Sunday, January 31, 2010

Never leave unattended

Friday night we went to dinner with our neighbors.  They're married with no kids of their own and a huge dog, like us.  Since it was raining and super cold outside, we took the dogs to an indoor dog park to tire them out.  Isabel, their mastiff, was super shy and never got too far away from Ned and Stephanie.  Not so with Maya.  From the second we entered the the dog park till it was time to go home, she was running non-stop.  If only you could bottle puppy energy - that dog is insane.

We had dinner at a Thai restaurant and after dinner we came back to our house for some wine.  I was excited to have them over and lit candles all around the house for them.  I know they probably didn't care, but candles make me happy.

You know how they say never leave a candle unattended?  Apparently, they don't tell you that just for funsies.  Not only do you risk burning your house down, you also risk having to spend a solid hour cleaning the bathroom Saturday morning while your husband laughs at you.  Learn from me people.  Learn from me. 
 
  

 

Saturday, January 30, 2010

That's all it takes to be famous?!

Our neighbor Mark is a fellow Desperate Housewife.  Technically, I guess he's a house-husband.  His partner Mark is a doctor, which leaves Mark (mildly confusing, I know) to pursue his creative interests, including painting, photography, self-improvement and driving a Cadillac.  This past Monday night I went with Mark to one of his self-improvement seminars, courtesy of Landmark Education.  He told Drew that I should go with him, that it would be just the thing to change my life in this time of unemployment.  Mark is a nice guy, I enjoyed his company at our New Year's party and I didn't have anything else to do, so I went.  I had only heard of Landmark by name, but I didn't really know what I was getting into.

We met some of his friends at Paradise Bakery before we went to the seminar and I asked them some questions about Landmark and how it helped change their lives.  There was a lot of vague talk about 'being the best you', 'being present to your truth', and 'unlocking the possibilities.'  Shit.  Mark drove, there would be no way to get out of this.

I'm totally a tree-hugging hippie but I do NOT talk like this and have very little tolerance for people who do.  After listening to them talk about 'letting go of the illusion of your past self' I wasn't sure how I'd be able to get through a whole seminar.  The information they talked about receiving sounded like the same stuff you'd get from a good yoga class and a good therapist.  That's how my life changed and I told them so.  

We got to the seminar and we began with 'sharing time.'  Of the six people who got up to talk (including me - apparently my panic attacks hit me only when I CARE what people think about me), four of them cried when they were onstage.  

"It was only through Landmark that I REALIZED that I MATTER.  That what I do MATTERS.  That I don't HAVE to believe what my mother says about me.  That I don't HAVE to let my boyfriend empty my bank account.  I don't HAVE to let my boss talk down to me!  I MATTER!  WAAAAAAA!

And this isn't self-help?  And you want me to pay $400 to learn that stuff?  

But then again, who am I to begrudge someone their life-changing experience?  Therapy changed my life and I'm sure I spent more than $400 over the years.  The same goes for yoga.  I guess that if a personal improvement seminar is your ticket to getting out of a bad relationship or bad job, then more power to you.


Anyone can have a life-changing experience and it doesn't have to be some seminar.  Death of a loved one, birth of a child, a near-death experience, rehab, jail, getting saved - all of those have the potential to stop you in your tracks and change the course of your life.  I guess if Landmark is your gig, then so be it.

I did have to laugh when they separated the guests and took us to a different room to give us the Landmark pitch.  Change your life!  Create a new possibility!  Who you are is not who your mommy/daddy/boyfriend says you are!  Be present to your truth!  Live your best life!   
Four hundred dollars please!

But that room was packed - every now and then I heard the cheering and clapping as the moderator was telling them that they MATTER.  Whatev.

...

Wednesday, Mark and his friend Maureen, who is also a Landmark graduate, invited me to go with them to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.  Mark and Maureen fed off of each other and it was a loooong ride out to Fort Worth.  However, how do you say "I'll go with you only if you promise not to talk like a mindless cultie?"   I just had to have some fun with Maureen though - we got to talking about physical fitness and I had loads of fun sparring with her about that.  I have zero problems with your actions - I simply feel that you should know why you're doing it before you jump in head-first.  She wanted to get a trainer to help her lose weight.  Awesome - but just having a trainer won't make the pounds fall off.  

Maureen:  I need to get in shape.  I'm thinking about getting a trainer.
Me:  That's great!  However, don't you think that's it's more about a lifestyle change than it is hiring someone to tell you stuff that you could learn in a five minute google search?
Maureen:  Well, but I would want their expertise.
Me:  Sure, but really how much expertise do you need to walk around the block?  Really, the only expertise you need is 'eat less, move more'.  I mean, don't you think?
Maureen:  Well, yeah I guess so....

I got bored with that, so I left her alone.  Getting in shape is a lifestyle change.  All these dumb 30-day, 60-day, lose-your-belly-in-12-days gimmicks get on my nerves.  What happens on day 31, 61, and 13?  Guess what?  Whatever you lost comes right back if you don't permanently change your life.  If you want a trainer because you're DYING to pay for a gym membership but gyms intimidate you and having someone there by your side will help you feel better, or you can't motivate yourself on your own and you need to pay someone to motivate you, then fine, get a trainer.  But trust me, they have no more expertise than you could have after a five-minute google search/youtube tutorial.

But I digress.  We get to the museum and I'm already wishing I hadn't come.  Mark is fine on his own, but with Maureen they were far too much to handle - and I am NOT a fan of modern art.  Allow me to illustrate.
 
Some gallery person PAID someone to do this.
 

Looking closer - this was a giant canvas of graph paper. You've got to be kidding me.

Then it got better.  We rounded the corner and saw this.

 
 
  


IT WAS CANDY!!!!!

Someone dumped out a shit-ton of CANDY on the floor and called it art.  It wasn't even strung together or held together with resin or anything.  Just dumped.  On the floor.  Tons of it.

