Thursday, November 12, 2009

Down With the Sickness


Wee Martin and I are often accused of being the same person; and in all honesty it's not an unfair one. We share mannerisms, turns of phrase, vocal cadence, love of coffee and Gilmore Girls (simultaneously or individually), and have perfected the Death Glare.
Sometimes though, we work backwards. I used to be the wildly successful one while she had problems learning how to read and making her own friends, whereas now she's objectively the more successful sister. She used to be a huge worrywart--to the point where she was prescribed ulcer medicine as an 8 year-old, and I was fairly carefree.

As I've grown, I've developed into a deceptively calm nervous wreck. Worst Case Scenarios are my specialty, and always my first conclusion. Because this has manifested itself as I've been maturing, I've also figured out ways to cope with it.
You see: by reassuring myself that I've never, not once, been confronted with a WCS, good ol' left brain can show me a venn diagram that looks something like this:
Therefore: by panicking I am guaranteeing a benign result. Case in point:

I woke up this morning with an annoying tickle in the back of my throat. "Great" I thought, "I hope I'm not catching Durbin's cold". Although I must admit, in my now-feverish state it's almost nice to be able to share this experience with him, far away though he may be. I went to work and the tickle turned into post-nasal drip soreness. I ran some very successful errands, and by 4pm I started to suspect that I wasn't going to be able to vitamin-C this away. I started realizing I was cold despite continuing to wear my jacket indoors, and by 7pm I was a shivering, vomiting mess. My stomach hurts, my back hurts, every hair on my body hurts. I took a bath to try to futilely try to warm up, and took the effort in what felt like an ice bath to shave my legs so at least they wouldn't have the painful hairs.

I'm convinced I have H1N1, and I'm convinced that, with my luck, I have some undiagnosed heart condition and that I'm going to die in my sleep tonight. I'm thinking I should call Alex and leave him a voicemail to tell him that I love him one last time, that I should call Linda and have her tell me how stupid I am, that I should write some epic blog entry that will bring meaning to my life.

Fortunately, we have the above venn diagram. So, while at the moment my state of nausea is being exacerbated by a clenching worry of impending mortal expiration, statistically I will be alive, if only marginally well tomorrow when I wake up to go judge Richard's debate class.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Here's to you, the good life, and me

Oh. Hello.

It's been so long since I've been to this site that my browser history didn't even contain "". I had to type out the full URL. And now I've typed it out twice. My life is hard.

brief synopsis of my life:
-After accidentally winning my store-level bar champs, in three days I shall be competing at the regional level. I not-so-jokingly keep telling people that if I get through it without bursting into tears, I will consider it a personal success.

-Living with the individuals I do is slightly more challenging than anticipated, largely because the challenges that I had anticipated aren't the ones that have arisen. Also: every male over the age of 40 who knows about my living situation seems to think my roomies are going to burst into my room in an unwashed mass with a chainsaw to break open my chastity belt. I'm not worried about the roomies, I am, however, worried about what these adult men were like when they were my age.

-As a kind-of birthday present to myself I purchased a couple month's worth of personal training sessions. They're going alright; I'm getting stronger, I'm seeing very slight muscle changes in my body and while I still can't say I like physical exertion, I can say I no longer categorically loathe it. The PT, Grant, is also making me Eat Healthy. Not "healthier", actually Healthy. It's very difficult and I find it more depressing than being squishy in the mid-section.

-For the last couple months I've been moping about due to a severe lack of an intimate-social life. Alex is in Kentucky, Miranda's in a cornfield, Linda's buried under a pile of Virginia Woolfe novels, and the couple other people I consider true, good friends have a schedule opposite mine. Despite working in a bar and hanging out at said bar holding conversations with coworkers and regulars, I've been feeling very isolated. A few drinks at a not-Friday's bar and some time spent at a delightful clam bake (food, not herb) has opened my eyes to the fact that my coworkers are, like, real people who I could possibly actually relate to. This is the first time in my whole life I'm actually having to make friends on my own merit, and I'm feeling reassured that it seems to be going just fine.

