Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The end of a beginning

This time last year I was gearing up for expecting 2009 to be my best year yet. And now with it coming to a close, I am quite pleased with how it turned out.

MY 2009 IN REVIEW - in no particular order

I have come leaps and bounds in my position at work and can only hope to keep going. I wouldn't wish anyone to come into a retail management position at the start of the holidays. SUCKS. But I made it through last holiday by the skin of my teeth, and this holiday season was a cakewalk. Partly due to my awesome crew, but also because I understand my business. I am quite proud of myself, work-wise. And hope to keep it up.

I moved into my first place that is all mine. No roommates, no boyfriend, no mom, just me. And it's wonderful. My first night in my apartment, my mom went back to her house when I couldn't find anything for her to put away or unpack. And I panicked. I left the place and walked outside, just to take a look around. I discovered my neighborhood liquor store, bought a 12 pack of Premium, came back home, put on some Dave Matthews and then I felt at home. With all the pissing and moaning I do about my crazy neighbors, I really do love my place.

I reconnected with wonderful old friends and made some great new ones. Friendship is so crucial in a well-lived life. Some times it's hard to find the words to voice how much my memories and the connection I share with others means to me. It just does. When you can call up someone in tears because boys suck or you can share a laugh over a fall in a bar and your friends still love you, that is priceless.

My mom has been such a solid stable rock in this year of transition for me. I really can not thank her enough. She got me home in more ways than one, the gave me so many gifts literally and figuratively over the last year. I value her and her heart so much. Once again, words some times just can't express the amount of gratefulness inside.

I dated. I had forgotten how fun it was to go out on dates. If I can ignore the fact that the few boys that I felt I had a connection with dropped me like moldy cheese, I have had a grand time. Being taken out to dinner, laughing over beer, being told I'm cute and amazing has been great. Even though my friends have surly heard me toot my "boys are dumb" horn plenty of times over the last 12 months, the good out weighs the bad.

I think I've really found my writing nitch. I think my voice on paper is pretty close to my actual voice. I tend to write the way I talk. I have made it nearly all the way through this writing class (one assignment left,) which I started all on my own. I have sent out one piece and gotten a rejection letter. Someone read my stuff. I think I can call myself a writer. Among other things.

I think I've grown more into myself in the last 12 months than I have in the last 2-3 years. Breaking up, moving home, getting my own place, and taking total charge of me and my wants, needs and desires has been the best thing I could have ever done for myself. Thanks Me. I highly recommend this to anyone.

Stay tuned for my goals for 2010!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Thank you Lady, for THAT.

So I took my mother into the hospital today for a partial knee replacement. All is well. Everything went according to plan and she is resting at the hospital tonight. I have been up since 5, I closed my store, it's after 11pm, I'm tired and I'm still up. If tomorrow sucks I have only myself to blame. And for not doing much until 3 today, I'm exhausted. It amazes me how tired one gets when you do nothing.

In the case of loved ones being in a hospital, no news is good news. So this post is not about my mother's stay. She is hunky-dory. (What exactly does that phrase mean, anyway? Well, I googled it.)

This post is about an encounter I had with a woman in the waiting area. It was after 9, I had gone to McDonald's for some greasy breakfast after mom had gone into the OR. And I was back in the family waiting room. The woman across from me was on her phone. And not just one her phone, ON HER PHONE! And she was COMPLAINING ABOUT EVERYTHING WHILE ON HER PHONE! Sheesh, Lady, you're at a 12. Can you keep your negativity at a 2? Thanks.

So I moved. And happened to sit in the same cluster of chairs as two older women. From listening to their chatter, they were both old enough to be my mother, had kids and grandkids, but I never caught who they were in there waiting for.

I didn't say much. I just wanted to read my book. Like really wanted to read it. Really really. But I did have two mini conversations with the older of the two women. This is what was said.

Her: Are you here waiting for your husband?
Me: No, no husband. I'm waiting for my mother.

And after her and the the other woman were discussing their children and grandchildren I was asked this gem...

