Monday, December 19, 2011

In Good Company

Last week we had a staff meeting at work that blew my mind. Basically we heard all about how well our agency has done this past year and where it's headed in the communications world. In sum - we are bad ass.

It does, however, make me feel a bit overwhelmed, as if I'll never be "smart" enough for my company. I know they hired me for a reason - but part of me wonders if maybe I was just one of those people who barely made the cut. Everyone at work is so intelligent, creative, innovative and ahead of the game. Not to knock myself and say I'm not smart - I'm just so in awe of the people I work with and all the creative masterminds we have in other offices as well. It's good to be around such smart folks. It definitely inspires me to work harder.

Speaking of good company, I spent this past weekend with Ty and his family up at their Truckee cabin. Saturday was spent sleeping in, eating cinnamon french toast (I actually made it!), going on a walk through the back country, ice skating (yes! A quintessential winter must-do), eating a hearty dinner and then drinking a couple cocktails by the fire.

Sunday (yesterday) could have gone better. I woke up grumpy and went to bed grumpy. Not my finest day, to say the least. Everything was sort of irking me (and no, this wasn't "women's troubles"). I did head up to Nevada City with Ty and his fam to check out Victorian Christmas. It's basically a street fair, and there are a bunch of people dressed up in Victorian clothes singing carols and playing music. What a downright cluster F the place was, but it was super fun looking into all the cute shops (I'm a sucker for old bookstores) and seeing everyone all jolly. This was probably the only slice of the day where I didn't have a bitch smirk on my face.

Then afterward, my sourness continued when my beau decided to get in a helluva mood himself too. Oh, and then there was the coming home to a couple piles of cat vomit. And effing up my living room rug when I vacuumed up a chunk out of it. Not to mention, my apartment was freezing cold, and Ty was giving Cammie the stink eye because he's allergic to her. As young kids say these days: it was an epic FAIL of an evening.

After sleeping restlessly, I woke up still feeling bitter (yep, just call me Scrooge), and was actually excited to go to work to get my mind focused on other things besides annoying (and frankly, not-all-that-important) hoo-haw. I'm happy to report that my foul mood has passed, and I'm currently listening to Christmas songs.

I'm crazy excited for Christmas!!! My fam is coming to town to look at lights, go to dinner and open up gifts. Sadly, I won't get to see Ty since he'll be up in Truckee, but maybe that's good for him since he can avoid A) cat allergy hell, also known as my apartment, and B) any potential shitty moods of mine that may arise. Regardless, it's going to be a lovely Christmas and happy new year - I just know it!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Follow Through

Nothing quite irritates me more than flakiness (except maybe people who brag, but that's a topic for ranting later). I try my best to be one of those people who does what she says she's going to do - my word is my bond.

Sure, I'm not perfect at this by any stretch. Last week I ducked out of decorating a friend's office for her birthday because it was getting late, and I was tired and cranky. It was something I'd been planning on doing, but I ended up flaking (and subsequently feeling guilty about it). And sometimes I forget to call people back after they've texted or left me a voicemail. More times than not, though, I follow through on shit.

That's why it bugs when people don't have that same philosophy. I have a couple so-called friends who will conveniently forget I exist for awhile, then pop up randomly. Or there are the people I've known who make all these plans or promises, yet they just can't seem to turn the words into action. Don't plan on having lunch with me if you have no intention of doing so. And don't say you miss me, yet when I try to be engaged in your life, I don't hear a peep back.

There are, thankfully, the people in my life who do what they say they're going to do. These are the people I love! They call when they say they will, and even when I mention small things, they remember them later and make an effort to stay involved in my life. These are the kinds of people I should focus on - not the flakes. I'm truly thankful for this group of people in my life who talk the talk and walk the walk.

I talked on the phone with one of these people (one of my best girlfriends) last night for an hour and a half, and it felt great. And one of the things I love so much about my beau is that he believes in the follow through. He's a man of his word, and I didn't realize how important this was until I noticed how uncommon that quality is.

As is a common theme in many of my posts, I dwell on the past. I have a hard time letting go, and I try with all my might to recreate the past due to my nostalgia. I've held on to old relationships, and I've had trouble letting go of friendships that just weren't mean to be. It's high time I forget these flakes in my life - the people who don't make me a priority like I do for them. The people whose lack of action is actually saying to me all I need to know - that we're not really friends.

If I just keep on focusing on what I have, rather than what I don't have, there's no need to miss anything. I've got it all right here, people whose actions are loud and clear. And for that, I am ever so grateful.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Co-Worker Camaraderie

Last week I was invited to the grand opening of the new office of my former employer. I'm so grateful to still keep in touch with everyone there despite my moving on to a new agency. It was a spectacular event - and best of all, I got to see two of my previous co-workers and catch up!

Admittedly, it did make me a bit sad that I'm now on the outside and not as close to them as I used to be. When you work somewhere for years, you really get close with people there, and being around them again made me see how much I miss that closeness. I'm still getting to know everyone at my new job, and I know keeping it professional is more of a priority, but gaining friendships out of it would be nice too.

Thankfully, last Friday our office had our holiday celebration, which was a walking tour of eateries in downtown Sacramento. It was fabulous! I ate what could feed a small village, and walking to each location allowed us all to chat and laugh.

I loved having that personal time with my co-workers, and it made me realize that instead of being sad to leave old friends, I should be happy to have a whole slew of potential new ones. Also, one co-worker had a jewelry party at her house on Thursday, which was a blast! So I feel like I'm slowly getting more comfortable and becoming less of the "new girl" and more of a permanent member of the team.

This weekend was awesome! I performed with my tap class at our studio's Christmas show, and thanks to the boyfriend's mom bringing a crew of friends, I had quite the cheering section. Plus, my best friend came, which was a nice cherry on top. After the show, Ty, his mom, her said friends and I went to dinner and a taped concert for the band Blame Sally. It's going to air on our local PBS affiliate, and the intimate show was incredible! I'd never seen this band, but they are Ty's mom's favorite, and they were great - a nice folky, rock, country girl band. Then yesterday was just my average productive day of running errands and cleaning.

Tonight I'm going Christmas shopping - at home! Ahhh, gotta love the Internet. I plan on not stepping one foot in a mall this year. Last year, I waited too long to do my shopping, and doing it last minute was a nightmare. I loathe crowds when I shop, so buying all my gifts online this year is the perfect solution.

Here's to another lovely week - and to getting closer to Christmas! Woohoo! Love this time of year.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Surprise Weekend

A couple weeks ago, I was distinctly instructed to keep last weekend open due to a Christmas surprise coming my way, courtesy of Ty. I love surprises!

I took last Friday off, and we headed up the hill to his family cabin in Truckee. We were greeted with a nice little snow storm, which was absolutely gorgeous.

Chateau de Peters

We spent Friday relaxing, eating and watching "Friday" (go figure) with cocktails in hand in front of the fire. Bliss!

But it got even better on Saturday - Ty drove me to Carson City for a local production of my favorite musical of all time, "Phantom of the Opera"!!! I literally almost shed tears, I was so excited. And that little bastard had thrown me off a couple weeks prior when I brought up wanting to see it in Vegas, to which he went on about how it wasn't that great of a show. Sacrilege!

We were by far the youngest people in the theater (all blue hairs in Northern Nevada - not surprising). Ty chatted up the old lady next to him, and I tried to ignore the snoring old man to my right (I didn't know what it was at first because I leaned in to ask Ty, "Who has the oxygen tank near us?").

The show was awesome!!! The music is seriously the best, and we were both singing it for the rest of the day (yes, even Ty belted some notes). We then headed up to Reno for dinner with my sis and her boyfriend. Yum! And the surprises didn't stop there. Ty actually agreed to go see the new "Twilight" movie, which paired with Phantom, means I owe him like a month straight of watching Anthony Bourdain with him.

The four of us watched the movie, at which my sister and I laughed at all the wrong parts. It was one of the cheesiest pieces of cinematic crap I've ever seen. I mean, you go into it expecting it to be campy, but lord. This one outdid itself. Best line of the whole thing:

Edward: See you at the altar.
Bella: I'll be the one in white!

Kill me now.

Nonetheless, it was an amazing day full of surprises and good times (just don't ask me how my Ducks did that day. I'm still recovering).

The next day, I accomplished a first - I actually shoveled snow! The driveway had about 6 inches of powder, and with the snow blower out, we were tasked with doing it all by hand. As someone who quits easily, I really wanted to give up after the first few scoops, but Ty kept me motivated. In fact, he said he really enjoyed us just doing manual labor together. Yes, nothing like elbow grease and profuse sweating to bring a couple closer.

This was the beast of a driveway we mastered.
Ty, snow shoveler extraordinaire
Overall, it was a fabulous weekend of relaxing, cooking, eating and spending time with my guy. We are doing really well, and even after 3 full days with him, I missed him the minute he dropped me off at home on Sunday! (I know, sorry for inducing the gagging). I think this trip was good for us since we got to spend a significant chunk of time together with few people around. Definitely a magical weekend - and even though I can be jaded when it comes to the romance fading in relationships after awhile, I can assure you the honeymoon is still here.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Sucky Side of Solo Living

I seem to always hoot and holler about how much I love living alone. And don't get me wrong - I still do. I love coming home to a clean place just as I left it. It's quiet every single time I go to bed. The DVR only holds my crappy TV shows, and I can sprint around the place in my knickers if I so please.

