Friday, December 31, 2010

Ready or not: 2011

I am ready, universe. I am ready for a great year. I am ready for a great love. I am ready for joy in spades. I am ready to be overwhelmed by the goodness that I see. I am ready for my big break. I am ready for my heart to feel so full that I fear it might burst. I am ready for magic. I am ready to share my talents. I am ready for adventure. I am ready for happy tears. I am ready for big expectations and bigger results. I am ready for a year that tops all years, filled with memories that top all memories.

I am ready.

I am ready for 2011. Bring it on.

Happy New Year, friends! I only hope that I can give you as much love and bring as many smiles to your faces in 2011 as you’ve given to me in 2010. I needed each and every one of you this year. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

2010 In Books

No matter how many books I devour over the course of the year (in 2010, it was a respectable 17), my reading list is always so much longer than the time that I can dedicate to indulging in book after book after book.

There’s a bit of comfort in knowing that I will never hit the bottom of the barrel, that I will never read everything. That I cannot and will not ever be finished.

I whittled these books off of my list in 2010:

  • An Off Year, Claire Zulkey
  • South of Broad, Pat Conroy
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson
  • Moose, Stephanie Klein
  • The Road, Cormac McCarthy
  • Home Safe, Elizabeth Berg
  • The Help, Kathryn Stockett
  • Chelsea Chelsea, Bang Bang, Chelsea Handler
  • The Beckham Experiment, Grant Wahl
  • Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert
  • The Girl Who Played with Fire, Stieg Larsson
  • Something Borrowed, Emily Giffin
  • Cum Laude, Cecily Von Ziegesar
  • Last Night at Chateau Marmont, Lauren Weisberger
  • The False Friend, Myla Goldberg
  • The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Stieg Larsson
  • Assholes Finish First, Tucker Max

Favorite: The Help
Made me laugh the hardest: Chelsea Chelsea, Bang Bang
Made me think the hardest: The Road
Took me longest to get through: Eat, Pray, Love
Book that I hesitate to admit that I read: Assholes Finish First
Theme of my 2010 reading list: when the going gets tough, the tough picks up a trashy book (see the Giffin, Von Ziegesar, Weisberger streak that occurred in the midst of a very challenging fall).

As always, I would love to hear your suggestions for great books that I absolutely must add to my reading list. And if you happen to be looking for your next fantastic read, maybe I can help! I am a professional, after all.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Spoiled: The 2010 Edition

I can't help myself.

I'm just going to embrace this and be a be a stupid-ass suburban brat and list my Christmas loot because it is a fun excuse to post a bunch of pictures and embrace my brattiness.



From Grandma and Grandpa: Tiffany Silver Ball earrings. I didn't ask for these. Meg asked for these. We both got a pair. I am very okay with it. It is my hope that my earlobes will grow accustomed to these beauties, because when I answer my phone, I smack them with the receiver and it feels not awesome.



Boots from my 'rents. I had been trekking around in the most pathetic pair of Ugg boots that you ever did see. Complete with a weird hole from where the suede got all mummified from the road salt. Very attractive. So now I have new boots to bum to and from work in.

(Yeah, we still wear boots like this here in the midwest. Trendy or not, it is cold and they are comfortable. Whatever. I'll put on my cute shoes when I get to work.)



Check. Out. These. Mugs.

Quite possibly my favorite gift of the season, my mom got me two of each of these Kate Spade mugs. The one on the left is called World Traveler and the one on the right is called Library Books, but I call them both incredibly perfect. Yay! Love.



My sister got me a new goalie helmet. Delicate and feminine, no?



Aunt Lynne bought each of her nieces a DSW gift card, along with a monogrammed cosmetics bag and some lotion.



I can finally listen to music on my runs again! It has been a long, long few months without a working iPod. I broke my old Nano last Thanksgiving, before moving on to (and subsequently breaking) an iPod Shuffle that my dad no longer used. It is my mission to keep this baby around for a while.



Cousin Danielle drew my name in our cousin exchange. I mentioned that I was wanting a pair of nude colored heels and, goodness, did she deliver! She picked up a pair similar to this (same color in a flat leather) from Aldo. ...after trying on and texting pictures of at least 12 other pairs to her very, very patient sister.



Scrabble Flash: the gift I bought myself! Every year at Christmastime, my boss collects gift cards from a bunch of his friends and donates them to a charity. Every year, one guy gets it wrong and drops off something that is, well, not a gift card. This year it was games. On Christmas Eve. It was too late to donate to Toys for Tots, so I took the Scrabble Flash at list price, sold the other game to a coworker, and bought the charity an additional gift card. Everybody wins!

