Sunday, March 31, 2013

Caught

The Athlete is now The Retired Athlete.

Do you guys remember The Athlete? I'm sure a lot of you do. I'm sure a lot of you don't. The one sentence summary: he was a professional athlete -- playing in Europe -- I knew him from work and, for two consecutive summers, he liked me and I liked him but nothing ever happened and he would go back to Europe and I would be very sad.

And then he got back together with his ex-girlfriend and, last spring, he married her.

Which I didn't think much of, surprisingly. I mean, yes, I intentionally avoided his wedding pictures on The Facebook but learning of his marriage was like getting smacked with a feather. I didn't care. I might even be happy for him.

But learning of his retirement? That caught me off guard. I was in bed, half asleep, mindlessly scrolling with iPad balanced on my knees and then there's the press release and the announcement that he's taking a coaching job and will be moving stateside soon and it felt really weird.

And it felt really weird that it felt really weird.

Learning that news just took me right back to where I was during the reign of The Athlete. The person who I was and everything I had hoped for and, oh, if things had been different or if he had retired a few years ago? How happy would I have been that he was moving back?

Now he is just a guy in my past. A few good stories and a few fond memories.

And apparently the ability to knock me a bit off balance when I least expect it.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Safe and fearful

Today I feel like the most fearful person in the world.

I feel cowardly. I feel silly. I feel like I am standing in my own way. Like I always do.

I am afraid. Because look how safe this life is that I have right now. I know what to expect. I know the days will unfold. I know what my workday will be like. I know exactly what I will do when I return home in the evenings. Good or bad, there are no surprises.

It's all okay. It's all enough, I guess.

As things stand now, I'm not unhappy.

As things stand now, I'm not happy.

But why upset the apple cart when there is a chance -- albeit a small chance -- that what could be a step forward could actually be a step back?

It's hard. Doing this all by myself. Making all of these decisions alone. Taking a leap of faith by myself. If I fall, if I do this wrong, if this doesn't turn out okay: the only person I can fall back on is me.

I am a team of one. I am the coach, the player and the manager.

I call the plays.

I decide when to push aside the conservative cowardice and call the trick play.

When the time is right.

I'm hoping it is soon.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Oh, this week!

Last week was a quiet week and it made me a little restless, all of the sleep that I got and the time I had to do all of the things that I wanted to do.

This week is the exact opposite of last week. This week is more like a normal week for me, busy with things I need to do and extra-busy with things that I want to do.

Basically, I'm doing this to myself.

Basically, it has all been pretty damn good so I'm okay with it anyhow.

A week that follows a weekend full of work always seems long and painful, anyway. I was at work on Saturday and Sunday, so I haven't had a day off since last Friday and so I would be exhausted even if I had taken it easy. So why bother, right?

Monday was a whirlwind because of the job interview. I was counting on having enough time after my interview to stop for lunch or coffee or -- if I was really lucky, a few minutes at home -- but starting 45 minutes late means that I went from the interview straight to a full day of work. When I got home at 9:30 pm, I was in desperate need of comfort food and a good night of sleep.

Here's what I had for dinner: ramen noodles, guacamole and chips, cottage cheese.

Now you can't say I ever claimed to be 100% healthy. 

I collapsed into bed soon after. It was late, late, late when The Coach called me and woke me up but I didn't mind.

I did mind while I dragged through Tuesday morning.

I spent my lunch hour at the grocery store because I am exciting like that and also because I was planning something.

What I was planning was dessert to bring over to Lucy and Chet's house. It's Passover, which makes dessert planning more challenging but not impossible. The minute I got home, I started on a batch of flourless chocolate-walnut cookies that actually turned out to be really, really good.

Lucy made sushi for dinner and we noshed on cookies while we watched a few episodes of House of Cards.

I left just after 10:00 pm because I had a date with the television at my house. There was a soccer game that I absolutely had to watch so I held my eyes open and texted back and forth with my sister and managed to stay awake all the way until 12:30 am like a big girl.

