Sunday, January 30, 2011

Highs and lows, Jan. 30th edition


Hmm...what was my high this week? Better question: How do I choose just one? Notable highs that come to mind are

  • Buying those seafoam green Kate Spade heels, the color of which I found out is actually called "Varducci green" as in the Varducci green that vintage Vespas from the '60s came in. How do I know this? Because of my second high....
  • I found my dream Vespa! It's about an hour away from where I live, and I have no idea if it's still even available, but the color is perfetto and though after our cross-country move I have yet to get my in-state driver's license, much less my M2 moped one, these pics are a good starting off point to measure all future finds against. You know, like when you grew up with a picture of JFK Jr. on your wall because he was your perfect man and you wanted one just like him, then one day you found one just like him and ended up marrying him and it was all because you never lost sight of what you wanted? These Vespa pictures are kind of like that. Eyes on the prize.

  • J and I just spent this afternoon having brunch with a lawyer who I met through a lunch meet-and-greet at work. Said lawyer is a very likable, very social guy who -- if you can believe it -- may talk even more than I do. (That has yet to be calculated and confirmed.) He invited us over to his house, which turned out to be more of a Mediterranean-style villa than a house, up in the hills overlooking the bay. From that high up, the views of the city in the distance and the ocean farther out ahead were spectacular, and for three hours we had fun talking over bagels and lox and the amazing views. Most of the conversation revolved around travel (said lawyer and his wife have been everywhere) so it was refreshing to see that a high-powered partner at a global firm still has ample time every year to go abroad with his wife and live for weeks in villas in the South of France or the Amalfi coast. First-world problems.
  • Yesterday J and I were out shopping and I went a little cray cray at Sephora. J talked me into buying all high-quality makeup to replace my cheap stuff with, so I did and, though it was expensive -- more than I've ever spent on makeup in one sitting -- I don't feel bad about it at all. In fact, it made me very happy putting on all my new cosmetics this morning. Which is what money is for, right?
  • Tonight Drew is coming over so he and J can begin preparing a case against one of Drew's bandmates -- the one who essentially stole most of what Drew's band earned because he felt he was entitled to all copyrights. In essence this is J's first "client," though he's not taking money from Drew and might not be able to represent him once he starts his official firm job tomorrow. But J's still taking it very seriously and hopes to pitch his first client to the firm once he gets a bit more settled in to the new job. Regardless, right now it's very cute watching J drink coffee out of his law school mug as he pours over Drew's record label contract, making notes and addendums and other lawyer-y things on his legal pad, with our cat and dog sitting near him. The start of a beautiful career. 


Only two more weeks at work! Ten days -- begin the countdown. I'm considering this both a high and a low (tee hee).

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Future plans that include things like horseback riding, saving animals and fondue

In case you're wondering I'm still beaming about putting in my resignation at work. You'd think I was expecting twins after a doctor deemed me infertile -- that's about how stoked I am (though my current situation comes with the bonus of having no poopy diapers involved!). 

On Tuesday Boss Man asked if I would please, please stay just one more week, they would really appreciate it if I did, and I said okay because....well, I'm not sure why I said okay. It was like a knee-jerk reaction when you step in an unassuming puddle of puppy urine you didn't notice on your kitchen floor. Icky, but something that couldn't be avoided because that's what you get for getting a puppy in the first place. J said later that I agreed to it because I'm responsible, that no matter how badly I was treated I persevered professionally on my part. Which I'll go with, I guess he does have a point. Plus it makes me sound even more amazing and effervescent, which I like. 

So my little hombres, my last day is February 11, whereupon clouds and oceans will part as I will never, ever have to ride the disgusting subway again, wake up at 6am (unless I'm catching a flight to somewhere exotic like Rome or Buenos Aires), or watch homeless people fornicate on the sidewalk on my way to work every morning. No, I have bigger plans than that. During the last six months I've slowly compiled a list of Things I Plan To Do Once I Quit. The list is as follows:

  • Write. Back to writing books. Freelancing articles. Blogging more. I will write and often.
  • Get back into horseback riding. I used to ride Dressage and I miss it. Harder to do now when I'm nearly 30 and realize the harsh realities about horses (i.e., being around one long enough could get you killed and/or seriously hurt. Hello? Did you not see Madonna with her broken clavicle during her equestrian Confessions on a Dancefloor phase??!). But there was a time when these thoughts didn't cross my mind and I rode fine. I must recapture that spirit of invincibility.
  • Start taking kickboxing again. Oh the joys of punching a bag with the thought of it being TC's face! There's an LA Boxing a couple blocks from my apartment, but the more I walk by it the more I'm turned off by the whole LA Boxing franchise. It seems like a total "bro" hangout, where men in cut-off tank tops and military haircuts pull up in their ginormous F150s and spend hours comparing bicep sizes in the mirrors when they aren't staring at girl's butts. No me gusta. If I can't find a more unsteroided version of a kickboxing studio nearby then I'll opt for taking yoga and pilates classes.
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter. Heartbreaking, I know, but this was another thing I used to do when I had the time. I hope to get back into it again; it was uber satisfying work that made me feel like I was making a difference.
  • Start an animal rescue foundation. This has been on my dreams list for a while now (probably since 2007). Will it happen tomorrow? No. But this is a goal for the longer term.
  • Enroll in corporate finance classes. Math as related to the stock market fascinates me, as does trading stocks. I want to become more well-versed in things like reading company balance sheets, using P/E ratios and analyzing stock charts.
  • Become fluent in Farsi and Italian. I've got a pretty good handle on Farsi (I can understand 90%, speak about 50%) but I want to speak and understand 100%. Italian I used to know a little bit of from studying abroad in Florence, but that was many moons ago and I've since forgotten most of what I know. If I could become conversationally fluent I would be satisfied.
  • Read the New Yorker religiously every week. As in the paper version, which I have yet to subscribe to since I know the copies would just begin piling up. After I quit, I will read the New Yorker to my heart's content.
  • Read two novels a month. This is more than feasible; right now I average about one novel a month. 
  • Run for city council. A long-term goal I hope to shoot for in a few years. In the meantime I've got the city council calendar handy and am planning to sit in on upcoming meetings and slowly meet the people on council. (It's never too early to begin campaigning -- especially when you're wearing Cynthia Rowley!)
  • Start a fondue restaurant. Another long-term goal that J seems keen on as well. He had some great ideas for the venture the other night and though we're nowhere near making this puppy a reality at the moment, it's nice to know that this could be something the two of us decide to do together -- even if he only takes the role of silent investor.
  • Try rock climbing. Dangling 20 feet above a thin blue rubber mat as I frantically clutch onto edges of artificial rock? Why not.
So far that's my list. Will make addendums as they crop up.

Monday, January 24, 2011

In the clear

Well I did it today. I put in my two weeks. 

So it didn't go exactly as planned, which added to my stress about the situation, but I had to improvise and in the end I think it worked out fine. When I got to work this morning I was beyond ready to tell my immediate boss (aka Boss Man) about my resignation, but he never showed up. Turns out his kid got sick and so he was planning to come in later this afternoon -- about the same time that I was leaving early for a doctor's appointment. 

Big, humongous drawn-out sigh here. Why does this always happen to me?

I sure as hell didn't want to wait till Tuesday to this, and I would have much rather done it in-person as planned, but I couldn't wait to get it over with. It was like holding a hot potato right out of the microwave. I needed to throw that puppy on the counter. So I decided to write an email, and I cc'ed our boss. 

Well that boss came in a few minutes later, and within an hour of arriving he was sitting in our publisher's office with the door closed, speaking to him about me and my resignation letter (or so the secretary whispered to me). He still hadn't talked to me at all, but after he left the publisher's office he came back to his office and asked to speak with me. Awkward!!

Basically it turned out my boss hadn't told him at all about my breakdown on Wednesday and that it came as a surprise to him to hear all that and to hear that my boss hadn't attempted to fix anything. He apologized that it had gotten to that at work and he kept prodding me for more details about TC et. al. till I finally started crying in his office when I recalled all the stress of the last few months. It was so embarrassing. But it ended much more even keel then I thought it would. I guess I expected him to throw his desk over like that chick in that Real Housewives of New Jersey finale. But there was no table flipping. He did ask what they could do with the next person in my position and I made it clear what needed to be done, and what hadn't been done for me. 

