Thursday, December 14, 2006

Where we get...nowhere

After months of isolation from her team, my boss finally was re-assigned to her previous post...on Fridays. The poor thing is still expected to run a million task forces the rest of the week. So this is good news. Sort of.

At the very least, it enabled me to make a lunch date with her this week (from an invitation sent two months ago) to discuss my options after the baby. We started out talking about how the team had been in her absence, how she was doing, how I was faring, and so on. Then she told me I'd been promoted. All good, even great, things.

But then I asked about the potential for part-time work. Here the clear communication began to falter. My boss honestly explained that the company was undergoing some very large changes and that there was no telling if there'd be any open part-time positions (already quite rare) in six month's time.

The good news is that she didn't deny me outright because of my lack of tenure. The bad news is that I've no clear direction in which to move. I still don't know what I'm going to do, which makes it nearly impossible to go about finding daycare. And all the quality establishments and decent nannies have long waiting lists.

Will I be employed in 2007? Will I be at home?

It's funny that I'd find myself in this position. I'm a Type-A personality, a planner. I applied to one high school. One college. One graduate program. I set my sights and I move. But for the first time I have no plan. And it's scary. What does this mean for me?

Surprisingly, it hasn't sent me into a total panic. But it sits darkly curled up in the back of my mind whispering. And I feel more than a little lost in this place.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Holiday spirit? Or pity?

I woke this morning at 2:45 for a typical bathroom break. As baby gets bigger, my bladder has less room to spare. But instead of slipping back into sleep like normal, I found myself wide awake. For hours. I tried every position and relaxing thought but nothing worked. I only scraped together maybe another hour-and-a-half of sleep.

So this morning I stopped by Starbucks for a much-needed cup of decaf. I hoped that just that smidgen of caffeine would help keep my eyes open a little longer. One decaf non-fat peppermint mocha later, I began backing up the Jeep. Then, THUD. A little black Camry had parked illegally behind me, and I hadn't given it wide enough berth.

I pulled back into my parking spot and got out to look at the damage. A paint scratch on the Camry, with the Jeep sporting a crack in the paint on the bumper. Shit. Shit. Shit. I found a sheet of paper and wrote down my insurance information, waiting for the car's owner to return.

Someone must have gone into Starbucks and mentioned the fender-bender, because a cute young girl popped her head out and eyed her car.

"Is that your black car?" I asked. "Because I just bumped it. I'm so, so sorry--I scratched some of your paint. With this silly stomach I can barely turn around and I didn't give your car enough room. I've written out all my insurance information. I'm so sorry!"

Maintaining the most pleasant demeanor, she walked over to look at her bumper. "Don't worry about it!" she said. "It's nothing!"

"No. There’s a scratch and it's all my fault. Please, I've all my information, please take it."

"You've bigger things to worry about," she responded, motioning to my bulging belly. She smiled, shook her head at my offered paper, and turned around and walked back into Starbucks.

Stunned, I got into my car and began to cry. God bless that sweet girl. Whether holiday spirit or pity on how pathetic I must have appeared, she gave me a break on a day when I really needed it. May we all keep that attitude this season!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Just another holiday weekend

Was at the Emergency Vet's till 11:30 last night because there was blood in Cassie's urine. It seems she has a very nasty UTI and we need to be on the lookout for kidney stones. Poor thing. And poor me, who almost fell asleep in the waiting room.

Then we slug it home only to find a beheaded mouse in our office. Ketchum, it appears, has been doing his job.

So a $200 vet bill and mice. The Banker looked at me and in uncharacteristic calm laughed, "If it's not one thing, it's another."

We've been focusing on the saying: Plenty to think about, nothing to worry about. Maybe it's slowly taking hold?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

So ill-prepared

Friday marked the 24th week of pregnancy, or six full months. And everyone in the family agrees that the time has gone by so quickly. I agree and disagree with this assessment--in many ways it's gone fast but there's still so much time to go.

And I'm going to need every bit of those four months. The Banker and I haven't had any success finding a nursery set--every set we love and ask to order has been discontinued. It seems the end of the year is the time for companies to dump their designs in preparation for the rollout of new design lines. Except those new lines don't roll out until late January--even later for some companies--which doesn't leave the requisite two months for ordering and shipping that we'd need. So we're torn between settling for a set that can get here before March or waiting to see what the new designs have to offer, even if it means a delivery date far after the little one arrives. (Which is not as drastic as it sounds, since the first few months the baby will be in our room in a pack-and-play or bassinet.)

And the whole registry thing? Nope. Not done that, either. Registering for baby items is a far cry from registering for a wedding. When you marry, you like the looks of something, you zap it into the registry. But baby items come with all sorts of inherent responsibilities and fears. Is it safe? Is it of the highest quality? Will it help in the baby's development? Is it necessary? And the ever-important: Will the baby even like it or will it only serve to piss off that little one?

To be honest, I'm not even sure where to begin. I've talked with a few moms and purchased a book, but still doubt I'm ready to enter the mammoth halls of Babies R Us. So I welcome any advice on the can't-miss items that simply must be on our registry. Please. I don't think I can avoid this anymore!

Sunday, November 12, 2006


You Belong in London

A little old fashioned, and a little modern.
A little traditional, and a little bit punk rock.
A unique woman like you needs a city that offers everything.
No wonder you and London will get along so well.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Stupid people

In my (relatively) short tenure as a pregnant woman, I've been repeatedly shocked by what people feel they can say or do to those who're expecting or have newborns.

Just yesterday The Banker and I were in the doctor's waiting room (for 45 minutes!!) and I watched as a young mom settled in a chair with her newborn in a carrier at her feet. An older, tackily attired woman across the way began to make conversation with the young mom, peppering her with questions that ranged from, "What's her name?" and "How old is she?" to more personal assaults that included, "Will you be returning to work or do you get to stay at home?"

The young woman looked exhausted--she had an infant, who wouldn't be?--but she weathered the onslaught kindly. The questioning continued for well over half an hour. At one point the older woman got up from her seat across the way and sat down in the seat next to the new mom, even though there was a diaper bag there.

And then I heard the line of questioning that almost made me scream. I didn't quite catch the first question, but the mom's response was unmistakable: "Her father and I broke up when I was six months along." That stupid cow! I couldn't believe she'd asked such an incredibly personal question. But rather than be ashamed, she continued on, asking, "Has he been in contact with the baby?" I watched the mom shake her head in an exhausted "no."

I wanted to jump in. I wanted to save the new mom from the terrible questions, but I didn't want to make a scene and further embarrass her. So I did nothing but sit there and fume. I imagined throttling the big-haired idiot in her too-tight culottes.

While I've never had to endure such extended torture, I've been on the receiving end of several idiotic comments from coworkers.
Are you sure you're only that far along? You look bigger than that.
Wow! How can you possibly get any larger?
Whoa! Those things have gotten really big!

Don't know exactly what to say to a new mom or mom-to-be? Here's a clue for the clueless:
* Don't mention my size. Tell me I look good, even if I'm not going to believe you.
* Don't ask if I'm coming back to work. I don't know yet and that's no shortage of stress for me. Plus, it's probably none of your damn business.
* Don't ask if I'm breastfeeding. Unless I whip out a nipple and offer you a drink, consider that a private matter.
* Don't assume there's a partner involved unless I mention one. Single parenting is tough enough without nosey assholes.
* Say POSITIVE things about me, the child, the world at large. There's enough stress and fear going around--don't spread more shit.
* If you're a stranger, don't ask 20 questions. In fact, limit yourself to two. Then back off. New moms are probably appreciating the short-lived calm. Don't fuck it up.
* If you're a stranger, don't touch me or new little ones without express written permission, a drug test, and a 10-day waiting period.

I realize that people most often have the best of intentions. I really do. But some common courtesy, respect for personal space, and thinking before speaking isn't too much to ask. Or at least, I hope not!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Secrets, secrets

One of my nearest and dearest friends has been hiding a secret from me.

For twelve long weeks.

Yup, it seems that my best friend is expecting her second child and is only a mere two months behind me in terms of due dates. Her big day? May 13, or Mother's Day. How she managed to keep the secret so long, I'll never know. She already has a red-headed munchkin who's not even 2 yet. And I thought my hands were going to be full!

So even though she's not a blog reader, I just have to say, Congrats Jess!!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Halloween Party

One of The Banker's many charities hosted a Halloween party tonight. As it turns out, they don't make costumes for pregnant ladies. The outfits at the store consisted of naughty nurses, slutty cats, naughty nymphs, and so on. Since I won't be showing my midriff this year, nor will I be tempting trick-or-treaters with a glimpse of my behind, I had to improvise. So this was my costume:

The get-up was a huge success, with many of the 2,200 party goers exclaiming how much they enjoyed it. Complete strangers asked to take my photo, and one drunken co-ed ran up and excitedly rubbed my belly and yelled how cute I was--much to my shock--before racing off.

A drawback? After hours of wearing the green mud mask, my skin has the slightest tinge of green in some areas. Just in time for the little trick-or-treaters!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Some icky business

When I was in college and working at the local paper, one of the crappy jobs I had was to write obituaries. It was really awful stuff, something that made me feel uncomfortable, sad, and depressed. Even today, I hate reading the obit section and rarely do so. So it was with some trepidation that I logged on to have my own obit written for me. And here's what I got:

'What will your obituary say?' at

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Sick and tired

White spots on the back of the throat. Throbbing sinuses. Snotty nose. Sheer exhaustion. I was all ready to post about our level II sonogram complete with baby sitting cross-legged (seems he/she wants his/her gender to remain a mystery as well!), but now have no energy to do so. And there's so little I can take to run the infection out of my body. I pray this little bit of misery is over soon!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Where I've been...