But then there are those times when I wish I wasn't living alone:

1) Fear factor. The day after Halloween, I was stupid and read a blog where readers submitted their true ghost stories. I thought if I read them during the day I'd be fine. Nope! One of the stories involved a cat reacting to something while it was curled up on a girl's bed. So when I woke up at 4 a.m. last night and Cammie perked her ears up over something, I was all freaked out and couldn't go back to sleep. And how's this for a grown, 25-year-old woman: I was so thirsty, yet I was too scared to get up and go get a glass of water! I've also had a couple nightmares recently, and it would be really nice if I could wake up and (Dad, look away) be next to Ty. Sadly, he works out of town during most weeks, so it's just me and my ghost-detecting kitty.

2) Money honey. My car is one heap of crap. I mean, it gets me from Point A to Point B, but it has all kinds of weird quirks about it. This is where extra money (i.e. someone paying half my rent and bills) would come in handy. I work for a nice firm in a nice downtown building. Yet here I come hauling through the parking garage in my hoopty, with my brakes making some awful noise. Oh, and there's that fun part where I have to open my whole door just to scan my card for entry and exit (window doesn't roll down anymore). So yeah, some more sheckles in my pocket - going toward a new car - would be stellar.

3) Bored Broad. This past week, I've been getting some extra social interaction - Halloween night with Grams, dinner with the boyfriend's mom and brother last night (yes, without the boyfriend being there. I might love his family more than I love him. Sorry, honey!), and tonight is Girls Poker Night with my best friends. But other than that, I'm usually home just tooling around. Sometimes it's great, but other times I'd really like to chat away or have someone to run errands with. Not to mention, cooking for one is not too exciting. I can only handle a frozen piece of chicken from my Crock Pot for so long.

I read some advice somewhere that said your 20s are a special time in your life when you get to be alone. Once you're married and have kids, you're never alone again (unless you're a divorced empty-nester or a widow, but I'm banking on being married forever and dying first, dammit). So really, this is a unique time when I need to soak up this peace and quiet while it lasts. I just need to keep telling myself that when it's 3 a.m. and I'm scared the girl from "The Ring" is going to pop out.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Little Bit of Guilt, A Little Bit of Halloween

Not sure why, but recently I've been getting these urges to reach out to estranged people in my life and catch up. One was this guy I was friends with for two minutes in college - I stumbled across a bunch of emails we wrote back and forth freshman year, and he was so nice! I remember he admitted to liking me, and I had to break it to him that I had a boyfriend. That was pretty much the end of that. Oh, and I kind of avoided him because it always felt socially awkward between us.

So it was odd for me to recently get the urge to write him again and say hello. I quickly refrained, simply because I decided there was no point. It would only be to soothe my guilt, and that's not a good reason to reach out.

The other urge (fleeting urge) was to write an old friend who was a complete and total asshole to me. I thought if maybe I reached out and apologized (I can be seriously deluded sometimes), that maybe all would be hunky dory. Ummm, thank god I came to my freakin' senses. The only thing I'm sorry for in that situation is that I ever became friends with this vile human being.

Now on to a new subject.

I went to a costume party this past weekend and actually won Best Dressed! I felt a little guilty though because my costume (Maid Marion) was store bought. Some people put all of their accessories together and were much craftier and more original. But hey, I wasn't about to turn away my prize :) I got a big Halloween gift basket with all kinds of goodies in it.

Halloween was pretty uneventful. I dressed as the Orbit gum commercial girl at work and then headed to my grandma's house to help her give out candy. I just adore that woman!

Oh, and I forced myself to read all of these creepy ghost stories. Just what a girl who lives alone with her cat needs.

All right, that's all for now. This was an officially random post.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Don't Give Up So Easily

As determined as I am about some things, I tend to want to quit when the goin' gets a little rough.

When we were going to jump in the deep end in swim lessons, when my ballet teacher told me I ruined the Christmas show because I had the stomach flu, when I was copy chief of my college's newspaper for 2 weeks but couldn't handle the working-til-1-a..m. schedule. All times that I quit.

So even though I keep on truckin' when it comes to succeeding at major goals, I really want to work on not giving up so easily when it comes to the small stuff.

This all came to mind this past weekend after getting into a couple "tiffs," if you will, with the boyfriend. A couple times, I felt compelled to just get up and leave. Avoid the situation. Get away altogether. All of these thoughts went through my head, such as, "What's the point of being in a relationship?" and "It's so much easier being alone," etc. (For the record, this was me being dramatic. In no way am I looking to end my relationship. The best is yet to come!).

This whole being in a real relationship (and by real, I mean one where I could actually see it go somewhere) is tougher than I thought, I'll admit. Not because of anything having to do with Ty. It's all me. I'm the head case who's gotten too used to being single. So now I've got to learn how to mesh my nearly 26 years of life with someone else's two decades of experiences, goals, habits, expectations, hot button issues.

Here I thought meeting the right guy was the hard part. Now I think the hard part is learning how to be the right girl for the right guy.

I don't want to be a quitter. I don't want to get up and storm out the minute things don't go my way. Because really, these minor disagreements mean nothing compared to arguments over mortgages and raising kids - you know, real stuff.

Sure, sometimes you have off days and just want to be alone. It doesn't mean you should run off and never look back. Then you'd never be with anyone.

Ironically, it's when we have tiffs that I realize how good for me Ty is. He always assures me that everything will be OK. And best of all - he fights for me. He doesn't let me just walk out, and he makes great efforts to talk about everything and resolve it all. That's the exact kind of person I should be with.

I have a lot to learn, and I'm looking forward to the time when I can just let things roll off my back. I don't want to be overly sensitive or give up at the first sign of disagreement. I'm an over-achiever in other parts of my life, so dammit, I'm going to excel at my relationship too.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Gymmin' It Up

I hate gyms. Hate them! All I see are germs, sweat and people fitter than I am. Plus, I find them boring as all hell. Yeah, you can watch TV or listen to your iPod, but I can do that at home, on my comfortable couch, in my bright pink pj's, and not feel like I'm having an asthma attack. Oh yeah, and I don't get a tomato face when I'm at home, which is all too common when I exert any sort of physical energy.

Gyms have never been my comfort zone. Walking into one is like when I walk into a church or a super ritzy restaurant - I can't help but look around and think, "Do I really belong here?"

That said, I was a bit hesitant when I won a drawing prize at a work event that gave me 2 free months at a local gym. Two free months at this place is a $120 value, so I'd be stupid to pass that up. But I was nervous going to this place for fear that the employees would prey on my gullibility and magically get me to sign up for a lifetime membership. These meatheads are like vultures at these gyms - car salesmen with biceps! I've been known to be talked into a lot of stupid things, so I'd rather not go into the lion's den and have to get sweaty while doing it.

Well, Ty goes to this gym, so I figured it'd be safe to bring him along so we could work out together. We went last night, and I was severely dreading going. I'd worked non-stop all day, my commute was annoying and rainy, and all I wanted to do was watch Kim Kardashian's Fairy Tale Wedding on the E! Network. But I dragged my butt over there.

It started off annoying because the membership manager couldn't fathom why I had a 2-month pass (apparently they're rare at this place), and he was unsure how to redeem it. Then he brought me back to his desk to try and tell me how memberships now are the "cheapest he's ever seen." Riiiight.

Anyhoo, I finally got to the working out, which was boring at first, but then I was able to watch my own personal TV on a bike, and "Rachel Maddow" was on. Nothing like some political news to get me distracted and not thinking about working out!

The night ended well after Ty showed me how to use some machines (I especially liked the rowing one....I'm a regular Winklevoss twin), and we played some basketball. OK, "played" might be a bit of a stretch, but it was fun! Overall, it was a good experience despite my hatred of gyms. I think I just need to find what works for me and go with that. Because I'll never be one of these people who jogs on a treadmill for 45 minutes and pumps some serious iron. I'm more of a zumba and yoga girl. And now maybe a rower too.

I'm interested to see what other people's gym routines are - how in the hell do people get so motivated to go? And once they do go, how do they not keep from feeling like a zombie after one repetitive activity after another? Sure, I love the feeling you get once it's over. That's the best part. But I want to find a way to like the journey too.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Oktober Cluster F

I spent this past weekend with Ty and his family in their new Truckee house that he and his dad have been building. The bulk of it is completed, and now the only things left to do are decorating and finishing up a couple minor things here and there. The house is gorgeous! A true Tahoe-esque cabin with high ceilings, log siding and an enormous wooden truss inside the great room when you first walk in. I'm so proud of Ty for building it with his dad - he really put his career and life on hold these last 3+ years to help his family, and now he has this amazing home (not to mention new skills and memories with his padre) to show for it.

On Saturday we (as in Ty, his mom and her two girlfriends) worked on decorating the house a bit, which I admit is not even close to being my forte. My sister got the HGTV gene, while I'm more of the passive observer-type decorator. But I did my best and helped with little things.

