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.
 
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