Tuesday, February 20

Message in a Bottle

I spent the entire day yesterday training D- the new finance person on how to use our phone system. Right now there are three of us who answer the phones and she'll be the fourth. She's not taking any longer than anyone else to learn our phone system but yesterday was NOT the day to ask me to be nice to a new person. I didn't even feel like being nice to the ones I already knew and liked. I guess no one got the memo. I really need to work on a Mood Alert System for my office door. She'll be spending today in the finance department- thank you God- so maybe I'll actually get some work done.
maybe...
In other news the tickets for the Police reunion at Fenway Park go on sale this morning!!! Yea!!! Come July there will be me and Sting in tantric musical bliss (along with some other thousands of people whom neither of us will notice I'm sure).

Monday, February 19

Don't you worry 'bout a thing

There should be a color coded mood meter outside my door. On days when I'm feeling like this the absolute last question I want to answer is any variation on "What's wrong?" which I will have to deal with at least 20 times today. I'm just not that good a faking it.
(Well every woman is good at 'faking it' to some extent and I happen to be a master--but I digress)
When I'm angry or hurting I can't be the zany goofy office friend that everyone is used to. I pretty much just want to be left alone to get my work done. This is a hard transition to make on a Monday morning when I don't want to have to explain and yet all people seem to do is ask. What is a nice way to say "The sound of your voice is making me homicidal- please stop talking"? You tell one person that you're busy and don't have time to chat and suddenly my phone is ringing off the hook and my email box is full of inquiries into my mental state and happiness level. Apparently "I am busy and can't talk" is code for "I'm not doing a damn thing so please feel free to bug the hell out of me until I end up saying something rude and you get pissy about it".
Hey- maybe I could skip straight to the rudeness and everyone giving me the silent treatment since that is what I want anyway...hmm...

Saturday, February 17

Bad Enough Already

AS if it wasn't bad enough already that I am at work on a Saturday I got to have a nice little fight with my mother this morning. I did something mildly stupid that had some people pissed at me and I called her for a little support. After the pulling of teeth said support was acquired. (Don't know where that sentence structure or wording came from, but I'm leaving it alone) I was about to get off of the phone when the inevitable snarky/seriously hurtful comment came. These have been coming with regularity lately and I have to say that I'm getting damn tired of them. I told her that was hurtful and I was hanging up. A minute later my phone rang and as I clicked it onto silent I wondered what were the chances of her leaving me a message along the lines of "sorry I was such a bitch" vs. "fine, if you want to be pissed I'll give you something to be pissed about". Of course I got the second message. "If you aren't going to talk to me again then let me give you a real reason..."
Not only is that fucking childish it is referring to the last time I wasn't speaking to you when you IGNORED MY HOSPITALIZATION because it interfered with your weekend! If this was designed to shame me in any way or 'bring me to heel' she completely misjudged her audience. Truth is- I'm even more pissed off. She would have gotten a lot farther with the 'I am your mother and you do not ever hang up on me' tack. Even though I didn't technically hang up on her I still would probably have called to apologize. But this shit is ridiculous. I'm tired of calling her about a job I am really excited about and getting " Well, this is the type of job where you would have to be really organized. You know, they would want you to just run with this and it would all be on you." Thanks. I hadn't thought of that. Now that I realize what a dim fuckwit I really am I will make sure that if they call me for an interview I tell them that of course I could never take it- I'm too disorganized and lazy.
Or when we talked about my bookstore " Well that is a dream that just isn't going to happen, you should work on a dream you can accomplish" How I didn't just say FUCK YOU at that point and hang up the phone I do not know. I told myself she didn't mean it that way- she just meant that being able to afford to open the store would be really hard. And then today I am telling her that my dad is letting me use his credit card to get some concert tickets and my friends and I are sending him checks and she says "Make sure you don't use that card for anything else." Right because I did that once when I was in high school (it might have been freshman year of college) and of course I got busted (I've never been good at getting away with anything AND there was some serious passive aggressive stuff going on between my father and myself that played into that as well(never mind)) and got punished and now ten years later she assumes that of course I am going to go right out and buy all kinds of things with this number. Because I am basically a thief with no sense of morality and definitely not a person who learns from past mistakes and is trying to build some type of relationship with her father. Obviously!
I am SO ANGRY right now that I could scream but I can't do that because I am at work. So instead I will bore all of you in blogland with this crap because if I don't get it out I could very well have another panic attack.
I try not to look to her for support. My mother has never been the cuddles and kisses type. Her freaking out over a childhood scrape would be yelling at me while bandaging it. It's a personality thing and as much as I knew she loved me I also knew that she would never be able to give me what I needed from her. She doesn't call you and tell you that everything will be alright- she tells you where you messed up and what you need to do to fix it. I got used to things like that and made friends who were great at the 'mothering'. This has moved beyond that.
I was there for her as much as I could be after our worlds came crumbling down. I tried to be strong for her. I failed once spectacularly when my roommate started throwing things at me after my boyfriend broke up with me at the same time I found out my entire family had been lying to me for over two years and I just couldn't hold it together. When I couldn't stop crying she told me she couldn't deal with me just then. I got a friend to come and get me. Since that time I have tried my best to keep my shit mine and be as supportive of her as I could. She has blossomed and my life has pretty much sucked. That is not her fault. She has no reassurances to give me and that is not her fault. I'm sure she had a good reason for waiting two days before trying to contact me after I was in the hospital.
I WILL NOT be spoken to the way that she spoke to me today any more. If you don't have anything nice to say then you can damn well shut your mouth. It is hard enough to be me at this moment and make it through each day trying to build some type of life for myself out of the ashes of 2005. I don't need your negativity in my ear. I need help and if you can't help then I need you to stay out of my way. So no. I will not be calling her any more. There are enough voices in my own head telling me what I can't do and what I should let go. Why should I use my cell minutes to hear one more?

