Thursday, December 31, 2009

I have found my true skill

Meg met Alexander on Tuesday.

Meg and Alexander became Facebook friends on Wednesday.

Meg and Alexander nearly decided to ring in 2010 together on Thursday.

Matchmaking might be my hidden talent.

Meg, Emma and I were out last night. It was snowing by the time we got back to Mom and Dad's. Was easier just to stay the night here.

I woke up at 3:00 am to find Emma standing over me. "Meg needs you," she hissed.

I was very confused. I told her to go away, I think.

"No," Emma said, "Meg needs you." She was giggling at this point. "Your coach wants to go to Chicago with her!"

Meg is going to Chicago for New Year's Eve. She's driving alone, but meeting up with several of her college roommates who no longer live in the area.

From my room, I can hear that Meg is laughing uproariously. I get up to check out the situation. She's chatting with Alexander online.

"He told me that he would go to Chicago with me, so that I don't have to drive alone." Meg laughed through her explanation. "I told him that it might be weird: him, me and a bunch of girls that he doesn't know. I don't think he even cares. This is so awkward. What the hell am I supposed to do?"

Meg, as most of you know, is the fun sister. She's the spontaneous one. She is the outgoing one. If someone wants to join her on a road trip that would otherwise be solo? Who is she to say no?

So she didn't.

But when she texted Alexander this morning, he said he was out. A choice that was probably for the best. I don't think that Meg was too upset. She was right: it would've been weird.

But they're hanging out on Sunday. Hurray!

I didn't read over Meg's shoulder or anything, but my favorite part of their conversation that she shared with me was about playing hockey together on Tuesday night.

Alexander: Remember when I knocked you over and then I pushed you down?
Meg: Yes
Alexander: That was my way of flirting.
Meg: Oh yeah? You were quite good at it.
Alexander: I like to keep it spicy.

hahahaha.

Young hockey player love.

I am so amused.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fact: I'm a spaz

My bad!

Am a loser. He thought my friends were planning an evening that "was going to be like an epic adventure to New York. But Michigan is just as grand, with a lot less Dick Clark (poor fella)."

So I am going to see The Groomsman after I have dinner with my girls.

Please feel free to make fun of me.

Project!

I have picked out a boyfriend for Meg.

He's the son of a girl that I play hockey with. I had an awkward moment with him earlier this season. And, since then, I have decided that he would be the perfect boyfriend for Meg.

Then he broke up with his girlfriend and I knew that he would be the perfect boyfriend for Meg.

Meg isn't great at picking out boys. (I'm not saying that because I am. I am saying that because it is true.) She likes the bad ones. The really, really bad ones. She always has. During our New Kids On The Block Stage, her favorite was Donnie, OF COURSE. Didn't he set a fire in a hotel once?

Anyway. She likes the bad boys. And then she gets burned. Most recently, it was by some kid who plays in a local band and turned out to be a huge douche. Surprise, surprise.

But what Meg really needs, I am convinced, is a nice boy. A nice boy who plays hockey - preferably really well.

Excuse me for generalizing, but hockey boys come one of two ways: really nice and really grounded or arrogant man whores. And they all like to party a bit. Which is perfect for Meg.

My teammate's kid is the former. He is SUCH a nice kid. He volunteers to coach his mom's team. And we really, really suck. The kid is a saint.

He is also Meg's age. An awesome hockey player. Has the bluest eyes. His parents are super nice. And he has a job.

So, I have decided that he should be Meg's new boyfriend. (Simple as that, right?) The big introduction was last night -- we played hockey with a big group. We'll continue it at a team outing tonight.

Soon, I will have little hockey playing nieces and nephews running about.

I am the best sister ever. (Mostly because I have a backup boyfriend for her, too.)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Well, fuck. That hurt.

The Groomsman got a message from me something along the lines of: "What’s your plan for New Year’s Eve? Did you still want me to go out with you and your merry band of elves? My friends are all up in my business about whether or not I’m joining them on their epic adventure into 2010. What can I say? I’m in high demand!"

I just heard back from him. (Of course I did. Because I blogged about how I hadn't yet heard back from him.)

And it wasn't exactly what I expected.

"If you have the chance to go on an epic adventure, I would take it! We are still planning on going to Some Random Bar, and enjoy the musical styles of Some Random Cover Band. Of course, this merry band of elves would enjoy your company on New Years Eve, and then on into the New Year. Take the epic adventure, if something goes awry, we can be your backup plan!"

Trying to play it cool?

Or blowing me off...cheerfully?

I don't think I like this game.

Just go with it, okay?

I cannot put a full thought together

A goopy mess of brain squirtle today, friends. I’m all over the damn map today.

First of all, I’m itchy. This Michigan winter has finally progressed to the point where it has sucked all moisture from my skin and it is awesome. Especially the part where I look like a snake shedding his skin.

Secondly, I’m distracted. Because I have no idea what great American state The Groomsman is in, what his plans are for New Year’s Eve, whether he wants/expects me to go out with him, the outfit I should wear if I do go out with him, if I scared him away, the outfit I should wear if I don't go out with him, etc. If I don’t hear from him by the end of today, I think I’m going to have to commit to going out with my friends. It isn’t fair to string them along any more. And it isn’t fair to me, either. I’m really over this wishy-washy bullshit.

I’ve been meaning to write about how I got a Flip HD camcorder from Santa. Good for documenting my trip to South Africa, good for capturing the idiocy of my friends and family good for...video blogging? Maybe? One day? If I ever get over the fairly repulsive sound of my voice.

Mom and Dad leave on Thursday for a week in Florida. I’m watching my fur sisters while they’re gone, which I am honestly far too excited about. I love those beasts.

I saw Invictus. Loved it. I saw Precious. Loved it as much as you could love a film about such subject matters. Next up is Up in the Air. Three movies within a month is a lot for me; I couldn’t tell you when I had last been in a theater prior to seeing Precious in late November.

I want a pedicure. I do not need a pedicure. But I really want a pedicure.

Rumor has it that I’m taking the next two days off of work. Miraculous.

Monday, December 28, 2009

For Brandy and the Dude That She Adores

Interrupting your daily dose of whine and worry to do something little for a blogger who I admire. If you haven’t read Brandy’s blog, I encourage you to do so. If you have a little energy in your heart and in your mind to send a few prayers and good wishes her way, I encourage you to do that, too.

"My name is brandy. And I have a blog.

And a plea.

I use my blog to showcase the crazy I meet everyday, share the stories of the kids I teach and document my love for tequila, dairy products and the abdominal muscles of Ryan Reynolds. Rarely do I talk about personal issues on my blog- as personal as the dude that I adore (who I actually met through my blog- single ladies, let that be a very good reason to blog, the possibility of meeting someone as wonderful as my man), but I need your help. And it involves my dude.

He's a guy who made math comics for my class, so they would love learning about addition. He's the kinda guy who sends my friends gift cards when they are having hard times, who remembers every story I ever told him, who was the first person I celebrated with when I got a teaching job. He's the guy who sent flowers to me at school- dozens of my favourite pink roses just because he loves me. He's a guy who has spent a year patiently explaining (and re-explaining) everything there is to know about football during the important games when silence is preferred. He's made me word puzzles and comics and stayed up late playing Scrabble with me (even though I beat him almost every time). He's listened to me cry about school and family and jobs. He is everything I never knew I needed and everything I always knew I wanted.

The holidays have hit us hard. He's recently been told he may have something called multiple myeloma- an incurable cancer, that gives a person an average of five years of continued life. Though this news has came as a shock, he continues to be exactly who has always been- spending his time worrying about me, rather than worrying about himself. He's the most selfless individual I know- (he stayed late on Christmas Eve to work, so his co-workers could leave early) and a post like this would never be something that he would promote or encourage but when I'm overwhelmed and feeling helpless, the blogging community has always given me tremendous support and comfort, two things I desperately need at this time.

As I write this, the future is uncertain and we aren't sure what's happening. He'll need to see an oncologist soon, to verify what's going on in his body. My hope is that everyone who reads this think positive thoughts and if you are a person who prays, could you add him to your list? (You can refer to him as 'brandy's hot awesome dude'). If you don't pray, please keep him in your heart.This cancer is only a possibility and I believe that the prayers and positive thoughts of people can make sure it never becomes a reality.

I want to give a big thank you to the blog owner who scraped their original blog plans and graciously put this up. My goal is to get as many people as possible to see and read this post. If you are reading this and want to help, copy and paste my plea into your blog or send a link through twitter, so more people can keep him in their thoughts. I would be so very grateful (even more grateful than I am to my friend who first showed me the picture of Ryan Reynolds on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. If you haven't seen it, google it. You. Are. Welcome).

I realize this all sounds dramatic, a Lifetime movie in the making- but this is life. Right now. And I'm throwing away any hint of ego and am humbly asking for you to pray or think kind thoughts. If you are able to pass this on, thank you and if you know anything regarding MM- please email me (my email is on my blog). This isn't a call for sympathy or a plea for pity. It's just one girl hoping you can think positive thoughts for the person she adores. If my current heartache provides you with anything, let it be with the reminder that life is short, love is unbending and no one knows what could happen next. Maybe it is silly, but I really do believe that positive thoughts can make a huge difference. Thank you for reading this and if you haven't already? Please tell someone you love them today.