And this morning, I made a quick dash to the gym followed by an hour with Lucy and Baby A. We went to this slightly creepy, slightly ingenious indoor play structure/coffee shop hybrid. The little dude lasted for about an hour, after which I rushed home, threw on something suitable for work, at a little lunch and ran out the door.

Now here I am. Working. Well, "working," as I may or may not be paid to blog. (I suspect that I am not.)

But I did just teach someone how to use Google, so I'm pretty sure I earned a break.

Anyone else having a crazy week or is it just me?

Monday, March 25, 2013

More on last-minute interviews

As I mentioned this weekend, I was in a strop because this morning's interview was scheduled at the very last minute.

My attitude about how the interview was scheduled did not keep me from making sure that I was well prepared. And also adorable. Not adorable in a way that would make an old lady want to pinch my cheeks, but adorable in a really put together way. It took me way too many interviews for me to realize that a very conservative, very classic suit and blouse doesn't fit me well. It's too safe and I feel like a robot and I need some aspect of that uniform that truly feels like it fits me -- a pop of color or really great jewelry or shoes that are awesome yet appropriate -- to feel like myself. And I need to feel like me (the very best version of me) in order to interview well.

It's too bad ball gowns aren't appropriate interview attire. I would rock that shit.

Even though I wasn't in a ball gown, I can confidently report that I looked cute while I waited FOR 45 MINUTES for my interview to start. I wasn't the first interview of the day. And I knew that I was in trouble when I was ushered to the waiting room and the woman with the interview before me hadn't been brought in yet.

She seemed annoying. And way less cute than me.

I waited just short of forever. Somehow managed to keep my cool the entire time.

Interviewing is much easier when you don't desperately need the job that you're interviewing for, right? I had forgotten that feeling of easy, cool confidence that had when I interviewed last November. By that I really just mean that I had no desire to vomit and I will always appreciate the absence of that feeling.

Being in the interview room with (former) Coworker B was basically the weirdest. Half of the time I wanted to launch into "hey, remember that time when..." and half of the time I was afraid to make eye contact with him. But I think I faked it pretty well. And he didn't indicate that it was too terribly, horribly, awful weird. So hopefully it wasn't. And, if it was, hopefully it was terribly, horribly, awful weird for only the two of us and not for either of the two other people who were in the room.

The interview itself was okay. I didn't leave feeling so confident that I wanted to do cartwheels, but I didn't leave feeling like I was ready to cry, either.

After the interview, B took me on a tour of the building and you guys: that place is a little magical. Enough so that I can almost forget about the hurry up and wait bullshit of the interview process.

I don't want to get too attached to the idea, but I would really like to work there.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

On last-minute interviews

When I last interviewed -- in November -- I was called on Friday afternoon for a Monday morning interview. And I thought that was rude.

It was rude to me, because it gave me very little time to prepare and even less time to call off of work. It was rude to my current employer, because it left them short a staff member with very little notice and, in case you haven't noticed, I (stupidly) chose a profession where being vastly understaffed is the norm. (I also stupidly chose a profession in which I will never make any money, but that is a rant for another day.)

You want me to go in to an interview and harp on an on about how I am a dedicated employee at my current position, yet you put me in a position in which I have no choice but to do all of the things that I am telling you that I don't do -- I don't call off at a minute's notice; I am a team player. It's practically as logical as dating a known cheater and expecting the cheater to be faithful.

I know that it's just the nature of business and it's just part of the process, but it is my pet peeve. It's inconsiderate. Treat the people you're interviewing (and the people they currently work for) with respect. 

I got a call yesterday -- Friday -- for an interview.

On Monday morning.

WHAT THE HELL, INTERVIEWERS OF THE WORLD?

That -- along with a few other aspects of the process that they've already botched -- already has me in a strop about this interview.

Although, I suppose there is something to be said for going in feeling like you have absolutely nothing left to lose.

I have nothing to lose!

Except maybe (former) Coworker B's respect. He'll be sitting on the interview panel. I feel weird about that.

Any tips for interviewing with a friend?

