Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bright Lights, Big City

Tell the Devil I say "hey" when you get back to where you're from

There's been points in my life where I've wondered if I'm somehow broken; things that were big emotional deals for my friends somehow avoided my radar, or more often than not Poncho will marvel at my apathy toward something she would have started busting skulls over. The more people I encounter at my Big City restaurant, the more apparent it's becoming that it is truly not I who is broken: as my bar manager would say, "homies is crazy here, yo."

Back at Suburban restaurant I had my fair share of amusing, frustrating, and infuriating customers, though I am now realizing that those people fell within a normal range of behavior. The guy who told me I wasn't getting a tip because "you don't get [anAmEx Black Card] by giving away money to servants" was exhibiting a familiar, albeit appalling, arrogance. The lady who expressed confusion as to why she had to pay her server because she "has a ponytail" was a perplexing yet recognizable imbalanced person. People who got upset about one thing or another all fell within the standard derivations of frustration and passive-aggression.

Perhaps it is simply the fact that being located in a town with a population of three million just within the city limits means there is a greater chance of encountering people who push the limits of my sanity. I'm more inclined to think that something about the water sanitation or the air pollution in Chicago makes the people here Really Fucking Crazy. At least once a week I'm witness to yet another act that makes me think "surely, this is the most insane thing I will ever see. People can't possibly be more ridiculous than this."

And yet. And yet. My first week at the restaurant I witnessed a dozen dine-and-dash attempts where teenagers would literally go dashing across the dining floor. My first week in the bar I had a lady ask for a bag to puke in so she didn't have to go to the restroom, and some lady leapt the railing on the patio to chase a homeless guy with one of our steak knives. More people than I can count have decided that out and out yelling is a good way to solve their problems. A couple weeks ago two men tried to physically fight their server when they thought they'd been overcharged. Last weekend an angry "guest" accused my afore-quoted bar manager of being "too Jewish" to give him a discount, and an angry family emptied the ketchup and mustard bottles on a table because their server "insulted" them by returning the 10-cent tip they gave him.

This is not normal behavior. The reactions these people have to their food being overcooked or finding themselves without a refill is mind-blowingly disproportionate. Nothing, and I do mean nothing, in my life and experiences would ever have encouraged me to think that acting like some of these people do is okay. Some of the things are just baffling (like thinking it's somehow less public to barf in a bag at your table than inside a stall in a bathroom) while others have outright shocked me. I don't think these nutters are actually nutty in a conventional sense. I do think they are, at some level, psychopaths, because nothing else explains how someone can go from "my hot wings look a bit dry" to calling their server a "dumbass chink bimbo" while demanding new wings for free and threatening to just leave if their dinners aren't perfect.

As my infuriatingly passive-aggressive manager suggested to me, my skin is pretty thin when it comes to some things. I used to be able to shrug off problem customers because I could always see some semblance of logic in their behavior. They would make me angry, but it at least resembled human behavior. This complete lack of rationality or control behind the customers I encounter now gets to me. I don't like the unpredictable. I don't like not knowing if an apology and a free dessert will diffuse the situation or result in a security guard flying across the bar to come to my defense.

The good news is, should I go back to my home base, I'll be prepared for anything.

Strawberry Lemonade,

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Make Up

Just you, me, and the stars

Years ago on a whim I drove Alex and myself westward on a state route until it was finally dark enough to see the stars. We parked next to a cornfield, lay down on the hood of my car, and were quiet for a while. It's one of those things that, beforehand I thought it sounded cute and romantic, and looking back it sounds cute and romantic, but at the time it was just kind of weird. It took us a really long time to drive to a place that was adequately filled with stars, I'm not sure Alex was entirely sold on the idea in the first place, the stars really weren't all that bright or plentiful, and once we got there it was simultaneously humid and a little chilly, so we didn't hang out there for long.

