Thursday, March 31, 2011

Control

Lucy and I went to dinner on Tuesday night. We met at her house, which is just a few minutes away from her office. She insisted on driving; I was too exhausted to put up much of a protest.

Just as we were pulling onto the expressway, she had a coworker call to talk. And talk and talk and talk. Lucy turned and mouthed an apology to me more than once. I just shrugged and smiled. No big deal. It happens.

Because she was talking on the phone and I couldn’t mention it, and because I hadn’t wanted to be neurotic and mention it before, Lucy drove into the Really Big Construction Zone that I’d heard about at least 20 times on the radio that day. And so we were stuck in traffic.

I knew that she had no idea about the construction. Not a clue. I was absolutely certain of it. Even though she most certainly drove past it on her way in to work that morning, she would have no idea. Because that’s how Lucy is and we’ve been friends long enough that I can anticipate that.

Normally, I would have warned her about it ahead of time. Or have interrupted her or given her hand motions or whatever. I didn’t bother. It didn’t matter. She was on the phone with her coworker. We were in no rush. We would get there eventually.

It was nice – even if it wasn’t the most productive use to time – just to sit back and let something happen for once. To resist the urge to meddle. To stop trying to control every damn aspect of every second of every day, regardless of how irritating it may make me or of how inconsequential it is.

I just sat there in the passenger seat and let the drive happen and let Lucy get us there. And she did! And we got our sushi. And all was right with the world. Even though I relinquished (an infinitesimal amount of) control. Go figure.



And, for the record, the sushi was totally worth the drive.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Quitter

I’m thinking about quitting my gym. I’ve been thinking about it for two years now, honestly. Because even though I pay something like $65 a month for the pleasure of working out there, I don’t think it is worth it. Not for me. For a mom who uses childcare and takes a few group fitness classes a week and utilizes the outdoor pool in the summertime? Sure. For me – with my usage basically limited to the treadmill, the locker rooms and a single yoga class per week – I’m pretty sure I’m wasting my money.

A few months ago, I read an article in the New York Times about how massive, corporate, everything-under-one-roof gyms like mine are suffering because people are approaching their fitness with more of an a la carte attitude. A yoga class here, a boot camp there, jogging outside when the mood strikes. Not only is it less repetitious, but it ends up being less expensive, too. That approach appeals to me. ...probably because that’s what I already do. The gym membership covers the jogging, but I throw in the soccer and the hockey and occasional trip to a yoga studio on top of that.

I like my gym. I like going to my gym. I’ve been going to my gym for five or so years now, so it obviously works for me. So making this decision is killing me a little bit. I know that I should do it, but I am comfortable and happy and making the right choice is not really all that fun.

I am also considering cancelling my cable TV. When I consider how much television that I watch, how often I DVR anything and whether I really need it: I don’t. End of story. I don’t. I basically pay for cable so that I can DVR Gossip Girl and Grey’s Anatomy. (I hear you can watch those shows on the internets!) The only other television that I watch regularly is the morning news while I’m getting ready. I don’t watch it – I can’t really justify paying for it.

I would rather not make either of these changes. As a matter of fact, I may not make either of these changes. I know that I should. I just don’t want to. I happen to quite like the status quo. I don’t want to deal with calling and having them try to talk me out of it and having the technician come to my apartment and all of that bullshit. I am lazy and I like things the way that they are and I think that I need an obscenely rich benefactor to fund my humble lifestyle so that I don’t have to bother with feeling guilty about wasted money.

And also so that I can travel more. And quit my jobs.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A list (is better than nothing)

Everything is crazy. Why is everything so crazy? I just want a normal day. A really normal day that consists of work and a trip to the gym and chocolate pudding and time to blog and a good book and a decent amount of sleep.

This is a list of what is crazy in my life:
a. my ability to keep track of my schedule. I’m normally very good at being in the right place at the right time. Give me 70 hours of work in a week and a few too many social obligations and all of a sudden I’m showing up for my soccer game an hour early. Did it last night. (Better than an hour too late!)

b. The Coach. He’s coming back home, like, soon. Like, within a few days soon. And now we find out if he is all talk, if I am all talk, or if we’re just going to make out and get it out over with. Or maybe make out and then make out some more.

c. work. Seriously, work, OMG. Sucktastic. This cannot continue.

d. finding new work when current work is so insane. I have an interview next week. Really excited about talking my way into coming in late on that day. Will I make it work? Yes, yes I will.

e. planning a European adventure with Liz. Have barely had time to look up airfare, let alone actually purchase a ticket, open the travel books I checked out from the library, research a weekend trip (we’re strongly considering Milan), ask for the time off, or really do anything except worry about whether I can actually afford this trip.

f. housing situation. Completely up in the air. Need to sign some sort of a lease, as mine is up on Thursday. Haven’t talked to my landlord. Haven’t found out how much my rent will be increased. Don’t know if I have an option of signing a shorter lease (6 months is sounding good) or maybe writing in an option of my getting out of my lease penalty free if I buy a house because – drum roll – my parents are all “you need to buy a house, we’ll help you buy a house” as of last Wednesday and I’m pretty sure I can’t buy a house before the end of March.

g. my decision making skills. I made a casserole when I got home from soccer last night. At 10:20 pm.

h. planning for summer soccer. Including jersey ordering, politicking, paperwork collecting, recruiting, nagging, emailing.

i. playing in a hockey tournament this weekend. Agreeing to sacrifice my weekend to hockey might have been the worst idea ever. Our first game is at 11:30 on Friday night. I wish that I was kidding about that.

j. a fun game of musical cars. I traded cars with my dad so that he could get my bumper fixed. I threw all of my hockey equipment into his car. When I got my car back last night, did I remember to grab my equipment out of his car? No. Now I have to find time to go home before Thursday night to pick it up. I seriously cannot win.

