Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Thinking

That maybe I was a little too vulnerable. Too nonsensical. Too irrational.

I was a bit out of control. Scary.

Confused and confusing.

He knew something was awry. He offered his help, his presence...himself.

I pushed him away. Continued.

I didn’t know what I was doing or why I was doing it. He couldn’t be expected to.

I wasn’t fair to him. I talked in circles. Avoided making admissions, explanations, excuses.

He should have told me. Thrust the truth in my face. Pointed at my behavior. Called me out on it.

He didn’t.

I continued to dig.

I should erase the text messages from my phone. Force the memories from my consciousness.

It wouldn’t help.

He’s the one who needs to forget.

He is so forgiving.

But I cannot help but wonder and worry.

Maybe I ruined it all.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Getting the ball rolling

Grad school is becoming less of a dream and more of a reality.

The Library Science program that I’ve been eying had an open house on Saturday morning. It didn’t take much to convince myself to go (“Self, it’s an hour out of your life. Don’t be lazy. Don’t be unmotivated. Unless you want to work in the same, sad, brain numbing job for the rest of your days.”), but it took a bit to convince myself to tell my mom about my plan.

There is something about admitting your dream to your biggest critic – who also happens to be your biggest fan – that is quite unnerving.

I slipped it into a conversation. “Oh, when I’m doing skating I’m just going to drop by this one thing to see if, I don’t know, maybe its something that I could be interested in.”

I went. I loved it.

When I got home, I spread all of the information out on the kitchen table for my mother to look over. I didn’t expect her to be as enthusiastic as she was – which, really, wasn’t all that enthusiastic – saying, “I think this would be perfect for you.”

She proceeded to announce my plan to everyone she saw over the course of the weekend.

At dinner with Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Marie and Emma: “Guess what Alyson did today?”

Me, sheepishly: “I went to look into starting grad school.”

My Grandma the Troll: “Oh, honey! That is so wonderful! I am so happy for you!”

My grandmother’s reaction, made before she even knew what I wanted to study, felt so very genuine. She looked so elated – thrilled, perhaps, that I would not settle for a career inferior to what I am capable – that I felt, immediately, as though I was making the right choice.

Technically, I’ve missed the deadline for the fall semester. In theory, I can still get in. The program is getting a new director, he starts next Monday, when he’ll review as many applications as he can wade through before the start of classes. They want their program to be as full as possible, I’d imagine, so there is still a slight chance that I will be starting classes in September.

Otherwise? January. Which wouldn’t be so bad.

(Not to be cocky or anything, but there is really no chance that I won’t be accepted.)

I’m excited. Even all of the bureaucratic sludge that I’m going to have to wade through to get transcripts from three different schools feels fresh and new and maybe even a little bit fun.

And so we start another adventure.

Friday, July 27, 2007

On loss

Sigh.

Yesterday was difficult.

My distance made it especially hard. I didn’t have anyone to cry with. I didn’t even get a hug. I was alone in my grief. I woke up at 8:00 am to bad news and I was left to fester in it - alone - until I left for work at 1:00 pm. It was a long, tearful, lonely morning.

Colin was sweet. If he thought I was being overdramatic, he hid it. Well. In a really supportive way. Which I appreciate more than I can properly explain.

Late in the afternoon, a coworker of mine told me that I looked sad. While I’d been trying to put on a happy, unaffected face, I felt somewhat consoled by his observation. I appreciated my lack of success.

My mom called to check on me. I found it irritating.

I'm supposed to go to Mom and Dad's after I leave work today. I don't really want to. I'm all cried out. I don't want to start the process over again. I don't want to see Meg; she always called Stevie her best friend. I don't have it in me. I suppose that makes me selfish.

I avoided my blog all day. Couldn't look at the picture.

Am generally a wreck. A controlled wreck.

He wasn't just a dog. He didn't think so. Neither did we.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

This will be my goodbye



My mom called this morning. She woke me up.

She told me that Stevie had a really bad night.

They had to put him to sleep.

I thought he was doing better. I didn't know. I didn't even get to say goodbye to him.

I'm so sad. I'm just so sad.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Soap opera soccer

Here’s my latest dilemma: Colin is scheduled to referee my soccer game on Sunday.

This is a problem, of course, because Meg is my team’s goalie and Meg doesn’t want Colin refereeing any of her games. Had she not thrown a shit fit when he played against us a few weeks ago, I wouldn’t be worrying much about this. But she did. And I’m awfully afraid that she’s going to do it again.

I’ve taken the whiny, childish approach to solving this problem: I am begging and pestering Colin like it is nobody’s business. The plan is to harass poor Colin into submission, breaking his will and forcing him into turning back the game so that another referee can officiate it.