Can somebody pay me thousands of dollars to dump some candy on the floor?  Can I get paid to do that?  I'll even make it multi-colored for you!  I'll put some effort into it - I'll string them together or something.  I very nearly told them I would wait for them at the door when I saw this foolishness.  But I didn't because I'm not a raging bitch in real life - only on my blog.  

We walked through the rest of the museum and we saw more things that made me want to take my own life.

 
  
If I can do it myself, it's not art.  But then again, is it?  
Can I paint a canvas and call myself an artist?  What is art really? 
My head hurts. 

Thank God the gallery was small and we went over to the Kimball, which has my kind of art - that is, shit I can't do myself.
 One of Michelangelo's first paintings - The Torment of St. Anthony.  He did it when he was about thirteen years old.  Even in the 1400s, adolescent boys were into ghouls and goblins.  They really don't change!
  Everyone knows Mondrian.
I didn't know this was a Mondrian too.  
Much respect for being able to carve curls like that into marble.
This Matisse spoke to me.  I wanted to take her home with me.
I survived my trip to the modern art museum and was super impressed with my phone - I left my camera at home and was bummed till I realized my phone had a camera!  DUH.  Not bad right?
Oh, and I've decided that I'm going to become a modern artist.  Here is my first contribution.
  I call it 'Detail in Denim.'  
Doesn't it just speak to you?
I was striving for a commentary on how we as a society are woven together, all heading in the same direction.  Some of us are wider, some of us are thinner, some darker, some lighter, yet in the end we're all just covering up something else.  Something bigger than ourselves.
Four hundred dollars please!

 

Monday, January 25, 2010

I should have left her in the crate from the start

In light of my new status as a 'Desperate Housewife', Sunday afternoon I decided to tackle the the projects on my list - namely my mirror and......um.........okay so I only have one project on my list.  Thanks to y'all, I have some other ideas about what to do with my time so I'll keep you posted on that.  But I do want to say to my lovely Gem - Girl is you CRAZY?!  Dog-sitting!!  Come on now, for real though.  You still my girl, but another suggestion like that and...........um...........I'll tell you you're crazy again?  I suck at threatening people I know, even if it's just on the internet.

I wanted to be smart about it and I knew that I would have to occupy the dog and she would have to be nearby at all times.  It was really windy out so I set up shop in our solarium at the front of the house, which was really quite pleasant.  Until I began priming and the fumes got me high - which was not as pleasant as getting high is supposed to be.  I felt my lungs disintegrating with each breath and got a headache almost instantly.

But back to the dog.  I pulled out all her chewies, a bone and a toy for her to play with and I set her up on the sofa.


You see me with this bone?  You see how FEROCIOUS I am?


I SMOTHER the bone!  I SMOTHER it!

I even set up some music to soothe the savage beast.

Naively confident that the music and the bones would keep her occupied while I painted, I set up my stuff.


Originally, I intended to paint on the floor of the solarium but quickly realized that Maya was not going to stay put.  Duh.  Ridiculous animals never follow the RULES.

I pulled my mirror out of the front bedroom with a circus announcer's voice in my head narrating.  "Watch as our heroine braves the IMPOSSIBLE.  In just a FEW moments, she will brave this EXCEEDINGLY dangerous task for your enjoyment!  Watch now as she attempts to PAINT A MIRROR with a TEN-MONTH OLD DOG running free!  Will she make it?  Will the dog make everything ten times more difficult?  Watch and see!"  Okay, so maybe it was a 1940s radio announcer, but you get the idea.



Big giant mirror, courtesy of the neighbor's garage sale.  $20.

Beading detail.

After moving the mirror to the top of the table? workbench? island thingy? I got started.  I taped off the mirror part and THEN realized that I would have to sand it outside unless I wanted the dog to come in and get sawdust footprints all over the rest of the house.  But I'd have to open the door.  With a giant heavy mirror in my hands.  And no way to restrain the dog.  Put her in her crate, you say.  Well that's too much like right and then I wouldn't have a story!  Plus, I'm lazy.

I successfully took the mirror outside to sand it and it was upon coming back in the house that the dog made her narrow escape through my legs and under the mirror.


She was already loose, might as well take a picture.

Thank God she didn't get far.  She ran across the street and was sniffing around when I was able to distract her with a bone and her leash.  We got back inside and I gave her a stern talking-to.  SIT on the sofa and CHEW YOUR BONE!  DAMN!  I'm going to be an awesome mother - I plan to use those exact words on my children.  Of course, this may be why I don't have children yet.  Who really knows.

With the mirror successfully sanded and painted with the first coat of primer, I took the dog for a walk while it dried.

 During.
Maya is doing much better on her walks these days.  I still keep her on a very short leash, she stays at my left and there is no funny business.  She seems to know this and is not nearly as psychotic as she has been.  And THEN the dog gods heard me.

We were rounding the corner, coming back to the house.  The home stretch, if you will.  We'd had a lovely walk, I even jogged a little (a very little) and we were both ready to get back.  Out of NOWHERE this boy dog comes running up, no collar, no leash and no person running behind him yelling for him to come back.  Isn't that how it always is?  There were no neighbors out watering their lawns, no couples jogging by, no CARS even!  And this boy dog with no leash running up on us.  SHIT.

He was fixed thank God.  Intact boy dogs are PSYCHO.  He didn't seem aggressive but dogfights happen in the blink of an eye and I was terrified.  Mostly because Drew would KILL me if anything happened to his dog. 

