Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Very Merry

What to say about xmas?  Aside from the fact that it was a bundle of amazing wrapped in a bow made of awesome, it was more than I could have hoped it would ever be.  My mom really went overboard this year on the presents (no, I am not complaining).  Dan was shocked at the gross amount of presents under (or way around) our tree.  To be fair, there were presents for 7 people under the tree...

Anyhoo, I got everything that I asked for and a few surprises, so I'm assuming Santa agreed that I was a very good girl this year.  Some of my favorite presents included my cashmere Marc Jacobs scarf, MJ mouse necklace and MJ (diaper) work bag that holds EVERYTHING and then some (so nice to not have to carry 4 separate bags to work, now).  I got a nice Steve Madden black leather jacket, and a new Obey blanket jacket/wrap (most comfy thing on earth - like an acceptable robe to wear in public).  Lots of make up and brushes from Sephora ended up in my stocking somehow and my sister showered me with fun little Alexander McQueen themed items (2012 calendar, armadillo shoe ornament, paper doll book).  Dan got me gorgeous little skull earrings with real diamonds for eyes plus Willy Wonka on DVD (can't believe I didn't already own that) and Lemmy's autobiography which I didn't even know existed.  I'm quite pleased with everything.

It was fun sharing a family tradition with someone new.  It's interesting to see how others do things different than your own family and what you've always know to be "normal."

We snuck out to Casey's for drinks with old friends both Saturday and Sunday night and got to visit with extended family on xmas day.  My grandmother had a blast.  It's been a while since I've seen her laugh so hard which made my day.  Aside from it being too short of a visit, I couldn't have asked for more.

The drive home was miserable.  Driving a manual is a blast EXCEPT when you're in traffic and I happened to be in traffic for about 2.5-3 hrs of the 8.5/9 hr commute home on Monday.  It was not fun.  I was exhausted by the end of it, but we headed to Dan's parents to exchange gifts with them.  That was a blast, and I quickly perked up.  Dan's dad shared this amazing Brooklyn Sorachi Ace and we toasted to a happy xmas.  I got the most beautiful hand carved turquoise bracelet from Brian and Rosalie.  It really was a wonderful xmas.

Hope everyone else had as lovely a time as my family and I did.  Feeling very lucky this year.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A True Xmas Miracle!

Well, I must've been good this year.  I only really wanted one thing for xmas, and I got it.  Dan is coming home with me for the holidays!  I can't explain how exciting this is for me and how much it really means to me...

It's a big deal because xmas for my family has always been the same since we were kids (mostly) - we get up early xmas morning, wake my mom up, she gets ready and turns on the video camera (to all of our dismay) and then we enter the "wooden-floor-room" (it's the rarely-used living room.  Most people have that nice/uncomfortable room that rarely gets used, no?) where the xmas tree and all of our glorious presents (from each other and Santa) live.  My sisters and I open our presents at the same time, while shouting out "thank you"s and "Oh my god!"s.  After we are done we run into the family room to get our stockings and run back to the tree and dump them out.  After we finish that, my mom and dad take their turns opening gifts.  You may think that this sounds like the routine from when we were children, but this is exactly what happened last year.

The only thing that has changed in our routine EVER in all my 27 years of xmas was when my sister's husband joined the family.  I remember feeling really angry about it, at first.  It's so silly, because I was an adult when this happened, but it still was this weird feeling about how our family xmas was going to be different.  Honestly, it wasn't very different at ALL, since we all act completely like ourselves around Rod.  It was just the anxiety of the change, I suppose.

He is the only person who has ever joined the Shaw family for xmas morning.  That's a pretty big deal, if you ask me.  I have had past boyfriends come over for dessert on xmas evening, but none of the full-on Xmas morning shebang OR the visiting extended family on xmas.  That's a really really big deal to me.

I can't imagine my life without Dan in it, so imagining the holidays without him there is really strange, even though because of work, he hasn't been able to spend any of the main holidays with my family, so far.  Thinking about xmas without him (he was originally scheduled to be on call xmas day) put me into a pretty shitty slump.  It was a mix of my being sad that I'd be spending another important family gathering without my best friend who is always at my side otherwise, and feeling like it was unfair.  Self pity, if I'm being honest.  I felt like I had done so much and sacrificed so much to be up here to share my life with Dan and his family that I didn't think it was fair that on the rare occasions that I'm able to to spend time with my family, he can't be there to share it with me.  It was really putting a damper on everything.  I just kept letting that shitty down feeling seep into everything else around me.

As you can see from my last post, I was feeling like most everything was going wrong and you start really questioning why you have made the choices you've made.  Why nothing you want to happen is happening and, "why me?" lives in the front of your brain.  It's easy to start questioning things that are completely out of your control, but like a flip of a switch, as soon as Dan informed me he found a coworker (I love you, Christina!) to take his shift at work so he could come home with me, my outlook on everything changed.  I've turned into this "glass half-full" person in an instant.

It's what makes me sure that I made the right decision in being here to be with Dan.  He makes me a happier person- a better person.  My positivity goes beyond being happy about him coming home with me, but extends to others.  I'm joyful and grateful and want to share it.  I find myself (who a week ago was deeply involved in shit-talking sessions) lending a different/positive perspective for people feeling discouraged.  Maybe it's also the yoga, but it's definitely a different feeling and it feels so good.

One big shining example of how my mood/outlook has shifted since news of our holiday plans changed is that when we settled in on Saturday night to do our xmas cards, it was quickly apparent that our list is a lot shorter this year.  Same with my shopping list.  I have a lot fewer people to send holiday greetings to this year, which if you keep in touch with me at all, you know I've been struggling with since I moved.  I explained to my friend at work today, "I see it not so much as a shorter list, but as a stronger list.  A more solid, less bullshit list."  And that's TOTALLY okay with me right now.  I have Dan, and that's obviously more important than the people who fell off the list over the past year.