I am constantly sleepy and restricted to two cups of coffee per day and I am living on Ginger Cat Cookies from Trader Joe’s and I generally have absolutely no idea what is going on. But I managed to put on a really cute pair of shoes today, so I’ve got that going for me. Not all is lost.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I'd like a retake, please

I went to a concert tonight in A2.


(Can't wait to scrub that off in the morning.)

There's nothing like being in that town to:
a. make me feel old as hell.
b. rekindle my college regrets.

I wasted 17-22. I wasted my years in college. I stood in that venue and looked around at the college kids and all I wanted to do was jump back to 2002, grab prim and proper 20-year-old me by the scrawny shoulders and scream in her face. "Have some damn fun!" I'd yell. "Stop it with all of the worrying! College is allowed to be enjoyable!"

It has been almost seven years since I was last an undergrad and, still, I can't figure out why I was wound so tightly. Why I was so insecure that I couldn't be me, I couldn't pretend to be anyone else, I couldn't make good friends, I couldn't have fun, I couldn't excel.

I can't be the only one who has a period in her life that she would like to relive.

It's just such a shame that my period of regret was college.

I mean, really. I'm missing a lot of stories of young drunkenness and I have nobody to blame but myself.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

70 hours of fun

I want my life back.

I did the calculations last night and then I understood why I sort of wanted to cry and sort of just wanted to crawl into bed for all of eternity: by 5:00 pm on Sunday, I will have clocked 70 hours of work in six days. Not just 70 hours of work – 70 hours of pretty intense, deadline guided, high energy, this shit is completely out of control, no time for lunch, crazy, hectic slave labor. I am exhausted.

Good thing that, back in February, I volunteered to work extra hours at the ‘brary both today (I’m staying a few extra hours) and tomorrow (four hours of additional joy).

I apologize for whining.

To give it to you vaguely (but perhaps a little less vaguely than I did on Wednesday): I work in sports. Which honestly sounds more glamorous than it is. (I honestly have to explain to people who are like “OMG, THAT IS SO COOL AND FUN YOU ARE SO LUCKY” that it is exactly like any other business and, while the subject matter may be exciting [to some], the bullshit work and politics is still bullshit just like it would be in any other business. The only difference is that, because the perception is that you’re working in what you love [everybody wants to work in sports, right?] then they have the right to pay you a very paltry salary. Not cool.) So, anyway, there was a big announcement of a completely unexpected nature and then – chaos! And my work nemesis is the point person of a Big Huge Event which means, unfortunately, that I’m spending a lot of time cleaning up his messes. It’s really great.

(Also, let me point out the working in sports is the best, fastest way to take all of the enjoyment out of whatever sport that it is that you work in. Don't talk to me about it. Don't suggest we watch it.)

Pouring salt in what is my work wound was my charming mother who, when I stopped at home last night, passed along all of my 2010 tax goodies from my account-slash-Dad’s-best-friend. “I was looking at your W-2 forms before I passed them along to him,” she says to me, “and I felt so sad. I said to your father ‘she works so hard and she makes so little money.’”

Thank you for pointing that out, Mother. Your observation is especially helpful in the midst of a 70-hour workweek.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Days like today

One day, I’ll miss this.

I’ll miss days like this, when the air in my office is thick with anticipation. When I get text messages, emails, phone calls. “Rumor has it that...” “Did you hear anything about...?”

Days where you don’t get anything done. Momentous days that are killed of all productivity. Unless quiet whispers in the hallway count as productive.

Days of press conferences and press releases and big news and back stories and movement and shock and secret and progress. Days where you feel a little bit more important for what you do and who you do it for. Even though you’re the same person you are every day: the same person who grudgingly answers the phone at her desk, who bites her tongue too often, who lost the love for this a long, long time ago. Except for on days like today. There’s still a little love for days like today. The excitement still feels fresh.

One day, I’ll miss days like this. I’ll miss the excitement like this.

Admittedly, today was fun.

But not that fun: when I got home, I started working on job applications.

I will miss days like this. But I’m very ready to.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Average Al tries to play it cool

Footie game last night.

I was largely able to avoid Colin last week, but this week he was right there -
ALL OF THE TIME - like a damn Wal-Mart greeter. Or like he's campaigning to be the bloody Mayor of Fútbol. No, I do not want to say hello to you. No, I don't want to listen to you kiss the ass of the people who do say hello to you. And, if you can manage it, please stay away from the field I'm playing on. You really don't need to watch.