Thankfully, Maya is very submissive and playful and didn't get all crazy with the boy dog, who was about the size of a full-grown boxer.  Maybe 80 pounds - actually around the same weight as Maya but taller and leaner.  He seemed playful and was posturing like he wanted to play, but I didn't want to take any chances so I tried to pull Maya away from the dog.  However, with no leash the damn thing just followed us, jumping and hopping around us practically begging Maya to play.  She, meanwhile, was pulling on the leash like mad and I alternated between giving her the leash and tightening up.  I didn't want her to feel trapped by the leash if the dog suddenly started fighting her but I didn't want her to get away either.  I kept scanning the sidewalks for the owner to come running, but of course there was no one.

I gave Maya the full six feet of the leash so she wouldn't get agitated and she rolled over on her back in a show of submission to the other dog.  The boy dog started LICKING HER PRIVATES!  What the FUG!  I was happy he wasn't trying to fight her, but, um..... Cesar Millan did NOT talk about this in his books!  She's only ten months old!  She's a baby!  Or something....

I'd had enough of that nonsense - it just ain't right, I tell ya.  I gave a quick tug on the leash and started walking toward the house.  She tugged back and the leash slipped out of my hand.  AW FUCK! 

She took off running after the boy dog and disappeared around the corner.  I stood on the sidewalk for a second before I took off running and screaming "MAYA NO!!!" 

Yeah, so I'm in no way whatsoever a runner and got winded after about twenty feet.  I was all gasping for air, bent over going "*GASP* shit! *GASP* whatamIgonnado *GASP* drew'sgonnaKILLme! *GASP* shit!"

Thank the baby Jesus in his manger in Heaven, she came back!  She came tearing towards me and I braced myself like a quarterback linebacker football player preparing to catch her leash and pray she didn't pull my shoulder out of socket.  85 pounds of puppy came crashing into me, knocking me off my feet.  At least I was on somebody's lawn - which by the way, could they have COME OUTSIDE OR SOMETHING?  I sincerely hope they were gone - how do you not come outside to at least give moral support?

I got hold of her leash, righted myself and marched her back to the house, yelling at her the whole way.  Really?  You couldn't just behave?  Why do you have to act like a lunatic when there's another dog?  You're not deprived, you have plenty of socialization, what the hell?  So you just don't care if your daddy kills me huh.  I see how you are, I see where your priorities are.  You'd rather slut it up with that other dog than behave, that's cool.  See if you get a treat EVER AGAIN.

This time I put her in her crate, although it wasn't really a punishment and yes, she got a treat for going in there.  I hate the dog, but I'm not CRUEL.  I put her in there because the fumes were killing me and I had to keep the front door open for the rest of the time I painted.  I figured even if I tied her out, she'd still break free and I didn't need to tempt fate twice in one day.  Or is that three times?

About six hours later, I finished painting my mirror and now I just have to detail the beading part.  My brush was too big for the silver detail so it got on the white part so I have to go back over it to clean it up.

Once that's done, it will live in the breakfast nook where I'll take a true after photo.  Which I probably would have been able to do that same day had I not had to deal with my slut-tastic dog.  She does NOT get that from me.





Saturday, January 23, 2010

Desperate Housewife

The negotiations for the job continue.  Drew gave his counter-offer and now his company is reviewing it to see how close they can come.  However, remember ACME is a cut-throat company and will use whatever tactics they can to save dollars.  The punk HR lady here in Dallas even called him when she got wind of his counter and was all "I sure would hate for them to take the offer off the table.  I mean, since you're soooo unhappy here and all.  Don't you just want to leave already?  I mean, don't you just hate it here so much that you'll take whatever they give you just to get out?"  NAW, bitch! 

See, I can be ghetto and unprofessional where Drew can't.  I just can't believe that they would try to BULLY him like that.  When he called and told me that, I was all "Where she at?  What's her name?  What dat bitch look like?"  Once he talked me down and I became rational again, I was able to objectively discuss with him the ramifications of the current offer and how it could affect us and our future well-being.  See, I can be proper too.

The group in San Jose is very encouraging and they want him on the team so they are actively doing what they can to make this offer as appealing as possible.  It needs to make financial sense for us to take it and they're really trying to meet him more than halfway, so at least there's that.

As for how all this affects me and MY life (which is what it's REALLY all about), this means that we will have to be in San Jose by May, June at the absolute latest.  He will have to go out there almost immediately and will begin traveling much more than in the past.  I'm not thrilled about that, as I'm not keen on spending that much time with the dog by myself (I KNEW this shit would happen - the wife/mother ALWAYS ends up taking care of the dog, no matter WHO in the house says they'll do it.)

It will also be my responsibility to facilitate the move, coordinating with the moving company, dealing with realtors and basically holding down the fort while Drew gets acclimated to his new job. 

If they can make the numbers work, we will have three months left in Dallas!  In that time, we will travel to California to look for a place to live, put the house on the market, hopefully sell it without taking too much of a loss, go back to Kansas in April for our reception, again in May for my best friend's wedding reception, and I will look for a job in the San Jose/San Francisco area.

But the biggest thing about this transition is that for the first time EVER I can't work.  I've had a job since I was sixteen, and I've pretty much always held multiple jobs, whether that was flight attendant/model, student/waitress, yoga instructor/working for a yoga clothing company/running a yoga studio.  I've never not worked.  However, if we're only going to be in Dallas for three more months, it doesn't make sense to try and find a 'real' job.  Thus, I've become the Desperate Housewife - minus the pool boy.  Or lawn boy.  Or any other boy really - even the dog is a girl.

This is such a novel experience and believe me, I'm soaking it up.  I figure this will probably be the last time in my life that I'll have this opportunity, and I want to look back on it fondly.  Already I'm relishing not having to wake up to an alarm clock and the dog is getting older so she sleeps later too.  It's a beautiful thing.  I read, I clean, I cook, all at an unhurried pace with no real deadline.  Since we don't have a home computer I go to the library at my school. It gets me out of the house, because while I've got all this free time, I do NOT have free money.  I have to limit my activities to those that require the least amount of money, hence LOTS of reading and surfing the web at the library.  While I'm okay with it in the interim, a home computer is on top of the to-buy list when all the dust settles.

