Thursday, April 29, 2010
I painted my nails.
I wore my hair this way on purpose. Because I knew I could easily morph it into something bar-friendly. And I did. My hair was cute.
I rushed through baking a cake.
And, when I could've watched the hockey game with my dad, I went to my apartment instead.
I got ready while watching Grey's Anatomy. Even though I usually watch Grey's without movement. Even during commercials (on the rare day that I watch it live, anyway). Because everyone needs one hour per week to be still.
I left at 10:05. I went to the ATM. I drove to the city that the bar is in. I texted The Athlete. To make sure that they hadn't left.
I didn't hear back from him. (It is safe to assume that he is drunk and without his phone.)
The line outside of the bar was long.
Stupid bar. Stupid trendy, snobby bar. I am not for bars like that: the bar of the moment. Where everyone goes to be seen. I am not that girl. I am not that beautiful. I am not that bubbly. I am not that trendy.
I circled the block. I checked my phone.
Nothing from The Athlete.
And the line was so long. And the location made me feel so inadequate.
I drove home.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I know that this might shock you, since I'm guessing you have some idea of the powers that you hold over me, but I'm reconsidering skipping tomorrow's little bar night with your EuroTeammates. I don't have a good wingman lined up. It's a Thursday night. I haven't talked to you in over a week. It will be awkward. Etc., etc., etc.
To say it in language that you'll understand: it'll be a game-time decision.
Dear High School Classmate Who Just Posted Pictures of Her Gorgeous Baby and Enormous New House All Over Facebook,
Congratulations! I want to poke you in the eye as an expression of my excessive jealousy, but congratulations nonetheless!
Dear Fellow Bibliophiles,
Since Finishing The Road, I've knocked out Elizabeth Berg's Home Safe and started on The Help by Katheryn Stockett. Home Safe is, well, it is like all of the other books by Berg: quick and painless and entertaining and probably nothing you'll remember all that terribly well in a year. The Help is shaping up to be an interesting read.
Dear Anna and Emma,
Mother's Day is coming up and all I can think about was the last few years, when we've collaborated on a huge Mother's Day dinner for our moms and Grandma. I'm so sad that Aunt Marie won't be with us this year and I'm so sorry that you cannot celebrate Mother's Day with your mom.
You're a saint. The patience you've shown with me is admirable. I'm sorry that I don't know what I'm doing and I apologize if I'm jerking you around as a result. If/when you decide this is too much, I'll understand.
Texting me that you, Mom and Meg are all at dinner when I'm working late? Not nice.
To The Mango Smoothie That I Make Every Morning For Breakfast,
We = Best Friends Forever. Seriously. Your frothy, creamy, sweet, protein powdered goodness? The reason I get out of bed.
I'm sorry about the whole shoulder surgery ordeal, but it has been awfully nice to see so much of you lately. Even if you can't DJ in the car as well as you normally do. Now, you do us all a favor and make sure that you're not a stubborn, lazy ass. You listen to your therapist and do your exercises because I'm not hauling around your luggage in South Africa.
Dear Twitter, the Gym, my DVR, the grocery store, the growing pile of laundry on my floor, the skates that I need to get sharpened,
I know, I know. I'm just so busy!
Endless thanks for your comments and your visits and your clicks and your friendships. I wouldn't blog if I didn't think that anyone - even if it is only a few - was reading. You keep the wind in my sails and I don't have the vocabulary to properly thank you for that.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
But I need to know if this is wrong. This hesitation. Still. Still the hesitation.
I think that I am broken.
Or perhaps there is something missing. A piece to this messy puzzle that my head cannot identify and my mouth cannot articulate, but my heart knows is missing.
Something is wrong. Something is askew. It is either me. Or it is him. Or it is me and him. The other factors - time, distance, fear, intensity - they're just factors. They are not the cause. It is me. It is him. Or it is me and him.
I don't know how else to explain it.
Something is missing. And it might be my sanity.
