Thursday, May 31, 2007

Heavy-stomached preparations

The night before my interview:
1. Work late.
2. Take yoga class.
3. Drink glass of pomegranate juice (antioxidants, hello!).
4. Eat ginormous bowl of Edy's Slow Churned ice cream (1/2 the fat, 1/3 the calories = nearly healthy).
4. Devour two slices of pizza.
5. Go to bed early.

I suggest that you print this out, dear readers. After I get this job, I am patenting this method of preparation and I will have to delete it off of my blog so as to not hurt book sales.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Lighthearted preparations

This interview tastes different than the others. I have more raw enthusiasm for the job. The excitement isn’t rooted in the company (as it was with Google) or the prospect of moving to NYC (as it was with the textbook publisher) or the business’s niche (as it was with the sports book publisher). Primarily I am excited about the job I want to be hired for. Then I’m excited for the company, the location and the company’s niche.

I’m doing a decent job of preparing. Research on the organization has been steady and painless; I have been slowly plugging away at formulating questions to ask at the interview as well as the thoughtful, precise and charming answers I will give to the questions I am asked.

What is my greatest weakness? Ha. I laugh in the face of such a simplistic question.

I am starting to believe that, despite my history of botched job interviews, maybe this is The One. Maybe I have finally put in the time and the suffering that the new job gods require of me.

Say a few prayers, cross your fingers, light a candle and wear your pajamas inside out for me, okay?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Every weekend should be Memorial Day weekend

Ugh. Being at work today is absolutely killing me. It is sunny and I have no coffee in my system and it sucks. The only way I’m going to make it through the day is if I relive my lovely weekend.

Friday: I skated in the morning. I came home, took a shower, ate some toast with peanut butter and shimmied off with Mom and Meg. We had a Detroit Day, going to Mexican Village for lunch before heading off to the Detroit Science Center to see Our Body: The Universe Within. Our Body is one of those exhibits that features real human specimens. And it was fascinating. Even to this English and communication studies major.

My nursing professor mother and my neuroscience major sister were giddy. Veins and capillaries and all of the parts of the circulatory system intrigue Meg; my mother claims to love the bowel.

When we were through, we went to Costco and loaded up on all sorts of goodies: spinach salad and calzones, fresh and dried mangos, granola, tomatoes, and other deliciousness.

Saturday: I began my day with a bowl of Cheerios and without coffee. I felt sad. Then, I went to the gym with Mom, Meg, and a mother/daughter duo that happens to be made up of one of mom’s best friends and one of Meg’s best friends.

I had to work on Saturday afternoon. That, my friends, was pure torture. I left the gym, picked up a bagel at Panera, stopped by my apartment for a shower, and then suffered away five hours of my life. Not cool. But I survived.

That night, Meg and I saw The Ex with Zach Braff. It’s no Garden State. It’s not even The Last Kiss. But it was entertaining.

Sunday: I skated in the morning, returning home a few hours after I left with only one of my skates. The other is with my coach, getting a few repairs. I feel as though a limb has been severed.

Immediately upon returning, I started on a birthday cake for my uncle. I decided on Martha Stewart’s yellow cake with lemon filling after ogling over it at Everybody Likes Sandwiches for a few weeks now.

The cake and the lemon curd were lovely. The frosting? Eh. I didn’t let it cook long enough. It didn’t thicken. And, in an attempt to make it usable, my aunt and I whipped it into some sort of a strange chocolate whipped cream. It wasn’t pretty, but it was tasty.

Anna, Emma and their parents came over to celebrate my uncle’s birthday. Grandma and Grandpa were late invitees; they had just gotten home from Chicago when I called. We all just hung out and had lamb shish kebob (also a Martha Stewart recipe) and enjoyed the weather that finally cleared up after raining on and off from Friday until Sunday afternoon.

We ate our cake, we watched our Pistons lose to Beebop’s Cavaliers and Mom and Anna studied more for her NCLEX exam. And there was this fleeting second when tears pooled in my eyes. People don’t do this anymore. There aren’t families like this, who get together just to get together. We’re incredibly dysfunctional and we are still lucky.

Monday: I took a yoga class in the morning. It is always strange taking a yoga class with a new instructor, but I enjoyed the experience nonetheless. Minutes within getting home, I was pulling on my new Victoria’s Secret bikini (so cute!) and lathering myself with sunscreen. I spent the afternoon on the deck, reading and sunning and generally recharging. It was wonderful.