Other gifts, not pictured but most certainly appreciated:
-GORGEOUS pair of earrings from Anna and Emma
-Remote start for my new car, from my dad
-The perfect frame for a print that I bought in Africa but couldn't ever get around to framing
-Black tweed mini skirt from my Aunt Annette
-A couple of cardigans (my favorite!)
-Flannel pajamas, a Christmas Eve tradition
-A fun gift bag from Aunt Louise and Uncle Ed, with goodies inside such as nail polish, a scarf, a reusable grocery bag, chocolate from France, dangly earrings and an ID holder thingie.
-Adidas track jacket from Anna and Emma
-The always-needed essentials: new camis, underthings and socks
-Starbucks gift card
-Massive amounts of Reese's Peanut Butter Trees, which I am so addicted to it is sad

And - wow - I really do sound like a spoiled bitch. I kind of am. Sigh.

For the record, though: I bought some really awesome gifts that I was really excited to give. (I'll bust those out in another post.)

Oh, and also I do know that the holidays aren't just all about gifts and greed.

That probably shocks you, but I swear it is the truth.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Boy, bullies

I’m not sure if I ever wrote about this when I was actually with Colin, so I’ll tell you the whole story.

His friends are awful to him.

Mean and awful and encouraging of only the worst behavior. And, I don’t know if it is because he has nonexistent self-esteem or what, but he never did anything about it. He just let himself be the constant butt of their jokes. He just took it.

I always thought it was a little pathetic. I mean, I’m all for some playful teasing. But when it is always focused on the same person, it loses the humor. It just becomes cruel. Colin never did anything about it, though, except drink too much and do stupid shit that just perpetuated it.

And it wasn’t like these were friends that he rarely saw, either. These were friends that he hung out with nearly every day. He worked with them. Or went to the bar with them every night after work.

He put himself out for their abuse every. single. day.

Like I said: pathetic.

I wasn’t shocked when I saw that his friends had created an ENTIRE WEBSITE – with a domain name and everything – to making fun of him.

(I can’t quite remember how I found out about it. Must’ve been through mutual friends on The Facebook. I haven’t seen him in years.)

On the website, they post awful pictures of him and they post random YouTube videos of ridiculous things and suggest that he’s done something similar. They write shitty things about him, which I presume that they think is funny. And of course there is a date request feature. OF COURSE.

I’ve known about the website for a few months, but I looked at it and proceeded to forget about it. It wasn’t on my radar at all. Until Sunday night, when I was driving downtown and saw – I am not even kidding, ya’ll – an enormous roadside advertisement for the website. Complete with pictures. Of Colin. Looking like a drunken tool. (Because that is what he is.)

I didn’t say anything to my mom or my sister and I kept trying to tell myself that I had most definitely imagined that. Whose friends dislike him enough to purchase advertising on which to humiliate him?

Colin’s friends.

As confirmed when I remembered what I had seen (it wasn’t until yesterday), surfed on over to Colin’s Website of Shame, and saw the pictures of his friends posing beneath the advertisement.

You guys. I dated – for MULTIPLE YEARS – a guy whose own friends don’t like him to the point that they spent their time, energy and resources making a webpage about all of the reasons that they don’t like him. And then they bought a FUCKING AD to illustrate it. Because the website itself wasn’t enough.

I’m tempted to call him or email him to ask him why he thinks so little of himself to keep such people in his life. To ask him where, exactly, the line is between being funny and being cruel. Because if it isn’t at a website, and it isn’t at a roadside advertisement...where is it? When they tattoo a penis on your cheek when you’re passed out?

Tempting or not, I’m not going to do it. He crossed way, way over my threshold of cruelty. He passed far beyond what I think is an appropriate way to treat another person. I owe him nothing. Not my shock. Not my sympathy. Not a dose of reality.

He isn’t my problem anymore.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A bad idea (maybe)

There are a lot of really cute boys who work for my company.

It is fortunate for both my sanity and my professional reputation that most of them work outside of my office. Or only work on a contract basis for a few weeks every year, like The Athlete. (Who didn’t come home from Europe this Christmas. Which kept me from getting all gooey about him, as I tend to do, and is probably a good thing.)

John worked full-time for my company for a few years.

Everyone knows that John is smoking hot. The guys who I work with are always teasingly saying things like “oh, that John, he is just so cute” or “pretty face, not much for brains” whenever John’s name is mentioned.

He was in a different office – working with my friend Ashley, actually – but we worked pretty closely. I always thought that he was a nice guy and a fun guy, but it wasn’t like we had much of a relationship outside of work. Like, maybe we went to the bar a few times. Whatever. He left the company about 18 months ago for an absolute dream job. He lives about three hours away and comes back occasionally – mostly in the summer and around the holidays – and does a bit of work for my company.

