Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What Gives?

The plates are spinning fast right now. I’ve been trying to keep them all balanced on their spires, but it seems like every day a new one topples to the ground.

When I was in college, I worked 2 jobs and did an internship my last semester of school. I don’t know how I did this. Between homework and commuting and maintaining a social life, it’s a wonder I found any time to sleep. But somehow back then, I was able to manage it all with a degree of ease I seem to have lost with age.

Now there are too many little saucers that jump in and take precedence over the dinner plates. Like Facebook and fall TV premiers. Even with Tivo, I keep letting those damn shows eat up my time—and I let things like exercise fall to the floor. Last night, instead of working out, I watched The Biggest Loser…ah the irony.

Work has been crazy, and I think that might have some sort of strange psychological effect that makes me rebelliously lazy when I actually get home. I know I should be checking in with friends, working on writing projects, completing travel scrapbooks, sweating off my summer muffin top and reading the magazines and books that have taken over my nightstand—but it seems like by the time I eat dinner, chat with Mr. W, watch some TV and do the dishes it’s bedtime.

This is also why my blogging has been sporadic. Every night, I mean to lay down some words. And every night, I get distracted by other things. My To Do List keeps getting recycled from one week to the next with names of friends I need to contact, short stories that need to be finished and overdue chores. I can’t seem to find the time to finish those, or write blog posts, or watch the Netflix copy of Cabaret that’s been in my cabinet for a month.

I probably need to reprioritize. Focus on the big stuff instead of the little. It worries me that if I don’t do it now, I’ll be a wreck if I ever have to run a household full of other people someday.

How do you all do it?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Grade A Choices

Working in advertising, one learns pretty quickly that most people are afraid to make decisions. Taking risks and trying new things is great and can really move a brand forward, but if your target audience doesn’t like it, you could end up screwed. Both routes of choice seem scary. So options get weighed. Every little detail gets scrutinized. And usually the end result doesn’t really feel like a “decision” but a mish-mash of security blankets stitched together to allay everyone’s fears.

I understand the fear of making decisions. Before I bought my car, I talked about it for around a year. I researched at least a dozen different makes and models—analyzing cost of ownership and comfort and finances. And finally one day, sort of out of the blue, I decided to go look on a local lot. I bought the car on the spot, totally not intending to do so.

When it comes to most things, I’m snap decision maker. And even though I deliberated forever on the car, when it came down to it, I made a pretty snap decision. I would rather move ahead! cross it off the list! just do it! and deal with the consequences later, whatever they may be.

I wonder what the world would be like if we all did this more often. If everyone decided to decide. No more limbo or mish-mashes. Just hardcore decisions. This is just speculation, but I think we might all live much richer, more interesting lives.

Friday, September 18, 2009

He’s Just That Into You

I watched He’s Just Not That into You last night and found myself thinking again how helpful it would have been to read that book when I was oh, about 12. So many glaring warning signs might have been acknowledged if I’d been able to apply HJNTIY to my assessment of various dating situations.

The funny thing about the movie vs. the book, though, is that it shows resolutions after turmoil. Guys who seem not to be into girls end up coming around. So it sort of contradicts or raises questions about the book…

It also got me to thinking about the ways you know he IS into you. Sometimes he doesn’t do the normal things he’s supposed to—but the things he does do make you feel in your heart of hearts that he’s all in.

He may say he’s not ready to be exclusive yet…but he’ll spend every weekend with only you. He may wait to call you his girlfriend for what feels like forever…but you’ll be the first person he tells when something exciting happens and the first person he invites when an event comes up. He may not say I love you right away…but he’ll show it in the way he kisses your cheeks and hands at random. He may not know what sort of future he wants with you…but he’ll take the initiative, on his own, to find a professional to help him figure it out.

His actions may not fit in the stereotypical what-he’s-supposed-to-do box. But he’ll show you in his own unique ways that he is in love. He’ll show you that he’s just that into you.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

In Appreciation of All That Is Good

As an opinionated and often snappy person, I don’t always stick to the age-old parental commandment, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Sometimes I just can’t help but let something snarly slip.

However, the older I get, the easier it is to bite my tongue. Who am I to judge? Why should I be spewing negativity into the universe? Don’t I have better things to do with my time?

Given this mindset, I find it amazing whenever I read comments that personally attack blog writers. Dooce has actually created an entire website filled with the nasty comments and hate mail she receives. When I saw her link to it, I couldn’t help but take a look—and I immediately found myself wondering, Who are these people? And why do they feel the need to be so mean? Honestly, I don’t get it. I don’t get how they think they are doing any good by expressing their vicious viewpoints.

I’ve been pretty fortunate with this little blog here. I have received comments that upset me before, but only one was downright mean. For the most part, I am graced with good advice and heartfelt understanding. And in some ways, this amazes me just as much as the awful-comment phenomenon does.

