Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye, 2009. I Will Not Miss You.

It seems to be the resounding theme lately for everyone to be anxiously waiting for the end of this shiteous year.

I am also one of these haters of 2009, and it brings me great joy in thinking that in just 14 short hours, a clean slate will be made and we can all start anew.
This is all theoretical, of course, because tomorrow is really just another day (well, it'll be a fabulous day off and hopefully a win for my Oregon Ducks in the Rose Bowl!).

Not to take away from the people who have it much worse than I do, but some pretty crappy things happened to me this year: my parents lost their house to foreclosure, my heart was majorly broken for the 345th time, my stress level shot through the roof with my previous roommate situation, my cousin is going through cancer treatment, a trip to Oregon was ruined by drama, I dealt with bitchy girls, I was reminded just how much my ex-boyfriends don't miss me, I went on charity dates that left me dejected and Christmas was pretty much a bust.

Of course, there were many good moments that happened this year that should not be overshadowed by my pessimism: my parents live in a great home now that's perfect for them, my heart rebounds a lot better than I've ever given myself credit for, I went to two beautiful weddings, I figured out what the hell was wrong with Cammie's barfing problem, I moved out on my own into a place I adore, I mended a broken friendship, my good friend gave birth to an adorable baby girl, I went on hands-down the best vacation ever in SoCal with my family, I met new people that gave me hope that good hearts do exist, my old co-worker Laura rejoined us at the office, I learned job appreciation, I successfully presented on domestic violence/sexual assault for WEAVE to various groups in the community, I took a creative writing class and I decided that being single isn't so bad.

I have no idea what to expect in 2010 - I'm changing my mind all the time, but I do want to start thinking seriously about grad school. First step - studying for the GRE! I might look into taking some yoga or pilates classes also. Another thing I hope to do is move in with my friend Erica! I think living with a friend might be a good thing for me - I can do the living alone thing, but it's nice to come home to someone :) Another wish of mine is to re-do my Oregon trip - I may go in June for a reunion with some old PR mates and dorm buddies!

My plans tonight include going out downtown with a group of people, most of whom I don't know. But I do know I'll be ending the year in style - with vodka!

We'll see what happens in 2010....as long as the good outweighs the bad, I'll be OK.

Happy New Year, everybody!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Winter Wonderland

I've been wondering lately what my plan is. I've always had some goal in mind or something to aspire to, and lately I feel like I'm just stuck and not really going anywhere.

Everything at work is going great. I'm busy, motivated (usually) and the days go by pretty quickly. But I just wonder what my purpose is. What am I meant to do in this world? Yes, I'm 23 and have time to think about it. But I've never been one to sit still and just let things happen to me - I'm usually the one making things happen.

My volunteering with WEAVE has kind of slowed down (although I'm presenting at a workshop in a week), so maybe I need to pick up another volunteering endeavor.

In other, more exciting news, Christmas is right around the corner! We celebrated yesterday at work by going to Fat's for our office lunch. Yes, we went to Fat's, the place where I gave that perv an apple dumpling. No spotting of said perv, thankfully!

The lunch was delectable, as usual - I ate almost an entire slice of the banana cream pie all by myself! We were joined by 4 "surprise guests," as my boss put it. This included 2 former employees and 2 people we work with every now and again. It was a blast! Especially the part when my co-worker mentioned buying his spouse a gun for Christmas, and one of our special guests inquired, "Is that for use or for pleasure?" Oh, wow. I laughed uncontrollably at that point.

The only downside was I was so full for the rest of the day. And the worst part - I'm so lazy that I didn't work it off today! But my excuse is that this is the holiday season - you're supposed to indulge and be merry.

I spent my Friday night at my grandma's house with my aunt and cousin. We talked politics and watched "Confessions of a Shopaholic." LOVE that movie! My grandma is just a riot - she has this abhorrence for spearmint gum, and she could smell it in my purse all the way in the other room! Ahhh, my precious Grams is 84 and still quite the whipper-snapper.

I came home and did one of my favorite things - curling up on the couch with my afghan blanket (thanks for that, sis!), snacking and watching girly movies. Last night's choice was "Mean Girls." Ever the classic and one of my faves. It still makes me laugh! It was briefly interrupted by drunk text messages from this guy friend of mine. He's been texting me lately and asked me the other day if we were going to hang out this weekend. I totally would if I knew it would be just a friend thing, but I get the distinct feeling that this fool expects more. Ugh, so annoying! Why does everything have to be a booty call? Doesn't anyone just want to talk anymore? Apparently not.

And the irritating part is this guy wasn't even trying hard to make it a booty call. I mean, if you're trying to woo me, at least put in a little effort, buddy! No sweet talk or niceness. Just him putting on the macho bravado that I LOATHE, expecting me to just run to him and rip my clothes off. Not gonna happen.

The only good thing about this whole scenario is that it shows my improvement over the last couple years. Had this been awhile back, I might take the attention as flattery and worry about hurting this guy's feelings by turning him down. Not the case anymore! I'm so fed up with assholes and absolutely more certain now about the kind of guy I'd like to date, that my standards have been raised and my bullshit tolerance is slowly waning. Finally!

I don't always want to be this nice girl that guys can walk all over. Yes, I have a long way to go considering there are certain people (a certain person, really) who have this way of melting me down, even when I make up my mind to move on. I frustrate myself sometimes, but I feel like I'm more in touch with reality than I ever have been. Even if I still have a long way to go, that minor improvement means a lot to me.

So what do I do to help keep me in line? I concentrate on family (like going to visit my grandma) and friends - I'm headed to my friend Erica's family Christmas party tonight in Auburn. I can't wait! She has a wonderful family, and nothing fills my heart up more than being surrounded by happy people - and food!

I'll end this entry with a quaint little Christmas story - Cammie decided to give me my present early this year.....a nice little poop right outside her litter box and then about 4 little dingleberries dispersed throughout the bathroom. Season's greetings!

Monday, December 14, 2009

If You Don't Shmooze, You Lose

I was feeling a bit dejected earlier today. My boss gave us all the assignment to each send out 10 Christmas cards to anyone we wanted (business-related), rather than us sending dozens as a whole.

Ten cards sounded simple enough. And then I began to make my list in my notebook.

Let's see, there's the nice lady that I chat with at the local newspaper office here. There's a small client of ours that I mostly deal with, and then there's another client that would seem appropriate for me to send a card to.

And....

I couldn't think of anyone else.

How sad that I am a work loner! This is what I get for not shmoozing. Anytime I've gone to Sacramento Public Relations Association events, I get shy and don't always talk up everyone. I do meet many nice people, and I can talk to strangers. I guess I just never take that next step in forming a business relationship. I guess that would make me single in the work world, as well as in real life.

Sheesh, I need to step my game up!

Thankfully, my boss and co-worker both came to my rescue and helped me come up with a few other folks. Now I'm up to 9. I thought about addressing one to our UPS guy, but that idea was quickly poo-poo'd. Maybe the dry cleaning guy that comes in? OK, now I'm just pushing it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Baby Fever

I never saw myself as one of those baby-crazy girls who are just dying to get married and have one. As someone with acute emetaphobia (fear of vomiting), the idea of morning sickness frightens me more than actual labor.

But now I've had my first newborn encounter, and I've totally got the baby fever!

My friend Serena gave birth yesterday to beautiful little Sadie, and I went to visit her after work. This was the first newborn I've ever held, and it was just the most enchanting thing ever! I wanted to just take her home and cuddle forever (which Serena told me I could until she was 3, when those terrible 2's are over).

I also started watching some new reality show on MTV called "Teen Mom," which follows 4 teenage girls who gave birth while still in high school. Obviously their situations are difficult given their young ages, but it's still amazing to watch these girls forge into motherhood and basically become adults quicker than their peers.

So it's just babies, babies, babies everywhere! And I want one! OK, OK. I know I'm still young (and single). A husband would probably be a good first step. I've got plenty of time for that, but I must say, I'm really looking forward to when I'm in that stage of my life. I used to envy men because they aren't burdened with all of the stuff we women are. Now I actually feel sorry for them because they will never understand that mother-child bond.

I even got to see the whole breastfeeding process yesterday. Holy Hanukkah, I'm scared for that part. And for all those little tricks of the trade and knowing how to do everything and what every cry means, etc. I freak out when Cammie makes a weird coughing sound or yaks up her food!

Hmmm, maybe my baby fever has broken. While exciting, it's also very daunting and scary! I don't want to screw up a little person. Sigh....I guess it's good that I'm nowhere near ready for that stage.

Dad, you can breathe a sigh of relief.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Well If Dr. Oz Recommends It

I've been dealing with a stupid cold the past few days, which worsened this weekend. I was all congested and phlegmy, and after lamenting about my situation on Facebook, my aunt recommended I try a neti pot.

I'd heard of them but swore I would never try it - who wants to flush water up their nose on purpose? I've used nasal spray before, which was weird, but I had to admit that I felt better after doing it. My congestion was pretty horrible, so I was willing to go to great lengths to clearing up, even if it meant sticking a tea pot up my nose.