So, last week he was doing a little bit of consulting at the office just down the street from mine. I was at that building for one reason or another and I saw him from a distance. We waved and he sort of yelled to me that he would come over to my office to say hello when he was done for the day but he never did and I never thought twice about it.

On Sunday afternoon, I get a text message from him. Except that I didn’t know it was him because I drowned my phone this fall and never programmed his number back in. I assumed that he was texting me with a work question – he’s doing a little work for the company again this week – and I was wrong.

IT WAS A BOOTY CALL.

Or a booty text. Whatever.

That dirty whore was at a bar by where I used to live and was, essentially, inviting himself over. For various reasons – none of which involve clothes. Classy. And, of course, when I told him that I didn’t live nearby any more, he was not dissuaded. What’s a few extra miles when you’re trying to get in the pants of your ex-coworker-who-is-sort-of-still-your-coworker? Yeah. Awkward.

And tempting because, you guys, he’s REALLY, REALLY attractive. And tall. And personable. And maybe a little bit dumb but, um, I’m really not going to be administering any sort of IQ tests in that setting. If I was at home (I was at Mom and Dad’s) and didn’t have plans that night (we were going to see Dreamgirls)...well...who knows? Like I said: TEMPTING.

Instead of running off to rendezvous with Johnny, I sent a text message to Ashley because the least I could do was share the amusement with others. “OMG, YOU SHOULD SEE WHAT JOHN IS TEXTING ME.” Of course, she was all “make out with him! Do it!” I took her advice to heart. She is an expert. She made out with him shortly after they both quit their full-time jobs with my company. After he called. And invited himself over to her house.

Yes. This is apparently his thing.

Being a man whore is also his thing because, after he realized that he wasn’t getting any from me, HE STARTED TEXTING ASHLEY. Wanting to stop by for a visit.
I’m fairly certain that he must have decided to start at the top of his phone book and work his way down. Or see how many former coworkers he could seduce before the end of the year.

Whore whore whore.

And, yet, still really hot. And still really tempting.

He keeps texting me.

It is a very bad idea.

But I don’t often give in to bad ideas.

Which makes me think that it is a good idea.

(It still isn’t.)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy

Seeing Dreamgirls was way too much fun. The show and our seats and the music and the cast and the costumes were absolutely fantastic. Turning to look at my mom and seeing a huge smile on her face topped it all.

We bought her the Dreamgirls tickets for her birthday. Her birthday that was spoiled by lies and cheating and indiscretion. Every time her birthday is mentioned, we all cringe a little bit.

I’m so glad that something enjoyable – even if it was two months later – came from her birthday.

My dad took this week off of work and she’s between semesters. I guess they’re going to, like, hang out this week or whatever. I guess it is healthy.

She sent me a text message a few minutes ago. “Went to the dog park. Ellie and Blue are happy. Me, too.”

It made me teary. Because that’s all I want: for my mom to be happy.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Oh, Christmas

It was nice to have a Christmas like this.

One very, very low in drama. One very, very low in grief.

It's been a long time since we've had a Christmas like this. A relatively normal, relatively fun, relatively simple Christmas.

My mom worked her ass off. She hosted Christmas brunch with my dad's family, followed immediately by Christmas dinner with my mom's family. The house was full of relatives from 11:00 am until 11:00 pm and, honestly, I'm amazed that she was still standing. And everything was beautiful and delicious and, oh, just lovely. It was lovely.

The day was filled with cookies and snacks and coffee with Amarula (a cream liqueur we brought home from South Africa) and pictures and my silly cousins and, of course, presents.

As always, I made out like a bandit on the present front. ...I'll give you guys the full rundown on that later.

But the best part of the entire holiday was giving out the gifts that I had bought. Especially the book of old photos that my cousins and I made for my Grandma and Grandma. They were so pleased.

This morning, we were up early (again!) and out of the house for brunch at my grandma's house. It was nice to see my Chicago cousins - and Anna - one last time before they all left for home.

We're spending the afternoon lazing around Mom and Dad's house. Meg and I watched a few episodes of Modern Family before each indulging in a nap. Which was pretty much the best nap ever, as far as I'm concerned.

The holiday weekend will be wrapped up in style. In a few hours, Mom, Meg and I are heading off to the gorgeous Fox Theater. We're doing one of my favorite things - seeing a musical. ...Dreamgirls!