I mean, there are several of you who I’ve never met (or rarely see) and yet you take time out of your days to have dialogues with me about my life. Not just comment conversations either—but long, thoughtful email exchanges and detailed IM volleys. Seriously, how cool is that?

This week, in particular, I’ve had several great chats with some different folks and I just feel so lucky to have insight and caring coming from so many places. It makes me want to put more of it back into the world.

So thank you, readers. There may not be hundreds of you, but I’d take quality over quantity any day. Thank you for your time and your thoughtfulness. Thank you for making this blog a more positive place.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

When Life Gives You Dingleberries, Make…Travel DVDs

The past two days have started off pretty crappy. Literally. If you don’t want to read about poo, now would be the time to visit a different blog.

Yesterday morning, I rushed home from Mr. Wonderful’s house only to discover that I’d left my makeup bag in his bathroom. Thankfully, when I dumped my overnight bag onto the living room floor, my deodorant and hairbrush fell out. But I was forced to scavenge through my cupboards to find old makeup substitutes, and I had to blend my eyeshadow with a paintbrush.

Still rattled from running late and having to be innovative too early in the morning, I was more horrified than normal to discover something brown on the handle of my hairbrush… I wiped it off with a tissue and, being my mother’s daughter, took a whiff in attempt to identify the substance. Then I screamed and threw the brush into the sink, washed and sanitized it and scrubbed my hands like I was going in to surgery. How in the hell did poo get on my hairbrush handle? Seriously!!!!

I checked the only culprits in the house (Cat One and Cat Two) and could find no evidence on either of them. I looked through my overnight bag and found nothing in there…or on the shoes that were in the bag…or on the carpet next to the bag. It’s like a ghost appeared in my apartment, wiped his butt on my brush and flew away.

Needless to say, it wasn’t the best way to start the day.

So this morning, when I walked down the hallway to brush my teeth before work and saw a skidmark(!) on the carpet I almost ran from the apartment never to return. What the hell is going on with my life and poo???

I am now convinced that there is some sort of bad karmic payback or that my crappy attitude is finally starting to attract actual fecal matter into my life. What you put out comes back, right? This is not good.

And no, I didn’t somehow turn the dingleberries into DVDs like one would turn lemons into lemonade. It just seems that working on my trip DVD is the brightest (and poop-free-est) part of my day lately. If you have a Mac computer, I highly recommend iMovie and iDVD. Great ways to showcase your favorite photos…and forget about all the sh*t going on around you.

Monday, September 14, 2009


I found out last Thursday that a friend’s husband had taken his own life the day before. I’ve never known someone who committed suicide, and never would have expected this person to be the first. I don’t have words for how broken my heart is for this family. I cannot imagine the pain that led him to do what he did, nor the pain she is feeling now.

Hearing about this rocked my perspective. Suddenly this massive awareness about how short life can be and how much every moment needs to be cherished settled upon me. I wanted to reach out my arms and gather every person I know to tell them that they are special and necessary and important. Tell them that nothing could matter more than having them in this world. And that they would always be okay and taken care of even if they lost everything they owned. I wish there was a way to ensure that everyone believed this.

This perspective got me thinking about my impatience with Mr. Wonderful and how ridiculous I was being, letting myself get down about our seeming relationship standstill. When every day here is so precious, I should be doing nothing other than enjoying him and celebrating what we have.

But Saturday night I found myself caught in another emotional discussion about why we haven’t moved forward. Kids, kids, kids. He’s waiting for the epiphany that will tell him he really does want kids. I’m not sure that epiphany will—or even can—come until he is holding his own child in his arms. To him, that’s too big of a risk. He said he wakes up every day with this on his mind. Every day, he wonders what to do.

And I wonder if there needs to be any wondering at all. It’s making me crazy that I can’t just keep Thursday’s perspective in my head all the time and know that what matters most is the joy we experience when we’re together. What matters most is that I have him in my life. I get so worked up about “having a life with him” when, in reality, it’s already here. And because no one knows what the future holds for any of us, I should really embrace that life.

It’s like there’s a knowing parent and a spoiled child fighting inside my head. And every time someone makes a remark about how I need to get married and have kids, that spoiled child grows louder.

I want to pay attention to the knowing voice. I want to make the most of every moment and believe that things will work out the way they are supposed to; when they are supposed to. I want to remember that things could change drastically in an instant.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

In the Presence of Sizzle

Meeting up with a fellow blogger can feel a little like embarking on an Internet date or meeting someone famous. In some respect, we're all each other's fans—so the thought of actually seeing one another face-to-face is sort of a thrill.

