Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The clouds are lifting

Oh, so this is what being in a good mood feels like. Huh.

It has been a long time since I've had a day where I haven't felt like I'm drowning in my family's bullshit. Today my head was above water and, goodness, it was weird. And nice. But seriously weird.

I had energy. Which is odd because I've spent the last month with little to none. Every little task wasn't painful and excessively laborious and otherwise unpleasant.

I even had it in me to do a little bit of research towards my grand trip to Vegas. ...which resulted in me booking a new hotel room. Because the special deal that our new hotel tweeted today? $35/night for the weeknights that we're staying. I'm not even kidding. Three cheers for Twitter deals, boys and girls. Three really loud cheers.

(We'd already gotten a steal on our hotel rooms, too. A DEAL ON TOP OF A DEAL. Hi, I love feeling like I've cheated the system. True story.)

Also the assistant director at my job came over to where I was and dropped this really transparent hint that I need to apply for the open job that I was whining about last week. Except I didn't really hear it and all but forced her to tell me that she wants me to apply. Which, yes, I'm going to do.

In my I'm-not-exhausted-jolly-good-mood, I also did a bit of rapid-fire emailing with Meg and I think that we have all of Mom's Christmas presents figured out, which reduces my holiday stress by 20%.

And I had some pumpkin pie.

The crust was a little soggy but I didn't care. I was delirious from my good mood. I couldn't possibly care.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I am full of questions

I wonder if I should read before bed or if I should watch Gossip Girl.

I wonder what posessed my boss's daughter to friend me on Facebook; I wonder what gave me the impression that accepting the friend request was a good idea.

I wonder if my family is ever going to feel normal again. Normal for us, I mean. Not normal normal. That'll never happen.

I wonder if Luke thinks that I disappeared on him. When really all I did was give up on him after he stood me up.

I wonder why I even bother thinking about Luke.

I wonder if I have any chance at this job I'm applying for.

I wonder how horrified the next poor girl to give me a pedicure will be. Although, I'm fairly certain I know. VERY horrified.

I wonder if I'm as awkward as I assume I am.

I wonder why it is that my brain had to go ALERT! ALERT! when I was driving home on Saturday night, reminding me that, one year ago, I was at a bar flirting with The Groomsman. When he was full of potential and not full of shit.

I wonder if my cousin Danielle will see Black Swan with me this weekend.

I wonder if Black Swan is even playing in Detroit this weekend.

I wonder what I should buy Meg for Christmas.

I wonder if my mom is sick of my dad following her around like a lost little puppy.

I wonder if I can talk Lucy into a spa day when we're in Vegas.

I wonder how exhausting tomorrow will be.

I wonder if I should keep going or if I should wrap this post up.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thankful, thankful

Wednesday night was for pies.

I helped with the pecan and the pumpkin pies, so I only got a shot of the apple pie being made.

I helped with the consumption of the pumpkin and pecan pies, so I can't tell you that it was delicious. There wasn't any left for me to eat for breakfast on Friday morning. So I guess I can tell you that it was delicious. Even though I didn't get so much as a bite.


See the plates? The plates were a special guest at dinner. My Aunt Marie bought these plates (30some place settings! Plus accessories!) at an estate sale just a few weeks before she died. Grandma and my mom hauled them out of her basement for the occasion.

Aren't they cute? It was fun to have a little of Aunt Marie present at the dinner table.


I was sitting on the couch with my cousin, Paul. I spilled water on us. He was not happy.

Check out that (very small portion of our) spread! I honestly think that it was one of our best Thanksgiving dinners ever, though I cannot explain why. Everything just tasted SO GOOD.

Emma insisted on making a raspberry pie. "I'm going to do it all by myself, start to finish." (You'd think she was a stubborn toddler, no?) I have no idea where the idea of a raspberry pie came from, as we've never had one on Thanksgiving before, but I must say, it was a tasty addition.

I let Ellie out. I look out the window. She's climbed on to the picnic table on the deck and is peering through the kitchen window at me. I think she was trying to get a glimpse of the turkey.

And that is it, my friends. Thanksgiving at my house. Pies and puppies and puddles on the couch.

You're all invited next year.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving: it made me tired

Would you look at that? Anticipate the worst and be pleasantly surprised! Being a pessimist is the bomb.

Here's how Thanksgiving 2010 looked like this ‘round these parts:

Wednesday night: my annual pie night with my mom, sister, aunt and cousins (Liz, Danielle and Emma). We whipped out 10 pies: 4 pecan, 4 pumpkin, a raspberry and an apple. We ate nachos and watched Adam Lambert’s True Hollywood Story and invented our own cooking show, which Danielle will host as soon as we find a network that will air it.

Thursday morning: up at 5:45. Pulled on my running gear. Woke up Meg. Woke up Emma. Woke up Meg’s friend, Kate. Piled in my car, along with another one of Meg’s friends, to go downtown for the Turkey Trot.

We trotted. My knee hurt. I finished in :57, which I’m okay with. I would have liked to have beaten my time from October’s 10k but that was sort of out of the question from the very beginning. It’s okay. I have an injury to blame.