I know that I am not alone when it comes to the golden haze of memory and storytelling. While I can't (lovingly, with blurry but rosy edges) recall the psychological term, I do know there exists a proven type of nostalgia where we tend to white-wash our pasts. People yearn for the heyday of the 1950's when men wore hats, women baked cakes, there was always ice cream in the fridge, and children respected their elders instead of trembling with the remembered fear of the communist witch hunts, Jim Crow and lynchings, and the threat of Soviet invasion. It's not necessarily a bad thing on a personal level. I don't fault anyone for wanting to think they had a happier life than they really did.

I'm currently engaged in a struggle against the tangible threat of the cloying mist that is nostalgia and re-writing and misremembering my personal history. If you hit the "back" button just once, you will see evidence of a terrible, consuming heartbreak that honestly threatened my sanity a bit. Yet, in the short span of a five-hour reconciliation last night, my heart and mind are so willing and ready to forget the mess that was the state of my relationship in order to be truly happy that somehow, Alex came to his senses.
Last night has the makings of a cute, romantic story. Phrases like "I realized that, honestly, life sucks without you" and declarations of things like "I'm all in" were uttered, framed against the backdrop of a deserted Lake Michigan beach, the twinkle of the skyline all around us. There were brief moments of intense happiness, perhaps even giddiness, more often muted by serious discussion, hard questions, and apologies.

I think I'm happy. I think getting back into a relationship with him was the right decision, and I'm sure that once the proof of time has passed I will look back upon last night with a quiet sigh and a smile. In the meantime, you'll forgive me if I let my heart that was hardened over the last couple months be quietly cautious, viewing this wonderful thing that has happened with a measure of circumspection. I want to be happy. I want this to be as wonderful as I think it is. I want to believe that everything that was said was meant, and will be followed through. I want nothing more than for my life to feel both normal and great again. I just don't want to be hurt so badly ever again.

Looking up,

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Break Over

Baby, you're beautiful, and there's nothing wrong with you

If there's one thing I know to be true about myself, it's that if I don't start to write when the bug bites me, it won't happen. So here I am, having intended to be asleep hours ago, yet luckily for you, Interested Party, I'm going with the flow and letting the words come as they may, rather than shoving them aside and hoping I remember them later. A warning, however, for those who enjoy my often witty, watered-down so as to be generally applicable entries: I'm tired of hiding the sadder, more negative thoughts in my OtherBlog,so what follows is neither cheerful, nor especially full of wit or charm. Mostly just moping.

I think, all things considered, I've been handling the breakup rather well. I still haven't cried in public, though there have been some close calls. I've managed to change addresses, start a "new" job, see friends, catch up on my reading, and get up out of bed every day and fall asleep every night. All in all, I think I've achieved an equilibrium of "okay".

The last words I heard come out of Alex's mouth however many weeks ago were "You're going to be okay. You have to be okay. I'll be so angry with you if you're not okay." I've spent a lot of time wondering what his definition of "okay" is. Am I happy? No, not really. Not with our parting, not with my new job, not even with my new life, really. Am I a complete wreck? Of course not. I don't think I have the emotional fortitude to lock myself away and be miserable 100% of the time. I have things to do. Do I cry? Every day, still. Sometimes just a small welling up of the eyes, sometimes the sort of heartbroken sobbing that surprises myself. Am I moving on? Well, therein lies my problem, I think.

I've not been moving on. Why? Because I don't want to. I didn't--and still don't--understand why I'm suddenly single, and therefore have been refusing to make both the physical and emotional moves to get on with my life. I keep assuming that because I think breaking up with stupid as hell, that he'll come to his senses any minute now and realize it too. But then in a burst of the rare combination of narcissism and masochism I began reading my old entries here, beginning with the one I wrote the day after we kissed for the first time.