Her: Do you have children?
Me: No, no children.
Her: Oh. Are you waiting then?
Me: No, not waiting.
Her: Well then (and some sputtering as to how to phrase the question "why am I not a mother?")
Me: Well you need a man to have children and that I don't have.

And she proceeded to get awkward and uncomfortable and turn her back to me. Literally turned her back. Well at least then I could read my book.

I was there for about 4 more hours, and that woman never looked in my direction again. I did get up and move seats for the 3rd time that day and even asked the man I sat down next to "Are you going to make small talk with me? Because I just want to read my book." He replied, "No. No, I'll just read as well." Good. He was my perfect waiting room partner.

What just got my goat was this woman assuming I was married and then wondering why I had no children. I'm sure she didn't mean to be offensive and I didn't mean to make her uncomfortable. But COME ON! So many people just don't get married, have kids, and settle down right away these days. I almost wanted to tell her that I had that married/child dream and someone broke it a while back. So forgive me for being a little sensitive to the topic.

I am so much more than who I am dating or not dating and why I do or don't have kids. And it's so damn irritating when those are the first questions some one asks you. Even family members you don't see often. "So, are you seeing anyone?" Same answer as last time, "No. Going on dates but nothing is sticking." Ask me about my interests, my job, the book I'm reading, where I got my shoes, what I thought about the dumb Vikings game last night. Anything other than why I am not with husband/child.

It irked me all day. And I'm hoping this post will have gotten that irk out of my system.

I pick up my mom tomorrow. She and I will spend the evening in front of the TV. Which sounds wonderful.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Crazy neighbor venting

It's 9:23pm according to the clock in the upper right hand corner of my computer. I just did some yoga, am having some peach tea and listening to Mozart. All is quiet in my house. For now.

The girl above me, (I believe I mentioned her in a post about this time last year), is the epitome of inconsiderate apartment living. But that old post was more about Nutty across the hall.

Lately, The Stripper in comparison to Nutty, is so much worse! Girl walks around in high heels at 3:30 in the morning. Who does that?! I know that this summer she had problems with her achilles (by the way, my dictionary does not have the word "achilles" in it. What the f?) heel, she was taken to the hospital for it, among other reasons. Perhaps your heels and ankles wouldn't hurt so bad if you didn't walk around in 6 inch heels all the time. You freak!

What The Stripper does that bugs
1. Walks around in heels at all hours. And not just walks around. We both live in a studio, there isn't much space to walk around in. Where is she going? I just hear her from the front door, to the bathroom, the kitchen, to the corner above my bed, to the front door again. All. Day. Long. And into the night.
2. When she is mad, watch out. I can't understand what she is saying, but I can hear the volume and tone at which she is speaking. She's like ultra-sonic when she's mad. One night I heard her yelling at someone for over an hour. She would walk to the kitchen (not in heels this time. She is surprisingly heavy footed for being less than 90 lbs.), she'd yell something, then she'd walk away. A minute or so later she'd walk back, as if to say "OH AND ANOTHER THING!" (An hour or so later, I did hear someone leave her place, walk down the stairs and out the building. I'm totally Rear Window and I peeked out to see who it was. It was a boy, walking with a determination to get away. Interesting.) I can also hear her talking to her cats. In a high-pitched-sick-I'm-going-to-puke-on-my-own-shoes-if-you-speak-to-me-in-that-voice voice.
3. She plays music so loud that I can hear every note, word, key change, harmony. A few Sundays ago I was woken by the Bee Gees at 6am. "STAYING ALIVE! STAYING ALIVE! AH AH AH AH STAYING ALIIIIIIIII-HIIIIIIIII-IVE!" It was like it was in my house. She plays music so loud and so often that I don't even bother being polite anymore. I just walk up there, bang on her door and go back down to bed. Mind you, I just said go back to bed. She's waking me up. Every time. With loud music. If this were 2 in the afternoon, I wouldn't mind so much. In fact last week she was playing some old school Michael Jackson, and I quietly sang along.
4. Her latest thing has been what sounds like exercise. It's a constant squeak/thump that is right above my bed. At first I thought it was something else that neighbors can sometimes hear. (Sex. In case you didn't get my lame attempt at being sly. And I have heard that from above too. And not the action. Her.) But this new squeak/thump sounds like one of those 3 feet in diameter trampolines from the Jane Fonda workout videos days. Just a constant squeak/thump squeak/thump squeak/thump. It's too steady and too long for it to be sex. But really?! At 1 in the morning?! Your body, I'm sure, would like you to be sleeping, Crazy!
5. I don't think she has any respect or regard for the people living around her. Her neighbor can hear her heels click clacking away. Her music can be heard outside her apartment, in the stairwell on every floor, and my place of course. Most people think come 10pm, I'll tone down my life. But she has no job and from what I've gathered from chatting with her out on the stoop this summer, very little friends.