Mom and Dad had a wedding to go to and Meg went back to school in the early afternoon, so I had the house and the deck and the dog and everything else to myself. It is nice to be alone every once and a while.

I finally packed it up and went home around 8:00 pm. I did a bit of laundry, cleaned up my pigsty, talked to Colin on the phone (the first time since Thursday. I hate his job.) and went the hell to bed.

It’s too bad the weekend couldn’t have been a little longer. Four days, maybe. Or five. Or seventeen.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Quote of the Day

"If I had a body like yours, I wouldn't work out at the gym, I would stand in the lobby [of the gym] and dance. Naked." -My mom's best friend

This moment of awkwardness is why I should stick to going to the gym by myself.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Realigning my thoughts

I won't be so bitter tomorrow.

(Well, technically, it is today.)

I won't be so bitter because I got a call for an on-site interview.


I had a phone interview for the position over a month ago. The interviewer said that call backs would occur within the week. I took the hint and added the job to my failure list.

Two theories on why I got the call now:
1. The biggish upheaval within the company (significant enough to make the front page of the Detroit papers) stirred up an unexpected workload that stunted the interview process.
2. They hit the bottom of the barrel and - ta da! - there was my résumé.

I don't even care what the reason was.

I'm just happy to have the chance to show 'em my stuff.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I'm a little fired up this morning

Every night this week, as I’m falling asleep, I’ve found myself obsessing over the messy state of my family. I should be sleeping and, instead, I’m looking for a way to fix what I cannot. Because, essentially, it isn’t my fight. It is a fight that was planted long before I was born. It doesn’t have anything to do with me.

Except that it does. It has EVERYTHING to do with me. It has everything to do with me because it has hurt my mom and my grandma, because it is fragmenting my family and keeping me awake at night.

I can’t afford to be kept awake at night. I quit coffee.

This morning, I’m pissed because I can’t have any coffee and I’m pissed because family drama keeps me up at night.

Do you know what my Grandma the Troll is doing this weekend?

She’s going to Chicago to deliver Mara her wedding dress.

This is my grandmother who, Aunt Louise wailed, is an embarrassment and has done nothing for her children!

Nothing includes: going to Chicago every Thanksgiving since they were born, mailing them baked goods on holidays including (but not limited to) Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween and St. Patrick’s day, housing Mara for two consecutive summers while she interned in Detroit, taking Evan on countless boat trips, bringing Mara to Disney World, and TRAVELING TO CHICAGO SOLY TO PET SIT WHILE THEIR FAMILY WAS IN SPAIN.

Because, apparently, there are no dog kennels in Chicagoland good enough for their precious canine.

Before this whole hullabaloo started, the Chicago set decided that it would be wise to get Mara’s $8K wedding dress mailed to my grandmother’s house to save on the sales tax. When you have such a tiny budget for the wedding dress of your dreams, you look to save anywhere you can. Even if it means taking advantage of your grandmother – who has “never done anything” for you yet will drop everything to drive the dress of your dreams to Chicago despite the fact that gas is $3.50/gallon and YOUR MOTHER SHREDDED HER HEART LESS THAN A MONTH AGO.

Fuck them. Seriously.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

How to accumulate frequent flyer miles

I want to see the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
I will visit my cousin Danielle in Los Angeles.
One winter, I’ll take advantage of the free lodging at Aunt Lynne’s second home in Florida.
I will cross the Ambassador Bridge and leave the country just for dinner.
I dream of seeing all of the figure skating events at a Winter Olympics.
I will splurge at the annual Vera Bradley outlet sale in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
A creepy man will make a pass at me in a foreign country.
I’ll compete at the ISU adult figure skating competition in Oberstdorf, Germany.
I want to see Racine, Wisconsin through adult eyes.
Meg and I will explore New York City together.
I might go on a honeymoon with the man I marry, but I won’t be upset if we don’t.
I will take a business trip to someplace other than Michigan’s upper peninsula.
I will accompany Colin to an out-of-state tournament that he is refereeing, just for the chance to be with him.
I’ll choose a cruise ship just because it has an ice rink onboard.
I will leave my comfort zone.
Lucy and I will relive our glory days on a concert road trip.
I’ll rent a house and take a weeklong vacation on Mackinac Island.
I will go somewhere romantic with someone I am madly in love with.
I pray for the opportunity to see Norway with my mother, my sister and my grandma.
I will go to St. Petersburg, Russia.
I’ll be in Chicago sometime in the next year, but not necessarily for Mara’s wedding.
I need to renew my passport.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The curse of the optimist

I just sent my résumé in for a job that I really want. I’d say this happens about twice per month: I find a job that I fall in love with, I apply, I spend 10-14 days obsessing about what my new life will be like once I land the job and then I never hear from the company.