Then a few hours later Boss Man finally came in and took me into a private room upon arrival. Long story with him but basically he wasn't as understanding as our top boss, and made me feel like the reasons for my departure were my fault, that he "didn't realize" I was this close to the end of my rope there and that he didn't "feel like I'd given him a chance to try and fix things." Right. Like it was ALL my fault. I told him I didn't agree -- that I'd attempted to fix things before (as he knew) and that none of it ever went anywhere. Mostly because I got no backup from them. (Which of course he doesn't like since the onus of my leaving gets pushed on his inability to manage his employees correctly.) Anywits, he kept pushing it on me, making it seem like I was overreacting, to which I just got more pissed off till finally I gave up trying to explain myself since he tried to rationalize just about every one of my complaints and in the end I wanted him to just stop. I had no more to stay and was ready to go home. I guess this pseudo reverse-psychology was his attempt at getting me to stay, but everything he said further confirmed the fact that I was making the right decision. 

So now I have two weeks left! Tonight J and I went shopping for new dress shirts and a suit for him. During our spree he said we should buy something for me to celebrate my "I quit" day (good husband) so I picked these little lambs out:

I'm in love with them. The sea foam green screams spring and I'm obsessed with how classic they are. I'm jonesing for a Vespa to toodle around town with since J will be using our car to commute to work every day, and the first thing I thought of when I saw these was how fabulous they'd look with my Vespa when I eventually get it! It'd be so Italian.

I'm happy. So happy, for a multitude of reasons right now. But best of all I feel like I can breathe again.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The final hurdle

Ok, so I'm totes going a little cray cray tonight. Tomorrow I'm putting in my official resignation at work, and though I'm STOKED about finally being able to do so, I can't shake this anxiety-ridden feeling. My mom and sis remarked today that I look so much more peaceful, like my face was one giant knot for the last few months and now it's come undone. I look at peace. Which is exactly how I feel -- I can finally see my light at the end of the tunnel and all that. But now comes my final hurdle of pulling the ripcord, and what irks me is I have no idea what the reaction is going to be work. 

These kinds of things are always a big question mark till you actually see them in action, but I have a feeling my boss(es) are going to react with anger. After all, I've only been there 6 months and I was "given this opportunity" when I was recommended by someone who was interviewing me at a different publication. I feel like they will think that I'm unappreciative of being given a chance at our publication, or that I'm being unprofessional by leaving so early. And I have retorts to both of those points if they do bring them up. But I have to remember going into my private discussion tomorrow that I don't owe them anything. They will undoubtedly make me feel guilty, or unprofessional, or try to reason with me to stay by perhaps saying they will fix things. But in my 6 months of being there they did nothing to fix anything, and as a result I grew to hate going to the office with every passing day. 

That's the problem and that's what I'll say. That I don't hate the job, in fact I love what I do. It was no accident that I'm working in journalism. But the people that work under me are some of the most unprofessional, abusive personalities that I've ever had to deal with in an office atmosphere. They don't allow me to do my job because they make it personal when they have a problem -- which is at least once a week. And on a sidenote, and to be completely honest, I think a man would be better suited in my position. Not that a woman can't do the job, but these females on staff are sexist in nature and it appears they only respect a man's advice when it comes to anything related to their job. 

I've been practicing what I'm going to say to J and we've listed the top three bulletpoints that I should remember when I'm giving my farewell speech tomorrow (I tend to tread off topic so I'm hoping these three points will keep me on track in the conversation). 

Again, though, I have no idea how my resignation is going to be taken so I'm a little anxious. No, they can't keep there and I'd much rather leave tomorrow than in two weeks, but I feel that giving them the standard two is the most professional way to get out of this. I hope they just tell me to pack up immediately; I would gladly oblige. Oh and when is the best time of day to do this type of thing? I'm thinking earlier in the day than later, i.e., I'll wait for Boss Man to come in, get his coffee, check his email, then before our daily meeting I'm planning to take him aside to a conference room and tell him that I've thought about it all weekend and that after this last week (where I ended up crying to him), I think it's best for me to move on.

Anyway, J and I are going out to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse to celebrate his job offer with friends tonight, so I won't be thinking about this for at least a few hours over good food and wine.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

It finally happened!