I wish I could explain the elation I feel about the upcoming holiday and how good knowing why I'm so excited for it makes me feel.  It's a comfortable feeling that I have possibly never felt, or at the very least, not since June...  My anxiety and depression stem from the unknown and second-guessing and wondering.  Right now, I don't feel like I have to wonder.  I don't need to question anything.  It's a nice cozy feeling and that feeling is where happiness- for me- blooms.

May all of your holidays be as warm as my heart feels right now.  If you're having any winter blues, I suggest a little chat with me.  Not only do I understand those blues 100% and sympathize with them, but I also have a lot of positivity to share right now.  It's a rarity, I'm well aware, and don't want to waste it!   Maybe Sophie's half-full glass really is working an xmas miracle.  <3


Monday, November 28, 2011

I Wouldn't Care About All the Kicking if I Were in a Coma...

It's hard to walk into someone else's family gathering when you've just left your family behind you, 6 hours away.  No matter how high the flames or how strong the wine, there was a little voice in the back of my head saying, "you don't belong here."  I know that the people there would never want me feeling that way, and it wasn't anything they were doing in particular to make me feel that way.  It was that the holidays are upon us and I wasn't with my family.  I was with a family I see frequently...  far more frequently than my own.

It broke my heart.  Walking up to the bonfire, tears welled up in my eyes.  I stood there stiff, staring into the fire.  I faked a smile and stayed for longer than I wanted.  I wanted to shake all of them and say, "don't you realize I'm supposed to be with my family right now?!"  Instead, I answered their "what's wrong"s with "I'm very tired."  It wasn't all a lie, at least.

Being home for the short few days I was made me realize just how wrong of a fit I am in Connecticut.  The people, the weather, the drivers...  everything.  It just doesn't match.  I'm like a square peg in a round hole (or the other way 'round).  I have a feeling I'm going to be very unhappy for another two years because I'm not seeing much of an out.

I left the show I was counting down the days for early because of seeing some bullshit on facebook that made me cry.  I feel like I'm repeatedly being kicked while I'm down.  It's hard after more than a month of beatings to come back with some sort of rally cry and not just fold and start feeling sorry for yourself.  I honestly just feel like this is a really shit time for me and I'm going to have to suffer through it the best I can.

Somedays, I feel it so deeply in my heart that things would be easier if I just didn't wake up (not talking about suicide, folks).  Not easier just for me (mostly for me), but for everyone.  Everyone is so happy doing what they're doing.  It seems like I'm the odd man out not feeling it these days.  I'm tired of being the wet blanket, and it's obvious my friends are, too.  I'm ready to just fade out. If I could have anything at all in the whole world right now, it would be a 3 month break from my life.  I just want to go somewhere far away for 3 months, not have to worry about my bills or losing my job when I came back, and just resume 3 months from now.  Hibernation of sorts.  A mental health vacation...

It may become a forced vacation in the near future if things don't somehow turn around...  Not sure how much longer I can do this.  I'd consider picking up heroin so those around me would set up a sweet rehab intervention, but alas- there aren't enough people around me to notice some sort of dangerous drug habit. Oh, well.  There's always the slim chance of getting hit by a bus and slipping into a sweet 3-6 month coma...   *dreamy sighs*


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Get Busy Living Or...

In all my (more recent) years of therapy, something I really got out of it was my therapist telling me to set timelines and goals for myself.  I have trouble with giving people and situations the benefit of the doubt a lot-- to a fault.  I know what many of you (if there are any men reading this) are thinking.  No- I'm not talking about having babies and my clock-ticking.  I'm not talking about rules society set up for us and following that kind of a timeline.  I'm talking about setting boundaries for myself on things I have absolutely no control over.  Yes, I get anxious when I have no say in what is happening to me.  That might be a bad quality, but I can't really help it, I can only try to soothe it as much as possible.

One way of doing that is giving myself some control by setting limits to what I will allow to happen.  How much of my time I will allow someone to waste, how much of my energy or emotions I will allow someone to take, etc.  Those kinds of limits and timelines.  If I don't do this, I allow people to take and take and take until I wake up one day and go, "holy shit.  I just wasted so much time.  I could have been doing something that would make me happier."

I think most people find this to be true with jobs.  Most people I know settle into their jobs, relationships, area they live, etc.  And then they bitch.  I don't want to fall into that cycle.  I have made some bold moves in the last year and a half.  You don't know how something can turn out if you don't try, so I've been trying.  I've been really trying.  Pushing myself way out of every comfort zone I've ever come to know (and love).

I guess now comes the time that I have to start setting some timelines for myself.  I did set one when I moved.  I swore I would at least give Connecticut a year before I ran and that timeline came and went.  It was hard to stick to at times.  There were definitely days where I was ready to head out and maybe not run home (since very few of my friends from back home were there to help me keep my chin up at all - I guess Dan can thank some of them for me feeling too lonely to even go back to what used to be my "home" on those days), but run.  I have even the tiniest bit of knowledge of a place like San Diego and I know for a fact that I fit in better there, the people are nice and friendly and open and that there are actually jobs in my field there.  Some days I thought, "If I'm going to start over, why not do it in a place I know I can transition smoothly into?"

The answer is pretty obvious.  I moved for Dan.  I'm here for Dan.  Dan has to be here for the duration of his residency (which is two more years)...  So unless I'm ready to give up Dan (rest assured, I am not), then I'm not ready to flee.