So I bought a neti pot kit at CVS for $10. I examined the directions and was relieved that there was no snorting or forcing the water up my nose. It basically lets gravity do the work - you tilt your head forward over the sink, place the pot in one nostril, and then rotate your head to one side so that the saline solution flushes through your nasal passages and comes out your other nostril.

It was definitely one of the weirdest things I've done! But it wasn't as bad as I'd thought. It's definitely not something you want to do with someone watching. My eyes watered profusely, and I felt like I had one long snot drip coming out of my nose (now there's a visual for you).

I gotta say - it felt great afterward! I could breathe finally. I read on the package that it's good for people with allergies too. And my Internet research beforehand revealed that Dr. Oz recommends it. Apparently it's part of some old yoga practice.

So enough about my gross nose issues.

Despite my cold, I headed over to Marilyn's last night to celebrate her birthday. Our elementary school friends Serena and Erica came, which was awesome! I had a good time, although I stayed longer than I should have - I need as much sleep as possible right now :/ But it was worth it!

Marilyn seemed to have a good time (minus too many jaeger bombs), so that's good. I love the company of good friends and meeting new people. The only downside is that I'm not much of a partier, and when you're around people who want you to drink, you get harrassed. But I stood my ground, which is good because I feel great today! Thankfully Serena is pregnant, so I wasn't the only sober one there :)

Today I'm headed to a memorial service for an old friend of my dad's. He was only in his 50s - very sad. My family is driving down now, and we're going to meet for lunch beforehand. I love seeing my fam, even if it is under sad circumstances.

I read in the Sacramento Bee that it might snow in Sacramento tomorrow! Whoa, that would be outrageous. It is quite frigid outside. Ugh, is springtime here yet?

Friday, December 4, 2009

People We're Fortunate to Know

Every now and again, I find myself getting down about our country's current state of affairs - an economy in the toilet, people close to me getting laid off or not able to find work, civil rights injustices. I read news headlines every day, and many times it's just a bummer. I know the news is reality, but when will things be truly good again?

Then there are days when I'm able to find the postives in all this mess. For me, this mostly lies in some of the fantastic people that I am fortunate to know.

My co-worker Sofia is one of these people.

A previous client of ours nailed it on the head - she said Sofia is the "sunshine of the office." And it's so true! Never does a day go by that Sofia doesn't have a smile on her face, a great attitude and just overall determination to make each day count. She really is an inspiration to me, and she's one of the main reasons I love coming to work every day.

Tomorrow is her birthday, so we celebrated it today in the office. First, the celebration began yesterday when Bill took the office out for lunch to John's Incredible Pizza. For those who don't know what this magical place is - well, simply put, you're missing out. It's a pizza and salad buffet mixed with arcade games. Sounds like Chuck E. Cheese, but it's more adult-friendly (they serve alcohol and have ESPN on in one of the banquet rooms) and 2,000 times better! We ate some lunch and then hit up our office's favorite (and probably most nerdy) arcade attraction - the trivia game.

Last night, I came back to work after Sofia had left so I could decorate her office. I decided on a Tiffany & Co. theme (her favorite!). I got a lot of cute engagement ring items from the bridal section at Party City, and then mixed it with light blue and white crepe paper. I even made a sign for her door that said "Welcome to Sofia & Co."

This was such a small gesture - I wish I could give Sofia the world! She deserves it! I always tell her that she reminds me of my mom. She's just one of those rare people who sees the good in everything, is nice to everyone they meet (and genuine about it), and just has the biggest heart. I always ask my mom, "Is there anyone that doesn't like you?" It's the same way with Sofia. She is the definition of a gem!

Laura brought in a cake that she got from Nugget Market - a yummmmmy fruit basket cake - and we all ate together in the conference room (which I'd decorated in Tiffany colors as well). Overall, a great Friday!

I'm looking forward to this weekend (who isn't?). I'm going to catch up on some must-needed sleep, plus celebrate the birthdays of 2 other friends of mine!

I know Thanksgiving is over, but I just want to say there is so much to be thankful for!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

OMG Twilight

The 12 year old in me has been let loose ever since "New Moon" came out last week.

I decided to not see it at the midnight premier (I can't go to bed at 3 a.m. on a work night!) or on Friday night (too many 'tweens all at once). Instead, I opted for the first showing Saturday morning at 10 a.m. I even got the early bird special price! Score!

I'm happy I saw it by myself the first time around because with a friend there I might have been distracted and missed things in the moving because of chatting. Watching alone I was able to completely concentrate (because, you know, the plot is so complex) and take in every single moment!

Oh, and how it was magical. One of the first scenes when you see Edward and he walks in slow motion - WOW! I call it "New Swoon!" I couldn't help but just love every minute of the movie.

And yes, critics will call out how cheesy it is and how it sucks. But really, the movie was made for a certain demographic, and it succeeds at doing exactly what the books do - you're mesmerized the whole time and just want it to keep going!

We all know the books are no masterpieces, as far as the snooty literary community would conclude. But just the fact that a regular ol' housewife can create these characters that people can envision and fall in love with is ingenious in its own right. I'm not one to re-read books because there are so many out there that I want to check out, but I'm going to make an exception and read the series again!

Oh, and P.S. I saw the movie again last night (this time not alone - I'm not that sad), and I'm probably going to see it for a third time later this week with my mom and sister. I guess I now fall into that category of the aptly named "Twi-hards." Love it!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Made in China...I Shoulda Known

I almost blew up my apartment last night.

I got this crazy idea to bake a cheesecake last night, so I hit up Super Wal-Mart for the ingredients as well as an electric mixer, since I didn't own one.

Imagine my amazement when I found a handheld mixer for only $6 and some change! Ahh, the magic of child labor.

I swooped that puppy up and went on my merry way to bake.

Within 2 minutes of mixing my cream cheese, sugar, flour and vanilla, I witnessed a huge spark and the mixer started smoking. I promptly turned the thing off, as a creepy, dangerous smell wafted through my kitchen.

This wasn't looking good.

After unplugging the piece of crap and waiting a few minutes, I decided to try it again. Poof! A large spark and then smoke.

I decided it was probably best if I just carry on and mix the damn thing by hand. I'm hoping it turned out OK and that there aren't random chunks of egg or sour cream in the cake.

I guess I shouldn't expect anything less - the thing was made in China and only cost me 6 doll-hairs! I've now put an electric mixer (preferably a trustworthy brand-named one) on my Christmas list.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Something Good About Sarah Palin (Crazy, I Know)

So far, my week has been a pretty good one, with just a couple interesting little tidbits.

For one, I unfortunately missed Sarah Palin on "Oprah" on Monday (damn DVR didn't record for some reason!), but thankfully I read about it online and watched clips.

I know this may sound wild, but I actually kind of like her!

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Now don't go thinking I've switched political parties or that I'm now championing Sarah Palin as my feminist icon. Let me make it clear - I still absolutely in no way support Sarah Palin as a political figure. I would never vote for her for president, and I still disagree with her on numerous accounts.

What I mean by liking her is that she is very charming and personable. I can see why so many Republicans (and women) are drawn to her - she is well spoken and appears smarter than the average person.

Don't get me wrong - I still find her completely inept as a leader (who quits her post as the leader of a state with obvious intentions of later leading the country? Totally bizarre to me). My guess is that million-dollar book deal she got might have had something to do with her resignation.

This also brings me to why I disagree with her ethics - she laments about all of the lawsuits filed against her for breach of ethics, but these claims had to come from somewhere, right? And are you really doing your patriotic duty of helping people by resigning as a governor making maybe $100,000 annually and opting to be a "regular" citizen with a $1 million+ salary? That definitely makes me question where her priorities are.

But I must say, I don't despise her as a person, surprisingly. Now Rush Limbaugh and George Bush - yeah, I can say that I have trouble finding any redeeming qualities with those two.

Now my only hope for Sarah is that 1) she disappears into oblivion so we can all forget about her, or 2) she runs in 2012 - an Obama-Palin debate would be quite the knee-slapper! She wouldn't stand a chance.

In other news, today I got vaccinated for H1N1 at work - woo hoo! I know a lot of people are resisting the shot, but from what I've been reading (and what the doc told us today), the swine flu is no joke. It's survivable, yes, but I'd rather not risk missing a week of work.

I also discovered recently that I was defriended by someone on Facebook. Ahh, yes. The oh-so-challenging world of online friendships. I know I shouldn't be hurt by this because, let's face it, it's just Facebook for crying out loud! But it does kind of come off like a slap in the face. I guess I'm really not sure why I was deleted, although I can attest to doing some deletions of my own lately. I recently went through my friends and deleted numerous people that I never talked to, met once a long time ago or who just always posted really annoying things that I never cared to read.

I'm a sensitive person, so it does sting a little to be deleted, but I guess I just need to accept that some people don't like me. It's better to just focus on the people who do like me - and those who love me! Like my family, for example. I'm so thrilled to visit home next week for Thanksgiving! We're celebrating my mom's birthday by going to Kelly Clarkson (8th row, baby!) and we might even go see "New Moon" if the theater isn't taken over by 'tweens.

Looking forward to the holidays! Only one more week to go!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Hiney Flu

I was nervous this past Friday that I might have the H1N1 flu (dubbed "hiney" by my sister - those 1's look like i's. Not to mention, apparently the virus kicks you in the hiney).