...even if I am completely kicking major amounts of ass, which I was. (I've still got it!)

So, I mostly ignored him. Which is mature, of course. But I don't strike up conversations with many people who I come across who are in similar roles to his (see: Zamboni drivers, personal trainers at my gym, etc.). I'm just not very friendly.

My fascinating analysis of yesterday:
  • He's gained weight. Lay off the beer, yo.
  • Unless he's a complete idiot (a distinct possibility) he probably figured out that I have no interest in associating with him.
  • I'm a little surprised at my disinterest in even saying hello. Doing so seems pointless and fake and, instead of doing that, I'm just going to go in, do my thing, and leave. Discussions and niceties need not apply.
  • Playing late is always brutal because, when I get home, I'm really REALLY awake and I want to eat copious amounts of melted cheese.
  • I think I'm going to take my cousin Liz up on her suggestion of a holiday in Switzerland. Doesn't that sound romantic? A holiday in Switzerland.
  • My boss has decided to give me a new nickname: Average Al. It's doing great things for my self-esteem.

Monday, March 21, 2011

European Adventure

My cousin Liz is working in Lausanne, Switzerland for the entire month of May. She emailed me and Meg last week, making the strong suggestion that we come for a visit while she’s there. Free hotel in Switzerland, plus a weekend jaunt somewhere else fun, occurring during a time where I could feasibly skip out of work? Okay!

Meg can’t go, which makes me feel like I shouldn’t go, which makes me a loser. I probably shouldn’t plan my life around her school schedule. Or around her. (Wouldn’t this be great fodder for therapy?) (She would want me to go, right?)

I’m also not convinced that I should be spending the money. You’d think that, with two jobs, I’d feel like I have plenty. But I never feel that way. (Is it always going to be like this? Being an adult f’ing sucks.) And, while I’m sure that I could make it work, my fiscally responsible evil twin is all “dude, save money for the down payment on a house.”

I would be on my own during most of the days of my trip (Liz will be working), so we would just have the evenings to hang out and then our little weekend side trip an undecided destination. Suggestions? Advice? Do I go? Do I not?

I really like the idea of this but there are times when my heart gets ahead of my head. Like, most of the time. Like, I’m pretty much assuming that I’m going to go to Europe, meet a dashing foreign man, move to Denmark and raise little blue-eyed babies. But, maybe I could just slow down a little bit and check ticket prices and see if my boss will give me the time off of work.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hibernation

It is raining.

A slushy, frigid rain. There was a touch of hail earlier.

I went out in my soccer sandals. My yoga pants dragged in the puddles. Cold and messy.

I loved it.

My feet outside of my boots. My neck free from a scarf. It felt like what it is: the earliest of spring, still teetering on winter, full of new and fresh and possible. It felt like relief.

It is never something that I notice when I'm in the midst of it. I don't realize how miserable the wintertime is until we emerge from it. I don't recognize how little I care about everything. I don't realize that I was just hanging on. Going through the motions. Waiting for spring.

This winter felt especially long. This winter felt like it started in September. When I first hacked into my dad's email. When I first realized that he was cheating on my mom. It might as well have snowed then. I might as well have needed a scarf and gloves. That is when my winter started. That is when I started going through the motions. That is when I put my head down to protect my face from the wind, when I started plowing through, when I went through the motions.

When I look out my window now, I can see the grass. I can fathom stepping out my door and going for a run. I am planning for summer soccer. I paint my nails. I flirt with boys. Soon, I will wear a top that is not a sweater. Soon, I will dig the sunscreen out from under my sink.

Six months is a long time for an unrestful hibernation.

But on the other side, the sun seems so, so bright.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Travel Thursday: South Africa Day 11, part 1

We took a half-day tour of Johannesburg and Soweto the morning after the USA/Ghana game. It was not ideal. We were exhausted. But we were also rapidly running out of time.

It was now or never and we chose now.

The tour itself was a little corny. Our tour driver used the phrase "my friends" like it was going out of style, so he sounded like he was reading from a script. Which he probably was.

"And now, my friends, we will see Nelson Mandela's house up here on the right."

Which we did. (We were in the car - no pictures.) Nelson Mandela is such an inspiration.



We drove way up into the hills and looked over Johannesburg. It was cold and sunny and beautiful.



I really wanted to get to Soweto during our trip. Not because I wanted to gawk at those who are less fortunate than me (I was afraid that the tour would feel like that), but because I am fascinated by the history of Soweto.



At one point in the tour, we did get out of our vehicle and walk through a neighborhood. It was, indeed, interesting and I did, slightly, feel like I was just a Rich American who asked her tour driver to take her to see the Poor Africans.

But I also felt like we got a glimpse - a tiny, powerful glimpse - of the spirit of the people who live in Soweto. It was humbling and beautiful.



I had packed a bag of Tootsie Roll Pops and handed them out to the children. I was initially shy to take them from my bag. Afraid to look like the Rich American bringing the candy for the Poor Africans. Maybe that's what I looked like. But the kids all smiled and that made me happy.