Whenever Meg and I run a race, no matter what the length, I always finish two minutes ahead of her. 5k, 10k, half marathon: it has happened with every distance and in every race. So imagine my surprise when I logged in to see our times this morning and saw that she beat me. BY THREE SECONDS. (We crossed the start and finish at different times, so we weren’t sure our exact times until they were posted.) I’m kind of competitive so, yeah. I’m a little disappointed. If only I hadn’t stopped for that water!

Early Thursday afternoon: me, Meg, Emma and Meg’s friends took Ellie and Blue to the dog park to wear their little legs out before our guests came over.

Later Thursday afternoon: the masses arrived. My grandparents. My cousins and aunts and uncles. Liz’s boyfriend. My mom’s high school BFF. We had a really full house. Full in a good way. Full of people, full of fun, full of food. I love when the house is alive with a good party. I love being able to flop down on the couch and know that I’ll be doing so between two of my favorite people in the world – whatever combination of our guests it may be.

Early Thursday evening: we eat. The meal was phenomenal. My family may be completely insane/wacky/dysfunctional, but each and every one of us has the capability to put together a damn fine meal. And that is one, of many, things that I am thankful for.

Thursday night: Meg had been floating the idea of us going to the outlet mall on Thursday night to go shopping. Stores were opening between 10:00 pm and midnight and she, along with my cousins Liz and Emma, thought it would be fun to see if they could get any super deals.

I went back and forth on it. I really wanted to go to sleep, since I had to work today. But I also feel like it is important to do fun/crazy things like this with my cousins when I have the opportunity. So I went.

Which was definitely the wrong choice. It was cold as hell. It was crowded as hell. I was tired as hell. We got back to the house at 2:00 am. I was back up and getting ready for work at 6:30 am. Brutal.

I’ll keep the Turkey Trot in my Thanksgiving traditions, but the midnight shopping is for the birds. Remind me of that, someone, please, should I ever again insinuate that saving $4 on a pair of sweatpants at Under Armour is worth battering my sanity, violating my personal space and sacrificing my sleep.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

An opportunity (to freak out)

A position was posted
Today
Full-time

I nearly burst into tears
When I saw it

Not because I was so happy
For an opportunity

Not because I was a little shocked
That
What could have been split
Into
Two part-time positions
Wasn't

But because it was
Posted externally
(Unlike the last one)
And it felt like
The powers that be
Were sending a message
That
They didn't have anyone
In-house
Who is
Capable

And I'm in-house

It isn't even like I'm
The only one
Internal
Who would apply
I'm not

It was never
Guaranteed
But, shit
Don't you look
In
Before
Looking out?

I'm sorry
I don't mean to whine

I'll get over this
I will put myself out there
Apply
Interview
Turn cartwheels
If that's what they want

But
Right now
I'm feeling
Sensitive
And a little bit
Like
I was just punched in the gut

Monday, November 22, 2010

Blogging with the Stars

You guys. YOU GUYS! Skating with the Stars. Skating with the Stars!
Sure, there have been others: some show on FOX, and a few on Canadian TV that have been more or less equivalent (Canada appreciates figure skating more than America does. Canada is cool).

But this one is the best because...well, I don't have any good reason. Except that I do have a feeling that it is going to be a complete trainwreck.

LOVE.

As I have no idea how painful this show will/will not be, I'm not going to commit to blogging the entire season. But I will commit to blogging tonight's show. Consider this an expert review because, as you may or may not know, I am a figure skater. No, I was never going to go to the Olympics. But neither were you.

Oh, and I also basically have no idea what "stars" are "skating" (I'm using both terms quite loosely). But I can tell a Salchow from a loop jump. Just so we're clear.

9:13: This announcer boy is annoying.
9:13: I bet the ice is shitty.
9:16: HOLY SHIT THIS ICE SURFACE IS TINY!
9:17: Officially cheering for Brooke and Jonny. Brooke is from the D.
9:18: That ramp is a lame gimmick.
9:20: I can tell from this intro that not one of these "stars" can do anything resembling skating. This show is going to be a lot of skaters pulling their stars, who are making facial expressions, around.
9:21: JOHNNY WEIR WILL BE THE STAR OF THIS SHOW, BITCHES.
9:22: Wait. Dick Button is on this show. OMG, he is going to raaaaaaaaaaaaamble on for hours. I guarantee this will be painful.
9:24: Let's talk about the required elements. Because it makes it official: this show it Learn to Skate on national television. Why am I watching this again?
9:31: Brandon is skating. OMG. This is so slow.
9:32: Wobble wobble wobbly spiral.
9:33: Laurie Ann knows nothing about skating.
9:45: Do people who know things about dancing feel as pained during Dancing with the Stars as I feel during Skating with the Stars?
9:51: HAHAHA. DICK WASN'T PAYING ATTENTION. (To be fair, he's really old and probably shouldn't be on TV anymore.)
10:02: Oh, Jonny can skate a little bit.
10:06: I just checked the TV listings. This crap goes until 11:00? Hahaha. On the account of the fact that I spent 4 years getting paid for watching bad skating and I'm not making a cent off of this debacle, I'm going to bed.

As expected: trainwreck.