I haven’t told Meg yet. If all goes well, Colin will hear my desperate plea and I won’t have to. But there’s always the chance that he will be a stubborn ass (he thinks that it would be great fun to officiate my game and cannot understand why he would give up such an opportunity) and Meg will have to be told.

And she will shoot flames out of her ears.

I am so not interested in that.

I don’t like upsetting Meg. Even if she is being miserably unreasonable and borderline psychotic to a person who does not deserve her wrath. It is much easier to pacify her by being spineless and giving her exactly what she wants exactly when she wants it.

My dear sister? She’s a little difficult.

And I am her difficulty enabler.

I called my dad about this little predicament, moaning about how Meg will refuse to play on Sunday if Colin is refereeing and then my team won’t have a goalie and then we’ll lose for sure and, ohmygoodnessgracious, my team has already sucked so much this year that my teammates cannot take another loss and neither can I and – gasp for breath – he might have to talk her into being a big girl and playing no matter what.

(My dad is used to me calling him in a panic.)

My dad – who we’ve always jokingly referred to as our sports agent – said that he would talk to Meg. Listening to me sniffle about how Meg has wrongly painted Colin my dad retorted with “I think she has a crush on him.”

Well, that makes two of us.

(Truthfully, I don’t think that she really does.)

Really. But regardless of how I feel about how Meg feels about Colin officiating the game, he shouldn’t be doing it.

You cannot make out with a girl one day and referee her game the next.

Something about that just feels unprofessional.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Wedding jitters

The RSVP for my cousin Mara’s wedding is due this week and I am absolutely sick about it.

Foolishly sick about sending in the RSVP, I should add – my mother has already made it clear that we are putting aside all of the family drama and attending this wedding for Mara. Not for her asshole parents or for her dickhead brother.

I’m obviously not getting out of my obligation to go to this wedding. And yet I still cannot mail in the RSVP. I cannot do it. The invitation has been sitting on my kitchen table for weeks. All I need to do is check a box.

I can’t bring myself to do it.

Just thinking about the damn wedding makes me nauseous. What’s going to happen? How is this going to work? When Uncle Ed walks up to me, will I turn on my heel and head in another direction? Will there be fights and tears? Could I manage to have a civil conversation with Aunt Louise? Will Meg punch Evan in the face?

The only thing I am certain of is the dress that I will wear.

My only consolation is that my cousins Anna and Emma will be there to share in the misery – and my cousins on the other side of the family, Liz and Danielle, will be there to distract me or console me or stand up for me.

This wedding goes against my every instinct. I am a shielder. I am an avoider. First and foremost, I protect myself.

And this wedding leaves me open and vulnerable. It is asking for trouble. It is begging for conflict.

Maybe it would be better if we didn’t go.

It isn’t my choice.

I need to mail my RSVP.

Monday, July 23, 2007

A standard weekend

At midnight on Friday, I was standing in line with my sister to buy Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. We elected to forgo the Borders experience for a less traditional (read: shorter line) outlet and we were back at home and in our beds (I was sleeping, Meg was reading) by 12:30 pm.

I’ve actually only read the first book in the series, which I picked up right after I saw the first movie. It didn’t do much for me (I blame it on my just having seen the movie), but I’ll eventually give the Harry Potter books another try.

* * *

I made Mom and Meggie baked oatmeal for breakfast on Sunday morning, substituting the shredded apple, which the recipe calls for, with banana.

Mom was impressed. I knew she’d like the baked oatmeal – a mix of many of her favorite foods and flavors – but I didn’t expect for her to purr right at the table. I was very pleased with myself, of course, because I will never tire of pleasing my mother.

Meg picked the banana out, finished her bowl, and returned to reading Harry Potter.

* * *

One of the most annoying parts of Monday mornings is how messy my desk is when I get in. Every employee who works over the weekend seems to think that it is his/her responsibility to put anything they do not/cannot deal with on my desk.

* * *

I went to the bar with Colin and one of his buddies on Saturday night.

Colin has some seriously fun, entertaining, hilarious friends.

* * *

Yesterday’s soccer game was way out in the boonies and it didn’t start until 7:00 pm. By the time Meg and I stopped in A2 for dinner with one of her roommates, I dropped Meg off at her car, filled Stella with gas and drove to my apartment, it was after 11:00 pm. And I had to unpack my car, stare at a sink full of dirty dishes with distaste, realize that I had virtually no food in the house and get ready for bed.

I didn’t get enough sleep.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Hitting the books

It may be time to give up on the job search and head back to school.

My goal to apply for 20 jobs before the end of July? A bit of a pipedream. Or a very mean joke played on me by the employment gods. I don’t even want to talk about it. Searching for jobs is so laborious and so unfruitful; I am so frustrated.