It’s great. Really effective at developing thick skin, too.

I try not to get too worked up about it.

Last night, I drove back to my side of town (translation: away from the shithole location where I currently live) to substitute for a soccer team that was short a few girls. After the game and a speedy shower, Colin took me to see Spiderman 3.

That, children, is one looooooooooooooooooong film.

Especially when you go to a 10:15 pm show. On a work night. Three days after you quit coffee.

Not the best choice I’ve ever made, but it was a rare treat to see Colin on a weeknight.

I still haven’t made a decision about that soccer team I was invited to play on. I am ridiculously conflicted about it. Today, I will play because my Sunday team has too many girls on the roster and I won’t play as much as I’d like. Sunday, I didn’t want to play because I’m not comfortable being in the lower half of the team’s players. Yesterday, I decided to play because I like a bit of challenge and adversity to overcome. Saturday, I would not join the team because I should be sacrificing a bit of my recreation and dedicate more of my free time to finding a new job.

This is about a soccer team. When faced with a real decision, I am positively screwed.

I’m excited about the long Memorial Day weekend. I have no plans and I have to work on Saturday. But that hasn’t kept me from dreaming. In my head, I have a hearty list of restaurants I’d like to visit and activities I’d like to busy myself with. I’ll probably spend the majority of the weekend reading a book in the sun on Mom and Dad’s deck. And that’d be fine with me.

Here’s what isn’t fine with me: how slowly this workday is going.

I could really go for a cup of coffee.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sunday sniffles

The single good thing about working on Saturdays: I'm never home for two consecutive days, making retreating back to my apartment to prepare for the workweek much less painful.

This weekend, I had the pleasure of having Saturday and Sunday off.

I'm on the verge of a breakdown.

It is so hard for me to come back here after I've been gone for more than 30some hours. I don't know how I got to this place. The painfully long drive to the city I hate for the job I despise. It is maddening.

This is all compounded by my quitting coffee. I started yesterday. Cold turkey. I'm having what my mom is calling "ulcer symptoms."

No more caffeine = crabby, sensitive girl = everything seems just a little worse than it normally would = guaranteed Sunday mental breakdown. Fun.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Semi-Annual junkie

Dear Victoria's Secret Semi-Annual Sale,

$212 of merchandise for $100.62? And free shipping? Seriously? Let's get married.

Before we do so, you should know that I didn't really need either of those swimsuits, the cheerful yellow bra, either pair of panties, the tank top or the PINK shorts.

I didn't even need the free lip gloss. But I promise to love it and appreciate it like I did.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

The pitch vs. the world

I was asked to join another soccer team for the summer.

I think I'll do it.

This team plays on Saturdays – I'm already on a Friday coed team and a Sunday women's team – so agreeing to join the team would essentially mean that I am forfeiting my entire weekend to the soccer gods.

Would that be all bad?

I'm torn.

I'm not sure that I know my limits. I'm afraid that I am overestimating myself. I don't want to get in over my head; I would hate to miss this opportunity.

How full do I have to stuff my life before I start saying no? How exhausted should I be? Should my back hurt so badly that I cannot bend over to tie my shoes?

Do I ride this single life into the ground?

Maybe that is the only way to do it. Maybe I'm just doing it differently – forgoing the clubs and the alcohol and the idle flirtation for sports and sweat and competition. I won't always be able to dedicate my nonworking life to my athletic pursuits, just as my socializing counterparts will eventually settle down, give up on the bar scene.

Or perhaps the reason I am so compelled to be so busy with all of my sports is because it is an escape. On the soccer field, I am better than most everyone else.

I cannot say the same for real life.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Conversation with Colin

Colin and I have maintained our bad habit of rapid-fire email during the workday.

It's mostly mindless chatter. Today, Colin totally set himself for learning about the dream that he doesn't want to know about and that I wasn't going to inform him of.

Yesterday, we were talking about a friend that I'm pissed at. He said he would trade places with me and teach her a lesson. I responded to him after I got in this morning.

It went downhill from there.

* * *

From: Colin
Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2007 3:29 PM
To: Aly
well let me know. I can cake care of her and you can do my laundry?