I feel weird about B sitting in on the interview. I feel weird about potentially not being offered job after B made it so clear that he wanted me to work for/with him. I feel weird about potentially turning down a job that B set me up for. I feel weird about all of this. Well, a combination of weird and annoyed.

Probably not the best mental place to be inhabiting before an interview, eh?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Creeptastic

The longer I have my job, the harder it is for me to deal with the creepers.

There are a lot of creepers. They come in many different forms. Young creepers. Old creepers. Needy creepers. Creepy creepers. Rude creepers. Shy creepers. There are several creepers every day. Some creepers feel harmless. Some creepers do not.

Tonight, I had an overly friendly creeper.

The overly friendly creepers are amongst the worst because it’s really hard to get them to go away. They just hang around and hang around and hang around.

So this guy – who turns out to be the overly friendly creeper – asks me a (stupid) question and I answer it. And then he asks me another (stupid) question and I answer it. And then he makes a (stupid) comment and I acknowledge it.

He comes back later and asks me another question and I’ll admit that I wasn’t exactly warm and fuzzy when I answered it. Sometimes my boss does this thing when she’s all sugar sweet to the point that she’s almost condescending and I hate that. So, usually, when somebody asks me a question, I answer it but I’m not going to do a curtsey at the end and offer to kiss your hand. Sorry. Not happening.

So the guy says to me “are you always like that? Snooty?”

Which made me equally embarrassed (I probably was a little bitchy) and angry (because he was rude, too) and pissed off that I was even in this situation in the first place because we’re so understaffed that I’m the only staff member on the floor of this building and I feel like I have to be on the defensive against creepers every second because there isn’t anyone here to rescue me if I need rescuing.

I have no idea how someone could hold this job for 30+ years.

I don’t know how I am going to make it through the next three.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Not enough, too much

Among the group of friends who were out for pre-St. Patrick’s Day drinking on Saturday was Meg’s friend Jessie.

Jessie and Meg have been friends since elementary school. She plays summer soccer with us. She’s a sweet girl who went through an ugly breakup just a few weeks before Meg and Drew’s breakup. She’s in the unenviable situation of living with her ex and she is eager to get out of that messy living situation. When Meg closes on her house – at the beginning of May – Jessie will move in with her.

And that is how the soundtrack of Saturday afternoon was loud, lengthy chorus of “we’re all going to live together! Roommates! All three of us!”

Jessie and Meg were singing the song.

I wasn’t feeling quite so excited about it.

I told Meg that I would move in with her and I am honestly not opposed to it and I’m not opposed to living with Jessie, either. I think that we would have a lot of fun. I just...I don’t know. I just don’t want to move, basically. I physically don’t want to move my shit and I don’t want to adjust to living in a new place.

Not without a good reason.

I do want to move. I want change. I want big change. Not just a change of scenery. Not just new roommates. I want a new job or some other massive life change to be the catalyst for a move. I want a new job that with a commute that would be inconvenient from where I am currently living. Or I want Liz to have a new boyfriend and to want to get out of sharing the house with the two of them. I just want a reason. Preferably a reason that is awesome.  

Moving for the sake of moving just seems like so much work.

So I will delay this as long as possible. I won't move in right away. I'll let Meg and Jessie settle in and learn the neighborhood and meet the neighbors and get the cable installed. I'll give the universe a little extra time.

And then I'll have a good reason.

And then I'll move.  

Monday, March 18, 2013

Very Bad Injury

I sustained a significant injury on Friday and I wanted you all to know about it.

I wore this new bra – a bra that (embarrassingly?) my mother bought for me because she does things like that – one of those convertible numbers with straps you can move here and there to accommodate your strapless/one-shoulder/halter/this/that/the other thing/whatever fashions. I wasn’t wearing a fancy top to necessitate a convertible bra but it was what I grabbed out of my drawer and it seemed like a good reason to cut the tags off.

My new bra truly felt fine throughout the day. There were no falling straps or weird twists or uncomfortable binding of my ribs or anything else to make me feel like I was wearing a torture device.

