Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Happy Christmas

I'd have to say this was one of my best Christmases ever! I got to see tons of family, and best of all - there was no family drama! Woo hoo. Last year there was a bit of a rift, but I'm happy to report that this year was as pleasant as can be.

I've been house sitting for a family friend this last week, so my parents stayed over there and that's where we had our immediate family Christmas. I even brought a mini tree over from my work to serve as our tree, but it looked quite small and pathetic after it was surrounded by a barrage of gifts (now what about this being a "small" Christmas, Mom?).

I even forgot that I'd be receiving presents this year - all my focus had been on what to give to people! Not to say I didn't enjoy my goodies, of course. I got a lot of great things from Santa - a feminist magazine subscription, books, a jewelry box with some new earrings and a necklace to add to it, long underwear (hey, I'm practical and it's damn cold out there these days!), an Edward from Twilight blanket from my cousin, perfume, a journal and more! One of my cousins was my Secret Santa and she gave me the coolest display of my grandpa's old political pins (some that are even worth something!), which was so thoughtful and creative.

We had a White Elephant gift exhange, which was quite hilarious. Some of the top items were a Superman Snuggie and an ink stamp that said "WTF" (an explanation to Grams ensued after that was opened, along with what in the world a "MILF" is...ay yi yi). We played games, ate food, stuffed our faces with sweets and of course had some champagne.

Another wonderful Christmas and another year full of memories!




Thursday, December 23, 2010

Anything Less Than Butterflies

Now that we're nearing the end of another year, I tend to reflect on what I've done and learned these last 12 months. And I'm happy to report that this was a good year for me, despite some bumps in the road, but that's to be expected.

This year I took a much-needed break from the relationship world. Sure, I went on dates and tried to pursue a couple leads, but I never held the title of "girlfriend" this year. I can't stress enough how valuable this was. My distance away from being in a relationship really allowed me to find out more on what I want/don't want.

For starters, I don't want to become a pod person/sell-out the minute I get into a relationship. This was the mistake I made 2 years ago, and it wasn't until this year that I finally cut all ties and moved on. Now I see how close I was to abandoning my goals/dreams simply for the sake of a guy. When I met that person, I was one smitten kitten. I hadn't felt that way about someone in a really long time, so I got very caught up in all of the excitement. I didn't always live in the present in that relationship - all I did was envision our future: getting engaged, moving in together, having kids, vacations, cooking. I would tell friends that if he were to propose at any minute, even with a piece of string instead of a ring, I'd say yes in a heartbeat.

Seriously?? I was 23 years old...why did I ever think I was ready to get married? My theory is that this was my first truly adult relationship to where I was old enough to be with someone where a future together wasn't virtually impossible (i.e. not a high school/college relationship). We were grown ups, which meant we could do true grown-up things like get married and play house together. It saddens me to think how I quickly neglected thinking about my career and education goals, all because I was falling for someone who made my Susie Homemaker gene kick in.

For the record, this was not his doing in the slightest. Trust me, I wouldn't date an archaic ogre that expected me to cook/clean/pop out 10 kids/serve him in every way, every day. This whole idea of settling down was my thing, and I really don't know where it came from. My family raised me to be independent and to stand on my own 2 feet (I can hear my dad's voice reverberating in my head right now with those words). My parents are not the type to cajole me into popping out their grandkids ASAP. I was raised to concentrate on my education, career and hobbies. So why the hell was I so quick to become a Stepford wife? I really don't know, but I'm sure it has to do with societal influences. I blame rom coms.

So next time I get goo-goo-ga-ga over someone, I'd really like to not forget the things I want for myself in this life. Because let's face it - this decade is the only time I'll get to do things just for me, without having to take into consideration anyone else. I'd like to be as selfish as I can while my youth is still intact.

Another thing I learned this year is that all of the qualities I like about the opposite sex don't really matter. Yes, we all want someone who is honest, reliable, funny, family-oriented, employed, responsible, cute. But honestly, one crucial quality trumps all of those things - and that is the quality of appreciating me. I spent the better part of this year pining away over a friend of mine, trying to force something that just wasn't going to happen. I'm happy to report that I finally came to my senses and can now appreciate the friendship we have. I no longer am trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, and it feels nice. I can just enjoy someone's company without those sleepless nights and pathetic emo playlists making me wonder, "Why doesn't he like me?" For once, I don't care if anyone likes me.

I don't want to have to force anyone to be with me. I want - hell, I deserve - to be with someone who thinks, "Wow, I'm with Tracy. I'm so incredibly lucky." I mean, I don't need to be on any sort of a pedestal or anything, but some cherishing would be nice. I can't think of a time when I was actually with someone that felt the same way back. Thankfully, my lack of romance as of late has allowed me to realize that I feel pretty good about just loving myself! I'm OK with being on my own; in fact, I actually like it a lot. I'm not closed off to the idea of dating someone, but I'm not heartbroken if it's not happening right now.

I think 2011 is going to be another good year. I'm feeling more confident than ever about myself, even if there are those times when I find myself wandering around aimlessly and feeling like I've lost my direction. As long as I have a general idea of where I'm headed, I know I'll be fine. And I also can't forget the most important thing - NO settling!

I'll leave this with one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite shows: "Some people are settling down, some people are settling, and some refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hell-th Care

Yesterday we discussed our new health plans at work, followed by individual meetings with our insurance company representative. Not only did this discussion make me want to flee the country, but it really irritated me when it was implied by some that the drastic increases in our premiums were a result of the new healthcare law.

Whether you agree with the Affordable Care Act or not, we're all in the same boat here - our healthcare system is broken, and it needs to be fixed pronto. And honestly - this is the first year anyone is seeing premiums rise 10, 15, 25%? C'mon. Obama is not the reason we're paying insurance companies up the wazoo. This assault on our wallets has been going on for years.

As a single, young person, healthcare costs for me are relatively low, especially considering I won't be bearing children anytime soon. And yet, I'm forced to shell out my hard-earned money, all so I can have a dental hygienist tell me how well I'm flossing and send me a bill for $120. Sure, now my annual lady exams are "free" because they are considered preventative care, but I'll be paying more out-of-pocket this year, for no good reason at all. Sure, it's a lot less than what other people are paying these days, but I don't understand why run-of-the-mill health check-ups have to be such a damn clusterfuck in this country.

I've heard people claim that healthcare sucks in other countries. Sure, maybe in Bangladesh things are rocky, but a quick Google search yieled some interesting stats when it comes to comparing our system with those of other developed nations - the U.S. ranks LAST out of 7 countries' healthcare systems when it comes to what we pay, access to care and the quality of care. We pay double what other countries pay and receive less quality care. So much for letting the market take care of itself, right?

There's always the other side, of course. More of my research found that the U.S. is superior than other nations in some ways: cancer screenings, cancer survival rates, better access to chronic disease treatment, less wait times and better access to new technologies.

Doesn't it make sense that we'd see lower rates of chronic and terminal illnesses if more of our citizens took part in preventative care? Seems like common sense to me. Given the trade off, I'd take longer wait times and older technologies if it meant that more of our population was covered so that more of us could actually take care of ourselves and get check-ups before certain diseases occur or get worse. And more people covered means a healthier population overall - i.e. less healthcare costs for everyone.

So I wish people would stop blaming healthcare reform (which some idiot judge ruled unconstitutional recently) and stop pooh-poohing other countries' systems. This shouldn't be such a partisan issue - we all want quality, affordable healthcare. And if we don't get it, then maybe I'll follow in Sarah Palin's footsteps and head to Canada to get the job done (true story: her family actually did this).

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Chrismahanukwanzakkuh Time

Boy, do I love the holiday season! I'm usually in a better mood, i.e. when people cut me off on my way to work, I don't bitch too much about it. ("Oh, you wanna play it like that now, Honda Odyssey? Fine, I'll let you in. Merry frickin Christmas!")

Things are definitely on the up these days. I decided in my post-existential crisis moment that the solution to my issues isn't always something tangible - a new hobby, a new career focus, a new educational endeavor. Sure, I don't want to stop reaching toward new goals and challenging myself, but I sometimes get so caught up in making changes that I forget to appreciate and make the best of the present.

In observing the people I know who just seem to have that sparkle (you know the type - the ones who seem to always be in a good mood, the ones who put 100% of their effort into work and good causes, the ones who rarely complain), it all boils down to one thing - attitude. Sure, we all have bad things that happen to us, and we all have bad days. But the only way to ever get through it and be a happy person is to have a good attitude about it. (By the way, I could only come up with 2 people in my life who have this sparkle I speak of - my mom and my co-worker Sofia).

I realized that I want to be one of these sparkle people, and to do that, I need to start approaching my life differently. Not that I've ever really been a pessimist, but I notice that I'm quick to question my life choices the minute things aren't going spectacularly. If I'm ever going to sustain anything in my life (a career, a relationship), I can't give up so quickly. I need to take the bad with the good, and focus on the bigger picture.

I must say, it's been working! I started by becoming more engaged at work - delving into projects and trying to be more productive. Rather than thinking that I "deserve" to be in a certain place career-wise, I decided it's better to never think I deserve anything and to instead just work my butt off 100% of the time. And it's not solely to just "get ahead" and make something of myself. I want to work hard because it's the right thing to do. Opportunities aren't handed to you - you have to put in the work, and there's no harm in going above and beyond. I want to strive for more than mediocrity.

