Sunday, December 31, 2006

Par-tay!

Hey ya'll! Have a great night, okay? Let's carry the momentum right into '07. XOXOX!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

A regular thing

When I called my dad from work yesterday, I had him on speaker phone from my desk.

"Daddy!" I said. "Hi! What are you doing?"

"Just looking at a girlie calendar."

NICE.

Friday, December 29, 2006

More from The Christmas to Remember

The scene: Christmas afternoon, Grandma and Grandpa’s house. The heroine and her family have just entered the living room, bearing gifts and smiles.

The characters: our heroine and her adorable, Norwegian troll curmudgeon of a grandfather.


Grandfather: Oh, here’s my skater. My skinny, skinny skater.

Heroine: Hi, Grandpa! Merry Christmas!

Grandfather: Merry Christmas, skinny skater. Such a skinny little skater you are. So skinny...

[Grandfather pats our heroine on her backside.]

Grandfather: Except for there. You’ve got a little padding there. Good for cushioning falls.

Heroine: ...

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Two steps behind

My former coworker, Megan, stopped in today.

Megan's last day of work was the day that Kevin was fired.

A lot has happened since then.
Nothing has happened since then.

Megan moved to California with her boyfriend. She found an apartment. She battled through her homesickness. She temped. She found a job. She came home for Christmas.

I stayed here. I stayed here and I continued to tread water. I didn't move forward. I didn't move back.

When I got home from work today, I stoop in my doorway, looked around, tried to figure out how I got here. I used to be the smart girl with incredible promise. I used to be envied.

Now I'm just stuck.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Maybe I'm a little spoiled

It doesn't seem excessive until you itemize it.

Now I feel a bit guilty.

One (1) Keurig Single Cup Coffee Maker
Seven (7) pairs of UnderArmour performance socks
One (1) $10 gift card for Bath and Body Workds
One (1) tin of Jelly Belly jelly beans
One (1) snowman candy dish
One (1) bottle of Bath and Body Works aromatherapy hand soap, in jasmine vanilla, which is apparently the “sensuality” scent. Oookay.
One (1) Softlips wildberry lip balm
One (1) Christmas tree cookie cutter
Two (2) pairs of Adidas socks
Six (6) Kate Spade pencils
One (1) UnderArmour fleece
One (1) bottle of wine
One (1) pair of khakis
One (1) plain navy long sleeved t-shirt
One (1) box of Godiva chocolates
One (1) KitchenAid 10-piece set of pots and pans
One (1) lame Lillian Vernon Santa Clause candy dish
One (1) pink shirt with figure skates on it from the kids department at the Gap
One (1) thermal/sweater that I’m certain cost an arm and a leg
One (1) seatbelt purse
One (1) lame-ass inspirational/self-help book
Eight (8) refrigerator magnet clips
One (1) hand/foot spa kit
One (1) candle
Three (3) Papered Chef pairing knives
One (1) watch that I can’t decide if I like
One (1) green long sleeved shirt with super fun beading/bedazzling at the neckline
One (1) copy of Eloise in Hollywood
One (1) pack of Pez refills
Two (2) bottles of L’Oreal Lasting Curls gel
One (1) spatula
One (1) American Express gift card
One (1) Coach purse
One (1) Eucerin Intensive Repair hand cream, travel sized
One (1) adorable halter-style skating dress
One (1) pair of Gap Long and Lean corduroys
One (1) Footballers Wives DVD
One (1) digital photo viewer/key chain/waste of money (the gift I won in the family exchange which, ironically, was from Evan)
One (1) pair of boxer shorts with dogs skating on them (from Old Navy)
One (1) UM Pez dispenser

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Family Fisticuffs 2006

On paper, my dad’s family is the classless one. Blue collar. Nary a college graduate. My dad’s family consists of car salesmen, boilermakers, guys who work on the line for Ford and gals who work behind the counter at department stores. They’re the simple ones. They live within miles of one another. They read the local newspaper. They prefer television to books.

On paper, my mom’s family is impressive. They’re prominent. In the not-so-small Wisconsin town they’re from, mom’s maiden name (my middle name) name conjures up respect, admiration and a hint of jealousy. Mom’s family is made up of lawyers, geneticists and professors. They’re sophisticated. They’re better than you. And they are so, so fake.

And hateful.

And arrogant.

You’d never know it.

If you’ve been putting on a façade for decades, you’d do it flawlessly, too.

Last night, my cousin attempted to punch my dad and, in the process, ruined Christmas.

To tell the story properly, I need to backtrack.

A handful of years ago, Uncle Alan quit the family. He was done with my mom and our family, Aunt Marie and her family, and Grandma and Grandpa. For no broadcasted reason, Uncle Alan maintained contact with Aunt Louise, Uncle Ed and their two kids.

Last year, Uncle Alan randomly called me. We hadn’t interacted in my adult life, and he jumps back into my life with a strange request: skating lessons. And then, as though he’d planned it all along, he dropped a bombshell. He was getting married. Oh, and it’s a secret. Don’t tell your mother or grandmother.

Please. Like I complied with that request.

So, Uncle Alan gets married and remains distant. But Aunt Louise and Uncle Ed, they meet his wife. They talk to him every week. They just don’t understand. Why don’t you just call him? Why don’t you go over to his house and see him?

What part of his abandonment don’t you get, you clueless assholes?

This fall, Uncle Ed decided he wanted to change our Christmas. And, in his overly detailed description of the new family Christmas gift exchange, he always included Uncle Alan and his new wife, maintaining the fantasy that they’d show up to our Christmas.

Well, of course they didn’t.

Dad mentioned that to my cousin, Evan. Dad, Evan and my Aunt Marie’s husband had gone over to our house to check out my dad’s new Mustang.

“It’s too bad Alan and Joy didn’t show up, your dad was really trying to get them to come this year.”

“Uncle Alan stopped by this morning.”

Oh. Okay.

“Have you met Joy? What does she look like?”

Somehow, this struck a chord with Evan. “You two are fucking immature.”

My dad changed the subject.

But Evan said something ignorant or stupid to my dad when they got back to the house. I didn’t hear what Evan said – I was sitting on the other side of the living room – but I heard my dad’s smart ass response: “I hope that one day I can be as smart as you are, Evan.”

And he set Evan off. Two seconds later, Evan pushes him on the chest. “You wanna go old man?” The style of confrontation, the words, it was something out of a move. “Come on, let’s go, bitch.”

He pushes my dad again. And again.

“Evan,” my dad said, strangely calm, “stop.” He grabs Evan’s arms, braces him against a chair. “Stop,” he said again.

My dad let go, Evan charged into the basement.

And that’s the last I saw of him.

Now, dear readers, here’s the quiz.

Who was at fault in Family Fisticuffs 2006?
A. Dad
B. Evan
C. Both


Correct answer: A.

Do you know why? Let’s ask my Uncle Ed. “I’ve never seen Evan act like that before.”

Okay! Free Asshole for a Day pass for Evan!

“And you’re the adult, Rob.”

Have I mentioned that Evan is 24?

24 years old and not yet an adult! Oh, how wickedly jealous I am!

[Side note: in many ways, Evan is not an adult. He does not have a job. He is not trying to get a job. He lives at home. He pays for none of his expenses. His parents picked out his college classes, consulted with his college counselor and generally held his hand throughout his tenure at a sad excuse for higher learning. He is entirely devoid of responsibilities. And he’s a massive prick. But he’s still 24. And any 24 year old, in an interaction with another living human being, is an adult. Sorry.]

So, because Evan is not an adult, his parents doted on him the entire night. While my mom would’ve grabbed me by the back of the neck and forced me to suffer through dinner with my family, Uncle Ed brought him down dinner. And dessert. Where my mom would’ve held me down to keep me in the room with the rest of the family, Evan sulked in the basement the entire night.

No repercussions.
No accountability.

This incident mostly ruined Christmas. We all spent the rest of the night attempting to pretend that nothing happened. I didn’t talk to my Uncle Ed. My cousin Mara and Aunt Louise didn’t talk to my father. My mom looked as sick as I felt. And Grandma’s heart, I think, was broken.

She had said that this was going to be the last Christmas that she’d host. And it ended so incredibly ugly.

Conclusion to this story: Evan is damn lucky that his confrontation with my dad didn’t last a second longer. Meg – remember, Meg cross trains for hockey with boxing – had stood up and was damn near close to repeating a fine moment in a hockey game where she took on the bastard stupid enough to mess with her daddy.

I’m sort of sad that it didn’t happen. Evan needs to get his ass kicked one day.

And wouldn’t it be just a tad bit better if his ass was kicked by a girl?

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry, merry!

Thus far, my Christmas has been absolutely amazing.

My dear readers, I hope that your holiday is ten times better.

Materialistic details tomorrow!

XOXOX!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Christmas miracle



On my mom's side of the family, everyone has the same stocking. Mom's grandmother knitted matching stockings for her family way back when and, somehow, managed to keep the tradition all the way through when my youngest cousin, Emma, was born in 1990.

My great grandma died when I was in college. It was later assumed that our tradition that consisted of 16 matching stockings would eventually die. We would celebrate marriages and births but have no matching stocking for the new family members.

Apparently, my cousin Mara - who is gearing up for her wedding next September - has been fretting about this. Her husband would not have a stocking.