Back in our tour bus, we were taken to Vilakazi Street. Nelson Mandela lived on Vilakazi Street, as does Desmond Tutu. It is the only street in the world that is home to two Nobel peace prize winners.

We also went to the Hector Pieterson Museum for a short while. The museum, which was small and lovely, gave us a great perspective of the events that occurred in Soweto in June, 1976, a pivotal point in the fight against apartheid in South Africa.

The entire Soweto tour was sobering and haunting and I am so, so glad that we went. We learned so much about the cultural, social and racial history of South Africa and the whole day has stuck with me. The safari animals were awe-inspiring and the matches were amazing, but the trip to Soweto changed me a little bit.

My heart felt like it was going to burst when I overheard Meg - who has never been much for museums or history or the like - tell someone the story of Hector Pieterson. Soweto changed her a little bit, too.

So Midwestern, So in the Kitchen: February

Statement that doesn’t need to be made but I’m making anyway: I love food. Food is my favorite.

I’ve never needed a huge variety in my food intake. I decided that I like something (avocados, for example) and I want them at EVERY meal, EVERY day. I do not care that I have consumed the desired food every day for a month. It tastes so good to me that it does not matter. When I fall in love, I fall in love hard.

As a result – even though I love a huge variety of food, I’ve never prepared myself a huge variety of food. Why bother? I love what I love and I know that I love it.

My resolution to make one big meal every week is pulling me out of my comfort zone. While I didn’t resolve to make something different every week, I haven’t succumbed to any repeats just yet. Digging up new recipes is a fun challenge.

I rolled out February with Week 1's cheesy, melty, heavenly goodness: Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Rice Casserole from Iowa Girl Eats. Far from the healthiest meal I’ve ever consumed, it was a brilliant choice for the sub-zero, sick-of-winter early February that we were enduring. It made me happy.

I went a bit lighter in Week 2, choosing a Tortellini Soup recipe that I found at Tasty Kitchen. I made the soup with whole wheat tortellini, which I’m pretty sure cancelled out the cheesetastic week prior. I even resisted serving it with the cheese on top. (Okay, that might have been because I forgot. Every time.)

In Week 3, I made Spinach Manicotti. The whole thing fell together quite seamlessly: the recipe was already printed, I had fresh spinach leftover from the Tortellini Soup and a jar of pasta sauce that I wouldn’t use otherwise. Fabulous.

Not related to my resolution, but in Week 3, I made Colleen this Chocolate Truffle Cake (also from Tasty Kitchen) for her birthday. Colleen never likes any of the cakes that I put all of my time/effort/deluxe chocolate/heart/soul in to, so I decided to go with something simple. Best idea ever. And the cake was actually quite delightful. I love cake.

Just prior to Week 4, I was flipping through Everyday Food and found Shells with Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpeas and Ricotta: a pasta recipe that was made just for me. Seriously, it was. So many of my favorite things, with a dollop of ricotta plopped on top. Ricotta! How is ricotta so awesome and versatile and delicious?

This was probably my favorite recipe in a month that, honestly, was filled with a lot of winners. I even flagged the recipe for my grandma when I came across her copy of Everyday Food. Yum.

February was certainly a success in the kitchen. I was fat and happy and eating something other than a stale granola bar for lunch and, honestly, that’s really all I need.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A lot happens in 36 hours

Call me an overachiever if you must but, honestly, I hate going 36 hours without blogging. Especially in the middle of the week. Especially when I have things to blog about and no time to write them down.

Monday. We'll start with Monday. I saw Colin. I saw Colin from the field - he was standing on the sidelines, talking to my soccer friend, Nate. After the game, Nate says to me, "so, I talked to your ex-boyfriend. He says that he misses you." I gave him a dirty look. He changed subjects. I'm pretty sure he was just kidding.

I wanted to go home, but I sucked it up and met the Greek Lawyer at the bar. It was...a lot more decent than I thought it would be. He was slightly less arrogant than I imagined (I know him from soccer, where he's very competitive) and kind of fun and easy to talk to and I just might give him a chance.

...while keeping The Coach in the picture. Because he's fun. Or he's going to be. (I've been talking this up since the beginning of the year, I do realize this.)

I started a new book. Had a nice, unexpected dinner with my sister and my parents. Made plans to go to yoga but didn't. Had plans to get to bed early but didn't. Ate a piece of carrot cake. Found out that Colleen isn't eligible for unemployment - made the conscious decision not to freak out and not to try to fix it. Had my workload doubled on what may be the busiest week of the year, courtesy of whatever bug my coworker Maria caught. If she isn't better by tomorrow, I may have to call in to the 'brary to cover for her. Such is life. If the library needed me around so badly, they'd give me health care and 40 hours/week on the clock.

It's been a little crazy around here, but it hasn't been bad. I'm not complaining.

I'm not wearing green tomorrow. Just throwin' that out there.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Blame it on the bleach

I do NOT know what happened this weekend, you guys, but it was epic.

First, on Friday, I got my hair cut and highlighted. And my by highlighted I mean, like, bleached. Significantly blondified. I had some feelings about it, I wrote about it. I am happy to report back that my hair curled much nicer yesterday, so I’m no longer drinking so much of the haterade. Is just going to take some adjustment.