 D -- fig it, his real name is J and that's what he shall be called -- GOT THE JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!

Extraordinarily enough, the offer terms at this law firm are as good and even better than the terms of the job offer that he turned down in Newport Beach. You know...the one he's been kicking himself over the past few months for rejecting. And the best thing of all? We get to stay put right where we are. No moving down the state, or across the country again. Everything, as many have said and I was unable to see, has actually worked out. It continues to baffle me how things seem to have a way of doing that.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The tipping point

Ugh. Where do I even begin. I promised myself I wasn't going to talk about work in every single freaking blog post of mine, but I completely lost it today and so I think this deserves a bit of air time. 

Terrible Coworker (aka TC) -- the one who threw me under the bus months ago at work -- is at it again. Which is funny since I thought things had gotten much better with TC, as most of November and all of December went swimmingly. Better than I could have ever imagined us getting along professionally. But in the last week or so, TC has reverted back to his/her old self. Nasty, passive aggressive comments about how I lack what it takes to be in my position. Constant, back-handed berating about how deficient I am. Normally I let this acerbic behavior go and chalk it up to TC's overly apparent insecurities as a writer. But today I completely fell apart. 

To make a long story short I hauled my boss L into a private meeting and, through frustrated tears, told her that I'm thisclose to quitting, that I'm about to walk right out and that TC is a BITCH. Yes, I used "bitch" twice, and not without pointing out that I can't work with TC's "shitty personality" anymore. (I can't believe I actually said all this.) More than that, I can't believe I finally, very publicly, fell apart at work. 

I was SO embarrassed. 

It was the first time I'd ever cried IN the office. In any office. L obviously felt bad but didn't know how to respond to me, and said it was good to vent in private like I was doing. Well guess what? Venting doesn't solve this problem at all, as my husband can attest to since he has to hear my malaise daily. And I said that. L went into the reasons why TC might be acting the way he/she is: major insecurities with their own work, needing a scapegoat (aka me) to blame those feelings of inadequacy on, etc. etc. And the solution, according to L, is that I need to talk to TC and -- while wearing a thick skin -- let the insults roll off me and reassure TC that we need to communicate better to have a good working relationship. Really? A.) I did this before, it seemed to work for a time and now it's reverted back to being terrible, and B.) I need to accept insults in order for us to function better as a team? This is a new way of thinking to me, and if that's the case I am so beyond out. 

D has a second interview with a firm tomorrow afternoon, just after a first interview with a different firm tomorrow morning. Praying that something good comes out of these, but I'm tired of waiting where we're going to "end up" because of his job. Tonight I've officially started sending out resumes, and I hope to put in my two weeks as soon as possible -- either when D finally gets an offer or I find something else as quickly as I can. 

Earlier this month I'd started thinking of good excuses to give my bosses when they question my resignation. After all, I haven't been there that long. At first I thought I'd lie and say I was leaving the country to do something like teach English in a foreign land. Then I thought that sounded too flighty, that I'd need to say something more along the lines of "I need to care for a close elderly relative of mine with a health issue," which sounds much more responsible and upright. To perpetuate that sentiment I started looking more "sad" than usual, so when I eventually drop the health issue bomb on them it will make complete sense. I had to remind myself, though, to not overly pout as it could look like I simply had a problem with my lower lip. I simply needed to look a little lost and confused, like I just smelled a fart. 

But now the act is over. It will now come as no surprise when I put in my two weeks. And I won't have to lie about a thing. ;)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cue accordian music

It's cool -- I'm not on antidepressants! Seriously, I'm not (she says, peering around with shifty eyes now that she realizes how in denial she sounds). In all honesty I'm not. Just found myself laughing out loud at this gem and thought I'd pass along.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Margarita, cha-cha-cha

So Thursday night D and I went out for margaritas and enchiladas with a good friend of mine, Drew, who'd just gotten back from being in Tonga over New Years.