Recent realization: if I had started grad school when I started looking for a job, I would be finished by now.

I can’t spend another 18 months looking for the new job that I cannot seem to find. It’s too much of a gamble.

My options, I feel, have been reduced to this:
1. Keep looking for a new job. Get one, eventually. Two months? Two years? Cannot be sure. What can I be sure of? It won’t be easy. It is not guaranteed. And, if I do land a new job, I likely won’t make much (if any) more than I make now.
2. Go to school. Graduate, eventually. What can I be sure of? My ability to excel in the classroom. The likelihood of a better paying/higher status job when I graduate. Student loans. A feeling of accomplishment. Not having to work with only dumb jocks.

While I was tossing around the idea of law school a while ago, that isn't the route that I am going to take. It has a lot to do with my mother's staunch opposition to it (I think she's afraid that it would turn me into an asshole just like her two lawyer siblings), as well as reports of how miserable former classmates of mine have found law school. I'm not agonizing over the prospect of not being a lawyer, which leads me to believe that it cannot possibly be my life's calling.

There's the option of continuing to study of my college majors - English or communications - but I cannot shake the fear that I would be wasting my time and money. (I honestly don't know what I would do with either except for continue in craptastic jobs or teach, and obviously continuing in lackluster positions after having poured even more money into my education is undesirable and I really don't want to get my PhD.)

And that leaves me with library and information science.

Every person I have ever mentioned this to purrs about how library science is fitting and perfect and otherwise quintessentially me.

My first career aspiration was to be like Mrs. Nixon - the children's librarian at our local library.

In college, when I found myself with time to spare, I always wandered to the library. I told myself I was going to study; I tended to wander through the stacks, instead.

Library and information science seems to be it. I'll do more research before making a commitment, but this area of study (and the profession that follows) feels like the real deal.

I technically couldn't start this fall - applications were due months ago - but I'm hoping I can somehow squeeze in one class as a non-degree student. It would be really nice to get started soon.

I am fairly certain that I could keep working. Business hours here are flexible enough – and I am irreplaceable enough – that I can’t see why my boss (as stupid and stubborn as she is) couldn’t compromise so that I could do both. And the university that I'm looking at (my alma mater is the only other university in the state that has a program) has a lot of evening classes.

With all of the other things that I do, with as busy as I insist on keeping myself, adding graduate school may be absolutely insane.

Or just the challenge I need.

This is definitely something to think about.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Holy shit

A girl I graduated from high school with has breast cancer? And two-year-old twins?

Reality check. Am not in 10th grade anymore. Keep forgetting.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The black lab and the hippie vet

Stevie and my mom went to his new hippie veterinarian today.

I call him a hippie veterinarian because he specializes in alternative veterinary medicine – aromatherapy, anti-oxidant therapy, homeopathy, chiropractic and acupuncture. His location – in a very “free to be you and me” suburb of Detroit – adds to the appropriateness of his nickname.

Basically, as we knew, Stevie’s joints are shot. Nearly every one of them. He has played very hard for his entire 13 years and his joints took the brunt of it.

The hippie vet gave Stevie a shot of...something...which he’ll apparently get multiple times, which should help to lubricate his joints. He was also given a cocktail of vitamins and supplements and the like (in addition to the glucosamine that he’s already taking) that are supposed to do much of the same.

Stevie isn’t a candidate for acupuncture because his problems are so widespread.

Hippie vet may decide to give him magnetic therapy. I’m not going to pretend that I understand it, but I think magnetic therapy helps to reduce pain and increase oxygen flow to the site of the injury.

I think that this is an appropriate course of treatment because I am quite certain that Steve Yzerman (the former captain of the Red Wings and who Stevie is named after) underwent a wildly publicized course of magnetic therapy during a NHL playoff run.

The hippie vet also drew blood and it looks like, internally, all is working well.

The veterinarian may be a hippie, but it appears that he still appreciates the power and the value of his (hard-earned) money. I won’t be so crude as to discuss what my poor parents shelled out for Stevie’s visit with the hippie vet, but please trust me when I tell you that it was a pretty penny. He charges big money for each fifteen-minute increment – Stevie’s appointment lasted an hour and a half.

Not that money is an issue. Managing Stevie’s pain is the issue. At this point, it is merely an amusement to see how much Stevie’s treatment will cost.

I’m very hopeful, but I am trying not to be overly so. I understand that his treatments are not cures. I’m just happy that my parents agreed to take Stevie to this new, very expensive hippie vet. I like that they are being proactive. I’m pleased that my mother (who despite her career in traditional medicine most certainly appreciates the holistic kind) likes the veterinarian and is receptive to his course of treatment.