I leave the hairstylist and – as I already mentioned – I rear-ended someone. Not my finest moment. Not at all. Thankfully, the dude had a sweet trailer hitch on his truck and, as a result, I only ended up looking like a jackass instead of looking like a jackass and damaging his car. (I ended up with a sweet hole in my bumper. My dad will cash in a few favors and take care of it. Major perk to having a family member so entrenched in the automotive industry.)

I decided to blame my little accident on my new hair.

I am also blaming my new hair for the shit show that was Saturday night. I was invited to three different outings at three different bars. Lucy was one of the invites and she seemed to really want me to come out with her. And, I’m sorry and I should probably diversify, but I’m not one to turn Lucy down. Or Meg. But I didn’t go out with Meg. I went out with Lucy, one of her cousins and two of the cousin’s friends.

So, Lucy and her cousin have another cousin who in this death metal band (I’m not even kidding) and they wanted to go to his concert and so I went along for the ride. And got RIDICULOUSLY drunk. What the hell? I am not exactly sure why, 4 or 5 shots in, nothing like, oh, maybe my BRAIN kicked in and reminded me that I was totally making a mistake. No, I just kept drinking.

Fast forward to 3:00 am and Lucy’s husband Chet is driving us home. I’m wearing Lucy’s cousin’s friend’s shirt (who, strangely, was friends in high school with my cousins Danielle and Liz) and wishing that I was dead. (There was most definitely a vomiting situation somewhere in there.) I am so classy.

Yesterday was okay, all things considered. There was this terrifying moment in which I forced myself to look in my phone to see what text messages I’d exchanged with The Coach over the evening. Considering the nature of texts that he sends me, I was more than a little scared. So much so, in fact, that I sent him a text begging him to erase his memory of any of the text messages I had sent him on Saturday night. I sent it to him prior to working up the nerve to scroll up to see what I had sent him. My worry was unnecessary, it turns out. I was surprisingly coherent and only mildly inappropriate. Which is totally what I am when I’m sober, anyhow.

And this morning, of course, my iPhone alarm clock didn’t go off – I don’t know why I didn’t even consider that alarm clock glitch that happened at the beginning of the year. But I had no alarm (or maybe I totally slept through it) and that was not cool.

My weekend of not cool things is apparently going to spill into my week and that is also not cool. Because, as of tonight, I’m starting to play in a soccer league that Colin runs (AWKWARD TIME!) and also I’m supposed to drop by the bar to see that Greek lawyer dude who I’m pretty sure I don’t like (am so not drinking tonight - or ever again) and also The Coach’s team had a big win yesterday and, because of it, he’ll be in town all weekend. Is kind of a big deal and I don’t think he’ll have time to see me anyway, but I will still fret about it because that is what I do.

My life has turned into a complete gong show.

And I’m blaming it all on the new hair color.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hair drama

I learned a lesson yesterday. That lesson is called Don't Take Your Hairdresser's Last Appointment of the Week.

Because you'll end up with very, very blond hair. And then you'll rear-end someone on your way home.

I told you guys how badly I needed my hair cut. I haven't had so much as a trim in at least 9 months. My hair, it did not look so good.

As I usually do when I go to see my hairdresser in the fall/winter, I asked her to put in a few highlights. Otherwise, my winter hair is a flat, mousy color and it is not so adorable.

So, she put in highlights. And by highlights, I mean she dyed my entire head.

There is no red left in my hair.



As you can tell by this fancy bathroom shot, I was a little confused.

(That isn't the coat I bought this week.)

(That is the iPhone case I bought a few weeks ago.)

My hair was also shorter than I asked for. I didn't want to go as short as she did - just because soccer season is coming up (ponytail ease) and I'm in Maria's wedding this summer (updo ease).

It looked fairly cute when she blew it out, so I figured that I'd be okay.

And then I took a shower this morning and wore it curly (saving me a good 40 minutes of styling - which is why I don't straighten my hair on a regular basis) and, um, this is how it looks.



Blech. It's just, uh, not so cute. Hopefully today's humidity made it worse than it really is. Hopefully I can figure out what I need to do to style it. Hopefully I'm just being dramatic and it doesn't look quite as horrible as I'm afraid that it does. (Seriously, though, look at my hair in that second shot. It sort of makes me look like I have a Golden Retriever's ears.)

Friday, March 11, 2011

I have a crush on a job poacher

As I said before once or twice or 319 times, there aren’t a lot of jobs in my field in this area and it sucks but that isn’t what I’m writing about today.

Because the jobs that are posted are so few and far between, when a job is posted, it is almost always a topic of conversation around the office. I’m always dragged into them because I have a big sign on my back that says Works Part Time, Is Miserable.

On Tuesday, my coworker, Matt – Matt who STOLE MY JOB (oh, wait, it was never mine) and who I would totally make out with if he wasn’t my coworker and didn’t have a girlfriend because he has nice brown eyes and the perfect personality and is adorable – is all “hey, did you see that job posting?”

Um, yes. Obviously. Did you forget that you STOLE MY JOB and that I am clearly still looking for a new one because working two jobs isn’t all sunshine and roses?