Oh, but he would.

I know how to knit. Meg knows how to knit. Emma and Anna know how to knit, too.

And by some miracle of the Christmas season, the pattern to our stockings was located on the internet. A Christmas stocking pattern 61 years old. What's the likelihood?

We're all tickled pink.

Meg sent me out in the Christmas Eve shopping mess to pick her up yarn.

I gladly obliged. I will NOT be the one who interferes with the Christmas miracle.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

You know what's really irritating?

Trying to get ready to go out (to Colin's company Christmas party, of all things) when nothing - absolutely f'ing nothing - looks even the slightest bit decent.

Bad hair.
Gross skin.
Boring makeup.

Snore.

People are going to think that I'm 12.

At least I have a cute purse and I'm not fat. Nor the slightest big vain.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The sullen daughter

How to piss me off: read over my shoulder while I'm checking my email, catching up on blogs or attempting to update my own.

I'm 24. I don't live here. I'm going to utilize the internet how I please. Monitoring my internet usage while I'm at home is painfully unnecessary. If I want you to know I have a blog, I'd tell you. If I'm reading something I'd like to discuss with you, I'll bring it up. If I want you to know how much money is in my checking account, I'll announce it.

It's probably a crappy thing for me to say, Mom, but it's the truth: I don't have to tell you about everything. And I don't.

[This entry is brought to you by a tired girl fueled by minimal sleep. Annual holiday rant coming soon. xo.]

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Robot

I’m living a fantasy.

In that fantasy, I am unbreakable. I don’t feel; I can’t hurt. I am devoid of weakness, feelings. Humanity.

This morning, Mom asked me if I bought Colin a Christmas present.

I told her no.

Not because I didn’t want her to know what I bought him, more because I didn’t want her to know how much he means to me. If I don’t buy him a present, he’s a casual fling. And if he disappears tomorrow, I can feign disinterest. I can pretend that my heart isn’t broken.

I can, essentially, lie.

I can protect myself from the truth.

I wish that I knew the source of my desire to remain so disconnected. I’ve never been hurt in such a colossal way that I’ve had the conscious desire to be distant. I’ve never been the girl with the heart so broken that people look at me, sighing and murmuring about how I deserved so much better.

I don’t know what that feels like. And yet I spend so much energy protecting myself from it.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Gearing up for the big day

There are two or three things I do actually like about my job. Here's one. My schedule can be flexible. I'm not working tomorrow or Friday and I'm not being penalized any paid time off.

There are two or three hundred things I don't like about my job. Here's one. I have to work on Saturday.

When I got to Mom and Dad's house tonight, Mom looked like she was going to cry. These days, it's rare when her entire family is safely tucked underneath one roof.

My legs burn. I question the judgement that led me to run three miles last night.

My eyelids are drooping. I question the judgement that put me to bed after 11 pm last night, as well.

Tomorrow is Christmas cookie day. Trust me when I say it is every bit as over-the-top as our Thanksgiving pie baking.

This Holidailies "fun" challenge is infinitely more difficult than NaBloPoMo. So, uh, sorry that I'm lame. On a very regular basis.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Boys and iPods and gifting, oh my!

Okay. Deep breath.

Just got back from Best Buy. Purchased Colin's Christmas gift. An iPod Nano. Silver. 4 gig. Very nice. Practical. Visually appealing.

The kid loves gadgets. His brother bought him a GPS navigation system for his birthday and I swear I saw tears in his eyes when he used it for the first time. He treats his Blackberry like his first child. And I suspect that he kisses his high definition TV every morning.

Follow my logic here, folks. He loves gadgets = he'll love the Nano.

Or he will be afraid of the Nano. The Nano will holler "COMMITMENT!" from the tops of the mountains and the depths of the ocean. The Nano will conjure up images of weddings and babies and saggy boobs and college funds and other very scary grown-up types of things. And he will run away. And I will look stupid. And I will feel very sad.

Yeah, okay. So maybe I'm slightly terrified to give it to him.

Because, in my mind, the Nano says more than "I like you and I wanted to get you a Christmas present." It says "I reallyreallyreallyreally like you want I wanted to get you a Christmas present that would catch you pleasantly by surprise."

And that opens me up. It screams what I quietly feel. It exposes me to being hurt.

I'm afraid of being so vulnerable.

I'm afraid that, this time around, I've completely fallen for him.

I'm afraid that this - us - won't work out after two long years in the making.

I'm afraid that I'm going to lose him.

With that being said, I think I'll go and wrap this gift.

Risks reap rewards.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Insert anxiety here

I thought I was done with my Christmas shopping. At Lucy's house yesterday, I spied a present with my name on it.

Fuck. I didn't get a present for Lucy and Chet.

I was done! I swear, I was finished. And I was oh so proud of myself.

Oh. And then there's Meg. I was going to get Meg another present, too.

Shit.

I don't even have any ideas.

Ugh. And I know what I'm getting Colin, but I haven't managed to get to the mall to pick it up.

And I was kind of thinking that we should get one more present for my mom: a pair of shoes.

Isn't Christmas in, like, a week?

Haven't I wrapped, like, nothing?

Don't I have cookies to bake?

I suddenly feel very crabby.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Pet Peeves

Of the month: people who pronounce ornament as though it contains a d. Newsflash! It doesn't.

Of the year: my obsession with getting married and having babies. It cannot be healthy.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Cookie Captain

Colin and I went to dinner last night. I loved it. I loved it despite the fact that I was forced, against my will, to choose the restaurant. In the best conditions, I am crappy at picking out a restaurant. And Colin is one of those annoyingly picky eaters. Thai food was not an option.

So we ended up on the swanky side of town at what is largely considered the best burger joint around. Despite the hour wait (very typical), the restaurant was a very excellent choice.

I was proud of myself.

It was past 10:00 pm when we got over to Josh and Katie’s condo for their annual cookie baking party.

And when I say cookie baking, I actually mean dipping random shit in chocolate and topping it with sprinkles.

Not exactly what I call baking but, lets be honest, I’m a fucking snob.

I was fairly amused that they were hosting a cookie baking [chocolate dipping] party because I’d just gotten an invitation’s to Lucy’s cookie baking party, a party for which I have been anointed Cookie Captain (which I was named, no doubt, based on my excellent performance baking for the wedding).

Now, I’m at Josh and Katie’s and I’m trying sosososoSO hard not to be a baking snob. So, when they can’t even figure out how to melt their chocolate and they’re making sugar cookies out of that dough in a tube, I’m horrified, but I’m inwardly horrified.

But they probably heard me sigh with relief when Josh, sick of trying to get the chocolate to melt nicely, called for a substitution.

Colin volunteered me for his position.

And then it started.

Okay. Here’s your melted chocolate, kids. You have to melt it in a double boiler, or it will burn into a massive clump of yuck.

And the sugar cookies? They need to be rolled out thinner. That’s why they’re expanding into unrecognizable blobs.

Speaking of those sugar cookies: do you have any powdered sugar? I’ll make frosting.

Before I even knew it, I was Josh and Katie’s Cookie Captain, too.

Funny.

I’m not entirely comfortable around those people. I’m not myself. Words don’t come easily. I don’t know the jokes. I haven’t lived the history. I’m self-conscious. I just don’t know them well enough yet.

I’ve never admitted to that, but Colin knows it. And that is why he watched me bake with the faintest sparkle in his eyes. While mixing up frosting, I was mixing with the girls. And showing them how things were done.

He was wordlessly proud.
And wordlessly pleased.

I was, too.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Gah!

An empty tube of KY Jelly in my grandma's wastebasket: what I could've gone without seeing.

Cannot. Shake. Horrific. Mental. Image.

Shudder.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Ahhh, family

We put the Christmas tree up at Mom and Dad's house tonight.

Dad was putting the lights up on the tree when I got home.

He dismissed the standard greeting and acknowledged me with an observation.

"This tree has a crooked shaft."

Charming.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I need your help, part I

My supervisor review is due a week from today.

As an exercise in stress relief and general bitterness, I decided to fill out the majority of mine today.

I can't decide if I'm coming across as honest or harsh. What do you think?

The review is on a numerical scale, with four being the highest (agree), three is second-best (somewhat agree) and so on. Following, there's a two line comment section. Hardly room for me to write my name, let alone an explanation. I imagine this was intentional.

Anyway. Here we go.

1. Treats employees with fairness and respect.
Ranking: 3.5
Comment: I often take issue with how she speaks down to part-time employees.
Reality: She's a bitch to everyone.

2. Inspires future success.
Ranking: 3.5
Comment: Enthusiasm towards new projects, programs and challenges is contagious.
Reality: She gets excited about stupid shit that rarely pans out.

3. Holds employees accountable for the work that they do.
Ranking: 3
Comment: Amount of accountability varies greatly among different employees, but is improving.
Reality: Her Boy doesn't do shit and she couldn't care less.

4. Supports my professional development.
Ranking: 3.5
Comment: Certainly wants me to get better and be smarter.
Reality: Wants me to get better and smarter...but not better or smarter than she is.

5. Communicates effectively.
Ranking: 2.5
Comment: Hit or miss. Either very adequately informs about a situation or we're left in the dark. There is rarely a middle ground.
Reality: IT TOOK A WEEK TO OFFICIALLY TELL US THAT SHE FIRED KEVIN. HOW IS THAT EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION?