Maybe I was just distracted all day. All the day long. From when I put it on at 7:00 am until when I finally took it off at nearly midnight. When I noticed that it had RUBBED THE SKIN OFF OF MY BACK.

I have two wounds on my back – right at the band of my bra, one on each side. With legitimate scabs. This shit is hardcore.

My bra broke me.

As it is meant to converted into all sorts of strange shapes, the bra had that kind of sticky band running along the inside. You know what I mean? It’s a little tacky so that it stays up and you keep your dignity and whatnot?

Apparently my ultra-sensitive skin did not like that sticky nonsense and just decided to, like, peace out in that particular location.

Not cool.

I’m not a fan of looking like I have been whipped or for these wounds to get infected and more disgusting, so I’m pretty desperate to get this healed up right quick. I just keep thinking that my sports bras are going to make the whole situation worse and it is never going to heal properly.

Luckily, I have one critical component to this project firmly on my side and that is this: I have no boobs.
Which means, basically, this: I am currently at work and I am not wearing a bra.

The situation is somewhat controlled: I am wearing a camisole with a flimsy built-in bra, but that doesn’t rub on the situation the same way a legitimate bra would.

Rest assured that I did select my outfit specifically to hide my braless commitment to properly healing my war wound. The sight of me is not shocking anyone I interact with today.

But I am still at work without a bra. And it feels weird.

Today’s lessons are as follows: don’t wear a convertible bra unless you need to be wearing a convertible bra. Also maybe don’t wear a bra that you did not purchase and have never tried on, either. And also be thankful if you have small breasts and can get away with not wearing a bra in emergency situations.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Weekend, In Pictures

On Friday night, Lucy and I ditched her boys and headed to the theater.



We went to the Fisher, to be exact, where we saw The Book of Mormon.

And had a stranger take our picture while we were standing in line for the restroom. (Sorry, stranger.)


I joined Meg and a group of her friends for a bit of festive drinking on Saturday.

I wasn't out long. Because I am old.


Also because I had a hockey game.

We tied, 2-2.


We celebrated my grandma and grandpa's birthdays today. My grandpa officially turns 80 tomorrow!

Mom baked three pies to celebrate. Key lime, strawberry rhubarb and German chocolate pecan. I had a little of each.


Not pictured but also accomplished over the weekend: watching House of Cards with Lucy and Chet. Yoga. A 4-mile run. Significant progress on Wild by Cheryl Strayed. A trip to Trader Joe's. The season finale of Girls. Painting my nails. Being generally awesome. So, you know. The usual.

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Few Days of Stuffing My Face

Earlier in the week, a couple of you expressed an interest in knowing a little bit more about how I eat and cook and work out. I don’t normally keep track of what I eat, but I jotted it all down through yesterday so that I could share.

I should clarify a few things:
1. Food consumed this week is probably slightly healthier than I eat on an average week, mainly due to a grocery trip made solely to procure fresh fruit and vegetables. I eat them when I have them at home, but I’m not always great about making the effort.
2. I always make a big batch of something for lunches. This week, it was a take on this Jasmine Rice & Peas recipe recently posted at Daily Garnish. It was basically the most simple thing I have ever made, but it tasted good to me through Wednesday, when it started to get a little boring. I threw diced avocado on the top yesterday and I was happy again.
3. I have been such a good little water drinker this week. I am seriously impressed with myself. On my produce run, I bought mint, lemon and cucumber, which I sliced up and put in my water pitcher and that little change is making all the difference. I’ve had my 8 cups of water every day this week, which I haven’t managed since January.
4. I typically eat way more chocolate over the course of four days. This stretch of days was an anomaly.

Monday
Breakfast: egg, bran muffin
Lunch: rice & peas, Chobani Greek yogurt
Dinner: cheese and crackers, roasted sweet potatoes
Snack: ¼ cup of nuts
Notes: on Mondays/Wednesdays, I work an afternoon shift. I get up in the morning and lounge around and drink coffee, so I start eating much later in the day than on Tuesdays/Thursdays, when I’m at work by 8:00 am. When I say breakfast, I usually have it between 10-11:00 am. Lunch is somewhere around 4-5:00. Dinner is at 9:30 or so, just before I go upstairs to get ready for bed. My biggest challenge with dinner on those nights is not eating everything in the house as soon as I get home and right before I go to sleep.