Not expected: lacking ability to be even the slightest bit amusing. And I'm, like, the most easily entertained person in the world.

Fail, ABC. Big fail.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Expecting the best holiday EVER

Guess who’s coming to Thanksgiving dinner?

My dad.

My mom – who is a saint – is having 25+ people over. Her side of my family. My dad’s side of my family. And, of course, my dad. Her cheatin’ husband.

It’s going to be an interesting holiday.

Tears have already been shed over the event, so I'm really expecting the best.

Before we hit Cheating, Round 2, the plan was for both sides of the family to come over. And then all of this happened (again) and it was all up in the air. My mom didn't want to have both sides of the family over if it meant that my dad wouldn't have anyone to spend Thanksgiving with. So, we were in limbo for a while. And then Mom and Dad started speaking again and, well, the Thanksgiving plans were resumed.

But first, Mom cleared my dad’s attendance with me and Meg.

I’m fine with it. I’ve seen my dad quite a few times. It is awkward and it feels necessary. Part of me wants to be a brat – pouting and swearing and generally awful – but I’m not. It wouldn’t solve anything. And I feel like acting like an asshole would only cause my mom more heartache. That's the last thing that I want to do.

Meg cleared our Thanksgiving guest, too. But, until yesterday, she hadn’t seen him in over three weeks. The four of us went to dinner with my grandparents. It was awful. Meg wouldn’t talk to my dad. My dad got all teary at the table.

We get back to the house and it doesn’t get any better. She is completely unwilling to talk to him. And I get that – I do. But the way that she was acting, ugh. Icy. Very, very cold.

And my mom ends up in tears. Because how can she have both sides of the family over if Meg and my dad can't even be civil? It will be awkward and awful for all of us. And what is she supposed to do about it - 5 days before Thanksgiving? Ask my dad's side of the family to have their own gathering so that he and Meg are separated?

It sucks.

It sucks because I want Meg to feel about this like I do. Tentative and hesitant but willing to give it a shot. To let our parents work through it (or not) on their own. Not tipping the scales in either direction.

But that isn't how Meg is. Meg is stubborn. Meg is pissed and stubborn and selfish. She's perfectly fine with hurting my mom, as long as she's hurting my dad in the process.

Meg is unable to see that she isn’t just punishing my dad when she acts like she did yesterday. She’s punishing herself. She’s punishing my mom. She’s punishing me.

Honestly, I don’t know how she can still be so angry. I respect that she’s pissed. I just don’t get it. I don’t know how she has the energy to maintain her level of bitterness. But she does. And she is. I have no control over it.

I hate her behavior.

And I understand it.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Runner's Knee and the Boy I Never Really Liked

I finally had my appointment with my sports medicine doctor and, guess what? I have Runner's Knee. I also have learned that I can diagnose myself with the help of Dr. Google. Although my accuracy may not have something to do with my library schooling. Which would count as the first good thing to come out of that education.

(HIRE ME, SOMEONE!)

I go to my appointment and I fill out the paperwork and I'm taken to the exam room. "I'll give you some shorts to wear for the exam and the x-ray," the orthopedics tech tells me. "I brought my own," I boasted. I am such a smart patient.

Smart and sexy. Do you want to hear about how I looked in my soccer shorts and my argyle cardigan? Of course you do. I LOOKED HOT.

Back in the exam room, I'm chilling in my chair, admiring the posters on the wall and, after a knock, a doctor walked in. A male doctor. Who was young. Who was not hot but was certainly cute. And wearing a wedding ring. Fail.

"I know I'm not Dr. Black," he said. And then he started my exam. I never quite figured out where Dr. Black was. I could have sworn that I had heard her voice when I was waiting for my x-ray. Should I mention to him that, in addition to my difficulty descending stairs that I've been hallucinating?

But, when he was done with the exam, he tells me that he's going to check out my x-ray and "go over everything with Dr. Black. I'm her resident; she's the boss."

Ooooooooooooooooooooh.

He left and I sat in the exam room, wondering if I should put my pants on or if I should stay in my shorts. I almost changed into my pants several times. Because I was cold. And also because I didn't really know what was going on. After what seemed like 45 minutes and was more like 6, Dr. Black and the resident saved me from the pants-or-shorts anxiety.

I was very right in resisting the urge to put on my pants. Dr. Black did another entire exam. She was bending my leg all about and making me stand on one foot and bend my knees and all of that jazz. At the conclusion of the exam she told me what I already knew: that I have Runner's Knee. She gave me exercises, offered to write me a prescription for physical therapy (I'm going to hold off for a little while and see if I can improve it with just the exercises) and sent me on my way.

Since I never really asked if I could or could not run the 10k I'm signed up for on Thanksgiving Day, I'm going to go ahead and run it.

The only problem is that I really want to run it well, considering that I was so pleased with the 10k that I ran in October (54:12) and I'd like to duplicate that. And, maybe I have another goal, too. Such as really wanting to beat that turd-of-a-guy Luke that I dated this spring. He's always posting his runs on Facebook and I'm always like "psssst. You don't impress me." (I say that to myself, not to him. Or his Facebook wall or whatever.)