We’re giving Stevie a chance.

Truly, that’s all that you can do. And we owe it to him.

American invasion

If you're looking to get me the perfect birthday present, I highly suggest that you purchase me tickets to one of the following events:

Los Angeles Galaxy at Toronto FC: Sunday, August 8.
Los Angeles Galaxy at Columbus Crew: Sunday, September 30.
Los Angeles Galaxy at Chicago Fire: Sunday, October 21.

I am suffering from a mad case of Beckhamitis. I caught the fever way back when Becks' signing with the Galaxy was announced, but it has reached heights. I blame it on that hot W magazine photo spread. And pretty much every picture that's been taken of him in the last, oh, 12 years or so.

I even watched the Victoria Beckham: Coming to America special on NBC. And giggled with amusement throughout. I like Posh, despite her perma-scowl and her unreasonably snug pencil skirts and her trashing ballet flats. I love ballet flats! ...and I love Victoria Beckham's new smiling, warm and cheerful, I love America persona.

Meg has also been afflicted by Beckhamitis. On Saturday, she put in her order for a Beckham jersey - a custom-printed, long-sleeved home jersey. Because she couldn't bear the thought of purchasing anything but the best.

I don't really need a jersey. I just need to see Beckham play.

Beckham is in America and I am down with the sickness.

Monday, July 16, 2007

A tearful weekend

Stevie is hanging on.

He had a bad day on Thursday. His back legs would give out and he wouldn’t be able to get himself up.

He had a really bad day on Friday. He couldn’t get up. He couldn’t wag his tail. My mom called my grandma, who picked up some arthritis medicine from his veterinarian, and that seemed to help. He hobbled around okay after that.

On Saturday, he was decent. We took a walk down to the lake together. And I caught him sneaking to the front yard when I left him in the backyard for a bit. But the weather was windy and overcast – very indicative of an incoming storm – which always puts him on edge. Just as Meg and I were leaving for our soccer game, my parents came home from the graduation party they were at and he lost his shit. He was thrilled, actually, that my parents were home. And his legs all slid out from under him and he ended up in an embarrassed heap on the floor.

It was hard to see.

And my parents were both really upset about it. Meg and I held it together through our soccer game. We both cried in the car on the way home.

Yesterday, he did better. His hips and back legs are obviously still giving him problems, but he can get around.

I suppose that this is all coming down to an issue of quality of life. My mom, on Friday, was very ready to put him down. She doesn’t want to see him in pain, and I understand that.

But I see that his personality is still in tact. He’s still wagging his tail. He’s still begging for food. He’s still cuddling up to us in bed. And, personally, I don’t see how – without seeing the vet – she can know that this rapid downward turn isn’t due to an injury, rather than arthritis.

He’ll see a veterinarian early this week, not his normal vet but one who specializes in holistic as well as traditional veterinary medicine. I’m holding out hope that chiropractic work, acupuncture or maybe just some good ol’ fashioned painkillers can keep Stevie around for a good while longer.

It doesn’t feel like he’s ready to leave us.

I hope I’m right.

Friday, July 13, 2007

It feels like we just did this

It is starting to look like we'll have to put our dog, Stevie, to sleep soon.

When we got back from Vegas (he stayed with my aunt and her family), he seemed to have aged 10 years. He's having a hard time getting around. His hips give out and he falls over. A lot.

I guess we always knews that Stevie's joints would get the best of him. He has always played very hard, bounding up and down the hill and off the end of the dock after his tennis ball. He would run and run and run and run to the point of exhaustion. You couldn't wear him out.

He was bad yesterday and much worse today. Not only unable to get up, he couldn't even wag his tail. Mom sent Grandma to the vet to get some arthritis medicine and he's 1000% better, but it still doesn't look good.

When I called my mom to tell her I'd be home after work this afternoon, she told me that Stevie would be happy to see me. And that she mentioned that she was glad that I would have a chance to see him.

For the last time?

It was sort of what she implied.

Sigh.

The coworker finds a cosigner

Kevin's replacement and I work together every Thursday night. Because it is incredibly slow here during the summertime, it is generally just the two of us in the building. And we're bored.

I keep telling Kevin's replacement that I'll bring in UNO cards to pass the time, but I can never seem to remember.

We spend a lot of time talking. A significant bulk of that talking revolves around our crazy boss, customers we hate, pet peeves, making fun of coworkers and other inappropriate subjects related our unlucky professional existence. It continues to amaze me how my relationship with Kevin's replacement mirrors my relationship with Kevin. They are, in humor and personality, nearly identical.

When we aren't talking shop, we're still talking. Our personal lives, mostly. Kevin's replacement has a girlfriend he just bought a house with. He knows the entire Colin saga, the April saga, some of the family saga.