I was scheduled to cover for my co-worker on Friday and go in early. Thursday night I started to feel a little under the weather, but I assumed I just needed some sleep and I'd be hunky dory.

Well, I woke up at 3 a.m. scorching hot (in temperature, not looks, naturally). I stumbled out of bed and took my temp - 100 point something degrees! (This may not seem hot to some people, but my temp runs cold on this particular thermometer - like 97 degrees).

When my alarm went off at 6, I knew I couldn't go to work. Even if I could muster up the strength, I was still feverish, therefore contagious.

I felt really guilty calling in sick - for some reason, I feel like I should just push through things sometimes and suck it up. I don't want to appear like I'm not dedicated, especially since some of my co-workers have worked when they were sick. Plus, I was filling in for someone, so it was doubly inconvenient to miss work.

Then I reminded myself that no one else is going to look out for me - only me. And proper rest will heal me faster than if I push through it.

In the end, I was extremely glad I didn't go to work. I got progressively worse throughout the day. My fever remained, as did my head congestion. Then the severe body aches arrived - I felt like I'd just worked out for hours with Billy Blanks (minus actually seeing any results). I could barely move, let alone get up and make food.

Ugh, to be honest, it made me wish I had a boyfriend! Then someone would be there to make me soup and be there for my every beck and call. My mom used to give me a bell to ring so she could hear me in my room (what a gem!). Sadly, I was left alone with Cammie, who kept trying to cuddle with me, but I was too hot for any such affection.

I did catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror - that made me thankful I didn't have a boyfriend. Yikes. If I couldn't even make food, a shower was obviously lower in priority. I was not lookin'/smellin' pretty.

The good news is that it appears it wasn't swine flu. My fever broke that night (I basically swam in my own sweat all night - even had to change my shirt at 4 a.m. - ewwww), and by Saturday night I was feeling much more functional.

Thankfully I went back to work today. My days of rest were necessary, yes, but ultimately boring. I like being in tip top shape where I can actually be productive.

Work is super busy this week. Also, tomorrow I have my creative writing class. The professor asked 2 people to volunteer to have their stories read by the whole class tomorrow and then critiqued. I volunteered last week, in my typical overachiever fashion, so hopefully everyone likes it! And if not, I do appreciate the feedback.

Other than that, not too much is new. The new Twilight movie comes out this Friday, and yes I already have my ticket to go see it (on Saturday morning though). I can't wait!

Oh, and I won't be getting the hiney flu this year - someone is coming in on Wednesday to vaccinate us at work! Never thought I'd look forward to a shot.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Textiquette

I've always wondered if there was some manual out there for text etiquette in certain situations. It would really help me out.

One time I got a text from a guy I had a crush on, and it was our first time texting. We didn't know each other that well, so it's not like we had a lot of conversation topics to cover.

As a fan of the show "Tough Love," I remembered an episode where the matchmaker host told the girls that they should only text guys "need-to-know" things, such as "I'm running 20 minutes late" or "Friday works for me."

I blatantly ignored those rules and ended up texting this crush about my cat's barfing problem and gum.

Why, oh why, do I have diarrhea of the mouth, or rather fingers in this case?? Couldn't I just have responded simply and called it a day? Nope, because I like to embarrass myself. His responses to me were minimal and then kaput.

I admit that my feelings are hurt when I text someone and they don't write back. C'mon, all I'm asking for is a little acknowledgment! I mean, it's fine if the conversation is done, but if someone blatantly ignores me, well it just bugs.

Oh, and don't even get me started on my pet peeve of one-worded text messages. What a waste! Note to anyone out there who texts me: don't just write back "Cool" or "OK." Even a little ol' smiley face will do.

I know not everyone is a texter. Some people can hold long, massive, drawn-out conversations via text. Others prefer to stick to the basics. I'd like to think of myself as somewhere in between. I like to send back a couple here and there with people, like if I think of something funny to tell them. It's also good for making plans and checking in on friends without having to talk on the phone for 2 hours.

I'm still unsure how to follow text protocol when it comes to guys. I don't want to be too annoying and reveal my whole life story in 140-character long increments, but I also want to show off more of my personality than a generic "I'm doing well, thanks."

I guess there's really no in-between for me. It's either boring, mundane responses or my TMI cat barfing drama. FML.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Job Appreciation

Given the current economic climate, I've been hearing a lot of people saying, "Well I'm just glad to have a job right now."

That is definitely true for me, but this past month, I've learned more about why I really do love my job - and not just simply because it pays the bills.

I went to a mix and mingle event last week for PR professionals, mostly just to hang out with a friend of mine there (I know, I know - PR is all about networking and meeting new people). But honestly, I wasn't really in the mood to shmooze and talk career stuff.

There were a couple "in between opportunities" people there (a.k.a. unemployed), and it brought me back to the days when I was moving from the Bay Area and looking for work in Sacramento. Finding a good PR job in Sacramento is tough, not to mention when the economy tanks, it's even harder. I had to talk to people a certain way, ask certain questions, put my best foot forward, collect business cards like it was nobody's business. Basically, I had to kiss a lot of ass. It was horrible!

So I really feel for the people who've been unexpectedly thrown back into the whole job hunting thing. It sucks, plain and simple.

When I was looking for work here, I was really willing to work anywhere. I'd been told that my first "real" job after college didn't matter (as far as "making or breaking" my career), so I was open to working anywhere where someone said "yes." Imagine my luck when I ended up at my current job.

Now, this isn't me trying to brag and talk about how perfect my career is. There are some things I wouldn't mind changing, and I second-guess myself and my path all the time. But sometimes it takes hard times to really make you re-shift your thinking and see things in a positive light.

All of the things I would complain about when it came to work have lately seemed petty and irrelevant. I see people moving on up at their jobs, and it really made me question if I was learning enough or at the right place.

But when it comes down to it, who cares what my title is? And so what if I'm not 2 steps from becoming VP? I don't meet famous, wealthy people, and I don't name drop my clients. My job involves some administrative work that some would classify as "below" my job title. But in the grand scheme of things, who cares??

I guess I did for awhile there, and I think I lost sight of what's important. I work at a small firm, where everyone is tight-knit and close. We get along, and we don't have the trouble of office politics or cliques. No one is power-hungry here, willing to step on anyone's toes just to make it to the top. I work with 5 of the best people I've ever met, and I can honestly say that I genuinely like every single one of them. They each have something about them that I can learn from, and that learning takes time. I've only been here not even 2 years, and I have a long way to go.

I just need to remind myself why I'm here - we do great work for our clients, and I almost always enjoy coming into work every day (I'll admit, it's tough on Mondays, but once I'm there, I'm always happy to come in).

I've just got to keep that in mind next time I'm making copies, scanning or putting items in the mail. I once heard a good quote: "You are right where you're supposed to be." (Maybe it was a fortune cookie or something). Oh, how true that is.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work

I'm currently taking a creative writing class at a local community college here, and this morning I received an e-mail updating students on a sexual battery incident that happened on the main campus yesterday.

Apparently, a male "grinded" himself on a female in the parking lot in the middle of the day before slapping her on her bum and then taking off.

First off all, what the hell?

Why would anyone do this to someone? Go rub yourself on a tree trunk, for crying out loud!

Second of all, why in the middle of the day at 2 p.m.?

It's just so frustrating that things like this happen. And don't even get me started on the whole gang rape incident that happened in Richmond, Calif. last week. Makes me sick.

The e-mail from my school asked if anyone had more details on the incident. Then it offered these safety tips:

--Stay alert to your surroundings and keep high value items out of sight.
--When possible, travel with another person. There is safety in numbers.
--If you must travel at night, walk and park in well-lit areas.
--Know where you are going. Walk quickly and confidently to your destination.
--Avoid carrying unecessary items. Hold purses, briefcases and packages tightly and close to your body.
--Have your keys out and ready before approaching your car.
--Check both the front and rear seats of your vehicle before entering. Lock the door immediately upon entering your vehicle.

These seem like pretty common sense safety tips, right? And of course I'm not opposed to taking precaution. But what do you notice about every single piece of advice they list? It's all focused on what you should do to stay safe.

So that got me thinking - we're always trying to "protect" women (and men, too) from being in unsafe situations, but why don't we go to the root of the problem and instead teach people NOT to commit these crimes? It all circles back to victim blaming when certain crimes occur: "Why were you walking by yourself?", "Why were you wearing that low-cut top out in public?" or "Why didn't you have your keys laced between your fingers on your way to your car because you know that Freddy Krueger look will scare off any attempted rapist?"

Here are some REAL safety tips that are guaranteed to work in preventing any sort of sexual assault. Please follow them accordingly:

1. Don’t put drugs in people’s drinks in order to control their behavior.
2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!
3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!
4. NEVER open an unlocked door or window uninvited.
5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, DON’T ASSAULT THEM!
6. Remember, people go to laundry to do their laundry, do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.
7. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.
8. Always be honest with people! Don’t pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them you plan to assault them. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the other person may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape them.
9. Don’t forget: you can’t have sex with someone unless they are awake!
10. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone “on accident” you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can blow it if you do.
11. And, ALWAYS REMEMBER: if you didn’t ask permission and then respect the answer the first time, you are commiting a crime- no matter how “into it” others appear to be.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sometimes It Sucks Being a Woman

No, this is not an entry about periods or childbirth.