6. Encourages creative and innovative solutions.
Ranking: 2.5
Comment: Usually listens to suggestions but typically chooses hers over other possible solutions. Loves to shoot holes in the suggestions of others, aggressively, which generates hesitation prior to posing possible solutions.
Reality: Never lets you finish a sentence. Frequently uses absurd phrases while interrupting such as my personal favorite: "I'm just talking out loud..."

7. Fosters loyalty in employees.
Ranking: 2.5
Comment: She isn't in the building when the majority of the employees are; I believe there is a degree of distrust of her as a result of that.
Reality: Approximately two people are genuinely loyal to her. Everyone else is loyal to the company and would throw a party if she were transferred to Idaho.

8. Is a good listener.
Ranking: 3.25
Comment: Prone to point out all she disagrees with immediately, which leads to frequent interruptions. She dominates conversations. This is improving.
Reality: Not improving at all. Please don't fire me.

9. Considers input before acting.
Ranking: 3
Comment: Makes snap judgments sometimes, asks for input other times. It depends on the issue and who it would require the input of.
Reality: Flies by the seat of her pants. Does whatever pops into her pea brain first. Never thinks things through.

10. Demonstrates that employees are important to the success of the company.
Ranking: 2.75
Comment: Understands the value of a great employee, but isn't present enough to assist in the molding of a mediocre part-time employee into a great one.
Reality: Don't like her? Don't get along with her? There's people begging for a job in sports! Next!

11. Can be trusted to make sensible decisions.
Ranking: 3
Comment: Her snap decisions can sometimes get the best of her. Emotion fuels many of her decisions, which can lead her astray. Generally sound, however.
Reality: A beanbag has more common sense.

12. Is committed to organizational goals.
Ranking: 4
Comment: A strong proponent of company goals, beliefs and practices on a consistent basis to customers, employees, vendors, etc.
Reality: If the company were a person, her lips would be plastered to its ass.

13. Fosters an environment that encourages superior job performance.
Ranking: 2.5
Comment: None yet. I'm stumped.
Reality: She doesn't. When you hate your boss, you're not in an environment that nourishes your best work.

14. Practices what he/she preaches.
Ranking:
3.75
Comment: True, with occasional exceptions.
Reality: Doesn't follow dress code. Doesn't stick to her posted work schedule. Babbles on and on about how the job requires nights and weekends and doesn't show up to either.

15. Deals with problems immediately. Doesn't let things fester.
Ranking:
2
Comment: Small problems are addressed promptly, large issues are oftentimes ignored completely, which breeds significant contempt and/or ignorance.
Reality: See above comment about ignoring the fact that she fired Kevin. See also: telling Kevin she thought we were sleeping together, blaming it on me, and never bringing the perceived problem up to me.

We'll stop there. I'll post the second half of the review, and my little "futher information can go in this tiny square" essay, later. Or maybe I'll do you all a favor and I won't.

Thanks for helping, kiddies. I will have to repay your kindness by posting a picture of my ass or mailing you cash or something.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Oh, you truly are a retard

Colin,

When your birthday was more Boys Night Out and less Date Night, I wanted to be mad at you.

When you called and woke me up at 4:51 this morning, I wanted to be mad at you.

When you told me that, as a result of your drunken debauchery, you just spent a few hours in the E.R. getting 14 stitches, I wanted to be mad at you.

When you called me at work this morning, sounding like complete and utter shit due to last night's drunken debauchery, stitches and general testosterone-induced stupidity, I wanted to be mad at you.

Mostly, though, I want to see you. I want to make sure that you're okay.

And then I'll be mad at you. Really fucking pissed.

This is why I should've sucked it up and gone out last night. Because you're 25 and you need a babysitter.

Ass.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Two five

Dear Colin,

You just saved your ass, did you know that?

When you called, I was dressed and ready. Your present was wrapped and sitting on the table next to the door. I made cupcakes. My hair looks good.

I didn't want to go out. Not at 10:00 pm on a Monday. Not when, taking my commute from the East Side into account, I won't even get to the bar until 11:00 pm. But you'll only turn 25 once. And I am willing - as I'm always willing - to sacrifice sleep for you.

When you first called, you mentioned what time Jeff was picking you up. You told me where you were going. You gave me no indication that I was invited. Or welcomed. I was confused. And pretty pissed. But I didn't say anything. I never do. Not until after I have a chance to stew in my irritation. I'll yell, but first I must reach my boiling point. You know that.

It didn't take long for the disappointment to settle in. Tears sprung to my eyes as I snapped my phone shut.

I'd just dropped it onto the table, in disgust, when you called back.

"You're invited, you know that, right? I'm not trying to be a rude and inconsiderate bastard."

Nice save.

And to follow it up with genuine and sweet concern for me, for the time that I have to be at work tomorrow and for the hour it will take me to get to you - that was smooth. I bought it. Every word.

I didn't want to go out tonight, anyway.

Drink with the boys.

We'll celebrate properly on Friday. When I don't have to share you with 20 of your best friends. When you don't have to share me with a rapidly approaching workday.

I'm not mad.

We've got all the time in the world.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Getting over it

Did you know?

Whenever I leave Colin a voicemail. And he doesn't call back within a few hours. I convince myself that he never will. That we will fall and, before we can recover, we will slide downhill. Not able to stop.

Did you know?

These days, he doesn't neglect to return my calls.

Healing and forgetting are amazingly long processes.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

A touch of luck

This year I've been having major anxiety about Christmas.

There's no reason for it. I never start my shopping until December. I always do all of my dad's shopping. And I always have no good ideas. It's just how it works.

Maybe it's because I'm getting older, because just accepting Christmas preparations for what they are for me (stressful) is making me want to cry. And that's before I get to the mall, get overwhelmed by the selections, convince myself that none of the 459 stores have even one product for whomever I'm shopping for, pout and drag my defeated self-worth back to my car.

Mostly, I shop for my mom. I buy Dad's gifts for her as well as the presents Meg and I buy for her. My mom is not easy to shop for. At all. And, because she's my mom and all anyone ever wants is for their mom to be proud of them, I want to buy my mom the perfect gift. Even though she wants the same thing every year: nothing.

I've been shopping three times this week looking for presents for Mom.

I went out on Wednesday after yoga class. Bought nothing.

I went out yesterday after meeting Lucy for coffee. Bought nothing.

But today, I went out after work and I shopped. Really shopped! And even bought things!

Okay. I didn't really buy any gifts of significance - mostly just stocking stuffers - but I'm hoping that this will get the ball rolling.


Mom doesn't scrapbook, but she's always tickled pink by good nursing memorabilia. I was at the craft store and I found these stickers, by Jolee's, in the scrapbooking section.


I got her both packages.


Chocolate + coffee = good for the stocking.


The more chocolate the better, no?


She's a junky for candy corn.


I bought mom this, in green, from Talbot's. I thought it could be fairly versatile, worn with jeans or with slacks. She's been liking green lately.


She's also been liking puzzles. She has a bum knee, so she hasn't been going out and about all that often. Puzzles keep her busy. And Lost is her favorite show!

I bought her a new purse (too lazy too look up the photo) because she only carries around her briefcase. Very strange, Meg and I agree, so we're trying to get her to try a purse like a normal person. We'll see.

I picked her up a pair of jeans and a few other stocking stuffers, too.

Speaking of purses...

This Dooney and Bourke was a fantastic deal. And look how cute it is. I don't normally like Dooney and Bourke, but this doesn't scream "I'm a teenager and I'm spoiled!" like a lot of their handbags seem to. I'm very tempted to keep this for myself, but I think I'll give it to my mom to wrap up for Meg. Or for me.

I'd totally act surprised.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Sacrificing to the skating gods

I skated this morning, as I do every Friday, from 7:50-9:30 am. Some Friday morning sessions are rough. I work late on Thursdays and, after I watch Grey's and pack up all of my things (I almost always go to Mom and Dad's house after I skate), it's late and I'm exhausted and my alarm clock is screaming at me well before I'm ready for it to be.

Because I'm usually so tired, and because skating is such a fickle sport, I can skate exceptionally shitty on a Friday.

Some Fridays I can't spin.

Some Fridays my moves in the field are sluggish.

Some Fridays my jumps are lethargic.

And some Fridays I can't do any of it.

This is far from uncommon in skating. Some days are good. Some days are very, very bad.

Personally, I rarely have a bad jumping day. And I'm pleased with my moves 75% of the time. And my spinning usually sucks. It's not even that I spin poorly, it's that it does not come naturally to me. While I can learn and complete a new jump combination within 15 minutes, it can take five or six months for a new spin combination to begin looking halfway decent.

It's extremely frustrating. It is also a big part of what makes skating appeal to me. I like being so incredibly irritated that I am tempted to throw myself onto the ice, kicking my feet and throwing a loud tantrum.

Because I like that next skate, where whatever it was that I couldn't master comes effortlessly and flawlessly.

Secretly, I like the struggle.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I don't want to write about work, it just happens

Today, something glorious happened.

I got the year-end supervisor review I get to do of my boss. The single reason that I am glad that I'm still stuck in that job.

I've been keeping a list of complaints for months.