This has made a huge difference in my mood - I'm less stressed because I've altered the way I've been viewing things. It's like mind over matter - if I tell myself to see the bright side and be happy, then it happens! It's quite elementary, really. I know none of this is news to anyone, but hey, it's keeping me afloat these days.

As for everything else, life is just dandy. Nothing really too thrilling going on, which is actually a good thing because I'd rather have consistent boringness rather than some rollercoaster, up and down drama going on.

We had our Christmas show for my dance studio last weekend - what fun! I didn't screw up, which was all I was really hoping for. I heard we did well from people that saw, so yay! I've also made a new friend in my class, which is great.

Our family is bringing back our name drawing "Secret Santa" event this year - YES! Oh, I have so many positive memories of getting someone's name and surprising them at Grandma's on Christmas day. I can't wait!

Work has been crazy busy lately. I was supposed to give a presentation to a client today, and I was stressing about it (and dreading it). But what do ya know? It was cancelled! Postponed, really, but that allows me more practice time. Woo hoo!

I also got to go to a meeting last week about the human trafficking problems that are quite prevalent in Sacramento. A woman shared her sad story of her developmentally disabled daughter falling victim to it a couple years ago, and although she was rescued, the trauma she experienced will be with her for the rest of her life. We've done some pro-bono work for a client that helps those affected by human trafficking, and WEAVE even offers some services related to it. I'm hoping I can do more to help out in the future! What a tragedy - we think it only happens in third-world countries, but here it is in our own backyard.

I'm going to be house sitting for a family friend of ours in a couple weeks - and get this - her house is haunted. Laugh all you want, but some seriously crazy things have happened there (Dad, I can see your eyes rolling from here). This might be tricky, but hey, a deal is a deal. I always follow through on my commitments. I'm just going to send vibes to the spirit that I'm not interested in any contact (you may think I'm joking, but I'm being serious here). I'm not one of those people that likes to have freaky experiences. I'm not a ghost hunter, and I'm not real big on contacting people from the past. Sure, I want to see Grandma and Grandpa some day, but ideally that will be in 80 years when I kick the bucket myself.

Overall, life is going great. I'm enjoying my independence and looking forward to a nice end to the year!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Quarter Life Existential Crisis No. 82

I have weekly minor freak outs where I question where in the world I'm going with my life. It's not like I'm a loser with no direction - I think the problem is having too many different directions to go toward.

My friend Nicole recently told me about a book she's reading called "The Choice Effect," and it's about this exact problem with my generation - we have too many options that it's actually a disservice to us. We're constantly left to make decisions, decisions that we may later question and wonder if there's a better one we could have made. This is why I've always said I wish I could live 5 different lives - that way I can experience different career paths, different relationships and different places to live.

Unless you're a staunch Buddhist, this is probably never going to happen. I guess the only thing to do is find out what we like best and just go for that - and accept the choices we make. Of course there will always be regrets and things we wish we could have done, but rather than looking at what I haven't done, I should instead look at what I have done. And for someone who's only experienced a quarter of her life, I've done a pretty fair amount. And I have so much to look forward to.

As for my career, I'm not quite sure where that will take me. I love doing PR, but where exactly do I see myself doing it? I guess I'm not supposed to have that all figured out at this point. I didn't graduate college all that long ago. Now, if I were bringing this up 10 years from now, then that might be problematic.

As for where to live, I love Sacramento. Sure, it's not the same as San Francisco (my #1 love), but it's a stone's throw away, and I can always visit. Living in the city may happen for me one day - who knows? But staying close to my family - my Grams especially - is very important to me. I think I've grown a bit restless here in Roseville. The 'burbs are a bit stifling when you're not in that whole housewife, husband, 2.5 kids and a dog phase in life. I like that it's clean and nice here, but for the love of GOD, why is everyone white, middle class and Republican? I need some culture, people. A friend of mine may move here next year, so I'd love to get a house in East Sacramento or something with her. I'll save the 'burbs for 10 years from now.

As for relationships, I don't pretend to have them figured out. Right now single life is treating me really well. I like doing my own thing and being independent. The only thing I worry about is getting too comfortable in that lifestyle that it'll be hard for me to accommodate someone else in my life. For so long, I always told people, "Oh I'm definitely a relationship person." But honestly, I have no clue how to have a normal one. I guess there's no manual on how to do it. It's just something you go with the flow and do. I do see myself getting married one day, and I'm excited for that. I'm just not counting down the days like I used to. I know it'll happen eventually - no need to force it.

All in all, I don't think life is ever "all figured out," even on the day you die. No one is a pro at life - we're all just as lost as the person next to us. That's comforting to me. No one knows the future, but if my past and present are any indication, everything will turn out just fine.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

You Give Love a Bad Name

I used to be the biggest hopeless romantic this side of the Mississippi. A true product of the Disney princess era, I fantasized that my love life was destined to turn out like all of those pop songs promised.

And then I woke the hell up.

It wasn't that long ago that I held certain beliefs about love and romance. I believed love would cast a spell on me and magically make life brighter, better and more worthwhile. This isn't to say love can't make life better (hell, I'm sure those feelings make you feel higher than a kite) - I just don't think being in love solves all of life's problems or is the ultimate, holy grail of a goal. And the Beatles lied - all you need is NOT love. It would be nice to have some sanity too, but I don't feel like this love business is really allowing for that.

Who am I kidding? I've never really been in love, so I'm no expert. I've loved people, but I've never had that definite this-could-be-something relationship with a guy. Sure, I was infatuated in high school like every 16 year old, and yes, my college relationship had me going crazy there for a bit. Post-college relationship was more like going on a third date for about 8 months straight. But none of it felt like real love.

I bring this up because I recently found out a good friend of mine discovered her boyfriend of a few months is actually married. And just a few days after this heartbreaking revelation, she wants to work things out with him.

After witnessing an infidelity issue in my family a few months ago, this is a touchy subject with me. Not to mention, I'm no stranger to watching people I care about let their significant others treat them like shit, justifying it along the way.

It's frustrating to watch, and it's even harder to be a good friend and act happy when things are "resolved." I know it's their business, but when someone I love is hurt, *I* am hurt as well.

The main justification these people seem to have for why they put up with it is that 4-letter word: love. Call me crazy, but love shouldn't hurt. It's not love when someone completely F's you over. If "love" is what these people suffer from, then count me out. To me, it seems "love" makes you stupid.

I can only say that my limited serious-relationship experience has not taught me what love is - it's taught me what love isn't.

Love isn't lying to someone repeatedly
Love isn't physically or emotionally abusing someone
Love isn't cheating on someone
Love isn't living a double life and hiding it
Love isn't a physical attraction
Love isn't drama

Again, I'm not an expert at defining what real love is, but anyone with common sense would agree with my above statements. It seems like people who claim to be so in love are equivalent to drunk people - when you're sober, you tell yourself you would never do x, y or z, and yet when you're wasted, x, y and z all seem like good, rational ideas.

News flash: good relationships don't normally start off rocky and magically work out, as every romantic comedy would like us to believe. Sure, there are road bumps and issues that arise, but it doesn't have to be this big, drawn-out drama with obstacles the size of Alaska in order for it to be true, passionate love.
 
I really hope all of us, including my dear friends and family, will eventually sober up and stop allowing selfish assholes to get away with douche baggery. I'm not innocent when it comes to putting up with a certain degree of assholeness, but in my defense, I was either in high school or the offense was nowhere as egregious as these latest betrayals I've witnessed. I'm stating right here and now that if any guy ever screws me over that badly, I need to leave pronto. Please shake me furiously if I somehow become one of these pod people who are blinded by so-called love.
 
My only thought on what real love is - it's probably a lot more boring than we thought. Unfortunately, writing a pop song about love being run-of-the-mill and ho-hum just doesn't seem like the way to sell records.

P.S. This post isn't meant to come off cynical, and I don't think all people who are in love are what I would classify as these pod people. I'm just pointing out those who let love rule their lives and get in the way of their better judgment - they prefer that wild rollercoaster of emotions as opposed to a steady, sustained, rational relationship (maybe because that's too dull, I guess?)

I still believe in love and know that it will happen to me. I'm just more pragmatic about it now because that initial excitement and honeymoon phase we all experience in the beginning eventually wears off, and before you know it, you're annoyed by the guy's TV shows dominating the DVR queue and missing the days when you could sprawl out in bed and not worry about taking up too much space.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Value of a Good Friend

I've always considered myself pretty lucky in the friend department. I don't have 8 million friends, but rather a small group of quality, thoughtful people.

And then many of them disappoint me all at once because they apparently all got the memo that it was Asshole Day, and I did not.

Things today are much better than they were, but the other day was probably one of the worst I've had in a long while. I know we all have misunderstandings or tense moments with our compadres, but all at once was just plain shitty.

Basically, I've learned that good friends don't pick small fights with you via text like we're in high school. Good friends don't choose their boyfriends over you. Good friends don't flat-out criticize things you like in order to boost their self-esteem. And good friends don't put you at the end of their priority list because they're too busy concentrating on themselves.