Our group took a break and decided to hit up the Oktoberfest going on at Squaw Valley. The place was packed with lederhosen and beer mugs galore - as well as a whole boat load of drunk 20-somethings. Eh, not so much my scene. I would have been much happier if all kinds of annoyances didn't ensue, such as:

1) The beer lines were long as hell. You had to first get in the mug line and THEN get in the beer line. Umm, no.
2) Ty spotted a girl he's friends with and gave her a big ol' friendly hug hello. Did I mention this girl could have passed for Sarah Michelle Gellar's doppelganger? And did I mention that I wore no makeup and had on a frickin' hoodie for crying out loud?? It's not that I thought Ty liked her or anything. It was more that I was just having one of those low self-esteem days where you don't feel on top of your game looks-wise. I know I should be secure in my looks since in all honesty, I pride myself in being low maintenance. But we girls all have our moments when we just feel frumpy.
3) Ty got all hot and bothered when his mom entered him into some contest where you had to hold up beer mugs at shoulder height for a long time. Apparently he doesn't like when people enter him into things, so he stormed off in a huff. Oh, boy. We sure could have used some beers at this point, but alas, refer to #1.

Despite Oktoberfest being a bust, it all ended well because Ty snapped out of his little hissy fit, he assured me that he thinks I'm beautiful no matter what, and we drank our own damn beers (sans waiting in line) once we got back to the cabin. We broke in their new kitchen and ate a mouth-watering dinner of pot roast and veggies, and I passed out on the couch in my fleece pj's feeling happy as a clam. Overall, a lovely weekend to open up my favorite month!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Baby You Can('t) Drive My Car

Not much is more irritating than car problems, I've come to realize.

Sure, I don't have car payments, but good lord, my ghetto ass car has been a thorn in my side these past few months.

First, it was a couple of routine things back in the spring - a belt, a pulley thing-a-ma-jig, a brake light. Then I got a random flat over the summer, which thankfully didn't require me to buy a new tire. This month, however, things are starting to fail one by one.

My driver side window won't go down - do you know how ridiculous I look having to open my door everytime I go in and out of my parking garage at work? My horn doesn't work, which means I can't get people's attention (or audibly flip someone off), and now we've got this lovely overheating issue going on.

A couple weeks ago, steam came out of my car, which is never a good thing. Come to find out, my head gasket needs replacing. Ty's neighbor is a mechanic and graciously took it in. He wasn't able to fix it right away, but he said I could keep driving it. Well, in order for that to happen, I have to keep my heater on to draw heat from the engine so it won't overheat. Did I forget to mention that last week's highs were all in the 90s and even hit 100 a day or two? Let's just say, I got a nice glimpse into my menopausal hot flash future going to and from work.

This past weekend, Ty's neighbor told me even more was wrong with it - some other engine head hoop-a-nopper (can you tell by my lingo that I'm very well versed in cars?), thus I don't have a car this week. So in addition to paying gobs more money for this stupid new problem, I also rented a car for the week. So in total, I'm probably paying more money into fixing a car than it is actually worth. Yes, I'm getting a discount, but sometimes that car payment sounds mighty nice if it means I have some peace of mind when I commute the 20 miles to and from work every day.

Anyhoo, I know it doesn't sound like it, but I'm really not stressing too much about all of this. I know my problems could be a lot worse! Ty has been extra helpful, so that means a lot to me.

Speaking of help and relying on people, I realized something new about myself this weekend. For some reason, I really worry about people not viewing me as independent or self-reliant. It's always been sort of hard for me to ask people for help - I do it, but it takes a lot of mustering up courage, and in the end I feel guilty. I know we're not meant to do everything by ourselves, but I guess I just had this idea that once I hit adulthood and paid my own bills that I'd be able to conquer pretty much any challenge that came my way. Nope, definitely not so. I do need help sometimes, and I want to get more comfortable asking for it.

The other thing I've been learning is that I'm extra weary of "losing myself" as I forge into this whole relationship thing. I've blogged about this before (about not wanting to become a pod person), but I'm coming to see in my relationship with Ty that I sometimes resist giving in to his ideas or suggestions. It's not because he has bad ideas or anything (well, there was that sushi place he swore was the best, and that was one hell of a mistake), it's more just me fearing turning into a doormat and letting a guy make all the decisions. I know that sounds a bit ridiculous because I would never date someone who was controlling or domineering in that way, but I just think it's going to take me awhile to get used to seeing that compromising is not the same as giving up control.

As a single person, you only have to worry about 1 person's happiness, and in a couple, you have to consider 2. It's always easy at first because in that honeymoon stage, you're willing to go that extra mile for the other person. That long drive to go see them one evening seems to take priority over that yoga class you usually go to. But after awhile, how do you balance living your own life while also remembering to take someone else into account, all the while trying to keep things even and balanced? That's the stage I'm in now - trying to learn how to be with someone. Because I don't know how I'll ever be married if I can't hack it as someone's girlfriend.

Just some of my thoughts lately! Everything is going so well right now. I'm extremely happy and very hopeful for the future :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Karaoke: The Key to Bonding with Co-Workers

I frickin' love my job.

I already knew I would love it the minute I interviewed at the office, but here I am, finally getting in the swing of things and able to step outside the swirl of newness and see the job for what it is. I genuinely like coming into work and delving into new projects, sometimes so busy I forget to use the restroom or eat. That's the best!

This love of the job became all the more clear last week when our office met up in San Francisco with all of the company's California offices. First off, I got my own room at the W Hotel, which is sweet in and of itself. Not to mention, Ryan Gosling walked through the lobby 5 minutes before I did. So basically he and I were sleeping together (albeit in separate rooms and probably separate floors, but hey - what's a few concrete walls and insulation?).

This summit, if you will, made it all the more obvious why my company rocks - everyone is so brilliant and creative! It really lit my fire and got me all charged up to come back to the office and kick ass (I believe we call this "morale"). You know how there are those moments where you stop and think, "This is exactly where I'm supposed to be"? That was me last week. And really that's been me in a nutshell the last couple months.

Besides networking and professional development, my colleagues and I cut loose and went out for karaoke one night. As someone who tap dances and has a penchant for 2Pac, I quickly earned the name "Tracy the Rapper Tapper." Once people heard my go-to karaoke song was "Shoop," one of my co-workers immediately signed me up. It was a complete hit! All of us danced and sang along - my rapping was even mentioned by my boss at the meeting the next morning, and it was later mentioned again by the head of the San Diego office in front of everyone. Yes! Just the rep I need - the token white girl with thug appeal. But really - it was a great way to get closer to everyone and to help ease that stiffness you experience at a new job. I'm feeling much more comfortable at the office!

In other news, I realized the other day that I'm actually meeting one of my biggest goals - living in the present! So much of my time has been dedicated to dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. For the first time in a long time - maybe ever - I'm living each day as it is, experiencing things fully and soaking up every moment. It truly is a happy time in my life, and it makes dealing with the bad things so much easier.

Sure, nothing is perfect. One of my good friends doesn't want to be good friends anymore. I wrote him that I missed him and wished we could still hang out, but all I got back was a harsh email saying that we aren't going to be friends. He thought that me having a boyfriend and him seeing someone means we should be "fair" to them and not hang out. Well, for the record, Ty is the least jealous/possessive/controlling person I know. He would never stop me from hanging out with friends or other guys because he's secure in what we have. And that's the way it should be! But regardless, this guy friend (ex-friend) sounds to me like he's putting up a front that he's so "over it." Really? So after years of friendship, good times and memories, you're just done with it because I got a boyfriend? Oh, and he thought my reaching out was to soothe my own guilt for hurting him. Well, clearly his curt words rid me of any guilty feelings at this point. I'm a good friend, and I wish that were enough for some people. But I guess putting up this harsh exterior and making excuses is all people can do to protect themselves. And that's his prerogative. My prerogative is to not live in the past anymore, so adios.

That's about it over here for now. Just working a lot, trying to not be annoyed of my cat who is either barfing or getting litter from her box everywhere, and spending time with friends and family. A pretty fabulous summer thus far!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

There's a Snake in My Boot

I got down and dirty last weekend during a fun little cabin trip to Bowman Lake with the boy and his fam. It was SO much fun! And apparently, this highly outdoorsy family declared that I "passed the test." (For the record, there is no real "test" I needed to pass. I'm awesome in my own right; thus, proving it in the wilderness is unnecessary. I think they just meant that I was able to mesh with everyone in this environment).

Some highlights:
  • While hiking up a small cliff with a waterfall, Ty (the boyfriend, FYI) was ahead of me leading the way. Not much really scares him, so when he stopped in his tracks and quickly told me to go back down now, I started to freak out a bit. It wasn't until we got down the rocks a few feet that he said he was about a yard away from a freakin' rattlesnake that was shaking its tail! Apparently, no one ever spots those damn things up at Bowman, and this breed is especially aggressive and scary. Go figure that we almost step on one my first time up there.
  • Ty's cousins had a quad and a commander there, which they let us borrow on a couple occasions. Oh, do you think we took a lovely stroll through the woods on those things? Of course not! Ty put the pedal to the metal, and I almost had a heart attack as his passenger. I don't think I would have been as scared if he rode those things all the time. But he doesn't, so all I could think of was being thrown off to my death. I felt loads better when I got to drive (hmm, maybe I have control issues?).
  • I shot a shotgun. Me - the most anti-gun person ever. It was overrated.
  • One of Ty's brother's friends almost walked in on me while I was peeing in our shared bathroom. Yeah, that was a hoot.
  • Speaking of peeing, I tried to pop a squat and pee in the woods at 4 a.m. A mental block wouldn't let me, and Ty made fun of me, saying all the girls he knows can pee in the woods. Really? I find that hard to believe given girls' lack of, ahem, stream control. It's much easier when you have a laser pointer you can move around to avoid getting pee on your socks.
  • I smoked tobacco out of a Sherlock Homes-esque pipe while sitting around the campfire. Hell yes.
Overall, it was such a fun trip! I swam, I kayaked, I hiked, I drank beer, I read in the woods, I ate bomb food. There's nothing like a summer weekend in the wilderness. And while it was fun, I can't say I was too broken up to come home to my bathroom for one, where the only person who could walk in on me is my cat Cammie. Life is good!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Push It

2011 is my year to be pushed, I've decided.