I'm talking about the dreaded task of taking your car in for routine maintenance.

Yesterday I dedicated my morning to getting my car worked on. First stop - Les Schwab to get my tires rotated and my brakes checked.

I recognize that because this is a complimentary service, they might take a bit longer than on the cars by paying customers. But for pete's sake, I was there for an hour! And literally, there were about 2 people in the waiting room. I'm pretty sure the guy in line in front of me was getting the same service done, and he was in and out.

Mine took forever because there were 2 separate attempts of trying to sell me on things to get done on my car - something about tie rods and resurfacing my rotors.

UGH, I dread taking my car into places like this because I know it's going to be one sales pitch/fear mongering attempt after another. Like if I don't resurface my rotors that JUST got put in this past July, I might just swerve off the road and die in a ditch?

Maybe I'm reaching here, but I feel like men don't have to deal with this as much. It appears to me that because these car people assume other men know about their cars that it's pointless to try and sell them a $400 brake job. But little ignorant ol' me has no clue about cars, so let's swindle me for all I got!

I know the economy is tough, and everyone needs to make sales right now. But this has gone on in good times as well.

As I usually point out in my blogs, here's another example of Tracy doing something dumb (not that I always like to highlight how dumb I can be. I just think it shows I've learned many lessons thus far the hard way!). A couple years ago, I was having my oil changed at Jiffy Lube in Eugene, right after I graduated from Oregon. I made the mistake of telling the mechanic there that I was planning on driving 500 miles home the next day. And boy did he capitalize on that one.

"Well your radiator definitely needs to be flushed. There's a lot of sludge in there, and honestly, if you're driving that far tomorrow, you're going to overheat."

Again with the fear mongering.

So I obliged to the radiator flush and discovered it was $100!!! I instantly called my dad to ask if this was even necessary, and he promptly yelled at me that it was not needed and that I should tell the guy not to do it.

The mechanic, overhearing my conversation with my dad, told me he couldn't stop - the process had already begun. Then he tries to smooth it over. "I know how it is. I have 2 young daughters myself, so I'm not trying to sell you something you don't need. You needed this."

No, sir. I did NOT need it, our family mechanic told me later that summer. I had been taken advantage of, and it pissed me off!

So I've always had this fear of taking my car in to get work done.

My mom always tells me to just say no to everything they recommend and then say, "My dad/boyfriend is going to take care of that for me." Sorry, Mom, but no way! That just perpetuates the stereotype that only men know things about cars.

Back to yesterday. I survived Les Schwab unscathed, just annoyed that it took so long. I guess there was an issue with one of my tire studs - it broke off, so they fixed that for free (they'd better!).

Next stop - the dreaded oil change.

There was no way in hell I was going to Jiffy Lube again, so I went to a place where I had a coupon. I practiced in the car on the way there saying "No. No. No." Just say no to everything.

Everything went really smoothly, and they didn't try to push anything on me at all. Hallelujah! I'm definitely going back to that place. They seem female friendly! FYI - it's called SpeeDee Oil Change (I looked past the annoying misspelling of the place. Hey, I can deal with bad grammar if it means my Malibu can get me to work).

I do admit that I don't know much about cars, so of course I can be an easy target. Not to mention, I'm a people pleaser and hate saying no. So it's sales situations like this that are hard for me. I admit that after Les Schwab, I called my dad and asked if I'd done the right thing by saying no to the tie rods (I knew the resurfacing job was bogus). Of course my dad said I did the right thing. But then again, he always wants me to say no to boys in every aspect!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How An Apple Dumpling Can Be Dangerous

This last weekend my mom and sister visited. What a fabulous trip! We headed up to Apple Hill on Sunday, but started off our fun on Saturday night at Fat's Restaurant. Fat's has THE best Chinese food ever, not to mention their famous banana cream pie.

Anyway, the food was great, blah blah blah. But what was really interesting was our waiter, Alex. He seemed nice enough, asking us if we were man bashing tonight (how did he know?) and even sitting at our table with us for a bit.

I wasn't sure if he was just being nice because he wanted a good tip or something, but Mom and Robyn thought he was flirting with me. Riiiiight. As per usual, I was in my best garb - a purple flowery top, frizzy ass hair and no makeup. I think it's safe to say he was definitely fishing for the tip.

He joked with us at one point that he wanted to come to Apple Hill with us. Mom (one strong mai tai into the night) told him we (read: I) would bring him back an apple dumpling. He said, "Well if you do, I'll hook you up with a drink!" What a nice deal.

Anyway, Apple Hill was magical the next day. We picked apples, Robyn got a pumpkin and, of course, we loaded our car with so many tasty apple treats to bake at home, including apple dumplings. Mom and Robyn encouraged me to go bring Alex an apple dumpling. He was a nice waiter, after all. I wasn't planning on making it a flirty occasion - he looked like 32! But I figured it would be a nice gesture.

Upon arriving home from Apple Hill (with wine tasting and checking out the brewery wearing off), it seemed like an absolute stupid idea to go back to Fat's and give Alex a dumb dumpling. But what do I do? I do it! Hey, I always like good stories and blog fodder.

He was at the bar that night, so I walked up with my awkwardness and lame yellow bag that adorned an apple. He semi-remembered me ("Trish, is it?") and seemed very thankful for the dumpling. He offered to make me a peach lemon drop - yum! I obliged since it seemed like a nice treat.

Weird Occurrence #1: He told me right off the bat (in between flirty smiles and winks) to "be careful" or he "might fall for me." Oh, shit. It was just an apple dumpling! What the hell was I thinking? I was cursing Mom and Robyn at this point.

Weird Occurrence #2: He also asked right off the bat if I was single. Eff. Too late, I told the truth.

Weird Occurrence #3: We made some small talk, and when the subject of birthdays came up, he said his (June 9) was easy to remember *wink*. 6-9. Ewwwwwwwwww.

Weird Occurrence #4: He invited me to the movies after he got off work. It was 8:30 on a Sunday! And he suggested "Zombieland." Umm, no.

Oh, and P.S. When I asked for my check, he brought it to me - 8 freakin' dollars for my lemon drop! What about this free drink he had mentioned? You don't sexually harass a lady and then make her pay for her drink. This kid has some serious issues. But then again, who am I to talk? I was the one who brought him a dessert and was sitting here listening to him consistently try to spit some game at me.

This is where I should have made my exit, but anyone who knows me knows that I am the most passive person ever. I hate to hurt anyone's feelings or come off rude. And this is where it gets me. I inadvertantly agreed to meet him over at BJ's to chat for a bit before I headed home.

Weird Occurrence #5: When asking about where we should meet, he asked, "Do you like BJ's? Well, of course. Everybody likes BJ's." *smirk* *smile* *wink*

Vomit.

So we chatted at BJ's for a bit where I found out a few things: he's 29, was engaged at some point to some woman who was 9 years older than him, used to be a church leader (eeeeeck) and refused to offer details about himself for fear that I "would no longer like him because there was no more mystery." Dude, I don't need mystery to like you. Just chivalry and sanity, 2 things you seem to be lacking.

Weird Occurrence #6: He asked for a rain check on the movie, then promptly invited himself over to my apartment on Thursday to "watch 'The Office' and cuddle."

Wow. All of this because of some stupid apple dumpling! I guess a girl cannot make a nice gesture for fear that some creeper will take it as a marriage proposal.

Weird Occurrence #7: In the midst of my asking about his taste in music and TV shows, he interrupted with a question about what types of first kisses I like. WT-mother-F. This fool just didn't have a clue.

We walked out to our cars, and I made sure to keep my head completely away from his when he hugged me for fear he may try to further misread my signals and go in for the kill.

Yuck. I need to stop with this niceness. Being a bitch seems so much safer.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

What a Tangled Web We Weave

Recently I told a blatant lie to someone, and my Catholic roots got the best of me. I felt guilty, wretched, horrible, worthless, you name it.

I don't even know why I lied. I could have told the truth, and it wouldn't have been a big deal. But somehow, I was caught on the spot and chose to flat out lie.

Honesty has always been huge with my family. My dad ingrained it in my sister and me, reminding us, "If you always tell the truth, you never have to remember what you said." Ahh, so wise, Dad.

My sister learned early on the negative effects of lying. When she was around 4 or 5, she lied to our dad and told him she'd eaten her whole dinner, when in fact, she had not. I think my dad was tipped off when he saw Robyn's empty plate and 2 huge chunks of hot dog on mine (well, you never know. I was quite the hefty 2 year old). She was swiftly punished and sent to the dungeon, I'm sure. (FYI - the "dungeon" was not actually a dungeon. It was code for our room. My dad was strict, but he wasn't medieval strict).

Robyn may have learned her lesson at 4, but that didn't stop us both from lying up the wazoo come high school. She lied about going to a party once, and I lied about going to work one time, when I'd actually called in sick and gone to my boyfriend's house. My dad caught us on both accounts. Hey, I worked at Denny's. Who wouldn't call in sick?