My friend Nicole came to visit me this weekend, and it was just what I needed. We did nothing but just talk and eat great food. She hasn't been feeling well lately, and she lives more than 2 hours away, yet she drove all the way out to see lil' ol' me for less than 24 hours. Now that is true dedication! I appreciate effort like that, and I wish more people were better about keeping their word.

No matter how often I get mistreated by friends, I still feel solace in the fact that my sister will always be there. Talk about the definition of a best friend! Yes, she's my blood so she's stuck with me, but we choose to be friends beyond siblings. She is someone who has my back no matter what - she doesn't ever make me feel bad about myself, and she makes me feel like an important part of her life. There's no one I love more than my sister!!!

On a side note - anyone else notice I'm losing my mojo when it comes to blogging? I haven't felt on my A-game in awhile, and I'm not sure why. I think it's because I might care a little too much about what people think. As I write my blogs, I constantly wonder what so-and-so will think of it or if I'll piss someone off. I don't want to let that hold me back anymore, so I'm going to try from here on out to write more honestly. And I really do want to keep my entries more positive too. It's easy for me to bitch, yes, but I don't want to keep being a whiny baby every time I write. I'll work on it!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mean Girls

When I was younger, I used to run to my mom and tell her when other girls at school were being mean to me. Most of the pejoratives thrown my way were people calling me a "goody-goody" or "teacher's pet." She suggested that maybe these girls were just jealous of me. This might have been the case, although I doubt anyone was green with envy when I came to school with a sun blister on my face and got called "Bubble Chin" for the rest of the day. Or there was the time someone made fun of my hairy legs in 5th grade. I doubt anyone was secretly wishing they were Teen Wolf.

Now that I'm grown up, I assumed that "mean girl" mentality would fade away, but I've noticed lately that that's not entirely the case. I know a few grown women who are catty as can be, sometimes overtly, other times more concealed. Either way, I can't comprehend why some women still do this to other women - we deal with enough coming from men, so why turn on each other?

Most of the time, this "mean girl" stuff is just petty - a snarky comment, a text message with attitude, condescension. I refuse to play into it. That's just not my style. I stopped playing those games when I was in high school. I used to treat my friends more like "frenemies" - girls that I treated like friends to their faces, but behind their backs I trashed them like Joan Rivers. It wasn't until college when I finally opened my eyes to my own behavior - why was I competing against these girls who were my friends instead of rooting for them? Why was I secretly hoping to outdo them or appear superior? There was no good reason for it, so I decided to stop.

Unfortunately, I occasionally run into ladies who get pleasure in trying to bring other women down. These are people I either opt not to associate with or I just keep my distance. My closest friends are people I know have my back - they support me, and I support them. These "mean girls" don't really succeed in making me feel bad about myself. It's more of a reflection of their character rather than mine. And while I don't believe these people are actually jealous of me, I do think their attitudes reflect their own insecurities. A secure and confident person doesn't need to bring someone else down in order to feel good about themselves. That's more of an instant gratification than a solution to good self-esteem.

Of course, I'm not claiming to be perfect or holier than thou. I partake in cattiness here and there, I'll admit. Nevertheless, I generally try my best to avoid getting caught up in full-on drama. Sadly, sometimes the drama finds you.

I don't take it too personal though. Even the most angelic people are the target for mean girls - my mom, for example, got a nasty note written to her by a Filipina woman who thought my mom was stealing her husband (riiiiiiiiight). The woman left an anonymous note for my mom that said she was "a white trash." Gee, I wonder who would write such grammatically incorrect malarkey.

So basically, there's no way everyone we meet in this world will like us. But the least I can do is just ignore the mean girls and take the high road.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

She's Baaaaaaaack

My little month hiatus from blogging is over. I also took a break from Facebook and Twitter for a bit too, but now I'm back in action.

Why the break, you ask? I was getting a bit too distracted - as well as overwhelmed - by the online world. I wanted to take time away to see what it was like to not worry about who posted what on their Facebook status update or what I should re-tweet. The break was incredible! I didn't miss my online self one bit, and it allowed me to relax on my week-and-a-half vacation. I've returned feeling replenished, so the break did its job. Plus, I just got the new iPhone so it's a must that I use it to its full potential.

Here is what has been going on as of late:

1) My grandma in San Diego passed away last Wednesday. She was 91. I really feel like life has a way of always working things out because as luck would have it, our family was down in SD on vacation last week. I got to spend crucial time with her after hospice was set up at her house. She was happy and laughing, and the day after she got to see all 5 of her kids surrounding her was when she finally let go and went up to join Grandpa. I was pretty sad at work last Thursday - couldn't focus or get motivated to do anything. Thankfully, I have an amazing co-worker who brought me a card and my favorite candy bar, and she was so supportive. My roomie cheered me up too and kept my mind off of things. I'm feeling much better now, especially since I know she's not in pain anymore.

2) My roommate moved out last Saturday, and I move into my new place this weekend! I'm unbelievably excited because I love living alone and my new place is super cute - it's in a gated condo complex so I won't be living in the hood any longer.

3) I went on vacation, which wasn't as relaxing as I would have hoped, but I had a blast. I first spent a few days in San Francisco with my cousin and sister. That is hands-down my favorite city in the world! We did touristy things, ate amazing food like my favorite pizza and delicious crepes, and we drank at a club on top of a fabulous hotel, hanging with some fun Yahoo! executives. I never wanted to leave! The next leg of vacay was our family reunion on a Mexican cruise from Long Beach to Ensenada. It wasn't exactly what I'd envisioned (whoever said you can't even tell you're on a boat is a LIAR), but it was still so much fun! I sang karaoke, ate some more good food (I even ate dessert for every meal one day), watched a singing/dancing show, went to a comedy routine and had an awesome massage & facial. Lastly, we spent a couple days in San Diego having quality family time. It was very special.

4) I got set up with someone by a lady in my yoga class. This woman randomly came up to me after class and asked if I was married (are you kidding? I look about 13 years old). She told me she wanted to set me up with her son, and she asked for my phone number. Wow, this was a first! His name is Matt, and we've hung out a couple times. He plays in a couple bands and teaches guitar right down the street from me. Very nice guy and super funny. Not sure what will happen in the future, but for now, I'm happy to have made a new friend.

5) Someone special just moved to Sacramento. He makes me laugh more than anyone I know, and I'm so thrilled that we are neighbors now :)

That's basically it! I'm glad to be back to blogging...I sure missed the writing.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Blog Break

I've decided to take a break from blogging for awhile.

I'll be back soon!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

You Like Me, You Really Like Me

We all have things about ourselves that we don't like. Not physical assets necessarily (those can change, and who really cares what's on the outside?), but those flaws we just can't seem to change about ourselves.

I have this insane need to have everyone like me. Seriously.

This is the reason behind so many things that I do - getting good grades and following rules so teachers like me, being passive aggressive and avoiding confrontation at all costs so that friends like me, forgiving guys much too quickly so that there's no drama or bad blood between us...so that they'll like me.

It's a sick and twisted thing, and I don't know why I'm like this. That's not to say there aren't people out there who don't like me. I can actually think of one or two who don't, and it hasn't made me lose a wink of sleep. But in general, people not seeing me in a positive light is my worst fear.

Maybe this is why I've always been an overachiever in school. And maybe it's why I always cower to dominating people and let them control situations. And I definitely know that it's why I hang on to certain boys longer than necessary.

My friend Nicole called me yesterday, asking for advice on how to get her ex-boyfriend to leave her alone and to not try to be friends with her. I honestly told her that the only way I've gotten guys to flee is to fall for them. Seriously. But it really struck me how strong and adamant she was about putting this guy in her past, no matter how strongly she had felt for him at one time. Why can't I be decisive like that? Why am I always a damn doormat?

I go through phases where I'm really strong and determined, like a couple blogs ago when I talked about quitting my pathetic feelings for someone. This week has not been one of those strong ones. I've become Needy Nelly again, which I really hate. That guy I was going to get over from a couple blogs ago? Yep, still like him. Maybe this whole moving on process is a two steps forward, one step back kind of thing.

Oh, but did I mention that this guy is moving to Sacramento in a week? Yeah, so much for trying to move forward and leave him alone. Now I'm basically forced to still be head over heels for this fool! Damn geography. Instead of telling myself that it's never going to happen between us, I start fantasizing about how things could be now that we'll be in the same town. Do I have zero rationality or what?! Yes, I have clearly regressed, people. I told you I'm bound and determined to get people to like me.

On to other subjects....I put a holding deposit on my new place! It's actually at the old place where I used to live with my old roommates, but in a 1 bedroom. I'm more pumped than a drunken frat boy's stomach!!! Normally, I'm all about function over fashion when it comes to my apartments. But with this place, I'm turning into one of those girls and imagining how I want to decorate it. Maybe it's because I feel more connected to this place and could see myself staying for awhile (no more of this moving every 6 months bullshit). I move in a little over a month, and that truly excites me.