I know! It's pathetic. I missed my blog-aversary post, my birthday post, and I've been uselessly quiet for awhile. So where've I been?

I've been to the doctor after a scare and was rewarded with the most detailed sonogram pictures to date: a living, beating soul within. Bent legs and a thumb aimed right to a tiny mouth. And the jarring, wonderful realization that there's a baby in there.

I enjoyed a quiet birthday, though subdued may be a better description. Such a different type of year and such a different type of celebration! And I wasn't in denial about my age change this year. I feel older.

I organized and hosted a neighborhood block party. When The Banker and I first moved into our neighborhood four years ago (before leaving within months for Chicago), a lovely older woman had a breakfast to introduce us to our neighbors. The dear woman has since moved on, so no one really had marked the coming of new faces to the block. Deciding to change that, I gathered a dozen or so neighbors for a fun potluck. By all accounts, I think it was a success.

And amidst this busyness, I've been trying not to feel overwhelmed by my options. Will I be able to work part-time for my company, or will I have to find an alternative work schedule somewhere else? What classes will I need to cram into my third trimester? And where to begin with all the choices in car seats, cribs, and strollers? To birth naturally or succumb to the allure of pain management?

I've been thinking about how nice a vacation would be, even though it's only been a month since we returned from England. There just doesn't seem to be enough time or energy to tackle all these issues.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The romance of pregnancy

With just days to go before my birthday, I felt the oddest sensation--much like a marble rolling just slightly back and forth for a mere second or two at the lowest point of my bulging belly. Now the question remains: Was it the baby moving or gas?

Sigh. Pregnancy is really sexy, huh? ;-)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Sad, but true

I've never before understood when people would sigh and sheepishly say, "I totally forgot it was my birthday." I mean, as a kid, you knew the months, days, and hours until your big day--the one spot out of the year where things truly revolved around you. You'd hinted at all the presents you wanted, decided on a party and guests, and even specified what kind of cake would be adorned with candles.

But as you got older, the celebration changed a bit. Fewer cartoon characters and more beverages. And yes, no party favors, unless it was one helluva hangover. But nonetheless, you were well aware of your birthday's place in the calendar, and festivities were appropriately planned.

Somehow this year was different. When The Banker mentioned my birthday next week I was caught off guard. I'd actually forgotten. How did this happen? It seems life has been so hectic, that the dates have slipped by unnoticed. Instead I'm focusing on things farther out. There's the Oct. 10th date--the date of my next big sonogram. And I'm waiting, desperately waiting, for the first movement I can feel. Now THAT would be a birthday gift! And of course, the can't-get-here-too-soon date that is March 10, or thereabouts, when the little one makes his or her big entrance. (Yeah, we've opted for surprise over painting the room blue or pink.)

By comparison, when people ask for gift ideas, the list is pathetically limited. No clothes. What fun is that when your frame is ever-expanding (too much for my mere four months, if you listen to my mom, who tells anyone who cares to listen)? No fun night out with drinks and friends. No energy and obviously, no drinking. Books are always a good choice, but few find that exciting. And the house needs work: a new dishwasher, oven and range, countertops. But that's a bit much to ask.

I guess part of me misses the excitement that birthdays held when I was younger. But I suppose my future is more about making sure that birthdays and holidays are memorable for a new generation. And that's not so bad. Although a drink sure would be nice. =o)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

This and that

So where exactly did my vacation calm go? Yep, that holiday buzz has been replaced with the frantic pace of life. So where to begin?

Well, for starters Sister #1 and her husband made good on their pipedream of leaving town and abruptly did so yesterday. My sister quit her hotel job, her husband his teaching gig, and within the week the house was filled with boxes and general panic. I'm thrilled for them both--the two years The Banker and I spent out of town were wonderful, full of adventure and self-discovery--but we're sad to see them go. They were great fun to spend time with and it leaves me as the sole remaining daughter in town. What a loaded position that is!

Also, I began doing some digging at work into maternity benefits...and alternative work schedules. The Banker and I'd decided that after my three months of leave, I'd ideally go back part-time. Except the really big company I work for, while promising flexibility and employee-friendliness, apparently has some strict criteria for alternative work schedules. Specifically, tenure requirements I don't meet. It would help if I had a manager to go to bat for me, but my manager was just reassigned to another division and isn't due to return till I'm on leave. And the interim manager? She doesn't know me from Adam and even better, she's so close to retirement that she doesn't give a shit.

So where does that leave me? I still have a few people to talk to, in about two month's time, to determine if I really can't take on an alternative schedule. And then The Banker and I talk budgets, job options, and lifestyles. And I try to figure out what I want to do with my life. No biggie, right?

And to finish out the this-ing and that-ing, here are some more (requested) pics from our vacation...that blessed time that already seems so long ago.

Tower Bridge

Roman Baths in...appropriately enough, Bath

A view of pubs and towering castle in Scotland

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Home again, home again

London was incredible. Bath, Lacock, and Stone Henge were beautiful. And Edinburgh was wet. Overall, it all was so invigorating, so refreshing, so much fun. It was really difficult to come home, though, and I begged The Banker for more time. Actually, I begged for a permanent change of address. Ever sensible, he made sure we made the flight.

But here's just some of what we saw:

I was so blown away by how rich the history was, everywhere we went. And the people were so kind, so accomodating. And even better? I felt great the entire trip. More later when I get caught up some more on my sleep, laundry, and such.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Two Days and Counting...

That's right, just two more full work days and then vacation begins! I feel like a kid at Christmastime. It can't come soon enough, and I know it will be over all-too-quickly. Few things make me out-and-out giddy, but travel is at the top of the list. (Followed by trips to zoos, amusement parks, a good adventure, furry creatures, nature walks, great wine and food, and a damn good book. Childish, huh?)

We managed to get tickets to see a Comedy of Errors at the Globe and Avenue Q while we're there. A day trip to Edinburgh and Stone Henge are also planned. Cross your fingers that all goes well--no travel headaches, stressful world events, or health issues.

I'm packing my crystalized ginger (thanks, MM!) and pray that a clear head, boundless energy, and a calm stomach accompany me on the journey. Here we go!!

Friday, August 18, 2006


There are so many changes this new, unexpected state has wrought on my body and my life in general. Today I start my 11th week, but I'm already firmly in maternity clothes. If you were passing me on the street you'd think I'd either totally let myself go, or I done got myself knocked up. My once-flat stomach is firmly, undeniably pooched. My gawd, I'm going to be a whale. After years of careful weight monitoring, watching the scale creep upward is truly difficult.

And my chest, never meager to begin with, has rocketed past the Ds into what I call the Es. For flippin' ENORMOUS. I feel like Dolly Parton, and every time a male head swivels, I feel dirty--instinctively putting my hand to my stomach as if to shield the baby's eyes from disgusting men. The Banker, not mincing words, has even taken to shaking his head. "They're huge," he sighs. "I'm not gonna lie."

And I can't even look at a piece of meat or fish without every ounce of me quivering in repulsion. Red Lobster commercials send me into fits. I want carbohydrates, thank you, and a never-ending supply. Bagels, pasta, mashed potatoes, yes, yes, and more. The organic produce I paid out the ass for? That's the sort of thing I vomit all over myself when I'm about two minutes from work, forcing a 15-minute drive home in my own spew to clean up and change.

Oh, and yes, that kick-ass trip to Peru planned for two years? That has to go by the wayside. I'm admittedly crushed. Despite my joy over our surprise, my family and friends knew what that adventure meant to me. We've promised ourselves to re-book the trip in a few years. If the travel company ever returns our funds, which is what that insurance thing was supposed to be all about.

The Banker and I did agree to take a sloppy seconds trip. We booked our tickets about two weeks London. I think the universe is laughing at me, denying my travel-starved body any sort of vacation. We’re slated to leave on Aug. 31st and are in wait-and-see mode. If there's another terrorist attack or plan uncovered, we'll eat the money and cancel. And I think I'll begin to climb the walls in frustration. That or eat a pound of mashed potatoes.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A tentative return

The Banker and I met at the doctor's today, medical records in hand, both a bit nervous. We'd reason to be. We were meeting my new doctor for the first time. And we were anxiously awaiting some answer, some sense that everything was going to be okay.

The new doctor was friendly, young, knowledgeable and very approachable. She went through the litany of precautions and concerns and admitted that it may be too early to find what we were looking for. Nevertheless, she took the electronic equipment and began circling it over my belly.

Then there it was. Finally. A rapid-fire heartbeat. 168 beats a minute. The doctor grew animated and couldn't help gushing, "So strong! This means your chance of miscarriage drops to one to two percent."

After the weeks of stress, illness, pain, and panic-inducing spotting, she gave us the hope we'd been waiting for. That this new little one may be sticking around for the long haul.

Friday, July 07, 2006

My Absence

It's been awhile, I know. I just haven't exactly known how to approach my blog given the latest set of circumstances. My life was turned upside down over the holiday weekend, and I'm spending the better part of my time accepting and trying to nurture this change. I don't yet know if it's permanent. I do know that if it is, it will forever alter my life. So I'm not ready to write about it. It's too new, too uncertain. But I'll be back, I promise. I just need a little bit of time, and if you have them to spare, some happy thoughts and prayers that all goes well.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Where things don't go according to plan...

Well...let's see. Since my Dad is in Canada fishing, he sent his most trusted colleague out to look at the house to give it a once-over before we made an offer. He thought the roof needed work, spotted mold in the basement (as did The Banker), and said that the house was shifting a bit (as does any house--but perhaps a bit more than normal for a home only 20 years old). He said he thought the house was overpriced and would need some work.

Then, The Banker pulled some comparison sales in the neighborhood as well and determined the selling price was too high. So we offered $40,000 below the asking price, no contingencies. The Banker said the owner seemed insulted at our offer (he designed the house and did much of the work himself...which explained why some of the crown moldings weren't flush, etc.).