No, not this blog. Although, I suppose I could simply write down the URL for So Midwestern and get it over faster. While simultaneously exposing all of my intimacies to my employer. Tempting!

Also tempting: urge to rip boss to absolute shreds.

How honest can you be, though, without putting your own job in jeopardy?

[Since I can obviously not get another job, losing this one would be rather unfortunate.]

I've been looking forward to this review since last January 25, when my boss - in all of her ignorant glory - took over her position. And now I'm afraid to fill it out.

Here's why. She's about to have surgery, right? (I'll tell you all that story later.) She's going to be out of the office for a long, glorious month in which I will be absolutely swamped with work but won't have to look at her waddling past my desk on a daily basis.

Surgery. She's having it. Herniated disc in her neck. Nothing even slightly work related.

But the company, in its infinite wisdom, this company in which finances are so tight that we've been on a "salary freeze" for over a year, is hiring her a maid. AND A FRIGGING COOK. To hover over her sickbed.

Yes. This company has a crush on her like I had a crush on Joey from New Kids on the Block.

And so I'm afraid that I'm going to write some not-so-complimentary things about her (mixed with some complimentary things so that I don't come across as bitter as I truly am) and the high and mighty are going to lose their shit because they have a dumb, jealous, slutty employee who doesn't love her and then - ta da! - I'm gone.

Maybe I'll just post the supervisor review here for all of you to read. You'd tell me if it was out of line, right?

Okay, but what if I asked really, really nicely?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I kind of want to go to law school

Although, I doubt my ability to perform exceptionally on the LSATs (my scores have never been horrific on any test, but I wouldn't consider myself a wiz at standardized testing) as well as if my college grades are law school worthy, law school has been bouncing around in my head.

I kind of miss going to school.

And I most definitely need a career that involves certain things. Like the use of my brain.

Plus. I'm a bitch! I'll make a great lawyer! Don't you need to be a bitch to be a lawyer? Maybe that's just on TV.

Honestly, though? This needs to change. I can't work here forever. I can't keep living this life. I need some goals. I need some direction. I need some asses to kiss. I need a boss I'm not vastly smarter than. I need a corporate ladder to climb, damnit.

So law it is. ...maybe.

I don't know what else I'd go to grad school for, to be honest.

Maybe that's not a good reason to go.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

How the Grinch Changed Christmas

My Uncle Ed (who happens to be Jewish, but I absolutely believe that his religion is an amusing sidenote, not an actual cause of his actions) has been very anti-Christmas for the past three or four years. He mostly likes to bitch about it. Too much work. Too much money. The kids are too old. I'm too old. Bitch, bitch, bitch.

Last year, his began his complaining just a few weeks before Christmas. Traditionally, my aunts and uncles (and my parents) buy presents for all of their neices and nephews and exchange one "couple" gift between the family. Uncle Ed wanted to hack it all. In a rare moment of compromise, my mom told him, essentially, that she would buy gifts for his kids (ages 26 and 22) and that she would be fine with not exchanging the "couple" gift.

So, on Christmas, my mom and dad, as well as Aunt Marie and her husband, show up without a "couple" gift.

UNCLE ED AND AUNT LOUISE BRING COUPLE GIFTS.

Mostly, everyone was annoyed.

More so when Uncle Ed complained, loudly, throughout the actual Christmas festivities about the excesses of the holiday.

This year, he started early. In September. He wore us down.

A few months ago, we were sent the following email:

Subject: Christmas Presents

I have an idea we would like you to consider for gift exchange this year.

Everyone buys one present that would be of universal appeal for under $25. Everyone. What would be of universal appeal? That's where your creativity and cleverness come into play.

Everyone wraps their present.

Christmas eve they all go under the tree.

Christmas morning, everyone shows up at the house at an appointed time. We each pick a number out of a hat, 1-16. That number is the order in which we pick our gift from under the tree. One at a time, everyone watching.

#1 picks a present.

#2 picks a present.

Here's where the fun begins --

If #2 prefers #1's present, #2 takes it.

When #3 picks she has the option of keeping the present she selected or taking the presents currently held by #1 or #2. All the way through #16.

At the end of the picking, let the trading begin.

In addition, anyone is free to give others a small gift, ie home made fudge, or something small and personal. Nothing big by any means.

We think this would be a fun family activity.

The other benefits speak for themselves.

If anyone disagrees, we can go back to the habitual way of gift giving.

Please let me know what you think and I will share your views with everyone else.

Much love.

Ed


The adults all agreed because - honestly? - the fight wasn't worth it.

It didn't seem to be, anyway. Now, a mere 20 days before Christmas and in a mad scramble to find a gift that appeals to a 15-year-old girl and a 70-year-old man, Uncle Ed is Family Enemy #1.

I am so bitter.

This mostly sucks.

I am going to be the one who gives the shitty present and that mostly sucks, too.

I hate breaking tradition.

I hate change.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Is it or is it not 2006?

Oh, sweet boss of mine. How racist and ignorant you are. I am counting the days until I am handed my year-end supervisor review.

Exhibit 1: 10 minutes ago. Boss is complaining about a part-time employee who has been such a hard worker but, as of recently, has been a bit of a bitch. This part-time employee happens to be black. "She's showing her heritage. I hate to say that, but..."

Exhibit 2: Approximately two months ago. Boss shows a coworker a proposal given to us by a photographer. Coworker says "it's a little busy." Boss agrees. "You know black people, they like gaudy things."

Is it just me, or can you not say that?

Exhibit 3: Approximately three months ago. Boss is telling me about how her father, a florist, has a lot of Mexican employees ("Because," she said, "they're just such hard workers.". She's laughing a she tells me how he yelled at them, "STOP SPEAKING MEXICAN!"

I didn't laugh, but I did point out that Mexican isn't a language.

Seriously. Can you be more offensive? I mean, I'm as white as white can be, but just because I have blue eyes and blonde hair doesn't mean that I don't have a soul.

It just means that I'm Norwegian.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sundays are perfect for babbling

On the whole BCS ordeal: whatever. I am so over it. I didn’t want Michigan to play for the National Championship, anyway. I don’t know what all the fuss is about. It’s not like it’s the Natio...er...like I said. I’m over it.

On sweet, sweet redemption: my hockey team played the team that kicked my ass on Tuesday. We won. I played well. Now I can sleep at night.

On the Chocolate-Coconut Bars I’m currently baking: if they don’t taste good, I’m going to be really pissed. And totally embarrassed to bring them into work tomorrow.

On the weather: brrrr!

On my three day weekend: kind of a disappointment, actually. I didn’t sleep in. I didn’t lounge around. I shopped and shopped and shopped and socialized and baked and ate. Not relaxing in the slightest. I need relaxing. I suppose I’ll just have to hold out for New Year’s Day.

On Christmas shopping for my mother: complete and utter torture. I’m not a good shopper in the best conditions and Mom is virtually impossible to shop for. What I really like is how I’m expected to buy Dad’s gifts to Mom, too.

On Colin’s birthday: it is December 11, a week from tomorrow. He’ll be 25. I bought him a watch. Is a watch too much? He doesn’t wear a watch. Why would I buy a watch for someone who doesn’t wear one? I might not give it to him.

On working tomorrow: don’t want to go. Am currently completely devoid of any motivation.

On when I should go to bed tonight: approximately an hour ago. But I was waiting on those Chocolate-Coconut Bars.

On the Chocolate-Coconut Bars that are now cooling on my counter: fucking heavenly. No need to be pissed. No need to be embarrassed. Significant need to be afraid that I’ll eat them all for breakfast.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

What does it all mean?

UCLA just beat No. 2 USC 13-9.

So who plays Ohio State in the National Championship game?

Is it my Michigan Wolverines?

Or will it be Florida?

I cannot believe I have to wait until tomorrow to find out.

This shit kills me.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Maybe I can write something of substance today

The first time Colin and I attempted dating (and, in hindsight, all it was was an attempt), it was all on his terms. He called when he wanted to. He saw me when he wanted a girl on his arm. There was nothing even slightly real about it.

We never broke up. Well, we were never really dating. It was almost dating and it stopped when I stopped calling him because he couldn't return my calls. Mostly, I got the hint. And he admitted wrong when he suggested, for the second time, that we should give Us a try.

Our second attempt was exactly the same. Except it didn't last long. And I'd convinced myself that this time would be different and perfect, so my heart hurt a little more.

Things ended the same way. I'd call four times to his one. I sucked up my pride and stopped dialing his number. Silence. It was last winter. His calculated distance made it feel colder.

When he admitted wrong this fall he suggested, again, that we should give Us a try.

I should've blown him off.

But it felt genuine.

And it has been.

Colin has been a dream. Every bit the gentleman he should've been the first two times around. In this third try, we've gotten something right. We're both mature enough. The stars are aligned. The prostitute he was in love with moved to Toronto. I'm on the right cocktail of drugs. Something. Something's different. And good.

But please excuse me if I'm still nervous.

I'm home - at Mom and Dad's - for a three-day weekend. Colin called me today, but he didn't suggest that we do anything tonight.

Of course, I didn't suggest that we do anything either. But I have a vagina, so that's obviously not my responsibility. Feminism? What?

It's the most insignificant thing. We can spend tomorrow together.