Tuesday
Breakfast: egg, bran muffin
Lunch: rice & peas, Chobani Greek yogurt
Dinner: panko-crusted tilapia, roasted Brussels sprouts
Snacks: ¼ cup of nuts, banana, banana with peanut butter
Notes: that last banana with peanut butter was my attempt at refueling when I got home from the gym. I ran 6 miles on the treadmill and was starving by the time I got home. When I feel especially hungry, I’m generally not satisfied until I’ve consumed some protein and my favorite form of protein is peanut butter.

Wednesday
Breakfast:
bran muffin, toast piled high with egg, avocado and cheese
Lunch: rice & peas, banana, Clementine
Dinner: soup, crackers (6) with peanut butter
Snack: ¼ cup of nuts
Notes: again, I have that funky schedule on Wednesdays. I got home on Wednesday night with a horrible headache and all I wanted was soup. I made a box of that Mrs. Grass noodle soup and ate about half. Again with the peanut butter and the protein: even though I had a headache, I was terribly hungry so I stuffed myself with Saltines and PB while I waited for my soup to cook.

Thursday
Breakfast: two eggs, scrambled, with a bit of melted cheese on a toasted thin bun
Lunch:  rice & peas & avocado, Chobani Greek yogurt
Dinner: soup, sweet potatoes
Snacks: banana, Clementines (2), bran muffin, Dove dark chocolate squares (2), Brussels sprouts, crackers (4) with peanut butter
Notes: I always want something to eat the minute I leave work, so I had a Clementine and the two chocolate squares on my drive home. They powered me through a killer (and expensive) Target excursion. I knew that I would get home from the gym yesterday and snack a lot because the soup and sweet potatoes wasn’t even remotely enough for dinner, but I hate eating too much to go to the gym. It was enough to fuel me through a run and I ate Brussels sprouts, a Clementine and crackers and PB while watching Grey’s Anatomy.


On Monday morning, I made the rice & peas, roasted the sweet potatoes, I hard boiled a few eggs and I sliced up all of the goodies for water. For me, that preparation is probably what keeps me from eating complete crap all week long. I do better when I don't have to think about what I'm going to eat for lunch. I do better when there's something healthy in the refrigerator that I can just heat up.

I will have to do this again on a week where I’m especially hungry. And maybe on a week when I’m especially bad. Like a few weeks ago when I lived almost exclusively on Girl Scout cookies. It happens.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Being the big sister is hard

If you’ve been reading my blog since its infancy, you might remember this. Meg was 18, she had just graduated from high school and she was tangled up in a mess of a “relationship” with a man who was in his mid-30s.

He was, more or less, The Worst. He taught a few kickboxing classes at our gym and hung out with a wealthy guy who called him his bodyguard and threw him a little money every once and a while. He had a kid who he rarely saw.

Oh, and he was living with another chick. (Who might have been pregnant? Or maybe there was a third chick who was pregnant. I can't remember exactly. I just know there were at least two kids.)

And talked Meg into boxing at a strip club.

Seriously classy.

One day, he basically dropped off of the face of the earth. Didn’t call, email, text, write or Facebook Meg for a few years. He’s popped in intermittently since then. I don’t know why Meg even entertains his attempts to catch up. But, then again, I don’t know why Meg was with him in the first place.

I wasn’t upset when he disappeared but, of course, Meg was. That’s where she gets her “everyone leaves me!” complex that she expressed so often when she and Drew broke up a few months ago.

Anyway. You would think that Meg had learned from that experience. Like maybe something like “oh, bad boys aren’t really a good fit for anything more than a short and casual fling” or “note to self: don’t pick up instructors at the gym!”

She joined a new kickboxing gym recently.