-Accidentally hung out with the elder Durbin's the other night when they appeared at Friday's while I was off-duty. While it felt a little strange, it wasn't uncomfortable, and I'm fairly sure they think I'm a fine, upstanding, responsible young lady who is perhaps suited for their son. I did start getting suspicious, though, when after mentioning I've paid off my student loans despite not having a Big Kid Job, they asked me if I have enough money for a down payment on a house. Dear Alex, tell your parents I'm not going to buy you a house, love Cathi. PS we can have joint custody of Guitar Hero if you wish, though.

-I'm discovering that being in a LDR is sad, but not horribly difficult. This is probably a fringe benefit of having the emotional depth of a puddle, in that while things like "sadness", "loneliness" and "hug withdrawal" exist, they aren't crippling me. I've gotten so good at ignoring my feelings that when important ones like these crop up I can Not Think about them with a practiced ease. It's kind of nice, in a pathetic way. I also think the distance, however vehemently I was/am against it, is helping us to put things in some major perspective, individually.

See you in a few months or something, Interested Party. Maybe I'll be skinnier.

Love Story,

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


We were never meant to be, baby, we just happen

For the most part I live my life in fairly quiet complacency. I keep my head down, my eyes and ears open, and my mouth fairly well shut. It keeps things simple, and I prefer life to be as uncomplicated as possible. Every so often, however, something will set me off and jolt me from my even keel.

The most recent arsonist to light a fire under my feet antagonized me with words meant to be generic, but ended up landing squarely in the Very Personal section of my brain. I try to keep an open mind when it comes to other people's world views, but when push comes to shove, if someone with a different opinion than me actively attacks my point of view, shit gets real.

And by real, I mean that most of my formal logical argumentation training flies out the window and my tactics pretty much devolve to me stuffing my fingers in my ears and shouting "WHAT'S THAT? I CAN'T HEAR YOU! IS THAT THE SOUND OF YOU BEING WRONG?!" The instant it gets personal is the instant I stop caring about having an open mind and being a shining example of rationality.

My version of an "open mind" boils down to a sheer perception of rationality and maturity. If a person has spent time thinking about something and therefore reached some sort of conclusion, however wrong I may feel said conclusion to be, I will respect it. When my own rational decisions and conclusions are disrespected, my little feelings get hurt. I like to think that I've made pretty good life choices, and I also like to think that anyone who knows me also knows that I do most things with some sort of well thought-out purpose.

The rough part about my personal-opinion bubble being invaded is that I can't stop obsessing over it, going round and round in my mind, finding newer, stronger, and better reasons that I Am Right. Unfortunately, it all pretty much comes back to the fact that I'm a grown-ass woman, and I'll do what I want! You don't know me!

Step off before I pop off, son.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Be Prepared

Giving you no time, instead of it all

When all of one's friends (or so it seems, at times) are leading wildly successful and busy lives pursuing academia to great and glorious heights, it's easy to feel as if one's own life is lousy and dead-end in comparison. I've recently fallen into the trap of comparing my life's apples with my friend's oranges and quite frankly, it's been unnecessarily psyching me out. Despite living a live of suburban American ease and first-world luxury, a lot of things have been piling up that are putting my head in a goofy place. Including, but not limited to:

-Envy of my friends' continuation of education
-June weather just now breaking 70*
-Massive and inconsistent changes in the bar
-Realizing my local circle of friends is quite limited
-Mom hinting at exasperation with my presence in her home
-Boyfriend running away to the Middle of Nowhere for ten months

Collectively, it's all becoming a bit much and I'm feeling the tremblings of a slow freak-out creeping upon me. It's all very well and good to go with the flow as I tend to do, until I realized I've got half a dozen different rivers flowing in completely different directions, some of which have currents that run much more strong and deep than others.

I'm not good with emotions. I prefer them to be bound and gagged and locked tightly in a rubber-padded room where no one can hear them scream. Unfortunately, in a very short amount of time, I'm going to have to deal with Very Big Emotions as my heart is packed haphazardly into a leather duffel bag and transported 450 miles away. Because of my intense discomfort with acknowledging feelings, I don't often take time to analyze them properly, and it's come as a great surprise exactly how entwined my life has become with Alex "let's go save the world" Durbin's.