And what is a better way to tell someone you're not impressed than by TOTALLY SPANKING THEM when it counts? Nothing.

But, in the unlikely event that I do not beat him and I cannot replicate my October time, I have other goals. Okay, just one. It's a big one. Big and secret and it may be getting the race shirt. But it is a cool race shirt. And cool shirts make up for a lot. Especially losing (on a bum leg) a race against (although not technically against) a guy who you never really liked in the first place.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

55 going on 15

My dad’s “girlfriend” or, uh, mistress or whatever you want to call her (alternate names: tramp, cunt, whore, slut, middle-aged-woman-with-self-esteem-issues, chubster) has been posting crap all over her Facebook about how she’s been crying for five days and “love hurts” and all sorts of preteen emotions.

I embrace technology and the Facebook status update (although I never update my status), but YOU ARE 55 YEARS OLD. YOU ARE NOT 14. YOU DO NOT NEED TO SPEW, MULL OVER AND DISSECT YOUR DELICATE FEELINGS FOR YOUR 64 FACEBOOK FRIENDS TO SEE.

(How do I know that she's been doing this? Because my mom’s best friend’s sister is the mistress’s friend on Facebook. Reason #2,439 not to have an affair with someone you went to high school with.)

And, of course, the reason she’s been sucked in to this Vortex of Complex Pain and Emotion is because my dad finally, officially pulled the plug on the fantasy life that he’s been living for the past four months. I’m not sure what the details are. I don’t know exactly when he did it. What I know, however, is that he mentioned to my mom that he was receiving “harassing” phone calls last weekend. I told Meg. Meg (who still isn’t speaking to my father, actually) logged in to the Verizon account and blocked her phone number from calling/texting my dad’s phone.

She blocked the number on Sunday afternoon.

That action seemed to have switched the crazy (well, crazier) switch in the mistress because, on Monday evening at 5:00 pm, she showed up at my dad’s office. She showed up at my dad’s office, climbed into his (unlocked) car, and preceded to sit in it, crying, for two hours.

SHE SAT, CRYING, IN MY DAD’S CAR (a flashy black Mustang that old men purchase when they hit middle age, obviously) FOR TWO HOURS. UNTIL ONE OF HER FRIENDS CAME AND PICKED HER UP/DRAGGED HER AWAY.

I wish that I was kidding.

My dad was cheating on my mom with a middle schooler trapped in the body of a 55-year-old woman.

Not that he wasn’t acting like a bratty preteen, too.

(Now he’s just acting like a hormonal, uncontrollably weeping pregnant chick. Such a refreshing change.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Music is magic

While driving home from work this weekend Our Lady Peace’s “Innocent” came on the radio. I was immediately transported back to the apartment I lived in during my final two years of college. My roommate has her headphones plugged into her laptop. She’s singing. Loudly. Off key. And she’s just starting on a Communications project that was due the next day (and that I had already finished). Repeat four times per semester. Always the same song. Always off key.

When I hear the official song of the World Cup, Shakira’s “Waka Waka,” I am there. I am in Africa. I am with my sister. I am seeing beautiful things and meeting fascinating people and I am happy. That song makes me smile.

I like hearing "Birthday" by The Beatles. I reminds me of birthday parties at Aunt Marie’s house. I had a lot of my birthdays there, since Emma’s birthday is just a few weeks after mine. And my uncle always put it on after Aunt Marie cut the birthday cakes.

“Foolish Games.” Jewel. I listened to it on repeat on the flight home from the one and only European soccer tournament I ever played in. When I hear it, I always see myself, 14-but-looks-11, plugged into my Discman. I picture my hair as frizzy because, well, it probably was.

My cousins and I cannot resist “I Want it That Way” by the Backstreet Boys. It was huge one of the summers that my cousin Mara lived in Michigan. We loved singing it, loud and proud, in the car. And now, whenever we happen to catch it (or find it on somebody’s iPod), we can’t help but belt it out. With corresponding cheesy dance moves. You have to include the dance moves.

“How Bizarre.” (What one-hit-wonder produced that beauty?) My cousin Liz decided that she loved it. We were at our grandma’s house and playing in the front yard and she insisted on turning on a car radio, just in case it might be playing. We still tease her about it.

Marc Broussard’s “Rock Steady.” I’d just bought the album that it is on when I first started dating Colin. I listened to it – turned up as loud as it could go – when I drove up to the bar to meet him for the first time. I was wearing a white sweater. I must say, he ruined the song for me.

The entire White Ladder album by David Gray – especially “Please Forgive Me.” Turn that on and bring me right back to my freshman year of college. I remember buying it. I remember excitedly burning it and mailing it to Lucy at her dorm across the state. I listened to it everywhere. It was a lonely first year. That album was always there for me.

I am not a music aficionada. Turn on the right song and it transports me.

What songs transport you?

Monday, November 15, 2010

One year

Six years ago today I started this blog.

And for five years, recognizing the years was important. I liked reaching the milestones.

And then November 15 changed.

One year ago, today, I was at Mom and Dad's house. Probably wearing this very pair of yoga pants. Very likely wearing this same UM fleece.