Last night I watched one barn burner of a movie at Marilyn's - "Jennifer's Body." Synopsis: a cheerleader gets sacrificed to the devil but the spell backfires, and she becomes a demon that survives by eating boys. Oh, wow. New definition of a man eater. It was very bizarre, let me tell ya. But hanging with Mare is always the best. We were going to babysit our friend's 9-month-old daughter, which sounded absolutely awesome for a Friday night (and I mean that with 0 sarcasm), but she changed her plans. There's that old lady in me - preferring to babysit rather than go out to the bars to get wasted. That's how I roll!

Today is college football day - love it! Almost time for the Oregon vs. Tennessee game on TV, which is pretty much the only activity I can do given my lack of finances until pay day next week. Go Ducks!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Riding Solo

When I first lived alone, I actually Googled what the name of the phobia was for being alone.

Autophobia.

I thought I had that for awhile there. My first time living alone was in the Bay Area - 15 miles south of San Francisco, to be exact. I had a 6-month internship in the Financial District, and since finding a suitable living situation in the city is about as likely as finding substance in a Steven Seagal movie, I opted (thanks to my oh-so-generous parents) to live in an apartment outside the city with a short-term lease.

It was thrilling those first few weeks of the internship - taking BART by myself, dressing up for my first professional job, oogling at the amazing sites of downtown, coming home to my own sanctuary. But then reality set in.

I was truly alone.

About two months into the internship, I stopped sleeping. I'd never had issues in the slumber department before, so this was odd. There were nights where I literally didn't get a wink of sleep. It made for some hellish days at work, that's for sure. It got so bad that I actually begged my dad to come rescue me. I thought him staying over would help, but I still couldn't get to bed. So Dad took me the four-hour trip home to Nevada to catch up on sleep and go see his doctor. I cried almost the entire way there and felt like I was having a nervous breakdown (a week without sleep will do that to you).

And what do you know? Before I even saw the doctor, I stayed the night at my parents' and slept like a baby.

The doc ended up giving me a low-dosage sleeping aid, which was a God send. It got me back on track and eventually I didn't need to take them anymore. I haven't had a problem since.

Looking back, I think the whole living alone - and truly alone because I didn't know a single soul in that town - was what caught up with me. I would look forward to every Friday because it meant the weekend was here. I'd get home, watch the one NetFlix movie I'd gotten in the mail and then pray that Monday would come faster so I'd have human interaction. My romantic relationship had fallen apart, and I no longer spoke with my best friend at that time. It was pure isolation, and it made me realize how severe a punishment solitary confinement must be. I was out of my mind.

Thankfully, my loneliness didn't last long when I moved to Sacramento almost 3 years ago. Now, I've made a life for myself here - I have family, great friends, a job I love and loads of hobbies. And I'm never truly alone, thanks to my cat Cammie. There are plenty of days where I feel lonely and isolated, wishing that someone - anyone - would talk to and acknowledge me. Some days sitting at home watching TV after going to the gym and running my errands is just plain ol' boring. But those moments eventually pass, and I feel happy again.

I bring this all up because I'm embarking on another solo mission next month - living alone once more. I did this a few months ago before moving in with Erica, and now that our lease is up, we're headed our separate ways. I have enjoyed living with Erica, more than I even expected. But I do look forward to having my own place again and keeping it just the way I like. And even though sometimes I feel isolated and sad, I know I'm never really alone, not for long anyway.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Living for More

I'm reading a new book called "Half the Sky," and it's all about women's oppression in third world countries. I felt like a complete asshole when I started to get all worked up over dealing with stupid drama at Les Schwab the other day, only to read a chapter in the book, while in the waiting area, about all these young girls being forced into prostitution in India. Talk about putting things into perspective.

I know being middle class and white in America is a privilege, but realizing how lucky I am really hit me while reading this book. All the problems we have here in our country don't seem as dire as the ones in developing nations, which makes me feel like I don't do nearly enough for this world.

I don't want to live a mediocre life - I want to do something important and be able to look back in 75 years and know that I truly lived. This is why I've begun to question what the hell it is I'm doing and how can I do more. Sure, I volunteer with WEAVE, which gives me so much satisfaction, but somehow it just doesn't seem like enough. I've been reading some blogs by a couple people who are in the Peace Corps. See, these young people are able to go out there and do something important - why can't I?

So my latest goal is to at some point volunteer abroad in one of these countries, either teaching English to young girls or helping with an organization that rescues women from sex trafficking. How fulfilling would that be? In the research I've done so far, some organizations really want American women with degrees to help teach and train these girls. I would LOVE that! Now it's just a matter of finding the right place - and time - for me. I've got more research and reading to do, but this whole idea really has me excited. Especially since this is the time in my life when I need to do this - while I'm single and without kids. I don't want to look back and have regrets.

In other news, I've had a magical weekend so far. My dad was in town so he and I had a father/daughter date night on Friday. We ate filet mignon for dinner and then saw "The Switch," the new Jennifer Aniston/Jason Bateman movie. It was absolutely hilarious and sooooo good! Yesterday he and I got coffee and donuts, and drove around pretty much every neighborhood in Sacramento. He was showing me all of these places where he had memories ("That's where I lived with so-and-so, that's where I rode my motorcycle and escaped a rumble at a bar, that's where I got pulled over for my DUI."). Ahhh, memories. It was fun!

Then my mom came into town yesterday since she's headed to wine country for a trip with her 3 best friends. We chatted until after 1 a.m. last night (favorite quote from her: "I was watching this Dateline episode about albinos. They have pink eyes, you know. Those little freaks!" Oh, and she also said: "I will never do a mud bath at a spa again. What if someone pooed in there!"). We went to breakfast this morning before she headed to the Bay.

Now I've got the whole day to myself to do whatever I want. I'll probably go on a bike ride, since Dad helped inflate my tires and oil up my new ride (free bike from my co-worker - score!). Then it's laundry day, of course, and grocery time too.

As for my tap class update - I am LOVING it! I've definitely improved these last couple weeks, so I think it's all coming back to me. I don't sweat - I rain after every class, so I know I'm busting my ass off. We just learned a new dance to the "Night at the Roxbury" song - "What is Love" (and yes, we do the head bopping thing). It's so much fun! I'm really looking forward to performing.

That's all for now! Off to do my laundry and turn into a 14-year-old with some "One Tree Hill" episodes.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Quitting

Pretty much from when I was a toddler until I was about 10, I had the habit of sucking my left index finger. I loved sucking that damn thing until it was slimey and crinkled. My favorite ritual was laying my Care Bears blanket on an air vent until it was cold, holding onto it next to my cheek and sucking said finger. I was in heaven.

My sister made quite a bit of fun of me for it, and eventually I realized I'd probably need to quit STAT. How was I ever going to be able to attend slumber parties with a gnarly habit like that?

I tried putting a Band-Aid on that finger before bed to deter me. Ripped that shit right off in the middle of the night and went to town. My sister told me about some nail polish that tasted horrible even after it dried, and I considered getting that. But being 9 meant I had little resources to buy such petty items. I concocted an idea to hang a string of yarn from my ceiling over my bed and tie my victim finger to it, but I quickly realized losing blood circulation in my whole left hand wouldn't be easy to sleep through.

I made half-hearted attempts to quit finger sucking and failed. There was even one time I'd convinced myself that I'd stopped and told Robyn so, but she later presented photographic evidence of me asleep on our living room floor, finger lodged in mouth. Thanks a lot for buying the Polaroid camera, Dad.

One day I had an epiphany while reading one of my Babysitter's Little Sister books (a spin-off series from the Babysitters' Club about a 2nd grader named Karen). "If Karen is 2 years younger than I am and doesn't suck her finger, then I sure as hell shouldn't!" I thought. I was sick of the habit. I wanted to quit cold turkey, and finally I had mustered up enough annoyance with myself to actually do it. My index finger and I haven't looked back since.

Now, the reason I bring this up is because it's simple analogies like this that transfer into my adult life. I have one major bad habit that I just haven't been able to quit - I continually put my energy, focus and feelings toward guys who don't feel the same way about me.

Sure, I've had my share of assholes. But my problem runs deeper than that - this isn't about bad guys treating me horribly. This is about good guys just not being into me - and me just not getting it.

I'd like to think that maybe I've just had a string of bad luck, but when I look back on the guys I've dated, there is one common denominator - me. And no, this isn't some low self-esteem issue. I'm plenty happy with myself and don't need/want to change who I am. But I do want to stop moping after guys after they've made it more than clear that they don't feel the same way about me.

Plenty of my friends and family are sick of hearing me whine about this, I'm sure. And try as I might, I fail to follow anyone's advice about seeing things for what they are and not what I want them to be. It reminds me of people who buy those patches when they're trying to quit smoking. It works for a short period of time, but you eventually go back to lighting up. This is how I am with boys - I gather up enough strength to delete their number in my phone, ignore them and even go on dates with other people to get my mind off of things. It works for a couple weeks, but I eventually go back to listening to sad songs on my iPod, writing letters to them that I know I'll never send or shedding a tear or two.

I don't want to do it anymore. I want to continue being happy in my single life (because, quite frankly, I'm very content and lucky in all other aspects of my life). I want to hold out for that guy that is going to call me, allow me to act silly even if it embarasses him in public, verbalizes his feelings, actually loves me. I want a guy who doesn't half ass a relationship or lead me along like a stupid puppy dog just to stroke his ego. I deserve to not be taken for granted, and I deserve to be in a mutual relationship. I look forward to that day when I love someone and he actually decides to love me back. What a concept!

