Thursday, August 30, 2012

Why I'm Not A Social Worker

Sometimes, I just have to laugh.


I shouldn’t laugh, but I do. I have to. To survive my workdays, I laugh. Quietly. In the back room. But I laugh.

There is so much sadness.

I help someone print and I see what they’re printing. I don’t look closely, but it is impossible not to see. A letter to a utility, pleading hardship so that their service isn’t shut off.

I research social service agencies.

Point people to the books with the divorce forms.

Listen while a woman cries about how she can’t pay her rent. About her dead daughter. About the job that she doesn’t have and the bills that she does.

This week marked a deadline for application for subsidized housing. To apply, you had to do it online. Hard to do if you don’t have a computer. To apply, you need an email address. Which you probably don’t have if you don’t have a computer. Or a job. Or exposure to education that requires you to use technology. It made things messy. And sad and hard.

That’s why I laugh when I discover that the woman who is yelling at me about the horrible internet service is actually just typing her email address into the address field. Or when a dude suggests that the woman sitting next to him, who has her iPhone in her hand, is using it to hack into his computer. Or when somebody asks me if we own 30 Shades of Grey. Or when I come across the name of a patron whose name is Librarian. Like, that’s her name.

I laugh a lot. I won’t claim that it isn’t in bad taste. Sometimes, it’s the only thing that keeps me sane.


Sometimes, this job is so hard.

Sometimes, I’m not good at it.

Sometimes I laugh.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Putting out fires

A couple of months ago, Liz bought a security system from a door-to-door salesman. Liz likes to spend money. That’s all I can say. She doesn’t need a home security system. But, whatever.

Liz was gone this weekend. She flew to California to surprise a friend on her birthday. I was running the show at her house.

It’s Saturday morning at 10:00. I had just taken the dog for a walk. I was taking a quick shower before going to over to Mom and Dad’s.

I wasn’t paying much attention. I left the bathroom door open a crack. No worries. I was the only one home.

I didn’t even realize that I had done it until, right at the end of my shower, when the steam from the shower set off the smoke detector that is in the hallway.

I cursed. Jumped out of the shower. Shut the door. The smoke detector stopped beeping. I took two minutes to finish my shower.

When I get out of the shower, I realize that the house alarm is going off. Of course. The smoke detector triggered the alarm.

I couldn’t hear the alarm in the bathroom over the sound of the shower and the washing machine, which was also running.

So, I put on a towel and I sprint downstairs and I turn off the alarm. I send Liz a text message, in case the alarm company calls. I go back upstairs.

60 seconds later, I am still in my towel and the dog is barking ferociously and I’m like “nooooooo. No, no, no, no, no. This cannot be.”

So I creep to the window and I look outside and, yes, there is my worst nightmare: there are two fire trucks in the street.

Son of a bitch.

I immediately want to die. Instead, I throw on clothes and I sprint downstairs and out the front door and I plead my stupidity to the fire fighters. Who clearly think that I am the dumbest person alive.

Which may or may not be correct.

It probably is.

Also none of the firefighters were even cute. Wasted moment of embarrassing stupidity. At least it could have resulted in a date.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Wondering about…


  • Pineapple upside-down cake.
  • My fantasy football team.
  • The Coach.
  • Potential new jobs and how they would and would not change my life.
  • The level of weirdness stemming from my agreement, for the second straight year, to bake my former boss a birthday cake and bring it in to the office.
  • Surviving three weeks without Lucy, Chet and Baby A. (They left today for Israel!)
  • The next book I should read after I finish reading this dumb book that I don’t want to read.
  • Where I should look for the perfect new almost-a-briefcase work bag. 
  • Cherry scones. 
  • Whether or not I'll be able to get a hair appointment for this weekend.
  • Whether or not I'll have time to get my hair done if I can even get an appointment.
  • Mom’s birthday party.
  • Why I love Twitter so much.
  • Columbus, Ohio. 
  • If I’m hungry or just bored. 
  • How I should properly destroy that damn dress I wore yesterday that made me look a little pregnant.
  • My cousin Anna's boyfriend. 
  • Gossip Girl: season 3.
  • Gossip Girl: season 4.
  • How I somehow managed to only run once last week.
  • My checking account.
  • Why my cousin Emma was so bloody mean and evil on Saturday.
  • Mexican food. 
  • Hotel rooms.
  • Birthday presents.
  • What I possibly could have forgotten to pack for my three week housesitting/dogsitting adventure that begins tonight.  