In the coming months, I plan to research stuff that I can do around Dallas for the cheap, spend time with my friends and get ready to move.  I also have a mirror that I've had for a thousand years that NOW maybe I'll get to re-do! 

I don't think that I could indefinitely do the housewife-thing and it's really a moot point because there's no way in HELL that Drew would go for me not working if we don't have kids.  However, three months isn't so bad and it will go by quickly.

So here's my question - If you found yourself in my position what would you do with yourself?  Without spending a lot of money?  Do you have any ideas or suggestions for me?  Something I should do before re-entering the real world and never EVER getting this kind of opportunity again?


Thursday, January 21, 2010

It's gametime!

The scene:  Last night.  Me, being the good phenomenal wife that I am, I made dinner.  Complete with dessert.  And it was good.  No lie.  With her help of course.



I made her meatloaf and creamy mash potatoes AND blueberry cobbler for dessert.  I will hold for applause.

I didn't get a shot of my beautiful cobbler before he tore into it.
 
But back to the scene.

Enter stage right, (from the front door).  The Husband very dramatically enters, very dramatically drops his lunch containers by the sink, followed by the very dramatic dropping of the car keys.
Him:  I got the offer.
Very dramatic exit to the bedroom.
Me:  (Wondering if there are TV cameras somewhere that I don't know about, because if there are I should probably put on a bra) Really!

I know he wanted me to stop making dinner and rush into the bedroom and fawn and  beg to draw out more information.  And maybe a lesser wife would have.  But *I*, I am the WIFEY.  I KNOW when to stay in the kitchen and keep on making dinner, knowing that he'll come out in his own time.

The Husband enters stage left.  

Me:  I know you like the dramatic and all that, but I'ma need you to give me a little more information.
Him:  (indignant)  I am facing LEAVING my company, can you just stop??

Huhwhat?  You get an offer on a new job and you're going to LEAVE the company?

Him:  One eighteen Desiree.  One eighteen. (very dramatically)
Me:  Okay baby.  Take the dog for a walk, clear your head and we'll talk over dinner.  (Aren't I a good phenomenal wife?)

The offer wasn't where he wanted it to be.  His company (we'll call it ACME) is notorious for lowballing and cut-throating their associates.  I'm not sure why my husband thought he would be exempt, yet he did.  "I just didn't want this to be hard," he said.  Me either.  I wish people would recognize me for the princess that I am and treat me accordingly.  But that doesn't happen, and those at ACME could give two shits about him - even though they should because he's a badass.  See, my babycakes takes his work very personally.  When he puts his stamp on something, that's major.  He's got an unmatched work-ethic and when that's not recognized and rewarded by his peers, he gets upset.  Then I get upset that he's upset, then I get all stabby.  It's not a good color on me.

However, the facts remain - they have opened the negotiation with a lowball offer, which is not entirely unexpected but somehow Drew was expecting better from them.  Me, I expected as much.  Like they say, it's not personal, it's business.  If they can have you for less, they'll do it and high-five themselves behind closed doors for taking you for a sucker.  It's yet another reason why I don't prefer Corporate America.


But there it is - it's time to negotiate.  It's time to get our game-faces on and to play ball and to insert any other sports-related metaphor here.  I know he was hoping that since the interview went so well that they would just give him the best possible offer available, but that's just not the case.  Now it's time to deal with reality - the time to lick the wounds will come later.  We have to get it together, rally the troops, and show them that we too can play hardball. 


I mean, I know he's a networking ninja and all that, but I was surprised at how hard he took things.  Leaving the company over a lowball opening offer?  Did he really expect that they were going to bow down and lick his toes?

Even though he's got the cutest, fattest toes I've ever seen and I love love love his fat feet, even *I* won't lick them.  And yes, these are his feet and I love them.  I took this picture on a completely unrelated day for an unrelated reason and if you hate them, scroll down already!

 I know he wanted this process to be easy.  I know he wanted them to just love him and offer him gobs of money on sight, but that's just not the case.  So he has to negotiate and it's truly an art.  You don't want to come in too high because you look like an asshole.  But come in too low, you look like a chump.  It's not easy and honestly, I don't envy him.  All I can do is sit on the side and make meatloaf and cobbler and pray.

Then there was this evening!  He had ANOTHER interview for a position here in Dallas for substantially more money but for a completely different company.  No one would thumb their nose at a bigger paycheck, but the gamble is the timing.  If he turns down the ACME position because he's holding out for the other position in Dallas but that doesn't come through, what then?  Or if he takes the ACME position, what if he always wonders what if?  It's times like these I'm thankful these are his dilemmas.  My nerves would be shot trying to decide between the two.

Y'all!  Who the hell KNOWS what's about to happen with his professional life and where that's going to take us!!  Without being cheesy, all I can do is support his decisions and keep telling him I love him no matter what.  It's not I can give him CAREER advice.  

And that's the truth y'all.  Can you believe that nonsense?  No matter what, no matter where, I would follow that man.  No matter what he did, where or how he did it, I would stand by his side.  Ain't that some mess!  Who would have thought I would ever get to this place - where I would for real for real 'stand by my man'.  But here I am.  

Big job or no, San Jose or Dallas, it's me and him.  Ride or die.

 

Monday, January 18, 2010

Just goes to show.....

Good days, bad days.  That's what I told people when I came out of the cave after the miscarriage.  It was something they could deal with, something they could wrap their brains around and it wasn't too graphic or scary.  Nice and neat and they could feel good that they 'checked in with me.'

And then something happens that reminds me that I'm not in the clear, I haven't 'healed.'  I put that in quotes because you don't ever heal, get over it, get past it, or any other euphemism implying that enough distance between you and the event is all you need.  How do you get away from yourself?