From: Aly
To: Colin
Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2007 3:35 PM

From: Colin
Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2007 6:17 PM
To: Aly
so do I have to dress like you as well?

From: Aly
To: Colin
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 8:49 AM
And I've been wearing a lot of dresses lately.

From: Colin
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 1:48 PM
To: Aly
I might look pregnant though

From: Aly
To: Colin
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 1:51 PM
Funny you say that.
I had a dream that I was pregnant just last night.

From: Colin
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 1:54 PM
To: Aly
and who was the father?

From: Aly
To: Colin
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 1:58 PM
No comment.

From: Colin
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 2:01 PM
To: Aly
Subject: Re: So...
c'mon why not tell me it would make an interesting conversation seeing as my throat is getting bigger and it hurts to talk

From: Aly
To: Colin
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 2:02 PM
No. It will make you uncomfortable.

From: Colin
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 2:03 PM
To: Aly

From: Aly
To: Colin
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 2:05 PM
Because it was you.
See? That was uncomfortable. I'm should be too.

(It was a girl. And I didn't tell you I was pregnant.)

From: Colin
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 2:07 PM
To: Aly
so what did we name her and was she at least good looking like her mother?

From: Aly
To: Colin
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 2:10 PM
That was the major problem in the dream: the kid didn't have a name. I couldn't think of one. And you weren't there.

Because I didn't tell you.

I think you were at a carnival?

It was seriously the most demented dream EVER.

I kept the baby under my desk while I worked.

She had pretty eyes, though.

From: Colin
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 2:13 PM
To: Aly
so I have turned into a carnie?

and you kept her under your desk at work....why?

From: Aly
To: Colin
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 2:23 PM
Because it was a dream that made no sense whatsoever.
And I'm obviously a bad mother.

From: Colin Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 2:28 PM
To: Aly
I would not classify you as a bad mother, just all about saving money

From: Aly
To: Colin
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 2:41 PM
Right. Well, I am a single mom.

From: Colin
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 2:46 PM
To: Aly
I don't think you would be a single mom unless I ran off to the carnival like you said I did

From: Aly
To: Colin
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 2:59 PM
Subject: RE: So...
It was probably my fault I was a single mother, seeing as how I didn't tell you.

From: Colin
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 3:04 PM
To: Aly
I know that I am dumb and all but I think I would have picked up on it

From: Aly
To: Colin
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 3:08 PM
In my dream, you must not have picked up on it.

In real life, I'm sure that you would.

From: Colin
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 3:11 PM
To: Aly when does this baby making start?

From: Aly
To: Colin
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 3:24 PM
Oh, you just let me know. They don't call me the company slut for nothing.

* * *

And, as I'm sure you can imagine, things only got more inappropriate from there.

Conversations with Kevin and my subconscious

(Insert 10 minutes of chatter about his new job, his wife's pregnancy, his wedding anniversary and other monumental events here.)

Kevin: Anyway, what's going on with you?
Me: Nothing, really. I don't have a new job and I'm not reproducing.
Kevin: I'll tell you what, if you're not married with children by the time you're 35, I'll knock you up.
Kevin: [Laughing maniacally] You know you want a kid with my genes.

And then I went and had a dream about being pregnant. With Colin's baby. He wasn't at the birth of our baby girl; I had to take her to a carnival so he could meet her.

I had no recollection of the actual labor and delivery, which I thought was strange but wonderful. I did remember waiting for my mom to yell at the doctor, however. (My mom is a bad-ass in the hospital setting. This part of my dream was very realistic.)

I somehow made it through the entire pregnancy without once considering names; naming the baby after her birth was my highest priority. I kept making a list of potential first names and I couldn't decide if I wanted her to have my maiden name as a middle name. It was very distressing.

But my baby girl had very pretty eyes.

And I could keep her under my desk while I was at work. How very convenient!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

My turn

Beebop tagged me!

The rules: each player starts with seven random facts about themselves. Include the rules and answers on your blog if you are tagged. When you finish, choose seven people and make sure to leave a comment on their blog.

And if your name is Alyson and you don’t feel like tagging anyone, that’s okay. But only if your name is Alyson.

Random fact #1:
I shamelessly watch almost every new episode of Grey’s Anatomy at least twice in the week after it airs, sometimes on the Friday night replay, sometimes at ABC’s website, occasionally both.

Random fact #2:
My apartment complex doesn’t offer recycling, so I faithfully drag all of my recyclables back to my parents’ house.