Monday, April 26, 2010
I’m busy and I’m reasonably satisfied and relatively happy and I’m missing my anchors.
Lucy and Colleen. They’re nowhere to be found and I feel as though I’ve lost my grip on reality. I feel lost, even though I’m not. I feel insecure, even though I have no reason. I feel alone, even though I rarely have a second to myself.
Lucy was busy, this past month, finishing up a busy semester of school. Her commencement was yesterday – she walked, even though she still has another semester of classes to finish. I told her congratulations. I insisted on a fun evening of celebrations. Via voicemail. Because she didn’t answer when I called.
It feels like more often than not, lately. That I communicate with her via voicemail. That we’re not connecting. That she’s getting close with her graduate school friends – who, like her, are married and have their shit together and don’t want to go to the bar – and I’m leaving her stupid voicemails.
It’s insecure, right?
And Colleen. I haven’t even heard from Colleen. Apparently she’s reconciled with her toxic frienemy who will (if history repeats itself) ditch Colleen once she’s found a new boyfriend. So I probably won’t hear much from her until that all blows up again. (Which it will.)
Ashley is in North Carolina. I talk to her and email with her all of the time, but it isn’t the same. She isn’t sleeping on my couch or sitting next to me at the bar, making fun of skeezy men and the rude bartender.
Everyone is just so busy or preoccupied or such a distance.
I miss how it used to be. When Lucy would go to the bar with Colleen. When Ashley would meet me for dinner. When my friends filled up my heart so full that I couldn’t even stand it.
When I wasn’t so damn insecure and could let my friends live their own lives without feeling like I was being left behind.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Roasted brussels sprouts
My recently cleaned car
Text messages from Ashley
Pink nail polish
Starting the day after 9 am
Thursday, April 22, 2010
(Maybe this is why you should start dating before the age of 25. So that you're not so used to things being the way that they are that making room for someone else in your life doesn't seem so damn difficult.)
Tomorrow Luke wants me to be his date to some event that involves cocktails and appetizers and wearing something other than sweatpants.
And, normally, I would go. If this week were last week, I would go.
But there's Meg. Two days out from surgery and, I'm guessing, excited to spend time with someone other than my mom. I sort of feel like I should be going home to sit in bed and watch movies and eat junk with her. Like, as her big sister, that's what I'm supposed to do.
But I also feel like I should be going out with Luke. It's Friday night. We're...umm...dating? Yeah. I guess that's how I would define it. We're dating and I'm pretty sure that's what you do with people you date: see them on Friday nights.
And I miss Lucy and Colleen. I feel like we haven't had a good, silly, gluttonous girls night in months. But when am I supposed to see them? I need to be with my sister. I need to see Luke. I need my best friends. I'm obligated to work 55 hours a week.
I need more hours in the day.
Or the ability to define my priorities.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Write a proposal? Sign me up! Between me (the writer/obsessive World Cup South Africa planner) and my mom (the professor who knows and lives the politics of a group of healthcare faculty), I knew we would be okay. Make a convincing argument, design a matching PowerPoint presentation, finish with a small fireworks display: Meg would have the okay to go to South Africa in no time.
It got easier.
Meg talked to the director of her program, who said that she didn’t have a problem with the arrangement Meg made with her professor. All she needs to do is throw together a little something about how she’s going to complete her required work and she’ll be set to go! Without having to do homework in our down time. Three big cheers for that, folks.
And, better yet, the class that she’ll be taking beforehand is pharmacology: a class that my mom teaches on a regular basis. Private tutor! Yay. I’m so glad that this is working out.
Although, I am cautiously optimistic. I’ll be slightly nervous that this is going to crumble up until the day that we get on that plane. So, kind folks who volunteered to escort me to South Africa, you’re on standby! Also – thanks. I seriously wouldn’t hesitate to take that trip with even one of you. For real!