And Aunt Marie called. With my uncle out of town, she was a bit lonely. But she didn't say that. She said that her dog wanted to play with his canine cousins. And so she and the dog came over. And she sat at the counter and I sat next to her and we talked about nothing.

Meg had a shopping itch to scratch. She had this idea in her mind that we should go to TJ Maxx to buy fall jackets to bring with us to South Africa. Aunt Marie was always up for a shopping trip.

We shopped.

Aunt Marie bought a scarf. She bought socks for Emma and Anna's Christmas stockings. She looked at Christmas decorations. She insisted on buying the jackets that Meg and I picked out. She touched everything in the store, it seemed; that was how she shopped.

We stopped at the drugstore on the way home. We bought trail mix and ate it when I drove. Mom randomly bought dog toys. Aunt Marie bought a diet coke. When I was pulling in the parking lot, I got a text message from my friend Kevin, telling me that his second son would likely be born that night.

Aunt Marie spoke of her birthday party. It was so surreal, she told us. "Everyone who you love, all in one room."

She told us stories of when her and my uncle were young and in love and in college.

We had dinner at Mom and Dad's. My dad cooked. My grandma brought over a side dish and dessert - apple dumplings. Aunt Marie harassed Grandma - as the youngest kid, she couldn't help herself - because my grandma admitting to making apple dumplings for my dad. "You NEVER make apple dumplings for ME, MOM!" She sounded like a kid.

She told us about how, the night before, she'd stopped at Burger King for a hamburger and ended up smearing ketchup all over her pants. Her favorite jeans, which were in the wash. It was why she was wearing those gray sweats. And a fleece with a zipper up the front.

I remember standing up from where I was sitting - on a stool at the kitchen counter - to give her a hug when she left. I remember telling her that I loved her. God, I'm glad that I told her that I loved her.

One year ago, I was with my Aunt Marie.

And one year ago tomorrow, my Aunt Marie died.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sorry, I have other (better) plans

On Monday morning, I received an email invitation to my 10 year high school class reunion.

First of all: I HAVE NOT BEEN OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL FOR 10 YEARS. I’ve been out for, like, 2 years because I’m only 20 and young and energetic and full of potential and not the slightest bit jaded about the world. So I don’t know what it is that these clowns are planning, but it is obviously some sort of fictional event. We have not been out of high school for 10 years. When you’ve hit time for your 10 year reunion, you’re officially old and I am FAR from being officially old. Like, at least 7-9 years away from earning that label.

Secondly: they planned it for December 26. Apparently our class president has been, like, too busy to actually plan this even though it has been 2010 for, oh, 11 months now and so they’re just throwing together an outing at a local bar and calling it a day. Well, a reunion. They’re calling it a reunion.

Um, hello, Class of 2000! On November 8, you’re inviting me to an event that will take place on December 26? Hahahahaha. Oh, foolish people. Don’t you know that I book up well in advance? I made a commitment for that evening in August.

So, it looks like I won’t be going to my high school class reunion.

I am not sad.

Except I am missing a prime opportunity to recruit former teammates for my summer soccer team.

Maybe I'll show up for an hour.

But only if I have good hair that day.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Travel Thursday: South Africa Day 7

When planning our trip to South Africa I knew, because we were seeing so many soccer matches, that we wouldn’t have a ton of time for sightseeing. At the same time, I didn’t want to travel all the way to Africa and see nothing but the inside of a few stadia.

The Apartheid Museum was always on my short list of places that I wanted to see in Johannesburg. I was never entirely sure how we got there, but I’m very glad that we did.

It ended up that the same shuttle driver who took us to/from matches drove us to the museum. A cab ride would have been horrendously expensive, although we were prepared to pay it if that was what we had to do. Luckily, the girls at the front desk were looking out for us, and they called the shuttle driver to give us a lift, instead.


There isn’t a whole lot that I can say about the museum. It was, well, I’m not sure how to describe the experience. It is beyond description, I suppose. So much to absorb. So impossible to understand. And to think that it has only been 16 years since the fall of Apartheid. 16 years. Unbelievable.

Meg isn’t a big museum person but even she was captivated. It was well done. And crowded, unfortunately, due to the World Cup. But what can you do?

We set a certain time for our driver to pick us up but, of course, he was late. On African time, you could say. I was all freaked out and worried that we’d be stranded at the Apartheid Museum (located next door to an amusement park, oddly enough) for all of eternity. But he came. “I can always find you,” he told us, “because I just look for your blonde hair.” Which made us laugh, of course. You forget that blonde isn’t the norm.

We had tickets that day to see Germany/Ghana. It was the same day that USA was playing Algeria in their third game of the group stages. The USA game was an afternoon match, while Germany/Ghana was in the evening, so we got to watch a bit of the game while we were getting ready to go to Soccer City. And we had our driver turn the game on the radio while he drove us to the match.

It wasn’t looking good. USA was tied, 0-0, and they needed to score to move on. The game was in the final seconds. USA would be going home. It was so, so sad. But, just as we were driving by a huge television that broadcast games to an entire square, Landon Donovan scored. And we got to see it. Oh, we were so excited.
And the Scottish girls who were staying at our hotel were so excited for us. That was a fun part about the tournament, how people would tell you “good luck today!” like you were actually playing in the match.