So we're just letting our offer hang there, awkwardly twisting in the muggy air. So we'll have to see. The owner WAS asking too much. And because of how the house was situated on the property, it couldn't really be expanded, should we need more space. So the questions still linger. Isn't the house a little TOO close to the property line? Is it too small? Is there a better house out there? Or are we being too conservative in our offer? Will we regret playing hardball? The doubts have begun to creep in...

Friday, June 23, 2006

It happened!

It was accidental, a total lark. But we knew almost instantly. As soon as we were alone, The Banker turned to me and said, "We're going to do this, aren't we?" He didn't need my enthusiastic "Yes!" for an answer. I think my face said it all.

This country home sits on the side of a four-acre lot and boasts three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, a great kitchen, huge living room, and small basement. The bedrooms are large and the bathrooms amazing. The house has more curb appeal than any we've seen in our months of looking. It sits back from the road, encircled by a white fence, with a frontyard full of trees. The back of the house has a small cedar deck and a pool (vinyl but inground. The jury is out on this selling point because pools can be dangerous for littles ones and dogs). The small pool is lined with bushes and plants and has a small terrace. The backyard spreads out from there, firmly fenced--but with so much green space!--leading to a small metal barn with four stalls, a corral, and then two acres of pasture land. It's so beautiful. The pasture is cut short, currently a chipping green for the owner. Needless to say, The Banker loves this ammenity!

So we're going to make an offer. The owner today insinuated there'd been several calls about the property. The Banker insists the owner is asking too much. We'll see how he responds to our number and go from there. My stomach is in knots because this thing could get yanked from beneath us. (Yes, I know, then it wasn't meant to be. But still. When has that ever made the difference?!)

And then there are the other questions. It's a long drive downtown...what about my commute? It's only 15 minutes from my parents' home, but isn't it like a different world? What will this mean to our longterm plans?

But I can't answer those questions. Instead, I keep coming back to how it felt out there last night, looking out onto the rolling green under towering clouds. I felt peace.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Remedy for a foul mood

Friday night I found my remedy for an exhausting two straight weeks of work and family demands: sushi and sake with best friends. Friday evening, still reeling from Thursday's dinner disaster, The Banker and I met our closest friends for sushi to celebrate my best friend's birthday and The Banker's. The conversation and laughter flowed as quickly as the alcohol and delicious rolls. It was just the pick up my spirit needed. It really is an amazing thing when someone knows you so thoroughly inside and out that nothing goes unsaid--even if you've said nothing at all.

Saturday night brought another of The Banker's work functions, and Sunday has been spent at various Father's Day celebrations. So while I'm not exactly ready for the beginning of another work week, I'm a little less frayed around the edges. And this week only holds a handful of obligations, which means that I can get caught up on some freelance work and maybe some reading as well. Maybe. =-)

Friday, June 16, 2006

Random musings

There are days when I'm overcome with the desire to quit. To pick up, pack lightly, and leave. To discard the obligations, responsibilities, and orders that sometimes hang very heavy on my frame. There are times I want so much to leave it all behind, to feel refreshed by new adventure and brought alive by freedom.

Last night was one of those nights. We had dinner with The Banker's family and the CFO of our city's Arch Dioceses at one of the nicest restaurants in town. It was one of those meals where people talk, tossing about huge sums, big names, and banal banter. The Banker's brother and his wife, most specifically the sister-in-law, lorded over the conversation, pulling the CFO and his wife into their web of six degrees of separation. Always adept at social climbing, last night the two were in their element. Whenever The Banker or I tried to pipe in on any subject, the sister-in-law intervened, talking louder, re-focusing the conversation, and regaining her court.

Not that I cared much to talk to these people. We had little in common. They didn't travel, didn't know anyone we knew, and really only wanted to focus on their grandchildren. Little ones was a topic the sister-in-law was keen on; she could brag about her son and share the woes of all his allergies and other maladies.

One of the few times I got a word in edgewise was terribly painful. It went as such:
CFO--"Have you read Marley and Me? It made me cry!"
Me--"I've been meaning to read it. Do you have any dogs?"
CFO--"No, I really don't have a taste for animals."

What the hell?? The wonderful food was hard to swallow, the expensive wine tasted sour. And I caught myself thinking, "Why am I doing this? Why am I here? And why do I spend so much of my precious time at miserable events such as these when all they serve to do is crush my resolve, my soul, a little bit more?"

It's times like these when I wonder what part of my genetic code, my upbringing, has ingrained the "sit there and just smile until this hell has passed" mentality. This sense of responsibility and proper decorum so chafe at the other part of me, the tiniest bit of gypsy spirit, which while kept tightly under wraps most of the time, occasionally swells up and cries out in pain. It's then the fake smiles and bullshit conversations hurt the most. It's then that I find myself so disappointed for playing into all of this, for lacking the strength to say "No," to scream "Shut the fuck up!" to shout "Who the fuck cares?!"

She nags at me, spreading discontent, questioning what happened to that other path, the one filled with a different sort of life. She prods me to pick up that passport, discard the responsibilities I pretend to enjoy, and do something, anything, different. I do want to break out of this rut, but all those other enticing options don't entail adulthood, compromise, martyrdom. And as the age 30 hovers on the horizon, and I slug it out at work and watch The Banker trying so hard to carve out his place in the business world, I think I should probably silence this little voice. Because being a gypsy is not compatible with adulthood. And this is now my life.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

A WTF Wedding Weekend

So this weekend was totally bizarre. The Banker and I get into Arlington Heights on Friday in time to pick up his tuxedo, find the hotel, take a ten-minute nap, and get ready for the rehearsal. And that's where things really got messed up.

It seems the groom-to-be was in rare form on Thursday night, so intoxicated he could barely stand. And in the process of this "fun," had his wallet, full of credit cards and $1,000 cash, stolen by A STRIPPER. So he cancels all the credit cards, unbeknownst to the bride-to-be, who's at the spa with her bridesmaids. Imagine her surprise when she exits the peace and calm of a day at the spa to find that all her credit cards are denied. So she's late for the rehearsal, and tensions are understandably a little high.

The rehearsal drags on until finally we get clearance to head to the rehearsal dinner. There the bride-to-be admits to me that there is so much yet to be done--including place cards, parting gifts, various decorations, etc. So I say, "Well, since the boys are going out tonight, I'm totally at your disposal."


Yep, the poor gal had no idea that the men had another night of debauchery planned, even though the groom-to-be had already had SEVEN bachelor parties, including one to VEGAS and COSTA RICA. She storms over to her beloved and they have a low and heated conversation...thanks to yours truly. The guy is entirely huffy and rude to his future wife. And I'm thinking if he were mine, I'd kill him.

So since the boys are heading out, I follow the bride-to-be back to the hotel and help hold her things while she tries to check in. With no credit cards. That bridal suite and the two shuttles needed to transport the wedding guests from the hotel to the church to the rececption and back to the hotel? Yeah, that needs to be held with a credit card. Apparently my credit card, because there are no others available.

Finally the night ends as the clock is closing in on one a.m., after having helped various bridesmaids complete all the final tasks for Saturday's wedding. The men? They were out drinking.

But for all the craziness on Friday, the wedding actually went off without a hitch. I couldn't wait to get the hell out of town on Sunday, though. The Banker and I regretted to the couple's offer of brunch in their condo, and at 6 a.m., mouth still feeling full of cotton from too much vodka, we began the drive home.

And it feels damn good to be home. And with a husband who doesn't have a gambling addiction, problems with strippers and credit cards, and a total crap attitude.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A weekend in the Windy City

In an odd twist, before we left the city The Banker was asked to be in the wedding of a colleague from the, well, bank. It struck me as particularly strange because the people I chose to stand by me at the altar were my sisters and my best friend, whom I'd known for almost a decade. The Banker had known this guy for a year and change. But heh, who am I to judge?

So we're driving up to Chicago this Friday, or the outskirts, to be exact. We'd originally planned on driving to save money; it didn't make sense to fly and then rent a car. But that was before gas became the equivalent of liquid gold.

And while I'm always up for a good meal and dancing, I have to admit that I'd rather spend the weekend in town. Between the four freelance stories I'm juggling, the need to get a Father's Day gift and a birthday gift, a general need for some downtime, coupled with the dread of the long drive and weekend of strangers, I'm kinda in a sour mood about the pending nuptials.

So I need to pull my head out of my ass a bit. I need to find something to re-energize myself with. I need the energy of a child who's just been given a shot of expresso and a new puppy. Now how can I get that bottled up?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Finally, the lies and secrets are finished

It's been a long six months of sneaking, lying, and secret pay-offs, and finally, it's finished. The Banker returned home from a long day of golfing and opened the fridge in search of a cold beer and he found it: his (very) early birthday gift.

He'd wanted this brand of watch since we married, but the price Tag was such that it wasn't a rational purchase. But last January I called the family's jeweler and asked if I could put something on layaway. I'd just received a little chunk of change in the form of a freelance payment that could begin to whittle down the price tag.

The Banker is ever-vigilant about our bank accounts, so I knew I had to fund this surprise entirely on the side. So for the last five months I've been secretly whittling. Selling old CDs and DVDs. Racing home to get the mail and fish out any freelance checks that might be waiting there. Taking every crap writing job that came my way. Squirreling away ever odd $20 that would otherwise pay for lunches and odds and ends.

And I've felt bad about being so deceitful. Our thorough screwing by Uncle Sam came after I'd put the watch on layaway, so despite the fact we needed my extra funds, I had to forge ahead. But it was all worth it. The Banker is thrilled beyond words and proudly wearing his new bit of bling. And now those extra checks can begin to go toward our upcoming trip. And I can quit being so sneaky.