I switched jobs, and so far, it is definitely a learning process. Picture being a freshman at a new high school - you understand the general gist of going to school, but you're surrounded by such newness that you're constantly feeling like a small fish in a big pond.

It sure is a different feeling being new at a job where you're expected to know things. When you're an intern or a recent college grad getting hired at entry level, there's that understanding that the learning curve will take some time. But in my case, I've been in PR for 3+ years, and even at my new agency I have to stop and Google the most rudimentary things.

That's the hardest part for me - going from feeling comfortable in my capabilities and knowledgeable about clients & company practices, to feeling overwhelmed, out of the loop and back at Square 1. I absolutely love what I do, and I don't regret my decision to leave my old job one bit. I just struggle with feeling clueless at times. I don't want to hold my company or clients back - I want to be the best! I'm sure I'll get there one day...just requires some patience and optimism. The people I work with are brilliant. I have some amazing teachers for sure.

I'm also being pushed physically this year given that I am now dating a regular Mr. Mountain Man. OK, that might be an exaggeration, but it's still a big change to go from weekends of laundry and gentle yoga to excursions in the mountains and going electricity-free....willingly. Don't get me wrong - the boy is not fastening me to a rope and forcing me to scale Mt. Kilimanjaro or anything, but I can already tell I'm going to have to toughen up when it comes to my outdoor skills.

I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm a delicate flower by any means, but I also wouldn't describe myself as Annie Oakley either. Old home videos can attest to my romanticism of being outdoorsy - on one trip to the Grand Canyon at about age 10, I sported my neon orange fanny pack and told the camera repeatedly, "I like hikes. I just love going on hikes. Hikes are the best," only to later walk for 10 minutes, quit and ask when we were leaving town for Vegas.

In my mind, the outdoorsy activities always sounded fun, but who was I kidding? I was choreographing bad ass dances to Paula Abdul as a kid, not tromping through the mud trying to get dirty. I didn't really climb trees - instead, my dad built us a playhouse with a carpeted ladder and actual drapes.

I guess you could describe me as "soft," which isn't a bad thing per se. It just means that when you're 25 and about to go stay with your boyfriend at a cabin in the middle of nowhere, you better fasten that fanny pack tight and actually like hikes this time.

I'm really looking forward to the trip, actually. It's up at his family's cabin about 2-1/2ish hours away - no electricity, no cell phone service. This isn't too far off of what I did for years as a kid with my best friend Marilyn. We'd stay for 7 full days on a lake in the middle of nowhere - no running water usually, but there was a nice little outhouse. I got plenty dirty and loved it! So I'm hoping this weekend will be no different. We'll be going kayaking, swimming, hiking and exploring. And not to be a totally stereotypical "soft" girl, but I just bought new swim/land shoes that are purple and adorable!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Upside Down

A little over a month ago, my life was completely different than it is now. In the last 30 days, so much has changed that I barely recognize anything anymore!

These are all mostly welcomed changes - namely, my fabulous career. It's been a lot of work, but it's fun to do. This week I've had the arduous task of taste testing recipes prepared by a professional, paired with some scrumptious wines. It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it! I went from barely having enough work to fill my day to not having enough hours in the day to do my job! I love it! Sure, I felt like my head was going to explode for a minute there, but this is exactly what I signed up for. None of these hum-drum working days where I leave the office feeling completely unproductive and useless. At the new job, I do a lot!

There are downsides, of course. I get home later than I would like, which leaves less time for my favorite classes at the gym :( But I figure, it's more important to have an active mind anyway. I take walks downtown during my lunches sometimes, so I'm not completely immobile. Another downside - I miss the camaraderie I had with my old co-workers! Sure I love the new people at this job, but I'm not super close with anyone yet. I know that all comes with the territory of being new, but it was nice having people to chat with every day about this and that.

Another aspect of my life has completely changed this month - I'm dating someone! This is something way out in left field that I never, ever expected in a million years. I've been on this whole single kick for awhile, but sometimes you just click with people! This guy is a family friend, and we connected immediately. We actually know a lot of the same people, and we have some strange family connections (his mom went to elementary school with my dad, and his grandpa was the family doctor for my dad's side of the family for years). Beyond that, he is like no one I've ever met (cliche, I know). But it's true! He's insanely smart, very close with his family, funny beyond words, loyal, interesting, passionate about life, affectionate, straight forward - oh, and did I mention he is a fox? All of these attributes are great, but the one that tops them all is this - he actually likes me! I know that sounds pretty obvious, but given what I've gone through with all of my serious relationships, reciprocity is huge to me. And I want someone that cherishes me because I want to get back what I put out there.

So yes, Tracy now has a boyfriend after 2 years of singledom. It's pretty wild when I think about it, but it feels so natural at this point. When we met, I already felt like we were dating! So I'm excited to see what happens. I'm going into this situation very open and ready, yet I'm not creating expectations like I did in my last relationship. That led to a lot of disappointment, and I'd rather just enjoy the ride!

One major downside to everything is recently I've had to let go of a close friend of mine. It was someone who wanted a relationship with me, but I did not feel the same way. It sucks up one way and down the other, it really does. I wish he and I could be friends like before, but I totally understand why we can't. I want him to be free so he won't feel held back - he deserves all the happiness in the world, and I just don't think being friends with me was enough. I'm not sure if he knows I'm dating someone new (if he reads this, well then I guess the jig is up). I hope he knows that I never meant to hurt him and that I still think of him. And if he ever wanted to let me back into his life as a friend, I'd be there in a New York minute.

So there's the latest with me - many changes and so much possibility for the future.

Friday, July 1, 2011

If You Want to View Paradise

I may be jinxing myself here, but life really couldn't get much better these days. (Note to the gods: please don't try to do that whole balance thing where everything is going so great that you have to throw a wrench into the whole thing. Much appreciated).

The new job is outstanding! Some of the tough things I'm tasked with are inviting people to fancy dinners and researching Italian wine mixology. Rough life. My co-workers are all incredibly smart and dedicated, and I love having so much to learn on the horizon. I feel like I'm going to fit in very nicely.

For those who know me and my culinary skills (or lack thereof), you're probably wondering how the hell I'm qualified to do such a job. Well, I like to think I'm a chameleon that can adapt to any situation. I was clueless about Oregon teams when I went to work for the university's athletic department. I quickly picked that up. I think this will be the same drill - it's something fun, so it's fun to learn how to do it! I've already signed up to receive loads of food & wine e-newsletters, and I'm thinking I should probably call my cable company to get the Food Network turned back on. I'll be a food & wine connoisseur yet!

That's not to say there hasn't been a bump or two in the road. Last week, I made a mistake that caused some pretty heinous drama. I was getting emails from various writers and bloggers calling me "rude" and "unprofessional," and that I needed to learn "PR 101." Not that I don't hold myself accountable for my mistakes, but the majority of these whiny bastards were the select crazies among a group of classy, important folks. I can't go into too much detail about what happened, but basically I over-invited people to an event, and when I had to turn people down, some weren't too happy. Beyond the hate mail, there were a couple phone calls too.

The best part of the scenario was how supportive my team at the office was. They had my back through the whole thing. Our general manager and some of the partners even stopped by my office to talk and make sure I was OK (because frankly, there was a day when crawling under my desk and crying seemed like the only viable option). Having everyone's support meant the world to me! The crisis was averted, and the event went fabulously. Plus, the client was concerned for me (so sweet!), and she was very happy with how the firm handled everything.

So yes, other than that little hiccup (more like an upchuck), things are grand!

I had my dance show last Saturday, and so many members of my family showed up! My parents even surprised me (after my mom gave me the whole, "Awww, I'm so sorry we're going to miss it" speech the night before - those tricky scoundrels!). I had so much fun out there on the stage, and I didn't mess up (which was one of my fears going into it. I actually had a mad case of heartburn all morning).

This weekend is 4th of July, which I'm thrilled for - eating, fireworks, family time, sleeping. This really is the good life!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Spinning Around

Whew.

What a whirlwind week this has been.

My life has considerably changed, directly the result of starting my new job this past Monday. In a word to describe it: woo-hoo! (OK, that was more a two-word hyphenate).

Last week I finished up everything at my old job. What a strange feeling it was, coming in each day, knowing that it would be my last time to go to lunch with the girls, answer the phone with the company name, drive 3 miles to work. I had several choked-up moments throughout the week as it started to set in, but Friday was when the water works came.

Sofia, the ultimate co-worker and gem that she is, decorated my office with balloons, confetti, Starbucks, gifts and cards. It was so touching, and of course, my eyes were already welling up well before 8 a.m. I'm fairly certain there are few co-workers as great as Sofia out there - and I'm positive there are very few friends like her. She has a heart of gold, and she's the main reason I've loved coming to work the last 3+ years. It was her that I was dreading breaking the news to about my departure more than anyone else.