In other Meg news: she is having shoulder surgery today and I’m worried about my little monkey. She’s going to be in a sling for six weeks. No soccer or hockey for a few months after that. And a lot of physical therapy.
I wish that I could trade places with her.
So, if you have a second today, cross your fingers and with my little Meggie a fast and uneventful surgery and recovery.
Do it for me.
She’s going to be crabby as hell if she’s in pain during our entire trip.
Monday, April 19, 2010
I don’t mind this girl. I don’t think that she’s doing anything wrong. I think that she’s living. Taking a little bit of risk. Having some fun. Wearing some really fucking cute shoes.
I am committed to no one. The Athlete is not a certainty. He is trouble and I know it. He is temporary and I know it. He is skeezy and I know it. I want to make out with him. I want to get him out of my system. He is fun. He is summertime. He is dirty and dangerous. He will rough up my heart.
Luke is not a certainty. He is sweet and I know it. He is enamored with me and I know it. He is a gentleman and I know it. He is kind and he is reliable and he isn’t in this for a booty call. He is awesome and upfront. He doesn’t play games. He kisses my forehead. He wants to see me every day.
I’m picking Luke up from the airport. He was in Florida for the latter part of the week and through the weekend. Two weeks ago, I would’ve freaked out about him asking me to pick him up. Too much, too soon, right? But it doesn’t have to be. If I want this to be fun and casual with a side of airport taxi? It can be. I don’t have to blindly follow along. I can apply the breaks as I see necessary. I can make out with random boys as necessary. I am not his girlfriend. I have a say in this, too.
The Athlete is stopping by my office today. He’ll give me my candy and I will hug him. And I’ll blush and ask him how his weekend was . And laugh. I always laugh around him. And pretend that my heart is not RACING.
They’re so different.
And this situation! This is so different. This funny game that I’ve never played before. This game of being a single girl with options. Who can make mistakes if she wants to make them. Who can
I don’t know what I am doing or why I am doing it. I don’t know if I’m making a huge mistake. I don’t know if this is going to end with me crying – over one or over both. Or if it will end with me realizing that I deserve the nice guy. Or with me running off to Europe with The Athlete. Or pregnant and not knowing who the father is.
I feel as though I am blindfolded.
Blindfolded. Confused. Excited.
And desired, for once.
I’ve never had the luxury of choosing.
Friday, April 16, 2010
He actually called twice. No. He called three times. Two of those times really don’t count.
Here is what we discussed:
- His trip home. How he’s lucky that he got back before that volcano in Iceland totally screwed up air travel in Europe.
- A touch of work stuff. As you may recall, I know him through my job.
- How HE BROUGHT ME CANDY FROM EUROPE. We had discussed it at some point. I told him what I liked. He remembered. And bought it. And packed it. I heart him.
- How his mom and his niece are thrilled that he’s home, but how he’s pretty sure that his dad doesn’t give a damn one way or another.
- The World Cup. Specifically, if I had bought him tickets. “No," I told him. "But it’s funny that you mention that. Meg is recently concerned that she can’t go because of school. I might need somebody to go with.” And he was all, “when are you going?” And, when I told him he said, “that’s the only two weeks this summer when I really don’t have anything going on.” And I said, “BOY, YOU ARE OFFICIALLY MY BACKUP PLAN. But please don’t be offended that I called you a backup.”
- Next weekend. When he’ll have 10 (TEN!) of his teammates (European athletes!) in town for 10 days. “We’re going to the bar on Friday and Saturday night,” he told me. “You should definitely come out with us.”
I’m not going to pretend otherwise: it was great to hear from him.
And to pretend that I don’t know that he’s gotten back together with his girlfriend in Europe. Or that I don’t know that he’s skeezy.
I know better.
It’s going to be a long 3 ½ months.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
She was talking about our trip to South Africa.
She was talking with one of her professors yesterday and, apparently, he made her “nervous” about going. This is the same professor who, a few months ago, insisted that she had to go on this trip. Had to get the cultural experience.