I'm optimistic. Just as people are sick of my bad habit, I too am fed up with myself. I don't want to be like this anymore. I've got that same determination as when I was 10, and I think quitting cold turkey might just work this time. Trust me, no one wants to see me stop being pathetic more than I do. Maybe today I've finally seen the light. Hell, if Karen isn't pining over an unrequited love in her books, then I shouldn't either.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

New Blog Design!

So Blogger has all of these cool new layouts, and I figured it was high time I update the look of this blog - not to mention use my own photo as the main header pic (the curly hair on there before wasn't mine, and since this is a blog about me...)

The header picture is me jumping on a trampoline a couple years ago, and I love how it captured my crazy, unruly hair as I laughed and had a good time. That's pretty much me in a nutshell - trying to laugh and be happy while living in a world with plenty of ups and downs. Not to mention, I'm sporting my bad ass Joan Jett shirt.

Racists, Waxing & Art Projects

My roommate has a guy friend whom she's known for a few years, and me being a single gal, I'm pretty much a magnet for set-ups. Of course, I'm not in the market to go out and date anyone right now (no one has really stepped up to the plate and met my expectations). Plus, I've been utterly disappointed in the romance department for the better part of my adult life.

But apparently this guy friend of hers has been asking her to introduce us. The 411 on this character is that he's 32 and owns his own business. OK, sounds fine enough, minus being a bit too old for me, but if guys in their 20s haven't been cutting it, maybe a step upwards might be the cure.

So she gave him my phone number a couple weeks ago. He texted a couple times and even called once - he didn't really wow me. Plus it's kind of hard to think about dating someone when no one quite compares to the one person who is always on your mind (yes, yes, I know I said before I wasn't interested in dating - what I meant was that I'm not interested in dating anyone new. Try as I might, there is one guy that I just can't get out of my head).

Anyhoo, this guy was supposedly "too scared" to meet me alone, so he asked my roommate out for drinks and told her to bring me along. I didn't really want to go, but if it meant hanging with Erica while also drowning my annoyance with this dude in beer, I was game.

The guy was a total disappointment, as I expected. Sure, he was cute and seemed like you're average Roseville kind of guy (which is a problem in itself), but within the first 10 minutes, I discovered this fool was actually a racist homophobe - every woman's dream!

He told me he'd heard I was a "die-hard liberal," which bugs the hell out of me. Apparently, not worshiping Ronald Reagan or DVRing Fox News every night makes you a crazy lefty in this town. I told him, "Actually, I'm just a Democrat. That's about it. And I support Obama."

This led to him spewing one of the dumbest statements anyone could ever utter: "Obama is such a retard. Plus, he's half black."

Classy.

I generally don't engage in political debates with people I first meet - it's not really appropriate. But this ignorant asshole was about to get an earful from me. I didn't go completely postal on him, but I set the record straight. I also called him out when he had the audacity to tell me that gay people already have equal marriage rights - they can marry the opposite sex the same way we can. Holy Hitler, I didn't realize we woke up in 1833 that morning.

I'm no stranger to ignorant people. I know a shitload of them after living in Nevada and now Placer County. I wanted to slap this guy across the face but I held my composure because in the grand scheme of things, who was he and why would he ever matter in my life?

Some other gems I found out about this caveman:

1) He still lives with his mom (you're 32, for crying out loud!)
2) He immediately talked over and interrupted me at the beginning of the night (one of my No. 1 pet peeves is to be interrupted or ignored. I don't handle it well).
3) He talked about ex-girlfriends. Several of them. And included sexual escapades in his stories.
4) He said we should "nuke" Mexico and take it over so we can all live in Cabo.

Enough said.

Thankfully Erica and I got out of there before my head exploded. She apologized for even orchestrating the whole ordeal, and later said, "I think you need to meet a guy at a political rally."

Outside of that whole fiasco, I got a call from my college ex-boyfriend. We keep in touch from time to time, especially since our whole drama happened so long ago. During our conversation, I thought how nice it was that after all this time, we could finally be cordial with one another. He's moved on and now living with his girlfriend of 2 years. I've moved on by completely getting over my pathetic feelings for him.

And in the midst of me reveling in how this could be the start of a great friendship, he begins to talk about why all guys agree that girls need to wax the area around their assholes. It's what "everyone does now." It's a hot topic in Playboy. Khloe Kardashian was on the radio talking about it. My IQ literally went down 10 points after hearing that poppycock.

All of that excitement aside, this has been a pretty grand weekend so far. I went out to the movies with 2 of my co-workers on Friday to see "Eat Pray Love." Eh, I wasn't impressed. The book was much better, although I did like seeing the romance play out onscreen.

Yesterday I went to my favorite conditioning workout class at the gym and then hung out at my Grams' house with my aunts and cousins. We worked on our tiling and grouting art projects (you heard right - Tracy is actually completing an art project). It's basically where you break up tiles and glue them in cool designs on different things - stepping stones, tables, jewelry boxes, etc.). I decorated a red brick, which isn't really useful as anything more than a door stop, but it's art! It's allowed to be pointless. We played Yahtzee afterward - call me 92, but I love me some board games!

Today I tanned by my pool, did some grocery shopping and watched way too many "One Tree Hill" episodes on DVD. Now it's time for me to write in my real (handwritten) journal and maybe even clean my bathroom, if I'm feeling wild. This is the exciting life I lead!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Everything Old Is New Again

I've embarked on a semi-new adventure for the next year, something I dabbled in 15 years ago and then did for a couple years in high school - tap dancing!

My first-ever performance as a dancer was when I was 9, and it was to the oh-so-appropriate tune "Everything Old is New Again." I can still remember some of those moves - shuffle, step, clap - and my cool top hat outfit (thankfully these precious moments are memorialized on a VHS from the dance studio and the lovely photo to the right).

The following year I took tap again, and that end-of-the-year recital video showcases just how much of a perfectionist I am. The girl tapping next to me consistently veered off course and blocked me, so I took matters into my own hands and gently pushed her back in place. Hey, my mom didn't pay good money to have my spotlight stolen by some clumsy kid with vertigo.

In high school, I tapped at a dance studio in Nevada and absolutely loved it - especially when my tapping won me a scholarship the following year! Sadly, my dance career came to an end when I was told that I "ruined" my studio's Christmas show that I missed due to a horrible bout of the stomach flu. Classy. I quit after that bullshit.

I got back in dancing mode as a cheerleader my senior year of high school. Then I signed up for ballet my first term in college. I loathed that damn class. There were no mirrors, and the moves were boring. I stopped going altogether because I hated it so much (well, a new boyfriend at the time might have had something to do with it too), not really understanding the whole concept of dropping classes or taking something Pass/No Pass. I now have a permanent "F" in ballet as the first grade on my college transcript. No joke.

Ever since then, the only dancing I do has been privately choreographing in my room to Britney or Lady Gaga, and backing my thang up at the club. I've been missing dance a lot, so I did some research and decided to join an adult competitive dance class.
Our first class was this week, and I had a blast! I was actually the youngest one there - and also the crappiest. I hadn't put on a pair of tap shoes in 7 years, but I did my best to hold my own. Back in the day, I felt like I was one of the best in class. The other night, I was a-strugglin'. The class was a lot more advanced than I had imagined - right off the bat, we practiced wings and pullbacks (which I know means nothing to most of you, but if you know tap, these aren't introductory moves by any means).

But I love a challenge. And I love to perform. So I'm not going to be a quitter this time around! Over the course of the next 10 months, we perform at a couple competitions, recitals, the state fair, Six Flags and even Disneyland. I'm super pumped! This old tapper is new again.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hop Aboard the Flaky Train

Apparently, flakiness is all the rage these days. I know I bitched about people bailing on plans earlier, and now, even more people have joined the club.

I tried my best to organize a relatively informal elementary school reunion. I guess in my generation, "informal" translates to "optional."

This little hootenanny took place last Saturday night at a bar in downtown Sac. There were countless Facebook messages exchanged, a Facebook event was created, and word of mouth was also catching on. We'd been talking about this event for weeks, and I was really looking forward to it.

Sadly, the best part of the night were my two strong-as-rubbing-alcohol rum & cokes. People did show up (and to you all that did, I love you!), but the majority of people who'd confirmed their attendance, never showed. It was a bust.

This isn't to take away from the people I did see. Of course I love getting together with my friends, but I was really hoping to see the ones who I hadn't been in touch with for the last 15 years. I wanted to reconnect and all share in the memories of Thomas Edison, maybe even sing the school song together in unison (OK, that might be a reach, but hey, given how strong they make the drinks at this place, you never know what I might have conducted).

I guess it's all part of that cliched idea that you shouldn't have high expectations in order to truly have a good time. Things rarely turn out how we expect or hope.

On that same vein, another unexpected event occurred recently. My sister lost the boyfriend she dated in college to a tragic drowning accident. This really upset her, naturally, and it made me have a sick feeling inside. Death is never fun, but when it happens to someone young, it seems even worse.