In April of '06, about a month and a half after we began dating, I wrote an entry about what I termed "the astronaut dilemma". In January of '09 I recanted my thoughts. Now, when I wrote the April '06 entry, I was going through some emotional turmoil and was, for once, letting my heart take precedence over my head. January of '09 was a cooler, more rational period of time for me, so of course I looked back upon my heart's blatherings with disdain and even a hint of embarrassment. However now, again in the throes of emotional turmoil I'm remembering the reasons behind the initial entry. Even though it's breaking my heart all over again to admit this to myself, I can acknowledge this fact: I was Alex's astronaut.

Between this revelation and an unanswered desperate, unadvisable e-mail I think I finally have the resources to let it go. I've spent the last few weeks trying to "get over it", when I really need to be "moving on". I have no idea how one goes about doing that, but I think I can actually start grieving for a relationship lost, rather than clinging to the tattered remains like there was something to salvage.

I hear Time is the healer of all things, but I still think, for now, I'm not quite "okay". I'm working on it, though. I promise.

Move Along,

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Tipping Point

Part of the charm of restaurant chains is that, in theory, no matter where you go you will always have the same experience. The same poster of Saturday Night Fever will be on the wall near the bathroom, the same items will be available on the menu and cooked in the same way every time, and the servers will all have the same personalities and be sporting the same witty slogan buttons. When you enter the hallowed halls of a TGIChilibee's, you know exactly what to expect. It's comforting.

I went into my first few days at the new Friday's with trepidation; I'm not good with change and was afraid that I wouldn't make friends. What I wasn't afraid of was the absolute culture shock I would undergo with the location change. I assumed that it wouldn't be terribly different since Bolingbrook has a large population of formerly urban or urban wannabe residents, in addition to a decent population of traveling business folk whose companies are too cheap to lodge them in Chicago proper.

Now normally weekend nights are a boon for the restaurant industry. It's date night for a lot of people, families have time to take the kids out, teenagers are free to roam with later curfews and in general it's a profitable night for both the restaurant and its tipped staff. Sure, you work your butt off but the customary 15-20% gratuity off a huge increase in sales makes for a rewarding end of the night. Friday nights in Bolingbrook, at least in the bar, were usually very busy and filled with people out to have a good time. They ate, they drank, they were merry, and they were generous.

It seems that in large cities that while the increase in business holds true to form, Friday and Saturday nights are colloquially called "amateur nights" in the industry. This because ever so frustratingly clear to me as table after table either left me nothing, or very little in the way of tips. My "guests" had absolutely no excuse. Not only were 95% of them obviously American, but the trays we put the check on have tipping guidlines printed on them in 7 different languages, the first one being English which every single one of my tables spoke. There is no excuse for anyone to tip as badly as they did this past Saturday night, unless that excuse is "being an asshole".

In addition to the demoralizing reality of making less than 8% of my sales that night, I was also surprised to learn that we employ security on weekend nights to, literally, catch people who dine and dash. I didn't understand what was going on until this burly guy called out "Did they pay?" and all the servers heads popped up like meercats and one of them sullenly went "....no." The next thing I know, burly dude physically snatched a swiftly walking teenager around the waist and bodily turned him back around toward his table with the admonition of "Pay your bill. NOW."

I was assured by both servers and management that Saturday nights are an anomoly and not to be discouraged, that people on weekdays and during lunch shifts are much nicer (and better tippers). I just find it crazy that an entire restaurant full of people can behave so poorly all at the same time. I suppose it just reinforces my theory that people operate under a hivemind.

Tip your waitresses,

Monday, July 19, 2010

Check my vital signs

Know I'm still alive, and I walk alone.

I make a lot of noise in this here weblog noting how a) I'm a notorious robot, b) sometimes that's not true, and c) marvel at how well/poorly I'm handling human emotions. I've gotten sick of it, so I'm sure that you have too, Interested Party.
So let's get this straight: Clearly, I'm not really a robot. If anything, I'm a robot impostor. I look at my even-keel and calm waters and ascribe it to Roboticism because that sounds a lot cooler being being boring and/or apathetic. As I'm maturing and experiencing a wider variety of things I'm consequently encountering emotions further out on the spectrum than usual. This really shouldn't be so baffling or fascinating to me. I think I just like to make a big deal out of the "Cathi's having an emotion!" event because, due to a lack of practice in dealing with them, I think it makes a good preemptive excuse in the likely event that I don't handle myself well.