My biggest lesson in how destructive lying is came when I was a senior in high school. I basically two-timed my on-again-off-again boyfriend and a co-worker (I know, crazy right? I sound so pimp, but really it was too much work to be worth it). Oh, wow. There was a two-month period there where I became a lying master. I got away with it for awhile, but eventually both guys caught on. The ex came to my work and saw me with the other guy. Then the other guy randomly picked up this envelope of pictures at my house which had prom pictures of me and the ex. Yikes!

It was exhausting, to say the least. Even though I apologized and made it right with both of them later on, it still felt shitty lying all the time. I'd forget what I'd said I was doing. I feared someone contradicting my story. I looked over my shoulder out in public in case the other guy might see me with the other. I juggled both of them (for reasons beyond me), but in the end, it was too tiring for it to be worth all of that effort.

I haven't lied in a long time, so this most recent fib really made me disappointed in myself. Unfortunately I haven't confessed to this person, and I don't think I will. It's something that's going to pass anyway, and I'm making a promise here and now to never do this again. It made me feel so horrible that I actually considered going to my local church and confessing. Ha! Oh, the joys of being raised Catholic and honest.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tales of a Fourth Grade Flashback


I don't know if you can spot me in my 4th grade class photo above, but I'll give you a hint - I'm wearing highly unfashionable clothing with unruly hair. Oh, wait. That doesn't eliminate too many people. (I'm actually 2 people to the left of the teacher)

Last Saturday night was an awesome elementary school reunion. I went out for a girls' night with 4 of my closest friends from Thomas Edison - we hit up the Stoney Inn, which is a country/line dancing bar that also had another room where an 80s cover band played. It was soooo much fun!

Then unexpectedly, we ran into 2 guys who'd gone to our elementary school too! So all of us chatted for a bit and had a great time. The only downside - apparently I'm forgettable. Those 2 guys didn't have a clue who I was, even though I remembered them. Wonderful. I hate when that happens! But no matter. I still had a blast.

Although Marilyn did creep Serena and I out at the end of the night. She gave us a rundown of what happens in that new "Paranormal Activity" movie. It sent chills all over my body, and I was NOT looking forward to going home all by my lonesome!

I guess that's the downside to living alone - if you're scared, there's not too much you can do. I do have my cat Cammie, which helps, but I hate to admit - sometimes having a boyfriend would be nice (ugh, I can't believe I uttered the words).

Speaking of boyfriends (or exes, really), I got my first full-length story back from my professor in my fiction writing class. I got a frickin' "B"! WT-mother-F. Yeah, yeah. A "B" isn't that bad. But if you know me, you know that I am the biggest overachiever, and a "B" ain't gonna cut it. I blame the ex for this one - it was a story based on him! Granted, the ending was what the prof said he didn't like. And I admit - I didn't base that part on real life. I had the 2 main characters, who'd broken up, get back together. Maybe that's a sign that getting back together is unrealistic and "F" worthy, which I'm fully aware of already.

Oh, well. Our next full-length story is due next week, and I'll be sure to stray away from my little romantic attempts. Man-hating is so much more fun to read about anyway!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Not All Starbucks Are Created Equal

I'm not much of a coffee drinker, but occasionally I crave it and splurge.

I hate dropping the dough for Starbucks (a.k.a. FiveBucks), but today I felt like getting myself a little treat.

I was tired from going to bed pretty late, so I headed over to a Starbucks near the mall and brought my book with me to read outside with my drink. I picked up a Pumpkin Spiced Latte since I was feeling in the autumn mood, and as soon as I sat down to relax, read and drink outside, I was struck with the taste of a very bitter-tasting coffee drink. Doesn't each Starbucks have the same recipe book?

Now that I've recently done some pretty ballsy things for me, like going on rollercoasters and singing karaoke in front of strangers, I decided to ditch my usual doormat self, go inside and request a new drink.

I figured getting the same drink might lead to the same bitter taste, so I opted for a plain ol' coffee. The barista apologized for the bad-tasting latte, gave me my new drink and sent me on my way - without giving me my change back for getting a cheaper drink. The place was a bit crowded, so of course, Doormat Tracy didn't say anything. I got my cream and sugar, and returned outside for some relaxation.

Well, that didn't happen.

My original seat was taken (dammit), and then this new drink (a plain coffee) tasted even worse! What the hell was wrong with this Starbucks? I had just spent almost $4 on a regular coffee that tasted like ass.

So what does a determined girl do? I throw it out and go to another Starbucks down the street.

I decided it wouldn't be too bad if I just got a smaller size of the same coffee - it's only $1.50. So I ordered it. Then this new barista asked if I wanted a pastry. Dammit, I couldn't say no.

So now I've spent almost $8 on a microscopic-sized plain coffee (that did taste better, actually) and a lemon pound cake that probably has 3,000 calories in it.

I didn't get to read much because it was cold and windy outside, so I gave up and came home. Oh, and I barely finished my tall coffee. Why didn't I just rebel against the corporate monopoly of Starbucks and hit up a local place? Probably would have saved me time, money and lots o' calories. No wonder I'm not a coffee drinker!

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Much-Needed and Now Much-Missed Vacation

Isn't it great to be on vacation when the hardest decision you have to make is if you want a margarita before or after you go eat filet mignon and hit up the spa?

I am back from a week-long vacation in Southern California, and I don't think I have yet to adjust back to normal, boring, mundane life back home.

I headed to San Diego first on my travels and had lunch with my cousin Wendy at Seaport Village while we waited for Robyn's plane to get in.

Once we picked up Robyn, we decided to be the crazy partying 20-somethings that we are and hit up....the casino for some Bingo! Yes, my friends, I am a grandma.

Although, now that I've tried Bingo, I have a whole lotta respect for those seniors who are able to keep up with it. It is way more intense than just looking at one card and hoping to get all your dots in one straight line. You have like 10 cards in front of you, and you're looking for a different shape each round, like a crazy diamond or some kite shape.

It gave me a panic attack, I'll tell ya. Oh, and it didn't help that everyone else there had electronic game cards, and we were stuck with paper ones. Oh well...it was a fun experience!

On Sunday, we headed up to Anaheim for our Disneyland extravaganza! First, we hit up Downtown Disney and ESPN Zone for dinner and drinks - had to have our vacay cosmos! Mine might have hit me hard (I don't drink often), because I started scarfing down my green beans in a very messy fashion. We all then went to bed - at about 9:30 p.m.! Ahh yes, Bingo and early bed times. We love to live it up.

The next 2 days were filled with Disneyland fun! And best of all - I exceeded my goal of going on a new ride! For those of you who know me, I am the biggest scaredy cat when it comes to rides. I hate even seeing people go on them and hearing them screaming and having a good time. Weird, I know. Well, I decided that the price of my 2-day pass to Disneyland/California Adventure Land was too expensive for me to pass up the big rides, so I took a leap of courage and went on....Thunder Mountain Railroad! OK, stop laughing. I've been on it before, but the thought of it still gave me rumble in the jungle.

I conquered that and later reached my goal - Matterhorn! I know these don't seem like big deals to most people, but to me, it was like I climbed Mount Everest or something. Then I got even ballsier and went on Space Mountain - twice! It was fab-u-lous! I had a ball. Oh, and it didn't stop there. At California Adventure Land, I rode that stupid Twilight Zone Hollywood Tower thingy that's like an elevator and drops you! I never thought I'd ride that damn thing, but Wendy persuaded us. Robyn and I about wet our knickers, it was so scary. Never again! OK, actually I would do it again. But maybe not anytime soon.


It really was the happiest place on Earth, and I wish I could go back right now :(

But moving on...after Anaheim, we hit the road for Palm Springs! Wendy's friend's aunt has a condo there that she let us stay in (for free!), and it was just gorgeous. I really felt like we were living the high life.


I had another first on the trip - on our spa day, we got massages, and mine was done by a MAN! Oh my, I was a little nervous, but this old man had great hands. He kept asking me periodically, "How are we feeling, m'lady?" Ahhh, it was bliss. Although he did massage a bit too close to the twins at one point, but there was no funny business. You know I would have acted fast on that one if there was!

I had the best time on the night we went out for drinks and karaoke. I sported my awesome Mickey Mouse shirt, my HUGE ass 'fro left over from being so close to the coast in Anaheim, and my hat - oh, and NO makeup! I got up and sang "Shoop" by Salt 'N Pepa and also "Bennie and the Jets." Not to toot my own horn, but I was a hit! All these people kept coming up to me, and somehow I got the nickname Curly Sue. The males were definitely taking notice, which is weird because I looked 12 that night. But of course, I was not there for any bar action. Just some good ol' karaoke with my ladies (notice me and my happy beer-drinking self below). And just a note: I was not drunk when I sang karaoke. Oh, no. I would do it 100% sober, folks. I love it that much.


Continuing our week of living the high life, our family (of about 20 people) rented a HUGE ranch house mansion for our family reunion. It was gorgeous! Apparently Paris Hilton had rented it the weekend before, and it's a big hit during Coachella. That was the word of the street.