The only upside I can think of with this whole matter is that it's events like this that remind us that everything can end in an instant. The people you think will always be there, might not be one day. And you'll have to always wish you could have told them one last thing, hugged them one last time, or even just heard their voice once more.

Yeah, yeah. I'm getting sappy there, I know. I just always want to make sure I'm doing everything I can to never waste time.

And in order to not waste many of my free evenings after work, I'm taking on a new endeavor - going back to dance! I may take a couple classes at a local dance studio (I've got to check it out first hand though) because I do really miss it. The only thing I like about going to my gym is the choreographic aspect of the moves we do in my fitness classes (doing the same, repetitive motion on an elliptical machine is booooooring!). So we'll see how that goes. I might be taking tap and jazz, and yes, all of my friends and family will be invited to my recitals.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Getting Lucky

No, this post is not about that kind of getting lucky. This is about my much-needed mini-vacay to Reno/Tahoe this past week and how I got semi-lucky at Craps and 100% lucky in terms of the family I was born into.

For my sister's birthday - and an excuse to get the hell outta dodge for 4 days - she, my cousin Wendy from San Diego and I all got together for some rowdy good times. We always have a blast when the 3 of us get together, and I needed this trip to revive my monotonous spirits.

Our first day we watched old home movies of the 3 of us circa 1992. The highlights included: our choreographed rollerskate dance to "More Bounce to the Ounce," us pretending to have an auction while bidding - with Monopoly money - on pictures my sister drew on business cards, lip synching to Madonna's "Vogue" in the living room with an unexpected outburst from my dad, who was on the phone in the kitchen, "Awww, shit!", and me trying to explain that my boyfriend was Brandon from 90210. Classics!

We then met up with my parents to go see "Inception." Oh. My. Heavenly. Father. My mind was absolutely blown from that movie - soooo good! I'm actually seeing it again tomorrow night - but at the IMAX! It's going to be legit.

The next day was spent in Tahoe riding bikes by the lake. We ate lunch at this awesome place on the beach, which included many rum runners (these amazing smoothie-type drinks that are made up of about 7% slush and 93% rum). I'm not positive, but the drinks might have had an effect on our hysterical, uncontrollable laughter when my lip gloss oozed everywhere and Wendy attempted to put it on anyway. We got some dirty looks at that point.

Wendy bought us a hotel room for the night, so we decided to live it up big. We dressed up and headed to a comedy show that my mom's co-worker got us in for free. It was so much fun! Two of the comedians were black, and not to stereotype, but black people sure do know how to tell jokes (well, and Chelsea Handler, of course). The show was hysterical.

Next stop was this dancing area of the casino, which was truly just a glorified meat market. We were oogled everywhere we went by drunk douches, and a man probably older than Jesus tried to dance with me.

Thankfully, the night was saved when 3 guys came to chat us up in a very genuine, non-I'm-going-to-roofie-your-cocktail kind of way. Two of the guys were from Australia, and it was their first time in America. The other guy was from Seattle, and Wendy had her eye on him. Being the skeptic I am, I grilled Australian Guy #1 and asked if his accent was real. I think Kangaroo had a hard time understanding me.

We took the guys with us to the Craps table and taught them how to play. Earlier in the day I'd been pretty lucky - increasing my money by five-fold! Later that night, not so much. But it was still fun to watch and get into it with the whole table.

I learned that Australian Guy #1 teaches autistic kids, surfs every morning and can't understand why America offers such large portions of food. Australian Guy #2, a.k.a. George Clooney from Down Under, seemed to have his eye on my cousin, but she was more into Seattle guy. The 3 of them were super nice and friendly, and I like that they weren't trying to spit some game at us (well, if they were, my sis and I were not part of the program).

They ditched us later on though when we went to the bathroom. WTF?! Oh, well. It was time for me to get to bed. It was 2:30 a.m. after all.

Saturday and Sunday were pretty laid back. My sister's boss was out of town, so she let us stay in her house - no wait, more like mansion! It was this gorgeous house in a gated community in Reno, and we felt very high-class. It made it even more like a real vacation!

We ate sushi on Saturday night, which included about 4 sake bombs for me. Those are hands-down my favorite drinks! They always make me so happy :) I don't think I have ever had as much to drink as I did on this trip, but thankfully it was spread out throughout the day so I was never hammered beyond oblivion or hungover.

We played more Craps that night and got to bed around 3 a.m. Daaaaamn, look at little ol' Trace. Staying up late several times in one week. Now that's how a 24-year-old should act! I was beginning to worry that I was pre-menopausal already.

I was sad when the trip came to an end. I love my sister and cousin sooo much - I'm so lucky to have those girls in my life! Being around them makes me feel like I can totally be myself, and everytime we have a vacation together, I leave it feeling confident, happy and like I don't need anyone else in this world but my family.

Monday, July 19, 2010

No Woman's Land

Last night I had the distinct pleasure of penetrating a world so simple, yet so foreign to me - a guys' night in.

Growing up with a sister, numerous female cousins and a gaggle of girlfriends, I've never been around boys much (hence why I'm generally very awkward around them). Sure, I grew up with my dad, had a boy roommate at one point, and visited boyfriends' places plenty of times. But there really is nothing like being a fly on the wall when a group of 20-something guys get together.

A guy friend of mine invited me over to his place last night, and I arrived to find 4 guys sitting around, drinking beer and watching an old episode of "Family Guy." Oh my, was I in for a treat. None of these guys was trying to impress me by any means, so that basically meant they were oblivious to the shy little lady in the corner.

I know not all guys are like this, but it's funny to see how so many stereotypes we have about men can be true at times. In my few hours over there watching TV, here are some of the gems I witnessed:

- Burps and farts incorporated into jokes

- X-rated cell phone photos of one guy's new 40-year-0ld girlfriend (what happened to the good ol' days of carrying around innocent photo booth pics in your wallet?)

- Celebratory cheers when 2 girls began making out on the clearly-written-by-men show, "Entourage"

- Macho refusals to admitting to having any "man crushes"

- A refigerator consisting solely of beer, water and strawberry jam (expiration date questionable)

- Being told how great I smell (well of course I smelled good - these guys weren't exactly the types to invest in Oust...or cracking a window)

- Injuring my foot as I walked over a myriad of beer bottle caps that sat directly next to the kitchen trash can

Don't get me wrong - I had a blast sitting back and watching all of this take place! It was a nice change of pace from my female-dominated social circle. And P.S. I didn't step foot in the bathroom for obvious reasons. I'd probably have winded up with hepatitus or amoebic dysentary.

Hanging with these guys also got me to see first-hand why most men aren't jumping at the chance to be in relationships. Who wants to be forced to watch "chick flicks," talk about feelings and spend your hard-earned money when you can just chill out at home with friends and be 100% comfortable? I get the whole male camaraderie thing, and I'm sort of envious of it in a way. Guys are able to maintain their friendships without letting insignificant, catty bullshit get in the way. And they're happy as pigs in shit (sometimes this is literally true) doing just this, day in and day out.

But it got me thinking - this whole life of bachelorhood must get mundance at some point, right?.....Right?

Sigh. I think it's time for me to take a page out of the Boys' Club handbook and just enjoy the relationships I have with my family and friends. And who knows? Maybe one day I'll end up with a guy who actually likes things clean and won't mind watching "The Bachelorette" with me. Sure, he'll have already checked his testicles at the door at that point, but I'm optimistic that a real man who isn't afraid to admit he has a "man crush" is out there.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Does No One Follow Through Anymore?

OK, I swear I'll get to the complaining first and then move onto the positivity.

In the last week, I've been stood up/ditched/ignored/flaked on by 3 different people. What the eff? Why is it so hard for people to follow through on their commitments?

The first was last weekend - came from someone who has many strikes against him in the Disappointment category. So should I really be surprised? The thing is, though, that despite me expecting this from him, I still got my hopes way up. I cleaned my apartment, made it smell all flowery. I even made my bed all the way (as in, putting all the stupid pillows on it and using those annoying ass shams). Oh, and I groomed myself from top to bottom and wore a new dress. All for nothin'!

So yes, I became that girl sitting around, pathetically waiting on a perfectly good Saturday night. I counteracted the dejected feeling by drinking.

Then this last weekend I was told by another guy that he'd text me later and let me know his plans so we could hang out. Didn't hear a peep for the rest of the night. What is UP with this world?

He apologized the next day and said he "forgot" to let me know his plans, which apparently consisted of him getting belligerent. Wow. I sure know how to pick the winners.

The last and final brush off this last week (and then I promise to stop bitching) was a friend of mine from college. She was in SF for the last week and had been talking about getting together for weeks now. Nope, never happened. I was supposed to drive into the city today, but she canceled last minute. OK, OK. That circumstance I understand since she has been busy and probably didn't anticipate having to fit in so much stuff in such a short trip. But still - it's just been a lonely week, to say the least.

On the other hand, this weekend turned out all right. I went to a surprise party for the roomie's mom, and it was awesome! I even got teary-eyed - I just LOVE surprises!

The other ray of light in my life is that I have a short week at work - I'm taking 2 days off and heading to Reno for a sister/cousin extravaganza! My cousin from San Diego is flying up, and the 3 of us are going to hit the town. Not quite sure what we're going to do, but I know no matter what it is, we'll have a blast.