We're pretty good buddies these days.

Kevin has been talking about proposing to his girlfriend since he started working here in November. He's recently kicked his intentions up a notch, eying the vacation that they're taking in mid-August as the perfect time to give her a ring.

Realizing that he has a month to buy the goods, he applied for a loan this week. Denied.

He was glum when he told me about it, worried about his ability to secure the necessary funds and find the perfect ring in time.

At my suggestion, he called his mom to see if she would cosign on a loan for the ring. I stood at the foot of his desk as he slyly started the conversation with "so...what are you doing on Monday?" and continued it with, "will you cosign on a loan with me?"

"For a ring."

I swear I could hear his mother's excited "OH!" blast through the receiver.

She agreed, of course. From what I understand, she adores his girlfriend.

And that's how Kevin's replacement will secure the funds to purchase the ring to propose to his girlfriend.

It was the cutest thing to watch. He is absolutely giddy in love with this girl. I'm excited for him. And perhaps just the slightest bit jealous.

Of the whole engagement excitement, slave to love, finding that perfect someone to spend the rest of your life with. Not that Kevin's replacement is marrying someone else. Gah. Ick. Shudder. Etc.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Live 8

Plantation tagged me for this meme, doing so because I am "never at a loss for words."

What I think he meant was that I never tire of talking about myself.

Maybe not. Am I never at a loss for words? I've never considered it.

Anyway. Back to the meme at hand. The rules are that you list eight facts/habits about yourself and tag eight more to do the same. I'm not going to tag anyone - I recently did a similar survey - but I'll play along.

Like I could even resist the opportunity to write about myself!

#1 I have a really bad habit of changing in front of open windows. And every time I do it, I know that I shouldn't and that I'd be awfully creeped out to know if anyone was watching, but I'm too lazy to pull the shades or go into the bathroom or whatever.

#2 I'm currently rewatching my Footballers Wives DVDs, as I've already rewatched season 1 and season 2 of Grey's Anatomy this summer.

#3 I hate wrinkled clothes. I iron just about anything.

#4 Yesterday, my coworkers and I found out that my boss is about to start taking the Alli weight loss pill. We spend the afternoon Googling its, uh, messy side effects and then laughing hysterically about her possible anal leakage.

#5 I'm considering asking my cousin Anna (who just graduated from nursing school) to be my roommate after my lease ends in September. I have doubts. I'm afraid that I'll end up hating her. And I would only get to move, like, halfway towards home (which is where I'm planning on going if I don't end up living with Anna).

#6 I'm half afraid that my strong desire to always be doing and learning something new or different is unhealthy and I'm half afraid that I'll eventually lose that strong motivation.

#7 I check my email more frequently than any sane person should.

#8 It's getting to the point where I need to break out the Excel, plug in some numbers, get my credit cards in order and make myself a strict budget. My finances are a hot mess and I can't stand living like this. Because as fun as it is to splurge on a new top from H&M one a week, it will be much more fun to go to the 2010 World Cup or buy myself a house one day.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Sin City, part 2

Friday, July 6
Friday morning was, again, a stop at the breakfast buffet. I put away a formidable amount of food, again, impressing all of my fellow vacationers. We went to breakfast somewhat late and we ate leisurely. Eventually, the restaurant swapped out the breakfast buffet for the lunch buffet and – voila! – crab legs. In massive quantities. In my belly.

I love crab legs.

Later in the day, we ventured to the Mirage. Meg – whose favorite animal is a White Bengal Tiger – absolutely had to see the Secret Garden/Dolphin Habitat exhibit. And it was her birthday, so of course we went.

After the Mirage, we took the tram over to Treasure Island. From there, our group broke up. Lauren, Liz and I headed back to the hotel (I wanted to go to the pool, they wanted to nap) and the others went off to the O’Shea’s Casino, which is unquestionably a low rollers’ casino with a laidback atmosphere.

Have I told you about how amazing the pool at Mandalay Bay is? It is a gentle wave pool and poolside is lined with sand, which makes it totally ocean-esque. There’s a lazy river and a casino that looks out onto the pool area. All of the beautiful people seem to be at the pool all of the time. Truthfully, I was neither tan enough nor beautiful enough to be seen there.

Aunt Lynn and Uncle Paul went home on Thursday night; Aunt Annette and Uncle Will went home on Friday evening.

On Friday night, our smaller group (only 8!) went to the Cirque du Soleil show La Reve at the Wynn. To put it bluntly: it was stunning, well worth the $140/ticket, and definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

We had a really late, really mediocre dinner at a restaurant inside of Mandalay Bay. We ate there primarily because it was convenient and we had $150 in credit because the housekeepers did a shitty job of cleaning both our room and my parents’ suite. I had a BLT. It didn’t do much for me. But not every meal could be like the one we had on Wednesday.