I read something on the internet that really stung me.  Yes, I know, it's the internet and it's filled with blissfully unaware people who mean no harm.  And for those that mean harm, all you have to do is click away.  It's as simple as that.  I tried - I vented to Drew and Kesha at length.  They were sympathetic and listened and understood where I was coming from.  But it's not enough - so I'm writing about it with the hopes that somehow I can get a grip.

Pregnancy is not easy.  Nor is it something you can control, to the extent that if you just do 'x', then 'y' and follow that with 'z' a few days later, you'll get pregnant.  Putting your feet up, relaxing, meditation, using sperm-friendly lube, hypnosis, accupuncture, or any combination of those things will not singularly result in pregnancy.  All the companies selling that crap would of course have you believe otherwise and they make millions upon millions cashing in on your dreams.

I read about someone who claimed to be 'trying to conceive' when in reality all she did was go off birth control and have unprotected sex for a few months before getting pregnant.  I am raw and still hurt and under any other circumstance I would smile at her naivete.

I humbly submit that that is NOT 'trying to conceive.'  Cashing in your retirement for fertility treatments, asking your parents for a loan when the bank won't cover the $10,000 you need for IVF, suffering multiple miscarriages, full-term stillbirth - for me, these are under that umbrella. 

I also don't understand the presumption that you understand anything about trying to conceive/infertility from your pregnant-after-a-few-tries perch.  I certainly didn't.  I had no CLUE how hard it was to get pregnant and stay pregnant until I miscarried.  I wouldn't DREAM about speaking on those things because everyone knows that talking about something with zero experience/personal knowledge summarily removes your credibility.  What's that they say?  Better to keep your mouth shut and let them think you're an idiot than to open it and remove all doubt.

Go over there to your side, the easily-pregnant with a healthy baby side with all the other easily pregnant women and marvel at your blissfully untouched lives.  Do not presume to know what it's like to try for years and years with a big fat nothing to show for it.  It hurts to look at people like you - please don't say things like "If there was something I could do, I would.  If I could make you pregnant too I'd do it in a heartbeat."  That goes for real-life people too.  As if you had anything to do with what's growing inside you right now - as if you had any control over that whatsoever.  If that were the case, only those women who take exceptional care of themselves and have the ways and means to have children would.  Yet every day, babies are born addicted to drugs and alcohol and we still don't stop hearing about 16-year-olds leaving their babies in trash cans at the prom. 

You have no control over this - that's why it's called a miracle.  Presuming otherwise and going so far as to comment on it as if you did is not only insensitive and hurtful, it's unintelligent.  Even after experiencing loss firsthand, I know that there are plenty out there who would LOVE to have had ONLY one miscarriage.  I'm new to the Dead Baby Momma club and I have great reverance for those long-term members.  I know enough to keep from behaving as though I'm the only one on the planet who has ever gone through this.

The internet is far too vast to be able to write in such a manner that you offend no one.  Initially, I was angry.  Who do you think you are?  You know NOTHING.  Your platitudes are hollow and unwelcome.  You weren't TRYING, you were just having unprotected sex (which I guess IS trying, but it just doesn't feel the same.)  You got your prize after playing the game for only a few months, you don't get to be 'sympathetic'.

But then I realized that it's just me and my jealousy rearing it's ugly head.  That I too want to be on the easily-pregnant side.  That I want to be blissfully naive.  I still want to believe that getting pregnant is something I can control.  I don't want to know what I know.  I don't want the memories that I have - I want to be clueless, I too want to sprinkle 'baby dust', as if that's all it takes.  I want to pretend I have some magic power that I can dole out so that everyone can have my wonderful life, never mind that that may not be what THEY want.  Who cares, I'm pregnant, the world revolves around ME!  I want to be that person.

Another day, another time, another life, a stranger would not have the power to stab me in the gut with their words.  I am reminded that healing, in whatever form it takes, is not a linear process and things like this can happen. 

We all have our burdens to bear and if this is mine, I pray that I learn to bear it with dignity and grace.  I definitely don't have the hang of it and I'll be the first to say that, but I pray.  And I pray for them too.  That their lives remain untouched - no one deserves pain and loss and tragedy and sadness.  As angry as I might be when thoughtless remarks are made, I do not wish anyone ill.  Hurting someone never ever makes you feel better, no matter what.

I wish that everyone who is blissfully untouched gets to stay that way.  Coming from the other side of the fence, we don't need anymore people in the club.  It's not fun over here.



Friday, January 15, 2010

Now we wait

Y'all are the most awesome people EVER!  Thank you SOOO much for the well wishes for Drew's job interview!  If you haven't seen it, he left his own thank you in the comments of the last post - go check it out.

The interview went really well.  He said it was more like a meet-and-greet, that they were telling him how things would be WHEN he takes the position.  He was meeting people he'd be working with and they were all excited for the him to come on board.  I'm sooo happy for him and I'm really excited for this next step.  Which is the HR paperwork.

They have to put together his offer package now.  Again, this is where it is much cooler for him than it is me.  For me, the extent of my 'offer package' is "This is your desk, over there is the bathroom, payday is every other Friday.  Don't piss off Maureen - she's evil."  For Drew, there will be talks of benefits, bonuses, relocation packages and even the possibility of a job for ME.  Of course I laugh at that last part because I am so not "(hiscompany)-material".  They are hardcore, intense, eat-their-young types of people.  Everyone in the industry knows that and I'm sooo not that way.  There isn't a competitive bone in my body.  It's just not in me.  You have something I want, I will not take it from you, I'll just go somewhere else and find something equal or better without bothering you.  I just don't/can't/choose not to get down like that.  And that's not how they play ball.  At his company, it's win or die.  Their salesforce is notorious for that.  His company routinely scouts for the best and brightest talent straight out of college - they really like atheletes or ex-military.  Then they put them through the wringer and only the strongest survive. 