Friday, June 02, 2006

Day Off

I took today off so I could sleep in a bit, work on some freelance, and get a pedicure and my hair "did" with the sisters for tonight's gala event. (And maybe head to the chiropractors. Curse you, lowerback!)

Yup, tonight is one of my favorite charity events: Jazzoo. A creative blacktie, everyone decends upon the local zoo to mill about the hundreds of tents filled with offerings from the city's best restaurants. Three stages beckon with a variety of bands and the night will, hopefully, be clear, late, and a great amount of fun. The girls and I are having feathers put in our up-dos, since birds of a feather...

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Four years in the making

So much to tell and so little time. I spent the better part of the holiday weekend visiting my Dad's parents. (My Grammy is in her mid-80's and my Pop-Pop is 90.) While visiting, my sister and I uncovered a photo album. It wasn't full of my dad's childhood photos. Rather, it was images from my Pop-Pop's stint during World War II. He was so handsome, so very young. And that buxom brunette on his arm? Not my Grammy. A very excited Checklosovakian girl who greeted the oncoming American troops.

My Pop-Pop has this whole history, whole existance, beyond our understanding. His life is so rich, so ready for the telling, but it's quieted by his humble nature, by the fact that his experience is so commonplace for the time. Happy Memorial Day. So much history is lost in quiet men.


And bringing everything up to date: I'm drowning in freelance work for the former mag I worked for. (Gotta try to counter balance those $1,000 plane tickets to Peru.) This week is short and pack-full.

And tomorrow is The Banker and my fourth anniversary. Technically speaking, he's been in my life for over a decade. He stalked me when I wasn't interested. He cleaned bathrooms with me when we were friends, just so he could spend time with me during my work hours.

Now, he lets me watch my crap T.V. shows when I ask. And he's let me add chaos after chaos to our lives in the form of furry beings. And at the moment, when I struggle to make sense of this baby thing, he quietly listens. He knows my gypsy spirit. Perhaps, almost as well as the sound of his own breathing. He tries to understand. And almost 15 years later, he's still there. Through the good, the bad, the ugly, and the damn funny.

He's my babe. The only one who I think could handle what I am. What I'm becoming. What I will be. (Not to mention my family...) =-)

I love you, babe. Thank you for all these years. May God bless us with countless many more...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

But then what?

So the Farewell to Independence Tour is booked, but it's left me wondering what will happen after the trip. This weekend raised a lot of questions and left me decidely uncomfortable.

We spent most of Saturday at our best friends' country home--and The Banker and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We brought the dogs out and let them swim in the pond, rode the tractor, chatted, ate ourselves silly, and played with their adorable son. This little boy is the happiest, most loving little one I've ever encountered. While I know he's not an angel all the time, he does have an amazing disposition and is an utter joy. He was in a great mood all day, and I was left with the impression that, yes, I could see myself doing this one day.

But then Sunday night rolled around, and The Banker and I babysat his nephew for a few hours. A few long hours. The longest, most uncomfortable few hours I'd spent in a long time. And here my blissful thoughts of childbearing came to a screeching halt.

I hate to admit this. It's proof that I'm really not a very good person. You see, as much as I adore my best friends' child, I don't have any feelings for a babe who is, technically, family. Yes the kid is cute, but he doesn't pull at my heartstrings. In fact, on Sunday night, he turned my stomach again and again. No, it wasn't the diapers--that doesn't faze me. But the poor thing was fighting a cold so there were constant rivulets of snot rolling down his face. And he refused to eat, smashing what little morsels he would take into his eyes and hair. The rest? He tossed on the floor. He even took his bottle and slammed it nipple-down to watch the formula squirt out. And when I firmly said "No!" to this behavior, he screamed. And screamed. And screamed. And it was then I understood why some parents walk away. Why some parents drink.

And it struck me that maybe I don't have what it takes to be a mom. If snot and messy eating heighten my gag reflex, if screaming and obstinate little ones make me question my sanity, then maybe I'm not the best person to have kids. How can I feel it's so right one day and so terrible the next? And why do I feel so thoroughly crappy for feeling this way?

Monday, May 22, 2006

A hike to remember

First off, thanks to all who passed on such nice comments about my supposed ASBPE win. I've yet to hear anything else about it, but I'm hoping I'll get more details soon.

And to end the week on another good note, The Banker and I finally booked our trip to Peru! It's a fifteen day tour through GAP Adventures. We'll be taking off on September 9, returning September 24. Here's the itinerary:

Day 1 Arrive Lima

Day 2-3 Amazon Jungle
Take a morning flight into the Amazon lowlands and the town of Puerto Maldonado. Travel by motorized canoe to our lodge in the Tambopata Rainforest Area, which holds the world record for the most bird sightings in one area. Explore the jungle with expert local guides.

Day 4 Cuzco
Cuzco is considered the mecca of Peru, and rightly so. With a friendly, colonial atmosphere, Cuzco offers much to the visitor: nearby Inca ruins, cobblestone streets, museums, markets and churches. Optional activities include rafting, horseback riding and mountain biking.

Day 5 Ollantaytambo
Travel with our local guide through the Sacred Valley and visit the Pisac ruins. In the afternoon continue the picturesque town and Inca ruins of Ollantaytambo before preparing for the hike ahead.

Day 6-9 Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
A morning trip to km 82 begins a once in a lifetime journey on the ancient trail of the Incas. Local porters and guides ensure that the trip is worry-free. Fascinating ruins and spectacular mountain scenery fill every day of the hike. On the final day, climb the steps to Intipunku, the 'Sun Gate', to watch the sunrise over Machu Picchu. Return to Cuzco by train in the afternoon.

Day 10 Cuzco
Relax, shop and explore the sights and sounds of Cuzco on this free day. Stroll around the cobblestone streets of this beautiful colonial town or visit museums and churches built on Inca ruins.

Day 11-12 Puno / Lake Titicaca
Enjoy spectacular views of the countryside on a full day of travel from Cuzco to Puno and Lake Titicaca. The next morning head out by boat across Lake Titicaca for a visit to the floating reed islands of Uros. We stop at various islands to enjoy the lake’s scenic splendour and to meet the friendly people of these communities.

Day 13 La Paz
La Paz, the highest capital city in the world, is often a surprise highlight for travellers. A visitor’s initial impression of the bustle of more than a million Bolivians won’t be forgotten.

Day 14 La Paz / Tiahuanaco
The mysterious Tiahuanaco people constructed this great ceremonial centre on the southern shore of Lake Titicaca over 1000 years ago. Spend most of the day visiting these fantastic ruins and try to unravel the ancient mystery yourself.

Day 15 Depart La Paz

So I've got the Yellow Fever and Hep A immunizations coursing through my bloodstream. I've got prescriptions for Malaria tablets, anti-altitude sickness pills, and sleeping aids. And I've started running a mile several times a night to get into shape.

And I'm ready to leave. Like right now!

Monday, May 15, 2006

A little bit of "wheeee!"

As if in affirmation of my last post--about learning to be okay with where I am and what I've accomplished--today I got a surprise e-mail. A designer for the former mag I worked for (and fabulously talented friend) e-mailed to tell me that a nine-part series I'd written on personnel solutions had won a regional award from the ASBPE (American Society of Business Publication Editors).

While it's not a huge deal, it does make me kinda happy. It's the first such award I've won. Yeah, I didn't end up in New York working for some impressive magazine. And yeah, I've yet to publish anything really profound. But it's something. A reminder that maybe I'm not totally in the wrong line of work after all. And the fact that it's far from my best work? That's just confusing and a wee bit irritating. But you know? I'll take it!

A whirlwind weekend

One wedding. One birthday party. Two Mother's Day celebrations.

There was too little weekend for my weekend.

The high point: An old high-school classmate got married, and while the only reason I was invited to the nuptials was because my parents still socialize with the bride's parents, it was fun nonetheless. The bride was beautiful, the couple adorable, and the union very happy. And I saw classmates I'd not seen since graduation. Accordingly, we all played the usual game of catch up--who'd moved out of state, current occupations, and who was married, divorced, engaged, and had changed their sexual orientation. It was interesting, amusing, and eye-opening.

A few of those girls who weren't married stressed over their single status. "If I'm not married by..." was one of the common vows. But the singles never give thought to the fears of those who are married. "Do I seem old and boring now?" "Do they think I married too soon. Am I missing something?" And in the common way females have, we silently took stock of who'd kept themselves up, who'd let themselves go. A few of my classmates had moved to Chicago, stirring a bit of envy in me.

Even though almost a decade has passed, somethings never change. We're still measuring ourselves up against one another, wondering about the paths we chose, and trying to gauge our success by each other's action...or inaction.

All in all, though, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, even going out into the wee hours of the morning with some old friends who'd traveled in for the wedding. But I'm hoping the next time I gather with these people, I'll remember to trust where I am. To be proud of where I've come...even if that's home again.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


I experienced this feeling this weekend. What is it exactly? According to Wikipedia:
Saudade is "a Portuguese word for a feeling of longing for something you are fond of, which is gone, but might return in a distant future. It often carries a fatalist tone and a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might really never return."

I was missing one magic, perfect summer.

I think everyone must surely have that one summer that feels so alive, so vibrant, filled to overflowing. Everything appears so effortless and perfect, but all the while, a knowledge lingers, a realization that it won't last. Can't last.

A group of us were between our sophomore and junior years at our respective colleges. Aside from lame summer jobs, we had no responsibilities. We were so free--so full of energy--and we took that opportunity to go camping, gather for late night drinks, endless talking, and the occasional tensions as we coupled off. A sense of limitless possibilities permeated those warm months. We were on the cusp of adulthood, all about to go our own ways, but that one summer we were a united front.

And I miss that feeling. That freedom, that untouched potential, that thrill as we stood on the brink of becoming who we'd become, but secure in the friendships that encircled us.