Things I saw for myself happening aren't.  Things that were well on their way (at some point...  I think?) are not any longer.  Things are at a stand-still in all areas for me, currently.  And while it is incredibly cliche, there is a Steve Jobs quote that stands out in my head daily, now:

"For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something...almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose." - Steve Jobs

It's inspiring.  So inspiring that today I lived so honestly and boldly, I think I'll actually sleep comfortably tonight knowing that I lived today how I would have if I were dying soon-ish.  I was very deliberate with my actions and words today and it felt amazing.  I lived for me today, not someone else.  I really wish it wasn't under the circumstances it was- I wish I wasn't defending myself - but I stood up for myself and for what is right.  I felt like I had nothing to lose because in my situation, I'd rather have "lost" than continued the way things were.  I know I'm being incredibly vague, but it's just one of those topics I can't really be loud about here.

So today, I inspired myself.  It's rare.  It shouldn't be.  I'm going to start taking more of an active role in my own life.  There will always be things I have no control over, but if I'm not happy, I can't sit and watch anymore.  It's not in me and it's not something I want for myself.  I'm not a person who has ever lived with regret and I don't plan on starting now.  I'm too old for that shit.  Too old and too good for it.  Sorry.  I'm not saying me exclusively.  It's meant to be an inclusive statement.  If you're 15 and being treated like crap or living for someone else and not doing what makes you happy, you're too old for that shit.  It's no way to live...

I guess that's where I'm trying to get back to.  "Living."  I feel like that's stopped for me since June.  I need to live so I won't regret anything when death comes a knockin'.  I'm not saying that to be morbid.  I'm saying that to be honest.  It's something I think about and something everyone should.  I think the world would be a different place if more people even considered it.  Forget just being upset over petty bullshit, but people would be REALLY living.  Not putting off their dreams for one reason or another.  That gets dangerous- procrastination.

The next step, I have no idea.  I don't have control over much, but I'll figure out what I do have control over and I'll make it mine.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Halloween Memories

This was the first year that I actually got to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters.  It reminded me of being a kid and our Halloween traditions and rituals my parents lovingly built for us.  For a while, when all the neighborhood kids were youngin's and the neighbors actually all spoke to one another, we would take a hay ride from house to house where each neighbor would set up a fun halloween activity.  I remember being blindfolded and reaching in to feel the "eyeballs" (wet grapes), "brains" (cold spaghetti), and so on.  We would bob for apples at one stop and take in warm apple cider at the next.  The dads were involved by driving us all around in the wagons of hay secured to the backs of their tractors.  It seemed normal at the time, but looking back on it, it was probably pretty unique.

We lived in the middle of nowhere and on "our side of the fork", there was really only our one little street  (Sunnyside Drive.  No, seriously.) that was lined with houses.  Because there were only a handful of houses to get candy from, the parents made it extra special for us.  Some houses would go as far as playing halloween sound effect tapes when we approached to really set the mood.  Imagine that.

I vividly remember being so proud each year of our costumes.  My mom would hand-make all of them.  We would go to Jo-Ann Fabrics, pick out our costumes from massive catalogues of designs and buy the pack of patterns, the fabric, any extra glitter or hardware we needed, and then my mom would somehow find time to break out her sewing machine (while working full-time) and make us the most impressive costumes.  There are a couple of pictures of all us neighborhood kids in a group and amongst the store-bought plastic masks and cheapy transparent costumes overtop their regular jeans and sweaters, we three stood out.  The other parents must've secretly hated mine.  I would have if I were them.

I remember the first time I bought a costume for myself (as an adult), I felt like I was cheating.  I felt like I had copped out...  I always try to really go extreme on the make-up effects if I buy a costume, so I don't feel like I'm totally disappointing my mom's sweet traditions.

Anyway, after the kids in our neighborhood got a little older, we didn't have the biggest group any longer.  My mom would drive us over to the "other side of the fork" where there was a much bigger neighborhood.  Bryantown Hills.  It was tits.  It really was the perfect neighborhood for trick-or-treating. The houses were close to each other for the most part (not as close as in a city, of course, but you didn't need to be driven around in a tractor wagon) and there were tons of houses all handing out candy.  We would take pillowcases and come back with TONS of candy.  It was good candy, too.  Chocolate.  Not Dots, Necco Wafers and  dum dums (I call that "shit candy") which I saw this year they sell in a bag all together that is both the cheapest bag you can buy and also the one that will make kids feel like they wasted their time even bothering to show up at your house.

The reason I bring this up is because there was a specific house we went to that had a husband and wife who opened the door to give us candy.  The husband was a bloodied up dentist and the wife was his patient.  She had blood all over her mouth and shirt and teeth (real teeth or damn good fake ones) handing around her neck on strands of floss.  It was brutal and amazing.  They informed us that they were heading out to a party later on and it always stuck with me.  I knew I wanted to be those people.  It was so cool to see adults dressed up for Halloween.  It was a new concept for me.  I believe this was pre-slut-o-ween times, so while little girls still dressed up pretty like little princesses and little boys dressed like super heros, there was still a great amount emphasis put on scary.  I try to keep that alive today and it's greatly in part because of that couple in Bryantown Hills.

So, what I'm trying to say, is that this year, I finally got to be that couple.  Dan and I dressed up just to hand out candy.  A costume I've been wanting to do for years, I finally did.  No one understood what it was from (I was called "Dr. Piggy" a lot), but we dressed up as the Dr. and nurse characters from the "Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder" episode of Twilight Zone.  Of course we switched it up and Dan was the female nurse, which was fine with me.  Scrubs are like pajamas and I'd much rather be in PJs and sneakers than tights and a small dress (especially with the amount of snow that was outside).