The rest of the day went by way too fast. I had gifts for everyone in the office, coupled with long letters for each (cards don't leave enough room for my rambling). Laura left first, and that was tough. She's been such a rock in my life - always motivating me and keeping things interesting at work. I know I will see everyone again and stay in touch, but it's just not the same. These people are like my second family!

When I bid farewell to Sofia, I had to mentally prepare for it. We decided to leave at the same time so that I wouldn't have to stay in the office and drown in my tears. We sat in my car, talked a bit and said our goodbyes. I kept it together surprisingly well, but the minute I drove away, I lost it completely. I did the ugly cry all the way home.

This isn't to say I wasn't majorly excited for this new phase in my life! It's just hard to let go of things that have been so ingrained in your life for years. It's scary, but it's facing fears like this that have always made my life better. Going away to college, studying abroad in London, moving to San Francisco. All of that scared the crap out of me, yet they've been some of the best decisions I've ever made.

I had a wonderful weekend. I scoped out a few places to live downtown, but I've ultimately decided to stay in Roseville for the next few months. Changing jobs AND homes in the same month is just overload for my brain.

Monday came, and I was nervous/excited/intimidated. You name it. I had an awesome first day at the new Big PR Agency! (Side note: notice how my bio now has a line in it about this blog housing my views only and not those of my employer - love it! So official and corporate-y. The same principle applies to my Twitter now too. Yes, this is me geeking out over working for a big company. I'm also equally fascinated by our conference room sporting a huge company logo, as well as all of the company coffee cups in the break room).

Everyone at the office is so sweet and helpful! A group of people took me to lunch, and I felt super welcome in the office. Of course, my brain was buzzing from all of the new information - names, clients, company practices - but that's to be expected. I felt like it was my first day of college or something - this new big world is at my fingertips, and I can't wait to settle in and get to work!

Some other nerdy things about the new job that excite the suburbanite in me:
-When I scan my parking pass in the garage, a robotic voice tells me, "Good morning, Tracy."
-I have my own office with a name placard outside of it.
-I was issued a BlackBerry yesterday for checking company emails. Oh. Em. Gee.
-A 2-day stay in San Francisco is in the works for August where all of the company's California offices will convene (hehe).
-I've already picked up on some fun, official office lingo. Examples:

"We're going to debrief Dan," as in fill him in on stuff.
"We use those for one-off events," as in events that happen here and there.
"Let's do things this way moving forward," instead of saying "from now on."

I know all of that corporate-y stuff doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things, but it still impresses the small town gal in me. As for the client work, I'm ramping up on that (more PR people lingo) and it's super fun! I work with food clients, so I'm reaching out to lifestyle and food editors. This is a change from my more business and technology background, but it's a welcomed switch :)

So, life is very good right now. It's not always easy being new, but one day I won't be anymore. It's still nice to come home to my same old apartment, go to my favorite classes at the gym and see familiar faces when I hang out with friends. And tonight I'm hanging with my old co-workers at the River Cats game! This will be my official going away event (more like "gone away" celebration), and I'm psyched!

Looking forward to more changes and my professional growth.....moving forward :)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Finding Mr. Right Career

Big things are in the works for me. I found out a couple weeks ago that I got a new job that I had been dying to get. Seriously - a rare, doesn't-come-too-often, awesome, exciting job! I know I'm a hard worker in general, but this was something I worked even harder for, and the fact that it paid off just about makes this one of my most prized accomplishments to date.

I hadn't been actively looking to change jobs. My current one was working out fine, and I just love my co-workers there. The 3-mile commute was grand, and getting off at 4:30 every day made life pretty breezy.

And therein lies the rub.

I don't want to always take the easy route. I don't want everything to just slide on by to the point where I'm barely using my brain anymore. This hit me big time about a month ago when I was invited to a BBQ/trivia party. I don't think I knew the answer to more than 3 questions the whole night. It got me thinking - am I getting dumber?

I've noticed for awhile that I needed a challenge. Half of the reason I've taken on new hobbies and volunteer opportunities is because I felt the need to be more dedicated to things. I was going to work, coming home and not even giving work a second thought. That disconnect is what led me to pursue this new opportunity.

Many weeks ago, I saw that Big PR Agency Downtown was hiring a mid-level executive. This was the same agency I'd interned for in San Francisco, so I thought that maybe that would be my "in." I applied for it and got a call for a short phone interview the following week. The minute I started talking with the HR person, I knew this job was amazing. The clients are mainly food and wine, and the job requires some travel to places like Miami, New Orleans, Boston, Seattle. I immediately was bound and determined to get this job.

Thankfully, I was asked to come into the office for a full-on interview. So I updated my portfolio and got some writing samples together. I remembered all of the basic techniques of a job interview, and having helped interview many people for work, I knew that it was going to take more than a clean portfolio and decent writing sample to get me to stand out. Everyone knows to do that stuff, but not everyone goes above and beyond what is asked of them.

So I whipped out my creative side and drafted a pretend food-related blog post for their company blog (something they are very well known for). It was rather cheesy, I'll admit, but I wanted to showcase my writing skills, food knowledge (beyond just "I like it") and creativity.

That interview went so great. I equivocate it to an awesome first date - you feel comfortable, at ease and like this is where you belong. It sparked this new desire in me that I hadn't experienced since college - that whole "the world is my oyster" kind of passion that drives me to go after what I want rather than just going through my days with a perfunctory approach.

And like that date that goes so well, eventually major insecurity ensues. "What if they don't like me? What if the chemistry was just my imagination?" I even found about.....get ready for it.....another woman! Through some sleuthing skills, I discovered a girl whom I assumed was going for the position as well. After reading her credentials on LinkedIn, my heart sank. This girl seemed perfect for the job.

I hate to admit that this actually led to me shedding tears, but since we all know this story has a happy ending, I can throw that in there for drama. I was so disappointed that I'd gotten my hopes up, and here this perfect person was going to take it all away from me, even though I just knew I could do that job.

Thankfully, I put to good use another invaluable skill in the PR world - utilizing who you know. I contacted a girl I knew from the SF office, and she got in touch with a girl who worked with her but had recently transferred from Sac. She was able to do a little recon for me, which I feel like is the whole reason I got this job - she discovered I was still in the running, but if I had any more proof of my food and wine skills, I'd better demonstrate it.

That refueled my fire, and I got to work right away, drafting an email to all those who'd interviewed me. I wanted to provide supplemental information, particularly because a 1-page resume and quick interview can't fully demonstrate what I'm capable of. I highlighted my relevant skills and did so in a catchy, gimicky way.

It worked.

I was offered the job a week later. When I was first offered, I don't think it sunk in. I had been so prepared to make my rejection speech, it totally caught me off guard when they told me they wanted me!

So there it is - my exciting news about how I'm movin' on up in the PR world! My passion, drive and excitement has been re-ignited. I'm no longer on autopilot, and I'm ready to put in the time and elbow grease.

Some girls fantasize about snagging their dream man. I fantasized about snagging my dream career, and I think it's safe to say that this little PR lady will be living happily ever after.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

No, I'm Not Down with O.P.P.

I'm having some boyfriend problems. No, not with my non-existent boyfriend - rather, with other people's boyfriends. I consistently find myself seriously annoyed at the choices people in my life make regarding significant others.

"But Tracy," you say, "isn't that their business and not yours?"

You're right. It is. But I can't HELP it! I want to scream at some people!

"But Tracy," you say, "aren't you being kind of a Judge Judy right now?"

Yes. Don't you think I'd love to be Supportive Susan? But unfortunately, I'm cursed with actually giving a shit about my friends. Why is it so hard for smart, confident, successful women to date guys on that same level? Why do so many women date men who mistreat them, have zero goals or who haven't been giving them what they want?

Oh, that's riiiiiight. That pesky little think called love. That's what people always say when they try to justify being with shitty people. As someone who's worked in domestic violence prevention for years now, I can tell you the #1 reason women stay with their abusers - because the women love them.

It's the same mentality for women staying with men who aren't abusive, necessarily, but just unhealthy for them in general. People think just because you have these overwhelming feelings that you need to "follow your heart." That is one of the most misused sayings in the world. How about following our heads? You know, our brains?? Or if that's not working correctly, why not listen to that little voice a.k.a. gut feeling? You're all familiar with that one - it's that annoying little bastard that we push away and try so hard to fight against......only to realize in the end that the little shit was right.

Newsflash - love does NOT conquer all! It's an emotion, and emotions can't be the sole reason we make decisions. Emotions ebb and flow; they change. They evolve. They dissolve. It's a very unromantic way of looking at things, but hey, if being realistic means I'm able to get my head out of my ass and not date an asshole, then pragmatism here I come.

I know I'm waaaay up on my sassy horse right now, and I need to just focus on my own life. But I can't describe how difficult it is when you see people settling for less than they deserve. I know people who are with guys who've had affairs, guys who've physically abused them, guys who've lied, guys who've called them every horrible name under the sun, guys who are married (to someone else). Where do we draw the line? When do we start holding these guys accountable for what they've done?

Being forgiving is important. I understand that. I do believe in forgiveness - but I feel like so many times, people are quick to forgive out of the fear of being alone.

Being miserable with someone always appears easier than being miserable alone. Trust me, I understand that concept more than anyone. I've been on the other side. When I would go back with guys that hurt me, it was a quick Band-Aid for the pain I was feeling. You get back together/make up/try to forget the past, and for a moment in time, you're "happy." All seems right in the world.