What I'm trying to say, I think, is this: my mind is going a mile a minute today.

Is is just me or is anyone else a little extra spazzy today? 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bitchy Megstravaganza

I was a bitch at Meg's graduation.

There were 913 incidents in which I wanted to stab/strangle/maim a member of my family.

I wasn't very patient. My grandfather was acting like a bratty child because he hates to sit through graduations. I wanted to stab him. My uncle was acting like a dick because my grandpa was acting like a bratty child. I wanted to stab him. My mom parked in the wrong parking garage. I wanted to punch her. Meg's boyfriend, Drew, ran in just as the ceremony was starting. I wanted to kick him in the junk. My dad didn't answer his cell phone. I wanted to pull his hair.

I don't know what my problem was.

I might have been a little jealous.

Which is embarrassing to admit.

My sister worked her ass off and excelled in school and the day to celebrate finally arrives and I'm petty and jealous and bitchy.

I'm a better person than that.

I suspect that it was the size of our group and, therefore, my lack of control over the situation that made me so unbearably bitchy. We drove different cars. I didn't make the dinner reservations. It wasn't just my immediate family and I couldn't run the show and tell everyone exactly what to do and how to do it. So I compensated by being a bitch.

Mostly in my head. Thankfully, I just stewed quietly and ruined only my own celebration of Meg's graduation.

What the hell is my problem?

I seriously hate myself sometimes.

And my uncle just emailed me his pictures from today and I seriously look a little pregnant.

I'm going to take out all of my anger and frustration on the dress I was wore.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Megstravaganza

Meg officially graduates this weekend.

She walked in her school’s graduation back in May.

She finished her last clinical a few weeks ago.

She took a job.

She passed her board exam in July.

And now, finally, we’re at the end of the end.

Excuse me for being an asshole, but: FINALLY.

After Sunday, when her program holds a graduation ceremony for the 30 students in her class, it is done.

Unless Meg wants to throw herself a I’m Starting My New Job party. And I wouldn’t be entirely shocked if she did.

Meg and I are nothing alike.

When I finished grad school, I invited the following to my graduation: my mom, my dad, Meg, my grandma and my grandpa. And then Lucy met us for dinner.

Here’s who is attending Meg’s graduation: my mom, my dad, me, her boyfriend Drew (in from South Carolina), her boyfriend Drew’s mom, Aunt Louise (in from Chicago), Uncle Ed (in from Chicago), my grandma, my grandpa, her roommate and maybe my Aunt Annette if she feels up to it.

And, then there’s a second group of folks just meeting us for dinner: another one of Meg’s friends, one of Meg’s professors, and her boyfriend Drew’s brother.

I am seriously not exaggerating about this. To me, this whole graduation celebration seems insane. Enormous. Ridiculous. I just don’t see why Meg wants it to be such a big deal. Yes, it is a huge accomplishment. We’re all very proud of her. But all of these people are proud of Meg without having to sit through a ceremony.

It’s just a ceremony. A ceremony with funny outfits and some strangers speaking about abstract concepts and I am of the opinion that commencement is for the graduates. It’s not really for the audience. They’re just there to support.

Okay, maybe not always. I am going to revise that statement. Commencement is for the graduates and for the people for sacrificed so that that student could graduate. For a parent who paid money. For a spouse who worked overtime. For a dear friend who babysat every Wednesday night so the graduate could go to class.

I’m sorry, but Meg’s audience seems like a bit much.

Maybe I am just bitter because I don’t have a doctorate. Because I don’t have a really awesome career. Because I couldn’t have wrangled up 10+ people to attend my graduation if I had tried. Because I don’t have Meg’s insane confidence: I have never once thought that 10+ people would have even the slightest desire to watch me graduate. I felt bad expecting my parents to attend the ceremony.