If I was a good blogging friend, I would have posted something earlier in the week wishing you all wonderful Christmases. But I know that you all had fantastic holidays, so I'll just tell you this: I simply cannot wait to read about your Christmas adventures and marvel at your holiday photos!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

95% perfect, 5% imperfect yet charming

So, about that interview

It wasn’t really like an interview. It was like a conversation with my boss and my boss’s boss with moments that were like – ahem! We will now ask you a serious question before we go off on another tangent and end up laughing about something that only we would know about because we’re already coworkers.

There was a question or two where I got a little tied up. One being when I was basically asked how to create world peace. ...well, the equivalent for my employer, anyway. I gave them an answer, but it didn’t exactly come out eloquently. I hate that. I hate when my mind is working faster than my words and it all comes out in a jumbled mess. But, that’s who I am. And they know who I am: passionate and fast talking and silly and smart.

And now I have nothing to do but wait. They interviewed a group of candidates today – including the guy who I consider to be my biggest competition (but who I happen to absolutely adore and think the world of and would totally want to make out with if he didn’t have a girlfriend and wasn’t my coworker). Due to the unfortunate timing of a vacation, they’re waiting to interview the second batch of candidates until the first week of January. I was told to expect a decision shortly after that.

So, if ya’ll wouldn’t mind crossing your fingers for the next two weeks, that would be huge.

Just for good measure.

To cover all of the bases.

A little good luck never hurt anybody.

...even if they didn’t need it.

Which I don't. (But would like anyway.)

I totally have this in the bag.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Residing at different ends of the spectrum

Answer this for me, friends: is it at all possible to be involved with someone who has completely different political ideals than you do?

Because there’s this boy who I know from soccer who is clearly harboring a great, intense, secret and passionate love for me (just a crush? Please. Like it is possible to only have a mere crush on me.). And he is, like, SuperConservative and I am so not.

Disclaimer: I have absolutely no problem with my friends and my family members who have different beliefs than I do. We coexist by agreeing to disagree, with a bit of healthy dialogue sprinkled in sporadically. I’m not completely intolerant or anything of the sort. I’m just a little hesitant to even give this guy a shot when – oh, I don’t know. ...when I know that he’s so outspoken about his political leanings, I guess.

So, I’m pretty liberal and he’s really conservative and, probably more significantly, he’s really involved in a lot of conservative/Republican organizations and he obviously strongly believes in what he chooses to believe. I totally respect that. I probably don’t agree with a lot of it. But I respect it.

Really, I do. If you care enough about an issue to put your time/effort/energy towards it, I think that is awesome. Even if I don’t think that the cause itself is awesome. Believing in something is awesome. Working towards what you feel will make your city/your state/your country better is a good thing.

But I have my doubts about how such a thing ever work out in the long run. Is it even possible? Should I even try?

I keep telling myself to give him a chance. But then he’ll post something on his Facebook that reads something along the lines of “conservativeconservativeconservativewhinyliberalsconservative, woo!” and then I cringe. And then I doubt myself. And then I chastise myself for having such a narrow mind.

Monday, December 20, 2010

My new job

I got the call today.

From our HR manager. Who I thought was my (very cool) boss. I answered the phone "heeeeeeeeeeeeeey, girl!" Yeah. It was only a little awkward. The establishment expects that from me. Silly enthusiasm. Yeah. It's an asset.

Anyway. The call. I got the call about my new job. The one that I am interviewing for on Thursday. The job that I will get.

I will get this job. I will get this job because I am smart and awesome and personable and enthusiastic and motivated and experienced. I will get this job because I am SUPPOSED to. I am. I believe it. This is the job for me. This is the job that I am going to get.

I will get this job. I will wow them in the interview. I will show them that they were wrong when they thought they couldn't like me any more than they already do.

(Speaking of the interview - do I have to wear a suit? It just seems a little...umm...disengenuine when they see me dressed for work regularly.)

I will be the candidate that they can't refuse.

I will be their first choice.

This job is my job. My new job.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Christmas Miracle

I get freaked out by Christmas. I don't try to hide it. When you have 19 bazillion things going on in your life, plus a family that is prone to major drama, plus a gift-buying phobia, plus the desire to bake every cookie known to man in order to celebrate the big day? It gets a little bit stressful.

Except for this year.

I am KICKING ASS this year.

Do you know what I've done? No. But I'm going to tell you. This is what I have done: finished (!!!!!) my shopping (except that I should buy something else for my day but, uh, whatever. Not his biggest fan these days), made approximately 8 dozen sugar cookies, hosted a sugar cookie frosting party with Colleen and Lucy, wrapped every present (except those that I'm waiting for delivery on), purchased/wrapped/gifted a very popular present for the random office gift exchange, and picked out the two appetizers I'm making for Christmas Eve.