The more I attempt to compartmentalize, rationalize, and prepare myself for our imminent separation, the less prepared and rational I become. I'm realizing that I may not be as strong or solitary or independent as I fancy myself to be, and the prospect of freaking out is, well, freaking me out.

I'm probably going to need a lot of hand-holding and head-slapping in the near future as matters of the heart jump out of dark alleyways to mug my logic and reason. If you, Interested Party, have any busy-work projects or Valium to share, don't hesitate to hit me up, as the kids say.

This turned out way differently than planned,

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Lord, What Fools We Mortals Be

We think the thoughts whether or not we see them through

I'm not one to suffer fools lightly. Among my few and delightful character flaws, this one stands out rather prominently. It often brings out more peripheral undesirable qualities, like aloofness, condescension, and uncontrollable eye-rolling.

Working at a restaurant has exposed me to a wide variety of fools, and unfortunately I've learned very few coping mechanisms. Typically if the foolishness gets to the point where I can no longer keep a corporate-mandated smile on my face, I just run away and get a manager. I've learned to be alert to the signs of an on-coming eye-roll and I believe I've managed to contain them until out of the line of sight of the people causing them. I've not learned to stop myself from sighing in frustration, though.

It's not necessarily that I think myself smarter or better than people (most of the time), it's that despite my chillaxed demeanor, I'm a stickler for rules and regulation. I was probably a bureaucrat in a past or future life. If a scoop of ice cream costs 99 cents, then it costs 99 cents for everybody, all the time. If a coupon states it cannot be used in conjunction with any other specials or discounts, then so be it. If placing a high-chair at the end of a large booth is a fire hazard (and a clumsy-server hazard), then no one is allowed to do it under any circumstances ever. If servers aren't allowed to stand around in the bar, then I will kick them out every time. If a new policy is put into place about not eating "dead" food or "stealing" smoothies, then I will abstain and refuse to be an enabler in said activities.

It kills me when my customers ask me to bend or break rules, laws, or policy for them. If I were a good corporate drone my immediate reaction would be a concerned nod, an offer to see what I could do, and at least meet the "guest" halfway. Tragically, I have a backbone that bristles uncomfortably when faced with rule breaking and I'm unprofessionally brusque with some people, if only to prove the point that what we're doing is an exception. I'll get all stony-faced and say something like "Well, technically no, because of The Rules. I'll talk to a manager to see if we can do something this one time though." I think if I could learn to say that with a smile, I'd get better tips from the cheapass tables who are swindling the system.

Although upon reflection of that last sentence, probably not.

Is it wrong to be a goody-two-shoes and potentially a tattle-tale? I just like consistency, really. I like for my world to make sense and be aligned in neat little packages that I can enforce with an iron fist.

Get off my lawn!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Cigarettes and Cheap Champagne

Pretend we're the only ones alive in this town

I have a lot of weird notions about being a Grown Up, like how maturity means standing on the edge of a writhing concert pit and enjoying the band from afar. I calculated it once, though have since lost track due to numerous venues that didn't issue physical tickets, but I have been to at least 50 concerts in my lifetime. My guess would be closer to 60 or 65, but as I said, I've lost track. Most of my concert-going was between the ages of 16 and 20, as I've been to precious few in the last couple years (Hanson, however, has graced the docket at least once a year in the meantime).

I'm not sure why I stopped actively seeking out performances, and after the LBC concert last weekend I sure as hell cannot fathom why I've missed their concerts in the last year or so. I think perhaps that, given enough time, the memory of the adrenaline rush and sheer joy that accompanies these events fades to something mediocre.

Against all my Grown Up plans to lie low at the Double Door, instinct (and probably alcohol) took over once I was inside and I found myself diving head-first into the pit. I used to describe the pit experience, especially the LBC pit experience, as "feeling infinite", and last Sunday as my heart pounded itself out of my chest and my ears throbbed with the fast, tight, perfect mayhem that is Lucky Boys Confusion, I realized that it's been a very, very long time since I felt that good.

There are countless things in my life that make me happy, and a few that I would claim make me euphoric but nothing can or has made me feel so alive than throwing myself mind, body, and soul into a LBC show.