But is not the professor who will be teaching the class that she’ll be missing.
Her schedule is a little funky during this time. She finishes up her spring semester classes before we leave; she has just one class over the time that we’re gone.
The class runs every day for three weeks. We’ll be in South Africa for two of them.
I know, I know.
I’ve been nervous that something like this was going to happen. (This is turning into a theme this week, eh?) But I’ve tried not to worry about it too much. Meg is a big girl. If she decides to hold off on telling her professor about this trip that we’ve been planning for 14 months? That’s her choice. If she thinks that she can take two weeks off of class? That’s up to her.
She’s always been quite confident that she can make this work. I’ve had no choice but to believe her.
But it isn’t like she can just take this class next semester. That’s not how her program works; they’re prescribed an exact schedule of classes. Courses are offered once per year and the entire class (all 40some of them) takes the same courses in the same semester. There is no wiggle room.
So, I’d say that this whole trip hangs on the decision of her professor and her program.
Which makes me want to puke.
South Africa, anyone?
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
My current jobs
Anna's impending visit
Leasing a new car
Transportation in South Africa
Justifying a pedicure
My summer soccer team
The haircut that I need to schedule
Squeezing another person into my already jam-packed life
Meg's surgery on the 21st
What my friends will think about Luke
What my family will think about Luke
Knowing when I should introduce my family and my friends to Luke
The road construction on my route to work
Cutting back on the coffee
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
And found out that The Athlete will be home soon.
As in: Thursday.
God help me.
* * *
Most recent literary conquest: Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.
Totally, totally not my standard selection. And I absolutely loved it.
* * *
You know what I hate? Worrying about money. And also paying bills. It isn’t even that I have that much to worry about or that many bills to pay, I just hate it.
* * *
I've been knocking around the idea of canceling my gym membership. Working 60 hours a week, plus playing hockey/soccer, I just don't go as often as I should. If I'm paying over $60/month, I should probably go more than six time per month.
I could quit and go somewhere cheaper. I could quit and start taking yoga at a snazzy studio on a regular basis and fill in the blanks with running. I could suck up my pride and go to the bloody awful company gym in my building.
I could spend the money on something awesome, like a really good meal, and just get fat and happy.
* * *
I went on the pill because I was optimistic about The Groomsman. I went off of the pill because The Groomsman didn't like me enough and because my skin made it clear that it wasn't the pill's biggest fan. And now... I should probably start thinking about this again.
* * *
Meg is having shoulder surgery last week. She watched videos of the procedure on YouTube and now she's having nightmares about the surgery. I hate that. That she needs surgery and that she's nervous about it, actually.
* * *
I want a new job.
And, yes, I'm doing more than just wishing that it will happen.
But I know that, when I do get a new job (eventually!), I'm going to miss a great deal of my coworkers just terribly. It will be bittersweet.
* * *
I feel, like, everyone I know is having a baby this week. (Or two, in the case of one special lady!) And by everyone, I mean three people. But still!
* * *
I went to Starbucks and to Tim Horton's today. Bad, bad girl.
Amazingly, I'm still exhausted.
Monday, April 12, 2010
He might be okay after all.
Or more than okay. He might be great.
I don't understand how he can like me as much as he does. Or how he can put up with me. Or why he keeps coming back. Keeps wanting to see me. Keeps kissing my forehead. Keeps giving me the avocado off of his plate because he knows how much I love them.
I don't know how he can put up with me. Or why he continues to want to put up with me.
I can't pinpoint when his text messages started becoming more of a pleasure of a nuisance.
I couldn't identify the first time I was really, really looking forward to seeing him.
It has been gradual.
Gradual and good.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
I must get a bit of rest next weekend.
Someone hold me to it.
Friday, April 09, 2010
I was in 7th grade. We were visiting old family friends – the woman who was the nanny for me and Meg when Mom was in graduate school and her family. And I was awkward. All braces and curly hair that I didn’t know was turning coarse and curly. I brushed that shit out every day, for a beautiful, wild, straw-colored mess that resembled a frizzy lion’s mane. I was probably wearing a training bra.