Almost all of the costumes I saw were store bought.  There were also a few kids that were far too old to be trick-or-treating and had no costumes at all, but I'm too much of a wuss to tell them to fuck off...  We found out mid-way through the evening from our neighbor that they had actually cancelled trick-or-treating in our area because of all the down trees and power lines.  It made sense, but I'll be damned if I was going to be a part of ruining some kids Halloween.  We had our jack-o-lanterns out and lit before the sun went completely down and had our HAPPY HALLOWEEN sign (Dan made) prominently displayed on our door.  I'm glad some rebellious kids and parents stuck to their original plan and celebrated the greatest holiday of all.

Hopefully next year we'll see more kids and costumes (apparently they usually get around 150!), there won't be snow on the ground and we'll have more to dress up for than just handing out candy.  Hope everyone had a great (and eventful) Halloween.  Keep those traditions alive.  It may impact some kid more than you know.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Snow on My Parade

In Connecticut today, it snowed.  It's October, and it legitimately snowed.  Not a flurry.  Not a light dusting.  Close to a foot (at least) out there, currently.  I had an appointment to have my oil changed and tires rotated, and as I drove to the dealership, the snow started falling.  By the time I left the dealership, all of the cars were covered in snow and I wasn't there for 45 minutes.  My original plan for the rest of the day was to pamper myself.  Go get my nails done.  Relax.  I've been going non-stop since before I left for St. Louis for work.  I've been dealing with a lot lately, and it was all catching up with me this past week.

I took the long way round to get home to just drive near the nail shop and told myself if it wasn't too bad, I'd go ahead and have them done...  Well, I got to the nail shop and it was that bad.  It was REALLY bad...  but I went anyway.  I can't describe how badly I needed today- a day of rest.  A day alone.

The drive home was scary.  Lots of trees down.  I parked in our driveway and not 10 minutes after I got home, I heard a large crash.  I ran to the back window to see what had fallen.  There was a tree branch that had my car pinned in.  Our driveway is surrounded by large trees.  There were more branches cracking and dangling over our cars...  We all moved quickly.  The neighbors and I dragged the massive branches as far as we could to get them out of the way and drove to the school that's a block away to park.  My wheels spun and my neighbor had to push my car to get it into the spot...  October...

Today was depressing for a lot of reasons.  The snow/freezing cold was certainly a big reason...  Anyone who knows me know how badly I hate winter, and to have it creep up months early is almost enough to make me want to off myself...  but on top of that, it is what usually is my favorite weekend of the year.  Halloween weekend.  Normally, I would find myself in some bar surrounded by friends, all in costume, drinking and laughing the night away.  Two years ago, I had the best Halloween I've ever had in Baltimore.  Everything about the night was wonderful.  Dan and I both dressed up, had friends who we don't see often come stay with me and we used my old place of work (I miss dearly) as a playground between bars.  It was fucking perfect.  Last year I was in a friend's wedding, so Halloween wasn't really celebrated as much as the marriage was, of course.  This year, I had my dream costumes (that I've wanted to do for years) all ready to go and realized I had nowhere to go...

Tonight I don't just find myself with nowhere to go (because CT doesn't really do Halloween like MD does AND because of the weather), but also alone.  Dan took a shift at the hospital tonight...  When he asked what I thought of it, I said "do whatever you have to do" because I don't want to dictate what he does, ever, but I guess it really kind of hurt more than I was expecting.  Partly because it's an important weekend for me, last year was a rough Halloween weekend for me, we went through the trouble of getting costumes, I have been a wreck lately...  for so many reasons, I felt like I needed this weekend and I thought he would, too...  

On the other hand, since I've been such a wreck lately, the solitude has been really nice.  Sometimes I need alone time.  I need time to process thoughts and feelings.  I've been really depressed and stressed out lately and there's a lot going on in my brain.  There's a circus happening in there.  So many questions and doubts and worries and very few answers or positive.  It's rough.  It's a rough patch.  I'm unsure of how to fix any of it.

I'm so exhausted.  Mentally, I'm just drained.  I've been really fucked with for the past month and I've reached my breaking point.  My head is saying "enough!" My heart is deflated.  My defense mechanism is up and in full effect.  Unfortunately, it doesn't know how to only to be on duty while at work...  

It's these times where I know therapy isn't going to help.  It's purely situational.  So I have to fix my situation.  As usual, the responsibility falls on me to fix things for myself (surprise, surprise).  I just don't know where to start this time...  I think I do, and then I quickly realize I don't have many choices or at least not the ones I would like.  It's easy to give up when you're constantly let down.  Not sure how I'll crawl out of this one...

And on that note, hope everyone else is enjoying their Halloween weekends.  Have a drink and a dance for me.


Monday, October 24, 2011

My Parents Visit CT!

This is gonna be a quicky, unfortunately.

I had a fabulous weekend.  My parents came up to visit.  It's the first time my dad has been up to CT.  He (finally) used his xmas gift I got him last year and went to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.  I'm so glad he went and was able to enjoy it.  He's had a rough past year with his knee replacement surgery and lots of other health issues and work conflicts (conflicts is a nice way of saying "works with and/or for at least one cocksucker" - remember that for later).  Being a huge baseball fan and former baseball player (pitcher for University of MD - Number 7), I couldn't stand that he hadn't been, so I got him a one year membership and a plane ticket to ensure his ass would get there.  If I didn't put a time limit on it, he wouldn't have gone.  Point 1 for me.

Anyway, during the day, my mom updated me with several pictures of the neat exhibits at the Hall of Fame and pictures of my father looking like...  well, a child at Christmas.  It was brilliant and warmed my heart.  They made it down our way on Friday and were waiting for me at home when I got off work.