Not everything can be sunshine and rainbows, of course. My reawakening was also accompanied by a friend's very poor decision making. The aftermath of the concert has left me wondering if I'm cold-hearted, a bad friend, or merely a realist. I'm a firm believer in fighting one's own battles, and when those battles are the result of a night of heavy drinking, I find it difficult to muster up much sympathy.

And so my suburban equilibrium hums along. Don't expect to hear much of anything in my car or on my iPod but my boys in the five-piece band called LBC for a while.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Waiting to See

I know you might roll your eyes at this...

[Insert lengthy apology and convoluted reasons as to why I have not written in over a month and token gesture of thinking about writing more often]

Naturally most of who I am today has been shaped by my experiences in the past. The way I think about things, the way I approach problems, or the way I react to various stimuli are also things I'm pretty sure can be explained away by my awkward childhood and the high amount of fluoride in Naperville Municipal water.

My standard tactic, when approached with some sort of problem, is to make well-intentioned plans that never come to fruition and rely on the tried and true method of "hoping for the best". Examples of this can be found here and here in this here blog, among other places on the internet and darker corners of the universe. This is all largely because, while I have a big need to feel well-prepared, in reality I'm a huge wimp.
I don't like pain, physical or emotional, so whenever something stressful presents itself in my life I will do everything in my power to make sure there's very little chance I'll actually have to deal with it. Hence, the "hoping for the best". Currently this has manifested itself in my lackadaisical approach in finding a Real Job and a few solid months of internal hang-wringing (and much external whining to Poncho--sorry buddy) over whether my relationship with The Boy will stand the test of college graduation and the subsequent search for purpose.

Because I do like to have a contingency plan in the event of an emergency (like being forced to talk about the future), I've imagined dozens of conversations and scenarios where all I can ever conclude is that The Boy will break up with me on the spot just for bringing it up. Therefore I've found it prudent to keep my big yap shut and just, well, wait and see.

The waiting is killing me a bit, but enough time has passed that I"m nearing the point of "seeing", so my inaction, in retrospect, seems much less cowardly and far more prudent and wise.

I love retrospect.

Rose colored glasses,

...but I'm so glad that you exist

Sunday, March 22, 2009

On Cat-Calls and Wolf-Whistles

There's a paradox in every paradigm

Like some girls, I enjoy receiving compliments. Compliments about my looks, my knowledge, my mixology skillz, my outfit, whatever. It's nice sometimes, after having worked on various aspects of myself, to have someone verbally acknowledge that they've noticed said work.

I say "some" girls, and not "most", and especially not the ever-dreaded absolute "all" because it's come to my attention via the Internet that many girls dislike this attention, specifically when it comes from strangers, even more specifically when it comes from strange men, and typically strange, older men.

Maybe it's the jobs I've held (DQ with horny teenage boys, J Jill where looks were very important, Q101 with Mancow's Morning Madhouse wildly inappropriate crew, bartending), or perhaps my mother just never instilled the Fear of Men into my heart, but I find it strange and a little bit wrong that many girls and women feel threatened by compliments from strangers.

I am aware that there are varying degrees of this behavior. There's a difference between my regular, Danno saying to me "You look beautiful today, as always" and a drunk patron yelling "Nice ass, sugartits! Come over here and shake it around for me!" However it appears from my Internet Endeavors that any sort of attention from a guy is out of line for many women, and merits a slapping or at least a steaming hot shower to get the sleeze off when she gets home.

None of this makes sense to me.

A guy telling a woman that she looks hot today doesn't necessarily mean he's objectifying her. And hell, even if he isstraight-up looking at her as a sex object... why does the woman have to be offended? Yes, I have decent intelligence, a broad knowledge base of a variety of subjects, a fairly quick wit, a large vocabulary, and socially relevant interests to offer up, but that doesn't mean I don't also have physical beauty or sex appeal. If the only thing Alex ever complimented me on was my creative application of the word "egregious", I'd start to feel under appreciated in a myriad of ways, including, but not limited to any efforts I put in to making myself look good.

Perhaps I've missed some sort of feminist boat comprised of planks of Sylvia Plath novels lashed together with our sisters' leg hair (clearly demonstrated by my offensive gross generalization of feminists in my description of said boat), and perhaps I'm amiss in thinking a little validation here and there is at least a neutral, if not good thing. If so, please, enlighten me. Because as of right now, I think it would be a sad, ugly, self-loathing existence if my first reaction to appreciation from a stranger was anger and derision.