Friday, February 16

Concert Season- Part 1

The catalog for the VA Art Festival came in last week and Bonnie Raitt was on the cover. My cell phone rang yesterday morning and then John Legend and Corinne Bailey Rae were in my email. There was a plane ticket to Boston in my mailbox with an article on the Police reunion tour concert at Fenway. These are some of the reasons I LOVE CONCERT SEASON!!!
In general the spring and summer annoy me a little. There's no football, I look better in sweaters than in tank tops, and there is this undeniable truth: If you are naked and cold you can put clothes on but if you are naked and hot you're screwed. I am a fall/winter person. The years I spent in Charleston, SC only confirmed this for me. There spring is the start of the tourist invasion that lasts longer each year.
Now I have found a remedy. This isn't the Spring and then the Summer coming up. This is Concert Season Part One and Two! Why didn't I think of this before??? So far Part One is Bonnie, John and Corinne and Part Two is the Police. I'll keep you all updated as events are added, don't worry. The only thing better than planning for the John/Corinne show with S and V over lunch yesterday was getting home last night and getting the plane ticket to Boston from my sister L! She taught me to sing 'Roxanne' when I was three years old, which my parents thought was cute until they listened to the words and realized their toddler was singing about prostitution. She worshipped Sting and I worshipped her and as cheesy as it may seem I almost cried when I got those tickets.
I'll fill my Spring and Summer with live music and look for ward to the fall and my comfy sweaters.