I did."

Sunday, December 27, 2009

This girl, that girl - these plans, those plans

I heard from The Groomsman on Christmas.

He grew up here, but his entire family has since relocated out of the state. He spent Christmas with his brother's family. And since I had only heard from him sporadically since our date, I wasn't counting on anything.

I don't like getting my hopes up.

I'm taking the same wait-and-see attitude into New Year's Eve. He hasn't mentioned it. (Even though his buddy Jake has.) I'm hesitant to ask. So I'm just being a shitty pal and stringing along my friends -- refusing to give more than a tentative yes to New Year's Eve dinner reservations.

I want to spend it with him.

I don't want to be the needy girl who wants confirmation that he still wants her there.

I don't want to be the unwanted girl who was too oblivious to realize that there was a reason that he hadn't mentioned it again.

And I REALLY don't want to be the girl who analyzes. everything. to. death.

Because, let me tell you, being that girl? The analyzing one? It is damn hard work.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas 2009: It Could've Been So Much Worse

Success!

Made it through Christmas Eve.

Made it through Christmas Day.

While Christmas this year was not marked by endless warm fuzzies, puppies and world peace, it was certainly palatable.

The timing of Aunt Marie's death dragged out the process a bit, I think. We made it through the funeral. To be immediately confronted by Thanksgiving. We started to get back into our daily routine. To have it interrupted by Christmas.

Christmas is over. The decorations can be taken down. And the healing can begin.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Traditions

I am anticipating a Christmas like no other.

I am anticipating a Christmas of all of the same. Not tired. Familiar.

Our Christmases are celebrated in much the same way every year. A Christmas Eve party at Aunt Annette’s house where the door is always open and the food is always endless. A lot of family, special friends. And all of my cousins – all of whom I love so fiercely – in one room. Relentlessly making fun of each other. And reconciling in time to make an unstoppable team for whatever corny game Aunt Lynn forces us to participate in later in the evening.

Early Christmas morning is just the four of us. And the dogs. We’re always a little rushed – but we open gifts before beginning the day. We empty stockings. We throw wrapping paper balls at the dogs (who happily dismantle them). I open my gift from Meg first. Meg opens her gift from me.

Presents open, the day gets hectic. Showers and suitable clothes and putting the strata in the oven and making frosting for the cinnamon rolls and did someone let the dogs out? Dad’s family comes over. We eat the same meal every year. We open presents in a hectic rush each year. We take pictures and make jokes and eat more when we’re through. Dad’s family isn’t over for more than a few hours. It is crazy and it isn’t. It is familiar, our Christmas brunch. It works for us. The loud, busy, hectic, memorable morning is reflective. Christmas brunch is my dad’s family.

The afternoon and the evening are spent at Grandma’s. Largely around her tree. Consuming a morsel of food more often than not. We eat the same meal. Grandma makes the same traditional cranberry pudding.

Aunt Marie always loved the cranberry pudding.

This Christmas is going to be really hard.

But I’m still looking forward to it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Up down up

I cried - just a touch - when I wrote about my most vivid memories from Aunt Marie's funeral. I wrote it when nearly all of my coworkers were out of the building. When I could get a little sniffly without anyone barging into my office to ask for a favor.

From there, my day rolled downhill. A coworker was snippy with me. An associate in another building lazily threw a customer in my direction. A nasty email. No food. Too much coffee. I morphed from cheery into crabby in a hurry.

And in my inbox: an email from The Groomsman's buddy Jake. (I emailed him earlier today with something along the lines of what you crazy kids suggested yesterday.)

"Of course he told us! It's not a secret, is it? I mean if you have better plans then by all means...don't let us hold you back (I'm just messing with you!) (It's so hard when you can't express emotion through text.) I'm glad you're coming. There's way too much testosterone in our group."

My mood jumped out of the dump. (A drop of hope is a powerful thing.)

It was good to read.

What I won't forget

I want to write more about Aunt Marie’s funeral and the days that followed her death. There is a lot that I want to remember. I’m very afraid of forgetting. Of letting those days – days that will define our family – slip away from my memory.

I’m afraid of forgetting Aunt Marie. Of, one day, not being able to remember the year that she chased me around the kitchen table, playfully smearing frosting all over my face when she caught me at her front door. Of not remembering that my favorite red sweater was a Christmas gift from her when I was in college. No longer being able to hear her say “I’m so pissed at ---” before launching into a story about someone who, really, she was just a little annoyed with. Still, she used that big phrase. Those dramatic words. (Emma uses that damn phrase all the time, too.)

There are moments from that week that I won’t forget.

It has only been a month. But I remember them with such detail, so acutely, that I cannot forget.

There will never be a time that I will not recall standing at the back of the church, to the left side of Aunt Marie’s casket. The attendees are all seated. Just family remains standing. Anna, Emma and my uncle are at the casket. The funeral director is taking off her jewelry. He has to cut the band on her ruby ring. The ruby ring that she got after her amputation.

And then he began the process of closing the casket.

I looked back at my grandparents. My grandpa standing with his hands on Grandma’s shoulders. I wasn’t entirely certain that they realized what was going on. If they knew what was about to happen. That they were prepared for that casket to close.

Sure enough. The funeral director began to close the lid. “Wait,” she said, urgently. She pulled away from my grandpa. Rushed to the casket. To her youngest child. She had to stand on her tiptoes, using her hands to steady herself. She leaned down and kissed Aunt Marie’s lips. Whispered that she loved her.

My heart will never heal from witnessing that moment. I will never come to terms with how acutely wrong that image was, my grandma saying goodbye to her baby.

Shortly thereafter, we filed into the second pew. (The first remained empty.) My uncle and cousins first. Then Grandma and Grandpa. Then me. The rest of the family was still filing in.

My grandpa – who was stoic during the entire process – was seated. And he broke down, his hands gripping the pew in front of him. His head dipped between his elbows. I don’t know if he was crying – I was crying too hard to tell – but I imagine that he was. My strong and stoic grandpa, crying. Still standing at that moment, I fell down beside him. I buried my head into the back of his jacket, wrapped my arm around him, and sobbed. It was loud.

We only remained like that for a moment. The service began shortly thereafter. But something about that moment stopped my world.

I am not sure that I will ever feel sadness again without recalling the rough feeling of Grandpa’s jacket on my cheek, of my arm resting across his back.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Friends, dresses, holidays

Communication with The Groomsman since last Sunday’s date has been spotty.

I sort of feel like he’s following the advice of his friends, or The Unwritten Rules of Dating for Dudes. Like he’s doing what he thinks that he should be doing.

And I am doing what all girls do. (Or what it seems that all girls do.) Being a crazy fucking worrying mess. Who just wants to call/text/email/Facebook stalk every second of the day. But isn’t, for fear of looking like a crazy fucking worrying mess.

This is the fun part, right?

One of the other groomsman from the wedding – Jake, the guy that I walked with – has been emailing me lately.

Jake is the one who told me, at the wedding, that The Groomsman has a thing for me. And Jake was out the night in November when all this possibility with The Groomsman was stirred up again.

Maybe I should’ve thought a little more about why Jake was emailing me when he started. Just a few days after I saw him last. Coincidence? Possibly. Feeling me out for the sake of his buddy? Could it be?

I’m busy convincing myself that The Groomsman is trying to brush me off. And then, a line in an email from Jake. “I hear we’ll be seeing you on New Years Eve. Awesome!”

What?

The Groomsman told Jake that I was coming?

Does that mean that The Groomsman wants me to be there? Because the little shit hasn’t said anything to me about it since he invited me a week ago. Which I interpreted to mean that he was hoping that I’d forget that he said anything so the he could, like, actually have fun on New Years Eve and not have to worry about not hurting me feelings since he is no longer interested. At all.

But if Jake knows that I’m going.

Perhaps The Groomsman really does want me there.

OMG, I NEED A NEW YEARS DRESS IMMEDIATELY.

Impulse buy of the day – December 20, 2009:









Subject to change, of course. I may decide it is too dressy to New Years Eve. Or not dressy enough. Or too short. Or too cute.

What should I wear with it? Black tights and black heels? Leopard print leggings? A traditional Native American headdress?

I can’t decide about anything these days.

Except how much I like this damn boy. I have no problem sticking to that.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

To: The Groomsman

Do you know what I’m doing this weekend? I am doing everything.

I am spending my Friday night at my grandma’s house, stringing popcorn for her Christmas tree. She asked me to do it. What I need to do is go shopping. I would never say no to her.

I work on Saturday. And I will likely go into the office on Sunday, too.

I am going to find a recipe for an appetizer for Christmas Eve.

I will go back to Grandma’s on Saturday afternoon to bake cookies. Because she wants me to bake cookies with her. And she wants me to spend the night. And I will do it because she asked me to.

I will brainstorm. And I will come up with an awesome gift for the coworker who I know will buy me one.

I will feel guilty for not going to Heather’s Christmas party.