Born and raised to hat the Yanks.  Now you understand.
My mom surprised me with tickets to see Jersey Boys (the documentary-style musical that follows the Four Seasons through their conception to the end).  I guess my dad surprised me the most by attending the show.  He's not really a musical type dude, but this was filled with hits from his childhood and lots of cursing and Sopranos-type machismo filling it out.  It was a great time.

Saturday we went and picked out pumpkins and my parents finally got to meet Dan's parents.  My mom met his parents when she was up to help me with my surgery, but you know-- to have all four of them together was pretty big for me.  It was a great time.  Lots of laughs, drinks, etc.  Aside from some of the topics I would have liked to have avoided, it was a wonderful experience.

Dan and I took my parents to brunch on Sunday and then saw them off.  I spent the rest of the day missing them and dozing.  I've been exhausted from my work trip to St. Louis.  It's been a hell of a past few weeks.  Aside from work stresses, drama and workload, I had a friend from back home die, a good friend from back home get married (and I had to miss said wedding because of work), my pain has been awful and NOT getting better, and missed out on two shows Dan and I had planned to go to...  Work conflicts [elbow].

Me = a complete hungover mess pre-brunch Sunday.  Look at that HAIR.
I've been beyond depressed lately and really need to get myself out of the situation I've found myself in...  The only thing keeping me from one continuous panic attack is knowing that I don't plan on staying in my current situation for long.

And on that note, that's why this is going to be a quicky-entry.  I don't really have the attention span or feel happy enough tonight to get into detail about my weekend.  It wouldn't do it justice.  Instead, I'll be cutting my cuticles (and all skin surrounding my nails) until they bleed...  Gotta focus on something, right?


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Few Reasons to Miss Maryland:

I have been spoiled rotten lately with all the friend-filled weekends I've been having.  This weekend was no exception.  The weekend was jam-packed wall-to-wall with friends AND it was a long weekend, so that made it extra exciting!  Friday night, I drove down to Baltimore with Dan as my co-pilot and DJ.  He made the road trip fun and hilarious, as always.  It was a smooth drive for the most part and we made no stops outside of CT.  Straight on through to Emily and Jeremy's in record time.

Jeremy greeted us in his PJs and we caught up quickly before settling into bed and having a laugh session that was so intense, I got to that point of silent laughing (because I can't breathe) and tears streaming down both sides of my face.  Something about putting my finger in Dan's ass and "Urethra Franklin?"  I blame it on being delirious from the insane work week, lack of sleep because of the insane work week, and the 5.5 hours of driving.

In the AM, we were promptly greeted by Vegeta (Em and J's friendly and vocal cat) and tons of squeezes from Emily.  It was fucking great.  I talk to Emily every day, so it pains me that we don't get to physically be together that often anymore for the great hugs, happy hours, fashion shows, or just the exchange of laughter between the two of us.  God damn do I miss it, and I really had no idea just how much until returning home and going through all of my pictures from the time spent there (I got a bit depressed, but I'll get to that later).  We had such a good time.  Sarah came over and brought her precious little Luke Marley who was so chill and sweet and I didn't want to let go of when he fell asleep on me right before heading home.  Come ON!

After grilling, we just hung out and chatted and got ready for the evening.  We headed to Hamilton Tavern for pre-dinner drinks.  It was as cute as I was expecting and we had dinner at Clementine (FINALLY).  Em and J started by ordering the charcuterie plate (of the day) that was to die for.  The sausage was insane.  Hands down the best I've ever had.  It was accompanied by a dijon cheese and a chicken liver pate that had brown sugar in it.  The mix of sweet, salty and savory was PERFECT.  I had the meatloaf, and it was so delicious, and of course, Em and I killed two bottles of red.  Since that wasn't enough, we headed back to Hamilton Tavern for a nightcap.  I had such a great time.  My cheeks hurt from smiling so much.  It was non-stop chatter and laughing.  I couldn't have asked for a better night.  We headed home full and happy and buzzed and I spent the next hour teaching Emily how to do a time step (a tap step *HOP-STEP-SHILLACK-BALL-CHANGE*).  We did this on her porch for at least 40 minutes, then took it inside.

Love My Carpet??

They were perfect hosts, and perfect friends and I miss them already.

Sunday, however, we had morning coffee and split an english muffin, recounted our evening, showered and headed out.  I must've hugged Emily 5 times before leaving.  Gah.

We headed to the mall.  I brought a dress that I adore, but is really big on me.  This is one of many in my closet that I can't really wear because they don't fit properly.  I need a tailor.  If the bottom of a dress fits me (and is fitted snug on my body), then chances are the top does not.  My body is not proportionate.  I don't have big jugs to go with my big ass, hips and thighs.  I've grown to appreciate my curves a bit more with the help of Christina Hendricks (Joan Holloway), but she has the top half to match the bottom half...  Anyhoo, I found a new dress that fit a bit better, we had lunch and headed to our hotel to check in.

We made our way to Patrick and Nikki's wedding which ended up being a total blast.  I saw people there I hadn't seen in months, like Mr. Don Boots (who, by the way, DRINKS now.  Yeah.  That was different), and people I hadn't seen in YEARS, like my old bosses from Mission Media.  They were thrilled to see me and we laughed and caught up like no time had passed.

Custom weddin' shoes.  Golden Girls approved.

Yeah, so THIS happens, now...
I traded my sky-high strappy wedges for my chucks right after the ceremony.  The wedding was beautiful and every detail was perfectly executed.  We danced a lot.

