Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Stanford University = Happy Authors

As my (Carol's) husband is walking out of his office this evening, hurriedly heading home for a feast of grilled walnut burgers on a bed baby greens, he is brought to a momentary halt by a College of St. Catherine student who yells "Dr. Bruess! I have a great story for you!"

Kelsey, a junior at St. Kate's, is a bright and friendly student who I also just happen to know because she works part time at the Grand Avenue J Crew retailer where I just happen to frequent. She excitedly details her trip the week before to visit friends in California where she, of course, wanted to check out Stanford University. And where she reportedly shrieked as she saw on an eye-level and prominent display, right as you walk in the door of the Stanford bookstore, a faced-out stack of What Happy Couples Do.

"I know that woman who wrote that book! I sell her clothes!"

How cool is that? We've arrived at Stanford University's bookstore!

It's true: being on the new release table at B&N was dreamy. Being in Target and Oprah's green room remains our creme de la creme dream. But we silly academic find the bookstore of a fine institution like Stanford a very comfortable and exciting place to find our little work of love.

Happy couples at Stanford and beyond: enjoy.

And Kelsey: thanks for the shriek out!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Birthday Week Ritual Lives On

Last week was Birthday week again at the Bruess house. Gracie turned nine. The ritual of celebrating in grand style - for seven "wonderful" days - took us from a red velvet cupcake mountain on day one to our special bistro dinner with BFFs at the Mall of America's American Girl Store ("Mom, this is the greatest day ever"). Instead of telling you all about it, I thought I'd show and tell select events of our week:

Day one:Red velvet cupcake tower kick off birthday-week. Yum.

Day two - six: I'll spare you the photos of the front door sign, the bouncy balls, the gifts hidden around the house, the second batch of cupcakes, the 4-layer homemade german chocolate cake, the candles, the songs, the cards, the cash (grandmas and aunts know all about birthday week too), the breakfasts in bed ... and ... sob, sob ... the tears when the birthday girl finds out that her brother made it to swim finals but she did not. Oops. Not-so-happy-birthday moment. Oh well. You can't have it all, even during birthday week.

Fast forward to day seven: We head to "The Bistro" per the request of the birthday-week queen.

The dolls pull up to the table and order lemonade. On ice, please.

BFFs oooh and aaah over the mini-fred puppy given as a gift. Gracie names him Tiger. Fred attacks Tiger the minute we get home. Woof. Woof.

Gracie acts like she doesn't want us to sing to her in a restaurant. She is loving every second of it.

BFF's request a trip to Mexico to close out birthday week. We take them to Sears and have them try on beach wear instead. Smart.

Birthday week ends with very crabby daughter (too much fun, too little sleep?!) and a very happy mom (it's officially over now, right?)

I strongly encourage you consider initiating birthday week at your house! ... If you are strong. Tolerant. Dotting. Patient. Can bake. And decorate. And wrap boxes in 10 seconds or less. Can make big signs (for the doors and entrances). And, most importantly, can take a week off (after birthday week, to catch up on sleep and scratch the tape off the ceilings and doors). What fun it is to be nine and enjoying the beauty of ritual!


I (Anna) figured I'd update our loyal readers on my statistics test results. I earned a 95%. It's safe to say I'm 100% satisfied! And so is my tutor. I never knew it was possible. Hard work does pay off. I was so overjoyed, I had to do the unthinkable (and what we tell our undergraduates not to do) and text Brent the good news during class. Isn't technology amazing? Now that I'm back to Kentucky, my husband continues to tutor me using photos like the one above (a picture of the problem I was working on, taken with my poor quality iphone camera). He looks at the problem and figures it out at the same time. Then we compare our answers. I'll be glad when this long-distance nightmare is over, but I enjoy the rituals we've developed at a distance, too. Near or far, rituals continue to be the heartbeat of our marriage.