I thought that meant that being with him was what made me happy and "all better." But everytime I went back, the relationship would deteriorate and slowly erode more and more. It was never the same or as good as it was before. That "make-up" phase was just smoke and mirrors - a distraction from the actual underlying problem.

Now that I'm on the other side of it, I can safely say that being alone is not easy emotionally - at first. But as time goes on, and as I've gotten space from my past, it's been the best part of my young adult life yet. I see clearer now than I ever have. I don't have my head in the clouds or my heart wound up in messy feelings. I'm stronger and more confident than I ever have been. And it was the distance from these bad guys in my life that made me see everything for what it was. Not a week away, not a month. More like years. It's been 2 years since I've been someone's girlfriend, and while I've dated and had guys in my life since then, I've had the most amazing emotional growth spurt.

This growth has allowed me to see what I deserve from a significant other. It doesn't mean I expect perfection because, honestly, I'm not perfect myself (who is, anyway?). It just means that I recognize that there are 7 billion people in this world, roughly half of them the gender I would most likely date (OK, maybe throw my girl crush Lady Gaga in there). I realized that with all of those options out there (maybe not 3.5 billion, but even if that number was 1,000, that's still an immense amount), I don't have to settle on the next guy that makes my stomach go pitter-patter.

No one is the "love of your life" or "the one" (except that John Krasinski from "The Office" is mine, but that's just a given). We have plenty of options, and while we may eventually tie down to one person once we're married, our 20s and young adult life don't need to take a page from "The Notebook." Calm yourselves, people. Falling in love doesn't mean you've found the Holy Grail and therefore no longer need to use your brain. We have the ability to fall in love again and again and again....and the longer you stay with someone who doesn't fulfill you, the less time you'll have with someone who will.

We can all afford to be more selective. Who knows? Maybe if we were all more selective, the shitty people wouldn't keep getting free rides. The bar would be raised, so we'd actually have a larger pool of eligible bachelors.

So, ladies, let's try this on for size - if love really does conquer all, why don't we start making decisions based on the love we have for ourselves? Don't keep letting crappy males get away with being crappy. Have some standards, and for God's sake, stop this whole "love" business from making you all miserable! It doesn't have to be so hard.

*Climbs off soap box*

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Youth vs. Adulthood: Which One Wins?

There's that famous saying that goes: "Youth is wasted on the young." Generally, this is said by a crotchety old man as he observes care-free young people who are probably speeding past him on the road or running amok in the aisles of department stores.

To me, this saying gets me thinking about happiness - are young people happier than adults and just don't realize it? Is that whole "ignorance is bliss" saying true?

I was pondering this today while in the bathroom (yes, I philosophize while on the john). It got me thinking about my childhood and happiness (two of the topics that frequently cross my mind). Was I happier as a child than I am now?

My guess is that it all depends on what "happiness" means. Happiness could be making a living. That would mean my adult life is happier. Happiness could also mean having little responsibility. That would mean childhood wins.

In true, Type-A personality fashion, I'll just make a couple lists.

Childhood Happiness
  • I could read two books at a time and finish within a few days. Now, I get automated phone calls telling me my library books are overdue, and I've barely gotten through the first half of a great novel.
  • My key responsibilities included 6 hours of school and maybe an hour of homework on average, depending on what grade I was in. Without having to cook, clean or tend to my iPhone, I could spend hours doing whatever I wanted - playing in my playhouse my dad built, riding bikes, watching copious amounts of "Full House." Come 3 p.m., the world was my oyster.
  • Meeting new people didn't require me to put on my game face and act interested in conversation. As a kid, you're generally ignored by adults, so you can go on with your own business and the things that matter to you. You're allowed to be quiet and self-absorbed. As an adult, this makes you an asshole.
  • The whole world was ahead of me. I could make outlandish statements about how I was going to be an actress on "Dawson's Creek" and write for Rolling Stone. Nowadays, your goals have to be concrete. Attainable. Realistic. Otherwise, you just make Charlie Sheen sound normal.
  • I could eat the hell out of a Happy Meal and later run around our backyard in my two-piece swimsuit, feeling nothing but glee. I had yet to be introduced to bad food reactions requiring Pepto Bismal, acid reflux, the slowing of my metabolism and negative body issues.
Adult Happiness
  • One of my main concerns as a kid was having a boyfriend. That was all I thought about, day and night. I would kiss my Cabbage Patch doll (it was a boy doll, Dad. No worries) and pretend it was my future husband. Thank God I can now focus my attention on other things. And thank God I can actually kiss real boys now.
  • Sure I almost hyperventilate when my rent is due because I'm so sad to see such a huge chunk of my hard-earned money going away at the click of a button - but at the same time, I always feel some amount of pride when I successfully pay a bill. I'm doing it - living life on my own in my own apartment, just as I told my dad I would at 8 years old.
  • I begged my mom incessantly to buy me a life-sized version of the dress my American Girls doll wore (it was a floral, 1770s gown with petticoats - the ultimate attire for a 5th grader). I remember telling her, "It's only $80, and you make so much money, Mommy!" My mom calmly explained to me that just because she makes money, doesn't mean she doesn't have other things to pay for that are more important than a dress - electricity bills, a mortgage, Dad's Dreyer's ice cream habit. Nowadays, I can buy myself any colonial garb I please! It's my money, and I'm lucky that I'm able to buy fun things for myself every once in awhile.
  • Not that I'm a wild woman, but I do feel a sort of satisfaction when I stay out on a Friday night until 2 a.m. and come home guilt-free. It's not so much that I love to party - more that I'm so incredibly lucky to be independent.
So, when it comes to it, I'd say it's a draw. I was happy as a kid, and I'm happy now as an adult. Sure, life gets tougher as you get older, but I'm excited for all of life's stages. I sure don't ever want any youth to be wasted on this youngin.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

On Call, On Edge

Last night was my first 12-hour shift of being on call as a sexual assault response advocate. It started at 6 p.m. and lasted until 6 a.m. Thankfully, I'm not expected to stay awake that whole time (just keep my phone by my side). I didn't get called out (whew!) but it wasn't the most restful of sleeps.

I woke up every couple hours, checking the clock. 1:12 a.m. 3:37 a.m. 5:15 a.m. Finally I looked up and saw it was 6:50. No calls! Now was my time to relax, but I was already awake, so I figured I'd get up and start my day. Being on call sure made my heart race - I had a heightened awareness and was going over every scenario in my head.

It reminded me of when we had to take home the electronic "Baby Think It Over" in 9th grade. My friend Christina and I thought it was kind of cool because we got first pick of which babies we wanted (she opted for the white girl. Me? The Asian. I promptly named her Buttercup). Clearly this was not supposed to be fun - we were supposed to learn a valuable lesson about having a baby as a teenager. The little creepy dolls would cry randomly and you were supposed to tend to their needs - diaper change, feeding, rocking, etc. It had a chip in it to keep track if you neglected it or even abused it. So - my point - I barely slept that night because I was so worried about Buttercup going off. She did, just once. Not very realistic if you ask me, but that heightened sense of worry is a good lesson in itself. I'm sure once you're a parent, that never fully goes away.

Anyhoo, I'm rambling. Back to being on call. This is a volunteer endeavor for me, and I'm really excited about it. Basically, if you get called out, you meet the victim/survivor at the hospital and help him/her through the police questioning and evidentiary exam. It's a 4-6 hour process, and it's our job as advocates to make sure the client is being treated fairly, is as comfortable as possible, knows about counseling and victim witness services offered, and see to it that they aren't more traumatized than they already are. It's a pretty daunting task, but from what other volunteers have told me, it's also incredibly rewarding. I'm on call the next couple Fridays, so we'll see if I get called out.

In other news, this weekend is Mother's Day! We're having a big get-together at my grandma's, so I'm looking forward to that. I've already gotten a lot done this weekend, and it's not even noon. I went to the gym this morning to a class that kicks my ass every time. But it's my way of making up for all of the eating I'll be doing this weekend! My parents and sister are coming to town tonight - whoop whoop! Always a good time with those fools.

Other than that, not much is going on. I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend with the people I love - it doesn't get much better than that.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

It's Osama's Death, and I'll Celebrate If I Want To

I’m not a violent person by any means. I’ve never been one for revenge either – that whole “eye for an eye” thing is just not how I roll. I don’t believe in the death penalty for that reason – injecting someone and killing them quickly and painlessly is not justice to me. It’s the easy way out.

That said, I’m still a little perturbed that celebrating the death of Osama bin Laden is being frowned upon by some people – that it somehow means we are stooping to the level of terrorists in rejoicing in violence and death.

But here is the vast difference between anti-American terrorists and us: we are relieved and overjoyed that an enemy is dead, not civilians. And it’s my belief that his death itself is not the core reason of our joy – it’s the symbolism behind it. Bin Laden represented pure hatred and evil, and killing him is a key climactic event in the tragedy this country (and the whole world) experienced on September 11, 2001.

I wasn’t alive back in the World War II days, but I’m pretty sure we weren’t afraid to celebrate the death of Hitler. And while Osama bin Laden never had the destructive reach of that psycho, he’s still the devil in human form just as Hitler was, in my eyes.

So for these reasons, I celebrate bin Laden’s death. I rejoice in his demise. I am happy he is no longer here, and I most definitely relish the fact that he’s burning in hell right now. I’m proud of our troops and what they’ve been fighting toward for the past 10 years. I’m proud to be an American, so damn it, I’m going to shout “USA! USA!” at that bastard’s death all I want!