But it brings it out of me. I'm still nervous. I'm afraid that the old Colin - the boy who likes me, yes, but could care less about hurting me - is still somewhere in there.

I'm scared to get hurt again.

I think I have the right to still be afraid.

Strike that

Nevermind that gloating crap I wrote about blogging every day being soooooo easy.

I didn't do shit today. I skated (really well), watched an episode of Grey's Anatomy (the one that aired three weeks ago where Alex kisses Izzy), went shopping (bought nothing), ate dinner (salad) and attempted to blog (failed).

Par-tay.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Can't keep me down!

Hey there, bitches. Did you notice that today is the last day of November? Did you see that I posted every day of the month?

Oh, sweet success. NaNoBloMo, you are my bitch.

It wasn’t as difficult as I anticipated it to be. But I’m always pretty reliable/predictable/awesome/fantastic when it comes to blogging.

I was going to celebrate by taking tomorrow off.

Instead, I think I’m going to celebrate by signing up for Holidailies.

Because that’s what being mentally ill is all about.

Same time, same place. Every day of December, kiddies. It is my gift to all of you.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Humbled

I scored on myself in my hockey game last night.

For those of you who don't know, I'm my team's goalie. As in, I'm the last person back. As in, if the puck is innocuously dumped into our defensive zone and I go to clear it and I don't consider the puck to be the slightest puck and I have a moment of mental retardation and totally fan on the puck (which is embarrassing enough) and the puck trickles past me AND INTO THE NET, I've essentially scored on myself. 20 seconds into the game.

Hu-fucking-miliating.

I could've died right then and there.

But it only got worse.

They kept scoring and scoring and scoring. Most of the other goals weren't my fault, really, but they sure as hell feel like entirely your fault after letting in such a boner first goal.

Somehow, my team (which hasn't scored more than two goals in a game all season) pulls five goals out of its collective ass. With a minute left in the third period, we're winning 5-4.

Girl on team takes stupid penalty.

Score. 5-5.

Girl on team gives the puck away in the neutral zone.

Goalie can't stop a beach ball.

Score. 6-5.

That game sucked more than any game has sucked before.

The rematch is on Sunday.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

What I did on the biggest bar night of the year

My Thanksgiving isn't Thanksgiving without the baking of an astronomical amount of pies. This year, Mom calculated that we needed 18. Baking them was, um, entertaining. As always.


We baked pies by the warmth of a fire. How quaint.


World's largest vat of pumpkin pie innards.


As you can see, my cousin Danielle and I weren't great at making crust, but Mom refused to do it. She claimed some ridiculous crap about practice making perfect.


Danielle attempts to keep her cool while making crust.


Attempt is the key word.


Nice try?


Pies in the oven.


Pumpkin pie. Two of eight.


Pecan pies!


Pretty close to perfect, no?


I'm always in charge of the cranberries, 'cause they're my absolute faaaavorite.

This next picture has nothing to do with pies. But I wanted to share.

Meg, dressed in a mask Danielle brought home from the show she's in, provided the Thanksgiving entertainment.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Hey, hey Hockeytown

I'm going to the Red Wings game tonight. I'm not really all that excited, because I have enough hockey in my life and I haven't felt well all day and I really should be going to kickboxing class and I'd also like to get to bed super early.

But. Like I said. Red Wings game. They're playing the Dallas Stars and it will be fun. I'm taking my friend Aviva, who doesn't leave to go back to NYC until tomorrow morning.

Aviva isn't really a hockey fan, but she'd like to be. She jumped on the bandwagon back in '97, when the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup, but never got the memo that, to be a real fan, you have to, like, watch the games. Or know one or two of the players. Or have a vague idea of what the blue line is.

It'll be fun anyway.

I wanted to take Colin, but he's working tonight. I knew that he was working tonight, but I called him anyway. When he didn't answer, I immediately rang up Aviva. She was so excited that she nearly screamed.

(She's only been to one Wings game before. I took her. Probably four years ago. The seats weren't even that good. Tonight's are amazing. She might shit herself.)

And then my sweet Colin called back and was like "you should've waited for me to call back. I could've gotten out of work!"

I felt bad.

I considered calling Aviva and telling her that my dad had already given the tickets away.

But that would be absolutely horrible karma.

Aviva will enjoy the game more, anyway.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

How I know it's winter

My skin is so damn itchy.

This happens whenever it gets cold out.

I could spend 11 hours a day scraching at myself. Gross, right?

If anyone knows of a way I can be infused with moisture, please let me know ASAP. Until then, I'll be sitting here, searching for a dermatologist who specializes in lotion IVs. Between the itching and the scratching.

And the moaning.

And the whining.

This is complete crap.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

How to enrage me

1. Tell me that I’m too dumb to go to the college that I ultimately attended and graduated from. In four years. With two majors.
2. Expend major time and effort “helping” me build my career and expand my connections while “covertly” mauling me with “subtle” “suggestions” (read: demands) on what my life and career should consist of.
3. Attempt to land me a job, despite the fact that I just landed my own, because the one that I just got wasn’t good enough.
4. Try to control the rest of your nieces in much the same way.
5. Try to control your sisters/sisters-in-law, too.
6. Suck any sense of self-sufficiency from me when I stay at your house for a job interview.
7. Ask me about my job with “you could do so much better” thick in your voice.
8. Send me an email with the subject line “GOOGLE HIRING IN CHICAGO!” (yes, it was all capitalized) less than a month after Google didn’t hire me.
9. Send me THE SAME FUCKING EMAIL 29 minutes later. What, making me feel like a collosal loser once in an hour wasn’t enough?
10. CALL ME THE NEXT MORNING TO TELL ME THAT YOU SENT ME THE STUPID FUCKING EMAIL AND THAT YOU “HAVE SOME TIPS” TO GIVE ME.
11. Be naïve enough to think that I’m actually going to call you back.
12. Keep pouring the salt in the wound.
13. Keep pointing out the obvious.
14. Continuously make me feel like an underachieving fool.

I don’t like it. I’m hard enough on myself, thanks.

Friday, November 24, 2006

And now, the lighter side of my holiday

This week, my cousin Max's teacher passed out a worksheet to the class. The instructions were for the students to make a list of what they needed to buy at the grocery store for Thanksgiving dinner.

Max, who is six, had a very short list. One item, as a matter of fact.

Bud Light.

What six year old puts Bud Light on his Thanksgiving shopping list?

What six year old makes Bud Light the only thing on his Thanksgiving shopping list?

And, most importantly, how much does the fact that Max (who has the same last name as me and is enrolled in the same school district that I graduated from) put Bud Light on his Thanksgiving shopping list ruin the sterling reputation that I worked so hard to maintain?

That's right. It's all about me.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy fucking Thanksgiving

When I got to Mom and Dad's house yesterday, I was a mess. Work was such a wreck on Wednesday. After an hour drive in rush-hour traffic to top it off, I was drowning in my anxiety.

It took me all night to calm down. I was edgy and exhausted. The last thing I felt like doing was playing the role of the good daughter, baking over a dozen pies with my mom while my sister hang out with her friends. I wanted trashy reality television. To take a hot shower and go to sleep. I wanted to cry.

But I didn't. I wouldn't acknowledge it. I made the pies, teeth clenched, afraid that I would snap at any minute.

I felt a little better this morning.

And progressively better through the day.

After a lovely Thanksgiving at my aunt's house, I left for my apartment with just enough time to catch the beginning of Grey's Anatomy.

I had to choose between two northbound roads. Although I always, always take the second of the two, tonight I picked the first.

And got a ticket.

I should've known better. It's a speed trap. It drops from 50 MPH to 35 MPH in a one mile stretch. I'd just gotten into the 35 MPH zone when I was pulled over.

I'm so stupid.

And now I'm back where I was last night. Anxious and pissy and on the verge of completely losing control.

All over a stupid speeding ticket.

I need to be medicated.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Sobering



It's incredibly sad, how it works. How you hear stories of tragedies in the news and they just sort of roll off of you. You acknowledge their weight for a nanosecond before tossing the significance aside. Horrible things happen every day. There isn't time to dwell on them all.

And then something happens to someone you know.

Or, in this case, someone who used to work for your dad.

And the world seems at once terrible and terribly clear.

He was just a year older than me. He was decapitated in the accident. Decapitated. Jesus.

It didn't roll off of me.

It seeped into my head. It keeps echoing in my ears.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

At the back of my closet

I own a lot of party dresses.

I don't go to all that many parties, truthfully. Enough, yes, but I wouldn't label myself a socialite or anything of the like.

This weekend, I dug through my closet at Mom and Dad's house. Due to the limited closet space at my apartment and the infrequency with which I wear my dresses, I keep all of my party dresses there.

Wanna see?


I don't have many of my dresses from high school, but I wore this one to my homecoming dance when I was a sophomore. I wouldn't dare wear this now; I have a feeling that it would be too short to cover my ass, if I did.


I wore this navy blue dress to a charity event (or maybe two?) that I went to with my parents. The picture doesn't do justice to the beautiful shape of the dress, which was very flattering.


My favorite part, no doubt, is the embroidery along the top of the dress.


It's the dress I was wearing in the famous picture of me, tennis babe Anna Kournikova and her then-husband, hockey player Sergei Fedorov.