And Meg is inviting people like getting a ticket to watch her walk across the stage is going to be the highlight of their 2012.

It makes no sense to me.

I don’t think that highly of myself.

It’s hard for me to understand how someone could.

(As it would probably be hard for Meg to understand how I could think so little of myself and my accomplishments.)

This all makes me very nervous for Meg’s wedding and the dozens upon dozens of events leading up to it.

I guarantee that I will be suckered into throwing her a bachelorette party in Vegas.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Feed me (a lot) (often)

There is nothing quite like spending extended periods of time with other people to remind me that I have strange eating habits.

Maybe strange isn’t the right word. Let’s call my eating habits nontraditional.

And very consistent.

As in it must happen every hour or two. Otherwise I am famished and bitchy and confused and unable to concentrate on anything other than the lack of food in my stomach.

I also eat a lot.

It’s kind of embarrassing.

Even around Lucy and Chet – who I adore and who adore me and who I certainly know do not give two shits about how much I do or do not eat – I’m self-conscious about it. Because I put away a lot of food. Frequently. And it doesn’t seem very proper or ladylike or normal.

I would like to eat less for many reasons. Because preparing/eating/cleaning up can be time consuming. Because when I’m at work and helping my adoring public, I can’t snack while explaining the Dewey Decimal System; sometimes I have to sneak back to my desk and stuff my face with something quick and I feel like some closeted binger. Because making sure I always have food on my person (my purse is like a buffet) is a pain. Because sometimes you just can’t eat. Or I’m inconveniencing others because I need to eat. Maybe it’s a good thing that I’m eternally single because I definitely feel weird about out eating a guy. And I can totally do it.

And I need a lot of protein in my diet. Otherwise, eating every hour or two turns into eating every 7 minutes. This is why rarely make cookies without nuts. I sort of have to pay close attention to what I eat. I don’t eat much meat (as little as once a week – only at a restaurant or if someone else is preparing it for me) and, while I'm happy while I'm eating a muffin, it doesn't do what I need it to do. It doesn't keep me from being hungry for any substantial period of time. Give me some almonds, damnit.

Let me sum up this pointless post for you: I eat a lot. I eat a lot of protein. I noticed on vacation.

This is what a few days away from routine leads to: extreme scrutiny of self.

It's like I've just discovered that I'm different from other people.

How novel.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Moral dilemma of the week

On Saturday, my friend Heather (the one with the not awesome, creepy husband) called and invited me to meet her and a few of our other high school friends at the bar that evening.

I was going to be driving right by the bar on my way home from vacation. I decided to stop by.

They were all a few drinks in by the time I arrived. It wasn’t long after I sat down that Heather decided to fill me in on what she referred to as “the latest drama.”

Which was basically that a friend of hers had gone to the police and accused her husband of – well, something. I’m not exactly sure what. Criminal sexual conduct, I think.

The story was framed to make him the victim. After a barbeque at their house, a few people went out to the bar, including Heather’s husband and this friend. The friend and Heather’s husband came back to the house. Heather’s husband came in to the bedroom, waking up Heather, to get his swimsuit because he was going swimming with the friend. And something happened that made the friend go to the police.

Like I said, I’m not sure what. I’m guessing it was something along the lines of taking his pants off in front of her.

(In the police report, the girl referred to his behavior as something of a pattern. Like he does inappropriate things all the time. Which he does. Which makes me wonder why she would put herself in that situation. What about that was a good idea? Hopefully that doesn’t come across as victim blaming. He's a jackass and responsible for his jackass behavior. I’m just advocating common sense.)

Heather’s really sensitive to what she considers cheating. Whatever the friend accused him of, it was not of touching her because Heather would be furious about that.

Heather is not sensitive to what I would consider to be her husband’s pervy behavior. Such as suggesting that I give him a hand job. Or walking around his house in boxers. (“That’s just how he is,” she would say in reference to his habit of getting naked at parties.) So, I suspect that it is more along those lines.