It is The Christmas Miracle, my friends. I am so fired up about this. I am so excited not to be furiously wrapping presents five minutes before we leave for our Christmas Eve party. I am so thrilled that I will have no reason to stand in line at the bookstore for a half hour on the 23rd.

Not that I should be bragging. Not yet.

I have not made it through the family time. We have not dodged the drama. I cannot yet boast that we made it through the holiday without any punches being thrown (literally or verbally or otherwise).

Knock on wood for me, please.

And feel free to be jealous of everything I've accomplished thus far.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Get over yourself, self

I am crabby. I hate when I'm crabby like this. Especially when I'm crabby like this and it is on a Saturday night (which it is). Not only am I completely ruining my night, I'm completely ruining the ONLY night of the week that is not followed by a morning at work.

Suck. Sucky. Suck.

I spent my entire day waiting for a damn phone call to answer a simple f'ing question and, seriously, the effort that it would have taken to answer my question via return call or text is nonexistent. And now my Sunday morning is going to be a complete gong show. So irritating.

Also, watching my parents interact makes me insane. My dad follows my mom around like he is a puppy. And the incessant repetition of "I love you" is enough to make me tear my hair out. She gets it, bro. You've said it 19 times in the last 45 minutes. I know you're trying to make up for cheating on her for four months with a chubby lady with poorly dyed hair, but give it a rest. Please.

Lucy and Colleen are coming over tomorrow to frost Christmas cookies and I'm annoyed that my apartment isn't bigger/more awesome/actually a house. And I'm annoyed because I'm annoyed; I actually like my little apartment, I'm just self-conscious about it because I'm shallow and that is annoying.

This all started at work today. Obviously. It started with a hellish workday and a matching headache. Nothing awesome happened, PLUS I saw this little girl who was with her grandma and I'm pretty sure the grandma thought that she was dressing her granddaughter (who was about 5) in a cute pair of black leggings, but they were actually tights I could clearly see her little white underpants under her tights and it was horrifying. Even though the kid clearly had no idea and probably wouldn't care anyway. It was cold outside! Way too cold to be walking around without pants.

Missing pants. Headaches. I love yous. Phone calls that aren't returned. Today has been awesome. I'm going to bed.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

About Lucy

Lucy lost the baby. She found out last Wednesday; I found out last Thursday. When she left me a voicemail, telling me that she “didn’t get good news” at her doctor’s appointment.

I was – I am – awfully sad for her. But she’s barely mentioned it and I’m following her cues. She doesn’t seem to be aching to talk about it. To even tell me if she knew she was pregnant before she went to the hospital, to tell me what her three days of bed rest were like, to tell me if she’s sad or disappointed or over it.

And that’s fine. We don’t have to talk every subject to death. She’s always working through problems with me, but that isn’t usually how she works in her own times of crisis. We were in high school when her cousin died. She didn’t even tell me until after the funeral. Sometimes, that’s just how she is.

We’ve spent a good bit of time hanging out, though, and – while I know that she’d rather me not ask her directly – I’m confident that she’s coping okay. Which is really good. Because if I wasn’t? I’d be a mess. I am not graceful when I’m worrying about my friends and family.

We haven’t talked about it.

And that probably sounds pretty strange.

But that’s why Lucy is my best friend and not yours.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My life as a Christmas elf

For the last week, I've been obsessively putting together Christmas gifts on Shutterfly.

I placed the order tonight.

What.
A.
Relief.

When I do those types of projects, I can't tear myself away. The first problem is that I get so obsessed with the project that it is the only thing I can think about. The second problem is that, because I am obsessed with the project, I have a difficult time identifying when the project is complete and I should just send in the order already.

I put together calendars for my parents, one of our Africa trip for Meg and one for my grandma. And, for my grandma and grandpa, I put together a huge photo book of shots of the family out on their boat.

We've all spent many, many summer days out on Grandma and Grandpa's boat and we have the pictures to prove it. Through a lot of begging, a good bit of searching, one secret trip to the back of my Grandma's closet, I found (and subsequently scanned) enough photos to put together a really fun book.

I cannot wait to give it to them. ...although it is technically for all of the grandchildren and I probably won't get the credit that I deserve. (Do you guys have any idea how difficult it is just to get someone to look through their family photos?!)

Now that we've established that I am the best grandchild, I thought I'd share a few shots from Grandma and Grandpa's book.


Me and Grandma.


Anna, me and Meg.

We used to sit out at the front of the boat every night. It was quiet and the boat would gently rock and we'd wrap ourselves up in blankets and look up at the sky. So peaceful.

Attempting to put up a sail with Grandpa.

I must have been in high school when this photo was taken.