“I’m thinking of applying for it,” he tells me. “It’s closer to my house.”

That fucker. Steals my job and then goes and applies for the next damn job that I’m interested in because, seriously, maybe he could make a whole career out of poaching jobs right out from under me. What if I finished second to him again? That would kill me. And I would want to kill him. Yet, I wouldn’t even be able to stay mad at him because he is so cute and smart and funny and charming. And also because maybe I could get his sloppy seconds and end up in the original job he STOLE FROM ME, which I should have gotten in the first place (he’s great, but I am still more awesome).

I’m going to cheer for him a tiny bit. (I mean, I would like his job if he decides to leave it.) But I will cheer for myself at a significantly higher volume. Until my throat is raw and my elbows have tendonitis from shaking my pom poms. Until I get that damn job and I can throw it in his face and then, since it is so close to his house, stop by for frequent visits.

...once he gets rid of the girlfriend.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Magic at the mall

I need a new winter coat. My current go-to winter coat (not going to lie – I have a couple others on standby: the Wear Around Christmas coat and the Wear When It Isn’t Brutally Cold coat) is looking less than magnificent. Shabby, even. Time to trade it in for something new.

(Coats and jackets are among my favorite accessories. I don’t know if I have the right body type to sport outerwear or if I’m just too unstylish to wear cute normal clothes so that I have to express my fashion via coats or what, but I own a lot of cute coats and jackets. Like, probably too many.)

I’ve been meaning to make my way to hunt for an end-of-the-season winter coat bargain treasure for weeks now, but I couldn’t manage to get there. Until last night. I literally walked into Macy’s, turned to my right and there was my coat in all of its adorable glory. I pulled a few others off of the rack, just for good measure, tried them all on and – viola! – the first coat was obviously cute and obviously a perfect fit and obviously a steal of a deal. I danced to the register, broke out a $20 off coupon and I am now the proud owner of a darling new winter coat.

The associate who rang up my purchase was really impressed with my coat. “Such a good price,” she purred in an Eastern European accent. I told her that had been meaning to stop in for a new coat for weeks and I was afraid that they would have taken all of their winter coats off of the floor. “We take them out tonight,” she tells me. “Good that you came today. Tomorrow, they would be gone.”

And that, my friends, is shopping serendipity.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Resolution Recap: Month 2

Two month slump? Not exactly. The resolutions that came easily in January are still coming easily. The resolutions that were a struggle are still a struggle.

2011 Resolution #1: drink more water and less coffee.
Like last month, I was spotless when it came to limiting myself to two cups (or less) of coffee. I still want 7 cups per day (so warm and delicious and perfect in this endless winter), but I don't drink 7 cups per day, and that makes me feel like a winner! ...and also like I'm not having an anxiety attack/cardiac episode come approximately 4:00 pm every workday, which I appreciate.

I'm still not great about getting all 64 ounces of water in over the course of a day. I start drinking water too late in the day every single day and you'd think that I would learn. But I don't, and at 2:00 or 3:00 or 4:00 pm every day I'm like "ahhhhh! I have a shit ton of water to drink!" And, while I was good at sucking down all of that water in January, in February I was more likely to decide that I didn't feel like spending the second half of my day peeing every 12 minutes and just didn't drink the water. Bad girl. Too easy to fail. Must reform.

(You'll be happy to know that I'm drinking water as I write this.)

Grade: B+

2011 Resolution #2: run a half marathon in under 2:00.
I don't think that I'm going to have a chance to squeeze in a springtime half marathon, which means I will be giving this one shot, in October. Yikes.

My everyday hop-on-the-treadmill-at-the-gym runs are consistently longer than they've been in the past, so I guess I'm making some progress, even if it is immeasurable.

Grade: Incomplete

2011 Resolution #3: make one big meal every week.
Knocked this out of the park for the second straight month. I still find this resolution fun, I still find this resolution fairly painless and I am still astounded that I went so long being so unmotivated in the kitchen.

Like last month, I'll throw my February recipes into a post of their own.

Grade: A

2011 Resolution #4: complete the list of fun that Lucy and I created in January.
In February, we crossed another item off of our fancy, ambitious, awesome list. Lucy, Colleen and I got together at Lucy's house on a Sunday morning and frosted Valentine's Day sugar cookies! And they turned out absolutely adorable, if I may say so myself. I baked up the cookies the weekend before and popped them in the freezer (I did this the last time we frosted cookies together and it was fabulously convenient and kept my weekend from being completely monopolized by this cookie project) so that we could concentrate just on making our cookies pretty. Which they were.



I brought the cookies into work on Valentine's Day, and I was absolutely shocked at how quickly they were gobbled up by my coworkers.



I filled up this plate at least three times, and my reserves were gone by the end of the day. Which thrilled me. You make cookies so that they're eaten, after all.