Meg reallyreallyREALLY wanted to go to a club on Friday night. Not because she reallyreallyREALLY wanted to go to a club, I suspect, but because she reallyreallyREALLY wanted to say that she’d gone to a fancy-schmancy Vegas nightclub to celebrate her 21st birthday.

So we sucked it up and we went. To Rumjungle inside Mandalay Bay. It was fine. The music was good. The club itself was very impressive. But, honestly, I really didn’t want to be there and after I paid $25 just to get in, I expected the time of my frickin’ life. Not so much. But Meg wanted to go. And it was our last night. And it made her happy.

Saturday, July 7
Saturday day was weird and disjointed, definitely your typical travel day. We got up late, packed up our bags and, sadly, checked out of our rooms.

Meeting up with Tessa and Anna at the Luxor, we decided to spend our last few hours lazily wandering around a few more casinos. We walked through their hotel and into the Excalibur, where we planned to take the walkway over to New York New York and have lunch.

Meg was hungry Right Now. She wanted to eat Right Now. And that is how we ended up at the Round Table Buffet.

Holy fucking shit. It was ungodly awful.

Not a wise choice at all.

The food was crap, the atmosphere was crap. Even the Jello was disgusting. Seriously. How can you screw up Jello?

There were two good things about the Round Table Buffet:
1. We could easily swipe cookies and bananas, which we stashed into our bags to take for snacks on the plane.
2. The food was so awful that we ended up in the most hilarious, side-splitting, uproarious fit of laugher as we talked about what the food would do to our insides. We were laughing so hard that we were literally rolling on the ground, falling out of our chairs, gasping for breath and (in Meg’s case) even gagging a bit.

We did head over to New York New York, where took a quick lap around the casino and stopped for drinks before we finally had to accept that our trip was nearly over. We took the tram back to Mandalay Bay, gambled a bit more, and headed to the airport.

The success of the trip still surprises me.
There were no major fights. There were no significant setbacks. Nobody was robbed, by the casino or otherwise. Nobody suffered through a flight cancellation or delay. And we all went home liking one another.

It was a good trip.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Sin City, part 1

While I could probably do a detailed play-by-play reminiscent of Lucy’s wedding, I will spare you the boredom and give you all the Cliff’s Notes version of our Vegas trip.

Wednesday, July 4
In order to squeeze in a shower before going to the airport, I had to get up at 3:30 am. That sucked. We picked up my cousin Liz en route to the airport, checked in, breezed through security, stood in a long line for a bagel. Cold, stale bagels in hand, we immediately boarded the plane (this due to the fact that, stupidly, my dad is not keen on arriving at the airport with any time to spare). And so began the 3.5 hours of torture that is air travel.

I ignored the chatty old lady sitting beside me, leaned on Meg’s shoulder and slept for a bit. I also fooled around with my iPod a bit, peeked behind at Liz, tried to keep conversation with the old lady next to me at a minimum, and felt generally restless.

Liz’s parents and her sister, Danielle, arrived from Los Angeles shortly after we did. Meg’s high school best friend, Lauren, arrived from Denver within a few minutes of us, too.

And we were off for Mandalay Bay. Our rooms, of course, were not ready (it was only 9something in the morning). We dropped our bags off with the bellman and headed off for the fabulous pool. We rented a cabana, met up with Danielle, Aunt Annette and Uncle Will, Aunt Lynn and Uncle Paul (all of whom were staying next door at the more economical Luxor), and spent the day poolside.

The heat was astounding. We spent the majority of the day in the pool, in the cabana, or sprinting from the pool to the cabana. It was way too hot to even attempt stretching out on the chaise lounges for more than five minutes. We took full advantage of Chaz, our cabana boy, and ate and drank a plenty. I cannot even imagine how much our indulgences cost my parents.

On Wednesday night, we had reservations at Delmonico Steakhouse at the Venetian, one of Emeril Lagasse’s restaurants. Our meals were absolutely fantastic. And the mere thought of the key lime pie I had for dessert brings tears to my baby blues. My parents picked up the tab for all 11 of us so, again, I cannot even imagine how much my parents spent on that meal.

While all of our grand plans had us going out on Wednesday night, it just didn’t happen. The sun and the travel sucked the life out of us. We went to sleep with the curtains open, watching the fireworks being set off in the distance.

Thursday, July 5
Our group – minus Danielle (who had to fly back to Los Angeles for work), my dad and Uncle Paul (who were stupid enough to elect to golf in the oppressive heat) started the morning at the breakfast buffet at the Mandalay Bay. Breakfast is my favorite meal to eat out, so I ate myself nearly sick. It was glorious.