Now for real, what y'all know of me do you REALLY see me as that type?  HA!  I'm all peace and love and tree-hugging hippie.  What do I know from competitive?  Let's just hug it out!

At any rate, he will have that opportunity to negotiate his terms and hopefully they'll be able to come to an agreement.  Drew was cautiously optimistic when I picked him up from the airport.  He knows this is only a step - if they come back with a lowball offer or say that we have to move ourselves out there, we'll have some issues.  We're not completely out of the woods yet.

I'm also waiting - now that we're officially trying to get pregnant, the waiting sucks. Out loud.  How in the world am I going to be able to do this for any length of time?  It seems that everyone around me is having babies except me.  My girlfriend Diana just had her baby on New Year's Eve, my best friend Doug and his wife are expecting their baby any day now.  And of course, the blogosphere is a veritable baby FACTORY, with everyone about to pop.

I know that I'm fixating because I don't have anything else to occupy my mind.  Especially now because I'm not as actively looking for work.  If we leave in the next couple of months, which is a very distinct possibility, there's no point in looking for a full-time job.  And this is only the first month!

I was depressed yesterday - it got worse when my dad called to tell me my god-brother and his wife just had their baby.  I'm super happy for all of them but I can't help but wonder and yes, whine about when will it be my turn.

Logically, getting pregnant right now wouldn't be the best thing.  If we do move, being unable to sort, lift, load and facilitate things due to morning sickness etc. would be a drag.  Especially if Drew has to go out to San Jose immediately and I have to handle things at home. 

It doesn't stop me from wanting it though - I laid in bed most of the day, partly due to feeling sorry for myself, partly due to PMS that is particularly kicking my ass this month.  My period is coming - I'm sure of it and I'm not happy about it.

HOWEVER, BIG points to my hubby!  I called him all depressed, whining to him and he heard me!  He came home with some books (which will give me something to do during the day that doesn't involve spending money, since I've read all the books in our house many times) and my favorite wine.  How awesome is that?  When he gets it right, he totally gets it right!  We had our bottle of wine, ate some mac and cheese, and watched an episode of House on our AppleTV, which is the coolest thing we've purchased. 

We gave up cable for the AppleTV which is like a giant DVR.  You pay for what you want to watch when you want to watch it.  Right now I'm hooked on Modern Family and each episode costs $2.  Movies are $4 and if it's in Blockbuster it's on AppleTV.  It keeps you accountable and no more $160/month cable bills!  Ok, that's my commercial for AppleTV.  Back to regularly scheduled programming.

Drew and I had a great night and I'm crossing my fingers that things go well with the interview.  He's already gotten great feedback from his dude at Corporate and that's a great thing.  I'm hoping they'll have an offer put together by the end of this month. 

It's only been a day and the waiting is killing me!


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Job news!

**Not mine though - I'm still job-free.

Whoever said that looking for a job is a full time job in itself was not lying.  I'd also like to punch them, but that's just because I'm so beat-down.  Looking for jobs SUCKS!  There's nothing like job-searching to lower your self-esteem.  All the jobs I have experience for pay $8/hour and the jobs I'd love to have require experience I don't have.  I've gotten punchy which may or may not have led to some rather original cover letters.  I took it as a sign that I need a break.

I took Drew to the airport this morning.  That's not usually blog-worthy material, as he travels a lot for work and takes himself most times.  HOWEVER, this time he's going to Phoenix for a FINAL job interview.

Drew's job search goes much MUCH differently than mine.  That's because he's got a Master's in Bio-medical Engineering, is published, and has worked for a kick-ASS company for the past nine years.  Now, they're not kick-ass in the way that he's loved what he's done for the past two years, but kick-ass in the way that people in the industry go, ooooooohhhhhh, when you say who you work for.  Then they ask him how they can get a job there. 

For Drew, recruiters call HIM, companies reach out to HIM, and he reviews job openings with titles like International Global Marketing Strategic Badass or Director of International Development in Markets and Regions for Strategic Business Stuff.  Me, I type entry-level, full-time and pray that the search engine doesn't kick out too many postings for McDonald's or Radio Shak. 

Drew's been unhappy with his current position for a while now and he's pretty much always had his name out there and from time to time he'll see what's biting.  He's at the point where he's ready to make a move and that's why he's in Phoenix.  On a FINAL interview.  For a different position within his company.

IN SAN JOSE.

California.

Not Costa Rica.

I wish.

But California!!

Where there's a yoga studio on every corner!

And the beach is a lot closer than in Dallas!

Drew has a lot of big important people pulling for him with this job which is why he skipped to the end of the line to the final interview.  From what I understand, they need somebody like YESTERDAY for this position as they have a giant budget that needs some spending.  Drew has been doing this exact thing for the past two years in his current role just with a smaller budget so he's well primed for the task.

They are wanting to move quickly - as quickly as filling the position by the end of the month.  Usually, with high-up positions like this, the interview process can take months and months.  They want to be super extra way TOTALLY sure that you're the guy for the job if they're going to give you a paycheck with all those zeros behind it.

But this is where Drew's ninja networking skills come in for him.  His reputation has preceded him and with the big dudes at Corporate pulling for him, it's basically his job to lose.  Which he's not going to because he's a badass.  Drew may get on my nerves for not buying me a replacement pair of slippers when the dog destroyed mine because that's what husbands are SUPPOSED to do when their wives are having panic attacks.......

but he DOES NOT EVER mess up when it comes to networking.  Drew can make friends with you in five seconds flat and in the next five seconds figure out that he knows a guy who knows a girl who knows somebody that can help you fix that computer glitch/get you a discount on car insurance (wait, that's Geico)/introduce you to your next best friend.  It's awe-inspiring.  I can't do that - new people make me hyperventilate from anxiety.  I avoid it at all costs - Drew dives in headfirst and comes up smelling like a rose.