Random fact #3:
My mom wants me to write a book. She’s always telling me to quit my job and do it. And, while I believe that I have the life experiences and the writing ability to craft something interesting, I don’t think I’ll ever do it. I know that I will definitely never quit my job to write a book (not unless it became my career, anyway), but writing a book in itself seems like too big of a task for me. I’m not confident in my ability to tie together a beginning, middle and an end. And I’m really afraid to start a book without a clear outline of where it is going and what I’m trying to achieve.

Random fact #4:
I have no idea how many people read my blog. At one time, I used to check on a regular basis. I don’t anymore; I’m not quite sure why.

Random fact #5:
My parents still pay for a good bit of my life. They foot the bill for my cell phone and my car insurance. They’re paying for my trip to Vegas for Meg’s birthday. Mom likes to prepay for my haircuts. It’s kind of embarrassing. And kind of nice. And mostly horrifying, thinking of how much more broke I’d be if they weren’t helping me out.

Random fact #6:
I am a compulsive list-maker. My desk is filled with lists that I’ve made on scrap paper, covering everything from what I need at the grocery store, to what I want for my birthday (a mere five months away), to books I’d like to read, bills I need to pay, hair products I should try and important dates I need to put into my calendar.

Random fact #7:
Everyone I work with knows that I play hockey and soccer, but I've keept the fact that I figure skate a secret. I do this partially because it has some relationship to the business I work in and partially because I don't want to answer their prying questions about a hobby that I hold so dear. If I ever get a job outside of the industry, I will not withhold this part of my personal life.

Now, like I said, you’re exempt from tagging if your name is Alyson and – woah! – that is so my name!

I am definitely taking advantage of that loophole.

If you’d like to fill out this marvelous survey, consider yourself tagged...under one condition: you have to leave me a comment and tell me that you’re self-tagging. I want to read your seven random facts like I want to marry David Beckham. No lie.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Thank goodness

Mother’s Day could have gone either way. Taking the events of last week into consideration, with Aunt Marie and Grandma over, dinner could have easily tipped to ugly.

It didn’t. Thank goodness.

We started off the day with coffee and presents for Mom.

As I’ve said before, Mom is impossibly difficult to shop for. That being said, I think that Meg and I did a better job of buying Mother’s Day presents than we ever have. Nothing overly fancy, but all presents that she actually liked (!): Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food cookbook, Elizabeth Berg’s latest novel, a doublewide chaise lounge for the deck and an adorable necklace and the chicest reusable grocery bags (both from Hurrah, hurrah.

I went skating, Mom did schoolwork, Meg went to the gym, Dad puttered around the house.

And then it was time to get down to business.

The kids made dinner.


The Moms were so pleased. And they weren’t just appeasing us, either. We made a legitimately good, moderately healthy, somewhat classy meal. Dad barbequed ribs, we handled the appetizers (an artichoke dip and baked brie) and the rest of the meal: green beans with shallots, roasted asparagus, roasted potatoes, fruit salad and a tomato and mozzarella salad. Anna baked an apple crisp for dessert; Meg and I made a flourless chocolate cake.

It was really simple and really nice. We sat on the deck in the sun; we watched the Pistons and Red Wings games. Mom helped Anna study for her nursing boards. We spent time together that didn’t involve deep wounds and tears. Aunt Louise and her family were mentioned, but they were not dwelled on.

Mother’s Day was the Mother’s Day that they all needed.

That dinner was served at precisely our 7:00 pm estimation was just a plus.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Dilemma of the day

Standing in the parking lot of the grocery store closest to my parents’ house, attempting to decide if I was better off:

a. Walking into the grocery store wearing tights and a skating dress.
b. Walking into the grocery store wearing tights and a skating dress with pants pulled on underneath, leaving the skirt hanging out.
c. Walking into the grocery store wearing my skating dress with the skirt tucked into my pants, giving all onlookers the impression that I have a bad-ass spare tire around my midsection.

After a few moments of hesitation, I chose option C.

As much as I'd rather not run into my former high school classmates looking like a chubster, it is infinitely better than running into a high school classmate looking like I was in the midst of an elaborate game of dress-up.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


For a fleeting moment in my day, I experienced a strange intersection of experience and feeling that left me laughing and, seconds later, crying.

I found out last night that Aunt Marie will have her foot amputated next week. It is for the best, I understand, but I mourn the impossibly difficult choice that she is being forced to make. I hate the timing. I'm scared for her; I'm concerned for the stability of Emma. I think about it and my stomach twists.