Right now I'm experiencing a depth of emotion that, at this point in time, I don't recall ever feeling before. Even looking back on my teenage angst I'm not convinced I was ever quite this sad. It's an overwhelming sort of thing where I can still feel its tingling undercurrent below whatever activity I've immersed myself in. The BFF informed me that it's going to be an uphill battle that will oftentimes be taking it breath by shuddering breath, rather than day by day. I'm lucky in that I have some major life changes coming up that will help distract me and provide activities to occupy my mind, but I know that this is still going to be very, very difficult.

I miss him already. I'm heartbroken. I don't know how well I'm going to handle this pervasive sadness. I do know, however, that I've got it in me to be okay. So far, I've avoided crying in public which in my book is a small victory. Seester and the BFF have been beyond kind to me in the last day or so, and for that I'm eternally grateful.

Letting go of hopes,

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Feigning Adulthood

That right there is my ability to be responsible. I won it when I was 25.

As a denizen of the Internet I've been hearing a lot of buzz about the latest entry on the Hyperbole and a Half blog. It rings true for a lot of young people, I think, in that we're finding out that being a Grown Up isn't anything like what we thought it would be. I'm not too sure what I thought that Growing Up would entail, but I definitely thought, and still cling rather naively to, that at some point I will indeed be An Adult whose life consists of doing Grown Up Things.

I've been experiencing a lot of generalized anxiety recently. Some of this stems from things with The Boy being tossed abruptly out of their tattered nest of status quo and making what feels like a reckless decision to pretend to be a City Girl. When the generalized anxiety flares up and manifests itself in an acute form I tend to deal with it very badly. Getting up and facing the day means being conscious and thinking about things, so I compromise by staying in bed and brooding instead. The knot in my stomach makes it nearly impossible to eat, and thanks to the scale in my bathroom I know that two weeks ago during an acute flare up I lost 4 pounds in three days from sheer stress.

Now I've gained it all back, don't worry yourself Interested Party. The acute knot of anxiety eventually diffused into a more generalized nervous tingle throughout my body. This sort of general anxiety is handled much, much better than the Acute Onset Emotions. Somehow my body hardwired itself over the last few years to develop the natural coping mechanism of "getting my life in order" when I get stressed out.
Much like the above linked blog post (did you click it? You should have, and if you didn't here's another chance) I will go into a frenzy of doing adult-like things in order to make some semblance of order out of the chaos I feel has infused my life. I deposit my money wads into the back with more regularity. I shower more frequently and even shave my legs. I make my bed in the morning and remember to brush my teeth immediately after getting up. I make sure the kitchen is free of unsightly dirty dishes and crumbs. I do laundry and actually fold and put it away. I read books I've meant to catch up on. I re-hang the posters in my room that have fallen down. I vacuum. I make important phone calls and schedule lunch dates with friends I've neglected (because lunch dates are far more mature and Grown Up than spontaneous bar outings). I splurge on a latte from Starbucks. I make it to the gym once or twice. I go grocery shopping and buy things other than peanut butter and salad dressing.

I suppose you can't fault me for performing healthy tasks in the face of less than healthy anxiety, but I do hate that it takes extreme discomfort on an emotional level to kick me into Being a Grown Up.

Seester and I will be moving in together in a month and I have grand notions that living with her will up my Adult Behavior quota. She, for example, personalized the condo she'd only be in for 3 months within the first day or so, which included lugging almost every book she owns up three flights of stairs. I on the other hand didn't even put posters up in my room until 9 months had passed. I'm really hoping that her innate skill at living like an Adult will rub off on me.