The Scottish girls were hauling around this toy duck that belonged to one of their nephews. They asked us to pose with it. Oh, why the hell not?



Chitchatting with the Scottish girls was interesting. We’d gone to many of the same matches but never in the same van. One of the girls, after we answered her question about how old for us said, “oh, you’re so brave for being so young.” It has stuck with me. I don’t ever recall being called brave before.



The match was a fun one. Germany’s goalie was so fun to watch (he’s a madman) and, like every time we saw an African team play, the crowd was absolutely electric.

Nobody said a word about us wearing German jerseys that day. As a matter of fact, a few people spoke to us in German. Well, attempted to speak to us in German. We don’t speak it. But apparently we look it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Debbie Downer

I'm sorry, you guys, if reading my blog lately has been - hmmm...how to say this? - less than uplifting these last few months. Or downright depressing.

(I'm okay with both labels.)

There has been a bit of chatter in the blogosphere these week about blogs and blogging and the perception that bloggers put out there. I read those blogs. The ones by the perfect mom, perfect cook, perfect distance runner, perfect businesswoman, Perfect McPerfectness all documented on an impeccably written and exquisitely photographed blog.

I get it. I get wanting to put your best self out there. And I get why readers like that. And I get why it can be somewhat intimidating to other bloggers.

But that sure as hell isn't what I've been doing.

I'm just throwing all of my ugly out into the world.

I can't imagine that this is very fun to read. I can't imagine that you're coming here for a smile.

But I'd like to get back there. I am getting back there. Slowly. I still can't pick up my phone and call my friends who don't know all (or any) of the ugly details of my last two months. I miss them but I can't do it. I can't pretend that everything is okay. But I'm getting there.

I'm getting there.

Soon this won't consume my life. Soon I will shed my fear of talking on the phone. Soon I will smile readily. Soon I will blog about the last asenine thing that my boss said and the creepy dude at the library and latest michevious thing the the dogs did and the latest boy who smiled at me.

I'm on my way back.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

A + L Take on Vegas

I've probably mentioned it before, but consider this your official announcement: Lucy and I are going to Vegas for a few days in December.

While my mind has admittedly been on other things, every time I allow myself time to think about our little getaway, I am so. fired. up.

The trip originated out of a desire to continue our longstanding tradition of being nerds for our longtime boyfriend, Mr. David J. Matthews. DJM is playing a pair of acoustic concerts in Vegas that weekend; we snagged tickets to the show on Friday night. We also snagged a fantastical bargain on a room at the Hard Rock Hotel, where the concert will be held, and rather reasonable airfare. We fly out on Wednesday after work and we'll land in Detroit on Saturday afternoon -- just in time for me to get to Ann Arbor to see the big outdoor hockey game at UM's Big House, if I do so choose.

It is all coming together rather nicely.

The timing is nearly perfect. I am so bloody exhausted that my interactions with my alarm clock are becoming violent; Lucy is in the beginning phases of her first professional social work job and simultaneously finishing up the social services job that she had when she was in graduate school. We're equally in need of a couple of days to unwind before the insanity of the holiday season explodes cookies and wrapping paper all over our already hectic lives.

So who has some great ideas? What should we do when we're in Sin City? We have Wednesday night, all of Thursday and Friday during the day that are currently completely open and unplanned. Our Friday night is dominated by Mr. Matthews, though we could do something after.

I'm thinking a show at some point. And some really great food, like, really frequently. Maybe a spa trip at some point, although I'm not sure how Lucy would feel about the expense. And a little bit of gambling, 'cause that is what you do (neither of us are huge gamblers).

Or spending entire days alternating between napping and reading. That would be fine, too.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Up and down and up

It has been awfully hard, watching my mom go through all of this stuff in the wake of my dad cheating on her.

She has a lot of really great people in her life who really love her. They are supportive and kind and thoughtful. Sometimes I think that the strong reminders of how much you're loved is one of the best things that can come from this pain.

But my mom knows. She knows how much she's loved. These friends? The ones who are rallying around her? They're the same ones who held her up after Aunt Marie died.

It hasn't yet been a year.

(That's one of the things that I'm most pissed at my dad about. That he had to do this now. In the last quarter of what had to be one of the hardest year of her life.)

The weekend was full of ups and downs. Sometimes she seemed just fine. Other times she just seemed so, so tired.

I tried to spend some good, quality time with her. On Saturday evening, Meg and I both had hockey games a few hours apart. Just enough to see her game, go out for pizza and go to my game. On Sunday morning, we took Ellie and Blue to the dog park (yes, I'm still obsessed with the dog park). And you have to be happy at the dog park. The dog park is the happiest place on earth.

I'm feeling the ups and the downs, too. Sometimes I'm optimistic that Mom and Dad will work it out. Other times I look around and try to embrace this reality. Sometimes I'm so mad at my dad that I don't want to talk to him or see him. Other times I think of him, alienated and alone, and I want to call. I want to fix him. Not that I can. But maybe I can have dinner with him. I guess that would be a start.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Job jockeying

A full-time position opened up at my ‘brary. Yay!

