is wrong.

In other news, lots of famous people have kicked the bucket. While all deaths are sad and deserve a certain amount of reverence, I have to say that despite the obvious choice, Billy Mays’ death makes me the saddest. All the others were on the downward slope, while Billy was taking off. His show Pitch Men was great, he was doing well, and like Mike he was young with young kids that will miss him. MJ had given everything he had to give, he had peaked and lived and accomplished enough for several lifetimes. Mays was on the cusp of reaching his potential, and that’s what often scares me most about death. The thought that you will be cut short, unable to reach your full potential. That there wasn’t enough time or time was wasted because maybe you thought you had more.

Finally, my creativity. Like my long and forgotten paintbrushes stuffed deep in the drawers of my sloppily refurbished Craigslist dresser, I can feel my right brain grow stale and harden. I feel my writing is bland, I resist craft projects because they feel like too much work and too much money. I don’t feel like making the messes that fuel inspiration. Sometimes I wonder if this shift is permanent. In growing up I become less frivolous, or less able or willing to be frivolous. I’ve been watching The Uniform Project blog with fascination because the idea of wearing the same thing every day appeals to me at this point in my life. One less thing. Maybe it all just means I need a vacation.


All I want in life is a clean place to live with two toilets and a yard.

It occurred to me only recently that the yard is in fact a third toilet, only for the dog. So really all I want in life is a home where every member of my family has their own place to pee.

Ambitious, perhaps, but I’m pretty sure that falls solidly in the middle of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and not at the top. Although I suppose grasping at the top of the pyramid in the name of want and spending on more frivolous items has perhaps inhibited me from this more base-level goal.


This morning Ruby bolted out of bed awake at 6:45 am. Every other morning my alarm goes off at this time, but I hit snooze until approximately 7:21. Ruby generally obliges and continues to lay in bed quietly. For the mornings she does not do this, I roll out of bed, pick her up, and lay back down holding her close to my body.

Like someone being smothered with a pillow, she struggles in my arms for a few minutes, trying to break lose, but eventually gives up, succumbs to my will and lets her body go limp.

It buys me at least half an hour.

This morning, Ruby was not having it. She was awake, she was excited, she needed to PEE. It’s days like today, in my early morning stages of coma and hatred, outside sweating, making sure Ruby is not eating dried worms on the sidewalk, that I get dreamy and start pulling up HAR rental listings. That I think one morning, instead of struggling and succombing to innevitability, I will wake up perky and determined, and decide today is the day I pee in my own bathroom, and that will be it.


Love Fool.

It’s official. Too late to claim temporary insanity- we’ve been married a year. No, I can’t believe it either. I’ve thought a lot about what I would want to say for such a day on a blog about surviving the first year, but for someone who could write pages on life’s trivialities, it’s impossible for me to say everything I want to, everything about this year that would do it justice.
Number one strangest thing about my first year is that it has been nothing like people said it would. Maybe because the both of us were so busy fighting off the rest of the world- of bills and debt and law school and unemployment and new employment and long hours and family issues and hurricane Ike and leaks in the ceiling, flat tires and cars that won’t start- that we never turned on each other. We fought over which restaurant to go to, which way and how to drive, what section of Target to shop in first, but the adjustments of living together, the real differences of opinion and immovable forces of personality that seem to define first years have been so… easy.
I am more in love with this person than I was a year ago today. I keep waiting for the day we are no longer in “the honeymoon phase.” The honeymoon daze. Will year two be when we wake up and act like real married couples? Or dare I hope we will be one of those couples at sixty as we are now? With all the things that have happened to us this year, I find it hard to believe we’ve been living in a fantasy world. Life’s problems have been more real than ever before, but being married to the crazy man I love has been a blessing and a strength. It feels wonderful to have a true partner in life and even if I eat my words and everything falls to shit I will not regret typing them now because love is worth a bit of foolishness, and I wish everyone the joy of that first year.

Reader Poll

At exactly what point am I no longer a “new” McKechnie and just plain McKechnie?

Our first year wedding anniversary is coming up next week, in which case I am beginning to consider the possibility that I am no longer newly wedded and therefor a branding change is imminent. But if we’re going by the standard of “until there is another newer McKechnie to usurp you” its going to be a long while, because the only way that would happen is if I created one from scratch, and let’s not get ahead of ourselves people.


Developing a Taste

Proposed Timetable of Life Landmarks and “Grown-Up” Drinks:

Frozen Coffee Drinks
age 14
Vodka & Kool-Aid age 18
Beer age 19
Vodka & Tonic age 21
Just the Coffee age 22
Wine age 23
Diet Coke age 29
Prune Juice age 62

Working in an office with a fully stocked soda fridge has aged me prematurely. Coffee is too much caffeine and drinking a Dr. Pepper every day is too many calories when you sit for eight hours solid. A few weeks back I made the switch to Diet Coke and by now I actually reach for it out of craving and not necessity.

I am officially my mother.


Busy work week, leaving Friday morning 7 am for Austin. Nicole’s wedding. Will take pictures. Less writing, more doing. See you on the other side.