Thursday, February 15

www.jodipicoult.com

I made myself a romantic dinner for one last night and then I gave myself an amazing gift. I decided to read a little with dinner so I picked up the only book left by Jodi Picoult that I had not read. This was around six pm. At 1 am when I put it down I had to get up and out of my house to get her words out of my head a little. It was freezing last night (I'm in VA not PA, but still...) but I stood outside taking in huge gulps of the frigid air. When I was nearly hyperventilating I went back into my building and up the stairs into my apartment. People say all the time about books "I couldn't put it down". Well, what they mean was that it was an engrossing read. But probably if they got tired or one of their favorite tv shows came on they would be able to put the book down. I ignored four phone calls, the second episode of LOST, and the clock. I tried three times and I could not put this book down. I thought I knew, but I had to be sure, it was too close to home and completely alien to me at the same time. It was, in short, a Jodi Picoult novel.
Let me just say right here that I love Jodi. I am a fan. I got Songs of the Humpback Whale and My Sister's Keeper from the library and then went out and bought everything else that Waldenbooks had. I thought I had read them all. Then I stumble upon a sale at the bookstore and realize that I hadn't read The Pact.
There isn't one thing that I love about her writing- but there is one thing that I love the most. It feels like truth- like life. In all of its pain and joy. In all of the messy details. She just gets it right- and that's a lot.

Tuesday, February 13

Bitter--Party Of One


Not that I, personally, will be getting anything from anyone for Valentine's Day or (Single Girls Awareness Day aka F**K All The Happy People Day) but there will be a sea of candy, cupcakes and chocolate floating around my office since V and I are the only single people who work here. Which will lead us to the wine and/or chocolate chip cookie dough and the movies. V watches the sappy chick flicks but I tend more towards things that blow up. Die Hard with a Vengeance is a perennial fav. After a day of watching women show off their jewelry and signing for other people's roses I think I'm entitled to a little bitterness. Not a lot---just some cinematic death and destruction...and wine.

I have, however, made sure that my mother will not have to deal with the bitterness. She'll be getting tulips (her favorite flower) and a teddy bear and a big cheesy heart shaped balloon AND chocolate! All from a 'secret admirer'. Of course she knows it's me. She's known for the past two years- but that doesn't make it any less fun for either of us. Each year she tells me that I shouldn't have spent money on something so silly but I know from personal experience (2 years in a row now...not that I'm counting) how it feels to be the only one walking through the parking lot empty handed after work and I won't let that happen to her.

And one day maybe someone will make sure it doesn't happen to me... yeah, right.

Friday, February 9

Well traveled and worn...


" We're adults. When did that happen? And how do we make it stop?"


Of course my life isn't anything like I thought it would be when I was younger. I don't know many people who are actually living their childhood dream. I guess the trick is to find new dreams. Adult ambitions. Hmmm...it's possible that was not the most prudent turn of phrase but we'll let it go.

The dreams of our childhood are not necessarily childish and should be cherished. I still harbor the secret ambitions of a seven year old. Their light spills over onto the dreams that have grown up with me. I will have my bookstore in Seattle. That is a dream I have turned into a plan and as I look around myself right now I am so grateful that I had the guts to start making it a reality. I might not be on the road less traveled, or the road of my girlhood fantasies, but it is finally a road that I have chosen and I am feeling pretty good about that today.

I have a friend, Tim, who is an artist. He's working on websites instead of sketches because this is the real world and there are bills to pay. But I was talking to him about setting up an internet gallery and getting his art out that way.

Like everything else it comes down to choice. How many of your dreams are you going to let go? And what are you willing to do to keep the creative part of you not just alive- but flourishing? I don't have all the answers. I don't even have half of them, but I'm finally asking the right questions and maybe sometimes that's enough.

Wednesday, February 7

Backwards Day


Remember ‘Spirit Week’ in high school? We usually had it right before homecoming and every day there would be a different theme. Today feels like backwards day to me. The managers at the company I work for are all gone. It’s a family owned business and one of them is getting married in the Bahamas on Saturday, so they’ve all left. And I am getting so much more done! Even with the slack that we have all had to pick up for them I am still flying through things. Strange.
Also- today is payday. I had forgotten about this until I got here because I’m not broke yet!!! VERY strange. The bills are all paid and the fridge is stocked and I am not quite sure what to do with myself. (Besides getting a jump on the Visa bill and taking a little trip to Nordstrom)
My father sent me a card in the mail. One of those ‘hang in there’ cards with a picture of a cat trying not to fall out of a tree. My father who didn’t even notice when I went on my first date somehow figured out that things have been a little tough in my world lately and actually did something about it. Stranger and stranger.
Next there’s going to be a gorgeous man whisking me off to live in Venice… ok probably not, but if life is going to weird why can’t I shoot for the stars right???