It’s a position in the children’s department! Boo!

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to work in the children’s department. While children’s work wasn’t my focus when I was getting my master’s degree, I work just as much at the children’s reference desk as I do at the adult reference desk. It isn’t a mystery to me. So, while I haven’t purchased books for the children’s collection and I haven’t lead a children’s story time, the children’s department is far from a mystery to me. I took children’s literature in college. I worked with kids for four years in college. I would be fine.

But, I’m not going to get the job. Now, before you shout “BE POSITIVE! PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE! RAH! RAH!” I should tell you that there is someone else: a girl who has been here longer, who already works in the children’s department (part-time at 27 hours/week), who this job was essentially created for, who is currently walking around the library with our boss and being oriented to the additional managerial duties that come with being a full-timer. So, yeah.

My chances certainly aren’t great.

I could be all young and positive and ambitious and throw my name into the hat. It’s probably the right thing to do. Even though it feels fake and political and ridiculous. The mere thought of sitting in a pity interview makes me want to vomit.
But, there’s another coworker of mine who is interviewing for a job and I’m crossing my fingers – HARD – for him. Not just because I’m a vulture and want his position (he buys all of the adult fiction for the ‘brary. How fun/awesome would that be?!) but because it would honestly be a brilliant move and a really great fit for him. And then maybe I could have his job. Because I’d really like it.

With my boss getting fired at the end of September and all of the shifting that has occurred as a result, things at this little ol’ library sure are changing. Fast. And hopefully in my favor.

Whether it is here or somewhere else, I’m just praying that something happens soon. Working 60+ hours a week sucks so much ass.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Travel Thursday: South Africa Day 6

Day 6 in South Africa was probably the most unpleasant.

Meg was pissed at me for not letting her rendezvous with the Kiwi. I was pissed at Meg for being pissed at me. We spent a fricking ETERNITY on a bus to HELL. And also someone called us out for not being Mexican. Haters.

Anyway.

We had a fairly early morning. We were taking a 10:00 am bus to Rustenburg for the Mexico/Uruguay match, and we had to get up in time to squeeze in eating/showering/commute-to-bus-station fun.

When we get to the bus station, it's a gong show. There are people everywhere. And no busses to be seen. And there is, like, a dude in a red hat and I guess he's in charge? He's not even at a stand or anything. He's just standing there with the rest of us, taking money from people and giving them wristbands in exchange. I guess you were just supposed to assume that he was legit? I'm not really sure. I cut that anxiety out of the equation when I bought our tickets online before we left the States.

The bus is getting later and later and later and, I'm trying to hold it together, but I'm quietly freaking out and wondering if we're even at the right bus stop. But, at least we had a little bit of entertainment.

A youth marimba group from Soweto. SO ADORABLE.



They played "My Heart Will Go On," which amused me endlessly. Celine Dion on marimbas. Outside of a bus/train station. How can you not love that?



Eventually we make it onto the bus.

Rustenburg is two hours from Johannesburg. When I bought our tickets, I booked us for the early bus, assuming that we would get to the game plenty early, have time to get food/look at souveniers/find our seats/look around/whatever. Instead, we had to go straight to our seats.

A two hour trip? HA.

We left a little bit after 11:00 am. We got to the stadium at 3:35 pm. I AM NOT EVEN KIDDING.

We did stop at a sweet gas station/rest stop on our way, so that people could get food/drinks before getting to the stadium. The stadium that sat in the middle of nowhere.

You see, the road into Rustenburg is one lane. Hmmm. Maybe it is two lanes. I can't remember anymore. Whatever it is, it isn't like, oh, a normal highway type of road that could handle the traffic of a sold out stadium for a World Cup match. And that's why it took us just short of forever to arrive for the game.



The match itself was pretty good. Mexico dominated but Uruguay won.

At half time, we were walking up to our seats and someone looked at me and said "you're not Mexican."

"You are correct," I told him. Apparently you have to be Mexican or look Mexican to wear a Mexico jersey? I'm not sure. But it wasn't the only time people commented on our fair hair/skin in relation to our jerseys. Which was...odd, I guess. I'm not certain that we look particularly Argentian or Brazilian either, but nobody had much to say at those matches.



When the bus dropped us off at the game, we were told that the bus would leave at 7:30 pm. Which was unfortunate in itself because we were back on the bus just after 6:00 pm. The bus filled right back up. Except for the two empty seats. Of passengers who were apparently late or lost or really, really inconsiderate. The bus driver finally told us that we'd wait until 8:30 pm - an extra HOUR for those irresponsible TURDS - and then we'd leave them behind.

Not awesome. But they finally showed up.



We got back to Johannesburg just before 11:00 pm. As we were making our way off of the bus and into Nelson Mandela Square - crossing our fingers that a restaurant would be open (there was, thankfully) - one of our fellow passengers joined in on our complaints.

"I wouldn't go back to that stadium if Jesus Christ Himself was playing there."

Hahaha.

I wanted to agree. But we had tickets to another game in Rustenberg later that week.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

RoboGirl

I am a robot.