It had 7 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, a gorgeous pool and bridge, as well as our own private lake! Just a few examples of its awesomeness:


We played games, rode on a Seadoo, swam, drank and, of course, held our annual Joke-a-thon. I was reigning champ, but I think I disappointed this year. I wasn't on my A-game. But I was sooo happy to see my cuz Laurie win - on her b-day! So I handed the trophy over to her.


There were some odd moments - my mom's cousin Rich (who might have had some alcohol) put his birthday pie in my face. Why? I do not know. It was bizarre...I almost cried, but I didn't want to be a bad sport in front of the whole family. I got him back though and put it back in his face. Here's the series of events:

Ahh, yes. A lovely, placid birthday celebration.


And I got pied like I was on a Nickelodeon show.


Had to put on a happy face like I enjoyed it. Fighting back tears.


Oh, well. Can't beat 'em? Join 'em.


Karma!

I am more than depressed that I'm back to the real world. It's just so nice to not have to think about all this crap like paying bills and when I'm going to get my oil changed. I want to go back! But alas, I have to wait another year until my next vacay. This next one might be a cruise - oooh la la!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Why DO Men Love Bitches?


This is a book I was so ill-advised to purchase a couple of years ago.

I stopped reading half way through because it was a beyond ridiculous, antiquated and downright offensive excuse for a "self-help" book. Nowhere did I find the reasoning behind the title - I'm still pondering to this day: why DO men love bitches? It should have been called "How to Act Like a Game-Playing, Immature Teenager So You Can Snag the Attention of Misogynistic, Insecure Tools."

I threw the book away (recycled, rather - that crappy book needs to be redeemed somehow!) before my recent move. And today I began to question once more: why do guys tend to stray away from nice girls and flock to the so-called bitches?

And why would any self-respecting woman attempt to downplay her kindness in hopes of attaining the ever-so-precious attention of some one-track minded asshole?

Could I easily be more of a bitch? Absolutely. Could I get a guy to like me? Sure (although, this may be open to interpretation as of late). But honestly, do I really even WANT to be liked by a guy who's sole reason for his initial attraction to me is the way I act unattainable? Is this guy even worth my energy and time? Absolutely not. I want a guy who appreciates nice girls. He may be hard to find, but I have faith they're out there.

And this principle of bitch loving applies to other parts of life, like working relationships, meeting acquaintances and even friendships. Maybe this is just my distorted view, but I always feel like I see inconsiderate people getting what they want in the end. They were "pushy" enough to go for it, so that means they deserve respect and attention at work and in their social lives?

That is ludicrous.

The reason why I'm questioning this so much today is because a recent situation brought this whole bitch-loving nonsense to my attention. Someone I was close to (and treated VERY well) is now adrift from me. This person is, however, still very close to a certain someone who is - all right, I'll just go out and say it - a bitch. The bitch has screwed this person over before, and that person has vowed to me that they will no longer remain as close to that bitch as before.

Yet here we are - that person will not give me the time of day, yet they are as close as ever to this bitch person. I had (obviously erroneously) placed this person on a pedestal and assumed they were more evolved than that; however, I am mistaken. I did nothing wrong to this person, so maybe I need to stoop to this bitch's level in order to be more appealing? Oh, hell freakin' no.

This isn't the first time this person has showed their taste for bitch. This person has an ex who was also quite the brute, and this person still holds that ex in very high esteem, even going so far as to say they miss them and would like to rekindle some semblance of a friendship.

When did being inconsiderate and downright awful become the M.O. for how to be in certain people's lives? It's like thoughtfulness and compassion count for nothing!

I'm not claiming to be perfect - I'm far from it - but I would classify myself as more of a nice, easy-going person than a stubborn, hard-headed one. I know I'm not the only nice person out there, but so many times I feel like I'm a good, caring person surrounded by a screwed up world full of self-serving assholes. When does it pay off to be nice?? Why is it that I get walked on and taken for granted when I try my best to treat others well?

There is some condition in children where they're unable to read others' emotions - like you could be crying in front of the child, and he/she wouldn't understand that something is wrong. I think I have the exact opposite of this condition - I'm reading and observing people non-stop, trying to figure out how best to adapt to their situation and feelings. Always worrying about how they feel and how to best make them feel comfortable. I never want to hurt their feelings, so I do my best to tip-toe around sensitive topics.

It is exhausting.

And yet, I don't know how to be anything but nice. I don't know how to be a bitch (in the definition that the author of that lame ass book came up with). I don't want to be a bitch, either. I just want to be myself and have other people around me give a shit too. I want other people to be more sensitive to my feelings (and when I say other people, I mean the general public and other acquaintances. I have great friends and family!).

Why does it seem sometimes that I'm surrounded by tin men who have no hearts?? Where is the Great and Powerful Oz when you need him!

I've decided it's best that I cut ties with those insensitive and unevolved people who are either bitches themselves or bitch lovers. Why would I want them in my life anyway? It's hurtful to be let down, but all I can do is surround myself with people who encourage me to be just as I am and like me, niceness and all.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Dangling of the Carrot

This post will probably piss a few people off, namely because I seem to be a masochist when it comes to my emotions. Oh, how I just love the pain.

I hung out with my ex-boyfriend last night.

Yes, yes. I know. The past is the past, and it should stay that way. Why torture myself? It'll just make things harder. I've heard it all - from family, friends, my inner voice. Trust me - I'm completely aware of the repercussions that come with dabbling into old boyfriend territory. Hello! I'm like the poster child for trying to live in the past!

Every person I've dated seriously and then subsequently broken apart from, I always go back, whether I try to get back together with them or attempt to be "friends." There was a period in time when I cut every ex out since it's less baggage, but I think as time goes by, I forget why I'm angry/sad/heartbroken/annoyed with these guys and just let them right back in. And, not to mention, I get over them eventually, so after awhile, being on good terms is not an issue.

In this case, my most current ex and I broke up about 6 months ago. For the bulk of those months, we didn't communicate one bit. That's definitely a change for me since it always takes me a good year to finally cut ties with my exes, as history has shown (my family is quite aware of my yo-yo boyfriend issues).

Well, my effed up computer brought us back onto talking terms when our mutual friend asked him how I should fix it. He offered to take a look, fix it and back up my files for me. At first I thought, "Do I need to compensate him in some way for doing this for me?" I quickly shook off that idea - that fool broke my heart! He can be my permanent free-of-charge computer guy for the rest of my life for that one.

Anyway, a couple weeks ago, I asked him if I could come pick it up from his house (I didn't want to use our mutual friend as an intermediary any longer - I just wanted my damn computer!). He obliged and explained he'd been avoiding seeing me since he didn't want things to be "awkward" and he didn't know how we should act around each other.

So we finally saw each other for the first time a couple weeks ago. It wasn't weird at all; in fact, we sat and chatted for 2 1/2 hours, just catching up and whatnot. (I know, I can hear the groans coming from you. Yes, I should have just grabbed my crap and bolted, but I'm a masochist, remember?).

After that, we've kept in touch via text message here and there. Then, strangely enough, he said we should hang out so he can come see my new place and maybe we could watch a movie. Don't worry. This was not his attempt to try and rekindle anything, people. I'm not that dillusional. I think he almost feels sorry for me and wants to make amends. He befriends all of his exes, apparently.

So this wasn't an unusual invitation for him. I agreed, which caused some concern from my friends and my mom, who told me it's like he's "dangling a carrot" in front of the horse (the horse being me, naturally). They are all completely right - of course this hang out could potentially set me back 6 months and cause me to regress back to my pathetic, weepy self (to be honest, I'm still pathetic and weepy sometimes even now, but it has improved slightly). I don't know what I was thinking agreeing to this. I guess I just wanted to challenge myself to see if I could handle it. And I vowed that if I couldn't, I would stop this whole "friendship" business ASAP.

Well, the hang out was last night. He came over and we watched some TV while I cooked up some dinner (which was pretty bomb, might I add). Being the Mr. Fix-It he is, he helped me program my air conditioner and stop this annoying pop-up that was coming up on my computer at start-up. He helped me take out the trash and advised me how to fix my new TV stand (I got it from Big Lots, so ghettoness is kind of expected).

Basically, he was just super helpful and nice, which is his personality anyway. I don't want to think that he was doing all this out of pity - I do think he is a genuinely nice guy. Nothing romantic happened at all - it wasn't that kind of hang out. We did hit up Bel Air and get some beers and ice cream (nice combo). We watched a movie until I kind of passed out on the couch, and he left around 1 a.m. (uuugggh, this morning was torture).

Overall, I think I handled it well. We laughed and reminisced about some old jokes, and kept things very platonic, which is weird since we've never been "just friends." I do miss him, I hate to admit, but I'm completely aware of the situation. I had a relationship in my head with him (basically convincing myself that things were completely mutual when they were not), so it's necessary that I stay focused on reality and not get caught up in old feelings.

It sucks, I'll tell ya. It's hard when you know someone who you just think meshes perfectly well with you, yet they see it differently. It's frustrating, and it makes me question relationship dynamics altogether. I haven't lost faith that I'll find mutual love one of these days, though, so until then, I'm just riding the wave of singlehood.