We've since scattered to the winds: Alaska, California, God-Knows-Where. Only a few of us remain in close touch. And even then, that irreverence and simplicity is gone. We've seen broken hearts, death, divorce, and separate paths all take their toll.

But for one summer, we had it all. It was messy, irresponsible, filled with longing, laughter, and some of the best friendships I've known. I catch just the tiniest hint of that summer at dusk--the electricity of the day changing to night, the world around turned soft and hazy. And like that summer, it’s all too brief.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

No rest for the wicked

Or so my mother always claims. I've also heard it as "No rest for the weary," but wicked apparently is a better fit in my family.

Regardless, yesterday this seemed to be my personal motto. My first day back at work after Monday's sick day, I'm tired, achy, and loopy from the various drugs coursing through my body--all of which can make a long day in cubicleland that much worse. The day creeps by in a most painful fashion, and finally giving in, I slip out early to take a short nap at home.

The Banker calls only an hour after I've slipped under the covers. It seems he needs me at the cell-phone shop so I can sign a sheet of paper agreeing to let his cell-phone number be transferred to his new bank phone (all shiny, expensive, and PDA-equipped). A 20-minute drive later we're greeted by the most unhelpful employee. She can't possibly do what we're asking of her (even though the other bank employees have had no problem), nor can The Banker complete this transaction without someone from the bank there to witness it. WTF? One hour, one pissed-off bank employee, and one exhausted me later, I sign the sheet and slump home.

I immediately check on the girls in the backyard, walking carefully through the grass to avoid any "surprises." And instead I spot the tiniest, fluffiest fledgling, open and closing his beak but not moving otherwise. Shit. The old oak has been trimmed back to over 70-feet high. There are no other trees in reach and this little guy won't survive the aggressive crows and curious pugs. I carefully scoop him into the shoebox The Banker has found and off we go again, racing to the nearest emergency vet clinic that will take the little guy for the night and then hand him over to a backyard wildlife group that can re-release him once he's strong enough. The first emergency clinic is a no-go. The clinic that can take him? Thirty minutes away.

Thankfully by the time we reach the second clinic the little fledgling has proven himself quite the fighter. He's hoping madly about the box (yeah! hopefully nothing broken!) and is chirping like crazy. His antics make us both laugh despite ourselves. He manages to renew our energy and also proves there's no rest for the wicked, but that's okay, too.

Brainless, pointless quiz

I found this little quiz while breezing through some blogs, and I couldn't help myself. It seems so random but is an eye opener!

Are you spoiled?
You are if you can BOLD 40 of the following:

Do you own:
your own cell phone
a television in your bedroom

an iPod
a photo printer
your own phone line
TiVo or a generic digital video recorder
high-speed internet access (i.e., not dialup)
a surround sound system in bedroom
DVD player in bedroom
at least a hundred DVDs
a childfree bathroom (but we have no children, so that might not count...)
your own in-house office (I have to share it with The Banker, two dogs, and a cat. Does this count?)

a pool
a guest house
a game room
a queen-size bed
a stocked bar
a working dishwasher
an icemaker
a working washer and dryer
more than 20 pairs of shoes
at least ten things from a designer store (I’m not sure about this one…but to be on the safe side…)
expensive sunglasses

Egyptian cotton sheets or towels
a multi-speed bike
a gym membership
large exercise equipment at home
your own set of golf clubs (The Banker assembled an old group of clubs thrown away by his brothers and sisters. Surely this doesn’t count?!)
a pool table
a tennis court
local access to a lake, large pond, or the sea
your own pair of skis (Haha! Only boots!)
enough camping gear for a weekend trip in an isolated area
a boat
a jet ski
a neighborhood committee membership
a beach house or a vacation house/cabin
wealthy family members
two or more family cars
a walk-in closet or pantry (closet)
a yard

a hammock
a personal trainer
good credit (Why would this count?!?)
expensive jewelry (Okay, what's the threshold here? There are no skating rings on my fingers...)

a designer bag that required being on a waiting list to get
at least $100 cash in your possession right now
more than two credit cards bearing your name
a stock portfolio
a passport

a horse (How I wish!)
a trust fund
private medical insurance
a college degree, and no outstanding student loans

Do you:
shop for non-needed items for yourself (like clothes, jewelry, electronics)at least once a week
do your regular grocery shopping at high-end or specialty stores
pay someone else to clean your house, do dishes, or launder your clothes (oh, how I wish...)
go on weekend mini-vacations (Only one, and just recently!)
send dinners back with every flaw
wear perfume or cologne (Again, why does this count? What next, deoderant?!?)
regularly get your hair styled or nails done in a salon (NOT styled--cut. Different thing altogether.)
have a job but don't need the money OR stay at home with little financial sacrifice
pay someone else to cook your meals
pay someone else to watch your children or walk your dogs
regularly pay someone else to drive you
expect a gift after you fight with your partner

Are you:
an only child
married/partnered to a wealthy person
baffled/surprised when you don't get your way

Have you:
been on a cruise
traveled out of the country
met a celebrity
been to the Caribbean
been to Europe

been to Hong Kong
been to Hawaii
been to New York
eaten at the space needle in Seattle
been to the Mall of America
been on the Eiffel tower in Paris
been on the Statue of Liberty in New York (rode around it in a boat!!)
moved more than three times because you wanted to
dined with local political figures
been to both the Atlantic coast and the Pacific coast

Did you:
go to another country for your honeymoon
hire a professional photographer for your wedding or party
take riding or swimming lessons as a child
attend private school
have a Sweet 16 birthday party thrown for you (Umm…limo ride to restaurant
with friends must surely count)

Well, I must admit, I always knew I’ve been very fortunate (read: spoiled). But it seems according to this I fared relatively well.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The houseguest from hell

What kind of houseguest is sick for a full week but climbs into a plane to deliver his presence anyway? What kind of houseguest lets you clean, cook, and nurse his sorry ass, all the while extending those germs to you?

The kind of houseguest that WILL NOT be invited back.

Here I sit, white spots covering my throat, a fever only recently broken, and Sister #1's birthday dinner tonight.

Sorry, kiddo. But I hope your birthday is truly wonderful, even without my company this evening. I hope you rock 24 liked you rocked 23. Love you!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

And there went the weekend

This weekend we had one of The Banker's friends in from Chicago. They were to play golf and piss away the weekend talking about the crap that men talk about. Namely: golf, football, baseball, finances, and business. (Or at least so I'd like to delude myself, thank you.)

A heavy deluge of rain left me in a mild panic. If they couldn't spend an entire day golfing, I would have to entertain them. That meant after my hours of cleaning and cooking, I'd then have to be hospitable for grueling hours on end while every ounce of my being screamed, "Good Lord, help me!"

Thankfully, Someone was kind to me and the storms passed long enough for the boys to tinker about the sodden greens trying to hit their balls with tiny, tiny clubs...Leaving me free to run some errands and to attend my book club on Sunday.

I can't begin to tell you what a bright spot this was in my weekend. It was so wonderful catching up with these talented women, sharing stories, and then freely exchanging our views on a piece of literature. If I could, I'd have the book club meet more often…But then I'd have to find more time to read.

In any case, to all those amazing women with whom I gathered, thank you. Your company, humor, and intellect are adored more than you could ever know.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Expensive medicine

The Banker came into the really big company I work for yesterday so we could meet with a doctor who visits the campus on Mondays. The purpose of the visit was to discuss the immunizations and medications we would need on our Peru trip roughly scheduled for this September. This doctor has traveled extensively and often orders immunizations--at cost--and writes out the proper prescriptions for travelers.

The damage? We'll both require Hepatitis A and Yellow Fever vaccinations, Malaria tablets, and Anti-Altitude Sickness pills (plus some Ambien, something the doctor recommended for sweaty, sleepless nights in the rainforest). Yellow Fever is on backorder, but the Hep A, which is a set of two shots, comes in at $60 a shot. And the Malaria pills that need to be taken for two weeks before and four weeks after the trip? Five bucks a pill. So without knowing how much the Yellow Fever will cost or the anti-altitude sickness pills, we're over $500.

Can you say "Ouch"?

Monday, April 24, 2006

A cold reception on our weekend away

So our weekend away was, by most accounts, relaxing, fun, and refreshing. We escaped Saturday afternoon to a little historic town not far from our home, checked into a bed and breakfast, went antiquing, picnicked at a local winery, and visited an underground Irish pub--all before gorging ourselves on a gourmet dinner.

Have you ever eaten so much you're in pain? The Banker and I'd had a great meal of warm bread, cheese, summer sausage, and fruit at the little winery around 3 o'clock. Our dinner reservations weren't until 8, but after a bottle of wine and a full picnic basket, we weren't remotely hungry enough for the four-course meal that followed.

But we ate it all anyway, including the soup made up almost entirely of heavy cream. Sensibly, we passed on dessert, but only because we didn't want to vomit on the linen-clad tables. Add to that severe pain a good hour (and a few pints) at this amazing pub that's 60-feet underground, and it was 11:30 before we struggled back to the B&B, overly, painfully full. It was humid, but as we waddled we watched a storm slowly roll in, complete with a beautiful display of lightening.

Our Victorian-styled room was equally humid. The owner clearly wasn't ready to put the AC on yet, and a sole ceiling fan labored to cool our little room. But our food coma taking its toll, The Banker and I were asleep in no time.

But my dear husband's pain continued into the wee hours of the night--I awoke to his distinctive moaning and kicking a little past 3 in the morning. Laughing to myself, I rolled over and was just about to slip off to sleep again when my body suddenly felt as if it had been drenched in ice-cold water. My chest felt heavy and every hair on my body stood on end. I was instantly awake--and terrified beyond words. I was so frightened I refused to open my eyes. The feeling lasted for a minute, maybe two, and was just as quickly gone. I woke up The Banker but was unable to really explain what had happened. What had happened? Essentially, nothing extraordinary had occurred. But I was freaked out--so much so that while teasing would have been his immediate, good-natured response, The Banker held me until I quit shaking.