Out on the front of the boat again. Wrapped up in blankets again. This time during a sail. You probably can't tell, but we all have our lifejackets on underneath our blankets. As peaceful as the front of the boat is when it is at dock, it can be a wild ride to be up their when you're out on the water. We loved it. Waves splashing. Wind blowing. Awesome.

Aunt Marie, pregnant with Emma, and Anna.

Love this picture. Miss her.



The majority of the pictures are scanned, which makes me nervous to see the final product. Which is silly and unnecessary, really. Grainy pictures or not, Grandma and Grandpa are going to love it. Which is exactly the reason that I love it, too.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Something good from something bad

When we called off our trip to Vegas at the last minute, I didn't have much confidence that we'd be able to sell the concert tickets that Lucy and I bought this fall.

I listed them on eBay almost as soon as I got off of the phone with Lucy - for face value - and, as expected, didn't sell them. It was awfully close to the concert and there were quite a few others selling tickets to the show, too.

I considered relisting them on eBay for way under the face value. $100 is better than holding on to the tickets and getting nothing for them, right?

Wrong.

I decided to donate the tickets.

On a whim, I shot off an email to the Ronald McDonald House in Vegas, which provides housing to out-of-town families of critically injured or ill kids receiving care in the area. It was a long shot - it was already Wednesday - but I offered the organization the tickets if they had any parents/volunteers/employees who would use them.

I was so happy when I received an email back from a staff member, thanking me for offering up the tickets and taking me up on the offer. I was thrilled that someone could use the tickets. Excited that the tickets weren't going to waste. Grateful that my misfortune could give someone a nice night out that they wouldn't otherwise have.

I've donated tickets to my local House before. I get quite a few tickets to sporting events because of my job and, sometimes I just can't use them.

If you have a House in your area and tickets to an event: concert, ballet, baseball game or play and you can't use them? Offer them up. The effort that it takes to send an inquiring email and ship the tickets is hardly more than the effort you'd put into throwing the unused tickets away.

And throwing away unused tickets does not warm your heart.

Emails like this do:

"Thank you VERY much for the tickets... We sent a nice young couple to the show who are here because their unborn daughter has a heart condition that doctors would like to monitor closely until she is born! They were extremely excited to get such a nice treat and were so grateful for your generosity. I just wanted to let you know how appreciated it was!"

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Totally chic

My cousin, Danielle, has been back home for a few months now. At the conclusion of her last show, she packed up her things and came home to spend time with her parents while she plans her next move.

She's deciding between LA and New York and Paris and hanging out in the D in the meantime. Yeah. I know.

Her homecoming turned out to be really good timing, actually. Her dad had surgery, so she was able to be with him while he recovered. And she's been home for the entire holiday season, which she hasn't done since she moved to New York to go to NYU years ago. She's loving a holiday where she hasn't flown here, only to be home for 24 or 36 hours.

She's been keeping busy. Doing a little here and there, as you do when you're the artsy acting type. A one-act play here, a little choreography there, etc.

As you probably aren't aware unless you live here, Michigan has a burgeoning film industry. There's some huge incentives for filmmakers to shoot here and they've seen a huge rise in the number of movies shot here as a result.

So, Danielle is auditioning for some movie tomorrow. "And I'm supposed to look like a political staffer," she tells me on the phone this morning. "I don't have anything that here that is..."

Conservative enough to pass for something that a political staffer would wear. A political staffer or, say, her marketing-lackey-turned-librarian younger cousin.

Hahahahaha.

I am so lame and everyone knows it.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

On public service

It can fill your heart witih joy
This little boy – probably about five, with his mom, is walking towards a woman who is just leaving the used book sale. In each of her hands, the woman is carrying a grocery bag of books.

“Excuse me!” The boy says to the woman. “Do you need help with those bags?”

The woman laughed and smiled and thanked the boy, assuring him that she could handle the books.

As the boy and his mom continued walking, I could hear his mom praising him.
He would have none of the praise. “It feels good to give people a hand sometimes, Mom.”

It can make you blush
Tonight, a man, in a surprisingly non-creepy way, asks “are you Irish?” I was helping a couple who he came in with. “It’s just, with the blue eyes and the red hair – you have all the makings of a model.”

A model?

I have a new favorite patron.

And sometimes, you just end up calling the police.
As we did today, when a woman confronted a man who had been staring at her “for three hours.” It was a big ordeal. So glad it is over.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Quickly

...I sort of forgot what nights alone at my apartment were like. I'm not particularly lonely. But I am amazing at wasting time. Do you have any idea how many hours you can pass reading blogs and Facebook stalking without someone else to hold you accountable? (Or at least draw your eyes away from the screen every so often.)

...I left a care package on Lucy's door this morning. Magazines, a Sudoku book, soup, bread and candy.