“You know who you look like?” Joyce, our old nanny, asked me. “You look just like Chelsea Clinton.”
I was horrified.
Which, um, really isn’t fair. But I was a middle schooler and mildly aware that people weren’t talking about Chelsea Clinton’s looks because she was classically and effortlessly beautiful. They were talking about her because she was a gawky teenager.
I haven’t heard it since.
Until last night. I was with Meg at a sporting event. We were walking down to our seats. Some random dude was walking up to the concourse. And loudly, unmistakably, he announces: “HEEEEEEEEEEEEY! CHELSEA CLINTON!”
He wasn’t even drunk.
To be fair: C. Clinton has totally grown up and out of her awkward stage. (How horrible would it to have to go through those years with the world watching?!) She looks damn fine now, all made up and polished and confident.
I thought we were well past our lookalike years.
The curse of being all curly hair and big teeth.
Thursday, April 08, 2010
Nothing about that has changed. She’s done playing college puck, yes, but she still loves an audience. I definitely went and saw her post-collegiate team play last year. And anxiously followed the results of their Best Non-Collegiate Women’s Team In The Country tournament on Twitter. (They finished second, by the way.)
I just like to see her do well.
And I like the drama, the anxiety. All of that competitive energy that I don’t get to expel anymore! I can place it on her. Live through her. And order the pictures online.
This week, the team that she coaches is playing in a big-time tournament – determining which team (within their age group) is the best in the country. And I’m furiously following the scores for that. Despite the fact that she’s NOT EVEN PLAYING.
(To be fair: her coaching assignment is a big deal, not something assigned to someone of her age and gender very often, and it is just as challenging as playing. However, watching someone stand behind the bench? Not really all that exciting. That’s how much of a loser I am.)
I’ve been thinking about this – as a coworker who is at the same tournament emails me updates on her team – a lot this week. Because this is not normal. (Not that most things that I do are normal.) I should not care. But I do! I’m invested!
I have come to this conclusion: I am going to be one of those screaming moms. A screaming mom who is living vicariously through her child and wears a t-shirt with her kid’s name/number. And drives to the game in a minivan with the windows painted with “Go Cougars!” And probably one of those window clings with the soccer ball and team name, too.
Yeah. That’s totally going to be me.
I’m going to care too much.
But not just about sports. No, I can pretty much guarantee that I’m going to be the high-strung, helicopter mom no matter what the occasion.
I’m going to be first parent to get kicked out of the Science Olympiad for harassing the judges.
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
When I am myself - really myself - I am in soccer shorts.
I am wearing a t-shirt, of just the right size. Not tight or short or enormous. A fun color.
My hair is in a ponytail. With the perfect curl at the end. And every flyaway looking intentional.
Pedicured toes visible in a pair of soccer sandals.
A light sweep of blush on the apple of each cheek.
My class ring on my left hand. My XO ring on my right hand.
Legs not shaven as carefully as they could be. And on the pale side, too.
Imperfect and sloppy and comfortable.
Monday, April 05, 2010
His death was self-inflicted.
I know nothing about this friend and I know not a single chapter – or sentence, or word –of his struggles. I know that suicide is sad and awful and tragic – and all of those other words that are supposed to be enough to express an immeasurable grief stemming from an incomprehensible act.
I feel terrible for Luke. And for the boy’s family and his friends. And for the boy himself. It is a tragedy that nobody should have to navigate.
Luke told me via text message. I was tempted to call him, to make sure that he was okay, but I didn’t. We do all of our communicating via text message. And I thought that there may be a reason that he didn’t call me with this sad news.
Instead, I texted him back. Told him how sorry that I was. Asked him to please let me know if there was anything that I could do.
In situations such as this, I hate the limitations of language. Anything that I say or write feels so inadequate. Like I’m throwing punches underwater.