Tonight, as I drove to a sushi restaurant not far from work, I had a bit of a butterfly-filled stomach. I was going to meet THE Miss Sizzle. I've been reading her blog for quite some time and I see her all over the blogosphere. She seems to know everyone, and everyone seems to know her, and in my book that makes you a celebrity. I was prepared to ask for her autograph when I sat down.

The difference between great bloggers like Sizz and celebrities, however, is that there's no way they are as cool as she was. The word that comes to mind is "captivating." She has this great energy that makes you feel like you've known her forever but that you also want to know more. She is a fabulous storyteller—the kind who doesn't leave out a single (juicy) detail. And her fashion sense...get out. I felt like Holly Hobby next to her in her sassy purple dress.

But one of the best things about her was that her friends were equally cool. You can tell a lot about people by who their friends are. I love when I meet someone's friend for the first time and they are warm and welcoming and funny. It just reaffirms everything good I know about the original person. I remember thinking that about Mr. W when I met his friends. They're all good people. Good people attract good people. It's a delightful phenomenon, really.

Sizzle's clan was a blast, and I particularly enjoyed chatting with another fellow blogger who writes this blog. Great guy.

Hopefully this night is just one of many spent with new friends from the vast reaches of Internet space.


There are some days when I walk out to my car and, upon hitting the daylight, notice such an abundance of cat hair all over my clothes that it's a wonder PETA doesn't throw buckets of red paint on me for wearing fur.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Getting Back on Track

Last week I was really feeling like my happiness train had careened right over the railroad ties and was off-roading through the weeds. But I’m glad to say, I think wheels have re-met with track and the ride is feeling smoother.

Friday night, the joy and optimism started to creep back in. I met one of my favorite friends in Hollywood and immediately felt a sense of “home” as we walked up Sunset to grab some pre-film food at Baja Fresh. Then we saw David Schwimmer on the street and I couldn’t help but feel a little giddy and starstruck. I saw Matthew Perry a few months back, so now I’m determined to run into the other 4 various Friends at some point in my life. Mr. W has seen Jennifer before, so maybe I’ll count that and up my tally to 3 out of 6.

Anywhoo…my girlfriend and I went to see Julie and Julia, and I just cannot recommend this movie enough. For anyone who has felt lost or frustrated with life, (hi, ALL OF US) you’ll absolutely relate to it and might even feel a reignited desire to do something about it. If you’re a blogger, it’ll warm your heart even more.

Saturday, Mr. W and I attended a friend’s wedding and I was reminded of all the reasons I love him so. We laughed and danced (only to slow songs—I’m still working on luring out his inner Tony Manero) and being dressed up made us feel special and romantic. He even whispered to me late in the night that I was the prettiest girl at the wedding. It doesn’t get much more adorable than that.

Sunday I had breakfast in Long Beach with two of my dearest friends, and we covered all sorts of important topics like who had tried KY Yours & Mine and whether or not people pee after sex every time. (Mom, I didn’t contribute to the conversation, just listened.)

After that, Mr. W and I took my parents to a wine tasting class. They were the oldest people there and probably the most entertaining. My dad kept fretting that there would be a test at the end of the class, and when we had to go around the room introducing ourselves, my mom said her “sign” was “Grandma.” Despite some initial discomfort in the unfamiliar setting, they ended up having a great time.

Monday started off just right with a hike in the Hollywood hills and a trip to the farmer’s market. I love days like that. We bought some chicken, picked some corn and tomatoes that Mr. W’s roommate grew in the backyard this summer and plan to have a gorgeous summer barbecue tonight. We also made chocolate-espresso semifredo for dessert and when Mr. W gave me a taste of it a little while ago I almost had to smoke a cigarette out the window after swallowing. It was THAT good.

I’m hoping the train stays on this track for awhile because I’m quite enjoying the current scenery.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


When I was in Richmond, I watched The Hills every day. Despite the vapid personalities and scripted fashionista drama, I found it comforting to join the cast as they cavorted around the streets of Hollywood. It was sunny in their world when it was raining in mine.

I tend to turn to TV shows for comfort like that. When I was single, it was Sex and the City. When Mr. Wonderful was away, it was Entourage (and Adrian’s hair).

The thing I realized since being back, though, is that the low-grade depression I channeled into boob tube watching while he was gone, and again when I was abroad, is still here. It hasn’t reached real fever pitch, but it’s enough to keep me not feeling well. We’re going on 9 months, here. This isn’t good.

When I look inside and yank dusty sheets off the mirrors and furniture, I can see the problem pretty clearly. It was here last year, too, but somehow I covered everything up and was able to forget about it.

However, when you brew daydreams and expectations together for half a year, I guess the steam makes shrouds fall away. Realizing the meal you’ve been craving needs to simmer for a year or 5 more before you can eat makes you cranky and hungry and sad.