My guess – pure speculation – is that he took his pants off in front of her.

Whatever it was: it wasn’t good. Maybe not something bad enough to go to the police (the prosecutor decided not to go forward with it) but obviously not good.

I was telling my mom the story yesterday and she was like “you know, you shouldn’t go over to their house anymore.”

I hadn’t even considered that.

And I didn’t want to consider it. I brushed it aside: a problem to worry about another day. A moral dilemma to take into consideration later. When it was no longer abstract. When I had an invitation.

Today Heather asked me to babysit next week.

And also invited me over on Friday for a girls’ night.

Damnit.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I want to be on vacation forever


Vacation was pretty much the best thing ever.

I got to spend a ton and a half of time with my favorite chubby baby.


And a ton and a half of time with the mother of my favorite chubby baby.

Including simultaneous massage appointments. Blissful.


We stayed in a cabin that was right on Lake Michigan. It wasn't on a swimming friendly beach, but the weather wasn't swimsuit friendly. It was bonfire friendly. It was lay on a blanket and play with the baby friendly. It was eat on the patio friendly. It was jog every morning friendly.


 
Have I mentioned that I got to spend a lot of time with Baby A?


And with my bestest friend, Lucy?


Which is a damn good thing, because they're leaving soon for a month-long trip to Israel and I am going to miss them terribly.

While we didn't do a lot worth writing about, it was a great trip. Lucy and I spent most of every day with the baby. Chet and his friend floated in and out - they went fishing one day, they made us an enormous barbecue lunch another day, they joined us at the farmer's market and we sat around the fire or played games and drank too much and ate junk food and stayed up too late every night.

I was always the first to get up and moving every morning. The cabin was quiet and I would make coffee and read.

While everyone else stayed an extra night, I had to go home yesterday. I worked today.

Going from vacation straight to work is to rude.

To ease my vacation mourning, Michigan has awesome roadside parks. Seriously. I'm convinced that it what they're for. You you can just pull into while you're driving along. Extending your vacation by a few precious minutes.

Saturday evening was just too gorgeous to not pull over and capture with my iPhone.



I suppose it wouldn't be vacation if it lasted forever.

But I wouldn't have complained about a few more days.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Hi from the thumb!

This was my view from my run this morning.


Well, this and a disgusting amount of road kill.

Have a wonderful weekend, boys and girls!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Books on the Brain, part 10

Oopsie! It's been a while since I've done one of these. That's not to say that my reading list isn't multiplying like rabbits at a pet store. It is. I can't keep up.

Fiction
Swimming to Elba

by Silvia Avallone

From the publisher: Anna and Francesca are on the brink of everything: high school, adulthood, and the edge of ambition in their provincial town. It’s summer in Piombino, Italy, and in their skimpy bathing suits, flaunting their newly acquired curves, the girls suddenly have everyone in their thrall. This power opens their imagination to a destiny beyond Piombino; the resort town of Elba is just a ferry ride away and yet they’ve never dared to go. Maybe the future is waiting for them there, or somewhere beyond.


When their friendship suffers a blow, the girls set off on their own only to discover that their budding sexuality takes them further than they expect, though not as far as their dreams. As their choices take them to a painful crossroads, the girls must reconnect if they have any hope of escaping their small town destinies.

In this poetic, prizewinning debut, Silvia Avallone captures the lost innocence of a generation. Harrowing yet ultimately redemptive, Swimming to Elba is a story about the power of friendship, and the way that family, friendship, and economics shape our world.   Why it caught my eye: I always love books about summer. Summer is a character and it is one that I always appreciate. And the setting. And the whole thing. I look forward to reading this. Even though I probably won't read it until the dead of winter.  

Non-Fiction
Home Is a Roof Over a Pig: An American Family's Journey in China
by Aminta Arrington

From the publisher: When all-American Aminta Arrington moves from suburban Georgia to a small town in China, she doesn't go alone. Her army husband and three young children, including an adopted Chinese daughter, uproot themselves too. Aminta hopes to understand the country with its long civilization, ancient philosophy, and complex language. She is also determined that her daughter Grace, born in China, regain some of the culture she lost when the Arringtons brought her to America as a baby.