And who knows where the ex and I will go? I'm not sure if we're going to be hanging out on a regular basis or anything, but at least we're on good terms. I can say that about all my exes now, which is weird. And for the record, this horse is just fine without a carrot!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Movin' On Up

I am now officially in my new apartment! What a great sigh of relief. Moving is never easy and my first week of getting settled has had me a tad stressed, but it's SO beyond worth it!

My new place is just splendid - I live across the street from Roseville PD, so that's a nice comfort. My unit is on the corner, so I don't have too many neighbors. The carpet is new, I got an accent wall painted in the living room and best of all - I pick up a full connection of wireless Internet in my unit! Now let's hope whoever is supplying that doesn't move out anytime soon.

Moving went really well, thanks to the handy help of my dad and sister. It only took 2 hours! Well, I don't have much to my name, so that could be why.

I finally got my cable hooked up today, which is a relief because I've been feeling a little out of touch with the "real" world! This week I missed some of my favorite shows - "Tool Academy," "More to Love" season finale & "The Office"! Thank the Lord for Hulu though.

I do admit, living alone is an adjustment. I've done it before, when I lived in the Bay Area, but I still had a momentary episode of freaking out where I admit I shed a few tears. I know, I know. I should be a grown up now, but I just a little overwhelmed with loneliness for a moment there. Oh, how cable TV and DVR should solve that problem :)

In other news, my trip to the East Coast a couple weeks ago was absolutely wonderful! Seeing my old friends was crazy because it was like no time had passed at all. We spent one day in Washington D.C., exploring some of the sites, taking in the Museum of American History and the Holocaust Museum (ah-maz-ing).

I just love the East Coast (minus that horrid humidity). It all feels so old to me, and it makes me truly appreciate our history and our country. Being in Obama's neighborhood was a trip! The last time I was in D.C., Bill Clinton was president. So it's nice that I skipped that awful Bush era that I know most of us (level-headed) citizens would prefer to forget.

Another day we drove over to Baltimore, and yes, I annoyed the hell out of my friends by singing the opening number from "Hairspray" -- "Good Morning, Baltimore" -- all day. We saw Edgar Allan Poe's grave site, which was cool for me because I remember learning about it in 11th grade English. Apparently, an unidentified man visits the grave every year on Poe's birthday (coming up next month!) and leaves a red rose and bottle of cognac. Anyway, he's not buried there now, which confused me, but it was still neat to see a historic place since he grew up in Baltimore.

We walked around the Inner Harbor and then visited the National Aquarium. Maybe I'm spoiled because I've been to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but this one in Baltimore was not as cool as I'd thought it would be. We were there at closing, so maybe that's why - we weren't able to see all of the cool stuff there (like a 4-D dolphin experience) and whatnot. Although, what is 4-D? Real life?

Anyway, the trip was awesome, and we want to do another reunion next year, probably in LA. Can't wait!

In other news, my best friend Christina is coming to visit me for the weekend. She should be here in about 2.5 hours! I think tonight we're going out for drinks downtown and then shopping tomorrow. I only plan on buying work shoes since that's a necessity. Anything more and then I'm pushing it. Gotta save up for vacation in San Diego in a week!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Why I Lean Blue

I have yet to broach the topic of politics on my blog, which is surprising since I would consider myself a fairly political person. So here it is - my first, of probably many, political rants and raves.

Everyone who knows me is aware that I'm a Democrat and support President Obama (love him!). Most of my family on my dad's side is pretty much in line with my left-of-center ways, but somehow I always seem to find myself surrounded by the apathetic and very right-wing.

Maybe this is because I'm no longer in the Bay Area or Eugene, Oregon (a.k.a. a mini version of Berkeley), and maybe because I live in the suburbs. Sacramento is vastly Democratic, but on the outskirts here in Roseville and other areas of Placer County, I am surrounded by red.

This isn't new to me since I experienced half my childhood in the quaint town of Gardnerville, Nevada, where some people's minds were almost as small as the town's population. And while I'm not presuming that all small-minded people are always Republicans, I do notice a correlation between small-town living and the infatuation with Reagan, Fox News, Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh.

I once watched a documentary on how bogus Fox News is - it revealed that the majority of people who watch the network regularly are more misinformed than those who watch other networks, like CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, etc. For example, in a study, they found that more people who watched Fox News believe Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11. Ludicrous!

Anyway, what I'm getting at is that I live in a very conservative area and work with very conservative people; therefore, I get to experience first-hand the barrage of conservative propaganda that is so unfortunate in this modern, progressive world we live in.

I have gotten in too many political discussions with Republicans to count, ranging from the misinformed and idiotic to the extremely intelligent and educated. Whether I was debating with an imbecilic Repo or a smart one, I've noticed they all tend to regurgitate, practically verbatim, the rhetoric of Fox News and its oh-so-talented talking heads - Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. Notice how practically every Republican will drop the same buzz words and phrases (e.g. Obama is turning our country into a socialist nation), and debate with the exact same argument that these talking heads spew out in the headlines?

Why not come up with an original argument, people! I enjoy watching Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow every now and again, but do you hear me mouthing off their left-leaning arguments every time I talk to a Republican? No, you don't (and yes, a couple of those people are more comedians than news reporters, but I still manage to form my own opinion regardless). And for the record, just because I support Obama does not mean I agree with everything he says and does (more of these parroted buzz words from Republicans include how Democrats view Obama as the second coming of Christ and how we think he can do no wrong).

It's always the same sound bite - "Democrats just want to tax us all up the wazoo and let government control everything," "Hitler was a good speaker too," "Sonia Sotomayor is a reversed racist" or "Sarah Palin is better suited for office than Barack Obama because she has executive experience."

All of these statements are bullshit, yet Republicans continue to spread the propaganda and ignore the facts. They repeat what these right-wing assholes say without even forming their own opinion. Why not consume media from both sides of the aisle? Or read a book for crying out loud? I do, and I feel better informed because I don't just watch MSNBC for my news.

The thing that really rattles me is this idea that Obama is a socialist and that he's trying to pass off the idea of "socialized medicine." The proposed healthcare plan is not socialized medicine, and it's nothing like the Canadian model. This would be a hybrid system, which still includes private insurance as well as a competitor (and aren't the Repos ALL about healthy competition?).

And since when does anyone need to defend the business practices of private insurance companies in this country? "Oh no...this new health plan will put insurance companies out of business because who can compete with the government?" Umm, how about every non-government funded private school? They still exist even with public schools. UPS and FedEx are are still alive and kickin' even with the U.S. Postal Service. Or how about every Barnes & Noble or Borders that compete with libraries? They're still doing fine.

Of course, these examples are not the same as healthcare, but I just don't understand why Republicans are coming out as if they are practically in favor of private insurance companies continuing to screw us?

This whole healthcare debate really solidifies why I am a Democrat. I've noticed a lot about Republican principles, and I just can't relate. Why are Wall Street, big business and large corporations more important than our actual citizens? Why is the focus on profit and not people?

I'm not saying I don't believe in capitalism, because I do. I believe businesses should compete and that the marketplace should act on its own accord. Yet, I don't think we can trust the greed of some of these companies when it comes to self-regulation. I'm not about Big Brother either, but why not create a competitive world that doesn't allow only those with money to rule?

That's the other thing with Republicans - money. "Let's not pay taxes so we can have more money to ourselves." OK, but what about paying to live in a good society with nice roads, clean parks and better schools? That's why I'm glad public schools exist - yes, the education system needs work, but it's part of the trade-off of having a more educated society.

So why not a healthier society too? Why not a country where we can all afford healthcare and take care of ourselves? Why is healthcare a privilege, not a right? It appears to me Democrats care more about individuals and how to have a better quality of life. Republicans, in my opinion, seem to only care about their money, guns, the Bible, abortion and their precious marriage rights (because if 2 dudes get married, then your marriage is awash, right?). It's always about privilege and class and pushing for one group to succeed over another (which is why I continually wonder how any woman could be a Republican!).

That selfish outlook is just not my style. And of course, I know many of these points I'm making are not applicable to every Republican. It's just the underlying theme I've seen in many of their ideas, politics and beliefs.

One of the funniest things I hear a lot are people claiming they are "socially liberal and fiscally conservative." Come on! Do you know what it means nowadays to align yourself with the Republican Party and finances?? Just examine the amount of our national debt during both Reagan and George W. Bush's presidencies.

Sometimes I get discouraged being around so many conservatives - I wonder, "Will this country ever change?" I have faith that it will, just more slowly than my patience can handle sometimes. But as Supreme Court Justice Ginsberg said, "Time is on the side of change." This country is evolving and will continue to evolve, and I hope we all become more open-minded with that change.

And I don't want us all to align politically, but I do think there are basic things we can all agree on - education, health and happiness. So how about we cut the shit and increase education funding, provide health insurance for everyone and let the gays get married already!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Moving Madness

These past couple weeks have made my head spin. Busy, busy, busy. I just haven't felt like there were enough hours in the day to get things accomplished, which makes me feel very anxious. I'm a perfectionist, so when I don't feel like I can cross off everything on my to-do list, I'm like an obese woman trying to ween herself off Phen Phen.