And then there are the well-meaning question askers. The ones who want what you want but seem to just make it all harder to handle. My brother asked me if I was engaged when I came home from Paris in April. My brother-in-law asked when he saw me last week. Friends hint in their emails. It’s like everyone is waiting, cheering silently from the sidelines but I can’t seem to win the game for them. Or myself.

Be in the moment. Enjoy the process. Thank your lucky stars that you at least found him. I know. I KNOW. I want to recapture that mindset and just chill out. But I’m 33 and our 2-year anniversary is in November and I really thought going to live with him in the UK would unleash some sort of new understanding about what was important and where we should be heading together.

Instead, I listen tight-lipped as he talks about the changes he wants to make to his house—the one he shares with his roommate. Trying to hold in the sideways comments and sarcastic quips that don’t reflect the person I want to be.

And how can I even demand forward movement when he just got home from months in another country? He still has boxes to unpack and I’m over here wanting a teeny tiny Tiffany’s box. Pretty effed up, huh?

I was talking to a friend about it recently and I asked her how she handled waiting as long as she did for her boyfriend to propose. “I went to grad school,” she said. Maybe it’s time for me to go get that English Lit degree I thought about in my early twenties…

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What I Learned on My Summer Vacation

I don’t know if I ever had to write a summer vacation essay as a kid. If I did, I would have written about swimming and playing on the shores of Lake Powell with my family and all of our friends. Carefree. Secure. A tradition for 12 years of my life. Sometimes I miss vacations like that. The trips that take you around the world, in a tumble of train schedules and early morning flights and religious art and surreal architecture can be exhausting. But here are a few things I learned from that kind of vacationing:

People are generally good. Mr. Wonderful and I had several instances where we got lost or momentarily displaced, and more than once complete strangers approached us and tried to help. Even if they couldn’t speak our language, they attempted to communicate with us and help us figure out which Metro ticket to buy or which direction to go to get to our destination.

Someone should always investigate how you’ll be traveling from the airport/train station/metro stop to the hotel. Otherwise, you waste lots of time trying to figure out where you are and where you need to be. (See above).

Parks are wonderful places to read and people watch. I never go to the park at home. I always think I’m going to take a book and go sit in a botanical garden or along a hiking trail, and then something comes up. But when I was away, I did this several times and it was lovely and relaxing. I enjoyed hearing the breeze rustle my pages. I smiled as I watched toddlers run around the grass and giggle at their mommies. I paid attention to flowers and squirrels. I need to do this on a more regular basis.

Spiders like riverbanks. We walked down to a bench on the Thames one night to have a glass of wine and watch the sunset, and both of us shuddered as we looked up at the streetlamp and saw it absolutely filled with big, burly spiders. Mr. W thinks they hang out close to the river (and in houses on the river) because there are more bugs there to eat. I do not miss this about Richmond…

Wheat beer just tastes good. I have a acquired a new love of Hoegaarden and hefeweizen. They’re light and gingery and delicious.

Carrying a backpack in 95° heat is not for me. I knew I had “temperature issues”—meaning I get cold very fast and hot very fast. My internal thermometer is extremely sensitive. And it’s connected to my temperament gauge. Hot and sweaty = grouchy. Especially when carrying luggage and walking to or from a train station. I actually had a moment where I thought, “Is this what it’s going to feel like to be pregnant? Like there’s this awful thing attached to me that’s making me hot and tired and cranky and I CAN’T GET IT OFF?” If so, I may hire a surrogate some day...

When it comes to the weather and your hair, there’s no use in fighting. This is a hard lesson, especially if you have mega spastic twangy hair that is usually somewhat behaved in your home climate. You want it to be like it is at home…but you should really just accept that it’s not going to behave and try to pull off a wavy do or just wear it in braids.

It’s always smart to have a variety of medication on hand. You never know when someone is suddenly going to feel like their head or intestinal tract is going to explode. It’s good to be prepared for every scenario.

The one time you leave your camera at home, you’ll wish you hadn’t. There will always be something you wish you could’ve taken a picture of, and if you’re trying to cram in a lot of sights, you may never make it back to the one you missed.

If it’s going to result in a new life experience, spend the money. Shelling out cash can be a crapshoot. Sometimes it’s worth it (like the one-on-one wine tasting and regional information class we took in Beaune) sometimes it’s not (like the guided tour we took through the hills of vineyards). But you’ll always come away having seen something new.

TripAdvisor can be extremely handy. If you’re researching hotels or looking for a good restaurant, it’s a great resource.

Try to savor every moment because when you get home, it could all feel like a dream. A dream that took months to plan and minutes to pass. A dream that was different than you expected, but one you’d be happy to relive. A dream that leaves you wishing you were still sleeping.