On Sunday morning, I will skate. The first time since my massive fail. It will be okay.

I’ll play hockey for the first time since last Tuesday’s massive loss. I will get annoyed with my teammates.

At some point, I will have a headache.

And hopefully do a little bit of laundry.

My Sunday night will be spent with Emma and her dad, decorating the Christmas tree. The whole family is going over. Because perhaps the voices and the movements of eight people will help to disguise the absence of one. Aunt Marie.

Another busy weekend.

It’s the standard. I hope you get used to it. I hope you find me so charming and fun and adorable that you have to get used to it. Because it is who I am. And you like that person.

I hope.

Let me squeeze you in.

Let me make you a priority.

I don’t need more sleep. I need to see more of you.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Funeral food

The company attorney just dropped off this enormous, decadent pastry gift basket. He gives us one every year. And every year, everyone goes nuts.

Except me.

I have never eaten anything out of that stupid basket.

It all looks delicious, yes. I can appreciate it. But I want nothing to do with it.

That pastry gift basket, in my mind, is filled with funeral food.

When my grandma died someone – I definitely couldn’t tell you who – sent that to our family. It was huge, even for our enormous extended family, and I spent way too many days looking at all of the pastries even though I had no appetite. It was sent to the funeral home, I think, and then shuffled over to Mom and Dad’s house. I never ate one.

An identical basket of pastries – the same fucking thing – was sent to the funeral home when Aunt Marie died. I ate nothing from it. I winced when it was sitting on the counter at her house a few days after the service.

I hate that fucking basket of pastries.

I feel much the same way about orchids. Logically, I can see that they are very pretty and I can smell that they have a lovely scent. But they are death and they are sadness and, quite frankly, they are rather unwelcome anywhere near me.

Pastries dusted with confectioner’s sugar and orchids. Quite the catalysts.

I am nuts.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's all exhausting

I don't know what my deal is, but I totally have no appetite. And haven't had one in quite some time. I'm eating - so don't get worried - I'm just not pounding down the food like I normally do. Skipping dessert? Not snacking? No wonder my pants feel so loose. It's exhausting.

I haven't heard from The Groomsman since he dropped me off at home on Sunday night. Checking every possible form of communication on an hourly basis? It's exhausting.

My hockey team this year? Blows. I am so sick of losing. Losing is exhausting.

I'm really worried about my mom. She's trying not to let anyone on to how much she's struggling, but she really is. She is doing just the essentials. Coasting through. She is finally through her semester, so I was hoping that she could get a little bit of a reprieve. But now her good friend, who has terminal cancer, is in the hospital. She can't catch a break. I'm home every second that I can be there. But there isn't anything that I can do. I feel helpless. It's exhausting.

This week is kicking my ass. In addition to the normal two job craziness, I booked myself up every night this week: movies with Lucy on Monday, dinner with coworkers followed by a hockey game on Tuesday, dinner with Mom and Dad tonight, working tomorrow night...

...fretting about The Groomsman for every second of it all.

It's exhausting!

I'm exhausted.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

If I had my way:

Let me be perfectly fucking honest here, friends.

I am completely dreading Christmas.

I mean, Christmas hasn’t been CHRISTMAS!!!! for quite some time. It was when I went away to college and wasn’t home for all of the holiday preparations that the holiday lost a bit of its luster. December meant final exams. And then rushing to pack up, go home and furiously purchase presents, bake cookies, make jolly, hang stockings with care, etc.

One year – maybe when I was a sophomore – I told my mom that Christmas really didn’t do it for me anymore. I think she was bummed to hear my admission. “One day you’ll have kids and it will be really great again.”

She’s probably right.

And I don’t hate Christmas. It is all of the things that I love: tradition and family and copious amounts of food. It’s the hype, I guess. All of the preparations and the stress leave the day feeling unbalanced. All of that work for this? Maybe Christmas seems lacking because I am fortunate enough to have my entire family gathered together on a regular basis, without the stress and the insanity that goes along with Christmas.

This Christmas, though, is different. I could skip this Christmas all together.

I have no Christmas spirit.

It’s just way, way too soon after Aunt Marie’s death. And I’m watching my mom struggle – she doesn’t say anything but I can hear it in her voice and see it in her eyes – and she doesn’t need this. She doesn’t need to be baking cookies and putting up a tree and buying presents for Anna and Emma because they don’t have a mom to buy them presents.

It is too hard to have Christmas this year.

And I would prefer to skip it.

Monday, December 14, 2009

These are my confessions

Is this how it is supposed to be? Feeling like you're going to vomit all. the. time? Because that's how anxious I feel. Like I'm going to puke at any moment.

I assume I'll feel a little better when/if I hear him. There's no time frame for that. Hence the anxiety.

I told Ashley about him when I saw her on Saturday afternoon.

I told Lucy over coffee tonight. Colleen was informed via text message shortly thereafter. Only because I knew that she would give me a hard time for finding out from Lucy, so I cut that rant off at the knees.

Telling my friends about him is a mildly big deal. I generally keep matters of the heart to myself - and to the internet! ha. - because it feels a little safer. If the boy never calls, then I never have to explain it to anyone. If it doesn't work out, I only have to be embarrassed to myself. (And to my blog readers.)

So, yeah. Now they know. Not much - there honestly isn't all that much to tell. But they're aware.

Balancing friends and boys is always such a mess. Lucy and I had been making loose plans for New Years Eve. Having people to her house, maybe. Going to the bar on her block, perhaps. Something casual and local and easy. Likely involving some form of melted cheese.

Last night, The Groomsman invited me to the NYE celebration with him and his friends. Plans that are already made, already decided upon.

Do I ditch my friends? Do I drag them along? Should I try to do both? Can I ever make everyone happy?

If things work out with The Groomsman and me, my life will get a lot more complicated. My days are already so packed. Fitting in another person. Another entire awesome, adorable, complex person. That won't be easy.

I'm up for the challenge.

And hoping that he is, too.

Sigh.

Oh, you guys, I am in trouble.

He is so adorable.
He is so sweet.
He is so. much. fun. to be around.

I like him so much that I don't know where to begin.

Friday, December 11, 2009

My calendar says Christmas is in two weeks

That’s trouble. Big trouble.

I don’t have ANYTHING done. I have not purchased a single present. Not that I have many people to buy for – just my parents, my sister, Anna and Emma and cousin Danielle (who I drew in our cousin exchange on my dad’s side of the family).

I’m a terrible shopper. I am a wretched purchaser of presents. Here is, generally what I do: walk into a store. Look at everything, but do it too quickly. Decide that there is nothing that I could possibly purchase for the recipient because it is not The Best Gift That Has Ever Been Given. Pout. Advance to the next store. Repeat.

Shopping for my mom tends to be the most difficult but, this year, Meg and I have created a hefty list to purchase from. I have hope.

I have hope, but little time.

This weekend is practically over before it has even started. Tonight, I think I’ll visit my parents. Tomorrow, I work until the early afternoon, visit Ashley at the mall for a while (likely: more talking than purchasing) and hustle over to Lucy’s house so that we can see a movie. On Sunday I have that d-a-t-e. And I think I’m expected to travel into the wilderness and assist my father in chopping down a tree.

What is a girl supposed to shop?

I know that everything will get done. Because it always does. But what is a holiday without a little stress? Or a lot of stress.

I seem to recall next weekend featuring a Christmas party, a hockey game, the decorating of two Christmas trees and a cookie-baking date with my grandma.

Oh, goodness. I really am in trouble.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Jinx

Ashley doesn’t know I saw The Groomsman last Friday; she doesn’t know that I’ll see him on Sunday.

Lucy doesn’t know I saw The Groomsman last Friday; she doesn’t know that I’ll see him on Sunday.

Colleen doesn’t know I saw The Groomsman last Friday; she doesn’t know that I’ll see him on Sunday.

Meg doesn’t know I saw The Groomsman last Friday; she doesn’t know that I’ll see him on Sunday.

I told my mom that, last Friday, I went to dinner with Lucy. I lied to my mom. Who would be all too thrilled that I went on a date. I lied to my mom so that I wouldn’t have to talk about it.

I don’ t want to talk about it.

I CAN’T talk about it.

I’m having a hard time blogging about it.

And that, my friends, is the strangest thing of all. Normally, I am all too willing to write each detail. To analyze it in depth. To draw conclusions based on a Lifetime movie and the color of his car.

Why this is, I am not quite certain.

Maybe I’m protecting myself. If I don’ t blog the beginning, I don’ t have to blog the end. I can put on a brave face and pretend that it meant less than it did.

Maybe I’m growing up.

Maybe this is different.

Maybe I just don’t feel like writing.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Currently making me happy

  • My new plaid skirt.
  • Lemon and honey in my tea.
  • This post, without which I never would have read the fabulous, tingly, intriguing, warm
  • Esquire article that makes me want to spend my evening in an airport.
  • Work planning for various summertime responsibilities, giving me ample reason to think about my trip to South Africa.
  • Saturday afternoon shopping date with Ashley.
  • A long, long overdue Saturday night movie date with my lovely Lucy.
  • And a much anticipated Sunday date with The Groomsman.
  • Yoga class tonight.
  • Freshly highlighted hair: goodbye, mousy blondbrown!
  • A workday that has flown by.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Vulnerable is torture

I get ahead
Of myself
And what it logical
It’s just what I do.