Who am I kidding. It's likely that after a week or two she'll be yelling at me for leaving dirty dishes in the sink and my socks on the living room floor. But who knows, making such a huge change in my life might knock some tidiness into me.


Monday, June 7, 2010

You know, this could be something

You know that it all takes my breath away

There's a handful of things that I am really, truly bad at; drawing immediately comes to mind, as does the ability to have a poker-face. More abstractly, I am laughably terrible at demonstrating genuine enthusiasm, passion, or devotion to anything. I chalk this up to a massive fear of being let down--if I don't vocalize my excitement, then that somehow makes it less real, and therefore I won't be as deflated when whatever it is doesn't pass muster. Try surprising me sometime with news of something awesome (like an all-expense paid road trip to follow LBC on a nation-wide tour *cough cough*) and I guarantee that I will either seem mildly pleased, or any sort of histrionics I produce would get me kicked out of acting school.

It might come as a surprise to you, Interested Party, but I've been in a relationship for over four years. I can promise you that I'm still occasionally taken aback by the passage of time and wonder to myself how we've made it this far without breaking up at least once or growing apart. Having been 450 miles away from Fuzzy for the last year with very little scratchy-face time has given me a lot of quiet hours of reflection. While I'm not sure I'll ever be able to tell you exactly why or how we started our journey together, I have had time to find the reasons, though perhaps not the words. Words would be handy for making a convenient list that I could post on my wall for days when I get frustrated over missed calls or postponed return dates, but alas, photographic representations of his cute face have to suffice.

Last weekend I was down in Kentucky, and there was one of those moments that I just took a deep breath and vowed I would hold on to. It wasn't anything special, really. We were out to dinner, waiting an absurdly long time for what turned out to be delicious fried pickles, just enjoying our night out. We were happy, he was laughing, and we were together. I don't get to see my mountain man often these days, and having the ability to take notice of a small moment in time where we were simply coexisting and content has been a tremendous help in my not going crazy over the past year. Despite the angst it caused me, I am so ridiculously proud of that boy and what he's been doing. My life over the last few years has been made richer because of his presence, and I know that we are two very lucky people.

I love him. I miss him. I'm glad he will be home soon. I know this has all been absurdly schmoopy for this here blog, but I think it's about time that I started loosening my death grip on my feelings and letting them have visitations with other people. They need to be socialized.

1571+, 10?-, 17-, 33-,

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I Am Still Praying For Revolution

she still doesn't have what she deserves
but she wakes up smiling every day
she never really expected more

Being a girl is hard, ya'll.

Since I've been retired from college I've had a lot more free time on my hands to scrutinize every aspect of my life and find Internet Validation to back me up on it. I've traditionally been considered more robot than woman, but lately a lot of things have jumped out of the most well-lit of alleyways to remind me that I am, in fact, a girl and that society at large views me as such.

There's different levels of this, naturally. On the most basic of levels, adhering to societal standards for female beauty and behavior is work. Expensive work, at that. Through the miracles of a combination of genetics and luck, I've been blessed with a generally socially acceptable body and face. I don't face harassment from men and women alike like many, many women do for not falling into society's narrow definition of how a woman should look, but I do feel constant pressure to "be better". I could very much stand to lose my tummy flub, to spend a little extra time on my hair, to tone down my glaring paleness (especially since my skin tone is less "ivory" and more "sickly"), or to have a less lackadaisical approach to selecting my make-up and wardrobe. Even from where I stand at a privileged status-quo with society, achieving any of the above goals requires time, effort, and money that quite frankly I'm not willing to invest at this point in time. I can't imagine the sheer logistics that a bulkier, less-conventional, poorer, and more track-suited woman faces when contending with these same obstacles. God forbid that any of us forget to shave our legs during this quest for societal acceptance.