Stilettos and push-up bras,

Addendum: This entry is not about the very common reaction of feeling uncomfortable and not knowing how to react. This is about a trend I've noticed where a comment like "you have a nice smile" is uncompromisingly considered "sexual harassment".

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Astronaut Dilemma

I'm a war of head vs. heart

Many moons ago I wrote a somewhat conflicted entry dubiously applauding the actions of Spiderman's Mary Jane for finding the courage to leave her reliable, loving astronaut in order to persue the whims of her heart. In that entry, I focused on the subject of selfish happiness. In essence: that it is admirable to be brave enough to look out for Number One's Heart even if it means sacrificing someone else's happiness.

What I failed to note was the other side of the story: Looking out for Number One's Head. While sure, perhaps MJ is passionately in love with Spiderman, it's clear she is not a list-maker or a consequence-weigher. For some, breif flashes of extreme happiness are enough to counter-balance a lifetime of anxiety and misery. I, however am not amoung those that value short-term rewards. My concept of happiness runs with the long-term, and on my sliding scale of values, a lifetime of worrying about a Spiderman, never knowing if he'll come home, always being left in the cold while he's out saving the world, and always having to be kept a secret for my own safety is no way to live a life.

This is why I make lists, because while 98% of the time my head is in the right place, occasionally my heart makes some grand gestures and out-shouts the head. Making lists is my way of rationalizing the irrationality of my emotions. This is why it is easy for me to disapprove of the BFF's current man-friend and to look down my nose at a co-worker's relationship choices.

Recent events in the Bolingbrook area have surrounded my life with annoying drama. And while I do my best to ignore the more vocal and irritating of the hooplah, it's terribly difficult to ignore the semi-silent heartbreak constantly eminating off one of my fellow bartenders. Ignoring every other mitigating factor within the drama-fueled circumstances, I keep coming back to the baffling question of "how do you do that to someone?!" How can you live with someone, tell him you love him, accept his love and outward expressions of affection and support, and then abruptly leave him one day, to move in with some other guy less than 24 hours later?

Obviously, there was no list-making involved, because long-term happiness and the bad karma that accumulates by burning a loved one so badly have major weight attached to them.

Here's to making the right choices,

Thursday, January 22, 2009

With Hope and Virtue, Let Us Brave Once More the Icy Currents

All this we can do. All this we will do.

My whirlwind trip to our nation's Capitol was marked with both highs and lows, bouts of energy and foot-numbing fatigue, overwhelming emotion and petty annoyance, but, Interested Parties, it was worth it.

The preparation for the long car rides combined with the anxiety of undertaking such a big adventure had clouded my vision for the first half of our journey. Miranda and I had long conversations about boys, we mainlined coffee and energy drinks, we stood in lines in freezing weather until our legs shook with the effort, and it distracted me from the reason we had driven almost 800 miles in the first place.

When our new Vice President finished the words to his oath, a woman standing near me cried out "No more Dick Cheney!" and my heart gave a little lurch. My life is not generally wrapped up in politics. I don't spend very much time contemplating how the actions of our nation's top leaders are affecting me, personally. Until the old administration was finally, officially no longer in power, I hadn't fully realized how anxious I had been feeling. My shoulders felt 10 pounds lighter and tears involuntarily sprang to my eyes because I don't have to be afraid of my government anymore.
It sounds rather drastic to proclaim it that way, but it's surprising how even the littlest emotions given time to fester and plant roots can so affect your life.

The Boy doesn't understand why I, and the millions of others who traveled to D.C. just to be there have such starry-eyed love and hope and respect for President Obama, and I've struggled in the past to rationalize what is, quite frankly, an irrational gut feeling. I think that anyone who listened to his speech would understand. The last 7 years have been ones filled with doubt, with fear, with uncertainty. We've been thrust into war, told that we are to fear The Other, had our freedoms taken away, been subject to cruel scrutiny, and been generally told that We Are Not Good Enough and everybody else hates us. President Obama gave us our dignity back. We are strong. We are resilient. We are still hard workers and we are still worthwhile. We are not a nation of quitters. We do not have to apologize for being who we are.