In the university town of Tai'an, a small city where pigs' hooves are available at the local supermarket, donkeys share the road with cars, and the warm-hearted locals welcome this strange looking foreign family, the Arringtons settle in . . . but not at first. Aminta teaches at the university, not realizing she is countering the propaganda the students had memorized for years. Her creative, independent (and loud) American children chafe in their classrooms, the first rung in society's effort to ensure conformity. The family is bewildered by the seemingly endless cultural differences they face, but they find their way. With humor and unexpectedly moving moments, Aminta's story is appealingly reminiscent of Reading Lolita in Tehran. It will rivet anyone who is thinking of adopting a child, or anyone who is already familiar with the experience. An everywoman with courage and acute cultural perspective, Aminta recounts this transformative quest with a freshness that will delight anyone looking for an original, accessible point of view on the new China.

Why it caught my eye: Maybe I'm just in the mood to be a little worldly. The setting and the culture are obviously a huge part of what this book is about and it's also what interests me. The idea of moving somewhere so foreign is scary and fascinating. I wish that I was brave enough to do it. But I'm not. So I will read about it instead.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Road Trip, Day 1

I got a speeding ticket 30 minutes from home.

I GOT A SPEEDING TICKET 30 MINUTES FROM HOME.

Not an awesome way to start a road trip, but whatever. I was by the airport. There are always cops by the airport. I should have known better. I did not. I was speeding. Obviously. But I wasn't going that fast. I was screwed by the circumstances. He was clearly just cranking out tickets. And I had just merged into the middle lane from the left lane so it probably looked like I saw him and slowed way down. I did not.

But, whatever. It happens. Really, I speed every single day. You get caught sometimes.

So, yesterday's leg of the road trip was a stop in western Pennsylvania to see Meg's BFF and her new baby.

Her second baby.

Meg's BFF has two babies. This is totally crazy to me. She also got married at 19, which is also totally crazy. Her and Meg have absolutely nothing in common except that she lived across the street from us when the girls were both born. And they've been best friends for their whole lives. Isn't that awesome?

Anyway. Meg's BFF had her baby 3 weeks ago. This kid is already rolling over. I am not kidding.

Also, while I was holding the baby, the ice cream man was driving through the neighborhood. Can I sprint for an ice cream truck while holding an infant? Yes, yes I can.

When we left last night, Meg's BFF started crying. "Don't go! I don't want you to go!" just like she would have cried when they were kids. It was really sweet.

Today, we're driving to Columbus. I'm a little nervous to take my new car, with my UM license plate and my UM license plate frame, into Columbus. At least it isn't football season. Hopefully there aren't any Buckeye cops out to get a Wolverine. One speeding ticket on this journey is more than enough.

The reason we're going to Columbus is to see a Major League Soccer game.

It's been too long since we've seen a good futbol game. We don't have good futbol in Detroit.

I bought us tickets for this game because the Columbus Crew are playing the LA Galaxy. Translation: the team David Beckham plays for.

I've never seen David Beckham play soccer before.

I love David Beckham.

So, it is obviously time to fulfill that livelong dream.

EXCEPT HE ISN'T PLAYING TONIGHT.

Bitter.

But we'll make the most of it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Another gone

Tomorrow marks one month since I last spoke to Alexander.


He moved to California on Friday.

I found out in an email. From his mom. Sent to our entire hockey team.

It stung a little bit, finding out the way that I did.

It was also probably for the best. Because I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t hang out with him in the weeks before he left. I couldn’t hang out at his house and watch as his belongings were packed up and shipped out. I couldn’t spend time with him, knowing that he was going to leave. I couldn’t talk to him. I couldn’t do it. Because I did that once this summer. I cried all the tears that I had to cry over a boy who was leaving.

I couldn’t cry over Alexander, too. As big of a game as I talk -- remember when I did that with The Coach? Pretending that it was only for fun and that I really understood it to be so? -- I couldn’t be around him without being attached, without caring, without being sad when he got on that plane.