I know I wore this to a charity gala. But I think that's it. It's a Jessica McClintock. The dress isn't quite as shiny or multi-colored as it appears in the picture, but I think it's a little too young-looking for me to get away with now.


My favorite part of this dress is the brooch at the top. Ironically enough, when I first bought the dress I wanted to cut it off.


This is the dress that Kevin's wife hated so much. It's made for a slender person. It's been a few years since I wore it, so I'm not sure I could even pull it off anymore. The entire dress is ruffles, which makes it a super fun variation on a plain black dress.


This looks like a sack on a hanger, but it's actually a Kenneth Cole wrap dress. A little more casual than the others, I've gotten good wear out of this.


I think the pattern is fun.


Oh, look! An old picture of (L-R) me, Mom and Meg. I'm wearing the Kenneth Cole. Meg's in my Ralph Lauren ruffle dress.


This is one of my ever faithful little black dresses. It was the first dress I'd bought that didn't have much structure, more flowy, with a drop waist. My mom says that it looks like a dress a ballerina would wear. I insist that it's more of a figure skater's style.


I love the drop waist. It gives the dress its flow and almost makes me look tall.


The drape of the neckline is pretty, too.


Another flowy dress, this dress was quite flattering on me. I think it was the color. Aren't blondes supposed to look good in red?


The embroidery is very delicate, subtle and pretty. The scarf thingie that hung over one shoulder is a bit unusual, but it grew on me.


I think I'll have this dress forever. Or for as long as it fits me. Pretty conservative, with the square neckline and all.


The two bows at the right side are cute detail, I think.


I haven't worn this yet. Invite me somewhere, people! The color is super pretty and it's that same ol' flowy style that I've found suits me well.


Ruffles to detract from my lack of boobies?


This dress is very slinky. I like it.


And the beading is gorgeous.


This Laundry dress is currently my favorite dress. It fits me perfectly. And it's totally versatile.


Here's me and my pointy nose wearing this dress at Meg's best friend's wedding this summer.


A good cut for a flat-chested girl.


Another drop waist. This one hangs so fricking perfectly. And look at the detail. Don't you love the detail?

Of course you do.

And you want me to escort you to your company's ultra-fancy Christmas party?

Of course you do.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Snotty McSnotterson

I have a cold. Again. I've had a cold for three of the last four weeks. I am so over this crap. I have things to do! I have a stunningly interesting life to lead! I simply cannot be blowing my nose every two minutes.

And, when I skate, I get whipped in the face with my snot every time I jump or spin.

Disgusting but true.

I imagine that all of my late nights have made me more susceptible to colds than usual. I'm a big fan of sleep - it's pretty much my favorite activity - and I haven't gotten much lately. I can't go to bed before Dr. 90210 is over on Mondays. Hockey keeps me out until at least midnight on Tuesdays. I take yoga on Wednesday nights and the ensuing endorphins keep me awake. I mull over that night's Grey's Anatomy instead of going to bed on Thursdays. Friday nights, lately, have been reserved by Colin. And we never go out until late. Saturdays are consumed into the wee hours by Lucy or Colin or by Mom and Dad taking me to a late dinner or by driving to A2 to watch one of Meg's hockey games.

I shouldn't complain. It's only sleep. And, yes, I do feel better when I get more of it. But actually living my life, after existing in such a narrow existence for far too long? That makes me feel pretty darn good, too.

The moral of this story is that you can't win.

Sometimes you get slapped in the face by your own boogers. And you wipe them off. And you gross someone out by telling them about it over dinner. Then, when they smile at your ridiculousness, you forget about how tired you are.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I'm really pleased with myself

I knit a baby hat for someone I work with. He's a part-timer (which is why I can stand him) and he and his wife are expecting their first baby any day now.

Hopefully the hat will fit the baby (gender unknown, hence the very pale mint green color) a little better then it fits my bear.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Sniffle

Well, that wasn't the result I was hoping for.

I really wanted an excuse to go to Arizona, too.

There's always next year, I guess. But that seems an awful long way away.

Go Blue, anyway.

Friday, November 17, 2006

1929-2006

Bo Schembechler died today.

The legendary coach of the University of Michigan football team died on the eve of Michigan v. Ohio State. The battle between the first and second-ranked teams in the nation. The day before what is being touted as one of the biggest college football game in recent history.

Unbelievable.

He addressed the Michigan football team just yesterday. Today he is dead. Tomorrow his Wolverines play the Buckeyes.

The timing of his death is surreal. Straight out of the script of a movie. The effect Bo’s death will have on the game tomorrow is intriguing, to say the least. I imagine that the Wolverines will play with emotion tomorrow, in honor of Bo, in celebration of his legacy.

God bless Bo.

Go Blue.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

An abusive relationship

I was going to write something funny. It might have even been hilarious.

But, first I sat down and watched Grey's Anatomy and - WHAM! - gone.

That show sucks all humor from my life.

I take melancholy to bed every Thursday night. And I love it. Thrive on it. Shake with giddy anticipation during Ugly Rita.

It's too good. I love it too much. I shouldn't be allowed to watch.

This show? It destroys me. Then picks me up and kisses my boo boo. Then it pushes me in the mud, points and laughs. Then it sends me flowers and chocolate before it kicks me in the teeth. Kisses my cheek. Spits on my lunch. Mails me a valentine. Keys my car. Holds me tight. Drops me fast.

Every week.

It gets me every week.

Now if you'll excuse me, melancholy and I need to get some rest.

And now a word from my body

Being a female sucks.

Sincerely,
Aly's Hot Bod

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

There would not be an idle hour in my day

Lately, all I feel like doing is baking and knitting.

And figure skating.
And playing soccer.
And hockey.

I'm pretty sure that if I suddenly became incredibly wealthy and had no need or reason to work, I could easily fill my days.

Not only could I fill my days, I could fill my days with activities that could be viewed as somewhat productive. I could keep myself busy. I might only have time for a manicure and a pedicure ever other week, in fact.

I really look into becoming incredibly wealthy.

Or marrying someone who is.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Sensitive

I’m sure that it wasn’t huge news in most parts of the country, but Detroit was abuzz today with the news that the leaders of General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler were meeting with President Bush.

Around here, any Big Three news is huge. Everyone here knows a handful of people who work in the industry. Entire extended families, series of generations, are loyal employees of Ford. Some are eternally loyal with GM. For others, it's Chrysler. As you may imagine, Detroit lives and dies with the automobile industry.

When a wrap-up of the meeting between President Bush and the Big Three popped up on CNN this afternoon, a coworker and I stopped at the television to see the report.

The coworker I stood with, Lisa, is the only coworker I really like now that Kevin’s gone She’s extremely sharp and witty and far too much fun. I trust her and I respect her.

Lisa is very conservative. Conservative to the point that she’ll snap at a harmless comment about how the president "cracks me up." I, of course, am fairly liberal; Lisa and I hadn’t worked together long before I realized that I should not even mention current events, let alone politics, at work. I liked Lisa too much. I didn’t want to go there.

And I’ve never gone there. I sit at my desk and watch Lisa’s reactions while masking my own behind a façade of disinterest. I doubt that she had any idea of my political leaning.

Until today.

Much of the report that we were watching, like much of the meeting with the president, was focused on healthcare.

Lisa mentioned, casually, how ridiculous it was for the Big Three to think that they would get any help from Washington. Especially for healthcare. Why do they think that the government would want to help them?

Uhhh. Because the government has a vested interest in keeping the Big Three in business?

Well, yes, Lisa conceded. But that’s just one step closer to socialized medicine.

I shrugged my shoulders. And blinked back a few tears.

"I don’t know," I said. "But I know that, as a child, I watched a father stand at a pharmacy, trying to decide which of two prescriptions he should get filled for his baby because he couldn’t afford to fill them both. No parent should be forced to make that decision. And that broke my heart. And just thinking of that breaks my heart now. It’s wrong."

She said something about agreeing that was wrong and terrible, but...I didn’t stay to listen.

I couldn’t.

And it makes no sense. I’ve never been without excellent health care. I’ve never been anything but privileged. Because of my pampered history, it feels like this issue picked me. I swear that I never consciously picked it.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Silver lining?

Lucy, my dear Lucy, called me today with a very delightful pick-me-up.

First: she told me that Other Bridesmaid didn’t even make it past her first interview with that big, flashy company that didn’t hire me last month.

Please, girl! If you’re going to get rejected, you at least have to make it to the very, very end of the hiring stages so that you’re so convinced that you’re about to be hired that, when you don’t get the job, your world comes crashing down on you!

So there.

She clearly ranked much higher on the rejection scale.

And there’s something strangely soothing about that.

But it gets better.

When Other Bridesmaid told a friend whose boyfriend works for the big, flashy company about the division that she was rejected from, he laughed and told her that she was better off without the job.

Apparently, the position is painfully repetitive and the people who are hired for it are always devoid of personality so as to be the type to thrive in the monotony. When they were still based on the Googleplex, everyone else would laugh at the high concentration of losers that this particular department attracted.

This probably isn’t true, but I’m going to believe it anyway. During the interview process, I did feel like I clicked more with the higher-ups who didn’t work directly with the product than those who worked in that department.

Maybe I dodged a bullet! Maybe now I can get my head out of my ass!