I am a sophisticated robot. The most sophisticated because you would never know that I'm a robot just from looking at me. Or touching my skin (it is warm, you know). Or listening to my heartbeat.

I am a robot.

I am a robot with teeth - unfortunately big ones - teeth that can't like all of the coffee that I drink. Did you know that robots run on coffee, too?

I am a robot.

Robots do things but robots don't feel things. I talk about uncomfortable things, private things. I do things automatically. I browse divorce books at the library. Detached. Businesslike. Robotic. I know things - things like how my mom is currently telling her parents about my cheating father - that should upset me. But they don't. I feel it, sometimes, in the bottom of my robot gut. But I still move forward. I do not stop.

I am a robot. Robots don't stop.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

My knee hurts.

My knee has hurt – inconsistently – since I finished the half-marathon. Most of the time, it doesn’t hurt. Because most of the time I’m too busy to get to the gym. I’ve had other things on my plate, you see. Like the two jobs and the implosion of my family.

When I have had the chance to get to the gym, I’ve attempted to run. It has mostly gone well. Except for the part where I get an intense pain just below my kneecap and I have to stop almost immediately.

I’m a little concerned.

After the below-the-kneecap-sharp-pains, my knee usually hurts for a day or two and things like walking down stairs hurt me. And then I get all freaked out because KNEE PAIN IS NOT A JOKE.

I’m terrified of injuring my knees. I’ve hurt practically every other part, so knees are, like, the last frontier for me. And have you seen those enormous hinged braces? They wouldn’t match with any of my workout outfits.

So, unlike most of the times that I successfully ignore an ache or a pain for weeks on end, I decided to make an appointment with one of my sports medicine doctors. Yes, I said doctors. I have more than one.

Which is very complicated because I love and adore both of them with all of my heart. I am not even kidding. Doctor W, who I first saw when I was a sophomore in high school, is young and smart and often makes the list of the area’s best doctors. She’s also very hard to get an appointment with. And Doctor K, who I first saw when I was a freshman in college, is young and smart and often makes the list of the area’s best doctors. He’s very hard to get an appointment with, too.

The problem with having two sports medicine doctors who you equally love and adore and have an equally hard time getting appointments with? I never know who I should call first. Because they’re both my imaginary BFFs and I don’t want to be disloyal!

I decided to try Dr. W first, since she’s been my doctor longer and her office is closer to my office and whatever. November 16. Damnit! I was hoping (naively) to get in this week.

And then I wondered if I really needed an appointment. So I consulted Dr. Google and diagnosed my problem (runner’s knee) and then I scolded myself for diagnosing myself on the internet. So then I tried Dr. K, since he can be a teeny-tiny easier to get an appointment with. And landed an appointment for November 17. Grrrrrr.

It’s really too bad that I have such high standards for my doctors (blame my mom), because I’m really not interested in waiting.

If I blow out my knee, I will lose my mind. End of story.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Open house

I had been thinking about it for a few days before I finally had the courage to mention it to Mom yesterday.

Essentially, I wanted to offer my apartment up to my dad.

Which seems insane, I know. But it also seems really logical. He would have somewhere to stay, where he can be alone and figure out all of his shit. I can easily pack up my essentials within a few hours. There won't be any worrying about him signing a lease or getting furniture or whatever. And - honestly - I'd know that he was at least somewhat safe. I'm really worried about him right now.

To me, it seems like the best option. That way, Mom and Dad aren't rushing into anything one way or the other. They can take their time and figure out where to go from here. If it's living apart for a while and getting a lot of therapy? Fine. If it's just a place in the middle for my dad to stay while the figure out the financial and the legal stuff? Fine. It's just...well...most of this is out of my hand but I have this lease on this apartment and I absolutely do not have to stay here. And maybe it is crazy, offering to move out of my apartment for my adulterer father, but I'm trying to look at the bigger picture.

I thought that my mom would shoot down the idea right away, actually. But she seemed okay with it. So I emailed it to him. "Think it over, talk to your therapist and let me know if you want to do it." He said that he thought it would be a good idea and he'd let me know what the therapist thought.

This evening, he sent me a text message saying that his therapist said that it makes sense, as long as we communicate what is expected from each side, including time length.

So, apparently I'm moving out of my apartment this week.

And apparently I need to come up with a plan on how this is going to go down.

I'm thinking that he can stay through the end of March at the latest, because that is when my lease is up. But I think that we should probably make the decision on a month-to-month basis, touching base at the end of each month on whether he'll continue to stay in my apartment in the next month.

My mom says to me tonight "you know, you could tell him that if he wants to stay at your apartment, he has to quit Facebook." Facebook is how his affair started, yes, but I'm not sure that I want to dictate that. I sort of think that's something between him and his therapist. I don't know that I should be holding my apartment over his head for that. I don't know. Thoughts, anyone?

Any other brilliant ideas on what my expectations from him should be? Should I tell him that he can't have anyone over? Should I tell him that I'll be free to come over when I want?

My mom said to me tonight "you're giving up your house. You need to be sure that you're okay with this because it's a big deal."

Strangely, it doesn't feel like a big deal. It feels like the right thing to do.
 
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