And in my defense, last winter I did go up and tell her that I only ask her to turn it down when it wakes me up, or is so loud that I can't think. I even offered for her to turn it back on at the volume it was at and come down to my place and see how loud it was. "Oh no. I'll turn it down." was all she said. I feel like I did my part in voicing my concern. And last night I finally voiced my concern to the building management.

All I want her to do is to be quiet. We love in an old building, I don't mind hearing people just living their lives. But can you take off your shoes? Your feet and my ears would be very grateful. Can you get some headphones or an Ipod if you want the music THAT LOUD? I listen to music, but I go out my door, close it, and it's silent. I just want to us to live our lives and not be bothered by the other. I told the same things to Nutty this summer when she yelled at me for disturbing her sleep after coming in from outside at 6:30 in the morning. She's nuts. But The Stripper is just inconsiderate. And perhaps a bit crazy too.

Oh and another thing. The top of my broom handle is all bent and disformed from me banging it into my ceiling in an attempt to shut her up. Sometimes I just don't want to leave my apartment, so my broom banging is my next best option. I think this is funny.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Passion, dreams, life lists

So last night I watched a movie called Every Little Step. It was a documentary about the making of the musical A Chorus Line. How the show came to be in the first place, and then the casting of the revival which went up some time in the last few years. If you love theatre especially musical theatre, it's a great documentary to watch.

The people auditioning for the cast of the revival had something that I don't know if I've ever had inside me. A passion for something so deep that they were willing to risk it all for this one dream. I was impressed with their determination. And the ones with the gumption and the talent made it into the show on Broadway.

I remember being little and being asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be a nurse like my mom and my grandma. But one day when I was about 10 or 12 I went to work briefly with my mom and it occurred to me what she actually did, and I quickly changed my mind. Then some time between 5th grade when I played the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz and high school when I got really bitten by the "theatre bug", I decided I wanted to be an actress. Then in college that dream then morphed into a lighting designer for a small theatre company.

And I haven't done any of that. I did tour with a theatre company but have grown tired of the bitter business that is theatre. It is like constantly being in junior high, with complaints and drama and gossip and not taking responsibility for what is yours. Plus it's hard to have a stable life while looking for a job every few months.

And if I could create a theatre company with the people I know who have the same desire to put on shows like I do, then I'd be set. (A few friends and I started talking about it a few years ago. If it ever happens, we will be Third Star Productions.)

I am in a job that I enjoy and am quite happy in my life. But that passion that was in these determined actors was something that I'm not sure exists in me. Do I want anything enough to risk all that I have to get it? Or are my dreams not as big as theirs?

I wrote out a Bucket List once. And just pulled it up on my computer. Nothing on that list involves giving up something to achieve that one dream. I wanted to work for a theatre company. Check. I wanted to live in another state. Check. I want to drive all of Route 66. I want to go to Italy. I want to publish a book. I want go to the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Louve. Go to Machu Pichu. See a game at Wrigle Field.

Perhaps I just have many little dreams, rather than just one big dream. I guess that is better because once you've achieved that one big dream, then what? I have a bunch of things to attain in my life.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Body Image

I follow a blog entitled Ex-hot Girl and she is witty, honest and puts out all the things that we as women go through. She usually has lots of links to other blogs, and I will occasionally click on one to see what that person has to say.