And so I didn’t.

And so I probably sacrificed a few fun nights. And gained a few nights where I didn’t cry myself to sleep.

Once is enough.

I miss The Coach. I couldn’t miss Alexander, too.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Oh, Monday

Something I love about my job: twice a week, I don't have to show up until 12:30 pm.
Something I hate about my job: twice I week, I don't have to be there until 12:30 pm.

It is totally, totally a mixed blessing.

What makes it great: I get to sleep in, it is convenient for appointments, I get to sleep in, I am way more productive doing day-to-day necessities like laundry and grocery shopping when I'm not doing it on the end of a workday, I get to sleep in, I have time to do things that I never make time for during the rest of the week like paint my nails or punish my muscles on my foam roller, I get to sleep in and I get to sleep in ON MONDAY MORNINGS.

Yeah, you can be jealous of that.

What makes it not great: I don't leave work until 9:00 pm. On days when I work late, I can guarantee you that one of my friends is going to invite me to do some fun evening activity that I will have to turn down and that is not cool. Working when everyone else is not working sucks.

And not working when everyone is working is totally awesome.

Note to self: figure out how to have cake, eat cake. Or how to manipulate work schedule so that I only work 12:30-5:00 pm, Monday through Friday, and maintain the status/paycheck of a full-time employee.

Today is a late day that is kicking my ass. When I work a late day, I do one of two things. I do essentially nothing (I might drink a cup of coffee and watch an episode of The Newsroom or I'll go to coffee with Lucy and Baby A) or I do absolutely everything.

Today, I did absolutely everything. Include getting up an hour before my alarm (which was handy because then I still fit in coffee and The Newsroom), laundry, packing for my week of road trips, baking cookies, organizing drawers, reading the interwebs, emailing my grandma and eating cereal.

Not going to lie: I absolutely love crazy productive mornings. I get so, so much done.

And then I get to work and I want to go to sleep.

Seriously. I am useless.

I need a nap.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Things that are happening


These things that are happening are not particularly exciting things but they are things nonetheless and the only way I can present them is in a list because my brain -- it is not working and I am not sure why. I tried utilizing coffee to solve the problem but it did not succeed in kick starting my thinker and I also tried dark chocolate. It also failed and now I am all out of ideas.

So, here's the list.
  • Soccer playoffs.
  • Birthday party for Liz’s boyfriend that I don’t really want to go to but I am going to anyway because it is the right thing to do and also because I can’t always be this antisocial even though my bed is just so comfortable and I am just so sleepy.
  • Trip to Ikea for giant mirror and a cinnamon roll
  • Breakfast at one of A2’s finest establishments.
  • Saturday morning UM adventure with Meg.
  • The baking of many delicious treats including, but not limited to, caramel corn and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
  • Epic pre-vacation grocery shopping extravaganza.
  • One day at work, which I could obviously do without.
  • A two-day road trip with Meg where we’ll stop in Pennsylvania to meet her best friend’s new baby and then proceed along to Columbus where I will wear some UM gear just to be an asshole and also watch a little MLS soccer. Oh, AND DAVID BECKHAM.
  • A few nights on a cabin on a lake up in Michigan’s thumb (seriously we call it that) with Lucy, Chet, Baby A, Chet’s BFF.
  • Possibly an afternoon of sailing with Grandma and Grandpa if weather/babies/moms of babies/schedules/desire permits.
  • More soccer playoffs.
  • Returning to work. Which I anticipate to be difficult and also not fun. I haven’t used any vacation time to take more than two consecutive days off of work in more than a year. I’m really going to like it. And then I’m going to have to go back.
 What things are happening with you guys?

Thursday, August 09, 2012

USA! USA!

I am wearing navy and white today. I'm pissed that I didn't think to wear red shoes.

I do feel, however, that the amount of patriotic gear that I have worn in the last two years counts for something. There are stars and stripes in my futbol loving heart.  

(Photos clockwise starting at left: Meg & me before USA/Slovenia in Johannesburg, me & Meg before USA/Ghana in Rustenberg, me & Meg at USA/Poland in Chicago, me & Meg at USA/Canada in Detroit.)