He responded by telling me that he was sorry to be dumping all of this on me but, even though we aren’t officially “together” (his quotations, not mine), I was someone that he felt like he could trust and talk to.
Then he told me when the funeral would likely be. And said that he could use a shoulder to lean on.
I took that as him asking me to go with him.
And, at the risk of sounding like a horrible person: I don’t want to go.
I’m not saying that I won’t go. I just don’t want to go.
It isn’t how I want to meet his friends.
I am not entirely sure that I’m ready to go to another funeral. Aunt Marie’s was the last that I attended. It was November, but it is still so raw. I can’t see how my presence can be a comfort to Luke when, likely, I’ll be quite rattled myself. And we’re so new and I’m still unsure and I’m just having an awfully hard time convincing myself that it is appropriate. I don’t know that it is the right thing to do.
The timing, as it is with these things, is brutal. This week is, unquestionably, one of the most important weeks of my career. I have a lot of responsibility on a project that is five years in the making. This week was supposed to be all about work. Long hours and punishing deadlines and not – definitely not – being out of the office.
I don’t know how I’d swing it even if I was absolutely sure that I should go.
I feel like the worst person ever. Like I should be doing all of this without a second thought. That I should like him without reservation. That I should want nothing more than to accompany him to this funeral. That my other responsibilities should become null and void in the wake of this tragedy.
But it isn’t that simple.
And it isn’t that easy.
And I feel like the worst person in the world.
And I don’t know what to do.
Friday, April 02, 2010
It made me happy and it made me sad.
Chartreuse. The perfect weight. Purchased to accompany me to South Africa by my Aunt Marie on the day before she died.
I look at it and I am happy that we had that last day together. Happy to wear a color that always looked so good on her. I look at it and I am sad. Sad that she will never buy me another present. Sad that she didn't get to see me open it. Sad that she couldn't look at pictures of Meg and I on our trip and point out the coats we picked out together.
When I found the courage to wear it, I clipped off the tags. They're still sitting on my kitchen table. I don't plan on throwing them away anytime soon. It is a silly thing to keep - Aunt Marie wouldn't have hesitated to tell me so - but I think I'll keep them around for a while. As a bookmark. Or just tucked into the drawer where I stash all of the cards and notes and tokens of memories that I'm not ready to throw away.
Tomorrow, Mom, Emma and I are participating in a walk benefiting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
I am going to wear my chartreuse jacket.
I will be a little bit happy and a little bit sad.
Thursday, April 01, 2010
I get giddier about it every day. When we first bought our match tickets, well over a year ago, nothing about it (except for the hefty charge on my credit card) seemed real.
It is real. Now it is real. I just received my final invoice for our accommodations. I am making legitimate lists of things that we need to do/buy/research before we leave. There may or may not be a designated area of my closet where I’ve started to stack the jerseys and whatnot that I know I’ll pack. And, okay, I might have released my inner first grader and crafted a paper countdown chain. Or two. (Meg needed one, too!)
This morning, I put in my official request for time off. To celebrate, I spent an hour researching all of the touristy silliness that we’ll be indulging in on the days when we aren’t playing the role of adorable American soccer hooligans.
Meg will be skipping two weeks of class for our trip, so I’m imagining that a bit of our downtime will be spent with her doing schoolwork. There’s only so much reading and knitting that a girl can do; I’m tossing around the idea of making a blog specifically to document our trip. And so that I have something productive to do. (You all know how I love a good project to obsess over.) And so that I can send a link to the friends, family, coworkers who want updates, instead of sending out 60 emails every day.
This is the place where I’ll just write the real story – about how I’m pissed at Meg or the brutally hot group of Spaniards standing town the hall. Ya’ll will get the full story. This will be the Perez Hilton to the (potential) other blog’s CNN.
That’s what is on my mind today. South Africa. World Cup. South Africa. World Cup.
Who wants to make me a packing list?