It took maybe three trips to the gym before she was BFFs with the manager. Who also teaches pole dancing fitness classes! Somehow he found out she has a stripper pole in her living room! Somehow he invited himself over to teach her pole dancing! Yay, free private pole dancing lessons!

I want to shake her.

Instead, I’ll just suggest (15 times over) that she have a friend or two over, too.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Enough about me

If you’ve noticed how boring and uninspired this blog has been lately (I know you’ve noticed and you’re just too kind to point it out), this might not come as any surprise.
But, lately, I’ve really grown to hate talking about myself.

I don’t want to do it. I cringe when I get to the point in a conversation with a coworker when she asks me how my weekend is going. The last few times I’ve talked to Ashley, I’ve let her go on and on and on and on and, as soon as she’s asked what’s going on in my life, I end the call shortly thereafter. There’s just nothing worth talking about. And I don’t even want to try.

Even with Lucy. She knows a little of what’s happening at work. She knows all of the crazy shit going on with my extended family. She knows that I had a hockey game on Sunday and that I lived on Girl Scout Cookies a few weeks ago. She has a general idea of what’s happening in my life. But all that is really just because little spurts come out while we’re crawling around on the floor with Baby A or between episodes of whatever show we’re gorging on. Not because we’ve had a regular conversation that involves me telling her, in detail, about something that happened and how it made me feel.

I am unable to hold a regular conversation when I am the topic.

I can get out a couple of sentences. Rushed and apologetic. I don’t do it intentionally and, to an extent, I have always had a hard time talking about myself and my life. But it seems much worse. It makes me physically uncomfortable.

Is it weird that this is a problem of a woman whose biggest hobby for the past 8 years has been WRITING ABOUT HER LIFE on the internet?

Anyone else have a hard time talking about themselves? Anyone have a magic tip to get me over this strange, suddenly strong, phobia?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Looking forward

It seems that I have finally hit the tipping point where there’s enough winter behind me that I can start looking ahead with a little bit of anticipation instead of a great deal of dread.

Finally. Things to get excited about. The Kentucky Derby. The Coach coming home for a few months. A spring soccer season that will be gloriously hectic. (I really need some soccer in my life right now. I’m craving it like you wouldn’t believe.) Outdoor runs. Sundresses.

These last few months have felt like I have just been waiting out the days, just wishing them past.

I expect that I will always want to live somewhere with four seasons: four chances to start fresh. I need something to change and the season is a good place to start.

And that change can continue on to, I don’t know, maybe just, like, everything? I don’t know where the hell I am right now and I don’t know how to find my way out of it. All I can do is live – robotically, sometimes pathetically robotically – and keep my eyes trained forward.

Thank goodness for the Kentucky Derby.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Healthy-ish

Due to a momentary lapse in intelligence, I set my alarm for way too early this morning.

The time I have to get to work varies; depending on the day, I could show up anywhere between 8:30 and 10:00 am, so it’s easy to screw up my alarm clock. Luckily, I have only erred on the side of having too much time. It’s only a matter of time until I mess it up the other way. But that’s what ponytails are for.

With an extra 45 minutes and an unusually high level of motivation, I busted out a quick on demand yoga practice, followed by an even quicker butt workout.

(Side note: just this week, I realized that my butt is not my butt anymore. I am convinced that it no longer impresses and, as my backside is my calling card, I have become obsessed with fixing this problem.)

I will be the first to admit that I am not a morning workout person, but it felt pretty damn good to get that out of the way. I have been such a workout slacker these last two weeks, and I’m planning on visiting Mom tonight, so to squeeze in a little workout when I had planned on skipping out today was slightly awesome.

And then I made oatmeal for breakfast.

So I’m pretty sure I’m practically an official healthy living blogger now.

Does anyone else read healthy living blogs? They’re definitely not must-read blogs for me, but I read them when I am having a quiet/uninspired afternoon at work. I find them half interesting and half annoying as hell.