I never felt particularly patriotic until I was at the World Cup in South Africa. I thought that watching the American team would feel like watching the Italians or Mexico or Germany. It didn't. There's something extra special about watching a match while wearing your own colors, waving your own flag.

And I suspect that there's something special about watching the American team on your phone while huddled at your desk and cheering silently and otherwise acting like an obsessed lunatic, but I'll have to get back with you on that.

Today, the Americans play Japan in the women's soccer gold medal game.


If you need me at 2:45 pm, I will be busy. Cheering on my team.  

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Not invisible

I was wearing Nike capris and an ugly red t-shirt. An ugly red t-shirt in a men’s small. An ugly red t-shirt that I kept merely because it proclaimed me the victor in a soccer league and who in their right mind wouldn’t keep around (and occasionally wear) what is essentially a wearable trophy?

My hair was done and my makeup was on only because I knew that I wouldn’t have time to put it on later. Because I would get home at the very last minute and pull on a dress and throw together a lunch and rush out the door and off to work.

I was at the post office. Mailing something I am not going to admit to mailing. On my way to my standing Wednesday morning coffee date with Lucy and Baby A.

(We get skim lattes and sit outside.)

I walked out of the post office with an empty box in my hands. I tossed it into my trunk and I was just climbing into my car when a man came around the side of the car parked next to me.

“Girl, I just have to tell you, you look good!”

And we chatted for a few minutes.

I am the first person to be creeped out in any situation, but I wasn’t.

Because it was just a harmless man doling out harmless flattery. Just a stranger saying something that I would never say to myself. Just a stranger who saw me.

I oftentimes forget that I am not invisible.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

It isn't babysitting if she's yours

You guys remember my high school/soccer friend Heather? And her disgusting husband?

I’m all worked up about them again.

My summer soccer team just finished up our 10 week season. A 10-week season in which Heather’s mom came to eight of our games to watch Heather’s baby while we played. A 10-week season in which my mom came to two of our games to watch Heather’s baby while we played. A 10-week season in which Heather’s husband watched the baby so that Heather could get out of the house and play soccer exactly zero times.

“Oh, he doesn’t watch her,” Heather says, like that’s normal, when girls on our team ask why she doesn’t leave the baby with her husband. Oh, you should see their reactions. Eyes bulging out of their heads. They’re generally speechless.

Understandable. I know the whole story and every time I find myself witnessing her life it still shocks the hell out of me.

Heather had a pool party earlier in the summertime, when she made this gem of an announcement regarding handling 100% of the baby's care (after admitting that her husband still hadn't changed a diaper, four months in): “I don’t mind. Husband didn’t even want to have a baby, so I promised him that I would do all of the work.”

He didn’t want the baby?

And you just say it? Nonchalantly? Like that’s normal or healthy?

That poor sweet baby. It’s so fucked up.

It isn’t any of my business. It isn’t my marriage. She isn’t my baby. It isn’t my life. I do not have a marriage. I don’t have a baby. I don’t know. I know that I don’t know.

But Heather has been my friend since fifth grade. What I do know is that she deserves better.

I do not like watching this play out.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Ugly cries and baked goods

I’m going to confess right now: I haven’t read any comments left on my last post. I know they’re there, I know they’re kind and I know that they will make me cry. I am not ready to read them, just like I am not ready to watch videos of Blue, just like I passed the phone to my mother to avoid the sympathy phone calls that came in from family and friends over the weekend.

I am sad. And I am simply exhausted.

I just need a couple of days. And then a few quiet hours when I can mourn how I need to mourn. Which is breaking out an ugly cry, of course. Alone. I want to be alone. I do not do group mourning. I don’t want a reassuring pat to my shoulder while I’m sobbing and snotty. I want to cry my ugly cry and get it out and then I want to take a shower and come out clean and feeling a little less awful.