About everything.
Honestly.
Not just boys.

(See: every knitting project I’ve started)

So, yes.
When you didn’t respond to my text message
About the days I was available this week?
I noticed.
In a check-my-phone-every-10-minutes-even-though-I-know-better way.

Silly.

Because that return text hasn’t come
(Get on it. Seriously.)
I will need to worry
(That is also just what I do.)
And start some sort of an internal countdown clock
To what?
Unsure.
Possibly another text message.
I mean, you might not have received the last one. These things happen.
Or to when I’m supposed to move on.
Like I had to last time.
Not that you know that.

But I did.
Move on, I mean.
Onward and upward.
To that professional athlete kid.
Who is a manwhore.
But cute.

Here is what I am saying:
I would like to not get attached
If you’re planning on not getting attached.

Yeah.
Okay.
Maybe that isn’t the way that dating works.
But I don’t do dating.
I’ve never done dating.

I am equal parts.
Stupid.
And scared.
And breakable.

With the slightest dusting of hopeful sprinkled in.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Tuesday, 11/17

I was standing in my kitchen when I realized that I had missed a phone call from Meg. I called her back immediately; I always do.

She told me that Aunt Marie was dead.

"What?" Shock is a very powerful thing. My brain jumped to that Sunday. Two days prior. She was alive. We had seen her. Touched her. She couldn't be dead.

She was dead.

I stayed in my kitchen, staring at my phone. I wanted to call someone. I wasn't sure who I wanted to call.

Lucy was in class. I texted her.

My cousin Liz - from the other side of the family - was next. I'm not sure why I called her. I wanted to call someone. I wanted to call someone who knew Aunt Marie.

Liz already knew. My dad called her mom. Her mom called her.

We said nothing of worth. Just a lot of "it's so sad," and "her poor girls."

I blogged. I needed to write it as much as I needed to say it. I needed to see the words.

At some point, my dad called. He didn't tell my anything that I didn't know. But it was good to hear his voice.

Lucy called. And she was amazing, like Lucy is. Asking all of the right questions. Interjecting sympathy in just the right places. Articulate and kind and thoughtful. While we talked, I packed up my things. I assumed that I wouldn't be home that night.

I called Ashley while driving to Mom and Dad's house. Ashley knew Anna. I think she met Aunt Marie once. It was close enough.

Ashley - she's more like me. Less eloquent. Less sure of what to say. It didn't matter. What mattered was that she picked up the phone. And talked to me the length of the 20 minute drive home.

Meg was home when I got home. The dogs were there. Mom and Dad were not.

We weren't entirely certain what we should do or where we should go. I sat down at her laptop to write my boss an email telling him that I wouldn't be at work the next day.

And then we drove to Aunt Marie's house.

There were so many cars parked outside of their house. The lights inside the house, illuminating the front porch, seemed so bright.

I parked my car in the street. In front of a neighbor's house.

My mom must have seen us coming. We were on the edge of the property when we reached her. She was crying so hard. Oh, I hope I never have to see her cry so hard ever again.

We both fell into her arms. It is exactly what was natural. Meg on Mom's right shoulder. I was on Mom's left. We cried hard, then. Hard because our Aunt Marie was dead. Hard because we saw how heartbroken our mom was.

"Don't you ever do that to me," she sobbed. "Don't you dare. You are not allowed to die before me. You can't die and leave me to find you."

We stood there for so, so long. On the edge of the property.

It was cold. I didn't feel it.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

I'm still not getting my hopes up

Early yesterday evening, The Groomsman received a text from me.

Something along the lines of: Yesterday was fun! We should do it again soon!

I heard from him shortly thereafter.

"I had a lot of fun, too. Let's get together sometime this week."

So there you go. Something? Something may be happening.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

I'm going to try not to analyze this

It went okay. I think?

I don't know.

What I don't want to do: get my hopes up.

What I do want to do: see him again...umm...today. Or next week.

The Groomsman has a little more shy in him than I realized. Not that he wasn't talkative or that we couldn't hold a conversation - that was fine. He just wasn't as outgoing as he is around his friends - friends that he's had since grade school. Which makes sense. I get that. (I wasn't either, I'm sure.)

I'm nervous that he'll be too shy to call.

He gave me "let's do this again" line. But that obviously means nothing.

So I guess I just need to wait and see? Be patient? Not pick out a wedding dress? (Just kidding!)

Yesterday was fun. It was good. I like him.

But apparently that's not enough for me. I can't be happy with step one. I have to impatiently wait for step two.

Sigh.

I am paralyzed with the fear of doing something wrong. Of coming off as disinterested. Or as a stalker.

I am so bad at this stuff.

Friday, December 04, 2009

I like December so far

The World Cup draw - when we FINALLY find out what teams are behind A2 v. A3, B1 v. B4, etc. - was this afternoon.

We made out. Like frickin' bandits.

We're seeing so many amazing teams.

Argentina. Brazil. Mexico. Germany. Italy. Almost all of the teams (minus the Netherlands and USA) on our wish list.

I am absolutely giddy.

And now I have to wait nearly 200 days until this fantasy becomes a reality.

Oh, and also I have a date tonight. hahahaha.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Wide-ass Wednesdays: A Conclusion

At the beginning of October, I decided to get my act together. Registered to run a 10k on Thanksgiving Day and feeling a little chunky: no better time than the present, right?

Not exactly easy going, my friends. Not easy going.

I didn’t quite – I still haven’t quite – figured out my new schedule. I’m getting there. But for a while, it was a struggle. A groggy struggle. I didn’t run like I should have. It didn’t happen how I wanted it to. There was the new job to contend with, in addition to the usual suspects: hockey, skating, reality television, Facebook, my bed.

I didn’t do as well as I wanted to do.

Although, truthfully, I’ll never be happy with my fitness. You can always get better, faster, stronger.

As was the plan, I ran the 10k on Thanksgiving morning.

I finished in 1:01:26, which was about where I wanted to end up. I hadn’t run in 10 days. I was exhausted from a viewing, a funeral, watching my mom grieve over her sister. So 1:01:26 was fine. Perfectly fine. I am satisfied.

And I lost five pounds.

Not because of anything I did in October or November. But because Aunt Marie died and I didn’t eat for a week.

I would rather have the five pounds back. I’m not going to count it as part of my success.

I will settle for 1:01:26. And try to do better next time.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Waaaaaaaaaaaaah

He hasn't called.

He's so not going to.

I don't get it.

He has a thing for me. That might sound arrogant. But I'm really, really certain of it. I caution on the side of repulsion. And he is not repulsed by me.

He has a thing for me. But he also has no spine.

What the hell?

Who could possibly be so cautious? So afraid of rejection? Such an enormous wimp?

(Besides me, I mean.)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Thanksgiving (we can still have fun)

We made pies. But first, we made margaritas.




















Our youngest cousins came over.





















So did their new puppy.



























We started out all business.
(As you must be, to make 11 pies.)





























Anna made pretty crust. Her mom would approve, she said. I agree.






















We made pumpkin, pecan, apple.

Then Meg channeled Gaga.

And so did the iPod.































Anna was inspired to jump from the couch.




























And grab a bottle of booze for a singalong.






















Cousin Liz found a stick of butter worked best as a microphone.




























And then - with the last pies in the oven - we rested.




















Good thing we did.

Meg, Anna and I ran a 10k the next morning.






















And it was Thanksgiving as usual.

If you ignored the big, gaping hole. And the tears. And the broken hearts.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Should've guessed this was coming

I took a skating test today.

And promptly failed it.

I was absolutely brutal. Shaky knees. No edges. I am certain that, to the judges who decided if I was a pass or a fail, I was merely a joke. A bad joke.

I'm not going to say that I was completely ready to take the test. I wasn't. But my coach was pushing it. She's the professional. If she thinks the elements are good enough, they're good enough.

Except for today. When everything I've practiced escaped me.

What a way to end a month. This month. With such an enormous collapse.

Dear November, 2009: fuck you.

The end.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Something other than death, for a change

We finished thank you notes earlier than expected -- 9:30 last night. We said goodbye to Anna and Emma, who left this morning for NYC and college. Gradually, we've been winding down all of the essentials. Checking activities off of the list. Viewing. Funeral. Thank you notes. Moving back into everyday life.

I considered going back to Mom and Dad's. Truthfully, I wanted to. I wanted sweats and a movie.

But I was feeling a little freed. Like maybe it was time to start looking forward.

And I wanted to have some fun.

I'd been invited to Bridezilla's husband's birthday party. I told Bridezilla that it wasn't likely that I would make it out. But I did.

There wasn't anything overly unusual about the night. There was drinking and laughing. Birthday shots. A girlie drink or two for the birthday boy. Just for fun.

The Groomsman sat across from me.

I knew he'd be there.

It felt like I kept catching his eye. Like I would turn my head and catch him looking at me. I didn't put much thought into it. My nerves are a little fried, from these last two weeks, and I didn't have it in me to get hopeful.