My good friend Alexandra, who has the same job as I do in another location of my company's, recently had a terribly ugly experience with a boy. She held her head up proudly for the first day. She's beginning to crumble. I carry sadness for her.

Kevin finally got a new job. The timing is, in many ways, perfect; his unemployment is just running out. And he seems hopeful and excited about a new beginning.

And a new beginning is what he's getting. When he called to tell me the good news about his employment, he slipped in another gem: his wife is pregnant!

I'm celebrating for Kevin. I'm bitter for Alexandra. I'm broken for Aunt Marie. I'm nothing for myself.

So I laugh. Then I cry. And then I do it all over again.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Shout out to the studs of tomorrow

Dear Boy, Approximately 10 Years of Age, Who Saw That I Was About to Walk Through The Door You Had Just Passed Through and Turned Around to Open it For Me:

Seriously? Girls are going to love you. Keep up the good work.

And call me when you're legal.

Your elder

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I was not given ample notice

Today, my sister and I received invitations to a surprise party to honor our high school soccer coach's 10 years at the helm of the program.

It sounds like it will be a nice little affair, put on by a few parents who can't pull themselves away from kissing Coach's ass, despite their kids having graduated out of the program.

I'm a little excited. I've been looking for a reason to buy a new sun dress.

I am horrified, however, by the mere thought of being in a room with my old teammates. I was - academically and athletically - the golden child on that team. I feel like I don't have a hell of a lot to show for myself. There's that college degree, I guess. And I haven't gotten fat. But my job sucks and I don't like where I live and I will most certainly be going without an engagement ring.

My ten year high school reunion isn't for three more years; I thought I had more time to prepare!

I suppose that this will be a good exercise in self acceptance.

There's no way I'm not going.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


This sadness pulls on me. I feel as though I have jumped into a pool of this misery; I am sopping wet in hurt.

I pray for the sun to come out to dry me.

What we walked into on Sunday morning was, essentially, a bloodletting. Aunt Louise took advantage of having her mother and sisters on her turf and she verbally and emotionally abused them.

My grandma is an embarrassment who has never done anything for Evan and Mara.
My mother lives her life to be intentionally cruel.
Aunt Marie and her husband are creepy because they are religious.
My dad is a white trash drunk.

And she really doesn't want any of them (or her father) to be a part of her family. Yet, at the same time, she wants them to "fix this" so that we can masquerade as a happy family at Mara's September wedding.

Surely you understand why I am not convinced that this will happen.

The drive back to Michigan may as well have included a hearse. The pain on the faces of my mom, Grandma and Aunt Marie was tangible. It is a stubborn pain. I know that my mother still wears it on her face; I imagine that Grandma and Aunt Marie are no different.

There are so many tears. So much hurt. In Mom, Grandma and Marie, anyway. Aunt Louise was stone faced as she lashed out on her family. And when we finally went to leave, she stood at the door, telling my mother about the makeup artist who is doing her face for the wedding. Who does that? Who lives in such a deep cave of denial?

She probably slept well on Sunday night.

The rest of us did not.

Meg was so upset that, after going back to school, she turned around and came home. It is hard to see your mother in so much pain. I understand that it is easier to be at home when you're afraid; I spent Sunday night at Mom and Dad's, too.

And Aunt Marie called my mother at 1:00 am on Monday morning. Sobbing.

Yesterday afternoon, Mom pulled a blanket over her head, begging for the sleep that her mind would not allow her to succumb to.

I feel hopeless.
I can't fix this.
I don't want a hateful, estranged branch of my family tree. I want my cousins - both of whom used to be among my best friends. I want the uncle who tells silly stories and speaks in funny voices. I want an aunt who sews me dresses for my American Girl doll.
I want my family back.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Back in Michigan

We're home.

The shower was lovely. The drive to Chicago was fun. I enjoyed a mocha from Starbucks each morning.

And that was the extent of the good.

What was strained all weekend broke this morning. When my sister, cousins and I got to my aunt and uncle's house for breakfast, we found Aunt Marie sobbing on the porch.

Grandma was crying just inside the door.

My mother's face was tearstained.

And, maybe I was imagining it, but it seemed that Aunt Louise had a bit of froth at the corners of her mouth. So busy verbally attacking her sisters and her mother, she must not have noticed it.

There were a lot of tears on the drive home.