And that's just the aesthetic value of American females. While there's numerous problematic ways that women are expected to behave (I'm looking at you, "women who are assertive and successful are bitches and shrews"), the one that really gets me is the expectation to be nice and pleasant in the face of being treated like objects. This is rarely as blatant as the old man who once asked a (male) coworker of mine how much he would have to tip for a (female) coworker to accompany him out to his car. That sort of obvious objectification is blessedly dealt with swiftly, harshly, and with great justice. I cannot count the number of times, however, that strangers have told me to smile or laid their hands on me for no reason. I am constantly being touched by friends and strangers alike whether it's just to get my attention by gently grabbing my elbow or shoulder, or to force me to come closer by guiding me by the waist or hips. I've had bar patrons reach out and grab my hand from me to look to see what note I've scribbled in ink on the back and I've had complete strangers put their arms around my shoulders to move me out of their way. While this sort of thing isn't nearly as damaging or offensive as a male coworker being offered money for my services, it is still insidious and indicative of the general mindset that my body belongs to the general public to be both manhandled and commented upon.

The rub here is that if I try to take control of myself by, say, snatching my hand out of bar seat 605's clammy clutch and telling him "please don't touch me, dude. I'm display model only" then I will be viewed as an uptight bitch. I once asked a random bar patron "why?" when he told me to smile. His response? "You're a pretty girl, you should smile!" I know he thought he was just being nice and giving me a compliment but the implication that a) if I were ugly I wouldn't need to smile since I wouldn't be pleasing to look at in the first place and b) my lack of smile was somehow ruining his enjoyment of my presence is appalling.

All this, of course, is not new to me; just old wounds resurfacing after a recent incident made me question my minimally-enlightened view of myself and the world around me. I know that there's still a lot of work to do, both internally and societally, when my first reaction to a male friend aggressively pursuing my, um, "company" was guilt (guilt!). As if I had done something wrong by being present and female and still having the audacity to resist his advances.

Ordinarily I try not to bring up various -isms in this blog, or anywhere for that matter, because not only am I largely uneducated about them but I also feel like I'm not telling you, Interested Party, who is likely of my generation, anything you've never heard before. We're all fairly enlightened about the comparative unfairness of gender relations in our nation, to varying degrees of concern or notice, and I feel a bit silly pointing them out. Sometimes, though, I get a bit rage-y and a blog entry pops out. So here we are.

N'me touchez pas!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hard lessons, and love

Questions of science, science and progress, do not speak as loud as my heart

My very first memory, something pieced together with bits of actual recollections and photographs, is of Linda being born. They put me in hospital regulation animal pajamas and were very forceful about me washing my hands before going in to meet my new baby sister. I was extremely indignant, my sense of pride very strong for a not-yet 2 year-old, that the nurse assumed I was a dirty child. I remember snuggling next to my mom in the hospital bed, looking at the tiny, red-faced bundle in her arms, and being told that I was a Big Sister now; I had Responsibilities.

Most people don't have solid memories of their lives that young, and most of my other memories of early childhood are simply hazy remembrances of an emotion, a snatch of a sentence, or mash of very similar events that have blended into one. Kudos to Wee Martin for making such a big impression.

One thing I have precious few memories of is that of my parents being together. My mom and dad divorced when I was very young, and I feel that it's safe to say that all I've known, really, is a two-family life.

In my line of work I will get asked about my personal life from completely impersonal people. I always answer truthfully (albeit with brevity) and so on the odd occasion where it's merited mention, I will tell people my parents got divorced when I was but a wee little sprog. The universal response is "I'm sorry, that must have been hard", to which I surprise people with the counter-response of "not really, actually." I like to think that I've grown into a mature, sensible, well-rounded person who is doing her parents proud, and I neither attribute this to, nor feel it is in spite of the early separation. It is simply How It Is.

I've encountered very few issues being a child of divorce. The only major hiccup I can recall is my bff across the street not being allowed to come out and play anymore because her parents didn't want her associating with divorced riff-raff, and the only real emotional scar I can put my finger on is the tendency to question the viability of long-term relationships.