Paying the bill - as always is the case in a group - was a mess. Bills flying everywhere. People attempting fourth grade math. At some point, my credit card was handed back to me.

I knew - sort of - that nothing had been charged to my card. The Groomsman paid my part of the bill. I opened my mouth to protest. But I just took my card back. I didn't have it in me to debate.

The birthday boy ended up puking in the street outside of the bar. It was quite the event, with one of his friends getting snippy with Bridezilla and her showing off her psycho and the birthday boy dumping his partially digested dinner onto his shoes.

I stood off to the side with The Groomsman, surveying the damage. We laughed a little. He admitted that seeing the vomit nearly caused him to do the same. I rolled my eyes at Bridezilla's epic freak out. He put his hand on my arm. Stood so close that our shoulders brushed.

When we left - I sent him a text. I'd seen a few college kids admiring the birthday boy's mess on the street and thought it was funny enough to share. I believe I called it "the gift that keeps on giving."

We sent a few texts about how psychotic Bridezilla was acting. And then there was nothing, for a while. As we both drove home.

"It was good to see you again," he texted me.

"You too!" I replied. "How was it that I let you cover my part of the bill? I'm an ass."

I continued. "I definitely owe you dinner or drinks or a cake in the shape of your favorite zoo creature. Or a haiku. Let me know."

He texted me back. "I'll take the cake in the shape of a zoo animal. But since I haven't decided which animal yet, lets grab dinner this week."

My response: "Deal."

But now what? Wait to hear from him? Initiate something myself?

I don't know what to do. Per usual. But I also don't have the energy to analyze it.

The timing isn't great. I'm sad. Disconnected.

But not stupid enough to let this opportunity pass.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Talking and writing and other yucky things

I feel like I have so much to write about – Aunt Marie’s viewing and funeral and Thanksgiving and lots of cousin time and Pie Night – and no gas in the tank.

I don’t normally get like this. Not returning phone calls. Without the words to blog. This isn’t who I am. I dissect things. I talk about them. I blog about them. I suspect that I’m a little more bummed, more sad, more upset than I’m allowing myself to realize.

Nothing sounds good. Recapping a week’s worth of funeral activities to Ashley or Lucy? No thanks. Writing about how bloody awful it was to see my Aunt Marie in a casket? I’d rather not.

I just want to be. I want to sit at my Mom and Dad’s house, watch the dogs act like wild beasts, wear sweatpants, not shower, eating brownies and spending time with Anna and Emma. I don’t want to go to a movie. I don’t want to socialize. I want the couch and a blanket and good company.

And I want everything to go back to how they were on November 15.

This isn’t fun.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

11/15/09 - II

We talked nonsense in the car. And we ate trail mix. (Aunt Marie drank her Diet Pepsi, too.)

At some point, her girls came up. We laughed when remembering that people thought Anna was my mom's child, not Meg. "I think Emma looks more like me," she said. "Anna is more of a mix. Sometimes I look at her and only see her dad."

And we discussed her surprise 50th birthday party. "I was so shocked," she said. Mom teased her about her reaction within the room. She had frozen. Eyes wide. "It was so surprising to me," she said, "all of the important people in my life. All of these little groups of people, all together. For me."

Anna told me, yesterday, that there were more than 600 thank you cards to be written in the wake of Aunt Marie's unexpected death.

Over 600.

All of the people in her life. All together. For her.

Monday, November 23, 2009

11/15/09

8 days.

It has been eight days and I'm afraid that my memory is already a little fuzzy.

I want to remember it all. I want to remember it clearly.

I had been skating -- like I always do on Sunday mornings. "Aunt Marie is coming over," my mom told me when I got to her house. "I think she's bored."

According to Mom, Aunt Marie called the house. "Hugh is lonely," she told my mom. "He needs some cousin time." Translation: I'm lonely. Let's play.

My uncle was in the northern part of the state, deer hunting.

Aunt Marie came over with the dog. She sat at the bar in the kitchen, like she always did. I made her a coffee.

We talked. About nothing. We all stood around the kitchen counter and talked about nothing. It was what we did.

Aunt Marie made a remark about how well she had been feeling. "I've had so much more energy," she said. "I raked the entire front lawn this week," she said. "It took me two days, but still..."

It was exciting to hear.

She told us a hilarious story about an estate sale adventure she'd gone on with her neighbor.

She bitched about the rather unfortunate incident she had with a Burger King hamburger the night before: getting ketchup on her hands, the steering wheel, her jeans (her favorite pair, the only pair that really fit, which was why she was wearing black sweats that day). "The Jetta smells like ketchup," she bitched. Funny bitching. Not really angry. It was what she did.

She mentioned needing glucose tablets. "The girls want to go shopping," Mom said. "We'll get them when we're out."

We all piled into my car. Aunt Marie sat up front with me. She called my car fancy. (It isn't.)

We just went to Marshall's. Because we like looking for a deal. Aunt Marie, though disabled, was hard to stop when she was on the hunt. At one point, my mom called Meg and I (we were in a different part of the store). "I lost her," she laughed. "Do you see a one-legged woman?"

She resurfaced, of course.

Meg and I tried on jackets. She decided that she would buy them for us for Christmas. She bought a pair of socks for Emma's stocking. A pair of tights for Anna's. She tried on a cardigan in the middle of an aisle. "Oh, you know how I love cardigans," she said. When it fit, she did a little dance.

She might have bought more. I cannot recall. Like I said: it has been eight days and already my memory is fuzzy.

I picked Mom, Meg and Aunt Marie up at the front of the store. We drove to Walgreen's, where I dropped them off again. I caught back up just as my mom was lecturing Aunt Marie on how she should go back to physical therapy while Aunt Marie rolled her eyes at her. Typical younger sister.

What should have been a five minute trip turned into a 20 minute trip.

I followed Aunt Marie to the back of the store. She looked at the glucose tablets. Knew that she wouldn't like raspberry. Settled on orange. She hovered around the pharmacy for a while, clearly hoping that the pharmacy technician would finish up with the customer he was with so that he could find an alternate flavor. Eventually, she gave up.

She got a Diet Pepsi as we walked back to the front of the store. She complained about the refrigerators. I dug to the back to get her the coldest bottle.

She bought Christmas ribbon. And hooks for ornaments. And talked about wanting to find something little for Anna to decorate her apartment with.

She liked to shop. Even at Walgreen's.

"$175 later... That sure was expensive glucose," she exclaimed when we returned home.

We all laughed.

When we were around Aunt Marie, we laughed a lot.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Wordless

I have spent the last 45 minutes attempting to find the beginning of this story.

I have spend the last 45 minutes trying to find where to start.

This weekend -- one of the worst in my 27 years -- will take more than 45 minutes of deliberation.

I will write about this weekend. But I am uncertain that words, simple language, can tell the story of this weekend.

There are snapshots that I will always remember. That will always haunt me. There are places that will never feel the same. And my family will never again be the family that it was a week ago.

When I imagined myself getting married, I imagined Aunt Marie writing the calligraphy on the invitations.

It is going to take a long time for me to let that thought go.

It is going to take me a long time to let her go.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A decision I don't want to make

I spoke at my grandma’s funeral.

I spoke on behalf of her grandchildren. I spoke about her life, not her death. I made people smile. It is one moment – couldn’t have lasted even five minutes – in my life that I’m truly proud of. I am not a public speaker. I wasn’t scared. I spoke at my grandma’s funeral because I felt that I needed to.

I want to speak at Aunt Marie’s funeral.

I haven’t offered.

I’m struggling with whether I want to (because it would be nice to do) or am compelled to (because I have something real and meaningful and appropriate to say).

I don’t think that I should do it – if I’m doing it because I want to. I don’t want to stand up there and make a meaningless gesture. I want it to be real. I want it to be genuine. I want it to be a fitting tribute to Aunt Marie.

I need to feel compelled.

I don’t know that I am compelled. I don’t know if I have that preverbal fire in my belly. I want to. But I’m afraid of forcing it.

I don’t know if I have anything to say.

That’s not true. I have things to say. I just don’t know if they’re the right things. I don’t know if I can put them together coherently.

I have ideas. I have pieces. I doubt my ability to quilt the pieces together. I want to write something beautiful. Something worthy of my Aunt Marie. I want something sweet, simple, short. Something perfectly her.

What I wrote for my grandma’s funeral I wrote late, late at night the day before her funeral. I had already offered.

Do I offer? Offer and take the chance that I won’t find the right words?

Do I not? Trust my doubt? Chance feeling guilty for not stepping up?

I can’t decide. I don’t know. The funeral won’t be like my grandma’s. It will be more religious – held at her church. Maybe it isn’t appropriate. Maybe I’ll be stepping on Anna and Emma’s toes.

This decision shouldn’t be so hard.

And I shouldn’t be making it. Because my aunt shouldn’t be dead.

She shouldn’t be dead.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Unprepared

I should be sleeping.

I'm at Mom and Dad's. I could have gone back to my apartment last night. But I'm pretty sure that it is better for Mom to have Meg and me here at the house.

My head is pounding.

My stomach is knotted.