One of my favorite pics ever taken.
The weekend really made me miss Maryland for the first time in a long time.  A lot of what I considered "home" about Maryland has changed so much since I left, but clearly, after that weekend, I knew there was still a lot there that was very "me" and very "home".

Lighting our way out of the drive.
Dan and I made our way back to CT Monday, and aside from some incredibly uncomfortable cramping, the trip went smoothly.  Unfortunately, the moment I drove back into the state, I got a bit depressed.  Our apartment and anywhere I am with Dan is home for me.  That's easy and simply true, but there's so much about Connecticut that hasn't been easy...  and there's so much about Maryland that is/was so effortless.  I know it isn't fair to compare a place that I grew up in with a place I've only lived a little over a year, but it's more about the vibes, the people, the connections...  or lack thereof.

I know once Dan finishes his residency, we'll find a place that can be that effortless for both of us.  I still sometimes secretly hope that by the time his residency is over, I'll be in love with the state and have a ton of great friends and love my job and want to put roots down here...  but it's unfortunately not looking so great...  I guess deep down I know how much Dan loves it here since he wanted so badly to come back, so I hope I'll fall in love with it too.  I want him to be happy more than I give a shit about my happiness, but at the same time, there has to be some sort of a balance.  It can't be all great for one and all awful for the other.  There's got to be some positives in my life...  I just haven't found them here in CT, yet.

I'm struggling with not having something to look forward to...  although maybe I should make the end of Dan's residency my something to look forward to?  It's farther off than my usual little goals of happiness are, but I've got to start looking forward to something.  Looking ahead.  My happiness has seemed to be falling with the leaves, lately and getting through each day is as far as I can look ahead.  As we all know, when it rains, it pours, and it's been getting a bit damp around here, lately.

I'll leave it at that for now, as I could run on all day about the "what ifs" and "should'ves"...

For now, thank you, Maryland, for another wonderful weekend.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

High Roller Weekend

This weekend was pretty fab.  I got to spend it with Dan, Adina and my little sister, I went to the "So You Think You Can Dance?" tour, bowled at a luxury bowling alley, tried a real martini for the first time (and loved it), and gambled away $200 foolishly.  It was a fucking blast.

The SYTYCD tour couldn't have come at a better time because since the season has ended, I have been bummed about my Wednesday night TV.  There's been nothing to look forward to.  It sounds silly, but that show really helped me over the hump mid-week.  Not only was it impressive and beautiful to watch, but it inspired me creatively and physically...  I miss having it around.  The tour was far better than the one Adina and I went to a few years back in Bmore.  It was wall-to-wall dancing with seamless transitions between numbers.  They did all of my favorites (even the ones that didn't feature the top 12 dancers).  They did the Jeff Buckley routine and I cried.  Not because of the actual dance (because it wasn't executed nearly as well as when the original dancers performed it), but because I got to hear Jeff Buckley's guitar and voice in this amazing theater with wonderful acoustics.  LOUDLY.  I was moved.  Needless to say, I had goosebumps throughout the entire show, but by far my favorite performance was Melanie's solo (You can see it here - it starts at the 2:30 mark and is the best version I could find at the moment).  She's by far the best dancer they've had on that show.  She can do it all.

The luxury bowling was out of this world.  We ate really fancy food there for dinner pre-bowling (though you can eat while bowling at your fancy table and leather couches) and Dan and I got one free game each for checking in on foursquare.  The drinks were absolutely delicious (martinis and bloody marys), there were massive projector TVs at the end of each lane (alternating between music videos and sports - Daft Punk's "Technologic" came on and I danced and Mandy was terrified by the video), sexy ghost gray leather couches to lounge on in between rolls, and chandeliers lining the alley.  It was perfect.  We danced.  A lot.  It was only the four of us and we had an absolute BLAST.  I want to go back to Foxwoods again just for the bowling.  It spoiled me.  Regular bowling will never be the same...

The other plus about Foxwoods was that when I got home, I realized I didn't have my vintage gray leather jacket my aunt found for me at an antique shop (it's probably from the 50's if I had to guess) years ago.  I was beyond bummed.  I had already decided that it wouldn't be turned in to a lost and found if they even had one, and if so, how would I get it back?  It's an hour away and I was sure they wouldn't hold it for me for long.  I decided to call the lost and found number, anyway, just so I felt like I tried.  Surprisingly, I was transferred to an older gentleman who was perky and eager to help.  I gave him my room number and he said, "black jacket?" and I said, "well, it's gray leather, but yes!  That's mine!"  He said, "yep!  We've got it."  And I told him he made my night.  He then asked for my address so he could ship it to me.  I asked how much it would cost and he told me not to worry.  That they'd take care of everything.  I was floored.  I guess that's what you get when you stay at a posh hotel, but it also kind of made me sad to think of how defeated I was before even calling.  There wasn't a GLIMMER of hope in my mind.  Customer service is such shit nowadays, and people are so dishonest, it's hard to believe anyone would do anything kind for a stranger these days.  Pretty sad.

Also, when I went to check in, they didn't have the room I booked reserved for me.  She told me she had the reservation, but they didn't have any room with 2 queen beds at all.  They could give me a king with a rollaway bed.  I told them that could maybe work, then she informed me the only room they had was on a smoking floor.  I told her it was unacceptable.  I had made a reservation for a room with two queen beds on a non-smoking floor.  Not only did they have zero rooms (on smoking OR non) with two queen beds available, but now they ONLY had rooms on a smoking floor.  I get sick when I'm around smoke for a while.  Even being in the casino really bothered me.  I was sneezing and had an itchy and sore throat and headache that night and the next day, and they wanted me to also sleep in that mess?  No way.  The room was NOT cheap.  After asking to speak with the manager, then waiting for 10 mins, then asking again and informing them that I wasn't going to be paying $300 to sleep in smoke that was going to make me sick, they finally had the awkward gal at the desk "find me" a non-smoking king room...  All of a sudden one just appeared?  Anyway...  that didn't really encourage any optimism when noticing I had left my leather jacket behind...