The benefit of having my faith in the almighty Love and Marriage shaken so young is that I've had a very long time to work through it. I've seen both the ugliness and the happiness that can result from a separation, and I have the wisdom to know that it will, in time, get better. I learned very early on that one relationship is not a barometer for others; just because my parent's couldn't work it out doesn't mean my friend's parents can't either, and just because my friend's parents were happy and in love doesn't mean that my parents were somehow less happy or loving. Every person, every experience, and every relationship is different and it took a lot of observation and questioning in my formative years to realize that there is no Golden Rule for relationships. It will work, or it won't. That is all.

Most importantly, especially as I've gotten older and my parents have had both time and distance to heal their old, deep wounds, I have learned that an unhappy ending doesn't invalidate the happy years that preceded it. My mom will come across a recipe card and wistfully remember how my paternal grandmother was so darn good at it, and wonder aloud if my father would like to have it back (you know, 20 years after the divorce). My dad will laughingly recall how once my mother was mortified when he got angry at a Sears salesperson over car repairs. Even though it ended badly and took a long, long while to smooth over, my parents had, at one time, a good relationship. That has been my hardest lesson to learn. Though there were fights and court dates, kid-shuffling and FAFSA disagreements, the 17 years of marriage they had before all this mess was still worthwhile. Once, they were happy, and that long-irrelevant emotion and memory doesn't just vanish into the ether when the bond does.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

On Counting Calories

Diet Coke and pizza please

Kate Moss once said that "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels", and I had this concept in the back of my mind while on this Squish-loss quest. I kept mental tabs about my happiness re: appearance, physical exertion, and food choices. At the end of my fitness experiment I came to the conclusion that the only good part about semi-intense exercise was how good stretching felt at the end, and that following a Very Healthy diet make me intensely unhappy.

I had mixed feelings about the few physical changes I had. My face was almost imperceptibly thinner, which I think made me look more my age than like the high schooler I occasionally get mistaken for. I was slightly less depressed about the number the scale was showing me. My ab muscles were actually getting used, therefore my squishy abdomen was lifted up, making me look "effortlessly" better in some of my clothes. My arms were gaining definition, which I felt made them look bigger rather than less-flabby. I was sleeping less (which, in the grand scheme of sleeping 10+ hours a day is an improvement).

In essence: after time had passed and effort was made, I was happier about my body when I looked in the mirror. I also took more showers by virtue of sweating profusely 5-6 times a week.

Once personal training was over and I no longer had to create food logs to show to a judgmental PT, I was immensely relieved. I didn't have to eat food I found bland. I didn't have to stress over whether I was getting 30 billion grams of protein a day. I didn't have to feel guilty about ordering buffalo wings or having peanut butter toast for breakfast. And so my rapid descent into PTSD (post-training sloth disorder) began. My last training session was just about a month ago, and I think I've made it to the gym about once a week since. Surprisingly, I'm feeling guilty about it, as well as feeling pangs of guilt when contemplating unhealthy food choices.

So while it turns out that TGiFriday's green chile sauce and brownie obsession, Spicy Sweet Chile Doritos, and really good bleu cheese dressing do, in fact, taste better than being skinny feels, losing that good-skinny feeling due to relaxing ab muscles and increasing scale numbers feels worse than a 100% tasty but erratic diet and the guilt that goes along with staying on the couch watching crime drama instead of going to the gym. So it seems some sort of compromise is in order, because seriously; life is not worth living if Applebee's french onion soup is off-limits, but I really don't want to sabotage all of the hard work I put in over the last few months.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Two Thousand and Ten, Common Era

I like to make myself believe that planet Earth turns slowly

Well well well, if it isn't my old arch-nemesis: blogging in a timely manner.