I'm really needing to get out of town these days. I'm excited for it to be my mini-vacay already!

And as for all my negativity as of late, I know I'll shake that soon. I'm usually pretty peppy and optimistic. It's just been a rough few weeks I guess :/

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Downside of Being Nice Part 2

Last October I wrote about being too nice and delivering an apple dumpling from Apple Hill to a random waiter that I presumed to be gay. He proceeded to drop sexual innuendos on me like bombs over Baghdad.

I should have learned then just where being nice gets you, but no. I committed the same crime again last night.

I have a guy friend of mine that I've known since high school. We went to prom together, actually, where he generally ignored me the whole night and danced with his ex-girlfriend. We've always been friendly with one another, but I've come to realize that this character is one creepy bastard.

Whenever he's single and drinking, he will sometimes "reveal" that he feels something for me. That's only happened a couple times in the past, but more recently, he keeps trying to hang out with me late at night. I have either flat out said no or just ignored him because I don't want to deal with it. But because I was having a shitty evening yesterday (and out with my roomie drinking away) I gave in to hanging out.

He roped me in by guilting me, explaining that he just needed some advice on something. I figured with my roommate there I'd be safe. Oh boy, not the case.

He came over and we all 3 chatted a bit, but then my roomie went to bed. So this guy proceeds to lay on my bed and pretend to sleep. Seriously?!? I was not amused. And nowhere in our conversation did he ever bring up what he so urgently needed advice on. HELLO! This means one thing - I am clueless.

After a slew of inappropriate sexual questions (what is it with these clingy, creepy weirdos and their over-the-top inquiries??), I had to tell him a good 15 times to leave. All while he pretended to sleep. It was the most irritating, rude thing ever. I would never overstay my welcome at someone's place, especially after they have to ask me repeatedly to leave. I almost went into my roommate's room to ask her to help me drag him out.

Finally, the asshole left, telling me that we definitely need to hang out. Umm, no. Never again. I've already deleted his number and taken him off my Facebook.

I am now cursing myself for being so naive as to believe any guy would just want to "talk." I mean, it's not like he tried anything, but he made me really uncomfortable. I don't ever want to be nice again. Time to bring out Bitch Tracy!

All of this aside, I've had quite the crappy weekend, but it was truly redeemed today when I went to dinner with my Grams and aunt. There's nothing like being with the people you love and who love you back. Too bad there are people out there who don't give a damn if I live or die - to those people, all I can think is that it's not worth my energy trying to keep people in my life who don't deserve to be in it.

And with that, tomorrow is the beginning of a new week. Time to get up, move on and start anew. It's like that Kelly Clarkson lyric - I need to pick my weeds but keep the flowers!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Suspicious Minds

There's this weird paradox about me - I'm fairly gullible and like to believe that everyone is inherently good, yet I question people's intentions and motives all the time.

I think the gullible/optimistic side of me usually kicks in when it shouldn't - i.e. I put up with more shit than I should. This is why I've always stayed friends with people I dislike longer than is necessary and why I date for too long/cry over/dwell on guys who genuinely don't appreciate me. I'm always trying to give people the benefit of the doubt, continuing to hope that one day they'll see the light and realize how great I am.

But then there's my questioning side. The side where when someone does something nice, I immediately wonder, "OK, what's the catch?" This usually just pertains to guys and is likely a result of boys constantly disappointing me.

Recently, a guy friend of mine asked me out. I thought it was just a friendly thing at first, but then I got some date vibes - he picked me up, he let me pick the dinner place, he insisted on paying.

Sure, it's nice to hang out with fun people, but I can't help but wonder what this all means. So far, my theories range from he's bored, he's lonely, he's looking for action, he only hangs out with all guys and I'm the closest female in range.

I definitely have gotten a major hint that he's interested in more than just friendship - he talks a lot about all these things he wants us to do together, and then he asked me out again - and insisted on paying again! OK, seriously. What is the deal with timing? The guy I want doesn't know I'm alive, and a guy that I'm just friends with is putting on all the right moves. UGH!!!!!

I quickly realized that I need to break my old patterns. No more of this pining over someone who's unavailable while someone else is making an effort to spend time with me. I've done this before, and look where it got me - taking that making-an-effort guy for granted and then crying over missing him a year later! Cupid is one messed up individual the way he operates.

I'm not sure where this whole thing will go. And frankly, I don't want to think about the future. I just want to live in the present, enjoy what's right in front me and appreciate the people in my life who actually make the effort to stay in it.

And the main thing I want is to stop caring. I'm so sick of giving people free rent in my head and dwelling on things that I have no control over. It's exhausting. I know that I'm a good person and have a lot to offer, so if someone thinks I'm expendable, then AMF.

In other news, it's a 3-day weekend! Today was great - I woke up bright and early, did a new conditioning class at the gym, laid out by my pool and swam, and tonight I'm headed over to my best friend Marilyn's house to watch a movie. And tomorrow is 4th of July!!! Basically the bulk of my dad's side of the family is gathering at my grandma's, just like old times. I am more than pumped! I've got my patriotic outfit all picked out - my Obama "I Stand By The President" shirt! It is legit.

The weekend will then be completed with my sister and I turning into 'tweens and seeing "Eclipse." I saw it the day it came out, and I have to say, it disappointed me. The action scenes were great, but the drama was a bit over-the-top (I know, I know. It's Twilight, for Christ's sake). Maybe I had an epiphany and realized I'm too old and cynical for that shit right now. Watching a plain, boring girl win the heart of a sexy vamp is just irritating. And I hate to be a traitor because I really liked the books, but maybe this most recent film didn't do it for me because it was my least favorite book from the series.

Either way, my sis hasn't seen it, and maybe seeing it again will change my mind. Plus, I wouldn't mind seeing the shirtless werewolf and sparkly Edward again :)

Anyway, I'm excited for this time to relax. There's nothing better than being with my family. Happy Independence Day!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Kid in Me

Sometimes I forget I'm 24 years old.

I have never been your typical young adult. Most kids can't wait to escape the tight ship their parents ran at home once they're set free at college, but I cried my first night at University of Oregon when a gaggle of frat boys trounced through my dorm halls, announcing a keg party across the street and yelling "Beta! Beta! Beta!" like ogres in the hallway.

I called my sister crying, "I'm going to a party schooooooool!" I had been so excited to be at a place where the environment encouraged you to take academics seriously. I'd specifically requested the so-called "Intensive Academic" hall in my dorm, only to realize that the bulk of my neighbors were lamenting how they were "stuck" in the nerdy hall.

Thankfully, my rational sister Robyn calmed my fears and explained that every school was a "party" school in a way, even Harvard. It's just the nature of 18-20 somethings once they're away from home.

Well, I sure didn't get that memo. I rarely drank in college - I can probably count how many times I actually got drunk throughout my tenure there. It was never my thing.

Then there was the whole graduating a year early. While some congratulated me on the effort, many were quick to judge. I was talking to a guy at a party once, and when I told him about graduating in 3 years, he exclaimed, "Oh my GOD, do you have a life?" Why yes, asshole. I do. I don't regret one second of my college career. I was a jet setter - ready to see what the career world held for me.

Which brings me to present day. Because I work with an older crowd (my closest in age co-worker is 32), I sometimes feel like I'm held to a certain standard where I'm supposed to act older than I am. Don't get me wrong, I like being ahead of the game. I know it will all pay off in the long run.

I do admit, however, that a part of me feels like I completely skipped an entire part of my young adulthood. I went straight from serious college student to full-time employee - no in-between "finding myself" stage or time to just enjoy being young before reality and responsibility set in.

That's why I'm so happy when I can sneak in moments of youthfulness. Whether it be bringing my pop culture knowledge to work or geeking out about popular TV shows from the 90s ("Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek" - can I get a whuuut whuuut!) with my best friend, I think I appreciate those care-free moments now than maybe I would have 4 years ago.

For example, last Thursday I went to the Placer County Fair with my old elementary school girlfriends. They were all nay-saying the bumper cars when I suggested them, but once we got on, we had a blast! It brought me back to the days of the old fair that came to my small hometown in Nevada. This time around, though, I didn't slap anyone across the face like I did in 8th grade (sorry, Fritch!).

So here's to celebrating youth while I can. I know that beneath my "grandma" exterior, there will always be a happy-go-lucky kid :)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dream, Dream, Dream

Not to get all Freudian, but I've always heard that recurring dreams mean something.

The most common theme of many of my dreams is blurred vision, which, upon researching online, I came to find out means incorrectly perceiving things and not being able to move forward. Story. Of. My. Life.

These last two nights, though, I've had an interesting reoccurence - random strangers are pointing guns at me, and I just know at any minute they're going to shoot me.

The trusty Internet tells me this can mean a few things - anger, feeling like I'm being targeted, or the idea that I'm inhibited by someone.

In my dreams, the person pointing the gun never actually pulls the trigger, while I sit there waiting for pain - I wake up before anything happens.