That's why he makes the big bucks.

ANYWHO, his big interview with 'the team' is tomorrow.  Would y'all do me a HEE-YOOGE favor?  Would you say a special prayer to the baby Jesus/dance around a fire/blow sparkles to the Universe/send good vibes/smile in the general direction of Phoenix for Drew?  Pretty please?

Because I sure would love to live near the beach and do yoga every day like I used to.  And my hubs would have a better job where he would be much much happier, and I want that for him.

Thanks Internets!


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Outliers

I finished reading this book a few days ago and I can't stop thinking about it.  Malcolm Gladwell's books were a cornerstone of my college curriculum and so much of what he says really resonates with me.  My college education may not have a clear professional definition in the same way that being an accounting major will get you a job in accounting.  There are no 'Markets & Culture' jobs out there - at least not as apparent as other fields like finance and marketing and engineering.  But back to Malcolm.

I really enjoyed this book as he addressed the idea of success and how looking back at a group's cultural legacy is a pretty reliable indicator.  It's not foolproof because the stories of those who rise to success despite insurmountable obstacles are the stuff that tv-movies are made of.  However, those are the exceptions and Gladwell talks more about the rule.

One of the many examples he explores is the notion that Asians are naturally good at math.  I'm summing it up here - if you want direct quotes I'm sure the internet is full of them.  He talks about the way Asian children learn to count and the farming culture surrounding rice paddies.  The harder you work in a rice paddy, the more rice you harvest.  It's intricate, strategy-heavy, above all HARD work.  One of the common Asian proverbs he quotes in the book is 'No man who rises before dawn three hundred sixty days of the year will fail to make his family rich.'  When you've got an entire culture who believes in that kind of hard work and who has learned to count in a much more straightforward way, it's not hard to see how they would succeed.  Put another way, if you have a more efficient way of doing something and you already are accustomed to VERY hard work, going that extra mile is a no-brainer.  

Compare that to our way of doing things:  our ancestors were harvesters.  It was pretty simple - plow the land, plant the seed, water, and harvest.  Work the land too much and the soil won't yield a harvest - that's how our summer vacations were born.  This idea of needing to let the land (and people) rest runs in direct contrary to the Asian philosophy of the harder you work, the longer you work, the more results you'll end up with.  Not only do they work smarter, they work harder.  It's the formula for success (again, massively simplified - the book is a fascinating read and well worth the time.)

Now like I said, I'm massively distilling his ideas.  I'm not trying to do a book report - these ideas just got me thinking about relationships.

Another idea that he explores is the culture of honor brought over from our country's Scottish, Irish and English ancestors who settled in the Appalachian mountains and through the South.  Think the Hatfields and McCoys - where you kill somebody's brother because they looked at your cousin crazy.  He studied modern day people, who have zero connection to the Hatfields and McCoys other than they were raised in the South and/or the Appalachians.  Those people are much more likely to fistfight if they've been slighted than someone raised in another part of the country.  

Okay, so what does this mean about relationships?  Our strongest and most influential guide regarding interpersonal relationships are our parents or lack of them.  The Asian rice paddy farmer lived by example, digging complicated trenches to properly irrigate his rice paddies, diligently working the land and rising before dawn every single day to ensure the highest yield per square inch of land.  Their children saw that, making the connection very early between hard work and reward.  The Appalachian herder fiercely defended his land and his flock, perhaps keeping a gun by the bed to discourage anyone who would steal from him, indeed anyone who would even THINK of stealing from him.  Their children saw that, learning that what's yours must be defended and protected by any means necessary because the New World was a hostile and unforgiving place.


Children are sponges and they come into this world totally blank, looking to their parents first and their world second for cues as to how to navigate this world.  MEANING, if they never saw their dad buy their mom flowers, they are much MUCH less likely to do it for THEIR wives or girlfriends, no matter how many times she says that's what she wants.  It's not in his DNA.  I'm not saying that people can't change, that they can't overcome obstacles.  I'm just saying if a behavioral pattern has been instilled in you from childhood, it is fifty kabillion times harder to reform it in adulthood, either way.


If your parents taught you that hard work was the only way, you may have a harder time in adulthood just kicking back and going with the flow.  If you were taught from an early age to hold the door open for women day in and day out, holding the door open in adulthood is just second nature and very hard NOT to do, even if you're told that you don't have to.  It just won't 'feel' right.  Conversely if you never held a door growing up, you won't in adulthood without some serious self-talk and reminders and practice.  We're not stuck in our cultural legacies, but ignoring them is naive.


I think of myself - I grew up in a very traditional home.  Even though my mother worked, she was still 'the woman' and my dad was 'the man.'  I don't think I've ever seen my dad do the dishes and I've never seen my mom shovel snow.  My dad can't cook and my mom can't fix things.  My father has never missed a Valentine's Day and every now and then he gives my mom little trinkets just because.  However, I know that he firmly believes in there being ONE head of the household and that's him.  My mom is the one that kissed our boo-boos and my dad is the one who taught me to drive.  It's not right or wrong, it just is.


I brought all this information into my relationships.  I can hold my own and I can take care of myself, but I have expectations of my man.  I don't mow the lawn, I don't do things for my car, and if I have to open my door too many times I'm going to look at you sideways.  I don't have a problem with 'man things' and 'women things'.  I think the problem happens when we assign value to those things and  'women things' comes up lacking.  But that's a whole other post.



What I'm struggling with is that my ideas don't match up to my reality.  That's my deal and I better get with the program real quick.  I know that.  There's just a piece of me, that was put there by my childhood, maybe even by my ancestors and my culture, that longs for things that will probably never be, thanks to other ancestors and other cultures.  I'm trying not to be bleak about it, but if you were never taught certain things growing up and have no desire to learn/change in adulthood it's pretty safe to say it's probably not going to happen.