And a lot of tears in the driveway once we reached home.

And more, of course, while Mom recounted the story to Dad.

I feel sick. And very betrayed. I loved that family. I probably still do.

There is a lot of hate in me tonight.

Friday, May 04, 2007

A survey on my favorite subject

A little bird tagged me. How could I possibly resist?

A- Attached or Single? Attached. Today, I'd say that I'm attached.
B- Best Friend: It's an intelligent, funny, unconventional, athletic tie between Lucy and my sister, Meg.
C- Cake or Pie: Too close to call.
D- Drink of Choice: Vodka and cranberry juice when I'm at the bar, water absolutely everywhere else.
E- Essential Item: Yoga pants.
F- Favorite Color: Red.
G- Gummi Bears or Worms? Worms. Preferably sour.
H- Hometown: Oakland County, Michigan
I- Indulgence: Grey's Anatomy DVDs and frou frou coffee. Preferably together. With a few cookies.
J- January or February: January.
K- Kids: Definitely. Two, I think.
L- Life is incomplete without: Humor. And a few sports to play.
M- Marriage Date: HA.
N- Number of Siblings: One darling younger sister
O- Oranges or Apples? Apples. From the orchard. In the fall. Baked into a pie or smothered in caramel and peanuts, please.
P- Phobias/Fears. Not living up to the expectations that came with my college degree. Disappointing my parents. Blowing out a knee.
Q- Favorite Quote: "It turns out not where, but who you're with that really matters." Dave Matthews
R- Reasons to smile: My parents paid good money for my orthodontics!
S- Season: Spring
T- Tag Three: No pressure, kids. Laurie. Amy. Beebop.
U- Unknown Fact About Me: Up until about four years ago, I couldn't touch my toes.
V-Vegetarian or Not: Not. I eat a very small amout of meat, though, and never prepare it for myself.
W- Worst Habit: Fussing with my fingernails.
X – X-rays or Ultrasounds? X-rays; I've never had an ultrasound.
Y- Your Favorite Foods. If it is a baked good, I want it in my gut. End of story.
Z- Zodiac: Libra.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Can you feel the excitement?

This weekend is my cousin Mara’s wedding shower. I am harboring nothing but bitter resentment for what I can’t stop from thinking of as a wasted weekend.

Drive to Chicago in the company of Mom, Meg, Grandma, Emma, Anna, Aunt Marie
and Aunt Annette.
Do the whole girlie shower, oh-I-just-love-your-china-pattern thing.
See the palacial condo that Mara will be living in with her wealthy husband-to-be.
Spend awkward time with Aunt Louise, Uncle Ed.
Hopefully not see my asshole cousin, Evan.
Drive back to Detroit in the company of Mom, Meg, Grandma, Emma, Anna, Aunt Marie and Aunt Annette.
Talk Mom, Meg, Grandma, Emma, Anna, Aunt Marie and Aunt Annette into stopping at the outlets in Michigan City, Indiana for a very short spell.

There is one positive: I do get to wear the pretty brown and teal dress I got for Christmas.

There isn’t room at Aunt Louise’s house for all eight of us; Meg, my cousins and I are staying at a hotel. The others? Definitely taking one for the team. I’m not sure how much harassment about my (lack of) detailed plans for my life, career and legacy that I could endure.

I just hope that the weekend doesn't end up like Christmas. I don't want the drama. I don't want the ugly. I don't want to leave my mom cleaning up the mess, again, of a family for which she feels equal love and hate.

I expect to have fun. I expect to have a handful of hilarious stories about my family. And, unfortunately, I expect the drama and the ugly.

I pray for it to be in small doses.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Resolution Review 4

1. Read 12 novels.
I'm so glad that I made this resolution. Reading is becoming what it once was for me: natural. It requires no effort and no planning. I finish one book and I pick another one up. This month I read For One More Day by Mitch Albom and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. For One More Day was simple and beautiful; The Kite Runner was complex and dark and utterly fascinating.

2. Find a new job or go back to school. Or, ideally, find a new job AND go back to school.
Still plugging away. Still chasing my tail. It was nice to have a few nibbles: in the form of a job interview (for a job I didn't get) and a phone interview (I don't think I even made it to the on-site interview). But it would be nicer to get a new damn job.