Hmmm, who knows what it all means, really? Freud would probably turn it into something like sexual repression, but I think I'll just blame it on too much violence in the media for now!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fearless

It's always struck me as cliche when people talk a lot of game about "having their walls up" or that they keep their hearts "guarded" when it comes to romantic involvement.

It's usually a main ingredient in most plots of B-rated romantic comedies. Guy is "scared" of getting hurt, so he acts like he's averse to being in love, only to have those walls broken down by a girl. Same formula goes for girls too.

I don't really believe anyone is ever freaked out enough to avoid a perfectly good relationship, as much as that is used as an excuse when someone is trying to avoid being with someone. Girls try to console their confused friends by suggesting that maybe their prospective boyfriend is interested but just "scared."

Sure, we all don't want to recklessly jump into a situation that could potentially end badly. But if we lived by that rule in every aspect of our lives, we'd never invest in Wall Street, drink alcohol, throw a $20 in a slot machine or eat at McDonald's. We do all kinds of things that entail some type of risk, mainly because the experience itself is worth it (even if the result includes ending up broke, being hungover or suffering from a major case of diarrhea).

In short, the juice is worth the squeeze.

I'm one of the most cautious people when it comes to completely ridiculous things, like washing my hands or riding roller coasters. I'm a quasi-germaphobe, but my anal retentiveness has waned these last couple years.

For as long as I can remember, I've hated rides. I believe it was the dreaded dragon ride at Funderland that started it. It's hindered recent experiences at Six Flags and state fairs, but when I went to Disneyland last fall, I decided to stop being a wanker and get on the damn Matterhorn. Sure it was a small step for most people who don't blink an eye at the thought of hitting up the Goliath or Superman, but to me, it was a breakthrough. My new-found bravery led to me riding Space Mountain for the first time ever, something I swore I would never do, considering how years ago the Thunder Mountain Railroad caused me to wet myself.

Despite my quirky fears involving the incessant use of hand sanitizer and avoiding amusement parks, I've never been scared when it comes to my emotions. I guess you can say I've always worn my heart on my sleeve, and I don't regret that one bit. Yes, I've made a fool of myself plenty of times. And yeah, my heart has been broken. But I'm more resilient every single time it happens, and I go into every new experience with optimism and hope. Because really, is there any better way to start something new?

I think that being open with feelings should be encouraged, rather than the instinct being to recoil from a wound, put up a fence and play the game of "I like you, but I'm going to not act like it because that would make me vulnerable." What a world it would be if we were all open with how we felt, instead of this constant guessing and miscommunication game.

There's a great song that describes exactly how I feel about wearing my heart on my sleeve. It's called "Fearless" by Colbie Caillat.

In it, she says:

And if I end up lonely
At least I will be there knowing

I believe in love

Hopefully this closed-off attitude toward relationships and love is isolated just to my age range. If so, it's not going to stop me from being fearless either way.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Trust Women

I know abortion is a touchy subject. Growing up in a Catholic family (with a touch of Dad's agnostic ways) and now living in one of the reddest counties in California, I understand how this issue really gets people fired up.

Everything from the word "abortion" to the idea of "baby killing" paints a certain picture about it, and I can see how many people can't sit comfortably with the idea.

My work is next door to a Planned Parenthood office, and every Thursday I see a slew of anti-choice people (whom I refuse to refer to as "pro-life," just as I refuse to use the term "pro-abortion") holding up signs to drivers with pictures of dead fetuses, signs saying "Abortion is Murder," "Let's Pray For Your Child," etc.

Not that we aren't all entitled to our own opinions, but I noticed that 8 of 10 of these folks are middle-aged and senior citizen men.

It boils my blood when I think that this particular demographic has so much power and so much say over what my gender can do. This is paternalism at its finest - poor little innocent, naive girls need the smart, strong, knowledgable man to teach them the "right" way of doing things.

Because we all know women can't think for themselves or make personal, healthy decisions on their own.

When will we be able to trust women? Trust that women can make their own choices and trust that women can take care of themselves without personal interference from the government (or men)?

On a personal level, I haven't had an abortion, but I know someone who has. Now that I'm 24 and self-sufficient, I'm fairly certain I will probably never need to get one, but that doesn't mean I believe in restricting others' freedom.

It's almost as if we care more about a group of cells than a grown, living, real human being.

Abortion may not sit well with people - whether they have a uterus or not - but you know what? Guns don't sit well with me. Do I try to shame people who favor gun rights by hoisting up photos of the dead Columbine kids in front of the NRA? No, I don't. Because I believe in the wonderful freedom this country allows, even if some of those freedoms are things I don't agree with (guns, legalized prostitution, Indian reservation casinos).

These people in front of the clinic are there under the guise that they are there to "help" pregnant women who may be considering abortion or intending to get one at that Planned Parenthood. Because nothing screams warmth and welcoming than a 20x20 posterboard photo of a gruesome dead fetus (which, while we're being scientific, I didn't know at 5 or 6 weeks that you have an almost full-grown baby inside of you).

It's one thing to want to help pregnant women. It's another to shame, degrade and condescend them for making a choice that is theirs and theirs alone.

Here's how anti-choicers can help women - just trust them.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Reciprocation


This drawing is genius and gave me a good laugh when I saw it. The message behind it sure does seem to ring true sometimes.

I try to avoid playing into the whole "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus" rhetoric, but lately I've been encountering a lot of stereotypical, unreciprocal situations when it comes to dating.

You know the story - a girl hooks up with a guy, has a wonderful, seemingly mutual good time, and goes on to never hear from him again. No, this did not happen to me, but it happened to my friend, and unfortunately it doesn't surprise me.

In my own life, I've encountered more than one occasion of unreturned affections. It's almost second nature to me at this point. Most recently, there is someone in my life who I enjoy immensely. We have all of the necessary ingredients - we laugh, we get along, we have a connection, we can be ourselves, we have fun together.

Only one problem - this fool does not want to be in a relationship with me.

The strange thing though is that at one point he did, but now that offer has been taken off the table and I feel like I'm almost being punished for not being ready to take the plunge the first time.

It sucks, it really does. Especially since it's all there, right in front of our eyes. But I guess if mutuality is missing, then all that other stuff means nothing.

Yes, I realize this issue is not the end of the world. It's just something that hurts me.

I'm always one to ask "Why?", which I know is pointless. I don't want to just settle on the idea that guys are "only after one thing" and have one-track minds - this seems dismissive and unfair because 1) women are sexual too, and 2) let's give guys a bit more credit than that.

I realize teen and 20-something guys are generally still trying to figure things out, as are their female cohorts, but the idea of being in a relationship is always presented to a guy as a choice between having fun with friends and being miserable with a needy ball and chain. It's two extremes with no middle ground, which we all know is ludicrous. Instead, I wish more people viewed relationships as two people who get along fabulously and want to enjoy only each other's company for an indefinite amount of time.

Yikes, being happy with just one person instead of a harem of nobodies. How repulsive!

I once read a book that said young adult dating is becoming obsolete because of the "hook-up culture" (i.e. people messing around without explicit commitment). This is bullshit and plays into the horribly ridiculous "not buying the cow because the milk is free" nonsense. I refuse to believe that my generation is incapable of holding steady, legitimate relationships.

All right, enough with my soap box. I could go on for millenia about this topic, but this "ball and chain" has got stuff to do.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Bridge

I was recently introduced to a documentary called "The Bridge," which I watched via Hulu the other day. I couldn't keep my eyes off of the screen - I almost missed my yoga class because of it!

It chronicles the suicides that have become so common from people jumping off of the Golden Gate Bridge. So far, more than 1,200 people have died there, with an average of 2 people jumping per week.

This picturesque, well known representation of San Francisco is the No. 1 place in the world where people commit suicide. How utterly sad that something so beautiful is the place where something so ugly happens all of the time.

The documentary is based on this New Yorker article, which I highly recommend. The detail in which the article goes into as far as what happens when people jump (it's a 4-second fall at about 75 mph, so it's like hitting concrete - if a jumper doesn't die on impact, he/she drowns or dies of hypothermia).

The most disturbing part of the documentary, to me, was that there was actual, high-quality footage of people jumping off. You got to watch their last moments alive, some of them pacing back and forth contemplating the decision, before they hurl themselves over the rail.

Needless to say, it was hard to watch.

I don't think it was meant to be a sensationalized film showing suicide - it mostly featured interviews with several jumpers' family and friends, talking about the days preceding their loved one's suicide.

One jumper had schizophrenia, and the way her mom and sister talked about it kind of upset me - they seemed almost relieved that she was "in peace" now. They didn't even seem that disturbed by the whole thing. Maybe that's their coping mechanism, but it still seemed off to me.

Another intriguing part was when a jumper was interviewed. Now 24, this young man had attempted suicide by jumping off the bridge when he was 18. To hear his account of how he got to that point, how he told his dad goodbye and knew for sure it was the last time he'd see him, and how immediately he regretted jumping the instant he did it - it gave me knots in my stomach. Only 2% of people survive when they jump, so it's amazing to think that this boy got a second chance.

I recommend watching the movie, but just be forewarned that it is disturbing at times. Suicide is something I don't quite understand, even though my family has been touched by it. I just don't know what could bring someone to that point - and even worse, how it seems so likely that bringing them out of that dark place might be impossible.