And it is raining outside. Which seems appropriate.

Everything about last night was so surreal. When Meg called me, I could barely comprehend what she was telling me. I stood in my apartment. I just stood there. I couldn't figure out what I was supposed to do or where I was supposed to go. I blogged. I paced. I called Lucy and Ashley and my cousin, Liz, because I didn't know what the hell else to do.

I made it back to Mom and Dad's. Collected Meg. Hugged the puppies. Drove to my aunt and uncle's house.

Mom met us outside of the house. I stood there, with my arms wrapped around my mom and my sister, listening to the sound of my tears mix with the sound of Meg's tears mix with the sound of Mom's tears. And that is when it started to feel real.

Except that it doesn't.

I saw her on Sunday. I. Saw. Her. On. Sunday. We ate cherry cobbler. I picked out my Christmas present. That book on her kitchen counter? I gave it to her to read. Not to leave behind when she died.

Emma is home from college. My uncle is home from hunting. Anna flies in from NYC tomorrow. My grandma seems so tiny. My grandpa seems broken. My dad is so tenderly sad. "I hate that she's alone tonight," he said, speaking of Aunt Marie's body.

My mom never tried to hide the reality. It was incredibly unlikely, with her diabetes, that Aunt Marie would live to an average old age. She told me that. More than once.

You may know. But you're never prepared. Never ready for the phone call telling you that your baby sister is dead.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Awful

Oh my God.

My Aunt Marie died today.

Oh my God.

I just saw her on Sunday. She said she was feeling better than she had. We went shopping. She was silly. Teasing my Grandma.

My uncle was out of town. Hunting.

My grandma tried to call. When Aunt Marie didn't answer, she drove over there. And she found her youngest child dead.

Fuck. This fucking sucks.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Setting myself up

I'm going to see The Groomsman later this month.

There will be alcohol and dim lights. I have high hopes.

Like -- maybe there was a reason it didn't work out last time. Maybe I needed the summer to see how worthless pining over The Athlete is. And time to get a job. A grow up a little bit. And maybe The Groomsman needed time to stew in my aura of awesomeness. To kick himself for not making a move at the wedding.

I'm probably setting myself up for disappointment.

I saw him. A few weeks ago. It was so uneventful that I didn't even blog about it.

Here's what you should know about that night: Michigan football lost (this, unfortunately, should not shock you) and I looked darling.

And so, so little happened that I -- with my advanced degree in Analyzing Insignificant Details -- couldn't even muster up part of that evening to write about.

Still, I maintain high hopes.

This time I'll let myself out of my shell. This time I'll do everything right. This time it will work out how it was supposed to. This time we'll have a chance.

Chance.

A game of luck.

I'm putting all of this anticipation and preparation on probability.

And I'm buying myself a new outfit.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Five

For my birthday, Mom bought me the newest Post Secret book: Confessions on Life, Death, and God.

I devoured it.

In Confessions on Life, Death, and God, Frank Warren, the creator of the Post Secret project, wrote an essay recounting a conversation with a stranger.

The stranger told Frank of a seminar he attended. The seminar leader picked this stranger out of the crowd. He pulled him on stage, in front of the hundreds in attendance, and asked him to tell the group one thing about himself that nobody else in the room had in common with him.

He gave the room his birth date. Hands shot up. He was not the only person in the room born on July 3.

He gave the room other facts -- he takes tae kwon do, is writing a novel, the street he lives on -- for everything he revealed, there was someone else in the room who shared the trait.

He admitted that he was essentially homeless, living with his sister. A hand shot up in the room. "I'm living with my brother."

It became clear, standing on the stage, that there are no strangers.

That is what the Post Secret project feels like to Frank Warren.

That is what blogging feels like to me. Like a hundred hands in the air. Understanding for every joy and pain, triumph, humiliation and overreaction. Like I am never, ever alone.

Today marks my fifth year of blogging. I can honestly say that I don't know what I would do or who I would be without this blog.

And I can honestly say that, without readers, I never would have kept it up. Without readers, this blog never would have had a chance to make it five years.

Thanks, everyone. Thanks for reading once. Or every day. Thanks for commenting. Or not. Thanks for reading - even if it was only a sentence.

You've changed my life.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Overheard

My parents, talking about buying/replacing furniture. I was in the next room.

Dad: "...you want to keep it so your little grandchildren can sleep on it in the future."

Mom: "...at this rate..."

Maybe I'm being a little sensitive, parents, but I feel as though conversations that revolve around my barren uterus should be whispered. For my sake. And for the sake of my rotting eggs.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I can't be happy for five minutes

The more and more I get settled in my ‘brary job, the more and more restless I’m getting in my other job.

I’m sure that part of the reason that the ‘brary job feels so much more fulfilling is because it is shiny, fresh, new. I’m not dealing with the same office politics or the same unmotivated people that I've been putting up with for four years.

Mentally, I'm more challenged. And less bored.

And it's what I went to school for.

Now that I'm in -- now that I'm a working librarian -- I want more. 15 hours a week isn't enough. I want 40. Even if it is a 25/15 split between two part time jobs.

I'm burnt out. I'm bored. I'm over being my boss's bitch.

Unless his crap involves the Dewey Decimal System, I'm not interested.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Awkward

How weird would it be to coach your mom's hockey team?

That's the setup we have on my squad: the kid of one of my teammates is our coach.

He's a nice kid. Straight out of college. Really knows his stuff. We just need someone to run our practices. (Otherwise we just end up putting on our equipment, standing on the ice and gossiping for an hour.) And tell us, nicely, what we're doing wrong in games. Both of which he's very good at. I wish he didn't have a girlfriend. I'd be all about setting him up with Meg.

We had practice tonight.

I was lugging all of my damn equipment into the rink. I hate carrying in my bag. It is big and bulky and I get stuck in doors.

I get to the hallway where the locker rooms are and I kick open the door. Right on the other side, thisclose to getting hit with the door? Coach/Child of Teammate.

"Woah!" He says.

"I'm sorry," I say. "I nearly hit you in the junk!"

That's what I said.

I'm sorry. I almost hit you in the junk.

Seriously.

I know that I'm closer in age to him than I am to his mom and whatever. But really.

Needed: censor and/or ability to think prior to speaking.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Meg has a broken heart

I was home with Meg the first -- the only -- time she was ever cut from a soccer team.

It was summer break. I was home from school. Meg was going through the tryout process. Just like every year. At the end of her season, her coach sat each of the girls down for a chat. "I want you to come back next season," he told Meg.

I had a bad feeling about it. I remember telling Meg to try out for other teams. "He told me I had a spot," she snipped at me. I let it go.

I was the only one home with her when her coach -- the same one who asked her to come back -- called to tell her that she no longer had a place on her team.

She sobbed.

And I called my dad. Crying. Because Meg was hurt and that hurt me. I had no idea what to do.

Meg got dumped by her boyfriend this weekend. She is a mess. Pale and gloomy. Crying all the time, according to my mom.

I never liked the guy.

I also never met him. But, from what I heard, I didn't like him.

If he was a tryout, I would've encouraged Meg to go to another.

But he wasn't a tryout. And, unlike soccer tryouts -- where I had attended dozens of my own -- I'm not exactly the foremost authority on relationships.

So I kept my mouth shut. Left the gut instinct in the pit of my stomach.

She wouldn't have listened to me anyway.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Addressing and assessing

A comment on my last post has me ALL fired up. (Which, on a Friday morning with just one small cup of coffee in me, is rather difficult to do. Kudos!)

"No wonder there is such stigma about mental illness when people with mental issues are labelled crazy!

Is there some positive message that you can get for all this? You should appreciate your healthy and be lucky that you are not affected by alocoholism or 'craziness'.

i'm sure neither your uncle or your cousins would have chosen the demons that infest their lives.

This may seem harsh but you've written your opinion and I hope that i'm entitled to let you know mine."


Let me start out with this: I harbor absolutely no ill will towards the person who wrote the comment.

That’s what the comment field is for. Comments. Even ones that sting a little bit. I put my thoughts – insensitive, narcissistic, educated, unreasonable, silly, selfish, biased, poorly written, whatever – out there. I expect a few in return.

But this is a personal blog. Thus, I think it is foolish for me to pretend as though I am made of Teflon and move on without addressing this. I am not an expert. I don’t pretend to be an expert. I’m a girl with a laptop, a big, imperfect family, a lot of my own baggage, the ability to form independent thoughts and a desire to write.

The logical, reasonable side of me recognizes that yes, absolutely: what I wrote yesterday – especially if read independently from the five years of blog posts that preceded it – can be perceived in many ways.

I realize that are people in this world (a good many, I suspect) who would read what I wrote yesterday and come to the conclusion that I am a jackass. An ignorant jackass, even.

Just like there are people in the world who would find every word I wrote in August, 2006 foolish. Or that what I wrote on February 6, 2005 was immature. As long as there are readers, there are critics. I get that.

I get that and, still, the emotional side of me is a little fired up. Pissed that my sensitivity was questioned. Because, so often, it seems that I feel too much. Now I care too little? Really?