...Lucy had a doctor's appointment this afternoon. Today was supposed to be her last day on bed rest. I asked her, when she sent me a thank you text for the care package (she still isn't calling me and it makes me equal parts sad and worried) to keep me updated. So, of course, nothing. That can't be a good sign.

...I turned in my big, bad job application yesterday. It felt so good to get it out of my hand. There's still a few days until it closes. I am certain that two hundred and one people will apply (literally), but I'm feeling calm about it. Until my interview is scheduled, anyway.

...DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT I SHOULD BUY MY UNFAITHFUL, CHEATIN' FATHER FOR CHRISTMAS? Besides a conscience, I mean.

...the rest of my Christmas shopping is humming right along, believe it or not. I know. I'm shocked, too.

...finally finished Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy!

...and, now, it is time for my bed and my next book.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The best deserves the best

Lucy is on bed rest for the next couple of days until her doctors figure out what is going on with her and I feel sick about it. I’m worried about her and scared for her and I’m frustrated because she’s not calling me to talk. She’s replying to my calls with text messages and, while I assume that she probably just doesn’t want to talk (and I understand and respect that), it is a hell of a lot easier to express your concern with your voice than with a keyboard.

I am trying to respect her distance. This might just be something that she wants to deal with by herself. But I’m tempted to express my concern in the following ways: bringing her food, bringing her books, bringing her DVDs, baking her Christmas cookies, taking Wolf to the dog park, calling her every five minutes and finding her the BEST DOCTOR EVER.

When it comes to Lucy and doctors, I get a little worried because I’ve always questioned how she randomly picked them out. I could be wrong, but it has always seemed like she’s up for seeing any ol' physician she comes across. And, in some cases, continues to see them even though she admits that she doesn’t like them. As a result, I am crazy worried that she isn’t getting the care that she needs.

Obviously, the doctor in urgent care isn’t exactly a specialist and, hopefully, she’s followed up with someone else. (She's not offering up this information. I'm not pushing for it.) I just know of her habit of choosing random doctors (like, she’s never seen the same OB twice in all the years that I’ve known her) and, fuck, I just hope she’s seeing someone who is good. Really good. Exceptionally good.

Due to my mom’s profession, I haven’t ever seen a doctor who isn’t phenomenal. My doctors get the awards and the accolades and the publications and the face time on the local “best of” lists. I get the best care, consistently. And that’s what I want for Lucy. But I have no place asking “is your doctor any good?”

I guess the best I can do is to offer my mom up for advice and referrals.

And bake her some cookies. I’m definitely baking her some cookies. I’ll leave them on her doorstep if she isn’t up for company. Just as long as I know that she has a ready supply of chocolate.

And maybe a good book, too.

Monday, December 06, 2010

So fresh and so clean

Okay, I feel slighted but I’m just going to force myself to get over this whole Vegas thing because obviously Lucy did none of this on purpose so there’s really no sense in feeling like crap about it. It happened. Our trip is cancelled. It is over.

The timing with how and when it went down was especially crappy. I was a bit of a mess on Saturday morning, long before she went to urgent care and, subsequently, decided that going to Vegas wasn’t a wise decision for her and her unborn child.

My dad moved back home over the weekend, you see, and that opened a damn floodgate of feelings. My moving in with mom and letting him stay at my apartment (did I ever confirm to you guys that we went through with that? We did.) was a drastic measure. I was doing what I felt that I needed to do and, as a result of that, I just sort of put my head down and plowed through. I just turned off my feelings and did exactly what I needed to get done. That was my survival mechanism.

With my dad moving back home, I allowed myself to pick my head up and look around. I had a second to breathe. I let myself feel. And, somewhat surprisingly to me, I wasn’t as okay as I had told myself that I was.

Couple that with being let down by your best friend – because, honestly, that’s how I feel. Not mad. Just let down – and that weekend turned out to be pretty shitty.

Not to mention, OMG THE AWKWARDNESS that was a phone call from my mother telling me that my dad would be spending the night. Like it was a bootycall that she needed to warn her roommate about. I died a hundred times over.

When I leave work today, I’ll call Lucy to see how she and the baby are doing. (Am nervous for her, being in urgent care so early on.) And then I’ll move back in to my apartment. Work on my cover letter. Start fresh.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

I'm happy and I'm sad

Lucy just called and awkardly told me that she's 5 weeks pregnant...and just spent the entire day in the emergency room.

The doctor advised her not to go to Vegas.

So I'm making phone calls to cancel our hotel room in Vegas and trying to get our concert tickets sold and making a really, really unsuccessful attempt at not crying because we're not going to Vegas and because, OMG, Lucy is going to be a mom and who the hell am I? I am nobody.