When we were through, we headed to the Shark Reef exhibit that is right at Mandalay Bay to feed Liz’s fascination with sharks. It was a fun and relaxing way to spend a few hours out of the heat and away from the slot machines.

We went to the Luxor, where we did a bit of gambling before heading out to their pool. Mom’s friend, Tessa, and her daughter Anna (who is Meg’s good friend) were due to arrive for the airport soon and we wanted to be at their hotel (or, as it turned out, in their hotel’s pool) to greet them.

The evening was spent tooling around at the Bellagio and Caesar’s Palace, doing a bit of gambling and eating, looking around, doing the aimless wandering of vacationers.

Once again, we found ourselves exhausted at nighttime. We considered just going to bed again, but you could see Meg really wanted to do something fun. The group traipsed over to have a drink at a restaurant at the Luxor we’d been eying. It was closed. Meg was pissed.

As we walked back through the mall that connects the Luxor with Mandalay Bay, we came across a burlesque show/bar.

“I think that would be fun!” Liz giggled.

“Me, too,” I admitted. “We should go.”

So we did. Drinks and semi-naked girls. We didn’t stay out late. We didn’t get too crazy. But it was appropriately adult for a 21st birthday celebration. Meg was happy.

And that’s what the weekend was all about.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Vegas was...

...hot as hell.
...delicious.
...a lot of family time.
...wild 'n' crazy, but not too wild 'n' crazy.
...hilarious.
...high class.
...Meg's ideal 21st birthday.
...not as lucky as I'd have liked it to be.
...the perfect length.
...brutal on my wallet.
...occasionally educational.
...luxurious.
...awesome people watching.
...almost entirely devoid of complaining/bickering/arguing/whining/bitch fights.
...the perfect mix of people.
...convenient.
...memorable.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Vegas Vacation



Here we go.

Our little Vegas Showgirl has turned 21.

Watch out, Detroit Metro Airport, Las Vegas, World.

Tales of gambling, sunning, drinking, shopping, eating, and general tomfoolery on Sunday. Hang tight 'til then, kiddies.

Happy Independence Day! Light those sparklers with caution.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Resolution Review 6

1. Read 12 novels.
I polished off Astrid and Veronika, plowed through Elizabeth Berg's Dream When You're Feeling Blue and started John Irving's Until I Find You. I think it is safe to say that I've found my reading groove.

2. Find a new job or go back to school. Or, ideally, find a new job AND go back to school.
Seeing as how I still haven't heard about that job I interviewed for, I'd say that was a strike out. I feel like this will never happen.

3. Go to the gym with increased frequency.
Gym: Matching my previous record - which I consider a miracle, considering all of the soccer I'm playing - I made 16 trips to the gym in June! I'm at 79 of my goal of 175 in 2007.
Skating: Again, a mere 5 times. I always skate less in the summer.
Soccer: I played 14 times in June. I'm a little surprised my legs haven't fallen off.

4. Not make a weight-related resolution.
I haven't even bothered weighing myself lately. It's mostly because I'm too tired but, hey, I'll take success where I can get it.

5. Knit more.
Ummm. I picked out the knitting project that I'd like to tackle next. Maybe I can make an attempt at starting it next month.

6. Stop the incessant purchasing.
I bought a few things for our Vegas trip. Other than that, I was relatively well behaved.

7. Visit with my grandparents more.
I stopped in and saw Grandma one Friday afternoon last month. We celebrated Father's Day together, too. The best visit was on Saturday, when we went out to their boat for the weekend.

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.
While I did technically quit coffee, I managed to have one cup on a sleepy day sometime last week.

9. Become a sweet-ass juggler.
No dedicated juggling practice. Bad me.

10. Allow myself to trust Colin.
Progress was not made in June. We hit a bump and it knocked us a step back. I can't analyze it anymore than that.

June’s resolution of the month: Drink water like woah
I thought that I'd done it, because I feel like I'm constantly throwing back another glass of water and I've been really good about tracking my consumption. Not so much. I averaged 7.45 glasses of water per day. I should note that I probably got in my 64 ounces a day, because I was drinking out of a lot of big glasses, but I wasn't tracking by ounce, so I still failed.

A pinch to grow an inch: July’s resolution of the month
Rededicate myself to the job search

It's exhausting and it is disheartening, but I need to be stubbornly dedicated to finding a new job. I want to be out of here by the time my lease is up in September. The only way I'll be able to do that is by applying for jobs. I'll apply for a minimum of 20 jobs in July. Hopefully I will land some interviews. Hopefully one will stick.