I've known Drew since freshman year of college, when we both studied abroad in Florence for one semester and met on the plane en route to Italy. According to Drew I was super annoying at first because I "wouldn't stop talking." (Ha! Typical. I left a similar impression with D when we first met) After listening to me "talk about Britney Spears for the first hour on board," Drew says he remembers looking out the window somewhere over Idaho and thinking that it was going to be a loooong flight. But by the time we touched down in Milan for our connection to Tuscany, he'd come to find out I was hilarious and amazing. Which I am. We hung out in the streets of Florence and Rome for the rest of that semester, inseparable in a best friend kind of way. Later, back in the states, we ended up (coincidentally) living a block apart through college in Santa Barbara, and though we lost contact for a few years after graduation, I'm happy to report that we're back to hanging out more now, mostly because he lives part-time just down the freeway from me. 

I say part time because Drew's a little famous. Not like Brad Pitt-famous, but he was in a band that went gold (which actually surprised me since I think their music sucks) but I'm still proud of and inspired by him. He stuck with his band through college, when I used to watch them play at house parties, to now being all over VH1. It's a trip, to say the least.

But over margaritas on Thursday night, he wasn't so happy. Apparently there's a growing rift in his band that's reminiscent of what happened in Almost Famous -- you know, one or two key players ends up a drug addict, drags the entire band down with him and tries to cash in on all the royalties himself, etc. etc. It's the typical band-breakup story. To add salt to the wound it sounds like Drew's lawyer is in cahoots with the drug-addict-royalty-stealer and so we discussed for hours over margaritas and enchiladas about how D could properly represent Drew and get him what was rightfully his. (D's first potential client!)

I know nothing about law, so aside from the errant "yeah, that's right!" between my sips of margarita, I didn't have much to add to the conversation other than what Drew's already heard from me YEARS ago and what I echoed again at the dinner table: That Mr. Coke Head is a selfish asshat who never had Drew's best interests at heart -- even when he pretended to be his best friend. And really, who wants to hear, after all these years, that I was right and they were wrong? So after I reiterated my told-you-so's, I lost count of my 'ritas, till before I knew it I was home singing Prince songs in the shower. ...And I had to wake up at 6am for work on Friday. Ugh.

Basically, I looked like this the next morning at the office:

Not fun. I slithered in past reception and into my uncomfortable office chair, unwilling to start the day. Being the first one in I had the luxury of sitting at my desk with my face in my hands for a good 20 minutes, catching up on some semblance of sleep before my terribly annoying and uptight coworkers came in all prim and bunged up, like they always do. Ugh, whenever I see them I think of how Ferris Bueller describes Cameron: "Pardon my French, but Cameron is so tight that if you stuck a lump of coal up his ass, in two weeks you'd have a diamond." Obvi I'M not the one who needs a drink. 

When the FGC finally came in he remarked that for being hungover I looked fabulous, which I'll take (bless his rhinestone-studded heart), and the rest of Friday at work I read celebrity news online and looked for another job on Craigslist (on my smartphone, of course. Mama doesn't want to have that awkward conservation with her superiors if her web-browsing activity is actually tracked and they see she's getting paid to find a different employer). Come to think of it, they wouldn't fire me if that ever came to light...I've found that no matter what people do at my company they don't fire ANYONE. I'm starting to think one day en route to the coffee machine, I could blatantly slap one of my coworker's butts like I used to do with handsome men on the streets of Italy and I still wouldn't be fired. So strange. 

The point was Friday was a blur and I am SO THANKFUL this is a three-day weekend. I spent some time at the beach with D and got to hang out with my brother and his girlfriend for a while Saturday night, wherein my brother forced us to watch a marathon of MSNBC's "Lockdown: Raw" -- a prison reality show illustrating the violent dramas that play out between incarcerated men of all walks of life. Five minutes into the first episode I was hooked, although I seem to have more of an affinity for the "Lockdown: First Timers" episodes, where prison newbies are filmed during the first days of being in jail, and what happens to them when guys with neck tattooes and names like "Clyde" initiate these first-timers into "the life." Fascinating, to the say the least.

Also, in an effort to keep my new year's resolution strong, I've started a journal of what I'm thankful for every single day. I know, sounds totally cheesy, right? But it's actually a good reminder of what to be happy for, even if your day seems to have royally sucked overall. Every day I just list the date and a quick sentence or two of what I'm thankful for in this cute blank book a friend recently bought me:

Totes adorbs. D's happy I've thought of way to work on being more positive, but I told him that there was potential for this Project of Thanks to backfire, in that I could start writing things like "Today I'm thankful for how amazing I am -- everyone at the grocery store was acting like a sour-faced jerk" or "I'm thankful I was never an ugly baby, because I've seen my fair share of them today." But I'm not writing those kind of things...yet. For now they're positive reaffirmations that remind me not to be so cynical, which I have a tendency to be. I'm thinking maybe I'll even post my "thanks" once in a while on here...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Who are we, really?