I like the general idea of the healthy living blog, but they can get too preachy and unattainable. Like, oh, I ran 9 miles and then I allowed myself to have five whole chocolate chips for dessert! It’s insane to me. It isn’t real.

If I was insecure about my own lifestyle and I was looking to healthy living blogs for guidance? I would give up immediately. Because if I my diet needs to be 20% kale to be healthy, I would rather be unhealthy.

I’ve often bounced around the idea of starting my own healthy-ish living blog. A blog with some balance. Where I could write: hey, I was going to go to the gym tonight and run on the treadmill but Lucy called and we had an enormous dinner, instead. I’ll make it to the gym tomorrow. Or: okay, so I haven’t consumed anything but Girl Scout Cookies this week. Next week is a new week.

Maybe it’s just that the most popular healthy living blogs are also the most stringent and there are some out there that are not written by robots fueled on almond butter. But it seems like there is some room there out on the interwebs for a healthy living blogger who lives in the real world and has consumed fast food at some point in the past 18 months.

I don’t know if that someone is me. I don’t know if I want to put myself out there like that and I don’t know if I have the voice/confidence to say “this is what I do, it works for me.” But it is something I think about on occasion.      

Not that I’m going anywhere.

This blog – in all of its weirdness and lack of direction – is here to stay.

(Should I apologize for that?)

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Everyone isn't like me

One of the more fun responsibilities of my job – other than dealing with crazies and refilling the paper in the public printer – is leading a book discussion group.

My group consists of a handful of older women. They’re all very educated, well spoken, smart and sweet. We have a good chat once a month. I rather enjoy it.

This week, we met to discuss The Submission by Amy Waldman. The premise of the book, basically, is that a jury chooses the design for the memorial for the victims of 9/11, and the anonymous architect who designed the memorial turns out to be an American Muslim.

When you’re selecting for discussion, the best books have a little bit of controversy. I expect that the book would spur good conversation – and it did.

What I didn’t expect was for one of my little old ladies to blurt out “I enjoyed the book, but I did not enjoy so much use of the F word!”

I was stunned, you guys.

I just sat there. Blinking.

I hadn’t even noticed it was there.

Even once.

“And there was too much sex.”

We’re not talking descriptions of sex, either. Just maybe a sentence that implied that, yes, these characters had intercourse. None of the characters even had multiple partners.

Goodness.

It was fortunate that we read this book now. I’m just getting ready to choose our books for the next year and I had my heart set on reading Tiny Beautiful Things with our group because I was terribly interested to see what a group of women 35+ years older than me thought of Sugar’s advice.

Every fourth word is fuck and a quarter of the advice is about sex in some way, shape or form. I think I’ll save Tiny Beautiful Things for my ultra-liberal, young and hip book discussion group full of hot, single men that has yet to be created.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

What I get for skipping

I skipped a union meeting a few weeks ago because it was on a Friday night and I was exhausted and I was annoyed with my job and I was annoyed with my coworkers and I was annoyed with our union leadership and I didn’t really want anything to do with any of them. Plus I accidentally made plans with Lucy at the same time as the meeting and seeing Argo and eating Thai food sounded much more appealing.

So I skipped the meeting and I didn’t feel bad about it.

I still don’t feel bad about it.

What I feel bad about is GETTING NOMINATED FOR A LEADERSHIP POSITION.

Yeah. So, at the meeting that I didn’t attend, one of my esteemed colleagues nominated me for a leadership position within the union. I’m too much of a sucker to withdraw my name so I basically need to put all of my hopes, dreams and energy towards willing my coworkers to vote for someone else.

I’m totally going to get elected.

In which case, I’ll take the job and I will run with it. My mother is the Chief Bargainer for her (much bigger, much more powerful) union and, if I am elected, I am just going to have to channel my mother’s brand of no-nonsense, bad-ass leadership and hope that I can do the job reasonably well.

If I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it right.

Even though this position was not a commitment that I wanted to make or a task that I wanted to take on.

Life lesson: don’t skip a union meeting.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Retail Therapy

What did you guys do this weekend?
 
I bought new pants.
 