Needless to say, sleep eluded me for the better part of the night. And that cold sensation? It revisited me some hours later, but again I refused to open my eyes, and this time didn't wake up The Banker.

So is there some medical malady that hits you--twice--with the sense of freezing temperatures, only to subside minutes later? Is there some explanation I can place on this disturbing experience? Please, please, please, someone, let me know. Because it was awful. And I need someone to put my mind at ease.

At least someone other than the owner, who informed me the next morning that the B&B--built in 1848--was said to be frequented by a friendly spirit?!?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Growing Up

The Banker and I are still on the hunt for a new home on a few acres of God's green earth. And while my parents and in-laws haven't been supportive, we continue unabated.

One of the main objections was how far out South we'd been looking. There's good reason we're forced to look so damn far out: Land prices have gone ridiculously high and the only affordable homes are located in BFE. As an act of compromise, though, The Banker and I began to look for homes within my parents' school district--considerably closer in to town, so the number of available homes immediately dwindled and the costs crept upward. But my parents, for the moment, seemed more open to our plan.

The other weekend The Banker and I stumbled on a house situated on 7 acres within the new search area. The green pastures ran up against a beautiful pond and the house--while not quite what we were looking for--had potential. My father is in the construction business and owns one home, a condo, and is in plans to build a retirement home. So needless to say, he knows his shit and we respect his opinion greatly when it comes to this sort of thing. He was instrumental in the purchase of our first home and we wanted him to weigh on this new possibility we'd found.

My dad had no real reservations about the quality of the home, the location, or even the lay of the land. But he couldn't necessarily find anything positive to say either and ended up urging us to find another home, one in a neighborhood, one in town. Finally in frustration, he admitted he didn't understand the appeal of land, thought we were being foolish, and said he wouldn't look at any other homes with us.

I thought he was being grumpy...but I didn't really take him at his word. I brushed it off a bit, and The Banker and I agreed that maybe we should continue looking for a home that required less work to fit our needs.

Today an incredibly beautiful home, formerly out of our price range, was listed again with a substantially lower price. While still a little over what we want to spend, I couldn't help but get excited and called my dad. His response? "I told you I wouldn't look at any more homes with you."

So there it is. I'm so disappointed. What my dad means is that he won't look at any more homes that don't meet his plans for us. If we were to find a home in a quaint neighborhood with house after identical house atop each other, he'd be there in a second. And even though we were open to compromise, even though we tried harder to make our dream fit his comfort level, it doesn't matter.

So it looks like we'll be doing this on our own without the support and insight I've always respected and valued. The Banker and I will continue looking and when we find something we love, we'll put our home on the market.

And I guess my parents will find out when they drive by and see the For Sale sign in the yard. And I hate that.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Me and Batman

On Wednesday, I had my picture taken with Batman. I really wanted to catch Scooby-Doo, as he was my childhood favorite, but he had to take a potty break. And Tweety ran out of film. And Wonder Woman was half naked--her perky little butt cheeks hanging out of her super suit--so why would I want to take a picture with her?

So I settled for Batman--who was HOT. Mmmmmm...the strong jawline and bulging muscles under tight spandex. He complimented me on my eyes. I wanted to compliment him on his impressive codpiece, but refrained.

I got paid to pass this hunky hour. Only at the company I work for...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Mysteries of MySpace

A friend of mine who recently moved to Seattle asked me to join so we could easily keep in touch. Then another friend was transferred to Georgia and asked me to do the same. I'm not tech-savvy and never have been. This blogging thing is the closest I come to Internet culture and all three of my readers don't exactly constitute a huge following. But I decided to go ahead and humor my friends. Besides, I'd read a lot about MySpace in Time magazine and such and was interested in finding out just what the deal was. (Not to mention Sister #1 and #2 use FaceBook religiously. Since I graduated much too late to join this fad, I felt a wee left out.)

So I signed up and filled out the basic information: Married, Hometown, Colleges I Attended, Occupation, and that I was online to meet Friends. Then, to ensure my long-lost highschool friends, old roommates, and study abroad pals found the right Kat, I posted a picture of myself. I don't usually do that. In fact, I've yet to post an image of myself here, and I've been doing this since September. Why? Well, I'm one of those gals who pretty much abhors any picture she's in. In all my years of cheesing it for the camera, only a handful of shots don't make me want to burn every last photo and negative.

But I managed to find an okay photo that didn't make me squirm:

I'm the one on the right in the pink bridesmaid dress slightly tipsy at Sister #1's June nuptials. Next to me is one of my nearest and dearest friends. It's a safe photo. I'm not trotting about in my underwear or straddling a car or any of the other nonsense people have captured themselves doing and posted for the world to see. This was about connecting with friends from afar, not discovering new "friends" who wanted to talk dirty.

And so began my confusing encounter with Because I only have four friends after this first week or so, and two are family and therefore don't count. But I've had plenty of invites from complete strangers who want to be my buddy. There was the guy dressed like Darth Maul. Or GirlsXposed. Or the Marilyn-Manson lookalike.

WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? I don't understand why I'd list a complete stranger as a friend. Maybe I'm taking that term to mean more than it does. Maybe friend now means "complete stranger I can stalk over the Internet." I must be missing the appeal of this whole thing. It isn't like blogging, where you can get a sense for a person. Where you can respect someone's craft. This is my picture and some scant information. Nothing more.

But what really boggles my mind are the comments I've begun to receive. From the 30-year-old glass cutter looking for some fun. From the father and husband oohing over my "gorgeous smile." From the weird guy who likes to dress up. No, I don't want to get together over the weekend. No, I don't want to have a naughty exchange. Did you miss the big MARRIED indicator on my profile? There was nothing insinuating about my photo, right? How come all the freaks have found me and none of my friends?!?

Friday, April 07, 2006

A little spot of green

Nature has always held strong sway over me. I'm drawn to the outdoors and its furry inhabitants and the simple beauties and truths they hold. So in turn, part of me mourns when another open field is churned up and then smothered with a layer of concrete, another box structure, another enclave of cookie-cutter houses. I watched for years as the deer and other wildlife that made their home around my parents' neighborhood slowly dwindle and then disappear altogether. I hate the way we binge on land, expanding ourselves until there's very little open, natural space left. Because of this, I've always wanted to have some land of my own---just a few acres---where green space could flourish, hundreds of animals could romp, and millions of babies could roam, reveling in the outdoors, appreciating nature, imagining and being creative. I know I've idealized the hell out of owning acreage. I know that it can be a pain in the ass, countless hours of work, a lot of inconvenience, and a major flippin' investment.

But I still want my own little plot of green Earth.

This tiny desire planted itself in The Banker as well. So we've begun to look for a larger house with 7 to 10 acres or plots of land on which we could build. Our list of demands is long: good school district, close to a highway, close to a hospital, in a neighborhood setting, and not too far from the city. It's crushing to admit that we're about 5 or 10 years too late to find affordable land that meets these demands. But rather than dampen our spirits, this fact has put a desperate edge to our resolve. We want land, and we need to find it soon.

It's really disheartening that neither my parents nor The Banker's support this search at all. They are suburbia people. They don't understand. "Why can't you be happy in a nice, manicured suburb?" "Do you know what that kind of move would entail?" "You don't know what you're asking for." And surprisingly, my parents are far worse than the in-laws. They’ve condemned our efforts and been outwardly snide about our plans. It's one of the first times I've not had my parents support on something that means so much to me. It leaves a dull ache in the pit of my stomach.

But their negativity won't change my mind. While it may cause a tiny breech in our relationship, I can only hope that with time they'll learn to respect my decision. Because it's mine. It's my desire. It’s my dream and has been since I was little.

Now I only hope I can find that perfect plot of green.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A move but little closure

I moved cubicles, floors, and teams today, but still have no sense of what this will mean for my career, not to mention my daily enjoyment of the job. So I'm still measuring up this new set of circumstances. Not that I've had much energy to do so. Last night we had dinner out with one of The Banker's clients, the night before, dinner with my parents, Sunday night dinner with the sisters, Friday night dinner with The Banker's parents, and the list goes on and on. Sleep has been hard to come by and down time is damn non-existant. We need to decide on our Farewell to Independence Tour itinerary, the pressure is mounting to find some land that's affordable before acreage prices *really* go through the roof, and our calendar is fit to bust.

So it's easy to see how I really, fantastically lost it the other day. The Banker responded by offering a weekend retreat to a cute little town about an hour away. It's a historic town filled with adorable bed and breakfasts, antique stores, and a winery. (Confession: Okay, I know wine grown in the Midwest can't possibly be that good, but let's not be a downer, 'kay?) So I'm holding on by my fingernails until the weekend of the 22nd rolls around...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


I'm eating at the computer while The Banker and I watch Lost. Yeah, I know. Not an ideal eating situation. But I have a freelance article to complete...and The Banker likes to joke that I'm addicted to the Internet. Ha ha.

So I run to the other room for two minutes and return to find The Banker absorbed in a commercial. And the cat eating my chicken. All of two feet from The Banker's face. How is it that a TV can absorb a man's entire focus?

Grrrr and hissss.

An adventure of a lifetime

While living in the city, I had the honor of working for a really incredible editor--one of those funny, kind-hearted men who make you feel instantly at ease. He also had the ability to undo the damage done by my former boss, who'd left me thinking I was pretty much useless.

This very wise man had a young and wonderfully chaotic family that he adored. He'd share the highs and lows with me each morning, offering his insights on parenting along the way. Among his great advice? Take a Farewell to Independence Tour before The Banker and I decide to start thinking about having a family.