On that same token, people are also calling into question the decency of his burial – that it somehow was offensive to give the cowardly asshole an Islamic burial at sea. I may celebrate his death, but I’m not against disposing of him in a respectful-to-his-culture manner. Not doing so is an affront to the Muslim community, not him.

And how else would we have gotten rid of him? Burned him to pieces? Desecrated his body? Umm, does no one remember Abu Gharib? What a shameful time in our military’s history. We are better than that, and we got rid of the remains of bin Laden – the evil soul of the guy was already dead and gone.

Just my 2 cents!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Do We Need Closure?

Over yummy burgers and brew with a girlfriend of mine this week (OK, you caught me - a sandwich and water for me!), we talked about reconnecting with ex-boyfriends. She'd recently gone to dinner with one of hers after not seeing him for several years, and given that she's married, this wasn't any sort of rekindling extravaganza.

Funny that she should bring this up because one of my exes reached out to me recently, saying he may be in town this weekend and would love to take me to lunch. I haven't seen his black ass in 3-1/2 years (before you think I'm racist, keep in mind I'm using that as an expression. This dude is as white as they come...although he does have gangsta qualities).

Basically, our saga was that we dated in college on and off, and after I graduated, I tried getting back together with him - even going so far as to express my undying love in a letter - only to be ignored and eventually made aware of his new relationship via MySpace. Cue the ensuing months of dark depression - bouts of crying, listening to sad songs constantly, feeling inconsolable, not wanting to get out of bed. It was a dark time for me, and I lived through all of it again when I recently re-read my journal from that era. I was quite pathetic, and I'm happy to report that I'll never be like that again.

No guy is worth that - especially not this guy! I'd forgotten (or maybe just suppressed) all of the horrible things he said to me. He told me he would never miss me and that I'd probably miss him more. At one point, he told me I was dirty and easy (umm, what?!?) and he made frequent criticisms of my hair and appearance. Oh, not to mention all of the lies he told me throughout the course of our relationship, like his hidden marijuana habit and fake hook ups with other girls that he'd masterminded in order to make me jealous. Oh, and how can I forget that he read my private journal - twice! Real gem and a half.

My friend that met up with her ex said she felt great about it - she was able to get a lot off of her chest, and he even apologized to her for some of the things he'd done. She said it felt like great closure.

So that got me thinking about my ex - is there any closure there that I need?

I realized that no, there are no loose ends there that need tying up. I don't walk around carrying bitterness (because truly - who does that benefit?), but just because all of that stuff happened years ago when we were younger, I don't forget. He's still with that girl he left me for, and while that's great for him, I'm not going to put on some show just to prove how "over it" I am. Being over it to me means that I'm indifferent to him - I don't need to figure anything out with him because all that was needed to figure out was, well, me.

I figured out how to recognize when someone is bad for you. While I don't think he's a bad person, I do believe he wasn't right for me in too many ways to make the relationship worth it. There wasn't even a strong enough foundation there for me to even try to test out a friendship with him. He served his purpose in my life, and now that ship has sailed. It's in the past and no dredging up of old stuff is ever going to benefit me.

So needless to say, I'm not meeting up with him, as tempting as it is, given how great I'm doing! There is that immature part of me that wants to flaunt around how awesome I am, but there's simply no point. I'm sure he knows that I'm a good person and recognizes what he did to me, otherwise he wouldn't be trying to be buddy-buddy with me. My friend asked me if I'd ever want him to apologize to me. You know what? I really don't think I need that. I don't care if he's sorry or not. I've moved on with my life, and I don't need past heartbreak to rock that boat.

So here's to gaining closure on my own! It's such a remarkable feeling, and I'm proud of myself for how far I've come. Honestly, if it weren't for my ex, I might have been just as inconsolable over the next breakup I had with someone. But my skin was thick enough to where I didn't really cry or lament that loss too much. I picked myself up off the ground and closed the door myself!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Comfort vs. Chaos

One of my 3 readers, my friend Chelsea, gave me some good advice in a post comment recently. She said, "Paying bills and going to bed at a decent hour is all well and good, but you could stand to be a little more irresponsible at times."

SO true! This has been one of the many things nagging at me when it comes to figuring my life out. I worry about making enough money, working at a job that allows me to make time for zumba, living in an apartment that has a washer & dryer and offers ample parking. All of these things I have right now. And you know what? I'm bored.

Comfort is a funny thing - it makes you feel at ease, but at the same time, it makes you (or at least, me) restless. I have my life all in order, so why am I anxious about everything?

I've been thinking about what Chelsea said, and she's right on. I've really been taking the easy way out for pretty much my entire life, never wanting to put in that extra umph to make life more fulfilling. Some examples:

  • I commute 10 minutes to work and come home for lunch, which plays a big factor in me not pursuing work downtown because of the 30+ min. drive each way.
  • My apartment is nice and has all of the amenities I've looked for, but this is the suburbs for crying out loud. I'm sick of families and white people. I need me some culture!
  • I leave work and come home, very rarely thinking about work once 4:30 rolls around. Sounds blissful right? Well, I could stand to be a little more stressed out about it, as crazy as that sounds.
  • All of my bills get paid, and I'm pretty stable financially. Yet all I do is fantasize about a big trip to Italy. Why haven't I planned it already?

I think it's high time I make some changes and start incorporating some irresponsibility into my life. Instead of my strict 10 or 10:30 p.m. bedtime every night, why don't I stay up until midnight writing a short story or watching a favorite movie? And would it really hurt me to get into work early once in awhile to get things done before everyone shows up? It's like I try so hard to avoid stress that in doing so, I drive myself crazy - and even worse, I don't challenge myself. I stick to my comfort zone, which is fine if you're 40, but 25 is the time to put myself out there.

I'm going to start working on this, although I'm not expecting changes overnight. I do still love my early bedtimes and making it to all my workout classes every week. But maybe I can loosen up the britches every now and again, and get irresponsible!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bluesday Tuesday

One of the things I look forward to every week is when I check out the latest Sacramento News & Review on Thursdays. No, not for all of the deals on medical marijuana or the questionable underage Asian "masseuse" ads. My favorite is the advice column. It always features a "Meditation of the Week," and last week's was especially poignant. It was a quote from someone: "Be the chess player, not the chess piece."

That really hit home because the last couple weeks (hell, the last couple years), I've been feeling crippled with indecision. I'm never quite sure about what to do or where to go in life - what's my next career move? Do I want to still live in the suburbs?

That quote was a good reminder that my life is my own - I shouldn't just let things happen to me. I need to make them happen. I have full control!

That doesn't mean I won't have my down days. I've dubbed Tuesdays as "Bluesdays" because for some reason, I've been feeling down on those days. Last week, I had a volunteer meeting for my Sexual Assault Response Team and then a networking event I'd RSVP'd to. I ditched both, went home and barely left my couch. I don't know what it was - I just felt pretty blah.

Today I felt that same down feeling. I'm thinking I'm not busy enough - when that happens, I have too much time to think. Thankfully, my day is ending pretty well. I may be sitting on my bum on the couch now, but I did Zumba earlier, cooked my newest veggie tofu stir fry for dinner, and watched reruns of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." And my precious kitty is curled up next to me. So things are pretty good.

And now for an abrupt subject change...

A couple weeks ago, I spent a much-needed weekend in Nevada with the fam. First on the list - a family dinner that consisted of my parents meeting my sister's boyfriend for the first time. I chatted with the happy couple before we met up with my parents. I offered one bit of advice to them: absolutely, positively NO touching whatsoever.

I said this coming from experience. About 2 1/2 years ago, my parents met my new boyfriend at the time. It was a big moment for me because, well, frankly I thought that this would be the last guy I'd have to introduce to my parents.

It started off in traditional Dad fashion - he walked up to us on the street in front of the restaurant and pretended to be a homeless person. He walked with a limp and asked for spare change. Seriously.

I should have known the relationship was doomed.

But anyway - during lunch, my then-boyfriend nonchalantly kept his hand on my knee. Such a sweet, caring gesture, right? WRONG. To my parents, this was tantamount to fornicating over our sandwiches. They didn't appear surprised by it at the time, but my mom later informed me that my dad had been horrified by the guy touching me. On my knee. While I was wearing pants. In front of my parents. At a public place. Oh, the horror! It was literally like that scene in "Father of the Bride" when Steve Martin can't listen to a word his daughter's fiance is saying because he notices him rubbing her leg.

So I knew it was necessary to share this insight with my sis and her beau. Thankfully, they heeded my advice and kept their distance. I can only imagine the sinful thoughts going through my parents' heads if the guy had put his arm around my sister...yikes!

The dinner went really well, and the next day was even better - a spa day with my mom and sister! Such a blissful day of relaxation. I had the next day off from work since I'd worked the entire previous weekend, which meant another day of sleeping in and not wearing makeup! Those 2 things are truly essential when it comes to my weekends.

Speaking of weekends, this one is a 3-day weekend for me, thanks to Good Friday. The stock market is closed that day, so my firm will be also. Whoop whoop! It should be a fun weekend of a dinner with my girlfriends, catching up on chores and then spending Easter in Chico. Can't wait!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Confessions

I think this week I've eaten a nice slice of humble pie.

For the most part, I've always had pretty good self esteem. My parents have been nothing but 120% supportive of me, and I'm proud of all that I've accomplished in my life thus far.