It is what it is.




 

Friday, January 8, 2010

My visit to the North Country: Meeting the neighbors

The day after Christmas we woke to freezing rain.  It had also been raining most of the night before and that made the roads dangerous to drive on.  They take weather very seriously in the North Country - after all, if you get stranded by the side of the road it's not like you can walk a block to the nearest gas station.  Of course, bad weather is a relative term.  In Dallas, bad weather means an inch of snow.  In the North Country, they don't sit up and take notice until the snow has gotten into the double digits, or the ice is reallly caked on.

What they call a light dusting I call stay home for three days.
 
This meant we didn't end up getting out to have our pictures done.  However, my Day Two hair was not wasted as we had the reception later that evening.  We all hoped that the rain would stop so that people would be able to come.  But even if they didn't the four of us would sit and drink - I liked that plan.

Don't underestimate the people of the North Country.  Here, the women are just as tough as the men.  These are not damsels in distress, shrinking violets or delicate Southern belles.  Norwood is a factory town in an area of the country with bitter, unforgiving weather.  What I noticed about the people there is that they are hardworking, no-nonsense, pick-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps, whining is not allowed, if you have a headache take some aspirin and keep it movin kind of people.  They also have a super strong sense of community - family is close and friends are closer.  So they weren't going to let a little freezing rain get in the way of coming out to see Karen and Jerry's boys and their new wives.

We arrived at the hall a little before five and by that point my crazy was no longer a secret so when more and more people started arriving, no one blinked when I ran to the bar and got a vodka on the rocks, splash of cranberry.  Drew kept it full and his dad periodically came to check on my and give me a reassuring squeeze on the shoulder.  I'm generally not one to use alcohol or pills to address the anxiety issue - breathing deep may take a little longer but I just can't be okay with self-medicating.  That said, my cocktail was a welcome buffer that I didn't even need by the end of the night.  That's how awesome the people of Norwood are.

The hubs and my father-in-love
 

All the people that came out to see us.  I didn't want to hide behind my camera the whole night, so I didn't get many pictures.
 

Drew and Sue and Chopper - apparently Chopper hardly ever lets anyone take his picture.  He and Drew's dad were firefighters together.

A blurry shot of Nate and Julie - I tried to get a candid of them but there wasn't much light and my camera wasn't cooperating.

Some of the people even brought us wedding presents!  Can you believe that!  I wasn't expecting anything and I was so touched that they even thought of us.  I ended up having so much fun and Mama Karen's girlfriends and the funniest women ever!  They stayed the longest and we ended up at one table just talking and laughing about aging, men, shopping - stuff that is normally pretty mundane.  But Carol, Mary and Mama Karen had hilarious stories!  It was really cool just to sit and listen to them talk. 

It ended around nine and that night Drew and I stayed up with Nate and Julie drinking and playing rummy.  This was my second time playing, the first being the night I got laid off.  There isn't a competitive bone in my body - there's nothing I want that badly that I'll step on your neck to get it.  It's another story if you take something that was rightfully mine, but I just don't have that true fighter in me.  So when Drew was beating me at rummy, his trash-talking fell on deaf ears.  I mean, I heard him but him mocking my negative number of points was met with "Yeah, and?  This is my second time in life playing this game.  I don't see you picking on your brother, who's been playing just as long as you have.  Go after the rookie, yeah that takes SKILL."  He shut up after that. 

After a few more drinks, Julie broke out her 'tall Julie' voice, which is just her talking about an octave lower.  It was the funniest thing I'd ever heard in my whole life.  She's a tiny thing, about 5'4" but then puts on her 'tall Julie' voice and goes "I'm tall Julie.  I'm 5'7."  I could not stop laughing and I wasn't even drunk!  At that moment she was golden in my book and I couldn't wait to spend more time with her.  That was the moment I knew that I was going to like her forever.  Tall Julie was the final piece in the puzzle.

The next morning we took them to the train station so they could go back to the city, as Julie had to work the next day.  Hmmm, work.  Must be nice.  The train station was in Plattsburgh which was an hour away.  It was a quaint little university town that I could aaaaaalllllllmost see myself.........visiting.  In the early summer.  For a weekend. 
Blurry photo courtesy of the kid at the train station.
On the way back home we stopped at another cousin's house and I was able to get some shots of the countryside.
 

I can't remember what mountain that was but we were in the Adirondacks.  
Like the chairs.  But colder.




This farmhouse was in the middle of NOWHERE.  I wondered if it was abandoned or if people actually lived there.  Drew said that more than likely people lived there.  WHY??
 

There was a huge field of these turbines?  Is that what they're called?  I'm too lazy to google it.
 

They just looked cool to me.
 
A real live train in the backyard!  Drew didn't get my camera fast enough but I was fascinated!  It doesn't go by often enough to be annoying - I had never seen a real working train that close before.

We got home and ate some more - I swear, I ate more on that trip than I have in many MANY months.  Thanks to that trip my stomach is no longer flat - I have belly rolls now, which is sew hawt!!  We vegged on the sofa for the rest of the night - until they broke out the Wii.  


Drew grew up fishing with his dad and that is one of his great loves.  He spent a couple of hours that night playing the Wii Fishing Master game and then spent SIX STRAIGHT HOURS the next day playing that damn game.  That right there is why I really, really don't want a Wii in our house.  It's fine in someone else's house, and I love me some Guitar Hero, but I think it would be a disaster if it were under our roof.


Tuesday morning we left.  His parents drove us to Montreal - the weather had been mild when we were there but it was going south fast.
I don't think I could ever get used to seeing that.

It was such a great trip and I'm so happy we went - my new family is pretty awesome and I love them to death.  I can't wait for them to come down here for a visit.  Right now, they'd be pretty comfortable - it's sixteen degrees outside and it's supposed to stay that way through the weekend.

Yippee.  
 

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