So this September 2nd or 3rd, if everything goes according to plan, The Banker and I--and hopefully some friends--will take off for Lima, Peru, where the adventure of a lifetime awaits. My old editor always talked about hiking up to Machu Picchu. It's an adventure I soon embraced and one I hope to conquer.

And then? And then there is no plan. We go off the map. And we'll have to hope and pray that The Banker and I will be blessed. And then the REAL adventure will begin.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Ummm, is this a good thing?

I'm being moved at work--to a new team, a new line, a new floor, everything. My training period at a quick end, I'm now going to have more visibility, more creative opportunity, and more responsibility. So technically, this is a good thing. But it leaves me feeling nauseous. Flying under the radar in my dark, discount-line floor was getting rather comfortable. Now I find out if I can play nice in the light, under a lot of watchful eyes. And no, as The Banker asked immediately, this doesn't entail any more money!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Cats and dogs... together, wrestling together, and learning to love one another. A rough love, but I think it's love nonetheless. At least, I hope so.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Luck of the Irish

St. Patrick's Day is a big deal around here. I married into an Irish family and my family embraces an opportunity to dress ridiculously and drink copious amounts of alcohol. So this is like Christmas to us, only minus the holiness and gifts. And I was ready. Green outfit, green furry boa, Dr. Seussian hat.

But the luck of the Irish failed to visit us this year. The Banker managed to put out his back and was writhing in pain by midday on Friday. One trip to the chiropractor, a set of x-rays, a round of acupuncture, and stretching failed to provide any relief. The "doctor" is supposed to let The Banker know on Monday what the course of action will be.

So our St. Patty's Day was passed in a mild manner. No corn beef and cabbage. No drunken crowds. No green beer. But then again, no green puke. So there's always that.

The Banker is still in considerable pain, which is terrible to watch. And I find myself very tired. Three freelance articles to go, a house that needs to be cleaned, and The Banker and I are at an impasse about buying a new house.

But that's a story for another time...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Wherein I can kick some butt

So what kind of superheroine would YOU be? I'd always pictured myself as a conflicted, butt-kicking, serious but stealthy type. And a hot little outfit wouldn't hurt. And whatya know? This little web quiz agrees with me. Well, sort of.

You Are Trinity

"Touch me and that hand will never touch anything again."

Monday, March 13, 2006

It's like I'm a 5-year old

After finally giving in to The Banker's demands that I see a professional, I stayed home from work today and went to a walk-in patient care facility. I listed my ailments upon check-in and waited for a doctor to see me. The doctor was with me for less than five minutes but she seemed very sure of her conclusion: double ear infection and sinus infection. WHAT?!? I haven't had an ear infection since I was a little kid. This is truly ridiculous.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

50 Random Things About, Well, Me

1. My nickname, Kat, was created in high school by a friend (another nickname: Tigger), and was resurrected hundreds of miles away by a new co-worker.
2. I have green eyes, which may have something to do with the nickname.
3. One of the skeletons in the family closet is severe issues with body image. What we see in the mirror is often not how others see us.
4. Of my three sisters, my body type is vastly different—I am, technically speaking, the big one. I am made up of curves, which have varied in size in my 27 years.
5. Because of this variance and familial hang-up, I have tried several weight-loss programs. I am currently the smallest I’ve ever been.
6. The purpose for my weight loss? My sister’s wedding and The Banker and my plans to start a family in the future.
7. I’m conflicted on starting a family. I want to have children, but I’m nervous about letting my body go. I know, if all goes well, my body may very well balloon into a whale. But you know? It may just be worth it.
8. I want to have girls, but everyone I know has told me I’ll have boys. FYI: The Banker has a HUGE head. This worries me.
9. I’ve been told by my closest friends that I was intimidating and hard to get to know. This is just one of my many defenses.
10. During high school, even with The Banker, I was reluctant to put into writing the words “I love you.” I was afraid the words would come back and bite me if the relationship failed. Did I mention I’m guarded?
11. I’m a travel whore. There’s few countries I wouldn’t gladly visit.
12. My favorite experiences are seeing the world anew. This happens most often when I’m traveling, meeting someone new, or trying something new.
13. I have this deep-seated respect for life. I cried for hours when I accidentally ran over a squirrel.
14. If I could do what I want, I would join the Peace Corps or start a charity to save animals.
15. I received an ample education in journalism—some would say I graduated from the best journalism schools in the nation—but I don’t have the heart for hardcore, investigative journalism. It is one of my major failings. I cannot unabashedly stalk another without empathy.
16. I adore animals. I have three pets, and if I could, I would have more.
17. I come from a family of drinkers. My binky used to be dipped in after-dinner drinks to quiet me before bed. While I can go months without a drop, I can still drink many men under the table.
18. Another defense? My scathing tongue. I developed this trait in the unforgiving realm of public middle school. I am effective and ruthless. Often too much so.
19. Part of me is a snob and part of me is a good ol’ girl. A conflict of terms? Welcome to my life. I am a combination of polar opposites.
20. I’ve never lost anyone I love. This will soon change.
21. My favorite places in the world include New Zealand, Australia, and parts of Ireland.
22. I would love to live and raise a family abroad.
23. As the oldest child, I spent much of my life playing it safe, being the good daughter and responsible older sister. I sometimes wonder what I missed.
24. I have the world’s worst memory. I hate this about myself. Some memories I’ve blocked—cruel people during middle school, hard times during high school—but I wish I could remember things, nonetheless.
25. My first terribly embarrassing moment? I was in first grade and we were reading a story about a dog, a cat, and a horse. The teacher asked, “And why do we know this story is NOT true?” The rest of the class responded, “Because animals are talking.” I said out loud, “Maybe animals CAN talk but we just don’t know how to hear them.” I could feel all eyes on me and the distinct sense that what I’d said was wrong. My innocence began to crumble…
26. Attending a Catholic, all-girls high school changed me forever. I found a strength, independence, and free voice that has served me ever since. It’s not often that girls shout down the hall, “Anyone got a Tampon?” It changes your perspective.
27. There are days when I love dressing up in an ornate dress and heels for charity events and days when I hate it. I have to attend these type things a lot.
28. While I can give up wine for months on end, I fear giving up wine, sushi, junk food and the like for nine-plus months and then some.
29. I drive like an asshole. I love speed, (hence the sports car), and continue to drive like a Chicagoan, long after I’ve left the city.
30. When I was very, very young, I told my Mom I’d seen our cat, Smokey, run down the basement stairs weeks after he’d died.
31. I have American Indian in my heritage, which may explain the cheekbones—and the gypsy spirit.
32. My parents went against the fold, making enemies in our neighborhood of philanderers and hypocrites. This is part of the reason I want to move out of the suburbs.
33. Sister #1, while totally shy in front of those we know, can be so bizarrely brazen in front of strangers. I wish I had that strength.
34. Sister #2 has a natural talent for languages. I wish I had that ability. I don’t.
35. I have begun to see the signs of aging in my parents—the ever-increasing age coupled with a change in attitude, the sudden soft give of the skin of the cheek. It makes the 16-year-old in me panic.
36. I’ve always had this innate fear I’d die young. When my palm was read by a college Spanish teacher, she told me I’d live a long life. It didn’t put my hypochondriac mind at ease.
37. I hate crying in front of others. My Dad taught me it was a sign of weakness.
38. I’m a puker. It’s unfortunate, but it’s also the reason I rarely drink beyond my limit.
39. My once blond hair is slowly darkening, like my mother once negatively proclaimed it would. I’m fighting the urge to dye my tresses to the more universally attractive blond.
40. My hair is short, which looks better on me but is considered less attractive by most of male America. I try not to care. But part of me still does.
41. When I was little, my parents cut my hair short. I rebelled when I was old enough, but now it’s short again. I hate to admit they were right.
42. Whatever I do remember may be lost, not to mention what I don’t, if I turn out like my Mom’s Mom—Stricken with Alzheimer’s at too young of an age.
43. I once thought I was going to die. I was airlifted off an island off of the Australian coast with appendicitis/burst ovary/kidney stones. We never discovered what it was, but I’ll never forget the feeling that “this was it.”
44. I don’t like to wear lipstick. My lips are Angelina-Jolie full—so I feel like a stop sign when my lips are painted.
45. As a child, I almost drowned in the country-club pool—trapped under the body of a fat kid who jumped in on top of me. This is both terrifying and funny.
46. I sometimes wonder how my life might have turned out differently. Would I be living in New York? Would I have become a hardcore working woman? Would I be single?
47. I’m not tech-savvy. At all. I wish I were.
48. I covet the pretty things in life while part of me is disgusted by this tendency.
49. My Mom thinks my sisters and I aren’t the best housekeepers. It’s been too long for her to remember what it was like to hold down a fulltime job and play house.
50. In my humble opinion there are few things more enjoyable than big family dinners with great food, conversation, and wine. Followed by something peanut butter and chocolate.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

An aside

Drinking many beverages through a red vine is a delight! I recommend most sodas and even a rum and coke. Red vines--especially when they're a teeny bit old and a little chewier--are the best licorice on earth.

There's a small animal lodged in my sinuses

Or that's the way it feels. I've succumbed to one helluva head cold, complete with sneezing attacks, waves of snot and mucus, a sore throat, and sinus pressure that feels like it could make my nose burst. Ugh.

The Banker has left for the evening to attend a family St. Patrick's Day party, so there's no one here. No one to baby me. No one to make soup for me and curl up on the couch with me so I feel less crappy. When I was a child and feeling miserable, my Mom always went out of her way to help ease the ache.

I may be pushing 30, but I still wish my Mom would come over and make everything okay. I wonder, does that ever change?