3. Go to the gym with increased frequency.
Gym: I think this has been my best month so far: I made it to the gym 14 times in April! I now have 47 total visits to the gym. My goal is 175 trips to the gym for the year. Yikes. Will I make it to the gym an average of 18.2 times per month for the next 7 months? Very doubtful. I probably should've done the math before making this resolution.
Hockey: 4 times over three days in April. It was a fun tournament, but I won't mind hanging up my skates 'til next fall.
Skating: 7 times in April. I wish it could be 7 times per week.
Soccer: I played three games in April.
Overall: 28 instances of physical activity. Not bad at all.

4. Not make a weight-related resolution.
I've been eating really, really well and feeling really, really good. I continue to weigh myself once or twice per month, more out of curiosity than anything.

5. Knit more.
Here is where I have a problem with knitting: I am a perfectionist. I am a perfectionist and I also strongly value my time. And when I get into a knitting situation where I'm not absolutely certain that what I am doing is correct, I kind of freak out. I did a bit of knitting when I was en route to my hockey tournament in Chicago, but I unraveled almost as quickly as I knitted.

6. Stop the incessant purchasing.
Did I buy anything foolish and unnecessary in April? I can't seem to recall doing so. Actually, I can't remember buying anything at all. Selective memory? Actual success? Let's say I did really well.

7. Visit with my grandparents more.
Oh, I am just the apple of my grandma's eye. I saw her at Easter, again on a random Friday visit for lunch and for a few other short visits. I need to keep this up.

8. Cut back on the coffee/hazelnut cappuccino mix that I feast on allfrickingdaylong at work. It’s as bad as sipping on a soda all day.
Please. This stuff barely appeals to me anymore. (I type that as I am sipping a cup of the offending concoction.) I've really cut back on my caffeine intake overall, which is probably a good thing, too.

9. Become a sweet-ass juggler.
Eh. I kind of sucked at this. Again. I tried juggling in Mom and Dad's backyard and the damn dog was nipping at my ankles the whole time. Other than that, I didn't practice my juggling. And that is bad. I am bad.

10. Allow myself to trust Colin.
I trust that Colin cares about me. I do. It's not really about trusting Colin anymore. We have other problems. Different problems. He doesn't know what he wants and I don't know how to tell him what I want.

Letting things cool off was the best thing I could do for us. We now have the room and the distance that we need to rebuild. And maybe we will.

April’s resolution of the month: Stre-e-e-e-e-e-tch! And stretch often!
Fail. I could've done so, so much better. The crucial mistake came when I didn't make a calendar or a list to chart my progress. There's no inspiration. There isn't a reminder staring me in the face. While I certainly made more of an effor to stretch than I have in other months, it wasn't enough. I could do better. I will do better, as a matter of fact, because I will revisit this resolution another month.

A pinch to grow an inch: May’s resolution of the month
Wear sunscreen every day

This is a habit I need to get into. I'm already good with wearing it when I know I will be out in the sun, now I need to be good about wearing it all the time. Because I would prefer not to be any more leathery and wrinkly than I need to be.

On 2007's resolutions:
The Original
Resolution Review 1
Resolution Review 2
Resolution Review 3

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

In the interest of being fair

Colin was at my soccer game on Friday.

I am so practiced at focusing in on the bad things that the good ones - even if they leave me grinning for hours - don't make it off of my fingers and onto my keyboard.

I'm better at complaining.

Like I said: he was at my game on Friday night. I didn't know he was going to be there. I rushed into the facility with just enough time to put on my shin guards and change into my jersey before the game started.

And there was Colin.

When he is standing in front of me, I forget that I have ever felt the slightest irritation or frustration towards him. When he is physically within my reach, I see him with in a soft yellow lighting and a frickin' halo.

I make myself sick.

I am not this vulnerable lovebird. I am too strong and too independent for this.

And, upon sight, I fall apart.

I find ways to redeem myself.

I play tough and I play well.

I make a fool out of one of the men on the other team in a huge way. He stands there with the ball, tries to entice me to make the first move. He plans to slide around me and make me look stupid.

He makes the wrong move; I make the tackle. Hard.

He falls.

Not only does he fall, he falls into the boards.

Knocked over by a girl. A girl who is 5'2".

My darling teammates shower me with thunderous applause. My friendly referee shouts encouragement. Colin joins in the ovation.

I momentarily stop. Smile. Glow.

And then I tackle another man on their team. I make him look stupid, too.

When I came off the field, to back slaps and the adoration of my teammates, I was happy.

When I saw Colin standing at the end of the makeshift reception line, I was complete.

Only for a moment. But complete nonetheless.
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