Grade: A

2011 Resolution #5: be more positive.
Oh, I don't know, you guys! When I made this resolution in December, I was in the middle of this Rah-rah! Positive Polly stage and I don't know if that level of positivity is sustainable in the long run. If it is, please let me know. And also forward me specific instructions on how to maintain a consciously positive demeanor. Not that I was in a pathetic heap of sadness and pessimism in February -- I was just, oh, I guess I was just like I always am. Well, like I always am with a new found awareness that I shouldn't spurt out overly negative "OMG, I will never get a new job" "there is no man in the world who would marry me" bullshit, whether I genuinely believe it or if I'm just kidding around. So, that's a start, but I would like to be a little more deliberate in my positivity.

Grade: B

2011 Resolution #6: be a better blogger.
I used to be able to read through all of my blogs every day and that was awesome. Now I'm limited to reading blogs two or three days a week, and I really wish it didn't have to be that way. But, in the interest of keeping my job(s) and getting ample sleep every night, that's the way it has to be. So, I'm a commenting fool those days and silent on the others and - whatever, it is what it is.

I've started sucking at replying to comments on my own blog, which pisses me off because it isn't like it is hard and it isn't like I have nothing to say in response! I just happen to read the comments at the wrong time (when I'm at work, usually) and don't have time to respond right then and, if I don't respond right then, I don't respond and I don't want to do it like that any more because I love your comments and I value your comments. So I'm going to come up with a system, and it's going to be a good system. Yep. That's the plan. The plan for the plan.

Grade: C

2011 Resolution #7: get my finances in order and keep my finances in order.
I'm pretty sure I'm spending like less of an idiot in 2011, but I don't know for sure because apparently checking my mint.com account on a regular basis it too taxing on me.

Grade: B-

Monday, March 07, 2011

Wreck

I’m worried about Colleen.

To put it bluntly: Colleen has always been a mess. It is how she is – messy, courtesy of her own bad choices and a touch of mental illness and a strange relationship with her parents and a strong lack of motivation and shitty self-esteem and, goodness, I could go on forever.

She found this new boyfriend in September and was living with him in November and she is happy with him and I respect that. Do I think that she could do better? Yes. Do I think that she deserves more than a guy who spends most of his days getting high and playing World of Warcraft? Yes.

He works for his family business and, due to the nature of the business, he doesn’t work in the winter. (Apparently his family doesn’t know if they’ll have enough work to hire him back in the spring, which gives you an idea of how steady his paycheck is.) So he honestly stays at home every day and gets high and plays his video games and, oh, have I mentioned that he has some sort of a social anxiety disorder? They don’t go out in public. Ever. Like, they’ve never been to a movie together and they’ve been out to dinner together less than five times and the grocery store is too overwhelming so he buys his groceries at the pharmacy. I am not even making this up.

Needless to say, we haven’t seen much of Colleen since September. She holes herself up at the house with the boyfriend and, seriously, if that makes her happy then so be it.

Colleen works part time as a receptionist at an automotive repair shop and takes one class per semester at the community college. Her dad also works at the automotive repair shop. Well, he did, up until a few weeks ago when he was fired.

Colleen put in her two weeks shortly thereafter because it was too “uncomfortable” for her to work there after what happened with her dad and I guess her boss was sort of understanding about the whole situation and agreed to technically lay her off, so that she can collect unemployment while she looks for a new job.

She lives completely hand-to-mouth as it is. (Like, she couldn’t come to Lucy’s for dinner one night because she didn’t have money for gas. Lucy lives 10 miles away.) I can’t figure out how she’ll make ends meet while sitting at home and collecting unemployment. I don’t have a lot of faith that she’ll land a job right away. She doesn’t even have a résumé. Or a college degree. Or much motivation. And we don’t exactly live in an area that is wealthy in job opportunities.

She chose this. She chose to leave her job and sit at home every day with her boyfriend, who will be high and playing video games.

And also she’s passively trying to get pregnant.

I am witnessing a train wreck. There is nothing that I can do to stop it.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Missed connection

I didn't see The Coach today.

It was mostly my fault.

He'll be back in a few weeks. And back 'til the fall a few weeks after that.

All is not lost.

But the reason that I did not see him is 98% my fault - crappy communication and The Coach assuming that I was too busy to see him - and I am bummed.

In the meantime, I will make that appointment to get my hair cut. And get to the gym. And find something cute to wear. And convince myself that a girl like me could be with a boy like him.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Awkwardness and Preparedness

You crazy kids who are telling me to make out with The Coach will be thrilled.

The Coach will be in the area on Sunday. I don’t know why and I don’t know when exactly. I just know that he’ll be a half-hour from my house and expects, I think, to see me at some point. Which I am not at all opposed to and which I am also not at all prepared for.

Yes, prepared. I am that neurotic. In my head, I was going to have more advance notice and wouldn’t have already made plans with Lucy that day and wouldn’t have had the entire week before dogsitting for my parents and I definitely would have made the long overdue appointment for a haircut and also would have gone to the gym once during the week leading up to the main event. And I would probably have something cute to wear, too.

Much to my chagrin, the preparations will be minimal, if not entirely nonexistent. I’m leaning towards nonexistent, because I’m a little afraid to look forward to Sunday since it could quite possibly fall through.

I need to figure out a way to tell him that I’m not putting out. Not going to happen. Not on Sunday. Probably should just make that clear to avoid extreme naked awkwardness.