All was well, however.  Dan, Mandy and I all slept in the king bed and Adina got the rollaway bed.  She told us all a bedtime story, and then everyone fell right asleep...  except for little old me who forgot my sleeping meds at home.  Ah, well.  The night was worth it.  I'm so lucky to have Adina, Dan and good family in my life.  They really all keep me going.  It was nice on Saturday to forget about my pain for a few hours and wouldn't have been possible without them.

This month is hellishly busy.  Every weekend we have something going on (two weddings, Louis CK, parents visiting, and Halloween) and work is...  insane.  Not fun insane, either.

October is always the best month, though, and this past weekend helped reenforce that.  Yay for October!


Friday, September 30, 2011

My Jewelry Will Kill Me

I try really hard not to be superstitious, but sometimes I can't help it.  This morning, I went to put on my gold bar Marc Jacobs necklace I wear every day and the clasp was gone.  I have no idea what happened or where it is, now, but I was so sad.  **UPDATE:  Opened my computer when I got to work today - 10/3 - and found the clasp sitting in my computer.  A metal piece broken off, so I don't know how Ill fix it, but I will, dammit!**  I get attached to pieces of jewelry and though, this one is definitely worth fixing, who knows how long it will be until I wear it again.  What if it is the sole reason I've been having decent luck or the reason I've been happier or had more confidence?  Typing that out, I realize how ridiculous that sounds...  but...

From the time I was old enough to have my own "individual style", I started wearing an inappropriate amount of rings.  I had at least one ring on every finger.  I had one ring given to me by an ex that I worse for years and when things started to get shitty, my finger under that ring only would start to bubble and itch.  I swore it had something to do with warning me things were going sour or something was wrong, but that was easy to talk myself into because with that relationship, most everything was wrong all the time.

But I'd shake it off and say, "that's just silly.  Maybe you're just under more stress so your body is reacting to the metal" or something, but none of my other rings would flare up...

I've had a ring inspired by The Crow forever.  By forever, I mean since I was 14 years old (which when you're almost 30, feels like forever ago).  I scrounged up enough money to purchase this silver band from the comic book kiosk where my sister worked in the St. Charles Mall food court, and slipped it on my finger.  It didn't come off for years (until I had to have surgery, then still went right back on after).  It says, "Real love is forever".  I've lived long enough, now, to know that that statement isn't completely true, but I still like the idea behind it.  Plus, it's a constant reminder of my teenage goth years and that always makes me smile.

To that same finger, a few years ago, I added a Disney princess crown ring that my mother got me for xmas.  Disney has an awesome line of jewelry out for adults that are inspired by the movies we grew up with (and some newer ones that blow).  I have a few pieces.  Some are really creative and beautiful and less obvious like the Alice in Wonderland pieces and some of the Little Mermaid pieces.  Anyway, those two rings didn't leave my right finger for years upon years.

This year for Christmas, I got a beautiful Tiffany's open heart friendship ring from Nealface.  I wore it for months until I started having a reaction.  I moved it to a different finger.  There's no way it's cheap metal.  I finally just had to stop wearing it.  The same thing slowly started happening with The Crow ring and my Disney princess ring.

So, this round of surgery, I didn't have any rings to remove.  They didn't have to give me a ziploc baggie for all of my jewelry.  It was weird.  And of course, my head goes "well, what does that mean?"  And if the rings I had to take off were some sort of warning, who was the warning for?  I bought myself the Crow band and certainly my relationships w/ Neal and my mother are just fine, so...  what does it mean?

It should mean NOTHING.  Good LORD.  But when I forget my Om bracelet, I think, "well, if I get into a car accident today, I'll know why."  WTF is wrong with me?

I don't get this way with other OCD rituals like "If I don't turn the light switch on and off 42 times and leave it in the "on" position, my whole family will be eaten by wolves."  Just the old "if I don't wear a bracelet on a certain day, I'll get into a mangled car wreck."  That's all.  Totally normal.

And today-- without my MJ necklace, pretty sure I'm facing certain death, which is really unfortunate because my sister and Adina are coming up tonight to spend the weekend with Dan and I...  Such a shame.  It was going to be a great time.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Last Week in Review

Time for an update, I suppose.  I'm not feeling particularly poetic or insightful, but I feel like it's been too long since my last post, so here's what's new:

-  I'm slowly recovering from surgery.  I went to my post-op and the doc had a feeling I might have had a little infection, or something, that had caused the healing process to take it's time.  He gave me an anti-biotic and I think it's finally starting to help.

-  Last weekend, Steve and Jess came to visit.  We only really got to hang out Saturday, but boy, did we squeeze every minute out of it.  Jess and I were up til 7am Sunday morning chatting it up.  We had an amazing dinner at Barcelona and it was so nice to have familiar faces in our home.

-  This week, Dan and I were like honeymooners.  I don't know what got into us, but it was all romance, cutesy giggling back and forth, tickling each other, sappy notes showing up in our cars or little presents waiting for each other when we got home. Just stupid crazy lovey dovey-ness.  It's been amazing, not that it isn't always, but it's just been a notch further in the gross sappiness.