In the meantime, because I will be out of town and you (most likely) will not, you must do one or as many of three things I wish I could do Saturday but can’t:

1. Attend the Inaugural Wiener Dog Races at Sam Houston Race Park

2. Attend Sugar Land Superstar in Sugar Land Town Square

3. Race the other 12 zillion Facebook users for a custom license plate URL. There are eight other Lauren McKechnies on Facebook and I am unnerved by the impending stampede to identity theft.

Go. Disperse. Enjoy on my behalf.

Because I Didn’t Get to Read Mine at Coffee Groundz This Morning

So then grandma said “Are you feeling lucky, punk?!” as she hovered over my bed at 2 a.m.

“We’re going camping!”

It had been seventeen years since she promised me the trip of a lifetime. Big Bend National Park? I had completely forgotten. In 2002 she sent me a Facebook invite, but I thought it was just a ploy. A Jedi knight mind trick to keep me at bay.

No. This was real. By 2:15 we were unpacking sleeping bags and bottled water from the moth balls. Ancient road trip snacks prepared years prior for this long-awaited moment.

By 2:47 we were rolling over the flowers next to her driveway and off to the campsite. As the sun began to peak over the highway, we decided we were ready for snacks.

Moth balls had saved most things, but our vintage 1992 cotton candy was not so lucky.

At least I know cotton candy doesn’t have any real cotton in it.

You’re What The French Call “Les Incompetent”

I am a foodie and self-proclaimed fatass, but I can not cook.

It’s taken a while to figure out my real problem, but I’ve developed a four-pronged theory:
1. There are bakers and their are cookers. I am a baker. Raw meat will always be beyond me.
2. I am an exceptionally impatient person. If I’m cooking it’s because I’m hungry and if I’m hungry I want to eat it NOW. I can never wait for things to be done. Sometimes in baking this is to my benefit. Smushy cookies are better than crisp ones. Raw crunchy potatoes? Not so much.
3. I am all about the condiments. They are the main reason I eat. Most nights my only motivation for fixing anything is because I found something yummy at the grocery store and I need something to test it on.
4. My creative approach to life inhibits my skill development when it comes to food.

The way I attack most projects in life is head first, haphazardly, and with a vague, general idea of what I want to do that I plan on fleshing out as I go. I don’t like to over-research, over-analyze. I depend on inspiration to strike and consider getting in the right mood or mentality essential to progress.
I also don’t read instructions. It is one of my core beliefs that any piece of technology requiring an instruction manual is poorly designed.
I’m a Mac.
Cooking requires premeditation, precise measurement, rigid guidelines and implementation before the mood/inspiration/hunger ever strikes. This is especially true when you are a novice chef. You need to know what goes with what and at what temperature before you can just start throwing things together.
Tonight, like most nights I “cook”, I rummaged through the pantry and fridge, collected a hodge-podge of ingredients, dumped them out on the counter and then brainstormed what could be done. Much like when Barney the Dinosaur used to get out the “Barney Bag” and give those child actors popsicle sticks, glue, feathers, and some scraps of felt and make them sing while attempting crafts on the fly.

With imagination and the Barney Bag, we’ll see what we can make today!
Tonight’s Result:

Fettucini Alfredo mixed with leftover grilled chicken, Romaine salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette, feta cheese and slivered almonds.
Not bad for someone who wanders around the kitchen with a can of Nutella asking “What can I put this on?”

Favorite Cover Songs

The Beatles’ Real Love by Regina Spektor

Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah by Rufus Wainright

The Postal Service’s We Will Become Silhouettes by The Shins

Colin Hay’s I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You by The Rocket Summer

Feeling Good by Muse

Tears for Fears’ Mad World by Gary Jules

Don Henley’s The Heart of the Matter by India Arie

The Beatles’ Across the Universe by Fiona Apple

Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams by Marilyn Manson

Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt by Johnny Cash

Bobby Brown’s My Prerogative by Britney Spears

The Beatles’ Come Together by Aerosmith

Oasis’ Wonderwall by Ryan Adams

Dave Matthews Band’s Gravedigger by Willie Nelson

What else?

(PS, Player below contains all of them except The Rocket Summer’ cover (which you will just have to take my word for that it is ah-mazing), just hit the round arrow keys to listen to each one- I funnied up the HTML and it won’t scroll downward… maybe I’ll fix it later. Or you can just go here to view the pop-out player in a new browser window…or the same browser window as this one because apparently I can’t figure THAT out either. Definitely time for bed.)

These Are The Days

I’m really bad about taking pictures, especially when it counts, but I’ve been making an effort lately to capture things. 

Aaron started his internship and for the first time since we’ve been married, we are both waking up early, getting dressed up and leaving at the same time. There was a moment the first day when we were both about to leave that I realized how grown-up we looked. As if we had both just put on halloween costumes and were about to waltz out into the world as someone else.
It needed a photo:

Obviously, he was less keen to my plan.
Also, this incident:

Of which I also have two five-minute videos. All Ruby eating gummy worms. Because they grow up so fast. Not sure if this crosses the line into banal absurdity, but if anyone would like to see it I would be happy to YouTube and imbed it.
Like I said, she’ll eat anything. And she’s taking requests.