I got a call to schedule a phone interview today, too.

Dear Pieces,

Please, please, please fall together. Convince me that there is a higher power and a grander scheme.

Love, Me

Sunday, November 12, 2006

It's great to be a Michigan Wolverine

A normal Michigan-Ohio State football week is great.

A Michigan-Ohio State football week when the teams are ranked #1 and #2 in the nation? I can barely breathe.

It's equal parts nervous and excited here.

Go Blue. And please refrain from breaking my tender heart.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Life Lesson of the Week

Unless you like really the gross or the moldy, throw away your Halloween Jack o' Lantern prior to November 11.

Thank you. Godspeed.

Gettin' out

Last night I went out with Colin and a few of his buddies. I almost didn’t go. Dinner was on the agenda and, as I’d had my lunch at 3:00 pm, a meal wasn’t appetizing. And I had lovely Saturday workday hanging over my head, which sort of made me want to pout and crawl into bed super-extra early.

But I didn’t! I put on makeup and a smile and a hot pair of jeans and I socialized. Just like a big girl.

We went to dinner. We consisted of Colin, Colin’s best friend (Josh), Colin’s best friend’s girlfriend (Katie) and another pal of Josh and Colin’s, Chris. Oh, and Josh’s dad. Totally random, yes, but he totally bought us all dinner and drinks. Score.

Somehow we ended up playing Whirly Ball. For real. Totally random, but rather fun. We played boys against girls, with the referee subbing in on the girls’ team. We tied. And laughed our asses off. It was glorious.

After, everyone returned to Katie and Josh’s house. And I had Colin drop me off at my car. The real world called. I would be a grownup and get to bed before 1:00 am.

I went to sleep happy.

Sometimes all you need is a group of friends – even if it isn’t your group of friends, even if you’re a loner by nature. There’s something to be said about power in numbers. Number of smiles, I mean.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Sigh

Lucy just called me. In the ten years I've known her, she has never sounded so down.

She still doesn't have a full-time job. And it doesn't look like she will anytime soon. Her dad gave her a pep talk a few days ago and she felt so broken that she didn't even have the energy to fight back. That is so not her.

On one hand, it's comforting to know that I'm not alone. On the other hand, I'd be unhappy in my job for the rest of my life if it meant guaranteeing her professional happiness.

This growing up is absolute crap.

To do: Friday

1. Bumble out of bed far too early
2. Mindlessly dress in skating gear - two pairs of tights, black yoga pants, Under Armour cold gear and a lovely lime green fleece
3. Inhale a small bowl of baked oatmeal, the recipe for which I found earlier this week at Everybody Likes Sandwiches
4. Drive Miss Stella to rink
5. Skate, skate, skate for 1 hour, 40 minutes
6. Drive to Mom and Dad's house
7. Eat Mom and Dad's food
8. Use Mom and Dad's computer
9. Blog
10. Shower
11. Dress
12. Spackle on a bit o' makeup
13. Take Stella to the dealership to have a little boo boo fixed
14. Badger my father into taking me to lunch
15. Drop by the craft store for a yarn needle and some stitch markers
16. Sleep in front of television while Oprah is on
17. Paint fingernails
18. Make significant progress on knitting project
19. See Lucy
20. See Colin
21. Badger Colin into taking me to dinner
22. Make irritatingly loooooooong drive back to my apartment
23. Go to bed at a decent hour

You know you're jealous.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I don't make this stuff up

My mom snapped at me. When she left the room, I turned to my dad to make an obvservation.

Me: "See! Mom isn't just hard on you!"

Dad: "Hard on? Heh."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Weak stomach? Skip this one.

I will preface this with a little background information: I’m not a puker. The last time I barfed was the summer before my senior year of high school. I’d taken a real whopper of a pain killer for my bad back. My stomach rejected it. Violently. Prior to that day, I hadn’t vomited since fourth grade. I was out of practice. As a result, I honked on the floor of my bedroom. And then the bathroom floor.

My mom looked like she wanted to execute me as she asked, through clenched teeth, why her 16-year-old couldn’t puke in the toilet like a normal human.

I didn’t have enough practice!

Anyway. On to our story.

After the Michigan-Iowa game that I went to with my mom, we met up with my sister (who had been sitting in the student section) and one of her good friends. We were all mighty hungry. Starving, even. So hungry, in fact, that we didn’t think we could weather a long wait at a decent restaurant.

Any restaurant that is truly a campus institution is packed after any game.

Joe’s Crab Shack? Not a campus institution. Not even technically on campus, in fact. But we got a table right away and it was very fast and we were all stuffed and happy when we left.

On the drive home, Mom made some comment along the lines of "geez, I’m not used to eating so much fried food. You’d think they could throw a vegetable or two on the plate with the fried fish and fried shrimp. But do they? No. They serve it nestled in a bed of fries."

I was too full to chime in my own commentary.

A telltale rumble in my belly awoke me at 1:00 am. I made a mad sprint for my bathroom, blazing down the hall with my hair blowing in the wind and my hands pressed to my mouth.

It had been a long time.

But I knew.

And I knew that I needed to make my mother proud.

Must.
Puke.
In.
Toilet.

I made it to the bathtub, which seemed like an acceptable alternative. I barfed and, as any 24-year-old would do, I went to get my mom.

"Mom? Mom? Psssst! Mom! I just threw up."

She looked like she wanted to strangle me before she even opened up her eyes. "Where?"

"On my sleeve." I inserted a dramatic pause. "And in the bathtub." I pushed my voice to assure that she'd feel sorry for me.

"Then wash it down the drain!" Her pity wasn't exactly palpable. I shuffled back to the bathroom to take care of my mess. On my own.

I go into the bathroom and turn the water on as high as it can go. In addition to improving the water pressure this maneuver, of course, also made the water really hot.

I was, essentially, steaming the vomit in the bathtub.

And then my mom came to help me.

Completely naked.

(Due to menopause, not my father, thankyouverymuch.)

So there I am, with my naked mother, wearing vomit on my sleeve.

This might be a good time to tell you all that my mother is a nurse by profession. She doesn't practice full time but, as a professor, she's frequently in the hospital with her students.

We all know that nurses are well versed in the gross.

So imagine my surprise when my half-asleep and completely naked mother peers into the bathtub, takes in the sensory overload that was my barf, turns around and pukes - TWICE - into the toilet.

And that is the story of how I made my nurse mother vomit in the nude.

It's an accomplishment for the ages.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The first Tuesday after the first Monday

Ever since I reached voting age (has it really been six years?!), voting day has made me nervous. Legitimately nervous. The stomach knotting nerves that plague me before a soccer game? It’s exactly the same.

My nerves always subside within a minute or two of starting a soccer game. Voting will do nothing to cure my anxiety.

This year? It’s huge. Everything on the ballot seems so enormous that I can’t even seem to grasp the importance of each vote I’m casting. Maybe I’m being a little dramatic. But I have been infected with a really, really strong sense of right and wrong. And it breaks my heart when what I view as wrong is what the voting majority deems right.

I’m not a fan of feeling helpless.

Which is one of the primary reasons I vote in the first place.

Monday, November 06, 2006

I feel the burn

Both of my knees are aching.

I have done some thinking, and I have narrowed down the source of the pain to the following:
1. My hockey game last night
2. Dancing in my bedroom to Justin Timberlake's FutureSex/LoveSounds
3. Quality time on the treadmill on Saturday afternoon
4. Old age
5. Figure skating (rather poorly) in yesterday's lesson
6. Growth spurt
7. Preemptive pain striking before I attend kickboxing class
8. The disgustingly premature "all Christmas, all the time" programming schedule on a local radio station
9. NaBloPoMo

A blog from your influential consumer of TV media

I’m not supposed to tell any strangers that I’ve been chosen to be a Nielsen TV Ratings family but, really, are any of you strangers? I think not.

So there it is: I’m a N*elsen TV Ratings family!

I wouldn’t actually consider myself a family – I see myself more as a pathetic single girl – but N*elsen does. And if N*elsen does, who am I to argue?

A few months ago, I got a survey and $5 cash (fun!) in the mail from N*elsen. The survey was pretty short and, since I was so keeping the moolah, I felt somewhat obligated to fill it out.

I spent the $5 – probably on coffee and cinnamon raisin bagels at Tim Horton’s – and assumed that I’d heard the last of N*elsen.

Wrong!

A few weeks ago, a N*elsen representative knocked on the door and told me that my answers to that original survey, which mostly asked about my demographics and TV viewing, qualified me to be a N*elsen TV Ratings family!

Fast forward a bit and, in my humble little living room, is a ratings box attached to my telly. When I turn on the TV, all I have to do is punch in and watch my little heart out. Easy! Fun!

I was a communications major in college. I totally get off on this exercise of media dorkdom.

I also feel exceptionally powerful.

But, oh what the people at N*elsen must think. A typical day of television at my house: Good Morning America in the morning and Laguna Beach, The Girls Next Door, Grey’s Anatomy or MTV’s True Life.

...one of which, obviously, I need to look into getting.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Snap!

I had a hockey game this afternoon. It was right near Mom and Dad's house, at the rink my sister played at as a kid. Of course, Mom and Dad came to watch their baby girl. Who, at the tender age of 24, still has her parents in the stands.