I really, truly have no excuse. It's not like my life has been prohibitively busy or so filled with excitement and adventure that I simply cannot find the time. Mostly I've just lost inspiration, I think. Well, that, and sheer laziness. It's way easier just to click aimlessly around the Intertubes and occasionally use my scroll button than to hoist my keyboard onto my lap and wiggle my fingers in a meaningful way.

What this means is not only have I not written in almost 2 months, but I'm also 10 days late for my 2009 recap/2010 wish-list. I suppose in all fairness, I was in New York for the turn of the decade so an appropriately-dated entry was out of the question, but I could have been more prompt. Sorry.

I'm still at that stage in life where at the turn of every year I marvel at how long ago the last new year celebration seems. I've heard this vastly diminishes post-college, but I don't know, man. January 2009 feels very far away. It's no longer strange to say "President Obama", I paid off my student loans in full, I bought my car off mom (also in full), both The Boy and Seester finished college, I'm already halfway done being in a LDR, I moved, and took what seems to now be an annual winter road trip, this time to New York City (though I suppose both "last year's" winter road trip to D.C. for the inauguration was also in 2009).

But for now, let's review 2009.

2009 "Wish List" Recap
-Find a "real job" that will allow me to simply bartend as a supplement, not staple
Failure, though largely to a lack of trying. I sent out my resume a few times but I'll be honest--I've been too content with my current lot in life to try too hard.
-Get my own place
Success! 3 boys and I have a house together, which we take adequate care of.
-Keep the boyfriend (a task far less whimsical and much, much scarier this year)
Success! It seems that The Boy and I are doing so well together that everyone except for the two of us were convinced I'd come back from NYC with an engagement ring.
-Work on developing a healthier routine (improved diet, any exercise, better habits, etc...)
Believe it or not, success! Hiring a personal trainer was a good idea. I lost a little bit of weight, and learned how to eat well and developed an exercise ethic.
-Never carry a balance on my AmEx card
Success! Though I'm notoriously fiscally responsible, so this was more of a reminder to keep it up, rather than some sort of difficult quest.
-Dress more adult-like
Debatable success. I own more dresses and nice tops and jewelry, though my attire today would indicate nothing of the sort.
-Write almost every day, in some form
Faaaaaaiiiiiiillure. Big time. Unless writing down people's food orders counts (it doesn't).
-Listen to newer, better music
Also a debatable success. I definitely started listening to newer music. The jury's split on whether Lady Gaga and Jay Sean qualify as "better".

2010 is perturbing me on a number of levels. It's an unattractive number. There, I said it. It doesn't flow well when writing, and is especially difficult to type when using the top-row number keys (though almost delightful to type on the number pad). You can't make eyes out of the middle numbers anymore (and we can't wear those fun glasses for NYE anymore), and it marks the beginning of people commonly stating the date as "twenty-something" rather than "two-thousand-something", which my ears find irritating (ear-itating? Har har).

Additionally this year is really feeling like the year I have to Figure It Out. In April The Boy will be finished with his long-term volunteering. I'm sick and tired from being away from him for the majority of our relationship, so organizing our lives in some fashion where we can actually like, be together, is at the top of my priority list. This means, you know, living in the same town or nearly the same town which means we're going to have to Talk and we all know how much I hate Talking About Stuff. I'm also sick and tired of feeling like a professional/academic failure, brought about by doing nothing re: my BA for almost 2 years now. This means knuckling down and finding a "real job", which is scary, ya'll.

Things I Hope Come to Pass in '10
-Get out to Oregon to visit SB
-Move to Chicago with Seester
-Get a Real Job (I'd love NPR or Q101, but I'm not picky) Caveat: acceptable alternative--go to grad school
-Stick with The Boy
-Keep up the healthy habits
-Grow my hair all long(er) and sexy-like
-Go to at least one wedding. Everyone keeps getting married and no one ever invites me!
-Write more

So here's to a new decade, Interested Party. I'm feeling motivated and optimistic, albeit scared shitless, and I hope all your Two-thousand-and-Ten dreams come true.

IKEA Bed Set,