At Forever 21. I genuinely purchased these pants. To wear in June, 2014. What better to wear while watching the American team play in the World Cup?

I couldn't bring myself to buy the shirt, too.

I do have limits. They're just not so extreme as to keep me from posting humiliating pictures on the interwebs.

You're welcome.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Home

I know that I've alluded to it a few times over the past six weeks, but I never quite came out and told the story because it didn't feel like my story to tell.

That's a part of blogging that I have a hard time with, occassionally. Determining what is -- and what is not -- my story to tell.

 My cousin Danielle is bipolar. She went to Europe at the beginning of the year for a workshop (she's a legitimate paid-enough-to-support-herself-without-bartending actor) and had a manic episode. She got so bad, so out of control, that her friends there called an ambulance. She stayed in the psych ward for a week.

When it was time for her to be released, Liz (my cousin/roommate, Danielle's younger sister) spent 22 hours flying to and from Europe so that she could escort Danielle home. Liz never even left the airport.

Danielle was decent when she got home (she's been living with her parents for the last couple of years). Not great, but it seemed like she was cycling out of her mania. Except she didn't. She got worse. More manic. It got scarier. She got in an argument with my aunt one day and packed herself up to live with her yoga instructor. Danielle lasted a few days before the yoga instructor called and asked her parents to pick her up.

Two days after returning home, Danielle spent an entire afternoon trashing the house. She directed her anger at my uncle that day. She smashed his guitar. She tore up his bible. A family friend happened to stop by and she called my aunt. When Aunt Annette got home, she gave Danielle the option to go with her to the hospital or to have the police bring her there.

Danielle went with her mom. She's been in the psychiatric unit since then -- 11 days now. Her family met with her treatment team today. She'll be released in the next few days.

And she'll move in with my parents.

According to my mother (who comes home today from her California vacation), everyone agreed that it will be best for Danielle to stay with my parents for the time being.

I found all of this out at 5:30 pm yesterday. As I'm dogsitting for Mom and Dad, I went back to their house and, in a somewhat panicked state, started getting the house ready for Danielle's arrival.

That meant emptying out the dresser in my bedroom. That meant washing the sheets on my bed. That meant hauling all of the booze -- my God, there was a lot of alcohol -- out of the house.

And it meant feeling weird about it all. Maybe a little resentful, too. Talking to Meg (who is so afraid that something will happen to the dog if she's left alone with Danielle), it seems like she feels the same way, too.

Healthy or not, Meg and I both very much identify our mom and dad's house as home. It is still very much the place where we go when we're sad or confused or upset. It is still very much a safe place. It is home in all of the right ways.

After what she did at her mom and dad's house, getting this house ready for Danielle to move in feels strange and risky and scary. Although, it feels right, too. She is family. This is what family does.

That's why I feel like it's okay to tell Danielle's story now. Because part of it is my story, too.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Peace out, February

I thought that January was kind of a crappy month. And then February happened and I thought that February was kind of a crappy month, too.

I'm all about easing in to the greatness that I am certain that you'll achieve, 2013, but how about we get on it?

* * *

Just a few minutes ago, I realized that I haven't gone on a run or otherwise properly exercised since last week. Could that be why this week has seemed so unbearable? That could be why this week has seemed so unbearable.

* * *

I have one day remaining in my dogsitting duties and, as I am off of work today, it is time for me to clean up the filthy mess that I have made of my mother's house. I collected up all of my dirty clothes off of the bathroom floor and transported them down to the washing machine.

Only to find the washing machine full.

Of a load of laundry that Meg did. On Sunday.

Disgusting.

Smelly abandoned clean clothes disgusting.

* * *

You know what else I find disgusting? The screen of my iPad.

 * * *

The most awesome part about Lucy being pregnant -- other than the little guy -- is that she and Chet are totally up for eating anything. They're good, healthy eaters most of the time. But they're not turning down dessert and I love it.

 * * *

Speaking of dessert: I think I'm going to make a pie or three this weekend. It just sounds good.
 
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