Now I mean this next statement in the most non-offensive way possible, but I am a bit stunned by the body issues that reside in our half of the species. And so many of their blogs are about facing their bodies and learning to love themselves. Which I think is great. One good way to come to terms with issues is to write about it.

But there is a new movement that has become very powerful and seems to be sweeping women's blogs. It seems to have taken on a title called "Exposed."

In fact, check out this blog it's a good link to many others.

It's amazing because these women are brave enough to put up pictures of themselves exposed. And amazing that there are people who don't love themselves for who they are. I don't get it. How can one have a happy daily life, if they don't appreciate the body that carries them through it all?

Not loving your body, having a need to destroy it with eating disorders, not being able to look at your naked self in a mirror, it's all so foreign to me. I guess I should consider myself lucky. I'm sure I had body image problems when I was younger when everything about me was changing, but I think that is part of being a teenager. When all your stuff is growing and hair is in new places. And suddenly you are very aware of the opposite sex and they are very aware of you. But I do remember going to my first formal in high school and I needed a dress with long sleeves, a high neck and covering my back. I was very self-conscious, with teenage acne and all and for some reasons I didn't like my armpits. But who the hell looks at peoples armpits, anyway?

But now as a grown woman I feel like people should be at an accepting stage in their life. After a certain age, you learn there are some things you can't change. You can control how strong you are, you can control what you put into your body, what you allow yourself to be capable of. But I think I left my body image issues in college, or somewhere after. Sure I have fat days, everyone does, men too actually (I have just discovered), bad hair days but I don't dwell on this stuff. I couldn't tell you the turning point in accepting ME, but I can tell you that today, right now, the body that carries me through my fabulous life is a great one. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

I would like to end this with the fact that I'm proud of the women who have put themselves up/out there like that. Continue to grow ladies, grow and accept. Once you love you, it's awesome.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The first snow of the season

It's snowing! I love the snow! (I will however surly be singing a different tune come March, but whatevs.)

Another reasons I am glad I don't drive. Winter is so much more enjoyable when you don't have to drive in the snow. There is no waiting for the car to warm up, no scraping the ice from the windshield, no hoping you don't slide into the car in front of you at the stop light. It's great.

Being a bus rider in the winter is a very good lesson in patience. And in dressing in layers. And funny enough, I think the two go hand in hand. You need patience in waiting for the bus, as well as the layers when it gets cold. Staying warm helps with the staying patient. So does a book for that matter. Buses always run late during the first snow. As does everyone. So the best thing to do is remember that yes, we all have to get some where. But you're not going to get there any faster, but being impatient.

On a sort-of different note, I walked to and from yoga tonight, it was lovely! the snow is that light sparkly stuff that just shimmers under the glow of the street lamps. And the world just seems more quiet, tucked in for the evening when it snows. When I walk around my neighborhood, I look in peoples windows. Not in a gross way, or a peeping Tom way, just a curious as to how other people live. And tonight I saw a Christmas tree decorated in only pink lights! I loved it! Made me gasp in awe and adoration! And then it made the walk home that much prettier!

I have tomorrow off, and I'm going to be cozy in my new sweater, old wool socks, a book and some warm beverage. With the shades open to watch the snow continue to fall.

Sounds wonderful, huh?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Human Connection

So originally this post was about how my phone hasn't rung in over a week except for work and my mom. And how my life is bla, Holidazzle has kicked my but tonight, and that in essence, I'm bored.

But then I went on a favorite site of mine postsecert serisouly, click here and check it out, my whole attitude changed.

I discovered another website thanks to postsecret, and again, seriously click here and check it out. Do it! There is so much more than just my life.

It isn't about just me, just you. We all have so much more in common than we ever could think. We all want to be loved, be happy, be successful in our own terms. We all have dreams and goals, ambitions and ideas.

The videos/questions on fiftypeopleonequestion, are good ones. I love it when you catch people vulnerable and open. Honest and bare.