Saturday, February 3

Oliver Wendell Holmes



"Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society"
-OWH

And once a year we get paid back and I usually use that tax return to be decidedly un-civilized. After all, it's 'free money'. Every year I say to myself that I am going to be responsible and save it, or buy only the things that I really need and can normally not afford. And every year I blow it. This year I am doing both. I paid my rent, took a friend out for a great dinner (and mango vodka...seriously- MANGO- fabulous!) and today after work I'm buying new sneakers and some perfume (and possibly anything else that catches my eye). But this morning when I got to work I went to two charities and donated online. World Vision http://www.worldvision.org/ is a charity

dedicated to helping children around who are living in poverty. They buy book bags and stock them with school supplies for kids in the US, they donate milk giving goats to families in India and across the continent of Africa and too many other great things to name here. The Grameen Bank gives micro loans to poor women in third world countries and was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize along with its founder. So now the money that I was going to spend on alcohol or shoes is going to help people start new lives and I feel pretty good about that.


There are many prices that we pay. For over a year now I have become increasingly disillusioned about my prospects in my job. When I was hired there was a time line laid out of vertical movement through the company. Although each of my reviews have been excellent and my raises have been adequate the movement has not come. I am not the only one in this situation at my office, but I am the only one whose life I can control to any extent. So-it's time to man up. Part of this is on me since I haven't brought it up with the management- mostly because I hate the idea of rocking the boat and it would force me into a situation where I would have to think of leaving what has become a pretty comfortable situation. Except it hasn't been that comfortable apparently. Last week I had a panic attack at work and had to be taken to the ER. If you've never had one you cannot understand just how terrifying it is. It's made me look at thing a little differently. I'm trying to eat better, exercise more, get involved in my community and more involved in my world. I'm trying to give my life a makeover and make it more like the one I dreamed of when I was younger. What is the point of doing all that if I am going to stay in a job that stresses me out daily to the point where I end up in the hospital? It's like going on a heart healthy diet while smoking a pack a day. So- I am posting my resume on al of the job search sites and I am going to have that conversation with my managers because the price I am paying for not rocking the boat is just too high.


Prices--

I have said over and over on these pages how much I love my mother and how proud I am of her; how much she inspires me. All of this is true. But while I have been making a conscious effort these past four years since the divorce to be supportive of her I have been missing out on having a mother. I have kept my problems from her unless they were simple fixes. I have made sure that she had flowers for Valentine's day and cards in her mailbox for no reason at all. I have tried as much as I could to keep my pain and my loneliness away from her and now I am paying for that. Sitting in the hospital last Friday 500 miles and 8 hours away from home I really needed my mom. I called her at work repeatedly and got her voice mail-- I left messages telling her that I was fine and not to worry. I called again when I got home and told her the same but asked her to call me. When I called again that night she was heading out the door but said she'd call when she got in. I stayed up until after 11 waiting for that call and when I finally called to leave a message saying I was going to sleep she picked up the phone- she was already in bed. When she finally called me on Sunday she couldn't understand why I was so upset and couldn't talk to her. Because I hadn't let her see much weakness for over four years she couldn't imagine that I was crying myself to sleep, scared and hurting and waiting to hear my mother's voice telling me that everything was going to be ok. She couldn't explain the rush of anger and resentment that came over me and hasn't really started subsiding until now. I felt like I had done so much for her and had denied myself so much for her; like I had made myself the one she could lean on when there was no one supporting me and the one time I had needed to lean she walked out and let me crash to the ground. It still hurts, but I coming to realize that I made it sound less than it was so that she wouldn't worry like I always do and now I can't really get that angry taht she didn't worry. It's the price you pay...