In the meantime – until I allow myself that ugly cry, there are things that are cheering me up. There are moments that are making me smile.
  • Lucy dropped off a care package at my mom and dad’s house. More proof that my best friend is the best friend.
  • The bruises on my legs from last night’s soccer game that confirm that, yes, I was working my ass off.
  • There is a plethora of reasons for me to bake in the upcoming weeks and I plan to capitalize on each and every one of them.
  • I am just one week away from a road trip with Meg that will be followed immediately by a quick vacation with Lucy, Chet and Baby A.
  • The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. They won a bloody phenomenal match against Canada today to advance into the Olympic gold medal game. The win was great, absolutely. What was even better was that it was an AWESOME game. (Kudos to Canada!) It made soccer look great. It made women’s sports look great. It made women’s soccer look great. It’s silly to be proud because I certainly had nothing to do with the win but I am a product of the American soccer system. And simply seeing all of the people who were watching my sport and who cared about what happened to my team felt really damn good.
It's easier to find reasons to smile when I'm here. When I'm not walking into Mom and Dad's house and there is only one dog greeting me. When I'm not looking at a basket overflowing with Blue's tennis balls. When I'm not watching Ellie searching and searching and searching for Blue. When I don't have to see the sadness in my mom's eyes.

It's easier here because I can pretend that it isn't true.

I've always been good at denial.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Just kidding (unfortunately)

False alarm on Blue getting better. She got worse. Mom and Meg took her to get put down today. I am at work.

Here’s a skill that is not on my résumé but probably should be: crying, while at work, often at a public desk, while wearing a full face of makeup without looking like a scary, melting, mentally unstable clown.

I cry too much at work.

I cry too much in general.

I am really fucking sick of having perfectly legitimate reasons to cry. I am really sick of having my heart broken. I am really fucking sick of being sad.

But I am so glad that Blue doesn’t have to be sick. That she doesn’t have to suffer. I am sick of crying but I will trade endless tears to end that sweet dog’s pain.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

It's a random one, kids

This week > last two weeks
I was beginning to think that the last two weeks – which were just hard and sad and awful for a lot of real reasons and a lot of reasons that were probably just in my head – were my new reality. That I was always going to be that miserable and that beaten down. This week has been much better. I’m not crying all the damn time and I want to do things other than sleep and I’m also not high on antihistamines. I'm still confused and worried and frustrated about my career and guys and friends and family and the weird orange blotch in my hair that still hasn't washed out nearly two weeks post Color Run, but I'm not obsessing.   

It's half-marathon training season
I am three months out from running my third half-marathon. I think I might actually go all out and stick to a training plan this time. Might. Don't hold me to it. While in the past I have cut down my distance in the spring and summer, I've been running longer distances with greater consistency. I'm not afraid of the longer runs, so my training plan doesn't look too bad. (Famous last words?)

I don't know why I'm posting this here. I maybe got a little confused and thought this was a healthy living blog. That's something I've thought about starting. A healthy living blog. I consider it sometimes.  

Food therapy
Meg took her board exam yesterday. She finished up just as I was getting out of work, so I met her for dinner at her favorite restaurant. Then we went for a little walk and a little bit of window shopping. And cupcakes. She won’t find out her results for a few weeks, which is annoying. When we were done, I had to head to the gym for a 5 mile run. Which was also annoying. But probably less annoying than waiting a few weeks for exam results, as my future did not hinge on the results of that run.  

My friendship with Lucy as illustrated in one exchange of text messages

Is it really August?

I have a fun month planned. And I’m excited for fall. But I don't want it to be August. I love living in a place that has four distinct seasons (and there is something that I truly love about each of them), but I am not quite ready to give up summertime. I need a little more time in my swimsuit. I need a little more sun on my skin. I need to read a few truly trashy can-only-get-away-with-during-a-lazy-summer books. I need to go out for ice cream. I need to wear my sundresses a few more times before I tuck them away in the back of my closet. And, more than anything, I need my summer soccer season to last a little bit longer. Summer soccer is my favorite part about summer. Summer soccer is the part about summer that I'm the saddest to see go.

Anybody else already mourning the end of the summer? What's the part that you miss the most?
 
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