I hate awkwardness. I want to avoid awkwardness. I want to go to A2 and meet him there and have drinks or dinner with him and make out with him and send him back to his temporary home in the west. And he’s going to want to come to my apartment and get some. Must steer him towards realism. Must let him nowhere near my apartment (which I left completely trashed when I left to stay at Mom and Dad’s this week, anyway) without being weird about it. Basically, must turn myself into the Master Manipulator of Really Cute Guys.

And also figure out which pair of jeans my ass looks the most fantastic in. Just in case.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Rambling ramblings

Eight years ago today, my grandma died unexpectedly. She was found dead in the guest bedroom of her house. The morning she died, she bought donuts. Powdered sugar, I think. The type that you get in a box from the grocery store bakery.

I miss her.

In order to maintain my grip on reality, I work very hard at keeping distance between me and The Coach. He is fun, not the future, and the minute that I forget that I find myself checking his Facebook wall and staring at my phone. Or sending him a text message, which is what I just did but should not have done. I haven’t heard back from him, either, and that makes me anxious because I haven’t heard from him since Sunday. And I’m not supposed to care that I haven’t heard from him and maybe I should just go out with that lawyer kid even though he invited me to some gun shooting event and guns, like, really make me nervous.

Speaking of The Coach, this is how crazy I am: I refuse to program his number into my phone.

I did not finish one book during the entire month of February. The time has come for me to give up on the memoir that I’ve been toiling over. It requires too much brain power. I’m just not into it.

Guess who broke out her new iPhone and her new iPhone case last night? I am now accepting suggestions for apps that I absolutely must download.

I almost killed Blue. Seriously. She was sleeping in the bed with me and I’m pretty sure I covered up her snout with my foot. She woke up gasping for air. I freaked out a little bit. And then I let her scoot right on up to me so close that her head was practically on my pillow. Not exactly comfortable for me, with her breathing in my ear, but I nearly smothered her so I let it slide.

Confession: I haven’t had my hair cut or highlighted since before Meg and I went to South Africa. And now I look like a mangy male lion and I wonder why. But still don’t make an appointment.

Staying at Mom and Dad’s house with Blue and Ellie is a treat, honestly, and a nice break from my routine. But I haven’t made it to the gym all week, and also my mom has Girl Scout cookies in her pantry and, yeah. I’m not exactly feeling fit.

But I think I’m going to run a St. Patrick’s Day 5k in a few weeks, which should be fun.

Also fun: my nail polish, OPI’s You Don’t Know Jacques. Matches my toes. Delightful.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Put on your red light

There are these times - and these times they come without warning - when I am really, really smart.

Like this fall, when I bought my mom the perfect gift.

It was when I was living with her. We were both regularly exhausted and sad and lacking interest in chasing the dogs around the neighborhood. (It was one of the many side effects of my dad's cheating scandal.)

Blue likes to take herself on little adventures. She'll wander around the neighborhood, checking to see if the crazy neighbor put any bread under her bird feeder, spying at the animals who live under another neighbor's deck, running up and down the shore of the lake like she owns the place.

Because Mom and Dad live on a lake, they don't have a traditional fence.

And because Blue is a complete nut, she hasn't exactly meshed well with the electric fence that my parents had installed for Stevie and Max. (She got buzzed once two years ago, remembers exactly what the special collar means and refuses to move from the door if she has it on.)

So, you let her out and you keep going back to the door to see if she's finished with her business and, sometimes, she wanders off in the meantime.

Then, you have to find her and finding her is hard because on the lake side of the house, there is nothing but darkness. Darkness that comes very early in the winter. And you just can't see her. And she totally ignores you because she's cool like that.

This fall, I decided that what Blue needed was a light for her collar so that, when she wanders off, you can at least see where she's gone to. I went to the sporting goods store and I picked up a LED safety light for runners.


Best idea ever. Press the button to turn it on. Clip it to her collar. Let her outside. Catch her wandering ass in a fraction of the time that it would take to find her otherwise.

My parentals are in California this week and I'm on dog duty. Blue was kind enough to model her favorite accessory for all of you.


Jazzy, right?

And, because she's such a sweet girl, she even wandered away so that I could show you all - in bad pictures - how effective her little light is.

Except that, when I snuck outside to catch her in the act, I left the flash on and just got this freaky picture of her - all guilty with freaky glowing eyes.


You can change the effect of the light, which makes it exciting. Slow flash. Fast flash. Steady. Blinking. Psychedelic.


Don't let her sad dog eyes fool you. She loves her light, which I named Roxanne.

Yes, Roxanne. Of course, Roxanne.

There is no other name appropriate for a red light. (Thanks, Sting!)

"Roxanne, you don't have to put on the red light
Those days are over
You don't have to sell your body to the night
Roxanne, you don't have to wear that dress
tonight
Walk the streets for money
You don't care if it's wrong or if it's right
Roxanne, you don't have to put on the red light
Roxanne, you don't have to put on the red light
Put on the red light, put on the red light
Put on the red light, put on the red light
Put on the red light."


Roxanne might not have to put on her red light. But Blue is not allowed out without wearing her's.
 
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