But sometimes, amid my feeling good about myself, I fail to realize some of my downfalls. Not that I walk around thinking I'm perfect - I will be the first to admit my faults. But there are times when I assume that all of my good qualities somehow make up for my not-so-good qualities or choices. Like being nice, honest and successful is my "Get Out of Jail Free" card in the game of life.

Recently, I upset a dear friend of mine. Instead of approaching the situation with the bottom line (which was, "I'm sorry for hurting you." Period. End.), I went on a whole diatribe to try and justify my actions. Sure, maybe to some what I'd done wasn't the worst thing in the world (i.e. murder, cheating, stealing, hatefulness), but the point is that I hurt someone. And someone's hurt is always justified because I don't ever want to be the reason someone is upset.

This made me look back on myself and the way I've acted toward all of my friends, past and present. I can parade around, naming my good qualities as a friend, but that doesn't make it acceptable for me to do whatever I want when I feel like it. My actions can hurt people, and being good 98% of the time doesn't make that 2% OK.

I was raised Catholic, but I don't really believe in the idea of going to a priest to confess my sins (if anything, I can talk directly to God because he's everywhere, right?) So, here on my precious little blog, I'm going to do my Catholic-roots duty and confess some of my missteps as a friend (dating all the way back to the good ol' days of elementary school). Not that it will matter to anyone, but it's more just so I can get this off my chest and show that I do recognize my mistakes.
  • In 2nd grade, I told another girl to put my friend Diana's lunchbox in the girls' bathroom toilet. I lied to the yard duty about it and denied doing it, which technically was true, but I was the mastermind behind it.
  • I promised one friend that she would be the first one to spend the night at my house, only to rescind my offer and invite another girl. Then when the first girl's mom called to chew me out, I hung up on her (I was 10).
  • I started hanging out with a girl who was new to our 7th grade class and subsequently started ignoring another friend. That friend's mom told my mom that sometimes she wouldn't even want to come to school because she felt so abandoned. Boy, am I a bitch.
  • I stole my friend's boyfriend in 8th grade.
  • I talked A LOT of crap about my closest friend in high school. She and I were very competitive, and I wouldn't even be happy for her when good things happened to her. I would just feel jealousy and try to demean it. I'm really not proud of this stage of my life. Definitely took a page out of the "Mean Girls" book.
  • In college, I messed around with my best friend's ex-boyfriend. She knows about it, but I should have never gone there, even if it had been years since they broke up. Exes are always off limits no matter what. It took me a long time to realize that.
  • Nowadays, I'm making missteps in acknowledging my friends' feelings and where they need my support. I always lament about how hard it is to come by good friends. Maybe it's time I lead by example.
There they are - my friend failure confessions. Sure, some of them are reflections of my immaturity and young age. We all mess up and make mistakes. I just need to be more aware of how I'm affecting people and stop with this mentality that the world somehow owes me for my good behavior. Being good doesn't make me entitled to anything. I should always strive for being a good person - not because it means I'll get something at the end of it but because it's the right thing to do.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Goo Goo Over Gaga

Wednesday night goes down in the books - it was the long-awaited Lady Gaga concert with my sister!

We bought our tickets back in October, so the wait for it seemed foreeeeever. I knew it would be quite the experience, and she didn't disappoint!
First off, the fans were crazy. Drag queens, leather, lace, booty shorts, wigs, glitter, bustiers, pantlessness - you name it, it was there. It felt like the Gay Pride Parade, and it was nothing short of fantastic! We even saw an almost-fight between some stubby short girl and a flamboyant gay guy. He didn't let her attitude get him down because he told her loudly, "Honey, just have a shot of Crowne and cheer up!"

Robyn and I were super close to the stage. Our tickets were general admission, which stressed me out for a minute because I was worried we wouldn't be able to push our way through and see the action. Sure, we ended up as sardines at one point, but it was beyond worth it! Her costumes, the stage setups, her voice - all of it was fabulous from start to finish. A lot of people think she can't sing, but she didn't lip sync one bit, and she sounded great. Plus, she stopped to thank her fans every so often and shared her personal struggles of feeling out of place growing up. She really makes it cool to be weird!

So needless to say, it was an electric night. The show got out at about 11:30, and even though I'd been up since 6 and had to work the next day, I wasn't even tired because of the adrenaline rush. I want to go back and live it again!

Other than that, this week has been rather boring. Last week, however, was a bundle of excitement and action. First off, a long-time member of my team at work decided to go out and start a firm on his own, so his last day was last week. It was a shock to all of us and seemed very abrupt, but I think it was a long time coming for him, so I'm happy he's deciding to blaze a trail for himself.

His departure meant some good news for me - I'm now the lead on one of our biggest accounts and get to go to a huge event for it next weekend.....at a 5-star resort on the beach in Orange County! All-you-can-eat and drink, and virtually, our responsibilities there are minimal. My boss is going as well, but I get my own room! I'm beyond stoked.

Last week also was PR gold for my work - one of our clients was able to talk about radiation coming from Japan, and we got him in the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Bloomberg, Forbes, CNBC and on an hour-long national radio show. It was such a rush and reminded me of why I love PR.

This weekend I'm planning on visiting Nicole in Sonoma since it was her birthday last week, and she's planning on moving to Portland soon. This means I'm not able to make it to my best friend's boyfriend's birthday party, and I think she might be a little miffed at me for that. It's always hard for me to have to cancel on people, especially because I really do love my friends and want to make everyone happy. I'm just a big believer in keeping the commitments I make first, so I have to go with that and hope people understand.

So that's the latest in my life. I think I've got the concert fever, so it's time for me to plan my next one! Oh yeah, I'm seeing the Glee concert in May with my mom and sis....well, I'll have to plan another one too! I just love going to shows :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Pulling the Weeds, Keeping the Flowers

What can I say? Life has been good to me lately. There have been some days where I'm just skipping around, peppy all day. My theory is that A) I've started drinking more coffee B) Our office's coffee is a watered-down version of speed, and C) After reading a book on choice, I realized I've made some pretty good decisions and should be content in that.

I've been noticing more and more how much better I'm getting at relieving myself of negativity. I used to let guilt and regret weigh me down, and of course, I'm not 100% better, but I do find myself standing up more for what I want and really making my life my own. This might not be an accomplishment to some, but as a self-identified doormat, this is huge progress for me.

For one, I'm really realizing how much my good friends mean to me. My family members are truly my best friends, so I'm lucky in that department. As for my friends outside of family, I was feeling a little bit sad a couple weeks ago, and I have "Sex and the City" to blame.

After going on a binge watching that show non-stop for 3 weeks, I found myself yearning for that close girlfriend bonding. Even the girls who have boyfriends/husbands or kids or demanding careers are able to tear themselves away for cocktail hour in Manhattan (of course, the show wouldn't be much of a show if the girls were always cancelling on hanging out with one another in favor of catching up on laundry).

In real life, I'm noticing that it's getting harder and harder to have quality friendships where you spend a significant time with friends and not just every now and again when you can fit them in. I miss those days when you could call your girlfriends just to bitch about anything and then still hang out that night at the movies. Now, a weekly phone call or bi-weekly hangout is enough to satisfy the minimum friendship requirement, and so we all go on our merry way, living different lives that are barely intertwined.

Maybe I'm feeling this way because I never joined a sorority in college, so that female bonding was never fulfilled. Also, I was one competitive bitch in high school. I'll admit it! I took my friends for granted and instead focused on having a boyfriend (and a mean one, at that). Thankfully, a couple of my most cherished friends from those days have looked past my snatchy ways and are still friends with me.

So, anyway, I know we all are busy and have our own paths to go down. And I can't expect my life to be like a TV show. If I'm lucky enough to have at least one quality friend, then I'm golden. And I do have more than one! There are a couple people in my life who will probably be there forever - and then there are those that I just need to cut ties with.

My dad used to tell me "wean away" from this one bad seed that I was friends with in 8th grade (actually, he would over-emphasize the "wean" part, so it sounded more like "weeeeean away" every time he reminded me, which was often). I eventually did, and now I'm trying to repeat that with another girl in my life. She's been someone who's caused me a lot of stress this last year, and I realize now how much I don't need that. We haven't talked in awhile, and I'm a lot happier. So that's the sign right there - if my life is better without her, it's time to pull the weed and keep the flowers, a.k.a. the friends that really matter.

In other news, this last weekend I visited Chico with Steve. Sooooo much fun! He showed me the night life, and I can see now why the town is known for its crazy partying ways. Alcohol is dirt cheap! There wasn't a bar we went to that wasn't packed, and our drink orders never totaled more than $7. We stopped by my cousin Jordin's apartment, which was fun. The next day, I went to a key tourist spot in Chico - the funeral home where a booted "Bachelor" contestant works! Yes, I am a dork. We spent time at Steve's parent's house since it was his mom's birthday, and I had such a good time. They are an awesome family!

This past week has been fine - Monday I saw one of my feminist idols, Gloria Steinem, speak in Folsom. She was brilliant! She's exactly the kind of woman I want to be - strong, intelligent, reasonable, empathetic, humble and hopeful.

Some downsides to these last couple weeks - we lost out on some new prospective clients at work, and an award I applied for based on the work I did for a client of mine last year didn't win :( But I really don't have much to complain about, especially with bigger problems going on in the world. I'm just happy to be content, healthy and employed - and surrounded by good people!

All right, enough rambling.....for now....