Colin came to my game, too.

I didn't even know he was there. He snuck in late in the game, not bothering to climb into the stands. Colin didn't know that my parents were at the game (I'd like to think that he wouldn't be opposed to socializing with my parents); when the game was over, he went straight to his car.

Mom and Dad, however, waited for me in the lobby. They walked me out to my car, told me how fabulous I played, helped me stuff all of my goalie equipment into Stella.

At this point, I still didn't know Colin was at my game.

While pulling out of the parking lot, I called him.

He congratulated me on my 2-1 victory. I cursed him out for now waiting for me in the lobby and for leaving without even seeing me.

"I'm actually still in the parking lot," he admitted. "Your parents were parked right next to me."

Mom and Dad go to Mom's new car, which Colin parked unknowingly next to. And there he is, randomly sitting in his car.

I cannot imagine what they thought.

So, after making fun of Colin for at least 10 minutes, I called my mom to hear her side of the run-in with Colin. I expected some friendly teasing from the 'rents.

It went more like this.

Me: "So I hear that Colin was parked next to you, just sitting there like some creepy molester."

Mom: "Whether or not Colin molests you is between the two of you. There are some things you just don't tell your mother!"

I could've died.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Who is this boy?

There are times that I pick up the phone and see that I have a missed call from Colin and wonder who, exactly, this boy is and how, precisely, he has inhabited my notoriously misbehaving Colin’s body.

It’s totally different. Entirely glorious. Simple and sweet and moving at a slow, cautious pace that pleases me endlessly.

I will venture far enough to say that I’m lucky.

This new Colin is nearly perfect. I see the caution in his actions. He’s afraid to fuck this up. I can’t express how much that pleases me. I don’t want to be the only one who is equal parts painfully scared and exceptionally happy.

We’re working through this.

Slowly.

And it’s fun, you know? I never realized. I’m so inexperienced in these boy-girl things that I didn’t know that a girl could be with a boy early in a relationship and she could be truly and genuinely happy. It doesn’t all have to be all drama.

Go figure.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Stuck

I'm a big fan of John Mayer's writing. Have been for years now. (I liked him long, long before Your Body is a Wonderland hit the airwaves, dear friends.) There's just something about the way he puts his thoughts together that is witty and hilarious and perfectly colloquial yet incredibly talented that I just love. ...and, truth be told, am pretty envious of.

Needless to say, I check his blog quite regularly.

I can't get over what he posted last Sunday.

And, at the same time, I can't quite wrap my head around it.

I've been entertaining the idea of printing it out. Highlighting. Writing in the margins.

But, quite honestly, I'm somewhat afraid of what I'll write.

Stomping on the accelerator can be a daunting task.



CHANGE
Sunday, October 29, 2006

I've been thinking about something lately.

Imagine this:

You're on an airplane, sleeping with your head against the window, your heart set on being home this time three hours from now. All of a sudden, something goes very wrong. The plane stops moving across the air and instead starts falling through it. The lights are flickering and the movie is skipping. The plane dips hundreds of feet in seconds, and the yellow cups fall from the ceiling. They're a brighter shade of yellow than you remember, because unlike the demonstration, these cups have never been handled before. "Flight attendants take your seats now", you hear, the pilot's voice trembling over a cacophony of alert tones. You get that smell in the bridge of your nose like you've just been hit with a football. That's what the fear smells like. The plane is going down.

Four more drastic drops in under a minute. People are crying. For all the folklore about how your life flashes before your eyes, you're remarkably fixed on one vision - your parents. They're sleeping at this very moment, in a bedroom so quiet they can hear the clock in the kitchen. And you can see them, clear as can be. You wish you could see a playground or a first kiss, but all you can see is your parents sleeping. Huh. Well, that's that.

Several long minutes go by. Then, all at once, the lights come back on and the plane somehow rights itself. Some people cheer, but most people cry harder. The plane lands about an hour later, and as soon as you feel that touch down - hell, even when you were within 50 feet of the ground and could still technically survive a fall - you realize that however you brokered the deal between you and God worked; you've just been granted life in overtime.

Here's the question: what do you change? Whom do you call that you haven't spoken to in years? Whom do you realize has been toxic to your heart and drop with surprising ease? What trips do you cancel, and what trips do you book? What can't you be bothered with anymore? What's the new you like?

Think about that, and then ask one more question. Why not just change it all right now?

(Working on it...)


I'm glad I didn't write this.

Ending with (Thinking about it...) would've ruined it.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Pappy, my pappy

Conversation I just had with my father:

Dad: "I just started a fire in the fireplace. Your mother is going to sit down with a glass of wine and watch Ugly Rita."

Me: "Ugly Rita?!" (insert hysterical laughter here) "It's Ugly Betty, Dad!"

Dad: "Well, in my experience, there sure as hell isn't such a thing as a good looking Rita."

You're going to be so sick of me!

I neglected to tell you all yesterday, at the beginning of National Blog Posting Month, that I elected to participate.

I'm not going to lie: I'm pretty pumped.

Most of my enthuiasm is due to the fact that I can so do this. Blog every day? Please! If I can crank out something 5-6 times per week, I can manage every day. For a month. A whole 30 days.

Maybe this won't be so easy.

But ya'll know I like a challenge.

Two days down!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Planted

My boss was out of the office today.

Translation: I spent my entire day, minus when I left the building to pick up Thai for lunch, looking for a new job.

Incredibly depressing.

There's nothing. I swear, there's nothing.

Which leads us to our fun fact of the day: my parents paid $80,000+ to send me to the University of Michigan and I am going to end up being someone’s secretary.

Or moving out of the state.

Neither option sounds particularly appealing.

In the midst of both the Chicago and New York interview process I thought I could do it. The thought of moving was terrifying, yes, but as scary as it was it was equally exhilarating.

I didn't land either of those jobs. It was disappointing. And a relief. I'd dodged the relocation bullet. They made the choice for me.

And now, here I am, so incredibly stuck in a job that I absolutely cannot stand in the state I want to be in. I'm done being vague about my feelings on the matter: I don't want to move. I want to stay in Michigan.

On Monday, my dad told me to look for jobs outside of Michigan. I cried after I hung up.

I'm not even sure if staying is an option.

The economy is that bad. The worst in the country, from what I understand. The outlook is pretty dismal. Still, I don't want to go. I'm not ready to bail.

What an ugly corner to be painted into.

What a stupid tail to chase.

Lucy and I grumbled about our (lack of) options today. She feels trapped. And, between the two of us, we know at least 10 others in the same situation. Graduated and ready, holding a degree but unable to find work or idiling in jobs with no future.

We thought that we could all move to the same place. Pick a city with a bit of potential. Find jobs. Create our own family. Little Detroit.

It'd be better than nothing.

I hope it doesn't come down to that.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

What I need

I forced myself out of bed and to the rink on Friday morning because I thought it’d be good for me. Crawling out of bed at 6:00 am to skate on my day off of work is mildly insane on a normal day; after the day I had on Thursday, it seemed downright stupid. Staying in my warm bed felt like admitting defeat, so I brewed a cup of tea and pulled on my tights and tried to convince myself that driving to the rink would be worth my time and effort.

I skated amazingly well. Fridays are difficult for me on a good week. The weight of the week seems to pull on me. Jumps are smaller. Spins aren’t centered. Connecting moves are labored and sluggish. There was a bit of that (there always is), but not to the extent that it should have been. I should’ve skated horribly. I spent half of the previous night sobbing, after all.

I went to Mom and Dad’s house after I skated, like I do every Friday. Mom, who usually works from home on Fridays, was at a conference, so it was just me and Stevie. I planned to shower, change into an ragged pair of sweats, and spend the day watching television and moping.

And then my grandma called. She invited me to go with her over to Aunt Marie’s house to make lasagna, which was on the menu for the family party we were having at her house on Sunday.

I assumed that Mom had called Grandma and set up some sort of a suicide watch. “Alyson’s upset. I’m out of town. Can you babysit her on Friday?” I don’t like it when I make people worry, so I agreed to go.

Later, I found out (when she asked me if I’d found out any news about the job) that Grandma hadn’t been told my bad news. I wasn’t on suicide watch after all.

It was nice anyway. The distraction was good. There’s nothing like looking at your aunt, who is finally beginning to walk a year after she broke her ankle, and getting a little bit of perspective on life. And I learned how to make vegetable lasagna. Delicious vegetable lasagna.

The minute Grandma dropped me off at Mom and Dad’s house, I was itching to leave again. My mom wanted to smother me with her sympathy. And, for whatever reason, I just didn’t want to hear it from her.

Lucy and I met up for a pity party.

Admittedly, Lucy has it worse than me. She graduated last December and has yet to find steady, full time employment. She’s lost, frustrated, bouncing around the idea of going to grad school but fearful that, once she graduates, she’ll be in the same boat. Just with more student loans to pay off.

We moped together at Starbucks. We grumbled through a phenomenal meal at our favorite restaurant. We traded stories, offered support, reminded each other that we weren’t the only ones in this unsteady boat, and collectively wondered what the hell we were going to do.

We never came to any grand conclusions. There were no solutions. But I went to bed on Friday night feeling so much better. The outlook was not any less gloomy. But I would live.

I will live.
 
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