On 2007's resolutions:
The Original
Resolution Review 1
Resolution Review 2
Resolution Review 3
Resolution Review 4
Resolution Review 5

Paging all dream analysts

Last night, I dreamed that I was getting married. I wore a lavender, floral-print wedding dress. As I walked down the aisle, a girl from my high school soccer team yelled to me something about how she loved the dress and how she wanted the dress for he own wedding...if she could get it in white.

I had to keep redoing my hair.

I was marring a man that I didn’t know. He was handsome. I didn’t speak to him. I’m not sure that I ever had.

My mom seemed really excited about the wedding. My aunts were, too. I was dismayed because I couldn’t remember the ceremony. Most of the dream took place at the reception, which I kept leaving.

I just wanted to talk to Colin. I kept calling him, justifying that it was okay for me to be doing so. Part of me felt as though I was being disloyal to my husband. There was guilt, but I had to talk to him.

I had just married another man and I need nothing more than to speak with Colin.

Explain that one to me, kids.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Mistaken identity

Colin was asked to substitute for the team my soccer team was playing against on Friday. He was in the building. They were short players. He shrugged his shoulders and pulled a pair of shorts and shin guards out of his car.

When he reached the field, Meg (the goalie for my team) stared venom, fire and nails in his direction.

“I won’t play if he plays,” she announced.

We thought she was joking.

“You know the rule,” she told me. I still thought she was joking.

The rule, which Meg made when we started playing soccer together, is that Colin is not allowed to referee any of our games. Or go to any of our games. To this point, it hadn’t been an issue.

It was an issue on Friday.

Colin went onto the field. “If she’s really serious,” he told me, “I won’t play.” I assured him that she couldn’t possibly be, especially since he wasn’t playing goalie (his primary position) and said that he wouldn’t shoot on her (just to be nice).

Colin got onto the field and played maybe five minutes. Colin broke the rule he made and took a shot on Meg (which she saved) a minute or so after he started playing. Meg glared at me, and then at Colin, as though she wished we were dead.

When I saw Colin go to his team’s bench, I went to mine. I pulled him aside, apologizing profusely. “I don’t think you should play anymore. She has...this thing...a block. She thinks she can’t play when you’re around.”

It wasn’t a big deal, Colin assured me. He left graciously.

Meg didn’t talk to me the rest of the game. She ignored me on the ride home. She was sullen and pouty at dinner. My dad asked her – at least 10 times – what was wrong. She refused to budge.

The truth came out later. Dad cornered her in the living room.

There was a reason that she didn’t want Colin to referee her games. He would see that she wasn’t as good as she had been and he would say something to her.
It was the same with him playing against her. And he said he wouldn’t shoot and – what did he do? – he shot the ball.
She doesn’t like not being as good as she once was. Colin, who was her coach at soccer camp and who refereed when she was at her peak, magnifies her self-consciousness.

Colin wouldn’t say anything to Meg, I grumbled to my dad later. Colin doesn’t care how good or not good Meg is.

My dad disagreed.

He thinks Colin is That Guy, a cocky asshole who points out former glories and mistakes and shortcomings.

Let me pause to clear something up here: he’s not. Especially not to Meg.

When I heard Meg and when my dad disagreed with my assessment of the situation, I was exceptionally sad. Colin has undesirable traits, but he is not the person they painted him to be.

He adores Meg. He liked her long before I came into the picture.

When Colin and I text messaged on Friday night, I merely apologized for her behavior. I skipped over the details.

The topic came up again last night. I came clean. I told him what Meg said.

The hurt in his voice was apparent. “Oh,” he mumbled. “I guess I won’t be going to Vegas, then.”

He’d been trying to work out an inexpensive trip so he could join us for a few days.

I backpedaled. I felt bad for delivering the news that would hurt his feelings. “It’s not you,” I stammered. “It’s Meg. It’s all in her head. You know how you goalies are. She’s just so competitive. I know that you’re not like that. She knows that you’re not like that, Colin.”

The rest of our conversation was filled with sighs and awkward pauses and apology after apology.

I shouldn’t have told him.

The hurt in his voice broke my heart.
My family’s mischaracterization of him disappoints me.

I shouldn’t have told him.

After I hung up, I cried.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Hey jealousy

Were you envious about the scenery I grew up in?

Then consider yourself lucky that I'm too tired, too sunburned and too busy packing for Vegas and suffering from a terrible pair of sea legs to tell you about the past 30 hours.

In the most minuscule of nutshells: last night and today on Grandma and Grandpa's sailboat. Sleeping, sailing, eating. Watching fireworks over the water, wrapped tightly in blankets. Putting up the main sail. Laughing uproariously. Napping. Penny candy. The best parts of my childhood summers through adult eyes.

I love Michigan. This is what it's all about.










 
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