The question that brought my to that site was one that asked "What's your secret?" And in the video people actually answered. Could you answer, just off the cuff, if a stranger asked you what you're secret was? I got all teary watching that video.

See? Again, we all have so much in common. We all have secrets that when asked, are scary to share. But sometimes, it just takes some gumption to say the words and suddenly relief will fill your body. And soul.

I love exploring human connection. Knowing we all can connect on many different levels. I think we could all use more reminders of that in our daily lives.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Just writing today

So NaNoWriMo is done. National Novel Writing Month ended on November 30th, and I didn't write a lick of fiction. Ahhh well. I wrote, just not fiction. But today my only goal was to go to a coffee shop for a bit and write. Write anything. So I did. Pulled out some books with writing ideas in them and got the creative juices flowing.

And then I went through my writings file on my computer and found a piece of fiction I started a while back. I read it, fixed some spelling errors and concluded that it isn't nearly as bad I thought.

I think I'll keep going on it. Yeah me. It all seemed to flow, and was going somewhere, had a good main character with some obstacles to overcome. I'm a bit excited.

I'm now home. Letting everything I wrote to roll around in my head for a minute, and I'll start up on it again. It's a bit refreshing to re-read something your wrote that you thought sucked, and realized it actually has potential.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

'Tis the season of giving...

...but only when it's convenient for you.

I guess perhaps I should start off with the good things from today. At work today my fellow cafe severs and I got 51 books purchased/donated to our holiday book drive! Every year Barnes and Noble picks a charity to donate books to. While I was in Las Cruces we did Big Brothers Big Sisters, last year at my store was The United Way. And this year we are giving books to People Serving People (a family shelter) and the pediatrics ward of HCMC.

I had given up a while back because people just seemed annoyed with what I said, or thought they had to bring in a book rather than just buy the one I was showing them, didn't comprehend the idea of the donation and thought I was offering them a book for their own child. One lady even said "I hate kids." But one of my managers brought it up today and reminded me not to get discouraged by a few "nos" So I tried again. And got almost all of my regulars to buy a book a donate it! It was great. And we had books that were $4 or less, so after spending $3-5 on a daily coffee, $4 for a book was nothing.

But I do have to document some of the ridiculous excuses I heard today. Keep in mind these books are going to kids who are spending Christmas in a shelter or the hospital and these people wouldn't purchase a $3.99 book to donate.

Customer "I don't have time."
Me "Don't have time? All you have to do is buy it like you are buying your drink right now."

Customer "It's a sad world we are living in, parents need to take better care of their children."
What I wanted to say "It's a sad world that you won't give a child in a shelter a book." I, however said nothing.

Customer "I'm unemployed."
What I wanted to say "Yet you have the money for a coffee cake and a large coffee. Interesting." Again, kept my mouth shut.

I took my tips from today and bought a book to donate. And I do have to say that more people were saying yes than were saying no which was great. But I found it interesting that customers would say "I can't" when I can see them digging through their numerous 20's in their wallet for a few 1's. A regular of mine who I am not sure if he has a job or not, bought a $4 book and donated it. And then after him 3 Suits came in and ordered coffee, wouldn't give me and yes or a no to purchasing a book and donating it, just rolled their eyes (yep, seriously) and said "What's the damage?" The damage Sir, is you. You are the damage for not helping out the kids that may be taking care of your stingy ass one day. But again I said nothing.

I just don't get it. I don't have money coming out my ears. I have to make a budget every week for where my money goes. Yet every time I walk by a Salvation Army bucket I drop in change, I donated a book today rather than buying myself a treat after work. Is it just me or is it the fact that the more money you have the less likely you are to be willing to give it away? Maybe it's because the people with less money can relate to the ones receiving the donation.

But in general I think it's good karma to help out one another. Every little bit helps, and if we all do a little bit, think how much we can change.

Good grief, listen to me. Bleeding heart liberal to the core. But it's true. And I can't help myself. My mama raised me right. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.