It is impossible for me to reflect, in every blog post, the empathy I feel for my suffering family members. It is impossible for me to express, in every blog post, how fucking fortunate I consider myself to be.

I might be insensitive. I might be misinformed. I’m certainly not always politically correct. But I’m also a lot more than 680 words written on a random Thursday afternoon.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Always something

I don’t know how I got this family.

If anyone asked, I would say that I’m from a good family. A close family. I would say that I’m lucky.

But I wonder if I’m just blinded by the love that I have for this ragtag group that I call my relatives.

I just don’t know if lucky is what I am. Naïve, perhaps.

Mom’s side:
Emma is crazy.
Uncle Alan is an asshole.
Aunt Louise and Uncle Ed like to show their evil side.

Dad’s side:
Danielle is crazy.
And Uncle Paul? Uncle Paul is a drunk.

I don’t know if I’ve ever written about my Uncle Paul. He’s married to Aunt Lynn – my dad’s sister.

He’s been a drunk forever. A true, legitimate alcoholic. He has a disease. I recognize that.

He’s done the Alcoholics Anonymous thing over and over again. He’s good for a while – six months or a year or three months or whatever – and then we’re at a family party and he has a beer in his hand.

My aunt dismisses it. “It’s just one drink,” she chirps.

Before we know it, he’s drunk at Christmas. And the cycle begins again.

Each time, it is something a little worse. Last time, he got in a car accident – driving drunk. He told my aunt that he hit the guardrail. And if “guardrail” is a synonym for “another car,” then he was telling her the truth.

(Did I mention that this was on his way home from a strip club? Because he really is very classy.)

He went to trial. He got a suspended license and community service. He should’ve gone to jail. It wasn’t his first drunk driving conviction.

After that scare, he got sober. Went to AA. Did it all again. Aunt Lynn went with him. It seemed to be working. It always seems to work.

Until the wheels fall off of the wagon.

It started in the springtime, when he booked a trip with some of his buddies to California. All of the buddies were bringing their wives. Aunt Lynn? Not invited.

She assumed that he was on a binge. So did the rest of us.

Something happened with him and Aunt Lynn recently. I can’t recall what it was. It is hard to keep track of this train wreck. But she wasn’t talking to him for a long time. And they just got to the point where they were being cordial but cool.

One day, Uncle Paul asks Aunt Lynn if she’d like to go to Vegas with him. She says yes.

And the next day, he books a flight. For himself.

She assumes, again, that he’s going to go on a bender.

He left on Monday morning.

And she says – although I’m not sure if she was planning on doing it – that she is going to move out of the house before he gets home on Saturday.

He goes to Vegas with a group of guys on Monday.

Late last night, they went to the police and filed a missing person report. Because they hadn’t seen him since Tuesday.

My aunt finds out at midnight. Spends the entire night pacing. My cousin, who lives at home, is sick with worry. Aunt Lynn is calling his room, his cell phone, the people with him in Vegas.

Finally, she calls hotel security. And begs and begs and begs them to check his room.

They do.

He’s in there.

Alive.

And drunk.

My mom went over there this morning. My aunt hadn’t slept all night. My mom dispensed from her Xanax prescription. Trying to understand why my aunt is more worried than angry.

“Should I tell him to come home today?” she asked my mom.

“I would’ve told him to stay there. Forever,” my mom admitted to me. I’m not sure what she told Aunt Lynn, but I’m sure that she worded it more carefully. The crux of it is this: he needs to be gone. Out of their lives. He’s done enough damage.

And so another layer is added to the Family Cake of Dysfunction.

Wide-Ass Wednesdays: Weeks 3-5

This isn’t going very well, you guys. I’m afraid that I have, once again, ideas that are somewhat too large for reality.

Not that I’ve taken a huge nosedive and gained 20 pounds and haven’t seen the inside of the gym for weeks. It isn’t that bad. I’m just battling time. And desire. And my insatiable appetite.

I’m running. Just not as much as I’d like to.
I’m eating. Frequently. Everything that I want to.

Preparing myself for the Thanksgiving Day 10k is proving challenging. I have hockey two to three times a week – I can’t really run on those days, because I need to have a little power left in my legs to get me through our game or practice. Thursdays are out: I work until 9:00 pm. Teaching skating on Fridays until 8:00 pm has basically killed that day. And I haven’t gotten myself to the gym after work on a Saturday, either. Seems like there is always something I’m rushing to after I leave the library (this week it is a wedding shower).

I’m on the 1-2 day plan. And that isn’t okay.

After this week – when the curtain closes on my repeat performance as a skating coach –
I’ll have to throw in Fridays. Even though I’d rather spend my Friday evenings eating dinner with my ‘rents or visiting with Lucy and Chet or watching reality TV while wearing a pair of obscenely old sweatpants and a pair of socks with kittens and/or snowflakes on them.

I just want some more time in the damn week.

Honestly, though? Who am I kidding? If I had another – oh, 10 hours in the week – I’d so be signing up for a class or a team or a volunteer commitment.

This girl does not know when enough is enough.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Nude is not business casual

I need your help, kids.

My dissatisfaction with my work wardrobe has hit an all-time high. I cannot go another week without something different. I am a broken record. My coworkers likely have some sort of an office pool going where they bet on when I'll wear some tired skirt-blouse combo that they've all seen me wear 216 times.

I'm shopping -- trying to shop, actually -- online. Because after three weeks of promising myself that I'll got to the mall tonight (and never going), I am just going to have to get over my fear that I'll buy the wrong size (dear self, exchanges and returns are viable options) and just shop.

So help a girl out here. Where do you buy your independent, pretty, smart, sophisticated, classy work clothes from?

It may be due to my endless ride on the Exaust-O-Coaster, but I'm not finding anything that I like.

That isn't entirely true. I find things that I like. That are inevitably sleeveless. Which is not awesome because:
a. my office is an arctic tundra
b. I can't find any cardigans that I like, either.

My life would be so much easier if I could just wear yoga pants to work.

Monday, November 02, 2009

On thin ice

Next Friday is the sixth week - the last class - of skating classes.

It is my first session back in four years. I missed it.

I thought I missed it.

The program changed directors in my absence. The former assistant director took the reigns when the director I worked for flaked out and skipped town (seriously). Her promotion was due to necessity. The former director just didn't show up one day.

And so there was a new director.

Who really sucks.

I remember her being a bitch when I worked there before. And Meg, who taught hockey skating in the program, assured me that she was only more of a bitch now that she was in charge. It was an accurate assessment.

I'm really not okay with an employer treating his or her employees poorly. But I think that you can get away with it if he or she is really good at their job.

Which she is not.

I am amazed, and saddened, at how much the program has regressed in the last four years. It used to be one of the top 10 programs in the country. It used to have energy. They used to hire young, enthusiastic, skilled instructors. Classes used to be filled. Customers were loyal.

It isn't like that anymore. It is a shame.

I imagine that the skating director's boss (the rink manager) is blaming it on the economy.

I'm tempted to tell him what see. What was and what is. Why, after this session, I won't teach anymore.

I don't want to stop coaching skating. And if I could work Saturday classes instead of Friday, I probably wouldn't. And if they hadn't dropped me to the bottom of the pay scale instead of reinstating me at my original rate, I probably wouldn't.

But it isn't worth it.

I'm happy that I realize that. And sad that it has come to this.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Role model

The husband of one of my hockey teammates nearly made me cry today.

It was during the game. For whatever reason, he caught my eye just as my team was (warning: hockey term ahead) breaking the puck out of our defensive zone.

His wife, a defenseman, had the puck. And she was flying up the ice. Making it look easy.

Watching her progress towards the other team's goal, I could see him. And his goofy, proud grin. That grew and grew. By the time she got to their end of the ice, he was nearly jumping up and down.

His smile was huge.

It was adorable.

That's what I want.

I want someone who will light up with pride when I do a good job. Who can be proud of an accomplishment, even if it is a small one.

And I want someone who I can be proud of in return.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Conscious of my subconscious

The Athlete was never mine to begin with, so I think that minimizing the bummed out factor from yesterday’s news would be wise.

I should have known better.

He proved to me, more than a year ago, that he was just like every other professional athlete – collecting girls like trading cards. When he came home this summer, I chose to ignore it. Pretended that I didn’t know that he had drunk dialed me despite having a girlfriend elsewhere.

The attention was nice.
And he is adorable.
And the idea of him – living his lifelong dream, getting paid to do what he loved, living in Europe, great with kids, close with his family – was enough to obscure my better judgment.

But when it came to that bar crawl, I couldn’t do it. Couldn’t let down my guard enough to throw myself at him.

I thought, at the time, that it was because I was scared. Or too shy. Or too awkward.

But maybe I knew better. Despite not knowing that I knew better.

“You sort of subconsciously protect yourself,” Accidentally Me, one of my favorite bloggers, said to yesterday.

She might be right.

I want them although I shouldn’t. I pursue them despite their flaws. And it falls short. Is finished before it begins.

Due to, perhaps, a little more of my influence than I allow myself to see.

I wanted Colin. But I never let him in. Because I knew that he was selfish and immature and emotionally broken. I told myself otherwise. I fell for my own trickery. But my subconscious never believed it.