The big news of the week:

1) I'm headed to Washington D.C. tomorrow at the butt crack of dawn to have a fun reunion with my study abroad girls. Oh, how this mini-vacay is so needed, although flying is kind of freaky (at least my flight is non-stop - I'm praying for a good movie and cheap booze!).

2) I'm signing the lease for my new apartment next week! This will be the first official time I'm living alone and paying for everything myself. Well, I have lived alone a couple times - 1 was when my freshman-year college roommate left school early, leaving me with a huge dorm and bathroom all to myself, and the other time I lived in the Bay Area, but with the help of my parents. At least I know how to live alone - it's not hard at all. Kind of nice, actually. Now I get to move into my own place here in Roseville and do it all by myself! Well, financially, that is. My dad and sister are coming next weekend with the truck to help me move stuff. We're going to become the Clampett family again - yeeeehaw!

Let's hope this moving session is better than my last one, which involved almost dropping my queen-sized mattress on I-280 in San Francisco, rain that soaked all my crap on the 2-hour drive to Roseville, and some creepy guy at an SF gas station saying over and over, "Awww hell nawwww....helll nawww," when my mom and I asked him if my mattress was secure enough on top of my dad's truck bed tied to the lumber rack. Needless to say, that day sucked.

Moving days have always been hellish for me, whether it was leaving all my Sacramento friends and moving to BFE in Nevada or bawling my eyes out when my family moved me out of my dorm freshman year of college, only to have my dad ask in the car, "Are you excited to come home?"

Yes, moving is always traumatic for me, so let's pray for good weather next weekend and for my dad to be in a good mood! (Love you, dad).

I'm excited to decorate the new place and have people over. I'm going to keep it spic-and-span, and I won't have to worry about a dog doing its business in my closet, room and bathroom every day! No offense to Maggie - she's adorable, but I just can't live with her. Thankfully my roomies Brian and Kate understand. It's time for a new chapter in my life, and I can't wait!

But first off, visiting my man Obama! Woo hoo! Can't wait ;)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Lately I've been feeling all over the place - very jumbled and unorganized. There's a lot going on at work, as well as outside of work. And now I've started school, plus I'm working on moving, I'm traveling to DC on Friday, gotta figure out my cat-sitting situation, and now my dumb desktop computer is on the fritz.

Thankfully I have a laptop, so I'm able to provide you all with my ranting once again.

My desktop was built for me, and incidentally the person who put it together used a pirated copy of Windows. Now it won't even start because it's telling me to re-install Windows. That would be great if I had the disc, but I don't. And it would be great if I was assured I wouldn't lose everything on it, like my pictures and music. But oh no, I'm illiterate when it comes to uber-technical stuff (or really any kind of labor, for that matter).

Why don't I just call up the guy who built my computer and see what he can do? Well, that would be a magical idea if it weren't my ex-boyfriend. Dammit. This is why I hate people doing favors for me because you never know when they'll be on your shit list later and then you're screwed when you need something done.

Which also brings me to the next IT person on my list - the guy who took forever to e-mail me and ended up having a 12-year-old kid! Grrreat. Can't use him as a resource unless I want to make a play date after.

Why is it that all the technical people I meet are dipshit males??

There is the IT guy who comes into my work every now and again. I'll see what he can do for me. Unless anyone out there reading this (all 2 of you) knows someone who can help me with this problem on the cheap.

Which brings me to my next rant - money. I've been reading Suze Orman, yet I'm more broke than ever it feels like! I'm saving up for my new place, so that could be why. And my DC trip might cost a pretty penny. Yikes. Oh, how the worries never end.

In a happier note, I had a really good weekend. On Saturday, Marilyn and I went to the movies and saw "The Final Destination" in 3D. Of course nothing beats the original, but it was very entertaining. And the 3D aspect was awesome - definitely saw a lot of blood up close. Lovely.

Here we are in our cool glasses:


Later on, Steve came to visit from Chico and the 3 of us ate at Fat's, which FYI is the best restaurant ever. I had their banana cream pie, which was heeeeeaaaaaveeeen! Definitely the highlight of the night (oh yeah, Steve and Marilyn were OK too).

Yesterday Steve and I went to the State Fair, and lo and behold we got in touch with nature - we saw a baby cow being born! Best birth control ever. Let me just say there were chains and lots and goo involved. It was actually kind of amazing - the mom just licked the baby after it came out, and in a way it was kind of cute (minus the goo).

Now it's the week and back to the grind. Highights of the day: dinner with Alanna at the new Boudin and then coming home to Kate telling me, "Tracy, I have some bad news. Maggie (the dog) ate your thong."

Happy Monday!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Don't Put Off Tomorrow...

I've only earned one "F" in my entire life, and it was in college. In Beginning Ballet.

Yes, ballet.

It was my first term at Oregon, and I didn't understand the concept of dropping classes when you weren't enjoying them. I assumed since I'd shown up for most of the classes that it wouldn't be a huge deal if I missed the rest of the quarter. Yeah, not the best idea when the bulk of your grade is determined by attendance.

Ahh, yes. The many intricacies of college.

My naivety at that time didn't have huge repercussions, just a little "F" on my transcript that basically meant nothing since the class was only 1 credit. It definitely gave my adviser a chuckle when she saw it, but overall, no major consequences.

Now that I'm in the real world, my "grades" are determined by my work performance and how well I serve my clients. On that note, I would give myself an "F" these past couple weeks.

Work has significantly picked up, so I've been swamped. I've also been dealing with other stuff outside of work like my living situation, volunteering, the fiction writing workshop I'm now enrolled in. Either way, there's no excuse for procrastination, yet I made the mistake of letting an important client project slip through the cracks. So not in my character usually, but somehow it happened. And I got in trouble.

My boss called me in his office the other day and tactfully told me I needed to hurry my ass up (my words, not his). He made note that I don't ever come in early or stay late, and when it comes to getting things done during a busy time, I should be doing whatever it takes. He was right.

Then our senior vice president called me in his office and echoed what my boss said - I needed to step it up and get this done. I thought maybe all this pressure would have made me cry, but it actually motivated me. I was half-assing and I needed to get back on my A game ASAP.

So I came in early yesterday, didn't take a lunch and stayed late. And you know what? I got everything done that I needed to and felt on top of the world! So simple, I know. I guess I sometimes take my relaxed work atmosphere for granted. I also question if I'm working hard enough all the time - when I see other people putting 110% into things, I'll often ask, "What's the point?" Not to say that my work isn't important to me - it truly is - but it always bothered me in college when people recorded every lecture on their dictaphones. Why create more work for yourself?

I do understand the value of going the distance without pushing your limits - many times there is a difference between working hard and working well. I feel like I work well - I get things done, do my best, but I also keep my sanity. Never have I wanted to be one of those career-obsessed people. One of my co-workers will answer her BlackBerry at 4 a.m. or check her work e-mail even when she's off. I can't think of a time when I would ever do that...is that so bad? I'm a huge believer in work-life balance.

I guess my equilibrium has been off lately, and I haven't been as focused on work. This incident changed that. I don't ever want to be in that position again, so in a way, I'm glad this happened.

There's nothing like a little drama and the fear of a metaphoric "F" to light a fire under my ass!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ode to My London Ladies

(*Note: I was told that my blog appears to only be an outlet for my bitching, but I'd like to prove this assumption wrong and post something positive! Bitching to resume shortly).

Before my senior year of college, I studied abroad during the summer in London. It was hands-down one of the best experiences of my life - not only is the city amazing (the history, the shopping, the landscape, the people, the accents - I could go on for days!), but I also met the most amazing people.

There were 3 girls with whom I bonded instantly - I call them my London Ladies, and here they are below (from left to right: Erica, Sandra, Katie and me).


This was taken after we saw "Cleopatra and Antony" in Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.

I've always enjoyed watching coming-of-age movies featuring close-knit girlfriends ("Now and Then," "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," to name a few). I was always so envious of these girls because they got along and were always there for each other - very little cattiness and competition. Yes, I know they are Hollywood movies, but I couldn't help but wonder what it would be like to experience that type of female camaraderie.

Don't get me wrong, I have some great girlfriends in my life. The only issue is that they are scattered throughout the country given that I've moved 4 times into 3 different states since I was 11.

When I met my London Ladies, we all clicked instantly. Erica and I were the West Coast girls, Katie and Sandra the East Coasters. Although we only knew each other a short time, we got super close, and that has always stuck with me these past 3 years - everything from eating the crazy breakfast at our school to taking buses around the city to the time at Stonehenge when I wouldn't stop pissing and moaning about the rain and Erica yelled at me, making me cry shortly after (we resolved it like 20 minutes later).

The exciting part is that I decided to e-mail the girls and catch up a few weeks ago. We had about 3 years worth of catching up to do, and after exchanging long e-mails, we decided we'd better meet up for a reunion ASAP. And that's exactly what we're doing come Labor Day weekend!

We're all headed to meet at Katie's place outside of Washington, DC! I couldn't be more excited to see my traveling buddies and reconnect. And while we're not trading around some pair of jeans, I still think our bond beats any movie any day.

Buckingham Palace