We don't have to feel sorry for ourselves anymore.

Our new President got to where he is not necessarily because we believe in him, but largely because he gave us the power to believe in ourselves again. Together, we shall overcome the shadow that was cast over the United States by the Bush administration. By helping each other, by working hard, and by never giving up, we will get through this.
That, my friends, is why I cried as I stood at the base of the Washington Monument, and why I, and millions of others, set out on ridiculous journeys these last couple days. So we could be there with him, to take part in the day where fear was replaced with hope, and we were told to carry on.

Catherine Elizabeth

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Two Thousand and Nine, Common Era

Everything, everything will be fine

I'm a little disappointed in myself for not managing to punch out a 2008 recap entry in December so as to up my entry quota by 100% for the month. So much for last year's promise to attempt to blog more.

This is my annual entry where I go through last years "Things I Hope To Pass", perhaps log some of the more important life events, and come up with a new TIHTP for this coming year. I think the reason I didn't delve into this sooner can be understood from the previous entry, since two of my hopes involved doing Grown Up Things that I haven't quite accomplished yet. However, for posterity's sake, I'll suck up my pride and get on with it.

2008 "Wish List" Recap
-Find a job that utilizes one of my degrees in some capacity
Depending upon how cheap I want to be, I could label this as either a Success or a Failure. On one hand, I'm still working at NextMedia and NCC hired me to assistant coach the speech team. On the other hand, neither job requires a BA...
-Avoid the Gen Y syndrome (ie: not live with my parents for more than 6 months)
Failure. September would have been the move-out month if I were to achieve this. I am, however, paying my mother rent, so I'm not exactly a Gen Y mooch.
-Keep the Boy
Success, and I'll be honest, this wishlist item was getting a little hard to maintain toward the end of the year, but things are back on track and better (emotionally, for me at least) than ever.
Success! I got to be consistantly warm and I discovered a magical nasal spray that knocked cats down from "deadly hairballs of doom" to "tolerable balls of cuteness".
-Vote for the "right" candidate so that I can balance out the karma from my last Presidential ballot.
While only time will tell whether America's choice of Senator Obama was the "right" one, I did vote for the winner, so as of this point in time, I'm going to label this a Success.

Here's a fun statistic: I wrote 27 entries in here last year, 18 of which were in the first half of the year. The frequency of writing dramatically declined once I didn't have school or speech things to procrastinate on. I will note that the most entries that I wrote in a single month was my very last month of school. Coincidence?

Despite any feelings to the contrary, 2008 was a significant year for me. I was extremely successful in speech (I took home at least one award at every single tournament, including both AFA and NFA nationals) and debate (100% undefeated in class, and also took home an award at every tournament I went to including the state title). I graduated college a term early with major concentrations in Communications and German. I went on a vacation with The Boy to our nation's capitol. I went on a vacation to Hawaii which was almost as interesting as visiting an entirely different country. I voted for Obama in the primary and general elections and attempted to see him in Grant Park on election night. The Boy and I had our first (couple) real fights. I won Friday's bartender championship at the store level. I started to pay off my student loans, and saved up enough to have them paid off 2 months from now.

2009 is actually scaring me more than 2008 did, and not only because I'm holding my breath, wincing in anticipation of my Golden Boy Obama's first screw-up that dashes my hopes and dreams. Since I put off Growing Up for about a year, this is the year that I actually have to figure out all of that scary stuff. I narrowed my playing field down enough to satisfy my need for direction, however, my playing field is engaged in a tumultuous, nail-biting search for his own Wrigley.

Things I Hope Come To Pass In '09
-Find a "real job" that will allow me to simply bartend as a supplement, not staple
-Get my own place
-Keep the boyfriend (a task far less whimsical and much, much scarier this year)
-Work on developing a healthier routine (improved diet, any exercise, better habits, etc...)
-Never carry a balance on my AmEx card
-Dress more adult-like
-Write almost every day, in some form
-Listen to newer, better music

If anyone wants to help me with my wishlist, feel free to contribute to my self-improvement. A little guidance and pushing never hurt anyone.

Happy new year, Interested Party. Good night, and good luck.

Oh, nine,
Catherine Elizabeth