I wanted The Athlete. But I didn’t push it. I couldn’t make the move. And I thought it was because I am a coward. Not because my subconscious knew that I would never be nothing more than another conquest. A name on a lengthy list. While I was busy tallying everything adorable about him, my subconscious was broadcasting the truth. Manwhore. Manwhore. Manwhore.

And so I don’t allow things to happen. Even though I want them to. Or, to be more precise, think that I want to happen.

And so these things don’t work out.

Which I’m used to. I am used to these things not working out.

What I’m not used to, however, is the suggestion that the failures aren’t because of me. It isn’t how I look or what I wear or my personality.

It is because I’m picking the wrong guys.

And because my subconscious is unpicking them.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ignorance is so blissful

I like Facebook. A lot.

But I do not like Facebook when it tells me things that I would rather not know.

Weddings and babies are fabulous. Honestly.

The girl flying from here to Europe to see The Athlete for a week? Not fabulous. That girl was not his girlfriend during the infamous bar crawl. And he left, like, four days after that. But she’s “in a relationship” and she’s making the transatlantic booty call.

Fuck. Not fair.

(Note to self: stay off of Facebook until the end of time because that girl is going to post pictures of her trip and my head is going to explode.)

(Did I mention that this girl is an acquaintance of my sister? [Awkward.] Or that she also has curly hair? Or that she is younger than me, which feels weirdly weird mcweirderson?)

Seriously, though. This kid was NOT in a relationship – not one that wasn’t super secret (or one of convenience, anyway) – at the end of summer.

He’s kind of skeezy.

Oh, of course he is. He drunk dialed me for a booty call when he had a girlfriend in Europe last summer. He was skeezy then. He is still skeezy now.

Hate that I’m fully aware of that and have a thing for him anyway.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sleepy and Sad

I thought, on Friday and Saturday, that I might be getting over the hump in terms of getting used to my new (insane) schedule. Thursday morning was an epic battle to keep my eyes open; I was quite relieved when Friday and Saturday mornings met me with a little more energy and much less of a struggle.

But, judging by how hard it was to lift my head off of the pillow this morning, I’d say that my temporary boost of energy was more due to adrenaline – worrying about my cousin Danielle – than anything.

Update on Danielle: my aunt bailed her out of jail, despite my mom strongly believing that their best bet was to leave her there, safe and uncomfortable, until they got to California. Somewhat surprisingly, they were able to find Danielle when they got into town. My mom says that she’s completely different. Very angry. She goes to court this morning. My mom, aunt and uncle will fly home tomorrow. Without Danielle. And, basically, without accomplishing anything. She doesn’t want help. She isn’t ready for help.

It is a shitty situation.

The worst part about it, for me, is the realization that it is very unlikely that Danielle will ever again be the Danielle I knew before her mental illness. The cousin who I didn’t see often but loved to death. Every second I spent with Danielle was fun. Every time she came home it was a treat.

It is almost as though a member of my family has died.

It feels awful.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mental illness

Oh, Danielle.

I'm really scared for you.

You've been on this downward slope for a while. From across the country, we've seen it. We. Your family.

I'm scared -- we're all scared. Because you can't see your behavior. You don't know. You don't know that you're irrational and impulsive and oh so very mean. You aren't aware of how dangerous your behavior is.

You're falling fast and you don't realize that you even stepped over the edge. We're below. Racing. With pillows and parachutes to catch you with. Furiously calling the fire department.

You don't even know you're falling.

I hope that last night is enough.

Can you try? Can you try to see that you're not okay? That knocking on someone's door for hours isn't okay? That spitting on a police officer and landing yourself in jail is not okay?

People that you love -- my mom and your mom and your dad -- are ready to fly across the country for you.

But they can't help you unless you want to be helped.

Please, please accept the help. Allow yourself to get the help you need to get better. We miss you.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

April showers

I’ve known that Lucy occasionally hangs out with ex-friend April.

April, who was in Lucy’s wedding. April, with the toxic, engaged (to someone else) boyfriend. April, whose friendship with our group of girls went down with a dramatic temper tantrum at a bar. April, who crawled back to Lucy for counseling after the toxic, engaged (to someone else) boyfriend abruptly broke up with her...because he was getting married. Within days.

When April called Lucy for – I guess I don’t know what it was for. Support? – when she was dumped, Lucy told me about it. It was a sad story, honestly, but it was a story that we were all expecting. He wasn’t dumping the girlfriend for April. And, despite what he said, he never planned to.

April was devastated. She called Lucy for help. And, of course, Lucy obliged.

“Don’t you feel used?” I asked her. It was well over a year since she and Lucy decided (in the parking lot of the bar on the night of the infamous temper tantrum) that they couldn’t be friends any longer. April hadn’t made any attempt to rekindle their friendship. But she was happy to use Lucy’s shoulder to cry on when she was at her lowest.

Lucy admitted that, yes, she felt a little used. But that is the kind of person Lucy is. She’ll drop anything for a person she cares about. Even if they don’t deserve it.

April’s breakdown didn’t rekindle their friendship. She got her free counseling and disappeared again. Calling or stopping by occasionally, Lucy has mentioned. I don’t think – but maybe I’m just not told – that they see each other regularly.

When I saw that April had written on Lucy’s Facebook page about them getting together? It made me a little sick.

I’m not going to say anything to her. I don’t think it is my place. There’s a reason she doesn’t mention April in conversations.

But it just bugs me.

April is the kind of person who regularly – again and again (I could recite 5 or 6 examples of this) – “broken up” with friends. She clicks with a group of friends. Hangs out with them exclusively for a year or two. Gets in a huge fight. Cuts off all communication. Rinse. Repeat.

She can’t keep friends.

Personally, I feel like there is a reason for that.

So it bugs me to think that she may be pulling Lucy back in. Not because I don’t want to share Lucy. But because I feel like April can’t be a real friend. And Lucy is as real as friends get.

I just hate to think that she’s being used.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

This morning can go to hell

I knew it was a bad sign when I dropped half of my bagel in the parking lot.

Yesterday, the office manager had locksmiths at our building. Updating keys and locks and whatnot - so those who needed to get into certain areas can, and so that those who don't need to get into those areas can't. Typical.

And, on a morning where I dropped half of my breakfast into the parking lot with a glorified splat (whipped cream cheese + cement = disaster), OF COURSE no one else is at the office yet. And OF COURSE the locksmiths screwed something up so that my key can no longer open the building.

I am so bitter.

The end.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Monster in my closet

Among the worst feelings in the world: opening my closet on weekday mornings.

Generally, by the time I’m standing before my wardrobe, I should already be dressed and packing my lunch. But I get drawn into some story on GMA and I made the mistake of checking my email and then I’m running five minutes late. Or ten minutes late. Or twelve.

(I still get to work on time.)

But I hate that part of the morning, where I open up my closet and I have to find something to wear.

Something that is clean
matches
hides my self-conscious-zone-o’-the-week
fits dress code
doesn’t make me look like a 16-year-old
or a 50-year-old
is not a damn suit
preferably requires little to no ironing

And – most challenging – doesn’t bore me.

My work clothes all bore me.

Those pants? OMGhowmanytimeshavetheybeenworninthelast6months?
That skirt? I wore it to my high school graduation.
And I wore that blouse last Thursday. It is only Monday and I am absolutely certain that my coworkers intently scrutinize my wardrobe and will harshly judge me for not waiting at least a week between each wearing.

The moral of today’s story is that it is time to find a bit of motivation and do a bit of shopping.

Or maybe have my mom do it for me.

I’m busy.

(Lame excuse, no? What kind of woman is too busy to find time to go shopping?)

Truth: I would be happy to go shopping for clothes to wear to work if it were half as fun as, say, shopping for cocktail dresses. Or handbags.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Spinster

While I was getting into bed last night (at 9:45 pm. Wearing a bulky hoodie and an enormous pair of matching sweats. And pink socks with figure skates on them.) I stopped for just a second, glancing over at the few pairs of pants I'd left on the other side of the bed.

"It's a good thing that I'm single," I thought to myself. "Otherwise I'd have to move those pants."

And with that, I took one step closer to becoming a crazy old cat lady.

"It's a good thing that I'm single," I'll mutter to myself. "Otherwise I'd have to clean those litter boxes for fear of scaring my man away."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My list is always growing

I wonder if there is a clinical diagnosis for this.

Around noon today, I was driving home from skating.
Well, I wasn't driving home. I was driving to work. My boss needed me to do something.
And, from there, I was going to Mom and Dad's.
And from there I was going to my hockey game.
And then to the grocery store to pick up supplies to bake a coworker a birthday cake.
And, when I got home, I was going to make a pot of soup.
And take a shower. And dry my hair. And go to bed as early as possible.

I'm in my car. Crazy driving from one commitment to the next. Weekend. Weekday. Doesn't make a difference. So typical.

And I'm thinking to myself about how I really should look into joining a knitting group that donates its projects to charities.

Because that is what I need. Another project. Another obligation.

(It is insane. But I think I'm going to do it. If I'm going to knit -- why not do it for something/someone that matters?)
 
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