  Our weekend was no exception.  We ended up going to a great show on Saturday.  We saw a great little band called Heavy Breath and a fun band called Hostage Calm (Their song "Ballots/Stones was on my bday mix cd Dan made me and you can listen to here.) in a sweet little spot called "The Space" in Hamden.  The energy of the show was intense.  It was pretty nuts and fun to watch.  I didn't realize how much you use your abs to block people from flying into you while standing on the inside ring of the pit...  Not smart being 2 weeks out from surgery and having incisions still pretty fresh...

It was also a blinding reminder that I'm too old for that shit.  Unfortunately, a lot of these up and coming hardcore bands Dan finds only play these shitty "all-ages" venues.  No bars/clubs...  It's kind of a pain in the ass.  There are rarely seats, sometimes no AC, tons of children (17 and younger...  Like pre-pubescent younger) and very rarely alcohol.  This venue was better in the way that it had a bar across the parking lot that was affiliated.  They too had live music and ended up being a pretty chill spot that I would visit again.  The actual show, however, was filled with these teeny boppers wearing ballerina flats and thrift store outfits being loud and obnoxious.  It's hard to be around when you're 28.  It's easy for me to remember how irritating I was at their age.  A few years ago, I found a VHS of me from high school and was left cringing after viewing.  I couldn't stand being around the teenaged me, now, and it's no different with these kids.

It's great that they have a place to go and get to absorb so much live music, but it's hard to go from seeing shows at badass venues and Baltimore and DC to these holes in the wall (though Bmore had some of these venues popping up, as well, that ended up getting annoying pretty quickly).  It's just this movement and this generation.  It's different.  I was telling Dan how I remember growing up, the band members were always way older than me.  Now, they're all way younger.  Our generation were lazy or something.  There was never a time where the band members were my age.  Wtf?

-  The most important thing that's happened since my last post was that a good friend of mine found out his 4 year old daughter has leukemia.  It's terrifying and tragic.  I hate that I can't be there with him and his daughter, but a flight out to Tennessee isn't cheap on such short notice, and I could only do a weekend since I have zero time left to take from work.  It's been weighing on me heavily because I feel so helpless.  I can't imagine what he must be feeling.  We talk every day, but I know there's a lot he's holding in to be strong for her (and himself).  He's basically doing this alone and it's heartbreaking.  I set up a site for him at The Caring Bridge which is a great free organization that makes blogging/progress reporting/photo uploading and guestbook signing super easy for anyone going through any tough illness.  It's a nice way to keep in touch and keep loved ones informed without having to put forth much energy.  it's also nice to be able to write her notes directly just to brighten her day and let her know people are thinking of her.  The whole thing is so painful.  I wish there was more I could do.

On that note, I'm going to dive into this crazy busy week.  Hopefully I'll somehow end up being productive.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Healing Up/Dreaming Down

Today was the first day that I've felt close to normal since the surgery (*edit:  I started this post yesterday, 9/15 and that evening I ended up with sharp pains on my right side.  I woke up to find these pains had gotten worse.  At least yesterday I had a few hours of normalcy).  Progress is definitely coming right along.  They ended up doing a bit more than originally planned, so it makes sense that the pain was worse and that the healing time is taking a bit longer than the last two times I've had the procedure.  On top of the regular laparoscopy to laser off any endometriosis they find, they also did a hysteroscopy (where they go look inside the uterus) and ended up finding and removing a polyp. They also found that the top of my uterus was fused together and they cut that open. While they were in there, they saw that my appendix didn't look happy, so they took that out, too (not sure yet it that was endo related). They also inserted an IUD to try and help combat endometriosis symptoms in the future.  Needless to say, I'm feeling a bit beat up inside.

Aside from all that, I'm feeling all reflecty.  Yep.  New word I made up just now.  I blame it on being stuck alone in the house laying in bed for days on end... and maybe a tad bit because of my new Mad Men obsession, but regardless of why, I've been doing too much thinking.  About life, career, friends, family, the future.  All of it.  It's definitely a different picture than I had painted in my head years ago.  It's not that it's a bad thing or that I'm not happy with any of it, it's just different.  The sad parts are just what or who isn't here in the family portrait that I always assumed would be.  Assumption is bad.  The other stuff is just the control freak in me not being able to plan every step along the way.

Career stuff is being pondered because this week has been NY Fashion Week and whenever fashion week rolls around, I'm enamoured.  To the point of questioning if I did the right thing by going to art school instead of fashion school.  I know I did because I do love what I do, but I fucking ADORE fashion.  It makes me drool.  I've already done a post about fashion week from the Fall/Winter 2011, so I won't repeat myself, but it's really had me wrapped up and fantasizing about living a very different (glamourous) life.  It's also inspired me to jazz up my wardrobe...  and that's when I look at my bloated, heating pad burnt, scarred and bruised and taped up stomach in the mirror and go, "meh. Nevermind."

Mad Men doesn't help calm my craving for fashion and overhauling my entire wardrobe, either.  The styling for that show is absolute perfection.  Even if an episode is slow, I'm still just as excited and on the edge of my seat about what Betty Draper is wearing to whatever work dinner she has to attend while hanging off of Don's arm.  Honestly, after soaking up every ounce of Fashion Week since I've been home without much else to do, I think it's not just me who's been inspired by Mad Men fashion...  Some of those designers must spend their free time catching up with Sterling Cooper, as well.  I think all of the below looks are Betty Draper approved.  ;-)

Marc Jacobs | Spring 2012

Marc Jacobs | Spring 2012

Badgley Mischka | Spring 2012

Marc Jacobs | Spring 2012
Oscar de la Renta | Spring 2012

Hopefully tomorrow I can try to be up and about a bit more...  I'm so tired of laying in this bed...  I'm half tempted to go get a pedicure...  hmmmm...