My Dad's Mom, my Grammy, is ill with the flu while also fighting cancer. Things are looking a little grim right now, and I can't fathom how it must feel for my Dad. The woman that made it her life to make everything okay can't stop time, can't change what's happening to her body. She can't make everything okay and neither can he. And that's a terrible feeling.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

We interrupt this blog... beg for mercy. I have four freelance stories due before the month's up, so I haven't had much time in the evenings to think up random crap about which to write. I know, I know. I suck.

So welcome to random thoughts...

We're under a severe thunderstorm watch. I LOVE thunderstorms. In fact, I've always adored inclement weather. Growing up in the Midwest, most people have a healthy fear of tornadoes. Not me! Being a storm chaser sounds exciting. And white-outs? That means I get to curl up with a good book and ignore the world for awhile.

Granted, I've been blessed. I've never encountered the type of weather that robs you of your home, your way of life. And so I have this naive excitement that courses through me when I see those little words in the upper right hand of the TV screen.

To me, there's nothing better than listening as the storms roll in, the cracking of the thunder, the illuminating spiderweb of lightening. One of my favorite memories is hearing the rain pelt off the tin roof while trying to fall asleep under the Australian sky. to cobble together a freelance story. Yuck.

Friday, March 03, 2006

My Soul

So I was checking out a good friend's blog and she had a clever little link to a test to determine what kind of soul you have.

My results? Not very surprising. I've been told this for ages:

You Are an Old Soul

You are an experienced soul who appreciates tradition.
Mellow and wise, you like to be with others but also to be alone.
Down to earth, you are sensible and impatient.
A creature of habit, it takes you a while to warm up to new people.

You hate injustice, and you're very protective of family and friends
A bit demanding, you expect proper behavior from others.
Extremely independent you don't mind living or being alone.
But when you find love, you tend to want marriage right away.

Souls you are most compatible with: Warrior Soul and Visionary Soul

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A Grr and a Sigh

I have to admit, at the moment I feel slightly sucked dry. Two weekends of charity events for The Banker and all of last Sunday spent in the country celebrating my friend's son's first birthday--with seemingly no time leftover for me. I cancelled riding lessons when I heard the disappointment in my friend's voice when she learned we wouldn't be spending the FULL day in the middle of nowhere with them. (Never mind I'll be out there next weekend for the proper birthday party with loads of people in attendance or the next weekend for a spa party she's throwing.)

The Banker's been spending money on toys--a new palm pilot and DVD player--and planning golfing weekends and more events to further his career. My friend is focused on people coming to her, even though she lives a full hour away in a town with no form of restaurant or entertainment. And I love and adore these people, but I want to scream "ENOUGH! Haven't you taken and taken and taken enough, yet?! Haven't you obsessed and planned and droned on enough?"

I have to remember what the speaker said at the Creative Renewal I attended. People don't push your buttons. YOU push your OWN buttons. People are just people, thinking how they think, acting how they act. It's all a matter of how I think and digest their actions. So yes, The Banker doesn't seem to see that he's been a little selfish lately. And yes, my friend doesn't realize that it's no fun spending eight hours at her home while NASCAR drones on in the background. I shouldn't let these things get to me. I need to change the way I think about them.

But as one writer said to our speaker at the end of the day, "You've taken all the honest enjoyment I once had out of being genuinely annoyed with people." Amen to that!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Putting the FAT in Fat Tuesday

Started the day with a GRANDE Caramel Macchiato--enough coffee to float a horse--and I downed the sweet, sweet nectar in under an hour. Mmmmm.

For lunch, I consumed my weight in fried rice, sesame chicken, and crab rangoon. In fact, the sheer joy of mass consumption gave way to a dull, hard pain. Eating as a sport is not something I see much of a future in for this gal.

And tonight it's all about the Minsky's pizza. We're getting two kinds: Chicken Thai Pizza and Mediterranean (pesto sauce, goat cheese, lamb sausage, and sun-dried tomato on wheat crust). It's like an amusement park on bread. So delish. Then there should be something big and fattening for dessert. I'm cream.

But technically I jump-started Fat Tuesday last night by eating a Reese's Peanut Butter Egg. I did the most delightful thing, which disgusted The Banker. I ate all the chocolate off the top and side, leaving just the peanut-butter middle and the thin chocolate base. Then I took the lump of goodness and put it all in my mouth rolling it about. The Banker grouched he could hear me slurping and turned up the radio. For a man who can binge with the best of them, he has no appreciation for the fine art of relishing one of God's better concoctions.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

An interesting experiment

I had my second of two eye surgeries today in the hopes of providing me with 20/20 vision. Before the surgery I was given valium (only the second time I've had it). Then I went home and slept for hours. Then ate, a ton. And had a rum and coke or several. And I'm realyl, really tired of correcting my ty;ping. The Banker's off to a work-re;lated party, and I'm all patch-eyed and bired and eating and drining. =-) Okay, from the looks at my tyiing, a fair amount of imbibing. I thought it'd be intersting to gve typing while slightly intoxicated a go. And here it is. Not very compelling or exciting. Sigh.

Tomorrow at work is gonna suck. I think the whole work thing a little overrated. An annoying patch over my eye is also overrated. Did Imentiopn I don't want to go to work tomorrow/!?!? I'mm toying with a career change. To what? I don't know. I'd like to try to save thwe world and get paid for it. A decent amount of pay. And I realize that
's waaay too much to ask. Why doesn't the Humane Society pay more?!?!

Am watching a movie about Venice. I looooved Venice. I'd like to go abck. But since I failed to win the lottery, that won't likely happen for years and years and years. I remember getting lost for hours in the bakc streets, finsding the best carnival mask coated in gold.

Okay, the HNamker;'s on his way home. And Sister #2 called to say I needed to pull my crap together or she'll have to come over and drive me through Hardys for ofood I don't need. Or maybe it was Arbys. But I've eated all the crackers and cheese and peanuts,. And I ddidn't run today, or relly yesterday.

Amd ,pst upsetting, I found a tooth on the carpeyt. One of the pugs ahas lost a tooth. Can ethey be getting that old ? IAm I that bad o f a mom for not brushing their teeth?!? It's the saddest looking tooth you ever saw....

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Okay, Fuck my Crappy Attitude

I attended a "Creative Renewal" event today hosted by the really big, feel-good company I work for. A psychologist flew in from California to talk to us about "Enriching Our Lives." I've only been at the company for two months, so I probably don't need to be creatively renewed. Then again, it gets me out of two days of work and I get to visit the company farm, which encourages out-of-box thinking, so what the hell?

I'm not the perky type. I don't buy into a bunch of mumbo jumbo. I LIKE being snarky. But this gal had a lot of interesting things to say, most of which REALLY hit home for me. I wish I could somehow share what she had to say with all of you. I just don't know where to begin. It all boils down to the power of thought. I know, I know. We've all heard about this before. But think about it again.

We have a thought. That thought leads to a feeling. Our feeling leads to a behavior. And our behavior, or action, has a result. And that result can cause another thought, and around this circle we go again.

So what part of this cycle do we have any control over? We can't control our feelings--they come from the gut. And often our behavior, our reaction, is spur of the moment. And anyway, we're too far into the cycle at this point. So we try to control how we think. Your thoughts are like a paint brush, creating the way you see the world. And from there, the rest trickles down: your feelings, behaviors, and the end results.

The problem is, this is quite the challenge. I need to RETHINK the way I think. Instead of: "Stupid, bloody accountant fucked up. He fucked US!" I should have tried: "Okay, we owe some unexpected taxes. Let's take care of this and make sure it doesn't happen again." The first line of thought brought with it a wave of anger and self pity. I yelled. I cried. I called a kind man an asshole. The second line of thought would have been balanced and useful--and importantly, I wouldn't have been taking anything personally (a BIG, BIG, BIG no-no). Had I thought this way, I would have saved myself a lot of anguish. I wouldn't have lashed out at The Banker. I would have taken a bad situation and gotten control over it rather than letting it control me.

So now I must conciously work to think about thinking. I need to know that my thoughts form my reality. And I'd sure like a reality more prone to rainbows and sunshines than tirades and tears.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Okay, Fuck the Rainbows and Sunshine

Yeah, I tried to be positive. Well, screw that. This weekend served as a reminder that life enjoys throwing sucker punches that leave you crumbled on the ground wheezing for air.

We just found out that we owe Uncle Sam quite a bit of money. Our efforts to save for a Farewell for Independence Tour and a family will be wiped clean, and then some. And why? Because it seems we may have received some bad information from our accountant--otherwise known as The Banker's uncle. In an orgy of stupid, this Irish clan keeps it all in the family. And when the family royally fucks up, you have no recourse. No options. You bend over, empty your savings accounts, and smile at the next painful Christmas party the man throws.

I received the news on Friday night after one of the worst days of work ever (wherein my elderly mentor AGAIN shares with me that she's having diarrhea). I curled up in a ball and cried. We can't seem to catch a break. Our finances were well on their way to being healthy and out of nowhere we're taken out at the knees.

I could have made up the amount owed in several months’ worth of freelance if we were still in the big city. But we're not, and I lost all those lucrative freelance gigs because they were city- and state-based magazines. I can't even make a decent damn freelance career here. In fact, I can't even remember the last time I pieced together a worthy turn of phrase. All my hard work and schooling, but the odds are slim I'll have the opportunity to work for a decent magazine. In fact, I haven't touched words in two months' time at my day job, instead learning soul-crushing computer programs and completing clerical work.

I hate where we are right now. I hate that I no longer can boast with pride that I'd escaped my hometown. Hate that I need to accept that everything else is could-have-been's and never-will-be’s. Hate that we've been sucked dry by a mistake. Hate that there's no recourse. Hate that all the rainbows and sunshine don't mean shit.