(Note: Stupid Me! I published this last Wednesday and realized, tonight, that I had set it for 1/5/2010 and not 2011. Thankfully I'm not running the New York Stock Exchange or working as flight control at some major airport, 'cause then my little mistakes would not be so endearing. My minor mix-up aside, here's what should have published days -- and not a year -- ago...)

Last week I met up with an old friend from high school who I hadn't seen for 8 years. This meeting was huge on two fronts: 

1.) I never kept in touch with anyone after high school. No specific reason why (i.e., had a Real Housewife-esque blowout a la Camille and Kyle), I just didn't. I suppose the overarching reason was I didn't feel like I had a lot in common with most of my high school friends. We got along fine (some of us more than others) but except for about three good friends, the rest I found tedious, annoying and on the fast track to nowhere (you know, the kind you could easily picture playing beer pong well into their 30s, quite possibly early 40s). Not that I choose my friends based on shared ambitions, but I come from a small (yet cute) beach town where unemployed surfers are the norm. 

2.) I never look people up to reconnect and rekindle friendships. Okay, reading that last sentence makes me feel like Miss Havisham, but it never occurs to me to do so. I think, subconciously, that my life needs to move forward. Not backward with past acquaintances. Which is strange since I admit that I'm often fully stuck in the pass -- the last few days, in fact, my old best friend from a decade ago has crossed my mind so frequently that I even had a dream about her two nights ago, something about us being on a road trip with Che Guevara and my grandma to find a decent cup of coffee. 

Anyway, the point is I had a terrible track record of staying in touch with all the new people I met after high school and through college. We'd have our fun times and then I'd move, or they'd move, and you both knew it would never be the same and this was back in the days before Facebook and Twitter and smart phones, so if you didn't make a concerted effort to pick up the phone and stay in touch then that was that. And even now, with social media as ubiquitous as a new Kardashian reality show, I have no problem staying off Facebook et. al. for days, weeks even, because I don't really care what all my old high school "friends" are up to. If I did I'd be calling them up.

But Laurel was different. 

I met Laurel at the end of my sophomore year, when she was a new transfer at our high school and I noticed her one day sitting alone near the campus perimeter, eating lunch. She was different than anyone I'd ever met. She had a fully shaved head because her hair "annoyed her", smoked cigarettes at 16 and had no real curfew. Back then the only girls I knew who shaved their heads were either Hare Krishnas I saw at the airport or women on Lifetime movies undergoing cancer treatment, neither of which Laurel was. That first day I saw her eating alone I invited her to come hang out with my group.

Laurel quickly assimilated in with my friends. We learned she was from a high school across town, one that was much more liberal and known for its hippie population. During the next two years Laurel grew her hair out, tweezed her brows and became a diehard Backstreet Boys fan. About a year into us knowing her she started sleeping around with different guys on campus, finding herself in compromising situations late at night in the backseat of her Corolla with random guys in ill-lit parking lots behind churches. The nastier of our friends began throwing around the "slut" word behind her back (which I think was stupid since it was kind of hypocritical). I mean, it's high school and she was just experimenting. That's the way I looked at it, at least. "Whore-el" became her new nickname and so it went on till we graduated and went our different ways. 

The last time I spoke with her she was transferring two years into college to a different university nearer to her boyfriend, who she would eventually marry and divorce another two years later, after he walked in one night, admitted to her that he'd been cheating with another woman, he was in love with that woman, and that he wanted her to move in with them asap. Needless to say, the next morning she closed out their joint savings account of $20,000, and never saw him in person again.

I knew I was going to be in town visiting my dad for the holidays, and Laurel had left messages here and there on my Facebook page, so I set up a time to meet. She just had her first baby, and I was genuinely interested in reconnecting with her, meeting her baby and catching up. After all, we were very close back in the day, even though aside from our passion for classic rock and shared love of making people feel awkward and uncomfortable, we didn't outrightly have much in common.