I am so happy for her. And I'm so sad. Not about Vegas. Well, a little about Vegas. And a lot about so, so, so many other things.

I just needed to get out of town. I just needed to get out of here for a little while.

Can nothing work out in my favor?

Confessions from another failed shopping trip

I am the worst Christmas shopper ever.

With as easily and as readily as I spend money on myself, you'd think that I would have some clue on how to purchase a gift for my friends and family. And you would be wrong. Because I suck at it.

This is how I go Christmas shopping.

I drive to the mall. In my head, I have a specific idea of what I want to buy or the store that I'm going to go for a gift for the recipient. And I assume that it will go well and that I will find The Most Perfect Gift In All The Land. And then I don't. And I fall apart (not in a public way, thankfully). And I end up with nothing.

I honestly thought that, this year, I had grown out of it. I went to the mall yesterday with high, high hopes. And good ideas! I was going to Talbot's to buy a few tops for my mom. ...she always likes their long sleeved t-shirts that have a bit of embellishment on them; they're good to wear under her lab coat. Once I knocked those off of my list, I would run by Macy's pick up a few trinkets for stockings and I'd be out of there.

Except the merchandise in Talbot's was TOTALLY not doing it for me.

And then I went to Macy's and I had no coupons with me and, at this time of the year, it is sort of foolish to buy anything without one of the 2,314 coupons that I left at home. So I didn't get anything there, either. And I'm not really sure what to buy for my friend/coworker, Maria. Or for my office random exchange. Or for my cousin Liz, who I pulled for our cousin exchange. And my dad. OMG. What the hell am I supposed to buy that asshole? (Snarky idea: a wedding ring. He h

Thankfully: I bought Meg's present online.
Thankfully: Lucy, Colleen and I don't exchange Christmas presents.
Thankfully: I went home from my unsuccessful shopping trip and found Liz an amazing present on Etsy. Etsy is the best.
Thankfully: there are only 11 days until the holiday; I have a very limited time frame in which to torture myself.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Plight of the hockey player and workin' girl

I have hockey on Thursday nights.

At 10:00. After I've worked 7:30 am to 9:00 pm. Under the best of circumstances, it's a rough night.

After a few Thursday mornings spent rushing around, I learned to pack my equipment in my car on Wednesday night. One less thing to do in the morning? Love it. So that's what I did last night. As soon as I got home from work, I dragged my bag out of my car and I threw it in my back seat.

It was quite cold today, so I knew that I was in for an unpleasant experience in the locker room. I would get to the rink early enough that my stuff could warm up a little. But it would still be cold. Cold equipment + warm body = awful.

What I didn't know was that, thanks to the rain the we received on Thanksgiving (um, yes, one week ago), my equipment was wet.

I reach into my bag expecting cold equipment. But I had no clue that I was reaching into cold, wet equipment. That I had to put on.

Yes. I put it on. My rainwater soaked, half frozen, disgusting equipment.

I had no choice! I'm the goalie! The only one!

We didn't even win.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Cover Letter I'd Like to Write

Dear Boss-Of-My-Old-Boss and Boss-Who-Has-Been-My-Boss-For-Two-Weeks,

Okay, so I know that I should write you a cover letter and whatever but, let me be honest about something here: I am in the last half of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Next and I cannot be bothered with this nonsense!

And who else would you want buying your entire adult fiction collection than a (cool, smart, punctual, personable, level-headed, AWESOME) girl who cannot be torn away from a book to write a simple cover letter?

See? I just made that decision simple for you. Please let me know when I officially make the transition to full-time staff.

Holla!
Aly

p.s. I am really good at buying things. (See: my credit card statement on a monthly basis.) Books in particular. (See: my overflowing bookshelves.)

p.p.s. Need I remind you that I've worked two jobs for the last year with little-to-no problems because I'm such a hard worker and I really like having a full plate? So, like, fill it up, baby. I'll be your workhorse! You're fun, adorable workhorse who does, um, a lot of work.

p.p.p.s. That wacky/scary girl who comes in and talks to herself told me that I was her favorite 'brarian. SEAL OF APPROVAL.

p.p.p.p.s. I own/wear many plaid skirts and cardigans. Looking the part is, like, 80% of the battle. And I'm totally up for getting a pair of glasses, if that's what you need to put me on the payroll at 40 hours a week.

p.p.p.p.p.s. Okay, listen. I need to get back to my book. You told me to apply for the job and grinned stupidly when I told you that I would. So, how about we skip the games (you are NOT Colin...or The Athlete...or The Groomsman or Luke or...every other guy I've ever been interested in) and you just f'ing hire me, okay? Okay.
 
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