We met up for breakfast on one of my last days in town and it was as if she had come full circle. Funny how life does that. Once again her hair was short (not shaved, but definitely shorter than what I remember so many years ago), she wore no makeup and she plodded in wearing hemp sandals and a matching hemp diaper bag. It seemed like time had turned Laurel back into who she'd always been. Her baby was beyond adorable (in case you're wondering: holding it made me want one infinitely more) and of course it wore a cute little pink cloth diaper because "they're better for the environment," she said. Incidentally the baby's name, in true hippie fashion, was almost named Willow. 

Conversation flowed easily, but the entire time Laurel seemed uncomfortable. As though we'd never really known one another that well. This was a girl who used to spend the night all the time at my parents' house, who I'd sneak out my bedroom window with to go to parties and who'd spend hours at the local diner talking about boys and dreams and life. But you never would have known from our meeting over breakfast last week. Not that it was bad, but I guess I was expecting it to be better. She was much more guarded and distant and formal. 

I can't help but think it's because she felt I'd never really known the real her. That "her" in high school, when she went through her myriad phases, was only a shadow of her real self. Sure, I might have reached a deeper shadow than most back then, but it wasn't really her. Perhaps I didn't know her at all...only what she wanted me -- and everyone -- to know in her quest for acceptance. Which makes me question: who are we, really? Do we pretend to be something else in different stages of life? Because we yearn for acceptance and belonging that much? What bizarre lengths do we go to to project who we want to be to friends and family ?

It was comforting to see that Laurel had reverted to her old self. She fully embraced no makeup and cloth diapers and living a hippie life in the mountains, and she was happy. Beaming, even. And though it might have proven to both of us that our prior connection might not ever have been deep, it proved that we at least had stayed true to our personalities.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Highs and lows, Jan. 2nd edition


My high was having this last week off from work.  By Tuesday I forgot I even had a job, what with all the playtime I got to spend with friends and family, shopping and eating and reading and writing and exercising. My perfect day involves waking up sans an alarm clock, and this last week or so I got 10 of those days. Pure bliss. D and I stayed at my parents' house for most of the week, where the fridge is always fully stocked with yummy goodies and the ocean is only a couple miles away. We took many lazy walks along the beach cliffs and "grazed" every night on aged gouda, olives, grapes, and red wine. 

Having all that time off was much-needed therapy. Of course, that makes tonight even harder to cope with since it's back to work tomorrow where I'm 100% sure I'll have to deal with an annoyingly stressful situation that will inevitably carry over from before Christmas, but I need to just breathe and deal with it. Like my grandma said a few days ago: "It's only a goddamn job." Tell yourself that every time you feel your blood pressure rise, she said. And she's right. It's only a goddamn job. Rinse and repeat.

Another high this week was a shopping spree D and I had at Banana Republic. The entire store is basically 50% off right now, so we made out like bandits. We got $500 worth of clothes for a little over 200 dollars total, with most of those clothes being for me. My fave purchase was a classic khaki trench that I got for $65 (originally $200). I'm still in shock for scoring such a fabulous find:

And I can't wait to wear it with my new Hunters!


Well, coming home to a cat puke all over my living room carpet was no walk in the park. Sometimes I feel like my cat forces herself to throw up like a bulimic to boycott us leaving her for days at a time. Luckily I have a husband who doesn't think twice about cleaning it all up himself. Why it doesn't occur to him to ask me to do it, I don't know. Score.

The only other low I can remember is having a terrible nightmare at my parents' house. I woke up petrified and needing to pee. Since my bedroom is downstairs and far from the bathroom, walking through a darkened house and down a dark hallway alone freaked me out (I suppose I could have turned on a few lights, but it was 3am and I wasn't exactly thinking rationally, all I remembered was that terrifying scene from The Sixth Sense ), so I nudged D awake, told him I had a bad dream and I was scared to walk to the bathroom by myself. Without hesitating or complaining about how pathetic I was (I mean, hello, I'm 28 years old and still scared of the dark?!), he got up out of bed and walked with me down the dark hall, waiting for me outside the bathroom door till I was finished. It was a little act, but one of the sweetest things a guy has ever done for me. Through the little (and big) things in my life, it's comforting to know that D always has my back.